The above picture is a detail from the great glass apinting in the Gallery of the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster. It depicts the victorious field marshals, Duke of Wellington and Prussian General von Blucher shaking hands after the fighting was over. The Prussians pursued the fleeing French army and the British and Allies stayed behind to rest, bury the dead, treat the wounded , and take up the chase again later.
This painting by Joseph William Mallord Turner was painted after he toured the battlefield and sketched the scene. It emphasizes the tragedy of so many deaths, so many lost forever. Below, the Duke of Wellington rides through the carnage back to his headquarters in the village of Waterloo where he would write his despatch to Lord Bathurst in London declaring victory. Later the Duke of Wellington said, “I hope to God I have fought my last battle…I am wretched even at the moment of victory, and I always say that next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle gained.”
It was the first battle in which Napoleon faced Wellington, and for both men, indeed their last military battle. The Battle of Waterloo left 9,500 dead; 32,000 wounded.
This caricature expresses the views that Napoleon was principally to blame for the millions of dead in Europe during his years of power. He may have had sokme positive effects on French laws, but it is hard not to blame him for the dreadful number of casualties.
The Duke of Wellington showing the Prince Regent (later George IV) the battlefield of Waterloo by Benjamin Robert Haydon, c. 1844. Copyright: Stratfield Saye Preservation Trust. The Prince Regent had convinced himself he was present at the battle, and the Duke was often required to respond when George recalled his glorious participation. "So you say, Your Royal Highness," the Duke would have to reply.
Victoria Hinshaw, Author