Spanish Battle Tour
just completed an exhausting retreat through appalling cold,
the British army arrived at Corunna just ahead of the pursuing
French under Marshal Soult.
than 5000 British had died during the cruel march and while
discipline had been strained to breaking point, the need
to hold the French off while the troops were evacuated by
ship to England brought the professionalism back.
Led by Sir John Moore, the redcoats
formed a series of defensive lines with the key position
being the small village of Elvina.
point was targeted by Soult and, following a lengthy bombardment,
he sent in a heavy attack against the defending 42 and 50th
battle for the village was ferocious and it took several
hours for the British to drive off the attackers.
An attempt by French cavalry to outflank the British right
was defeated by sharpshooting riflemen of the 95th.
A more direct assault on the centre of the defenders was
also driven off and, as night fell, the British returned
to evacuating the troops.
cost to the British included some 900 men and the death
of Sir John Moore, while the French suffered some 2000 casualties.
evacuation, however, was a complete success and led to some
27,000 men being saved to fight another day.