•Charles River Editors’ original history of the Battle of Waterloo
• Hilaire Belloc’s Waterloo, complete with original illustrations
•Sir Edward Creasy’s The Battle of Waterloo, 1815
“Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.” – Duke of Wellington, at Waterloo
It is late in the evening of 18th June, 1815. The scene is a coaching inn on the road between Charleroi and Brussels, a few miles south of the village of Mont St. Jean, in what is now Belgium. The inn is located on a crossroad, and for 100 yards either side of it men are strewn, dead or dying. These are elements of Napoleon’s elite Imperial Guard, three battalions of which had retreated towards the inn at the end of the battle. With the rest of the Armee du Nord streaming past him, Napoleon had taken personal command. Yet before long even these grizzled veterans had joined the rout. Now he too has left the field, fated to head for Paris, captivity, exile and an early death.
Across the rolling countryside a mile or two in either direction, a further 40,000 lie dead or injured. Night has fallen on one of the continent’s most cataclysmic battles. At the inn, the two exhausted but victorious allied commanders meet for the first time that day. Marshal Blucher and the Duke of Wellinton shake hands and speak briefly, in broken French. Their close co-operation has ensured the final defeat of Napoleonic France and will put an end to 23 years of almost constant warfare across the continent. Appropriately, the inn is called “La Belle Alliance”.
Waterloo is the most famous battle in modern history if not all of history, and appropriately so. Gathering an army of 100,000 men, Napoleon marched into what is now Belgium, intent on driving his force between the advancing British army under the Duke of Wellington and the Prussian forces under Marshal Blucher. It was the kind of daring strategy that only Napoleon could pull off, as he had at places like Jena and Austerlitz.
At Waterloo, however, it would end disastrously, as Napoleon’s armies were unable to dislodge Wellington and unable to keep the Prussians from linking up with the British. The battle would end with the French suffering nearly 60% casualties, the end of Napoleon’s reign, and the restructuring of the European map. Simply put, the next 200 years of European history can be traced back to the result of the battle that day in 1815.
The Ultimate Battle of Waterloo Collection comprehensively covers the entire campaign, analyzes the decisions made by the battle’s most important leaders, and explains the aftermath of the Coalition’s victory and the legacies that were made and tarnished by the battle. This collection includes an original history of the battle by Charles River Editors, as well as histories of Waterloo by Hilaire Belloc and Sir Edward Creasy. It also includes a bibliography, maps of the battle, and pictures of important people and places.