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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

For all discussions relating to the Hundred Days and Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby TheBibliophile » January 22nd, 2016, 7:17 pm

I would agree with what had been said. There is a 33rd (Duke of Wellingtons) Museum in Halifax. It has some interesting napoleonic era artifacts and some of wellingtons campaign gear...
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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby 348 White » June 9th, 2016, 11:55 am

348 White wrote:
The 33rd initially stood firm against the cavalry, but isolated in square on high ground suffered heavily from French artillery (two batteries or five guns , depending on whose account you believe). The unit broke, possibly while trying to change formation, with the threat of cavalry whilst flinching backwards towards the woods(possibly a colour was briefly lost and rescued if you believe a later narrative). Some men were ridden down and some captured though a charge by Brunswick cavalry allowed enough distraction for at least one prisoner to escape.


It was probably the King's colour that was nearly lost in this action. In a letter years a 33rd officer (Arthur Hill Trevor] wrote 'I recollect Mr Hart, 33rd , tore off the King's colour and put it in his bosum when we were repulsed at Quatre Brasa., but the silk was sewn on the staff again it it fluttered through the great fight [Waterloo].

An account some years later attributed the rescue of the colour to Corporal Holdsworth, who claimed he had shot a Curassier who had captured it and then covered an un-named officer who retrieved it (presumably Lt Hart).

The Battalion colour was presumably the one Halkett, the Brigade's Genera, seized and used to help rally the 33rd.
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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby 348 White » August 13th, 2017, 1:48 pm

Josh&Historyland wrote:

The Regiment had a fairly high tradition of drill in the Line. Essentially because Wellington had commanded it as Arthur Wellesley since before the Duke of York's Flander's campaign, where they had performed admirably. In 1796-7 they went with him to India, were again they demonstrated good solid virtues Wellington liked to see in his infantry fighting in all his major battles and returned in 1812. Given that this was the only regiment he practically commanded as Colonel in the field. This was the model for which he measured every other line regiment afterwards. However they did not see action from their return until Bergen op Zoom and they didn't see much of the fighting.

Josh.

I have to defend the 33rd from this sweeping statement of their services in 1814. The unit was present at both First and Second Merxem, albeit with little casualties and as for 'they didn't see much of the fighting' at Berge-op-Zoom, this is a slander worthy of Cooke. The units grenadiers headed the abortive attack of their column, and got up to the palisades, the late start of the Guards column contributing to the strength of the defences they faced. The battalion, although already having received casualties, then escaladed up the Guards sector, going past the Guards and holding positions within the fort until left high and dry as other units broke or surrendered. Under Maj Parkinson the 33rd proceeded to stay together and fought their way out with their colours, unlike many other units which abandoned or surrendered them. Eyewitnesses in other unit's admired their conduct, but Cooke sought to make them a scapegoat for his own performance and that of the Guard's present, prompting a distorted report by Graham and an angry discontent in the 33rd and other units.
The night action's cost to the 33rd of 36 killed and 67 wounded is certainly a fair share of the butchers bill. Also the 49 missing includes (I believe) wounded and is a smaller total of missing men than in all but two out of the 11 Infantry units that assaulted the town.
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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby jf42 » August 13th, 2017, 9:58 pm

I have particular affection for the 33rd, a regiment about which i knew nothing five years ago, and whose record I can only admire, from their mix of discipline, flexibilty and endurance in America, via the soggy meadows and frigid heaths of Holland, to their bloody resolve in India.

I find it intriguing and admit it leaves me perplexed when criticism is directed at a unit, particularly a unit with a record of efficiency and meritorious service, that in the chaos of battle withdraws unceremoniously or makes for suitable cover in order to extract itself from a dangerous situation. Thinking of the Guards at QB or at Waterloo or others we might mention in both actions including the 33rd.

I am not directing this remark at anyone involved in this discussion, by the way, but for the likes of us in the comfort of our easy chairs to apply the theoretical standards of the exercise ground, confident that we would never allow ourselves to mis-step or break order, mis-time a command or allow the enemy to catch us on a flank. I am sure we have all participated in discussions like that, as I have recently. It does seem redolent of the playground or the locker room.

A regiment gets caught on the hop, makes for the trees, sorts itself out and comes back into the fight while the shot is still flying. What exactly have they get wrong? To recoil and recover takes discipline and resolve.

It's worth reminding ourselves of the Duke's comment that I am sure we all know, but which I find being aired rather a lot at the moment: "I don't mind the troops running away - they all do that at some time or other - as long as they come back."

Or as Oliver Goldsmith wrote, "Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

That's that off me chest, now. Thank you.
Last edited by jf42 on August 14th, 2017, 10:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Josh&Historyland » August 14th, 2017, 10:05 am

348 White wrote:
Josh&Historyland wrote:

The Regiment had a fairly high tradition of drill in the Line. Essentially because Wellington had commanded it as Arthur Wellesley since before the Duke of York's Flander's campaign, where they had performed admirably. In 1796-7 they went with him to India, were again they demonstrated good solid virtues Wellington liked to see in his infantry fighting in all his major battles and returned in 1812. Given that this was the only regiment he practically commanded as Colonel in the field. This was the model for which he measured every other line regiment afterwards. However they did not see action from their return until Bergen op Zoom and they didn't see much of the fighting.

Josh.

I have to defend the 33rd from this sweeping statement of their services in 1814. The unit was present at both First and Second Merxem, albeit with little casualties and as for 'they didn't see much of the fighting' at Berge-op-Zoom, this is a slander worthy of Cooke. The units grenadiers headed the abortive attack of their column, and got up to the palisades, the late start of the Guards column contributing to the strength of the defences they faced. The battalion, although already having received casualties, then escaladed up the Guards sector, going past the Guards and holding positions within the fort until left high and dry as other units broke or surrendered. Under Maj Parkinson the 33rd proceeded to stay together and fought their way out with their colours, unlike many other units which abandoned or surrendered them. Eyewitnesses in other unit's admired their conduct, but Cooke sought to make them a scapegoat for his own performance and that of the Guard's present, prompting a distorted report by Graham and an angry discontent in the 33rd and other units.
The night action's cost to the 33rd of 36 killed and 67 wounded is certainly a fair share of the butchers bill. Also the 49 missing includes (I believe) wounded and is a smaller total of missing men than in all but two out of the 11 Infantry units that assaulted the town.


Well, you misread the intention of the post, which was not meant to be particularly slanderous, but thank you for adding the details. I regret you felt that I was unjust but it seems I was careless to allow my final reference to be too broad in its summary.
Last edited by Josh&Historyland on August 14th, 2017, 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Josh&Historyland » August 14th, 2017, 10:07 am

jf42 wrote:I have particular affection for the 33rd, a regiment about which i knew nothing five years ago, and whose record I can only admire, from their mix of discipline, flexibilty and endurance in America, via the soggy meadows and frigid heaths of Holland, to their bloody resolve in India.

I find it intriguing and admit it leaves me perplexed when criticism is directed at a unit, particularly a unit with a record of efficiency and meritorious service, that in the chaos of battle withdraws unceremoniously or makes for suitable cover in order to extract itself from a dangerous situation. Thinking of the Guards at QB or at Waterloo or others we might mention in both actions including the 33rd.

I am not directing this remark at anyone involved in this discussion, by the way, but for the likes of us in the comfort of our easy chairs to apply the theoretical standards of the exercise ground, confident that we would never allow ourselves misstep or break order, mistime a command or allow the enemy to catch us on a flank. I am sure we have all participated in discussions like that, as I have recently It does seem redolent of the playground or the locker room.

A regiment gets caught on the hop, makes for the trees, sorts itself out and comes back into the fight while the shot is still flying. What exactly have they get wrong? To recoil and recover takes discipline and resolve. .

Its worth reminding ourselves of the Duke's comment that I am sure we all know, but which I find being aired rather a lot at the moment, "I don't mind the troops running away - they all do that at some time or other - as long as they come back."

Or as Olver Goldsmith wrote, "Our greatest glory is, not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

That's that off me chest, now. Thank you.


Most sagacious.
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