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|Siege of Almeida 1810|
|Part of Peninsular War|
The Fortress of Almeida
|Commanders and leaders|
|Marshal Michel Ney||Brig-Gen William Cox|
| 16,000 men|
| 5,000 men|
|Casualties and losses|
| 58 dead|
| 600 dead|
In the Siege of Almeida, the French corps of Marshal Michel Ney captured the border fortress from Brigadier General William Cox's Portuguese garrison. This action was fought in the summer of 1810 during the Peninsular War portion of the Napoleonic Wars. Almeida is located in eastern Portugal, near the border with Spain.
Marshal is a term used in several official titles in various branches of society. As marshals became trusted members of the courts of Medieval Europe, the title grew in reputation. During the last few centuries, it has been used for elevated offices, such as in military rank and civilian law enforcement.
Marshal of the Empire Michel Ney, 1st Duke of Elchingen, 1st Prince of the Moskva, popularly known as Marshal Ney, was a French soldier and military commander during the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original 18 Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon. He was known as Le Rougeaud by his men and nicknamed le Brave des Braves by Napoleon.
The Castle/Fortress of Almeida is a castle situated in the civil parish of Almeida, in the municipality of Almeida in the Portuguese district of Guarda, in the former-northwestern province of Beira Alta. It was constructed in this region due to its significant strategic importance, due to its close proximity to the border between Portugal and Spain. It is classified as a National Monument.
Lying on a main invasion route from Ciudad Rodrigo to Lisbon, the Castle Fortress of Almeida was invested by a 65,000-man army under Marshal André Masséna in the third French invasion of Portugal. The previous day the French forces had pushed back the British Portuguese army at the Battle of the Côa. The 50,000-man British-Portuguese army of General Lord Wellington now held the far bank of the Coa. However, the river's banks were steep, with only two bridges, and the French 6th Corps guarded the crossings, so the British were unable to retake the crossings to relieve Almeida.
Ciudad Rodrigo is a small cathedral city in the province of Salamanca, in western Spain, with a population in 2016 of 12,896. It is also the seat of a judicial district.
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. 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.
André Masséna, 1st Duc de Rivoli, 1st Prince d'Essling was a French military commander during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. He was one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire created by Napoleon, with the nickname l'Enfant chéri de la Victoire.
Fresh from the successful Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, the French army laid siege to Almeida on July 25, 1810. Brigadier-General William Cox commanded a 4,000-man Portuguese garrison of three battalions of militia, from Arganil, Trancoso and Vizeu. Some regular British forces were also present, including 1,200 men of the 24th Line Regiment, a squadron of the 11th Cavalry Regiment and over 400 gunners. The defences of Almeida were in better repair and stronger than Ciudad Rodrigo which the French had recently taken. In particular, there were over 100 artillery pieces, of which 40 were 18-pounders or heavier, and most were in protected casemates. The siege was conducted by the 14,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, 1,000 artillerists and 100 cannon of the VI Corps under the command of Marshal Michel Ney. In addition, General Jean-Andoche Junot lay in reserve nearby with his VIII Corps .
In the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, the French Marshal Michel Ney took the fortified city from Field Marshal Don Andrés Perez de Herrasti on 10 July 1810 after a siege that began on 26 April. Ney's VI Corps made up part of a 65,000-strong army commanded by André Masséna, who was bent on a third French invasion of Portugal.
The VI Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. It was formed at the Camp de Boulogne and assigned to Marshal Michel Ney. From 1805 through 1811, the army corps fought under Ney's command in the War of the Third Coalition, the War of the Fourth Coalition, and the Peninsular War. Jean Gabriel Marchand was in charge of the corps for a period when Ney went on leave. In early 1811, Ney was dismissed by Marshal André Masséna for disobedience and the corps was briefly led by Louis Henri Loison until the corps was dissolved in May 1811. The VI Corps was revived in 1812 for the French invasion of Russia and placed under Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr. It entirely consisted of Bavarian soldiers at that time. After the disastrous winter retreat the corps was virtually destroyed. In 1813 during the War of the Sixth Coalition it was recreated with reorganized French troops. Marshal Auguste Marmont took command of the corps and managed it until Emperor Napoleon's abdication in 1814. It took part in many battles including Dresden and Leipzig in 1813. During the Hundred Days, Georges Mouton, Count de Lobau commanded the VI Corps at the Battle of Waterloo.
Jean-Andoche Junot, 1st Duke of Abrantès was a French general during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
The French received siege supplies from Ciudad Rodrigo on August 15, and started to dig trench lines to the south-east of the town, facing the San Pedro bastion. The siege train was well supplied with guns; as well as the existing French ones, it also included captured Spanish guns from Ciudad Rodrigo. By August 24, the French lines had eleven batteries in place, with over 50 guns. Throughout, the Portuguese defenders had fired upon the French, with little effect. When the French bombardment opened on August 26 at 6 AM, several quarters of the town were quickly set on fire, and the defending guns of the nearest three batteries overwhelmed. However, the defences held. The governor was confident in withstanding the assault, until a shell made a freak hit. The great magazine in the castle had been used through the day to supply the defenders, and at some point a leaky powder keg had left a trail of powder leading up to the courtyard. At around 7 PM, one French shell landed in the courtyard, igniting a gunpowder trail that led through the still open door, and set off a chain reaction into the magazine. The ensuing explosion killed 600 defenders and wounded 300 more. The castle that housed the gunpowder was razed and sections of the defenses were damaged, leaving a crater still visible today. Unable to reply to the French cannonade without gunpowder, Cox was forced to capitulate the following day with the survivors of the blast and 100 cannon. The French lost 58 killed and 320 wounded during the operation. The next action was the Battle of Bussaco.
The Battle of Buçaco or Bussaco, fought on 27 September 1810 during the Peninsular War in the Portuguese mountain range of Serra do Buçaco, resulted in the defeat of French forces by Lord Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese Army.
The siege forms the climax of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Gold , in which Richard Sharpe is credited with the destruction of the ammunition magazine, an act intended to deliberately cut short the siege so that he could leave the city and bring Lord Wellington the finances needed to complete the Lines of Torres Vedras.
Bernard Cornwell, is an English author of historical novels and a history of the Waterloo Campaign. He is best known for his novels about Napoleonic Wars rifleman Richard Sharpe. He has written historical novels primarily on English history in five series, and one series of contemporary thriller novels. A feature of his historical novels is an end note on how they match or differ from history, and what one might see at the modern site of the battles described. One series is set in the American Civil War. He wrote a nonfiction book on the battle of Waterloo, in addition to the fictional story of the famous battle in the Sharpe Series. Two of the historical novel series have been adapted for television: the Sharpe television series by ITV and The Last Kingdom by BBC. He lives in the US with his wife, alternating between Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Charleston, South Carolina.
The Lines of Torres Vedras were lines of forts built in secrecy to defend Lisbon during the Peninsular War. Named after the nearby town of Torres Vedras, they were ordered by Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, constructed by Sir Richard Fletcher, 1st Baronet, and his Portuguese workers between November 1809 and September 1810, and used to stop Masséna's 1810 offensive.
The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.
In the Battle of Fuentes de Oñoro, the British-Portuguese Army under Lord Wellington checked an attempt by the French Army of Portugal under Marshal André Masséna to relieve the besieged city of Almeida.
General Julien Augustin Joseph Mermet fought in the Napoleonic Wars as a division commander in Italy and in the Peninsular War.
In the Siege of Badajoz, also called the Third Siege of Badajoz, an Anglo-Portuguese Army, under General Arthur Wellesley, besieged Badajoz, Spain and forced the surrender of the French garrison.
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 Combat of the Côa was a skirmish that occurred during the Peninsular War period of the Napoleonic Wars. It took place in the valley of the Côa River and it was the first significant battle for the new army of 65,000 men controlled by Marshal André Masséna, as the French prepared for their third invasion of Portugal.
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 Gabriel Marchand, 1st Count Marchand went from being an attorney to a company commander in the army of the First French Republic in 1791. He fought almost exclusively in Italy throughout the French Revolutionary Wars and served on the staffs of a number of generals. He participated in Napoleon Bonaparte's celebrated 1796-1797 Italian campaign. In 1799, he was with army commander Barthélemy Catherine Joubert when that general was killed at Novi. Promoted to general officer soon after, he transferred to the Rhine theater in 1800.
In the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, the Viscount Wellington's Anglo-Portuguese Army besieged the city's French garrison under General of Brigade Jean Léonard Barrié. After two breaches were blasted in the walls by British heavy artillery, the fortress was successfully stormed on the evening of 19 January 1812. After breaking into the city, British troops went on a rampage for several hours before order was restored. Wellington's army suffered casualties of about 1,700 men including two generals killed. Strategically, the fall of the fortress opened the northern gateway into French-dominated Spain from British-held Portugal. An earlier Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo occurred in 1810 when the French captured the city from Spanish forces.
At the Siege of Burgos, from 19 September to 21 October 1812, the Anglo-Portuguese Army led by General Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington tried to capture the castle of Burgos from its French garrison under the command of General of Brigade Jean-Louis Dubreton. The French repulsed every attempt to seize the fortress, resulting in one of Wellington's rare withdrawals, as he went on to defeat the army sent to flank him at the Lines of Torres Vedras, pursued them and then returned to complete the siege of Burgos and capture the city. The siege took place during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Burgos is located about 210 kilometres (130 mi) north of Madrid.
In the Blockade of Almeida a French garrison under Antoine François Brenier de Montmorand was surrounded by approximately 13,000 Anglo-Allied soldiers led by Generals Sir Alexander Campbell, 1st Baronet and Sir William Erskine, 2nd Baronet. After a French relief attempt failed, Brenier and his troops broke out at night after blowing up portions of the fortress. To the fury of the British army commander Arthur Wellesley, Viscount Wellington, most of the French escaped due to their commander's single-minded determination, British fumbling, and remarkably good luck. The action took place during the Peninsular War portion of the Napoleonic Wars. Almeida, Portugal is located near the Spanish border about 300 kilometres (186 mi) northeast of Lisbon. The town was originally captured from a Portuguese garrison during the 1810 Siege of Almeida.
Events from the year 1810 in France.
The Siege of Almeida took place in August 1762 when a Spanish force besieged and captured the city of Almeida from its Portuguese defenders during the Seven Years' War. The city was taken on 25 August as part of the invasion of Portugal by a Spanish army commanded by the Count of Aranda.
The Combat of Barquilla was a minor skirmish between British and French forces two days after the Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, in which Robert Craufurd attacked French grenadiers covering a foraging party. The French grenadiers, formed in a single square, made a fighting withdrawal, fending off British cavalry and escaping unscathed.
Antoine Louis Popon de Maucune led a French division against the British in 1811–1813 during the Peninsular War. He is referred to as Maucune in English-language sources. He joined the pioneer corps of the French army in 1786 and was a lieutenant by the time the French Revolutionary Wars broke out. He fought in the north in 1792 and in the Alps in 1793. Afterward he served in Italy through 1801. During this period, he fought at Arcole in 1796 and at the Trebbia, Novi and Genola in 1799. He was appointed to command the 39th Line Infantry Demi-Brigade and led it in the 1800 campaign.
The Battle of Puerto de Baños saw a Portuguese-Spanish column led by Robert Thomas Wilson attempt to defend a mountain pass against Marshal Michel Ney's VI Corps. After a nine-hour combat, Wilson's force broke up and scattered into the mountains. Baños de Montemayor is located about 45 kilometres (28 mi) northeast of Plasencia, Spain. The clash occurred during the Peninsular War, part of a larger struggle known as the Napoleonic Wars.
The fortress of Real Fuerte de la Concepción is a star fortress built in the Vaubanesque style. It is located 0.6 miles (0.97 km) west of the village of Aldea del Obispo in the province of Salamanca, western Spain, part of the autonomous community of Castile and León. The fortress was constructed there because of its position of great strategic significance due to its proximity to the border between Spain and Portugal which lies 0.4 miles (0.64 km) to the west of the fortress. The Fortress of the Concepcion is also opposite the Portuguese castle fortress of Almeida which lies 5.5 miles (8.9 km) west-north-west of the fortress. In 2006, the derelict fortress was sold privately and the site was renovated into a luxury hotel which opened in 2012.