Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros
|Battle of Espinoza|
|Part of the Peninsular War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|1,200 killed or wounded||3,000 killed, wounded, or captured, many of the survivors later died of exposure and disease during withdrawal into inhospitable mountains|
The Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros was a battle of the Napoleonic Wars, fought on 10 and 11 November 1808 at the township of Espinosa de los Monteros in the Cantabrian Mountains. It resulted in a French victory under General Victor against Lieutenant General Joaquín Blake's Army of Galicia.
Victor looked for an easy victory to erase his humiliation at Valmaseda. So on the first day, he launched a series of attacks that were thrown back with heavy losses by the disciplined regulars of General La Romana's Division of the North. By nightfall, Blake's positions still held. On the morning of 11 November, Victor regained his composure and coordinated a massive French attack that pierced Blake's left wing and drove the Spaniards from the field. The French captured a total of 30 guns and 30 standards.
Although not a decisive defeat in itself, the hopeless confusion of the tattered and weary Spanish army, which had neither a government nor a military command structure to coordinate it, meant that Espinosa marked the deathblow to Blake's Army of Galicia. To Napoleon's disbelief, Blake led his remaining men through a heroic retreat west through the mountains to escape Soult's pursuit. However, when Blake arrived at León on 23 November, only 10,000 of his men remained.
In popular culture
- The Gun, by C. S. Forester (author of the Horatio Hornblower series), begins with the Spanish retreat from Espinoza.
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