Thursday, 13 April 2017

Waterloo campaign: now the problems start

Prussian artillery near Charleroi, morning of 16 June
South of Charleroi, 0545 June 16, 1815

Well, here we are, encamped with the bulk of the Prussian II Corp south of Charleroi. To my front is the French I Corps under Ney. Prussian artillery is still arriving and my opinion is we will need to hold here and stop the French getting across the river Sambre at Charleroi.

Finally heard back from Wellington - it sounds as if the British are currently as much in the dark as I am. Neither of us is sure of where Napoleon's main thrust will be. I think it would be prudent to keep II Corps here, and see if Ney would like to try the issue.

To my right Zeithen and I Corps are facing Van Damme and the French III Corps. Again, Van Damme has yet to cross the Sambre and Zeithen has wisely put out overnight cavalry pickets on the north bank of the river to keep an eye on any French efforts to get across.

However, the real problem, and one Dutch partisans have been warning me about, is the presence of French cavalry over in the Ciney/Huy area. As it turns out, large numbers of unidentified enemy horse have swept into Huy, getting across the Meuse and severing communications with Prussia, damn their eyes!

Priority must now be to get rid of them. To this end I am sending most of IV Corps' cavalry to sort this out. Intelligence indicates more French on the move to the south and east of III Corps, so it could well be that Napoleon is aiming to direct his main thrust againt me in the east. We just need to be able to confirm this. I have taken the liberty of sending a single division under Hacke due north out of Namur to secure Hannut, as I'm worried now.

Right now we must ensure the French do not get into Namur, and we free up our supply lines back to Prussia. I must admit, it is starting to look like Napleon already has the upper hand.

Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher, Furst von Wahlstatt, Charleroi, 16 June

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