Henry Joseph (called Joseph) was a son of the notorious third viscount Bolingbroke by his Belgian wife, Isabella zu Hompesch. He became an officer in the Grenadier Guards, and sent back letters to his family regarding his war exploits, including the lead-up to the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, when Napoleon was finally defeated by Wellington and Blücher. I thought this account was fascinating, and wished to share some excerpts with the community.
March 31 1815: "I had the honour of ordering a Count Hompèche (a Flemish man) at prison he was drinking in a public house with one of our privates & began praising Boney [Napoleon Bonaparte] & abusing those present -- so our fellow rowed him for it & the Count drew his sword and thrust at one fellow who immediately ran at him took his sword from him & knocked him down & brought him to the guard room -- bell at 3oclock in the morn & I got my things on my horse & we marched huzzaing all the way through the Town [Brussels] & the people at the windows crying.
By the time we got 3 miles out of the Town I began to feel ashamed of the Guards, half the men were so tipsy they began tumbling into the ditches but really it was so ridiculous I could not help laughing--
June 22 1815: "we were under the most tremendous shelling for 2 hours then the thing that we expected happened the french Cavalry charged our squares it was pretty work they charged us & we beat them off the whole squares firing at them (the Brunswick infantry are some of the finest troops that ever were) they were next us from us they charged them they beat them off & so did all then they opened another most tremendous cannonade for some time we heard musket balls whizzing over our heads [...] The Prisoners of them all say that Bunipate [sic] came up to them & said his last hope was in them & that if they broke our point the plunder of Brussells would be their reward [...] Well good bye as I am sleepy & hungry after a long march & can't get to supper because the man of the house is bothering [missing] how fond they are of the English."