Jose de Palafox y Melzi
1776 - 1847
highly connected aristocrat, Jose de Palafox y Melzi was extremely
loyal to the Spanish royal family and after their removal to France
thought about launching a rescue mission.
Captain-General of Aragon, Palafox led the heroic defence of Saragossa
against the French.
his plans did not seem to include holding out in the poor defences
of the city - he had only 1500 troops available - and he left when
the French army crossed the horizon on 15 June 1808.
Lefebvre-Desnouettes launched an immediate assault, which was unexpectedly
thrown back with heavy losses - some 700 men were killed.
the attackers settled in for a siege, Palafox collected reinforcements
and, after a failed first attempt, managed to get himself and his
troops into Saragossa.
then set about strengthening the city's defences and turned it effectively
into a maze of defensive positions.
new French commander, General Verdier, sent in a new assault on
4 August and managed to get a foothold in the city.
sent a message calling for Saragossa to surrender but it was met
by Palafox's reply: "War to the knife."