He Never Knew What Hit Him
Armor of a cuirasse du carabinier, torn open by a cannonball at the battle of Waterloo, 1815.
From Napoleon's Carabiniers by Ronald Pawly:
"The visitor to the army museum at Les Invalides, Paris, who walks into the room devoted to the 1815 campaign and the Restoration is confronted by a dramatic relic taken from the battlefield of Waterloo. In a display cabinet stands a handsome polished cuirass of brass plated steel, expressing the martial glamour of Napoleon’s army – except that a huge hole is punched through both breast and back plates, where a 6-pound cannonball smashed its way through the troopers right breast and shoulder.
The sight of this ruined armor, now engraved with the date ’18 juin 1815’, is extraordinarily moving, and the visitor cannot help but imagine the fate of the 23-year old Carabinier Antoine Francois Faveau, who wore it on that fatal Sunday. He rode with the 2nd Company, 4th Squadron of the 2nd Regiment of Carabiniers – one of only two regiments to wear these gleaming brass-faced cuirasses. Brigaded together, these elite units of the French heavy cavalry of the Line took part in the last desperate charge sent in vain by Marshal Ney against the stubborn British infantry squares. Faveau’s cuirass may stand as an eloquent symbol of despairing courage and sacrifice, and of the final downfall of Napoleon’s empire.
When young Antoine Faveau was torn from his saddle at Waterloo, Napoleon’s Carabiniers had already been fighting on Europe’s battlefields for 20 years."