19th Century´s militar history in the Basque Country

Battles and acttions


"La derrota de Descarga". (The defeat of Descarga)At the end of May 1835, Zumalacárregui besieged Ordizia to demonstrate that he could also take cities, in addition to his accumulated victories. The Liberals of Ordizia fended off the attack while waiting for reinforcements, knowing that the Carlist artillery was clearly inferior. Jáuregui left San Sebastián for Tolosa, Espartero headed to Bergara from Bizkaia and Valdés was in Mondragón at the time.

Zumalacárregui tried to intensify the siege of Ordizia so that he could claim victory before the reinforcements arrived. He sentGómez to Tolosa to hold back "The Shepherd" and sent Eraso (the perfect name for a soldier as it means "attack" in Basque) to Urretxu to keep Espartero's forces under control. On the 2nd of June, Espartero was in Descarga waiting for news from the other Liberal leaders. Due to the heavy storm that night and the lack of news on Valdés, Espartero decided to retreat to Bergara

"Batallon de guias de Alava" (Battalion of guides from Alava) (Detail) Meanwhile, Eraso sent a group of Bizkaia lancers and Álava guides to carry out a reconnaissance in Descarga. This group stumbled across the Liberal camp by surprise. Because of the night and the heavy storm, the Liberals thought it was a major attack and scattered. The retreat to Bergara was a major disaster in which a small group of Carlists managed to capture 2,000 Liberals. Due to the fear that this instilled in the Liberals, Espartero had to move his troops from Bergara to Bilbao. Valdés retreated to Pamplona and Jáuregui to San Sebastián.

On the 3rd, Ordizia surrendered and fell into the hands of the Carlists of Bergara, Tolosa, Eibar, Irun and Durango. After the surprise of the Liberals in Descarga, the provinces of Gipuzkoa and Bizkaia (except for the capitals) fell into the hands of Zumalacárregui.

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