Essay on Napoleon at Waterloo

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On March 20, 1815 Napoleon returned to Paris from his exile on the island of Elba. This day marked the beginning of “Napoleon’s 100 Days”, as many historians have dubbed the brief episode , which ended July 8, 1815 when Louis XVIII was reinstated as the King of France. Within a period of two months Napoleon, capitalizing on France’s enormous population, conscripted an army roughly 280,000 strong . Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces exceeded those of the Anglo-Allied forces, led by the Duke of Wellington, Field Marshall Blucher, and the Prince of Orange, by 50,000 men. The advantage in numbers and Napoleon’s gift for military strategy would not be enough to prevent his loss at the Battle of Waterloo and his second exile to St. Helena . The would…show more content…
The French forces were incapable of accomplishing these feats due to poor communications with Ney, Ney’s indecisiveness, and the tenacity of the Prussians and Dutch. The Anglo-Allied forces took a more defensive approach in their strategy to oust Napoleon from a complete return to power. The Duke of Wellington, also known as the “Iron Duke” , kept a defensive and slow-paced approach to his confrontation with Napoleon. The “Iron Duke” repeatedly avoided confronting Napoleon’s forces directly by refusing to give up the high ground, and not speeding to the Allied forces aid. This is clearly noted in dispatches from Wellington on the June 15, 1815 which state, “The Prince of Orange is requested to collect at Nivelles… move the 3rd division of British infantry upon Nivelles… This movement is not to take place until it is quite certain that the enemy’s attack is upon the right of the Prussian army…” Wellington also used an ambush method of attacking the French forces, which Napoleon had never experienced such tactics as Wellington practiced them in Spain . Prince William of Orange and his Dutch/Belgian forces were fortified at the Quatre Bras when Marshall Ney attempted to take the crossroads. This defensive posture and Ney’s slow approach on the Quatre Bras allowed Prince William of Orange to fight the numerous French troops to a draw until the arrival of reinforcements . Ney’s inability to crush the opposition allowed the Dutch/Belgians reinforced with British

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