Anglo-Allies and Prussians

Anglo-Allied Army
  • Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852)
    Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852)

    The Duke of Wellington was one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century. Wellington was commissioned into the British army in 1787, and served in India until 1804, during which time he won a decisive victory against the Maratha Confederacy at the Battles of Assaye. He made his reputation as a general during the Peninsular campaign in Spain (1808-1814). As our most successful general he represented Britain at the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815) and was instrumental in forming the Seventh Coalition against the returned and resurgent Napoleon. During the 100 Days campaign, Wellington was the commander of the Anglo-Dutch army, stationed in Belgium, and together with the Prussian army defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. After Waterloo, he twice became British Prime Minister.

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  • Lieutenant General Baron August von Kruse (1779-1848)
    Lieutenant General Baron August von Kruse (1779-1848)

    Against his father's wishes, August von Kruse joined the military when he was 17 years old, first in the Brunswick Army and then the Nassau-Weilburg in 1803. He initially fought with the French against the Prussians in the Peninsular War, reaching the rank of Colonel, but in 1813 he and his troops crossed over to the British. During the Waterloo campaign he commanded 3,000 men of the Nassau Brigade, a contingent of the Anglo-Allied army, who fought bravely alongside the Guards in the defence of Hougoumont Farm. After Waterloo he continued to head the Nassau military. In later life he became an experimental farmer and explored cattle-breeding techniques.

  • Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton G.C.B. (1758-1815)
    Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Picton G.C.B. (1758-1815)

    Sir Thomas Picton joined the 12th Foot in 1771, and was stationed in Gibraltar. He fought in the West Indies from 1794, and subsequently in Europe, rising to the rank of Major-General. In 1810 he joined Wellington in Spain for the Peninsular Campaign in command of the 3rd Division. He was wounded at the Battle of Quatre-Bras, but concealed the wound's severity, which enabled him to command his division at Waterloo. During the Waterloo campaign he commanded 7,500 men of the Allied 5th Infantry Division, part of Wellington's infantry reserve. During the height of the battle he was shot through the temple by a musket ball. He was the most senior officer to fall that day.

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  • Lieutenant General Henry Paget, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge (1768-1854)
    Lieutenant General Henry Paget, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge (1768-1854)

    Henry Paget originally purchased a commission and commanded the 16th Light Dragoons and later the 7th Light Dragoons. He saw service in the Peninsular under Sir John Moore. During the Waterloo campaign Paget brilliantly commanded 16,500 cavalrymen of the Allied Cavalry Corps. One of the last cannon shots fired that day removed his leg. After Waterloo he was created the Marquess of Anglesey and in 1827 he was appointed to the post of Master General of the Ordnance, a post he was to be granted again in 1846. In 1828 he became Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. He retired with the rank of Field Marshal.

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  • Lieutenant General Sir Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill (1772-1842)
    Lieutenant General Sir Rowland Hill, 1st Viscount Hill (1772-1842)

    Sir Rowland Hill was born in Shropshire, UK and was initially commissioned into the 38th Foot in 1790. By 1805 he had risen to the rank of Major-General, having already commanded the 90th Regiment at the tender age of 23. He fought in Egypt and in the Peninsular campaign as one of Wellington's most trusted commanders and was known to his men as 'Daddy Hill'. He survived the battle, despite having his shot horse roll over him, and continued with the army into France, commanding the occupation forces until their withdrawal in 1818. From 1828 until 1839 he was the commander-in-chief of the British Army, following the Duke of Wellington. He died at his home in Shropshire in 1842.

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  • Lieutenant-General HSH Duke of Brunswick (1771-1815)
    Lieutenant-General HSH Duke of Brunswick (1771-1815)

    The Duke of Brunswick joined the Prussian Army in 1789, and inherited the title Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel after his father was killed at the battle of Jena-Auerstadt in 1806. He fought against the French all his life, being commissioned into the British Army in 1809 and fighting with his corps in Spain. He was known as the 'Black Duke', and his corps the 'Black Brunswickers', in reference to the black uniforms which they wore in mourning for their lost homeland, which had been conquered by the French. His corps were raised for the Waterloo campaign, being by then a 6000-strong contingent of the Anglo-Allied Army. On the 16th June, Brunswick was shot and killed while fighting Marshal Ney at the Battle of Quatre Bras.

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  • Major General HRH Prince William of Orange G.C.B. (Prins Willem van Oranje) (1792 - 1849)
    Major General HRH Prince William of Orange G.C.B. (Prins Willem van Oranje) (1792 - 1849)

    After receiving his education in Britain and Prussia, Prince William of Orange entered the British Army. In 1811 he became aide-de-camp to Wellington and was subsequently promoted to Major-General. A popular commander, he was nicknamed 'slender Billy' by his British troops. During the Waterloo campaign William commanded 26,700 men of the Allied I Corps, stationed on Wellington's right flank, and was wounded during the battle. The 23-year-old William was nominally Wellington's second in command and the leader of the Dutch-Belgium contingent. He was also the youngest general, from all sides, to command troops at Waterloo.On the death of his father he became the King of the Netherlands in 1840. Throughout his life, William had a string of relationships with both men and women.

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  • Lieutenant-General Friedrich von der Decken (1769-1840)
    Lieutenant-General Friedrich von der Decken (1769-1840)

    Friedrich von der Decken joined the Hanoverian army in 1784 and fought the French. He helped Sir Colin Halkett recruit and form the King's German Legion in 1803. During the Waterloo campaign he commanded the 11,000 men of the Hanoverian Corps, a contingent of the Anglo-Allied army, although only about 4,000 were present at the battle as the rest were in reserve. After Waterloo he retired and became president of the Historical Society for Lower Saxony.

Prussian Army
  • Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstadt (1742-1819)
    Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstadt (1742-1819)

    At the age of 16, Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher joined the Swedish Army as a hussar. After being initially captured by the Prussians he later joined them to fight the French under Frederick the Great. He fought the French all through northern Germany, commanding the Army of Silesia. At the age of 75, he once again took command of the Prussian forces in Belgium. During the 100 Days campaign his forces were to suffer defeat at the Battle of Ligny, but were able to arrive decisively at Waterloo to share in the victory. As a mark of gratitude, he was created a Prince by the King of Prussia. He died in Silesia at the age of 79.

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  • General Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow (1755-1816)
    General Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow (1755-1816)

    Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow was a celebrated general who had fought the French in Germany at the battles of Dennewitz and Leipzig, and was renowned for wearing his medals and orders all the time. He commanded 32,000 men of the Prussian IV Corps, who were not present at the Battle of Ligny but did arrive on the field at Waterloo in the latter stages of the battle, attacking the French right flank and rear at the village of Plancenoit. The fighting here was some of the bloodiest at Waterloo and Bülow's Corps bore the brunt of it. 

  • General Hans Ernst von Ziethen (1770-1840)
    General Hans Ernst von Ziethen (1770-1840)

    Hans Ernst von Ziethen was Commander of 32,500 men of the Prussian I Corps, who were heavily engaged throughout the campaign and came to Wellington's aid during the afternoon of the Battle of Waterloo. After the battle he advanced into France, participating at the Battle of Issy on the 1st July, just outside Paris. Afterwards he was given the title of Graf and promoted to Generalfeldmarschall.

  • General August Wilhelm von Gneisenau (1760-1831)
    General August Wilhelm von Gneisenau (1760-1831)

    Wilhelm von Gneisenau was Blücher's chief-of-staff. At the battle, Gneisenau originally argued against coming to Wellington's aid: advice which Blücher ignored. Nevertheless, Gneisenau took command of the pursuit of the French army after the battle, describing it as 'the most glorious night of my life'.

French Empire

French Army of the North
  • Emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)
    Emperor of the French, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

    Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica in 1769, and joined the French army in 1785 as an artillery officer. He supported the French Revolution, and rose through the ranks to eventually be crowned the Emperor of the French in 1804. He fought 60 major battles and was the victor in the majority of them, and he is now probably considered one of the greatest military commanders of all time. He was also a noted administrative and legal reformer in both France and the rest of Europe. After being forced to abdicate in 1814, Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba, but he escaped after only a year in exile. After his escape, Napoleon commanded L'Armée du Nord (Army of the North) during the 100 Days campaign. Napoleon's plan was to divide and conquer the two Allied armies already assembled in Belgium, before taking on the Austrian and Russian armies. After invading Belgium on the 15th June, Napoleon's forces claimed victory against the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny, as well as a strategic victory at the Battle of Quatre Bras, but his campaign ended in famous defeat at the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th June. After his surrender to the British, he was banished to the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena, where he died in exile in 1821.

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  • General de Division Françoise Étienne de Kellermann (1770-1835)
    General de Division Françoise Étienne de Kellermann (1770-1835)

    Françoise Étienne de Kellermann was Commander of 3,700 men of the French III Cavalry Corps and was present at the battles of Quatre Bras on the 16th June and Waterloo on the 18th June. At Waterloo, it was his corps, along with Milhaud's, that were ordered to charge the British squares by Marshal Ney in the mass attack of the late afternoon. He retired after Waterloo but in 1820 he took up his father's old seat in the Chamber of Peers.

  • General de Division Dominique-Joseph René Vandamme (1770-1830)
    General de Division Dominique-Joseph René Vandamme (1770-1830)

    Dominique-Joseph René Vandamme was commander of 16,800 men of the French III Corps, under the command of Marshal Grouchy. His corps were involved in the pursuit of the Prussians after the Battle of Ligny, and therefore were not actually present at Waterloo. They eventually caught up with the Prussians on the 18th June at Wavre, where they finally defeated them, although it was too late to make a difference. After Waterloo he went to America and lived in Philadelphia, returning to France in 1819.

  • Marshal of France, Nicolas Soult, Duke of Dalmatia (1769-1851)
    Marshal of France, Nicolas Soult, Duke of Dalmatia (1769-1851)

    After enlisting in 1785 as a private in the French army, Nicolas Soult rose through the ranks of the Revolutionary and Imperial Army to the rank of Marshal of France, which was granted in 1804. As an army commander he distinguished himself during the Peninsular War against Wellington. During the Waterloo campaign he acted as Napoleon's chief-of-staff; a role in which he did not excel. A number of missed opportunities at Waterloo are said to be laid at his door. After Waterloo and the 2nd Restoration, he tried to show himself as a fervent royalist and was rewarded by subsequently serving as a Minister of War and Prime Minister in the 1830s.

  • Marshal of France Emmanuel Marquis de Grouchy (1766-1847)
    Marshal of France Emmanuel Marquis de Grouchy (1766-1847)

    Emmanuel de Grouchy joined the French artillery in 1779, rising through the ranks of the Revolutionary and Imperial Army to reach the rank of Marshal of France in 1815. He was appointed as commander of the French army's right wing and one of Napoleon's two field commanders during the Waterloo campaign. He was dispatched with a force of 40,000 men to chase, harry, and defeat the retreating Prussians after the Battle of Ligny on the 16th June. Coming to Napoleon's aid at Waterloo on the 18th June may well have swung the battle in Napoleon's favour, but Grouchy failed to do so. After Waterloo, Grouchy went to America to avoid the criticism of his actions that day, but he returned to France in 1821, with plans for a quiet life. He was, however, reinstated as a Marshal of France in 1830 by King Louis Philippe.

  • General de Division Georges Mouton, Count de Lobou (1770-1838)
    General de Division Georges Mouton, Count de Lobou (1770-1838)

    Georges Mouton commanded 9,200 men of the French VI Corps at Waterloo. He had already fought bravely against the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny on the 16th June, but would face them a second time at Waterloo on the 18th June in the defence of Plancenoit village. Like many of the French generals present that day, he went into exile after the battle was lost. He returned to France in 1818 and later was involved in the July Revolution (1830), after which he was rewarded by becoming Marshal of France in 1831.

  • Marshal of France Michel Ney, Duc d’Elchingen and Prince of Moskowa (1769-1815)
    Marshal of France Michel Ney, Duc d’Elchingen and Prince of Moskowa (1769-1815)

    Michel Ney was commander of the French Army's left wing and Napoleon's field commander at the Battle of Waterloo. An impetuous commander, but also one of the most colourful, he continued to order attacks against Hougoumont Farm all day, at considerable expense in casualties and time. In the late afternoon, in the belief that the allies were retreating, he ordered mass cavalry charges against Wellington's infantry squares, again at great expense in casualties. It is said he had 5 horses killed from under him during the battle and that it seemed he had a death wish. After the French retreat Ney was arrested, tried and executed by firing squad in Paris in December 1815.

  • General de Division Comte Étienne Maurice Gérard (1773-1852)
    General de Division Comte Étienne Maurice Gérard (1773-1852)

    Étienne Maurice Gérard was commander of 14,800 men of the French IV Corps, under the command of Marshal Grouchy. His corps were involved in the pursuit of the Prussians after the Battle of Ligny and therefore were not actually present at Waterloo. He was a strong advocate of abandoning the pursuit of the Prussians and going to Napoleon's aid, suggesting that they should 'march to the sound of the guns'. After Waterloo, he retired briefly to Brussels before returning to France, and later returned to Belgium to play a major part in the defeat of the Dutch in the Belgium-Dutch war of 1831-2 which resulted in the formation of the new state of Belgium.

  • General de Division Comte Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud (1766-1833)
    General de Division Comte Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud (1766-1833)

    Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud was Commander of 3,000 men of the French IV Cavalry Corps, and was present at the battles of Ligny on the 16th June, and Waterloo on the 18th June. At Waterloo, it was his corps, along with Kellermann's, that were ordered to charge the British squares by Marshal Ney in the mass attack in the late afternoon. After Waterloo he was one of the first generals to suggest peace talks with the Allies, which unfortunately did not prevent his exile. On his return to France in 1830 he retired to a quiet life in the country.

  • General de Division Comte Jean-Baptiste Drouet d'Erlon (1765-1844)
    General de Division Comte Jean-Baptiste Drouet d'Erlon (1765-1844)

    Jean-Baptiste Drouet d'Erlon commanded 19,300 men of the French I Corps at Waterloo. It was his infantrymen who attacked Wellington's centre around La Haye Sainte in the afternoon, and who were subsequently devastated by the relieving charges of the British cavalry. After Waterloo, Drouet d'Erlon retreated with the rest of the French forces, fighting in the final exchanges around Paris. After Napoleon's abdication he went into exile in Munich, but returned to France in 1825. He was appointed Governor General of Algeria in 1834 and was finally promoted to Marshal of France in 1843.

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  • Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier, duc de Trévise (1768-1835)
    Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier, duc de Trévise (1768-1835)

    Édouard Mortier was commander of 20,000 men of the Imperial Guard, who were present at Waterloo. The Guard was in fact a small army within an army, consisting of infantry, artillery and cavalry. He was unable to take up his command for the Battle of Waterloo due to severe sciatica, and had to pass command to his deputy, General Drouot. After Waterloo, and a period of disgrace, he again served France by being appointed Ambassador to Russia in 1831, Minister of War in 1834, and later Prime Minister. He was assassinated in Paris in 1835, along with 11 others, by an 'infernal machine' - an apparatus of 25 musket barrels firing simultaneously.

  • General de Division Claude-Pierre Pajol (1772-1844)
    General de Division Claude-Pierre Pajol (1772-1844)

    Claude-Pierre Pajol was commander of 2,600 men of the French I Cavalry Corps under Marshal Grouchy, and was involved with the pursuit of the Prussians after the Battle of Ligny, and the defeat of the Prussian rear guard at Wavre on the evening of the 18th June. He skilfully disengaged and retreated to Paris after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. Like other French Generals he was involved in the overthrowing of Charles X in the July Revolution of 1830.

  • General de Division Comte Antoine Drouot (1774-1847)
    General de Division Comte Antoine Drouot (1774-1847)

    Despite originally being second in command, Antoine Drouot actually commanded the Imperial Guard at the Battle of Waterloo, as a result of Marshal Mortier's illness. Unusually, he was present at both the Battle of Trafalgar (as an officer of marines) and the Battle of Waterloo (as the commander of the Imperial Guard). In 1814 he accompanied Napoleon into exile on Elba and followed him back to Paris for the 100 Days campaign. He also accompanied Napoleon during the retreat to Paris and was subsequently tried for treason. He was acquitted, and retired to spend the rest of his life caring for the welfare of soldiers from Napoleon's old Imperial Guard.

  • General de Division Comte Honoré Charles Reille (1775-1860)
    General de Division Comte Honoré Charles Reille (1775-1860)

    Honoré Charles Reille commanded 22,700 men of the French II Corps at Waterloo.  At the age of 40 he was one of the youngest generals on the field of battle and was responsible for the assaults on Hougoumont Farm, although direct responsibility was under Napoleon's younger brother Jérôme. After Waterloo, Reille retired to live quietly but was made a Marshal of France in 1852.

  • General de Division Remi Joseph Isidore Exelmans (1775-1852)
    General de Division Remi Joseph Isidore Exelmans (1775-1852)

    Rémi Joseph Isidore Exelmans commanded 2,800 men of the French II Cavalry Corps under Marshal Grouchy. After victory at the Battle of Ligny, Exelmans was involved with the pursuit of the retreating Prussians, and the subsequent defeat of the Prussian rear guard at Wavre on the evening of the 18th June. Consequently, Exelmans and his men were not actually present at the Battle of Waterloo.  After the retreat to Paris he was involved in a final battle at Rocquencourt, outside Paris, in which the Prussians were briefly defeated. Like many other generals of the defeated French army, who had chosen to fight for Napoleon,  he was forced in to exile, in his case fleeing to the Netherlands. Once an amnesty was granted in 1819, Exelmans returned to France and went on to be a supporter of Louis Napoleon in the revolution of 1848, being rewarded with a Marshal's baton in 1851.

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