The Campaign of 1815, Volume 2: 15th June 1815
Pierre de Wit
Published by Glimpse Editions (2022)
Hardback, 235 pp., 114 pages of learned notes, 16 pages of bibliography and 20-page index.
I have now read Pierre’s second volume, dealing purely with the 15th June 1815 (and early hours of the 16th) in intricate detail in 3 parts, covering the day from the French, Prussian and Anglo/Dutch perspectives. This is followed by a number of appendices, dealing with the Chateau Puissant at Charleroi, Napier on Wellington and Von Dornberg, the location of the Richmond Ball and guest list, Wellington’s headquarters in Brussels and the ‘Saint-Symphorium order’ of the Prince of Orange to Chasse.
This book covers the subject of the 15th June in exhaustive detail, but does inevitably sometimes cover the same ground a few times. Again, it is not a book for those with a ‘passing interest’ but will form a staple ‘go to’ reference book for Waterloo academics.
There are two particular criticisms I would like to raise in this volume as I have already raised the issue of the impossibly long end notes without separation into chapters (in this volume there are 859 notes).
Firstly, and most importantly, the intricate and long details of unit movements this day desperately needs maps to make them comprehensible, but there are no maps in the book (presumably being held for the final planned map book?) – this makes following things very cumbersome, requiring the constant referencing to other books for maps of the area to follow the movements.
The second is a more sensitive matter. Pierre is not a native English speaker, and his writing is understandably not always written in perfect English. The proof reading of the volumes to correct the English has not been carried out well and most of the time this is only mildly irritating, but occasionally the true meaning is sometimes obscured. This is a pity, as it can detract from the excellent work Pierre has done and it is hoped that this will be more thoroughly corrected in future volumes.
Despite these omissions, Pierre’s work should be a ‘must have’ and ‘essential reading’ for serious students of the 1815 campaign.