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mulating heaps of dead presented an obstacle almost insurmountable. The appearance of the Prussians at this terrible crisis, increased the horrors of the
Some hastily cut the traces of their horses, sprang upon them, and abandoning their carriages, forced their way though the crowd; others turned off at the foot of the bridge, and driving furiously along the banks of the Sambre, sought for a passage, and at length madly plunging in, were swept away by the torrent : in this manner hundreds perished at the distance of thirty miles from the field of battle. Even those who had passed the river in safety, soon found that they were not yet out of danger : while hastily cooking a little food, or taking that repose in the neighbouring meadows, which was still more necessary to recruit their nearly exhausted strength, they were roused from their slumbers, or compelled to abandon their food untasted, at the approach of the enemy. Some tied to Avesnes, and others to Philippeville, while numbers, abandoning the high road, took refuge in the woods, wandering wherever chance directed their way, and spreading alarm among the unfortunate inhabitants, who while congratulating themselves that the war had been removed to a distance, suddenly perceived that they were about to become a prey to the ravages of an enemy, whom a dearly-bought victory was likely to render tenfold more ferocious. Nor were they less apprehensive of the excesses of their own soldiers, infuriated as they were by the disgrace of their defeat, their present sufferings, and their future prospects. The fortified towns closed their gates against the fugitives; from others they were forcibly driven away, and dispersing over the neighbouring country, they abandoned themselves to every species of crime.
Marshal Soult collected about four thousand of these stragglers, destitute of cannon, baggage, or arms, with whom he withdrew under the walls of Laon; and to these were added in a day or two the remnant of the corps of Marshal Grouchy, who, after driving Thielman from Wavre, was on the point of marching to Brussels, when his career was checked by the disastrous intelligence of his master's defeat at Waterloo, and that his army was flying in irreparable disorder towards the banks of the Sambre. No course now remained for him but a rapid retreat, before the conquerors should despatch strong columns on his flank and rear, to cut him off from France : but he had scarcely commenced his retrograde movement, when the vigilant Thielman turned on his pursuers, and commenced an incessant series of impetuous attacks, which carried slaughter and confusion into the French columns. Vandamme was wounded, several pieces of cannon were captured by the Prussians, and this corps would no doubt have been involved in the catastrophe. of their main body, but for the talents and activity of their leaders.
Having reached Namur, Grouchy committed the defence of the shattered fortifications of that once strong town to General Vandamme, while he conducted the remainder, with the ammunition and wounded through the defile which leads to Dinant, which for many miles, would only permit the march of single columns. The French had scarcely closed the gates of Namur, when the Prussian advanced-guard attempted to enter with them péle méle; but Vandamme defended the place with success, till the arrival of Thielman's mainbody, who carried the town by escalade, and driving the defenders through the streets, pursued them along the narrow defiles of Dinant, where Vandamme suffered great loss in men and cannon. By thus sacrificing his rear, Grouchy conducted about twenty thousand of his troops to Laon, in a tolerable state of equipment, having lost fourteen thousand in the action at Wavre, and during his perilous retreat.
While the Prussians were in this manner thinning the ranks, and completing the disorganization of the flying enemy, the British spent the night in the nobler work of mercy. The clangour of battle had ceased on the field of Waterloo, and all was still, save where the moans of the wounded burst upon the ear; and thither were directed the footsteps of their inore fortunate comrades, who, regardless of their fatigue, denied themselves the smallest refreshment or repose, until they had
found means to alleviate the miseries of the suffer
Led on by their illustrious chief, they retrod the field of death, searcbing with anxious care for every individual, in whom the lamp of life was not yet extinct: they placed them on litters hastily constructed, bound up their wounds, supplied their hunger and thirst from their own scanty stock, and erected buts for their accommodation until they could be transported to Brussels or Autwerp. In these acts of tenderness the victims of war, whether friends or enemies, were equal sharers; and in some parts of the field, the interesting scene was exhibited of British soldi. ers, after their owu injuries bad been attended to, assiduously dressing the wounds of those whom a few hours before they had met in mortal combat. While the Duke of Wellington contemplated the frightful heaps of carnage which thronged this narrow theatre of death, the pride of the victor, and the sternness of the warrior, gave way to the feelings of the man-he burst into tears, actuated, no doubt by those powerful sensations which he afterwards thus expressed to a friend,—“ Believe me, that nothing excepting a battle lost, can be half so melancholy as a battle won. The bravery of my toops has hitherto saved me from that greater evil; but to win even such a battle as this of Waterloo, at the expense of the lives of so many gallant friends, could only be termed a heavy misfortune, were it not for its important results to the public benefit.”
The loss of the Allied Army was indeed of such magnitude as to prove that the field was contested with a valour and constancy on both sides, of which few parallels are to be found in history. The candid and generous victor declared that he had never fought so hard for victory, and never from the gallantry of the enemy, had been so near a defeat. On the days of Quatre Bras and Waterloo, nearly one third of the Duke of Wellington's army were slain or wounded. Of these, more than 11,000 were British, 3000 Hanoverians, 4000 Belgians, or Dutch; and the loss of the Brunswickers, of which no return has been exhibited, must have borne a full proportion to that of their Allies. The number of British officers who suffered, was unusually great, I 46 were killed, 585 wounded, and 13 missing. Among the slain were four generals, and forty-seven field officers ; among the wounded, eleven generals, and one hundred and twenty-five field officers.
Some regiments were stripped of all their superior officers, and most of their captains; and some are said at the close of the day to have been commanded by a lieutenant.* The total loss of the Duke of
Generals and Field Officers of the British Army, under the Command of his Grace the Duke of Wellington, who were killed or wounded, from the 16th to the 26th of June 1815.
Lieutenant Generals His Serene Highness the Duke of Brunswick Oels, Sir Thomas Picton, Major General Sir William Ponsonby, and Sir William Delancey, Quarter Master General, killed.-General His Royal Highness the Prince of