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Carl von Clausewitz and Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. On Waterloo: Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of 1815. Ed./trans. Christopher Bassford, Daniel Moran, and Gregory W. Pedlow., 2010. ISBN-10: 1453701508. ISBN-13: 9781453701508. 318pp. List price: $18.00.


This file contains additional correspondence amongst Wellington's circle, related to the battle of Waterloo but not to Clausewitz or to Wellington's Memorandum on Clausewiyz's study of the campaign of 1815. This material is not included in the printed text of the book On Waterloo: Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of 1815.

Gurwood to Wellington, 16 September 1842

16 Sept. 1842

WP 8/3/9


My Lord Duke,

[Two unrelated paragraphs omitted]

I have the Honor to transmit a letter and inclosure from Lord Greenock[1], to whom I had written for any copy he might have relating to the movements of the Cavalry during the operations of the Army previous to the battle of Waterloo.  I have taken a copy of the fragment of the “Movements of the Army, Bruxelles, 15 June 1815” which I shall be much obliged to your Grace to return to me that I may send it back to Lord Greenock.  I should think that the remainder of the Memorandum wanting was not of much consequence as the 5 divisions of the Army & the Cavalry are mentioned in the part present.  Therefore whether Lord Greeenock finds it, or not, among his papers, is not of importance, as to the fact of the assembly of the Army being ordered on the 15th June.

The Quarterly Review is published, and I suppose it has been sent to your Grace.  I see in the index under the head of “Wellington, the Duke of” “The Duke at Waterloo. 465. Fallacy of the theory that he was surprised 470 etc”

I also have the Honor to enclose, for your Grace’s information, a letter which I have received from Lord Liverpool by this morning’s post.


I have the Honor to be

Your Grace’s faithful servant

J. Gurwood


[Unrelated postscript omitted]

Lord Greenock to Gurwood [Enclosure to above letter]

Sept. 14, 1842

WP 8/3/7


My dear Colonel Gurwood


I fear that I have no documents in my possession of the description or dates to which you refer, otherwise I should have had much pleasures in forwarding them to you.  The only one I can find among the papers I have examined of a date previous to Waterloo is a part of the order issued on the night of the 15th of June for the assembly and march of the cavalry upon Quatre Bras.

I do not recollect any written orders having been received from DeLancey on the 16th, 17th, &18th of June, whatever directions were given respecting the movements of the cavalry during those days were either communicated verbally or contained in private notes addressed to the Marquess of Anglesey.

The first official document I can find is the original order for movement of the Cavalry, and notifying the general arrangements for the rest of the army addressed to Major General Sir John Vandeleur[2] dated on the 23rd of June, and signed by Sir Charles Broke Vere.[3]  The Head Quarters were then at Le Cateau, from that date to the 30th of June there is a regular series of the orders detailing the movements of the army in its advance to Paris, but I am sorry to say that there is a blank interval in these papers between the 30th of June and the 6th of July, this is probably owing to the Cavalry having been for the most part stationary in the quarters occupied by them when they reached the neighborhood of Paris, after the 30th of June, until they were ordered to cross the Seine at the bridge of Argenteuil on the 7th of July to occupy cantonments on that side of Paris, and the Head Quarters of the Cavalry were moved from the Chateau de Boissy to Malmaison.  The Head Quarters of the army having been during that interval, and until after the convention of Paris at Genepe.

The Dukes dispositions on the 1st and 2nd of July in connection with Bluchers movement to the right towards the left bank of the Seine would therefore in all probability not have been communicated generally in public orders or circulars to the whole army, but confined merely to the divisions or corps immediately connected with them, and if any notice of them had been given to the general officer commanding the cavalry, it would have been addressed privately to Sir John Vandeleur, which would account for such documents not having come into my possession.

I had occasion very lately to examine very carefully all the papers in my possession relating to the Waterloo Campaign, and the occupation of France, as I had been requested by my brother, Col George Cathcart to send all the information I could collect relative to that period, and particularly to the march to Paris, to Captain Siborne[4] in Dublin, who is I believe preparing a History of those times, I accordingly last week sent to him all the documents I have mentioned as original, not having time in consequence of the hurry and bother occasioned.  Captain Siborne is so occupied with his new model that he must defer the publication of the History in which he is engaged until the 1st of February.  Therefore he could share them for a short time without inconvenience if you wish to have the originals.

I will again set about a strict search of all my repositories in the hope of at least finding the remainder of the order for the movement of the army on the 15th of June in the meantime.  I enclose herewith the half sheet that is in my possession.[5]


Believe me always

very sincerely yours


Gurwood to Lord Greenock

16 September 1842

WP 8/3/8


My dear Lord Greenock,


Many thanks for your letters and inclosures which will return when I get the letter from the Duke, to whom I sent it.  On reference, however, since to the Dispatches I find that “the Memorandum of the Movements of the Army Bruxelles 15 June 1815” is already printed in the 12 volume p. 472 therefore I request you will not take further trouble in looking for the remaining part of the copy you sent to me.  You will see in the Quarterly Review, published tomorrow, an article on Blücher, written by Lord Francis Egerton, in which is incorporated a memorandum written by the Duke of Wellington on the battle of Waterloo.  He wrote it in consequence of my having drawn his attention to the work of the Prussian General Clausewitz and the Xth volume of Mr. Alison, who taxes the Duke with having been surprised.  When you have read the article, I should like to know your opinion of it.  Do you recollect at what hour you received the order of movement which you transmitted to me, as well as a subsequent “After Order dated 10 pm 15 June” in which the Cavalry was ordered to continue its movement from Ninhove upon Enghien – and at what hour the orders were circulated to the Cavalry, for I recollect having been at the ball at the Duchess of Richmond’s until 12 o’clock, and sleeping until 3 in the morning of the 16th in my own lodgings at Bruxelles [Brussels] and Arthur Shakespear[6] & Orlando Bridgman[7] accompanying us to Ninhove & Voorde where the Xth [10th Hussars] was then quartered, and at 6 in the morning the troops had not turned out.  Sir J. Elley used to say that the headquarters of the Cavalry remained in the rear of the columns of cavalry too long on the morning of the 16th.  It appears that if the orders had been obeyed the Cavalry would have arrived at Enghien, Braine le Comte & Nivelle[s] long before they did; and this has never been clearly explained – for had they started at 6 o’clock even, 3 hours after daylight, three or four brigades might have been at Nivelle[s] before 3 o’clock.  The troops would not have had to ride 30 miles.  At p. 474 [of Wellington Dispatches, vol. 12] the order of movement dated 16 June is that the cavalry should move on Brain[e] le Comte immediately; & I recollect a long delay before we moved on Nivelle[s], and from there, at a trot to 4 [Quatre] Bras.  You probably can throw some light upon this.


Very sincerely yours

J. Gurwood

Greenock to Gurwood

19 September 1842

WP 8/3/11


My dear Colonel Gurwood,


You must be well aware how difficult it must be for any person however gifted he may be with a good memory to recollect with any degree of certainty after the lapse of so many years the precise hour or minute at which the orders you refer to were received.  I do however most distinctly remember the circumstances connected with the receipt of the first order to the movement of the Cavalry on the night of the 15th of June 1815, from which the time of night when this reached Ninove may be pretty well inferred.

On that evening Lord Anglesey,[8] Sir John Elley and the whole of the Head Quarter Staff of the Cavalry with the exception of Lt. Colonel Thornhill (his Lordship’s aide de camp) and myself, had gone to Brussels for the purpose of attending the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball.  Thornhill and I took a ride late in the evening, and did not return home until it was nearly dark, we remained together in conversation for sometime afterward.  When we returned to our respective quarters, I had been in bed for some time, when Thornhill appeared at my bedside with a dispatch addressed to Lord Anglesea, which he said had just arrived, and asked me what I thought he ought to do with it.  At one glance I saw that it was from the Quarter Master General, and without a moment’s hesitation I opened it.  And lost no time with Thornhill’s assistance in writing out and circulating the order it contained to the officers commanding the Several Brigades, which were dispatched by orderly Dragoons with the utmost expedition.

I am sure Thornhill if referred to will fully bear me out in the assertion that it was impossible for more diligence or promptitude to have been exerted than were used on that occasion.  That the Several dispatches duly reached their respective destinations was satisfactorily proved by the receipt & acknowledgements which the orderlies brought back.  They reached the officers who were in the actual command at the time without any delay, although I believe many of the Generals to whom they were addressed, as well as some of the Regimental Commanding Officers were likewise at the Ball in Brussels.

From what I have stated it would therefore appear evident that the night of the 15th of June must have been far advanced before the order in question was received probably somewhere between 11 o’clock and midnight.  It must be taken into consideration that with the exception of the two regiments of Life Guards, which were in and about Ninove itself (the remainder of Lord Edward Somerset’s Brigade being in the adjacent villages), the Cavalry was dispersed in cantonments covering a vast extent of country.  The regiments themselves were in most instances much scattered in detached farm houses, so that after the orders were received at the Head Quarters of a Brigade, it must necessarily have occupied much time to collect the troops at their different alarm posts, and before the whole assembled at the points indicated previously to the march being commanded, which will sufficiently account for the lateness of the hour at which they actually moved.

Lord Anglesea did not return to Ninove until some time after daybreak on the morning of the 16th.[9]  I immediately reported to him the order I had given in his absence, and the arrangements which had been made in consequence for carrying them into effect.  Of all which he was please to express his entire approbation.  The after order dated at 10 pm on the 15th was to the best of my knowledge brought out by Lord Anglesea himself, or by one of his staff, but I am positive it was not received at Ninove until after daybreak on the 16th and the troops were ordered to move upon Enghien accordingly.  The cavalry did not assemble at Ninove previously, but the different Brigades were directed to move by the shortest and most direct routes upon Enghien from their respective Quarters.  Some of them proceeded by Grammont.

I am not aware that any time was unnecessarily lost by the Cavalry Head Quarters through the lateness of the hour at which they quitted Ninove on the morning of the 16th.  For although Lord Anglesea thought proper to remain there for several hours after his return from Brussels, he deemed it necessary to do so that he might be in the way to receive further orders or reports, or to make further arrangements in the movements in progress if this had been required.  But not a moments delay was occasioned in the march of any of the troops on that account, for we proceeded ourselves independently at a quicker pace direct upon Enghien, at which place and not before we received the order to proceed on to Braine le Compte which was brought I think by an officer of the Royal Staff Corps. 

Soon after passing the latter place we came up with one of the Light Brigades, I think Vandeleur, which was at that time halting to breathe the horses.  It was then that we heard the distant firing, and I rather think that Lord Anglesea received some communication respecting what was going on at Quatre Bras, for we immediately pushed on at a gallop to Nivelles and from thence to Quatre Bras, giving directions to the troops near as to follow as expeditiously as circumstances would admit of.  Between Nivelles and Quatre Bras we passed the Guards, and Lord Anglesea and his staff joined the Duke near the latter place just as the head of that column came up, and General Maitland’s Brigade was ordered to drive the enemy out of the Wood of Bossu which their Tirailleurs had got possession of.  The Brigade of Cavalry which I before alluded to as having been left by us between Braine le Comte and Nivelles, did not arrive for some time afterwards, and the rest of the Cavalry not until nearly the close of the day.

It is undoubtedly much to be lamented on every account that no part of the Cavalry should have reached the Quatre Bras in time to have the honour that was acquired by the troops were engaged on that day.  I am not sure as to whether the first order for our movement issued on the 15th of June ought to have been received at an earlier hour of the night than it actually was; I am not conscious however of any blame that ought to attach to the staff of the Cavalry for any delay that might have occurred on that account; and I feel confident that when a just estimate is made of the circumstances of our position in consequence of the Cavalry having from the necessity of procuring an adequate supply of forage been so widely dispersed in their quarters, and the great length of the march they had to make to the scene of action after they could be assembled, it will be admitted that it was scarcely to be expected that any of them could have reached it at an earlier period of the day.  Most especially when it is remembered that the different Brigades were not ordered to move upon Nivelles or the Quatre Bras by the shortest and most direct routes from their respective places of assembly in the first instance, but were directed first to move upon Enghien, then by a subsequent order to proceed to Braine le Compte and afterward to Nivelles without any thing having been said to indicate that greater speed was required than the usual rate of ordinary route marching until they approached the last named place where upon hearing the firing the commanding officers were prompted of their own accord to push on at an accelerated pace.

This as far as my recollection serves is a true statement of the case.  From the independent manner and the rapid pace with which the Head Quarters of the Cavalry moved, the march of but a small portion of the force came under our immediate observations, I can not therefore explain the cause of any delay that individual Brigades may have met with farther than that a great deal of uncertainty respecting our ulterior movements certainly appeared to prevail after we passed Braine le Compte, and that much in this respect was necessarily left to the judgement & discretion of the general officers commanding them.

The Duke of Argyll mentioned to me some time ago that he had preserved as a relict of Waterloo an order written & signed by me for some movement of the Cavalry, which had come into his possession in a curious manner, it having been picked up on the field by a French soldier who deserted to us either during or immediately after the battle, and subsequently became a servant in the Duke’s Family.  I have not seen this document which is very possibly one of the orders I wrote on the night of the 15th of June and probably that which was addressed to Gen. Sir Wm Ponsonby[10] who fell within the Enemy’s lines.  I have written to the Duke to ask him to let me have a copy of it, for if I am right in this conjecture it will perhaps shew the exact hour at which the orders on that occasion were circulated by me.  When I receive the Duke of Argyll’s answer I will communicate it to you without delay.  I shall look most anxiously for the article in the forthcoming Quarterly Review on Blucher and will not fail to give you my opinion upon it when I have read it.  In the meanwhile believe me.


Always very sincerely yours


Gurwood to Greenock

21 September 1842

WP 8/3/13


My dear Lord Greenock


I am much obliged to you for your very circumstantial detail of the circulation of the orders for the march of the Cavalry on the 15 June 1815.

It must have been Sir J. Vandeleurs brigade to which you allude near Braine le Compte.  It was the first brigade which arrived at Quatre Bras.  Sir H. Vivian’s[11] brigade followed this composed only of two regts. the 10th & 18th – the 1st Hussars KGL [King’s German Legion] not being joined.

I shall be very glad to receive your certified copy of the order signed by you now in the possession of the Duke of Argyll.

I am much obliged to you for replying to all my queries.  I was induced to make them in the recollection of your kindness to me on riding home from the inspection of the Household Cavalry near Logroño in 1813.

The Duke of Wellington is in excellent health and comes from Walmer Castle at the end of the week for the purpose of providing a visit to the Queen at Windsor Castle.


Sincerely yours

J. Gurwood

Gurwood to Wellington

24 September 1842

WP 8/3/15


My Lord Duke


I have the Honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Grace’s note of this day’s date with the accompanying memorandum, which is all that could be desired.  The sheet No. 7 is missing from the memorandum and probably has been left at Walmer Castle.  With your Grace’s permission, I shall make a copy of it.

I have the Honor to enclose copies of the letters which I have received from Lord Greenock the first of which your Grace has already read in the original.  The second letter dated the 19th Sept. contains some very circumstantial details of the causes of the non-arrival of the cavalry at Quatre Bras.  It is clear that the regiments of cavalry were not in hand, as they ought to have been by order of their Brigadiers and that under the circumstances they ought to have been assembled daily after daylight on their respective alarm posts.  In consequence of this want of arrangement, nearly four hours were lost in the assembly in brigades, and the brigade to which I belonged made several very long halts, waiting for orders, before it arrived at Braine le Comte, and afterwards trotted, with 22 stone weight for several miles to 4 [Quatre] Bras.


I have the Honor to be

Your Graces

Faithful Servant

J. Gurwood

Greenock to Gurwood

6 March 1843

WP 8/3/25


My dear Colonel


Having at last received the Document to what I alluded in a former letter from the Duke of Argyll, I lose no time in transmitting it for your information, and perhaps the Duke of Wellington might like to see it; it proves as I had supposed to be the original order which I sent to Sir Wm. Ponsonby for the assembly of his Brigade at Ninove on the night of the 15th of June 1815, which was dispatched to him without a moments delay on the receipt of the first order from Head Quarters.  I perceive that the precise hour when this letter was forwarded was not specified but a memorandum of the date of the receipt at Sir W. Ponsonbys Quarters at one & ¾ am 16th of June will enable you to judge pretty nearly of the time when it was written.

The Duke of Argyll in putting into my hand this Document has expressed his wishes very strongly that it may be preserved with care with a view to its being returned to his Grace, as he attaches some value to it as a relict from the Field of Waterloo, it having been given to him by a Frenchman who said he had found it on the field, probably on the spot where poor Sir William fell.  I will therefore be much obliged to you to send it back to me whenever you have no further use for it.


I remain my dear Colonel

always very sincerely yours




[1] Charles Murray Cathcart (1783-1859), who bore the title Lord Greenock from 1814-1843, when he succeeded his father as Earl Cathcart and Baron Greenock, was a lieutenant general at the time of this correspondence.  During the Waterloo Campaign he had served as one of the seventeen Assistant Quarter Master Generals on Wellington’s staff.

[2] Major General Sir John Ormsby Vandeleur (1763-1849) commanded the 4th Cavalry Brigade at Waterloo and succeeded to overall command of Wellington’s cavalry at the end of the battle, after Lord Uxbridge was wounded.  See DNB 58:97-98.

[3] Lt. Col. Sir Charles Broke (1779-1843) was the Assistant Quarter Master General selected by Wellington to replace the mortally wounded Col. William de Lancey on 18 June 1815.  Broke served as Acting Deputy Quarter Master General for the remainder of the campaign.  He subsequently took on the additional surname of Vere and advanced to the rank of Major General in 1837.  See DNB 58:225.

[4] Captain William Siborne (1797-1849) was a British Army officer who joined Wellington’s army of occupation in France in August 1815.  An expert surveyor, he was commissioned by the Army in 1830 to build an accurate scale model of the battlefield of Waterloo, and he lived at La Haie Sainte for eight months while carrying out his measurements.  He also contacted a number of officers who participated in the battle in order to gather information about the positioning of their units on the battlefield.  Siborne subsequently published a very detailed history of the campaign: History of the War in France and Belgium in 1815 (London, 1844; 3rd Revised Edition of 1848 reprinted London, 1990, as History of the Waterloo Campaign).

[5] This enclosure is not printed here, because as Gurwood’s reply shows, the complete orders issued to the cavalry on 15 June 1815 had already been published in WD 12:472.

[6] Captain Arthur Shakespear served in the 10th Hussars at Waterloo.  For his account of the battle, compiled from his letters and reminiscences, see C. T. Atkinson, “Waterloo Arthur”, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research (1958), 69-129.

[7] Orlando Bridgman Lieutenant and Captain, 1st Guards Regiment, and an extra Aide-de Camp to Lord Hill. 

[8] Lt. Gen. Henry William Paget, the First Marquis of Anglesey (1768-1854), is best known under the title he bore at Waterloo, Lord Uxbridge (he inherited this title from his father in 1812).  Uxbridge commanded the Anglo-Allied cavalry at Waterloo and served as Wellington’s second-in-command. He received the title of Marquis of Anglesea in July 1815 and was promoted to General in 1819.  For a biography see The Marquess of Anglesea,  One-Leg: The Life and Letters of Henry William Paget, First Marquess of Anglesey K.G. (1768-1854). (1961, reprint 1963).

[9] Uxbridge [Anglesea] may have arrived back at his headquarters somewhat earlier than Greenock recalls, because a letter written by Captain Thomas Wildman, one of Uxbridge’s Aides de Camp, on 19 June 1815 states that after the Duke of Richmond’s Ball “where the Duke of Wellington & Lord Uxbridge had a long conversation, … we mounted and rode back to Ninove, from thence orders were sent to assemble the whole of the Cavalry and Royal Horse Artillery near Enghien.”  See Anglesea, One Leg, 127.

[10] Gen. Sir William Ponsonby (1772-1815), commander of the 2nd Cavalry Brigade (Union Brigade) at Waterloo, was killed during the cavalry counterattack on d’Erlon’s corps.

[11] Maj. Gen. Sir Richard Hussey, First Baron Vivian (1775-1842) commanded the 6th Cavalry Brigade at Waterloo, consisting of the 10th and 18th Light Dragoons plus the 12th Hussars of the King’s German Legion.  He was promoted to Lt. General in 1827.  See DNB 58:380-383.  Eds.


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