Days Like These

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
18 June 1815


of the First Foot Guards describes Napoleon's last assault at Waterloo:

"The Emperor was so much pressed by the Prussian advance on his right that he determined to make a last grand effort, and there only remained to him the `Garde Imperiale'. With these he resolved to play his last stake and ensure success. His artillery were ordered to concentrate their whole fire on the intended point of attack. The point was the rise of our position about half-way between Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte. There ran along this part of the position a cart road, on one side of which was a ditch and bank, in and under which the Brigade sheltered themselves during the cannonade, which might have lasted three-quarters of an hour. Without the protection of this bank every creature must have perished. The Emperor probably calculated on this effect, for suddenly the firing ceased, and as the smoke cleared away a most superb sight opened on us. A close column of Grenadiers of La Moyenne Garde, about 6,000 strong, led, as we have since heard by Marshall Ney, were seen ascending the rise au pas de charge shouting "Vive l'Empereur'. They continued to advance till within 50 or 60 paces of our front, when the Brigade were ordered to stand up. Whether it was from the sudden and unexpected appearance of a Corps so near them, or the tremendous heavy fire we threw into them, La Garde, who had never before failed in an attack, suddenly stopped. In less than a minute above 300 were down. They now wavered, and several of the rear divisions began to draw out as if to deploy whilst some of the men in the rear began to fire over the heads of those in front. Lord Saltoun holloaed out "Now's the time, my boys". Immediately the Brigade sprang forward. La Garde turned and gave us little opportunity of trying the steel."

18 June 1947


novelist, writes in

his journal:

"Last Wednesday when I was all alone here attending to the frame of one of my pictures, I suddenly heard my own name in a book talk on the wireless. I had only heard it once before, when my first book was published. The man, Woodrow Wyatt, only mentioned it with those of a few other writers he thought interesting, but it gave me great pleasure, I hugged it to me, as if my own name were a Christmas or a birthday surprise."