Friday, March 12, 2010

San Marcial

On 31 August 1813 Marshal Soult made a final attempt to raise the siege of San Sebastian before the city fell to the British. The bridge over the river Bidassa at Behobie had been burned, but there were many good infantry fords nearby. A mile south of the river there is a long hill called San Marcial and here Wellington posted three Spanish divisions under General Freire. Soult attacked with two divisions, who were disordered as they climbed the hill. At the crest they were met by the Spanish lines and a firefight developed. Freire requested British reinforcements, but Wellington refused as he could see that the Spanish had already won the battle. By 10am the French were in full retreat back over the Bidassoa into France.

Jan is sitting on the crest of the San Marcial hill in the centre of the Spanish positions, looking towards France. The French infantry advanced up the hill towards this point, and were thrown back by the Spanish defence.

The San Marcial hill with the chapel on the skyline on the right, as seen from the French bank of the Bidassoa immediately downstream from the bridge at Behobie. The Spanish were deployed on the crest of this hill, and the French infantry disordered in climbing towards them.

The chapel of San Marcial was the scene of fierce fighting during the battle, but was held by the Spanish throughout.

From the western edge of San Marcial hill is an impressive view of La Rhune and the road into France.

The French defeat at San Marcial would cause General Vandermaesen to retreat towards Vera with his division and result in the gallant defence of the bridge by Captain Cadoux and his company of the 95th Rifles.

No comments:

Post a Comment