The Hougoumont compound was defended not merely by the British Guards, or detachements from the Hanoverians, but right from the start to the end by the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Nassau Regiment under the command of Captain Büsgen. The story of these Nassau defenders is the main focal point, when we present the staunch defence of Hougoumont in our 3rd volume. Through the accounts left to us of not only Captain Büsgen, but also of Sergeant Andreas Buchsieb and Private Leonhard we experience the hard fight for the farm, garden orchard and wood.
And to achieve and present an even further balanced history numerous French memoirs are included as well, such as that of Chef de Bataillon Jolyet from the 1e Léger, or Sous-Lieutenant Puvis serving in the 93e Ligne, and ofcourse other account from General Foy, the chiefs of staff of the 5e and 9e Division Trecon and Lemonnier DelaFosse, or Comte Reille, etc, etc.
Thus resulting in an exciting history for you to read! And we do have some nice quotes to look at as a preview, when you click the 'read more' button. So don't hesitate and...
When Foy's 1e Brigade now under the acting command of Colonel Tissot attacked the orchard and garden of Hougoumont around 2 p.m., the resistance was enormous, as Private Leonhard described in his memoirs:
The hail of mukets balls we sent against the French was horrifying, so that soon the pastures were covered with only French bodies. The retreats and advances continied alternately, we were attacked for the fourth time in the garden, but each time the French were beaten back again. The fifth storming the French undertook on the Hougoumont farm is hardly to describe. Of the row of hornbeams under which we stood, as well as of the beautiful tall wood that aligned the farm everything had been completely shot and cut down by the tremendous cannonfire.
Later when the French had collected a number of howitzers to set Hougoumont ablaze, Sergeant Andreas Buchsieb added:
Us four sergeants each received a post from our officers. Together with 8 men I received my post at a door in which there were 4 firing holes, so that from there one could fire upon the lower corner of the house. The third company occupied the garden, which towards the east was aligned with a high wall where similarly there were firing holes. Hardly had we occupied our position, when the infantry division of Jérôme attacked with the greatest force, but each time found its resistance, as before they reached the house the were struck against the ground and as they retreated were taken in the back. At last the enemy charged again and despite the fact that all of our men struck his opponent, the remainder pushed on through to the gate, quickly cut the beams and had it exploded with violence.
And that was not all.... as the French were able to break into the farm and for a short while upset the defenders!
Something we will of course present to you in our next book.