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8848. Waterloo’s Dip In The Road


There is a modern picture by Stanley Berkley, entitled "The Hidden Danger," which deals with an interesting event at the Battle of Waterloo. This battle decided the fate of Napoleon; upon which issue hung the destinies of Europe, and there occurred in it a crucial moment. Throughout the day Napoleon kept his famous cavalry in reserve. They were the finest soldiers in the world, the "Old Guard," who had never known defeat, and impatiently they awaited the command to charge. Napoleon, seeing the issue going against him, gave at last the order, and hurled them against the thin British lines.


On they came in gallant neck-to-neck, seemingly invincible. But there was a dip in the road, a sunken part neither they nor Napoleon knew, but of which Wellington had taken advantage by filling it with his sharpshooters. As the thundering lines came on they were met by an unexpected and decimating volley. They wavered for a moment; then forming once more, came on at hand the gallop, but the fire was too deadly, and when the lines were reached their force was spent.


Waterloo was lost; the fate of Napoleon and Europe was decided by a dip in the road, by that hidden danger on which Napoleon had not counted. This one weak spot ruined him, and turned victory into defeat.


—James Burns

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