Battle of Manresa (1810)
Caros division first surprised the town of Vilafranca del Penedès in March and captured its 800-man garrison made up of troops from the Confederation of the Rhine. Vilafranca is located 35 kilometres west of Barcelona, the Spanish troops remained at large and fell upon the town of Manresa at the beginning of April. After several days of sparring they drove Schwarz and his German soldiers out of the town with heavy losses, caro was wounded on 2 April and was replaced by Campoverde. The Spanish force included 2,000 regulars,2,300 local miquelets and this minor disaster caused Marshal Pierre Augereau to call off Imperial troops which were threatening Tarragona. Schwarzs brigade belonged to Marie François Rouyers division while Caros division was part of Henry ODonnells Army of Catalonia, Manresa is located 40 kilometres northwest of Barcelona. The actions occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars, the Spanish Ulcer, A History of the Peninsular War. A History of the Peninsular War Volume III
Battle of Castalla
In the Battle of Castalla on 13 April 1813, an Anglo-Spanish-Sicilian force commanded by Lieutenant General Sir John Murray fought Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchets French Army of Valencia and Aragon. Murrays troops successfully repelled a series of French attacks on their hilltop position, the action took place during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Castalla is located 35 kilometers north-northwest of Alicante, General Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington wanted to prevent Suchet from reinforcing the other French armies in Spain. He ordered, whose army had built up to over 18,000 Allied troops. Murrays maneuvers were ineffective and prompted Suchet to lash out at his force, the French marshal fell upon a nearby Spanish force, beating it with heavy losses. Suchet focused on crushing Murray, one of the British brigadiers, Frederick Adam conducted a splendid rear guard action on 12 April, allowing Murray to draw up his army in a formidable defensive position near Castalla. On the 13th, Suchets frontal attacks were repulsed with losses by British troops under Adam and John Mackenzie.
The French withdrew and Murray did not follow up his victory, alone among Napoleons marshals, Suchet won his baton by his victories in Spain. However, he avoided cooperating with his fellow French commanders and acted as though the provinces of Aragon, even so, General Arthur Wellesley, Marquess Wellington knew that if Suchets forces intervened in the battles in central and northern Spain, things might go badly for the British army. So Wellington requested that amphibious operations be directed against the east coast of Spain in order to keep Suchets men occupied. Since the summer of 1812, an 8, 000-strong Anglo-Sicilian force, joined by about 6,000 Spanish troops from Minorca, the army frequently changed generals but did nothing to contribute to the Anglo-Allied war effort. In February 1813, Murray was appointed to command the reinforced 18, in early April, after making some indecisive maneuvers, Murray posted his small army at Villena, northwest of Alicante. Meanwhile, Suchet decided to surprise the British general and his Spanish allies, the French marshal split his force into two columns, sending one column under General of Division Jean Isidore Harispe to attack a Spanish force at Yecla.
A second column under Suchets personal command marched against Murray at Villena, on 11 April 1813, Harispe fell upon General Mijares and his 3,000 Murcians at Yecla. In a surprise attack led by the 4th Hussar and 24th Dragoon Regiments, two infantry battalions were virtually annihilated. The French admitted losses of 18 killed and 61 wounded, Murray heard about the disaster by noon that day. He immediately beat a retreat toward Alicante, dropping off a 2, on the morning of 12 April, Suchet captured a Spanish battalion at Villena and set out in pursuit of Murray. At Biar, the French came up with Adams rearguard but were unable to overrun the well-handled force, in a brilliant five-hour action, Adam successfully fended off his French pursuers, allowing Murray to concentrate his army at Castalla
Third Siege of Girona
The Third Siege of Girona refers to the French Grande Armées seven-month siege of Girona, from 6 May to 12 December 1809, a significant event in the Peninsular War. Alvarez left Barcelona and joined the Spanish rebels against French rule, the Spanish Government in Cadiz named him commander of the Army of Catalonia and Governor of Girona, a city with a garrison of between 3, 400–5,600 regular troops belonging to the Ultonia Regiment. Taking command of the city on 1 February 1809, he immediately started preparing its defence. On 1 April, he proclaimed his famous edict, to the effect if the city were attacked. On 3 May, arms were distributed to 1717 volunteers, on 12 June, Alvarez rejected the terms of truce offered, and General Saint-Cyr ordered bombardment to commence after midnight 13–14 June. Towards the end of September, General Saint-Cyr left his command, angered by the fact he was to be replaced as the head of the French and he left the troops without an overall commander for several days, in clear disobedience of orders received in June.
Two days later, on 12 December, the town capitulated and it is estimated that some 10,000 people died inside. French losses were approximately 15,000, over half of those to disease, owing to the long delays and heavy losses suffered by the French, the towns resistance served Spanish purposes. The battle became something of a legend over the course of Spains war of independence, and Alvarez himself, voluntarios de Aragón, Copy of Alvarezs 1 April 1809 edict
First French Empire
The First French Empire, Note 1 was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Its name was a misnomer, as France already had colonies overseas and was short lived compared to the Colonial Empire, a series of wars, known collectively as the Napoleonic Wars, extended French influence over much of Western Europe and into Poland. The plot included Bonapartes brother Lucien, serving as speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos, another Director, on 9 November 1799 and the following day, troops led by Bonaparte seized control. They dispersed the legislative councils, leaving a rump legislature to name Bonaparte, Sieyès, although Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, the Consulate, he was outmaneuvered by Bonaparte, who drafted the Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul. He thus became the most powerful person in France, a power that was increased by the Constitution of the Year X, the Battle of Marengo inaugurated the political idea that was to continue its development until Napoleons Moscow campaign.
Napoleon planned only to keep the Duchy of Milan for France, setting aside Austria, the Peace of Amiens, which cost him control of Egypt, was a temporary truce. He gradually extended his authority in Italy by annexing the Piedmont and by acquiring Genoa, Parma and Naples, he laid siege to the Roman state and initiated the Concordat of 1801 to control the material claims of the pope. Napoleon would have ruling elites from a fusion of the new bourgeoisie, on 12 May 1802, the French Tribunat voted unanimously, with exception of Carnot, in favour of the Life Consulship for the leader of France. This action was confirmed by the Corps Législatif, a general plebiscite followed thereafter resulting in 3,653,600 votes aye and 8,272 votes nay. On 2 August 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Consul for life, pro-revolutionary sentiment swept through Germany aided by the Recess of 1803, which brought Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden to Frances side. The memories of imperial Rome were for a time, after Julius Caesar and Charlemagne.
The Treaty of Pressburg, signed on 26 December 1805, did little other than create a more unified Germany to threaten France. On the other hand, Napoleons creation of the Kingdom of Italy, the occupation of Ancona, to create satellite states, Napoleon installed his relatives as rulers of many European states. The Bonapartes began to marry into old European monarchies, gaining sovereignty over many nations, in addition to the vassal titles, Napoleons closest relatives were granted the title of French Prince and formed the Imperial House of France. Met with opposition, Napoleon would not tolerate any neutral power, Prussia had been offered the territory of Hanover to stay out of the Third Coalition. With the diplomatic situation changing, Napoleon offered Great Britain the province as part of a peace proposal and this, combined with growing tensions in Germany over French hegemony, Prussia responded by forming an alliance with Russia and sending troops into Bavaria on 1 October 1806. In this War of the Fourth Coalition, Napoleon destroyed the armies of Frederick William at Jena-Auerstedt, the Eylau and the Friedland against the Russians finally ruined Frederick the Greats formerly mighty kingdom, obliging Russia and Prussia to make peace with France at Tilsit.
The Treaties of Tilsit ended the war between Russia and the French Empire and began an alliance between the two empires that held power of much of the rest of Europe, the two empires secretly agreed to aid each other in disputes
Battle of Saguntum
The Battle of Saguntum on 25 October 1811 saw the French Army of Aragon under Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchet fighting a Spanish army led by Lieutenant General Joaquín Blake y Joyes. The Spanish attempt to raise the siege of the Sagunto Castle failed when the French, the action took place during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The city lies a short distance from the east coast of Spain, Suchet invaded the province of Valencia in September 1811. He tried to seize the Sagunto Castle, but its garrison repulsed two attacks and the French-Allied army was forced to lay siege to the ancient fortress. When Blakes army advanced from Valencia, Suchet posted his army to resist the Spanish. Blakes attack on Suchets right flank went awry and soon the poorly trained Spanish troops were fleeing, the Spanish troops attacking Suchets left flank were made of sterner stuff and the contest there was more severe. Finally, the French-Allied troops gained the hand and put the entire Spanish army to flight.
Blakes soldiers limped back to Valencia where they tried to put that citys defences in order, Spanish losses numbered 6,000 killed and wounded, plus several hundred prisoners, some cannons, and four colors. Suchet lost only 1,000 killed and wounded, but apart from the seizing the castle and his army was too small to capture Valencia, especially after his battle losses at Castle Saguntum and the need to garrison the captured castle with French troops. For several weeks the French-Allies paused to wait for reinforcements before launching the next phase of their offensive, the Spanish Ulcer, A History of the Peninsular War. ISBN 0-7126-9730-6 Ojala, Jeanne A. Suchet, The Peninsular Marshal
Siege of Tarragona (1811)
In the Siege of Tarragona from 5 May to 29 June 1811, Louis Gabriel Suchets French Army of Aragon laid siege to a Spanish garrison led by Lieutenant General Juan Senen de Contreras. A British naval squadron commanded by Admiral Edward Codrington harassed the French besiegers with cannon fire, Suchets troops stormed into the defenses and killed or captured almost all the defenders. The action took place at the port of Tarragona on the east coast of Spain during the Peninsular War, emperor Napoleon offered Suchet a marshals baton if he could capture Tarragona, so the French general pursued his goal vigorously. He methodically overran the outer works as he drove his siege parallels forward. The French general easily fended off weak attempts to relieve the city by land, near the end of the siege, the French troops captured the lower city in a surprise attack and the garrisons survivors retreated to the upper city. At the end, Suchets men stormed into the city amid scenes of horrific slaughter. The loss of this base and so many Spanish troops crippled the Army of Catalonia.
Napoleon duly awarded Suchet the coveted rank of marshal, one authority gave French losses as 4,300 killed and wounded out of an army of 21,634 men, including General of Division Jean-Baptiste Salme killed. Total Spanish losses numbered between 14,000 and 15,000, of these,8,000 were captured and the rest were killed, wounded, or died of disease. During the butchery attending the final assault, the French attackers massacred numerous civilians including 450 women and children, a second authority asserted that total Spanish losses were 15,000, of whom 7,000 were killed outright. French losses were given as 1,000 killed and 3,000 wounded or sick, the Spanish Ulcer, A History of the Peninsular War. ISBN 0-7126-9730-6 Ojala, Jeanne A. Suchet, The Peninsular Marshal, ISBN 1-85367-276-9 Juan Senen Contreras Jean-Baptiste Salme
War of the Third Coalition
The War of the Third Coalition was a European conflict spanning the years 1803 to 1806. During the war and its client states under Napoleon I, defeated an alliance, from 1803–05, Britain stood under constant threat of a French invasion. The Royal Navy, secured mastery of the seas, the Third Coalition itself came to full fruition in 1804–05 as Napoleons actions in Italy and Germany spurred Austria and Russia into joining Britain against France. Victory at Austerlitz permitted the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, a collection of German states intended as a buffer zone between France and central Europe. As a direct consequence of events, the Holy Roman Empire ceased to exist when, in 1806, Holy Roman Emperor Francis II abdicated the Imperial throne, emerging as Francis I. These achievements, did not establish a peace on the continent. Austerlitz had driven neither Russia nor Britain, whose armies protected Sicily from a French invasion, Prussian worries about growing French influence in Central Europe sparked the War of the Fourth Coalition in 1806.
Europe had been embroiled in the French Revolutionary Wars since 1792, after five years of war, the French Republic subdued the armies of the First Coalition in 1797. A Second Coalition was formed in 1798, but this too was defeated by 1801, in March 1802, France and Britain agreed to end hostilities under the Treaty of Amiens. For the first time in ten years all of Europe was at peace, many problems persisted between the two sides making implementation of the treaty increasingly difficult. Bonaparte was angry that British troops had not evacuated the island of Malta, the tension only worsened when Bonaparte sent an expeditionary force to re-establish control over Haiti. Prolonged intransigence on these issues led Britain to declare war on France on 18 May 1803, Bonaparte had already revived plans for an invasion of England in March 1803. Bonapartes expeditionary army was destroyed by disease in Haiti, and subsequently swayed the First Consul to abandon his plans to rebuild Frances New World empire, without sufficient revenues from sugar colonies in the Caribbean, the vast territory of Louisiana in North America had little value to him.
Though Spain had not yet completed the transfer of Louisiana to France per the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was signed on 30 April 1803. Despite issuing orders that the over 60 million francs were to be spent on the construction of five new canals in France, Bonaparte spent the whole amount on his planned invasion of England. The execution of Enghien shocked the aristocrats of Europe, who remembered the bloodletting of the Revolution. The statement is sometimes attributed to French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord. Sometimes the quote is given as, It was worse than a crime, pitt scored a significant coup by securing a burgeoning rival as an ally
Battle of Cervera (1811)
In the Battle of Cervera a Spanish force led by Luis Roberto de Lacy attacked a series of Imperial French garrisons belonging to the VII Corps of Marshal Jacques MacDonald. The actions were successful and netted nearly 1,000 enemy prisoners. The clashes occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars, the largest garrison was located at Cervera which is located about 55 kilometres east of Lleida, Spain. Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchet struck another blow against the Catalans when his troops seized the miquelet base in the Battle of Montserrat on 25 July 1811. The unpopular but vigorous Lacy quickly reorganized the 8, 000-man remnant of his army into three divisions under Generals Baron de Eroles, Pedro Sarsfield, and Francisco Milans del Bosch. With the Royal Navys assistance, Lacy seized the Medes Islands at the mouth of the Ter River on 12 September, on 4 October 1811, Lacys forces captured 200 Imperial troops at Igualada on the highway between Barcelona and Lleida. Continuing west, the Spanish column seized a French convoy near Cervera on the 7th, Lacy overwhelmed the garrison of Cervera on 11 October, bagging another 645 prisoners.
Finally, on the 14th the Spaniards took 150 more captives at Bellpuig, after these defeats, the French evacuated the monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat on Montserrat Mountain. A History of the Peninsular War Volume IV
Battle of Montserrat
The minor action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The battle was fought near the Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery, suchets successful Siege of Tarragona wiped out the bulk of the Spanish regular forces in northeast Spain. Overlooking the road, the base of Montserrat had defied the French after three years of war. Suchet sent the soldiers of Louis Jean Nicolas Abbés brigade scrambling up one track while his remaining troops watched other possible escape routes. The French overran the base and seized its artillery but most of the Spanish irregulars evaded capture. Suchet installed an Italian garrison on the mountain, but after the capture of Cervera in mid-October by Luis Roberto de Lacys Spanish forces, on 15 July 1811, Marshal Suchet reported 43,783 troops present for duty in the Army of Aragon. Including the men sick or on detached service, the total was 51,088, a History of the Peninsular War Volume IV
French invasion of Russia
Napoleon hoped to compel Tsar Alexander I of Russia to cease trading with British merchants through proxies in an effort to pressure the United Kingdom to sue for peace. The official political aim of the campaign was to liberate Poland from the threat of Russia, Napoleon named the campaign the Second Polish War to gain favor with the Poles and provide a political pretext for his actions. The Grande Armée was a large force, numbering 680,000 soldiers. Napoleon hoped the battle would mean an end of the march into Russia, plans Napoleon had made to quarter at Smolensk were abandoned, and he pressed his army on after the Russians. As the Russian army fell back, Cossacks were given the task of burning villages and this was intended to deny the invaders the option of living off the land. The actions forced the French to rely on a system that was incapable of feeding the large army in the field. Starvation and privation compelled French soldiers to leave their camps at night in search of food and these men were frequently confronted by parties of Cossacks, who captured or killed them.
The Russian army retreated into Russia for almost three months, the continual retreat and the loss of lands to the French upset the Russian nobility. They pressured Alexander I to relieve the commander of the Russian army, Alexander I complied, appointing an old veteran, Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, to take over command of the army. However, for two more weeks Kutuzov continued to retreat as his predecessor had done, on 7 September, the French caught up with the Russian army which had dug itself in on hillsides before a small town called Borodino, seventy miles west of Moscow. The battle that followed was the bloodiest single-day action of the Napoleonic Wars until that point, involving more than 250,000 soldiers, the French gained a tactical victory, but at the cost of 49 general officers and thousands of men. The Russian army was able to extricate itself and withdrew the following day, Napoleon entered Moscow a week later. In another turn of events the French found puzzling, there was no delegation to meet the Emperor, the Russians had evacuated the city, and the citys governor, Count Fyodor Rostopchin, ordered several strategic points in Moscow set ablaze.
Napoleons hopes had been set upon an end to his campaign. The loss of Moscow did not compel Alexander I to sue for peace, Napoleon stayed on in Moscow looking to negotiate a peace, his hopes fed in part by a disinformation campaign informing the Emperor of supposed discontent and fading morale in the Russian camp. After staying a month Napoleon moved his army out southwest toward Kaluga, the French advance toward Kaluga was checked by a Russian corps. Napoleon tried once more to engage the Russian army for an action at the Battle of Maloyaroslavets. Despite holding a position, the Russians retreated following a sharp engagement