1200 24th August 1813
At first light General Cole ordered his 3rd Allied corps to attack Palencia
They caught General Conroux in the middle of redeploying his 8th French corps. In expectation of an attack against his left flank, he had ordered 15th Vistula division to abandon Palencia and march south to occupy the high ground to the west of the main road.
One brigade from his 7th French division would move south and garrison the town.
By 0900 it was clear to Conroux that the British had launched a major attack. He promptly cancelled his orders of the previous evening for redeployment.
General Chasse had already halted his Vistula division and deployed his lancer brigade to slow down the approaching British light division. However his infantry and artillery were moving through Palencia, and it would take a few hours to deploy them to receive the enemy. Priority was given to the artillery, which were in place by mid morning.
The Vistula division was deployed before midday, but it was not a planned deployment. Each brigade turned to their right and moved to face the British. The result was a serious gap in the centre of the French line between the town and the northern hill.
Cole had his own problems.
3rd division had sent their cavalry brigade to recce the northern approach to the French position. Picton now had to advance cross the plain to approach the hill without any cavalry support. This resulted in a slow approach, with his right hand brigade moving in square to counter the French dragoons. His cavalry arrived just after midday, just in time to support the actual attack on the French held hill.