Ligny Battlefield
The Battlefield

 Ligny (Ferrais - 18th Centurty)
Route around Ligny Battlefield
Our Route
Our Ligny visit started with the extant windmill at Fleurus. This was Napoleon’s main observation post at the start of the battle. At the time it was situated at the edge of Fleurus but you can see the village has clearly extended over the past two hundred years.

Mill at Fleures
The Mill at Fleurus

The mill at Fleurus from the boardgame Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Ligny
Fleurus Mill from the game Incredible Courage - 100 Days: Ligny
Artist: Rick Barber
© Grognard Simulations Inc.

From here it is a short drive to the Château de la Paix.

Chateau de la Paix
Château de la Paix

Napoleon spent the night after the battle here and troops bivouacked in the neighbouring farm.

La Paix Farm
La Paix farm
Take a right at the crossroads by the farm and drive to Saint Amand. The church is very distinctive on the approach and Ligny church is visible to the right. To your left are the fields over which the Imperial Guard advanced around 6pm. Drive past the church and on to La Haye Farm where it is worth parking up for a closer look. This farm was the centre of the Prussian defence against the Imperial Guard.

Ligny on the map for Waterloo by Avalon Hill
Ligny - from the Game Waterloo
© The Avalon Hill Game Company
Ligny as it appears on the L'Armee du Nord boardgame by Clash of Arms
Ligny and Surrounding Area - From L'Armee du Nord Game
Artist: Rick Barber
© 1993, Clash of Arms Games a division of
Theatre Of the Mind Enterprises, Inc.

Ligny from the map for La Bataille de Ligny published by Clash of Arms
Ligny - From the game La Bataille de Ligny
Artist: Rick Barber

© 1991, Clash of Arms Games a division of
Theatre Of the Mind Enterprises, Inc.
Ligny - From the game Le Retour de l'Empereur
Artist: Didier Rouy

© Pratzen Editions

The Moulin de Bussy also appear on the map
Moulin de Bussy - From the game La Bataille de Ligny
Artist: Rick Barber

© 1991, Clash of Arms Games a division of
Theatre Of the Mind Enterprises, Inc.

From Saint Amand, drive the short distance to Brye. Take the main route through Brye and pick up the Rue Joseph Scohy. Opposite an energy company’s office, take a right and drive a few yards to a farm on your left. Immediately in front of the farm is the now dry fish pond that sat in front of the Brye/Bussey windmill. The mill itself, a wooden structure, is long gone. Despite the lack of elevation it provided Blucher as his main observation point, and despite the more recent farm blocking much of the line of sight, there remains a fine, little changed, vista of the battlefield; from Ligny church all the way to Wagnelée.

Turn around and, opposite the energy offices, take a right down the Rue Sombreffe towards Ligny. Descend down into the valley of the Ligne, along the village’s winding lanes, and pull in at the Ligny Museum (1) on the left. This has ample parking signposted by various flags flying in the breeze.

Two views of the Ligne;
the first from the Ligny Bridge
and the second from outside of the village
The Ligny sites we visited are all in close proximity to one another so timings are omitted. We parked at the aforementioned ‘Napoleon’s Last Victory’ Museum. Unfortunately this was closed on the day of our visit (Open: ) but it look promising and not so large it will demand a long visit. From the museum we walked to the Bicentennial Memorial (2) (unfortunately the gun barrel is not from the battle). From here it is a very short walk to the Ferme d’en Haut/de la Tour (3), the church (4) and the Ferme d'en Bas (5). These three buildings are in very close proximity and were practically adjacent when, at the time of the battle, the church was surrounded by a cemetery. The church is not the original, but it is possible to picture these three buildings providing a daunting obstacle.

Whilst here we also followed the line of the Prussian retreat (6) out of the village and towards Wavre and we also visited the approximate site of the Ligny Chateau (7) (now entirely razed from the face of the earth) neither of these diversions provided any real insight into the battle and so we would suggest you spend your time in the museum instead.

Be warned, Ligny is simply a set of abodes; there are few shops or bars. All but one that we found were closed. There is a restaurant at the museum which, though we did not visit it, will probably be the best place to eat (we settled for a sausage a bag of crisps/chips and a packet of cookies as we walked along). Better still, head for somewhere like Sombreffe or Gembloux to dine.
Tour de Ligny en Francais - PDF
Tour de Wavre en Francais
Een tour van Ligny - Nederlands PDF
Een tour van Ligny. With dankzij Eddy Claes
 Ligny - Espagnol PDF
Ligny - Espagnol

1 comment:

  1. My wife brought to me this morning a pack of notes written a short time after the campaign. About 3 pages from a Delhaize ancestor who inhabited a farm not far from the Naveau windmill in Fleurus. The notes describes the mood of the inhabitants as the French army crossed their estates and the result of the battle : wounded soldiers being brought back the to rear for medical treatment.

    I will post some extracts after translation if there is any interest . Pretty amazing that you can still find unpublished stuff, digging in family vaults.