The Landscapes of Campaign Waterloo

IV. Up the Middle: Quatre Bras and Genappe


W1541. The crossroads south of Marbais on the Sombreffe-Quatre Bras road, Belgian highway N93, looking northwest. The road behind the photographer runs south to Wagnelée. Hex (419,223) on the Campaign Waterloo map.

Quatre Bras

Quatre Bras as depicted on the Campaign Waterloo map.


W1542. The hamlet of Thyle, now a southern suburb of Sart-Dames-Avelines, looking northwest along the Sombreffe-Quatre Bras road, Belgian highway N93. Hex (375,198) on the Campaign Waterloo map.

Materne Pond

W1486. The Materne or Piraumont Pond, looking west. Hex (366,195) on Campaign Waterloo map.

Gemioncourt Farm

W1484. Gemioncourt Farm, south side, looking north. Hex (352,195) on Campaign Waterloo map.

"After a stiff resistance, the 27th Jager retired toward the Gemioncourt farm. Two companies of the battalion were deployed in the farm's gardens, the remaining companies were stationed to their front and left, 200 paces away.... The young soldiers of Westenberg's 5th Militia had their baptism of fire here, suffering severely from French howitzers. As Jamin's brigade moved in to assault the farm, two companies of the 5th Militia moved forward to support the two companies of the 27th Jager holding the farm gardens. At the same time the four center companies of the Jager battalion were in the process of withdrawing when Piré's chasseurs struck them, inflicting heavy losses, and scattering many survivors who were only able to rejoin their unit that night." Peter Hofschröer, 1815: The Waterloo Campaign, p. 292.

Gemioncourt Farm

W1483. Gemioncourt Farm, west side, looking east.

"The sight of reinforcements encoraged the 5th Militia to hang on north of Gemioncourt. They moved forward and stormed the farm at bayonet point, cleared away Jamin's skirmishers from the walls and fields, and then deployed in a line to the south of the farm. Some of the French held on in the farm itself, however." Hofschröer, 1815: The Waterloo Campaign, p. 293.

South of Gemioncourt Farm

W1485. Fields south of Gemioncourt Farm, looking east.

"Next a column of French cavalry and infantry from Jamin's brigade moved east of Gemioncourt. The Prince of Orange sent Merlen an order to charge this column, while he reorganised the 5th Militia and 27th Jager to attack its flank. The French were driven off with heavy losses and briefly forced to abandon Gemioncourt." Hofschröer, 1815: The Waterloo Campaign, p. 293.

East of Quatre Bras, looking south

W1479. Southeast of Quatre Bras, looking south. Gemioncourt Farm is just beyond the woods seen in the distance at center. Hex (354,187) on Campaign Waterloo map.

Southeast of Quatre Bras

W1480. Southeast of Quatre Bras, looking southeast. The road to Sombreffe is at left.

Quatre Bras

W1481. Quatre Bras, the crossroads at the center of the campaign: 20 kilometers north of Charleroi, 17 kilometers south of Waterloo. Now featuring a horseless-carriage care center on the southeast corner.

Quatre Bras

W1478. The intersection at Quatre Bras, looking south toward Frasnes along the Brussels-Charleroi road, Belgian highway N5.

Brunswick Memorial

W1482. Memorial near the spot where Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick, was killed in action, on the east side of the Charleroi-Brussels road, just south of Quatre Bras.

"The Duke of Brunswick accompanied his Life Battalion until it came under the cover of the skirmishers of the Lüneburg Landwehr. After having a brief conversation with Colonel Best, the Duke set himself at the head of his Uhlan Squadron, and attacked the French 1st Light Regiment from Jérôme's 6th Division which was now moving up in support of Foy. The fire of this square drove the Brunswickers back in disorder. The Duke then returned to his Life Battalion who were being attacked by Piré's chasseurs à cheval and lancers, as well as Jérôme's battalions. During this action the Duke of Brunswick was mortally wounded, at the head of his young soldiers, and had to be carried away. The Duke was on his horse about 25 paces in front of the battalion when he came under fire, probably from some of the French lancers. First his horse was struck, and fell, then a second salvo hit the Duke, inflicting the fatal wound. He was rescued by Corporal Kübel and Jäger Rekau of the 1st Company, and Hornist Aue of the 3rd. They carried him to the battalion, using their muskets as a stretcher. Coming under heavy artillery fire here, they took their wounded charge to the Namur road where Major von Wachhlotz relieved them. That night, Colonel Olfermann, until then second-in-command of the Brunswick Corps, wrote the following report to his government:

...our much-loved Duke...was hit by a musket ball which smashed through one hand, his abdomen and his liver. This tragic incident occurred about 6 PM when His Grace was personally leading two battalions against a strong enemy column which was threatening our entire right flank. Despite being heavily outnumbered, it held back the enemy for a long time, but finally had to fall back on the second line. The last words the Duke spoke before his death were to Major von Wachholtz, and were, 'Oh, my dear Wachholtz, where is Olfermann?'"

Peter Hofschröer, 1815: The Waterloo Campaign, p. 300.

Quatre Bras Farm

W1477. The building of Quatre Bras Farm, on the northeast corner of the intersection, still stands as it did on 16 June 1815. The building now sports an advertisement for the McDonald's restaurant in Mont-Saint-Jean, not present in 1815.

Quatre Bras in Prelude to Waterloo

Quatre Bras as depicted on the Prelude to Waterloo map.

Belgian Memorial

W1475. Memorial to the Belgians who died at Quatre Bras, just west of the intersection.

Site of the Bois de Bossu

W1476. Looking south from the Belgian Memorial, just west of Quatre Bras, to where the Bossu Woods once stood, but stand no more.

Northwest of Quatre Bras

W1474. Fields just northwest of Quatre Bras, looking northeast from the Nivelles road. The Charleroi-Brussels road runs across the background of this picture (note streetlamps).

Ferme de Rome

W1472. The Ferme de Rome, old walled farmstead in Genappe. Hex (362,139) on Campaign Waterloo map.

Auberge du Roi d'Espagne, Genappe

The Auberge du Roi d'Espagne, on the main street of Genappe, lodged a series of distinguished guests. The Duke of Wellington slept here the night of 16-17 June 1815. Général Reille, commander of the French II Corps, and Jérôme Bonaparte slept here the night of 17-18 June. Field-Marshal Blücher spent the night of 18-19 June here. Général Duhesme, commander of the French Young Guard, wounded at Placenoit on 18 June, died here on 20 June 1815.

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