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Despite Nappy being defeated at Waterloo for a host of reasons, Marshall Grouchy still had 1/3rd of Boney’s army. How soon was Grouchy’s force defeated? Why wasn’t he executed like Ney was?

Stephen King




Dear Mr. King,

Tactically, Marshal Emmanuel Grouchy won the two-day Battle of Wavre on June 19, 1815, but if Grouchy could claim that he had obeyed his emperor’s orders to the letter, Prussian General Johann von Thielmann could equally lay claim to have fulfilled his duties—his 17,000-man III Corps had tied down Grouchy’s 33,000 troops in what ultimately proved to be a strategically meaningless sideshow long enough for Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher to march the bulk of the Prussian Army to join General Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, at Waterloo and defeat Napoleon’s Armée du Nord. At 10 a.m. Thielmann learned of the Allied victory at Waterloo and began an orderly fighting retreat. At 10:30 Grouchy learned of the situation and began falling back toward Paris, which his army screened until Napoleon’s abdication.

Because of his aristocratic background Grouchy was spared court martial and death, but he was exiled and lived in the United States until 1921, when he was granted amnesty by the royal regime. In 1830 King Louis Philippe restored his marshal’s baton and his place in the Chamber of Peers. Until his death on May 29, 1847, however, Grouchy found himself largely shunned by members of his caste for taking a Revolutionary stand, while veterans of the Grande Armée widely accused him of “betraying” the Emperor at Waterloo.



Jon Guttman

Research Director

World History

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