The 200th anniversary of Waterloo is about commemoration. Therefore we should remember that to the French the battle is called Mont St Jean, which is a more accurate but less catchy title. More importantly we should bear in mind that between 27,000 and 40,000 French soldiers became casualties during the battle and in its aftermath, this after over 16,000 had already fallen in the three days previously.
Sometimes derided as a rush job army, the Armée du Nord was in fact a highly professional fighting force, which had a high proportion of veterans serving in it’s ranks, led by capeable commanders. There is no doubt in my mind that man for man the French army outperformed both allied armies in the days leading up to the Battle at Mont St Jean and in the days after it. Therefore I felt it fitting to commemorate their sacrifice and valour here by creating a companion peace to “Waterloo Men” with the “Heroes of Mont St Jean.”
The Armée du Nord was a force that had the advantage of being much more united than either of its enemies. However it was divided in loyalty and deeply suspicious. These soldiers pictured here served either Napoleon, or France and had conflicting emotions about what each meant to them. But whatever their politics at Mont St Jean they played their part in upholding the reputation of the French soldier for 200 years to come.
See you again for another adventure in Historyland.