The battle was part of a campaign in spring 1837 when the liberal Army tried to chase the Carlists from the Basque Country. They attacked from three points: General Pedro Sarsfield from Pamplona, General Espartero from Bilbao and a British-Spanish force under George de Lacy Evans from San Sebastián.
On March 15 the British Legion conquered a fortification known as Oriamendi on a strategic hill near San Sebastián.
The next day the Carlists under Sebastian de Borbón counterattacked and, after a long battle, drove the British-liberal army back to their trenches outside San Sebastian. This force had suffered between 1,000 and 1,500 casualties and covering fire from the Royal Navy prevented the withdrawal from becoming a disaster. The success of the Carlist troops lay in a defence-in-depth and their infantry's high mobility.
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