Despite the rain and the dropping morale, there was one last chance for Napoleon to still win the day, and that was the capturing of Le Haye Sainte, a walled farmhouse compound, as well as the “nearby excavation area known as the Sandpit in the center of the battlefield.” If Napoleon had sent more troops to the area as soon as it was captured, there was still a chance they could’ve overpowered the British army “before the sheer weight of Prussian numbers crushed them,” Roberts writes.
But even though Napoleon had 14 available battalions at the time, he didn’t send them right away. When he did finally decide to send them half an hour later, the opportunity had passed. Wellington had already shifted his strategy in response to the capture of the compound, and sending in those reinforcements was no longer as effective as it would’ve been.
Napoleon didn’t fully accept that the battle was over until around 8:00 PM that day, when his Imperial Guard made its final attack and was quickly forced to retreat. “Sauve qui peut!” soldiers were crying out, or “save yourself if you can.” According to Roberts, Napoleon told a nearby general, “Come, general, the affair is over — we have lost the day — let us be off.”