The combat of Benaguacil of 2 October 1811 was a minor French victory during the siege of Saguntum. After the French army under Marshal Suchet had taken up a position around Seguntum, General Joachim Blake, the commander of the Spanish army of Valencia, had decided to send two small detachments out of his defensive lines around the city of Valencia, in an attempt to force the French to abandon their forward position. The first detachment, Obispo’s division, was sent to Segorbe, just over fifteen miles north west of Seguntum, while the second, under Charles O’Donnell, was posted at Beneguacil, west of Saguntum. O’Donnell was given Villacampa’s infantry division and San Juan’s cavalry, giving him around 5,400 men
Suchet had no intention of letting these detachments remain in place. On 30 September a detachment under Palombini forced Obispo to abandon Segorbe, before returning to the main French camp. Suchet himself led the attack on O’Donnell’s position, which was much close to Blake’s main force. He took Harispe’s infantry division, Robert’s infantry brigade and two regiments of cavalry, a total of around 8,000 men.
O’Donnell deployed his men along a irrigation canal, with the infantry in the centre and San Juan’s cavalry guarding the flanks, but despite this relatively strong position the Spanish line was broken by the first French charge, and O’Donnell was forced to order a retreat into the hills close to the town. The Spanish lost 400 men, most of then during the cavalry pursuit that followed, while the French lost three officers and sixty men, suggesting that there was some resistance before the Spanish collapse. On the day after the battle O’Donnell’s men made their way back into the Spanish lines, and would take part in the battle of Saguntum.
|A History of the Peninsular War vol.5: October 1811-August 31, 1812 - Valencia, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Madrid, Sir Charles Oman Part Five of Oman's classic history of the Peninsular War starting with a look at the French invasion of Valencia in the winter of 1811-12, before concentrating on Wellington's victorious summer campaign of 1812, culminating with the battle of Salamanca and Wellington's first liberation of Madrid.|
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