3 January, 1809

Spanish Battle Tour Guides

On the appalling retreat to Corunna, Sir John Moore's increasingly indisciplined army was harried by the advancing French.

Moore decided to hold the French off at the Cacabelos bridge over the River Coa - some three kilometres before Villafranca - and sent the rest of the army to its well-provisioned storehouses.

Unfortunately, as soon as it reached the town, the main British army looted all the liquor it could find and order disintegrated.

Back at the bridge Moore found his men under extreme pressure from General Baron Auguste Colbert and a large number of dragoons.

A wager over who could shoot the French commander was taken and a 95th rifleman, Thomas Plunkett, lay on his back and shot the general through the head.

Seeing their leader killed, the French withdrew allowing Moore to move into Villafranca where he was appalled by the drunken goings on.

Even the execution of one offender failed to do more than temporarily halt the debauchery and the retreat towards Corunna lurched on.





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