The battle of Waterloo-
After his return from exile to Paris in March 1815, Britain, Prussia, Russia and Austria all declared war on France. In June, Napoleon invaded Belgium, hoping to capture Brussels. The Duke of Wellington held control of the British forces and now barred the road to Brussels for Napoleon. A Prussian force was also on its way to reinforce Wellington when it engaged Napoleons force not being defeated but withdrawing from the field leaving Napoleon to focus on Wellington. The scene was set for a final, decisive battle.
Wellington set his men across wet ground and over a ridge meaning that Cavalry would struggle to cross the ground and the ridge would offer protection from artillery as well as behind 3 garrisoned walled farms. Some 68000 allied troops now waited to face 75000 Napoleonic troops.
Napoleons first act was to attack one of the garrisoned farms (hougoumont) with cannon fire followed by 5000 troops against the garrison of 1500. It was however an easily defendable position with walls and holes for shooting making french troops easy pickings for the new generation firearms the defenders had at their disposal, rifles. The French would launch attack after attack at the farm throughout the day and at 12:30 the gates were broken but quickly resealed trapping 40 troops inside who were slaughtered by the british leaving only 1 11 year old drummer boy alive.
With Wellington's right flank busy defending Hougoumont, Napoleon seized the opportunity to do some damage to the centre of the British line.
He sent 18,000 infantry along the road to Brussels to strike a decisive blow. They captured the farm of Papelpotte and the area surrounding La Haye Sainte. It looked like victory was now within Napoleon’s grasp. If he took La Haye Sainte, he could attack the remaining British troops at close range. But at around 13:00, peering through his telescope, Napoleon spotted movement in fields to the east. He ordered a troop of cavalry to go and investigate.
Napoleon had spotted the Prussians but they were still far off. A desperate Wellington sent reinforcements to La Haye Sainte, driving back the French. **continued in comments**