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The day after Waterloo

In 1816 the popular Dutch historian Scheltema was able to publish the first work on the campaign of 1815, as he was assisted by one of the Prince of Orange's aides-de-camp Major van Hoof. This resulted amongst other in contacts with various commanding battalion officers, such as with Lieutenant-Colonel Daniël Otto Bagelaar. He was in command of the 12th Line Battalion at Waterloo, serving in Chassé's division.

We would like to present his story to you here!

We present you the pages from Scheltema's 1816 history:


"The English-Netherlands army had advanced to the south during the evening across the battlefield, and had spent the night in the environs of the French army camp. Fatigue and happiness over the victory provided a soft rest, which would not have been considered otherwise with the cold of the night, the dampness of the ground and the complete lack of food and warmth. When awakening the first feeling with many was gratitude for having been saved, the second pity with those who had been less fortunate, and therefore the officers hastily led their men top offer assistance to the wounded. One hurried to the position where each regiment had stood and fought and here looked for his comrades and familiar faces. New emotions from all sides were given as the human feeling returned. And what must have been the emotions with those who had previously served the French, to discover friends or possibly even friends among the slain enemy! Amongst the many one endearing case came to our knowledge. Lieutenant-Colonel Bagelaar, commander of the 12th Line Battalion, rode across the battlefield and came at the place where Napoleon’s Old Guard had been slain. He discovered an officer, already half undressed, who still moved. He asked him: ‘Where are you hurt?’. The unfortunate one turned over and said: ‘Is it you, my esteemed Bagelaar? Embrace me.’ It was the Colonel of the Garde Cretal with whom our country man had fraternised in the same regiment, then being a Captain, during the Russian campaign. The mutual emotions cannot be described. Cretal, who had received a heavy wound to his stomach and a grazed shot to the head, was taken up and brought to a hospital, bandaged there and further treated with the greatest care. The heartiest affection was more than enough reward for the Dutchman,  while the waek words ‘My friend, you have given me back my life’, were spoken with a soft voice and a tender hand shake."

Unfortunately the current where-abouts of the original letter of Lt.-Col. Bagelaar to his brother, dated 19th June 1815 are unknown. Above all the name of the French Guard officer Cretal remain unknown in its registers, but perhaps both men being friends it was Bagelaar who decided to keep his name unknown/anonymous.

This account is once more an example of the many others we have translated and made available to the general public, meaning your author Erwin Muiwlijk and his friend Pierre de Wit, for the Netherlands Correspondence volume published a few years ago by Franklin. As such Sovereign House Books is the one and only that you need to look for, with regards to the most complete history on the Netherlands field army!