Battle of Pla (1811)
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|Battle of Pla (1811)|
|Part of Peninsular War|
|First French Empire||Kingdom of Spain|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Jacques MacDonald
Francesco Eugenio †
| Marquis Campoverde
|VII Corps||Army of Catalonia|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Pla (15 January 1811) saw an Imperial French column made up of two Italian brigades clash with a Spanish division under the command of Pedro Sarsfield. The Spanish troops held steady and repulsed the attack of the first brigade, then counterattacked and defeated both brigades. The combat occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. The action was fought near El Pla de Santa Maria, north of Valls, Spain.
The Siege of Tortosa ended on 2 January 1811 when the Spanish garrison surrendered to Louis Gabriel Suchet's III Corps. During the siege, Marshal Jacques MacDonald's VII Corps blocked the Catalan army of Luis González Torres de Navarra, Marquess of Campoverde from interfering with Suchet's operations. With the siege finished, MacDonald moved toward Lleida (Lérida) with 12,000 troops. After reaching Valls, his vanguard commander Francesco Orsatelli (called Eugenio) heard that an enemy force was nearby and determined to attack it. Eugenio was mortally wounded and his brigade driven back by Sarsfeld's men. After Giuseppe Federico Palombini's brigade joined Eugenio's survivors, Sarsfield counterattacked and defeated both Italian units. Only the intervention of a handful of French cavalry led by Jacques-Antoine-Adrien Delort prevented a complete disaster. After the day's action, MacDonald found that Campoverde's main force was coming up behind him. During the night, the French marshal force-marched his troops north to Montblanc on the road to Llieda, conceding the battlefield to the Spanish.
The Imperial forces included two battalions each of the 1st and 2nd Italian Light Infantry Regiments, two battalions each of the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Italian Line Infantry Regiments, and one battalion of the 8th Italian Line Infantry Regiment. There were also 30 cavalrymen from the Italian Royal Chasseurs à Cheval. Two squadrons of the French 24th Dragoon Regiment became engaged at the end of the battle.
- Smith (1998), 353
- Oman IV (1996), 243
- Gates, David (2002). The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-9730-6.
- Oman, Charles (1996). A History of the Peninsular War Volume IV. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole. ISBN 1-85367-224-6.
- Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.