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Facts about The Battle of Waterloo for Kids


The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. An Imperial French army under the command of Emperor Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-Allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard von Blücher.

  • It was the culminating battle of the Waterloo Campaign and Napoleon’s last.
  • Napoleon chose to attack in the hope of destroying them before they could join in a coordinated invasion of France with other members of the coalition.
  • The decisive engagement of this three-day Waterloo Campaign (16–19 June 1815) occurred at the Battle of Waterloo.
  • The battlefield is in present-day Belgium, about 8 miles (13 km) south by south-east of Brussels, and about 1 mile from the town of Waterloo.
  • The site of the battlefield is today dominated by a large monument, the Lion Mound.
  • If he could destroy the existing coalition forces south of Brussels before they were reinforced, he might be able to drive the British back to the sea and knock the Prussians out of the war.
  • He hastily ordered his army to concentrate on Quatre Bras, where the Prince of Orange, with the brigade of Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar, was holding a tenuous position against the soldiers of Ney’s left wing.
  • The Prussians rallied on Bülow’s IV Corps, which had not been engaged at Ligny and was in a strong position south of Wavre.
  • The French pursued Wellington, but the result was only a brief cavalry skirmish in Genappe just as torrential rain set in for the night.
  • Before leaving Ligny, Napoleon ordered Grouchy, commander of the right wing, to follow up the retreating Prussians with 33,000 men.
  • The French army of around 69,000 consisted of 48,000 infantry, 14,000 cavalry, and 7,000 artillery with 250 guns.
  • The cavalry in particular was both numerous and formidable, and included fourteen regiments of armoured heavy cavalry and seven of highly versatile lancers.
  • They were mostly composed of Dutch troops under William, Prince of Orange’s younger brother Prince Frederik of the Netherlands.
  • Both Hougoumont and Papelotte were fortified and garrisoned, and thus anchored Wellington’s flanks securely.
  • On the western side of the main road, and in front of the rest of Wellington’s line, was the farmhouse and orchard of La Haye Sainte, which was garrisoned with 400 light infantry of the King’s German Legion.
  • In the centre about the road south of the inn La Belle Alliance were a reserve including Lobau’s VI Corps with 6,000 men, the 13,000 infantry of the Imperial Guard, and a cavalry reserve of 2,000.
  • In the right rear of the French position was the substantial village of Plancenoit, and at the extreme right, the Bois de Paris wood.
  • Although they had not taken casualties, IV Corps had been marching for two days, covering the retreat of the three other corps of the Prussian army from the battlefield of Ligny.