Major Edward Hodge of the 7th Hussars was a notable soldier distinguishing himself throughout the Napoleonic wars, particularly the Peninsula campaign and Waterloo. On the day of the battle, the 7th Hussars were ordered by Lord Uxbridge, the commander of the British cavalry, to charge on the advancing enemy at the Belgian village of Genappe. The events surrounding the gallant officers death are best detailed in a near contemporary account of the battle:
During the retreat through Genappe, the covering squadron of the Seventh Hussars, under the command of Major Hodge of the same regiment, particularly signalized itself. It was formed opposite the Hotel Roi d’Espagne, when a regiment of French lancers entered that village. The landlord, who was conversing with Major Hodge and another officer, observed—” Gentlemen, you had better retire;” to which the gallant Major replied—” We do not fear them;” and instantly charging, drove them back. Notwithstanding the repeated defeats which the enemy experienced, he returned to the attack with fresh troops, which still failed to make any attempt on these brave men—but some flanking squadrons having passed the bridge at Wais, to his left, and the Ford of the Dyle at Vieux-Genappe, to the right, he was obliged to retire a short distance, but not until his gallant party had sabered a considerable number of the lancers, among whom was the Colonel, who lost his arm. Having re-formed his squadron opposite the post-house at the other side of the village, he again awaited the lancers; but opening to the right and left as they approached him, he found himself attacked by a squadron of cuirassiers, whose powerful horses and heavy armour rendered him perfectly incompetent to withstand them. This brave and distinguished officer fell, covered with wounds, as also several of his men, in this heroic but unequal contest.
A dashing figure as is clear from this delicate, insightful, portrait drawing he was also depicted by Richard Dighton in full Hussars uniform in 1806. He had a son Edward Cooper Hodge (1810-1894) who distinguished himself during the Crimean Wars.
Literature: “An Historical Account of the Battle of Waterloo fought on the 18th of June, 1815 etc & etc.” by Captain Arthur Gore, 13th Regt. of Foot; Pub. 1817; “With the 7th Hussars in the Peninsula: the Diary of Edward Hodge”, Darlington: Napoleonic Archive