Date added: 27 Jan 2015
One of the unsung heroes of the Battle of Waterloo, Lieutenant Colonel Basil Jackson (1795-1889) is my great uncle x3. He wrote a fascinating account of his experiences as a 19 year-old officer at the battle. His book – Notes and Reminiscences of a Staff Officer – one of the most remarkable eye witness accounts of Quatre Bras and Waterloo - is still in print but is also free online at https://archive.org/details/notesandreminis01seatgoog
He was born in Glasgow and his father Major Basil Jackson was also at the Battle as the head of the Royal Waggon Train. Lt Col Jackson was ADC to Sir William de Lancey, Wellington’s Quartermaster-General who was talking to the Duke when he was hit in the back by a cannon ball. It left Jackson with no orders and no superior officer, so he spent the rest ofthe day freely riding around the battlefield and he describes seeing Wellington on Copenhagen, 10,000 deserters having tea in a wood, and riding into Brussels during the battle where he found Prussians stealing the horses of English officers at the front.
Also after Waterloo he went to guard Napoleon on St Helena. He stayed on the island until 1819 and then served in Canada as a military engineer, overseeing the building of the Rideau Canal and went on to become a highly-regarded military surveyor. He afterwards lived at Glewston Court near Ross, Herefordshire until September 1874 and later at Hillsborough in the same county until his death on October 23 1889 at the age of 94. He married on 28 March 1828 the daughter of Colonel George Muttlebury. His daughter published his "Reminiscences" after his death in 1903. His Reminiscences are now a precious resource for the army of Waterloo historians writing new books about the battle and its aftermath. My husband Colin Brown has incorporated Basil’s adventures in his forthcoming book called “Scum of the Earth”, published in May, 2015 by The History Press.