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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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