The failure of the archduke John to arrive in time at Wagram (5th of July), the lack of support accorded by the Spaniards to Wellesley before and after the battle of Talavera (28th of July), and the slowness with which the British government sent forth its great armada against Flushing and Antwerp, a fortnight after Austria sued for an armistice from Napoleon, enabled that superb organizer to emerge victorious from a most precarious situation.
Bilbao; Count de Belvedere (ii,000) near Burgos; reserves (57,000) were assembling about Segovia, Talavera and Cordova; Catalonia was held by 23,000, and Madrid had been reoccupied.
For these reasons he marched by land; and as the roads north of the Tagus were deemed impassable for guns, while transport and supplies for a large force were also difficult to procure, he sent Sir John Hope, with the artillery, cavalry and reserve ammunition column, south of the river, through Badajoz to Almaraz, to move thence through Talavera, Madrid and the Escurial Pass, involving a considerable detour; while he himself with the infantry, marching by successive divisions, took the shorter roads north of the Tagus through Coimbra and Almeida, and also by Alcantara and Coria to Ciudad Rodrigo and Salamanca.
News having been received that Napoleon had suffered a serious check at the battle of Aspern, near Vienna (May 22, 1809), Wellesley next determined - leaving Beresford (20,000) near Ciudad Rodrigo - to move with 22,000 men, in conjunction with Cuesta's Spanish army (40,000) towards Madrid against Victor, who, with 25,000 supported by King Joseph (50,000) covering the capital, was near Talavera.
By the 10th of July Cuesta had joined Wellesley at Oropesa;, and both then moved forward to Talavera, Victor falling back before them: but Cuesta, irritable and jealous, Battle of would not work cordially with Wellesley; Venegas - Talavera, counter-ordered it is said by the Spanish junta - did July 27, 28, not go to Arganda, and Wilson, though he advanced 1809.