30 November, 1808

During his advance on Madrid, Napoleon Bonaparte found his progress blocked by General San Juan with 9000 troops and 16 cannon.

An initial move against the Spaniards failed to clear them and so the emperor, impatient at the delay, ordered the Polish cavalry against the strong defensive position.

The assault was a bloody one with two-thirds of the horsemen injured or killed, but the defenders were shaken by the incident and a combined infantry-cavalry attack threw them backwards.

Bonaparte was so impressed with the Polish horsemen he immediately promoted them from the Young Guard to the Old Guard and ordered the entire Guard to present arms to the Poles as they rode by.






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