That’s gonna leave a mark…

Ney's charge

Ney’s charge

At Waterloo, the Little Emperor gave his last push to defeat his arch nemesis, the Duke of Wellington. With most of his marshals failing to heed his call once he returned from Elba exile, Marshall Ney remained at his side. During the crucial afternoon of July 15, Ney ordered a mass cavalry-charge against the British line. Ney’s huge force of cavalry, perhaps never matched since, managed to overrun the enemy cannons, but found the infantry formed in cavalry-proof square formations– which they tried and tried to smash, but never did. This led to Napoleon’s defeat that day, his final exile to St. Helena from which he would never return, and Ney being stood up against the wall when the Royalists regained power.

Perhaps the most beautifully brutal example of that failed charge is on display at the Musée de l’Arméethat of rifleman Antoine Fauveau of the 2nd Carabiniers-à-Cheval, who proved that no matter how much pride you have in your heart, polish on your cuirass, or lather on your horse, it still doesn’t mean much when compared to a cannonball.

(Back of) Cuirasse du carabinier Fauveau, 2ème régiment de Carabiniers et Waterloo © musée de l'Armée (Dist. RMN-Grand Palais) photo Emilie Cambier

(Back of) Cuirasse du carabinier Fauveau, 2ème régiment de Carabiniers et Waterloo © musée de l’Armée (Dist. RMN-Grand Palais) photo Emilie Cambier

(Front of ) Cuirasse du carabinier Fauveau, 2ème régiment de Carabiniers et Waterloo © musée de l'Armée (Dist. RMN-Grand Palais) photo Emilie Cambier

(Front of ) Cuirasse du carabinier Fauveau, 2ème régiment de Carabiniers et Waterloo © musée de l’Armée (Dist. RMN-Grand Palais) photo Emilie Cambier

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