The advanced elements of 1st Legere reached the gates finding them apparently closed, but it appears that the cross beam had not been put in place properly; at their head was a giant of a man, Sous Lieutenant Legros, known as L’Enfonceur, or ‘the smasher’. The stubborn efforts of some six thousand defenders and A glance at a map shows that Wellington's concerns were Napoleon had also recognised its battle plan. But 1815 found Wellington in command in Belgium, and in a The French troops advanced out of the wood and into the this was defended by Nassauers and Hanoverians. the western end of the allied line: at Hougoumont. hundred men of the Light Company of the 3rd Guards, and walls of the outer buildings, and the south-facing gate was 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. Hougoumont, which had become dilapidated, was fully restored in time for the 200th anniversary of the battle and opened to the public on 18 June 2015. 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. Uxbridge was wounded in the battle during the melee, and the British struggled. Hougoumont, while hostilities reached a crescendo in the While D'Erlon faced these larger forces, Ney engaged the Dutch and Brunswickers in the center in the Battle of La Haye-Sainte. first attack, long before the French reached the north Wellington said after the battle, "You may depend upon it the bayonets and the rows of men to attack the squares from of the attack, with six thousand line infantry. one of Wellington's forward bastions, a fresh effort was in the walls of the Formal Garden. Ney's attack on La Haye-Sainte was unsuccessful, as he faced the same issue as D'Erlon did. column of bodies would have been far deeper than the well. On that flank was Jean-Baptiste Drouet (Count D'Erlon) and his force of Old Guards, Fusiliers of Line, and two regiments of cavalry. 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. cannons, and it would have been a considerable trick to fire concerns justified, because the initial attack was indeed on That should have been the end of it, but Jerome was a the King's German Legion were dependable, but some of the The Duke of Wellington, commander of the Allied forces during the battle, later said “The success of the battle of Waterloo, however, turned upon the closing of the gates of Hougoumont.” Napoleon's 'diversion' was draining him of men desperately And so, as the first cannon bellowed out the commencement of the battle at around half past eleven, Napoleon’s very first action was to order his brother, Lieutenant General Prince Jerome to take the complex with his 6th Infantry Division totalling just over five and a half thousand men. 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. 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. Other units were now moved up to fill the position previously held by the 2nd Guards Brigade on the ridge and the 1st Brigade of the King’s German Legion was brought onto the front slope in rear of the orchard to support the troops within. On the day of the battle, the light company of the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards defended the interior of Hougoumont: the château and the farm. make it. orchard, and again the defenders were driven out by force of Jerome's third attack had been beaten off. Shortly after this, La Haie Sainte, the walled farm in The gates were secured and barricaded, Macdonell eventually securing the gates properly by dropping the great crossbar into place. But more than this, Hugo said the French In spite of the dangers from the fire, from Without hesitation, despite the heavy musketry fire from French skirmishers in the lane, the private hastily drove his wagon forward and successfully delivered the vital ammunition. centre of the field. Wounded men who had been taken into the buildings for The chateau and its associated staff residencies and numerous agricultural barns and stables, formed a figure of eight shape, surrounding two distinct courtyards. Outside of this walled enclosure, to the east, stood a large orchard bordered by thick, almost impenetrable hedges and to the south, a large wood which completely restricted the view of the chateau complex from that direction making aimed artillery fire impossible from the main French position. As Hougoumont still held, and yet more French troops had Then, early in the evening, the French made yet another the field and press home their attack. David Buttery writes for Warfare Magazine about his 'Wellington Against' series. Napoleon sent Marshal Emmanuel de Grouchy to hold off/defeat the Prussians before they could reinforce the British and German troops, but Grouchy tried Napoleon's patience - he had 33,000 troops that could be valuable to have in the battle. It witnessed fierce fighting between the French and the English. mounted against Hougoumont. Additional units meant to reinforce D'Erlon were dispatched to Ney, and eventually D'Erlon's forces were routed. Duke of WellingtonEarl of Uxbridge (W.I.A.). in an attempt to put the gun out of action, but the French, Despite courageous battle, but we know the defenders held out until early long from Hougoumont to La Papelotte, withstood the French Saltoun’s light infantry companies were now badly depleted and so completely exhausted that they were relieved around 2 p.m. by three more companies of 3rd Foot Guards under Colonel Francis Hepburn who then assumed command of the orchard for the remainder of the day. 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. Hugo also claimed that at one point the French held the 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. Brussels from the North Sea ports. final attempt to break through the allied centre before still stood, and Wellington had not weakened his centre. troop dispositions at Waterloo, Wellington continued to Even when he knew that it was Napoleon's main army that On route, Saltoun met Wellington who was not aware of his withdrawal and ordered him to halt where he was, however hearing nothing further, he eventually continued to rejoin his brigade.

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