In the year 1809, Spain was almost occupied by Napoleon’s Imperial Armies.
The Napleon’s Army was defeat by Spanish’ s army in July 1808.
Napoleon was a great victory against the Spanish Army in the battle of Madrid on December 1808.
Napoleon’s troops continue they advance on the south of Spain just at the city of Cadiz.
On March 26 of 1809 there was The Battle for “La Mancha” in Ciudad Real, near Toledo. The French troops were approaching from the north to Ciudad Real, came from Consuegra village in pursuing spanish Army after the battle of Los Yébenes on March 24.
The French Imperial Army are a combined multinational force, with Better of the Storm Troops of Europe, and especially their excellent Cavalry Polish Lancers of the Vistula, Commanded by General Sebastiani; and by the other Part, The remnants of the Spanish Army, defeated in the battles of Uclés and Consuegra with poor trained and demoralized troops and an obsolete weaponry, there are the Line Regiments and the Militia of Ciudad Real, under the Command of General Jose de Urbina, Count of Cartaojal.
France: IV Army Corps by the General Horace Sebastiani:
General Milhaud: 2nd Division of Dragoons Cavalry Reserve: 24 Squadrons 1st, 2nd, 4th, 9th, 4th, 20th and 26th Dragoons. Totally: 2,500 troops.
IV Corps Cavalry: 4 squadrons, the 3rd Duchties Hussars and 1st Polish Lancers Regiment of Vistula Legion. Totally: 1,000 troops.
Totally: 3.500 troops.
– Spain: La Mancha Army by the General José de Urbina, Count of Cartaojal.
Cavalry: “Voluntarios de Madrid”, The Pavia Hussars, Infantry: Ciudad Real Militia Infantry.
1st Artillery Brigade.
Totally: 2,220 troops.
Milita trooper from Ciudad Real’s Militia Regiment
Since 10 a.m. of march 26, in rainy and cold morning the French Cavalry Division of General Milhaud came to Peralbillo, a small village near Ciudad Real, but they was defeated in his attempt to pass the Guadiana bridge to Ciudad Real, having passed the Bridge Nolaya with 1,000 cavalry troops and 4 guns, the backlash from the Spanish cavalry made them happen again Nolay Bridge towards the small village of Peralbillo.
With strengthening Regiments Frech IV Army Corps, the 20th Dragons Regiment arriving enabled them fortified the “Molino del Emperador” bridge on Guadiana river, which surprised entirely to device Spanish dispositive, thus all that day the Spanish army and the provincial militia Regiment, such as Ciudad Real, resisted the thrust of much higher number in the French army Nolaya Bridge on the River Guadiana and drove the French from the Emperor’s Mill Bridge After this the French troops withdrew to Peralbillo and Spanish after leaving a guard at the 4 cannons Guadiana bridge and them retreated to Ciudad Real.
In the morning the next day March 27, 1809 have place the decisive battle between the Spanish troops and Napoleon’s army in the Guadiana River for the Nolaya Bridge, after advancing French infantry and be rejected again by the guns located in the bridges, the Polish Cavalry Division of General Milhaud to his one-armed colonel that evening Konopka had crossed the bridge over the Guadiana River near the Calatrava castle got wrapped by surprise and appeared from behind to surprise Ciudad Real Militia Regiment that was not even in battle formation to repel the attack which was quickly rounded up and flanks them to escape without further training and firing back toward the hill of La Atalaya.
Meanwhile, the French infantry moved in droves from Peralbillo and strike with their numerical and tactical superiority at the Spanish troops wich defending the Nolaya bridge, fell after the infantry had fallen back to the nearby hill of La Atalaya, the Cavalry Regiment Madrid’s Volunteers protected the withdrawal of troops to the village of Almagro. Al noon Frenchmen reached Ciudad Real where vandalized resistance last Spanish troops barricaded in their ramparts. After that, Cartaojal ordered a retreat to the village of Viso del Marqués about 60 kilometers.
In this battle was desbanded the Ciudad Real Militia Regiment, losing his flag.
The Spanish Army had several casualties, over wounded and prisoners the following casualties: 47 gunners killed. Prisoners: 6 officers and 2,000 troops, 5 guns, 1 howitzer and 3 flags, including the flag of Ciudad Real’s Militia.
The Napoleon’s Army suffered 100 casualties in killed and wounded.
In the two days of fighting there were around 500 either killed, wounded, or missing in action from both sides.
At 2 afternoon March 27 fall French troops by Toledo’s gate of Ciudad Real, the 3rd Hussars of Holland, with her Colonel Baron Anton Roest d’Alkemade wounded.
Most of the French occupation troops going to the villages of Miguelturra and Almagro. Before the French General in Command, Horace Sebastiani, waited at the Puerta de Calatrava in Ciudad Real that came out to beg for mercy and not to destroy the town or take hostages, as was the military custom of the time, a small group of Ciudad Real citizens, as the vast majority had fled for fear of the neary mountains, including many of the leading men and politicians, came to ask for mercy and take no account of the battle, to which the French general agreed.
A part of the occupation troops stay in Ciudad Real in detachment and Depot, here began the French occupation of Ciudad Real. The 3rd Hussars of Holland, was the Barracks int the former Hospital de la Caridad (Charity Hospital) in Ciudad Real.
The 3rd Hussars Holland, the 16th Dragoons were others Regiments by the French Imperial Army which occupied the Hospital de la Caridad in Ciudad Real.
To counteratack the French Ocupattion, in the year 1811 is formed a spanish Squadron of Hussars, with people of Ciudad Real and Miguelturra whom try to retake Ciudad Real and make the guerrilla actions against the French occupation troops.
A British Officer, Colonel Andrew Leith entered the February 12, 1813 in Ciudad Real in a advance exploration and wrote this: “Ciudad Real, located on a plain of great extent, in the center of a highly cultivated region, is a beautiful city, containing a large population. The buildings are large, wide and straight streets, the city is surrounded by an old wall and has eight convents and a hospital. The province of La Mancha produces wheat, wine and oil in abundance and therefore was a favorite of the French Army, for many months supplied the needs of the army of Marshal Soult”.
The Duke of Wellington was honoured and awarded in Ciudad Real in 1811.
FOR MORE INFORMATION READ THE BOOK:
“NAPOLEON EN LA MANCHA, 2009.
To buy the book:
To read the version of the Polish Lancers: