A PRESENTATION BATON BEARING A MINIATURE OF THE IMPERIAL FRENCH EAGLE OF THE 105TH RÉGIMENT D'INFANTRIE DE LIGNE, PRESENTED TO CAPT. CLARKE BY THE OFFICER'S OF THE ROYAL DRAGOONS
A PRESENTATION BATON BEARING A MINIATURE OF THE IMPERIAL FRENCH EAGLE OF THE 105TH RÉGIMENT D'INFANTRIE DE LIGNE, PRESENTED TO CAPT. CLARKE BY THE OFFICER'S OF THE ROYAL DRAGOONS
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WELLINGTON, THE NAPOLEONIC WARS AND WATERLOO, a commemoration in the 200th anniversary year of the battle of Waterloo (Lots 1-50)"Right shoulders forward, attack the Colour"
A PRESENTATION BATON BEARING A MINIATURE OF THE IMPERIAL FRENCH EAGLE OF THE 105TH RÉGIMENT D'INFANTRIE DE LIGNE, PRESENTED TO CAPT. CLARKE BY THE OFFICER'S OF THE ROYAL DRAGOONS

EARLY 19TH CENTURY

Details
A PRESENTATION BATON BEARING A MINIATURE OF THE IMPERIAL FRENCH EAGLE OF THE 105TH RÉGIMENT D'INFANTRIE DE LIGNE, PRESENTED TO CAPT. CLARKE BY THE OFFICER'S OF THE ROYAL DRAGOONS
EARLY 19TH CENTURY
With bi-colour ormolu head in the form of a French Imperial Eagle, the reverse engraved 'Presented to CAPTAIN CLARKE from the Officers of the Royal Dragoons Waterloo 1815', hardwood haft covered with crimson velvet, turned bone fittings with gold-plated collars and spherical finial, 18 7/8 in. (48 cm.) long

Lot Essay

Controversy has surrounded the capture of the Colour and Eagle of the 105th Régiment D'Infantrie de Ligne by the Royal Dragoons during the famed charge of the Union Brigade during the Battle of Waterloo. Both Captain Clark and Corporal Styles claimed or were credited with its capture. Clark stated in numerous post-battle correspondence that he spotted a French officer carrying the standard attempting to rejoin a large body of French infantry having become separated during what was becoming a rout in the face of the British cavalry charge. He claims to have ordered his squadron to attack with the words "Right shoulders forward, attack the Colour", and that he ran the French officer holding the Colour through with his sword. His accounts go on to state that as the French officer was falling mortally wounded the Colour began to fall, he managed to touch the Colour with his left hand but couldn't get a firm grip. Corporal Styles had followed his officer into the melee and an eye witness to the incident maintained that the Colour fell across the neck of the Corporal's horse and that Styles "snatched it up and galloped off to the rear". Clark's account stated that he had ordered Styles to take the Colour to the rear and put his name on it. That Styles took the Eagle to the rear was never disputed, but on doing so he either claimed credit for its capture or created the impression that he had taken it himself. Clark was wounded later in the battle and was recovering from his wounds in Brussels whilst the Royal Dragoons continued into France and where the argument over credit for the capture began. Internal politics within the Royal Dragoons spilt the regiment into two camps, some supporting Clark's claim, others backing the claim of Corporal Styles. Clark felt his action was deserving of promotion but this was not to be despite trying for over two years. Within a year Styles was promoted to Sergeant and was given an ensigncy in the 6th West India Regiment the following year. The present lot indicates that at least some fellow officers of Clark's regiment thought he was deserving of more recognition than officially granted.
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