Grouchy's report to Napoleon evening of 17 June 1815
|Gembloux, 17th June,|
|at ten o'clock in the evening.|
Sire, — I have the honour to report to you that I occupy Gembloux, and that my cavalry is at Sauvenières. The Enemy, about thirty thousand men strong, continues his movement of retreat. We have seized here of his, a pen of 400 horned cattle, magazines and baggage.
It would appear according to all the reports, that, on arrival at Sauvenières, the Prussians divided themselves into two columns: one of which took the road to Wavre, passing by Sart-lez-Walhain; the other column would appear to have been directed on Perwtès.
It may perhaps be inferred from this that one portion is going to join Wellington; and that the centre, which is the army of Blücher, is retiring on Liege. Another column with artillery having made its retreat by Namur, General Excelhans has the order to push this evening six squadrons on to Sart-lez-Walhain, and three squadrons on to Perwez. According to their report, if the mass of the Prussians is retiring on Wavre, I shall follow them in that direction, so as to prevent them from reaching Brussels, and to keep them separated from Wellington.
If, on the contrary, my enquiries prove that the principal Prussian force has marched on Perwez I shall proceed by that town in pursuit of the Enemy. Generals Thielemann and Borstel formed part of the army that your Majesty defeated yesterday. They were still here at 10 o'clock this morning, and have announced that twenty thousand of their men have been disabled. They asked, in leaving, the distances of Wavre, Perwez, and Hannut. Blücher has been slightly wounded in the arm; which, however, has not hindered him from continuing to command after having his wound dressed. He has not passed by Gembloux.
- I am with respect,
- The faithful subject of
- Your Majesty,
- Marshal Count de Grouchy.