Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros
|Battle of Espinoza|
|Part of the Peninsular War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Claude Victor||Joaquín Blake, Pedro Caro|
|Casualties and losses|
|1,200 dead or wounded||3,000 dead, wounded, or captured|
The Battle of Espinosa de los Monteros was a battle of the Napoleonic Wars, fought on 10 and 11 November 1808 at the township of Espinosa de los Monteros in the Cantabrian Mountains. It resulted in a French victory under General Victor against Lieutenant General Joaquín Blake's Army of Galicia.
On the first day of the battle, Victor, seeking an easy victory to erase his humiliation at Valmaseda, launched a series of ill-advised attacks that were thrown back with heavy losses by the disciplined regulars of General La Romana's Division of the North. By nightfall, Blake's positions still held. On the morning of 11 November, Victor regained his composure and coordinated a massive French attack that pierced Blake's left wing and drove the Spaniards from the field. The French captured a healthy total of 30 guns and 30 standards.
Although not a decisive defeat in itself, the hopeless confusion of the tattered and weary Spanish army, which had neither a government nor a military command structure to coordinate it, meant that Espinosa marked the deathblow to Blake's Army of Galicia. Blake, to his credit, led his remaining men through an heroic retreat west through the mountains, escaping, to Napoleon's disbelief, Soult's pursuit. However, when he arrived at León on 23 November, only 10,000 men remained under his banner.
In popular culture
- The Gun, by C. S. Forester (author of the Horatio Hornblower series), begins with the Spanish retreat from Espinoza.