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THE CRISIS AT WATERLOO.

SIR HUSSEY VIVIAN " IN REPLY TO MAJOR GAWLER."

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Dublin, September 9, 1833. My dear MAJOR,

I have neither time nor inclination to enter at any great length in reply to your very voluminous observations on my letter. Nor, indeed, is it necessary; for although there is much that might be criticised, there is not much that requires answering. On some points, however, I may perhaps be expected to say a few words, and to those I shall refer as briefly as possible. I only regret that you did not send me your letter before printing it, as, had you done so, this answer might have appeared at the same time, which would have at least been more convenient for those who consider our controversy worthy of their notice,

You say you are “ bound to defend the facts and inferences have made public, without respect to persons,” &c.

In this I entirely agree with you ; but whilst doing so, you must permit me to observe, that although persons are not to be respected, some allowance, at least, should be made for situation ; and it cannot be denied, that a general officer in command of a brigade of cavalry, the movements of which extended over much ground,

must, of necessity, have had an opportunity of seeing more of what was going on around him, than a subaltern officer in command of a company of a regiment of infantry. This, if I mistake not, was our relative situation on the day of the battle of Waterloo.

Before proceeding with my reply, I must beg of you always to bear in mind that it is not my object, nor has it ever been, in any way, to take from the merit of the 52d regiment at the close of the battle of Waterloo. And, moreover, that I was led into this correspondence solely because I considered, in your account of the “ Crisis,” your notice of the movements of the 6ih brigade of cavalry was incorrect; but for this I should never have written a single line on the subject; for, to borrow from the language of my gallant friend Sir Thomas Reynell," I had no desire to attract notice to the services of the '6th brigade of cavalry,' firmly believing that every battalion and corps did the duty assigned to it fully as well.

In your letter now before me, you endeavour to prove my statement, the substance of which is as followsThat in the advance, the 6th brigade of cavalry took the lead; that two of the regiments belonging to it had charged twice on the enemy's cavalry and artillery; and that a rallied squadron of the 10th was prepared to charge again before the arrival of any other part of the army on the ground where this took placethat ground being on the enemy's left of La Belle Alliance, and extending away towards Hougoumont,--the first charge of the 10th being on the ertreme of the right of the brigade ; and that of the 18th on the left,—to be incorrect. In order to show this, and further

U.S. JOURN., No. 59, Oct. 1833.

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to prove that the 52d and 71st were in my front, you advance the mathematical proposition—" that when two bodies, moving at different rates on direct lines from the same point, arrive at the same moment at a distant point, two things are inevitable that the quickest was the last to commence its movement, and that it never passed the slowest on its way.” Now, admitting this principle to be perfectly correct, I cannot at all admit your deduction, as applied to the case in point, to be so; inasmuch as that you have supposed the movement of my brigade to have been an uninterrupted advance, and have left out of the calculation the length of time necessarily required for the re-formation of the 10th after its first charge, and that occupied in the attack of the 18th, from which regiment I had returned before the squadron under Major Howard attacked; and you forget also that, according to your own showing, the advance of the 52d from La Haye Sainte was through ground in which, at times, “the sturdy rear-rank men sunk kneedeep*.” Take all these circumstances into your consideration, and I think you will easily understand how it might happen that the quickest body passed the slowest in the advance +, and that the arrival of the

regiment in red 1,” was after the squadron of the 10th was standing, and had been standing some short time, near the square of infantry.

These facts demolish, I apprehend, all the inference you draw from the discussion of this mathematical problem ; but whether this be the case or not, I can only say that all the mathematicians, from the days of the first publication of Euclid up to the present hour, would not persuade me against the evidence of my senses ; and that the facts I have stated, as to the 6th brigade of cavalry having been greatly in advance of the rest of the army, as far as I could see, I will assert and uphold to the last hour of my existence. But, to satisfy you, I will still further argue the point on another of your own propositions. You say " no regiment would have left an enemy's square behind it; or if, by any accident, they had done so, the rest of the British infantry was at that time several hundred yards in the rear ; so that, on the supposition that the 10th came up with any other regiment, your brigade must have been still less in advance than even I have described them, which you certainly will not admit."

Now, before reaching La Belle Alliance, the 52d, you tell us, had crossed the chaussée, and was engaged with a column and some artillery on the left of it; and, consequently, you could not see what was taking place on the right of it; but, as it is acknowledged on all hands that

* "Sir John Colborne, observing this distance of support, the strength and attitude of the enemy, and the heavy state of the ground in the valley, (into which, trampled and re-trampled as it had been by 20,000 horsemen, the sturdy rear-rank men sunk at times knee-deep,) called out to the 52d to step short and take breath,” &c.U. S. J. p. 305.

f I do not pretend to deny that you moved against the enemy's flank before I quitted the position, and consequently were at first in advance of me. You went diagonally across the ground, - I went perpendicularly to the front.

| What regiment it was, I will not pretend to say; but I still believe it to have been a regiment of Hanoverians. And here let me apologize to the gallant legion, for having in my last hastily written " Hanoverian Legion,” for I well recollect the officer I sent calling it a regiment of " young Hanoverians," and this will account for its balting and firing.

there was some severe fighting on the ground in a line with La Belle Alliance,-indeed your first letter distinctly states it *, -and as Sir Thomas Reynell as distinctly denies that the 71st was the regiment in red, since, from the time it commenced the forward movement, it maintained “

a steady advance upon the only enemy in front,” you are placed on the horns of a dilemma. Either the 52d and 71st were in advance of my brigade and an enemy's square—and indeed squares had been left behind-or else the 6th brigade of cavalry had reached the ground in question, and made two attacks before the arrival of any other part of the advancing army.

I will, however, conclude this part of the discussion by a fact which is to me convincing as to the distance the 6th brigade must have been in advance, and which will, I have no doubt, be equally convincing to my readers, if not to yourself. It is one that has been stated to me by Sir Colin Campbell, since I wrote my first observations on the “ Crisis.” Lord Anglesey, who was riding with the Duke of Wellington, was wounded after Sir Colin's return from having been with the message to me, to check my advance. Now, as it is well known that Lord Anglesey was wounded by grape, (probably from one of those very guns to drive off which your right section was detached,) almost immediately after descending from the position, and was carried at once into the high road near La Haye Sainte, within a short distance from which this occurred, the fair inference is, that the Duke, on descending from the hill, and getting out of the smoke, perceived that, my brigade was trotting away from the rest of the army, and therefore sent to check me, somewhat about the same time that he rode to your regiment, and, as you state, desired Sir John Colborne to go on f.

Here then we have two facts, which, in my view of the case, are decisive. The Duke desired Sir Colin Campbell to go and check my advance before Lord Anglesey was wounded, consequently very soon after the advance of the army commenced, and ordered the 52d to go on. Is it probable he would have done either the one or the other, if Adam's brigade had been in front of mine?

You enter into a very long discussion as to when the crisis took place, and really seem to imagine that I claim for the troops under my orders some extraordinary share in it. If from anything I have said this is to be understood, I must beg explicitly to disavow any such intention; and, with respect to the crisis, I readily admit, looking to the result, that it may fairly be said to have been that period when the attack of the enemy on our position was defeated, and their retreat commenced. I say this, most especially considering that a fresh and a

* " On the other side of the road events were more varied and extensive. Vivian's brigade of hussars came up rapidly in echellon of regiments to the assistance of the 71st. The cuirassiers, worn out as they were, and discouraged as they had reason to be, with much devotedness fronted in the line of La Belle Alliance, to protect the squares of the Old Guard; but a squadron of the 10th dashing at them, followed im. mediately by one of the 18th, they were dispersed in hopeless confusion. The compact battalions of the Old Guard were not so soon routed : a part of the 10th having rallied, after the charge on the cuirassiers, found itself under the fire of one of the squares; the men fell very fast ; and there was no alternative but instantly to retreat or to charge."-U.S. J. p. 306,

+ United Service Journal, p. 305.

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numerous Prussian army was at the same period attacking him in flank and rear.

Were it not for this, I would say that it is impossible always at the end of a severe day to be prepared against the effects of a desperate attack of cavalry on infantry, advancing otherwise than in perfect order, (and at such a moment perfect order was not to be expected,) and consequently that your defeat and pursuit of the column from behind La Haye Sainte might not have been conclusive. In proof of this, I would remind you of a case in point at Marengo, where the Austrian general Melas believed the crisis had arrived, and returned to his quarters to take his rest : but he was disturbed in the midst of his dream of victory by a charge of cavalry under Kellermann on the flank of the advancing column of Austrian grenadiers, whilst a small force under Dessaix met it in front. That which has occurred might occur again, and it was under this impression that I was most anxious to advance and dispose of the enemy's cavalry: but I still never pretended from having done so, to lay claim to any extraordinary share in the victory. If the soldiers under my orders are considered to have done their duty, I am quite satisfied.

There are many minor points in my letter that you have commented upon, which it would be tedious to reply to at any length. My remark as to the section wheeling up against the guns was written to point out what I thought a mistake on your part ;- what you now say has completely explained it. I can easily understand the section advancing a hundred yards and firing, and the unsupported guns of a defeated army retreating. With reference to this also, I must notice an observation of yours, on my having said the enemy were at this time “ flying in every direction:"—this you contradict. Now, setting aside having myself, as I thought, seen this, I considered I was authorized in saying so; for in one part you describe them about this time as “ rushing in total disorganization towards the Genappe road ;” and immediately following, you speak of the “ chaussée" as being “ covered with fugitives.”

In respect to the inference you draw from the French quotations, I shall merely observe, that although they may somewhat differ in the manner of relating it, (and no two men ever yet gave the same account of a battle or a fox-hunt,) the French authors invariably attribute the

sauve qui peut” panic to the attack of the cavalry at the close of the day.

In your concluding inferences, you say that I“ have not proved, or scarcely attempted to prove, an error in the account of the movements of the 520 and 71st; and have not established, that before reaching the farm of Rossomme, a mile from the summit of the British position"— my“ brigade decidedly led the pursuit, or was in positive advance of the line, upon which the 52d and the regiment on its right were acting.” I can only again say, that I have not been desirous of proving an error in your account of the movements of the 52d and 7 1st. I am quite ready to admit your account to be correct, that these two regiments did, after the attack near La H Sainte, advance and follow two of the enemy's columns on either side of the chaussée until they reached Rossomme, and to conclude these to have been columns of which I knew or saw nothing,—but I cannot concede that they drove away the enemy's cavalry and infantry from their position on the left of La Belle Alliance; or at least, if they did so, I must suppose them to have rallied again, for there I found them, and there I attacked them,-and that, as I before stated, prior to the arrival of a single soldier either of infantry or cavalry to my assistance.

Ever, my dear Major,

Very truly yours,

R. H. Vivian. To Major Gawler, 52d Regiment.

THE SHIPWRECK.

“ Mercy on us ! We split! we split! Farewell

My wife and children! Farewell, brother!

We split, split, we split !"-TEMPEST. The late heavy tempestuous weather has supplied us with ample materials to dilate upon this melancholy subject ; and we trust that, in detailing the miseries experienced by those unfortunate convicts lost in the Amphitrite on the shore of Boulogne, we may, whilst they excite the sympathy and compassion of the public, excite also their indignation and abhorrence.

It appears almost incredible, that any vessel deemed by the surveyors as sea-worthy could be beaten to pieces on a sand in the short space of six hours; and still more incredible does it appear, that the crew, wrecked about two hundred yards from the bathing-machines, should not have found those common assistances which the most inferior watering-place in England might have supplied. The sands at Boulogne extend at low water to a great distance; and so very flat is the shore all along, that at half-tide a man may wade out nearly a quarter of a mile. The pier, which forms the left-hand entrance of the harbour, is the general lounge of the inhabitants, either English or French; and those who prefer more shelter from the wind—if shelter it can be called-generally betake themselves to the terrace in front of Versials, from which place a clear view of the sea, even to the English shores, is obtained. We have thought proper to give this short account of the locale, because we wish most particularly to call the attention of the public to the very gross negligence of the French authorities of Boulogne; and hereafter to comment, we fear with some severity, upon this startling fact—that although the ship which was wrecked must have been seen and known to have been in the most imminent danger from 3 P.M. on Saturday, until the time she was totally demolished, the English consul was never apprised of her approach to the shore, and never knew that she was aground until half-past eight o'clock at night. Now this negligence caused the fearful loss which afterwards occurred: but we do not mean here to enter into the question, whether or not it is the duty of a consul receiving 3001. per annum, and making as many more by fees of office, to fix his house in such a situation that wrecks at the harbour's mouth must come under his observation ; or whether, if the consul fixes his abode in a large mansion at the upper

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