1 September, 1813
7 October, 1813

The initial battle for the bridge over the Bidassoa at Vera was fought on 1 September as General Dominique Vandamme tried to force his way back to the main French force.

At the head of some 10,000 soldiers, Vandamme attempted to overwhelm the understrength company of 95th Rifles guarding the span.

The 70 British troops fought one of the most spectacular actions of the entire war, stopping many French assaults with deadly accurate fire.

The captain in charge of the detachment, Daniel Cadoux, was refused reinforcements and in fact ordered to quit the post.

Knowing how important the bridge was, Cadoux decided against withdrawal and fought on through the night, only giving ground when ammunition had run out. Up to that point, he had suffered only two casualties, but during the pullout almost every rifleman was wounded. Cadoux himself was killed.

Vandamme's men then crossed the river, leaving behind their baggage and artillery.

The second battle around Vera came just over a month later on 7 October when the British attacked key forst and high ground controlling the local area.

The first target was the Star Fort, which only fell after a brutal see-sawing encounter, and the pursuit of the French led to the taking of the next important plateau.

When the position known as the Hog's Back was captured the French found the area almost impossible to hold and withdrew, leaving behind 1300 casualties - almost a third of their inital force.

The British suffered 850 killed and wounded, but a key piece of France's defences had been unlocked.




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