Wednesday, 4 April 2012
Solo Campaign - Weeks 9 & 10
Wellington now has his new supply depot at Vigo in operation, and supply trains are reaching him at Lugo. He has also been reinforced by replacements and hospital returns to the tune of 5080 men, and a couple of replacement guns for those lost by Gardner’s battery at Benavente.
The Allied Siege Train has moved into the fortress at Elvas, and Karl von Alten has marched the Light Division over the rough roads from Elvas to Abrantes. If these had not been elite troops, they would have struggled to complete the march.
A large force of Spanish irregulars under Ximenez moved from the Ocana area to Toledo, where they threaten the supply route from Madrid towards Talavera and Badajoz. Maucune, who is still supplied by the Army of the South through Zafra and Badajoz, is ordered to deal with Ximenez, and has moved his Division to Talavera.
Clauzel, unaware that Cotton’s force has failed in its march to Orense and returned to Zamora, marches north from Salamanca, aiming to join up with Marmont at Leon. The two forces engage at the so-called Action at Peñausende (reported in previous posting), and Cotton, misjudging his enemy’s strength, makes an attack which fails, partly due to poor co-ordination of a plan which is in any case too complicated, but also because the Allied artillery and cavalry are massively out-performed by the French. Cotton withdraws in good order, still having a substantial superiority in cavalry (numbers, if not quality...)
Cotton will be forced to spend next week retreating over rough roads into Orense, and his force is Tired to begin with...
An outbreak of fever among the French garrison at Burgos has some 400 men in hospital.
Maucune’s Divn advanced from Talavera into the Toledo area to deal with the force of Spanish irregular troops commanded by Ximenez, but the Spaniards retired into Ocana, a move which Maucune – having no cavalry at all – was unable to prevent.