With 16,000 or 17,000 men, including nearly 3,500 cavalry, Dupont ought to have been able to contain Casta?os, if not to beat him. The proportion of his forces to those of the enemy was not much less than that which Bessières had possessed at Medina de Rio Seco. But, unfortunately for himself and his[p. 178] master, Dupont was far from possessing the boldness and the skill of the marshal. By assuming not a vigorous offensive but a timid defensive along a protracted front, he threw away his chances. The line which he had resolved to hold was that of the 杭州桑拿按摩论坛 Upper Guadalquivir, from Andujar to the next passage up the river, the ferry of Mengibar, eight miles from Baylen. This gave a front of some fifteen miles to hold: but unfortunately even when drawn out to this length the two divisions of Barbou and Vedel did not cover all the possible lines of attack which Casta?os might adopt. He might still march past them and cut them off from the defiles of the Morena, by going a little higher up the river and crossing it near Baeza and Ubeda. Dupont was wrong to take this line of defence at all: unless he was prepared to attack the army of Andalusia in the open, he should have retired to Baylen or to La Carolina, where he would have been able to cover the passes for as long as he might choose, since he could not have had either of his flanks turned.
Meanwhile he was gratified to hear that 杭州桑拿耍耍网 further reinforcements were being sent to him. Unreasonably disquieted about Andalusia, as Napoleon thought, Savary proceeded to send a third division to aid Dupont. This was Gobert’s, the second of Moncey’s corps: it started from Madrid not quite complete, and left strong detachments at the more important towns along the road through La Mancha. Though originally seventeen battalions strong, it reached the northern slope of the Sierra Morena with only ten. Savary had not intended it to go any further: he had told Dupont that it was to be used to cover his retreat, if a retreat became necessary, but not for active operations in Andalusia. But disregarding these directions Dupont commanded Gobert to cross the Morena and come down to join Vedel: this he did, bringing with him nine ‘provisional battalions’ and the second 杭州按摩披肩 provisional regiment of cuirassiers, perhaps 5,000 men in all. There were now over 20,000 French on the south side of the mountain, a force amply sufficient to deal with Casta?os and his 33,000 Andalusians [July 7]. But[p. 179] they were still widely scattered. Dupont lay at Andujar with 9,000 or 10,000 sabres and bayonets: Vedel was sixteen miles away at Baylen, with 6,000 men, of whom 2,000 under General Liger-Belair were pushed forward to the ferry of Mengibar. Gobert was at La Carolina, at the foot of the passes, with five battalions about him, and a sixth encamped on the summit of the defile. He had sent forward the remainder of his division (the four battalions of the sixth provisional regiment, and half the second provisional cuirassiers) to join Dupont at Andujar, so that he had not more than 2,800 bayonets and 350 cavalry with him.
Casta?os, meanwhile, had brought up his whole army, with the exception of the flying corps of Cruz-Murgeon, to a line close in front of Andujar: the heads of his columns were at Arjona and Arjonilla, only five miles from Dupont. On July 11 the Spanish generals held a council of war at Porcu?a, and drew out their plan of operations. Since the enemy seemed to be still quiescent, they resolved to attack him in his chosen position behind the river. Casta?os, in person—with the divisions of Jones and La Pe?a, 12,000 strong—undertook to keep Dupont employed, by delivering an attack on Andujar, which he did not intend to press home unless he got good news from his second and third columns. Meanwhile, six miles up the river, Coupigny with the second division, nearly 8,000 strong, was to attempt to cross the Guadalquivir by the ford of Villa Nueva. Lastly, Reding with the first division, the best and most numerous of the whole army, 10,000 strong, was to seize the ferry of Mengibar and march on Baylen. Here he was to be joined by Coupigny, and the two corps were then to fall upon the rear of Dupont’s position at Andujar, while Casta?os was besetting it in front. It was their aim to surround and capture the whole of the French division, if its general did not move away before the encircling movement was complete. Meanwhile the flying column of Cruz-Murgeon, about 3,000 strong, was to cross the Guadalquivir below Andujar, throw itself into the mountains in the north, and join hands with Reding and Coupigny behind the back of Dupont.
This plan, though ultimately crowned with success, was perilous in the highest degree. But Casta?os had seriously underestimated the total force of Dupont, as well as misconceived his exact position. He was under the impression that the main body of the French, which he did not calculate at more than 12,000 or 14,000 men,[p. 180] was concentrated at Andujar, and that there were nothing more than weak detachments at Mengibar, Baylen, or La Carolina. These, he imagined, could not stand before Reding, and when the latter had once got to the northern bank of the river, he would easily clear the way for Coupigny to cross. But as a matter of fact Vedel had 6,000 men at Mengibar and Baylen, with 3,000 more under Gobert within a short march of him. If the Spanish plan had been punctually carried out, Reding should have suffered a severe check at the hands of these two divisions, while Dupont could easily have dealt with Casta?os at Andujar. Coupigny, if he got across at Villa Nueva, while the divisions on each side of him were beaten off, would have been in a very compromised position, and could not have dared to push forward. But in this curious campaign the probable never happened, and everything went in the most unforeseen fashion.
On July 13 the Spanish plan began to be carried out, Reding marching for Mengibar and Coupigny for Villa Nueva. Casta?os kept quiet at Arjonilla, till his lieutenants should have reached the points which they were to attack. On the same day Dupont received the news of Moncey’s repulse before Valencia, and made up his mind that he must persevere in his defensive attitude, without making any attempt to mass his troops and fall upon the enemy in his front. Just at the moment when his enemies were putting the game into his hands, by dividing themselves into three columns separated from each other by considerable gaps, he relinquished every intention of taking advantage of their fault.
On July 14 Reding appeared in front of the ferry of Mengibar, and pushed back beyond the river the outlying pickets of Liger-Belair’s detachment. He made no further attempt to press the French, but Dupont, disquieted about an attack on this point, ordered Gobert to bring down the remains of his division to Baylen, to join Vedel. Next morning the Spaniards began to develop their whole plan: Casta?os appeared on a long front opposite Andujar, and made a great demonstration against the position of Dupont, using all his artillery and showing heads of columns at several points. Coupigny came down to the river[p. 181] at Villa Nueva, and got engaged with a detachment which was sent out from Andujar to hold the ford. Reding, making a serious attempt to push forward, crossed the Guadalquivir at Mengibar and attacked Liger-Belair. But Vedel came up to the support of his lieutenant, and when the Swiss general found, quite contrary to his expectation, a whole division deployed against him, he ceased to press his advance, and retired once more beyond the river.
Nothing decisive had yet happened: but the next day was to be far more important. The operations opened with two gross faults made by the French: Dupont had been so much impressed with the demonstration made against him by Casta?os, that he judged himself hopelessly outnumbered at Andujar, and sent to Vedel for reinforcements. He bade him send a battalion or two, or even a whole brigade, if the force that he had fought at Mengibar seemed weak and unenterprising. This was an error, for Casta?os only outnumbered the French at Andujar by two or three thousand men, and was not really to be feared. But Vedel made a worse slip: despising Reding overmuch, he marched on Baylen, not with one brigade, but with his whole division, save the original detachment of two battalions under Liger-Belair which remained to watch Mengibar. Starting at midnight, he reached Andujar at two on the afternoon of the sixteenth, to find that Casta?os had done no more than repeat his demonstration of the previous day, and had been easily held back. Cruz-Murgeon’s levies, which the Spanish general had pushed over the river below Andujar, had received a sharp repulse when they tried to molest Dupont’s flank. Coupigny had made an even feebler show than his chief at the ford of Villa Nueva, and had not passed the Guadalquivir.
But Reding, on the morning of the sixteenth, had woken up to unexpected vigour. He had forded the river near Mengibar, and fallen on Liger-Belair’s detachment for the second time. Hard pressed, the French brigadier had sent for succour to Baylen, whither Gobert had moved down when Vedel marched for Andujar. The newly arrived general came quickly to the aid of the compromised detachment, but he was very weak, for he had left a battalion at La Carolina and sent another with a squadron of cuirassiers to Li?ares, to guard against a rumoured movement of the Spaniards along the Upper Guadalquivir. He only brought with him three battalions and 200 cavalry, and this was not[p. 182] enough to contain Reding. The 4,000 men of the two French detachments were outnumbered by more than two to one; they suffered a thorough defeat, and Gobert was mortally wounded. His brigadier, Dufour, who took over the command, fell back on Baylen, eight miles to the rear. Next morning, though not pressed by Reding, he retired towards La Carolina, to prevent himself being cut off from the passes, for he
credited a false rumour that the Spaniards were detaching troops by way of Li?ares to seize the Despe?a Perros.
Dupont heard of Gobert’s defeat on the evening of the sixteenth. It deranged all his plans, for it showed him that the enemy were not massed in front of Andujar, as he supposed, but had a large force far up the river. Two courses were open to him—either to march on Baylen with his whole army in order to attack Reding, and to reopen the communications with La Carolina and the passes, or to fall upon Casta?os and the troops in his immediate front. An enterprising officer would probably have taken the latter alternative, and could not have failed of success, for the whole French army in Andalusia save the troops of Belair and Dufour was now concentrated at Andujar, and not less than 15,000 bayonets and 3,000 sabres were available for an attack on Casta?os’ 12,000 men[145
]. Even if Coupigny joined his chief, the French would have almost an equality in numbers and a great superiority in cavalry and guns. There cannot be the slightest doubt that the Spaniards[p. 183] would have suffered a defeat, and then it would have been possible to expel Reding from Baylen without any danger of interference from other quarters.
But, in a moment of evil inspiration, Dupont chose to deprive himself of the advantage of having practically his whole army concentrated on one spot, and determined to copy the error of the Spaniards by splitting his force into two equal halves. He resolved to retain his defensive position in front of Andujar, and to keep there his original force—Barbou’s infantry and Frésia’s horse. But Vedel with his own men, the four battalions from Gobert’s division which were at Andujar, and 600 cavalry, was sent off to Baylen, where he was directed to rally the beaten troops of Dufour and Liger-Belair, and then to fall upon Reding and chase him back beyond the Guadalquivir.
On the morning, therefore, of July 17 Vedel set out with some 6,000 men and marched to Baylen. Arriving there he found that Dufour had evacuated the place, and had hurried on to La Carolina, on the false hypothesis that Reding had pushed past him to seize the passes. As a matter of fact the Spaniard had done nothing of the kind: after his success at Mengibar, he had simply retired to his camp by the river, and given his men twenty-four hours’ rest. It was a strange way to employ the day after a victory—but his quiescence chanced to have the most fortunate[p. 184] effect. Vedel, on hearing that Dufour had hastened away to defend La Carolina and the passes, resolved to follow him. He was so inexcusably negligent that he did not even send a cavalry reconnaissance towards Mengibar, to find out whether any Spanish force remained there. Had he done so, he would have found Reding’s whole division enjoying their well-earned siesta! In the direction of La Carolina and the passes there was no enemy save a small flanking column of 1,800 raw levies under the Count of Valdeca?as, which lay somewhere near Li?ares.
Map of the battle of Baylen
Enlarge Battle of Baylen July 19, 1808, at the moment of Dupont’s third attack.
Map of Andalusia
Enlarge Part of Andalusia, between Andujar and the Passes. July 19, 1808.
On the night of the seventeenth, Vedel and his men, tired out by a long march of over twenty miles, slept at Guarroman, halfway between Baylen and La Carolina. Dufour and Liger-Belair had reached the last-named place and Santa Elena, and had found no Spaniards near them. On the morning of the eighteenth Vedel followed them, and united his troops to theirs. He had then some 10,000 or 11,000 men concentrated in and about La Carolina, with one single battalion left at Guarroman to keep up his touch with Dupont. The latter had been entirely deceived by the false news which Vedel had sent him from Baylen—to the effect that Reding and his corps had marched for the passes, in order to cut the French communications with Madrid. Believing the story, he forwarded to his subordinate an approval of his disastrous movement, and bade him ‘instantly attack and crush the Spanish force before him, and after disposing of it return as quickly as possible to Andujar, to deal with the troops of the enemy in that direction.’ Unfortunately, as we have seen, there was no Spanish corps at all in front of Vedel; but by the time that he discovered the fact it was too late for him to rejoin Dupont without a battle. His[p. 185] troops were 杭州爱情故事spa飞机 tired out with two night marches: there were no supplies of food to be got anywhere but at La Carolina, and he decided that he must halt for at least twelve hours before returning to join Dupont.
Meanwhile, on the morning of the eighteenth, Reding’s 9,500 men, of whom 750 were cavalry, had been joined by Coupigny and the second Andalusian division, which amounted to 7,300 foot and 500 horse. Advancing from Mengibar to attack Baylen, they found to their surprise that the place was unoccupied: Vedel’s rearguard had left it on the previous afternoon. Reding intended to march on Andujar from the rear on the next day, being under the full belief that Vedel was still with Dupont, and that the troops which had retired on La Carolina were only the fragments of Gobert’s force. For Casta?os and his colleagues had drawn up their plan of 杭州品茶西湖 operations on the hypothesis that the enemy were still concentrated at Andujar.
Reding therefore, with some 17,000 men, encamped in and about Baylen, intending to start at daybreak on July 19, and to fall on Dupont from behind, while his chief assailed him in front. But already before the sun was up, musket-shots from his pickets to the west announced that the French were approaching from that direction. It was with the head and not with the rear of Dupont’s column that Casta?os’ first and second divisions were to be engaged, for the enemy had evacuated Andujar, and was in full march for Baylen.
On the night of the seventeenth Dupont had received the news that Vedel had evacuated Baylen and gone off to the north-east, so that a gap of thirty miles or more now separated him from his lieutenant. He had at first been pleased 杭州丝袜美女 with the move, as we have seen: but presently he gathered, from the fact that Casta?os did not press him, but only assailed him with a distant and ineffective cannonade, that the main stress of the campaign was not at Andujar but elsewhere. The Spanish army was shifting[p. 186] itself eastward, and he therefore resolved that he must do the same, though he would have to abandon his cherished offensive position, his entrenchments, and such part of his supplies as he could not carry with him. Having made up his mind to depart, Dupont would have done wisely to start at once: if he had gone off early on the morning of the eighteenth, he would have found Reding and Coupigny not established in position at Baylen, but only just approaching from the south. Probably he might have brushed by their front, or even have given them a serious 杭州男士养生会所 check, if he had fallen on them without hesitation.
But two considerations induced the French general to wait for the darkness, and to waste fourteen invaluable hours at Andujar. The first was that he hoped by moving at night to escape the notice of Casta?os, who might have attacked him if his retreat was open and undisguised. The second was that he wished to carry off his heavy baggage train: not only had he between 600 and 800 sick to load on his wagons, but there was an enormous mass of other impedimenta, mainly consisting of the plunder of Cordova. French and Spanish witnesses unite in stating that the interminable file of 500 vehicles which clogged Dupont’s march was to a very great extent laden with stolen goods. And it was the officers rather than the men who were responsible for this mass of slow-moving 杭州按摩店有服务吗 transport.