Wellington at Bay

The Battle of Villamuriel, 25 October 1812

Garry David Wills

A detailed account of the Battle of Villamuriel, the largest action during Wellington's retreat from Burgos in 1812, based on extensive use of international archives.
Date Published :
September 2020
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Reason to Revolution
Illustration :
12 b/w maps, 5 color plates, 3 b/w & 6 color photos, numerous tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913118952
Pages : 224
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : Available


The Battle of Villamuriel was the largest engagement of Wellington’s retreat from Burgos in 1812. Twice as many men were involved as in the better-known actions at Villadrigo/Venta del Pozo two days earlier. This is the first full length account of the action and improves significantly on previous accounts in the campaign histories by Napier, Fortescue, Oman, and Divall. Archival sources from Great Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal have been used to build a coherent and balanced account. The orders of battle are detailed and the military experience of both the commanders and their units is provided. Detailed maps of the deployment of both forces throughout the action are provided. A detailed breakdown of the casualties on both sides is also given. Also highlighted are the previously unreported role of 9th Foot as an aspiring light infantry regiment, and the 1835 controversy around Napier’s account using the archives of the Sir John Oswald and a potential source for Napier’s account is identified. This has resulted in a detailed study of one day’s action in the 1812 campaign, with a view to extracting improved understanding of how the armies fought. The wargamer is provided with detailed scenarios to enable them to recreate the action on the table top. The action is effectively a rematch between the Anglo-Portuguese 5th Division and the 5e Division of the Armée de Portugal, only a few months after the former successfully dispersed the latter at Salamanca in July.

Wellington at Bay includes a Foreword by Carole Divall.

About The Author

Garry was born in Kingston upon Thames, UK. He studied at Brunel and Nottingham Universities for a first degree in Applied Chemistry and subsequently a master’s degree in Food Science. Garry worked for Mars Incorporated for 28 years, but since retiring in 2008 he has been pursuing a lifelong interest in the Napoleonic Wars, which began in 1973 when he started wargaming the period. In 2009 Garry had an article on Denis Davidov published in First Empire magazine and then self-published his first book in 2011, Wellington’s First Battle, about the Battle of Boxtel in 1794. Based on this research Garry also had a series of articles published in the Smoothbore Ordnance Journal relating to British artillery in Flanders 1793-5. In 2018, Garry also published a small booklet summarising three years of research into the 24 men recorded on the WW1 memorial in his village. His passion is to bring the smaller or lesser known actions to life using quality archived based research.


"An excellent book for anyone interested in the British campaigns in the Peninsular War, which also offers an ideal scenario for a division level wargame based upon an unfamiliar action, with the added bonus that the author has already done the work for wargamers who use Black Powder or General de Brigade rules!"

- Miniature Wargames

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