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Masséna's Retreat

Masséna’s retreat of March 1811 marked the end of the French presence in Portugal. We visit the sites of skirmishes between Wellington’s troops and the French rearguard under the efficient command of Ney. We walk up to the castle sacked by the French at Pombal, where the 95th Rifles fought street by street and visit the bridges at both Redinha and Foz de Arouce, where desperate fighting took place as Ney successfully gave the rest of Masséna’s army a lead.

 

We see the church at Condeixa, where the French burned the locals alive as they sacked the town, and nearby we visit the exact spot where Masséna was very nearly captured by the Kings German Legion cavalry as he had lunch. The night is spent nearby at Wellington’s HQ in Lousã. At Sabugal, we visit the two extremes of the battle fought in April, 1811.

 

Over the border in Spain we see the Roman bridge at the bottom of the Águeda gorge near Barba del Puerco, where 1,500 French troops under the command of Brenier escaped in the dead of night, to Wellington’s fury.

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