Distinguished guests:

sábado, 31 de dezembro de 2016

Batalhão de Caçadores nº 6 - Porto

 The Battalion was originally organized in Porto, on July 12th, 1808, as "Batalhão de Caçadores" (Hunters Battalion ), by order of the Provisional Junta of the Supreme Kingdom´s Government of Porto.
 By the reorganization of the 28th October of 1808, it was incorporated in the Portuguese Army with the designation of Batalhão de Caçadores n.º 6 (Hunters Battalion n. 6). Its recruits came mainly from Porto city and surroundings ( the "Partido do Porto") 

The 6th Battalion´s Commanding Officers were:

- Velho da Cunha, Lieutenant colonel, 20th July, 1808;
- António de Lacerda Pinto, Lieutenant colonel, 21st January, 1809;
- Sebastião Pinto de Araújo, Lieutenant colonel,  26th August, 1809;  
- Tiago Pedro Martins, Major, 25th June, 1813;
-  Peter Adamson, Lieutenant colonel, 4th May 1814.

The Caçadores were the elite light infantry troops of the Portuguese Army, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Caçadores is the plural of caçador, the Portuguese word for "hunter". It has also been used to designate each one of the elite light infantry soldiers of the Portuguese Army. As such it is a direct equivalent of the German military term Jäger, the French military term Chasseur, and the Spanish Cazador. 

After the expulsion of General Junot's army from Portugal, British Army General William Beresford was recommended by Arthur Wellesley for the role and was appointed as Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese Army on 7 March 1809. As part of Beresford reforms, Portuguese War secretary Miguel Pereira Forjaz proposed the creation of independent battalions of Caçadores and six would be created. Later in the Peninsular War, additional battalions and other units of Caçadores were formed due to the success of the original six battalions. Each battalion came to include a special Atiradores (sharpshooters) company armed with rifles. In the Anglo-Portuguese Army, some Caçadores units were integrated into the elite Light Division, brigaded with the British units of the 95th Rifles.

One of the most distinctive features of the Caçadores was their brown uniform. The brown uniform was chosen as a form of camouflage, considered more appropriate to the dry lands of the Iberian Peninsula than the traditional green uniforms used by the light infantry of most other countries in Europe.  During the Peninsular War, the Caçadores became especially notable in the performance of marksmanship at long distances. Arthur Wellesley referred the Portuguese Caçadores as the "fighting cocks" of his Anglo-Portuguese Army.

The 6th Battalion´s most relevant actions in Portuguese soil against the French Imperial Army occurred in the battles of Roliça (August 17, 1808) and Vimeiro (August 23, 1808), as part of the Trant Brigade, and the Buçaco battle (September 27, 1810) integrating the Campbell Brigade.

The 6th Battalion was one of the most active units in the Anglo-Portuguese Army,  fighting its way  across  Spain and well into into French territory, from Fuentes de Oñoro to Toulouse: 

quarta-feira, 28 de dezembro de 2016

LLL - Leal Legião Lusitana - Loyal Lusitanian Legion

 The Loyal Lusitanian Legion (LLL) was a foreign volunteer corps of the British Army, organized with Portuguese émigrés in England, that fought in the Peninsular War. The LLL was created by the initiative of Portuguese Army colonels José Maria Moura and Carlos Frederico Lecor – exiled in England after the occupation of Portugal by the Napoleonic Army – and the Portuguese Ambassador in London Chevalier de Sousa, with the support of the British Government.

The LLL received the title "Loyal" to distinguish itself from the much larger Portuguese Legion, mobilized at the same time with the best units and officers of the disbanded Portuguese Army by direct order of Napoleon and which would fight for him in the several European campaigns.

The LLL included not only Portuguese, but also British (including its commanding officer, colonel Robert Thomas Wilson) and Germans.

 The Legion was organized in Plymouth, in July 1808 and landed in Oporto, Portugal in September of the same year. Between 1808 and 1811, as part of the Anglo-Portuguese Army, the LLL fought against the Napoleonic Imperial Armies in the Peninsular War.

 It was present in the battles of Busaco and Talavera de la Reina, but was especially used to conduct raids and other irregular operations in the rear of the French Army, framing Portuguese and Spanish militia forces.

The LLL was disbanded on 4 May 1811, after being transferred to the Portuguese Army, with its units being transformed into the 7th, 8th and 9th battalions of Caçadores.

The Loyal Lusitanian Legion was organized as a regiment of light infantry, with an attached artillery battery. It included:
  1. Regimental staff, LLL;
  2. 1st Battalion, LLL;
  3. 2nd Battalion, LLL;
  4. Artillery corps, LLL.
Each battalion included 1000 men in 10 companies. The artillery corps was a battery with six field guns and 80 men.
When the LLL was disbanded, the 1st battalion became the 7th Caçadores and the 2nd battalion the 8th Caçadores. The 9th Caçadores was organized with the rest of the Legion's men.

As a light infantry unit, the Loyal Lusitanian Legion received green uniforms similar to those of the British rifles regiments. Furthermore, green was the livery colour of the Portuguese Royal House of Braganza, to whom the Legion remained loyal.

Text source: Wikipedia

sábado, 17 de dezembro de 2016

Meanwhile, on the road to Montalegre...Soult´s Retreat - Northern Portugal, April 1809

Marshal General Jean-de-Dieu Soult, 1st Duke of Dalmatia - Porto, 1809

In the First Battle of Porto (28 March 1809) the French under Marshal Soult defeated the Portuguese, under General Parreiras,during the Peninsular War. Soult followed up his success by storming the city. 

It is estimated that 8,000 soldiers perished in the attack and that a great number of civilians were killed.

 Soult did not have very long to enjoy his success. Almost at once, the ordenanças cut his communications with Spain and a 1,800-man garrison was gobbled up by Francisco Silveira's Portuguese force in the Siege of Chaves. The French marshal started planning a retreat. The next action was the Battle of Grijó. The city was retaken on 12 May by the British and Portuguese under Wellesley in the Second Battle of Porto.

 The Second Battle of Porto, also known as the Battle of the Douro, was a battle in which General Arthur Wellesley's Anglo-Portuguese Army defeated Marshal Nicolas Soult's French troops on 12 May 1809 and took back the city of Porto. 

After taking command of the British troops in Portugal on 22 April, Wellesley (later named 1st Duke of Wellington) immediately advanced on Porto and made a surprise crossing of the Douro River, approaching Porto where its defences were weak.

Soult's late attempts to muster a defence were in vain. The French quickly abandoned the city in a disorderly retreat.

domingo, 4 de dezembro de 2016

William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford

General William Carr Beresford, 1st Viscount Beresford, 1st Marquis of Campo Maior GCB GCH PC (2 October 1768 – 8 January 1854), was an Anglo-Irish soldier and politician. A general in the British Army and a Marshal in the Portuguese Army, he fought alongside the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War and held the office of Master-General of the Ordnance in 1828 in Wellington's first ministry.

In 1807 Beresford was sent to Madeira, which he occupied in name of the King of Portugal, remaining there for six months as Governor and Commander in Chief. The exiled Portuguese Government in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, whereto the Portuguese Royal Family had transferred the Court, realised the necessity of appointing a commander-in-chief capable of training, equipping and disciplining the demoralised Portuguese Army. The Portuguese government asked Britain to appoint Arthur Wellesley to this role, Wellesley indicated he could not do the role justice due to his prior engagements and recommended Beresford. He was appointed Marshal and Commander in Chief of the Army by Decree of 7 March 1809 and took the command on 15th of the same month. At that time, French general Marshal Soult had already crossed into Portugal where he occupied Porto. Beresford quickly overhauled the Portuguese forces, bringing them in line with British discipline and organization, and from the General Headquarters (then at the Largo do Calhariz), he dispatched many "daily orders" altering points of the infantry ordnance, creating a general command of artillery, establishing the separation of the battalions, firing incompetent or corrupt officers and promoting or appointing appropriate replacements.

On 22 April 1809 Sir Arthur Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, disembarked in Lisbon, and took over the command of all the Anglo-Portuguese troops whereupon Beresford was nominated Marshal General of the Portuguese Army. The allied armies marched to the North. Wellington moved from Coimbra directly to Porto, which he entered on 12 May, and Beresford marched through the Province of Beira, arriving that same day at the banks of the Douro river, in the area of Lamego. Wellington's troops made a forced crossing of the Douro and defeated the French, forcing their Marshall-general Jean-de-Dieu Soult to withdraw from Porto. Soult was outnumbered and expelled from Portugal; the positioning of Beresford's forces compelled the French to leave Portugal by the poor roads through Montalegre. They managed to cross the border only after sacrificing their artillery and baggage, and faced numerous difficulties during the evacuation.The Second French Invasion of Portugal was defeated and the allied armies moved back to the South, the British concentrating at Abrantes and the Portuguese at Castelo Branco. With the intention of cooperating with the Spanish against Marshal Victor, the Anglo-Portuguese forces under Wellesley moved into Spain in the Talavera campaign while Beresford remained on the Águeda River covering the Spanish-Portuguese border. After Wellesley's return, now as Viscount Wellington, following the Battle of Talavera, Beresford re-entered Portugal, where he distributed the army at various locations and established his General Headquarters in Lisbon. From Lisbon he dispatched numerous orders and instructions for the reform of the Portuguese military.In the same year (1809), and the one following he made tours of inspection of the corps that were found quartered in the various provinces and he corrected any defects he noticed and established rules for the functioning of the different branches of the military service. In this way he improved the functioning of the Portuguese Army so that they might face the forces of Napoleon invading the country for the third time. The beneficial results of his efforts were proven at the campaign against Masséna in particular at the Battle of Buçaco on 27 September 1810 where the Portuguese troops played a prominent part, and also in the defence of the Lines of Torres Vedras).The most notable action in which Beresford held independent command occurred in 1811 when a combined Anglo-Portuguese and Spanish army under his command, intercepted a French army commanded by Marshal Soult, who had been ordered by Marshal Auguste Marmont to move to protect the important Spanish fortress-city of Badajoz. As the French forces retreated from the Lines of Torres Vedras, Beresford marched towards Badajoz, which he laid siege to. Having, however, received notice that Soult was approaching, he lifted the siege and posted his army at Albuera in a defensive position. There he defeated the French forces on 16 May 1811. After the bloody Battle of Albuera the French were forced to retreat, though the siege of Badajoz had to be subsequently abandoned. Meanwhile, on 13 May 1811, he was created Count of Trancoso in Portugal by decree of Prince Regent John.

At the beginning of July 1811, Beresford was again in Lisbon, but he was subjected to fits of "nervous breakdowns", as described by brigadier D'Urban, quarter master general of the Portuguese Army. He recuperated in February 1812 and then joined Wellington in his investment of Ciudad Rodrigo. Once the fortified town had fallen, he went with the army to Alentejo, and participated in the Anglo-Portuguese Siege of Badajoz. After Badajoz had been stormed, along with Wellington he once again took up position on the Águeda, and from there launched the Salamanca campaign. On 22 July 1812, the important Battle of Salamanca was fought, giving the Anglo-Portuguese forces a decisive victory over the French under Marshal Marmont. In the battle Beresford was badly wounded under his left breast while ordering the advance of one of the Portuguese brigades.He retired to Lisbon, had bouts of fever and was half incapacitated for several months until May of the next year (1813). Meanwhile, he was also created Marquis of Campo Maior in Portugal by Prince Regent John on 17 December 1812. In March he was confirmed as second in command of the Allied Army and rejoined the campaigning army before assisting in the liberation of Spain by the British and Portuguese armies.In the invasion of France, he assisted Wellington at the command of a corps and was hailed as the liberator of Bordeaux. He fought in France at Toulouse the last clash of the Peninsular War. During that conflict he had been present at the battles of A Coruña, Busaco, Albuera, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthez and Toulouse. His Peninsular Gold Medal had seven clasps - only the Duke of Wellington, with nine clasps, had more to their medal.

After peace was declared he went to England on leave and came back again to Lisbon to reassume the command of the Portuguese Army. He did not limit himself, however, to that role, and intended to intervene in the general politics of the country, from this he came into conflict with the Regency. He then determined to go to the Court in Rio de Janeiro. He departed to there in August 1815 and returned in September 1816, invested with wider powers than the ones which he had previously enjoyed. Beresford took a high hand in his dealings with Gomes Freire de Andrade (1817) and, put into a difficult situation, he returned to Brazil, obtaining from John VI the confirmation of the powers he had already attained, which he desired to see amplified.When he returned to Portugal, the Liberal Revolution of 1820 intervened; the British officers, for the most part, had been discharged, and the government would not even consent that Beresford could disembark. He was made Governor of Jersey in 1821 and held the position till 1854, the last titular Governor of Jersey; since his death the Crown has been represented in Jersey by the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey.He was given the colonelcy of three regiments in succession. He was Colonel of the 69th (South Lincolnshire) Regiment of Foot from 1807 to 1819, the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers) from 1819 to 1823 and the 16th (Bedfordshire) Regiment from 1823 until his death. Briefly returning to Portugal in 1827 at the request of the Regent, Infanta Isabel Maria of Braganza, he gave up his ambitions because of the resistance he encountered among the new Portuguese elite and returned to Britain.

As a reward for his services in the fight against the French he was raised to the peerage as Baron Beresford, of Albuera and Dungarvan in the County of Waterford, in 1814. In 1823 he was further honoured when he was made Viscount Beresford, of Beresford in the County of Stafford, in 1823. Beside many national and foreign decorations he had the Grand Cross of the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword. Some authors infer that he also had the title of 1st Duke of Elvas; but no document recording the granting this title is extant. Beresford County, New South Wales, Australia was named in his honour.

Source: Wikipedia

quinta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2016

The Portuguese Legion in French Service

The Portuguese Legion (French Légion Portugaise and Portuguese Legião Portuguesa) was the 9 000 men strong Portuguese military force integrated in the Napoleon's Imperial Armies, mobilized after the occupation of Portugal by the army of General Junot, in 1807.

The Legion was created by order of Napoleon from 12 November 1807. Organization began in February, 1808, with the best units of the disbanded Portuguese Army, including the elite Legion of Light Troops.

It left to Salamanca in April 1808, crossing Spain until arriving in France. During the crossing of Spain, many legionnaires defected, returning to Portugal and joining the Portuguese resistance against the French occupation.

 At the service of Napoleon, the Portuguese Legion fought in the campaigns of Germany, Austria and Russia, suffering heavy casualties.

It was present in the battles of Wagram, Smolensk, Vitebsk and Borodino (Moscow). Being highly regarded by Napoleon, the troops of the Legion were referred by him as the "Black Infantry".

The Legion was disbanded at 5 May 1814, with only about 1000 of its soldiers surviving and returning to Portugal.

                Source: Wikipedia