Siege of Pamplona (1813)
|Siege of Pamplona (1813)|
|Part of Peninsular War|
Part of the Pamplona fortress.
|First French Empire||Kingdom of Spain|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Louis Cassan||Enrique José O'Donnell|
|over 3,000, 80 guns||10,000 to 14,000|
|Casualties and losses|
In the Siege of Pamplona (26 June–31 October 1813) a Spanish army led by Captain General Henry (Enrique José) O'Donnell laid siege to an Imperial French garrison under the command of General of Brigade Louis Pierre Jean Cassan. In late July 1813, Marshal Nicolas Soult attempted to relieve the city but his operation failed in the Battle of the Pyrenees. After the French troops in the city were reduced to starvation, Cassan surrendered to the Spanish. Pamplona is located on the Arga River in the province of Navarre in northern Spain. The siege occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.
Arthur Wellesley, Marquess Wellington drove the French from northern Spain by his decisive victory at the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June 1813. When the French Army of the North withdrew over the Pyrenees, its commander General of Division Bertrand Clausel left a garrison of about 3,000 men and 80 pieces of heavy artillery in the fortified city of Pamplona. This force, under the leadership of Louis Pierre Jean Aphrodise Cassan, was later increased somewhat by numbers of straggling and sick soldiers.
Initially an Anglo-Portuguese force arrived to blockade the town, engineers constructed nine Redoubts at a distance of 1,200 to 1,500 yards from the fortress, each redoubt being garrisoned by 200-300 men and equipped with field guns captured from the Battle of Vitoria.:333 Once constructed a Spanish army under Enrique José O'Donnell, invested the city. In the Vitoria campaign in June, O'Donnell's 14,183-strong Army of the Reserve of Andalusia consisted of two divisions of infantry under Generals Creagh and Echevarri and a brigade of cavalry led by General Barcena. Creagh had 6,454 men in seven battalions, Echevarri commanded 6,617 soldiers in seven battalions, Barcena led 828 troopers in two regiments, and there were 284 artillerists.
Before O'Donnell's blockade tightened, Cassan's troops were able to mount sorties to obtain food. In October, after Cassan's starving troops ate all the dogs and rats they could catch, the French general proposed blowing up the citadel before surrendering. Wellington got wind of this plan and promised to shoot Cassan, all his officers, and one-tenth of the rank and file if it were carried out. At this suggestion, Cassan capitulated on 31 October. Historian Digby Smith gave French losses as 500 killed, 800 wounded, and 2,150 captured. The Spanish army counted 2,000 casualties out of 10,000 troops engaged. Smith named General Prince Don Carlos de Borbon as the Spanish commander.
- Gates (2002), 439
- Porter, Maj Gen Whitworth (1889). History of the Corps of Royal Engineers Vol I. Chatham: The Institution of Royal Engineers.
- Gates (2002), 410, 413
- Gates (2002), 521
- Gates (2002), 439-440
- Smith (1998), 475. Prince Carlos was supposedly under house arrest in France until 1814.
- Gates, David (2002). The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-9730-6.
- Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.