Don Diego Vega has been a thorn in the French side since the Dos de Mayo. The last piece of intelligence sent by the infamous Major Manque, just before his recent capture by guerillas at Corazón Sangrante, revealed that Don Diego was visiting his mother at her country estate. Capitaine Eugène Javert of the 69e Ligne has hastily assembled a force to arrest Don Diego. However, the 33rd Foot are in the vicinity and one of their companies, along with some riflemen under the command of Lieutenant Stephen Harpe, is also approaching Donna Vega’s residence.

22339050_1963386180571397_3469214557802967689_o
Dragons!

In the cold dawn light, Javert leads some voltiguers up to the east wall of Donna Vega’s residence, supported by some dragoons.

22366748_10154921371715592_788461647707871843_n
Javert’s Voltigeurs
22308760_982412691899050_5766206423557151649_n
Donna Vega Looks On Aghast as Grasshoppers Infest Her Vines

Lieutenant Stephen Harpe swarms over the west wall, followed by his small but doughty band of riflemen. The lady of the house informs them, somewhat frostily, that there is a door they could have used. Fortunately neither Harpe nor his riflemen know any Spanish beyond ‘vino‘, ‘señorita‘ and ‘¿Cuánto cuesta?‘, which last they mispronounce shockingly.

22383980_1963386197238062_2838572286358025055_o
The Fight Begins

Voltigeurs push forward in the centre while a small column of French infantry comes marching down the road. A French canon is deployed to cover the British approach.

The 33rd move up in two small columns to the south of the stables. Some of their light bobs occupy the stable yard, fling open the gates and fire upon the small group of skirmishers they see. The French are a bit startled but unhurt.

22279790_10159106390040538_5962678125302150916_n
On!

Harpe’s men struggle through the vines. ‘¿Por qué no usaron la puerta?‘ demands Donna Vega of her nonplussed son.

22281627_10159106390135538_7406579557787135765_n
Prend Ça!

As if in answer, Voltigeurs burst through the gateway and pour fire into the riflemen. It’s hard for them to tell green jacket from  green vine though and the effect is desultory.

22366682_10159106390150538_1305565699689373965_n
Face Gauche!

The French column makes good time down the road and forms line to face the 33rd as they emerge from behind the barn.

22309033_10154921372185592_7512749833643811755_n

22365641_10159106390255538_2122551868280731168_n
Entourez la Maison!

Javert’s voltigeurs come over the wall and fire a ragged volley which sees Lieutenant Harpe reel and collapse into the vines. Exchanging fire, the riflemen dash into the villa as the dragoons attack the north door.

22289653_1963386203904728_75345793953805853_o
The Fighting 33rd

French and British skirmishes shoot it out at the stables while the main bodies advance.

22279663_10159106390160538_8260791524501935596_n
Shooting at the Stables

The French line shoots first.

22308740_10159106390300538_4378312974690659880_n
33rd Advance!

The voltigeurs who are shooting it out at the stables kill the British corporal and, emboldened, take the stable yard at the point of the bayonet.

22310521_10159106390445538_6173147352096741978_n
The Stable Captured

Bowler’s redcoats press on into cannon and musket fire.

22254830_1963386273904721_8175907086720458464_o
The 33rd Prepare to Fight
22290057_1963386313904717_8780550843715041357_o
Fire!

The long range volley has good effect on the French. Captain Bowler’s men may not march quickly but their shooting is good.

22291412_1963386360571379_350125333325503872_o
The French Line Take Casualties

The Fight for the house has been desperate. Although leaderless, the riflemen have withstood shooting from three sides and assaults from both dragoons (who have quit the field) and Javert’s voltigeurs (who have lost over a third of their number). But with every assault, their numbers have diminished and Javert rallies his men for a final attack.

22406459_10159106390315538_8227462354816445546_n

The remaining small handful of men in green fight tooth and nail, but as the French force their way through the windows, they reluctantly abandon the house and slip away, two dragging the wounded Harpe from where he lies amidst the vines.

With Don Vega captured (and goodness knows what fate awaiting his aged mother and young niece, not to mention the donkey), Captain Bowler of the 33rd, realising his redcoats are too few and too far to interfere, orders a retreat.

Victory to the French.

Next episode: Saving Don Diego.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s