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Did Napoleon really leave the field during...

PostPosted: May 16th, 2017, 3:25 pm
by MarkW
..the battle between 3-4pm during the commencement of the cavalry charges?

and

what haystack set what roof on fire during the battle as per Wellington's famous note? and didnt he think the officers their knew already?

Mark W

Re: Did Napoleon really leave the field during...

PostPosted: May 16th, 2017, 5:31 pm
by Senarmont198
Do you have a source for this or are you relying on the movie?

I have seen no credible reference that states he left the field at all. Napoleon didn't see the beginning of the French cavalry charges from his position on the field. He only remarked that it was an hour too early.

Re: Did Napoleon really leave the field during...

PostPosted: May 16th, 2017, 6:03 pm
by MarkW
Originally from the film, but a number of other documentaries also use this information...never found it anywhere else....

Re: Did Napoleon really leave the field during...

PostPosted: May 16th, 2017, 8:45 pm
by Senarmont198
I haven't either-the 'documentaries' probably took it from the film in the absence of any credible evidence. It makes Napoleon look ill and out of shape, which he wasn't during the campaign.

Re: Did Napoleon really leave the field during...

PostPosted: May 16th, 2017, 9:12 pm
by Andrew
From my own researches, it is not clear when Napoleon changed location during the battle. He undoubtedly started the battle near Rosomme from where he would not have been able to see large parts of the battlefield, but at some undetermined time moved forward to near la Belle Alliance from where his view would have been much better. On that basis I can only assume it was sooner rather than later; he did tend to position himself where he was not in danger, but had the best view of the battlefield. I believe this move back is a myth, but would be very happy for someone to provide some credible evidence.

Andrew

Re: Did Napoleon really leave the field during...

PostPosted: May 16th, 2017, 10:43 pm
by jf42
That silver chamber pot was brought along for a reason

Re: Did Napoleon really leave the field during...

PostPosted: May 20th, 2017, 7:57 pm
by Josh&Historyland
I'm not totally sure of Napoleon's every move, but I've never read of him leaving the field as per the movie. Indeed from about mid battle onwards he was in range of the Prussian cannon, whose long shots were hitting the Brussels Road.

As to the haystack, I've only ever heard of one and most maps only have one shown not far from the south wast corner. Though now and then I've heard of haystack's plural.
The famous Wellington note, is not telling the officers in Hougoumont that there is a fire, it is informing them that the CinC was aware of their problem and advising them what to do about it. Note that the Duke writes something like "I see that the fire has. communicated" etc. And goes on to tell the OC down there to keep his men to the buildings so long as they are habitable. This is to ensure no slackening of fire or weakness is observed that the enemy might take advantage of. And then to remove said troops carefully so that no men are lost by the falling in of roofs of floors.

The Duke was a micromanager and wanted to "cover his bases" in the event anyone down at Hougoumont needed orders or feared the cituation so bad that they wished to abandon the post. Knowledge that the CinC knows what is happening to you is good for morale. It's too bad the situation at La Haye Sainte was left in such a muddle.

Josh.