Battle of Uclés (1809)

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Battle of Uclés
Part of the Peninsular War
1003 Cuenca-Ucles-Monasterio (13).JPG
Venegas watched the battle from the monastery in Uclés
Date13 January 1809
Uclés, Spain
Result French victory
Flag of France (1794-1815).svg  France Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg  Spain
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Claude Victor Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Francisco Venegas
Units involved
Flag of France.svg I Corps Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Army of the Center
16,300 11,980
Casualties and losses
200 6,887

The Battle of Uclés (13 January 1809) saw an Imperial French corps led by Marshal Claude Perrin Victor attack a Spanish force under Francisco Javier Venegas. The French easily crushed their outnumbered foes, capturing over half of the Spanish infantry. Uclés is located in the province of Cuenca 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of Tarancón and 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of Madrid. The action occurred during what is called the Peninsular War in English-speaking countries and the Spanish War of Independence in Spain. The war was part of a larger struggle known as the Napoleonic Wars.

First French Empire Empire of Napoleon I of France between 1804–1815

The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.

Francisco Javier Venegas Spanish noble and general

Francisco Javier Venegas de Saavedra y Ramínez de Arenzana, 1st Marquess of Reunión and New Spain, KOC was a Spanish general in the Spanish War of Independence and later viceroy of New Spain from September 14, 1810 to March 4, 1813, during the first phase of the Mexican War of Independence.

Uclés Place in Castile-La Mancha, Spain

Uclés is a municipality located in the province of Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha, Spain. According to the 2004 census (INE), the municipality has a population of 287 inhabitants.


Emperor Napoleon invaded Spain with a huge army in late 1808, scattered the Spanish forces, and seized Madrid. However, the appearance of a British army commanded by John Moore caused the French emperor to order his army to pursue the British into northwest Spain. With their enemies spread thin, the Spanish armies began to revive. In late December 1808, the Army of the Center led by Pedro de Alcántara Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Duke of the Infantado advanced slowly toward Madrid, causing alarm among the scanty French forces guarding the capital. The cautious Infantado sent his lieutenant Venegas with a strong vanguard to annoy the French. After Venegas won a minor action at Tarancón, Victor concentrated his corps and marched against him in mid-January 1809. Without instructions or support from Infantado, Venegas unwisely tried to hold a strong position at Uclés. Victor overwhelmed the Spanish defenders with one division and herded many of them into the arms of his second division which had marched around their flank. Gathering up Venegas' survivors, Infantado led his crippled army into the mountains but not before losing much of his artillery. Blamed for the fiasco, Infantado was relieved of command. The next action in the area was the Battle of Ciudad Real in March.

Napoleon 18th/19th-century French monarch, military and political leader

Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.

John Moore (British Army officer) British soldier and general

Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, was a British Army general, also known as Moore of Corunna. He is best known for his military training reforms and for his death at the Battle of Corunna, in which he repulsed a French army under Marshal Soult during the Peninsular War. After the war General Sarrazin wrote a French history of the battle, which nonetheless may have been written in light of subsequent events, stating that "Whatever Buonaparte may assert, Soult was most certainly repulsed at Corunna; and the British gained a defensive victory, though dearly purchased with the loss of their brave general Moore, who was alike distinguished for his private virtues, and his military talents."

Pedro de Alcántara Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Duke of the Infantado Prime minister of Spain

Don Pedro Alcantara Álvarez de Toledo y Salm Salm, 13th Duke of the Infantado, was a Spanish politician and general.


After the Dos de Mayo Uprising and the subsequent disaster at the Battle of Bailén, the French occupying armies in Spain were forced to pull back behind the Ebro River in the northeast. Shocked and enraged at the turn of events, Napoleon ordered 130,000 veteran soldiers to march into Spain. The French emperor planned to unite the reinforcements with the troops already there and lead them to conquer Spain and Portugal once and for all. Meanwhile, the Spanish people had been deceived by their relatively easy successes and believed that the struggle was almost over. The Spanish generals and politicians began to squabble among themselves. [1] By 10 October 1808, Napoleon had 244,125 soldiers massed in eight army corps, the cavalry reserve, the Imperial Guard, and other formations for the purpose of conquering Spain. [2] In November 1808, the Napoleonic armies struck with crushing force and the Spanish defenses unraveled in battles at Burgos, Espinosa, Tudela, and Somosierra. [3] On 1 December, Madrid meekly capitulated to Napoleon. The French emperor reinstalled his brother Joseph Bonaparte as king and began rewriting the laws. He intended to send armies to seize Seville in the south and reconquer Portugal at the first opportunity. However, a new enemy appeared on the scene to upset Napoleon's plans. [4]

Dos de Mayo Uprising conflict

The Dos de Mayo or Second of May Uprising of 1808 was a rebellion by the people of Madrid against the occupation of the city by French troops, provoking the repression by the French Imperial forces

Battle of Bailén battle

The Battle of Bailén was fought in 1808 by the Spanish Army of Andalusia, led by Generals Francisco Castaños and Theodor von Reding, and the Imperial French Army's II corps d'observation de la Gironde under General Pierre Dupont de l'Étang. This battle was the first ever open field defeat of the Napoleonic army. The heaviest fighting took place near Bailén, a village by the Guadalquivir river in the Jaén province of southern Spain.

Ebro river in the Iberian Peninsula

The Ebro is a river on the Iberian Peninsula. It is the second longest river in the Iberian peninsula after the Tagus and the second biggest by discharge volume and by drainage area after the Douro.

On 11 December 1808, General John Moore led a British army numbering 22,500 foot soldiers, 2,500 horsemen, and 66 artillery pieces northeast from Salamanca. Moore had written to a fellow general, "if the bubble bursts and Madrid falls, we shall have to run for it." Soon after, Moore learned that Napoleon had seized Madrid and that over 200,000 Imperial French troops were in the field. Nevertheless, the British general decided to strike at Marshal Nicolas Soult's isolated II Corps in the north of Spain. When the British cavalry routed Soult's horsemen at Sahagún on 21 December, the French general was completely surprised. Meanwhile, Napoleon found out what was going on and ordered 80,000 troops to march north to annihilate the British. [5]

Salamanca Place in Castile and León, Spain

Salamanca is a city in western Spain that is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the community of Castile and León. The city lies on several hills by the Tormes River. Its Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. With a metropolitan population of 228,881 in 2012 according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Salamanca is the second most populated urban area in Castile and León, after Valladolid (414,000), and ahead of León (187,000) and Burgos (176,000).

II Corps (Grande Armée) military unit of the Grande Armée

The II Corps of the Grande Armée was a military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Sahagún

The Battle of Sahagún was a cavalry clash at Sahagún, Spain, in which the British 15th Light Dragoons (Hussars) defeated two regiments of French cavalry during the Corunna Campaign of the Peninsular War. Losses to one of the French regiments were so heavy that it was subsequently disbanded. The action marked the final phase of the British army's advance into the interior of Spain, before they began their harrowing retreat to the coast and ultimate evacuation by sea.

Getting news of the avalanche coming his way, Moore led his army toward Corunna in northwest Spain. Though ultimately the British army was safely evacuated, Moore was slain at the Battle of Corunna on 16 January 1809 and 5,000 of his soldiers died during the mid-winter retreat. Because of his unsuccessful effort to destroy Moore's army, Napoleon's plans for conquering Spain and Portugal were temporarily sidetracked. [6] Napoleon personally quit Spain on 19 January 1809 and never returned. By the 23rd he was in Paris, preparing for the next war with the Austrian Empire. Though perhaps 75,000 Frenchmen had died in the struggle so far, the emperor hoped that his brother Joseph and his marshals would soon complete the conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. This hope proved to be a vain one. [7]

A Coruña Municipality in Galicia, Spain

A Coruña is a city and municipality of Galicia, Spain. It is the second most populated city in the autonomous community and seventeenth overall in the country. The city is the provincial capital of the province of the same name, having also served as political capital of the Kingdom of Galicia from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and as a regional administrative centre between 1833 and 1982, before being replaced by Santiago de Compostela.

Battle of Corunna battle

The Battle of Corunna took place on 16 January 1809, when a French corps under Marshal of the Empire Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult attacked a British army under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. The battle took place amidst the Peninsular War, which was a part of the wider Napoleonic Wars. It was a result of a French campaign, led by Napoleon, which had defeated the Spanish armies and caused the British army to withdraw to the coast following an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to attack Soult's corps and divert the French army.

Austrian Empire monarchy in Central Europe between 1804 and 1867

The Austrian Empire was a Central European multinational great power from 1804 to 1867, created by proclamation out of the realms of the Habsburgs. During its existence, it was the third most populous empire after the Russian Empire and the United Kingdom in Europe. Along with Prussia, it was one of the two major powers of the German Confederation. Geographically, it was the third largest empire in Europe after the Russian Empire and the First French Empire. Proclaimed in response to the First French Empire, it partially overlapped with the Holy Roman Empire until the latter's dissolution in 1806.


Claude Perrin Victor Marechal-victor.jpg
Claude Perrin Victor

The month of December saw General of Division Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr drub the Spanish forces of Captain General Juan Miguel de Vives y Feliu at the Battle of Molins de Rey while Marshal Jean Lannes began the Second Siege of Zaragoza. With Napoleon and his main field army away chasing Moore, the Imperial troops holding Madrid were too weak to mount any offensives. In total, there were 28,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, and 90 guns in Marshal Claude Perrin Victor's I Corps, Marshal François Joseph Lefebvre's IV Corps, and the cavalry divisions of Generals of Division Antoine Lasalle, Marie Victor de Latour-Maubourg, and Édouard Jean Baptiste Milhaud. Not counted was King Joseph's Royal Guard consisting of four battalions and one cavalry regiment of Frenchmen plus two small regiments of Spanish deserters. [8]

Juan Miguel de Vives y Feliu or Joan Miquel Vives i Feliu was a Spanish general who commanded a division during the French Revolutionary Wars and briefly led an army in the Napoleonic Wars. He was described as a native of Girona. In 1794 he led a division against the French in the War of the Pyrenees. He fought at Boulou and the Black Mountain in the eastern Pyrenees. In 1796 he was posted to Cartagena and in 1799 he became Captain General of Mallorca.

Jean Lannes Marshal of France

Jean Lannes, 1st Duc de Montebello, Prince de Siewierz, was a Marshal of the Empire. He was one of Napoleon's most daring and talented generals. Napoleon once commented on Lannes: "I found him a pygmy and left him a giant". A personal friend of the emperor, he was allowed to address him with the familiar "tu", as opposed to the formal "vous".

Second Siege of Zaragoza siege (1809)

The Second Siege of Zaragoza was the French capture of the Spanish city of Zaragoza during the Peninsular War. It was particularly noted for its brutality.

The cavalry formed the outer line of defense. Latour-Maubourg posted a cavalry brigade each in Tarancón, Ocaña, and Madridejos. To the west, Milhaud's troopers patrolled the area around Talavera de la Reina. Farthest west were Lasalle's horsemen watching Almaraz where there was an important bridge across the Tagus River. Victor defended Aranjuez with General of Division Eugène-Casimir Villatte's division while Lefebvre held Talavera with the divisions of Generals of Division Horace François Sébastiani and Jean-Baptiste Cyrus de Valence. The 55th Line Infantry Regiment of General of Division Jean-Joseph, Marquis Dessolles's absent reserve division was posted at Guadalajara. Aside from the Royal Guards, Madrid was garrisoned by General of Division François Amable Ruffin with an I Corps division and General of Division Jean François Leval with a IV Corps division. [9]

The Army of the Center ended its retreat at Cuenca on 10 December 1808. Its new commander General Pedro de Alcántara Álvarez de Toledo, 13th Duke of the Infantado allowed his soldiers to rest but was forced to execute three soldiers. One, a lieutenant had refused to march and positioned his artillery battery to fire on the troops who were obeying orders. The remnant of the 1st Division was sent home to Valencia province to recruit, while the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Divisions [10] were reorganized into four divisions including a Vanguard and a Reserve. Many low-strength line regiments were consolidated from three battalions into one or two. Stragglers and reinforcements swelled the ranks. The soldiers' spirits rose when a brigade under General Conde de Alacha Lilli marched into camp, having escaped from Napoleon's armies. Hearing that the emperor had gone off to the north, Infantado decided to launch an offensive toward Madrid before his reorganization was completed. [11]

Spanish offensive

Duke of Infantado Pedro de Alcantara Alvarez de Toledo y Salm Salm, XIII duque del Infantado (Museo del Prado).jpg
Duke of Infantado

On 25 December 1808, Infantado sent General Francisco Javier Venegas with the Vanguard and most of the cavalry to seize Tarancón while Brigadier General Senra and 4,000 soldiers moved on Aranjuez. Senra found Villatte's division at Aranjuez and declined to attack, an action for which he was harshly criticized by Infantado. Meanwhile, Venegas managed to encircle General of Brigade André Thomas Perreimond and his dragoon brigade in Tarancón. At the last moment, the French detected what was afoot and hurriedly saddled up their horses. Perreimond decided to break out at once. When the dragoons charged the Spanish force that had gotten behind the town, the infantry were forced to form squares. Perreimond's troopers then rode between the squares to safety, but not before 50 to 60 saddles were emptied. Because the Spanish cavalry was late into action, the two dragoon regiments got away without further damage. [12]

Farther to the west, on December 24 Lefebvre marched to seize the bridge at Almaraz as instructed. His soldiers captured the bridge and four cannons in a coup, dispersing the Spanish defenders. At this time, the marshal made a remarkable error. Leaving only Lasalle's cavalry and two battalions on the Tagus, he marched northeast to Ávila, ignoring repeated instructions from King Joseph to desist. Arriving at Ávila on 5 January, Lefebvre's corps was completely removed from the defensive lines around Madrid. Infuriated with his disobedient subordinate, Napoleon removed Lefebvre from command and gave the IV Corps to Sébastiani. [13]

With the IV Corps out of position, revolts breaking out, and the Army of the Center threatening Madrid, Joseph and his adviser Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan were in a panic. Only Villatte and Latour-Maubourg with 9,000 soldiers stood between Infantado and the capital. But, instead of pressing his advantage, the Spanish commander became inert between 26 December and 11 January. Infantado seems to have spent his time concocting fantastic strategical schemes while leaving his lieutenant Venegas without instructions. [12] To support the Army of the Center, a 6,000-man Spanish division under General Marquis del Palacio moved north from the Sierra Morena to Villaharta. [14]

While Infantado dithered, Joseph and Jourdan moved swiftly against the local insurrections. The 27th Light Infantry put down the rebellion in Chinchón with extreme brutality; all the men in the town were massacred. Colmenar Viejo suffered also, with numerous inhabitants being executed. Joseph ordered Victor to shift east from Aranjuez to Arganda del Rey to block the road from Tarancón. On 8 January, the division of Dessolles arrived in Madrid followed in two days by the return of the IV Corps from Ávila. These heavy reinforcements allowed Napoleon's defensive scheme around Madrid to be reestablished. Reinforced by the Dutch Brigade, Leval's division was sent to garrison Talavera while Valence's division was ordered to hold Toledo. The divisions of Dessolles and Sébastiani became the Madrid garrison. Victor was sent Ruffin's division as a reinforcement and ordered to attack. [14]


Francisco Javier Venegas Francisco Xavier Venegas.jpg
Francisco Javier Venegas

Victor marched forth on 12 January with 12,000 infantry and 3,500 cavalry in the divisions of Ruffin, Villatte, Latour-Maubourg, and the I Corps light cavalry. Learning of the enemy's approach, Venegas withdrew from Tarancón to Uclés where he was joined by Senra's brigade. He requested further instructions from the commander of the Army of the Center but none were forthcoming. Instead, Infantado sent three or four battalions of reinforcements and advised his lieutenant that he was on the way. However, he did not give any date for his appearance. Venegas had reservations about offering battle to Victor. But, perhaps swayed by the favorable defensive position at Uclés, he decided to stand his ground with approximately 9,500 foot soldiers, [14] 1,800 horsemen, and five cannon, one of which was broken down. Though some of the regiments were veterans of Bailén, many of the units had shaky morale. [15] Another authority credited Venegas with 9,500 infantry, 2,000 cavalry, and 480 artillerists for a total of 11,980 troops. [16]

On 11 January 1809, Infantado's 21,216-strong army consisted of the 3,929-man Vanguard under Major General José María de la Cueva, 14th Duke of Alburquerque, the 4,295-strong Reserve led by Lieutenant General Manuel la Peña, the 5,121-man 1st Division commanded by Lieutenant General Antonio Malet, Marqués de Coupigny, the 5,288-strong 2nd Division under Major General Conde de Orgaz, approximately 2,800 cavalry, 383 sappers, and 386 artillerists. Venegas' force was a collection of units drawn piecemeal from all five major units of the Army of the Center. The Vanguard contributed 2,848 men, the Reserve 1,634, the 1st Division 2,804, the 2nd Division 1,917, and the cavalry 1,814. There were also 383 sappers and about 100 artillerists. [17]

The units from the Vanguard were the Murcia (652), 1st Battalion of Cantabria (315), Jaen Provincial (342), Chinchilla Provincial (354), Catalan Volunteers (499), Barbastro Cazadores (221), and Campo Mayor (465) Regiments. From the Reserve were the 1st Battalion of Walloon Guard (425), 1st Battalion of Irlanda (377), and Andalucia Provincial Grenadiers (522) Regiments. From the 1st Division came the 1st and 3rd Battalions of Africa (771), 1st and 3rd Battalions of Burgos (519), 3rd of Seville (106), Cuenca Provincial (626), Navas de Tolosa (542), and Cadiz Tiradores (818) Regiments. The 2nd Division contributed the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battalions of Military Orders (848), 4th of Seville (224), Toro Provincial (265), Bailen (472), and Carmona Volunteers (456) Regiments. The mounted contingent included the Castalla Dragoon (125), and Borbon (119), España (342), Lusitania (158), Pavia (428), Principe (141), Reyna (276), Santiago (74), and Tejas (131) Cavalry Regiments. [17] [18]

Eugene-Casimir Villatte General Eugene Casimir Villatte.png
Eugène-Casimir Villatte

The strength and composition of the Imperial units that would fight at Uclés were as follows. Note that the list includes men present under arms and is from a 1 February 1809 state, which was two weeks after the battle. Ruffin's 5,429-man 1st Division of the I Corps comprised three battalions each of the 9th Light, 24th Line, and 96th Line Infantry Regiments. Villatte's 6,376-strong 3rd Division of the I Corps was made up of three battalions each of the 27th Light, 63rd Line, 94th Line, and 95th Line Infantry Regiments. General of Brigade Louis Chrétien Carrière Beaumont led the 1,386 troopers of the corps cavalry, the 2nd Hussar and 5th Chasseurs à Cheval Regiments. The I Corps had 48 field pieces manned by 1,523 gunners plus 487 sabers of the Westphalian Chevau-léger Regiment. There were four foot artillery batteries, two per infantry division, plus two additional horse artillery batteries. [18] [19] General of Division Pierre Belon Lapisse's 2nd Division was on detached duty. [8] Latour-Maubourg's 2,527-strong 1st Dragoon Division included the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 9th, 14th, and 26th Dragoon Regiments. [20] The three brigades were commanded by Generals of Brigade Perreimond, Ignace Laurent D'Oullemberg, and Alexandre, vicomte Digeon. [18] [21] Another source stated that Victor directed 16,300 men at Uclés. Of these, Ruffin led 5,000 troops, Villatte 7,000, Latour-Maubourg 2,500, Beaumont 1,300, and the artillery 500. [16]

Venegas strung out his soldiers along a northeast to southwest ridge. Three infantry battalions and four cavalry regiments formed an advance guard to watch the approach of the French from Tribaldos village. Four battalions defended the town of Uclés in the center with remaining cavalry and the four guns in front. Eight battalions held the right flank, while six battalions deployed on the left flank. Venegas held only a single battalion in reserve; the rest of his units formed a single overextended line. On 13 January, Victor marched from Tarancón at dawn in two columns. Victor with Villatte's and most of Latour-Maubourg's divisions took the right-hand road, which was more direct. Ruffin's division and some cavalry took the left-hand road. Villatte quickly drove the advance guard out of Tribaldos; it fell back to the main Spanish position. After getting a good look at the Spanish line, Victor ordered Ruffin to swing to the right and take Venegas in flank and rear. [15]

Victor deployed Villatte's division and the cavalry, a total of about 7,000 foot soldiers and 2,500 horsemen. In the center, a battery unlimbered and began bombarding the Spanish cavalry and Uclés. The dragoons were posted behind the artillery. Meanwhile, the 94th and 95th Line [22] under General of Brigade Jacques-Pierre-Louis Puthod [23] made a wide sweep to the right. Ascending the end of the ridge where the slope was less steep, Puthod's six battalions attacked the Spanish left flank and began driving it back. From his vantage point at the monastery in Uclés, Venegas ordered some units from the right flank to go to the assistance of his imperilled left. However, the French attack proceeded swiftly and crumpled up the Spanish left flank before the reinforcements could give any help. Puthod's troops soon reached the walls of Uclés. [22]

When Victor saw the success of his right wing, he ordered Villatte's left wing brigade [22] under General of Brigade Michel-Marie Pacthod [23] to attack the Spanish right flank. Since many of the defending units had been sent to the left, Pacthod's assault easily reached the top of the ridge. Shaken by the obvious reverse on the left flank, the right flank troops offered little resistance. Soon, Venegas's entire force was retreating from the field. The cavalry seems to have fought hardly at all leaving only two or three battalions under General Pedro Agustín Girón to act as the rear guard. Meanwhile, Ruffin's division lost its way and made a wider march than intended. Though Ruffin was late to the field, he and his troops fortuitously arrived squarely in the Spanish rear. [22] Latour-Maubourg's pursuing dragoons drove Venegas' hapless soldiers right into the arms of Ruffin's nine battalions. The nimble Spanish cavalry largely escaped along with some left flank infantry, while Girón's men broke out between two French regiments. But the majority of the Spanish foot soldiers were trapped and forced to surrender. [24]


Joseph Bonaparte King Joseph I of Spain.jpg
Joseph Bonaparte

The French captured four generals, 17 colonels, 306 lower-ranking officers, and 5,560 men for a total of 5,887 prisoners. The I Corps also seized four artillery pieces and 20 colors. In addition, the Spanish suffered losses of perhaps 1,000 killed and wounded. Victor admitted a loss of 150 [24] though another source gave a total of 200 French casualties. [18] Despite their easy triumph, the French soldiery got out of control after the battle, sacking Uclés and murdering 69 civilians. In particular, monks were singled out for slaughter for allegedly firing on French soldiers. The prisoners were also treated cruelly, according to two French eyewitnesses. When the Spaniards were marched to Madrid, their captors shot down those who were unable to keep up; 30 or more men per day were put to death in this manner. [24]

Meanwhile, Infantado with his remaining 9,000 soldiers set out from Cuenca on 12 January. By that evening he reached La Horcajada, which is 15 miles (24 km) east of Uclés. [24] Continuing their advance on the 13th, Infantado's men came across the remnants of Venegas' force and got word of the disaster. The army commander called for an immediate withdrawal to Cuenca. Gathering up his wagon train and supplies, Infantado abandoned his base and led his troops to Chinchilla de Monte-Aragón where he arrived on 20 January. However, the Spanish guns were delayed by bad weather and swollen streams. Protected by only one cavalry regiment, the artillery convoy was intercepted by Digeon's brigade at Tórtola de Henares on the 18th. In all, 15 artillery pieces were seized by the French dragoons. [25]

After occupying Cuenca, Victor determined that the Army of the Center was out of reach. The marshal then went looking for Palacios' division at Villaharta. When Palacios heard of the Uclés debacle, he withdrew to the Sierra Morena. Finding that his prey escaped, Victor occupied Madridejos. Deeming the Spanish people sufficiently cowed by the victory at Uclés, Napoleon finally allowed his brother Joseph to make a triumphal entry into his capital at Madrid. The spectacle occurred on 22 January after which King Joseph entered his palace. Under threat, Joseph's Spanish subjects swore fealty to their new king. [25] After marching to join Palacios at the Despeñaperros Pass, Infantado was removed from command for failing to support Venegas. General Tomás de Morla y Pacheco, 3rd Conde de Cartaojal assumed command of the Army of the Center. [26] The next action was the Battle of Ciudad Real on 27 March 1809. [27]


  1. Gates, David (2002). The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. London: Pimlico. pp. 93–94. ISBN   0-7126-9730-6.
  2. Oman, Charles (2010). A History of the Peninsular War Volume I. La Vergne, Tenn.: Kessinger Publishing. p. 645. ISBN   1432636820.
  3. Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. pp. 269–271. ISBN   1-85367-276-9.
  4. Gates (2002), pp. 104-105
  5. Chandler, David G. (1966). The Campaigns of Napoleon. New York, N.Y.: Macmillan. pp. 646–650.
  6. Chandler (1966), pp. 655-657
  7. Chandler (1966), p. 658
  8. 1 2 Oman, Charles (1995). A History of the Peninsular War Volume II. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole. pp. 1–2. ISBN   1-85367-215-7.
  9. Oman (1995), p. 3
  10. Oman (1995), p. 5
  11. Oman (1995), p. 6
  12. 1 2 Oman (1995), pp. 6-7
  13. Oman (1995), pp. 4-5
  14. 1 2 3 Oman (1995), pp. 8-9
  15. 1 2 Oman (1995), p. 10
  16. 1 2 Gates (2002), p. 117
  17. 1 2 Oman (1995), pp. 621-622
  18. 1 2 3 4 Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. pp. 277–278. ISBN   1-85367-276-9.
  19. Oman (1995), p. 624
  20. Oman (1995), p. 627
  21. Oman (2010), p. 644
  22. 1 2 3 4 Oman (1995), p. 11
  23. 1 2 Oman (1995), p. 54 map
  24. 1 2 3 4 Oman (1995), p. 12
  25. 1 2 Oman (1995), pp. 13-14
  26. Oman (1995), p. 33
  27. Smith (1998), p. 283

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In the Peninsular War, the Battle of Medellín was fought on 28 March 1809 and resulted in a victory of the French under Marshal Victor against the Spanish under General Don Gregorio Garcia de la Cuesta. The battle marked the first major effort by the French to occupy Southern Spain, a feat mostly completed with the victory at the Battle of Ocana later in the year.

Battle of Alba de Tormes battle

In the Battle of Alba de Tormes on 26 November 1809, an Imperial French corps commanded by François Étienne de Kellermann attacked a Spanish army led by Diego de Cañas y Portocarrero, Duke del Parque. Finding the Spanish army in the midst of crossing the Tormes River, Kellermann did not wait for his infantry under Jean Gabriel Marchand to arrive, but led the French cavalry in a series of charges that routed the Spanish units on the near bank with heavy losses. Del Parque's army was forced to take refuge in the mountains that winter. Alba de Tormes is 21 kilometres (13 mi) southeast of Salamanca, Spain. The action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of the Gebora 1811 battle between Spain and France

The Battle of the Gebora was a battle of the Peninsular War between Spanish and French armies. It took place on 19 February 1811, northwest of Badajoz, Spain, where an outnumbered French force routed and nearly destroyed the Spanish Army of Extremadura.

Battle of Maguilla

In the Battle of Maguilla a British cavalry brigade led by Major General John Slade attacked a similar-sized French cavalry brigade commanded by General of Brigade Charles Lallemand. The British dragoons scored an initial success, routing the French dragoons and capturing a number of them. The British troopers recklessly galloped after their foes, losing all order. At length, the French reserve squadron charged into the British, followed by the French main body which rallied. With the tables turned, the French dragoons chased the British until the horses of both sides were too exhausted for the battle to continue. The action took place during the Peninsular War, near Maguilla, Spain, a distance of 17 kilometres (11 mi) northeast of Llerena.

In the Battle of Usagre on 25 May 1811, Anglo-Allied cavalry commanded by Major-General William Lumley routed a French cavalry force led by Major-General Marie Victor Latour-Maubourg at the village of Usagre in the Peninsular War.

Pierre Belon Lapisse French general

Pierre Belon Lapisse, Baron de Sainte-Hélène commanded an infantry division in Napoleon's armies and was fatally wounded fighting against the British in the Peninsular War. He enlisted in the French Army during the reign of Louis XVI and fought in the American Revolutionary War. Appointed an officer at the start of the French Revolutionary Wars, he rose in rank to become a general officer by 1799. From 1805 to 1807 during the Napoleonic Wars, he led a brigade in the Grande Armée at Dornbirn, Jena, Kołoząb, Golymin, and Eylau. After promotion he commanded a division in the thick of the action at Friedland in 1807.

Antoine Morlot French general, notable for his participation in the battles of Kaiserslautern and Tudela

Antoine Morlot was a French division commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. After almost eight years of service in the French Royal Army, he became an officer in a local volunteer battalion during the French Revolution. In 1792 he fought with distinction at Thionville and other actions, earning a promotion to general officer in 1793. He was notable for his participation at the Battle of Kaiserslautern where he led a brigade. After another promotion he became a general of division in the Army of the Moselle. In 1794 he led his troops at Arlon, Lambusart, Fleurus and Aldenhoven.

Battle of Campo Maior was a battle occurred in Campo Maior, Portugal on 25 March 1811

In the Battle of Campo Maior, or Campo Mayor, on 25 March 1811, Brigadier General Robert Ballard Long with a force of Anglo-Portuguese cavalry, the advance-guard of the army commanded by William Beresford, clashed with a French force commanded by General of Division Marie Victor de Fay, marquis de Latour-Maubourg. Initially successful, some of the Allied horsemen indulged in a reckless pursuit of the French. An erroneous report was given that they had been captured wholesale. In consequence, Beresford halted his forces and the French were able to escape and recover a convoy of artillery pieces.

The VIII Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. Emperor Napoleon formed it in 1805 by borrowing divisions from other corps and assigned it to Marshal Édouard Adolphe Casimir Joseph Mortier. Marshal André Masséna's Army of Italy was also reorganized as the VIII Corps at the end of the 1805 campaign. The corps was reformed for the 1806 campaign under Mortier and spent the rest of the year mopping up Prussian garrisons in western Germany.

Second Siege of Badajoz (1811)

The Second Siege of Badajoz saw an Anglo-Portuguese Army, first led by William Carr Beresford and later commanded by Arthur Wellesley,The Viscount Wellington, besiege a French garrison under Armand Philippon at Badajoz, Spain. After failing to force a surrender, Wellington withdrew his army when the French mounted a successful relief effort by combining the armies of Marshals Nicolas Soult and Auguste Marmont. The action was fought during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Badajoz is located 6 kilometres (4 mi) from the Portuguese border on the Guadiana River in western Spain.

The Invasion of Portugal saw an Imperial French corps under Jean-Andoche Junot and Spanish military troops invade the Kingdom of Portugal, which was headed by its Prince Regent João of Bragança. The military operation resulted in the almost bloodless occupation of Portugal. The French and Spanish presence was challenged by the Portuguese people and by the United Kingdom in 1808. The invasion marked the start of the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Battle of Alcantara (1809)

The Battle of Alcantara saw an Imperial French division led by Marshal Claude Perrin Victor attack a Portuguese detachment under Colonel William Mayne. After a three hours skirmish, the French stormed across the Alcántara Bridge and forced the Portuguese to retreat. The clash happened during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Alcántara, Spain is situated on the Tagus river near the Portuguese border, 285 kilometres (177 mi) west-southwest of Madrid.

Battle of Arzobispo

The Battle of Arzobispo on 8 August 1809 saw two Imperial French corps commanded by Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult launch an assault crossing of the Tagus River against a Spanish force under José María de la Cueva, 14th Duke of Alburquerque. Alburquerque's troops rapidly retreated after suffering disproportionate losses, including 30 artillery pieces. El Puente del Arzobispo is located 36 kilometres (22 mi) southwest of Talavera de la Reina, Spain. The action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of a larger conflict known as the Napoleonic Wars.

The Reserve Cavalry Corps or Cavalry Reserve of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military formation that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1805, Emperor Napoleon appointed Marshal Joachim Murat to command all the cavalry divisions that were not directly attached to the Army Corps. During the Ulm Campaign, Murat led his horsemen in successfully hunting down many Austrian Empire units that escaped the Capitulation of Ulm. Murat's horsemen fought at Austerlitz in December 1805. Under Murat, the Cavalry Reserve played a prominent role in the destruction of the Kingdom of Prussia's armies after the Battle of Jena-Auerstadt in 1806. Five dragoon divisions of the corps were employed in the Peninsular War starting in 1808 and placed under the overall command of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières. The Cavalry Reserve was reassembled in 1809 to fight Austria with Bessières still in command. In 1812 the Reserve Cavalry Corps was split up into the I, II, III, and IV Cavalry Corps for the French invasion of Russia.

Pierre Barrois French soldier and officer

Pierre Barrois became a French division commander during the Napoleonic Wars. He joined a volunteer battalion in 1793 that later became part of a famous light infantry regiment. He fought at Wattignies, Fleurus, Aldenhoven, Ehrenbreitstein and Neuwied in 1793–1797. He fought at Marengo in 1800. He became colonel of a line infantry regiment in 1803 and led it at Haslach, Dürrenstein, Halle, Lübeck and Mohrungen in 1805–1807. Promoted to general of brigade, he led a brigade at Friedland in 1807.

Louis Victorin Cassagne French officer

Louis Victorin Cassagne became a French division commander during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1793 he joined a free company which was immediately absorbed into a volunteer battalion. Until 1795 he fought in the Army of the Eastern Pyrenees as a captain. In 1795–1797 he served in the Army of Italy, fighting at Loano, Lonato and Tarvis. In 1798–1801 he participated in the French campaign in Egypt and Syria, fighting at the Pyramids, Acre and Alexandria. In 1801 he was made commander of an infantry regiment. Cassagne was wounded an extraordinary number of times, especially during his early campaigns.