16-28 August 1810
4 April to 10 May 1811
was a Portuguese fortress that, like its Spanish counterpart
at Ciudad Rodrigo, sat across
the main northern route from Spain into Portugal.
safely control the road the French had to take the stronghold
and Marshal Ney was sent to
lay siege to it. He invested it on 16 August.
British sat comfortably behind the walls for 12 days, but
then fate took a hand and the fortress's magazine erupted
in a massive explosion that stunned the defenders and virtually
handed the position to Ney.
remained in French control until 1811 when the British surrounded
it and began siege operations.
attempt by Marshal Massena
to break the encirclement was fended off by the Duke
of Wellington at Fuentes
de Onoro and, after hearing news of the defeat, the
1300-man garrison abandoned the fortress, fought their way
through the British lines and escaped.