South of France
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Hamptonshire Regiment (48th Regiment of Foot) , John
- Outraged at the defeat of his army,
Napoleon retuned the overall command of the remaining French forces
in Spain to Soult,after ordering his brother Joseph to retire.
His force totaled 50,000 troops and one howitzer. To this he
added the 'Army of Spain' 79,000 men and 140 guns. Between Soult and
the safety of France stood two fortresses , San Sebastion and
Pamplona. Wellington blockaded the latter and began operations in
late June 1813 against San Sebastian. The problem ahead was the
mountainous terrain . Mean while soult was attacking the passes of
Maya and Roncesvalles on his right . Soult amassed his entire force
and attacked Sorauren on the 28th of July . Wellington's forces beat
off the far superior French force . 13,000 French troops were killed
. On the 31st of August, San Sebastion fell with the loss of 1,696
British troops and 577 Portuguese.
The French retreat was held up at the bridge of Vera by the
vain heroism of the 95th Rifles. Soult began
his retreat once more out of Spain. Wellington fought his
way across the Bidassoa, Pamplona falling on the 30th of October .
On the 9th of October Wellington's forces stormed past the French
defences at the river Nivelle.Wellington sent the Spanish army bar
one division back to Spain so as to prevent France being plundered.
In a letter he wrote to the Spanish Government 14th November he
stated "I have not come to France to plunder . I have not have
Thousands of officers and men killed and wounded to see the rest
On the 10th of December, Soult attacked Wellington at Nive .
After four days the French were driven back.
In the winter of 1814 Wellington began his advance toward
Bayonne. Soult concentrated his army at Orthez but on the 27th of
February he was driven back to Toulouse. Soults troops began to
desert in droves . It was at Orthez that Private John Waddinton was
wounded in the head . At this same battle Wellington himself was
also wounded. Bordeaux was taken on the 12th of March . Soult built
defensive positions at Toulouse . On April 4th 1814 Napoleon
abdicated but the news failed to reach Toulouse in time . On the
10th of April the two forces were engaged in a completely needless
battle ,the French defended with strong resolve. On the 12th of
April the news finally reached Soult and Wellington .
Soult concluded the armistice on April
the 17th....... The Peninsula War had ended .
Excerpt from Philip J. Haythornthaite's book
WELLINGTON'S MILITARY MACHINE published 1995
The information is intended for short
historical value only, far more information can be gained from the
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