Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics


 

 

 

Notes

 


Flags of the Defenders of Zaragoza during the 2nd French Siege (21 December 1808 to 21 February 1809): The Regular Forces

By Luis Sorando Muzás

Note: To see a larger image of the flag, click on the image.

The Regular Army had  6,942 men and 715 horses from the following units during the second siege of Zaragoza.  

3 er. Bon. de Reales Guardias Españolas (3rd Battalion of the Spanish Royal Guards):  On 18 February 1809, the regiment lost in the fall of Arrabal Suburb two of their 7 twin flags.  These two flags are still in Paris.[12] They are white with the Royal Coat-of-Arms in its center, placed perpendicularly with respect to the flagstaff, between two crowned crowned lions and centered on the red cross of Borgoña.

Sencilla of the Royal Spanish Guards Regiment
Sencilla of the Royal Spanish Guards Regiment
Sencillas of the Royal Spanish Guards Regiment (Located in Paris)

 

Reales Guardias Walonas de Aragón (Regiment of the Royal Walloon Guard of Aragón): Created from several parties of Guards sheltered in Zaragoza.  According to its strength reports, it lacked a flag.[13]

Coronela of the  Estremadura Line Infantry Regiment
Coronela of the Estremadura Line Infantry Regiment (Located in Paris)

Rgto. Infantería de Línea Extremadura  (Estremadura Line Infantry Regiment): Of its 3 flags (1 coronela and 2 sencillas ),[14] the coronela was taken at the capitulation of the city and is still in Paris today.  It is white with the Royal Coat-of-Arms in its center, placed perpendicularly with respect to the flagstaff, and in each corner of the cloth there is a blue oval shield, with the Roman gate of Mérida in its center, surrounded by 4 flags, with the ducal crown on its top and a ribbon at its feet with the motto " EXTREMADURA REGIMENT”.

Rgto. Infantería de Línea Voluntarios de Castilla (Volunteers of Castille Line Infantry Regiment): During the 2nd Siege this regiment lacked flags, having lost its coronela and sencilla in the battle of Tudela (23 November 1808).  Both flags are still in Paris.[15] In spite of their loss, Salvador Muñoz listed them in his strength reports as having the standards of the first battalion.[16]

Rgto. Infantería de Línea 1º de Saboya (1st Line Infantry Regiment of Saboya): Approximately 250 men of this regiment took refuge in Zaragoza, but they lacked a flag. On 20 January 1809, their musicians joined the 1st Light Regiment of Zaragoza.[17]

Bon. 1º Infantería Ligera Voluntarios de Aragón: (1st Volunteer Light Infantry Battalion of Aragon): This battalion carried the Coronela, Model 1762,[18] and its twin still exists  today   in the Temple of the Pillar in Zaragoza, deposited there by the battalion in 1765. The used it throughout the 2nd Siege,[19] but it disappeared after the capitulation.

Rgto. Ligero Voluntarios de Aragón: (Light Volunteer Regiment of Aragon): Created 4 January 1809[20] along with the 2nd Regiment of Volunteers of Aragón. It continued using the old coronela of the 2nd Regiment of Volunteers.  It was white with the Royal Coat-of-Arms in its center, with the shields of the bars of Aragón in its corners.[21] We do not know its fate after the capitulation of the city.

Coronela of the Murcia Infantry Regiment
Coronela of the Murcia Infantry Regiment (Located in Paris)

Rgto. Infantería Provincial de Murcia: (Murcia Provincial Infantry Regiment): Its only flag, the coronela, was taken at the occupation of Monte Torrero, on 21 December 1808, and today it is in Paris. It is white with the Royal Coat-of-Arms, placed perpendicularly with respect to the flagstaff, and in each corner of the cloth a shield of Model 1762, topped by the ducal crown, of sky blue color, with a heart in its center surrounded by 7 crowns, and with alternating trimming of Castile and Leon.

Rgtos. Provinciales de Avila y Soria (The Avila and Soria Provincial Regiments): These regiments did not have flags.

Rgto. de Dragones del Rey (The King’s Dragoon Regiment): During the first Siege, on 6 August 1808, 6 guidons and 2 sets of drums were left in the Convent of San Francisco.[22] When the French occupied the convent, a group of Spaniards directed by Mariano Renovales, managed to recover them by entering and leaving through an unguarded windows.[23] They were swallow-tail and made of crimson Damascus, with the Royal Coat-of-Arms on one side, and on the other a scepter carried by 2 dragoons, with the motto REGIS at his feet.  Along the edges were the words: EQUESQUE PEDESQUE ET FORTUNE FERET. During the 1st Siege, the regiment used the original guidon, of the 1674 design, which they received when they were the "Dragones de Verlo".  Only one was used during 2nd Siege,[24] and was the guidon, that would be taken by the French at the capitulation and today it is in Paris.  We do not know the fate suffered by the others. It is white and on its obverse, placed perpendicularly with respect to the flagstaff, are the Coat-of-Arms of the Count de Monterrey, Governor-General of the Low Countries in 1674, with an anagram crowned in each one of the swallow-tails. On the reverse there is a complicated scene embroidered with two soldiers fighting and the motto EQUESQUE PEDESQUE UT FORTUNE FERET.[25]

Reverse of the Gudion of the King's Dragoon Regiment
Reverse of the Gudion of the King's Dragoon Regiment
Reverse of the Gudion of the
King's Dragoon Regiment
(Located in Paris)
Obverse of the Gudion of the
King's Dragoon Regiment
(Located in Paris)

 

Guidon of the Numancia Dragoon Regiment
Guidon of the Numancia Dragoon Regiment
(Located in Madrid)

Rgto. de Dragones de Numancia (The Numancia Dragoon Regiment): Their four pennants[26] were red, with two swallowtail ends, the Royal Coat-of-Arms on their reverse, and a phoenix with the motto PRIUS COMBUSTA QUAM ARMIS NUMANTIA VICTA on their obverse. We do not know its fate after the capitulation, although one of them was still in use years later, and is conserved today in the Royal Armory (Madrid).

Cazadores de Olivenza (The Olivenza Chasseurs): This detachment carried no flags.

 

 

 

 

Notes

[12] On 28 December 1808, the following were listed as standardbearers: Pedro Pastors, Juan de Prat, Ignacio Planella, Antonio Suelves, Rafael Peguera, Marquess de Alós and Santiago Naxera, as well as 6 other " supernumeraries ".

[13] In the Museum of the Army (nº 21150) exists a Walloon flag, that belonged to a battalion that was created in 1823, which Gonzalez Simancas (Flags and Standards of the Museum of Disabled, Madrid 1909, p. 55) erroneously attributed to the Regiment of the Royal Walloon Guard of Aragón.

[14] On 14 January, they were replaced by Fernando Montesino, Jose Berjoyo and Balthasar Fabiel. Also on 14 January, the flag carried by the 2nd Battalion was switched with that carried by the 1st Battalion.

[15] This was confirmed by the report of Moncey to Berthier (Balagny, T. 2, p. 304) and by the report of Lannes to Napoleón (24-xi-1808). Both speak clearly of taking of these 2 flags, but the "Journal de l'Empire" (6 December 1808) mentions 7 flags, that Balagny (p.218) says are 2 flags and 5 standards, but this is a propagandistic number that I myself I gave my unfortunate article "Las banderas de las batallas de Tudela y Bubierca", Banderas nº 19 (1986), pp. 30 - 34.

[16] Archivo Palafox, Caja 9, Estados del 5 y 13-XII-1808 y del 14-I-1809. The plaza was abandoned during the 2nd Siege.

[17] A.P. Caja 7, leg. 5-3-6.

[18] Según Casamayor, on 3 July 1808, to flatter Palafox, gave to the 1st Volunteers of Aragón, a flag with the image of the Virgin of the Pillar. I thought that this was the light battalion, but later have been able to verify, that it was 1st Volunteers of Aragón Regiment -- a new creation.

[19] The standardbearer on 8 November and 31 December 1808 was D. Vicente Company.

[20] SORANDO MUZÁS, Luis: Las banderas de la Virgen del Pilar en 1808, Premio los Sitios de Zaragoza 1986, pp. 113 - 116.

[21] On 18 October 1808, the standardbearer was Joaquín Perino, and it seems that he continued being it for some time. A.P. Caj.5, leg.4-9-4.

[22] Ibieca mentions the number as 6, although 4 could also be. They were: on 15 October 1808: Fco. Yausens (in Madrid), Alfonso Pe6nalosa (in Sang5uesa), Mateo Uclés (in Sanguesa) and Fco. Arce (in Zaragoza). AP.AP. Caj.4, leg. 4..

[23] A. Ibieca, T.I, p. 238.

[24] This is confirmed from the status reports of 6 December 1808 and 9 February 1809; on 13 February the flag carrier was sick. AP.Caj.5, leg.4-5-1.

[25] Sorando Muzás, Luis, “Estandartes de Dragones (I)”, Memorial de Caballería nº 46, Valladolid 1998.

[26] Of its 4 flag bearers, one was sick on 31 January and two on 13 February 1809. AP. Caja 5, leg. 4-5-1.

Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2002

 

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