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Hougoumont’s first hour :

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Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Iain » December 14th, 2016, 10:30 am

Hi All…
With my manuscript nearly finished, I’m now transforming the contents to a screen play; but I needed to confirm the first hour of the Hougoumont battle so I contacted John Franklin and Gareth Glover.

In the meantime, I’d like to apologize for the length of this post, but I think it’s worth reading; especially for the ‘Hougoumont-ists.’ What’s more, I’ll probably have to post it in two parts !
In fact, it’s an inventory and classification of the debates we’ve all had since my newbie-status in 2014. In the meantime, I would like to thank everyone who had the patience and the time to reply to my sometimes dim-witted questions.

The following is the contents I sent to Gareth because during the email conversation, he proposed to read through the timeline; but I suppose he hadn’t imagined it would be so lengthy. Also…, John said that Gareth is extremely busy in some London archive for the time being so it's normal that I’m still waiting for a reply.
Lol…, personally, I hope there’s nothing to correct. Meanwhile, I’m certain that there’s a ton of information that can be added to the following submission.

PS I've permitted myself to add my name to the Fraser painting as I have modified it. In the original painting, Cubières didn't have a sling and Fraser didn't have a musket. (Cubières was not portrayed as being wounded from the Quatre Bras battle and Sgt Fraser had a halberd..., only issued to CSMs)

Fraser.jpg (193.86 KiB) Viewed 1208 times
The gates.jpg
The gates.jpg (116.59 KiB) Viewed 1288 times
Last edited by Iain on February 15th, 2018, 7:01 am, edited 11 times in total.
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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Iain » December 14th, 2016, 10:30 am

Good afternoon Gareth; and thank you for accepting to read through my timeline of events.
(11h00 to 12h00)

Firstly…, I must mention that for the time being, I have absolutely ‘no interest’ what-so-ever with Quatre Bras or even the main battleground events.
The only thing that concerns me is Clay and what he saw, heard, smelt and did from the time he passed La Belle Alliance on the evening of the 17th to the evening of the 18th.
This strategy permits me to focus intensely on everything ‘Hougoumont;’ without any distractions.
(For those reading this and have never heard about Matthew Clay..., he was in 2SG Left Flank <The Light Company>)

My chief concern is my 2014 newbie attitude where I accumulated a ton of information and didn’t register any of the sources. Because of it, I’m not certain if the French skirmishers attacked the wood before 11h30.
If they didn’t, then I’ll simply have to advance my timeline.

In the meantime, much of what I’ve written below is based on two extremely important events:
>The dead French bodies by the north gate; before Clay leaves the northern haystack in the western kitchen garden to enter the farm.
>And the 36 Courts Martialed Coldstream and Scots Guardsmen following the battle.
Both provide enormous hints as to the time and more especially their related consequences.

The western defence : (as you already know)
Quote John: “Please also note that only the right sub-division of the 3rd Guards Light Company and the left sub-division of the Coldstream Guards Light Company advanced against the French when defending the west lane. The remainder of the Coldstream stayed close to the north gate.”
Although John only mentions 3 sub-divisions here instead of 4, we can obviously assume that he meant that Clay and his, sub-division remained by the southern hedge and haystack bordering the wood.

As such, there ‘shouldn’t’ be any French bodies by the north gate as the kitchen garden is chock-a-block with Guardsmen; especially with the Nassau-Usingen troops in the farm using the western loopholes, ventilation holes and perhaps even the western door/s.
As such; the dead French by the gate, obviously originated from the orchard !

Hougoumont : Some important questions !

>When was the infamous north gate breached ? (just before 12h00)
>Was this the first incursion ? (absolutely yes)
>Was Clay in the farm before the gates were forced ? (no)
>Did Macdonnell enter the farm before the French forced the gate ? (yes)
>When did the Fraser/Cubières incident take place ? (just before 12h00)
>Before Clay’s entry; where did the dead, north gate Frenchmen come from ? (from the orchard, along the northern wall)
>Where was Macdonnell when the French forced the gates ? (probably in the garden while quickly inspecting the defences…, up until the internal firing near the Great Barn and stables)
>Where was Clay during the north gate intrusion ? (by the western door)
>Did Clay participate in the hand-to-hand fighting with the 30-odd intruders ? (obviously not)

Gareth, I’ve been reading your narrative since 2014 and there’s a passage in the notes at the back (N°18) that I totally neglected to take into consideration when writing my manuscript.
“This appears to indicate that Clay entered Hougoumont via the northern gates just after the time when the famous ‘Closing of the Gate’ episode had just occurred. His description of Macdonnell helping to carry wood to bolster the doors would tie in with this period.”
To confirm your theory about Clay entering the farm after the north gate intrusion, please see below, relative to Clay’s musket exchange. (in red)

At about 11h15, the French have now taken a large part of the wood and because of the Guards in the garden and the firepower from the south gate defences; the French obviously concentrate on the eastern side of the wood to push the Germans up through the orchard. Some of them retreat down the western lane while passing the Guards.
At about 11h15, the Guards counter attack using the two SG and CG sub-divisions.

Two mini battles are now underway. One in the wood and the other in the orchard…, the difference being that the orchard has a physiological momentum towards the north. (Germans on the retreat)

Via the orchard, the French now approach the sunken lane’s loopholed hedgerow and they automatically fan out. Those to the east have no other option but to advance, while their western force move left along the northern wall.
This event obviously triggers Saltoun’s attack and in doing so, he divides the French advance in two !
Those to the east retreat back to the wood; but the others who moved along the northern wall are suddenly isolated with no other option but to continue west. (towards the north gate and the CG sub-division by the northern haystack in the western kitchen garden)

At about 11h35 and probably before the French have turned the orchard’s corner to move west; Macdonnell sounds the retreat from the wood. Being overpowered and also hearing the sudden and intense cannon fire, he moves back down the western lane with what’s left of his two sub-divisions. (about 30 men out of 90 acording to Captain Evelyn when dictating the events to his sister in a Bruxelles hospital)
Part of Clay’s sub-division probably joined them ! (quote Clay; “suddenly, finding ourselves alone”)

Before the north-gate activities and while the Guards are still in the garden; the gates, as usual, are open. Macdonnell and companies then enter the farm.
By this time, the French are now moving along the wall. Macdonnell sees them and orders his CG rear sub-division in the garden to stand fast. The 36+ ‘Courts Martialed’ continues to fight in the wood and are supported by what’s left of Clay’s Company…, blocking any French advance from the wood.
Meaning that the CG by the NW corner have just one small target ! (Note: The CG are ‘fresh’ while the French are nearly on their knees)

With Macdonnell inside, he tells the German Piquet Officer in charge of the gates to close them immediately. He then orders his CG troops to take up the loophole positions they created the night before and as this is a first entry for the SG, they, are ordered off !
Following these orders, Macdonnell could very well have ran over to the formal flower garden (no horse) to quickly ‘way up’ the defences and the situation. Wherever he is, he’s obviously in deep conversation with Büsgen and other German officers who are able to speak English.

While the CG sub-division in the garden prepare themselves for a confrontation and being assisted by some SG/CG stragglers from the wood, the French advance along the northern wall; then suddenly stop ! At this point, they commence to force the gates. (why confront the CG when it’s their mission to take control of the farm ?)
As such, the CG are obliged to advance and during this movement, the gates are forced with 30-odd Frenchmen entering the farm.

Now…, did the inside Allies close the gates fully following this incursion; or were the gates just partially closed for all sorts of reasons ? Imagine the following hypothesis if you will:

Following the intrusion, dozens of French continue to push the gates inwards while the Allies continue to push them back. As the outside French continue to shove, they are also being attacked by the Coldstreamers. In the meantime, there’s probably a one-meter gap between the two doors with about 30-odd French outside in a ‘bundle.’

Now…, these men are in no way ‘battle-active’! They are tired, frightened, ill-equipped and simply pushing like frustrated spectators at a football match wanting in and as such, they are incapable of reloading or using their bayonets with any proficiency. On the other hand, the inside Allies have swords, bayonets and loaded muskets.
AS SUCH…, it is impossible to contradict, when I say that there is more than one dead body on the ground, blocking any complete closure of the gates…, for as long as the inside pressure remains in force. Logic !

Also, thanks to recent research in relation to ‘Crowd Dynamics’ and more especially the ‘Wisdom of the Crowd,’ the CG sub-division had obviously eased their way around the left of the enemy to contain the group; and would have easily eliminated the inactive, ‘squashed’ soldiers being pushed against the wall and the gate. As such, there’s every logical reason to believe that the exterior enemy were very quickly anayalated. (not to forget that they were also being fired on from a height)

Clay’s quote 15 minutes after the incident; “…, one I particularly noticed which appeared to be a French officer, but they were scarcely distinguishable, being to all appearance as though they had been trodden upon, and covered with mud.”
Proving that it was obviously the 'crowd' and the CG who had trampled them !
Macdonnell’s tree trunk is CERTAINLY NOT securing the gate at this stage as the gates are still open to allow the Coldstreamers to enter. ALSO to be allowed in, are the walking-wounded who gathered by the lane’s NW corner waiting for the fighting to stop, plus Fraser and the remainder of Clay’s Company. So the gates are not yet closed !

As such, the CG ‘casually’ enter the farm but could very well continue to participate with the elimination of the dispersed enemy inside.
Then, when the wounded, the stragglers, Fraser and Clay’s Company are inside, the gates are then finally closed using Macdonnell’s log.
As for the 36 Courts Martialed now locked out, they are obliged to return to their regiments on the ridge.

Ralph Fraser: IMPORTANT
Moving back to the activities and the whereabouts of the 36 Courts Martialed:
The fact that these heroes continued to fight in the wood to the very last minute, provides us with an approximate timing for the Fraser/Cubières incident and it also tells us that Fraser and Clay were extremely lucky not to have been included on the Courts Martial list.

Earlier, while the remainder of Clay’s sub-division was still standing fast by the southern wood’s hedgerow/haystack…, the wounded Cubières on his charger would NEVER have left the wood.
Remember that the 36 ‘+’ Courts Martialed are still fighting in the northern part of the wood, not far from Clay; and they are probably grouped right-of-centre as we look at it from the kitchen garden…, near the diagonal road that heads south towards La Belle Alliance.

Cubières became CO only an hour earlier because his predecessor did exactly what he was ‘about’ to do…, expose himself ! As such, he remains hidden by the trees ! (probably to the west by the cornfield as this would have been an easy and protected trot for his horse)
Because of this, my ‘talking timeline’ tells me that Fraser is in the vicinity and controlling what remains of the SG.
Fraser, while watching Macdonnell’s retreat; orders Clay and Company to head north. In the meantime, the Courts Martial heroes continue to stall the French by fighting on*!

Back to Fraser and his SG retreat !
The keen-eyed Cubières (like Ney) is now encouraged to advance and this event would have created the Cubières/Fraser conflict. Probably near the western door according to French post-battle witnesses.

Clay then proceeds down the lane using the inclined stretch of grass along the wall; (quote; “high ground”) but he stops after 20 meters in order to return fire. (by the recessed corner, just before the western door) (quote Clay; “musket stoppage”!) As such, he exchanges his musket with, quote; “one on the ground from a dead Grenadier.”
Now, this is obviously a harmless error on his part as there were never any ‘Grenadiers’ on the western lane. (‘regiment,’ or company) As such; it was obviously a Coldstreamer’s musket.
But why a Coldstreamer’s musket ?
This clearly proves that Macdonnell has just passed this position and the poor CG fellow was probably shot in the back. There’s no other reason why a dead Coldstreamer could be found here unless he had been shot during or before the attack on the wood. However, if that was the case, then his musket would have been cold !
Clay then reloads his new, WARM musket; while listening !
Note: He’s now standing next to a thin ‘curtain wall’ that simply links the gardener’s house and the byres and it must be mentioned that there was NO cow-dung shed behind this wall as many specialists and their drawings would like us to believe. In fact, it was as it is today, following Julie’s renovation of the farm. As such, all musket shots from inside the farm would have been enhanced by echoes in the small court yard in front of the gardener’s house.
Clay then quotes from his western door position… “Our company from which we were separated had now opened a fire from within.”
An extremely important note: Clay, is TOTALLY unaware about any north gate infraction at this moment in time.

On reading your narrative over the past couple of years, I have always understood that sentence to mean that his company had entered the farm and were now firing at the enemy from the loopholes…, but that’s impossible because the Germans are already manning them.
IMPORTANT: This obviously means that Clay could hear the internal musket-fire being used against the French intruders. Meaning that the ‘forcing of the gate’ was underway; about 10 minutes before Clay entered the farm. (10 minutes = the time needed to exchange muskets, run to the northern haystack, fire a few more rounds, signal to Gann that the gate is open; then run over to the gate)
Clay, last in line, probably followed Fraser who is now on the Cubières horse and they all enter the farm. Clay then mentions that he saw Macdonnell carrying a tree trunk to help secure the gates.
As such, the final ‘closing of the gate’ was certainly a ‘relaxed’ affair with no enemy in sight. A theory that will almost certainly upset many and without doubt will be contradicted by the traditionalists !

As for Macdonnell, his oncoming work for the afternoon is to circulate throughout the formal garden and the farm with speed, while giving orders…, as such; he would probably have replaced his wounded charger with the Cubières horse !

What’s the time ?
If we take into consideration that the departure time for the attack on the wood was about 11h15, (to be confirmed by John’s book; ‘The Struggle for Hougoumont’ and in particular his unpublished letter written by Macdonnell) plus the time it took to do a bloody battle in the wood (about 30 minutes) plus the retreat from the southern haystack by Clay, (another 15 minutes) …, then the storming of the north gate was probably over and done by 12h00.
What’s more, during all these events and with the farm being protected by fresh, alert, elite German soldiers, (and as yet no fires) not one Frenchman could ever have scaled the southern or eastern walls, or have forced the south gate.
As a consequence, the infamous north gate intrusion was obviously the first !

Have a nice weekend. And thank you for your time.
Kind Regards…, Iain.

The ‘start time’ for the SG/CG attack depends on a lot of things. If no French entered the wood before the first cannon fire at about 11h35, then the French Horse Artillery could have ‘softened-up’ the wood plus the western hedge and wall. If this was the case, then perhaps I’ll have to advance the timeline by about 30 minutes.

Concerning the Courts Martialed Guardsmen:
These men are either courageous, have no option, or didn’t hear the bugle call to retreat. (or all three)
Note: We have a southerly wind because LATER; Wellington mentions that he could see the southern haystack on fire and that it had lit the farm buildings. Totally false of course but nonetheless, it does tell us the direction of the wind.
Following many Facebook posts to Brigade musicians, they nearly all admit that when sounding a bugle call into the wind, (like whistling into the wind) the Drum Major upfront has difficulty in hearing it. (this is particularly relevant for the bass drummer and how on a parade ground the soldiers can find themselves out of step) Also, during my early service period as a piquet piper; I can also confirm that a frontal wind carries the sound backwards..., lol..., the Lone Piper on the Edinburgh Castle wall during the Tattoo can't be heard if he has a frontal wind !
As such and especially in a wood under battle conditions, the Guardsmen probably didn’t hear the call to retreat.
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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Digby » December 14th, 2016, 5:01 pm

Sorry I have not yet read through your article.
But in all of my reading on Waterloo, the first hour or so is covered in great detail.
Then there is a big vacuum over what happened later.
Why was Jerome's division tied down attacking less than 1,000 men.
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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Iain » December 14th, 2016, 6:46 pm

Digby wrote:Sorry I have not yet read through your article.
But in all of my reading on Waterloo, the first hour or so is covered in great detail.
Then there is a big vacuum over what happened later.
Why was Jerome's division tied down attacking less than 1,000 men.

If you have not read my article then please do not comment.
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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Josh&Historyland » December 14th, 2016, 10:41 pm

Hi Ian.

Well, on the whole I would be satisfied with the structure of your concept. As usual I would advise caution with relying solely on what Clay perceived to be happening in other parts of the complex, but in general you seem to have a good grasp of the dynamics and terrain.

I'd just like to ask why you think the musket Clay picked up could have been anything other than warm, given the action had not been going for very long, (unless the owner had been killed at the commencement of the action. How long does it take for a musket to cool after repeated firing?

(Digby, good question about Jerome, even if it's not related to Iain's post, essentially lack of coordination especially with the artillery and a dynamic defence of a strong position account for French failure at Hougoumont.)

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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Iain » December 15th, 2016, 7:23 am

Thank you Josh…
Since I’ve been researching Hougoumont, I have found no author who actually describes in detail the jigsaw of events as they happened during the first 60 minutes…, they don't usually concentrate on one particular subject because they have a whole battle of events to describe. (if not two) What's more, no author could have programmed such a timeline because the Courts Martial event was only mentioned this year thanks to John. And without this event, the limeline would have been totally different.
Also..., my timeline uses very few comments from Clay as the general situation is based on the dead French and the Courts Martialed. There are few comments from Clay and those used fit neatly into the facts. In addition, those comments used can in no way be considered as old-soldier ‘lamp swinging.’

As for the musket, I’m pleased you mentioned that because I too was hesitant at the start.
Nonetheless, before the first advance into the wood, I have been led to believe that few Allied shots were fired from the kitchen garden…, although I find it totally illogical that Dashwood would have allowed his troops to be fired on without returning the fire.
Nonetheless, they were all in line kneeling along the hedge at right angles to the wood..., so firing to their left over the shoulders of their neighbours would have been a dangerous affair.

Anyway, when I mentioned Clay’s quote about the “high ground,” he wasn’t really talking about the grassy bank along the wall, he was comparing his position in regards to the ground Gann chose along the outside garden hedge to head north. Which when you look at it today, is much lower than the lane.
And it’s along this hedge that the 3 subdivisions kneeled “for a considerable length of time.” (the 4th CG sub-division was probably behind the northern haystack by the NW corner) Meaning that the dead Guardsmen prior to the attack would be found in the garden..., not the lane.
What’s more, concerning Clay’s musket…, the weather is cold, wet, windy and the ground is muddy. Had the musket been used before the attack, it probably hadn’t been fired that often and the ground conditions would have certainly cooled it off.

One ‘lamp swinging’ mystery could be Captain Evelyn. A few days later in a Bruxelles hospital and dictating to his sister, she wrote that there were 3 attacks. Was he perhaps talking about Saltoun ? I ask because I just can’t fit in more than one simple kitchen garden attack and a retreat.
Had there been a second CG/SG attack, Dashwood would have needed the 4th sub-division reserve by the NW corner !

Lol…, it's more than likely that John’s infernal unpublished letter written by Macdonnell will upset my applecart. I’m sure ! ;)
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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Iain » December 18th, 2016, 6:14 pm

Reading the letter of Evelyn’s sister, it seems that she/he is not talking about Saltoun ! He talks about “this little band of Spartans.’ As such, he is obviously not talking about Saltoun and his GG attack with 2 Light Companies of more than 200 soldiers.

Quote the sister:
“three times did this little band of Spartans charge with their bayonets and thrice did the French fly before them, but the slaughter was dreadful, out of 90 men, the complement of George’s company, 60 were killed or wounded, at last overpowered by numbers and they retreated into the house determined to defend it to the last. They shut the gate and barricaded it with logs of wood on the inside, it was while he was assisting with this, that he received his wound through a hole in the gate, he sank upon his knees, felt he was wounded but did not know in what part, until he saw his arm hanging down.”

This paragraph could also portray the tactics in those days ! Hand-to-hand fighting in the wood with successive regrouping / reloading and continual attacking.
“Thrice did the French fly before them”!

This battle organization obviously needs a Guards bugler !

Where can I find the answers ?
Looks like I’m going to have to ask the Guards again.

Found them. (one each for both sub-divisions)
Drummer Charles Wilkins.
Drummer John Brodie.
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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Josh&Historyland » December 18th, 2016, 7:13 pm

Evelyn's quoted passage here doesn't really tally with the first attack the way I understand it, no ideas why 3 charges are highlighted, unless it's a conglomeration of events. Or small scale hand to hand sub unit stuff.

PS I think if you alter or copy a painting the proper thing to do is to sign it like this:

Insert Your name here
"After" insert Original Artists name here.

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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Andrew » December 19th, 2016, 9:46 am


I have following your posts on Hougoumont with interest and as you will have seen, have contributed now and again. Having read your latest timeline, I have been prompted to write again. I am aware that you are ultimately writing a piece of fiction and are therefore free to interpret events as you wish, albeit you state it is based on the truth as far as possible. Of course I have not seen the work of John F on the court-martials that you mention often, so write purely on the basis of the research on the whole battle that I have conducted myself (ie., I have not concentrated on Hougoumont). I therefore make the following comments for your own consideration, but also for the interest of other members of the forum.

You will no doubt be aware that my own area of interest is looking at French accounts, especially first-hand accounts, of which I have a considerable number. We Brits are particularly suspicious of French accounts, particularly those that contradict British accounts; presumably on the basis that they lost and have always tried to find excuses. We are particularly wary of any French accounts that challenge, if not directly, our own regimental folklore, but if we are to try and establish the truth, it is vitally important to be as objective as possible by comparing and corroborating the accounts of both sides. Like many British accounts, French accounts often contradict each other and all timings are probably ‘guesstimates’ at best and often contradict each other considerably; even the time that the battle started varies by up to an hour. It is therefore VERY difficult to be precise on all the activities that took place in a single hour of battle. Certainly, Clay makes no attempt to give timings for his actions and how could he have done?

The first point I would make therefore, is that your timeline is very much a British one; and by this I mean that French timings for the same events are quite different. I am pretty sure that you will have studied the French accounts; no doubt starting with the range of accounts given in Coppens’ and Courcelle’s Hougoumont Waterloo 1815 No. 1 in the excellent Carnets de la Campagne series, which I believe you have referred to in your various posts. There are enough first hand French accounts to give a good feel for the sequence of events if not the exact timings, although as I have already said, there are many inconsistencies.

Secondly, I find it very difficult to accept that the 1st léger moved through the orchard and round to the rear of the farm approaching the north gate from the east; if this is indeed what you propose as I may have misunderstood your notes. One of the problems I still have is with the exact deployment of Reille’s II Corps; various accounts and maps have them in a different order and different extent (for example, some maps have the extreme left infantry units with their left anchored on the Nivelles road, others a considerable distance short). This is significant as it will vary considerably the angle of attack of Jérôme’s division, and hence Cubière’s brigade. Even Clay’s account suggest that some French approached from the southwest (almost due west) and therefore not through the wood.

I would also like to return to the ‘Cubières incident’ as I have now acquired the regimental history of the 1st Léger (Un Régiment à travers l’Histoire, by Commandant du Fresel, (Paris: E. Flammarion, 1894). From this I have taken the following (although I am the first to remind people of the inaccuracies of regimental histories which inevitably have a regimental axe to grind and glory to promote!).

At Quatre Bras, Colonel Cubières found himself surrounded by eight Brunswick Uhlans. Although he was able to fight them off, he was wounded by five sabre blows. That he was wounded here is confirmed by Martinien’s lists of French officer casualties throughout the wars. The history confirms that he fought at Waterloo with an arm in a sling, but does not say which arm it was. Interestingly, the Quintin's book Dictionnaire des Colonels de Napoleon have him wounded to the head by those sabre blows. The history says that it took two hours for the French to secure the Hougoumont wood, which needed to be done before a true assault on the farm could begin; suggesting this was not until 1330hrs. It says that Bauduin’s brigade, now commanded by Cubières after Bauduin had been killed, moved around the buildings to the left to attack the northern gate. Some French sources have Soye’s brigade attacking through the orchard (east) whilst the 1st Léger attacked round to the west. To show that French sources sometimes disagree, one clearly has the 2nd Line (of Soye’s brigade) being responsible for the break-in through the western gate, presumably on the way past.

The history then says,

‘The colonel of the 1st Léger arrived level with the southern gate which, situated in a ‘re-entrant angle’, gave access to the château courtyard. The gate would have to be forced.’ This clearly says that it was the southern gate that Legros broke open! [But also bear in mind that Clay seems to suggest that both the northern and southern gates were broken in!]

It then tells the story of the forcing of the gates. It was in the retreat from the failed attempt to get into the farm that it describes the ‘Cubières incident.’ By this time, ‘in the morning, at the exit to the wood,’ according to the history, Cubières had already been wounded again (in addition to at Quatre Bras) by a shot to the right shoulder [Quintins' book to the left!]. This second wounding is confirmed by Martinien. As his regiment retreats,

‘...covered in the bandages necessitated by his wounds of the 16th June, his horse is killed underneath him and in his fall he loses consciousness. The English think he is dead and pass by him. They had re-entered the château when Cubières gets back up. All alone and only a few steps from the enemy, he looks ‘fiercely’ at the English to receive a soldier’s death; but the English, struck by admiration by the fine attitude of this young colonel [he was only twenty five] covered in wounds, did not fire. Cubières, seeing them raise their muskets, saluted them, turned about and quietly rejoined his regiment which had retired into the wood.’

The history admits that many ‘legends’ grew up around this story, but states that the version it tells is the truth.

Time prevents me from going into further detail, but I am quite happy to respond if anyone has any questions.

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Re: Hougoumont’s first hour :

Postby Josh&Historyland » December 19th, 2016, 12:37 pm

That's a wonderful version of the Cubieres incident , Andrew, and I agree the 1st didn't go through the orchard to reach the gate, and though it was not well guarded they did have to force it. As to which gate Legros stove in, I am quite frankly no longer sure. Except to say that the north was definitely forced, but there were other incursions.

I'd love it Ian if you were able to render this screenplay in such a way that gives equal time to the French and allies. Though it's your baby.

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