Monday, April 9, 2012

Lt. Col. Lambert-Paul Coenegracht

Lambert-Paul Coenegracht was one of the many Belgian officers who lost their lives at the epic battle of Waterloo in the Dutch-Belgian Army contingent of the Allied forces under the overall command of the British Duke of Wellington and HRH Willem, Prince of Orange. Coenegracht began his military career in 1790 and like many of the Belgian soldiers who fought with the Allies at Waterloo he had previously served with the armies of Napoleon. He became a captain in 1804 and later reached the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Dutch army of King Louis Bonaparte of Holland (brother of Napoleon I). He commanded the 2nd Curassier Regiment (heavy cavalry) and, also like many others, he passed from the Kingdom of Holland into the service of the French Empire military and he commanded the troops that served as escort to French Marshal Auguste de Marmont during the campaign in Spain. Marmont is remembered for owing his rank of Marshal of France mostly to his friendship with Napoleon and for remaining loyal to the Bourbon monarchy throughout the return of Napoleon and the Waterloo campaign. In 1814 Coenegracht left the French army and took command of the Dutch 1st Carabiniers in Trip's brigade (Dutch-Belgian Army) which he led into the battle of Waterloo. During the battle he was badly wounded at the intense fighting around La Haye Sainte and died the next day. Today his sword and watch can still be seen at the Wellington Museum at Waterloo. Because so many Belgians (and Dutch) had, like Coenegracht, served previously with the French army some of the British doubted their loyalty but obviously there could be no question of the devotion of men like Coenegracht who gave their lives to the Allied cause and the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in which Belgium was supposed to be an equal partner.

No comments:

Post a Comment