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Battle of Valls

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Battle of Valls
Part of the Peninsular War
Date25 February 1809
Location
Result French victory
Belligerents
France French Empire  Spain
Commanders and leaders
Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr Theodor von Reding (DOW)
Strength
13,350 10,540 infantry,
700 cavalry,
8 guns[1]
Casualties and losses
1,000 killed or wounded 1,400 killed or wounded,
1,600 captured

The Battle of Valls was fought on 25 February 1809, during the Peninsular War, between a French force under Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr and a Spanish force under Theodor von Reding. Fought near the town of Valls in Catalonia Spain, the battle ended in a French victory. General Reding was fatally wounded during a cavalry charge against French cavalry.

Battle

During actions on 15 February 1809, Reding's left wing was cut off from reinforcement by a French attack. Reding decided to retrieve this cut-off army, instead of counter striking at Souham. Planning to meet up with his northern units, Reding left Tarragona with only 2,000 men and most of his cavalry. On his way, he successfully met with units standing guard over the pass to Santa Cristina and another unit at Santas Cruces. Having sufficient strength, he continued to the town of Santa Coloma, whereupon he met with his previously cut-off left wing. With the combined left wing and the forces he took with him, Reding then had a total of almost 20,000 troops at his disposal. Deciding to defend Tarragona, he dispatched 4–5,000 of his men to watch Igualada and pressed home with his remaining men. St. Cyr, aware of Reding's movements, moved to block the two direct routes of returning to Tarragona. Reding, aware that Souham had moved and taken position in the town of Valls, still decided to take the route. Committing his forces to a march at night, Reding got his army to a bridge only two miles out of the town before daybreak.

Upon arriving at the bridge, Reding's vanguard was involved in a skirmish with men of Souham's division. Both commanders, realizing that the time for battle had arrived, rushed to get their men into position. Souham brought the rest of his division out of Valls and set them into position north of town. Reding, deciding this division to be insignificant, pushed his advanced line and most of his center across the river, continuing to send more across until the French division finally broke and fell back to Valls. At this point, most of his men and baggage train had crossed the bridge, but he nonetheless decided to give his men a long break. St. Cyr, learning of the attack later in the day, rushed to Valls with the 7th Italian Dragoons, also bringing the Italian division which would be delayed for six hours before joining the French line at Valls. Having seen the French line rallying when St. Cyr arrived with the Italian Cavalry, Reding pulled his forces back across the river in a defensive position. After three hours had passed, the Italian division had finally caught up to St. Cyr, who formed the French line of battle and crossed the river under constant bombardment. The Spanish forces poured fire onto the French attackers but as the columned French grew close to the Spanish line, the Spaniards began to rout. The only point of hand-to-hand combat came when Reding took his staff and cavalry and attacked the left column, only to be met by the Italian dragoons. in the ensuing melee, Reding himself took three fatal wounds.[2]

French order of battle

VII Corps of General Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr on 1 February 1809[3]
Corps Division Strength Units
VII Corps
General of Division
Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr
Gouvion-saint-cyr.jpg
1st Division
General of Division
Joseph Souham
Général Joseph Souham.jpg
6,220 France 1st Light Infantry Regiment, 3 battalions
France 3rd Light Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 7th Line Infantry Regiment, 2 battalions
France 42nd Line Infantry Regiment, 3 battalions
France 67th Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
2nd Division
General of Division
Joseph Chabran
Joseph Chabran.jpg
4,037 France 2nd Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 10th Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 37th Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 56th Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 93rd Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
Switzerland 2nd Swiss Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
3rd Division
General of Division
Louis François Jean Chabot
Louis François Jean Chabot.jpg
1,633 France Chasseurs des Montagnes, 1 battalion
Kingdom of Naples 2nd Neapolitan Infantry Regiment, 2 battalions
4th Division
General of Division
Honoré Charles Reille
Général Honoré Charles Michel Joseph Reille.jpg
3,980 France 32nd Light Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 2nd Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 16th Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 56th Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
France 113th Line Infantry Regiment, 2 battalions
Switzerland Valais Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
5th Division
General of Division
Domenico Pino
Domenico Pino.jpg
8,008 Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 1st Italian Light Infantry Regiment, 3 battalions
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 2nd Italian Light Infantry Regiment, 3 battalions
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 4th Italian Line Infantry Regiment, 3 battalions
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 6th Italian Line Infantry Regiment, 3 battalions
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 7th Italian Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
6th Division
General of Division
Giuseppe Lechi
Giuseppe Lechi.jpg
3,941 Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 2nd Italian Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 4th Italian Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) 5th Italian Line Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) Italian Velites Infantry Regiment, 1 battalion
Kingdom of Naples 1st Neapolitan Infantry Regiment, 2 battalions
German Division
General of Brigade
Annet Morio de L'Isle
5,321 Kingdom of Westphalia 1st Westphalian Light Infantry Regiment
Kingdom of Westphalia 2nd Westphalian Line Infantry Regiment
Kingdom of Westphalia 3rd Westphalian Line Infantry Regiment
Kingdom of Westphalia 4th Westphalian Line Infantry Regiment
French Cavalry 1,730 France 24th Dragoon Regiment
France 3rd Provisional Cuirassier Regiment
France 3rd Provisional Chasseur Regiment
Italian Cavalry 1,862 Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) Napoleone Dragoon Regiment
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) Royal Chasseur Regiment
Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) Prince Royal Chasseur Regiment
Kingdom of Naples Neapolitan Chasseur Regiment
French Artillery 2,050 France Various artillery companies
Italian Artillery 585 Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) Various artillery companies
German Artillery 48 Kingdom of Westphalia Artillery company
Corps Total 39,415 France Kingdom of Italy (Napoleonic) Kingdom of Westphalia Kingdom of Naples Switzerland

Notes

  1. ^ Gates, p. 69
  2. ^ Oman, Charles; Hall, John A. (1903). A History of the Peninsular War. 2. Clarendon Press. pp. 76–.
  3. ^ Oman 1995, p. 626.

References

Coordinates: 41°17′00″N 1°15′00″E / 41.2833°N 1.2500°E / 41.2833; 1.2500

This page was last edited on 23 March 2019, at 01:09
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