French Eagle

Eagle of 45ème Régiment de Ligne

The Eagle was the most prized possession of the regiments within the French Army and was defended to the death during the Battle of Waterloo.

The Eagle was carried on top of the flagpole of the first battalion of each regiment. They were issued to each regiment by Napoleon just before the start of the Waterloo campaign, at a meeting called the Champ de Mai.

Sergeant Charles Ewart of the Scots Greys captured the Eagle of the 45ème Régiment de Ligne at the Battle of Waterloo.  The Scots Greys had surprised the French infantry by charging the Comte d’Erlon’s Corps, and breaking through the column that threatened Wellington’s left wing. The 45ème Régiment de Ligne was destroyed in the confusion that followed, allowing Sergeant Ewart to capture the Eagle from a number of French soldiers.

The capture of the Eagle was a great victory and Sergeant Ewart was hailed a hero. In 1816 he became an Ensign in the 5th Veteran Battalion and held this position until his retirement in 1821.

Ensign Ewart was reburied on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle by the Scots Greys in 1938.



Did you know?

The Eagle of the 105ème Régiment de Ligne was also captured at the Battle of Waterloo, however there is a lot of controversy over who actually took it!