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The Year 1809 began with Napoleon's departure from the Iberian Peninsula. He left his brother, Joseph, in nominal command of his armies in Spain. Fighting flared on several fronts simultaneously, and the French occupation had some successes. Wellington had just arrived with a small British Army. By the end of the year the French under Joseph Bonaparte nearly mastered the plains of Old and New Castile and Extremadura.
The Battle of Medellin - March 28, 1809
Gregorio Garcia de la Cuesta planned to attack Marshal Victor's Corps of 18,000 after it had crossed the Guadiana River. The French deployed on the plain to face a Spanish army of 26,000 spread out along an extended front of 4 miles. The Spanish advanced without any reserve.
The Battle of Talavera - July 28, 1809
Viscount Wellesley set up defensive positions in front of Talavera and waited for the advancing forces of King Joseph and Marshal Victor, 45,400 men. Wellesley had 20,000 British and 35,000 unreliable Spanish troops under General Cuesta. The French attacked Wellesley's centre in column and were repulsed three times.
The Battle of Almonacid - August 11, 1809
Joseph took Sebastiani's corps and his Reserve east, to encounter Venegas. By 10 August the rest of the Spanish army had come up face to face with Sebastiani's corps and Milhaud's dragoons at Almonacid. Joseph and his Reseve were still far off.
The Battle of Ocana - November 19, 1809
Carlos Areizaga took command and immediately marched from the foot of the Sierra Morena to the plain on November 3, arriving 60 miles south of Madrid. This was a threat Joseph could not ignore. He sent Marshal Mortier across the Tagus, behind Areizaga, and met up with him at Ocana.
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