The French advance from Salamanca towards Ciudad Rodrigo pushed Wellington back to Fuentes d’Honor, where he decided to make a stand. Ramsey’s Battery charged the French and Knipe’s Squadron charged the French guns.
The French advance from Salamanca towards Ciudad Rodrigo pushed Wellington back to Fuentes d’Honor, where he decided to make a stand from 3rd to 5th May 1811. Wellington was outnumbered by some 10,000 men and was very weak in cavalry numbers; the horses were tired from their long march from Portugal. The cavalry went forward of the army to cover their deployment to Fuentes d’Honor, and successfully delayed the French.
The key to the Allied position was the right flank, Fuentes d’Honor. The French put in successive heavy assaults on the right. The Royals and the 14th Light Dragoons met a series of charges. During the mêlée a battery of Horse Artillery led by Captain Ramsey was completely surrounded by the French. Ramsey formed all his gunners in line, ahead of the guns, and galloped crashing through the French lines to safety. The Royals and the 14th re-formed and charged again, capturing a French brigadier.
Wellington, in danger of being outflanked, withdrew the 7th Division back over the River Turones, screened by the Light Division, including the 14th and The Royals. When the two regiments were ordered to cover the retiring infantry they were faced by a battery of artillery which opened fire at 200 yards. Making a frontal assault on guns was considered suicidal, but Captain Knipe of the 14th led his squadron in a charge from under 100 yards to take the guns and cover the retirement of the following squadrons. Knipe himself was killed, but the guns were temporarily silenced, allowing the remainder of the Regiment to extricate itself safely.