dinsdag 25 september 2018

Portugal 1808/09 - a timeline

Soult in Northern Portugal

January 16    
Battle of Corunna.  British complete their evacuation two days later.
January 19    
Governor Alcedo formerly surrenders Corunna to Soult.
January 26    
The naval fortress of Ferrol also surrenders to Soult.
January 28    
New instructions from the Emperor extends Soult’s deadline to capture Oporto by 4 days.

February 2    
French cavalry reach the Portuguese border.
February 8    
Ney reaches Galicia to take over Corunna and Ferrol. Soult moves his army south.
February 16   
With the main body between Tuy and Vigo, Soult attempts a crossing of the Minho R. Failing to cross, Soult heads 50 miles east to cross upstream at Orense.
February 20   
La Romana in close proximity to Orense, Soult moves his baggage and heavy guns to Tuy before moving toward Orense. This, Soult discovers is undefended and remains there for nine days to collect his troops.  

March 4                
Soult leaves Orense to march on La Romana’s headquarters at Monterey.  Intending to support the Portuguese forces under Silveira, La Romana slips away but rear guard is caught at La Trepa. Soult now confronted four separate Portuguese forces; at Chaves under General Silveira, a second guarding the Minho under General Botilho, a third force at Braga under General Freire and a fourth group at Oporto.
March 10-11  
A third of Silveira’s force refuse to leave Chaves and are besieged. The defenders surrendered leaving Silveira to retreat south toward Villa Real.  
March 14      
Soult leaves Chaves to march west to cross the mountains and move into the Cavado valley.
March 17      
Clearing the mountain passes, the French advance guard makes contact with the Portuguese army defending Braga.
March 20      
Battle of Braga ended in a crushing defeat of the Portuguese forces losing 4,000 of its 25,000 troops.
March 25-26  
Crossing the River Avé, Soult outflanks Portuguese resistance forcing them back to Oporto.
March 27      
The French approach Oporto which is defended by 30,000 troops.
March 29      
Battle of Oporto ends with the defeat of the Portuguese forces and its capture. Soult remains in Oporto to restore his communication with Ney and his support; General Lapisse at Salamanca and Marshal Victor at Badajoz. Soult divides his army into four sections; the garrison at Oporto, a force south of the Douro to watch the retreating Portuguese, Heudelet’s division left at Braga moved north to Tuy and Vigo to restore communication  with Ney and a smaller force commanded by Loison was sent east to make contact with Lapisse.  
News did reach Soult; despite the victory at Medellin Victor did not have the strength to attack Badajoz, Lapisse was kept occupied by Sir Robert Wilson and thus could not reach the Portuguese border, Heudelet discovers the British and Spanish have retaken Vigo and Ney was held down by an uprising throughout Galicia.
April (?)           
Portuguese guerrillas retake Braga and Heudelet is ordered to return and retake and garrison Braga as well as Viana and Barcelos. General Silveira rebuilds his army after his defeat at Chaves and moves to Amarante to defend the east bank of the Tamega River. This move blocks Loison’s effort to reach Lapisse.
April 12                
Loison first attempt to force the Tamega River.
April 18                
Loison is reinforced and with 6,500 men makes a second attempt to cross and is rebuffed.
April 22                
Sir Arthur Wellesley lands in Lisbon.

May 2         
With additional troops, Loison succeeds and crossed the Tamega River routing Silveira’s forces.  


The division of Soult’s forces to restore lines of communications; Oporto, 1 ½ Divisions and two brigades of cavalry. One division of infantry and one brigade of cavalry screened Oporto south of the Douro. Heudelet’s division was ordered north and Loison commanded one brigade of dragoons and one brigade of infantry. 

Military Encyclopedia on the Web/Marshal Soult’s Invasion of Portugal, 1809
History of the Peninsular War, C. Oman, vol. II. 

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