Battle of Vitoria

At the Battle of Vitoria (21 June 1813) a British, Portuguese and Spanish army under General the Marquess of Wellington broke the French army under Joseph Bonaparte and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan near Vitoria in Spain, eventually leading to victory in the Peninsular War.


In July 1812, after the Battle of Salamanca, the French had evacuated Madrid, which Wellington's army entered on 12 August 1812. Deploying three divisions to guard its southern approaches, Wellington marched north with the rest of his army to lay siege to the fortress of Burgos, 140 miles (230 km) away, but he had miscalculated the enemy's strength, and on 21 October he had to abandon the Siege of Burgos and retreat. By 31 October he had abandoned Madrid too, and retreated first to Salamanca then to Ciudad Rodrigo, near the Portuguese frontier, to avoid encirclement by French armies from the north-east and south-east.

Wellington spent the winter reorganizing and reinforcing his forces. By contrast, Napoleon retreated numerous soldiers to reconstruct his main army after his disastrous invasion of Russia. By 20 May 1813 Wellington marched 121,000 troops (53,749 British, 39,608 Spanish and 27,569 Portuguese[3]) from northern Portugal across the mountains of northern Spain and the Esla River to outflank Marshal Jourdan's army of 68,000, strung out between the Douro and the Tagus. The French retreated to Burgos, with Wellington's forces marching hard to cut them off from the road to France. Wellington himself commanded the small central force in a strategic feint, while Sir Thomas Graham conducted the bulk of the army around the French right flank over landscape considered impassable.

Wellington launched his attack with 57,000 British, 16,000 Portuguese and 8,000 Spanish at Vitoria on 21 June, from four directions.[4]


The battlefield centres on the Zadorra River, which runs from east to west. As the Zadorra runs west, it loops into a hairpin bend, finally swinging generally to the southwest. On the south of the battlefield are the Heights of La Puebla. To the northwest is the mass of Monte Arrato. Vitoria stands to the east, two miles (3 km) south of the Zadorra. Five roads radiate from Vitoria, north to Bilbao, northeast to Salinas and Bayonne, east to Salvatierra, south to Logroño and west to Burgos on the south side of the Zadorra.


Vitoria - Museo de Armeria 06
Recreation with model figures of the battle, displayed at the Armory Museum (Museo de Armería) in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Jourdan was ill with a fever all day on 20 June. Because of this, few orders were issued and the French forces stood idle. An enormous wagon train of booty clogged the streets of Vitoria. A convoy left during the night, but it had to leave siege artillery behind because there were not enough draft animals to pull the cannons.

Gazan's divisions guarded the narrow western end of the Zadorra valley, deployed south of the river. Maransin's brigade was posted in advance, at the village of Subijana. The divisions were disposed with Leval on the right, Daricau in the centre, Conroux on the left and Villatte in reserve. Only a picket guarded the western extremity of the Heights of La Puebla.

Further back, d'Erlon's force stood in a second line, also south of the river. Darmagnac's division deployed on the right and Cassagne's on the left. D'Erlon failed to destroy three bridges near the river's hairpin bend and posted Avy's weak cavalry division to guard them. Reille's men originally formed a third line, but Sarrut's division was sent north of the river to guard the Bilbao road while Lamartinière's division and the Spanish Royal Guard units held the river bank.

Wellington directed Hill's 20,000-man Right Column to drive the French from the Zadorra defile on the south side of the river. While the French were preoccupied with Hill, Wellington's Right Centre column moved along the north bank of the river and crossed it near the hairpin bend behind the French right flank.

Graham's 20,000-man Left Column was sent around the north side of Monte Arrato. It drove down the Bilbao road, cutting off the bulk of the French army. Dalhousie's Left Centre column cut across Monte Arrato and struck the river east of the hairpin, providing a link between Graham and Wellington.


Wellington's plan split his army into four attacking "columns", attacking the French defensive position from south, west and north while the last column cut down across the French rear. Coming up the Burgos road, Hill sent Pablo Morillo's Division to the right on a climb up the Heights of La Puebla. Stewart's 2nd Division began deploying to the left in the narrow plain just south of the river. Seeing these moves, Gazan sent Maransin forward to drive Morillo off the heights. Hill moved Col. Henry Cadogan's brigade of the 2nd Division to assist Morillo. Gazan responded by committing Villatte's reserve division to the battle on the heights.

About this time, Gazan first spotted Wellington's column moving north of the Zadorra to turn his right flank. He asked Jourdan, now recovered from his fever, for reinforcements. Having become obsessed with the safety of his left flank, the marshal refused to help Gazan, instead ordering some of D'Erlon's troops to guard the Logroño road.

Wellington thrust James Kempt's brigade of the Light Division across the Zadorra at the hairpin. At the same time, Stewart took Subijana and was counterattacked by two of Gazan's divisions. On the heights, Cadogan was killed, but the Anglo-Spanish force managed to hang on to its foothold. Wellington suspended his attacks to allow Graham's column time to make an impression and a lull descended on the battlefield.

At noon, Graham's column appeared on the Bilbao road. Jourdan immediately realised he was in danger of envelopment and ordered Gazan to pull back toward Vitoria. Graham drove Sarrut's division back across the river, but could not force his way across the Zadorra despite bitter fighting. Further east, Longa's Spanish troops defeated the Spanish Royal Guards and cut the road to Bayonne.

Vitoria - Monumento Batalla Vitoria3
The French withdrawal, Monument to the Battle, in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

With some help from Kempt's brigade, Picton's 3rd Division from Dalhousie's column crossed to the south side of the river. According to Picton, the enemy responded by pummelling the 3rd with 40 to 50 cannon and a counter-attack on their right flank, still open because they had captured the bridge so quickly, causing the 3rd to lose 1,800 men (over one third of all Allied losses at the battle) as they held their ground.[5] Cole's 4th Division crossed further west. With Gazan on the left and d'Erlon on the right, the French attempted a stand at the village of Arinez. Formed in a menacing line, the 4th, Light, 3rd and 7th Divisions soon captured this position. The French fell back to the Zuazo ridge, covered by their well-handled and numerous field artillery. This position fell to Wellington's attack when Gazan refused to cooperate with his colleague d'Erlon.

French morale collapsed and the soldiers of Gazan and d'Erlon fled from the field. Artillerists left their guns behind as they fled on the trace horses. Soon the road was jammed with a mass of wagons and carriages. The efforts of Reille's two divisions, holding off Graham, allowed tens of thousands of French troops to escape by the Salvatierra road.


The Allied army lost about 5,000 men, with 3,675 British, 921 Portuguese and 562 Spanish casualties.[2] French losses totalled at least 5,200 killed and wounded, plus 2,800 men and 151 cannon captured. By army, the losses were South 4,300, Centre 2,100 and Portugal 1,600. There were no casualty returns from the Royal Guard or the artillery.[6]

French losses were not higher for several reasons. First, the Allied army had already marched 20 miles (32 km) that morning and was in no condition to pursue. Second, Reille's men valiantly held off Graham's column. Third, the valley by which the French retreated was narrow and well-covered by the 3rd Hussar and the 15th Dragoon Regiments acting as rearguard. Last, the French left their booty behind.[2]

Auction after Vitoria
British troops auction off loot taken during the battle

Many British soldiers turned aside to plunder the abandoned French wagons, containing "the loot of a kingdom". It is estimated that more than £1 million of booty (perhaps £100 million in modern equivalent) was seized, but the gross abandonment of discipline caused an enraged Wellington to write in a dispatch to Earl Bathurst, "We have in the service the scum of the earth as common soldiers".[7] The British general also vented his fury on a new cavalry regiment, writing, "The 18th Hussars are a disgrace to the name of soldier, in action as well as elsewhere; and I propose to draft their horses from them and send the men to England if I cannot get the better of them in any other manner."[2] (On 8 April 1814, the 18th redeemed their reputation in a gallant charge led by Lieutenant-colonel Sir Henry Murray at Croix d'Orade, shortly before the Battle of Toulouse.)

Order was soon restored, and by December, after detachments had seized San Sebastián and Pamplona, Wellington's army was encamped in France.

The battle was the inspiration for Beethoven's Opus 91, often called the "Battle Symphony" or "Wellington's Victory", which portrays the battle as musical drama. The climax of the movie The Firefly, starring Jeanette MacDonald, occurs with Wellington's attack on the French centre. (The film used music from an opera of the same name by Rudolf Friml, but with a totally different plot.) The battle and French rout also forms the climax to Bernard Cornwell's book Sharpe's Honour.

Vitoria - Recreación histórica de la Batalla de Vitoria, bicentenario 1813-2013 006

British line infantry and highlanders

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Cavalry charge

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Hand-to-hand combat between British and Imperial marksmen

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Spanish soldiers

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French soldiers

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British column

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Spanish infantrymen

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British highland grenadiers

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Portuguese infantrymen

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Imperial grenadiers

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Anglo-Portuguese advance

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Mounted Chasseurs a cheval and horse grenadiers


Vitoria - Museo de Armeria 09
Imperial militaria captured by the allies after the battle, displayed at the Armory Museum (Museo de Armería) in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
  1. ^ Gates (2002), p. 390.
  2. ^ a b c d Glover (2001), p. 243.
  3. ^ Gates (2002), p. 521.
  4. ^ Gates (2002), p. 386.
  5. ^ Historical Record of the Seventy-fourth Regiment (Highlanders), Richard Cannon, Published by Parker, Furnivall & Parker, 1847
  6. ^ Smith (1998), p. 427.
  7. ^ Wellington to Bathurst, dispatches, p. 496.


  • Gates, David (2002). The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-9730-6.
  • Glover, Michael (2001). The Peninsular War 1807–1814. London: Penguin. ISBN 0-141-39041-7.
  • Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-276-9.
  • Wellington, Arthur Wellesley, Duke of (1838), The dispatches of Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington: during his various campaigns in India, Denmark, Portugal, Spain, the Low Countries, and France, from 1799 to 1818, X, John Murray, retrieved 14 November 2007
  • Lipscombe, Nick (2010). The Peninsular War Atlas. Oxford: Osprey. ISBN 1-84908-364-9.

Further reading

  • Fletcher, Ian (2005). Vittoria 1813: Wellington Sweeps the French from Spain. New York, NY: Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-98616-0.

External links

Coordinates: 42°51′N 2°41′W / 42.850°N 2.683°W

1813 in France

Events from the year 1813 in France.

Agustina de Aragón

Agustina Raimunda Maria Saragossa i Domènech or Agustina of Aragón (March 4, 1786 – May 29, 1857) was a Spanish heroine who defended Spain during the Peninsular War, first as a civilian and later as a professional officer in the Spanish Army. Known as "the Spanish Joan of Arc," she has been the subject of much folklore, mythology, and artwork, including sketches by Francisco Goya and the poetry of Lord Byron.

Augustin Gabriel d'Aboville

Augustin Gabriel d'Aboville (March 20, 1773 – August 15, 1820) was a French general de brigade (brigadier general). He was the older brother of Augustin-Marie d'Aboville. He was born in La Fère, Aisne, Picardy. He participated in the Battle of Stockach (1799), Battle of Corunna, Battle of Talavera and the Battle of Vitoria. He was made a knight of the Order of Saint Louis and a commander in the Legion of Honour (awarded June 23, 1810). Under the First French Empire, he was made a baron by emperor Napoleon on February 20, 1812. After the Bourbon Restoration, he served in the Chamber of Peers.

Battle of Ordal

The Battle of Ordal on 12 and 13 September 1813 saw a First French Empire corps led by Marshal Louis Gabriel Suchet make a night assault on a position held by Lieutenant General Lord William Bentinck's smaller Anglo-Allied and Spanish advance guard. The Allies, under the tactical direction of Colonel Frederick Adam, were defeated and driven from a strong position at the Ordal defile largely because they failed to post adequate pickets. In an action the next morning at Vilafranca del Penedès, the Allied cavalry clashed with the pursuing French horsemen. The actions occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars. Ordal and El Lledoner are located on Highway N-340 between Molins de Rei and Vilafranca.

Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington's triumph at the Battle of Vitoria made Suchet's positions in Valencia and Aragon untenable. Accordingly, the marshal withdrew his soldiers from those two places and concentrated them near Barcelona. As the French withdrew, they were followed up by Bentinck's army of 28,000 Spanish, British, Germans, and Italians. Suchet resolved to strike at Adam's advance guard near Ordal with 12,000 soldiers while Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen's 7,000 men advanced from the northeast. After Adam's defeat, Bentinck abandoned Vilafranca and fell back to Tarragona. Soon after, he resigned his command.

Suchet's victory did not salvage the French position in Catalonia. As his troops were steadily siphoned away to defend eastern France, the marshal was forced to retreat to the Pyrenees, leaving behind several garrisons. These were picked off one by one until only Barcelona remained in French hands at the end of the conflict.

Battle of San Millan-Osma

In the Battles of San Millán and Osma (18 June 1813) two divisions of the Allied army of Arthur Wellesley, Marquess of Wellington clashed with two divisions of King Joseph Bonaparte's Imperial French army in northeast Spain.At San Millán de San Zadornil, Charles Alten's Light Division mauled Antoine Louis Popon de Maucune's French division. At Osma, 7.4 kilometres (4.6 mi) to the northeast, Jacques Thomas Sarrut's French division fought an inconclusive skirmish with Kenneth Howard's division before withdrawing to the southeast. San Millán de San Zadornil is located in the Province of Burgos while Osma is in Álava, Basque Country. The actions occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the wider Napoleonic Wars.

In the summer of 1813, Wellington's army thrust into Spain from Portugal with a powerful army composed of British, Portuguese, and Spanish soldiers. The British general outmaneuvered his opponents and forced the French to abandon Salamanca, Valladolid, Madrid, and Burgos. King Joseph and Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jourdan believed their position behind the Ebro River was secure, but Wellington sent his troops marching to outflank the line on the north. As Sarrut moved north, his troops bumped into Howard's soldiers. Maucune's division at San Millán was suddenly attacked from the west by Alten. Believing Maucune's division was no longer fit for combat, Joseph used it to escort a convoy and it missed the decisive Battle of Vitoria three days later.

Battle of Vitoria order of battle

This is the order of battle for the Battle of Vitoria (21 June 1813).

Francisco de Longa

Francisco Tomás de Anchia Longa (10 April 1783 – 1831) was a Spanish general.

He was born in the village of Longa, Mallabia (province of Biscay). A blacksmith by trade, he and 100 men engaged the French in guerrilla warfare, attacking the lines of communication around Pancorbo, Orduña and Valdeajos. From these humble beginnings, he subsequently became the commander of the Iberian Division. In 1813 he was appointed General, later Field Marshal and in 1825, Lieutenant-General. He died in 1831 at 48 years of age.Francisco Anchia y Urquiza (10 April 1783 – 1831) became known as Francisco de Longa because of his leadership of that village and surrounding area. He was born in Spain in the Biscay province of Longa, Mallabia and was a blacksmith before the war. Longa was first a Spanish guerilla in 1809 with a few followers. These partidas, or groups, were encouraged by the military and civil authorities. Part of the reason for this was logistical: the bands depended upon supplies from the regular forces including arms and ammunitions. Longa’s partidas attacked lines of communications. Then he formed a battalion of 700 men by 1811 as lieutenant colonel, and he ascended to the command of the Iberian Division by 1812 as colonel. He and his forces fought in the Cantabrian mountains for four years and were familiar with the terrain, which served Wellington’s campaign well. He became commander of the Spanish Fourth Army, was made a brigadier general by 1814, lieutenant general by 1815, and then later a field marshal. Longa supported Wellington’s Anglo-Portuguese campaign of 1813. At the Battle of Vitoria, Longa’s division was part of Sir Thomas Graham’s column that ran through the mountains that were to the north. Their mission was designed to prevent the French forces from retreating east from Vitoria and they were directed to not be decisively engaged before the other columns. They faced the French Army of Portugal that had the mission of protecting the French lines of communication. They fought in the eastern area of Gammarra Mayor and sustained the highest casualties; it was named “Gomorrah” because of the nature of devastation of the battle. Longa’s forces were able to cut the main French retreat route. Longa’s support aided the allied forces under Wellington to victory. Longa’s guerilla forces were able to aide in depriving the French forces from intelligence and instead provide intelligence of French locations to Wellington’s allied forces. Longa also achieved disruption: French internal coordination and logistics were hampered, negatively affecting both the discipline and morale of the French forces. The major achievements of the Battle of Vitoria were a greater French casualty rate than the allied forces (approximately 8,000 to 5,000 respectively) and capture of 151 of 153 French cannons and 415 French caissons (ammunition chests). Some argue that without forces like Longa’s guerillas, the French forces would not have been defeated. Within the next month, most French forces left Spain and French rule was practically ended.

George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale

Field Marshal George Hay, 8th Marquess of Tweeddale (1 February 1787 – 10 October 1876) was a Scottish soldier and administrator. He served as a staff officer in the Peninsular War under Arthur Wellesley and was with Wellesley at the Second Battle of Porto when they crossed the Douro river and routed Marshal Soult's French troops in Porto. Hay also saw action at the Battle of Bussaco and at the Battle of Vitoria. He later served in the War of 1812 and commanded the 100th Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Chippawa when he was taken prisoner of war. He went on to become Governor of Madras and, at the same time, Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army, in which role he restored the discipline of the army, which had been allowed to fall into a relaxed state.

Henry Hanmer

Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Hanmer, KH (23 January 1789 – 2 February 1868) was an English Tory politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1831 to 1837.

Hanmer was the fifth son of Sir Thomas Hanmer, 2nd Baronet of Hanmer, Bettisfield Park in Flintshire, and his wife Margaret Kenyon daughter of George Kenyon of Peel Hall Leicestershire. He was educated at Rugby School and Peterhouse, Cambridge. He became a cornet in the Royal Horse Guards in 1808 and in 1813 was Aide-de-camp to Sir Rowland Hill at Pampeluna and at the Battle of Vitoria. He reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He was a J.P. and Deputy Lieutenant for Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire.

At the 1831 general election Hanmer was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Westbury, but resigned the seat shortly afterwards. After the parliamentary reform, he was elected at the 1832 general election as MP for Aylesbury, and held the seat until he retired in 1837. In 1854 Hanmer became High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire.Hanmer died at the age of 79. He had married Sarah Serra Ximenes, daughter of Sir Morris Ximenes of Bear Place, Berkshire. They lived at Stockgrove Park, Leighton Buzzard.

Honoré Charles Reille

Honoré Charles Michel Joseph Reille (French: [ʁɛj]; 1 September 1775 – 4 March 1860) was a Marshal of France, born in Antibes.

Reille served in the early campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars under Dumouriez and Masséna, whose daughter Victoire he married. In 1800, Reille was appointed commander of the Italian city of Florence. Promoted to general de brigade in 1803, he commanded the allied troops of Württemberg during the War of the Third Coalition in 1805. He served in the battles of Jena, Pułtusk and Ostrolenka and served as aide-de-camp to Napoléon at Friedland.

In 1808 Reille partook in the campaign in Spain, the next year he participated in the battles of Aspern and Wagram. After Wagram, he was sent back to Spain, where until 1812 he commanded in Navarre and Aragon. By 1813 he was given command of the Army of Portugal which he commanded in the Battle of Vitoria but was defeated.

After the fall of Napoléon in 1814, the Bourbons made Reille inspector-general of the 14th and 15th Infantry Divisions. During the Hundred Days, he rallied to Napoléon and was given command of II Corps, which he led in the battles of Quatre Bras and Waterloo.

In 1819 he was made a Peer, in 1847 he was made a Marshal of France and in 1852 he was made a Senator. Reille died in 1860 in Paris and was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery, in the same tomb as his father-in-law Masséna.His son, René Reille (1835–1898), was a soldier, industrialist and politician who served for many years in the national Chamber of Deputies.

Jacques Thomas Sarrut

Jacques Thomas Sarrut (16 August 1765 – 26 June 1813) joined the French army and became a division commander in the First French Empire of Napoleon. He led a regiment at Hohenlinden, a brigade at Jena, Bussaco, and Fuentes de Onoro, and a division at Salamanca. He was mortally wounded while leading his soldiers against the Anglo-Allied army at the Battle of Vitoria. Sarrut is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe on Column 21.

John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford

Field Marshal John Byng, 1st Earl of Strafford (1772 – 3 June 1860), of 6 Portman Square, London, of Ballaghy, Londonderry and latterly of Wrotham Park in Middlesex (now Hertfordshire), and of 5, St James's Square, London, was a British Army officer and politician. After serving as a junior officer during the French Revolutionary Wars and Irish Rebellion of 1798, he became Commanding Officer of the Grenadier Battalion of the 3rd Regiment of Foot Guards during the disastrous Walcheren Campaign. He served as a brigade commander at the Battle of Vitoria and then at the Battle of Roncesvalles on 25 July 1813 when his brigade took the brunt of the French assault and held its position for three hours in the early morning before finally being forced back. During the Hundred Days he commanded the 2nd Guards Brigade at the Battle of Quatre Bras in June 1815 and again at the Battle of Waterloo later that month when light companies from his brigade played an important role in the defence of Château d'Hougoumont. He went on to be Commander-in-Chief, Ireland and, after leaving Ireland in 1831, he was elected as Whig Member of Parliament for Poole in Dorset and was one of the few military men who supported the Reform Bill, for which he was rewarded with a peerage.

John Fox Burgoyne

Field Marshal Sir John Fox Burgoyne, 1st Baronet (24 July 1782 – 7 October 1871) was a British Army officer. After taking part in the Siege of Malta during the French Revolutionary Wars, he saw action under Sir John Moore and then under the Duke of Wellington in numerous battles of the Peninsular War, including the Siege of Badajoz and the Battle of Vitoria. He served under Sir Edward Pakenham as chief engineer during the War of 1812. He went on to act as official advisor to Lord Raglan during the Crimean War advocating the Bay of Kalamita as the point of disembarkation for allied forces and recommending a Siege of Sevastopol from the south side rather than a coup de main, so consigning the allied forces to a winter in the field in 1854.

John Masey Wright

John Masey Wright (1777–1866) was an English watercolour-painter. He was apprenticed to the same business, but, as it proved distasteful to him, he was allowed to follow his natural inclination for art. As a boy he was given the opportunity of watching Thomas Stothard when at work in his studio, but otherwise he was self-taught. About 1810 Wright became associated with Henry Aston Barker, for whose panorama in the Strand he did much excellent work, including the battles of Coruña, Vittoria, and Waterloo.

He was also employed for a time as a scene-painter at the opera-house. But his reputation rests upon his small compositions illustrating Shakespeare and other poets, which were extremely numerous and executed with admirable taste and feeling in the manner of Stothard. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1812 to 1818, and in 1824 was elected an associate of the Watercolour Society; he became a full member in 1825, and thenceforward to the end of his long life was a regular exhibitor. His drawings were largely engraved for the ‘Literary Souvenir,’ ‘Amulet,’ ‘Forget-me-not,’ and similar publications; also for fine editions of the works of Sir Walter Scott and Burns, and for the ‘Gallery of Modern British Artists.’ Plates from his Battle of Vitoria’ and ‘The Ghost, a Christmas Frolic,’ appeared in 1814, and ‘Devotion,’ a subject from Boccaccio, was engraved by Charles Heath in 1833. Though extremely industrious, Wright was poorly remunerated for his work, and during his later years received a small pension from the Watercolour Society.

Light Division (United Kingdom)

The Light Division was a light infantry division of the British Army. Its origins lay in "Light Companies" formed during the late 18th century, to move at speed over inhospitable terrain and protect a main force with skirmishing tactics. These units took advantage of then-new technology in the form of rifles, which allowed it to emphasise marksmanship, and were aimed primarily at disrupting and harassing enemy forces, in skirmishes before the main forces clashed.

Formed in 1803, during the Napoleonic Wars, the Light Division was raised thrice thereafter: during the Crimean War, the First World War and from 1968 to 2007. Some light infantry units remained outside the Light Division.

List of French general officers (Peninsular War)

The following list of French general officers (Peninsular War) lists the générals (général de brigade and général de division) and maréchals d'Empire, that is, the French general officers who served in the First French Empire's Grande Armée in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular War (1808–1814). The rank given refers to the ones held until 1814. The list includes foreign nationals who fought in French military units.


The Panharmonicon was a musical instrument invented in 1805 by Johann Nepomuk Mälzel, a contemporary and friend of Beethoven. Beethoven apparently composed his piece "Wellington's Victory" (Op. 91) to be played on this behemoth mechanical orchestral organ to commemorate Arthur Wellesley's victory over the French at the Battle of Vitoria in 1813. It was one of the first automatic playing machines, similar to the later Orchestrion.

The Panharmonicon could imitate all instruments and sound effects like gunfire and cannon shots. One instrument was destroyed in the Landesgewerbemuseum in Stuttgart during an air raid in World War II.

Friedrich Kaufmann copied this automatic playing machine in 1808 and his family produced Orchestrions from that time on.One of Mälzel's Panharmonicons was sent to Boston 1811 and was exhibited there and then in New York City and other cities.

Mälzel also was on tour with interruptions with this instrument in the USA from February 7, 1826 until his death in 1838.

In 1817 Flight & Robson in London built a similar automatic instrument called Apollonicon.

In 1821 Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel copied some features of the Panharmonicon in Amsterdam for his instrument the Componium, which was also capable of aleatoric composition.

In 1823 William M. Goodrich copied Mälzel's Panharmonicon in Boston, MA.


Vitoria-Gasteiz (; Spanish: [biˈtoɾja]; Basque: [ɡas̺teis̻]) is the seat of government and the capital city of the Basque Country and of the province of Araba/Álava in northern Spain. It holds the autonomous community's House of Parliament, the headquarters of the Government, and the Lehendakari's (Prime Minister's) official residency. The municipality — which comprises not only the city but also the mainly agricultural lands of 63 villages around — is the largest in the Basque Country, with a total area of 276.81 km2 (106.88 sq mi), and it has a population of 242,082 people (2014). The dwellers of Vitoria-Gasteiz are called vitorianos or gasteiztarrak, while traditionally they are dubbed babazorros (Basque for 'bean sacks').

Vitoria-Gasteiz is a multicultural city with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, healthcare, architectural conservation, aeronautics, vehicle industry, oenology and gastronomy. It is the first Spanish municipality to be awarded the title of European Green Capital (in 2012) and it is consistently ranked as one of the 5 best places to live in Spain. The old town holds some of the best preserved medieval streets and plazas in the region and it is one of very few cities to hold two Cathedrals. The city also holds well known festivals such as the Azkena rock festival, FesTVal, Vitoria-Gasteiz jazz festival, and the Virgen Blanca Festivities.

Vitoria-Gasteiz's vicinity is home to world-renowned wineries such as Ysios (by Santiago Calatrava) and the Marqués de Riscal Hotel (by Frank Gehry); relevant heritage sites including the Neolithic remains of Aizkomendi, Sorginetxe and La chabola de la Hechicera; Iron Age remains such as the settlements of Lastra and Buradón; antique remains such as the settlement of La Hoya and the salt valley of Añana; and countless medieval fortresses such as the Tower of Mendoza and the Tower of Varona.

Beethoven dedicated his Opus 91, often called the "Battle of Vitoria" or "Wellington's Victory", to one of the most famous events of the Napoleonic Wars: the Battle of Vitoria, in which a Spanish, Portuguese and British army under the command of General the Marquess of Wellington broke the French army and nearly captured the puppet king Joseph Bonaparte. It was a pivotal point in the Peninsular War, and a precursor to the expulsion of the French from Spain. A memorial statue can be seen today in Virgen Blanca Square.

Wellington's Victory

Wellington's Victory, or, the Battle of Vitoria (Wellingtons Sieg oder die Schlacht bei Vittoria), Op. 91, is a minor 15-minute-long orchestral work composed by Ludwig van Beethoven to commemorate the Duke of Wellington's victory over Joseph Bonaparte at the Battle of Vitoria in Spain on 21 June 1813. It is known sometimes as "The Battle Symphony" or "The Battle of Vitoria", and was dedicated to the Prince Regent, later King George IV. Composition stretched from August to first week of October 1813, and the piece proved to be a substantial moneymaker for Beethoven.

Peninsular War
Vitoria and the Pyrenees, 1813–1814

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