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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/178

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [io s. xn. AUG. 21, UODL


with the French. Cotton's horse was killed under him on the 18th, and he rode for the rest of the day on the horse of a French Cuirassier. He saved on that day the life of a trooper named Gillmore. At other times he saved two lives from drowning. One was a lad, David Bale, at Clapham, near London ; another, a boy, named Tannis, in the village of Mont St. Jean.

When the army was disbanded Cotton elected to reside in Belgium, and at Lord Anglesey's wish settled at Mont St. Jean. He was clever, and of education beyond his fellow-soldiers ; and he seized every oppor- tunity of acquiring information from the officers who revisited the plain on which they had fought. Jean Baptiste de Coster, who was in attendance on Napoleon on the 18th of June, 1815, was the best-known guide at Waterloo until his death in 1826. Accord- ing to the preface to his volume, Cotton did not adopt the profession of guide until 1835 ; but from that time he was the favourite companion of all the visitors from England. It is said that Sidney Cooper relied upon his statements for many of the details in his large picture ' The Half -past One o'clock Charge at Waterloo,' which was in the great exhibition in Westminster Hall during the spring of 1847. Cotton was described in 1845 (Naval and Military Gazette, 19 April, p. 252) as " an intelligent, spare, active, good-looking fellow, of 53 years of age, and the very cut of a Hussar." The statement that he attended Lord Byron on his visit to Waterloo in May, 1816, and George IV. on 1 Oct., 1821, requires corroboration. Lord William Pitt Lennox asserts in his ' Celebrities I have Known,' Second Series, ii. 22, that Cotton guided Sir Walter Scott, the Duke of Rich- mond, and himself over the battle-field in the summer of 1815 ; but the volume was written many years after that date, and the accuracy of the statement is not beyond question.

Cotton and Sergeant-Major Munday, also of the 7th Hussars, married two sisters. Cotton's wife died in 1848, and on his death next year he left four orphan children. From their age it would seem that Cotton married about 1835. This was probably the reason why he adopted in earnest in that year the business of guide to the battle- field. One of his daughters was the lady with whom Charles Roach Smith conversed. Another daughter, a girl of eleven in 1849, was assistant superior of the convent of the Sisters of St. Mary at Braine-l'Alleud, and survived to witness the ceremony at


j Evere on 26 Aug., 1890. His niece, Miss | Munday, married George Veraleweck, who made the coffin for Cotton's remains.

It was in a house built at Mont St. Jean that Cotton established his museum. He died there from consumption on Sunday, 24 June, 1849, having on the previous Friday taken an English family over the field (Athenceum, 7 July, p. 696). By his express desire he was buried two days later in the orchard of Hougomont, by the side of Capt. John Lucie Blackman (youngest son of Sir George Blackman, Bt., who took in 1821 the surname of Harnage only), who was born on 4 Oct., 1793, entered the Coldstream regiment of Foot Guards on 11 Jan., 1814, and lost his life in defending that farm. Cotton's epitaph in the orchard is article 364 in the catalogue of the Museum. It runs as follows :

" Sacred to the memory of Edward Cotton, author of ' A Voice from Waterloo,' and late sergeant-major of the 7th Hussars, who departed this life at Mont St. Jean, the 24th day of June, 1840, in his 58th year."

Many of the chief English residents at Brussels showed their respect for him in following his body to the grave. In 1890 the remains were removed to the crypt beneath the Waterloo monument in the new cemetery of Evere. Cotton's skeleton was entire, although the coffin had wholly dis- appeared.

The memorial at Evere was unveiled by the Duke of Cambridge on 26 Aug., 1890, and the sermon which the Rev. Edward Ker Grey, LL.D., preached in the English Church, Rue Belliard, Brussels, on Sunday afternoon, 24 Aug., and repeated in St. George's Chapel, Albemarle Street, London, on 2 !N*ov., 1890, was published by request, with an appendix of notes relating to the memorial and its inauguration. No copy is at the British Museum ; it was printed by Holmes & Son of 31, South Molton Street. The remains of seventeen warriors are en- tombed in the memorial, those of Cotton being the sixth in the crypt. He was the only one of them who died a natural death.

The museum of relics was maintained for the support of Cotton's orphan children. During recent years the property at Mont St. Jean has been in the hands of a great- niece, Madame Browne, daughter of M. Veraleweck by Miss Munday, and the widow of a naval officer.

Edward Cotton was more than a brave soldier and an admirable guide. He was a successful author, and his work, ' A Voice from Waterloo,' is said to have gone through