Battle of Mansilla, 30 December 1808

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.

Marshal Soult
Portrait of Marshal
Jean-de-Dieu Soult

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.

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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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (14 January 2008), Battle of Mansilla, 30 December 1808 ,

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