Originally posted on Adventures In Historyland.
On the night of the 17th of June, the Duke of Wellington waited to hear if Blücher would agree to march and join him at Mont St Jean.
Decisions in the night.
Lord Uxbridge rode into the village of Waterloo, some miles in the rear of the army’s encampment at Mont St Jean, after dark, wet and tired from his exertions with the rearguard. Colonel Campbell of the Duke’s household staff had been instructed to bring Wellington’s baggage and necessaries to the village that morning. Each house along the small front street was occupied by a general officer. Their names were chalked above their doors and light could be seen in the windows. The rain was still falling in unimaginable quantity, and thunder boomed from the sky, lit every so often with the broad flash of sheet lightning.
Finding the door marked in running chalk, “His Grace the Duke of Wellington” he made his way inside and after removing his shako he announced himself, he deposited what must have amounted to half the quantity of the channel from his uniform to the floor and took his ease by the fire.
The atmosphere was much as it had been in Brussels on the 15th, only without the party veneer to hide it, things were tense and the fate of the campaign was riding on the next few hours till dawn. De Lancey had ridden ahead from Genappes to Mont St Jean. Wellington had filed the place away in his mind the year before on a tour of the Netherlands. At that time he had not yet wound down from his six years campaigning in Portugal and Spain, and his practiced eye for a naturally strong defensive position was still…