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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

11 May 1813 – Summary of Campaign in North Spain

Battles fought in North Spain

Campaign History
By the end of January 1813 most of the experienced French troops had been withdrawn from Spain to form the new Grand Army in Germany.   Marshal Soult was ordered to organize all remaining troops in Northern Spain into the new Fourth French Army.   He was to concentrate them at Burgos and to hold the northern border with Portugal

On 2 February 1813 Wellington took the border city of Cuidad Rodrigo and marched his Army east to drive the French out of Spain.   He reached Zamora on 27 February 1813, where he received reports that the Soult was still at Burgos but preparing to march on Valladolid.

Wellington halted at Zamora on 28 February 1813, to allow his army to rest and reorganise after their long march from Portugal.  He was aware that the French were at Burgos, and that he would have to fight to take Valladolid.

1 March 1813 – Valladolid Campaign.    Wellington opened the campaign by defeating the French and occupying Valladolid.   The French counter attacked and won the battles of Arriba and Medina.   Wellington halted the French advance at Palencia and went on to defeat them again at Palencia.   Soult was forced to retreat east.

9 March 1813 – Burgos Campaign.   The campaign opened with a determined French attack during which they won the battles of Agular, Sarracin and Burgos.  Wellington rallied and counter attacked to win at Agular, Castrojarez and Burgos.   However Soult won the third battle of Burgos and with it the campaign.   Wellington was forced to retreat towards Portugal.

25 March 1813 – Zamora Campaign.   The French won the first battle at Morales.  However Wellington won at Zamora, Benavente and again at Morales.   Soult regrouped and won a series of four battles at Zamora and Benavente resulting in the French also winning the campaign.  Once more Wellington had to retreat.

5 April 1813 – Armistice.   Wellington was forced to accept the seven day cease fire in order to rally and reorganise his shattered army.   He ordered them to retreat to Oporto and concentrate there.   Soult halted his army at Zamora

12 April 1813 – Oporto Campaign.   Wellington was determined to prevent a retreat into Portugal and opened the campaign with an aggressive advance.   He was defeated at the first battle at Chaves, but won the three battles for Murca.    This town became the centre of the campaign, and the French attacked again and again.   By 19 April both armies were battered, had lost considerable battle casualties and were low on supplies.  But when Wellington defeated the third attempt to take Murca Soult ordered his army to withdraw.  
28 April 1813 – Tordesillas Campaign.   Soult was determined to hold Wellington on the Spanish/Portuguese border.  But Wellington was equally determined to establish himself in Spain.   This campaign developed into a series of victories for Wellington.   He won six of the seven battles fought, and the seventh was a draw.   He took Tordesillias, pursued the retreating French and took Valladolid after two days of fighting.   Both armies were battered during the 14 day campaign.  On 11 May 1813  Soult ordered his army to retreat to Burgos to rally and regroup.  Wellington called a halt at Valladolid.

The campaign diary contains comprehensive details of the whole campaign.   The labels on the right are an index to various parts of the campaign.

01 - introduction to the 1813 campaign
02 - the five campaign areas
40 - introduction to the campaign in North Spain
41 - French order of battle
42 - British order of battle
43 - daily diary for the campaign in North Spain
44 - battle reports of all battles fought in North  Spa

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