Lines of Torres Vedras
The Lines of Torres Vedras were lines of forts built in secrecy to defend Lisbon during the Peninsular War. He used a report of Colonel Vincent, ordered by Junot in 1807, historian John Grehan suggested that the study by Major Neves Costa influenced Wellingtons decision to construct the lines, but in fact the plans pre-dated Costas study. He was inspired by the Martello Towers along the English Channel coast, the work began on several of the main defensive works in November 1809. The work received a boost after the loss to the French of the fortress at the Siege of Almeida in August, the works were sufficiently complete when the French troops arrived in October to make them stop and fall back. Even after the French had retreated from Portugal, construction of the lines continued, the work was supervised by Fletcher, assisted by Major John Thomas Jones, and 11 other British officers, four Portuguese Army engineers, and two KGL officers. The cost was around £100,000, one of the least expensive, the country from Torres Vedras to Lisbon resembles nothing so much as a gigantic mountain-torrent instantaneously converted into solid earth.
The tardiness of Massénas movements, had enabled him to strengthen the first line sufficiently to warrant his holding it in permanence. The additional defences included 23 redoubts mounting 96 guns, besides a flotilla of gunboats to guard the flank on the Tagus. The second section extended from Arruda to the west of Monte Agraço, the third section stretched from the west of Monte Agraço for nearly eight miles to the gorge of the river Zizandre, a little to south of Torres Vedras. This was by nature very advantageous ground, but from want of time had no further strengthened than by two redoubts which commanded the road from Sobral de Monte Agraço to Montachique. Here, were concentrated the 1st, 4th, and 6th divisions, under the eye of Wellington himself, the lines were divided up into districts by Wellington in letter dated 6 October 1810, From Torres Vedras to the sea. HQ at Torres Vedras From Sobral de Monte Agraço to the valley of Calhandrix, HQ at Sobral de Monte Agraço From Alhandra to the valley of Calhandrix.
HQ at Alhandra From the banks of the Tagus, near Alverca, to the Pass of Bucellas, HQ at Bucellas From the Pass of Freixal, near Bucellas, inclusive, to the right of the Pass of Mafra. HQ at Montachique From the Pass of Mafra to the sea, HQ at Mafra Each district was allocated one Captain and one Lieutenant of Engineers. Lastly, the Marquis of la Romana with great generosity brought 8,000 Spaniards of his division likewise within the lines about Mafra. Altogether, Wellington had some 60,000 regular troops whom he could depend upon, both lines extended more than 80 km. The first line had 534 artillery pieces, 2) Military roads to cover the rear of the lines and allowing an extraordinary mobility of forces. It allowed for the supply of combat supplies to be provided by the Royal Waggon Train, in September 1810, the field army had some 66,598 regular soldiers
War of the Fifth Coalition
The War of the Fifth Coalition was fought in the year 1809 by a coalition of the Austrian Empire and the United Kingdom against Napoleons French Empire and Bavaria. Major engagements between France and Austria, the participants, unfolded over much of Central Europe from April to July. After much campaigning in Bavaria and across the Danube valley, the war ended favourably for the French after the struggle at Wagram in early July. The resulting Treaty of Schönbrunn was the harshest that France had imposed on Austria in recent memory, Austria lost over three million subjects, about one-fifth of her total population, as a result of these territorial changes. Although the Fifth Coalition ended, Britain and Portugal remained at war with France in the ongoing Peninsular War, there was peace in central and eastern Europe until Napoleons invasion of Russia in 1812, which led to the formation of the Sixth Coalition in 1813. Europe had been embroiled in warfare, pitting revolutionary France against a series of coalitions, after five years of war, the French Republic subdued the First Coalition in 1797.
A Second Coalition was formed in 1798, only to be defeated, in March 1802, France and Great Britain, its one remaining enemy, agreed to end hostilities under the Treaty of Amiens. For the first time in ten years, all of Europe was at peace, many disagreements between the two sides remained unresolved, and implementing the agreements they had reached at Amiens seemed to be a growing challenge. Britain resented having to turn all of its colonial conquests since 1793 when France was permitted to retain most of its conquered territory in Europe. France, was upset that British troops had not evacuated the island of Malta, in May 1803, Britain declared war on France. With the resumption of hostilities, Napoleon planned an invasion of England, in December 1804, an Anglo-Swedish agreement led to the creation of the Third Coalition. British Prime Minister William Pitt spent 1804 and 1805 in a flurry of diplomatic activity geared towards forming a new coalition against France and neutralising the threat of invasion.
Mutual suspicion between the British and the Russians eased in the face of several French political mistakes, and by April 1805, in August 1805, the French Grande Armée invaded the German states in hopes of knocking Austria out of the war before Russian forces could intervene. On 25 September, after great secrecy and feverish marching,200,000 French troops began to cross the Rhine on a front of 160 miles, Mack had gathered the greater part of the Austrian army at the fortress of Ulm in Bavaria. Napoleon hoped to swing his forces northward and perform a movement that would find the French at the Austrian rear. The Ulm Maneuver was well executed, and on 20 October Mack and 23,000 Austrian troops surrendered at Ulm, the French captured Vienna in November and went on to inflict a decisive defeat on a Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in early December. Austerlitz led to the expulsion of Russian troops from Central Europe and the humiliation of Austria, Austerlitz incited a major shift in the European balance of power.
Prussia felt threatened about her security in the region and, alongside Russia, a vigorous French pursuit through Northern Germany finished off the remnants of the Prussian army
War of the Fourth Coalition
The Fourth Coalition against Napoleons French Empire was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Saxony, several members of the coalition had previously been fighting France as part of the Third Coalition, and there was no intervening period of general peace. On 9 October 1806, Prussia joined a coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a campaign, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony. Napoleon decisively defeated the Prussians in a campaign that culminated at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt on 14 October 1806. French forces under Napoleon occupied Prussia, pursued the remnants of the shattered Prussian Army and they advanced all the way to East Prussia and the Russian frontier, where they fought an inconclusive battle against the Russians at the Battle of Eylau on 7–8 February 1807. Napoleons advance on the Russian frontier was briefly checked during the spring as he revitalized his army, Russian forces were finally crushed by the French at the Battle of Friedland on 14 June 1807, and three days Russia asked for a truce.
By the Treaties of Tilsit in July 1807, France made peace with Russia, these acquisitions were incorporated into his brother Jérôme Bonapartes new Kingdom of Westphalia, and established the Duchy of Warsaw. The end of the war saw Napoleon master of almost all of western and central continental Europe, except for Spain, Austria, despite the end of the Fourth Coalition, Britain remained at war with France. Hostilities on land resumed in 1807 when a Franco-Spanish force invaded Britains ally Portugal, a further Fifth Coalition would be assembled when Austria re-joined the conflict in 1809. The Fourth Coalition of Prussia, Saxony, despite the death of William Pitt in January 1806, Britain and the new Whig administration remained committed to checking the growing power of France. Peace overtures between the two early in the new year proved ineffectual due to the still unresolved issues that had led to the breakdown of the Peace of Amiens. One point of contention was the fate of Hanover, a German electorate in personal union with the British monarchy that had been occupied by France since 1803, dispute over this state would eventually become a casus belli for both Britain and Prussia against France.
This issue dragged Sweden into the war, whose forces had deployed there as part of the effort to liberate Hanover during the war of the previous coalition. The path to war seemed inevitable after French forces ejected the Swedish troops in April 1806, there was an escalation in the ongoing economic warfare between the two powers. With Britain still retaining its dominance of the seas, Napoleon looked to break this dominance with his issuance of the Berlin Decree, Britain retaliated with its Orders in Council several months later. In the meantime, Russia spent most of 1806 still licking its wounds from the years campaign. Napoleon had hoped to establish peace with Russia and a peace treaty was signed in July 1806, but this was vetoed by Tsar Alexander I
Legion of Honour
The Legion of Honour, full name National Order of the Legion of Honour, is the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, established 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte. The order is divided into five degrees of increasing distinction, Officier, Grand Officier and Grand-Croix. The orders motto is Honneur et Patrie and its seat is the Palais de la Légion dHonneur next to the Musée dOrsay, in the French Revolution, all French orders of chivalry were abolished, and replaced with Weapons of Honour. The Légion however did use the organization of old French orders of chivalry, the badges of the legion bear a resemblance to the Ordre de Saint-Louis, which used a red ribbon. Napoleon originally created this to ensure political loyalty, the organization would be used as a facade to give political favours and concessions. The Légion was loosely patterned after a Roman legion, with legionaries, commanders, regional cohorts, the highest rank was not a grand cross but a Grand Aigle, a rank that wore all the insignia common to grand crosses.
The members were paid, the highest of them extremely generously,5,000 francs to an officier,2,000 francs to a commandeur,1,000 francs to an officier,250 francs to a légionnaire. Napoleon famously declared, You call these baubles, well, it is with baubles that men are led, do you think that you would be able to make men fight by reasoning. That is good only for the scholar in his study, the soldier needs glory, rewards. This has been quoted as It is with such baubles that men are led. The order was the first modern order of merit, under the monarchy, such orders were often limited to Roman Catholics, and all knights had to be noblemen. The military decorations were the perks of the officers, the Légion, was open to men of all ranks and professions—only merit or bravery counted. The new legionnaire had to be sworn in the Légion and it is noteworthy that all previous orders were crosses or shared a clear Christian background, whereas the Légion is a secular institution. The jewel of the Légion has five arms, in a decree issued on the 10 Pluviôse XIII, a grand decoration was instituted.
This decoration, a cross on a sash and a silver star with an eagle, symbol of the Napoleonic Empire, became known as the Grand Aigle. After Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French in 1804 and established the Napoleonic nobility in 1808, the title was made hereditary after three generations of grantees. Napoleon had dispensed 15 golden collars of the legion among his family and this collar was abolished in 1815. The Légion dhonneur was prominent and visible in the French Empire, the Emperor always wore it and the fashion of the time allowed for decorations to be worn most of the time
Siege of Astorga (1812)
The Siege of Astorga of 1812 took place between 29 June and 19 August 1812, at Astorga, León, Castile-León, during the Peninsular War. On 29 June, the Spanish troops of Lieutenant-General Francisco Gómez de Terán y Negrete, Marquess of Portago, started the operations, the siege was part of the Allied offensive in the summer of 1812. The Spanish VI Army led by General José María Santocildes, by order of General Francisco Castaños, on 18 August, after a hard resistance, the French garrison surrendered to the Spaniards. Siege of Astorga 1810 Battle of Salamanca Capitulación de Astorga Arthur Wellesley, the dispatches of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington, during his various campaigns from 1799 to 1818. Lovett, Gabriel H. Napoleon and the Birth of Modern Spain New York UP.1965, the Spanish Army in the Peninsular War
Battle of Pombal
The Battle of Pombal was a sharp skirmish during Marshal Massénas retreat from the Lines of Torres Vedras, the first in a series of lauded rearguard actions fought by Michel Ney. At the Battle of Pombal, Ney turned to face the larger Anglo-Portuguese forces, unable to break the Lines of Torres Vedras, Ney was given charge of the rear-guard while the main body of the French army withdrew from Portugal. The rear-guard consisted of Mermets and Marchands divisions, when it became clear to Wellington that he had been deceived, the British-Portuguese left Torres Vedras and began a pursuit. The British caught up with Ney at the town of Pombal, a British advanced-guard much larger than that of the French, the latter consisting of only two battalions of the 6th Light Infantry, attacked the town of Pombal. The two French battalions were overwhelmed by numbers and, after a struggle, the French were forced out of Pombal. It was that Ney rushed in and spoke to the six th Light Infantry, “Chasseurs, ” he said, “you are losing your beautiful reputation, and you will dishonour yourselves forever if you do not drive the enemy out of Pombal.
Those who are brave, with me. ”With these words he galloped towards Pombal, the Anglo-Portuguese driven out, all the way to the river Arunca. Despite success, Ney promptly set fire to the town of Pombal, the next action would be the Battle of Redinha. General Picton was very impressed by Ney’s actions, as the former was able to observe the latter’s deceiving movements, historic Doubts as to the Execution of Marshal Ney 1895. Victoires, conquêtes, désastres, revers et guerres civiles des francais, volume 20
The wars resulted from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and the Revolutionary Wars, which had raged on for years before concluding with the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. Napoleon became the First Consul of France in 1799, Emperor five years later, inheriting the political and military struggles of the Revolution, he created a state with stable finances, a strong central bureaucracy, and a well-trained army. The British frequently financed the European coalitions intended to thwart French ambitions, by 1805, they had managed to convince the Austrians and the Russians to wage another war against France. At sea, the Royal Navy destroyed a combined Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar in October 1805, Prussian worries about increasing French power led to the formation of the Fourth Coalition in 1806. France forced the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to sign the Treaties of Tilsit in July, although Tilsit signified the high watermark of the French Empire, it did not bring a lasting peace for Europe.
Hoping to extend the Continental System and choke off British trade with the European mainland, Napoleon invaded Iberia, the Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support. The Peninsular War lasted six years, featured extensive guerrilla warfare, the Continental System caused recurring diplomatic conflicts between France and its client states, especially Russia. Unwilling to bear the consequences of reduced trade, the Russians routinely violated the Continental System. The French launched an invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the collapse and retreat of the Grand Army along with the destruction of Russian lands. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a Sixth Coalition against France, a lengthy military campaign culminated in a large Allied army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. The Allies invaded France and captured Paris in the spring of 1814 and he was exiled to the island of Elba near Rome and the Bourbons were restored to power.
However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France once again, the Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition, which defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June. The Congress of Vienna, which started in 1814 and concluded in 1815, established the new borders of Europe and laid out the terms, Napoleon seized power in 1799, creating a de facto military dictatorship. The Napoleonic Wars began with the War of the Third Coalition, Kagan argues that Britain was irritated in particular by Napoleons assertion of control over Switzerland. Furthermore, Britons felt insulted when Napoleon stated that their country deserved no voice in European affairs, for its part, Russia decided that the intervention in Switzerland indicated that Napoleon was not looking toward a peaceful resolution of his differences with the other European powers. The British quickly enforced a blockade of France to starve it of resources. Napoleon responded with economic embargoes against Britain, and sought to eliminate Britains Continental allies to break the coalitions arrayed against him, the so-called Continental System formed a league of armed neutrality to disrupt the blockade and enforce free trade with France
Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana
Don Pedro Caro y Sureda, 3rd Marquis of la Romana was a Spanish general of the Peninsular War. Born at Palma de Mallorca to a family of Balearic nobility, Romana was educated in France and and he studied at the University of Salamanca and entered the Seminario de Nobles in Madrid. Like many Spanish officers of the Napoleonic era, Romana served in the American Revolutionary War in his youth, in 1783, he participated in the reconquest of Minorca from the British. In the final months of the war, he was assigned to the blockade of Gibraltar, Romana retired from the military after the war and began travelling Europe. Evidence suggests he was dispatched on missions of diplomacy or espionage. In 1793, Romana entered the army as a cavalry colonel, initially he served under his uncle, General Ventura Caro, where he was promoted after distinguishing himself as a competent commander. Although the war ended poorly for Spain under French occupation, he ended the war as a teniente-general and he was made Captain General of Catalonia in 1802 and Chief of the Engineering Corps in 1805.
King Charles IV, bullied and pressured by Napoleon, agreed in 1807 to provide an infantry division to bolster the French army in Germany. Romana was made commander of this Division of the North and spent 1807 and 1808 performing garrison duties in Hamburg, when the Peninsular War broke out, La Romana made plans with the British to repatriate his men to Spain. The success of the evacuation of the La Romana Division was chiefly credited to his subterfuge, at least 9,000 men of the 15, 000-strong division were immediately able to board British ships on 27 August and escape to Spain. Romana arrived at Santander on the Cantabrian front and received command of the Army of Galicia on 11 November, fate was crueler to him than he deserved, as this army, under General Blake, was destroyed in battle that same day. On 26 November, La Romana assumed effective command of what remained of the army –6,000 men all told, with this force, he fought some rearguard actions for General Moores retreat westwards to Corunna.
Using his limited means, Romana conducted small scale attacks against the French in 1809 and these met with success and his men were able to distract the French and overwhelm isolated garrisons such as Villafranca. Following the French defeat at Puente San Payo on 6 June, when Soult moved against the British on the Portuguese frontier, Romana drove the French from Asturias as well. Romana was appointed to the Central Junta on 29 August and served until 1810 and he returned to military operations under Wellington but died suddenly on 23 January 1811 while preparing the relief of Badajoz. With Castaños, Romana was the Spanish general most trusted and respected by Wellington, at news of his death, Wellington wrote, his loss is the greatest which the cause could sustain. He is credited as being the force behind the construction of the castle at Bendinat, the Campaigns of Napoleon, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-02-523660-1 Longford, Elizabeth. Wellington, The Years of The Sword, new York and Row Publishers,1969