Battle of Tamames

The Battle of Tamames was a sharp reversal suffered by part of Marshal Michel Ney's French army under Major-General Jean Marchand in the Peninsular War. The French, advancing out of Salamanca, were met and defeated in battle by a Spanish army on 18 October 1809.

Battle of Tamames
Part of the Peninsular War
Date18 October 1809
Result Spanish victory
France French Empire  Spain
Commanders and leaders
Jean Marchand Duke del Parque
9,000 infantry
2,000 cavalry
14 guns
20,000 infantry
1,400 cavalry
30 guns
Casualties and losses
1,400 killed or wounded[1] 713 killed or wounded
1 gun lost[1]

Course of battle

The Spanish drew their forces in a defensive line on a low ridge above the village of Tamames. Despite being on excellent defensive ground, the battle opened badly for the Spaniards under General del Parque, who resorted to severe measures to restore discipline. The Spanish cavalry was routed early on, but scathing fire from del Parque's own infantry quickly brought their retreat to grief and directed them back into the fight. Spanish artillery positions similarly fell to the French but were retaken at bayonet point by del Parque's gallant infantry.

The French attacked in masses columns but never in enough strength to dislodge the Spanish. Whilst the French had excellent cavalry (a strange occurrence for the Peninsular Wars) the difficult ground meant that they could not be deployed effectively.

Immediate French losses amounted to about 1,200 killed or wounded on the battlefield. A vigorous pursuit by the Spanish cavalry increased these losses twofold; the Spaniards captured the French colours and a 12-pounder. Participants of the battle were later issued a badge reading Venció en Tamames, "[We] conquered at Tamames."


The VI Corps under Marchand consisted of his own 1st Division (3 battalions each of 6th Light, 39th, 69th and 76th Line), Maj-Gen Maurice Mathieu's 2nd Division (3 bns. each of 25th Light, 27th and 59th Line, and 1 bn. 50th Line), Brig-Gen Jean Lorcet's corps cavalry brigade (3rd Hussars, 15th Chasseurs, 15th and 25th Dragoons). There were about 9,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 30 cannon.

Del Parque's army included Maj-Gen Martin de la Carrera's Vanguard, Maj-Gen Francisco Xavier Losada's 1st Division, Maj-Gen Conde de Belvedere's 2nd Division, Maj-Gen Francisco Ballasteros's 3rd Division, Maj-Gen Marques de Castrofuerte's 5th Division and the Prince of Anglona's Cavalry Division. Altogether there were about 20,000 infantry, 1,400 cavalry and 30 artillery pieces.

The French lost 1,300 killed, wounded and captured. There were 23 officers killed and 55 wounded, including Lorcet. Del Parque's army suffered 713 killed and wounded and 1 gun captured.

Strategic picture

Del Parque begged the Duke of Wellington to join him in an attempt to overrun Leon and Old Castile. However, the British general refused. Wellington had found the Spanish completely uncooperative during the campaign which culminated in the Battle of Talavera and his subsequent retreat to Portugal. A chastened Marchand would avenge his defeat at the Battle of Alba de Tormes in November.


  • Smith, Digby. The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. Greenhill, 1998.


  1. ^ a b Smith 1998, p. 333-334.

External links

1809 in France

Events from the year 1809 in France.

1809 in Spain

Events from the year 1809 in Spain.

Antoine Louis Popon de Maucune

Antoine Louis Popon de Maucune (21 February 1772 – 18 February 1824) led a French division against the British in 1811–1813 during the Peninsular War. He is referred to as Maucune in English-language sources. He joined the pioneer corps of the French army in 1786 and was a lieutenant by the time the French Revolutionary Wars broke out. He fought in the north in 1792 and in the Alps in 1793. Afterward he served in Italy through 1801. During this period, he fought at Arcole in 1796 and at the Trebbia, Novi and Genola in 1799. He was appointed to command the 39th Line Infantry Demi-Brigade and led it in the 1800 campaign.

During the Napoleonic Wars Maucune led the 39th in Marshal Michel Ney's VI Corps at Elchingen in the 1805 campaign and at Jena, Magdeburg, Soldau, and Eylau in the 1806–1807 campaign. Promoted to general officer, he led a brigade at Friedland in 1807. In Spain from 1808 and 1811, he commanded a brigade at Gallegos, Tamames, Alba de Tormes, Ciudad Rodrigo, Almeida, Bussaco, Casal Novo, and Fuentes de Onoro.

In May 1811, the army was reorganized and Maucune was promoted to lead a division. This started a period of remarkable bad luck. At Salamanca in July 1812, his isolated division was wrecked by a combination of British infantry and cavalry attacks led by Lieutenant-general Stapleton Cotton, (later Viscount Combermere). In June 1813, the British surprised his troops at San Millán de la Cogolla. The division missed the Battle of Vitoria but helped fight off the Allied pursuit at Tolosa. His division was scattered at Sorauren in late July 1813 and at the Bidassoa in October. After these defeats, Marshal Nicolas Soult replaced him with Jean François Leval. Sent to Italy, he was defeated at the Taro River in April 1814 while defending against three-to-one odds. Maucune is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe on Column 35.

Battle of Alba de Tormes

In the Battle of Alba de Tormes on 26 November 1809, an Imperial French corps commanded by François Étienne de Kellermann attacked a Spanish army led by Diego de Cañas y Portocarrero, Duke del Parque. Finding the Spanish army in the midst of crossing the Tormes River, Kellermann did not wait for his infantry under Jean Gabriel Marchand to arrive, but led the French cavalry in a series of charges that routed the Spanish units on the near bank with heavy losses. Del Parque's army was forced to take refuge in the mountains that winter. Alba de Tormes is 21 kilometres (13 mi) southeast of Salamanca, Spain. The action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

The Spanish Supreme Central and Governing Junta of the Kingdom planned to launch a two-pronged attack on Madrid in the fall of 1809. In the west, Del Parque's Army of the Left enjoyed some success against Marchand's weak VI Corps. When the Spanish general learned that the other offensive prong had been crushed at Ocaña, he turned around and began retreating rapidly to the south. At the same time, Marchand was reinforced by a dragoon division under Kellermann. Taking command, Kellermann raced in pursuit of the Army of the Left, catching up with it at Alba de Tormes. Not waiting for their own foot soldiers, the French dragoons and light cavalry fell upon the Spanish infantry and defeated it. Marchand's infantry arrived in time to mop up, but the cavalry had done most of the fighting. Del Parque's men retreated into the mountains where they spent a miserable few months.

Battle of Arzobispo

The Battle of Arzobispo on 8 August 1809 saw two Imperial French corps commanded by Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult launch an assault crossing of the Tagus River against a Spanish force under José María de la Cueva, 14th Duke of Alburquerque. Alburquerque's troops rapidly retreated after suffering disproportionate losses, including 30 artillery pieces. El Puente del Arzobispo (The Archbishop's Bridge) is located 36 kilometres (22 mi) southwest of Talavera de la Reina, Spain. The action occurred during the Peninsular War, part of a larger conflict known as the Napoleonic Wars.

The Battle of Talavera in late July 1809 saw a victory by Arthur Wellesley's British army and Gregorio García de la Cuesta's Spanish army over the Imperial French army of King Joseph Bonaparte. Wellesley (soon to be known as Wellington) found that he was unable to exploit the triumph due to the failure of his logistical arrangements. Within a few days, Wellesley discovered that Soult's large French army was attempting to cut off his army from Portugal.

Accordingly, the British and Spanish armies withdrew to the west, narrowly avoiding interception by Soult's forces. Alburquerque was left with 3,000 cavalry and 5,000 infantry to hold the bridge of Arzobispo. Because their position was so strong, the Spanish were lulled into a false sense of security. Meanwhile, French officers found and secretly reconnoitered a hidden ford near the bridge. Achieving tactical surprise, the French cavalry plunged across the ford during the Spanish siesta, followed by the infantry of Marshal Édouard Mortier's V Corps. Before Alburquerque could react, his cavalry was routed and one of his infantry battalions crushed. During the pursuit, Soult's horsemen not only seized 16 Spanish guns, but also recaptured at least 14 of the 17 French artillery pieces lost at Talavera.

Jean Gabriel Marchand

Jean Gabriel Marchand, 1st Count Marchand (10 December 1765 – 12 November 1851) went from being an attorney to a company commander in the army of the First French Republic in 1791. He fought almost exclusively in Italy throughout the French Revolutionary Wars and served on the staffs of a number of generals. He participated in Napoleon Bonaparte's celebrated 1796-1797 Italian campaign. In 1799, he was with army commander Barthélemy Catherine Joubert when that general was killed at Novi. Promoted to general officer soon after, he transferred to the Rhine theater in 1800.

At the start of the Napoleonic Wars in 1805, Marchand led a brigade in the Grande Armée at Haslach-Jungingen and Dürenstein. Promoted to lead a division in Marshal Michel Ney's corps, he fought at Jena and Magdeburg in 1806. Leading an independent force, he defeated 3,000 Prussians late in the year. The following year he led his troops at Eylau, Guttstadt-Deppen, and Friedland. Napoleon bestowed honors and the rank of nobility upon him.

In 1808 Marchand went to Spain where he fought in the Peninsular War. In Ney's absence, he took command of the corps and suffered a humiliating defeat at Tamamés at the hands of a Spanish army. He went with Marshal André Masséna's abortive invasion of Portugal in 1810 and 1811 and fought at Ciudad Rodrigo, Almeida, and Bussaco. During the retreat he performed well in one rear guard action against the British and later led his division at Fuentes de Onoro.

In 1812 he commanded a division in Russia. He fought at the head of his division at Lützen, Bautzen, and Leipzig in 1813. An Austrian division defeated his independent command near Geneva in 1814. During the Hundred Days he was tasked with stopping Napoleon's march near Grenoble, but his troops went over to the ex-emperor. For this, he was later tried by the Bourbons but acquitted. His surname is one of those names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe.

List of Napoleonic battles

This list includes all those battles which were fought throughout the Napoleonic era, April 1796 – 3 July 1815.

List of battles (geographic)

This list of battles is organized geographically, by country in its present territory.

List of battles involving France in modern history

This is a chronological list of the battles involving France in modern history.

For earlier conflicts, see List of battles involving France. These lists do not include the battles of the French civil wars (as the Wars of Religion, the Fronde, the War in the Vendée) unless a foreign country is involved; this list includes neither the peacekeeping operations (such as Operation Artemis, Operation Licorne) nor the humanitarian missions supported by the French Armed Forces.

The list gives the name, the date, the present-day location of the battles, the French allies and enemies, and the result of these conflicts following this legend:

French military victory

French military defeat

Indecisive or unclear outcome

Ongoing conflict

List of wars involving France

The following is an incomplete list of French wars and battles from the Gauls to modern France.

List of wars involving Spain

This is a list of wars fought by the Kingdom of Spain or on Spanish territory.

Pedro de Alcántara Téllez-Girón

Pedro de Alcántara Téllez-Girón y Alfonso-Pimentel (1786–1851), better known as the Prince of Anglona, was a Spanish military officer during the Peninsular War Director of the Prado Museum between 1820 and 1823 and Captain General of Cuba (from January 1840 to March 1841).

The second son of Pedro Téllez-Girón, 9th Duke of Osuna, the prince fought under the Duke del Parque, leading a Cavalry Division at the Battle of Tamames, the Battle of Alba de Tormes and later, under Manuel la Peña, at the Battle of Barrosa.

On 30 October 1812, he was sent by the Cortes to arrest General Francisco Ballesteros, the commander of the 4th Army who, earlier that month, had called for a military uprising in protest against Wellington's appointment as generalissimo of the Spanish Army.By April 1814, he was in command of Spain’s 3rd Army as it crossed into France to occupy Pau.After the War and the outbreak of the Liberal Triennium in 1820, he replaced his brother-in-law José Gabriel de Silva-Bazán y Waldstein as Director of the Prado Museum until 1823, when he had to take refuge in Italy after the French invaded the country.

From January 1840 to March 1841, he was Captain General of Cuba.

Back in Spain, he was Director of the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando from 1849 until his death in 1851.

He had married in 1811 with María del Rosario Fernández de Santillán y Valdivia, daughter of the Marquis de Motilla, and had 6 children.

Peninsular War

The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain (assisted by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and its ally Kingdom of Portugal), for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.

The Peninsular War overlaps with what the Spanish-speaking world calls the Guerra de la Independencia Española (Spanish War of Independence), which began with the Dos de Mayo Uprising on 2 May 1808 and ended on 17 April 1814. The French occupation destroyed the Spanish administration, which fragmented into quarrelling provincial juntas. The episode remains as the bloodiest event in Spain's modern history, doubling in relative terms the Spanish Civil War.A reconstituted national government, the Cortes of Cádiz—in effect a government-in-exile—fortified itself in Cádiz in 1810, but could not raise effective armies because it was besieged by 70,000 French troops. British and Portuguese forces eventually secured Portugal, using it as a safe position from which to launch campaigns against the French army and provide whatever supplies they could get to the Spanish, while the Spanish armies and guerrillas tied down vast numbers of Napoleon's troops. These combined regular and irregular allied forces, by restricting French control of territory, prevented Napoleon's marshals from subduing the rebellious Spanish provinces, and the war continued through years of stalemate.The British Army, under then Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur Wellesley, later the 1st Duke of Wellington, guarded Portugal and campaigned against the French in Spain alongside the reformed Portuguese army. The demoralised Portuguese army was reorganised and refitted under the command of Gen. William Beresford, who had been appointed commander-in-chief of the Portuguese forces by the exiled Portuguese royal family, and fought as part of the combined Anglo-Portuguese Army under Wellesley.

In 1812, when Napoleon set out with a massive army on what proved to be a disastrous French invasion of Russia, a combined allied army under Wellesley pushed into Spain, defeating the French at Salamanca and taking Madrid. In the following year Wellington scored a decisive victory over King Joseph Bonaparte's army in the Battle of Vitoria. Pursued by the armies of Britain, Spain and Portugal, Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult, no longer able to get sufficient support from a depleted France, led the exhausted and demoralized French forces in a fighting withdrawal across the Pyrenees during the winter of 1813–1814.

The years of fighting in Spain were a heavy burden on France's Grande Armée. While the French were victorious in battle, their communications and supplies were severely tested and their units were frequently isolated, harassed or overwhelmed by partisans fighting an intense guerrilla war of raids and ambushes. The Spanish armies were repeatedly beaten and driven to the peripheries, but they would regroup and relentlessly hound the French. This drain on French resources led Napoleon, who had unwittingly provoked a total war, to call the conflict the "Spanish Ulcer".War and revolution against Napoleon's occupation led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812, later a cornerstone of European liberalism. The burden of war destroyed the social and economic fabric of Portugal and Spain, and ushered in an era of social turbulence, political instability and economic stagnation. Devastating civil wars between liberal and absolutist factions, led by officers trained in the Peninsular War, persisted in Iberia until 1850. The cumulative crises and disruptions of invasion, revolution and restoration led to the independence of most of Spain's American colonies and the independence of Brazil from Portugal.

Pierre-Louis Binet de Marcognet

Pierre-Louis Binet de Marcognet (14 November 1765 – 19 December 1854) joined the French army in 1781 as an officer cadet and fought in the American Revolutionary War. During the French Revolutionary Wars he fought in the Army of the Rhine and was wounded at First and Second Wissembourg. After being dismissed from the army for a year and a half for having noble blood, he resumed his military career and was wounded at Biberach and Kehl. Promoted to lead the 108th Line Infantry Demi-Brigade, he was in the thick of the fighting at Hohenlinden in 1800, where he was wounded and captured.

At the start of the Napoleonic Wars, Marcognet was a general officer commanding a brigade in Marshal of France Michel Ney's corps. He led his troops at Günzburg, Elchingen, and Scharnitz in 1805. In the 1806-1807 campaign, he led his brigade at Jena, Magdeburg, Eylau, Guttstadt-Deppen, and Friedland. After Ney's corps transferred to Spain, he fought at Tamames, Alba de Tormes, Ciudad Rodrigo, Almeida, Bussaco, Torres Vedras, Casal Novo, and Fuentes de Onoro.

Marcognet commanded a division in the Italian campaign of 1813-1814, fighting at Caldiero, Boara Pisani, the Mincio, and other actions. In 1815, he led a division at Waterloo where it was broken by cavalry after an initial success. Marcognet is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 7.

VI Corps (Grande Armée)

The VI Corps of the Grande Armée was the name of a French military unit that existed during the Napoleonic Wars. It was formed at the Camp de Boulogne and assigned to Marshal Michel Ney. From 1805 through 1811, the army corps fought under Ney's command in the War of the Third Coalition, the War of the Fourth Coalition, and the Peninsular War. Jean Gabriel Marchand was in charge of the corps for a period when Ney went on leave. In early 1811, Ney was dismissed by Marshal André Masséna for disobedience and the corps was briefly led by Louis Henri Loison until the corps was dissolved in May 1811. The VI Corps was revived in 1812 for the French invasion of Russia and placed under Laurent Gouvion Saint-Cyr. It entirely consisted of Bavarian soldiers at that time. After the disastrous winter retreat the corps was virtually destroyed. In 1813 during the War of the Sixth Coalition it was recreated with reorganized French troops. Marshal Auguste Marmont took command of the corps and managed it until Emperor Napoleon's abdication in 1814. It took part in many battles including Dresden and Leipzig in 1813. During the Hundred Days, Georges Mouton, Count de Lobau commanded the VI Corps at the Battle of Waterloo.

Vincent Martel Deconchy

Vincent Martel Deconchy (21 January 1768 – 26 August 1823) commanded a French brigade in Spain and Italy during the Napoleonic Wars. He joined the army in 1792 during the French Revolution and fought in several battles in the north. After being part of the force occupying the Batavian Republic, he gained promotion for heroism at the Battle of Castricum in 1799. He served as an aide-de-camp during the battles of Marengo and the Mincio in 1800.

Deconchy fought in several actions during the War of the Third Coalition. Transferred to Spain, he was acting commander of a light infantry regiment in the VI Corps for a time before being elevated to colonel in September 1810. He participated in the 1810 French invasion of Portugal and led his regiment at Redinha during the retreat. He was promoted general officer in February 1813 and fought against the Spanish guerillas. In August 1813 he transferred to Italy where he led a brigade in the army of Eugène de Beauharnais until the end of the fighting in 1814. He stayed in favor with the Bourbons and was elevated to the rank of lieutenant general in 1821. He led a division in the 1823 French intervention in Spain and died during the blockade of Pamplona.

Peninsular War
Castile & Andalusia, 1809–1810

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