Heroes of Mont St Jean.

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.”

Prince Jerome Bonaparte. King of Westphalia, commanded a Division of General Reille's Corps at Quatre Bras and Mont St Jean.

Prince Jerome Bonaparte. King of Westphalia, commanded a Division of General Reille’s Corps at Quatre Bras and Mont St Jean.

Captain Jean Roch Coignet Grenadiers a piéd of the Imperial Garde. Attached to Napoleons staff.

Captain Jean Roch Coignet Grenadiers a piéd of the Imperial Garde. Attached to Napoleons staff.

Luis Victor Baillot 105e Ligne. Last known survivor of Mont St Jean.

Luis Victor Baillot 105e Ligne. Last known survivor of Mont St Jean.

Paul Abraham, 7e Ligne. Pictured with a former foe from the Cameron Highlander's.

Paul Abraham, 7e Ligne. Pictured with a former foe from the Cameron Highlander’s.

Captain Bernard Pierre Magnan, 4e Tirralieurs Young Garde, pictured as a Marshal of the 2nd Empire.

Captain Bernard Pierre Magnan, 4e Tirralieurs Young Garde, pictured as a Marshal of the 2nd Empire.

Joseph Archambault Imperial groom, pictured in 1862 as a Major in the 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Joseph Archambault Imperial groom, pictured in 1862 as a Major in the 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry.

Jean Charles Duboz, 6e Hussads, Mont St Jean.

Jean Charles Duboz, 6e Hussards, Mont St Jean.

Joseph Gastinieau 13th Légère, Mont St Jean.

Joseph Gastinieau
13th Légère, Mont St Jean.

Colonel Alphonse Grouchy, 12e Hussards, Mont St Jean.

Colonel Alphonse Grouchy, 12e Hussards, Mont St Jean.

François Lacroix 2e Grenadiers a piéd Imperial Garde.

François Lacroix
2e Grenadiers a piéd Imperial Garde.

Louis Joseph Kaess, 130e Ligne.

Louis Joseph Kaess,
130e Ligne.

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.
Josh.

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