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5 mars 2012 1 05 /03 /mars /2012 08:49

Guerrilla war

  • The Spanish War of Independence was one of the most successful partisan wars in history and is the origin of the word guerrilla in the English language (from Spanish Guerra de guerrillas or "War of little wars"). Dell Studio 1537 Battery
  • Dell Studio 1555 Battery
  • However, this guerrilla warfare was costly to both sides. Not only did the 'patriotic' Spaniards trouble the French troops, they also petrified their countrymen with a combination of forced conscription and looting of towns. Many of the partisans were, in fact, either fleeing the law or trying to get rich, although later in the war the authorities tried to make the guerrillas militarily reliable, Dell Studio 1557 Battery
  • Dell Studio PP33L Battery

and many of them formed regular army units, like Espoz y Mina's "Cazadores de Navarra", among others.

However, the more disciplined the unit was, the easier it was for the French troops to catch them when they sprang an ambush. Only a few partisan leaders formed up with the authorities; most did so just to lay off criminal charges and to retain the effective status of an officer in the Spanish army, so their weaponry, clothes and food would be paid for. Dell Mini 10 Battery

  • The guerrilla style of fighting was the Spanish military's single most effective application. Most organized attempts on the part of regular Spanish forces to take on the French led to their defeat. However, once the battle was lost and the soldiers reverted to their guerrilla roles, Dell Mini 1010 Battery
  • Dell Mini 1010n Battery
  • they effectively tied down greater numbers of French troops over a wider area with much less expenditure of men, energy, and supplies. Wellington's final success in the Peninsula is often said to be largely due to the collapse and demoralization of the French military structure in Spain caused by the guerrillas; Dell Mini 1010v Battery
  • Dell Mini 1011 Battery
  • Intelligence played a crucial role in the successful prosecution of the war by the Allies after 1810. Spanish and Portuguese guerrillas were asked to capture messages from French couriers. From 1811 onwards, these dispatches were often either partially or wholly enciphered. Dell Mini 1011n Battery
  • Dell Mini 1011v Battery
  • George Scovell of Wellington's General Staff was given the job of deciphering them. At first, the ciphers used were fairly simple and he received help from other members of the General Staff. However, beginning in 1812, a much stronger cipher, originally devised for diplomatic messages, came into use and Scovell was left to work on this himself. Dell Inspiron 1501 Battery Battery
  • Dell D630 Battery Battery
  • He steadily broke it, and the knowledge of French troop movements and deployments was used to great effect in most of the engagements described above. The French never realised that the code had been broken and continued to use it until their code tables were captured at the Battle of Vitoria. Dell Inspiron 1545 Battery Battery
  • Dell D820 Battery Battery
  • King Joseph was cheered initially by Spanish afrancesados ("Frenchified"), who believed that collaboration with France would bring modernisation and liberty. An example was the abolition of the Spanish Inquisition. Dell D830 Battery Battery
  • Dell Inspiron 1420 Battery Battery
  • However, priesthood and patriots stirred up agitation among the populace, which became widespread after the French army's first examples of repression (Madrid, 1808) were presented as fact to unite and enrage the people. The remaining afrancesados were exiled to France following the departure of French troops. Dell Vostro 1000 Battery Battery
  • Dell Vostro 1310 Battery Battery
  • The pro-independence side included both traditionalists and liberals. After the war, they would clash in the Carlist Wars, as new king Ferdinand VII, "the Desired One" (later "the Traitor king"), revoked all the changes made by the independent Cortes, which were summoned in Cádiz acting on his behalf to coordinate the provincial Juntas and resist the French. Dell Vostro 1510 Battery Battery
  • Dell Vostro 1520 Battery Battery
  • He restored absolute monarchy, prosecuted and put to death everyone suspected of liberalism, and altered the laws of royal succession in favour of his daughter Isabella II, thus starting a century of civil wars against the supporters of the former legal heir to the throne. Dell Vostro 2510 Battery Battery
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  • The liberal Cortes had approved the first Spanish Constitution on 19 March 1812, which was later nullified by the king. In Spanish America, the Spanish and Criollo officials formed Juntas that swore allegiance to King Ferdinand. This experience of self-government led the later Libertadores(Liberators) to promote the independence of the Spanish–American colonies. Dell XPS M1530 Battery
  • French troops seized many of the extensive properties of the Catholic Church. Churches and convents were used as stables and barracks, and artworks were sent to France, leading to an impoverished Spanish cultural heritage. Allied armies also plundered Spanish towns and the countryside. Dell INSPIRON 1525 Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 1100 Battery

Role of intelligence


These pieces can be viewed at the Duke's London home, Apsley House, and at his country estate, Stratfield Saye House.

  • Another notable effect of the war was the severe damage incurred by Spain's economy; devastated by the war, it continued to suffer in the political turbulence that followed.[60] Dell Inspiron 1200 Battery

Dell Inspiron 1420 Battery


  • The Peninsular War signified the traumatic entry of Portugal into the modern age. The Portuguese Court's transfer to Rio de Janeiro initiated the process of Brazil's state-building that eventually produced its independence in 1822. Dell Inspiron 1520 Battery
  • Dell Inspiron 1521 Battery
  • The skillful evacuation by the Portuguese Navy of more than 15,000 people from the Court, Administration, and Army was a bonus for Brazil and a blessing in disguise for Portugal, as it liberated the energies of the country. The Governors of Portugal nominated by the absent king had a scant impact because of the successive French invasions and British occupation. Dell Inspiron 1720 Battery
  • Dell Inspiron 1721 Battery
  • The role of the War Minister Miguel Pereira Forjaz was unique. Wellington held him as the ablest man in Portugal.[61] Under Marshall Beresford he helped to build a regular army of 55,000 men and a further 50,000 as national guard milicias and a variable number of home guard ordenanças, perhaps totalling more than 100,000. Dell Inspiron 2000 Series Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 2100 SERIES Battery
  • In an 1812 letter to Baron Stein, the Russian Court Minister, Forjaz recommended a "scorched earth" policy and the trading of space for time as the only way to defeat a French invasion. Alexander I, Tsar of Russia, ordered his generals to use Wellington's Portuguese strategy and avoid battles to starve Napoleon's Grande ArméeDell Inspiron 2200 Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 2600 SERIES Battery
  • The nation at arms had a similar impact on Portugal as the French Revolution on France. A new class, tried, disciplined, and experienced by war against the French Empire, would assert Portuguese independence. Marshal Beresford and 160 officers were retained after 1814 to lead Portugal's Army while the King was still in Brazil. Dell INSPIRON 2650 SERIES Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 2800 SERIES Battery
  • Portuguese politics hinged on the project of a Luso-Brazilian United Kingdom, with the African colonies supplying slaves, Brazil manufacturing and Portugal the trade. By 1820, this became untenable: Portuguese Peninsular War officers arranged the expelling of the British and began the liberal revolution at Porto on 24 August. Dell INSPIRON 3700 SERIES Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 3800 SERIES Battery

Liberal institutions were only consolidated after a civil war in 1832–34.


  • Goya's series of 82 prints The Disasters of War (1810–20) remains the most famous and powerful depiction of the war and its effects on the civilian population. Dell INSPIRON 4000 SERIES Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 4100 SERIES Battery
  • The Manuscript Found in Saragossa by Jan Potocki (1814) is narrated from the time of the Peninsular War.Prosper Mérimée's Carmen (1845), on which Bizet's opera (1875) was based, is set during the war. The Spanish zarzuela, La Viejecita (1897) set in 1812, celebrates the entry of the joint forces into Madrid. The C. S. Dell INSPIRON 4150 SERIES Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 500M SERIES Battery
  • Forester novel Death to the French (1932) concerns a private in a British Rifle Regiment who is cut off from his unit and joins a group of Portuguese guerrillas. The 1957 motion picture The Pride and the Passion, also set during the war, was based on Forester's The Gun (1933). Dell INSPIRON 5100 Battery

Dell INSPIRON 6000 Battery

  • F. L. Lucas's novel The English Agent - A Tale of the Peninsular War (1969), about the Battle of Bailén and its aftermath, is the account of a British Army officer who, gathering information before the first British landings, buys a Frenchwoman at auction to save her from the Spanish mob. Dell INSPIRON 600M SERIES Battery
  • Lucas's poem "Spain 1809" (in From Many Times and Lands, 1953), the story of a Spanish village woman's courage during the French occupation, was turned into the play A Kind of Justice by Margaret Wood (1966). Curro Jiménez was a successful Spanish TV series (1976–79) about a generous bandit fighting against the French in the Sierra Morena. Dell Inspiron 630m Battery
  • Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery
  • The Sharpe novels (1981–2007) by Bernard Cornwell were a series likewise following the adventures of a British Army officer and set, partly, during the Peninsular War. They were later made into a series of television movies featuring actor Sean Bean as Sharpe (see Sharpe (TV Series)).Dell Inspiron 640m Battery
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A short but dramatic episode from the war is given in Gary Jennings's Aztec Rage. A board wargame called Wellington — The Peninsular War 1812–1814was produced by GMT Games in 2005.[62]

  • The Peninsular War saw the first use of medal bars. Also known as "devices", these are clasps affixed to the ribbons from whichmedals are suspended. Dell INSPIRON 8000 SERIES Battery

Dell INSPIRON 8100 SERIES Battery

  • The Peninsular Medal, more properly known as the Army Gold Medal, was issued to senior officers in Wellington's army. Clasps were added, each giving the name of a major battle in which the holder participated. When four clasps were earned a Peninsular Cross was awarded. Each arm was inscribed with one of the battles named on an earned clasp. Dell INSPIRON 8200 SERIES Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 8500M SERIES Battery
  • Subsequent clasps were then added to the ribbon. Wellington's Peninsular Cross, featuring a unique nine clasps (thirteen battles), can be seen on his uniform in the basement of Apsley House. In 1847, the surviving lower ranked officers and enlisted men received the Military General Service Medal, with battle clasps, for service in this conflict. Dell INSPIRON 8600 Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 8600M SERIES Battery

Battle of Barrosa

  • The Battle of Barrosa (Chiclana, 5 March 1811) was an unsuccessful French attack on a larger Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish force attempting to lift the siege of Cádiz in Spain during the Peninsular War. During the battle, a single British division defeated two French divisions and captured a regimental eagle. Dell Inspiron 910 (all 8.9 series) Battery
  • Dell INSPIRON 9200 Battery
  • Cádiz had been invested by the French in early 1810, but in March of the following year a reduction in the besieging army gave its garrison of Anglo-Spanish troops an opportunity to lift the siege. A large Allied strike-force was shipped south from Cádiz to Tarifa, and moved to engage the siege lines from the rear. Dell INSPIRON 9300 Battery
  • Dell Inspiron 9400 Battery
  • The French, under the command of Marshal Victor, were aware of the Allied movement and redeployed to prepare a trap. Victor placed one division on the road to Cádiz, blocking the Allied line of march, while his two remaining divisions fell on the single Anglo-Portuguese rearguard division under the command of Sir Thomas Graham. Dell Inspiron E1505 Battery
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  • Following a fierce battle on two fronts, the British succeeded in routing the attacking French forces. A lack of support from the larger Spanish contingent prevented an absolute victory, and the French were able to regroup and reoccupy their siege lines. Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (all 8.9 series) Battery
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  • Graham's tactical victory proved to have little strategic effect on the continuing war, to the extent that Victor was able to claim the battle as a French victory since the siege remained in force until finally being lifted on 24 August 1812. Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 Battery
  • Dell Inspiron XPS M140 Battery


  • In January 1810, the city of Cádiz, both a major Allied harbour and the effective seat of Spanish government since the occupation of Madrid, was besieged by French troops of Marshal Soult's I Corps under the command of Marshal Victor.[1] Dell Inspiron XPS M170 Battery
  • Dell Inspiron XPS M1710 Battery
  • The city's garrison initially comprised only four battalions of volunteers and recruits, but the Duke ofAlburquerque ignored orders from the Spanish Junta and instead of attacking Victor's superior force, he brought his 10,000 men to reinforce the city. This allowed the city's defences to be fully manned.[2] Dell Inspiron Z100 Battery
  • Dell Latitude 110L Battery
  • The ruling Spanish Junta, under pressure from widespread protests and mob violence, resigned and a five man Regency was established to govern in its place.[3] The Regency, recognising that Spain could only be saved with Allied aid, immediately asked the newly ennobled Arthur Wellesley,Dell Latitude C Battery
  • Dell LATITUDE C500 Battery
  • Viscount Wellington, to send reinforcements to Cádiz; by mid-February, five Anglo-Portuguese battalions had landed, bringing the garrison up to 17,000 men and making the city effectively impregnable.[2] Additional troops continued to arrive, and by May, the garrison was 26,000 strong, while the besieging French forces had risen to 25,000.[1] Dell LATITUDE C510 Battery
  • Dell LATITUDE C540 Battery
  • Although the siege tied up a large number of Spanish, British and Portuguese troops, Wellington accepted this as part of his strategy since a similar number of French troops were also engaged.[4] However, in January 1811, Victor's position began deteriorating.[5] Dell LATITUDE C600 Battery
  • Dell LATITUDE C610 Battery
  • Soult ordered Victor to send almost a third of his troops to support Soult's assault on Badajoz, reducing the besieging French army to around 15,000 men.[6] Victor had little chance of making progress against the fortress city with a force of this strength, nor could he withdraw—the garrison of Cádiz, if let loose, was large enough to overrun the whole of Andalusia.[5] Dell LATITUDE C640 Battery Dell LATITUDE C800 Battery

Prelude to battle

  • Following Soult's appropriation of many of Victor's troops, the Allies sensed an opportunity to both engage Marshal Victor in open battle and to raise the siege of Cádiz.[7] Dell LATITUDE C810 Battery
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  • To that end, an Anglo-Spanish expedition was sent by sea from Cádiz to Tarifa, with the intention of marching north to engage the French rear. This force comprised some 8,000 Spanish and 4,000 British troops, with the overall command ceded to the Spanish General Manuel la Peña, a political accommodation since he was widely regarded as incompetent.[8] Dell Latitude CP Battery

To coincide with la Peña's assault, it was arranged that General Zayas would lead a force of 4,000 Spanish troops in a sally from Cádiz, via a pontoon bridge from the Isla de León.[9]

  • The British contingent—an Anglo-Portuguese division commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Graham—sailed from Cádiz on 21 February 1811, somewhat later than planned.[10] Dell LATITUDE CPI Battery
  • Dell LATITUDE CPIC Battery
  • Graham's forces were unable to land at Tarifa due to bad weather and were forced to sail on to Algeciras, where they disembarked on 23 February.[11] Joined by a composite battalion of flank companies under Colonel Browne, the troops marched to Tarifa on 24 February, where they received a further reinforcement from the fortress garrison there.[12] Dell Latitude CPID Battery
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  • By 27 February, they were joined by la Peña's Spanish troops, who had left Cádiz three days after Graham and, despite encountering similar weather difficulties, had succeeded in landing at Tarifa.[10] Dell LATITUDE CPIR400GT Battery
  • To further strengthen the Allied ranks, a force of Spanish irregulars under General Beguines had been ordered to come down from the Ronda mountains by 23 February and join the main Anglo-Spanish force. Unaware of the delays in sailing, Beguines had advanced as far as Medina-Sidonia in search of the Allied army; Dell LATITUDE CPM Battery
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  • unsupported, and embroiled in skirmishes with Victor's right flank, he returned to the mountains. General Cassagne, Victor's flank commander, informed the Marshal of the developing threat. Victor responded by sending three infantry battalions and a cavalry regiment to reinforce Cassagne, and ordering the fortification of Medina-Sidonia.[13] Dell LATITUDE CPTC Battery
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  • Having concentrated, the combined Allied force began marching north towards Medina-Sidonia on 28 February, and la Peña now ordered Beguines's irregulars to join them at Casas Viejas. Once there, however, Beguines's scouts reported that Medina-Sidonia was held more strongly than had been anticipated. Dell LATITUDE CPTV Battery
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  • Rather than engaging the French and forcing Victor to weaken his siege by committing more of his troops to the town's defence, la Peña decided that the Allied army should march across country and join the road that ran from Tarifa, through Vejerand Chiclana, to Cádiz.[14] Dell LATITUDE CPXH Battery,Dell LATITUDE CPXJ Battery
  • This change of plan, combined with further bad weather and la Peña's insistence on marching only at night, meant the Allied force was now two days behind schedule.[11] La Peña sent a message to Cádiz informing Zayas of the delay, but the dispatch was not received and on 3 March, Zayas launched his sally as arranged.[15] Dell LATITUDE D400 SERIES Battery
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  • A pontoon bridge was floated across the Santi Petri creek and a battalion sent across to establish a bridgehead prior to the arrival of the main force. Victor could not allow the Cádiz garrison, which still numbered about 13,000 men, to make a sortie against his lines while he was threatened from outside, Dell LATITUDE D505 SERIES Battery
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  • so on the night of 3–4 March he sent six companies of voltigeurs to storm the bridgehead entrenchments and prevent a breakout. Zayas's battalion was ejected from its positions, with 300 Spanish casualties, and Zayas was forced to float the pontoon bridge back to the island for future use.[16]Dell LATITUDE D600 SERIES Battery
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  • Marshal Victor had, by now, received intelligence from a squadron of dragoonsthat had been driven out of Vejer, informing him of the strong Anglo-Spanish force making its way up the western road from Tarifa. In conjunction with the aggressive action of the Cádiz garrison, this led him to conclude that the approaching troops were heading for Cádiz; Dell Latitude D620 Battery
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  • their line of march was therefore predictable, so he prepared a trap.[17] General Villatte's division was sent to block the neck of the peninsular on which the western road ran, preventing access to the Santi Petri creek and the Isla de Léon. Dell LATITUDE LS 400 Battery

Two other divisions, under the commands of Generals Ruffin and Leval, were ordered to conceal themselves in the thick Chiclana forest in position to attack the flank of the Allies as they engaged Villatte's division.[18]

  • After another night march, on 5 March the Allies reached a hill to the south east of Barrosa, the Cerro del Puerco (also referred to as the Barrosa Ridge). Dell Latitude LSH Battery
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  • Scouts reported the presence of Villatte's force, and la Peña ordered his vanguard division to advance. With the aid of a fresh sortie of Zayas's troops from Cádiz, and reinforced by a brigade of the Prince of Anglona's division, the Spanish drove Villatte's force across the Almanza Creek.[19]Dell LATITUDE PP01 Battery
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  • La Peña refused his vanguard permission to pursue the retreating French, who were consequently able to regroup on the far side of the creek. Graham's Anglo-Portuguese division had remained behind on the Cerro del Puerco to defend the rear and right flank of la Peña's main force.[20]Dell LATITUDE PP01X Battery
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  • Having opened up the route to Cádiz, la Peña instructed Graham to move his troops forward to Bermeja.[19] However, on Graham's strenuous objections to vacating a position that would result in both an exposed flank and rear, a force of five Spanish battalions and Browne's battalion was left to hold the Barrosa Ridge. Dell LATITUDE PPX Battery
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  • In addition, three Spanish and twoKing's German Legion (KGL) squadrons of cavalry, under the command of Colonel Samuel Whittingham, were sent to flank this rearguard force on the coast track.[21] Graham's division then moved north as ordered—instead of descending from the heights on the coast road, Dell LATITUDE X200 Battery
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  • they followed a path through a pine wood to the west of the ridge. This route was shorter and more practical for artillery, but the trees restricted visibility in all directions, meaning that they were effectively marching blind.[22] Dell LATITUDE X300 SERIES Battery
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French attack

  • Victor was disappointed that Villatte had failed to block the Cádiz road for longer, but he was still confident that his main force could drive the Allies into the sea.[23] He could see that the bulk of the Spanish troops had taken station opposite Villatte and, Dell PRCISION M60 MOBILE WORKSTATION Battery
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  • on hearing reports that Barrosa Ridge was deserted, realised that here was an opportunity to take this commanding position. Ruffin was ordered to occupy the heights while Leval struck at Graham's troops in the woods, and three squadrons of dragoons were sent around the Cerro to take the coastal track.[24] Dell Precision M20 Series Battery
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  • Victor's plan rapidly developed momentum. Ruffin's advance sufficed to send the five rearguard Spanish battalions running, leaving only Browne's battalion defending the ridge and, confronted by the French dragoons, Whittingham's cavalry decided to retire.[25] Dell PRECISION M50 Battery
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  • Whittingham lent a single squadron of KGL hussarsto Browne to cover his retreat; Browne initially positioned his battalion in the ruins of a chapel at the summit but, seeing Whittingham's retreat and spotting six French battalions advancing on his position, he had little choice but to give way and seek Graham's force in the woods. Dell Precision Mobile Workstation M20 Battery

Barrosa Ridge fell unopposed as Victor had intended, and Ruffinemplaced a battery of artillery on the heights.[24]

[edit]Graham's response

  • Meanwhile, midway through his march to join la Peña's Spaniards, Graham received news from Spanish guerrilleros that French soldiers had emerged from the Chiclana forest.[26] Dell SMART PC100N Battery
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  • Riding to the rear of his marching columns, he witnessed the Spanish battalions retreating from the ridge, Ruffin's division climbing its slopes, and Leval's division approaching from the east. Realizing that the Allied force was in danger of being swamped, Graham disregarded his orders and turned his division to deal with the threats to his flank and rear. Dell Vostro 1500 Battery
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He ordered General Dilkes's brigade to retake the ridge while Colonel Wheatley's brigade was sent to see off Leval's force to the east.[27]

  • Due to the time it took to deploy a full brigade into battle formation, Graham knew he needed to delay the French. Dell Winbook N4 Battery
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  • He therefore ordered Browne, who had rejoined the division, to turn his single "Flankers" battalion of 536 men around and advance up the slope of the Barrosa Ridge against the 4,000 men and artillery of Ruffin's division. Colonel Barnard, who led the light battalion of Wheatley's brigade, and Colonel Bushe, Dell XPS M1210 Battery
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leading two light companies of Portuguese skirmishers, were ordered to attack through the woods to hold up Leval's advance.[23]

[edit]Barrosa Ridge

  • Advancing up the ridge they had just abandoned, Browne's battalion came under intense fire from Ruffin's emplaced infantry and artillery. Dell XPS M170 Battery
  • Dell XPS M1710 SERIES Battery
  • Within a few salvoes, half the battalion was gone and, unable to continue, Browne's men scattered amongst the cover provided by the slope and returned fire.[28] Despite his success, Ruffin could not descend the hill to brush away the remnants of Browne's battalion, as Dilkes's brigade had by now emerged from the wood and was forming up at the base of the slope.[29] Dell XPS M1530 Battery Battery,Dell Inspiron 1525 Battery Battery
  • Dilkes, instead of following Browne's route up the slope, advanced to the right where there was more cover and ground not visible to the French. As a result, the French artillery could not be brought to bear, and Dilkes's brigade managed to get near the top of the ridge without suffering serious loss. Sony VGP-BPL14 Battery
  • Sony VGP-BPS14 Battery
  • By this time, though, its formation had become disorganised, so Ruffin deployed four battalion columns in an attempt to sweep both Dilkes and the remaining "Flankers" back down the slope. Contrary to French expectations, the crude British line stopped the attacking columns in their tracks, and the two forces exchanged fire.[30] Sony VGP-BSP14/S Battery
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  • Marshal Victor, by then himself on the crest of the ridge, brought up his reserve in two battalion columns of grenadiers. These columns were, as with the previous four, subjected to intensemusket fire and were brought to a halt just metres from the British line. Sony VGP-BPL14/B Battery
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  • The first four columns had started to give ground, so Victor tried to disengage his reserves and bring them to their support. However, as the two grenadier columns attempted to move off from their stalled positions, they came under additional fire from the remnants of Browne's battalion, which had renewed its own advance. Sony VGP-BPL21 Battery
  • Sony VGP-BPS21A Battery

Prevented from rallying, the entire French force broke and fled to the valley below.[29]

Leval's advance

  • While Dilkes was moving on Ruffin's position on Barrosa Ridge, Barnard and the light companies advanced through the woods towards Leval's division. Sony VGP-BPS21/S Battery
  • Sony VGP-BPS21A/B Battery
  • Unaware of the impending British assault, the French had taken no precautions and were advancing in two columns of march, with no forward line of voltigeurs. The unexpected appearance of British skirmishers caused such confusion that some French regiments, thinking there were cavalry present, formed square. Sony VGP-BPL22 Battery
  • Sony VGP-BPS22 Battery
  • These were prime targets forshrapnel rounds fired by the ten cannon under Major Duncan which, having made rapid progress through the woods, arrived in time to support the skirmish line.[31] As the situation became clearer, the French organised themselves into their customary attacking formation—the 'column of divisions'—all the time under fire from Barnard's light companies and Duncan's artillery. Sony VGP-BPS22A Battery
  • Sony VGP-BPS22/A Battery
  • Finally, with the French now in their fighting columns and beginning their advance, Barnard was forced to draw back. Leval's men then encountered Bushe's companies of the 20th Portuguese, who supported the light battalion's retreat and kept the French engaged until Wheatley's brigade had formed up in line on the edge of the woods. Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery
  • Sony VGP-BSP13/S Battery

The retreating light companies joined Wheatley's troops; Leval's division of 3,800 men was now marching on an Anglo-Portuguese line of 1,400 men supported by cannon.[32]

  • Although they had the advantage in numbers, the French were under the impression that they were facing a superior force.[33] Sony VGP-BPS13A/B Battery
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  • Having been mauled by Barnard's and Bushe's light companies, and now facing the rolling volleys of the main British line, the French needed time to form from column into line themselves. However, Wheatley attacked as soon as the light companies cleared the field, and only one of Leval's battalions was able to even partially redeploy. The first French column Wheatley engaged broke after a single British volley.[34] Sony VGP-BPS9A/B Battery
  • Sony VGP-BPS9/B Battery
  • The 8th Ligne, part of this column, suffered about 50 percent casualties and lost its eagle. The capture of the eagle—the first to be won in battle by British forces in the Peninsular wars—cost Ensign Keogh of the 87th his life—it was finally secured by Sergeant Patrick Masterson (or Masterman, depending on source).[35] Sony VGP-BPS9/S Battery
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  • As Wheatley's brigade moved forward, it encountered the only French battalion, from the 54th Ligne, that had begun to form line. It took three charges to break this battalion, which eventually broke towards the right where it encountered the remainder of Leval's fleeing division.[36] Sony vgp-bps11 Battery,Sony vgp-bpx11 Battery

French retreat

  • Ruffin's and Leval's divisions fled towards the Laguna del Puerco, where Victor succeeded in halting their disorganised rout. The Marshal deployed two or three relatively unscathed battalions to cover the reorganisation of his forces and secure their retreat, Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery
  • Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery
  • but Graham had also managed to call his exhausted men to order and he brought them, with Duncan's artillery, against Victor's new position. Morale in the re-formed French ranks was fragile; when a squadron of KGL hussars rounded the Cerro and drove a squadron of French dragoons onto their infantry,[37] the shock was too much to bear for the demoralised soldiers, who retreated in a sudden rush.[38] Sony VGP-BPS12 Battery
  • Sony PCGA-BP1N Battery
  • Throughout the battle, la Peña steadfastly refused to support his Anglo-Portuguese allies. He learnt of the French advance at about the same time as Graham, and decided to entrench his full force on the isthmus defending the approach to the Isla de Léon. Learning of Graham's decision to engage the two French divisions, Sony PCGA-BP2E Battery
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  • the Spanish commander was convinced that the French would win the day and so stayed in place;[39] Zayas repeatedly asked for leave to go to Graham's support, but le Peña denied permission each time. On hearing that the British had prevailed, la Peña further declined to pursue the retreating French, again over-riding the continued protestations of Zayas.[40] Sony PCGA-BP2NY Battery,Sony PCGA-BP2R Battery


  • Furious at la Peña, the following morning Graham collected his wounded, gathered trophies from the field and marched into Cádiz; snubbed, la Peña would later accuse Graham of losing the campaign for the Allies.[41] Sony PCGA-BP2S Battery
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  • It is almost certain that, had the Allies pushed the French positions either immediately after the battle or on the morning of 6 March, the siege would have been broken. Even though Victor had managed to rally his troops at Chiclana, panic was rife in the French lines. Fully expecting a renewed offensive, Sony PCGA-BP2V Battery
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  • Victor had made plans to stall any Allied advance just long enough to blow up most of the besieging forts and to allow I Corps to retreat to Seville.[42] Such was the French discomposure that, despite the Allied inactivity, one battery was destroyed without any signal being given.[43]Sony PCGA-BP4V Battery,Sony PCGA-BP51 Battery
  • La Peña had determined not to heed plans from Graham and Admiral Keats to make a cautious advance against the French at Chiclana, and he even refused to send out cavalry scouts to find out what Victor was doing. After remaining entrenched at Bermeja during 5–6 March, the Spanish army crossed to the Isla de Léon the following day, leaving only Beguines's irregulars on the mainland. Sony PCGA-BP51A Battery
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  • This force did manage to briefly secure Medina-Sidonia, but then returned to the Ronda mountains. By 8 March, just three days after the battle, Victor had reoccupied even the evacuated southern section of his lines and the siege was back in place.[43] Sony PCGA-BP52A/L Battery
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  • It would remain so for another eighteen months, until finally being abandoned on 24 August 1812, when Soult ordered a general French retreat following the Allied victory atSalamanca.[44] Sony PCGA-BP71 Battery
  • Despite the conduct of their commanding general,[45] both the Spanish success at Almanza Creek and Graham's actions at Barrosa Ridge gave a much needed boost to Spanish morale.[46] La Peña was subsequently arraigned for court-martial, mainly for his refusal to pursue the retreating French, where he was acquitted but relieved of command.[47] Sony PCGA-BP71A Battery
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  • At a time when Anglo-Spanish relations were already strained, Graham's criticism of his Spanish allies meant that it was no longer politic for him to remain in Cádiz, so he was transferred to Wellington's main army.[48] Sony VGP-BPL2 Battery,Sony VGP-BPL4 Battery
  • Both tactically and in terms of the casualties inflicted, the battle was a British victory. Graham's troops had beaten a French force approaching twice their number despite having marched through the previous night and part of that day. The British lost approximately 1,240 men, including Portuguese and German contingents under Graham's command, while Victor lost around 2,380. Sony VGP-BPL5A Battery,Sony VGP-BPS2 Battery
  • The Spanish suffered 300–400 casualties.[49] Strategically, however, the failure of the Allies to follow up their victory allowed Victor to reoccupy his siege lines; Cádiz was not relieved and the campaign effectively failed to achieve anything. Victor even claimed the battle as a French victory, since the positions of the opposing sides remained unchanged following the action.[50] Sony VGP-BPS3 Battery,Sony VGP-BPS4 Battery
  • In November 1811, the British Prince Regent commanded that a medal be struck to commemorate the "brilliant Victory obtained over the Enemy"; this was awarded to the senior British officers present at the battle.[51] Sony VGP-BPS5 Battery,Sony VGP-BPS5A Battery
  • Four Royal Navy ships have taken their names from the battle, as has the Sea Cadet Corps Unit, TS Barrosa, and theBarossa Valley in Australia. Unofficially, the training area at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is also known as Barossa. Sony Vaio VGN-TT11M Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT13/N Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT190EIN Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT21M/N Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT23/N Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT23/W Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT25TN/W Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT26TN/N Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT33FB Battery,Sony Vaio VGN-TT35GNW Battery

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