It has been a damned serious business... Blucher and I have lost 30,000 men. It has been a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life. ... By God! I don't think it would have been done if I had not been there.
Remark to Thomas Creevey (18 June 1815), using the word nice in its original sense of "uncertain", about the Battle of Waterloo, as quoted in Creevey Papers (1903), by Thomas Creevey, Ch. X, p. 236. This has also been misquoted as "A damn close-run thing."
Simple: It has been a very serious day...Blucher (the allied Prussian general) and I have lost 30,000 men. It has been a very uncertain thing - the closest battle you ever saw in your life. By god! I don't think we would have won if I had not been there.