|Battle of Valmaseda|
|Part of the Peninsular War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Eugene-Casimir Villatte||Joaquín Blake|
|Casualties and losses|
| 300 killed or wounded|
baggage train captured
|50 killed or wounded|
The Battle of Valmaseda (or Balmaseda) took place on 5 November 1808, during Lieutenant-General Blake's retreat from superior French armies in northern Spain. Reinforced by veteran regular infantry from General La Romana's Division of the North (Spanish : Division del Norte), Blake's force suddenly turned on its pursuers and ambushed General Victor's errant vanguard under Général de division Villatte.
This section does not cite any sources . (September 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The French defeat had its roots in Marshal François Lefebvre's earlier failure to destroy the Spanish army at the Battle of Pancorbo, where Blake had shaken off the premature French assault and escaped with his army intact. Further mistakes were made in the French pursuit, namely when Victor carelessly allowed his Army Corps to spread out in its search for an enemy he regarded as beaten.
Major-General Eugene-Casimir Villatte commanded the 3rd Division of Lefebvre's IV Corps. This oversized unit included three battalions each of the 27th Light, 63rd, 94th and 95th Line Infantry Regiments, plus two foot artillery batteries.
Blake's Army of Galicia contained five infantry divisions, a vanguard and a reserve.
General Figueroa commanded the 1st Division [Hibernia, Santiago, Mallorca, Mandoñedo, Rey].
Gen Martinengo the 2nd Division [Segovia, Victoria, Voluntarios de Navarra, Pontevedra] (5,100)(7 Battalions).
Gen Riquelme the 3rd Division [Compostela, Gerona, Sevilla, 6th Marina](7 Battalions).
Gen Carbajal the 4th Division [Granaderos](10 Battalions, 1 present).
Gen La Romana the 5th Division [Barcelona, 1st Cataluña, 1st & 2nd Zamora, Princesa] (5,300)(7 Battalions).
Gen Mendizabal the vanguard [Aragon, 2nd Cataluña, Leon, Navos] (5 Battalions)
Gen Mahy the reserve [Granaderos, Battalion de General, Corona, Galica, Guardas Nacionales de Galica] (5 Battalions).
Asturian Division [Conges de Tineo, Salas, Siero, Villivicioa, Lena, Oviedo, Castropol] (10 Battalions).
There were 1,000 gunners manning 38 cannon and only 300 cavalry.
Victor tried to trap Gen Acevedo's Asturian Division, which had separated from Blake's army. Instead, Blake was able to draw the French into a trap of his own, and on 5 November Villatte's division, operating ahead of the other French formations, blundered into a brusque attack. This attack drove the French out of Valmaseda.
But while their leaders had erred badly, the iron discipline of the French soldiers did not fail them. Villatte, refusing to surrender, formed his troops into squares and managed to claw his way out of the Spanish encirclement. Even so, the Spaniards captured 300 men and one gun.
During the French retreat, Acevedo's errant division bumped into Villatte's baggage train and captured most of it. On 8 November a resurgent Victor recaptured Valmaseda, killing and wounding 150 and capturing 600 men from Blake's rearguard.
Upon learning of the battle, Napoleon, shocked that his Grande Armée should suffer even a minor defeat by "an army of bandits led by monks," severely reprimanded Victor for his imprudence. Victor redeemed himself two weeks later when he finally defeated Blake at the Battle of Espinosa.
The Battle of Uclés 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.
The Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros was a battle of the Napoleonic Wars, fought on 10 and 11 November 1808 at the township of Espinosa de los Monteros in the Cantabrian Mountains. It resulted in a French victory under General Victor against Lieutenant General Joaquín Blake's Army of Galicia.
The Battle of Talavera was fought just outside the town of Talavera de la Reina, Spain some 120 kilometres (75 mi) southwest of Madrid, during the Peninsular War. At Talavera, an Anglo-Spanish army under Sir Arthur Wellesley combined with a Spanish army under General Cuesta in operations against French-occupied Madrid. The French army withdrew at night after several of its attacks had been repulsed.
The Battle for Mexico City refers to the series of engagements from September 8 to September 15, 1847, in the general vicinity of Mexico City during the Mexican–American War. Included are major actions at the battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec, culminating with the fall of Mexico City. The U.S. Army under Winfield Scott scored a major success that ended the war.
The Battle of Barrosa was part of an unsuccessful manoeuvre to break the siege of Cádiz in Spain during the Peninsular War. During the battle, a single British division defeated two French divisions and captured a regimental eagle.
Joaquín Blake y Joyes was a Spanish military officer who served with distinction in the French Revolutionary and Peninsular wars.
The Battle of Pancorbo, fought on 31 October 1808, was one of the opening engagements in Napoleon's invasion of Spain involving the French IV corps of three infantry divisions and 36 cannon, and the Army of Galicia of three infantry divisions and having 6 guns engaged. The battle was intended to encircle and crush the left wing of the Spanish front that stretched from Cantabria to the Mediterranean Sea. However, on October 31, Lefebvre disobeyed Napoleon's orders and launched his IV Corps into a premature attack against Blake at Pancorbo. Blake was deeply disturbed by the appearance of French forces and took immediate measures to withdraw his troops and guns. The Spanish infantry, fighting without artillery support, was swiftly thrown back but escaped in good order.
The Battle of Alcañiz resulted in the defeat of Major-General Louis Gabriel Suchet's French army on 23 May 1809 by a Spanish force under General Joaquín Blake y Joyes.
The Battle of Tamames was a sharp reversal suffered by part of Marshal Michel Ney's French army under Major-General Jean Marchand in the Peninsular War. The French, advancing out of Salamanca, were met and defeated in battle by a Spanish army on 18 October 1809.
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.
The Battle of Villafranca del Bierzo took place on 17 March 1809, during the French occupation of León in the Peninsular War. After a bloody four-hour siege the small and isolated French garrison at Villafranca surrendered to Spanish regulars under Brigadier José de Mendizábal and General Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana.
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.
Eugène-Casimir Villatte, Comte d'Oultremont fought in the French army during the Wars of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. He rose to command a division at many of the important battles in the Peninsular War. His is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.
The Division of the North was a 19th-century Spanish infantry division.
The Battle of Garris or Battle of Saint-Palais saw an Allied force under the direct command of General Arthur Wellesley, Marquess Wellington attack General of Division Jean Harispe's French division. The French defenders were driven back into the town of Saint-Palais in confusion. Because of this minor victory, the Allies were able to secure a crossing over the Bidouze River during this clash from the final stages of the Peninsular War.
The Siege of Valencia from 3 November 1811 to 9 January 1812, saw Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchet's French Army of Aragon besiege Captain General Joaquín Blake y Joyes' forces in the city of Valencia, Spain during the Peninsular War. The 20,000 to 30,000 French troops compelled 16,000 Spanish soldiers to surrender at the conclusion of the siege, although another 7,000 Spaniards escaped from the trap. Suchet quickly converted Valencia into an important base of operations after this Napoleonic Wars action. Valencia, modern-day capital of the Valencian Community, is located on the east coast of Spain.
In the Battle of Baza on 4 November 1810 an Imperial French force commanded by General Milhaud fought a Spanish corps led by General Blake. When the Spanish commander allowed his forces to get spread out, Milhaud attacked with his cavalry and crushed Blake's vanguard with heavy losses. The Spanish force retreated into the province of Murcia. Baza is located on Route 342 about 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Almería. The battle occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
The Evacuation of La Romana's division in August 1808 was a military operation in which a division of troops belonging to the Kingdom of Spain and commanded by Pedro Caro, 3rd Marquis of la Romana defected from the armies of the First French Empire. The Spanish troops were part of the Imperial forces in Denmark, which were under the leadership of Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte. Most of the Spanish troops were successfully spirited away by the British navy and shipped to Santander, Spain to fight against France in the Peninsular War.
The Dutch Brigade was a unit of the Royal Army of the Kingdom of Holland. It was sent out in September 1808, by King Louis Bonaparte at the request of his brother Emperor Napoleon of France, to take part in the Peninsular War on the French side. The brigade, under the command of Major-General David Hendrik Chassé, was made part of the so-called "German Division". The Division also consisted of units from the Nassau, the Baden and other German allies of the French empire under command of the French general Leval. It was, in turn, part of the IVth French Corps under command of Marshals Lefebvre and Sébastiani, and was later part of the Ist Corps of Marshal Victor. The brigade distinguished itself initially in several major battles, and was later employed mainly in counter-guerrilla warfare. After the annexation of the Kingdom of Holland by the French empire in 1810, the brigade was formally decommissioned and its personnel, now French subjects, absorbed into the French 123rd Line Infantry Regiment, and later into the 130th Line Infantry Regiment, the other battalions of the 123rd back home being reassigned to the Russian campaign of 1812.
The Army of Galicia was a Spanish military unit that took part in the Peninsular War against Napoleon’s French Grande Armée.