William Godwin's Diary


Wellington and his Spanish and Portuguese allies defeated the French army at Salamanca in a rout that cost the French army 14,000 casualties. In a move calculated to inspire Spanish hopes and encourage French enemies throughout Europe, Wellington then moved in to occupy Madrid, liberating the capital after four years of the Peninsular War. After some months, Wellington took half of his army north to harass French forces and ended up engaging in a most unsuccessful siege at Burgos which cost him 2,000 men. While he was absent, French forces had gathered in sufficient number to force Wellington’s second-in-command Rowland Hill (1772–1842) to retreat from Madrid on 31 October.

See Rory Muir, Britain and the Defeat of Napoleon, 1807-1815 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1996) pp. 203-5, 214-15.