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 Valencians

By Luis Sorando Muzás

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

A total of 6035 men, coming from the new Valencian Corps, were raised for the defense of Zaragoza.

<b>Sencilla of the 2nd Valencia Line Infantry Regiment
Sencilla of the 2nd Valencia Line Infantry Regiment
(Located in Paris)

Rgto. Infantería de Linea 2º de Valencia (2nd Valencia Line Infantry Regiment): It had 3 flags: a coronela and 2 sincillas.[47] One of the sincillas that is still in Paris, seems to have belonged to this Regiment.  It is of white taffeta with the red cross of Burgundy.  In each one of the corners is a rhomboid shield with the bars of Aragón, over which is the Royal Crown, on palm branches and laurel leaves,  between two crowned letters L.

Bon. Infantería Ligera Voluntarios de Borbón (The Volunteers of Bourbon Light Infantry Regiment): According to a report by San Marq on the battle of Tudela, it seems that its flag fell into the hands of the French: ". . . the captains Don Isidro Simón, D. Francisco Alonso, and D. José Alonso...., who all stayed with the flag until the very end; but the individual from this regiment that deserves much consideration is the sergeant major, who became a lieutenant colonel, D. Mariano Bianconi, who would not abandon the flag, was killed by his enemies."

The Volunteers of Bourbon Light Infantry Regiment
Flag of the Volunteers of Bourbon Light Infantry Regiment
(Located in Paris)

This would be confirmed by the strength report of 13 December, because in the same one it does not appear the flag bearer was lost, but the fact is Marshal Lannes clearly mentions the taking of 2 flags, that Balagni attributes to the Volunteers of Castile,[48] which make us doubt it.  It was lost either at Tudela or in Zaragoza. Its flag is one of the Coronelas conserved today in Paris.  It is white with the Royal Coat-of-Arms in its center, and each corner there is a Model 1762 shield, topped with the ducal crown, and with three lilies in blue field.

Rgto. de Infantería de Línea del Turia (Turia Line Infantry Regiment): It had 3 flags,[49] probably a coronela and 2 sincillas.  One almost was captured at Tudela , but for "cadet D. Vicente Martí, who saved the flag with its staff and ribbons, and everything completely, without throwing away the staff, as he was advised. "[50]  I do not know its description, nor do we even know if a shield of arms would have appeared in its corners, since the Turia is a river, not a locality, and therefore it lacks own heraldry.

Rgto. de Infantería de Línea Voluntarios de Alicante (The Alicante Volunteers Line Infantry Regiment):  It had 2 flags,[51] most likely a coronela and a sincilla. We do not know what they looked like nor their fate, although it might have been the flag that was carried by the las Peñas de San Pedro Battalion.

Light Infantry Chasseurs of Orihuela Regiment
Sencilla of the Cazadores de Orihuela Regiment
(Located in Madrid)

Rgto. Infantería Ligera Cazadores de Orihuela (Light Infantry Chasseurs of Orihuela Regiment): Their two flags, a sincilla and a coronela, were taken by the French and given back to Spain in 1823. The simple one is conserved today in the Museum of the Army (nº 40744), but the coronela was destroyed in the fire in the Royal Armory in 1884.

The simple one is white, with the red cross of Burgundy, whose ends are finished off by Model 1762 Shields, topped with a ducal crown and with a white field.  appearing in located in the angles superior to the inferior spear and to the fold a tiny shield with the bars of Aragón, between the initials AO in red, and with a an oriole bird on its feet, that had a sword in one of its claws, and in the remaining ones were the reds letters CDO, topped by a crown of laurels, superposed on two crossed palms.

The coronela was similar, but instead of the cross, there was a large Royal Coat-of-Arms.

Rgto. Infantería Cazadores de Valencia (The Valencia Cazadores Infantry Regiment): With respect to its 3 original flags, we know that  the flag bearer of the 2nd Battalion, Vicente Sech was captured at Tudela (but apparently without his flag). He managed to escape later and was re-united with his regiment in Zaragoza.[52] On 28 December, there  were 3 flags in Zaragoza, but by 2 February, only 2 remained.[53] We do not know its description or its fate.

The Cazadores of Campo Sgorbino Infantry Battalion
Flag of the Cazadores of Campo Sgorbino Infantry Battalion
(Located in Paris)

Bon. de Infantería de Cazadores del Campo Segorbino (The Cazadores of Campo Sgorbino Infantry Battalion): It had only one flag, which was blessed on 22  June 1808 in the Cathedral of Segovia.[54] On 22 January, its standard bearer was Timoteo Vega, but on that day it was decided that Joseph Lloret was "very apt for the position", who replaced  him; but lamentably this individual had been captured by the French the previous day, in its assault on the Arrabal Suburb; which is the reason why he could not be used.[55]

Apparently this flag is conserved in Paris.  It is white with the shields of Castile, Leon, and Valencia, with a ribbon at its foot with the motto "BENCER O MORIR", from which hangs two cross keys. In each corner of the cloth is a red crusader’s cross, that is likely the emblem adopted by Frey Firmio the founder of this unit. He was a member of the Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem since 3 of May of 1796.[56]

Bon. de Voluntarios de Chelva (The Volunteers of Chelva Battalion):  Had a flag, carried in January 1809 by Pedro Ramirez,[57] but we do not know what it looked like nor its fate.

Ferdinand VII of Valencia Cazadores Infantry Battalion
Flag of the Ferdinand VII of Valencia Cazadores Infantry Battalion
(Located in Paris)

Bon. de Infantería Cazadores de Fernando VII de Valencia (Ferdinand VII of Valencia Cazadores Infantry Battalion): Its flag, seized when the city capitulated, is in Paris today. It is formed by three horizontal stripes-- yellow in the center and red on the ends.  This design was used 35 years before these colors were used in the national flag. On the center stripe is the Royal coats-of-arms of Castile and Leon, similar to that had appeared in the naval flags, but with two shields of Valencia, the city and the kingdom.  Beneath it was the motto BATALLON/ D/ CAZADORES/ D/ FERNANDO/ VII.[58]

Rgto. de Zapadores Minadores de Valencia (The Sappers and Miners of Valencia Regiment): This regiment used a flag similar to coronela of the Royal Corps.  It was taken to Valencia by those who escaped the capitulation, but we do not know its later fate. We are not even sure that it was at the siege.

 

 

Notes

[47] On 9 December 1808, were: José Murciano, Antonio Colubi, and Juan Pacheco, who was reported as sick on 14 January. AP. Caja 6, leg. 5-2-4.

[48] Perhaps they took this coronela and the sencilla from the Volunteers of Castile, instead of 2nd Volunteers of Castile? This would explain how in December there still appears to be a standardbear in the 1st Battalion of the Volunteers of Castile.

[49] On 13 December 1808, the standardbearers were: Juan Bayona and Ramón de Horre. There was one that had not been filled. AP.Caja 5, leg. 4-4-1.

[50] SAINT MARQ, Parte de la batalla de Tudela.

[51] On 12 December 1808, the standardbearers were: Pedro Burillo and Miguel Compani . AP. Caja 5, leg. 4-4-1.

[52] AP. Caja 11, legajo 9.

[53] AP. Caja 6, legajo 5-2-3.

[54] BALBAS, Juan A. !El libro de la Provincia de Castellón", Castellón 1892, p. 580.

[55] A.P. Caja 7, leg. 5-3-8 y Caja 11, leg. 9.

[56] It also could have belonged to Regiment of Fé, which was dissolved after the French occupied Cuenca on 3 July 1809. However, against this supposition is the one that this Regiment never capitulated to the French, who did not mention taking any trophies at Cuenca.

[57] Reports of 8 and 14 January 1809 in the Poza Family Archives (Zaragoza)

[58] Several years ago, in an article in BANDERAS, I erroneously stated that the flag was lost at Tudela.

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: October 2002

 

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