I am transcribing the intelligence reports of Lieutenant Colonel John Grant of the Loyal Lusitania Legion, who was serving as intelligence officer deep in French occupied Spain in early 1810. The one are I am currently working on are about the French invasion of Andalusia in January 1810. I am having trouble identifying a key place that he mentions often. . . the Pass of Espana Pimas. I assume this pass (also called Puerto or Pto in Spanish) is either in the Sierra Morena Mountains which divide La Mancha from Andalusia.
I have checked Google Maps, Nick Lipscombe’s “Atlas of the Peninsular War”, Oman’s “History of the Peninsular War”, and Charles Edsaille’s “Outpost of Empire: The Napoleonic Occupation of Andalucia, 1810–1812”. Additionally I have spent hours pouring over 1:50,000 scale maps of the area.
Any help will be greatly appreciated! Bob
Here are the reports
2 February 1810
In respect to that province I have now to inform your Excellency that on the 14th Ultimo as I have allready [sic] stated there was merely a partial action, but on the 21st a formidable attack was made by the greater proportion of the enemy’s army on the pass of Espana Pimas and supported by a small Division entering at the same time by the pass of Barrancon [El Barrancón], the Enemy penetrated the Sera with slight opposition as far as Laventa de Gardinas (the Spanish Batteries) carrying with them their artillery, this attack on the Spanish position continued untill the 23rd when the Enemy retired from the pass having it is said sustained a very considerable loss. Soult and Sebastiana commanded in this attack, while Victor marched with a Division of 12000 men on the Royal Road to Almaden [Almadén] from there he sent his artillery back and penetrated with his division as far as Pozo Blanco [Pozoblanco] where he established his head quarters. The latter is in the vicinity of Palacaes and El Viso del Duque [El Viso] and on the Andalusia side of the Serra Morenha [Sierra Morena] threatening Cordova & Seville the Duque de Alburquerk [sic] at the same time covers Seville against the efforts of this division by occupying Bujalance in the rear of Cordova with 13000 of his army. The head quarters of the French after their repulse in Espana Pimos was established in Puerto Lano [Portollando] near Amalado. Joseph during this period remained in Val de Penas [Valdepeñas].
It has also been stated to me that the united force of the enemy in La Mancha previous to any attack on the Serra Morenha amounted to 50000 men. 3000 of these were Spaniards in their Service and that these had been detached on some Service to Vallencia [sic] on which occasion they availed themselves of the opportunity of deserting the French standard.
The Individual from whom I derived this information is respectable and left Ciudad Real as late the 27th ultmo up to which period he states the enemy to have made no further attempt on the pass of Espana Pimos.
9th February 1810
I have now to state to your Excellency that the Division of the Enemy that penetrated Andalusia by Almaden and Pozo Blanco, entered Cordoa by Capitulation on the 24th Ultmo they merely left a garrison and marched on Seville with 10,000 men, and from the last accounts they were within 4 leagues of that City, a garrison of only 6000 was left for its protection, & they had also retreated, and I have no doubt the Enemy are now in possession of Seville, they having passed the river Guadalquivir at Tocina on the 29th.
It also appears that after the conclusion of the attack which commenced on the 21st that the Spaniards under the command of General Asieraga abandoned the pass of the Espana Pimas, and retired to Jaen with his army consisting of 20,000 men.
The collected force of the Enemy as I have before stated was 50,000 men on entering Andalusia they divided into 3 distinct divisions, one Division directing its march on Cordova and Seville, another on Jaen, and the third on Granada.
In respect to Talavera and that part of the Country already described in the direction of Toledo, I have nothing new to add, but that some days ago their movements indicate some intention of returning their Artillery. One thing is certain that within these few days past, they have redoubled their military precautions. All their disposable artillery are drawn out in front, and constantly shoted [sic]. Their Sentinels doubled, and videts [sic] in advance. They state to the Peasants that they expect an attack to be made on position by some English Divisions, and some considerably alarmed for either their flanks, in every other respect their posts, and respected strength, as I had the honor to detail your Excellency on the 21st Inst. are confirmed, with the exception of the Garrison of Toledo, which has been weakend by 700 men for La Mancha; from Toledo to Espana pimos are only 4,000 men posted at various points, and in the pass itself thus remains not above 1500 all having proceeded into Andalusia.