- Quatre Bras, Battle of
- (1815)The first engagement of Napoeon Bonaparte ’s Waterloo Campaign, fought on June 16, 1815, between the left wing of Napoleon’s army under Marshal Michel Ney with 24,000 men, and an Anglo-Allied force of fluctuating strength under the Duke of Wellington. When Napoleon crossed the Belgian border the previous day, he ordered Ney to seize the crossroads and village of Quatre Bras, while Napoleon himself proceeded with the bulk of his army to engage the Prussians under Marshal Gebhard von Blücher at nearby Ligny. Ney took most of the village, but with the gradual arrival of British reinforcements in the early afternoon, Wellington was able to counterattack with 32,000 men and force back Ney. Meanwhile, the Comte d’Erlon’s corps of 20,000 French troops, through mistaken orders, had been marching and countermarching during the afternoon, failing to reinforce either Ney or Napoleon. The French lost more than 4,000 at Quatre Bras to the Allies’ 5,400.FURTHER READING:Hofschröer, Peter. Waterloo 1815: Quatre Bras and Ligny. London: Leo Cooper, 2005;Robinson, Mike. The Battle of Quatre Bras. Staplehurst, Kent, UK: Spellmount Publishing, 2005.GREGORY FREMONT-BARNES
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.