At 11h30, Prince Jérôme Bonaparte, the
Emperor's brother, attacked the Hougoumont farm in order to create a
diversion and to thus weaken Wellington's central position.
1st phase: 14h00
Following a violent artillery attack the French
infantry attacked the English left flank. The English resisted and
pushed the French back causing them many losses. The British cavalry
then charged, crossed the plain and put the French cannons under
The French then undertook counter attacks, surrounding and decimating the English cavalry.
2nd phase: towards 16h00
Marshal Ney believed that it was possible to pierce the centre of the British front line with a massive charge of cuirassiers.
The English however, positioned themselves in
defensive squares and welcomed the cavalry with extensive fire, causing
huge losses to the cuirassiers of Milhaud and Kellermann. They were
unable to break the squares, the French cavalry was broken up and the
plain was scattered with the corpses of both men and horses.
In the meantime the Prussians arrived on the battlefield from Wavre and put pressure on the French right flank.
At about 17h30 the Haye Sainte farm was taken by the French infantry.
3rd phase: 19h30
Napoleon played his last card and sent the
Guard in to attack the English centre right. They were greeted by
intense fire, the attack failed and the Guard retreated.
It was clear - the French troops no longer
believed victory was possible and they began to retreat, leaving behind
cannons, caissons and heavy material.
Wellington advanced beyond the French positions and gave orders to his army to encamp on the land.
The Prussians then took over the pursuit.