Pyrenees and South of France
Outraged at the defeat of his army, Napoleon retuned the overall
command of the remaining French forces in Spain to Soult, after ordering his
brother Joseph to retire.
His force totaled 50,000 troops and one howitzer. To this he added
the 'Army of Spain' 79,000 men and 140 guns. Between Soult and the safety of
France stood two fortresses , San Sebastion and Pamplona. Wellington blockaded
the latter and began operations in late June 1813 against San Sebastian. The
problem ahead was the mountainous terrain . Mean while Soult was attacking the
passes of Maya and Roncesvalles on his right . Soult amassed his entire force
and attacked Sorauren on the 28th of July . Wellington's forces beat off the far
superior French force . 13,000 French troops were killed . On the 31st of
August, San Sebastion fell with the loss of 1,696 British troops and 577
The French retreat was held up at the bridge of Vera by the vain
heroism of the 95th Rifles. Soult began
his retreat once more out of Spain. Wellington fought his way across
the Bidassoa, Pamplona falling on the 30th of October . On the 9th of October
Wellington's forces stormed past the French defenses at the river Nivelle.
Wellington sent the Spanish army bar one division back to Spain so as to prevent
France being plundered. In a letter he wrote to the Spanish Government 14th
November he stated "I have not come to France to plunder . I have not have
Thousands of officers and men killed and wounded to see the rest plunder.
On the 10th of December, Soult attacked Wellington at Nive . After
four days the French were driven back.
In the winter of 1814 Wellington began his advance toward Bayonne.
Soult concentrated his army at Orthez but on the 27th of February he was driven
back to Toulouse. Soult's troops began to desert in droves . It was at Orthez
that Private John Waddington was wounded in the head . At this same battle
Wellington himself was also wounded. Bordeaux was taken on the 12th of March .
Soult built defensive positions at Toulouse . On April 4th 1814 Napoleon
abdicated but the news failed to reach Toulouse in time . On the 10th of April
the two forces were engaged in a completely needless battle ,the French defended
with strong resolve. On the 12th of April the news finally reached Soult and
Soult concluded the armistice on April the
17th....... The Peninsula War had ended .
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