This is the uniform coat of Lt. Henry Anderson, who was shot in the shoulder at the Battle of Waterloo. On the reverse of the coat, underneath Anderson’s left armpit, you can see the dried bloodstains.
This is an infantry officer’s scarlet coat of superfine broadcloth, lined with shalloon, trimmed with gold lace, and bearing one ‘wing’, indicating that its owner served in a flank company.
On 16th June, the battalion was engaged at Quatre Bras where, after confusion over orders, it was caught in extended line by French cavalry, suffered severe casualties and lost its King’s Colour. The experience was undoubtedly horrific, though the casualty lists suggest that the “annihilation of the 69th at Quatre Bras” is one of many Waterloo myths. The number killed was 27 and the percentage of casualties, 41%, which was less severe than other regiments whose losses are rarely mentioned.
The coat belonged to Lieutenant Henry Anderson of the 2nd Battalion, 69th Regiment of Foot, an inexperienced battalion that had not served in the Peninsula, although they were with General Graham in Flanders in 1814. Average length of service amongst the privates was only 3½ years, less than any other British regiment at Waterloo.
At the battle of Waterloo itself, the battalion occupied part of the Allied line between La Haye Sainte and Hougoumont, serving in Halkett’s British brigade of Alten’s 3rd Division. Four regiments were amalgamated into two squares: the 30th with the 73rd, and the 33rd with the 69th. In the final phase of the battle, faced the advance of the Old Guard, the square of the 33rd and 69th began to give way and the other seemed likely to follow suit until General Halkett grasped the colour of the 69th and urged them to stand. It was then that Lt. Anderson fell, wounded “by a musket ball which broke his left shoulder, passed through the lungs and made its exit at the back, breaking the scapula.”
Anderson’s account of the incident survives in a letter he wrote to the Waterloo model maker, Captain Siborne. He wrote a letter to his parents on July 10 1815, saying:
“Bones are coming away every day from my shoulder, it will be about three inches lower than the other, however if I’m pointed at as a deformed person they must say, ‘that fellow was wounded at the Battle of Waterloo’.”
Although he remained in the army, he was chiefly employed in administrative roles, as the impact of the wound remained with him for life.
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This object is in the collection of National Army Museum