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  read of them, read ti_>u of their prowess in
  tightinp;. After attentively surveying the whole,
  he exclaimed, '• What fine troops, but they
  must give way." Soult, who knew them better,
  replied, 'Sire, they will die first," and Napoleon
  made his dispositions to master them.
  He brought forward the whole of D' Erlon's
  corps d'armee, and Kellerman's division (if
  heavy cavalry and lancers, supported by
  brigades from Reille's and Bachelu's divisions,
  comprising no less than 20,000 of all arms,
  planted 74 guns on a lower ridge to pound
  away at Pictou's position on the higher ground
  opposite. The ridge upon which these ten
  batteries of 74 guns were placed was of such
  an elevation above the intervening plain, that
  they could fire above the heads of the attacking
  troops, till they nearly arrived on the summit
  of the British position and sweep the whole
  extent of it.
  This imposing force of superb infantry,
  cavalry, and artillery, with its reserves of
  infantry and cavalry in support, was not more
  than commensurate with the importance of
  Napoleon's design, which was not only to turn
  Wellington's left, but to force the centre of his
  position, and by gaining possession of La Haye
  Saiute, Mont St. Jean, to cut off Wellington's
  main line communication by the high road to
  Brussels, lay it open for the advance of his own
  troops to that city, which was his main object,
  and likewise prevent any junction of the
  Prussians from Wavre, of which he was appre-
  hensive, and had seen some indications.
  Ney, having marshalled all his columns of
  attack, sent word to Napoleon that all was
  ready. The order to advance was given.
  Grand and imposing was the advance of this
  array of four deep columns of infantiy, flanked
  by cavalry and followed by supporting brigades,
  with their loud and reiterated shouts of " Vive
  L-Empereur ! en avant ! en avant ! " which as
  the masses of men and horses descended the
  exterior declivity of their position into the
  intervening plain, were soon drowned by the
  roar produced by the simultaneous discharge
  of 74 guns over their heads upon the British
  and allied position. The effect was astounding.
  The left column of the French under Donze-
  lot marched for the centre of the British
  position by La Haye Sainte farm buildings,
  held by German light infantry. The right
  column under Durutte made for the left of the
  allied position at Papilotte, La Haye, and
  Smohain, while the two centre columns under
  Alis and Marcoguet advanced direct for Picton's
  division, Alix for Kempt's brigade, Marcoguet
  for Pack's. Light infantry troops soon issued

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