The Aftermath

CHAPTER XX

Pursuit of the French – Losses – Rewards – Silver Trumpet – Lieutenant Slater-Smith ordered to Reconnoitre – The occupation of Paris – March to Boulogne – Embarkation at Calais

The pursuit of the French on the evening of Waterloo was left to Blucher, whose troops had not suffered much in the battle, and Ziethen with the Prussian cavalry continued to follow them during the whole night. Thus ended the battle of Waterloo. The loss of the Allies was 22,378 killed, wounded, and missing. Of the French army scarcely 40,000 re-crossed the Sambre, carrying with them only 27 guns.

In commemoration of the battle of Waterloo a silver medal was struck and bestowed on all ranks. That year of service was allowed to count as two in reckoning the pensions of soldiers, and each corps present was granted permission to add the word “Waterloo” to its honours. Two hundred thousand pounds was voted by the House of Commons and presented to the Duke of Wellington[1], and he was created Prince of Waterloo by the King of the Netherlands.

A silver trumpet, now in the Officers’ mess of the Tenth Hussars, is a valued record of the part taken by the regiment in the great battle, and bears the following inscription:-

PURCHASED
BY DESIRE OF THE
SOLDIERS OF THE TENTH OR PRINCE REGENT’S OWN
ROYAL HUSSARS
WITH PART OF THE PRIZE MONEY
ARISING FROM THE ENEMY’S HORSES
CAPTURED BY THEIR BRIGADE
UNDER THE COMMAND OF
MAJOR-GENERAL SIR H. VIVIAN K.C.B.
AT THE BATTLE OF
WATERLOO

18 JUNE 1815

The wounded of the Tenth were all well cared for after the battle, and, with the exception of Colonel Quentin, all the Officers were lodged together, owing to the exertions of Dr. Jenks of the Regiment, in a large house in the Rue Royale, facing the Park, in Brussels.

Trumpet

Trumpet

The Allied forces followed up the French without intermission, and on the 20th Vivian’s brigade was cantoned at Merbe Ste. Marie. Two days later it moved forward to Le Cateau. On the 25th the advance guard formed by the Hussar Brigade had reached Cresoir, near St Quentin, and on the following day the Tenth advance to Mattiquies, in the valley of the Somme, having its outlying piquets on that river. Vivian had this day sent forward Lieutenant Slayter Smith, of the Tenth Hussars, as far as Nesle, with directions to proceed if practical to Roge, and gain information concerning the movements of the French army. Lieutenant Smith, having reached the latter place, ascertained that the French troops had left the town the night before, and a body of gendarmerie had marched out a one end of the town whilst he and his party had entered by the other. On returning from Nesle, he had proceeded but a short distance when he perceived a carriage moving rapidly and coming from a cross-road. He ordered the driver to halt, and found in the carriage a military looking man, who, after some evasive answers to his questions, acknowledged himself to be General Lauriston, aide-de-camp to Napoleon, and stated that he was going in the first instance to his country seat at Vaux, near Cateau, and then to join the King, Louis XVIII. He added that he had gone to Paris to raise an army for His Majesty that he had not only failed in the attempt but had narrowly escaped being arrested. Having given this explanation, he entreated Lieutenant Smith to allow him to continue his route, but the latter, considering it his duty to make him a prisoner, took him that night to Sir Hussey Vivian, who then desired Lieutenant Smith to proceed with the General, to the Duke of Wellington. On reaching His Grace’s quarters at one o’clock in the morning, and intimating his errand, a curious incident occurred. There was no guard at the house, not even a sentry, and Smith had some difficulty in rousing a sleepy servant from among his fellows to announce him. The Duke was engaged in conversation with a Frenchman. On a table in the room appeared the debris of a repast. Having explained to the Duke the name and rank of the individual he had brought with him, His Grace said “Bring him in.” On hearing the name of Lauriston, the Frenchman before mentioned, who had been sent to the duke by Fouche to treat for a cessation of hostilities became greatly alarmed and begged to know how he might escape without being recognised. His Grace remarked “There is but one door and one window, take your choice.” He preferred the door, and escaped by passing behind the Duke’s back as Lauriston entered. An animated conversation ensured between the Generals, and an hour had elapsed in this way, when the duke gave his orders to Lieutenant Smith for the disposal of the General, whom he subsequently sent to the King, much to his annoyance, since he was thus obliged to appear before His Majesty as a prisoner instead of a volunteer. On the 28th June the advance guard was at Auteuil, and on the 30th the Tenth reached Vanderlen. The Prussian army cross the Seine, and established itself at Issy on the 2nd July, while the British were formed on the left bank of the river, and the capital thus became invested.

Paris capitulated on the 4th July, and on the 7th the Allies entered the city. Napoleon had fled to Rochefort, the wreck of his army had retired beyond the Loire; no list of killed and wounded had appeared, and the official journal of Paris had made out that the great Imperial Army at Waterloo had gained a great victory. No one knew whether they had lost relations and friends in the battle.

During the occupation the Tenth were quartered at Puteaux and Neuilly-sur-Seine. On the 16th a draft of the Regiment joined from England consisting of Captain V. Jones, Lieutenant Mynell, Cornet Gale, Assistant-Surgeon Rogers, Regimental-Sergeant Major Wells, two Corporals, fifty-five privates and seventy-nine horses, and two days later Major the Hon. H. C. Lowther, two privates, and two troop horses also joined. Every third day the Tenth went on duty in Paris during their stay at Puteaux.

On the 24th the Tenth was present at a Grand Review held at St Denis before the allied sovereigns and other distinguished foreigners assembled in Paris.[2] “At an early hour on a fine summer morning there were seen issuing from the various roads which centre on the plains of St. Denis numerous English, Russian, Prussian and Austrian regiments of horse and foot, in heavy marching order with their bands playing, and finally the mass of men numbering not less than 200,000 took up their positions. About 12 o’clock the Duke of Wellington, commander-in-chief of the allied army approached. Immediately behind, the Emperors of Austria and Russia, the Kings of Prussia, Holland, Bavaria and Wurttemberg, several German Princes and general officers, forming one of the most illustrious, numerous staffs ever brought together. The review lasted two hours; then the men marched home to their quarters through a crowd of spectators which included the whole population of Paris. The most mournful silence was observed throughout on the part of the French.[3]

The Foot Guards were encamped in the Bois de Boulogne, the Highlanders in the Champs-Elysées. In those days the former place was a wild, pathless wood, swampy and entirely neglected; the latter contained only a few scattered houses, and the roads and pathways were ankle deep in mud. The only attempt at lighting was a few lamps on cords which crossed the roads. The Boulevards had handsome houses, isolated, with gardens interspersed, and the roads were bordered on both sides with stately spreading trees, some of them probably one hundred years old. There was but one imperfect pavement, and the road showed nothing but mother earth, in the middle of which a dirty gutter served to carry the impurities of the city to the river. The people in the streets appeared sulky and stupefied. The theatres, all this time, as may easily be imagined, were not well attended; in fact all the best places in the house were empty.

Louis XVIII arrived on the 26th July, and, as he was escorted by the Garde du Corps, was received with the wildest joy and cries of “Vive le Roi!” After the restoration of the Bourbons, thousands of English flocked to Paris, and our countrymen and countrywomen, having been so long excluded from French modes, had adopted fashions of their own, and were easily recognisable in the streets. The dress of the British military in its stiff, formal ugliness was equally peculiar. An order had been given to the managers of all the theatres to admit a certain number of the soldiers of the Army of occupation free of expense. One play, entitled “Les Anglaises pour Rire,” gave offence to the English soldiers, and on one occasion a sergeant and his men charged the stage, and on the gendarmes interfering were driven out of the theatre. The English soldiers walked about Paris in parties of a dozen, and were quiet and well behaved. They usually gathered every day in the Boulevard du Temple. Stage coaches and four-in-hand teams were introduced into Paris in 1815 by Captain Bacon, of the Tenth Hussars (Afterwards a General in the Portuguese services.), Sir Charles Smith and Arnold of the Tenth. They used to meet opposite Demidoff’s house, afterwards the Café de Paris, and drive to the Boulevard Beaumarchais, and then back again, proceeding to the then unfinished Arc de Triomphe. Races were also established in the neighbourhood of Vincennes. All the officers of our several cavalry and infantry regiments contributed their efforts to make these races a success.

At this time England was represented by Sir Charles Stuart, one of the most popular ambassadors ever sent to Paris. The British Embassy was a centre where all English gentlemen collected and dinners, balls, and receptions were given throughout the season. The presence of the Allies no doubt was irritating to the French soldiers, and many mutual insults took place, and duals were of daily occurrence, not only between the various nationalities but between the French officers themselves, those of Napoleon’s army and the Bourbon officers of the Garde du Corps.

On the 30th the Hussar Brigade marched to Beauvais. At his place the officers appear to have obtained comfortable quarters, and they established an excellent mess, through the good management of Captain Valentine Jones, who made a requisition of the Préfet, and was abundantly supplied with plate, linen. &c.[4]

A curious duel took place at Beauvais between a Captain B—-, of one of our cavalry regiments quartered in that town, and a French Officer. The Frenchman would not fight with pistols, B—- would not fight with swords; so at last it was agreed that they should fight on horseback with lances. The duel took place in the neighbourhood of Beauvais. B— received three wounds, but eventually killed his man.[5] After passing the whole of August and part of September at Beauvais, the Regiment moved to Poix, and afterwards to Grandvilliers, Abbeville, Pont de Remys, and Boulogne, at each of which places it remained some time. On the 27th October the 10th Hussars, 16th Light Dragoons, and 23rd Light Dragoons received orders for readiness to march for embarkation for England. Before leaving Boulogne these regiments transferred horses to those remaining in France, so as to complete their establishments to 420 horses each.

A treaty of peace was concluded in November between France and the Allied powers, by which the frontier of France was restored as it stood in 1790. 28,000,000l was to be paid to the Allies for the expenses of war, and it was stipulated that an army of 120,000 men, composed of 30,000 each from England, Russia, Austria and Prussia, was to occupy for not less than three years the frontier fortresses, to be maintained by the French Government. Large indemnities were also paid to each power, that received by England being 5,000,000l, but this she surrendered to the King of the Netherlands.[6] In January 1816 the Regiment, with 48 rank and file, marched to Calais for embarkation. On the departure of the Tenth from Boulogne the civil authorities presented the commanding officer with an address, complimenting the Regiment on the good conduct of the men during its stay there:[7]

“Le Sous-préfet du 1st arrondissement du Dépôt. Du Pas-de-Calais certifie que pendant le séjour de plus de trios semaines que vient de faire a Boulogne le Dixième régiment de Hussards de l’armée de S. M. Britannique il n’ pas donne lieu a la plus légère plainte. L’exacte discipline que le corps a constamment observée est digne de tout éloge, et lui a attire l’estime des habitans de cette ville.

                  Fait à Boulogne le jour, mois, et an que dessus.

Le Sous-préfet,                                                                               ED. HERMAN

The first transport, The Resolution, sailed from Calais on the 4th January with the Headquarters of the Regiment, and had not proceeded far when she encountered a severe storm.  She was caught in such a furious gale that she took two days and two nights in crossing the channel, and narrowly escaped being wrecked on the Goodwin Sands. The whole of the horses she carried, thirty-seven in number, were washed overboard. The remainder of the Regiment following a few days later made good passage. The several detachment s landed at Dover and Ramsgate, and marched from there to Brighton on the 11th.

Soon after its arrival a reduction of two troops of the regiment took place; the establishment of each troop being  — one captain, two lieutenants, two cornets, four sergeants, four corporals, one trumpeter, one farrier, two boys, seventy-one privates, seventy-two horses.

[1] “It is impossible to convey an idea of the universal interest and transports of joy excited throughout the British Empire by the brief but stirring campaign of Waterloo, and when Wellington’s letter was read aloud in crowds in every street by whoever was fortunate enough to have obtained first a copy of the London Gazette.” Alison

[2] “The British army before this had been greatly strengthen by the arrival of troops from Canada, mostly Peninsular veterans, and by the recovery of a large part of the wounded from Waterloo, and it now mustered 60,000. — Alison

[3] Captain Gronow

[4] Dr Jenks Diary

[5] Captain Gronow’s Reminiscences

[6] Alison

[7] The original of this letter is in the Orderly Room of the Regiment

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