battle of San Marcial took place 31 of August of 1813 . The Fourth Spanish Army (of Galicia ), under the command of general Freire, made back down to the troops of marshal Soult, that had undertaken offensive against the allied army Hispanic-luso-Briton who directed Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington .

Antecedents

Wellington approached San Sebastián after the triumph allied in Batalla de Vitoria and put site to the city, occupied by the French, in the month of 1813 July, looking for to render that important fortress. At the same time, after its defeat, the French army retired towards the east, trying to recover and to take care of the wounded of the battle of Vitoria. San Sebastián and Pamplona were placed to flanks of the forces of Wellington, keeping the accesses to the French border and, therefore they had to be taken before the allies tried to go into in Gallic territory. Nevertheless, the assault against San Sebastián demonstrated that Wellington had badly judged the determination of the French trimming and the one of its commander, the general King, since the British attacks were repulsed with serious losses, as the 600 died entered in the attack of day 21 of July. Before Wellington could reframe its actions, it had the news that Soult had regrouped its forces and reappeared from the east, enough before which Wellesley had believed possible, so that it leaves from the allied army raised the siege of San Sebastián to face the French marshal.

While Wellington faced Soult in campaign of the Pyrenees, general Graham maintained the blockade of San Sebastián and it was prepared to begin new siege the 26 of August. For it, was constructed to a line of slight Fortifications to take shelter against the assaults of Soult, whereas an important line of defense in the borders settled down Bidasoa River . The force of the divisions was increased anglian-Portuguese in Side, Lesaca and mainly Irún, with the inclusion of Spanish forces of the Spanish divisions 3.ª on the heights of San Marcial, that dominated the city of Irún, as well as two brigades of 4.ª division in reserve (that comprised of the Fourth Spanish Army directed by general Freire).

After four weeks of recovery, Soult was preparation an offensive towards San Sebastián, concentrating its nine divisions in Ainhoa, locality of the French Basque Country, to little distance of the border, for an attack on the environs of San Marcial. Neither the French forces nor the Spaniards had the moral in perfect state battle; the French were demoralized by recent retirements; whereas poorly equipped troops of Freire, provision difficulties, they had not enjoyed his complete rations in several days. Behind them, the allied armies were bottled in the terrible combats by San Sebastián, whom to them wounded ones in the day of the 31 of August would only cost 2,376 dead or.

Battle

The French plan was simple. With three divisions it had to frontally attack the region of San Marcial, mientra that other four attacked Side of Bidasoa in a movement that it tried to win the Spanish troops of Irún and to lay the way of Oyarzun to alleviate therefore the situation of the trimming of San Sebastián.

Surrounded by the morning fog, seven French divisions marched towards the Bidasoa 31 August, overcoming the river covered by the fire with his Artillery . The positions allied in Vera and Irún were surprised and exceeded, but not without first to alert to Freire, that it directed to his troops forming a line in the heights. The imperial columns lost their order when they ascended on the difficult land, reaching the lines of Freire like a confused mass. The Spaniards received to them with fire and, advancing against them to shut up bayonet, they coiled the men of Soult down, pushing to them lateral.

Soult put together the units to midnight and prepared troops of refreshment for a second assault on hills, but the Spanish line of bayonets stayed signs against this final assault, beating again to the French. Impotent before the successive ones retired of its men in Bidasoa River, Soult ordered retirement towards Irún . San Sebastián fell after a monumental one battles that same day, being sacked and being set afire by the angloportugueses, and Soult retired for French ground.

Consequences

The battle of San Marcial was very bloody. Between died and wounded, there were 1,658 losses in the Spanish army. The French suffered still more, whereas English and Portuguese as soon as they had losses. Beyond the losses, the day of San Marcial supposed the end of the French occupation of Vascongadas and Navarre, and the aim of the unique frightful force of Soult, that " never it would already fight with the customary ability and celo". The victory of San Marcial appears between the triumphs most shining of the Spanish army in the war.
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