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Battle Name : Vitoria

Date(s) : 21 June 1813

Part of : The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars , The Peninsular Campaign ,

Outcome : A victory for British Peninsular Army over French Peninsular Army

Type of battle : Land


The French were continuing their long retreat largely unaware of whereabouts of the main strength of Wellington's army. The halt of the French at Vitoria 19th June to 21st June was to allow baggage to come up and hopefully for Clausel with 25,000 men to join him. The British surprised the French both by the timing of the attack and the direction of the main force attack. The defeat became a rout in which the French lost all but 2 of their guns, almost all their baggage, the military chest and the baggage of King Joseph and his court. Their losses would have been greater but for the slowness in the divisions assigned to close the trap.


Town of Vitoria, north eastern Spain about 45 miles south of the port of Bilbao (Spain)

More details

Wellington was so confident of the success of his long left hook that he requested supply ships to rendezvous in the port of Santander. Or to stand off that port if it was not yet in allied hands. The capture of this port would considerably reduce the length of his supply lines.

The French kingdom of Spain was effectively ended. Clausel joined Joseph in the Pyrenees to bring the effective strength up to 75,000 men.
The timing of the victory was such that it helped to bring Austria in with Russia, Prussia, and Sweden to declare war on France.
Napoleon blamed Joseph for the Spanish retreats and defeats. He wrote that 'If there was one man lacking in the army it was a general. If there was one man too many it was the king.'
Soult was made commander in-chief on the 12th July 1813

Casualty figures

French Peninsular Army

Number engaged :

Casualties :
8,008 (13.98%)

British Peninsular Army

Number engaged :

Casualties :
4,927 (5.58%)