The Wellington Museum was our first stop when we arrived in Waterloo. Well actually we went to the tourist bureau first and we bought our combination ticket to all the sights there. You enter hte Museum through a small gift store and you can pick up a headphone tour of the museum.
One of the exhibits is Lord Uxbridge’s false leg. Another is the bed where Alexander Gordon, Wellington’s Aide de Camp died. A bullet to the knee during the battle meant he had to undergo amputation. He was dead by nightfall more from his care than from his wound. Germs were unknown in 1815 and typhus and hospital rot killed as many victims as the battle itself. All told, there were 10,000 battle wounded; 3-4 thousand died from wounds or amputation. It took four or five days to treat all the wounded. In addition, there were 10,000 dead and wounded horses to be dealt with on the field. The carnage was unbelievable. I think this museum more than any other in Waterloo highlights the human toll.
Upstairs there are rooms dedicated to the English, the Dutch, the Prussians and the French. They house small displays of pictures, coins, weapons and uniforms. One display has the cape that Wellington wore in Spain. There are also two pieces of Sevres china, which Wellington received from King Louis of France in thanksgiving.
There is an addition to the Inn, which houses a museum that maps out the battle. Here you can follow each stage of the conflict. There are displays of weapons as well as the uniforms of the soldiers who fought there. In the center is a large cannon salvaged from the battlefield.
Take the time to cross the street and visit St. Joseph Church. There are several markers there,
placed by their fellow soldiers, in memory of their fallen comrades and leaders.
"The only thing worse than a battle lost is a battle won."
Arthur Wellesley (1769 - 1852), Aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.
March 24, 2004
From journal Waterloo-Clash of the Titans