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January 16, 1809 - Fighting outside the Spanish city of Corunna, British forces are able to hold off French attacks allowing them to evacuate to their fleet. After advancing into northern Spain, British troops under Sir John Moore were forced to retreat back to the port of Corunna after encountering superior French forces under Napoleon. Pursued by the corps of Marshal Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult (right), Moore's retreat went poorly as it was hampered by rough terrain and cold, winter weather. Reaching the port with Soult on their heels, the British turned and prepared to defend the town while they planned their evacuation onto the warships waiting in the harbor. On January 15, Soult probed the British defenses but was repulsed. The next day he attacked the British right which was anchored on the village of Elvina. In bitter fighting, the village exchanged hands several times, with Moore being killed in the process. By nightfall the British line had held, and their troops began taking to the boats. At dawn, Moore's army was safely afloat and soon set sail for England.

The Peninsular War:

Photograph Source: Public Domain


January 17, 2008 at 3:03 am
(1) Axel says:

Dear Kennedy, do you have an overview about the ships being in Corunna to embark the troops? I know for example that HMS Victory started in Dec. 1808 from Portsmouth to Corunna…Being very nice getting more details about the role of the British fleet in the Corunna conflict. Thanks to al in advance, best regards from Hamburg-Germany, Axel

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