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WEDGWOOD (Ensign Thomas J., of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards, Lt Colonel Canning's Company)

Extraordinary Autograph Letter Signed to his Mother, saying that he is taking "the earliest opportunity to let you know we have had some very hard fighting but that we have gained a most complete victory and also that I am quite safe and have escaped unhurt. We removed from our quarters at Herrins and went to a Village called Petit Route were we remained some time in quiet but on Friday morning the 16th at 2 o'clock we were turned out and ordered to be under arms and ready to march at a moments notice - accordingly we marched at 5 o'clock to Craine le Compte and then waited ... for other troops to come up then ... took up a position close to this Town about 4 leagues from our original quarters. We have just begun to pitch our tents when we had another order to march on immediately against the French who had attacked the Russians in great force ... the 1st Regt of Coldstream attacked the French with the Bayonet and drove them back, we were kept in reserve on the top of a hill where we lay down to escape the shot and shells that was flying over us in great abundance ... the 1st Guards suffered very much they had about 10 Officers killed or wounded and among the latter was Captain Luttrell but very slightly. Two very unfortunate accidents happened to them; they were Charging a Regt of French who came up to a Parley and said they would come over to us but this was only a trick to wait for more cavalry which were coming up, they both attacked the Guards together with a French Regt who were clothed in Red and did not find it out that they were French till two late and in consequence were Repulsed a second time, we only lost a few men from the shells. We lay all night in the fields without any covering in consequence of our Baggage being left behind. Next morning our Regt was sent in to a wood to skirmish, we had a little fighting ... and were obliged to Retreat on account of the French having moved back our left wing where the Prussians were placed. We ... took up a Position on the heights of St Jean ... the French advanced in the evening and Cannonaded us till dark, we all slept on the bare ground with nothing either above or beneath us in one of the most Rainy nights possible and before morning the ground on which we lay was ankle deep in mud. The French retired early in the morning but came on again about 10 o'clock an Emense force tis said they had 100,000 men and we at first had but about 60,000 chiefly English except a few Dutch and Belgies, the chief part of whom ran away at the first attack. The action commenced ... by our Artillery which was drawn in a Wood on our right on the skirts of which their [sic] was a house surrounded by a small wall in which were placed the Light Infintry [sic] Companies of the Coldstream and our Regt with orders to defend it to the last. The French were driven back but advanced again & succeeded in gaining entrance into the wood. They then sent fire Balls upon the house and set a Barn and all the Out Houses on fire. After being exposed to a heavy fire of shot Grape and Shells for 2 hours and a half in which we had 3 officers wounded besides a number of men, the Right wing of our Regt and my company went down to the assistance of the Coldstream in the wood in which there was a very heavy fire of Musquetry. The French were directing nearly the whole of their fire at the Houses into which my company and another entred [sic], nearly 100 men having been consumed in the flames, the French forced the Gates 3 times and 3 times were driven back with emense loss for we were firing at each other at about the distance of 50 yards. There was a Large Garden to the house which was surrounded by a wall on 2 sides the house on the third & the Remaining side by a hedge we had another company brought in and a few Dutch who lined the Garden wall in which they made port holes and annoy'd the French very much, about 5 o'clock the French gained Ground very much and made the English retire from their Position on the heights but were again driven back by a strong column consisting of cavalry and the 2 Battalions of the 1st guard and the Remaining part of ours and after a hard struggle were obliged to give ground and retire through the Woods when they attacked the house again with renewed force and vigour but could not force it. They knocked a great Deal of the Wall down with their Cannon but could not gain admittance. We afterwards received fresh reinforcements into the house of Guards and my company was sent out to skirmish. About 8 o'clock the 1st Guards and a part of ours charged the French with the Bayonet and drove them entirely from the house, about that time a body of about 30,000 Prussians came up and the French Emediately [sic]Retreated at a great pace and all our Cavalry following them with our Regt & drove them back double quick time and dispersed them intirely [sic]. My Regt has lost 16 Officers killed and wounded including Lieutenant Colonels Sir A. Gordon and Canning of my company who were among the number of killed. Captain Ashton of my company is also killed, the Duke of Wellington told us he never saw troops behave so well as the Guards. The French have lost about 90 pieces of Cannon and a emense [sic] number of killed and wounded. The Belgie Troops who ran away went to Brussels were [sic] all our Baggage was and said that we were intirely [sic] defeated and that the French were advancing close at our heels, the consequence was that the people of Brussels began to pillage our Baggage but were stopped. I hear that my Baggage horse is either killed or stolen but I do not know yet as we have not seen the Baggage since the 15th and all the time we have been lying on the Ground without any covering and not able to change our clothes, we have had nothing to eat except a very little Biscuit and I have not tasted a particle of Food for the last 48 hours but I am just going to have some and I believe our Baggage is to come up tomorrow morning. Another thing is that it is with the greatest Difficulty we can get any Water and what we do is horribly Bad. I am now writing from the field in which we are going to Bivouac tonight and therefore you must excuse the conciseness of this letter and I cannot get any more paper. Goodbye my Dear Mother ...", 3 sides folio, no place but near Waterloo, 19th June

Item Date:  1815
Stock No:  40218      £4750

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WOLSELEY (Sir Garnet, 1833-1913, Field Marshal and C-in-C of the Army, from 1885 1st Viscount)

Letter Signed to "My dear Henry" promising to "do my best for your friend Canon Hole - Our present Chaplain General has done much good in that position that I confess to being in despair at the news contained in your letter. You know what a useless - that is a wild adjective - set of men we used to have as Chaplains Well all that has been changed by Mr Edgehill ...", 2 sides 8vo., War Office headed paper, 12th July

Item Date:  1887
Stock No:  40221      £75

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