1707 – Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo

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Hierarchical Path: War of the Spanish Succession (Main Page) >> Sieges >> 1707 – Siege of Ciudad Rodrigo

The siege lasted from 18 September to 4 October 1707

Introduction

By September 1707, Ciudad Rodrigo, which had been captured by the Allies on the previous year, had become the centre of their operations.

La Gazeta writes:

“With the continuous movement of the Allied armies and the consequent exactions, violence and excesses; the city was occupied by a garrison of foreign soldiers, most of them adventurous and heartless people, they spent the seventeen months of the toughest, tyrannical and shameful foreign domination that our city has suffered in its long and troubled history.”

Map

Map of the second siege of Ciudad Rodrigo in 1707 – Copyright: Dinos Antoniadis

The city (it cannot be considered as a place) had no outworks, no ditch, no covert way. A simple wall surrounded it.

Description of Events

On September 18, 1707, the Marquis de Bay appeared before the walls of Ciudad Rodrigo at the head of a Franco-Spanish army to wrest the city from the Allies.

On the night September 20, some Franco-Spanish soldiers entered the suburb.

On 21 September, some musket shots were fired from the plaza against the besiegers, who were making fascines, but without result.

After midnight on September 22, Bay’s troops occupied the three convents: 150 men of the Regimiento de Toro took the Convent of San Francisco; the Regimiento de Lombardia, the convent of Santo Domingo; and 300 French, the Convent of Santa Clara.

On September 23, the defenders made a sortie where they lost 50 men, 1 colonel and the sergeant major of the city.

On September 24, Franco-Spanish troops occupied the Convent of the Trinity, only 80 paces from the covert way.

On September 25, work began on the 12-gun batteries. The defenders vainly tried to send their cavalry out of Ciudad Rodrigo to take refuge in Almeida, all passages being blocked.

On September 26, the defenders fired at the workers, without causing serious damage because they were already covered.

On September 27, a battery of five mortars opened with stones and bombs against the covert way. The same day, 13 coys of the Orense regiment (?Orense Cavalry?) arrived, some of which stopped the San Felices garrison.

On September 28, a 3-pieces battery was established. The defenders installed a 2-piece battery.

On 29 September, one piece of the battery of the defenders was dismounted. Work was underway to complete the large battery. The same day, 4 Galician rgts (1,230 men) arrived before Ciudad Rodrigo.

On September 30, another piece was dismounted and a large mortar burst. A six-pieces battery was established. The Count of Aguilar arrived before Ciudad Rodrigo. The defenders suffered from heavy desertion.

On October 4, the walls of Ciudad Rodrigo were breached. In the afternoon, the city was stormed, with very light casualties while the defenders had lost 300 men killed and 600 wounded during the siege. The garrison (1,878 soldiers and 280 officers) was taken prisoners. The besiegers also captured 56 flags, 13 artillery pieces, 3 mortars, a large quantity of ammunition and supplies for a year.

Outcome

On October 4, Colonel of artillery Antonio de Leiva was charged to communicate to the editors of the Gazeta the good news of the recapture of Ciudad Rodrigo.

Franco-Spanish troops looted the houses of those suspected of collaboration with the Portuguese. These same collaborators were punished by property confiscation, exile, imprisonment and even the death penalty.

After two sieges, half the city has been destroyed. Among so many rubble, the Carbonero mill, the bread ovens and the Sancti Spíritus nunnery were considered as damaged, fallen or ruined.

Forces involved

Allies

Summary: 3,000 men (1,400 regulars and 1,600 militia)

Franco-Spanish

Commander-in-Chief: Alexandre Maître, Marquis de Bay assisted by the Count of Aguilar, the Count of Ablitas, the Marquis of Sufraga, Don Pedro Borrás and Don Pedro de Orduña, and the four knights of Salamanca.

Summary: 9,500 men

Units specifically mentioned:

References

Lopez y Rámajo, Don Antonio María: Disertacio historico-arquaeologica de la antigua Mirobriga, Madrid: 1875

rodericense: Cántaro de palabras

Spanish Wikipedia – Sitio de Ciudad Rodrigo (1707)

Acknowledgements

Dinos Antoniadis for the initial version of this article.