It was on this place that Grouchy advanced on the day of Waterloo, gaining a useless success here over a Prussian corps while the fate of the campaign was being decided elsewhere.
I'm just in a grouchy mood this morning.
He found that Grouchy had made little progress beyond the town.
Although the emperor wrote to Ney again at noon, from Ligny, that troops had now been placed in position at Marbais to second the marshal's attack on Quatre Bras, yet Ney remained quiescent, and Wellington effected so rapid and skilful a retreat that, on Napoleon's arrival at the head of his supporting corps, 1 There appears to be no reason to believe that Grouchy pushed any reconnaissances to the northward and westward of Gentinnes on June 17; had he done so, touch with Blucher's retiring columns must have been established, and the direction of the Prussian retreat made clear.
And on the morning of the 18th of June he was foremost in advising Marshal Grouchy to march to the sound of the guns.
This order at least was precise and clear, but it was sent 12 hours too late, and when Grouchy received it he was unable to carry it out.
Amand, whilst Gerard attempted to storm Ligny; on the right Grouchy held Thielemann in play, and in the centre near Fleurus were the Guard and Milhaud in reserve, close to the emperor's headquarters on the mill.
Instead of concentrating his force upon one bridge over the swampy and unfordable Dyle, Grouchy scattered it in attacks upon several; and when the emperor's despatch arrived, saying Billow was in sight, the marshal was powerless to move westward.
Meanwhile two long hours had been wasted on the right whilst Grouchy and Vandamme deliberated over their plan of action in front of the Prussian brigade at Gilly; and it was not until the emperor himself again reached the front, about 5.30 P.M., that vigour replaced indecision.
He was in front of a force of unknown strength which appeared resolved to stand its ground, his men were tired, and the cannon-thunder to his right rear proclaimed clearly that Grouchy had not made much headway on the Fleurus road.