"WATERLOO" Waterloo by pedroswift
Waterloo Travel Guide: 55 reviews and 137 photos
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.
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!)
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.
- In a nutshell:Site of The Second Last Battle of the Napoleonic Wars
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