Let the Men Cross: The Second Battle of Porto, May 1809, and the Liberation of Northern Portugal (From Reason to Revolution) (Paperback)

Let the Men Cross: The Second Battle of Porto, May 1809, and the Liberation of Northern Portugal (From Reason to Revolution) By Marcus Cribb Cover Image
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Let the Men Cross tells the story of the battle that Wellington's biographer Elizabeth Longford called 'Wellington's greatest adventure'. Sir Arthur Wellesley, soon to be Lord Wellington, took a combined army to Portugal's second city, fighting an offensive battle on the slopes of Grijo before maneuvering into the great trading city of Porto. The city was then liberated in a daring amphibious crossing, in wine barges, right under the eyes of the French forces.

In the Spring of 1809, the fate of Portugal, and therefore of the Peninsular War, hung in the balance. France occupied most of Portugal and Spain, with only a few areas holding out. Sir Arthur Wellesley returned to command the Anglo-Portuguese field army, with large forces arrayed against him. One such large corps was commanded by Mar chal Jean-de-Dieu Soult, who had captured Porto and was busy ransacking what had once flourished as one of Europe's greatest wine trading centers.

Wellesley took the initiative, marching his army north towards Porto, encountering a French vanguard holding the heights of Grijo. In the reverse to his reputation of holding the high ground, his forces attacked up these slopes over a two-day combat. Grijo allowed Wellesley's troops to enter the southern parts of Porto, near the wine trading quaysides. Soult had ordered all boats to be destroyed to prevent any crossing and felt falsely confident on the north bank.

Wellesley sent out an exploring officer, an early intelligence expert, who found a priest, a barber, and wine barges. Together, they piloted the vessels to Wellesley's position. The British troops nearest, led by the 3rd Regiment of Foot, 'The Buffs', climbed into the wine barges and crossed the mighty Douro River to liberate the city, where they faced multiple French counter-attacks.

Porto was one of the most daring offensive actions the soon-to-be Lord Wellington undertook. This risk enabled the liberation of Porto for relatively light British casualties, but one that showed a daring operation, the likes of which are rarely seen in the Napoleonic era.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781804514405
ISBN-10: 1804514403
Publisher: Helion & Company
Publication Date: December 31st, 2024
Pages: 200
Language: English
Series: From Reason to Revolution