27 September, 1810
Battle Tour Guides
Retreating towards the impregnable defensive lines of Torres
Vedras, the Duke of Wellington
decided to buy himself more time to complete the withdrawal
by checking Marshal Massena
and his army of Portugal at Bussaco.
British numbered some 51,000 men while Massena, bolstered
by the talents of Marshal Ney
and generals Junot and
Reynier had almost 66,000 troops at his disposal.
his favoured tactic of hiding his true strength from the
enemy, Wellington had drawn up only two divisions on a steep
ridge in view of the French.
this was only a rearguard, Massena sent Reynier's corps
in a dawn attack, which reached the high ground on the British
right before being repelled by a bayonet charge from the
Connaught Rangers of the 88th.
an hour two more attempts were made by the French to seize
the ridge, but both failed with heavy losses.
after 8am, Ney sent his corps against the British left and
while successful in pushing the defenders back, the attack
was stopped by concentrated firepower of cannons and muskets.
The battle became sporadic after that with little serious
effort by the French to advance and was eventually ended
when Massena withdrew having lost 4500 men.
whose casualty list was just over 1250 men, continued on
towards Torres Vedras.