Busco 27/9/1810

Busaco :27/9/1810


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Start page , North Hamptonshire Regiment (48th Regiment of Foot) , John Waddington

Talavera taught Wellington a valuable lesson, he intended to act offensively but realised this would be a
disaster. But the Spanish had absurd ideas as to what should be done. The small British force would have to hold as much of Portugal as possible while they gathered strength. The Spanish General, Carlos Areizaga who replaced Cuesta was defeated badly at Ocena on the 19th of November1809, while on the 28th of November the army of the Duke of Del Parque was defeated at Alba De Tormes. Wellington was now on his own. To protect Lisbon ,on the 20th of October 1809 Wellington built the lines of Torres Vedras turning the Lisbon Peninsula into a gigantic fortress. By this time there were 325,000 French troops in Spain. In May 1810 Marshal Andre Massena (1775-1817 took command of the French army. Wellington realised that to defend Lisbon he had to delay Massena's advance. Thus no attempt was made to reinforce the garrison of Ciduna Rorigo. Badjoz advanced and Rodrego surrendered on the 9th of July . The next French objective was the Portuguese port of Almeida. Marshal Michel Ney (1769-1815) advanced and Almeida fell after a shell exploded in the powder magazine.
Wellington realised he had to fight on ground of his choosing. He waited in a defensive position on the
ridge of Busaco. On the morning of the 27th of November the French forces attacked. Wellington had 26,843 British troops 25,429 Portuguese troops and 60 guns. Massena had 63,000 troops and 114 guns. Ney attacked the British on the left while General Jean Reynier(1771-1841) advanced to the right. Reyneir hit the British line held by the 3rd division of Sir Thomas Picton (1758-1815) . Led by the 1/88th (Connaught Rangers) Reynier was forced back. Leigh's 5th division flanked Reyneir and defeated his forces. Ney believing that the British were in short numbers and unaware of Rynier's defeat, launched a full frontal assault on the ridge. Cranford called upon the 1/52 to avenge Moore. In the bayonet battle that followed 4,500 French troops were killed with British losses only 626, ironically the same as the Portuguese. Massena with drew his forces as Wellington had been victorious. Massena remained with in the area but his army was starving and by now were very weak and short on supplies . Portuguese guerrillas and feudal levee-en- mass continued with the slaughter of French forces . 65,000 troops had entered Portugal and by March 11th 1811 only 40,000 remained in scattered divisions.
Excerpt from Philip J. Haythornthaite's book WELLINGTON'S MILITARY MACHINE published 1995
Military records of the 48th Regiment
The information is intended for short Historical Value only, far more information can be gained from the above Publication
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Last revised: 09/04/2017