About Talavera Battlefield Monument
The Talavera Battlefield Monument near Talavera in Spain, commemorates the Battle of Talavera which took place on 27 and 28 July 1809. The battle was the Duke of Wellington’s – then Sir Arthur Wellesley – first major victory of the Peninsular War during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Talavera Battlefield Monument is a large memorial on the battlefield itself, although much of the battlefield is now separated by a road. It is actually a new monument as the original is now located on private land.
Talavera Battlefield Monument history
Marshal Soult’s French army retreated from Portugal as General Wellesley’s 20,000 British troops advanced into Spain to join General Cuesta’s Spanish army. The French crossed the Alberche River in Spain on 27 July and a few hours later, attacked the right flank of the Spanish and the British left. A strategic hill was fought over until eventually the British could hold it.
As day broke on the 28 July the French once again attacked the British to retake the hill but were sent back when some British troops who has been lying behind the crest of the hill jumped out and charged with their bayonets. The French response was a heavy canon bombardment until armistice was begun. However, a heavy cannon exchange began in the afternoon accompanied by other skirmishes.
In the evening, a major conflict held off the French and canon fire continued into the night until at daylight, the British and Spanish discovered the French forces had left. In their wake, the retreating French had left their wounded and 2 artillery brigades. For the battle, Wellesley was awarded the title of Viscount Wellington.
Built between 1989 and 1990, the Talvera Battlefield Monument was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Public Works to account for the 13,700 French, Spanish and British casualties of the battle. The monument consisted of 3 plumes of concrete, meeting at the top to tower 27 metres high, and has engraved in the stone the names of the military units who took part. The monument was placed on the southern foothills of the Cerro Medellín, one of the key battle spots.
Talavera Battlefield Monument today
Surrounded by a fence, the Talavera Battlefield Monument towers over the site of the Battle of Talavera. The monument is a striking piece of sculptural design, with the 3 white stone columns representing the 3 national armies who took part in the battle.
There is a plan of the battle on a low plinth, showing you the positions and movements of the various forces. Take a sunhat and some water with you because there is little shelter and Spain has very hot summers.
Getting to the Talavera Battlefield Monument
For those driving, the Talavera Battlefield Monument is located just off the N 90 in the town of Talavera de la Reina at the Segurilla exit. There is a car park for visitors.