The defence of the stong points was crucial to Wellington's position, and as such had to be manned by tried and tested men who were able to continue fighting although beleagured and over-run. At La Haye Saint, in the centre, he posted the Kings German Legion and the 95th Rifles. On the right at Hougoumont, where he was concerned of a flanking assault to turn his line, Wellington posted the 2nd Guards Brigade.
The 2nd Battalion, The Coldstream Regiment (2nd Foot Guards) having re-organised following Quatre Bras, spent the 17th of June marching north up the Brussels road to Mont St Jean. The day was warm and sultry and the regiment were in good spirits. In the late afternoon, under a mass of dense low-lying cloud they, and the rest of the 2nd Guards Brigade were directed to move off the Brussels Road, to the left, to the Hougoumont chateau complex. The weather worsened and in pouring rain guardmen set about preparing Hougoumont for defence. Loopholes and firing steps were cut, and barriers rebuilt. By dawn all but one of the gates were barred and ammunition was distributed.
During the night Napoleon's army took up position to the south, with the French left directly in front of Hougoumont. After waiting for the ground to dry, at 1130 am on the 18th June, Napoleon ordered the attack. His brother, Prince Jerome was to begin with a diversionary attack on Hougoumont with the aim of drawing the British reserves right to weaken the centre. At this stage the battle hinged on the ability of the Guards to hold.
6,000 French infantry were sent forward. The 6th Division managed to reach the chateau walls and almost breached the main gate, but were finally held in the courtyards. Sections of the buildings caught fire and the orchards and buildings, began to fill with dead and wounded. As the battle raged General Foy's 9th Division were called to assist. Momentum forced the Fench infantry to swell around the Chateau and attacks came from three sides. In response, Wellington ordered four additional Guards companies forward to reinforce and they had to fight their way into the rear gates of the now surrounded chateau.
By 2 pm Jerome had given up hope of breaking into Hougoumount and in a fury ordered his howitzer batteries to pound the chateau walls. For the remainder of the day sporadic fighting ebbed around the orchards and courtyards, the remaining defenders grimly hanging on. Jerome's attack, which was supposed to be diversionary eventually committed 13,000 Frenchmen and was beaten back by just 2,000.
The statuette depicts a Coldstream Guardsman from one of the Light Companies resoutely defending his post within the walled chateau. He wears the newly issued Grey Breeches and Shako under its oilskin outer and carries the standard "Brown Bess" musket of the era. To this day the Coldstream Guards can be seen on ceremonial duty wearing their now famous "Bearskins", an honour conferred on the Guards Division after Waterloo by Wellington himself to honour their courage and coolness under fire when they stood firm to deny the French the British right flank.