The Battle Of Waterloo
: True Stories Of Wonderful Deeds
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.