Battle of Valencia de Alcántara
|Battle of Valencia de Alcántara|
|Part of Spanish invasion of Portugal|
John Burgoyne by Joshua Reynolds, in the background is the attack on Valencia de Alcántara
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
|25 killed or wounded||600 killed, wounded or captured|
The Battle of Valencia de Alcántara took place in August 1762 when an Anglo Portuguese force led by John Burgoyne surprised and captured the town of Valencia de Alcántara from its Spanish defenders during the Seven Years' War. The town was taken on 27 August as part of the defence against the Spanish invasion of Portugal.
The force that captured Almeida was part of a major Spanish offensive to overrun Portugal. A northern pincer invaded Portugal from Galicia crossing the Douro and threatening Porto while the southern force crossed the border from Ciudad Rodrigo. With Spain invading Portugal in support of France, Britain sent reinforcements to aid the Portuguese; in total around 8,000 men led by John Burgoyne.
On 24 August Count of Lippe decided to attack the Spanish town of Valencia de Alcántara which was a main supply base for the invasion. He sent John Burgoyne, a colonel of the 16th Light Dragoons now local rank of brigadier general with an Anglo-Portuguese contingent of around 2,800 men (400 light dragoons, 6 British infantry companies and 11 Portuguese grenadiers companies, 2 howitzers and 2 light guns). Burgoyne passed the Tagus at Abrantes. At Castelo de Vide, Burgoyne was joined by 100 Portuguese foot, 50 irregular cavalry and about 40 armed peasants.
On 27 August, after forced marches totalling 45 miles, they attacked and captured the town surprising the Spanish defenders; Burgoyne leading his cavalry with effect. Once the town had been captured the British and Portuguese quickly cleared the neighbourhood of the Spanish troops, taking a number of prisoners including a Spanish general. In all several companies of the Spanish regiment of Seville which were garrisoning the frontier town was effectively annihilated. In addition the town was left undamaged and had to pay a ransom of a year's taxes in corn.
This little victory raised Portuguese moral and Burgoyne was given a large diamond and the Spanish Colours captured. The victory also set back the invasion and contributing to the general victory that year. Two months later he defeated the Spanish again at the battle of Vila Velha.
- Jaques, Tony. Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Press, 2007
- Kirby, Mike, The Portuguese Army - Seven Years War, Seven Years War Association Journal, Vol. XII No. 3
- Pereira Sales, Ernesto Augusto; O Conde de Lippe em Portugal, Vila Nova de Famalicao: Publicacoes da Comissao de Historia Militar, 1936, pp. 55–62