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Encyclopedia > Battle of Medina del Rio Seco
Battle of Medina del Rio Seco
Part of the Peninsular War

Date: July 14, 1808
Location: North of Valladolid, Spain
Result: French victory
Casus belli: {{{casus}}}
Territory changes: {{{territory}}}
Combatants
France Spain
Commanders
Jean-Baptiste Bessières Joaquín Blake
Gregorio de la Cuesta
Strength
12,000 regulars 24,000 regulars and militia
Casualties
1,000 dead or wounded 3,500 dead, wounded, or captured
Peninsular War: Invasion by Stealth and Retreat to the Ebro, 1808
Gerona – El BrucSaragossaRio Seco – Bailén

The Battle of Medina del Rio Seco was fought during the Peninsular War on July 14, 1808 and resulted in the defeat of the only Spanish army capable of defending Old Castile against the French. The Peninsular War (1808–1814) (known as War of Independence in Spain as French Invasions in Portugal and as Guerre dEspagne in France) was a major conflict during the Napoleonic Wars, fought in the Iberian Peninsula with Spanish, Portuguese, and the British forces fighting against Napoleonic French. ... July 14 is the 195th day (196th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 170 days remaining. ... 1808 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Plaza Mayor and city hall, Valladolid The unfinished cathedral and the Plaza de Cervantes, near the University of Valladolid The church of Santa María la Antigua, Valladolid Valladolid, which name comes from the Arabic phrase for land of the father (Balad-Al-Walid), is an industrial city in central... Casus belli is a Latin expression from the international law theory of Jus ad bellum. ... Jean-Baptiste Bessières Jean Baptiste Bessières, duke of Istria (August 6, 1768 – May 1, 1813), was a French marshal. ... Gregorio García de la Cuesta y Fernandez de Celis (1741 – 1811) was a prominent Spanish general of the Peninsular War known for his participation in many unfortunate military and political episodes. ... The Peninsular War (1808–1814) (known as War of Independence in Spain as French Invasions in Portugal and as Guerre dEspagne in France) was a major conflict during the Napoleonic Wars, fought in the Iberian Peninsula with Spanish, Portuguese, and the British forces fighting against Napoleonic French. ... Combatants France Spain Commanders Unknown Unknown Strength 3,800 regulars 2,000 regulars and militia Casualties 300 dead Unknown The Battle of El Bruc (English: The Bruch) was an engagement fought between a French column and a body of Spanish volunteers and mercenaries on June 4, 1808 in the Peninsular... Combatants France Spain Commanders Charles de Lefebvre José de Palafox y Melzi Strength 8,500 regular infantry 1,000 cavalry 12 guns 500 regulars 6,000 militia Casualties 3,000 dead or wounded Unknown The First Siege of Saragossa (Spanish: Zaragoza) was a bloody struggle in the Peninsular War. ... The Battle of Bailén was a series of clashes between the Spanish regular army— operating in conjunction with guerilla formations—under Generals Castaños and Reding and the French commanded by General Pierre Dupont, between July 18 and July 22, 1808, as a part of the Peninsular War. ... The Peninsular War (1808–1814) (known as War of Independence in Spain as French Invasions in Portugal and as Guerre dEspagne in France) was a major conflict during the Napoleonic Wars, fought in the Iberian Peninsula with Spanish, Portuguese, and the British forces fighting against Napoleonic French. ... July 14 is the 195th day (196th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 170 days remaining. ... 1808 was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Old Castille (Spanish: Castilla la Vieja) is an historic region of Spain, which included territory that later corresponded to the provinces of politically, Santander (now Cantabria), Burgos, Logroño (now La Rioja), Soria, Segovia, and Ávila, to which some scholars add Valladolid and Palencia. ...


Recent French operations in the region had come far short of Napoleon's expectations. In June, Marshal Bessières' flying column had tried to march on Santander to secure French communications in Galicia and guard the coast against a possible British landing. Overwhelmed by the mass resistance of the region, Bessières had been forced to turn back. Napoleon I of France, by Jacques-Louis David Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a general of the French Revolution, and the ruler of France as First Consul (Premier Consul) of the French Republic from 11 November 1799 to 18 May 1804, then as Emperor of the... June is the sixth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with a length of 30 days The month is named after the Roman goddess Juno, wife of Jupiter and equivalent to the Greek goddess Hera. ... Jean-Baptiste Bessières Jean Baptiste Bessières, duke of Istria (August 6, 1768 – May 1, 1813), was a French marshal. ... A Flying column, in military organization pre-dating World War I, is an independent corps of troops usually composed of all arms, to which a particular task is assigned. ... The port city of Santander is the capital of the autonomous community of Cantabria situated on the north coast of Spain between Asturias (to the west) and the Basque Country (to the east). ... The spoken languages are Galician (Galician: Galego or Gallego), the local national language derived from Latin and Spanish (castellano or español), in common with the rest of Spain. ...


In July Napoleon adopted a new strategy and ordered Bessières to renew his easterly offensive. Opposing him was General Blake who, in uneasy partnership with General Cuesta, assembled a motley army of levies, militia, and regulars from isolated provincial garrisons. Between them the two Spanish generals commanded about 24,000 men. This force took up positions on a small elevation near Medina de Rio Seco. Gregorio García de la Cuesta y Fernandez de Celis (1741 – 1811) was a prominent Spanish general of the Peninsular War known for his participation in many unfortunate military and political episodes. ...


On July 14, elements of two divisions from Bessières' army stormed the ridge. Most of the Spaniards fought grimly, inflicting over 1,000 French casualties, but Blake's fragile force was ultimately cracked by the determined French blows and driven west in rout. If any blame is to be found for the defeat it must rest squarely on Cuesta, who for reasons not quite clear refused to deploy his portion of the army, 6,500-strong, against the enemy. A division is a large military unit or formation usually consisting of around ten to fifteen thousand soldiers. ...


Aftermath

Following Medina del Rio Seco Bessières easily captured León and Zamora. The French were guilty of savage reprisals against both the Spanish prisoners and the populace of the neighboring cities – which ironically, had been among the very few not carried by popular uprisings. Cathedral of León The Palacio de los Guzmanes, the provincial parliament (Diputación) in the capital Old local council Wikimedia Commons has media related to: León The city of León, located at 42. ... Zamora is a city in Castile-Leon, Spain, the capital of the province of Zamora. ...


Bessières' victory greatly improved the strategic position of the French army in northern Spain. A delighted Napoleon asserted, "if Marshal Bessières has been able to beat the Army of Galicia with few casualties and small effort, General Dupont will be able to overthrow everybody he meets." Pierre-Antoine, comte Dupont de lÉtang (1765-1840) was a French general of the Napoleonic Wars. ...


A few days later, Dupont's entire corps was broken in battle at Bailén and captured by General Castaños. With 20,000 French troops erased from the map, the French command panicked and ordered a general retreat to the Ebro. A corps (a word that immigrated from the French language, pronounced like English core, but originating in the Latin corpus, corporis meaning body; plural same as singular) is either a large military unit or formation, a administrative grouping of troops within an army with a common function (such as artillery... The Battle of Bailén was a series of clashes between the Spanish regular army— operating in conjunction with guerilla formations—under Generals Castaños and Reding and the French commanded by General Pierre Dupont, between July 18 and July 22, 1808, as a part of the Peninsular War. ... Don Francisco Javier Castaños (born April 22, 1758 in Madrid; died September 24, 1852 in Madrid) was Duke of Baylen, Earl of Castaños y Aragones, and a Spanish general. ... The Ebro (Greek: Έβρος, Latin: Iberus, Spanish: Ebro, Catalan: Ebre) is one of the major rivers of Spain. ...


 
 

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