The Peninsular War (4)

1807 to 1814

Peninsular Battles Location Map
Tour Suggestions for Portugal
Tour Suggestions for Spain
Deaths in British Army Hospitals

Marching towards the city, he attacked a blocking force under Beresford at Albuera.

The battle was up-close and nasty with the two lines of troops only seperated by 20 paces. In the end it was the obstinacy of the British that won them the battle.

As Soult said he had defeated the redcoats, only they did not know the meaning of the word.

While Wellington's army was the master of countryside, the French still garrisoned the key fortresses of Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo.

The mighty towns stood as gatekeepers into Spain and the British leader knew he had to capture them before taking on the French in Spain.

As careful of his mens' lives as he was, Wellington lost caution when storming fortresses and both Ciudad Rodrigo (19 January) and Badajoz (19 April) were extremely bloody affairs that cost thousands of British lives and then thousands more inside the cities as the redcoats were given free reign.

The sacking of both brought little honour to Britain.

Moving quickly into Spain, Wellington found himself up against a new French commander - Marshal Auguste Marmont - but dealt with him the same way as the others and defeated him at Salamanca.

Madrid was freed but, being unable to capture the fortress at Burgos, the British had to make another retreat into safety in Portugal.

The back of French occupation was broken at the battle of Vitoria where King Joseph not only lost his crown, but also millions of pounds worth of treasure.

Soult now took over command of a unified French force and conducted a brilliant series of rearguard battles through the Pyrenees.

Eventually, Wellington forced his way through, overran the border fortresses, defeated Soult at Orthez and then, finally, at Toulouse.

The Peninsular War was finally over.



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