ISSUE NUMBER 1
HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL ISSUE NUMBER 1
PUBLISHED BY GEORGE GRASSE
PHOTO TOUR OF WATERLOO JULY 1991
By George Grasse
GEMIONCOURT FARM, QUATRE BRAS, 16 JUNE 1815: This photo shows how the fortified farm of Gemioncourt looked to French infantry of Reille's II Corps on the day of the Battle of Quatre Bras. Maréchal Ney's command of two infantry corps and two cavalry corps had the task of seizing the crossroads at Quatre Bras to prevent Wellington from reinforcing Blucher at Ligny. In this task, Ney was successful and Napoleon was able to drive Blucher back and away from Wellington at the Battle of Ligny just six miles to the east (to the right in this photo). Gemioncourt was a formidable complex of brick farm buildings held by the 5th Dutch Militia Infantry Battalion as part of a thin screen consisting entirely of General Perponcher's 2nd Dutch Belgian Division. These units held long enough to allow Wellington's lead elements of Picton's 5th Division, the Brunswick Division, and some cavalry to arrive and deploy against Ney. This photograph was taken from the road which was the left flank of Foy's French 9th Infantry Division.
LA HAYE SAINTE, WATERLOO, 18 JUNE 1815: This photo shows how the fortified farm of La Haye Saint looked to British infantry of Lambert's Brigade of Picton's 5th Division. Belle Alliance, Napoleon's Headquarters is on the road at the top of the ridge in the distance. In the foreground opposite La Haye Sainte slightly uphill is the location of the sand pit defended by elements of the 95th Rifles. La Haye Sainte was held by the two light battalions of the King's German Legion. The left of the road in the distance in the field was deployed Alix's 1st Infantry Division of d'Erlon's French I Corps. To the right of the road was deployed Bachelu's 5th Infantry Division of Reille's French II Corps.
THE LINE OF PICTON'S 5th DIVISION, 18 JUNE 1815: The Butte de Lion in the right distance marks the center of Wellington's line. Just below it and slightly to the left are the white buildings of La Haye Sainte. This view gives you an idea of the extent of Picton's battle line which he held with his five infantry brigades supported by the two British light cavalry brigades of Vandeleur and Vivian and anchored on his left by the Prince Saxe-Weimar's Nassau brigade in the fortified Papelotte Farm. This view shows the ground over which d'Erlon's French I Corps attacked.
SAXE-WEIMAR'S NASSAU BRIGADE AND THE FORTIFIED FARM OF PAPELOTTE, 18 JUNE 1815: Turning the camera to the left away from Picton's center and right shows the extreme left flank anchored at the Papelotte Farm. D'Erlon's assault bypassed the farm in an attempt to overwhelm the Wellington's left. Nassauers firing from the buildings did severe damage to Durutte's 4th French Infantry Division which held the right of d'Erlon's attacking line. Later in the day, von Bülow's 4th Prussian Corps advanced over the fields in the right background. Zeiten's 1st Prussian Corps advanced from behind the Nassauer's position here at the Papelotte Farm.
PRINCE D'ORANGE'S ALLIED I CORPS, 18 JUNE 1815: This view is from the position of Cooke's 1st British Division of Guards supported by Alten's 3rd British Infantry Division, the Brunswick Division, and five cavalry brigades. This view faces towards Hougomont in the middle distance surrounded by woods. To the right out of the picture and slightly refused is Lord Hill's II Corps in three divisions. The edge of this position is marked by a lower field in green. Although seemingly insignificant, the change in elevation marked as will be seen further on.
HOUGOUMONT, 18 JUNE 1815: This photo shows the face of the position presented to Reille's French II Corps. Of significance is the brick and stone. The French could not bring up artillery through the woods to bear on the walls. The position was held by 7 companies of the Coldstream Guards, 4 companies of the Grenadier Guards, 1 battalion of Nassau light infantry, and one battalion of Brunswick light infantry. All were good to excellent marksman firing from loopholes, windows, and walls. Reille's entire corps was engaged in a effort though the battle trying to capture the fortified position which they never did. This south facing side was assaulted by Foy's 9th French Infantry Division.
HOUGOUMONT, 18 JUNE 1815: This photo shows the western side attacked by Prince Jerome Bonaparte's 6th French Infantry Division. Again, note the fortified nature of the buildings.
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