The Battle Of Waterloo





Fields of waving corn, green woods, fruitful orchards, a pretty

farmhouse and a few cottages--such was the plain of Waterloo. And there,

on a summer Sunday, nearly a hundred years ago, was fought a famous

battle, in which the British troops under the Duke of Wellington beat

the French army, and broke the power of the great Napoleon for ever.



"We have them," cried Napoleon as he saw the British drawn up before

him. He thought it would be easy to destroy this army, so much smaller

than his own, before their friends the Prussians, who were on the way to

help them, came up. But he was mistaken. Wellington had placed his

foot-soldiers in squares, and though the French horsemen, then the

finest soldiers in the world, charged again and again, these little

clumps of brave men stood fast. On his favourite horse "Copenhagen",

Wellington rode to and fro cheering his men. "Stand firm, my lads,"

cried he. "What will they say to this in England?"



Not till evening, when the Prussians came, would he allow them to charge

the French in their turn. Then, waving his cocked hat over his head, he

gave the order, "The whole line will advance", and the impatient troops

dashed forward. The French bravely tried to stand against this terrific

charge, but they were beaten back, and the battle of Waterloo was ended.



Sixty thousand men lay dead or wounded under the fruit-trees, and among

the trampled corn and grass at the end of that terrible day.





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