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Africa Orientale It. Iraq dal Asia Terrorismo Politico Intelligence Criminologia Invest. Geopolitica Diritto intern. Flashbang Riv. Desperta Ferro Riv. Caraktere Riv. Ancient Warfare Riv. Medieval Warfare Riv. Armes Militaria HS Riv. Raids HS Riv. Pretorien Riv. Steel Masters HS Riv. Signal Sq. By themselves, such forces were unlikely to score more than a few local victories, but French troop losses elsewhere in Europe could not be taken for granted.
Napoleon might yet inflict defeats on Austria, Russia and Prussia, and with the divisions between the allies there was no guarantee that one power would not make a separate peace. In August , British headquarters still had misgivings about the eastern powers. Austria had now joined the Allies, but the Allied armies had suffered a significant defeat at the Battle of Dresden.
They had recovered somewhat, but the situation was still precarious. Wellington's brother-in-law Edward Pakenham wrote, "I should think that much must depend upon proceedings in the north: I begin to apprehend It was also uncertain that Wellington could continue to count on Spanish support.
Wellington's Army In The Peninsula –14 by Stuart Reid
The summer of in the Basque provinces and Navarre was a wet one, with the army drenched by incessant rain, and the decision to strip the men of their greatcoats was looking unwise. Sickness was widespread—at one point a third of Wellington's British troops were hors de combat —and fears about the army's discipline and general reliability grew.
By 9 July, Wellington reported that 12, men were absent without leave, while plundering was rife. Wherever we move devastation marks our steps". The Chasseurs Britanniques —recruited mainly from French deserters—lost men in a single night. Wellington wrote, "The desertion is terrible, and is unaccountable among the British troops. I am not astonished that the foreigners should go Pushing on into Spain, by 27 July the Roncesvalles wing of Soult's army was within ten miles of Pamplona but found its way blocked by a substantial allied force posted on a high ridge in between the villages of Sorauren and Zabaldica, lost momentum, and was repulsed by the Allies at the Battle of Sorauren 28 and 30 July  Reille's right wing suffered further losses at Yanzi 1 August ; and the Echallar and Ivantelly 2 August during its retreat into France.
The British incurred heavy losses during assaults. Meanwhile, the French garrison retreated into the Citadel , which after a heavy bombardment their governor surrendered on 8 September, with the garrison marching out the next day with full military honours. Wellington next determined to throw his left across the river Bidassoa to strengthen his own position, and secure the port of Fuenterrabia.
The French right was then rolled back, and Soult was unable to reinforce his right in time to retrieve the day. His works fell in succession after hard fighting, and he withdrew towards the river Nivelle. On 31 October Pamplona surrendered , and Wellington was now anxious to drive Suchet from Catalonia before invading France. The British government, however, in the interests of the continental powers, urged an immediate advance over the northern Pyrennes into south-eastern France. The siege was abandoned after a time, but was later on renewed by Lieutenant General Lord William Bentinck.
This reduced Suchet's French Catalonian army from 87, to 60, of whom 10, were on garrison duty. By the end of January through redeployment and wastage through disease and desertion the number had fallen to 52, of whom only 28, were available for field operations the others were either on garrison duties or guarding the lines of communication back into France. Suchet thought that the armies under the command of the Spanish General Copons and the British General Clinton amounted to 70, men in fact they only had about as many as he did , so Suchet remained on the defensive.
On 10 January Suchet received orders from the French War Ministry that he withdraw his field force to the foothills of the Pyrenees and to make a phased withdraw from the outlying garrisons. This would reduce the size of Suchet's field army to 18, men. The Allies heard that Suchet was hemorrhaging men and mistakenly thought that his army was smaller than it was, so on 16 January they attacked.
Wellington's Army In The Peninsula 1809–14
Suchet had not yet started the process of sending more men back to France and was able to stop the Sicilians and a small contingent of British artillery in support at the Battle of Molins de Rey because he still had a local preponderance of men. The allies suffered 68 casualties; the French, 30 killed and about wounded. After Suchet sent many men to Lyons, he left an isolated garrison in Barcelona and concentrated his forces on the town of Gerona calling in flying columns and evacuating some minor outposts.
However his field army was now down to 15, cavalry and infantry and excluding the garrisons in northern Catalonia. The last actions in this theatre happened at the siege of Barcelona on 23 February the French sallied out of Barcelona to test the besiegers' lines, as they thought wrongly that the Anglo-Sicilian forces had departed. They failed to break through the lines and forces under the command of the Spanish General Pedro Sarsfield stopped them. The French General Pierre-Joseph Habert tried another sortie on 16 April several days after Napoleon had abdicated and the French were again stopped with about of them killed.
On 1 March Suchet received orders to send 10, more men to Lyons. On 7 March Beurmann's division of 9, men left for Lyons. With the exception of Figueras Suchet abandoned all the remaining fortresses in Catalonia that the French garrisoned and that were not closely besieged by Allied forces , and in doing so was able to create a new field force of about 14, men, which were concentrated in front of Figueras in early April. In the meantime, because the Allies underestimated the size of Suchet's force and believed that 3, more men had left for Lyon and that Suchet, with the remnant of his army, was crossing the Pyrenees to join Soult in the Atlantic theatre, the Allies began to redeploy their forces.
The best of the British forces in Catalonia were ordered to join Wellington's army on the river Garonne in France. In fact, Suchet remained in Figueras with his army until after the amnesty signed by Wellington and Soult. He spent his time arguing with Soult that he had only 4, troops available to march although his army numbered around 14, and that they could not march with artillery, so he could not assist Soult in his battles with Wellington.
On the night of 9 November Wellington brought up his right from the Pyrenean passes to the northward of Maya and towards the Nivelle. Marshal Soult 's army about 79, , in three entrenched lines, stretched from the sea in front of Saint-Jean-de-Luz along commanding ground to Amotz and thence, behind the river, to Mont Mondarrain near the Nive.
The allied loss during the Battle of Nivelle was about 2,; that of the French, 4,, 51 guns, and all their magazines. The next day Wellington closed in upon Bayonne from the sea to the left bank of the Nive. After this there was a period of comparative inaction, though during it the French were driven from the bridges at Urdains [f] and Cambo-les-Bains. The Portuguese and Spanish authorities were neglecting the payment and supply of their troops. Wellington had also difficulties of a similar kind with his own government, and also the Spanish soldiers, in revenge for many French outrages, had become guilty of grave excesses in France, so that Wellington took the extreme step of sending 25, of them back to Spain and resigning the command of their army though his resignation was subsequently withdrawn.
So great was the tension at this crisis that a rupture with Spain seemed possible, but this did not happen. Wellington occupied the right as well as the left bank of the Nive on 9 December with a portion of his force only under Rowland Hill and Beresford , Ustaritz and Cambo-les-Bains, his loss being slight, and thence pushed down the river towards Villefranque , where Soult barred his way across the road to Bayonne. The allied army was now divided into two portions by the Nive; and Soult from Bayonne at once took advantage of his central position to attack it with all his available force, first on the left bank and then on the right.
The losses in the four days' fighting in the battles before Bayonne or battles of the Nive were-Allies about 5,, French about 7, Operation resumed in February and Wellington went quickly over to the offensive. Hill on 14 and 15 February, after a battle of Garris , drove the French posts beyond the Joyeuse; and Wellington then pressed these troops back over the Bidouze and Gave de Mauleon to the Gave d'Oloron.
The allied loss was about 2,; the French 4, and 6 guns. He endeavored also to rouse the French peasantry against the Allies, but in vain, for Wellington's justice and moderation afforded them no grievances. Spanish attacks on Soult's heavily fortified positions were repulsed but Beresford's assault compelled the French to fall back. The Allied loss was about 5,, the French 3, On 13 April officers arrived with the announcement to both armies of the capture of Paris, the abdication of Napoleon, and the practical conclusion of peace; and on 18 April a convention, which included Suchet's force, was entered into between Wellington and Soult.
At the end of the Peninsular War, British troops were partly sent to England, and partly embarked at Bordeaux for America for service in the final months of the American War of Louis XVIII was restored to the French throne; and Napoleon was permitted to reside on the island of Elba , the sovereignty of which had been conceded to him by the allied powers. King Joseph had been welcomed by Spanish afrancesados Francophiles , who believed that collaboration with France would bring modernisation and liberty; an example was the abolition of the Spanish Inquisition.
After the war, the remaining afrancesados were exiled to France. The whole country had been pillaged, the Church had been ruined by its losses and society subjected to destabilizing change. The experience in self-government led the later Libertadores Liberators to promote the independence of Spain's American colonies. Portugal's position was more favorable than Spain's.
Revolt had not spread to Brazil, there was no colonial struggle and there had been no attempt at political revolution. In all, the episode remains as the bloodiest event in Spain's modern history, doubling in relative terms the Spanish Civil War ; it is open to debate among historians whether a transition from absolutism to liberalism in Spain at that moment would have been possible in the absence of war. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This is the latest accepted revision , reviewed on 18 September Iberian Peninsula and southern France.
Allied victory Treaty of Paris. Bourbon Spain United Kingdom Portugal. Peninsular War. Napoleonic Wars. Franco-Spanish wars. Further information: Enlightenment in Spain. Main article: Invasion of Portugal Further information: Dos de Mayo Uprising. Further information: British Army during the Napoleonic Wars.
Main article: Kingdom of Spain Napoleonic. Further information: Lines of Torres Vedras. Peninsular War Vitoria and the Pyrenees, — Main article: Campaign in south-west France See also: Campaign in north-east France See also: Mid-nineteenth century Spain. For he explained to the officer going the rounds that his French neighbour had gone off on his behalf, with his last precious half-dollar, to buy brandy for both, and had left his musket in pledge till his return. The French officer going his rounds on the other side of the brook then turned up, and explained that he had caught his sentry, without arms and carrying two bottles, a long way to the rear.
If either of them reported what had happened to their colonels, both sentries would be court-martialled and shot. Wherefore both subalterns agreed to hush up the matter". But the Spanish had no intention of trusting Napoleon and the fighting continued. In addition, Soult and Suchet lost the rest of their German units—another 3, men—as it was felt that they became unreliable. This left the Adour 's defenders much depleted and incapable of further offensive action. Working Papers on Economic History. European Historical Economic Society. The Art of Warfare on Land.
Archived from the original on 6 October Retrieved 9 February Joseph Weller, ". Archived from the original on 7 June Retrieved 29 October Napoleonic Guide. Retrieved 21 July History of the war in the Peninsula and in the south of France: from A. Retrieved 15 June Pakenham Letters: — Ken Trotman Publishing. VI, p. Anonymous, ed. The Annual Register, for the year 2nd ed. Longares ed. Haythornthwaite, Philip J.
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Greenhill Books. Brandt, Heinrich von 1 November North, Jonathan ed. In the legions of Napoleon: the memoirs of a Polish officer in Spain and Russia, — Chandler, David G. The Campaigns of Napoleon. Churchill, Winston A History of the English-speaking Peoples: The age of revolution. Dodd, Mead. Clodfelter, M. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. Ellis, Geoffrey Napoleon: Profiles In Power. Esdaile, Charles . The Peninsular War. Palgrave Macmillan.
Esdaile, Charles a . Penguin Books. Fremont-Barnes, Gregory Fletcher, Ian Staplehurst: Spellmount. Fletcher, Ian a. The Lines of Torres Vedras — Osprey Publishing. Fortescue, J. A History of The British Army. IV — Gates, David 29 October Da Capo Press. Gates, David . Gay, Susan E. Old Falmouth. Glover, Michael .
Penguin Classic Military History. Grant, Reg Dorling Kindersley. Guedalla, Philip . In Lugo, Ney's troops joined up with those of Soult and these forces withdrew from Galicia in July This marked the final evacuation of Galicia by the French army and the creation of a new front. Cuesta was reluctant to agree, but was persuaded to advance on the following day.
Cuesta sent his army after Victor, and was faced by the entire French army in New Castile, Victor having been reinforced by the Toledo and Madrid garrisons. The Spanish retreated, while two British divisions advanced to cover their retreat. On 27 July at the Battle of Talavera , the French advanced in three columns and were repulsed several times, but at a heavy cost to the British force. Wellesley, ignoring Cuesta's urgings to proceed to a general attack, decided on a gradual retreat, leaving Talavera on 4 August. Wellesley was concerned about the imminent arrival of Soult with his army and was afraid of being cut off from his base in Portugal.
With communications and supply from Lisbon secured, Wellesley considered rejoining Cuesta, but considerable friction had developed between the British and the Spanish; after Talevera, the Spanish had abandoned the British wounded to the French. Also, actions taken by the Spanish forces resulted in Wellesley's strategic position being compromised. The Spanish had promised to provide supplies for the British if they advanced into Spain, but this was not done. The ensuing lack of supplies and the threat of French reinforcement in the spring led to the British decision to retreat into Portugal.
By making this choice Wellesley was supported by the government perception about Talavera. About himself, London was all gratitude, and rewarded him with the peerage of Viscount Wellington. But considerations pointed to a careful course of action. The peace party accused the general of being outgeneraled, while insinuations were being made that Talavera was fought for no objective beyond getting an aristocratic title. There was also much dissatisfaction with Wellington, as he was now known: considered an authoritarian, he also made himself more distrusted by writing about the conduct of the Cabinet and what he perceived as not enough support from them.
By the summer of , the Spanish Supreme Central and Governing Junta of the Kingdom was coming under harsh criticism over its handling of the war. The Spanish people demanded that the ancient Cortes be summoned and the Junta agreed. But it was difficult to restore the old assembly and bring it into session. Anxious to justify its continued existence, the Junta came up with what it hoped would be a war-winning strategy.
Del Parque soon massed 30, troops at Ciudad Rodrigo with more on the way. The 10,man Talavera force was designed to hold French units in place while the main armies attacked Madrid. In the autumn of , Del Parque's Army of the Left numbered 52, men in one cavalry and six infantry divisions. All infantry divisions included 14 battalions except the 3rd with 15 and the 5th with seven. The Prince of Anglona's Cavalry Division included 1, horsemen in six regiments. Ciudad Rodrigo was provided with a garrison of 3, troops and there was an unattached man battalion.
The corps had been forced out of Galicia earlier in and had been involved in the operations in the aftermath of the Battle of Talavera in July. After hard campaigning and a lack of reinforcements, VI Corps was in a poor condition to fight and Marchand's talents were not equal to those of Ney. In the Battle of Tamames on 18 October , the French suffered an embarrassing defeat. Spanish casualties were out of 21, men and 18 cannons.
After the battle, Del Parque was joined by Ballesteros' division, giving him 30, troops. Kellermann took command of the French force and marched upstream, crossing to the south bank at Tordesillas. The Spaniard abandoned Salamanca and retreating to the south. He had been instructed to join Albuquerque, he instead moved on Salamanca again, hustling one of the VI Corps brigades out of Alba de Tormes. At this moment, Del Parque's columns came into view and there was a skirmish at El Carpio. Outnumbered, the French prepared to defend themselves.
For two days, the French could not catch up with their adversaries but on the afternoon of 28 November, their light cavalry found the Army of the Left camped at Alba de Tormes. By the end of November , Patriot Spain was in poor shape. In Catalonia, Gerona was in its last moments, Spain's two largest armies had been defeated and the British army was preparing to leave the Guadiana. Disgusted by what he regarded as the Junta's stupidity, Wellington was convinced that a French march on Lisbon was imminent.
Intelligence reports of large masses of fresh enemy troops crossing from France were received. The result was revolution. Joseph contented himself with working within the apparatus extant under the old regime, while placing responsibility for local government in many provinces in the hands of royal commissioners. After much preparation and debate, on 2 July Spain was divided into 38 new provinces, each headed by an Intendent appointed by King Joseph, and on 17 April these provinces were converted into French-style prefectures and sub-prefectures.
Named after their chief towns rather than after their dominant geographical features, the new territorial divisions, which were almost equal in size, bore little relation to any historic units. The Proclamation of the Conde de Montarco on 25 March described the government in Cadiz as an "infamous and illegitimate government Thus the French obtained a measure of acquiescence among the propertied classes.
While refusing to take service with the French, and in instances serving as spies or couriers, they accepted the presence of the occupying forces and on occasion struck up friendships with them. Francisco de Goya , who remained in Madrid throughout the French occupation, painted Joseph's picture and documented the war a series of 82 prints called Los Desastres de la Guerra The Disasters of War. For many imperial officers, life could be comfortable. Amongst the liberal, republican and radical segments of the Spanish and Portuguese populations there was much support for a potential French invasion, despite Napoleon's having by abandoned many liberal and republican ideals.
Before the invasion, the term afrancesado "turned French" was used to denote those who supported the Enlightenment, secular ideals, and the French Revolution. But while Napoleon—through his brother Joseph—fulfilled his promises to remove all feudal and clerical privileges, most Spanish liberals soon came to oppose the occupation because of the violence and brutality it brought. The Peninsular War is regarded as one of the first people's war, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.
It is from this conflict that the English language borrowed the word. Later in the war the authorities tried to make the guerrillas reliable, and many of them formed regular army units such as Espoz y Mina 's "Cazadores de Navarra". The idea of turning the guerrillas into an armed force had both positive and negative effects.
Uniforms and strict military discipline stopped men from deserting; the more disciplined the unit, the easier it was for French troops to catch them when they sprang an ambush. Some partisan leaders joined up with the military authorities to avoid criminal charges, to retain their status as officers in the Spanish army, or to receive weaponry, clothes, and food.
Most organized attempts by regular Spanish forces to take on the French ended in defeat. Once a battle was lost and the soldiers reverted to their guerrilla roles, they tied down large numbers of French troops over a wide area with a much lower expenditure of men, energy, and supplies.
In Spain and Portugal, the populace were inured to hardship, were suspicious of foreigners and were versed in ways of life—such as banditry and smuggling—that were characterised by violence and involved constant skirmishes with the security forces. The conviction of General Bigarre became the foundation of the phenomenon of the "customs guards and smugglers who covered the whole of the country under the Prince of the Peace", Captain Blaze saying that, as the Spaniards were "accustomed to extol the exploits of the robbers and smugglers", the chieftains "have been in readiness to become chiefs of the guerrillas".
Tantamount to suggesting that resistance was the product of backwardness—or as the French would have put it, of savagery, ignorance and want of civilisation—this latter argument could be supplemented by arguing that Spain was Catholic and therefore given over ipso facto to obscurantism, superstition and counter-revolution.
Common French complaints as they grappled with occupying such an independent and spirited Spanish citizenry was that Spain was at least a century behind the rest of Europe in knowledge and the progress of social habits. Spain's insularity and the severity of its religious institutions had prevented the Spaniards from taking part in the disputes and controversies which had agitated and enlightened Europe. Hatred of the French and devotion to God, King and Fatherland were not the only the reason to join the Partisans.
Hunger and despair reigned on all sides. The possible site for a siege battery—a peninsula that half-closed the mouth of the harbour protected by the Isla—was held by troops ensconced at its seaward end in the fort of Matagorda. Batteries and redoubts commanded the entire length of the Sancti Petri, the Puente de Suazo had been blown up, the isthmus was studded with defences and Cadiz was protected by massive walls.
The Spaniards had fitted out a large number of gunboats and launches that could patrol the Sancti Petri. Shaken by their experiences, the Spaniards had abandoned their earlier scruples about a British garrison. These defences thwarted the French; an effort to persuade the garrison to surrender was rejected. Victor's French troops camped at the shoreline and tried to bombard the city into surrender. Joseph wrote to Napoleon appealing for naval assistance, but this was never forthcoming; the emperor did not want to risk a second Trafalgar. Large numbers of troops and guns were therefore pushed forward to attack Matagorda and the garrison was evacuated on 22 April.
Large mortars were constructed for this purpose at Seville, and the city was thereafter bombarded. The bombardment was ineffectual and the confidence of the gaditanos grew and persuaded them that they were heroes. However, these shots As a result, they caused little damage On 1 January instructions had appeared that the suffrage was to be extended to all male householders over Voting was to be public and the electors were to choose parish representatives who would attend district-level assemblies.
These would choose deputies to send to the provincial meetings that would be the bodies from which the members of the cortes would emerge. There would be one deputy to every 50, inhabitants. Whether the new assembly should have a single chamber or whether the clergy and nobility should have their own organs of representation were unclear. This was a conservative body which in theory enjoyed absolute power. The leading reformer Argilelles said, "Its authority was as absolute and arbitrary as that of the governments of the past.
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There was no remedy against the use of power. The freedoms of speech and of publication This scheme was criticized in America for providing unequal representation to the overseas territories. Several important and large cities had no direct representation in the Supreme Central Junta. In particular Quito and Charcas , which saw themselves as the capitals of kingdoms and resented being subsumed in the larger "kingdom" of Peru.
This unrest led to the establishment of juntas in these cities in , which were quashed by the authorities within the year. Throughout early the governments of the capitals of the viceroyalties and captaincies general elected representatives to the Junta, but none arrived in time to serve on it. Fearing a new French assault on Portugal, Wellesley created a powerful defensive position near Lisbon, to which he could fall back if necessary. The various parts of the lines communicated with each other by semaphore , allowing immediate response to any threat.
The work began in the autumn of and the first line was finished one year later. To further hamper the enemy, the areas in front of the lines were subjected to a scorched earth policy: they were denuded of food, forage and shelter. Though not without its problems, Wellington exploited the facts that the French could conquer Portugal by conquering Lisbon, and that they could in practice reach Lisbon from the north.
He exploited Lisbon's geographical situation and the harshness of the Portuguese countryside. In consequence, despite serious worries about his army, Wellesley was confident. Suffering heavy casualties, the French failed to dislodge the Anglo-Portuguese army. Large cavalry patrols were soon riding out to examine the countryside, and within a matter of hours discovered an unguarded track leading northwards around the Allied line. After a fierce skirmish on 14 October in which the strength of the Lines became apparent, the French dug themselves in rather than launch a full-scale assault.
It is astonishing that the enemy have been able to remain in this country so long; and it is an extraordinary instance of what a French army can do. It is a fact that they brought no provisions with them, and they have not received a letter since they entered Portugal. With all our money and having in our favour the good inclinations of the country, I assure you that I could not maintain one division in the district in which they have maintained not less than 60, men and 20, animals for more than two months.
On 15 October, a much smaller Polish garrison held off British troops under Lord Blayney , who was taken captive and held by the French until During , Victor's force was diminished because of requests for reinforcement from Soult to aid his siege of Badajoz. He captured the fortress town of Badajoz before returning to Andalusia with most of his army. This timid surrender contrasted with the resistance mounted at Girona and Zaragoza.
Badadoz's garrison numbered 8, effectives, had a month's ammunition and food, and was expecting a relief column under Beresford. The city's fall crowned a campaign in which, with 20, men, Soult had seized two fortress, taken 16, prisoners and defeated the Spanish army in Extremadura. Soult was relieved at the operation's speedy conclusion, for three pieces of disturbing information had reached him on 8 March and his presence was required elsewhere.
Wellesley's confidence and moral authority had been much boosted by Torres Vedras , the spring of found him intending to move over to the offensive, for which policy he had received de facto authorisation from London, where talks of major reductions in the size of the army employed in Portugal had been replaced by promises of major reinforcements. Supply difficulties, sickness among the troops and want of siege artillery meant that in the short term no great strokes of strategy could be envisaged, but it was hoped that Almeida , Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz might be all recaptured, opening the way for lightning strikes on Salamanca or Seville.
This was impractical— gaditano opinion was hostile, while Arthur Wellesley's enthusiasm failed to win over his Cabinet colleagues. A further suggestion that the provinces bordering on Portugal should be placed under British authority was also rejected. With the French ensconced in Almeida, Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, the problems these measures were designed to combat—a repetition of the troubles of the Talavera campaign—were academic.
Soult regathered his army and marched to relieve the siege. Beresford lifted the siege and his army intercepted the marching French. Part of Wellington's army had besieged Badajoz until Soult forced it to retire after the Battle of Albuera. Soult outmaneuvered Beresford but could not win the battle, writing later that he had never seen "so desperate and bloody a conflict" and commenting on the steadfastness of the British troops: "There is no beating these troops I had turned their right, pierced their centre and everywhere victory was mine—but they did not know how to run!
The allies, reinforced by fresh British troops in early , began an offensive. In April, Arthur Wellesley besieged Almeida. The French claimed victory because they won the passage at Poco Velho, cleared the wood, turned the British right flank, obliged the cavalry to retire, and forced Wellesley to relinquish three miles of ground.
The British claimed victory because they took the village of Fuentes and their object covering the blockade of Almeida was attained. The French retired without being attacked. After this battle, the Almeida garrison escaped through the British lines in a night march. The prize contended for was to present another example of the uncertainty of war. Wellesley joined Beresford and renewed the siege of Badajoz. Marmont joined Soult and Wellesley retired. The greatest Spanish coup at this time was the work of the Catalans.
Aided by three young clerks employed by the garrison, on the night of 9—10 April the former cleric, Francisco Rovira, let himself into the fortress of Figueras at the head of 2, men. Because it commanded the main road from Barcelona to the frontier, the French would not accept its loss and after confused fighting in which Rovira and his men received ineffectual support from troops of the First Army brought up by its latest commander, the Conde de Campoverde, the fortress was blockaded.
Thinking that relief was unlikely, Marshal Macdonald , the commander of the French Army of Catalonia , eschewed formal siege operations in favour of starving the defenders into surrender. Defended by irregulars, the fortress held out much longer than expected, but on 17 August, with no food remaining it was forced to capitulate after a desperate attempt at a break-out was foiled.
Macdonald wrote, "The unevenness of the ground caused the head of the columns to waver and made their weapons jingle, and this attracted the attention of our advanced outposts We awaited their approach, and as soon as they opened the attack we threw hand grenades amongst them The Spaniards lost a large number of killed, wounded and Next day the enemy ran up the white flag I accorded them the honours of war. The garrison laid down their arms and remained prisoners; out of respect for their bravery the officers retained their swords.
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The fighting had not prevented the French from seizing more ground. The French next attacked the vital city of Tarragona. The Spaniards had been able to maintain a small, regular army in southern and central Catalonia because Tarragona was a port, a fortress, and the last region whose resources remained intact as far as the Patriot cause was concerned. The emperor had deemed that it should be taken.
In September, Marmont repelled him and re-provisioned the fortress. The war now fell into a temporary lull, with the superior French unable to find an advantage and coming under increasing pressure from Spanish guerrillas. British infantry attempt to scale the walls of Badajoz , The Battle of Salamanca. The Proclamation of the Constitution of by Salvador Viniegra. Wellesley renewed the allied advance into Spain in early , besieging and capturing the border fortress towns of Ciudad Rodrigo on 19 January and Badajoz on 6 April after an assault.
The allied army took Salamanca on 17 June, as Marshal Marmont approached.