The Battle of San Marcial was a battle fought during the Peninsular War on 31 August 1813. The Spanish Army of Galicia, led by Manuel Freire, turned back Marshal Nicolas Soult's last major offensive against the army of Britain's Marquess of Wellington.
Wellington approached San Sebastián in the aftermath of the Vitoria campaign and put the city under siege in July 1813, aiming to reduce the important coastal fortress while the French army retired east, nursing its wounds from Vitoria. San Sebastián and Pamplona sat on Wellington's flanks, guarding the approaches to the French border, and needed to be pried from French hands before the allies could pursue operations into France. However, it appears Wellington misjudged the resourcefulness and determination of the French garrison and its talented commander, General of Brigade Louis Rey. British assaults sustained very bloody repulses, losing 600 killed in a 26 July attack. Before Wellington could organize a new effort, news reached him that Soult had rebuilt the French field army and reappeared to the east—weeks earlier than Wellington had believed possible—and the allies broke off the siege to confront him.
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