Battle of Ituzaingó

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Battle of Ituzaingó
Part of Cisplatine War
Brandsen en Ituzaingo.JPG
Death of Federico de Brandsen during the battle
DateFebruary 20, 1827
near Santa Maria River, south Brazil
Result Argentinian tactical victory
Inconclusive strategic results
 Empire of Brazil Flag of Argentina (1818).svg United Provinces of Rio de la Plata
Commanders and leaders
Empire of Brazil Marquis of Barbacena Flag of Argentina (1818).svg Carlos María de Alvear
6,300 (3,700 cavalry, 2,300 infantry, and 300 artillerymen serving 12 guns)[1] 7.000[2]-10.000[3]
2.000 Austro-Prussian mercenaries[3]
7,700 (5,400 cavalry, 1,800 infantry, 500 artillerymen serving 16 guns [1] 6.200-7,700[2]
1.800 infantry[3]
5.400 cavalry[3]
500 artillerymen[3]
Casualties and losses
200 dead
150 wounded
150 captured
800 missing
142 dead
216 wounded

The Battle of Ituzaingó (Passo do Rosário) was fought in vicinity of the Santa Maria River, in a valley of small hills where a stream divided the valley into two.

After a two-year series of continuous sundry skirmishes in the Banda Oriental (present-day Uruguay and Rio Grande do Sul) and along the border of this country with Brazil, the advancing Argentine Army (including Orientals) engaged in combat with the Brazilian Army.


The Banda Oriental was incorporated as a Brazilian Province in 1822, when Brazil became independent from Portugal; the centralized government, under Brazilian Emperor Pedro I, led to many revolts inside Brazil. Seeing a chance to break the rule of a foreign nation over their country, some Orientals raised the flag of rebellion against the Brazilian government in 1825.

At first, the fight did not attract much attention from the Brazilian government, which was dealing with revolts even in Rio de Janeiro at the time. Nevertheless, as the rebellion spread fast, Pedro I had to gather an army by any way that he could to send to "Cisplatina" (the province's name under Brazilian control).

The Army was, at first, led by Pedro I himself. Political problems forced him to return to the capital without getting close to the battlefield. By December 1826, the command was given to General Felisberto Caldeira Brant, Marquis of Barbacena.

By then, the appeal the Orientals sent to Buenos Aires brought Argentina into the conflict; the Buenos Aires leadership saw a chance to bring the Banda Oriental back into the Argentine Confederation as a province. General Carlos María de Alvear was appointed as commander of the Republican Army.

On January 20, 1827, Alvear moved to the border with Brazil, he attacked some small towns and villages and successfully tried to bring Barbacena to him.


Scene of the battle

By February 18, the Republican Army reached a stream of Santa Maria River. Alvear had previously chosen that place to maximize his advantage in cavalry; the Brazilian Imperial Army arrived in the battlefield the next day. Refusing some objections over the exhaustion of the army, Barbacena prepared his forces for action as soon as possible the following day.

Some historians[who?] say that Alvear misled Barbacena to believe that he was pursuing only the rear of the Republican Army. That is why he was anxious to take care of that part of Republican Army and to fight Alvear's main force in a later battle. Believing so, Barbacena took the offensive and sent his cavalry and infantry toward the 1st Corps of the Republican Army, under command of Oriental leader Juan Antonio Lavalleja.

The Imperial Forces crossed the stream as if to encircle Lavalleja's men. At first, the Oriental cavalry tried to block the passage of the 1st Imperial Army Division. Soon, they were pushed back by the enemy, which managed to take control of the artillery pieces under Colonel Felix Olazabal. Alvear then counterattacked with his cavalry. While he would take care of the 2nd Division on the center of the Imperial Army, Colonel Julian Laguna would attack the extreme left of the Brazilian forces, which were formed by only volunteers. Colonel Soler would lead his men onto the 1st Division; as Alvear planned, the open fields proved to be more suitable for cavalry units than for infantry.

Only the center of the Imperial Army kept its position; the infantry there formed squares to repel any attempt made by 2nd Corps of the enemy cavalry to subdue them. Only when it was clear that the Republican Army could encircle the 2nd Division did it withdraw from the battlefield.

The Republican Army could not pursue the enemy; the lack of proper means made Alvear order his men to put fire to the battlefield and to leave the scene.

The battle ended with a tactical victory for the Republicans since Barbacena could not march on Buenos Aires, as he had planned, but with no strategic gain for either side.


The war went on for one more year with inconclusive frays between small groups of men on each side.

Nevertheless, it seems that only the disputed province gained anything. In 1828, a treaty was signed between Brazil and Argentina that granted its independence as present-day Uruguay.

Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges referenced the battle in his 1942 short story Funes the Memorious.



  1. ^ a b [Latin America's Wars The Age of the Caudillo, Robert L Scheina]
  2. ^ a b La Batalla de las Desobediencias[permanent dead link] pp. 5-6
  3. ^ a b c d e La Gazeta - Batalla de Ituzaingó


  • Carneiro, David. História da Guerra Cisplatina. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1946.
  • Duarte, Paulo de Q. Lecor e a Cisplatina 1816-1828. v. 2. Rio de Janeiro: Biblioteca do Exército, 1985
  • Barroso, Gustavo. "História Militar do Brasil". Rio de Janeiro, Biblioteca do Exército, 2000.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°14′42″S 54°52′29″W / 30.24500°S 54.87472°W / -30.24500; -54.87472