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Wellington's Dispatches
June 6th - 7th, 1815


To Colonel du Plat.

'Bruxelles, 6th June, 1815.


' I enclose the proceedings of a General Court Martial, of which you are President, on the trial of private— —, of the—nd regiment, for desertion.

' I beg the Court will revise the proceedings on this trial, and make it appear in evidence that this soldier was enlisted for a limited term of years, which, by perusing the Act of Parliament, you will see is necessary to make the sentence a legal one.

' As to the sentence itself, I cannot avoid observing that this soldier deserted to the enemy when the two armies were in presence of each other; and it appears to be a very useless waste of the time of the General Court Martial and of mine, if, when such cases are brought before them, they do not sentence a punishment more likely by example to prevent a repetition of the crime of desertion, already too common in the army.

I have the honor to be, &c.

To the Commissary General.

' Bruxelles, 6th June, 1815.

' The conferences with the Prussian Commissaries have already produced an arrangement satisfactory to them for the formation of their magazines; and there remains to be considered only, first, the mode of administering the countries which may fall into the hands of the Allies in the course of the operations of the war; secondly, the measures to be adopted in France for securing the subsistence of the army.

' In regard to the first point, I understand that a convention is under discussion with the Ministers of the King of France, under which this object will be provided for. But, in case this convention should not be adopted, I conceive the following propositions reasonable and proper.

' 1. That a rayon shall be allotted to each army to be under its government.

' 2. The detail of the administration should be carried on as much as possible by the native officers, that is, by the mayors and Sous Préfets, if any of the latter should be found on the spot. If none of the latter should remain, then the mayor of the chef lieu du district should act as Sous Préfet. An allied officer should be appointed to act as Préfet of each Préfeture.

' 3. I do not see much use in the Conseil Départemental, excepting as a council of reference.

' 4. The officer to be appointed to act as Préfet should have the power of suspending officers from their functions, and of appointing others provisionally.

' The 5th and 6th articles in the Prussian Projet are very proper and necessary.

' 7. The French functionaries must be informed that, if they choose to quit their employments and join Napoleon, they may go; but that if they remain in their employments they must serve the Allies faithfully; and that if they swerve from their fidelity they will be punished by the military law.

' 8. All the French functionaries must be under the direction of the officer to be appointed Préfet.

'Note.—It must be understood that this system is to be adopted only in case the country is to be under the government of the Allies.

' In regard to the subsistence, I concur in the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th articles, each nation receiving its own ration.

' It is most important that it should be understood that no person whatever, in either army, has the power of making a requisition directly on the country.

' The Commissaries of the army must make their requisitions on the officer acting as Préfet; and he on the different subordinate magistrates and on the country.


To Colonel Washington,

' Bruxelles, 6th June, 1815.

' The undersigned, having taken the orders of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent on the contents of the note of Colonel Washington of the 26th May last, has the honor of informing him that his Royal Highness cannot consent to make any advance to Bavaria, excepting that which had been already stated, viz., from the 1st April last.

' Neither does his Royal Highness consider that the claim for payment for the expenses of fitting out a battering train by His Majesty the King of Bavaria can with propriety be urged upon his Royal Highness, as His Royal Highness has already ordered that a battering train should be provided for the British army; and it appears but reasonable that the expenses of the Bavarian battering train, if this equipment should be called for, should be paid by the power which shall call for it' or should be a charge to be defrayed by the Allies in common.

'Neither has the undersigned received any authority to agree to any stipulation on the political points to which Colonel Washington has referred in his note.

' The King of Bavaria has acceded to the treaty of General Alliance, concluded at Vienna on the 25th March last, by the Plenipotentiaries of Great Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, and has engaged to furnish a certain quota of men for the common cause.

' The Prince Regent is willing to afford His Majesty every assistance in his power, in order to enable His Majesty to make the exertions to perform his engagement above specified. But his Royal Highness cannot enter into any political engagement in the treaty to be made upon this occasion, as an inducement to His Majesty to perform the stipulations of His treaty of accession, or to accept the assistance which it is in his Royal Highness's power to afford His Majesty.


To Lieut. General C. Baron Allen' K.C.B. '

' Bruxelles' 6th June' 1815.


' I have received your letter of the 6th. You shall have the field jägers in your division; but I am very anxious, and it is very desirable' to give some light troops to General Colville's division. I wish, therefore, that you would give up the light battalion of the Hanoverian line for the field jägers. You will lose a little in numbers, but you will gain in composition. Let me hear from you on this subject.

' Believe me, &c.
' Lieut. General ' WELLINGTON.

To His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge '

' Bruxelles, 6th June, 1815,

' I have received your Royal Highness's dispatches, and your letter of the 31st May; and I am very much obliged to your Royal Highness for your attention to our wants.

'I enclose the copy of a letter which I have this day written to England on the plan for augmenting the Legion ordered by your Royal Highness; and you will see the nature of the objections which I have to carrying it into execution immediately, and will be the best judge of their force.

' I understand that the officers of the Hanoverian line would object to their men being draughted from them; we might have some disagreeable business with them; and at all events both the Legion and the line would be disorganised exactly at the moment I should require their services.

' I have the honor to be, &c.

To Earl Bathurst.

' Bruxelles, 6th June, 1815.

' I have the honor to enclose the copy of a letter which I have received from His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, regarding the augmentation of the regiments of the German Legion, by volunteers from the Hanoverian regiments of the line.

' I have no authority to give the bounty stipulated; but, as there is no doubt that this authority would be given, I should feel no scruple in adopting the measure proposed, if it was not probable that it would take more time than it now appears can be afforded before the operations of the army will commence; and if, therefore, I might not have both the Legion and the Hanoverian infantry of the line disorganised at the moment I should require their services; and if, besides that objection, the measure was not attended by the necessity of taking from the Hanoverian Landwehr battalions the officers belonging to the Legion, recently posted to do duty with them, by whose services with them alone it can be hoped to render them as useful military bodies as they ought to be.

' Upon the whole, then, it is my opinion that the measure ought to be delayed for the present.

' I have the honor to be, &c.

To H.S.H. the Duc d'Orleans.

' Bruxelles, 6th June, 1815,

' I received your Highness's letter in due course, and I should have answered it sooner, if I had not wished to give to the subject to which it relates all the consideration which it deserves.

' In my opinion, the King was driven from his throne because he never had the real command over his army. This is a fact with which your Highness and I were well acquainted, and which we have frequently lamented; and even if the trivial faults, or rather follies, of his civil administration had not been committed, I believe the same results would have been produced.

' We must consider the King, then, as the victim of a successful revolt of his army, and of his army only; for, whatever may be the opinions and feelings of some who took a prominent part in the revolution, and whatever the apathy of the great mass of the population of France, we may, I think, set it down as certain that even the first do not like the existing order of things, and that the last would, if they dared , oppose it in arms.

' Now, then, this being the case, what ought to be the conduct of the King? First, he ought to call for his allies to enable him to oppose himself to his rebellious army; and he ought, by his personal countenance, and the activity of his servants and adherents, to do every thing in his power to facilitate their operations, and to diminish, by good order and management, the burdens of the war upon his faithful subjects, and to induce them to receive his allies as friends and deliverers. The King should give an interest to the Allies to support his cause; and this can be done only by his coming forward himself in it..

' So far your Highness will see that I differ in opinion with you regarding the conduct of the King.

' In regard to your Highness, I confess that I do not see how far your Highness could have acted in a different manner up to the present period. It is not necessary that I should recite the different reasons you had for keeping at a distance from the Court since it has been at Ghent; but I feel them all, and I believe the King is not insensible of the weight of some of them.

' But if, as may be expected, the entrance and first successes of the Allies in France should induce the people to come forward, and a great party should appear in favor of the King in different parts of the kingdom, surely Your Highness would then consider it your duty to come forward in His Majesty's service. I venture to suggest this conduct to your Highness? telling you at the same time that I have not had any conversation with the King upon it.

' Your Highness will have read with pleasure the accounts of the Austrian successes in Italy, upon which I beg leave to congratulate you. That affair has turned out in all its details nearly as we expected; and I hope we shall be equally successful in the other still greater which we are about to undertake.

' I beg your Highness to present my most respectful compliments to Madame la Duchesse d'Orleans and to Mademoiselle.

' I have the honor to be, &c.

To Lieut. Colonel Sill Henry Hardinge, K.C.B.

' Bruxelles, 6th June, 1815. 7 P.M.

All accounts which I receive from the frontier appear again to concur in the notion of a collection of troops about Maubeuge.

' Buonaparte was expected to be at Laon on the 6th; and there were on all parts of the road between Paris and the frontier extraordinary preparations for the movement of troops in carriages.

' The numbers of the latter collected are immense in some of the towns.

' I shall be obliged to you to mention these facts to the Marshal.

' I shall likewise be obliged to you to mention to him that I have had a letter from the King of Saxony, in which he desires me to take the command of the Saxon troops. This is in consequence of an arrangement of the Allies.

' But I beg you to tell the Marshal that I shall not take any command of these troops till I shall learn from him that he has directed them to place themselves under my orders.

' Believe me, &e.

To H.R.H. the Prince of Orange' G.C.B.

' a Bruxelles, ce 7 Juin, 1815.

' J'ai l'honneur d'envoyer à votre Altesse Royale des ordres pour les Gouverneurs des places fortes dans ce pay sei, que je prie votre Altesse Royale de leur envoyer.

' J'en ai déjà soumis les principes à Sa Majesté, qui m'a fait l'honneur de les approuver'; et je souhaite qu'elles mériteront l'approbation de votre Altesse Royale.

' J'ai l'honneur d'être, &c.

Orders for the defence of the Towns of Antwerp' Ostend' Nieuport' Ypres, Tournay, Ath, Mons, and Ghent.

' 1. Le moment que l'ennemi mettra le pied sur le territoire des Pays Bas les places ci dessous nommées doivent être déclarées en état de siége: c'est-à-dire, Anvers, Ostende, Nieuport, Ypres, Tournay, Ath, Mons, et Gand.

' 2. Aussitôt qu'une place est déclarée en état de siège, soit par l'effet de cet ordre, ou par un ordre particulièrement adressé au Gouverneur ou Commandant, toutes les précautions militaires doivent être adoptées; et le Gouverneur doit tout de suite rassembler le conseil de défense.

' 3. Le conseil de défense doit consister du Gouverneur comme Président, du Commandant des troupes, du Chef de l'Artillerie, et du Chef du Génie.

' 4. Il sera tenu un registre de leurs déliberations, qui sera signé par tous les membres du conseil.

' 5. Le Gouverneur décidera seul sur toute question, ou de la défense ou de la police militaire ou autre' après avoir pris l'avis et entendu les discussions de son conseil, même contre leur avis; et chaque membre est autorisé de mettre sur le registre son opinion, signée par lui-même, avec tout le développement qu'il voudra.

' 6. Les membres du conseil ne peuvent laisser transpirer aucun objet de déliberation, ou leur opinion personnelle sur la situation de la place qu'ils occupent, sans y être appellés par l'autorité supérieure .

' 7. Le Gouverneur d'une des places ci-dessous nommées, c'est-à-dire, Anvers, Ostende, Nieuport, Ypres, la citadelle de Tournay, Ath, la citadelle de Gand, qui, après avoir été en état de siège, aura consent) à la reddition de sa place avant que l'ennemi y ait fait brèche praticable, et que cette brèche ait été retranchée, et qu'elle ait soutenu un assaut, et sans avoir pris l'avis, ou contre l'aveu, de son conseil, sera coupable, non seulement d'une désobéissance militaire, mais de trahison.

' 8. Il y aura ordre particulier pour la défense des villes de Mons, de Tournay, et de Gand, au lieu de l'Article 7.


Order, for the defence of the Town of Tournay.

' La ville de Tournay doit être considérée comme un camp retranché, dont la citadelle est le réduit.

' La citadelle doit toujours contenir le tiers des troupes stationées à Tournay , et doit être défendue comme forteresse jusqu'à l'extrémité.

' Les flèches en avant des portes de la ville, les fossés, et les inondations de l'Escaut, qui pourraient se pratiquer, donneront la facilité aux troupes dans la ville de la défendre jusqu'à ce que l'ennemi en aurait détruit les défenses.

' Les troupes dans la ville doivent alors se retirer dans la citadelle jusqu'à la concurrence de ; et le surplus sur Bruxelles, ou le long de l'Escaut sur Audenarde, ou selon les ordres que le Gouverneur aura reçu.


Orders for the defence of the Town of Mons.

' Le Gouverneur de Mons doit considérer la place comme un camp retranché, la défense de laquelle est facilitée par les ouvrages dernièrement construits, par les bons fossés de la ville, et par les inondations.

' Pour conserver ces dernières il faut occuper la redoute sur la route de St. Ghislain avec 200 hommes; et celle sur Mont Palizel avec 400.

' Aussitôt que la place soit déclarée en état de siège il faut faire des coupures dans les chaussées qui l'approchent, et faire des abattis assez importans pour arrêter l'ennemi sous le feu des batteries.

' L'ennemi ne saurait faire une attaque sérieuse sur la place avant de saigner les inondations, après avoir pris les redoutes qui en gardent les écluses.

' Un Gouverneur Président observera ses mouvemens, et prendra les mesures pour assurer sa retraite, quand elle deviendrait nécessaire par les approches de l`ennemi, en faisant barricader les rues, &c.; et il se retiree soit sur Ath soit sur Bruxelles, selon les circonstances ou les ordres qu'il aura reçu, prenant garde de renforcer la garrison du Mont Palizel jusqu'à la concurrence de 600 hommes.


Orders for the defence of the Town of Ghent.

' L'enceinte de Gand est énorme, et l'on ne peut considérer cette ville que comme un camp retranché, dont la citadelle est le réduit.

' Mais, malgré la grandeur de l'enceinte, quoique nuisible à une défense en règle avec une petite force; et comme les inondations aident beaucoup à la défense et rendent l'attaque sur tous les points très difficile, il y a lieu d'espérer que le Gouverneur pourrait même tenir la ville.

' 1. Le tiers de la garrison doit toujours se trouver dans la citadelle.

'2. Ce tiers doit s'augmenter jusqu'à la concurrence de 1400 hommes, en cas que la citadelle soit la partie attaquée, ou que le Gouverneur se trouve dans le cas de se retirer de la ville.

' 3. Si la ville est attaquée par la porte de Courtrai ou par la porte de Bruges, tous les efforts doivent être fan's pour tenir les redoutes entre l'Escaut et le Lys en avant de la première, et les moulins et le village en avant de la seconde.

' 4. Si le Gouverneur de la ville se trouve dans le cas de se retirer avec ses troupes après avoir laissé garrison suffisante dans la citadelle, il doit se retirer sur Anvers à moins d'avoir autres ordres de ses supérieurs.


To Lieut. General Decken.

' Bruxelles, 7th June, 181 5.

' I return the estimates of the monthly expenses of the Hanoverian subsidiary corps, with the remarks in the Adjutant General's office upon them. I believe you and I mean the same thing, viz., that Hanover shall be relieved from, and Great Britain shall pay, all the expenses incurred by Hanover on account of the subsidiary corps in this country, which is employed here solely on account of Great Britain. But the gentlemen in your pay-offices do not understand the matter as we do; and, till I can get a fair Bona fide estimate, I can make no arrangement.

' The matter must go to England to be settled there, as I will not engage to pay one shilling more than the expenses really incurred by Hanover.

' Believe me, &c.

' The contingencies are enormous, and the estimates for them by no means fairly made out, or on the principle agreed upon.'

'To Lieut. Colonel Sir Henry Hardinge, K.C.B.

' Bruxelles, 7th June, 1815. 7 p.m.

' I have heard nothing new since I wrote to you yesterday evening, excepting general reports of an intention to attack, which very possibly are circulated in consequence of the weakness in our front, and the fact that there are a great many carriages for the transport of troops at every stage on the road.

' Believe me, &c.

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