He participated in the Great Siege of Gibraltar (1779 – 1783), the Russo-Turkish War, for which Catherine the Great awarded him the Cross of Saint George in 1789, and the War of the Pyrenees (1793–95).
In 1797, as engineer general, he proposed the unification of the four different sections of the Spanish army's military engineers under one command. His proposal led to the formation of the Regimiento Real de Zapadores-Minadores (1802), which in turn led to the formation of Spain's Royal Corps of Engineers (1803).
- Reinhartz, Dennis and Gerald D. Saxon (eds.) (2005) Mapping and Empire, p. 61. University of Texas Press At Google Books. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- On-line gallery: "General José de Urrutia" Museo del Prado. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
- Beerman, Eric (1993) (Spanish) "¿Quién era el General Urrutia que Goya retrató?" in Revista Complutense de Historia de América, pp. 195–208. Vol. 19 (1993) Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
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