The Battle of Mendaza was an early battle of the
First Carlist War, occurring on December 12, 1834, at
The Carlists had enjoyed a victory in the
Battle of Venta de Echavarri in October and also the fruits of a raid on Navarre, in which
Tomás de Zumalacárregui would station himself at La Berrueza with a number of supplies, clothes, money, and new troops. The morale of the Carlists was very high, and they decided to fight the Liberal troops in a formal battle (rather than with guerrilla tactics). This would happen on December 14, 1834, at the Battle of Mendaza.
Tomás de Zumalacárregui concentrated his forces at the bottom of the valley of La Berrueza between Mendaza and
Luis Fernández de Córdova’s forces were stationed outside of this valley, at
Zumalacárregui attempted to follow a plan of battle similar to that enacted by
Cannae: he would allow enemy forces to drive themselves into a large arc — whereupon the Carlist infantry, positioned on the flanks in the forests of
Holm oaks on the mountain of Dos Hermanas, would encircle the main body of Liberal infantry and destroy it.
However, the Liberal leader of the vanguard,
Marcelino Oráa, himself a
Navarrese and familiar with the terrain, recognized the potential trap and instead marched towards Mendaza rather than through the valley itself. The Carlists, surprised by this maneuver and inexperienced on the field of battle, were thrown back and retreated, taking refuge in the mountains.