June 15 - The Advance of the Right
On the morning of June 15, General Bourmont and his staff crossed over to the enemy. General Hulot took command of the division, and his words provide a good summary of 4th Corps’ day:
The troops took up arms on the 15th at four in the morning. At half past five, one of my camp aids told me that Mr. de Bourmont and all the officers belonging to his general staff were already riding their horses but I did not give any attention to this fact. Around six o’clock, two soldiers came to find me and to be under my orders, on behalf of the division General. I asked them where they had left him and they told me: “near the outposts”.
Half an hour later, the brigadier came back with four chasseurs. He gave me on behalf of Mr. de Bourmont two letters for the General in Chief Gérard. The brigadier had also received an order from the division General; he was to warn me that the division General was joining the king Louis the XVIII and that I was to hand in as fast as possible the two letters he gave me to the General in Chief. I immediately informed the latter. I also immediately informed the two colonels from the 9th Léger and the 111th de Ligne and I gave the order to keep their troops ready for combat. I went quickly to give the news myself to the two regiments and, wanting to gain their trust in this critical moment, I solemnly swore to them, holding my sword, that I would fight with them France’s enemy until the last moment of my life. They welcomed my oath with many acclamations showing their commitment and their trust, and I shall always remember this. As I had just received the marching order from the General in chief, I immediately went with my brigade to the meeting point of the Corps, on the road to Charleroi. I also passed on the other orders for the whole division.
The General in chief Gérard came to the meeting point for his Corps; he reviewed the troops and saw by himself that they were all with the best intentions. There was not a single deserter in the whole division, nor was there a single act of disobedience. Never perhaps had the officers and the soldiers shown a commitment more unanimous and stronger.
The Corps started marching on the road to Charleroi, the third division being in front of the column; we didn’t meet any enemy. Reaching Chatelet, we went on the right and crossed the Sambre. The third division went ahead of the town and camped together with a Dragoon Corps in the orchards outside a big village, which I think was Chatelineau.
The report can be found here: Hulot report to Gérard
That evening, Gérard reported to Soult, as can be seen in the featured images of this entry:
Armée de la Moselle Au Quartier Général à Chatelet,
Le 15 Juin 1815.
A Son Excellence, le Major Général,
J’avais déjà dépassé les haies de Nalinnes, dans la direction de Charleroy, lorsque j’ai reçu l’ordre de Votre Excellence de me diriger sur Chatelet, & d’y passer la Sambre.
Les trois Divisions d’Infanterie, avec leur artillerie, sont arrivées à chatelet. La quatorziême Division d’Infanterie, Commandée par le Maréchal de Camp Hulot, a passé la Sambre & occupe Chatelineau.
Les deux autres Divisions d’Infanterie sont à Chatelet.
Je fais pousser les reconnaissances sur les deux rives de la Sambre et observer les communications sur Namur et Dinant.
la Sixiême Division de Cavalerie, Commandée par le Lieutenant-Général Maurin, n’a pu arriver qu’à Bouflieux.
La Division de Cuirassiers du Général Delort, est encore en arrière sur la route de Philippeville ; je lui ai envoyé successivement trois officiers, pour lui faire prendre la Direction de Chatelêt.
partout où L’Armée de la Moselle a passé aujourd’hui, les habitants de la Belgique l’ont accueillie aux acclamations de vive L’Empereur.
L’officier porteur de cette dépêche est en même tems, chargé de conduire à Votre Excellence, un Capitaine du 28e régt d’Infanterie prussienne, nommé Neuhaûs, qui a été fait prisonnier aujourd’hui par des Dragons.
Je prie Votre Excellence d’agréer L’hommage e mon respect,
Le Général en Chef
Pair de france,