Siege of Tarragona (1811)

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Siege of Tarragona (1811)
Part of Peninsular War
Remond - Prise de Tarragone en Catalogne par le general en chef Suchet, le 28 juin 1811.jpg
A view of Tarragona
Date5 May 29 June 1811
Location Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
Result French victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg French Empire Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Spain
Commanders and leaders
Flag of France.svg Louis Suchet Flag of Spain (1785-1873, 1875-1931).svg Juan de Contreras
Strength
21,634 6,500 & reinforcements
Casualties and losses
4,300 15,000
2,000 civilians killed

In the Siege of Tarragona from 5 May to 29 June 1811, Louis Gabriel Suchet's French Army of Aragon laid siege to a Spanish garrison led by Lieutenant General Juan Senen de Contreras. A British naval squadron commanded by Admiral Edward Codrington harassed the French besiegers with cannon fire and transported large numbers of reinforcements into the city by sea. Nevertheless, Suchet's troops stormed into the defenses and killed or captured almost all the defenders. The action took place at the port of Tarragona, Catalonia, on the east coast of Spain during the Peninsular War, part of 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.

Edward Codrington Royal Navy admiral

Sir Edward Codrington, was a British admiral, who took part in the Battle of Trafalgar and the Battle of Navarino.

Tarragona Municipality in Catalonia, Spain

Tarragona is a port city located in northeast Spain on the Costa Daurada by the Mediterranean Sea. Founded before the 5th century BC, it is the capital of the Province of Tarragona, and part of Tarragonès and Catalonia. Geographically, it is bordered on the north by the Province of Barcelona and the Province of Lleida. The city has a population of 201,199 (2014).

Contents

Emperor Napoleon offered Suchet a marshal's baton if he could capture Tarragona, so the French general pursued his goal vigorously. He methodically overran the city's outer works as he drove his siege parallels forward. The French general easily fended off weak attempts to relieve the city by land. Near the end of the siege, the French troops captured the lower city in a surprise attack and the garrison's survivors retreated to the upper city. At the end, Suchet's men stormed into the upper city amid scenes of horrific slaughter, including the murder of civilians. The loss of this major base and so many Spanish troops crippled the Army of Catalonia. Napoleon duly awarded Suchet the coveted rank of marshal.

Results

One authority gave French losses as 4,300 killed and wounded out of an army of 21,634 men, including General of Division Jean-Baptiste Salme killed. Total Spanish losses numbered between 14,000 and 15,000. Of these, 8,000 were captured and the rest were killed, wounded, or died of disease. During the butchery attending the final assault, the French attackers massacred numerous civilians including 450 women and children. [1] A second authority asserted that total Spanish losses were 15,000, of whom 7,000 were killed outright. French losses were given as 1,000 killed and 3,000 wounded or sick. [2]

Jean-Baptiste Salme or Salm led French troops in several actions during the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars. Several times he landed in trouble by associating with the wrong people, including his wife who tried to kill him. He served alongside Jacques MacDonald when they were both generals of brigade in the Flanders Campaign in 1794. Still commanding only a brigade, he served in MacDonald's army in Italy during 1799 and in Spain during 1810.

Footnotes

  1. Smith, p 365
  2. Gates, pp 300-301

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References

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

David Geoffrey Chandler was a British historian whose study focused on the Napoleonic era.

See also

Coordinates: 41°06′56″N1°14′58″E / 41.1156°N 1.2494°E / 41.1156; 1.2494

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.