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Siege of Pamplona (1813)
Part of Peninsular War
Baluarte de Redín3.JPG
Part of the Pamplona fortress.
Date26 June to 31 October 1813
LocationPamplona, Spain
Result Spanish victory
France First French Empire Spain Kingdom of Spain
Commanders and leaders
France Louis Cassan Spain Enrique José O'Donnell
over 3,000, 80 guns 10,000 to 14,000
Casualties and losses
3,450 2,000

In the Siege of Pamplona (26 June–31 October 1813) a Spanish army led by Captain General Henry (Enrique José) O'Donnell laid siege to an Imperial French garrison under the command of General of Brigade Louis Pierre Jean Cassan. In late July 1813, Marshal Nicolas Soult attempted to relieve the city but his operation failed in the Battle of the Pyrenees. After the French troops in the city were reduced to starvation, Cassan surrendered to the Spanish. Pamplona is located on the Arga River in the province of Navarre in northern Spain. The siege occurred during the Peninsular War, part of the Napoleonic Wars.

Siege[edit | edit source]

Arthur Wellesley, Marquess Wellington drove the French from northern Spain by his decisive victory at the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June 1813. When the French Army of the North withdrew over the Pyrenees, its commander General of Division Bertrand Clausel left a garrison of about 3,000 men and 80 pieces of heavy artillery in the fortified city of Pamplona. This force, under the leadership of Louis Pierre Jean Aphrodise Cassan, was later increased somewhat by numbers of straggling and sick soldiers.[1] A Spanish army under Enrique José O'Donnell invested the city.[2] In the Vitoria campaign in June, O'Donnell's 14,183-strong Army of the Reserve of Andalusia consisted of two divisions of infantry under Generals Creagh and Echevarri and a brigade of cavalry led by General Barcena. Creagh had 6,454 men in seven battalions, Echevarri commanded 6,617 soldiers in seven battalions, Barcena led 828 troopers in two regiments, and there were 284 artillerists.[3]

Surrender[edit | edit source]

Before O'Donnell's blockade tightened, Cassan's troops were able to mount sorties to obtain food. In October, after Cassan's starving troops ate all the dogs and rats they could catch, the French general proposed blowing up the citadel before surrendering. Wellington got wind of this plan and promised to shoot Cassan, all his officers, and one-tenth of the rank and file if it were carried out. At this suggestion, Cassan capitulated on 31 October.[4] Historian Digby Smith gave French losses as 500 killed, 800 wounded, and 2,150 captured. The Spanish army counted 2,000 casualties out of 10,000 troops engaged. Smith named General Prince Don Carlos de Borbon as the Spanish commander.[5]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Gates (2002), 439
  2. Gates (2002), 410, 413
  3. Gates (2002), 521
  4. Gates (2002), 439-440
  5. Smith (1998), 475. Prince Carlos was supposedly under house arrest in France until 1814.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Gates, David (2002). The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War. London: Pimlico. ISBN 0-7126-9730-6. 
  • Smith, Digby (1998). The Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill. ISBN 1-85367-276-9. 

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