Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chapter 3: Marshall Soult Presses His Advantage

Date: 17 February to 1 March1809
Location: Northwest Iberia:
Situation: Soult's French II Corps Continues To Move South
Purpose: Fictional campaign novel adapted from actual historical events.

Recommendation: See previous Chapter 2: Battle of the Rio Minho

After the January 17th embarkation of the British Contingent from Coruna, Spain, Soult's II Corps rested from the battle of the 16th there. Ten days later it marched southwest to Santiago and Vigo Galiza. From the latter, Soult's 1st Division continued south unknown along the coast road while the 2nd Division marched southeast then south protecting the inland flank. Both were headed for Oporto to secure the vital harbor.

The only British force then in Portugal was in Lisbon commanded by Major General Pettygree. Learning Soult was heading south, he gathered all units he could muster and force marched north. On February 16th. a battle held Soult's 2nd division at bay in the hilly region southeast of Vigo Galiza.

And Now
From the Journal of Major General Pettygree

"Word came that half of Soult's II Corps had crossed the Rio Minio southwest of Vigo Galiza whilst the battle of the 16th raged. Our left flank was turned. Therefore, I ordered a march to Braga and Oporto the next day. It would be a race to block Soult's 1st Division from crossing the western bridge over the Rio Este north of Oporto. If Soult reached Oporto first, we would be cut off from Lisbon."

"Upon arrival in Braga, scouts reported Soult's 1st. Division with attached cavalry would indeed arrive at Oporto before us. Additionally, the French 2nd. Division was following tardily behind us. Rather than press on, we turned eastward from Braga to avoid a trap. At Vidago we pivoted southwest crossing the Rio Duero below Vila Real. On March 1st we rested at Viseu where...."

"That afternoon I was surprised to receive a dispatch from Brigadier Kinch whom I had left commanding in Lisbon. His dispatch read."

"The dispatch rider was returned to Aviero advising Brigadier Kinch to hold until relieved or if severely pressed to retire southwards. Meanwhile, we would force march to him with our whole force. My hope was to catch the French in the flank and drive them back over the Rio Duero before that third division's weight could sorely inconvenience us. I also hoped Soult's 2nd. Division continued its slow promenade in pursuit of me."

At Viseu:

5th Foot (BP): 68
9th Foot (BP): 87
60th Rifles (JP): 35
83rd Foot (JP): 80
94th Foot (JP): 71
95 Rifles (BP): 16
Cacadores (BP): 11

7th Hussars (BP): 6
15th Hussars (BP): 20
16th Lt. Dragoons (BP): 22
KGL Hussars (JP): 24

Royal Horse Arty: 32 + 6x Pdrs. (JP)
Royal Arty: 10 + 2x 9 Pdrs. (JP)
Arty Train: 24 (JP)

In Lisbon
Royal Marines (BP): 32

Brigadier Kinch: Infantry 240 + Cavalry 49
3rd. Dragoon Guards (BP): 13 (Reinforcements from Lisbon - newly painted)
5th Foot (BP): 8 (Replacements from Lisbon - newly painted)

90 Rifles (CB): 12 (Reinforcements from Lisbon)

7th Fusiliers (JM): 80 (Reinforcements from Lisbon - newly painted)
95th Rifles (JM): 40 (Reinforcements from Lisbon - newly painted)
52nd. Lt. Inf. (JM): 100 (Reinforcements from Lisbon - newly painted)
1st. KGL Hussars (JM): 12 (Reinforcements from Lisbon - newly painted)
3rd Dragoon Guards (JM):  24  (Reinforcements from Lisbon - newly painted)
3x 5.5" howitzers (JM):12 crew  (Reinforcements from Lisbon - newly painted)

In Hospital
No one.


1st Division + Lorge's Cavalry Brigade 
Approaching Kinch:

Infanterie (BP+JP): 792
+ Replacements (CB): 24 + (RO) 12

1st Chasseurs: 12
7th Chasseurs: 15
?? Chasseurs (CB): 20
20th Dragoons: 40
Cuirassiers (RO): 12

4x 8 Pdrs: 20
2x 5.5" Howitzers: 10

2nd Division + LaHoussaye's Cavalry Brigade 
Following Pettygree:

Infanterie (BP+JP): 738


1st Chasseurs: 10
7th Chasseurs: 13
12th Chasseurs: 17
Vistula Lancers: 20
20th Dragoons: 40

4x 8 Pdrs: 20
2x 5.5" Howitzers: 10

In Hospital
No one.

1) August 3, 2013 is our next campaign battle. Kinch will hold as Soult's 1st Division preceded by Lorge's Brigade of Cavalry advance upon him. The French are aware Pettygree will arrive very soon and must adjust to counter his advance.

2) Pettygree's Contingent and the French 2nd. Div. fought previously. Their numbers have been adjusted.

4-5 British Players
1. Jim P. (Bring your French and Brits.)
2. John M. (Bring your Brits.)
3. Bill P.
4. Derrick N. 
5. Open slot for one person

5 French Players
6. Curt B. (Bring your French + Brits.)
7. Chris K.
8. Mike H.
9. Chuck L.
10. Rob O. (Bring your French)
Comments welcome.