The Battle of Saguntum
25th October 1811

General Velasco's Account

This is the report of General Velasco, who commanded the position of El Puig (or Puch), to Pirez, Blake's Chief of Staff. When the Spanish center retreated past him, Velasco's brigade, without having fired a shot, was ordered to withdraw, leaving 400 men as rearguard on the heights (one grenadier company and the Ciudad Rodrigo battalion), which of course retreated when Palombini and Habert threatened to envelope their flanks. It had taken several hours to move the guns to the top of the heights, so they had to be spiked and abandoned. Velasco's brigade, 2.000-strong, suffered 45 casualties, the Ciudad Rodrigo battalion (of Zayas') only 18.

In answer to the offices of Your Lordship of the 26th relating to that which has occurred in the action of the 25th- for the due notice of His Excellency the General in Chief - there follows a report of what happened to the troops under my command:

As soon as my section arrived at the Puig position, two of its battalions ere ordered to take position in the heights of Santa Bárbara and the neck on the right, and the other battalion to the height called the Castle; they remained there until the moment in which His Excellency the General in Chief warned me to retreat by the coastal road with the artillery of my command, made up of a flying company of six pieces from the first squadron; but as they were later ordered to be incorporated into General D. José Zayas' division, I at once undertook to retreat by the indicated route, in spite of my being warned, by the local guides that joined us for that purpose, of the difficult terrain we were to traverse. All difficulties were overcome with the greatest constancy, order and steadiness, crossing a number of canals - some with waist-deep water - in strict formation and gathering many stragglers of all arms at the same time, mostly from the Infante D. Carlos, who inevitably introduced some disorder into the head of the column, which was corrected immediately. I ordered the cavalry of the Húsares de Cuenca to cover my rear; and I have no doubt that the order and steadfastness that the enemy (who was actually occupying the the heights of Santa Bárbara and marching into the village of the Puig as we were marching out) observed in my section imposed on him and constrained him not to hinder the retreat, which I executed without trouble to reach this place.

The commandant of the Avila battalion reports to me of having left a company of grenadiers at the time of their retreat, which was sent as reinforcements to support, with the Ciudad Rodrigo regiment, the artillery emplaced on the Castle; and that this company has lost twelve men dead, taken prisoner or wounded, one of the latter being in the hospital of this place.

This is the end of the news I have for Your Lordship at the moment.

May God guard Your Lordship for many years.

Valencia, 28th October 1811
Manuel Velasco


I am indebted to Jose Luis Arcon for copying the above text from his private reseach notes and sending it to me, together with the accompanying note.