Battle of Quatre Bras

June 16, 1815

Napoleon had successfully prevented the British and Prussian armies from uniting and facing him with a combined force. While Napoleon and the right wing of the army attacked the Prussians at Ligny, Marshal Ney with the left wing of the army encountered the British at the critical crossroads of Quatre Bras. Ney launched an attack but the French took their time, and as the British commander the Duke of Wellington recognized the threat, more and more reinforcements streamed to the British. Meanwhile, an entire French corps under General Drouet d'Erlon that Ney had been counting on failed to arrive due to receiving contradictory orders from the imperial headquarters to march for Ligny. In the end, Drouet d'Erlon's I Corps did not fight at either Ligny or Quatres Bras despite having received orders to fight at both. After fighting to a stalemate, the British withdrew the next day and the French controlled the crossroads.


Updated May 2019

© Nathan D. Jensen