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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, August 24, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 14

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-08-24/ed-1/seq-14/

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The center of the English army,
slightly concave, very dense, and very
compact, held a strong position. It
occupied the plateau of Mont Saint
Jean, with the village behind it, and
in front the declivity,which at that
time was steep. ""
Wellington, anxious but impassible,
was on horseback, and remained
there the whole day in the same at
titude, a little in front of the old mill
of Mont Saint-Jean.
Wellington was frigidly heroic.
The balls rained down. His aide-decamp,
Gordon, had just fallen at his
side. Lord Hill, showing him a burst
ing shell, said: "My lord, what are
your instructions, and what orders do
you leave us, if you allow yourself to
be killed?" "To follow my example,"
answered Wellington. To Clinton he
said, laconically, "Hold this spot to
the last man!" The day was clearly
going badly. Wellington cried to his
old companions of Talavera, Vittoria,
and Salamanaca: "Boy, we must not
be beat! What would they say of us
in England?"
About four o'clock tb,e English line
staggered backward. All at once only
the artillery and the sharpshooters
were seen on tie crest of the plateau;
the rest disappeared. The regiments,
driven by the shells and bullets of the
French, fell back into the valley, now
crossed by the cow-path of the farm
of Mont Saint-Jean; a retrograde
movement took place; the battle
front of the English was slipping
away. Wellington gave ground. "Be
ginning retreat!" cried Napoleon.
At the moment when Wellington
drew back, Napoleon started up. He
saw the plateau of Mont Saint-Jean
suddenly laid bare, and the front of
the English army disappear. It ral
lied, but kept concealed. The em
peror half rose in his stirrups. The
flush of victory passed into his eyes.
Wellington hurled back on the forest
of Soignies, and destroyed that
was the final overthrow of England
by France; it was Cressy, Poitiers,
Malplaquet, and Bamillies avenged, j
The man of Marengo was wiping out,
Agincourt. v
The emperor rose and reflected.
Wellington had fallen back. It re-,
mained only to complete this repulse
by a crushing charge. Napoleon,
turning abruptly, sent off a courier
at full speed to Paris to announce
that the battle was won.
Napoleon was one of those gen
iuses who rule the thunder. He had
found his thunderbolt. He. ordered
Milhaud's cuirassiers to carry the
plateau of Mont Saint-Jean. They
were 3,500. They formed a line of
half a mile. They were gigantic men
on colossal horses. They were 26
squadrons, and they had behind them
a strong support. -
Aide-de-camp Bernard brought
.them the emperor's order. Ney drew
his sword and placed himself at their
head. The enormous squadrons be
gan to move. Then was seen a fear
ful sight. All this cavaly, with sabers
drawn, banners waving,- and trum
pets sounding, formed in' column by
division, descended with even move
ment and as one man with the pre
cision of a bronze battering-ram
opening a breach.
An odd numerical coincidence 26
battalions were to receive these 26
squadrons. Behind the crest of the
plateau, under cover of the masked
battery, the English infantry form
ed in 13 squares, two battalions to
the square, and lipon two lines
seven on the first, and six on the Sec
ond with musket to the shoulder,
and eye upon their sights, waiting,
calm, silent, and immovable.
They could not see the cuirassiers,
and the cuirassiers could not see I
them. They listened to the rising of
this tide of men. They heard the in
creasing sound of 3,000 horses, the
alternate and measured striking of
their hoofs at full trot, the rattling of .
the cuirasses, the clinking of the
sabers, and a sort of fierce roar of the
coming host.
There was a monet o"f fearful si-,
lence; then, suddenly, a long line of.
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