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Battle of Waterloo

The Napoleonic Wars raged for 10 years in Europe. Victory at the Battle of Waterloo
brought the fighting to an end in 1815. An army of British, Dutch and German
soldiers, led by the Duke of Wellington, defeated the French Emperor Napoleon.
Wellington’s second in command and chief of his cavalry was Henry Paget, Earl of
Uxbridge.


Wellington famously said of Waterloo that the result was very close and could have
gone either way. In his own words, the battle was “a damned nice thing – the nearest
run thing you ever saw in your life.” In essence, it was a question as to whether the
troops under Wellington defending the ridge at Waterloo could hold out against the
generally superior French troops long enough for the Prussian ( German) army to
arrive on the battlefield. In the event they did, and the overwhelming numerical
superiority of the allies decided the battle.


But there were several moments when the French very nearly broke through to win
the day. At one of these, possibly the most important, Uxbridge’s role was crucial.
When it looked like the massed French infantry had broken through in the middle of
the allied line, he launched a cavalry charge in the nick of time, which routed them.
Most historians think that this very daring and rapid decision was vital in achieving
the victory.


Because of his role in the battle and also as a result of his famous wounding, when
he lost his leg, Uxbridge became a war hero and was made Marquess of Anglesey.