Baby name story: Frederica

Battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815)
Battle of Waterloo

Peter McMullen of Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, was seriously wounded at the Battle of Waterloo while serving with the 27th Foot.

“Incredibly, his heavily pregnant wife Elizabeth was watching the battle nearby and, fearing her husband was dead, she rushed into the midst of bodies.” She found Peter still (barely) alive, and attempted to carry him off the active battlefield, despite her condition. As she did this, she was shot in the leg with a musket ball.

After the battle, both Peter and Elizabeth were taken to a hospital in Antwerp, where Peter lost both of his arms due to injuries.

They were then transported to a hospital in Chelsea. While recuperating at the English hospital, Elizabeth gave birth to a baby girl.

Prince Frederick — the Duke of York, and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army — heard about the couple, and visited them at the hospital. While there, he agreed to be the baby’s godfather. And so the newborn “was christened Frederica McMullen of Waterloo” in his honor.

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