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Oporto, battle of

Oporto, battle of, 1809. On 12 May 1809 British forces in the Peninsula under Wellesley faced Soult's French army of 11,000 across the Douro opposite Oporto. Believing a frontal assault to be impossible, Soult was taken by surprise when the British used four wine barges to ferry troops across the river. The British occupied a convent which they held against French counter-attacks. When the French withdrew from the waterfront, the citizens of Oporto took many more vessels across to the British to speed up the crossing. Soult was forced to retreat, and by 19 May the French had been driven out of Portugal.

Gary Sheffield

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