10 April 1814
last major battle of the Peninsular
War was fought over the important southern French city
of Toulouse and - like many of the Duke
of Wellington's attacks on fortified strongholds - proved
a bloody affair.
was also an unnecessary battle as Napoleon
Bonaparte had abdicated four days earlier.
the protagonists Wellington and Marshal
Soult were not to know of the end of the war and so
went about their duties. The former to push further into
France, and the latter to hold the British at bay.
had some 42,000 men to defend Toulouse and he had organised
them well in tough-to-crack positions. Wellington led just
under 50,000 soldiers, a fifth of them Spanish.
main British battle plan was to take the heights overlooking
the city from the east and make the defenders' position
do this Marshal William
Beresford was given the unenviable task of moving against
the heights under heavy enemy fire for two miles (3 km).
General Rowland Hill would
attack the western suburbs in a diversionary assault.
attack did not run smoothly as mud initially delayed his
force and then severely hampered his troops' ability to
progress up the steep slope of the eastern ridge.
were repelled by the defenders, but a second attack - followed
by desperate fighting - managed to force the French from
then ordered guns dragged to the heights, an operation that
was difficult in the extreme, but one that eventually forced
Soult to withdraw his army.
did so having given the Allies another hard fight.
casualties were 3200 men, while Wellington lost 4500 dead