When the retreating French army reached Merlau, they decided that Merlau Castle would provide an opportunity to set up a lazerette for sick and wounded soldiers. Undoubtedly, the arrival of the French troops in Merlau was not a particularly orderly affair. The withdrawal of an army is usually associated with considerable chaos. The tired and exhausted soldiers marching alongside the long columns of cavalry, wagons and beasts of burden were only too happy to dispose of equipment they no longer considered useful. One such soldier threw away, lost or dropped his bayonet somewhere here on the way through Merlau. More than a hundred years later it was found in the fields, rusted and corroded, but still recognizable for what it was - a French bayonet from the Napoleonic era.