Battle of Martín García (1814)
The Battle of Martín García was fought from 10 to 15 March 1814 between the forces of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata under the command of then-Lieutenant Colonel Guillermo Brown, the royalist forces commanded by frigate captain Jacinto de Romarate, defending the region. After a small naval engagement where the running aground of the leading revolutionary vessel gave the royalists a small victory, but suffering numerous casualties, the United Provinces troops took the island by assault forcing Romarate's squadron to retreat. Brown's victory divided the enemy's forces, secured the United Provinces' control of access to the interior waterways, made possible their advance on Montevideo. After the decisive victory at the Buceo engagement, they could blockade the city to the open sea completing the land blockade by the army, causing the city's surrender. On 25 May 1810 the May Revolution in Buenos Aires deposed viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros and established a local government known as the Primera Junta.
Montevideo, at the eastern side of the Río de La Plata, did not acknowledge their authority, recognized instead the Cádiz Cortes established in Cádiz, Spain. This was resisted in the countryside around Montevideo, the "Cry of Asencio" began the armed conflicts in the area. Montevideo was soon surrounded and sieged, by the militias under José Gervasio Artigas and Buenos Aires forces under José Rondeau. With the city under siege from land, the royalist naval squadron maintained the naval supremacy over the waterways, the Río de la Plata and the Uruguay and Paraná rivers; the Montevidean squadron under Jacinto de Romarate destroyed the first flotilla from Buenos Aires, which went up the Paraná River carrying reinforcements to the Paraguay campaign, at the Battle of San Nicolás. After that victory, Montevideo's naval forces could establish a blockade of the port of Buenos Aires, effect a bombardment and avoid the fall of Montevideo. After the failure of the armistice signed on 20 October 1811 between the First Triumvirate and the Viceroy Francisco Javier de Elío, on 20 October 1812, a second siege of Montevideo ensued.
The tenacity of the defenders and their control of the surrounding rivers, the lack of means for the attackers to beark this situation kept the front without major changes until 1814. The dissent between the Buenos Aires troops and the local militias of Artigas, did not help the attacker's situation. Through this some expeditions were organized by the defenders to break out and obtain supplies, yet they failed, among them by the opposition of José de San Martín at the battle of San Lorenzo, whatever little they obtained was not enough to cover Montevideo's needs, who suffered hunger and diseases scurvy. On 5 November 1813, after the resignation of José Julián Pérez, Juan Larrea joined the Second Triumvirate in Buenos Aires, along with Gervasio Antonio de Posadas and Nicolás Rodríguez Peña; the war situation was dire. General Manuel Belgrano was retreating to La Quiaca in the north, after the defeats at Vilcapugio and Ayohuma, Patria Vieja in Chile was being invaded by the forces of the Lima and due to internal conflicts was approaching the Disaster of Rancagua.
Montevideo had an army bigger in numbers than the army that encircled them and there was no prospects of surrender as they controlled the access through the rivers and the sea and Artigas was joining a civil war by promoting the defection of the Argentine provinces of Entre Ríos and Corrientes. Larrea started to consider the formation of a new squadron to force the situation in the eastern front, but it was learned that this was not possible. There were no naval forces in the provinces, they only had the port's landing craft. The arsenal only had 30 cannons and carronades of different calibers and useless due to age and lack of maintenance, a few rifles and less than 200 quintals of gunpowder, their warehouses lacked wood, canvas and marine tools. There was no trained personnel nor protocols for the recruiting and instruction of officers, sailors nor Marines; the treasury only had a thousand pesos, customs resources were minimal due to the blockade and credit was exhausted. Larrea chose to promote an agreement with Guillermo Pío White, a wealthy American merchant native of Boston, sympathetic to the revolutionary cause, who would front the funds necessary to finance the acquisition of vessels and equipment, with a promise of compensation, tied to the success of the enterprise.
On 28 December 1813 anm agreement was signed between the White. At the beginning of 1814 the executive power was concentrated on the Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. Gervasio Antonio Posadas was named Supreme Director and Juan Larrea was named Economy Minister, which maintained the agreement with White alive. In only two months, a small squadron was formed and a crew readied, composed by foreigners in officers and men, while the embarked troops were composed of locals; the question of who would be in command generated a strong debate. The principal candidates were the American lieutenant colonel Benjamin Franklin Seaver, commander of the schooner Juliet, supported by his compatriot Pío White, the corsair Estanislao Courrande, who since 1803 harassed British commerce with corsair raids, lastly the Irish Guillermo Brown. Command was given to Brown, including Pío White's vote, in part for his strength of character, but because of his charisma over the commanders and sailors, most of them Irish, British or Scots.
On 7 July 1813 a group of thirteen revolutionary soldiers under the command of lieutenant José Caparrós made a surprise and successful in
Battle of Tucumán
The Battle of Tucumán was a battle fought on 24 and 25 September 1812 near the Argentine city of San Miguel de Tucumán, during the Argentine War of Independence. The Army of the North, commanded by General Manuel Belgrano, defeated the royalist troops commanded by General Pío de Tristán, who had a two-to-one advantage in numbers, halting the royalist advance on Argentina's northwest. Together with the Battle of Salta, on 20 February 1813, the victory at Tucumán allowed the Argentine troops to reaffirm the borders under their control; the Upper Peru region, was again under royalist control after the rebel defeat at Huaqui, where the inexperienced commander Juan José Castelli was defeated by the royalist army. The orders from the First Triumvirate had placed Belgrano in command of the Army of the North on 27 February 1812, headquartered in Jujuy. From there Belgrano attempted to raise the morale of the troops after the defeat at Huaqui. Under that effort on 25 May he raised in Jujuy the new flag he had created a few months back, had it blessed in Jujuy's Cathedral by Father Juan Ignacio de Gorriti.
He soon realized that he did not have enough strength to defend the city, on 23 August he ordered a massive retreat of all the civilian population to the interior of Tucumán Province in what was known as the Éxodo Jujeño. Civilians and military men retreated; when the Spaniards entered the city, they found it empty: "It was deserted and in ruins, I was horrified of the sad image of those empty houses and those silent streets after the joyful images from times gone by." Tristán wrote to his superior, Perú's viceroy, José Manuel de Goyeneche: "Belgrano cannot be forgiven...". On orders from the Triumvirate, the Army of the North had to create a stronghold in Córdoba. Instead, Belgrano had the idea of stopping farther north in Tucumán, where the local population was eager to support the army; the 3 September victory at the Battle of Las Piedras between his rearguard and two advance royalist columns confirmed his ideas. He captured Colonel Huici and about twenty soldiers, he sent Juan Ramón Balcarce towards the city, ordering him to recruit and train a cavalry troop from the local militia, deliver letters to the rich and powerful Aráoz family, one of whose members, Lieutenant Gregorio Aráoz de Lamadrid, was among Belgrano's best officers.
Balcarce's mission, along with the rumours that his army was retreating to Córdoba, caused consternation in the city. The Cabildo bells rang and the legislature, in public session decided to send three representatives – officers Bernabé Aráoz and Rudecindo Alvarado and the priest doctor Pedro Miguel Aráoz — to Belgrano, to ask that he face the Spanish at Tucumán. Arriving in Tucumán on 13 September, Belgrano met Balcarce with 400 men – without uniforms and with only lances for weapons, but well organized – and the city ready to support them. Belgrano, historians say, did not need more than that pretext to disobey the Triumvirate's retreat orders and stay, he said he would stay if they supplied him with 1,500 cavalry troops, if they gave him 20,000 silver pesos for the troops, amounts that the legislature decide to grant. Therefore, he instead entrenched in Tucumán. At the same time, the royalist army had difficulty advancing, not finding in the scorched earth tactics supplies or places to stay and rest.
Local irregulars organized by the militias were harassing them constantly. On 23 September, Tristán ready for battle. In the morning of the 24th, Tristán ordered a march towards the city. Sources say that instead of taking the straight road in, he rounded the central plaza from the South, attempting to prevent a possible rebel movement towards the South. Others say that in the village of Los Pocitos he found burning fields ordered by Dragoons Lieutenant Lamadrid, who counted on the fierceness of the fire and the wind to disorganize the Spanish column. In the meantime, taking advantage of the confusion created by the fire, who had placed his troops in the early morning at the North side of the town, had changed his front facing West, counting on having a clear image of Tristán's troop movements. Once he saw them, the quick advance over Tristán's flank gave him time to reorganize his front and mount the artillery formation. Belgrano had organized his cavalry in two wings; the infantry was divided in three columns, commanded by Colonel José Superí on the left, captain Ignacio Warnes at the center, Captain Carlos Forest on the right, plus a section of Dragoons, supported the cavalry.
A fourth reserve column commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Manuel Dorrego. The artillery initiated the battle, bombarding the Cotabambas and Abancay battalions, who responded with a bayonet charge. Belgrano ordered a response by having Warnes charge with his infantry, along with the cavalry reserve of Captain Antonio Rodríguez, while Balcarce's cavalry charged over Tristán's left flank; the charge had a formidable effect. With lances pointed, making loud sounds and shouts, they made the royalist cavalry of Tarija disband at their charge, retreating over their own infantry and disorganizing it to the point that without resistance, the rebel cavalry reached the enemy's rearguard, it is impossible to know what effect charging from there in a pincer movement would have had with a rebel force composed of country folk without military discipline. A good portion
The Paraguay campaign was the attempt by a Buenos Aires-sponsored militia, commanded by Manuel Belgrano, to win the royalist Intendency of Paraguay for the cause of May Revolution. In Paraguay it is considered as their War of Independence; the first battles fought were the Battle of Campichuelo and Battle of Campo Maracana, in which Argentinians claimed victory. However, they were vanquished in the subsequent Battle of Paraguarí and Battle of Tacuarí; the campaign ended in a military failure and Paraguay broke its links with the Spanish crown just two months after Belgrano's withdrawal, starting its course towards full independence. Three months after the creation of the Primera Junta, Manuel Belgrano was appointed Chief Commander of an army destined to gather support at Corrientes, Santa Fe, Paraguay and the Banda Oriental territories. A few days his goal was made more specific: he must aim for Paraguay; the junta had been informed that the patriotic party was strong there, a small army would suffice to take control.
Trusting such information, Belgrano moved towards Paraguay with two possible goals—to guarantee loyalty for the junta in Paraguay or promote a new government that would stay on friendly terms with Buenos Aires. Belgrano headed north with nearly 200 men, expecting to gather more soldiers on his way to the Paraná River. Soldiers from the Blandengues regiments of San Nicolás and Santa Fe did join him en route, the junta sent reinforcements of another 200 soldiers; the army was welcomed by most of the population they encountered along the way, receiving donations and new recruits in most villages. The small army grew to nearly 950 men, consisting of infantry and cavalry, divided into four divisions with one piece of artillery each. "This Congress will not discuss whether it's his weak son, our ruler. None of them have anymore power upon Paraguay; this Congress must discuss the way of protecting our independence from Brasil, Buenos Aires and Lima... Paraguay is free, is independent and it is a Republic..."
Paraguay was a rather isolated region of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, which made the ideas of regional independence stronger than in other provinces of the Viceroyalty. The road to Paraguayan independence began at the Congress of July 24, 1810, called by the last colonial governor to express the province's loyalty to the Spanish crown. Paraguayans indeed refused to pledge themselves to the Primera Junta of Buenos Aires and agreed to remain loyal to the King of Spain—yet the process of independence started here, as many Paraguayans, led by José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia and other patriots, took control of the situation and started working to obtain independence, both from the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata and the Kingdom of Spain. Belgrano ignored all this when he invaded Paraguay, believing that he would find a favorable political situation. There were three main political tendencies in Paraguay: those who supported the Spanish Regency Council, those who supported the Junta of Buenos Aires and those who supported independence.
By the end of October Belgrano's army stopped at Curuzú Cuatiá, where an old border conflict between Corrientes and Yapeyu was solved. He set the territories that would belong to Curuzu Cuatiá and Mandisoví, organized their urban layout around the chapel and the school. By November 1810 the army reached the Paraná River near Apipé island, there Belgrano took measures to benefit the natives that were living in missions. With his authority as representative of the junta he gave them full civil and political rights, granted lands, authorized commerce with the United Provinces and lifted the inability to take public or religious office. However, the junta requested that he seek authorization for such changes in the future. From that point the army moved to Candelaria, used as a stronghold for the attack on Paraguay; the terrain gave a clear advantage to Velazco's Paraguayan troops, who confronted Belgrano: the Paraná River, nearly 1,000 m. wide, was an effective natural barrier. Swamps, hills and lakes would force the army to march making a possible retreat difficult.
The Parana was crossed with several boats on December 19, a force of 54 Paraguayan soldiers was forced to flee during the battle of Campichuelo. Belgrano saw Velazco's army from the Mbaé hill, despite being outnumbered he ordered the attack anyway, trusting in the moral strength of his soldiers; when the battle of Paraguarí started, Belgrano's troops had an initial advantage, but Velazco's numerical superiority prevailed, thanks to the intervention of the Paraguayan patriots, around 3,500 men, resulting in the combined Paraguayan forces vastly ouotnumbering the Argentines. With casualties of ten dead and 120 taken prisoner, Belgrano wanted to keep on fighting, but his officers convinced him to retreat, his intent to continue was based on sound military tactics: while the Paraguayan forces outnumbered his, he knew that they were armed, while his troops had full equipment and supplies. The army left for Tacuarí, being watched by the combined armies of Fulgencio Yegros and Manuel Atanasio Cabañas.
Those two armies consisted of nearly 3000 troops, while Belgrano was left with 400. They were attacked from many sides during the Battle of Tacuarí on March 9. Outnumbered and losing an unequal fight, Belgrano was requested to surrender, but refused to do so, he reorganized his remaining 235 men and ordered his secretary to burn all his documents and personal papers to prevent them from falling into enemy hands. He arranged for the troops and artillery to fire f
Rafael de Sobremonte, 3rd Marquis of Sobremonte
Don Rafael de Sobremonte y Núñez del Castillo, 3rd Marquis of Sobremonte, third Marquis of Sobremonte, was an aristocrat, military man and Spanish colonial administrator, Viceroy of the Río de la Plata. He was accused of cowardice by the people of Buenos Aires after escaping the city during the British invasions of the Río de la Plata in 1806, he was born in Seville, 27 November 1745. His parents were the Marquis Raimundo de Sobremonte, military man and magistrate, Knight of the Order of Charles III and member of the Seville Audience, María Ángela Núñez Angulo y Ramírez de Arellano. At fourteen years of age, he became a cadet in the Regimiento de las Reales Guardias Españolas, he served in different locations, such as Cartagena de Indias and Puerto Rico. In 1779, he was named Secretary to the Viceroy of the Río de la Plata, Juan José de Vértiz, with the rank of lieutenant colonel, he continued in that post with Nicolás del Campo. Sobremonte married an Argentine lady. Marcos José de Sobremonte, baptized in Córdoba, 28 August 1785.
Ramón María Agustín de Sobremonte, baptized in Córdoba, 9 October 1786. José María de Sobremonte, baptized in Córdoba, 4 January 1790. Manuel de Sobremonte, baptized in Córdoba, 11 August 1792. María de las Mercedes de Sobre Monte, baptized in Córdoba, 31 December 1793. Josefa Juana Nepomucena María del Carmen de Sobremonte, baptized in Córdoba, 24 April 1795. Juana de Sobremonte, baptized in Córdoba, 19 August 1796. José María Ramón de Sobremonte, baptized in Buenos Aires, 19 January 1798. José María Agustín de Sobremonte, baptized in Buenos Aires, 20 April 1799. Ramón José Agustín de Sobremonte, baptized in Montevideo, 4 August 1801. José Agustín María de Sobremonte, baptized in Buenos Aires, 19 April 1803, he married again at seventy-five years of age with Doña María Teresa Millán y Marlos, widow of a nephew of Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros, the last Viceroy of the Río de la Plata. Rafael de Sobremonte held various posts in the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata: Viceroyalty Secretary, as a Lieutenant Coronel, during the Viceroyalty of Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo Governor of Córdoba del Tucumán Sub-Inspector General of veteran troops and militias President of the Audiencia de Río de la Plata Viceroy and Captain General of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata From 1784, for fifteen years, he was Governor of Córdoba, distinguishing himself as an excellent administrator.
He cleaned and repaired the city streets, ordered the construction of the first water system, carrying running water to Córdoba from the Primero River, the construction of defenses against river flooding. He opened a free public school, ordered the constructions of rural schools. Created the Civil Law career at the University of San Carlos, improved the administration of the neighborhoods, started the first street lighting system and founded a women's hospital. Improved the justice system, lacking in attentio due to the distance to Buenos Aires. During his administration he improved working conditions in the mines, gave help to the mining industry in other provinces, he built small forts and towns to try to defend against Indian raids: Río Cuarto, La Carlota, San Fernando, Santa Catalina, San Bernardo, San Rafael, Villa del Rosario, etc. In 1797 he was named inspector general of the army of the Viceroyalty. In that capacity he labored to improve it to be able to resist an invasion from Brazil or England fortifying Montevideo and Colonia del Sacramento.
In April 1804, at the death of Viceroy Joaquín del Pino, he was named as his replacement as Viceroy of the Río de la Plata. At that time, Great Britain and Spain were at war, he requested help from the Spanish Courts, but the Prime Minister Manuel Godoy answered that he should defend as best as he could, with no help forthcoming. Believing there was a high probability of a British attack in Montevideo, he fortified that city and sent his best troops, it was the logical decision due to geography, it would have been difficult to dislodge them, had they captured that fortified port city. The military of the viceroyalty had suffered many casualties particularly during the native uprisings of Tupac Amaru. All the help he obtained were the suggestion to arm the people for the defense; the Viceroy understood that arming the creole civilian population, many of them influenced by revolutionary ideas, fomented by the American and French revolutions, was a dangerous strategy for the interests of the Crown.
History would prove him right as only six years the Argentine movement for independence was started. He had few officers inexperienced and inefficient, his navy was weak, his army only had most of them recruits, with little or no experience with arms. As part of his defensive measures, he named the French Santiago de Liniers commander of the port of Ensenada de Barragán, about 70 km south of Buenos Aires, with orders to protect the coast. Liniers sent him several warnings that the British had been seen exploring the coast of the River Plate. On 24 June 1806, while attending a theater play with his family, the viceroy received news that British ships have been sighted along the coast. A report from Liniers indicated it consisted of despicable corsairs, without the bravery and the will to attack. Sobremonte left the play early going to Buenos Aires Fort, where he wrote an order to organize the defense; the next morning, the enemy's ships were sighted again on the Buenos Aires coast and cannon was shot from t