Orders of Battle at the Battle of Albuera

The orders of battle were originally based on Smith (1998) – which I read first – and then the more detailed orders of battle in the specialist Albuera books by Oliver and Partridge (2007) and Dempsey (2008).

French

Soult’s V Corps had about 19,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry, 1,200 artillerymen and over 40 guns.

My two main sources, Oliver and Partridge (2007) and Dempsey (2008), disagree on the French order of battle in several places. Particularly in the commanders and composition of the infantry divisions and brigades. This is exactly the area where Oliver and Partridge admit a gap in their knowledge so I have followed Demsey. I have also used Demsey for the battalions present within a regiment. Demsey also allocates artillery companies to each division whereas Oliver and Partridge just have a combined (and different) artillery pool.

French Expeditionary Force at Albuera
Order of Battle


portrait_Nicolas_Jean_de_Dieu_Soult.jpg (117769 bytes)

Soult

  • Commander-in-Chief: Marshal Jean-de-Dieu Soult (“Duke of Damnation”)
  • Chief of Staff: Division General Gazan1
  • V Corps (Girard2)
    • 1st Division (Girard2)
      • 1st Brigade / Brigade Brayer (Brayer)
        • 34e RIdLi [953]
          • 2e & 3e Btns; Detachment from 1e Btn
        • 40e RIdLi [813]
          • 1e & 2e Btns; Detachment from 3e Btn
      • 2nd Brigade / Brigade Veilande (Veilande)
        • 64e RIdLi [1,589]
          • 2e & 3e Btns; Detachment from 1e Btn
        • 88e RIdLi [899]
          • 2e & 3e Btns; Detachment from 1e Btn
      • Divisional Artillery
        • 19th Company, 6th Foot Artillery Regiment
        • Part of 11th Company, 6th Foot Artillery Regiment
        • Part of 8th Company, 5th (Bis) Train Btn
    • 2nd Division (Pepin1)
      • 1st Brigade / Brigade Pepin (Pepin1)
        • 21e RILe [788]
          • 2e & 3e Btns
        • 100e RIdLi [738]
          • 1e & 2e Btns
      • 2nd Brigade / Brigade Maransin (Maransin)
        • 28e RILe [1,367]
          • 1e, 2e & 3e Btns
        • 103e RIdLi [1,290]
          • 1e, 2e & 3e Btns
      • Divisional Artillery
        • 4th Company, 6th Foot Artillery Regiment
        • 2nd Company, 5th (Bis) Artillery Train Btn
    • Corps Artillery Park
      • Artillery
        • 11th Company, 6th Foot Artillery
        • Part of 4th Company, 6th Horse Artillery
        • Detachment of 4th Company, Artillery Workers
        • 5th (Bis) Artillery Train Btn
      • Engineers
        • 2nd Company, 1st Miner Battalion
        • 1st Company, 2nd Sapper Battalion
        • 5th Company, 2nd Sapper Battalion
      • Baggage Train
        • 4th Company, 8th Baggage Train Battalion
    • 1st Independent Brigade / Brigade Werle (Werle)
      • 12e RILe [2,164]
        • 1e, 2e & 3e Btns
      • 55e RIdLi3 [1,815]
        • 1e, 2e & 3e Btns
      • 58e RIdLi [1,642]
        • 1e, 2e & 3e Btns
    • 2nd Independent Brigade / Brigade Godinot (Godinot)
      • 16e RILe [1,673]
        • 1e, 2e & 3e Btns
      • 51e RIdLi4 [751]
        • 2e Btn
      • Combined Grenadiers5 [2 Btns; 11 Coys; 1,033]
        • I Corps: 45e [2 Coys], 63e, 95e RIdLis
        • IV Corps: 4e Polish Infantry Regiment
    • Reserve Cavalry (Latour-Maubourg)
      • Light Cavalry Brigade / Brigade Briche6 (Briche)
        • 2e Hussars [2 or 3 Sqns; 305 men]
        • 10e Hussars [2 or 3 Sqns; 262 men]
        • 21e Chasseurs a Cheval [2 Sqns; 256 men]
      • 1st Dragoon Brigade / Brigade Bron (Bron)
        • 4e Dragoons [2 or 3 Sqns; 406 men]
        • 20e Dragoons [2 or 3 or 4 Sqns; 266 men]
        • 26e Dragoons [2 or 3 Sqns; 421 men]
      • 2nd Dragoon Brigade / Brigade Bouvier des Eclaz
        • 14e Dragoons [2 or 3 Sqns; 316 men]
        • 17e Dragoons [2 or 3 Sqns; 314 men]
        • 27e Dragoons [2 or 4 Sqns; 249 men]
      • Unattached cavalry
        • 1e Lancers, Vistula Legion [4 Sqns; 591 men]
        • 27e Chasseurs a Cheval [3 Sqns; 431 men]
        • 4e Spanish Chasseurs [1 or 2 Sqns; 195 men]
      • Reserve Cavalry Artillery
        • 4th Company, 6th Horse Artillery [4 guns + 2 howitzers]
        • 1st Company, 5th (Bis) Artillery Train Btn
    • Reserve Artillery Park7
      • Artillery
        • 12th Company, 1st Foot Artillery
        • 8th Company, 7th Foot Artillery
        • 2nd Company, 2nd Horse Artillery
        • 2nd and 3rd Companies, 3rd Horse Artillery
        • 7th Company, 4th Horse Artillery
      • Artillery Train
        • 2nd & 5th Companies, 2nd Art. Train Btn
        • 3rd & 4th Companies, 8th Art. Train Btn
        • Detachment from 3rd Company, 11th Art. Train Btn
        • 1st Company, 12th Art. Train Btn
        • 2nd Company, 6th (Bis) Art Train Btn
        • Detachment from 4th company, Artillery Workers

Notes:

(1) Division General Gazan was normally the commander of Second Division within V Corps and Oliver and Partridge (2007) have him as the commander at Albuera. However Gazan had been operating at Soult’s Chief of Staff since Feb 1811 so the commander of First Brigade, Brigade General Pepin, actually commanded Second division at Albuera. [See Note 2 as it is possible that Pepin replace Latour-Maubourg as commander of Second Division when Mortier returned to France.]

(2) In prior campaigning Marshal Edouard Mortier commanded V Corps, for example against La Romana in Extremadura in 1810 (Dempsey, 2008). Mortier was recalled to Paris at the end of March 1811 leaving Division General Latour-Maubourg in command of V Corps. Upon leaving Seville on 9 May 1811 Soult transferred Latour-Maubourg to command the cavalry. Division General Jean-Baptiste Girard, Division General of First Division, became temporary commander of V Corps.

I’ve summarised the various re-assignments covered by notes 1 and 2 in the table below:

Officer Late 1810 Feb 1811 End Mar 1811 9 May 1811 Albuera
16 May 1811
Mortier V Corps
Gazan 2nd Div Chief of Staff
Latour-Maubourg ? 2nd Div V Corps Cavalry Reserve in V Corps
Girard 1st Div V Corps plus 1st Div
Pepin 1st Brigade in 2nd Div 2nd Div plus 1st Brigade

(3) The 55th Line were either with Werle’s First Independent Brigade or Godinot’s Second Independent Brigade (Dempsey, 2008).

In support of the 55th being with Werle (Dempsey, 2008):

  • Soult’s Unpublished report that states that the regiment reinforced Brigade Werle for the flank attack.
  • The British Fusilier Brigade saw three regimental columns within Werle’s brigade.
  • On page 191 Dempsey mentions officer casualties in the 55th when under attack from the British Fusilier Brigade.
  • The losses suffered by the 55th (19%) suggest heavy action. In comparison the regiments in Werle’s suffered 20% (58th Line) and 36% (12th Light). Godonot’s suffered <1% (51st) and 23% (16th Light).

But there is contradictory evidence:

  • The regimental history of the 55th states the unit served with Godinot not Werle
  • The regimental history of the 12th Light, in Werle’s brigade, makes it clear that the only other regiment in the brigade was the 58th.

On balance I thought the 55th fought with Werle. Werle’s brigade would have been very small without the 55th. The contrary evidence can be explained by the prefix “in general”, i.e. in general the 55th served with Godinot and in general the 12th and 58th were the only regiments in Werle’s brigade. These statements might not be true for Albuera.

(4) Mostly Dempsey (2008) and Oliver and Partridge (2007) agree on the number of men. However Dempsey (2008) gives the 51st Line Regiment one battalion (2nd) and only 751 men. Oliver and Partridge (2007) gives all three battalions and 2,251 men. The Oliver and Partridge’s numbers presumably come from Oman. In contrast Dempsey cites Soult’s Unpublished Report and the 51st’s Regimental History for the presence of the single battalion; he proratas the number of men.

(5) Dempsey (2008) has the Combined Grenadiers attached to Brigade Godinot. The Combined Grenadiers are not attached to a brigade in Oliver and Partridge (2007) although they are listed under the Independent Brigades. They were certainly part of the flank attack so, if ever attached to Godinot, were reassigned.

(6) I’ve listed the order of battle given by Dempsey (2008) but in practice the Light Cavalry were organised differently on the day. The French attack on the village started with a cavalry force. Brigade Briche had the 21e and 27e Chasseurs a Cheval but not the 2nd and 10th Hussars. the 1e Lancers and 4e Dragoons accompanied the brigade as independent regiments.

First French Cavalry to attack

  • Light Cavalry Brigade / Brigade Briche6 (Briche)
    • 21e Chasseurs a Cheval [2 Sqns; 256 men]
    • 27e Chasseurs a Cheval [3 Sqns; 431 men]
  • Independent regiments
    • 4e Dragoons [2 or 3 Sqns; 406 men]
    • 1e Lancers, Vistula Legion [4 Sqns; 591 men]
  • 4th Company, 6th Horse Artillery [4 guns + 2 howitzers]

Once the French flank march was obvious Soult redirected the majority of his horse to support it. Briche had the 21e and 27e Chasseurs a Cheval. The 2nd and 10th Hussars accompanied the 1e Vistula Lancers on the flank march. The 4e Spanish Chasseurs may have accompanied the lancers as well; this might partially explain why Spanish troops identified other Spaniards charging with the lancers.

French Light Cavalry after Flank March

  • Light Cavalry Brigade / Brigade Briche6 (Briche)
    • 21e Chasseurs a Cheval [2 Sqns; 256 men]
    • 27e Chasseurs a Cheval [3 Sqns; 431 men]
  • Flank marching Light Cavalry
    • 1e Lancers, Vistula Legion [4 Sqns; 591 men]
    • 2e Hussars [2 or 3 Sqns; 305 men]
    • 10e Hussars [2 or 3 Sqns; 262 men]
    • 4e Spanish Chasseurs [1 or 2 Sqns; 195 men]

(7) I’ve followed Dempsey (2008) on the order of battle for the artillery. But it totals a lot more companies than Oliver and Partridge (2007) list. Oliver and Partridge only list a general pool of artillery with relatively few companies and different units to those listed by Dempsey at that. Here is what Oliver and Partridge (2007) list:

  • Artillery (Ruty)
    • 3e Horse Artillery Regiment [2 Coys; 625 men; 12 x 6 pdrs]
    • 5e Horse Artillery Regiment [3 coys; 18 x 6 pdrs]
    • 6e Foot Artillery Regiment [3 Coys; 608 men; 18 x 8 pdrs]

Dempsey (2008) explains that the 10 artillery companies had very few guns. The nine companies of V Corps and the artillery reserve shared only 29 guns including two 12-pounders, nine 8-pounders , five 4-pounders, seven 6″ howitzers, and six 4 1/2″ howitzers. The 4 1/2″ howitzers might have been ‘Spanish’ howitzers transported by pack mule. The 10th company, a horse artillery company attached to Brigade Briche, had its full complement of weapons, i.e. 4 guns and 2 howitzers. That makes 35 guns in total.

Anglo-Portuguese

The allies had British, Portuguese and Spanish troops at Albuera. The British and Portuguese were brigaded together but the Spanish were deployed separately.

Anglo-Portuguese Order of Battle at Albuera

  • Anglo-Portuguese Forces (Marshal Beresford)
    • British Troops
      • 2nd Division (Stewart)
        • Colborne’s Brigade (Colborne)
          • 1/3rd, 2/31st, 2/48th, 2/66th Foot (1 bn each; 4 bn total)
        • Hoghton’s Brigade (Hoghton)
          • 1/29th, 1/48th, 1/57th Foot (1 bn each; 3 bn total)
        • Abercrombie’s Brigade
          • 2/28th, 2/34th, 2/39th Foot (1 bn each; 3 bn total)
        • Divisional Light Troops
          • 5/60th (3 coys; about 1/3 of a battalion or 1 skirmisher stand)
        • Total 2nd Division 288 officers, 5,172 men
      • 4th Division (Cole)
        • Myers’s Brigade (Myers)
          • 1/7th, 2/7th, 1/23rd Fusiliers (1 bn each; 3 bn total)
        • Light Troops detached from Kemmis’s Brigade (Kemmis)
          • 2/27th, 1/40th, 1/97th Foot (1 coy each; 3 coy total; about 1/3 of a battalion)
        • Harvey’s Portuguese Brigade was also in 4th Division – covered in the Portuguese section
        • Total 4th Division 104 officers, 2,076 men
      • Alten’s Independent King’s German Legion (KGL) Brigade (Alten)
        • 1st & 2nd Lt Bns KGL (1 bn each; 2 bn total)
        • Total 42 officers, 1056 men
      • Cavalry (Lumley)
        • de Grey’s Heavy Brigade (de Grey)
          • 3DG
          • 4 DragR
          • Brigade total 761 officers and men
        • Unbrigaded Light Cavalry
          • 13th LDR (403 officers and men)
        • Also included Otway’s Portuguese Brigade
      • Artillery
        • 1 x KGL FAB (5 x 6 pdrs, 1 howitzer)
        • 1 x KGL FAB (5 x 6 pdrs, 1 howitzer)
      • Grand Total British Troops 529 officers, 9,920 men
    • Portuguese Troops
      • Harvey’s Brigade (Harvey) attached to 4th Division
        • 11th & 23rd LIRs (2 bns each; 4 bn total)
        • 1st Loyal Lusitanian Legion (1 bn)
      • Hamilton’s Division (Hamilton)
        • 1st Brigade (Campbell)
          • 4th & 10th LIRs (2 bns each; 4 bn total)
        • 2nd Brigade (Fonseca)
          • 2nd, 14th LIRs (2 bns each; ; 4 bn total)
      • Collins’s Independent Portuguese Brigade (Collins)
        • 5th LIR (2 bns)
        • 5th Caçadores (1 bn)
      • Otway’s Cavalry Brigade (Otway) under Lumley
        • 1st CavR (3 sqns)
        • 7th CavR (2 sqns)
        • 5th & 8th CavR (1 sqn each)
        • Total brigade strength as 849 officers and men.
      • Artillery
        • 1 x FAB (6 x 9 pdrs)
        • 1 x FAB (6 x 6 pdrs)
      • Total Portuguese 10,201 officers and men

Spanish

See also Spanish Units at Albuera for more detail.

Spanish Order of Battle at Albuera

  • 4th Army (Lt. Gen Blake)
    • Vanguard Division (Mariscal de Campo Lardizabal)
      • Cansinos Brigade (Cansinos)
        • Murcia LIR (1st and 2nd bn; perhaps only 1 bn total)
        • Fijo Milicia Provincial de Canarias (1 bn)
      • Gouvea-Cansinas Brigade (Gouvea-Cansinas)
        • 2nd of Leon LIR (1 bn)
        • Campo Mayor LtIR (1 bn)
        • Cazadores Reunidos del Rgto de Murcia – detached cazadores
    • 3rd Division (Lt. Gen. Ballasteros)
      • Gouvea-Asensio Brigade (Gouvea-Asensio)
        • 1st Bn Provisional Companies of Catalonia (1 bn)
        • 2nd Cazadores de Barbastro LtIR (1 bn)
        • Pravia LtIRs (1 bn)
      • Carvajal Brigade (Carvajal)
        • ??, Lena, Castropol, Cangas de Tineo, Infiesto (1 bn each; 6 bn total)
    • 4th Division (Zayas)
      • Mourgeon Brigade (Mourgeon)
        • 2nd & 4th Spanish Guards (2 bn total)
        • 2nd and 3rd Irlanda (2 bn total)
        • Voluntarios de la Patria (1 bn)1
        • Sappers (1 coy)
      • Polo Brigade (Polo)
        • Imperiales de Toledo, Legion Estranjeros, Ciudad Real IRs (1 bn each; 3 bn)
        • 1st Walloon Guards (1 bn)
    • Loy’s Cavalry Brigade2 (Loy)
      • Granaderos del IV Ejercito (2 sqn)
      • Provisional de Santiago
      • Escuadron de Instruction (1 sqn)
      • Husares de Castilla
      • Brigade Total Cavalry 1,165 officers and men
  • Elements of 5th Army (Castaños) seconded to 4th Army
    • de Espana Brigade (de Espana3) – seconded from 1st Division of 5th Army
      • Inmemorial del Rey, Zamora, Voluntarios de Navarra IRs (1 bn each; 3 bn total)
      • Sappers & guides (1 coy)
    • Penne-Villemur’s Cavalry Brigade2 (Penne-Villemur3)
      • Carabineros de la Guardia (probably 1 sqn ??)
      • Reyna, Borbon, Lusitania, Algarbe (1 sqn each; 4 sqn total)
      • Husares de Extremadura (1 sqn)
      • Cazadores de Sevilla (1 sqn)
      • Brigade Total 749 officers and men
  • Artillery
    • 1 x FAB (6 x 4 pdrs)

Notes:

(1) Oliver and Partridge (2007) give “Rgto Veteranos de la Patria” in the Orbat of Zayas’s division at Albuera. The trouble is according the handbook of the same authors the (Oliver & Partridge, 1999) the “Rto Veteranos de la Patria” was raised 10 Aug 1813 and was absorbed by Rto de Ceuta on 2 Mar 1815. This is problematic because Albuera was in 1811. I think this is a typo because the the handbook lists the “Vol. de la Patria” as fighting at Albuera.

(2) All of the Allied cavalry, including both Spanish cavalry brigades, were commanded by Lumley during the battle.

(3) Both Brigadier Carlos de Espana and Brigadier Conde [Count] Louis de Penne-Villemur were Frenchmen.

References

Chartrand, R. (1999a). Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars (2) 1808 – 1812. Osprey [MAA332]

Chartrand, R. (1999b). Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars (3) 1812 – 1815. Osprey [MAA334]

Dempsey, G. (2008). Albuera 1811: The Bloodiest Battle of the Peninsular War. Frontline Books.

Oliver, M. (2008). Private communication.

Oliver, M. and Partridge, R. (2007). the Battle of Albuera – 1811: Glorious Field of Grief. Pen & Sword Military.

Smith, D. (1998). The Greenhill Napoleonic Wars Data Book. London: Greenhill Books.

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