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Bayonne 1814:

The Citadel of  Bayonne

  

Sortie from Bayonne

14th April 1814

The sortie from Bayonne was an unnecessary and costly postscript to the Peninsular war. During the few hours of fighting, (0300hrs - 0800hrs), the Allies lost 838 casualties whilst the French lost 905 men and all this at a time when the war had officially ended. The commander in charge at the Citadel was Governor Thouvenot who refused to believe the news of the fall of Paris and that Napoleon had abdicated on the 9th of April. Thouvenot assembled half of his Garrison to make the assault (around 6000 men, mainly from Abbeís division). At 3am the French began to move out from the Citadel in three columns, it was a very dark night and the allies were completely surprised.

The right hand column stormed St Etienne and overran the pickets of the 5th division. The allied commander General Hay was in charge this night and he was killed at an early stage whilst trying to hold onto the village church. The only points where the British could maintain themselves were one fortified house defended by a party of the 38th, and the walled Jewish cemetery on the Bordeaux road.

The left hand column, who were advancing to the west of the cross-roads, had similar success whilst the rear column was set to invest any opportunity that the leading columns may present them. Sir John Hope was wounded and captured together with his two A.D.Cís and the second brigade guards commander, Maj - General Stopford, was also wounded. A counter- attack was mounted by Hinuberís German troops in the east and Maitlandís 1st guards in the west and order was finally re-gained around 0800hrs. Abbeís troops fell back to the Citadel unaware that, for a short time, the allied line had been cut in half. Hope was apparently captured by a party of the 82nd (Fletcher - gentlemenís sons). Oman states that the highest casualties on the French side were suffered by the 94th ligne.

Guards' cemeteries at St. Etienne-Bayonne:

The First Guards Cemetery:

              

The Third Guards Cemetery:

 

 

          

If you would like to see more pictures before we can get round to posting them or more info please send us an email and we will see what we have.

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