Friday, 19 March 2010

The battle of the Nive is a complicated battle fought over a wide area south of Bayonne.

In December 1813 Wellington moved against the city with 64,000 men. Marshal Soult held Bayonne with 67,000 men.

To drive Soult away from the city, and open the way to invade France, Wellington split his army in two, either side of the river Nive, and advanced against the city from the south and south west.

The battle raged for five days. The French held the bridges at Bayonne and could reinforce either side of the river at will. Wellington relied on a bridge of boats, which were damaged and left Rowland Hill exposed on the right bank without support.

Soult held Bayonne, and Wellington was forced to screen the city to advance into France. Bayonne would not surrender until Napoleon was forced to abdicate.

The story of our visit is at:

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