The battle of Mansilla (30 December 1808) was a French victory over the rearguard of a Spanish army under General La Romana, fought during Sir John Moore’s retreat to Corunna. La Romana had gathered an army an 8,000 strong with which he had planned to aid Sir John Moore in his advance into northern Spain.
When Moore had been forced to retreat towards Corunna, La Romana had pulled back to Leon, to the north of the British, leaving 3,000 men to guard the bridge over the Esla at Mansilla.
The commander of this rear guard formed his men up in front of the bridge to await the French. Late on 29 December Marshal Soult’s army reached the Esla. On the next morning Soult launched a cavalry attack which broke the Spanish lines. 1,500 Spanish troops were captured when they became trapped on the eastern bank of the Esla. The remaining troops escaped, but failed to blow the bridge. La Romana was forced to abandon Leon, and retreated south west towards Astorga, where he hoped to join up with Moore and the retreating British. On 31 December Soult captured Leon, while La Romana’s surviving men joined Moore.