Battle of Puerto de Baños

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Battle of Puerto de Baños
Part of Peninsular War
Date 12 August 1809
Location Baños de Montemayor, Spain
Result French victory
Belligerents
France French Empire Portugal
Spain Spain
Commanders and leaders
France Michel Ney
France Maurice Mathieu
Robert Thomas Wilson
Strength
12,500 3,500
Casualties and losses
185 less than 400

The Battle of Puerto de Baños (12 August 1809) 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.

In the summer of 1809, the British army of Arthur Wellesley marched into western Spain to join Gregorio García de la Cuesta's Spanish army. Wilson's 3,500-man Portuguese-Spanish force served as the left flank guard of this offensive. The Allied armies defeated King Joseph Bonaparte's Imperial French army at Talavera at the end of July. However, the threat of Marshal Nicolas Soult's large army to the north soon forced Wellesley and Cuesta to withdraw to the west.

Having advanced to Escalona, Wilson found himself isolated by the sudden concentration of French forces. The Portuguese-Spanish force successfully dodged some French intercepting columns by taking to the mountains. At Puerto de Baños, Wilson found Ney's corps marching north to cross the pass and decided to fight. After a skillful defense, Wilson's troops were finally defeated, but they escaped into Portugal without further incident.

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