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Cavalry duels at Waterloo

During the two hour long episode of the cavalry charges there was a brief pause halfway, during which several French horsemen taunted their adversaries. Some men to men duels were fought in front of the positions, among which three recorded incidents with cavalrymen from the Netherlands regiments.

Take a look here of how we present this in our soon to be published Volume Three.

(Scene from the Waterloo panorama where the 1st Nassau Regiment is being charged)

After almost an hour of continuous charges across the sodden and difficult terrain in which the horses were much fatigued, there was a brief pause. Both sides were forced to regroup and give their mounds some rest. During this period there were a few incidents between cavalrymen, as French riders came forward and provoked their adversaries to a personal duel. In front of Ghigny’s brigade, positioned behind Alten’s division close to La Haye Sainte, Sergeant-Major Fundter recalled the following:

An odd spectacle now took place as the regiment advanced and came opposite the 12ème Cuirassiers. This regiment, of which the bulk of the old 14e of that arm, the former Dutch cuirassiers of Colonel Trip had been attached to, counted many old comrades-in-arms among our ranks, who recognised eachother and called their names. This was especially the case with a certain dragoon Jansen, called the funny one, who was called from all sides. While standing in line, uninterruptedly these cuirassiers and chasseurs of the 6ème Régiment, standing close by, rode along the front and fired their pistol or carbine on the regiment and challenged ours to a duel. And although this was accepted by many of ours, many of our young men were nevertheless not experienced in it. On this occasion Captain Maschek was killed, while he was busy sending some of his men forward and the horse of Lieutenant Muijzer was wounded.

A little further to the right of the Allied cavalry there was apparently a French commanding officer of the cuirassiers who also left the rank and defied one of the Netherlands carabineer officers for a duel. It was 1st Lieutenant Jean Baptiste Simon Joseph de Lobel of the 2nd Carabiniers who spontaneously presented himself. Both men fought bravely and wounded eachother several times, before de Lobel finally had to yield after a sabre thrust on his forehead. For his courage he was awarded the medal 4th Class of the Militaire Willems Orde. Captain Krayenhoff described another incident, which involved one of the officers of the 4th Light Dragoons:

Lieutenant van Eupen commanding the 2nd platoon of the 3rd squadron was affronted by the taunts of the trompette-major of the 6e Régiment des Chasseurs à cheval, who came to the front in a defiant manner and expressed insulting remarks, and took his chance to charge the trompette-major and drove him back to his regiment with a few sabre cuts. As he returned his horse was shot dead and he collapsed and a voltiguer from the 2nd  [sic] Nassau Usingen Regiment rushed to the front and took our brave Lieutenant van Eupen into the square and he soon rejoined the regiment, took his position mounted on a troopers horse.

[Text to be edited prior to publication]



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