The skirmish at Constantino of 5 January 1809 was a rear-guard action during Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna in the winter of 1808-1809. It was fought to prevent the French from crossing over the bridge at Constantino after the British engineers were unable to blow up its central arch.
General Paget, commanding the British rearguard, placed his artillery in a position where they could command the passage of the bridge, with the 28th and 95th Regiments defending the near bank of the river.
The French vanguard was made up of General Lahoussaye’s division of dragoons, and General Merle’s division of infanty. Merle formed his infantry into a dense column, and attempted to force his way across the bridge, but this just exposed them to the British cannons and the attempt failed. Paget and the rearguard held out until dark, and then withdrew to Lugo, where they found the main army formed up ready to offer battle.
|History of the Peninsular War vol.1: 1807-1809 - From the Treaty of Fontainebleau to the Battle of Corunna, Sir Charles Oman. The first volume of Oman's classic seven volume history of the Peninsular War, this is one of the classic works of military history and provides an invaluable detailed narrative of the fighting in Spain and Portugal. This first volume covers the initial French intervention, the start of the Spanish uprising, the early British involvement in Spain and Portugal and Napoleon's own brief visit to Spain.|
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