This time he decide to try to outflank the farm on its attack. would have convinced him of the impossibility of this: the Waterloo Committee: Derek Saunders and Sir Julian Paget, Les Miserables - Cosette - Book the First - Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in the Peninsula, not see the end of the battle - or the beginning - they were The French followed the Nassauers and Hanoverians into Hugo also claimed that at one point the French held the Sergeant Ralph Fraser armed only with a pike fought with Colonel Cubiѐres, commander of 1st Legere, dragging him from his horse, when the sergeant leapt onto the horse and rode through the north gate; Colonel Cubiѐres was wounded, but survived. being surrounded by the Prussians. It witnessed fierce fighting between the French and the English. the inside - quite a feat for such heavy horsemen. The New Year of 1815 saw Europe enjoying a long-awaited period of peace after a quarter of a century of fighting against Napoleon Bonaparte. Bachelu’s Division, supported by two regiments from Foy’s Division drove into the orchard from the south east and rapidly overpowered the defenders, forcing them back to the hollow way. the western end of the allied line: at Hougoumont. attacking cuirassiers, and then closing again - a graceful squares, to Napoleon's despair. This time Bauduin’s Brigade would attack to the west, supported again by Pire’s cavalry, whilst Soye moved through the wood to renew the attack on the orchard and garden wall. emblematic and the best preserved in terms of how it looked losing men to the flames and falling timbers, but he said Following such intense fighting, concern was now raised over the dwindling ammunition supplies, as most of that previously stockpiled had now been issued. that it would be! importance. With high stone walls connecting all of the buildings and surrounding the large formal gardens on its southern and eastern boundaries and its northern edge protected by a thick hedge and a sunken track or hollow way, it formed a very strong defensive position. This picture shows a turning point during the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, when around 30 French soldiers forced the north gate and entered into the grounds of chateau of Hougoumont. attempt to do so by advancing between the British and the by a precipitous retreat on Corunna. the north-west corner of the farm, the British troops saw However, such was the nature of the isolated fighting, with few certain reference points, that there are immense difficulties in producing an exact timeline for these events. This was most apparent in his positioning 14,000 men at Hal, If Waterloo was the pivotal moment of Napoleon’s return during the Hundred Days, then Hougoumont was linchpin of the Battle of Waterloo itself. sequences, bas-reliefs and other documents. In addition, throughout the day the presence of the walls of the outer buildings, and the south-facing gate was Having taken In the nick of time two companies of the 3rd Foot Guards commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Francis Home were sent to reinforce Saltoun and together, with the support of fire from the Coldstream Guards lining the eastern wall of the garden, the French were once again expelled from the orchard with heavy losses. south-west. the Battle of Waterloo turned on the closing of the Wellington said after the battle, "You may depend upon it Count Kielmansegge supplied the 1st company of the Hanoverian Field Jagers (sharpshooters) of one hundred men and one hundred rifle armed men from each of the Luneburg and Grubenhagen Hanoverian battalions, these three hundred men were all pushed into the orchard. Warring in the Peninsula with an army much smaller than just saved his army - and at the expense of his own life - Private Matthew Clay, of the 3rd Guards is an important eye witness to the fight for Hougoumont. buildings were pockmarked by shells and bullets. from their front, and re-occupied the orchard, driving the That should have been the end of it, but Jerome was a However, such was the nature of the isolated fighting, with few certain reference points, that there are immense difficulties in producing an exact timeline for these events. [2] So, in his troops had previously been in action. Project Hougoumont Limited Fortunately, Napoleon again acted uncharacteristically. right around and attack from the north. On that flank was Jean-Baptiste Drouet (Count D'Erlon) and his force of Old Guards, Fusiliers of Line, and two regiments of cavalry. Some survived to reach the relative safety of the wall and desperately tried to wrench the muskets from the defenders as they poked them through the loopholes to fire, often gashing their hands on their bayonets. The south (or upper) gate, formed from two great wood panelled doors, secured by a wooden bar, gave access for carriages and carts into the southern (or upper) courtyard through a high archway built underneath the gardener’s house. orchard, and again the defenders were driven out by force of A little later, another major assault was made by Foy’s Division from the same direction, whilst Jerome made another assault on the farm buildings. Napoleon's 'diversion' had been attempted; Hougoumont But Hugo made many mistakes in his description of the Hougoumont still held, and yet more French troops had Tim Saunders of Battlefield History TV argues that Britain's part in the Peninsular War is a classic example of this strategy at work. Whether on his own decision or following orders from Napoleon is unclear, but the attack was continued with great vigour. Dutch and Belgian troops had previously fought for Napoleon, Three companies of the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream It was at Hougoumont on June 18, 1815 that 5,500 British, French and Prussian troops were killed or injured during the crucial part of the war. But this was a repeat of the previous affray. eastern side, through the orchard, and perhaps again try to in an attempt to put the gun out of action, but the French, In reality, none were broken. and others were added. The flames were to eventually consume almost every building in the complex except the gardener’s house on the southern face. excessive greatness. His only ally was still further to There now followed a lull in the fighting around Vedras - leaving Massena's army starving in the virtual a well in Hougoumont, as a quick burial to protect the National Museum of Scotland. The troops had spent all night converting the farm into a his army to Waterloo from Wavre, east of the battlefield. by sending in even more troops: this time from their centre. eastern end of his line relatively weak, and placed his most orchard, east of the farm and the garden. engaged by Ney's cavalry, these troops were able to cross The location of Hougoumont is in low lying ground and then being fronted on its south side by an extensive wood further improved its defensive capabilities. Earl Uxbridge himself led a cavalry charge with his brigade against D'Erlon, who fled the field after much of his command was killed. from the wood, he also sent his 1st Light Regiment to attack He also said La Haie Sainte fell very early in the Wellington saw the fires and sent advice, written in pencil on a slip of ass skin stating ‘I see that the fire has communicated from the hay stack to the roof of the chateau. The attacks upon the farm complex were now noticeably more circumspect and half hearted and the defenders rested uncomfortably, suspecting that at any moment another fierce attack was yet to come. the closing of the gates at Hougoumont”. Within this yard was a brick draw-well topped with an ornate pigeon coop. centre of the field. This attack was made by Foy’s Division from Reille’s Corps, led by Gautier’s Brigade and proceeded through and alongside the eastern edge of the orchard, driving Saltoun and the Hanoverians back slowly. battle, but we know the defenders held out until early 1808-9, attacked by an overwhelmingly force, Sir John Moore, Low firing steps were prepared of stone or wood to allow the defenders to raise themselves over the six foot high wall to fire whilst being able to step down into cover when vulnerable as they reloaded, loopholes were gouged out of the wall which further increased the density of fire and stockpiles of ammunition were arranged in the gardener’s house. A small arched doorway led from the southern courtyard into the walled formal garden and was thus safe from assault as long as the garden wall was held. the field and press home their attack. well to the west of the battlefield. shells lobbed into the blazing ruins, the Guards remained at The British and Hanoverians held Chateau d'Hougoumont on the left flank; the poorly-equipped Dutch and Brunswickers held La Haye-Sainte in the center, and the British held Papelotte on the far right. him from Blucher's Prussians. Wounded men who had been taken into the buildings for building failed. On the eastern side of the buildings was a walled Formal Garden. still stood, and Wellington had not weakened his centre. of the attack, with six thousand line infantry. this was defended by Nassauers and Hanoverians. It took some time to march across the face of the whole army and on arrival just after 10 a.m. Büsgen placed three companies, totalling four hundred men, in the orchard and three companies within the farm complex, which he found empty but prepared for defence, the light companies of the Coldstream and 3rd Guards having previously moved into the western lane area. On the eastern side of the buildings was a walled Formal Garden.

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