The Battle of Corunna took place on 16 January 1809, when a French corps under Marshal Jean de Dieu Soult attacked a British army under Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore. The battle took place amidst the Peninsular War, which was a part of the wider Napoleonic Wars. It was a result of a French campaign, led by Napoleon, which had defeated the Spanish armies and caused the British army to withdraw to the coast following an unsuccessful attempt by Moore to attack Soult's corps and divert the French army.
Pursued by the French under Soult, the British retreated across northern Spain while their rearguard fought off repeated French attacks. Both armies suffered from the harsh winter conditions. The British army, except the Light Infantry suffered from loss of order and discipline during the retreat. When the British eventually reached Corunna ahead of the French their transport ships had not arrived. The fleet arrived after a couple of days and the British were in the midst of embarking when the French forces arrived, forcing the British to fight a battle before they could depart for England
In the resulting action, the British repulsed the French assault and completed their embarkation, but left the port cities of Corunna and Ferrol, as well as northern Spain, to be captured and occupied by the French. During the battle, Sir John Moore, the British commander, was mortally wounded, dying after hearing all the French attacks had been repulsed.