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Soldier's letter: Battle of Waterloo

18 June 1815

Soldier's letter: Battle of Waterloo

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  • Intro

    On 18 June 1815, at Waterloo in Belgium just south of Brussels, the French Emperor Napoleon was defeated in battle for the last time. He had surrendered to European powers before, in 1814, and been exiled to the island of Elba. But he had escaped to Paris and gathered his army again for this renewed battle against the allied forces of Britain, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Prussia.

     

    Led by the Duke of Wellington, Marshal Blucher and the Prince of Orange, the allied forces of about 67,000, with 160 guns, defeated the 74,000 French and their 250 guns. Casualties were heavy: 15,000 dead or wounded from the 23,000 British; 7,000 Prussians; and 25,000 French, with 8,000 of them taken prisoner. Napoleon was one of them. He was banished for good to the extraordinarily remote island of St Helena, his ambitions to rule Europe finally over.

     

    This letter, published in the Caledonian Mercury on 3 July 1815, gives a soldier's account of the battle.

     

    Shelfmark: British Library Newspaper Archive.

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