marzo 24, 2014

SIR JOHN MOORE (1774)

British lieutenant general who during the Peninsular War (campaigns in the Iberian Peninsula against Napoleonic France) led a retreat (Dec. 24, 1808-Jan. 11, 1809) 250 miles over the snow-covered Cordillera Cantábria to La Coruña and died in battle there although his army escaped by sea.

After the outbreak of war with Revolutionary France (1793) Moore served on Corsica and in the West Indies, Ireland, the Netherlands and Egypt.

While commandings a corps at Shorncliffe Cap, Kent (1803-06) Moore by his flexible system of tactics and his efficient, humanae discipline, earned a reputation as one of the greatest trainers of infantrymen in military history.

Sent in 1808 to expel the French from Spain Moore moved north from Salamanca to attack Marshal Nicolas Soult´s French corps on the Carrión River west of Burgos. Learning that Napoleon had cut off his route of withdrawal into Portugal he retreated from Sahagún to the port of La Coruña (corunna). On Jan. 16, 1809 while Moore´s army was preparing to board British troopships, Soult launched an attack which was repulsed although Moore was mortally wounded.

In Great Britain Moore was unjustly excoriated for retreating. Strategically he succeeded: he extricated his men from a trap, forced Napoleon to divert badly needed troops from Portugal and southern Spain, and delayed the French conquest of Spain for a year.

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