Witness to Waterloo: A Soldier’s First-Hand Account of the Battle


John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

Sandra Cruise, one of our archive volunteers, writes:

The bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo, fought on 18 June 1815, affords the ideal opportunity to promote one of our recent acquisitions: the manuscript journal of a cavalryman in the Scots Greys (now the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards), who fought in the decisive battle which finally ended the dominance of Napoleon Bonaparte in Europe.

Scotland_Forever!Scotland Forever! Lady Elizabeth Butler’s dramatic (if implausible) depiction of the Scots Greys’ famous charge at Waterloo. Wikimedia image.

The journal is of great value to researchers, as it provides a detailed description of a soldier’s life during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, and includes a lengthy and graphic account of the battle and its aftermath. It covers the years from c.1799 until 1825, when the author finally left military service.

The anonymous autobiographical account is handwritten in a bound journal, compiled at an unspecified date. The soldier’s identity…

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This is the journal of Jonathan Kearns Rare Books & Curiosities, and all who sail in her. Information, updates, rantings, musings and pretty pictures related (loosely I would imagine) to the world of rare and antiquarian books will be brought to you by a number of different personalities, some of whom cohabit in the same person's head. We welcome queries, comments and contributions of virtually any description, and in return we will attempt to rein in our multitudinous personality disorders and deliver wonders and joys beyond compare. At least that's the plan. View all posts by bibliodeviant

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