Quatre Bras - Fight for the Colors

By: Keith Rocco

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Editions and Sizes

50 Signed and Numbered Canvases - 11" x 14"
50 Signed and Numbered Canvases - 20" x 24"

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Description

Excerpt from the historical brief: The Campaign of the Hundred Days culminated on the farm fields of Waterloo on June 18, 1815. Two days before that epic battle, Napoleon's Army of the North fought two major battles: The Emperor personally directed the defeat of the Prussian army under Field Marshal Gebhard von Blícher at Ligny while his renowned Marshal Michel Ney fought the Duke of Wellington's diverse Anglo-Allied army at Quatre Bras. Napoleon's smaller Army of the North surprised the allies when it crossed the Belgian border, and then interposed itself between the two enemy armies. The Emperor's strategy was to first defeat the Prussians and then turn on Wellington. Wellington's troops arrived incrementally at the Quatre Bras crossroads but held on to their position. However, Ney's aggressive tactics prevented Wellington from marching to the aid of Blícher. Waterloo is a more famous battle, but the fighting at Quatre Bras was equally terrible. The scene depicted by Keith Rocco shows an incident at Quatre Bras between French lancers of Lieutenant General Pire's 2nd Cavalry Division and the British 44th Regiment of Foot. A group of lancers from the 6th Regiment, after having pierced the line of the British infantry, made for the colors of the 2nd Battalion of the 44th British Regiment. Though flowery in his Victorian description of the action, the 44th's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Hamerton, leaves us a graphic depiction of this confrontation: "In this attack occurred one of these incidents which, in daring, equal any of the feats of ancient chivalry, which makes the wildest fables of the deeds of the knights of old appear almost impossible; which cause the bearing of an individual to stand out, as it were, in relief amidst the operations of the masses; and which by their characteristic recklessness, almost invariably insure at least a partial success. "A French Lancer gallantly charged at the Colours, and severely wounded Ensign Christie, who carried one of them, by a thrust of his lance, which, entering the left eye, penetrated to the lower jaw. The Frenchman then endeavored to seize the Standard, but the brave Christie, notwithstanding the agony of his wound, with a presence of mind...