Second Siege of Gerona
|Siege of Gerona (1808)|
|Part of Peninsular War|
Girona, showing the city wall in the right foreground
|First French Empire||Kingdom of Spain|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Guillaume Duhesme
| Col. O'Donovan
Conde de Caldagues
|Casualties and losses|
|271, all guns||light|
The Second Siege of Gerona was the second unsuccessful French attempt to capture the city of Girona (spelled "Gerona" in Castilian) during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Girona is located near the present-day Autovía A-7, about halfway between the Franco-Spanish border and Barcelona.
Spanish occupation of Girona threatened the French forces' lines of communication between Barcelona and Perpignan. An Imperial French corps led by Guillaume Philibert Duhesme attempted to capture the city of Girona and its Spanish garrison, commanded by Richard II O'Donovan, then a Colonel. The French began regular siege operations, but withdrew when another Spanish force led by the Conde de Caldagues attacked their lines from the rear.
After the Spanish people rebelled against occupation by the First French Empire, Duhesme found himself badly isolated in Barcelona. The Franco-Italian corps was surrounded by swarms of Catalan miquelets (militia) supported by a few Spanish regulars. When the French general received news that a French division under Honoré Charles Reille was coming to his assistance, he decided to capture Girona. Having failed to storm Girona in June, Duhesme mounted a formal siege operation. Duhesme's formal siege operations were interrupted by Caldagues' attack in mid-August. Though the Franco-Italian forces suffered few casualties, Duhesme and his soldiers became discouraged and they ended the siege.
While Reille retreated to Figueres without much trouble, Duhesme's men were harassed during their return to Barcelona by the Spanish army and the British navy. By the time the French forces arrived in Barcelona, they were without artillery and badly demoralized. Meanwhile, Emperor Napoleon I assembled a new corps under Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr to relieve Duhesme from his predicament. The next action of the Peninsular War would be the Siege of Roses, from 7 November to 5 December 1808.
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