"WATERLOO" Waterloo by pedroswift

Waterloo Travel Guide: 55 reviews and 137 photos

Major Battle site. But who won?

I must return to the battle ground south of Waterloo to fully appreciate the activity which occured there on 18 June, 1815. (and at Ligny& Quartre Bras on the 16/17th).
Having read several accounts of the battle, I was looking forward to soaking in the atmosphere of such an important place in European history. We were fortunate that on our first visit an early thunderstorm struck the area, duplicating the conditions on the eve of the battle.
Despite being hampered by a recently broken leg&ankle, I climbed the Mound (226 steps) to better understand the lay of the land. Despite lightning having the reputation of hitting the highest point available, we survived our stormy visit. I think the storm was the highlight of the visit knowing how important that storm back in 1815 was to the conduct of the battle (wet ground delayed the start). British troops considered the storm a good omen as Wellington had fought & won several battles in The Iberian Peninsular in or just after storms.
Pity the topography has been changed by shifting material from the battle ground to build the Mound. Pity one has to use imagination to visualise & understand "the ground" & its importance to the battle. Pity the mound is about the Prince of Orange whose incompetence added much to the butcher's bill of battle ( as I understand).
Next time I'll walk the battleground itself.
My overall impression formed during just a half day visit was of slight disappointment.......It left me wondering who was/were the victor(s). Today, it seems to be all about the French!......& the Dutch & the locals. Very little about the critical involvement of the Germans either.

Waterloo Reading List (only what I have read)

Battle descriptions in novels: always a good starting point:
Les Miserables, Victor Hugo.
An Infamous Army, Georgette Heyer
Sharp's Waterloo, Bernard Cornwell

More studious works:
Waterloo; A Near Run Thing, David Howarth
Wellington: The Years of the Sword, Elizabeth Longford
One Hundred Days: Napoleon's Road to Waterloo , Alan Schom (this one twice read & again before my next visit. Puts the battle in context. Reveals Napoleon's interaction with other major players of the time. A must read!)

Royal Greenjackets Museum, Winchester UK

If you have the chance to visit this Museum before you go to Waterloo do so. It features a diorama of the battle with 22,000 model soldiers and a light and sound display.

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:Site of The Second Last Battle of the Napoleonic Wars
  • Last visit to Waterloo: Dec 1999
  • Intro Updated Dec 21, 2006
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Comments (1)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Dec 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Recently I read Victor Hugo’s account of the battle of Waterloo in Les Misérables, but I’ve never been to the site of the battle. Perhaps I should visit the Royal Greenjackets Museum in Winchester instead.

    • pedroswift's Profile Photo
      Dec 30, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      G'Day Don, Season's Greetings. Just about to head off to see "Les Misérables" the musical/movie this morning.Looking forward to next visit to battle site. Could be cruising nearby waterways in 2014...so could be then. regards, p.

pedroswift

“"ski forever!" ski= spend the kid's inheritance”

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