Napoleon commits his last reserves to battle The Old Guard.                            

The whole line by this time was extremely thin, especially towards the crossroads on the Charleroi road, and men were shocked and exhausted. As he rode up and down the line, most of the regimental commanders asked him for reinforcements, but he had no more to give them.

At about 7.30 p.m., the drums of the infantry were heard again, in three great phalanxes, the veterans of the Grande Armée Napoleon’s Old Guard, the Garde Impériale foot soldiers of Napoleon's army, were marching up this same slope, which was already churned to liquid mud by the cavalry.

Again, the allied infantry, lying down in the lane, could not see what was coming, but Wellington and other mounted officers could see. He let them come, and as the tall bearskin caps came over the top, hundreds of men heard his penetrating voice: 'Up, Guards!


To the French, the red line of infantry seemed to rise up out of the ground: they had not known they were there. The first volley wrought havoc in their leading ranks, but they could not halt: like the cavalry before, they were pressed on by the ranks behind them.

The 1st Foot Guards and others, including the Belgians, charged them head on. The 52nd Foot, further to the right, marched down the slope in formation, wheeled left and attacked them from the flank. Taken thus by surprise, the ranks of the Old Guard broke into disorder,

and they fled down the slope again, not to re-form till they reached the main road below La Belle Alliance, where the Emperor himself was waiting.

Ten minutes after the attack, the Duke was back at the crossroads. He snapped his telescope shut and waved his hat, and the remnants of his army rushed down the hill in pursuit.

Continue tour the Hougoumont farm holds against the massive french attacks

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