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A NESTON HERO. ♦ [COMMUNICATED.] The subject of this reference is Lieutenant Thomas Cottingham, of Little Neston. He belonged to an old, loyal, and patriotic family that is now extinct in this hamlet. As we remember seeing Mr. Cottingham with that regularity that was akin to his profession, pass- ing Sunday after Sunday to the old parish church, and, moreover, seeing him occupy the large square family pew of his ancestors (a tablet of whom, with a Latin inscription, is to be seen on the north side of the church), we are the more interested in trying to throw some light on the brave deeds which he per- formed in that series of battles in which he was engaged, and which culminated in the ever memorable battle of Waterloo. Lieutenant Thomas Cottingham, of Little Neston, belonged to the 52nd Oxford Light Infantry, as brave a regiment as ever went on to the field of battle. Of this regiment we have an historieal record of more than ordinary merit from the year 1755 to 1858, written by W. S. Moorson, late captain 52nd Light Infantry. Among the many able and distinguished generals that commanded the 52nd Regiment was Lieutenant- General Sir John Moore, the hero who fell mortally wounded at the famed battle of Corunna. Lieutenant Thomas Cottingham served with the 52nd Regiment throughout the Peninsular campaign. The regiment was ably commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Colborne, who commanded the same regiment at the battle of Waterloo, and was an officer of great repute. At Badajoz, on the eve of the day on which the siege began, a detachment of the division led on by Colonel Selborne, stormed, and carried the reboubt on the hill, took some prisoners, and put their comrades to the sword. Of that storming party was Lieutenant Thomas Cotting- ham, who bravely volunteered his services. Lieut.-Col. Selborne, and his detachment, for service rendered in the Peninsula, received the praise of Viscount Wellington. Besides Corunna, the 52nd Regiment bore on its colours by authority, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, and also many other names, for as Napier relates, the army containing those veterans won 19 pitched battles. On the 17th June, 1814, the 52nd Regiment embarked on His Majesty's ship Dublin, and landed at Plymouth on the 28th. Thus terminated the Peninsular War service of the 52nd Regiment. The 52nd, however, had not long to remain idle. The great disturber of European peace had left his prison home on the Island of Elba, and marched in triumph to the capital of France. On the 14th January, 1815, the first battalion of the 52nd Regiment em- barked at Portsmouth and arrived on the 20th at the Cove of Cork, where the troops under orders for North America were ordered for rendezvous. The fleet was suddenly recalled to Plymouth. The 52nd Regiment was then ordered to the Netherlands, and on to Brussels, where it arrived on the 4th of April, to be in readiness for that terrible conflict in which this regiment bore a heroic part. It was past midnight on FVL A 1 RF V* Ap TLIRIQ NRVL ON NRAPALLTL/L X JU U1 OUOiJ f uuo Jiuuu vi u uuvj nuvu ^/iviuuuu repose seemed to reign over Brussels, when suddenly the drums beat to arms, and the trumpet's call was heard from every part of the city.' The officers, with the commander in chief, hurried away in their evening attire from the Duchess of Richmond's ball. The whole city was awakened, and the greatest commotion prevailed in the streets. A deadly conflict between Napoleon and Blucher was being waged at Ligny. There the Prussian commander suffered defeat. The victorious French general then marched on in the direction of Brussels. Away marched the British soldiers through the dark forest of Soigness and on to Quatre Bras, where after a toilsome march of some 28 miles they went into action against the victors of Ligny. In the meantime the defeated Prussian army retreated to Wavres in a line with and a few miles from the village of Waterloo, to which place the Duke of Wellington fell back so as to be in communication with the Prussian General. On the historic 18th day of June, the men arose cool and collected from their wretched repose and shelterless bivouac of thunder, lightning, and rain, along the heights of Mount St. Jean, and in front of the little village of Waterloo, to behold in front of them, and about three quarters of a mile distant, the vast French army that had come up during the night, buoyant with hope, and flushed with victory. The 52nd Regiment, according to Captain Tiborne, was the first battalion of Major- General Adams' British 3rd Brigade, and numbered 1,038 men, the largest British Battalion.. The 71st Regiment of the same battalion numbered 810 men; 2nd Battalion 95th Regiment, 585 men; 3rd Battalion 95th Regiment, and 138 men. Lieutenant-Colonel Sir John Colborne com- manded the 52nd Regiment. On the 18th the battle had raged with intense fury for some hours. The Chateau of Hougoumont, where the dead and dying lay thick around, was all ablaze. The British central position of La-Haye-Sainte was attacked and carried with that incessant impetuosity which characterised the assailants. They then pressed on to the grand final position of Mount St. Jean, which was as stubbornly defended. Victory trembled in the balance. Wellington wished for night, or Blucher; while on the other hand Napolean looked anxiously for Grouchy. About four o'clock in the afternoon Lieut. Cottingham's regiment, in Major-General Adams' brigade, went into action. They marched steadily down the declivity under the immediate eye of the Duke of Wellington, who cried out, "Go on Colborne, go on." The two regiments, the 52nd and the 71st, weakened as they had been by a galling fire, waited for the attack of the Young Guard, upon whom they rushed and routed in an instant. The enemy had fought hard, but without avail. A rumour ran through their ranks that the Prussian army was on the scene. The Duke of Wellington per- ceived the Imperial Guards, covered by the fire of their artillery, advancing to force our left centre near the farm of La-Haye Sainte. In the memorable charge of the British Foot Guards which followed, and caused panic and rout in the French army, Lieutenant Thomas Cottingham, of Little Neston, took an heroic part. Of the 52nd Regiment, we have the following memoir of General Whichcote, who died in the year 1891 at the advanced age of ninety six years, the oldest surviving officer who fought at Waterloo. With the 52nd Regiment this general, then a private soldier, went through the Peninsular campaign The part which the 52nd Regiment played at Waterloo was a conspicuous and a glorious one. They came into action about four o'clock in the afternoon, being advanced into a hollow at the foot of the hill within 400 yards from Hougoumont. There they found themselves at once exposed to a murderous fire from the French guns, varied by heavy charges of cavalry. Only two circumstances enabled them to withstand for nearly three hours as they did, with perfect steadiness and with surprisingly small loss, those alternate harassments. One was their admirable formation into small squares, and the other was the surface depression of which they took a skilful advantage under the Duke of Wellington's orders, an advantage of which the effect was that most of the enemy's gunfire passed harmlessly over their heads. About half-past six the Duke sent an order directing the regiment to retire up the hill. The commanding officer replied that if necessary he could retain the position, but inasmuch as immediately afterwards the Nassau contingent ran out of Hougoumont, the 52nd formed into double line, and did retire in perfect order to the brow of the hill. The colonel, who commanded, learned at this moment from a French colonel of Cuirassiers, who surrendered, that the Imperial Guard were about to make their final attack on the English position, and he could perceive them in full march on the Charleroi road. The result of the battle seemed now more doubtful than at any moment of the day. Most of our batteries had been silenced, or their ammunition was spent. The columns of the Old Guard were approaching unchecked. It was then that the 52nd delivered the famous charge on their left flank after pouring into their mass of eight battalions such a raking fire that the Guards had been obliged to halt to reply to it. There ensued upon the charge a furious hand to hand conflict, and soon after- wards the battle of Waterloo was lost and won." The casualties of the 52nd Regiment at Water- loo were-killed, 16; wounded, 174. They lost one officer only, Ensign W. Nettles, whose body was found on the field with his blood- stained colours underneath him. Lieutenant Thomas Cottingham was returned as wounded severely. Concerning him we have from W. S. Moorsom's Historical Record of the 52nd Light Infantry, the following honours:- Cottingham, Lieutenant Thomas; served with the 52nd in the Peninsular campaign of 1812, 1813, and 1814, and was present as a volunteer at the storming of Badajoz, at the Battles of Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, Nive, Orthes, and Toulouse, and also at Waterloo. He has received the war medal, with eight clasps." GEORGE GLEAVE.



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