Saturday, March 19, 2011

Probing

First line, 6th September 1713

While the messenger dispatched by General Villarroel was furiously riding towards the hidden valleys of Pyrenees range, the various Catalan field commanders began movements of their own, without statically waiting for orders from Barcelona. Agility was a key factor in their desperate battle against a so overhelmingly superior enemy, and those sagacious men wouldn't waste the slightest opportunity to hamper Philip V's men.

This way, as soon as Marquis de Poal learned that the Spanish Army Group North had withdrawn a considerable amount of forces to reinforce the siege of Balaguer, he gathered most of the garrison troops in Cardona castle and advanced to meet the Two Crowns troops left at the crossroads of Ponts, in an audacious probing manoeuvre. In a similar way, after noticing that the Spanish Army Group Center had also refused contact and retreated slightly, General Bellver reduced the forces under his command, sending IR 5 Santa Eulàlia in Vilafranca town.

Their arrival in Vilafranca coincided with that one of General Basset, who then dispatched CR 2 Saint George towards the neighboring seaport of Vilanova, under command of General De Ramon. Both Vilafranca and Vilanova municipalities expressed their commitment to the cause of Emperor Charles and mobilized their respective sometent local militiae, setting them at the disposal of Catalan generals. Now they were finally able to establish a solid line of defense before Barcelona, and Basset committed himself to the job of fortifying some picked places with unparalleled efficiency.

Finally, General Manuel Desvalls dispatched from their rear positions in Manresa city an Infantry battalion and a regiment of dragoons to Cardona, with the aim to strengthen the first line hold by his brother, Marquis de Poal.

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