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Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. Once a battle was lost and the soldiers reverted to their guerrilla roles, they tied down large numbers of French troops over a wide area with a much lower expenditure of men, energy, and supplies [ citation needed ] and facilitated the conventional victories of Wellington and his Anglo-Portuguese army and the subsequent liberation of Portugal and Spain.

Hatred of the French and devotion to God, King and Fatherland were not the only reason to join the Partisans. Hunger and despair reigned on all sides. The French invaded Andalusia on 19 January The result was revolution. Cadiz was heavily fortified, while the harbour was full of British and Spanish warships.

Alburquerque's army and the Voluntarios Distinguidos had been reinforced by 3, soldiers who had fled Seville, and a strong Anglo-Portuguese brigade commanded by General William Stewart. Shaken by their experiences, the Spaniards had abandoned their earlier scruples about a British garrison. Thanks to British naval supremacy, a naval blockade of the city was impossible. The French bombardment was ineffectual and the confidence of the gaditanos grew and persuaded them that they were heroes.

With food abundant and falling in price, the bombardment was hopeless despite both hurricane and epidemic—a storm destroyed many ships in the spring of and the city was ravaged by yellow fever. The Junta Central announced that the cortes would open on 1 March Suffrage was to be extended to all male householders over After public voting, representatives from district-level assemblies would choose deputies to send to the provincial meetings that would be the bodies from which the members of the cortes would emerge.

This scheme was resented in America for providing unequal representation to the overseas territories. Unrest erupted in Quito and Charcas , which saw themselves as the capitals of kingdoms and resented being subsumed in the larger "kingdom" of Peru. Throughout early the governments of the capitals of the viceroyalties and captaincies general elected representatives to the Junta, but none arrived in time to serve on it. Convinced by intelligence that a new French assault on Portugal was imminent, Wellington created a powerful defensive position near Lisbon, to which he could fall back if necessary.

The various parts of the lines communicated with each other by semaphore , allowing immediate response to any threat. The work began in the autumn of and the main defences were finished just in time one year later. To further hamper the enemy, the areas in front of the lines were subjected to a scorched earth policy: Wellington exploited the facts that the French could conquer Portugal only by conquering Lisbon, and that they could in practice reach Lisbon only from the north.

Until these changes occurred the Portuguese administration was free to resist British influence, Beresford 's position being rendered tolerable by the firm support of the Minister of War , Miguel de Pereira Forjaz. As a prelude to invasion, Ney took the Spanish fortified town of Ciudad Rodrigo after a siege lasting from 26 April to 9 July Suffering heavy casualties, the French failed to dislodge the Anglo-Portuguese army.

During , Victor's force was diminished because of requests for reinforcement from Soult to aid his siege of Badajoz. The Allies failed to exploit their success and Victor soon renewed the blockade. Soult redeployed his forces to deal with these threats. Wellington went over to the offensive later that month. Soult regathered his army and marched to relieve the siege. Beresford lifted the siege and his army intercepted the marching French. At the Battle of Albuera , Soult outmaneuvered Beresford but could not win the battle. He retired his army to Seville. In April, Wellington besieged Almeida.

Both sides claimed victory but the British maintained the blockade and the French retired without being attacked. After this battle, the Almeida garrison escaped through the British lines in a night march. Wellington joined Beresford and renewed the siege of Badajoz. Marmont joined Soult with strong reinforcements and Wellington retired. Wellington soon appeared before Ciudad Rodrigo. In September, Marmont repelled him and re-provisioned the fortress.

The Spanish commander Francisco Rovira captured in a coup-de-main the key fortress of Figueres with the help of 2, men on 10 April. The French Army of Catalonia under MacDonald blockaded the city to starve the defenders into surrender. With the help of a relief operation on 3 May, the fortress held out until 17 August, when lack of food prompted a surrender after a last-ditch breakout attempt failed.

On 5 May, Suchet besieged the vital city of Tarragona , which functioned as a port, a fortress, and a resource base that sustained the Spanish field forces in Catalonia. Suchet was given a third of the Army of Catalonia and the city fell to a surprise attack on 29 June.

Peninsular War

Napoleon rewarded Suchet with a Marshal's baton. On 25 July, Suchet drove the Spanish out of their positions on the Montserrat mountain range. In October, the Spanish launched a counterattack that recaptured Montserrat and took 1, prisoners from scattered French garrisons in the area. In September, Suchet launched an invasion of the province of Valencia.

He besieged the castle of Sagunto and defeated Blake's relief attempt.


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The Spanish defenders capitulated on 25 October. Suchet trapped Blake's entire army of 28, men in the city of Valencia on 26 December and forced it to surrender on 9 January after a brief siege. Blake lost 20, men dead or captured. The redeployment of a substantial part of his troops for the invasion of Russia ground Suchet's operations to a halt. The victorious Marshal had established a secure base in Aragon and was ennobled by Napoleon as the Duke of Albufera, after a lagoon south of Valencia. The war now fell into a temporary lull, with the superior French unable to find an advantage and coming under increasing pressure from Spanish guerrillas.

Wellington renewed the allied advance into Spain in early , besieging and capturing the border fortress town of Ciudad Rodrigo by assault on 19 January and opening up the northern invasion corridor from Portugal into Spain.

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This also allowed Wellington to proceed to move to capture the southern fortress town of Badajoz , which would prove to be one of the bloodiest siege assaults of the Napoleonic Wars. Tenaciously defended, the final assault and the earlier skirmishes left the allies with some 4, casualties. These losses appalled Wellington who said of his troops in a letter, "I greatly hope that I shall never again be the instrument of putting them to such a test as that to which they were put last night. The allied army subsequently took Salamanca on 17 June, just as Marshal Marmont approached.

The two forces met on 22 July, after weeks of maneuver, when Wellington soundly defeated the French at the Battle of Salamanca , during which Marmont was wounded. The battle established Wellington as an offensive general and it was said that he "defeated an army of 40, men in 40 minutes.

Although the cannons were useless, the Allied forces captured 30 gunboats and a large quantity of stores. Spanish armies defeated the French garrisons at Astorga and Guadalajara. As the French regrouped, the allies advanced towards Burgos. Wellington besieged Burgos between 19 September and 21 October, but failed to capture it. Together, Joseph and the three marshals planned to recapture Madrid and drive Wellington from central Spain. The French counteroffensive caused Wellington to lift the Siege of Burgos and retreat to Portugal in the autumn of , [] pursued by the French and losing several thousand men.

Napier estimated that the double retreat cost the allies around 9,, including the loss in the siege, and said French writers said 10, were taken between the Tormes and the Agueda.


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But Joseph's dispatches said the whole loss was 12,, including the garrison of Chinchilla, whereas English authors mostly reduced the British loss to hundreds. For Napoleon, losing in Spain in or would have meant little if a decisive victory had occurred in Germany or Russia. Trying to hold a front line in an arc from Bilbao to Valencia, they were still vulnerable to assault, and had abandoned hopes of victory. According to Esdaile, the best policy would have been to have fallen back to the Ebro, but the political situation in made this impossible; Napoleon wanted to avoid being seen as weak in the face of German princes watching the advancing Russians and wondering whether they should change sides.

In , Wellington marched , troops 53, British, 39, Spanish, and 27, Portuguese [] from northern Portugal across the mountains of northern Spain and the Esla River, skirting Jourdan's army of 68, strung out between the Douro and the Tagus. Wellington shortened his communications by shifting his base of operations to the northern Spanish coast and the Anglo-Portuguese forces swept northwards in late May and seized Burgos, outflanking the French army and forcing Joseph Bonaparte into the Zadorra valley.

At the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June, Joseph's 65,man army were decisively defeated by Wellington's army of 57, British, 16, Portuguese and 8, Spanish. The French were forced back from their prepared positions, and despite attempts to reform and hold were driven into a rout. This led to the abandonment of all of the French artillery as well as King Joseph's extensive baggage train and personal belongings.

The latter led to many Anglo-Allied soldiers halting the pursuit to loot the wagons; as a result they could not complete the pursuit and this, along with the French managing to hold the east road out of Vitoria towards Salvatierra, allowed the French to partially recover. On 11 July Soult was given command of all French troops in Spain and in consequence Wellington decided to halt his army to regroup at the Pyrenees. The war was not over. Although Bonapartist Spain had effectively collapsed, most of France's troops had escaped and fresh troops were soon gathering beyond the Pyrenees. By themselves, such forces were unlikely to score more than a few local victories, but French troop losses elsewhere in Europe could not be taken for granted.

Napoleon might yet inflict defeats on Austria, Russia and Prussia, and with the divisions between the allies there was no guarantee that one power would not make a separate peace. In August , British headquarters still had misgivings about the eastern powers. Austria had now joined the Allies, but the Allied armies had suffered a significant defeat at the Battle of Dresden.

They had recovered somewhat, but the situation was still precarious. Wellington's brother-in-law Edward Pakenham wrote, "I should think that much must depend upon proceedings in the north: I begin to apprehend It was also uncertain that Wellington could continue to count on Spanish support. The summer of in the Basque provinces and Navarre was a wet one, and with the army drenched by incessant rain and the decision to strip the men of their greatcoats was looking unwise.

Sickness was widespread—at one point a third of Wellington's British troops were hors de combat —and fears about the army's discipline and general reliability grew. By 9 July, Wellington reported that 12, men were absent without leave, while plundering was rife.

Wherever we move devastation marks our steps". The Chasseurs Britanniques —recruited mainly from French deserters—lost men in a single night. Wellington wrote, "The desertion is terrible, and is unaccountable among the British troops. I am not astonished that the foreigners should go Pushing on into Spain, by 27 July the Roncesvalles wing of Soult's army was within ten miles of Pamplona but found its way blocked by a substantial allied force posted on a high ridge in between the villages of Sorauren and Zabaldica, lost momentum, and was repulsed by the Allies at the Battle of Sorauren 28 and 30 July [] Reille's right wing suffered further losses at Yanzi 1 August ; and the Echallar and Ivantelly 2 August during its retreat into France.

The British incurred heavy losses during assaults. The city in turn was sacked and burnt to the ground by the Anglo-Portuguese: Meanwhile, the French garrison retreated into the Citadel , which after a heavy bombardment their governor surrendered on 8 September, with the garrison marching out the next day with full military honours. Wellington next determined to throw his left across the river Bidassoa to strengthen his own position, and secure the port of Fuenterrabia. The French right was then rolled back, and Soult was unable to reinforce his right in time to retrieve the day.

His works fell in succession after hard fighting, and he withdrew towards the river Nivelle. On 31 October Pamplona surrendered , and Wellington was now anxious to drive Suchet from Catalonia before invading France. The British government, however, in the interests of the continental powers, urged an immediate advance over the northern Pyrennes into south-eastern France.

The siege was abandoned after a time, but was later on renewed by Lieutenant General Lord William Bentinck. This reduced Suchet's French Catalonian army from 87, to 60, of whom 10, were on garrison duty. By the end of January through redeployment and wastage through disease and desertion the number had fallen to 52, of whom only 28, were available for field operations the others were either on garrison duties or guarding the lines of communication back into France. Suchet though that the armies under the command of the Spanish General Copons and the British General Clinton amounted to 70, men in fact they only had about as many as he did , so Suchet remained on the defensive.

On the 10 January Suchet received orders from the French War Ministry that he to withdraw his field force to the foothills of the Pyrenees and to make a phased withdraw from the outlying garrisons. This would reduce the size of Suchet's field army to 18, men. The Allies heard that Suchet was hemorrhaging men and mistakenly thought that his army was smaller than it was, so on the 16 January they attacked. Suchet had not yet started the process of sending more men back to France and was able to stop the Sicilians and a small contingent of British artillery in support at the Battle of Molins de Rey because he still had a local preponderance of men.

The allies suffered 68 casualties the French 30 killed and about wounded. After Suchet sent many men to Lyons, he left an isolated garrison in Barcelona and concentrated his forces on the town of Gerona calling in flying columns and evacuating some minor outposts.

However his field army was now down to 15, cavalry and infantry and excluding the garrisons in northern Catalonia. The last actions in this theatre happened at the siege of Barcelona on 23 February the French sallied out of Barcelona to test the besieges lines, as they thought wrongly that the Anglo-Sicilian forces had departed. They failed to break through the lines and forces under the command of the Spanish General Pedro Sarsfield stopped them.

The French General Pierre-Joseph Habert tried another sortie on 16 April several days after Napoleon had abdicated and the French were again stopped with about of them killed.

Wellington's supply system during the Peninsular War,

On 1 March Suchet received orders to send 10, more men to Lyons. On 7 March Beurmann's division of 9, men left for Lyons. With the exception of Figueras Suchet abandoned all the remaining fortresses in Catalonia that the French garrisoned and that were not were not closely besieged by Allied forces , and in doing so was able to create a new field force of about 14, men which were concentrated in front of Figueras in early April. In the meantime the Allies under estimating the size of Suchet's force and believing that 3, more men had left for Lyon and the Suchet with the remnant of his army was crossing the Pyrenees to join Soult in the Atlantic theatre start to redeploy their forces.

The best of the British forces in Catalonia were ordered to join Wellinton's army on the river Garonne in France.