The importance of success in this enterprise was momentous, especially after the failure of Moncey at Valencia. He therefore had instructed Savary to consider Zaragossa as an object of the very highest importance; but the corps of Lefebre was not strengthened as the Emperor would have wished it to be, ere he sat down before Zaragossa.
Blake, who commanded on the west, extended his line from Burgos to Bilboa; Palafox, on the east, lay between Zaragossa and Sanguessa; Castaños, general of the central army, had his headquarters at Soria.
Insurrection of the Spaniards and Portuguese Their Alliance with England Battle of Riosecco Joseph enters Madrid First Siege of Zaragossa Dupont's March into Andalusia The Battle of Baylen Dupont Surrenders Joseph quits Madrid Situation of Junot Arrival of Sir Arthur Wellesley Battle of Roriça Battle of Vimiero Convention of Cintra.
Engracia, and thus established themselves within the town itself: their general then sent to Palafox this brief summons: "Headquarters, Santa Engracia Capitulation"; but he received for answer: "Headquarters, Zaragossa War to the knife." The battle was maintained literally from street to street, from house to house, and from chamber to chamber.
To oppose this gigantic force there were a few poor defeated corps of Spaniards, widely separated from each other, and flying already before mere detachments: Seville, whose local junta had once more assumed the nominal sovereignty, and guarded in front by a feeble corps in the Sierra Morena; Valencia, without a regular garrison; Zaragossa, closely invested, and resisting once more with heroic determination; and the British army under Sir John Moore.
In the meantime Lefebre Desnouettes, whose early success in Arragon has been alluded to, was occupied with the siege of Zaragossa the inhabitants of which city had risen in the first outbreak, and prepared to defend their walls to the last extremity.
The war, meanwhile, had been pursued with mixed fortune in the Peninsula. Zaragossa, after sustaining another siege with fortitude not unworthy of the first, was at length compelled to surrender in the month of February.
Castaños and Palafox separated in the moment of overthrow; the former escaping to Calatayud with the wreck of his troops, while the latter made his way once more to Zaragossa.
The English retired, therefore, to Badajos, and thence to the Portuguese frontier. On the eastern side of the Peninsula, Blake, advancing with the view of recovering Zaragossa, was met on the 19th of June by Marshal Suchet, Duke of Albufera, and totally routed. The central Spanish army, under Ariezaga, attempted, with equal ill-fortune, to relieve Madrid.
Palafox was pursued, and soon shut up in Zaragossa by Lannes. That heroic city on the east, the British army on the west, and Madrid in front, were the only far-separated points on which any show of opposition was still to be traced from the frontiers of France to those of Portugal, from the sea coast to the Tagus. Napoleon, with his guards and the first division, marched towards Madrid.