|Invasion of Portugal (1807)|
|Part of the Peninsular War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|Light||Army came under French command|
The Invasion of Portugal (19–30 November 1807) 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.
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.
Jean-Andoche Junot, 1st Duke of Abrantès was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
The Kingdom of Portugal was a monarchy on the Iberian Peninsula and the predecessor of modern Portugal. It was in existence from 1139 until 1910. After 1415, it was also known as the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves, and between 1815 and 1822, it was known as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The name is also often applied to the Portuguese Empire, the realm's extensive overseas colonies.
Threatened by a humiliating ultimatum from Napoleon, the Portuguese government acceded to most of the demands of the French emperor. Nevertheless, Napoleon ordered Junot to commence the invasion, with the cooperation of three divisions from the Kingdom of Spain. Paralyzed by fear and indecision, the Portuguese authorities offered no resistance. Junot occupied Lisbon on 30 November 1807 to find that João and many of the leading families had left for Brazil aboard the Portuguese fleet. The French quickly occupied the entire country and appropriated or disbanded the Portuguese army. The following year saw the Portuguese revolt against their occupiers. The next action was the Battle of Évora in July 1808.
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.
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 505,526 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Its urban area extends beyond the city's administrative limits with a population of around 2.8 million people, being the 11th-most populous urban area in the European Union. About 3 million people live in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, including the Portuguese Riviera,. It is mainland Europe's westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast. Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Tagus. The westernmost areas of its metro area form the westernmost point of Continental Europe, which is known as Cabo da Roca, located in the Sintra Mountains.
Colonial Brazil comprises the period from 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, until 1815, when Brazil was elevated to a kingdom in union with Portugal as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. During the early 300 years of Brazilian colonial history, the economic exploitation of the territory was based first on brazilwood extraction, which gave the territory its name; sugar production ; and finally on gold and diamond mining. Slaves, especially those brought from Africa, provided most of the work force of the Brazilian export economy after a brief period of Indian slavery to cut brazilwood.
When the Treaties of Tilsit ended the War of the Fourth Coalition, Emperor Napoleon of France had already expressed irritation that Portugal was open to trade with the United Kingdom.Napoleon's ire was provoked because Portugal was Britain's oldest ally in Europe, Britain was finding new opportunities for trade with Portugal's colony in Brazil, the Royal Navy often used Lisbon's port in its operations against France, and he wished to seize Portugal's fleet. Furthermore, Prince John of Braganza, regent for his insane mother Queen Maria I had failed to comply with the emperor's Continental System, a prohibition against British trade. In addition, the seizure of Portugal would fit neatly into Napoleon's future designs against Spain.
The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Emperor Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman River. The second was signed with Prussia on 9 July. The treaties were made at the expense of the Prussian king, who had already agreed to a truce on 25 June after the Grande Armée had captured Berlin and pursued him to the easternmost frontier of his realm. In Tilsit, he ceded about half of his pre-war territories.
The Fourth Coalition fought against Napoleon's French Empire and was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and Great Britain. 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 renewed coalition, fearing the rise in French power after the defeat of Austria and establishment of the French-sponsored Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia and Russia mobilized for a fresh campaign, and Prussian troops massed in Saxony.
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe. It is bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.
On 19 July 1807, Napoleon ordered his Portuguese ambassador to inform that country to close its ports to British shipping by 1 September. On 2 August the 1st Corps of the Gironde Army of Observation was officially brought into being, with General of Division Jean-Andoche Junot in command. Shortly afterward, the First French Empire placed all Portuguese shipping in its ports under embargo. On 23 September, the emperor made his intentions clear when he publicly threatened to depose the Braganzas in front of the Portuguese minister to France.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
Meanwhile, on 12 August 1807 the French and Spanish ambassadors delivered their ultimata to the Prince Regent of Portugal. The notes required that John must declare war on Great Britain, put his fleet at France and Spain's disposal, seize all British trade in his ports, and put all British subjects under arrest. John agreed to suspend diplomatic relations with Britain and close his ports, but he shrank from seizing British merchants and their goods. This was deemed inadequate by Napoleon and the French and Spanish ambassadors requested their passports and left the country on 30 September.
On 12 October, Junot's corps began crossing the Bidasoa River into Spain at Irun.Soon after this event, the secret Treaty of Fontainebleau was signed between France and Spain. The document was drawn up by Napoleon's marshal of the palace Géraud Duroc and Eugenio Izquierdo , an agent for Manuel de Godoy, Prince of the Peace. The treaty proposed to carve up Portugal into three entities. Porto (Oporto) and the northern part was to become the Kingdom of Northern Lusitania under Charles Louis of Etruria. The southern portion would fall to Godoy as the Principality of the Algarves. The rump of the country, centered on Lisbon, was to be administered by the French. It is probable that Napoleon never had any intention of carrying out the treaty's provisions. Aside from his desire to occupy Portugal, his real purpose may have been to introduce large French forces into Spain in order to facilitate its subsequent takeover.
The Bidasoa is a river in the Basque Country of northern Spain and southern France that runs largely south to north. Named as such downstream of the small town of Oronoz-Mugairi in the province of Navarra, the river actually results from the merger of several streams near the village Erratzu, with the stream Baztan that rises at the north-eastern side of the mount Autza being considered the source of the Bidasoa. It joins the Cantabrian Sea between the towns of Hendaye and Hondarribia.
Irun is a town of the Bidasoaldea region in the province of Gipuzkoa in the Basque Autonomous Community, Spain. It lies on the foundations of the ancient Oiasso, cited as a Roman-Vasconic town during the period.
Géraud Christophe Michel Duroc, 1st Duc de Frioul was a French general noted for his association with Napoleon.
Junot was selected because he had served as Portugal's ambassador in 1805. He was known as a good fighter and an active officer, but he possessed only ordinary talents as a strategist and a general. Napoleon promised his subordinate a dukedom and a Marshal's baton if his assignment was carried out with total success.
Junot's 24,918-man corps consisted of one cavalry division under General of Division François Étienne de Kellermann and three infantry divisions under Generals of Division Henri François Delaborde, Louis Henri Loison, and Jean-Pierre Travot. Junot's chief of staff was General of Brigade Paul Thiébault. Kellermann's 1,754-strong division was made up of one squadron each of the 26th Chasseurs à Cheval (244), 1st Dragoon (261), 3rd Dragoon (236), 4th Dragoon (262), 5th Dragoon (249), 9th Dragoon (257), and 15th Dragoon (245) Regiments. The cavalry was divided into two brigades under Generals of Brigade Pierre Margaron and Antoine Maurin.
Delaborde's 7,848-man 1st Division included the 1st Battalion of the 4th Swiss Regiment (1,190) and six French battalions. These were the 3rd Battalion of the 15th Line Infantry Regiment (1,033), the 2nd Battalion of the 47th Line (1,210), the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 70th Line (2,299), and the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 86th Line (2,116). Delaborde's brigades were led by Generals of Brigade Jean-Jacques Avril and Antoine François Brenier de Montmorand. Loison's 8,481-strong 2nd Division was made up of the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Swiss Regiment (755) and the 3rd Battalions of the remaining six French units. These were the 2nd Light Infantry Regiment (1,255), 4th Light (1,196), 12th Light (1,302), 15th Light (1,314), 32nd Line (1,265), and 58th Line (1,394). Loison's brigadiers were Generals of Brigade Hugues Charlot and Jean Guillaume Barthélemy Thomières.
Travot's 5,538-man 3rd Division comprised the Hanoverian Legion (703) and seven French battalions. These were the 1st Battalion of the Légion du Midi (797), the 3rd and 4th Battalions of the 66th Line Infantry Regiment (1,004), and the 3rd Battalions of the 31st Light (653), 32nd Light (983), 26th Line (537), and 82nd Line (861). Travot's two brigades were led by General of Brigade Louis Fuzier and Jean François Graindorge. Artillerymen, sappers, train drivers, and other personnel numbered 1,297.Out of the 30,000 men who eventually served in Junot's army, only about 17,000 were veterans.
According to the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Junot's invasion force was to be supported by 25,500 men in three Spanish columns. General Taranco and 6,500 troops were ordered to march from Vigo to seize Porto in the north. Captain General Solano would advance from Badajoz with 9,500 soldiers to capture Elvas and its fortress. General Caraffa and 9,500 men were instructed to assemble at Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo and cooperate with Junot's main force.
In 1807 the Portuguese infantry was organized into 27 regiments of which three were colonial. The remaining 24 were titled Lippe, Albuquerque, Minas, 1st Armada, 2nd Armada, Cascaes, Setubal, Peniche, 1st Elvas, 2nd Elvas, Serpa, 1st Olivença, 2nd Olivença, Campo Major, Castello de Vide, Lagos, Faro, 1st Oporto, 2nd Oporto, Viana, Valença, Almeida, Gena Major, and Bragança.There was an additional unit of light infantry known as the D'Alorna Legion. The 12 regiments of Portuguese cavalry originally had cuirassier equipment. The regiments were named Caés, Alcantara, Mecklenburg, Elvas, Évora, Moira, Olivença, Almeida, Castello Branco, Miranda, Chaves, and Bragança. The D'Alorna Legion also had a cavalry contingent which was fitted out in hussar uniforms.
The Portuguese army had been modernized in 1762 by William, Count of Schaumburg-Lippe but the army's administration soon became corrupt. Colonels and captains collected pay and supplies from the government for their soldiers. But the temptation to profit from this arrangement proved irresistible. The poorly paid officers often pocketed funds for soldiers who were on the muster rolls but absent or non-existent. Graft and embezzlement led to understrength units, cavalrymen without horses, and regimental depots without supplies.
During the brief War of the Oranges in 1801 the weakness of the Portuguese army became manifest. In the wake of that conflict, each of the 24 line infantry regiments had a second battalion added. The number of companies per battalion was reduced from seven to five, but company strength was raised from 116 to 150 soldiers. The 12 regiments of line cavalry were each increased to 470 troopers and their cuirasses discarded. The number of 989-man artillery regiments was increased from three to four while ten fortress artillery companies were established. The Portuguese army's 48,396-man nominal strength included 36,000 line infantrymen, 5,640 line cavalrymen, 3,956 artillerists, 1,300 fortress gunners, and 1,500 legionnaires and engineers. But after 1801, the previous system of abuses continued so that the army may have numbered as few as 20,000 men in 1807.
On 12 November 1807, Junot's corps entered Salamanca in western Spain after marching about 300 miles (483 km) in 25 days. Unknown to their Spanish allies, the French engineers were secretly taking notes about all fortresses and strategic points on their line of march. On that day, Junot received new orders urging him to hurry. The normal invasion route is a corridor 200 miles (322 km) in length via Almeida and Coimbra. Instead, Junot was instructed to move west from Alcántara along the Tagus valley to Portugal, a distance of only 120 miles (193 km). Anxious that Britain might intervene in Portugal or that the Portuguese might resist, Napoleon decided to speed up the invasion timetable.
Unfortunately for Junot and his soldiers, the new route passed through an area with few inhabitants and very poor roads. Nevertheless, Napoleon declared, "I will not have the march of the army delayed for a single day. 20,000 men can feed themselves anywhere, even in a desert." The march south from Ciudad Rodrigo to Alcántara via the Perales Pass was accomplished in five days in the cold rain. On this rough road through hills and ravines, half of the army's horses died,one-quarter of the soldiers straggled, and all but six artillery pieces were left behind. At Alcántara, Junot appropriated ammunition and provisions from the Spanish troops guarding the bridge across the Tagus.
On 19 November 1807, Junot set out for Lisbon. As bad as the roads were on the Spanish side of the border, those in Portugal were worse. The road along the Tagus valley was a mere track through a rocky wilderness, with Castelo Branco being the only substantial town in the area. Amid the continual rain, the advance guard limped into Abrantes on 23 November. The rear of the corps closed up on 26 November. By this time, the only guns with the column were four Spanish horse artillery pieces, while half of the soldiers were straggling or marauding.
Meanwhile, the Portuguese authorities were in a state of panic. At first, the Prince Regent had been convinced that Napoleon did not really want to depose him. As the emperor's hostile intentions became more clear, John declared war on the United Kingdom on 20 October and seized the few remaining British subjects on 8 November. Nevertheless, disturbing reports began to arrive in Lisbon of Junot's march across Spain. Despite these events, John's government failed to mobilize the Portuguese regular army or call out the militia to defend the realm. Soon after, Admiral Sidney Smith appeared off Lisbon with a British squadron and declared that the port was under blockade. The British were worried about the presence in Lisbon of a Russian squadron under Admiral Dmitry Senyavinand alarmed that the Portuguese fleet in Lisbon might fall into Napoleon's hands, which would mean that 14 Ships of the line, 11 Frigates, and 7 smaller vessels would have joined the French Navy.
Junot was met at Abrantes by an emissary from the Prince Regent. Hoping to avert a French occupation, the diplomat offered to submit under various degrading terms. Understanding that the Portuguese were prostrate, Junot organized four battalions made up of his best remaining men and set out for Lisbon, which was still 75 miles (121 km) away. Without a single cannon or cavalryman, 1,500 French troops staggered into Lisbon on 30 November, their cartridges soaked and their uniforms in tatters. There was no opposition. It took ten days for all of Junot's infantry to arrive and even longer for his artillery to show up. His cavalrymen immediately began remounting themselves with horses seized from the local people.
Though the French occupied Lisbon without firing a shot, their quarry had escaped. As Junot's army loomed closer, the Prince Regent dithered between offering complete submission and fleeing to Brazil. Finally, Admiral Smith produced a 13 October edition of the Paris Moniteur which declared that the House of Braganza had been deposed. At this, John made up his mind to escape. He loaded his family, courtiers, state papers, and treasure aboard the fleet. He was joined in flight by many nobles, merchants, and others. With 15 warships and more than 20 transports, the fleet of refugees weighed anchor on 29 November and set sail for the colony of Brazil.The flight had been so chaotic that 14 carts loaded with treasure were left behind on the docks.
Solano's Spanish column belatedly invaded Portugal on 2 December 1807 while Taranco occupied Porto on 13 December. The only resistance was offered by the governor of Valença, who refused to open his gates to the northern column. He only caved in when he found that Lisbon had fallen and the Prince Regent had fled. While the Portuguese civil authorities were generally subservient toward their occupiers, the common people were angry. When Junot raised the French flag on Lisbon's public buildings on 13 December, a riot broke out. Mounted troops were sent into the streets to disperse the mob with force. As one of his first acts, Junot disbanded the Portuguese army by discharging all its soldiers with less than one year and more than six years of service. The remainder were assigned to nine new units and most were marched to northern Germany to perform garrison duty.Two Portuguese units were employed by the French in the 2 August 1808 assault during the First Siege of Zaragoza. They were 265 men of the 5th Infantry and 288 men of the Caçadores. The Portuguese Legion fought at the Battle of Wagram in July 1809 under the command of General Carcôme Lobo. The Legion counted 1,471 infantry in three battalions and 133 cavalry in two squadrons. In 1812 the Portuguese troops were reorganized into three regiments and participated in the French invasion of Russia. Few of these unlucky men survived the campaign.
Junot did his best to calm the situation by trying to keep his troops under control. However, his task was undercut by new orders from Napoleon. Junot was instructed to seize the property of the 15,000 persons who had fled to Braziland to levy a 100 million franc fine on the nation. As it happened, the refugees had carried off almost half of the specie in Portugal and the French were barely able to raise enough money to maintain the occupation army. Nevertheless, the harsh taxes caused bitter resentment among the population. By January 1808 there were executions of persons who resisted the exactions of the French. The situation was dangerous, but most of the country's leaders had gone to Brazil, leaving no one to lead an insurrection.
By the following spring, the occupation army numbered 25,000 active soldiers, thanks to the approximately 4,000 reinforcements that arrived in early 1808. The situation changed after the Spanish Dos de Mayo Uprising. Junot soon found that all communications with Paris were cut off by the Spanish revolt. On 6 June 1808, news of the rebellion reached Porto where General Belesta was stationed with 6,000 Spanish troops, Taranco having died during the winter. After seizing General of Division François Jean Baptiste Quesnel and his 30-man escort, Belesta marched his troops away to join the armies fighting the French.Between 9 and 12 June, northwest Portugal erupted in revolt. The next action was the Battle of Évora on 29 July 1808. British intervention occurred in early August when General Sir Arthur Wellesley and 9,000 soldiers landed in Mondego Bay.
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.
In Battle of Salamanca an Anglo-Portuguese army under the Duke of Wellington defeated Marshal Auguste Marmont's French forces among the hills around Arapiles, south of Salamanca, Spain on 22 July 1812 during the Peninsular War. A Spanish division was also present but took no part in the battle.
In the Battle of Vimeiro on 21 August 1808, the British under General Arthur Wellesley defeated the French under Major-General Jean-Andoche Junot near the village of Vimeiro, near Lisbon, Portugal during the Peninsular War. This battle put an end to the first French invasion of Portugal.
The Battle of Albuera was a battle during the Peninsular War. A mixed British, Spanish and Portuguese corps engaged elements of the French Armée du Midi at the small Spanish village of Albuera, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) south of the frontier fortress-town of Badajoz, Spain.
In the First Battle of Porto the French under Marshal Soult defeated the Portuguese, under General Parreiras, outside the city of Porto during the Peninsular War. Soult followed up his success by storming the city.
Louis Henri Loison briefly joined the French Army in 1787 and after the French Revolution became a junior officer. Blessed with military talent and courage, he rapidly rose to general officer rank during the French Revolutionary Wars. He also got into difficulties because of his fondness for plundering. In late 1795 he helped Napoleon Bonaparte crush a revolt against the government. After a hiatus, he returned in 1799 to fight in Switzerland where he earned another promotion. In 1800 he commanded a division under Napoleon in the Marengo Campaign.
Jean-Pierre Maransin was a Général de Division of the First French Empire who saw action during the Peninsular War. He was made Colonel of the 1st Legion du Midi on 27 January 1807 and promoted to Général de Brigade on 8 November 1808. He fought at the Battle of Albuera on 16 May 1811. Maransin's final promotion to the rank of Général de Division occurred on 20 May 1813, and he was named Commander of the Légion d’Honneur on 15 December 1814.
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.
Eloi Charlemagne Taupin became a French soldier before the French Revolution and was killed in 1814 leading his division in battle against the British and the Spanish in southern France. After fighting in the French Revolutionary Wars, he was promoted to command an infantry regiment at the beginning of the First French Empire. He led the unit during the War of the Third Coalition in 1805. The following year he fought in the War of the Fourth Coalition. The year 1808 found him at Zaragoza in Spain where he was wounded. In 1809 he led a brigade during the War of the Fifth Coalition at Gefrees.
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.
The Portuguese Legion was the 9 000 men strong Portuguese military force integrated in the Napoleon's Imperial Armies, mobilized after the occupation of Portugal by the army of General Junot, in 1807.
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.
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 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.
The Battle of Évora saw an Imperial French division under Louis Henri Loison attack a combined Portuguese-Spanish force led by Francisco de Paula Leite de Sousa. Encountering Leite's smaller body of soldiers outside Évora, the French easily brushed them aside and went on to storm the city, which was held by poorly armed townsmen and militia. The French butchered the Portuguese defenders and brutally sacked the town.
François Jean Baptiste Quesnel du Torpt became a division commander under the First French Empire of Napoleon. By the time the French Revolutionary Wars began, he had been a non-commissioned officer in the French army for nearly a decade. Within less than two years he rose to the rank of general officer while fighting against Spain. His career then stagnated until the War of the Second Coalition when he led a brigade in Italy at Verona, Magnano, Cassano, Bassignana where he was wounded, and Novi.
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.
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.
Charles Louis Dieudonné Grandjean became a French division commander and saw extensive service during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1792 he gave up his legal career to enlist in the infantry and served in the Army of the Rhine. In March 1799 he earned promotion to general of brigade by distinguished actions at Verona. That year he led an Army of Italy brigade at Magnano, the Trebbia, Novi and Genola. In 1800 he fought at Stockach and Hohenlinden. Grandjean was awarded the Commander's Cross of the Légion d'Honneur in 1804 and elevated in rank to general of division in 1805. During the War of the Fourth Coalition he led a division at Stralsund and Kolberg. Transferring to Spain he fought at the First and Second Sieges of Zaragoza in 1808–09. Later that year he led a division at the Battle of Wagram. Grandjean and his division participated in the 1812 French invasion of Russia after which they were besieged and captured at Danzig in 1813. He rallied to Napoleon during the Hundred Days and was placed on the inactive list. In 1821 he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 16.
Pierre Margaron led the French cavalry at the Battle of Vimeiro in 1808. He joined a volunteer battalion in 1792. He rose in rank during the French Revolutionary Wars until he commanded a heavy cavalry regiment in 1798. He led his horsemen at the Trebbia, Novi and Genola in 1799 and Pozzolo and San Massimo in 1800. He became a general of brigade in 1803 and led a corps light cavalry brigade at Austerlitz, Jena and Lübeck. He participated in the 1807 invasion of Portugal and fought at Évora and Vimeiro. From 1810 to 1812 he held a post in the interior. He became a general of division in 1813 and led troops at the Battle of Leipzig. His surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 2.