Waterloo - one of the most important battles in the history of warfare - took place fourteen years before the world’s first photograph (called a heliograph) was made by a Frenchman, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Although we don't have pictures of battles in progress, we have other illustrative sources.
The U.S. Military Academy’s annotated maps, for example, reconstruct events as they occurred on the various fields leading up-to (and including) Waterloo. Drawings and paintings, recreating the battle scenes, permit us a trip back in time to view the maneuvers and witness the carnage.
- Situation on 1 June 1815 - depicts location and strength of opposing forces.
- Troops in and around Brussels on 16 June 1815 - shows movements after June 1st.
- Situation at 8 p.m. on the 16th of June 1815 - reflects major action at Quatre-Bras and Ligny.
- Midnight (on June 17-18) - Wellington, Blücher and Napoleon are moving into battle positions in the vicinity of Brussels.
- 10 a.m. on June 18th - opposing forces are largely in position on the Waterloo Battlefield.
- Battlefield positions at 4 p.m. on the 18th of June - Napoleon still thinks he will win.
- Battlefield positions at 7:30 p.m. on the evening of June 18 - Napoleon has “met his Waterloo.”
At the end of the battle the casualties were staggering.