Research Subjects: Miscellaneous

A Strategic Syllogism of the 1810 Portuguese Campaign: a Day of Wrath, A Day of Death: Tojal, 20 September 1810 Part XIII

History and Strategic Applications: Studies for the Bicentenary, 1810-2010

By Roberto A. Scattolin, Italy

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Prefigurations of attack

I had already three closed columns ready for the attack: I ordered them to advance in pas de charge, and I ordered the cavalry to attack the enemy’s right. I promised the troops that the booty would be given to them to share amongst themselves[1].

Critical commentary: Two compendiary sentences.

A terse lexemic construction, settled on a forty-five (29, 16) worded complex.

In evidence is the objective and factual dated document that coronel Trant had antecedently imparted dispositions to his subordinate units’ commanders conveying rigid and stringent instructions for an attack.

Relying on a pre-figured strategic scheme for a large scale operational intervention, the Portuguese corps’ formations had been effectually mobilized in three differentiated columns of assault[2]. Considering the actual strength effectives of the organized military columns[3], a deponent relevancy is fairly obtained: there were considered at least three expedient, concurrent directions of march -- and assumed contextual positioning on ground -- where to strike at the enemy convoy.

Three (minimal evaluation), or four (maximal evaluation) directions (i.e., fronts) of assault had been contemplated by the Portuguese Corps’ Staff.

Under proper strategic analysis, it is esteemed that one forte coluna móvel(strong mobile column) had to rush and further to keep fixed at the head of the French column – parc de réserve.

This desultory impasse would have effectively relented and perilously hindered the whole tactical mobility of the confluent French column of the carriages.

In the ensuing turmoil, the column’s flanks would have been left unprotected and potentially exposed, vulnerable to any contingent recrudescence of armed conflict.

In any case, the Portuguese attacking columns would have undeniably overpowered the French forces in different sectors of armed interposition and heavily sustained noyaux de résistance (fire pockets)[4].

The logic of differentiated assaults retained the coordinates and the primary character of the tactical surprise.

Inserted in the large scale offensive operations, a strenuous carga de cavalaria (cavalry charge) was launched against the French alignment[5] (i.e., a fiery and reactive carré d’infanterie)[6] on ground.

Trant explicated that this affair was relevantly configured as an attack on the enemy’s right “flank”.

To develop a commutable spirit for resoluteness, proven valor, and emulation of bravery among his combat forces (i.e., to vigorously spur and press ahead any fighting action), Trant definitedly granted his parole for the subdivision of any acquired spoils, the inferential preys of conquest, among the stubbornly, determined combatants.

All in all, the visibly voluminous contents of the French moveable wooden carriages, the erstwhile longed for spoils of war, would have been assigned for apportionment and share-out to the meritorious deserving Luso combat troops.

The unmistakable incitation to the tenacity of the Portuguese arms correspondingly resounded as a major, tangible consistency of enrichment and prosperity.

Battle front

Although the cavalry could not achieve its aim, that is to break the square the enemy had formed, it did however behave with admirable bravery. The casualties were four men dead and seven injured, amongst which was an officer, Lieutenant Joaquim Ferreira, from the 6th Regiment as well as ten horses[7].

Critical commentary: A couple of terse, linear sentences are expounded.

A syntactic articulation of fifty-one (25, 26) words illustrates the chore of a defined, strenuously disputed battle action.

The documentary textual passages point to the already ongoing operations mounted against the French artillery park’s carriages and unités de colonne (column’s units).

In the assumed prerogatives of tactical expediency and strategic domain, the Portuguese had fiercely moved ahead to collide the French.

Under evolving operative assets, the charge launched against an organized sector of defense thus encountered consequential hindrances.

Unspecified numbers of the Portuguese mounted regular units – the Dragões (Dragoons) – vehemently charged head-on against an articulated French battle formation, whose soldiers had assumed a compacted and unyielding order of counter-opposition and determined fire in the shape of a steadily executed carrré (square).

It is axiomatic that the French, to hurriedly deploy valuable, important and effective man-power, efficaciously coordinated their ranks to face the Portuguese “assault” by means of strong interposition, counteraction, and diligently ordered discharges.

In observation is a penetrating insight: the French résistants (resistants) had coordinately relied on the expertise of the arms (i.e., veteran combatants), of well-drilled, experienced troops.

In lines of profitable intelligibility, one interrogation quickly raises: where did the Portuguese light cavalry squadrons mount their crushing and passionate charge?

On further examination: where did this military intervention take place on the actually contested operational scenario?

To gain a victorious hand, this competently pre-designed move should have been conducted at the tête (head) of the French column, in order to inexorably block its whole progressive movement[8].

In evaluating Trant’s evocative narrative account, the charge and the vigorous, dashing impetus of the Luso cavalry squadrons had been swamped.

Information is gained that although the French infantry steadily reacted, their barrage did not stop the adversarial initiative.

The fierce charging and spirited neighs of the horses, the released residuals of toxic gas and powder, the charged emotions[9] of the belligerents, the strident, deafening clangour of the weapons, all these factors of elision turned into a fiery climax and blazing cauldron.

The brutal violence of the action was an unequivocally attested matter of documentary highlighting.

Losses in action

The apparent casualties of the Portuguese cavalry, if appreciated as corroborated material through Trant’s memorial report, must be subjected to critical, literary scrutiny[10], and assessed analysis.

In memorial tendency, revealing data are noted.

Do these documentary concurrences irrefutably expound the confirmed losses which were incurred by the squadrons of Portuguese cavalry?

If taken in this acquiescent documentary line, the narrative quotations are incontrovertibly clear and definite: the French fire did not result in enough damage to stop the vibrant offensive movements of the Luso cavalry.

In partial consideration of this combat, explications are provided that the French infantry sections were forcibly resolved on a defensive combat action, by additionally relying on the practical materiality and proficient adaptability of their weapons -- id est, the soldiers retaliated with fixed bayonets, in close, enduring “compact order” against the fiery charging Dragoons.

This paradox is clear if one understands that after the first discharge[11], the French were vigorously assaulted, and, once pressed “in contact”, had subsequently proceeded to defend their physical safety by a pugnacious exploitation of the arms.

Unusual bravery of the contenders set the seal for the armed counter-opposition.

Worth mentioning among the valorous, intrepid combatants, is the distinguished conduct of Lieutenant Joaquim Ferreira, who was severely injured by a musket shot[12].

An additionally acquired documentary element which is subsequent for a relevant evaluation, is represented by a patent and confirmed historic date which must not be overlooked: the consideration that the carcasses of the horses which had collapsed in the course of the phased movement – the carga de cavalaria – had not assumed noxious implications to obstruct the dash of the Luso Dragoons on the contested terrain.

Storming the line: in-depth attacks

The infantry columns advanced quickly as far as the enemy’s advanced posts. Firing started here, and we returned it; but the enemy’s firing having suddenly ceased, I persuaded myself that they might escape during the night, which was confirmed to me the next morning. I thought no more in following them, but began to retreat, so that, without being interrupted, I arrived at the position I had occupied that morning[13].

Critical commentary: Three fluent sentences. A seventy-one (12, 32, 26) words syntactic count.

It is comprehensible that the vehement onrush that the Portuguese had launched at the head of the counter-opposed column was a frightful affair.

Intense fire reactions followed.

Pitilessly working cold steel and endured efforts of bloody, physical determination erupted in a cruel line of survival under strictest adversities of conflict.

In the documentary acquisition of the afore-indicated strategic perspective, the Luso attackers had fixed the strenuous French reaction in one distinct “sector” of armed contest.

Beyond the transitory and persisting fluctuations of this heavily engaged combat action, the defenders would have been lead into a rational, assumption that the major adversarial effort was released against their tête, or avant-garde de marche.

And that distinctively appeared as a clear visual – and tactical -- perception.

The dual operative corollary of the resourcefully pre-defined Portuguese assault significantly implied a powerful enveloping manoeuver on the exposed French flank (flanks).

The concomitant occurrence of these Portuguese assaults would have unequivocally crushed any opposed French resistance.

However the circumstances were staggered, growing adversities faced the French opponents who relied on subsequent fermentations of agitation bruyante (ardent fervency) and unyelding honneur des armes.

In contextualized evidence is the factual matter of analysis: first, the unhesitant Portuguese units had extended their offensive blows on a large scale of operative intervention; secondly, the French advance posts (i.e., accompanying units, and escort squads) had been overpowered and forced to hastily assume a resilient resistance[14].

The veil of the silence

The temporal concatenation of the historic events is then subjected to a “personalized interpretation”, or however may be to an adjusted writing declination provided by the Anglo-Luso commander.

No profitable explications are offered: which were the causal motivations which induced to the sudden French fire ceasing?

Why did the arduous protraction of the combats suddenly cease?

A striking factor emerges: the phase of disengagement had been thenceforth ordered to the Portuguese operative units.

The fast approaching French reinforcements had entered the area of contest; contextually, a new balance of fire powers developed.

Referring to the annotations of Trant’s memorial report, the constitutive explications did not mention any French intervention on the field.

That was another discrepant one-sided perspective, in the valued line of intelligibility.

Literally examining the above-quoted relatório documentário (documentary relation), practical evidence is consistent with the fact that a contemporary strategic analyst is not facilitated to substantiate the indications of cause, and to assess the reason why the improvised arrival of fresh auxiliary French units remained unmentioned[15].

Infantry on the stake 

The infantry had lost more or less thirty men between dead and injured. I cannot evaluate the enemy’s casualties, but we made nearly eighty prisoners from different regiments, of whom two officers, three sergeants and two imperial gendarmes[16].

Critical commentary: A defined phraseology.

A thirty-eight (13, 25) structured articulation.

The inherent and tersely expounded informative elements of historic reference are reportedly focused on the figured Portuguese losses.

We do not actually know if these dates are “objectively” reported on firm, assertive principles of evaluation.

In strictly considering the losses incurred to the infantry compounds, neither definition of sort nor numerical data are acquired concerning the Luso soldiers who fell captives.

This “voice” did not reenter in the post-combat tribute, category of human lives.

Oddly enough, this critical information has been “obnubilated”.

A substantial and further point of consideration is that the “missing in action” does not appear in the total figures computation.

Therefore, from the formalistic documentary narration it transpires: on practical subjects of investigation, such as the perdas relatadas (reported losses), which accounted the mortos (dead), and the feridos (injured), plus the prisioneiros de guerra (p.o.w.), and the perdeu em ação (missed in action), only 50 % of the incidental factors of loss (mortos, and feridos) had been considered.

Did this calculation imply that the residual 50 % coefficient of incidences was not an acquired documentary possibility to the Portuguese corps’ units?

No answer is constrainedly demanded on the afore indicated reflection.

Clear transparency is offered --  and limited -- by the captured French soldiers; however, this figure may be restricted to the latest combat actions.

Social identity: the courage of a people

I will recommend my troops as regards their bravery, there are no others that could behave better, a quality which helped to make the minds restless, and excited some confusion by their enthusiasm. Since this is the first time that this body of militia manoeuvred under fire from the enemy, it’s expected that in any other future occasion it will present itself with more discipline, because, for me, I have greatest confidence in its intentions, etc., etc..

[to] His Illustrious and Excellence Lieutenant General Manuel Pinto Bacellar, commanding the army of the Northern Provinces. = Nicolau Trant[17].

Critical commentary: Three fluent sentences.

A ninety-three (33, 42, 18) terms narrative structure.

The conduct, the abnegation, and the harsh, protracted efforts of the Portuguese troops throughout the mission-critical scenario had been subjected to a number of complexities and accidental tactical hindrances.

Effectually, Trant’s constitutive appreciation and complimentary views determinedly expressed to his intrepid, heavily enduring combatants (i.e., the military formations, notably organized in the arms of infantry, cavalry, and artillery compounds) have to be significantly comprehended as a distinguished and effectually denotative attribution of recognition to the valour of a whole people: the Portuguese.

The cohesive political and social identity of the Nação Português (Portuguese Nation), and the sensibly marked affirmation of the unequalled values of homeland, are thereupon focused on the heroic resistance which was opposed to the Armée de Portugal and to the French foreign invaders.

The strenuous “[…] bravery, […]” (i.e., boldness, indomitability, heroism) of the Luso armed contingents could not have been signaled by a better selected substantive.

What has in effect to be discerned behind the meaning in this noun?

Hereinafter, can any literary terminology render the authentic, innermost love – Amor patriae – that the people of Continental Portugal had matured along the centuries in regards to their Country and generational traditions of heritage?

N.B.

Rebus sic stantibus, what can be observed after rigorous documentary examination is that the instilled military discipline proved partially defective; further, ineffectively executed moves did not attain the maximum results on ground while enduring serious, total combat conditions.

This partial defectiveness has to be notably considered and focused on the arrival of fresh French unités de soutien (i.e., support units).

Under major evolving circumstances and transitional strategic reversal, it did not mean that the Portuguese assault troops did not exhibit personal courage and offensive daring.

Quite the contrary, in the seemingly apparent evaluation, it is clearly a matter of fact: that upon the arrival of the robust French reinforcement battalions, the received Portuguese orders were thoughtfully oriented to a prompt retirada táctica (tactical disengagement).

Documentary Appendix, Piece I – Primary Source, Portuguese Text

Eu tinha tres columnas cerradas ja preparadas para o ataque: ordeno-lhes de marchar para diante a passo de carga, e dei ordem á cavallaria para atacar a direita do inimigo. Prometti ás tropas que a presa lhes seria dada em partilha. Posto que a cavallaria não pôde conseguir o seu fim, isto é, romper o quadrado que o inimigo tinha formado, comportou-se todavia com uma bravura admiravel. Elle teve quatro mortos e sete feridos, dos quaes um era official, o tenente Joaquim Ferreira, do regimento n.° 6, e perdeu dez cavallós. As  columnas de infanteria avançaram com rapidez até aos postos avançados do inimigo. Aqui o fogo començon, e nós o retribuimos; mas do lado do inimigo, tendo cessado subitamente, persuadi-me que se escapasse durante a noite, o que me foi confirmado na seguiente manhã. Não pensei mais em o perseguir, mas puz-me em retirada, de modo que sem ser interrompido cheguei à posição que havia occupado pelo manhã. A infanteria teve pouco mais ou menos trinta homens mortos e feridos. Não posso calcular a perda do inimigo, mas fizemos-lhe perto de oitenta prisoneiros de differentes regimentos, incluido dois officiaes, tres sargentos e dous gendarmes imperiales. A recommendar as minhas tropas, pelo que respeita á bravura, não ha autras que melhor se possam comportar, qualidade que contribuiu a tornar os espiritos agitados, e a excitar alguma confusão pelo seu arrebatamento. Sendo esta a primeira vez que este corpo de milicias manobrou debaixo do fogo do inimigo, é de esperar que em qualquer outra occasião futura se apresente com mais disciplina, pois que quanto a mim tenho n’elle grande confiança nas suas intenções, etc., etc..

Ill.mo e ex.mo sr. tenente general Manuel Pinto Bacellar, commandante do exercito das provincias do norte. = Nicolau Trant”.

Historiographical reference and literary text quotation extracted from: Luz Soriano, Simão José, da. História da Guerra Civil e do estabelecimento do governo parlamentar em Portugal comprehendendo a história diplomática militar e política d’este reino desde 1777 até 1834. Segunda Epocha. Tomo V – Parte II. Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1893, p. 215, l. 17-37, p. 216, l. 1-11. Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal.

Notes:

[1] Primary documentary source: “Eu tinha tres columnas cerradas ja preparadas para o ataque: ordeno-lhes de marchar para diante a passo de carga, e dei ordem á cavallaria para atacar a direita do inimigo. Prometti ás tropas que a presa lhes seria dada em partilha” [vide: Luz Soriano, Simão José, da. História da Guerra Civil e do estabelecimento do governo parlamentar em Portugal comprehendendo a história diplomática militar e política d’este reino desde 1777 até 1834. Segunda Epocha. Tomo V – Parte II. Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1893, p. 215, l. 17-37. Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal].  

[2] Clear to the point. The antecedent, pre-determined formation of the assault units (which composed the colunas de ataque), and their pre-assigned targets on ground, plus the operational lines of armed intervention. In this subsequence, the effective strength of each column is unmentioned. We know that Trant’s consistent man-power capacities relied on 1,700 foot at his command. Was there accordingly considered the formation of a mobile reserva de infantería (infantry reserve) to shield any sudden occurrence of combat and for any repercussion of strategic instability? This instrumental possibility cannot be eluded.

[3] No inaccurate assumption of intelligibility is considered, in assuming, on equated terms, a seemingly “formal media” of around 450 (minimal coefficient) to 500 (maximal coefficient) men per column – id est, tactical movement in single column. As a whole, a calculated total of 1,350-1,500 men may be postulated. The formation of an infantry reserve is a pondered factor; it is here estimated as a factor of importance, whose flexible consistency may have been attained few hundreds combatants (200-350). Not to be omitted, then were the cavalry units, a highly mobile compound of (around) 200 mounted Dragões (Dragoons).  

[4] To achieve these tangible effects, the Portuguese storming troops (i.e., mobile corps units) had thereafter to change their ordered initial formations, by opening and extending their ranks into linear order. This strategic predictability would have thus amply invested and constricted the French under a heavy bombardment of lead bullets. To acquire the advantageous supremacy of the fields of fire was reportedly necessary. This incisive evidence is correspondingly extracted from Trant’s report. Maréchal Masséna’s second aide-de-camp, Marbot, significantly recalled the executed threats on the right flank of the slowly advancing French column, and how the severe intensity of the combat actions had developed. The incessant preponderance of the Portuguese’ fire and interacted movements bewildered the French, and made them believe that the Luso adversaries were estimated to be in the order of some thousands of combatants: “[…] tout à coup parut sur son flanc droit le colonel anglais Trent, avec quatre à cinq mille miliciens portugais!” [vide: Marbot, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcellin (Baron de). Mémoires du Général Baron de Marbot. Madrid – Essling - Torrès Védras. Vol. II. Paris, Librairie Plon, E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie, Imprimeurs-Éditeurs, Rue Garancière, 10, 1891, p. 378, l. 33-34, p. 379, l. 1].

[5] This statement has to be correctly comprehended as the assumed defensive position on the ground – but not equivocated as a formal “linear battle order”.

[6] Id est, an infantry square. An urgently ordered military formation. The predisposed ranks were formed by a detachment of the 68e régiment de ligne, under the authority of capitaine Dupégé; in addition, a small unit of the 6e régiment léger is similarly signaled [vide: Horward, Donald D.. The Battle of Bussaco: Masséna vs. Wellington. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press, 1965, p. 55, l. 23-26].  In the above-referred information, one can note that solid quoting, or a qualitative cultural support to present the full, primary French text source have not been considered. That processed scientific methodology would have been a distinct sign of respected documentary valuation, not subsequently to enhance the creditable historic profitability of the past events. A specific reference (Note 40) appeared instead at page 56. It pointed to the Correspondance: Armée de Portugal, Carton C 7: “Rapport fait à S.A. Prince d’Essling par De Fontenilles” -- Service Historique de l’Armée, Vincennes, Paris. Also in this case, the reader discerns that no contents of remand or French text documentary citations are provided. That impasse de lettres can be read as the discretional latitude – or imperitĭa -- of any researcher. Documentary history has different incidences of formal study all over the world. In observation, a necessary historic remark is crucially requested on note 38 [vide: Marbot declared the enemy force numbered 4,000 men]. A rectification is required: not to intellectually or defectively and maladroitly adulterate a primary French source, in the Mémoires du Général Bon de Marbot the original French text is integrally reported in a specific narrative passage: “[…] tout à coup parut sur son flanc droit le colonel anglais Trent, avec quatre à cinq mille miliciens portugais!” [trnsl.: “[…] suddenly appeared on its right flank the English Colonel Trent [sic; Trant], with four to five thousand Portuguese militiamen”; vide: Marbot, Jean-Baptiste-Antoine-Marcellin (Baron de). Mémoires du Général Baron de Marbot. Madrid – Essling - Torrès Védras. Vol. II. Paris, Librairie Plon, E. Plon, Nourrit et Cie, Imprimeurs-Éditeurs, Rue Garancière, 10, 1891, p. 378, l. 33-34, p. 379, l. 1]. After French language scrutiny and assessment of historic reference, the variability expressed by Marbot was stated to have a minimal coefficient of 4,000 men, pending to a maximal point of 5,000 adversarial combat units. Another incurred original French language discrepancy is on Note 39 [vide: Koch stated the reserve artillery was escorted by the 75th Line and the 15th Gendarmerie]. In observation: in the 1967 edition of Masséna memoirs, the original French text recalled: […] 3 sections du 75e de ligne et 15 gendarmes” – trnsl.: “[…] 3 sections of the 75th of the Line and 15 gendarmes” [vide: Koch, Jean-Baptiste (Général). Mémoires de Masséna. Rédigées d’après les documents qu’il a laissés et sur ceux du dépôt de la guerre et du dépôt des fortifications recueillis par le Général Koch. Tome Septième. Paris, Chez Jean De Bonnot, 1967, p. 182, l. 26-27].

In France, over a century before, général de brigade Koch (1782 - Paris, 1861), the biographer of Masséna, had covered the 1810 combat at Tojal [vide: Koch, Jean-Baptiste (Général). Mémoires de Masséna. Rédigées d’après les documents qu’il a laissés et sur ceux du dépôt de la guerre et du dépôt des fortifications. Paulin et Lechevalier, Paris, 1848-1850. Modern printing edition: Mémoires de Masséna. Rédigées d’après les documents qu’il a laissés et sur ceux du dépôt de la guerre et du dépôt des fortifications recueillis par le Général Koch. Tome Septième. Paris, Chez Jean De Bonnot, 1967, p. 182, l. 15-32, p. 183, l. 1-8]. In shrill contradiction, Koch quoted that a chef d’escadron – no cognominal indication is reported -- had the authority in command of the artillery column, in reality merely had with him three sections of the 75e de ligne and 15 gendarmes; in addition, this officer expeditiously ordered the employés des vivres to horse, and formed the infantry en carré. One question is raised: did the meticulous Koch not consult the original documents and correspondance of the Armée de Portugal, or did he alternately resolve on a factual prudential behaviour referred to the events at Tojal? What about this relevant difference? The fact is thus considered: in view of Koch’s plain memoir writing, it can be substantiated that due to the causal reason of having reduced armed escorts of support the French were surprised; however, under unmitigated circumstances they opposed an honourable resistance [abstracting from any “heroic” -- pretensions of stand --, the soldiers provisionally supported and sheltered themselves by means of the natural elements, notably a cluster of rocks on their left]. In effect, the superiority of the Portuguese units was a preponderant factor. If one strategic analyst is prone to favour instead De Fontenilles’ “victorious” report, one catches the perspective of the Luso tactical ambush, the ensuing severity of the combats, and the integral responsibilities of the Armée de Portugal’s General-Staff are conspicuously deduced. The authentic problem is unquestionably related to the first hand historic sources (either French, and Portuguese – and not to a defective one-sided perspective), and to their supposed credibility of  “formal” contents. The status quaestionis and correct interpretation of the French mémoires has not yet been defined and comprehended up to the XXIth century modern days.  

Morale: worth considering is that De Fontenilles’ battle report was rejected, and disturbingly dismissed by the same Maréchal Masséna to cover the gravity of the episode [author : please, in order to significantly and objectively focus on this incongruent relative context, readers are invited to thoroughly consult: A Strategic Syllogism Of The 1810 Portuguese Campaign: a Day Of Wrath, A Day Of Death: Tojal, 20 September 1810 – Part VII, and Part VIII], and the uncontestable tenacity of Portuguese arms’ attack. Masséna wanted capably to conceal and cover the incurred mistakes of the French General-Staff, to the detriment of De Fontenilles’ own role and personal ambition to have won a military engagement in continental Portugal all by himself (i.e., imparted fight orders, strategic adaptability, pourparlers intermediation, fiery, compact resistance, achieved final result). What is one to think about all these affairs and machinations of personal agrandissement?  As the Latin motto recited, Vanitas vantitatum et omnia vanitas.

[7]Posto que a cavallaria não pôde conseguir o seu fim, isto é, romper o quadrado que o inimigo tinha formado, comportou-se todavia com uma bravura admiravel. Elle teve quatro mortos e sete feridos, dos quaes um era official, o tenente Joaquim Ferreira, do regimento n.° 6, e perdeu dez cavallós” [vide: Luz Soriano, Simão José, da. História da Guerra Civil e do estabelecimento do governo parlamentar em Portugal comprehendendo a história diplomática militar e política d’este reino desde 1777 até 1834. Segunda Epocha. Tomo V – Parte II. Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1893, p. 215, l. 17-37. Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal].    

[8] In the general operations (combats of Adsormil, area of Tojal) were notably involved the Portuguese Dragoons, regimental formations (at squadron level effectives) n.° 6 and n.° 11. Vide: De Chaby, Cláudio Bernardo Pereira. Excertos históricos e collecção de documentos relativos á guerra denominada da Península, e ás anteriores de 1801, e do Roussillon e Catalunha, resultado da comissão de investigações históricas cometida ao capitão de primeira classe Cláudio de Chaby, etc., publicação ordenada pelo governo, sendo ministro e secretário de Estado dos Negócios da Guerra, o Ilmo. e Exmo. Sr. Visconde de Sá da Bandeira. Volume 3. Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1863, p. 165, l. 2.

[9] In the bitter and cruelly fought scenario, the wild, ferocious and guttural yellings of the combatants could be pathetically  heard.

[10] Caution is needed. The narrative passages have not yet affirmed or taken as “melted gold”.

[11] Fire-rate incidences produced variable dependent results which, however, were not a sufficient “contributive factor” to attain a preponderant, resolution to the general proficiency of the combat actions.

[12] A stout-hearted, intrepid professional officer, Joaquim Ferreira Cabral Paes do Amaral was born in the house of Penaventosa (Baião, Santa Cruz do Douro) on 30 September 1770 (died on 26 June 1845). His father: António Ferreira Cabral Paes do Amaral; his mother: Ana Perregrina Ferreira de Sousa e Freitas. Officer de cavalos (of cavalry), he was gravely attained in the facial surface in the toughly-disputed combat action which had ensued in the surroundings of Adsormil (20 September 1810). “Foi ferido com uma bala de mosquete na face diretta na acção entre Trancoso e Tojal em 20 de setembro de 1810, […]” [vide: Christóvam Ayres de Magalhães Sepúlveda. Historia da cavalleria portugueza. Volume 2. Lisboa, Imp. Nacional 1892, p. 311].     

[13] Historic source: “As  columnas de infanteria avançaram com rapidez até aos postos avançados do inimigo. Aqui o fogo començon, e nós o retribuimos; mas do lado do inimigo, tendo cessado subitamente, persuadi-me que se escapasse durante a noite, o que me foi confirmado na seguiente manhã. Não pensei mais em o perseguir, mas puz-me em retirada, de modo que sem ser interrompido cheguei à posição que havia occupado pelo manhã” [vide: Luz Soriano, Simão José, da. História da Guerra Civil e do estabelecimento do governo parlamentar em Portugal comprehendendo a história diplomática militar e política d’este reino desde 1777 até 1834. Segunda Epocha. Tomo V – Parte II. Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1893, p. 215, l. 26-33, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal].  

[14] Id est, adaptability to the natural configuration of the terrain, and to the transitional evolution of warfare.   

[15] The effective combative élan (animosity), strongly-determined montée en ligne (mounted into line) of conspicuous French support troops, conditioned the battle actions then in process. It caused the consequent strategic refluence of the Portuguese formations. Solid, documentary matter is, in effect, revealing to this point. This acute phase of retrocession from the toughly-disputed battleground was a refined tactical manoeuver of disengagement. Its profitable execution was effectually an inspired logic, a shrewd preventive choice ordered with promptitude of commands and field authority. Thoroughly considering all the historic facts, the constitutive character of the movimento de retirada estratégica (strategic retreat) is evidenced in its pre-considered orientative aims.     

[16] Primary documentary source: “A infanteria teve pouco mais ou menos trinta homens mortos e feridos. Não posso calcular a perda do inimigo, mas fizemos-lhe perto de oitenta prisoneiros de differentes regimentos, incluido dois officiaes, tres sargentos e dous gendarmes imperiales” [vide: Luz Soriano, Simão José, da. História da Guerra Civil e do estabelecimento do governo parlamentar em Portugal comprehendendo a história diplomática militar e política d’este reino desde 1777 até 1834. Segunda Epocha. Tomo V – Parte II. Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1893, p. 215, l. 33-37. Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal].  

[17] Portuguese text: “A recommendar as minhas tropas, pelo que respeita á bravura, não ha autras que melhor se possam comportar, qualidade que contribuiu a tornar os espiritos agitados, e a excitar alguma confusão pelo seu arrebatamento. Sendo esta a primeira vez que este corpo de milicias manobrou debaixo do fogo do inimigo, é de esperar que em qualquer outra occasião futura se apresente com mais disciplina, pois que quanto a mim tenho n’elle grande confiança nas suas intenções, etc., etc..

Ill.mo e ex.mo sr. tenente general Manuel Pinto Bacellar, commandante do exercito das provincias do norte. = Nicolau Trant” [vide: Luz Soriano, Simão José, da. História da Guerra Civil e do estabelecimento do governo parlamentar em Portugal comprehendendo a história diplomática militar e política d’este reino desde 1777 até 1834. Segunda Epocha. Tomo V – Parte II. Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional, 1893, p. 215, l. 37, p. 216, l. 1-11. Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal].  

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series: November 2013

 

Miscellaneous Index | Day of Wrath, A Day of Death: Tojal, 20 September 1810 – Part I]

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