Siege of Almeida (1810)


Siege of Almeida (1810)

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Siege of Almeida 1810


caption=
partof=Peninsular War
date=July 25 to August 27, 1810
place=Almeida, Portugal
result=French victory
combatant1=flagicon|France French Empire
combatant2=flagicon|United Kingdom United Kingdom,
flagicon|Portugal|1707 Portugal
commander1=Marshal Michel Ney
commander2=Brig-Gen William Cox
strength1=16,000 men, 100 cannons
strength2=5,000 men, 100 cannons
casualties1=58 dead, 320 wounded
casualties2=600 dead, 300 wounded, 4,100 captured
In the Siege of Almeida, the French corps of Marshal Michel Ney captured the border fortress from Brigadier General William Cox's Portuguese garrison. This action was fought in the summer of 1810 during the Peninsular War portion of the Napoleonic Wars. Almeida is located in eastern Portugal, near the border with Spain.

Background

Lying on a main invasion route from Ciudad Rodrigo to Lisbon, the small fortress was invested by a 65,000-man army under Marshal André Masséna in the third French invasion of Portugal. The 50,000-man Anglo-Portuguese army of General Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington was too weak to interfere with the siege.

iege

Fresh from the successful siege of Ciudad Rodrigo, the French army laid siege to Almeida on July 25, 1810. Brigadier-General William Cox commanded a 5,000-man Portuguese garrison that included two battalions of the 24th Infantry Regiment, three battalions of militia and a squadron of the 11th Cavalry Regiment. The siege was conducted by the 14,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry, 1,000 artillerists and 100 cannon of the VI Corps under the command of Marshal Michel Ney.

When the French bombardment opened on August 26, a shell made a freak hit. It burst in the town, igniting a gunpowder trail that reached into the main ammunition magazine. The ensuing explosion killed 600 defenders and wounded 300 more. The castle that housed the gunpowder was razed and sections of the defenses were damaged. Unable to reply to the French cannonade without gunpowder, Cox was forced to capitulate the following day with the survivors of the blast and 100 cannon. The French lost 58 killed and 320 wounded during the operation. During the siege, the Battle of the Côa took place. The next action was the Battle of Bussaco.

References

* Glover, Michael, "The Peninsular War 1807-1814." Penguin, 1974.
* Smith, Digby, "The Napoleonic Wars Data Book." Greenhill, 1998.
* Weller, Jac, "Wellington in the Peninsula." Nicolas Vane, 1962.
* Zimmermann, Dick, "The Battle of Fuentes de Onoro" Wargamer's Digest magazine, March 1979.


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