Mercer’s Troop at Waterloo


Karl Kopinski’s painting of Mercer’s Troop at Waterloo has a strong flavour of the desperate situation of the gunners facing massed French cavalry attacks. Captain Cavalié Mercer is depicted on his horse with a pelisse on his shoulder. Contemporary accounts describe him as having a moustache, which the artist has painted. During a lull in the action, Mercer rode up and down in front of the guns to encourage his battery, shouting at the enemy in fluent French. A hatless gunner keeps a wary eye on a fallen Grenadier à Cheval, and a sergeant, who wears the red waist-sash of his rank, shouts orders.


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by Stephen Luscombe