Military Subjects: Organization, Strategy & Tactics






Flags of the Defenders of Zaragoza during the 2nd French Siege (21 December 1808 to 21 February 1809): New Aragon Formations

By Luis Sorando Muzás

Note: Click on the image to see a larger picture.

These united formations consisted of 15,602 men and 730 horses:

Rgto. Infantería Línea Granaderos de Palafox (Palafox Line Grenadiers Regiment): Created on 13 September 1808 with individuals of large physique from the army.   They had three flags made by the embroiderer Ignacio Azuara. The three were saved from the French by the ingenuity of one of the grenadiers who gave it to Palafox in 1814,[27] and this was given to the Volunteers and Aragón Line Regiment, which did not have one.[28]

Rgto. Infantería de Línea de la Reunión de Aragón (Reunion of Aragon Line Infantry Regiment): Formed on 14 December 1808 by uniting various units of the Central Army. It had three flags,[29] that possibly belonged to the Rgto. America, which provided a good part of its men.[30]

Rgto. Infantería de Línea de los Fieles Zaragozanos: Created 13 December 1808 by the grouping of men from the areas of Cerezo,  Arrabal, and  San Pablo. In spite of having three battalions, it had only one flag,[31] whose description and fate we do not know

Rgto. Infantería Suizos de Aragón (Swiss Infantry Regiment of Aragón): Created 30 September 1808,  with unattached Swiss soldiers. There were 2 battalions, but they had only one flag, whose description and fate we do not know,[32] but it is possible came from the 1st Swiss Regiment of Wimpffen,  since it provided a good part of its force.

Rgto. Infantería de Línea del Infante Don Carlos (The Infante Don Carlos Line Infantry Regiment): Created 30 October 1808 with 348 volunteers from Madrid. It had three flags, whose description and fate we do not know.  We do know however, that  in later re-organizations, the regiment used flags with three lilies on a blue bottom in angular shields.

Rgto. Infantería de Fusileros de Aragón (Fusiliers of Aragón Regiment): Created 13 November 1808 with three battalions. It had one flag, which it inherited from the 2nd Battalion of the Fusiliers,[33] but we do not know its description nor fate.

Bon. De Infantería Ligera Cazadores de Fernando VII de Aragón (Ferninand VII of Aragón Light Infantry Battalion of Cazadores): Created   21 June 1808 from various units taking refuge in Zaragoza, including the 1st  and 2nd Aragón. It received one flag, whose description and fate we do not know.[34]

Bon. Infantería Ligera 1º de Voluntarios de Huesca (1st Huesca Volunteer Light Battalion): Created 8 November 1808 from the 3rd Huesca Regiment. It had one flag which in September 1808, had belonged to the 1st Battalion of the Third Huesca Regiment. We do not know what it looked like nor its fate.[35]

Bon. Infantería Ligera Cazadores Voluntarios Catalanes (Catalan Volunteer Light Infantry Battalion): Created 4 October 1808 with Catalans that served in the different units ub the Army. We lack data about its flag, whose description and fate we do not know.

Bon. Infantería Ligera del Carmen (Carmen Light Infantry Battalion):  Created 13 November 1808 from the 2nd Light Battalion of Zaragoza, whose flag they inherited.[36] Since this has also been mentioned as the "2nd Battalion of the Third Light Regiment of Our Lady of Carmen", it is possible that an image of our the Virgin shone in its center, which like others, was probably the Virgin of the Pillar. We do not know its exact description or its fate.

Coronela of the  Estremadura Line Infantry Regiment
Sencilla of the Portillo Light Infantry Battalion
(Located in Paris, not Zaragoza)

Bon. Infantería Ligera del Portillo (Portillo Light Infantry Battalion): Created 13 November 1808 by soldiers of the 2nd and 5th  Aragonese Volunteers. It had a flag,[37] that was possibly inherited from the  2nd Regiment, since apparently the 5th lacked one; and in such case it could be a sencilla.  Today it has disappeared; the one in the Pillar, probably belonged to the  4th Regiment, which was probably inherited by the 2nd Light Battalion of Zaragoza.  This flag was white, with the red cross of Burgundy and on its four ends the coat-of-arms of Aragón surrounded by ribbons with the motto VOLUNTARIOS EN ARAGON LIBERTAD/ ZARAGOZA [38]

Sencilla of the Torrero Light Infantry Battalion
Sencilla of the Torrero Light Infantry Battalion (Located in Madrid)

Bon. Infantería Ligera de Torrero (The Torrero Light Infantry Battalion): Created 13 November 1808 from the remnants of the Barbastro Regiment, it had a flag that, apparently, inherited from the regiment and as well a sencilla from the Barbastro Volunteer Light Infantry Battalion, that from 1802 was garrisoned in the hermitage of the Pueyo de Barbastro. It was captured by the French and returned in1823. It is now in the Museum of the Army (nº 21305). It is white with the red cross of Burgundy and on its ends are the green shields of Barbastro, each with a man’s bearded head surrounded by five shields with the red bars of Aragón. Around the top of each green shield is a  ribbon with the motto HAEC MILITARIA SIGNA PRO DEO REGE ET PATRIA/ PUGNATURI SUP FELICISIMUS CAROLI AUSPICIS EREGERE/ Anno MDCCXIV. In the upper section of the part of the flag that is  formed by the cross, there is a motto, consisting of  two lines of blue letters.  Unfortunately by 1909, only the words ARAGON were visible on the first line and BARBASTRENSES on the 2nd.

Bon. Infantería Ligera de Calatayud (Calatayud Light Infantry Battalion): Created 24 November 1808,  when the Calatayud Regiment was re-organized. It had one flag, very possibly inherited from the regiment. We do not know what it looked like nor its fate.[39]

Bon. Infantería Ligera 1º de Zaragoza (1st Zaragoza Light Infantry Battalion): Created 29 May 1808, from forces of the 1st Our Lady of the Pillar Line Regiment.  It had only one flag,[40] for which we have no description.   A similar flag was presented to Palafox , that had the image of the Virgin of the Pillar in its center, like that of the 1st  Volunteers of Zaragoza ( which should not be confused with the first Light), whose flag was lost in Tarragona.

Bon. Infantería Ligera 2º de Zaragoza (2nd Zaragoza Light Infantry Battalion): Created 1 December 1808,  from the remnants of the 4th Aragon Volunteers Regiment.   It had one flag,[41] that was very possibly the same one that the 4th Regiment had lost in September 1808 at Tudela, but recovered by 4 men of the Volunteers of Castile. The scincilla possibly belonged to the Portillo Light Infantry Battalion, because both battalions inherited them from the Aragon Regiment.

Bon. de Gastadores del Reino de Aragón (Sapper Battalion of the Kingdom of Aragón): It is unknown if they had a flag.[42]

Rgto. de Caballería Cazadores de Fernando VII de Aragón (Ferdinand VII of Aragón Chasseur Cavalry Regiment): Created in June of 1808, it had  4 guidons,[43] whose description and fate we do not know.

Rgto. de Caballería Reunida de Aragón (The Re-Union of Aragón Cavalry Regiment): Created in December with elements of the Central Army. It had 3 flagpoles, [44] but we do not know if it used guidons or standards, nor do we have their description or know their fate.

Rgto. de Caballería Húsares de Palafox (The Palafox Hussar Regiment): Created in December of 1808, from the Calatayud cavalry. It had 3 standards or guidons,[45] but we do not know their description nor fate.[46]

Bon. de Artillería del Ejército de Aragón (The Aragón Artillery Battalion): It did not have a flag.

Sencilla of the los Pardos of Aragon Battalion
Flag of the los Pardos of Aragon Battalion
(Located in Madrid)

Bon. de los Pardos de Aragón (The los Pardos of Aragón Battalion): This force was not in the defense of the city, and lost its flag in the assault by French on the Sanctuary of Our Lady of  Magallón (Leciñena), on 23 January 1809.  It was included with the trophies of Zaragoza, since the action at Leciñena was considered by the French to be part of the siege. Apparently the flag  was taken by Sergeant Roblat of the 64th Line Regiment.








[27] (AP. Caja 24, leg. 4-8),On the other hand, the personnel record of its Colonel, D. Francisco Marco del Pont, says " Celebrated the capitulation of the seat of Zaragoza; I escape myself from her, and carried the three flags of his regimient".

[28] This text supposes that they were the Coronela and 2 sencilla s with the arms of Aragón in their corners, but mottos. Regretably they have not survived. In 1817, its embroiderer still demanded payment for his work (AP. Caja 24, leg. 4-8).

[29] On 3 January 1809 the standard bearers were Victoriano Garcia, Antonio Fernández y Gregorio Fernández, and the 13th of the same month, they were Ceveno Ogazon, Antonio Fernández, and Victoriano García (AP. Caja 7, leg. 5-3-1.

[30] Estado del 3-II-1809, AP. Caja 9, leg. 8. Hace años supuse erróneamente que una bandera realista de 1823 podría haber pertenecido a este cuerpo, pero se trató de una grave confusión. “ Las banderas del Pilar”, BANDERAS nº 9, p.17-18.Years ago I supposed erroneously, that a flag of 1823 could have belonged to this unit, which caused serious confusion.

[31] The standardbearer was Leonardo Ex, who was captured when the city fell and was released on 2 May 1813. AP. Caja 5, leg. 4-4-1 y Caja 22, leg. 7.

[32] On 20 November 1808, the standardbearers were José Águeda, Pascual Ramón y Juan Romero; On 2 December, Manuel Lacalle replaced Ramón, and on 14 February 1809, one was sick, the second absent, and the third convalescing. AP. Caja 6, leg.5-2-6.

[33] It received it by 2 September 1808. Its standardbearer was Juan Mayor. Estado 16-XII-1808, AP. Caja 5, leg. 4-4-1.

[34]On 26 July 1808, the position was not filled and on 14 December, the standardbearer was Tomas Rebull. AP. Caja 3-1-4 y Caja 5, leg. 4-4-1.

[35] Joaquín Vicente was the standardbearer, according to strength reports of 13 and 27 December 1808 14 January 1809. AP. Caja 5, leg.4-4-1 y Caja 9, leg. 8.

[36] Its standardbearer was José Peyro, who previously was in the 2nd Light, but on the 1st and 14th of January 1809 the position was vacant.

[37] The standardbearer, Juan Val was very old on 1 November 1808, and on 12 December he was replaced by Juan Barranco. AP. Caja 6, leg. 5-3-8.

[38] No hemos de olvidar que el nombre completo de dichos tercios era We must not forget that the complete of this regiment was “Tercios de Valientes Aragoneses Defensores de la Libertad”. Ver “Las banderas del Pilar, BANDERAS nº 9, p.19.

[39] On 27 November and 13 December, the standardbearer was José Mañas; on 1 January 1809, Fernando Cepedo; and on 6 January, Angel Ganica AP. Caja 7, leg. 6-1-3, Caja 5, leg. 4-4-1 y Caja 16, leg. 14.

[40] On 1 November 1808, the standardbearer was Antonio Arroyo. AP. Caja 7, leg. 5-3-6.

[41] On 13 December 1808, the standardbearer was Miguel Corredor. He was replaced on 26 December by Genaro Martín. AP.Caja 7, Leg. 5-3-6.

[42] In the Army Museum (nº 21083) there is a white coronela with the motto BATn. D YNFAN. LIGERA D GASTADs. D ARAGON, but it belonged to another battalion with the same name that was created in 1810.

[43] On 9 February 1809, there were 4 flag carriers, three were commissioners and one was a licenser.  The flagbear Narciso Felipe was captured at the capitulation of the city and was sent to Nancy. AP.Caja 11, leg. 9 y Caja 16, leg. 14.

[44] We know the names of two of them: Miguel Benito and Josef Seca; and from status reports ofl 7 - 13 February 1809 we know that one was sick and two were on guard. AP. Caja 5, leg. 4-6-1.

[45] On 9 February 1809, one flag carrier was on guard duty, one was sick, and the other free. AP. Caja 5, leg.4-6-1.

[46] In Paris there is a blue standard with the letter P letter in its center, that in the past I stated belonged to the Palafox Hussars. I have now verified that it belonged to the Regiment of the Principe.


Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2002


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