27-28 July, 1809
Battle Tour Guides
soon-to-be Duke of Wellington
had a sizeable force of some 55,000 men and 60 cannons with
which to oppose King Joseph
Bonaparte, Marshal Jourdan
and Marshal Victor's 46,000
troops and 80 guns.
for Wellington, his force's number included 35,000 Spaniards
under General Cuesta, with whom co-operation was difficult.
Arrayed on the left of the positions behind the Alberche
River, the British got an indication of the quality of their
allies when the Spaniards panicked and fled after their
own sentries fired a volley at patrolling French cavalry.
Later that night an assault by General Ruffin almost forced
the British lines and only a counterattack sent the French
At 5am the next day, the French commanders launched three
columns at the Allied lines, but each was beaten off within
extremely high temperatures the French continued to batter
the defenders, but the volley fire halted them each time.
A final attempt was made by Joseph and Jourdan to turn the
flanks but was driven off by artillery fire.
this failure they decided to withdraw. The British lost
almost 5500 men, the Spaniards just over 1000 and the French
Many men wounded in the battle died in a grassfire that
spread across the field.