Waterloo The Bravest Man
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June, 1815. The Coldstream Guards and the third guards are waiting impatiently for orders to move into battle against Napoleon and his French army. Every day seems endless as the troops wait for Wellington's orders. When the group eventually encounter the French in battle, a special command comes from Wellington himself to Colonel James Macdonell of the Coldstream Guards: hold the château at Hougoumont and do not let the French pass. What happens next is history.
They would take the volley and charge up the slope to the copse of trees. That should scare the foxes from their den. The moment Harry shouted, Macdonell was on his feet and running up the slope. He did not run in a straight line but weaved this way and that in the hope of confusing the voltigeurs. At six feet and three inches and above seventeen stone, he was not the most nimble Guards officer but he ploughed on towards the copse. Behind him, nearly four hundred men took his cue, yelling and
thick beech hedge. Without warning they were under fire again. Beyond the hedge there was a small field sloping up to another wood, this one much thicker and larger than the copse on the slope. The French were firing from it. They ran doubled up to the far end of the garden. James turned and looked for the Graham brothers. They were there. He beckoned them forwards. ‘Make a gap in the hedge about here. Just big enough for a man to get through.’ The brothers took out their bayonets and hacked at
night, James. Bonne chance.’ CHAPTER ELEVEN 18th June Dawn was breaking and the rain, at long last, had stopped. For James Macdonell there had been no more sleep. He had spent the two hours since General Byng’s visit checking and rechecking their defences, trying to think of anything more they could do, and searching for words of encouragement for five hundred weary, miserable men. From the top of the tower there was a cry of ‘cavalry’. He ran through the garden gate to the wall and climbed
Harry, grinned and jumped down into the orchard. Harry and his company were quick to follow. They ran at the Dragoons, bayonets ready to strike, and yelling with glee. The enemy, hemmed in on all sides, had nowhere to hide and, bravely as they fought, were doomed. A few managed to break through the hedge and escape. Most went down, sliced, hacked or disembowelled by bayonet or sword. A Dragoon captain was one of the last to fall. He stood with his back to an apple tree, using his sword to parry
see along the garden wall – a line of Dragoons, supported by infantry. The garden wall was still intact. They would find it more difficult to break in there. The farm and chateau were another matter. He dashed back to the yard and took a place with the Brunswickers. A private offered him a musket. He shook his head and withdrew the heavy sword from its scabbard. The sword had met cavalry before. It knew what to do with them. In less than a minute they were ready. James Graham was by the chateau