British tactical victory[a]
French attack repulsed
Majority of British army successfully evacuated from Galicia
Commanders and leaders
John Moore (DOW)
9 to 12 guns
Casualties and losses
137 killed, 497 wounded 
1400 killed and wounded, 163 captured  Martinien's record of
officer casualties consistent with this.
Peninsular War Napoleon's campaign, 1808–1809
Molins de Rey
Battle of Corunna
Battle of Corunna (or A Coruña, La Corunna, La Coruña, Elviña
or La Corogne) took place on 16 January 1809, when a French corps
Marshal of the Empire
Marshal of the Empire
Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult
Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult attacked a
British army under
Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. The battle took
place amidst the Peninsular War, which was a part of the wider
Napoleonic Wars. It was a result of a French campaign, led by
Napoleon, which had defeated the Spanish armies and caused the British
army to withdraw to the coast following an unsuccessful attempt by
Moore to attack Soult's corps and divert the French army.
Doggedly pursued by the French under Soult, the British made a retreat
across northern Spain while their rearguard fought off repeated French
attacks. Both armies suffered extremely from the harsh winter
conditions. Much of the British army, excluding the elite Light
Brigade under Robert Craufurd, suffered from a loss of order and
discipline during the retreat. When the British eventually reached the
port of Corunna on the northern coast of Galicia in Spain, a few days
ahead of the French, they found their transport ships had not arrived.
The fleet arrived after a couple of days and the British were in the
midst of embarking when the French forces reached them. They forced
the British to fight another battle before being able to depart for
In the resulting action, the British repulsed the French assault and
completed their embarkation. They saved their army from destruction.
But the port cities of Corunna and Ferrol, as well as northern Spain,
were captured and occupied by the French. During the battle, Sir John
Moore, the British commander, was mortally wounded, dying after
learning that his men had repulsed the French attacks.
2.1 Retreat to Corunna
2.2 Arrival of the armies before Corunna
8 Further reading
Sir John Moore, the British commander
In early October 1808, following the scandal in Britain over the
Convention of Sintra
Convention of Sintra and the recall of the generals Dalrymple, Burrard
and Wellesley, Sir John Moore took command of the 30,000-man British
force in Portugal. In addition, Sir David Baird in command of an
expedition of reinforcements out of Falmouth consisting of 150
transports carrying between 12,000 and 13,000 men, convoyed by HMS
Louie, Amelia and Champion, entered Corunna Harbour on the 13
October. By November 1808 the British army, led by Moore, advanced
into Spain with orders to assist the Spanish armies in their struggle
against the invading forces of Napoleon.
After the surrender of a French army corps at Bailén and the loss
Napoleon was convinced of the peril he faced in Spain.
Deeply disturbed by news of Sintra, the Emperor remarked,
I see that everybody has lost their head since the infamous
capitulation of Bailén. I realise that I must go there myself to get
the machine working again.
The French, all but masters of Spain in June, stood with their backs
to the Pyrenees, clutching at
Navarre and Catalonia. They did not know
if even these two footholds could be maintained in the face of a
Spanish attack. By October French strength in Spain, including
garrisons, was about 75,000 soldiers. They were facing 86,000 Spanish
troops with Spain's 35,000 British allies en route.
However, no attack came. The Spanish social fabric, shaken by the
shock of rebellion, gave way to crippling social and political
tensions; the patriots stood divided on every question and their
nascent war effort suffered accordingly. With the fall of the
monarchy, constitutional power devolved to local juntas. These
institutions interfered with the army and the business of war,
undermined the tentative central government taking shape in
Madrid, and in some cases proved almost as dangerous to each other
as to the French.[b] The British Army in Portugal, meanwhile, was
itself immobilized by logistical problems and bogged down in
administrative disputes, and did not budge.
Months of inaction had passed at the front, the revolution having
"temporarily crippled Patriot Spain at the very moment when decisive
action could have changed the whole course of the war". While the
allies inched forward, a vast consolidation of bodies and bayonets
from the far reaches of the French Empire brought 100,000 veterans of
Grande Armée into Spain, led in person by
Napoleon and his
Marshals. With his Armée d'Espagne of 278,670 men drawn up on the
Ebro, facing a scant 80,000 raw, disorganized Spanish troops, the
Emperor announced to the Spanish deputies:
I am here with the soldiers who conquered at Austerlitz, at Jena, at
Eylau. Who can withstand them? Certainly not your wretched Spanish
troops who do not know how to fight. I shall conquer Spain in two
months and acquire the rights of a conqueror.
Starting in October 1808
Napoleon led the French on a brilliant
offensive involving a massive double envelopment of the Spanish lines.
The attack began in November and has been described as "an avalanche
of fire and steel".
For a time the British army was dangerously dispersed, with Baird's
newly arrived contingent at Astorga to the north, Moore at Salamanca
and Hope 70 miles (110 km) to the east near Madrid with all
Moore's cavalry and artillery. The main army, under Moore, had
Salamanca and were joined by Hope's detachment on 3
December when Moore received news that the Spanish forces had suffered
several defeats. He considered that to avoid disaster he must give up
and retreat back to Portugal.[c]
Moore, before retreating, received intelligence of Soult's 16,000
man corps' scattered and isolated position at Carrión and that
the French were unaware of the British army's position. On 15
December, he seized this opportunity to advance on the French near
Madrid, hoping that to defeat Soult and possibly divert Napoleon’s
forces. A junction with Baird on 20 December, advancing from
Corunna, raised Moore's strength to 23,500 infantry, 2,400 cavalry
and 60 guns and he opened his attack with a successful raid by
Lieutenant-General Paget's cavalry on the French picquets at Sahagún
on 21 December. However, Moore failed to follow up against a
surprised Soult. Moore halted for two days and allowed Soult to
concentrate his corps.
Retreat to Corunna
Marshal Nicolas Jean de Dieu Soult, the French commander
Once Moore made his presence known
Napoleon responded with customary
swiftness and decisiveness. The Spanish were defeated and no longer an
organized threat. His army was generally concentrated while the enemy
was dispersed. With the initiative firmly in his grasp, Napoleon
seized the chance to destroy Britain's only field army. When Moore
realized he was in serious danger of being trapped he called off his
advance and went into headlong retreat. This epic dash and chase
would cover more than 250 miles (400 km), during which the
British cavalry and the infantry of the Light
Brigade were used to
cover the movements of Moore's army after their retreat began on 25
December. This saw them engage the French in small rearguard clashes,
including defeating a French cavalry force and capturing General
Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes at Benavente before entering the
mountains of Galicia, and another at
Cacabelos where General
Colbert-Chabanais was killed by a British rifleman.
The retreat of the British, closely followed by their French pursuers,
took them through mountainous terrain in dreadful conditions of cold
and snow and was marked by exhausting marches, privation, and
suffering. Moore was joined at Astorga by General Romana leading the
remnants of Blake's Spanish forces and Romana proposed they make a
stand. However, with
Napoleon closing in, Moore declined and continued
his retreat north while Romana went west towards Portugal. On the
march between Astorga and
Betanzos the British army lost 3,000 men
with 500 more left in hospitals at Astorga and Villafranca.
Napoleon had attempted to speedily catch the British and force them to
fight. He led the French army 200 miles (320 km) over 10 days by
forced marches and in spite of winter blizzard conditions reached
Astorga on 1 January with 80,000 men.
Napoleon manoeuvred to cut
Moore off from a retreat to Portugal. Moore had already planned that
he would have to be ready to make a run for the coast. On 28 November
Moore had ordered his Corunna contingent under Baird to embark from
Vigo while the main British army was to fall back on Portugal but by
28 December he had decided to embark the whole army at Vigo.
Abandoning Astorga on 30 December, he would manage to keep ahead of
the pursuing French and avoid a major battle. Moore ordered Crawford
and two brigades as well as the troop transport ships to the port of
Napoleon would write to his brother Joseph on 31 December:
My vanguard is near Astorga; the English are running away as fast as
they can ... they are abhorred by everybody; they have carried off
everything, and then maltreated and beaten the inhabitants. There
could not have been a better sedative for Spain than to send an
When it was clear that he could not bring Moore to battle, Napoleon
left the pursuit of the British to Soult's corps with Marshal Ney in
support and took the bulk of the army, some 45,000 men, back to
Napoleon decided to leave Spain to attend to other
pressing matters; the Austrians were about to declare war on France,
and would soon invade Italy and Bavaria.
French Dragoons by Hippolyte Bellangé
Several times the discipline of the British broke down, on 28 December
British troops pillaged and looted Benavente, at
Bembibre on 2
January, hundreds of British soldiers got so inebriated on wine, and
not for the first or last time, that they had to be abandoned and
were captured or cut to pieces by the pursuing French dragoons.
Similar incidents took place including one in which French pursuit was
so close there was not time enough for Paget, commander of the British
rear guard, to complete the hanging of three British soldiers, as an
example, for the pillaging a Spanish town. The French cavalry
General Colbert, was killed while in close pursuit across the
bridge at the village of
Cacabelos by a long-range rifle shot fired by
Thomas Plunket of the 95th Rifles after driving off the British
15th Hussars. Losses were about the same for the two units.
Moore made a stand before the old Roman town of
Lugo on 6 January and
offered battle but, initially, Soult's forces were too strung out.
Over two days Soult concentrated his troops and tried to get Ney to
send a division from Villa Franca del Bierzo but Ney sent few troops.
By the 8th Soult was prepared for battle, but Moore, imagining Ney was
outflanking him, slipped away that night, shooting 500 foundered
horses and destroying artillery caissons and food stores. Now
realizing he could not get to
Vigo and fearing his army would
disintegrate on the way, he ordered the transports to
between Corunna and Ferrol and he headed for Corunna.
Rain storms and confusion caused the British main body to partially
lose order and break up with thousands straggling. Some 500 British
were captured by the pursuing French dragoons, with hundreds more
stragglers captured by Franceschi's cavalry on the 10th and several
hundred more on the 11th. The loss of troops between
Betanzos was greater than all of that of the preceding retreat.
Eventually, on 11 January, the British main body reached the port of
Corunna in northwest Spain, where they had hoped to find the fleet to
take them back to England. They found
Betanzos Bay empty and only
26 transports and two warships at Corunna. The rest of the 245
ships had been delayed by contrary winds only arriving at
Vigo on the
8th and would not depart for Corunna until the 13th.
The French had also suffered severe fatigue and deprivation during
their pursuit having to travel over ground already crossed by the
British. The British rear guard had held off the pursuing French,
allowing the rest of the British army to continue to withdraw, however
the French cavalry had continually pressed them and prevented
effective reconnaissance by the British cavalry. Soult's infantry had
also had trouble keeping up and was badly strung out and most were
well behind the cavalry which included the divisions of Armand Lebrun
de La Houssaye,
Jean Thomas Guillaume Lorge and Jean Baptiste Marie
Franceschi-Delonne. Soult's three infantry divisions, commanded by
Pierre Hugues Victoire Merle,
Julien Augustin Joseph Mermet
Julien Augustin Joseph Mermet and Henri
François Delaborde, and his artillery would arrive at Corunna
piecemeal over the next few days.
Arrival of the armies before Corunna
French Infantry by Hippolyte Bellangé
The British army arrived in Corunna on 11 January and there were found
only the ships of the line, a small number of transport and hospital
ships to which the many wounded were embarked. There was also a large
quantity of badly needed military stores: 5,000 new muskets were
issued to the troops, a vast amount of cartridges for re-equipping,
numerous Spanish artillery pieces and plenty of food, shoes and other
The French army began to arrive the next day, building up strength as
they arrived from the march. Soult’s artillery arrived on 14
January. The long-awaited transport ships also arrived on the 14th and
that evening the British evacuated their sick, some horses and most of
the remaining field guns, cavalrymen and gunners. There was no
intention by the British of garrisoning and holding on to Corunna as a
future base with its extensive stores and certain support from the
sea.[d] The British then destroyed a portion of the enormous amount of
military stores originally intended for the Spanish: nearly 12,000
barrels of powder, 300,000 cartridges in two magazines outside the
town and 50 fortress guns and 20 mortars.
The British embarked nearly all their cannon and artillerists and, as
the terrain was unsuitable for cavalry, all their cavalry troopers and
a few healthy horses, but killed some 2,000 of the cavalry's
horses. Moore now actually had the advantage in numbers in
infantry, 15,000 to 12,000 and, with the rough ground much
broken up by sunken roads and walls, Soult's cavalry would be of
little use. The British were rearmed, well rested and well fed,
in marked contrast to the oncoming French.
Moore had deployed his army to cover the evacuation by placing the
main part of it on a ridge astride the road to Corunna, a mile and a
half south of the harbour. A stronger position lay to the south but
the British commander considered that he lacked the numbers to defend
it properly and had to be content with placing outposts there to slow
the approach of the French. The left flank was covered by the river
Mero and the left and centre of the ridge was quite defensible. The
western and lower end of this ridge was more vulnerable and could be
swept by guns on the rocky heights of the loftier range opposite, and
the ground further west consisted of more open terrain extending as
far as Corunna which might provide the means of turning the whole
position. Moore held two divisions back in reserve a little north and
westwards in order to guard the right flank and to prevent a turning
On 15 January French troops pushed back the British outposts on the
higher range and gradually took up position there. A counterattack by
5th Foot was repulsed with heavy loss. Soult sited his 11
heavy guns upon the rocky outcrop from where they would be able to
fire upon the British right. The task was very difficult and it was
night before the guns had been dragged into position. Delaborde's
division was posted on the right and Merle's in the centre with Mermet
on the left. The light field guns of the French were distributed
across the front of their position, however the broken ground,
sunken roads and walls limited them to long range support. The French
cavalry was deployed to the east of the line. For the British, Baird's
division formed on the right and Hope's the left, each deploying a
brigade en potence with Paget as the reserve at the village Airis.
Battle of Corunna
Battle of Corunna order of battle
As day broke on 16 January the French were in position on the heights,
and all through the morning both armies observed each across the
valley between them. Moore planned to continue with the embarkation
later that day if Soult did not attack. By afternoon Moore considered
an attack unlikely and ordered the first divisions to make their way
to the port; the rest of the army would follow at dusk, but shortly
afterwards, at 2:00 pm, he learned that the French were
Soult's plan was to move against the strongly placed British infantry
of the left and centre in order to contain it while the infantry
division of Mermet attacked the more vulnerable British right above
the village of Elviña. The cavalry was deployed further west near the
more open country leading to Corunna. If the attacks succeeded they
could seize the western end of the British lines and push on to cut
off the bulk of the army from Corunna.
French Artillerymen 1809
Mermet’s infantry advanced quickly and soon pushed the British
picquets back, carrying the town of Elviña and attacking the heights
beyond. The first French column divided into two with Gaulois' and
Jardon's brigades attacking Baird front and flank, and the third
French brigade pushing up the valley on the British right in an
attempt to turn their flank with Lahoussaye's dragoons moving with
difficulty over the broken ground and walls trying to cover the left
of the French advance.
The fiercest fighting took place in and around Elviña as the
possession of this village would change hands several times, and the
British suffered particularly from the fire of the heavy artillery on
the heights opposite. As the French attack broke through Elviña and
came up the hill behind it, Moore sent in the
50th Foot and the 42nd
(Black Watch) to stop the French infantry while the
4th Foot held the
right flank of the British line. The ground around the village was
broken up by numerous stone walls and hollow roads. Moore remained in
this area to direct the battle, ordering the
4th Foot to fire down
upon the flank of the second French column that was attempting the
turning movement and calling up the reserve under Paget to meet it.
The British advance carried beyond the village but some confusion
among the British allowed Mermet's reserves to drive into and through
Elviña again chasing the 50th and 42nd back up the slope. Moore
called up his divisional reserve, some 800 men from two battalions of
the Guards, and together with the 42nd they halted the French
The positions of the armies at Corunna.
The British are in red and the French in blue.
The British commander had just rallied the 42nd that had fallen
back from Elviña and had ordered the Guards to advance on the village
when he was struck by a cannonball. He fell mortally wounded,
struck "on the left shoulder, carrying it away with part of the
collar-bone, and leaving the arm hanging only by the flesh and muscles
above the armpit". He remained conscious, and composed, throughout
the several hours of his dying. The second advance again drove the
French back through Elviña. Mermet now threw in his last reserves
with one of Merle's brigade attacking the east side of the village.
This was countered by an advance by Manningham's brigade and a long
fire-fight broke out between two British: the 3/1st and the 2/81st and
two French regiments: the 2nd Légere and 36th Ligne of Reynaud's
brigade. The 81st was forced out of the fight and relieved by the
2/59th and the fighting petered out here late in the day with the
French finally retiring.
For a time the British were without a leader until General John Hope
took command as Baird was also seriously wounded. This hampered
attempts at a counterattack in the crucial sector of Elviña, but the
fighting continued unabated.
Further west the French cavalry pushed forward as part of the flank
attack and made a few charges but they were impeded by the rough
terrain. Lahoussaye dismounted some his Dragoons which fought as
skirmishers but they were eventually driven back by the advance of the
28th Foot and 9
1st Foot of the British reserves.
Franceschi's cavalry moved to flank the extreme right of the British
attempting to cut them off at the gates of Corunna but were countered
again by the terrain and Fraser's division drawn up on the Santa
Margarita ridge which covered the neck of the peninsula and the gates.
As Lahoussaye retired, Franceschi conformed with his movement.
Night brought an end to the fighting by which time the French attacks
had been repulsed and they returned to their original positions; both
sides holding much the same ground as before the fight.
Command of the British army had passed to General Hope who decided to
continue the embarkation rather than to attempt to hold their
ground or attack Soult. At around 9:00 pm the British began to
silently withdraw from their lines, leaving behind strong picquets who
maintained watch-fires throughout the night.
At daybreak on 17 January the picquets were withdrawn behind the
rearguard and went aboard ship; by morning most of the army had
embarked. When Soult perceived that the British had left the
ridge, he posted six guns on the heights above the southern end of the
bay and by midday the French were able to fire upon the outlying
ships. This caused panic amongst some of the transports, four of which
ran aground and were then burned to prevent their capture. Fire from
the warships then silenced the battery.
On 18 January, the British rearguard embarked as the Spanish garrison
under General Alcedo "faithfully" held the citadel until the fleet was
well out to sea before surrendering.[e] The city of Corunna was
taken by the French, two Spanish regiments surrendering along with 500
horses and considerable military stores captured including numerous
cannon, 20,000 muskets, hundreds of thousands of cartridges and tons
of gunpowder. A week later Soult's forces captured Ferrol, an
even greater arsenal and a major Spanish naval base across the
bay, taking eight ships of the line, three with 112 guns, two with 80,
one 74, two 64s, three frigates and numerous corvettes, as well as a
large arsenal with over 1,000 cannon, 20,000 new muskets from England
and military stores of all kinds.
As a result of the battle the British suffered around 900 men dead or
wounded and had killed all their nearly 2,000 cavalry horses and as
many as 4,000 more horses of the artillery and train. The French
lost around 1,000 men killed, wounded or captured. The most
notable casualty was
Lieutenant-General Moore, who survived long
enough to learn of his success. Sir David Baird, Moore's second in
command, was seriously wounded earlier in the battle and had to retire
from the field. In addition two of Mermet's three brigadiers were also
casualties: Gaulois was shot dead and Lefebvre badly hurt. These
men were all involved in the fighting on the British right.
On the morning of the battle 4,035 British were listed sick, a few
hundred of these were too sick to embark and were left behind.(Oman
1902, p. 582) Two more transports were lost with about 300 troops
mostly from the King's German Legion. By the time the army
returned to England four days later some 6,000 were ill, with the sick
returns listed at Portsmouth and Plymouth alone as 5,000.
Within ten days the French had captured two fortresses containing an
immense amount of military matériel which, with more resolution,
could have been defended against the French for many months. Ney
and his corps reinforced with two cavalry regiments took on the task
of occupying Galicia. Soult was able to refit his corps, which had
been on the march and fighting since 9 November, with the captured
stores so that, with half a million cartridges and 3,000 artillery
rounds carried on mules (the roads not being suitable for wheeled
transport), and with his stragglers now closed up on the main
body, he was able to begin his march on Portugal on 1 February with a
strength of 19,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry and 58 guns.
Moore's monolith in the old battlefield, now a campus of the
University of Corunna
The British army had been sent into Spain to aid in expelling the
French, but they had been forced into a humiliating retreat in
terrible winter conditions that wrought havoc with health and morale
and resulted in the army degenerating into a rabble. In his
authoritative account of the battle, the English historian Christopher
Hibbert states: "It was all very well to talk of the courage and
endurance of the troops but of what use were these virtues alone when
pitted against the genius of Napoleon? 35,000 men had crossed the
Spanish frontier against him; 8000 had not returned. We were unworthy
of our great past". The British of the day similarly viewed
Corunna as a defeat: according to The Times, "The fact must not be
disguised ... that we have suffered a shameful disaster".
Charles Oman contends that Marshal Soult's attack at
Corunna provided Moore and his men with the opportunity to redeem
their honour and reputation through their defensive victory, by
which means the army was saved though at the cost of the British
general's life. Moore was buried wrapped in a military cloak in the
ramparts of the town. The funeral is commemorated in a well-known poem
by Charles Wolfe (1791–1823), "The Burial of Sir John Moore after
Charles Esdaile, in The Peninsular War: A New History, writes: "In
military terms, Moore's decision to retreat was therefore probably
sensible enough but in other respects it was a disaster ... Having
failed to appear in time ... then allowed Madrid to fall without a
shot, the British now seemed to be abandoning Spain altogether." Also,
"Even worse than the physical losses suffered by the allies was the
immense damage done to Anglo-Spanish relations. ... de la Romana ...
openly accusing Moore of betrayal and bad faith." Finally, "... the
occupation (by the French) of the most heavily populated region in the
whole of Spain".
Moore's tomb in San Carlos Garden at A Coruña
Chandler states, the British army had been "... compelled to conduct a
precipitate retreat and evacuate by sea." Also, "Madrid and the
Northern half of Spain were under occupation by French troops".
Fremont-Barnes, in The Napoleonic Wars: The Peninsular War
1807–1814, writes that the then British Foreign Secretary Canning: "
... privately condemned Moore's failed campaign in increasingly
stronger terms," while in public he " ... in the great British
tradition of characterizing defeat as victory, insisted that although
Moore's army had been pushed out of Spain his triumph at the battle of
Corunna had left 'fresh laurels blooming upon our brows'".
A more charitable view is offered by W. H. Fitchett in How England
Saved Europe: "... it is also a dramatic justification of Moore's
strategy that he had drawn a hostile force so formidable into a hilly
corner of Spain, thus staying its southward rush". Napier
similarly speculates: "The second sweep that [Napoleon] was preparing
to make when Sir John Moore's march called off his attention from the
south would undoubtedly have put him in possession of the remaining
great cities of the Peninsula".
Nevertheless, back in England the reaction to news of the Battle of
Corunna and the safe evacuation of the army was a storm of criticism
over Moore's handling of the campaign, while back in Corunna his
adversary Marshal Soult took care of Moore's grave and ordered a
monument to be raised in his memory.
Napoleonic Wars portal
^ Sarrazin (a former French commander) writes "Whatever Buonaparte may
assert, Soult was most certainly repulsed at Corunna; and the English
gained a defensive victory, though dearly purchased with the loss of
their brave general Moore, who was alike distinguished for his private
virtues, and his military talents" (Sarrazin 1815,
pp. 358–359). Hugo writes "Ayant neanmoins reunit les troupes a
la Corogne, il repousse glorieusement les Francais, et meurt sur le
champ de bataille." which translates as, "Having nevertheless reunited
the troops at Corunna, he [Moore] gloriously repulsed the French and
died on the field of battle." (Hugo 1838, p. 110[verification
^ John Lawrence Tone has questioned this assessment of the Spanish
juntas on the grounds that it relies too much on the accounts of
British officers and elites; these sources being patently unfair to
the revolutionaries, "whom they despised for being Jacobins,
Catholics, and Spaniards, not necessarily in that order." (Tone 2004,
^ Neale shows that correspondence from both Berthier, in a letter on
10 December 1808, and Moore in a dispatch on 28 December, indicate
that both sides were aware that the allies were defeated and that the
British were prepared to retreat. Berthier worte "...everything
inclines us to think that they [the British] are in full retreat..."
(Neale 1809, Appendix—XXXV p. 100), and Moore that "I had no
time to lose to secure my retreat" (Neale 1809, Appendix—XXXVI
^ Oman states "... arguments for attempting a defence of Galicia were
more weighty than has been allowed.(See the arguments stated on Oman
1902, pp. 554–555)".
^ Oman criticizes Alcedo for not putting up more of a fight for the
town which the British themselves, having destroyed much of its
defences, had just abandoned to its fate (Oman 1902, p. 596).
Napier makes a similar criticism.
^ "...the battle could legitimately be regarded as a British victory"
(Haythornthwaite 2001, p. 87).
^ "Costly British victory in the Peninsular War.... Corunna was a
British victory only in the sense that Moore was able to prevent Soult
form annihilating his men..." (Sandler 2002, p. 214).
^ Chandler 1996, p. 657.
^ a b 15,000 (Fortescue 1910, p. 381); 14,800 (Oman 1902,
p. 582); 14,500 (Hamilton 1874, p. 392).
^ Napier states and Fortescue indicates that there were 12—eight
British and four Spanish (Napier 1873, p. 121; Fortescue 1910,
p. 377). Also Gates 2002, p. 112.
^ Oman put the number at "over 20,000" (Oman 1902, p. 586), but
Fortescue compares Balagny's numbers with Oman's and states that
Balagny's total of about 16,000 is likely to be more accurate than
Oman's (Fortescue 1910, p. 380 citing Balagny vol. iv, p.
^ Digby Smith,
Napoleonic Wars Data Book
^ Digby Smith,
Napoleonic Wars Data Book
^ a b c d e f g Napier 1873, p. 121.
^ Napier 1873, pp. 122–123.
^ a b Richardson 1920, p. 343.
^ Gay 1903, p. 231.
^ Oman 1902, p. 492.
^ "This was an historic occasion; news of it spread like wildfire
throughout Spain and then all Europe. It was the first time since 1801
that a sizable French force had laid down its arms, and the legend of
French invincibility underwent a severe shaking. Everywhere
anti-French elements drew fresh inspiration from the tidings. The Pope
published an open denunciation of Napoleon; Prussian patriots were
heartened; and, most significantly of all, the Austrian war party
began to secure the support of the Emperor Francis for a renewed
challenge to the French Empire." (Chandler 1995, p. 617)
^ Chandler 1995, p. 620.
^ Oman 1902, p. 648.
^ Chandler notes that "the particular interests of the provincial
delegates made even the pretense of centralised government a travesty"
(Chandler 1995, p. 625).
^ Chandler 1995, p. 621.
^ Chandler 1996, p. 628.
^ Esdaile notes that the Junta of Seville declared itself the supreme
government of Spain and tried to annex neighbouring juntas by force.
(Esdaile 2003a, pp. 304–305)
^ Gates 2002, p. 487.
^ Glover 2001, p. 55.
^ Chandler 1995, p. 631.
^ Churchill 1958, p. 260.
^ Haythornthwaite 2001, p. 27.
^ a b Oman 1902, p. 598.
^ Chandler quotes from Moore's diary: "I have determined to give this
thing up and retire" (Chandler 1996, p. 645 cites: Sir J. Moore,
Diaries, Major General Sir J.F. Maurice, ed. (London:1904), Vol II, p.
^ Fortescue 1910, pp. 326–327.
^ Fremont-Barnes 2002, p. 35.
^ Neale quotes Moore (letter to Lord Castlereigh, 31 December 1808) "I
have made the movement against Soult; as a diversion it has answered
completely, but as there is nothing to take advantage of it, I have
risked the loss of my army for no purpose" (Neale 1809, Appendix,
^ Haythornthwaite 2001, p. 45.
^ Hamilton 1874, p. 385. Neale, et al. gives: 28,900 men (2450
cavalry) and 50 guns (Neale et al. 1828, p. 171).
^ Gates 2002, p. 108.
^ Chandler 1996, p. 648.
^ Haythornthwaite 2001, p. 28; Chandler 1996, pp. 645, 657;
Oman 1902, pp. 503, 601.
^ Gates 2002, p. 110.
^ Hamilton 1874, p. 394; Balagny 1906, p. 280; "...[More:]
one hundred and fifty miles over good roads ... [Napoleon:] a march,
on bad roads, of a hundred and sixty-four miles" (Napier 1873,
^ Fitchett 1900, p. 74[verification needed]
^ Moore, Richard. "Plunket’s Shot: A reconstruction of a famous
exploit in the history of the 95th Rifles"
^ Haythornthwaite 2001, p. 52.
^ a b Howard 1991, p. 300.
^ a b Fitchett 1900, p. 76.
^ a b c d Duffy 2011, p. 18.
^ Neale et al. 1828, pp. 175–176. See Esdaile for Spanish
reaction to British behaviour etc. (Esdaile 2003, pp. 151,
^ Fitchett 1900, pp. 76–77.
^ Gates 2002, p. 111.
^ Cross 1914, p. 854; Stephens 1900, p. 271; Bourrienne
& Phipps 1892, p. xlix; Oman 1899, p. 616; Fortescue
1910, p. 362; Chandler 1996, p. 654
^ Fremont-Barnes 2002, p. 38.
^ Fitchett 1900, p. 78; Esdaile 2003, p. 151; Oman 1902,
^ Fortescue 1910, pp. 364–365.
^ Fortescue 1910, p. 366.
^ Blakeney 1905, p. 59.
^ Oman 1902, p. 568.
^ Oman 1902, p. 569.
^ Fortescue 1910, pp. 367–368.
^ Chandler 1996, p. 655.
^ Napier 1873, p. 119.
^ Oman 1902, p. 576.
^ Neale et al. 1828, pp. 214–215.
^ Fortescue 1910, pp. 372–374. Oman gives more than 1,000 lost,
Oman 1902, p. 580.
^ Napier 1873, p. 120.
^ Sir John Moore’s last sentence in his last letter to Lord
Castlereigh, 13 January 1809, "If I succeed in embarking the army, I
shall send it to England – it is quite unfit for further service,
until it has been refitted, which can best be done there" (Neale 1809,
Appendix, p. 108).
^ Fortescue 1910, p. 375.
^ Oman 1902, p. 581.
^ Oman 1902, p. 584.
^ Haythornthwaite 2001, p. 66.
^ Haythornthwaite 2001, p. 66. Napier, indicates a magazine and a
storehouse outside Corunna (Napier 1873, p. 120); Oman indicates
"The town was, in fact, crammed with munitions of all sorts" (Oman
1902, p. 582). Hugo inventories an additional vast amount of
stores captured by the French following the battle inside Corunna
(Hugo 1838, pp. 110–111).
^ Fitchett states 290 horses from the KGL alone (Fitchett 1900,
p. 86); Hugo mentions 1,200 "cadavers de chevaux" (Hugo 1838,
p. 111); Oman gives 2,000 horses and draft cattle killed and
thrown into the sea (Oman 1902, p. 582).
^ Fortescue states the British had 15,000 infantry to the French
12,000 (Fortescue 1910, p. 381).
^ Oman 1902, p. 582.
^ Napier 1873, pp. 121–122.
^ Oman 1902, p. 583.
^ Gates 2002, p. 112.
^ Oman 1902, p. 584, 588.
^ Oman 1902, p. 586–587.
^ Oman 1902, p. 586.
^ Oman 1902, p. 587.
^ a b Oman 1902, p. 588.
^ Knight 1861, p. 506.
^ Oman 1902, p. 588 citing a letter by his aide-de-camp Hardinge
in James Moore's Life p. 220.
^ Oman 1902, p. 591.
^ "The enemy was not even discouraged by two fatal events: General
Baird was shot in the arm with a bullet, and the commander-in-chief
Moore was mortally wounded. General John Hope replaced him as
commander and the enemy continued to maintain their position
throughout the line." (translation from French Hugo 1838,
^ Oman 1902, p. 590.
^ Oman 1902, p. 592.
^ a b Napier suggests that both Corunna and Ferrol could have been
held by their Spanish garrisons for months after the departure of the
British (Napier 1873, p. 165).
^ Fitchett suggests that only Moore's death prevented the total
destruction of Soult, and that Hope "forbore" to press the French,
(Fitchett 1900, p. 94). Oman offers a more realistic appraisal of
Hope's chances (Oman 1902, p. 592).
^ a b c Pococke 1819, pp. 94–96.
^ Napier 1873, p. 165; Fortescue 1910, p. 393
^ Hugo gives an inventory of 200 cannon, 20,000 muskets, 200,000
pounds of powder, 600,000 cartridges captured when the city is taken
(Hugo 1838, p. 111). Oman, "The town was, in fact, crammed with
munitions of all sorts" (Oman 1902, p. 582).
^ Oman 1903, pp. 172–175.
^ Oman 1902, p. 81.
^ Hugo 1838, p. 111; Also, Belmas 1836, p. 55; Napier 1873,
^ Hugo gives 6,000 horses dead from fatigue, or killed by the
British,(Hugo 1838, Entrée de Français à Lug, p.110) and 2,500
soldiers killed or wounded with many wounded abandoned,(Hugo 1838,
p. 111). Fortescue says 1,000 horses were saved (Fortescue 1910,
p. 377). Oman says only 250 cavalry horses and 700 artillery
draught cattle were saved (Oman 1902, p. 582). The remainder that
he puts at 2,000 were killed, but may only be the rest of the
cavalry's horses and not included the rest of the transport horses
etc. since he gives the cavalry initial strength as 3,078 with 2,800
troopers embarking at Corunna (Oman 1902, p. 646). Soult
estimates 4,000 horses (Balagny 1906, p. 345).
^ Chandler and Oman give 1,500 (Chandler p. 656; (Oman 1902,
p. 594)). Fortescue and Esdaile both state casualties about equal
at some 900 per side (Fortescue 1910, p. 388; Esdaile 2003,
^ Oman 1902, p. 594.
^ Haythornthwaite 2001, p. 87.
^ a b Napier 1873, p. 165.
^ Dunn-Pattison 1909, p. 101.
^ Napier 1873, p. 166.
^ a b Hibbert 1961, p. 188.
^ "Moore welcomed the approach of battle with joy : he had every
confidence in his men and his position, and saw that a victory won ere
his departure would silence the greater part of the inevitable
criticism for timidity and want of enterprise, to which he would be
exposed on his return to England." (Oman 1902, p. 597)
^ Robson 2009.
^ Esdaile 2003, pp. 151–156.
^ a b Chandler 1995, p. 658.
^ Fremont-Barnes 2002, pp. 79–80.
^ Napier 1873, p. 124.
^ Oman 1902, p. 595.
Balagny, Dominique Eugène Paul (1906), Campaign de l'empereur
Napoléon en Espagne (1808–1809), IV, Paris ; The Online Books
Page: Campaign de l'empereur Napoléon en Espagne (1808–1809)
Belmas, J. (1836), Journaux des sièges faits ou soutenus par les
Français dans la péninsule de 1807 à 1814, 1, Paris, p. 55,
Blakeney, Robert (1905), Rouse, W.H.D., ed., The retreat to Corunna,
Bourrienne, Louis Antoine Fauvelet de; Phipps, Ramsay Weston (1892),
Napoleon Bonaparte, p. xlix
Chandler, David G. (1995), The Campaigns of Napoleon, New York: Simon
& Schuster, ISBN 0-02-523660-1
Chandler, David G. (1996), The Campaigns of Napoleon, London:
Weidenfeld & Nicholson, ISBN 0-297-74830-0
Churchill, Winston (1958), A History of the English-speaking Peoples:
The age of revolution, 3, Dodd, Mead, pp. 257, 260
Cross, Arthur Lyon (1914), A History of England and Greater Britain,
Macmillan, p. 854
Dunn-Pattison, Richard Phillipson (1909), Napoleon's Marshals, Boston:
Brown & Company
Duffy, Michael (2011), "Chapter 3", in Elleman, Bruce A.; Paine,
S.C.M., Naval Power and Expeditionary Warfare: Peripheral Campaigns
and New Theatres of Naval Warfare, New York, ISBN 0 203 83321
Esdaile, Charles (2003a) , The Peninsular War, Penguin Books,
Esdaile, Charles (2003), The Peninsular War: A New History, New York:
Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 1403962316
Fitchett, William Henry (1900), How England Saved Europe: The story of
the Great War: The war in the Peninsula, III, London,
Fortescue, John (1910), A History of The British Army, VI 1807–1809,
MacMillan and Company, OCLC 312880647
Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (2002), The Napoleonic Wars: The Peninsular
War 1807–1814, Essential Histories, No 17, Osprey,
Gates, David (2002) , The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the
Peninsular War, Pimlico, ISBN 0-7126-9730-6
Gay, Susan E. (1903), Old Falmouth, London, p. 231
Glover, Michael (2001) , The
Peninsular War 1807–1814: A
Concise Military History, Penguin Classic Military History,
Hamilton, Frederick William (1874), The Origin and History of the
First Or Grenadier Guards, II, London, OCLC 59415892
Harris, Benjamin, Recollections of Rifleman Harris, Old 95th, London:
H. Hurst, 27, King William Street, Charing Cross, 1848,
Haythornthwaite, Philip (2001), Corunna 1809, Campaign 83, Osprey
Publishing, ISBN 1 85532 968 9
Hibbert, Christopher (1961), Corunna, London: Batsford,
Hodge, Carl Cavanaugh (2007), Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism,
1800–1914, Greenwood, p. lxxiii
Howard, M.R. (May 1991), "Medical aspects of Sir John Moore's Corunna
Campaign, 1808–1809", Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 84:
Hugo, Par A., ed. (1838),
France militaire. histoire des armées
françaises de terre et de mer de 1792 à 1837 (in French), 4, Paris,
Knight, Charles (1861), The Popular History of England, London,
Napier, William (1873), History of the war in the Peninsula and the
south of France, from the year 1807 to the year 1814, New York: D.
& J. Sadlier
Neale, Adam; Hopetoun, John Hope (4th earl); Malcolm, John; Rocca,
Albert Jean Michel (1828), Memorials of the Late War, I, Edinburgh,
Neale, Adam (1809), "Appendix", Letters from Portugal and Spain: An
Account of the Operations of the Armies ..., London: Richard Philips,
pp. 100, 102
Oman, Charles (1899), A history of England: Division 3 – From A.D.
1688 to A.D. 1885, London and New York: Edward Arnold,
Oman, Charles (1902), A History of the Peninsular War: 1807–1809, 1,
Oxford, OCLC 1539767
Oman, Charles (1903), A History of the Peninsular War: Jan. – Sep.
1809, 2, Oxford
Pococke, Thomas (1819), Howell, John, ed., Journal of a Soldier of the
71st Regiment, Edinburgh, OCLC 16295400
Richardson, Hubert N.B. (1920), A dictionary of
Napoleon and his
times, New York, OCLC 154001
Robson, Catherine (February 2009), Eberle-Sinatra, Michael; Felluga,
Dino Franco; Flint, Kate, eds., "Memorization and Memorialization:
'The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna'", Romanticism and
Victorianism on the Net (53), doi:10.7202/029901ar,
ISSN 1916-1441, retrieved 26 November 2014
Sandler, Stanley (2002), Ground warfare: An International
Encyclopedia, 1, ABC-CLIO
Sarrazin, General Jean (1815), History of the War in Spain and
Portugal from 1807 to 1814, Henry Colburn, p. 358–359
Stephens, Henry Morse (1900), Revolutionary Europe, 1789–1815,
London, p. 271
Tone, John Lawrence — of The Georgia Institute of Technology (March
2004), "Review of The Peninsular War: A New History by Charles
France Review, 4 (30): 109–111,
Hugo, Abel (1836), Histoire de L'Empereur Napoleon, Paris: Bureau
central du magasin universel
French Invasion of Russia
Confederation of the Rhine
Planned invasion of the United Kingdom
Duc d'Enghien Execution
Coronation of Napoleon
Greater Poland Uprising
Invasion of Portugal
Dos de Mayo
Medina de Rioseco
Armistice of Znaim
Alba de Tormes
Fuentes de Oñoro
Arroyo dos Molinos
Venta del Pozo
Castel di Sangro
French and ally
Auguste de Marmont
Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria
Frederick Augustus I of Saxony
Frederick I of Württemberg
Frederick VI of Denmark
Duke of Wellington
Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor
Prince von Schwarzenberg
Archduke John of Austria
Alexander I of Russia
Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly
Frederick William III of Prussia
Gebhard von Blücher
Duke of Brunswick
Prince of Hohenlohe
Ferdinand VII of Spain
Miguel de Álava
Maria I of Portugal
Prince Regent John of Portugal
Count of Feira
William, Prince of Orange
Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden
Prince Charles John of Sweden
Louis XVIII of France
Pomeranian War (Franco-Swedish War)
Spanish American Wars of Independence
War of 1812
Congress of Erfurt
England expects that every man will do his duty
Coordinates: 43°21′46″N 8°24′17″W / 43.36278°N