Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cuidad Rodrigo

On the night of 19 January 1812 Wellington’s army stormed and captured the French held city of Cuidad Rodrigo. It was the first successful operation of its type conducted by the British Army in the Peninsular War. Allied casualties were 105 killed and 390 wounded.

Cuidad Rodrigo was one of the highlights of our first visit to Spain, and we wanted to return to explore the city some more. The river Augeda flows around the walls of the city, and presented a serious obstacle during the siege.

Jan finds some welcome shade under a tree lining the approach to the main entrance. You can clearly see the tower of the cathedral, which was visible above the walls and used by the allied artillery as a firing point.

Another view of the castle and walls. The castle is now a paradore, a luxury state run hotel. We had spent a night here during our previous visit, and treated ourselves again this time. It is said that from the window of one of the rooms you can throw an orange into the gun emplacement captured by O’Toole. The castle was also the scene of the surrender by the commander of the garrison.

The main square has changed little since 1816. This was the centre of the drunkenness and looting which followed the storm “… is true that soldiers of all regiments got drunk, plundered and made great noise and confusion in the streets and houses in spite of great exertion on the part of the officers to prevent it.”

On a warm evening we had dinner sitting out in the same square. Jan did this drawing of the corner of the house on the right in the photograph above.

The Greater Teson was the site of the First Parallel. It is now covered in a housing estate, and we could not find a spot to take a photographs of the town. However this one was taken from Jac Weller’s “Wellington in the Peninsular”

We did however find the site of the Little Teson where the Second Parallel was sited. You can see why the tower of the cathedral was used by the allied gunners to aim their shots. There are still clear signs on the tower of the damage done by the same gun

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