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Capture of Montevideo and 2nd Battle of Buenos Aires

Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines

Location: Argentina

Period/ Conflict: Napoleonic Wars

Year: 1807

Date/s: 5th July 1807

Britain made two unsanctioned attempts to lessen the grip of France's ally Spain on South America with two ill-prepared missions. The first was in 1806, the second attempt was in 1807 when reinforcements belatedly sent to assist Beresford finally arrived and set out to capture Montevideo. After a fierce fight, General Sir Samuel Auchmuty's 8,000 men took the city on 3 February, but then a new British commander entered the stage.

General John Whitelocke was not a talented soldier and upon receiving new reinforcements - including General Robert Craufurd's Light Brigade - he decided to march on Buenos Aires. Whitelocke's hare-brained plan was to move on Buenos Aires without transport or a strong cavalry force and he greatly weakened his troops by leaving behind his most effective soldiers as a garrison in Montevideo.

Arriving at Buenos Aires in a shocking state, the British found many of their weapons unuseable but, despite the obstacles, performed very well. Unfortunately, Whitelocke divided his force into small units and many were overpowered by greater numbers. With some 3000 casualties, the British leader requested a truce and in return for leaving Buenos Aires was granted a peace treaty.

Both Popham and Whitelocke faced inquiries for their parts in the operation. The former received an official reprimand and Whitelocke was sacked. Read More/ Web Link: Wikipedia

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