Battle of Chacabuco

The Battle of Chacabuco, fought during the Chilean War of Independence, occurred on February 12, 1817. The Army of the Andes of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata led by General Captain José de San Martín defeated the Spanish force led by Rafael Maroto. It was a defeat for the Captaincy General of Chile, the royalist government established after the division of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Background

In 1814, having been instrumental in the establishment of a popularly elected congress in Argentina, José de San Martín began to consider the problem of driving the Spanish royalists from South America entirely. He realized that the first step would be to expel them from Chile, and, to this end, he set about recruiting and equipping an army. In just under two years, he had an army of some 6,000 men, 1,200 horses and 22 cannons.

On January 17, 1817, he set out with this force and began the crossing of the Andes. Careful planning on his part had meant that the royalist forces in Chile were deployed to meet threats that did not exist, and his crossing went unopposed. Nonetheless, the Army of the Andes (as San Martin's force was called) suffered heavy losses during the crossing, losing as much as one-third of its men and more than half of its horses. San Martin found himself allying with Chilean patriot Bernardo O'Higgins, who commanded his own army.

The royalists rushed north in response to their approach, and a force of about 1,500 under Brigadier Rafael Maroto blocked San Martin's advance at a valley called Chacabuco, near Santiago. In the face of the disintegration of the royalist forces, Maroto proposed abandoning the capital and retreating southward, where they could hold out and obtain resources for a new campaign. The military conference called by Royal Governor Field Marshal Casimiro Marcó del Pont on February 8 adopted Maroto's strategy, but the following morning, the Captain General changed his mind and ordered Maroto to prepare for battle in Chacabuco.

The night before the clash, Antonio de Quintanilla, who would later distinguish himself extraordinarily in the defense of Chiloé, confided to another Spanish official his opinion of the ill-chosen strategy: Given the position of the insurgents, the royalist forces ought to retreat a few leagues towards the hills of Colina. "Maroto overheard this conversation from a nearby chamber and either couldn't or refused to hear me because of his pride and self-importance, called on an attendant with his notorious hoarse voice and proclaimed a general decree on pain of death, to whoever suggested a retreat."

All Maroto and his troops had to do was delay San Martin, as he knew that further royalist reinforcements were on the way from Santiago. San Martin was well aware of this as well and opted to attack while he still had the numerical advantage.

Prelude

San Martín received numerous reports of the Spanish plans from a spy dressed as a roto, a poverty-stricken peasant of Chile. The roto told him that the Spanish general, Marcó, knew of fighting in the mountains and told his army to "run to the field", which refers to Chacabuco. He also told San Martín the plan of General Rafael Maroto, the leader of the Talavera Regiment and a force of volunteers of up to 2,000 men. His plan was to take the mountainside and launch an attack against San Martín.[2]

On February 11, three days before his planned date of attack, San Martín called a war council to decide on a plan. Their main goal was to take the Chacabuco Ranch, the royalist headquarters, at the bottom of the hills. He decided to split his 2,000 troops into two parts, sending them down two roads on either side of the mountain. The right contingent was led by Miguel Estanislao Soler, and the left by O’Higgins. The plan was for Soler to attack their flanks, while at the same time surrounding their rear guard in order to prevent their retreat. San Martín expected that both leaders would attack at the same time, so the royalists would have to fight a battle on two fronts.[3]

Battle

San Martín sent his troops down the mountain starting at midnight of the 11th to prepare for an attack at dawn. At dawn, his troops were much closer to the royalists than anticipated, but fought hard and heroically. Meanwhile, Soler's troops had to go down a tiny path that proved long and arduous and took longer than expected. General O’Higgins, supposedly seeing his homeland and being overcome with passion, defied the plan of attack and charged, along with his 1,500. What exactly happened in this part of the battle is fiercely debated. O’Higgins claimed that the royalists stopped their retreat and started advancing towards his troops. He said that if he were to lead his men back up the narrow path and retreat, his men would have been decimated, one by one. San Martín saw O’Higgins premature advance and ordered Soler to charge the royalist flank, which took the pressure off O’Higgins and allowed his troops to hold their ground.

The ensuing firefight lasted into the afternoon. The tide turned for the Army of the Andes as Soler captured a key royalist artillery point. At this point, the royalists set up a defensive square around the Chacabuco Ranch. O’Higgins charged the center of the royalist position, while Soler got into position behind the royalists, effectively cutting off any chance of retreat. O’Higgins and his men overwhelmed the royalist troops. When they attempted to retreat, Soler's men cut them off and pushed towards the ranch. Hand-to-hand combat ensued in and around the ranch until every royalist soldier was dead or taken captive. 500 royalist soldiers were killed and 600 taken prisoner. The Army of the Andes only lost twelve men in battle, but an additional 120 lost their lives from wounds suffered during the battle.[3] Maroto succeeded in escaping, thanks to the speed of his horse, but was slightly injured.

Aftermath

The remaining royalist troops left Chile and retreated to Lima by ship. Interim governor Francisco Ruiz-Tagle presided at an assembly, which designated San Martín as governor, but he turned down the offer and requested a new assembly, which made O'Higgins Supreme Director of Chile.[4] This marks the beginning of the "Patria Nueva" period in Chile's history.

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Galasso 2000, p. 220.
  2. ^ Rojas 1945, pp. 110–115.
  3. ^ a b Harvey 2000, pp. 346–349.
  4. ^ "La Batalla de Chacabuco - Por Bartolomé Mitre (1821-1906)". Instituto Nacional Sanmartiniano - Documentos (in Spanish). Secretaría de Cultura - Instituto Nacional Sanmartiniano. Archived from the original on 29 March 2016. Retrieved 13 February 2016.

Bibliography

  • Harvey, Robert (2000). Liberators: Latin America's Struggle for Independence. New York: The Overlook Press. ISBN 1-58567-284-X.
  • Rojas, Ricardo (1945). San Martín: Knight of the Andes. New York: Doubleyday, Doran & Company.
  • Galasso, Norberto (2000). Seamos libres y lo demás no importa nada [Let us be free and nothing else matters] (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Colihue. ISBN 978-950-581-779-5.

External links

Coordinates: 32°59′35″S 70°41′2″W / 32.99306°S 70.68389°W

1817

1817 (MDCCCXVII)

was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1817th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 817th year of the 2nd millennium, the 17th year of the 19th century, and the 8th year of the 1810s decade. As of the start of 1817, the Gregorian calendar was

12 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1817 Chilean independence referendum

A referendum on Chile's independence was held on 15 November 1817. After the Battle of Chacabuco, Bernardo O'Higgins was appointed director supremo. He held a plebiscite to test the popular will. This independence proposal passed with a large majority. His political program confirmed, O'Higgins's administration declared independence on 16 February 1818.

1817 in Chile

The following lists events that happened during 1817 in Chile.

Alexis Bruix

Alexis Vital Joseph, Baron of Bruix, (Brest, France, 1790 - Callao, Peru, 1825), Alejo Bruix in Spanish, was French military who joined to the patriot armies to fought in the Spanish American Wars of Independence.

Son of Étienne Eustache Bruix, Admiral of the French Navy. Alexis was in the Napoleonic campaigns in the 5th Regiment of Chasseurs a Cheval (Horse Hunters). After the Battle of Waterloo went to Buenos Aires, where he arrived on June 14, 1818. This year Alexis was sent to fight in the Army of the Andes, in the Regiment of Horse Grenadiers. He participated in the Battle of Chacabuco, battles of Cancharayada and Maipú. And in the campaign in southern Chile fought the Battle of Bío Bío.

Alejo joined to General Jose de San Martin in Freedom Expedition of Peru. He made the campaign of Quito with Juan Lavalle,with battles of Riobamba and Pichincha and was promoted to lieutenant colonel. Back in Peru, joined to the Army of Bolívar as Colonel, and fought in the campaigns of Junin and Ayacucho in 1824. He died in the siege of el Callao in 1825.

Antonio Beruti

Antonio Luis Beruti (1772 – September 24, 1841) was an Argentine revolutionary who participated in the May Revolution that started the Argentine War of Independence, and later fought in the Argentine civil wars.

Born in Buenos Aires, Beruti was educated in Spain. After concluding his studies, he returned to Argentina and joined the nascent independence movement, which he helped to organize. Along with Domingo French, he led a group of revolutionaries known as the Chisperos, who played a pivotal role in the Semana de Mayo, the week beginning on May 18, 1810, which culminated in the May Revolution. Along with French, he distributed white and blue ribbons to the populace, so that patriots could distinguish themselves from royalists.

In the Cabildo Abierto of May 22, he voted for the deposition of the viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros and was the most fervent opposer to a Junta presided over by him. He was quoted as saying: "A Junta presided over by Cisneros is the same as Cisneros' viceroyalty". On May 25, he confronted the members of the Cabildo to demand the abolition of the Viceroyalty and the election of a new junta. His demands were met, and that day the Cabildo elected Argentina's first independent executive, the Primera Junta, which was presided over by Cornelio Saavedra.

A month later Beruti was named lieutenant colonel of the America Regiment, created by the Junta, and organized by himself and Domingo French. A supporter of Mariano Moreno, Beruti remained faithful to his ideals even after Moreno's death. For this reason, he began attending meetings at the Café de Marcos, a center of opposition to the Saavedrist faction. On the fifth and sixth of April, 1811, the Saavedrists organized a coup against their opponents in the government. Miguel de Azcuénaga, Hipólito Vieytes, and Nicolás Rodriguez Peña were forced to resign and subsequently exiled from Buenos Aires. Beruti, along with French, Donado, Posadas, and most other active members of the Patriotic Society, was exiled to – among other places – Chile.

Beruti then participated in the Chile campaign alongside General José de San Martín in early 1817, and fought in the Battle of Chacabuco. His wife, Doña Mercedes Ortíz, was one of the ladies who, the previous year, along with Doña Remedios de Escalada de San Martín, had donated their jewels for the liberation campaign. On March 13, 1817, Bernardo O'Higgins, at the request of San Martín, asked Beruti to return to the city of Mendoza and arranged his passport with governor Luzuriaga. He was able to return to Buenos Aires on November 17. He later became a member of the Unitarian Party and participated in the civil war against the Federalists.

Beruti died on September 24, 1841 in the Battle of Rodeo del Medio, where he had fought under the command of Gregorio Aráoz de Lamadrid. He was buried in an unmarked grave and his remains have never been identified.

Army of the Andes

The Army of the Andes (Spanish: Ejército de los Andes) was a military force created by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (Argentina) and mustered by general José de San Martín in his campaign to free Chile from the Spanish Empire. In 1817, it crossed the Andes Mountains from the Argentine province of Cuyo (his staging point being the current-day province of Mendoza, Argentina), and succeeded in its objective by dislodging the Spanish from the country.

The exact number of the army varies between different sources; some have put the number as low as 3500, while others have it being as high as 6000 men. The army consisted of Argentines and Chileans, and included some 1200 auxiliaries to help in provisioning and supply, as well as a complement of artillery. The Congress of Tucumán endorsed San Martín's proposal to form an army to fight the royalists in Chile, and between August 1814 and February 1817, San Martín trained his troops to prepare them for their ordeal. While the army was made up of a less than experienced military force, San Martín intended to lead, with regular discipline and equipment, a proper army and not a "motley crew" into battle.For the crossing of the mountains, the Army was divided into two main columns, the first, commanded by Captain General San Martín and supported by Brigadier Major Miguel Estanislao Soler and Brigadier Bernardo O'Higgins, would take the Los Patos Pass and the second, commanded by Colonel Juan Gregorio de las Heras, would take the Uspallata Pass, which at its highest reaches some twelve thousand feet above sea level. Because this second pass was more negotiable, the artillery was taken in the second column.

These two divisions were the main body of the Army, but there were smaller detachments sent to the north and south as flanking wings. The smaller division to the north was composed of some 130 infantry as well as a group of Chilean expatriates, and was under the command of Juan Manuel Cabot. To the south was a group under the command of the Chilean Ramón Freire Serrano.

After their 25-day journey across the Andes, the Army of the Andes successfully met royalist forces in the Battle of Chacabuco. After the victory, they entered Santiago de Chile, where San Martin was unanimously elected Supreme Director but by his own resolve, as well as from instructions received from Buenos Aires, the general declined. After his refusal, O'Higgins was finally elected. Under Argentine officers, the Chilean army resurrected and San Martín was designated commander of the "United Army", which was an army that combined the forces of the Army of the Andes and Chilean troops. This new army fought the counterattack of royalist Army of Osorio at battles of Cancha Rayada and Maipú.

Cerro de la Gloria

The Cerro de la Gloria (Glory Hill) is a small mount located in the city of Mendoza, Argentina, at the General San Martín Park. It features a huge memorial monument to the Army of the Andes at the top. The monument is the work of Uruguayan sculptor Juan Manuel Ferrari, along with the Argentines Juan Carlos Oliva Navarro, Víctor Garino, Víctor Calistri, Víctor Guarini y Víctor Cerini. It was begun in 1911, as part of the celebrations of the Argentina Centennial of 1910. It was inaugurated on February 12, 1914, an anniversary of the Battle of Chacabuco. It features at its top an allegorical representation of Freedom (Libertad) or the Republic (La República) with broken chains, and an equestrian statue of San Martin, with the inscription "La Patria al Ejército de los Andes" ("The Fatherland to the Army of the Andes").

Chacabuco Park

Chacabuco Park is a public park in the Parque Chacabuco section of Buenos Aires.

Chilean Declaration of Independence

The Chilean Declaration of Independence is a document declaring the independence of Chile from the Spanish Empire. It was drafted in January 1818 and approved by Supreme Director Bernardo O'Higgins on 12 February 1818 at Talca, despite being dated in Concepción on 1 January 1818. The ceremony of independence was performed on 12 February 1818, the first anniversary of the Battle of Chacabuco.

The original document, displaying manuscript comments by O'Higgins, was damaged at the Palace of the Real Audiencia of Santiago. In 1832, under President José Joaquín Prieto, a new copy was sent to Peru to be signed by O'Higgins, and later by his former ministers, Miguel Zañartu, Hipólito Villegas and José Ignacio Zenteno, who were still living in Chile. This copy was kept at the Palacio de La Moneda until the 1973 Chilean coup d'état, when it was destroyed during the fighting.

Francisco Marcó del Pont

Francisco Casimiro Marcó del Pont Ángel Díaz y Méndez (American Spanish: [fɾanˈsisko maɾˈko ðel pond]; 1770 – May 19, 1819) was a Spanish soldier and the last Governor of Chile. He was one of the main figures of the Chilean independence process, being the final Spaniard to rule as Royal Governor of Chile from 1815 to 1817, when he was deposed and captured by the patriot forces after the Battle of Chacabuco.

José Tadeo Mancheño

José Tadeo Mancheño y Laso de la Vega (ca. 1784–1855) was a Chilean political figure.

Mancheño was born in Santiago, the son of José Antonio Mancheño and of Angelina Laso de la Vega. He was trained as a lawyer at the Universidad de San Felipe, where he graduated on October 29, 1810. He married Antonia Elizalde, and together they had eight children.

During the Chilean War of Independence, he alternatively supported both sides. In the Patria Vieja period, he was Secretary of Foreign Affairs between October 9, 1813 until March 9, 1814, nominated by the junta headed by José Miguel Infante. After the Spanish Reconquista, he served as juridical assessor and secretary of the Cabildo (City hall) of Santiago, a position he retained after the Battle of Chacabuco and the collapse of the Colonial government.

Mancheño was appointed a member of the Court of Appeals first and later as a member of the Supreme Court. He was the secretary of the constitutional convention that redacted the Constitution of 1822. Elected Alternate Deputy for "Santiago" (1823), and later for "Curicó" (1824–1825). Administrator of the Hospital of San Juan de Dios. Nominated member of the council of state. Elected Senador (1852–1861), he took his position on June 7, 1852; died before the end of his term at the age of 71.

José de San Martín

José Francisco de San Martín y Matorras (Yapeyú, Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, 25 February 1778 – Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, 17 August 1850), known simply as José de San Martín (Spanish pronunciation: [xoˈse ðe san maɾˈtin] (listen)) or El Libertador of Argentina, Chile and Peru, was a Spanish-Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern and central parts of South America's successful struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire who served as the Protector of Peru. Born in Yapeyú, Corrientes, in modern-day Argentina, he left his mother country at the early age of seven to study in Málaga, Spain.

In 1808, after taking part in the Peninsular War against France, San Martín contacted South American supporters of independence from Spain. In 1812, he set sail for Buenos Aires and offered his services to the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, present-day Argentina. After the Battle of San Lorenzo and time commanding the Army of the North during 1814, he organized a plan to defeat the Spanish forces that menaced the United Provinces from the north, using an alternative path to the Viceroyalty of Peru. This objective first involved the establishment of a new army, the Army of the Andes, in Cuyo Province, Argentina. From there, he led the Crossing of the Andes to Chile, and triumphed at the Battle of Chacabuco and the Battle of Maipú (1818), thus liberating Chile from royalist rule. Then he sailed to attack the Spanish stronghold of Lima, Peru.

On 12 July 1821, after seizing partial control of Lima, San Martín was appointed Protector of Peru, and Peruvian independence was officially declared on 28 July. On 22 July 1822, after a closed-door meeting with fellow libertador Simón Bolívar at Guayaquil, Ecuador, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Peru. San Martín unexpectedly left the country and resigned the command of his army, excluding himself from politics and the military, and moved to France in 1824. The details of the 22 July meeting would be a subject of debate by later historians.

San Martín is regarded as a national hero of Argentina and Peru, and one of the Liberators of Spanish South America. The Order of the Liberator General San Martín (Orden del Libertador General San Martín), created in his honor, is the highest decoration conferred by the Argentine government.

Luis de la Cruz

Luis De la Cruz y Goyeneche (Concepción, Reino de Chile, 25 August 1768 –† Santiago de Chile, 1828) was a Chilean politician and military, son of Pablo De la Cruz and Antonia de Goyeneche y Lope de Lara. His father was born in Tabernas (Spain) in 1714 and was a military who came to Chile in 1740.

He married Josefa Prieto and their son (of five) José María de la Cruz Prieto would also have an important military career.

In 1806 he found and explored the shortest way from Concepción, Chile to Buenos Aires.

He began later his military career during the Chilean War of Independence and participated in several battles and he replaced Bernardo O'Higgins in some occasions.

Ruring the Reconquista, the re-occupation of Chile by the royalist Spanish forces 1814-17, he was held prisoner in the Juan Fernández Islands and freed in 1817 after the Battle of Chacabuco.

Monument to the Victory of Chacabuco

The Monument to the Victory of Chacabuco, also known as the Monument to the Battle of Chacabuco (truly To the Victory of Chacabuco), is a monument that commemorates the Battle of Chacabuco, which took place on February 12, 1817. It was designed by Héctor Román Latorre and built in 1971. It is 20 meters tall.It is located in the General San Martín highway, close to Los Andes, in Colina commune.

It has an inscription in Spanish that says:

El 12 de febrero de 1817, el Ejército de Los Andes a las órdenes del General José de San Martín, libró aquí la batalla de Chacabuco, que condujo a la Independencia de Chile en este lugar, efectivos de la División del Centro, comandados por el Brigadier General Bernardo O'Higgins, derrotaron a los batallones de realistas al mando del Brigadier Rafael Maroto.

In English, this reads:

On February 12 of 1817, the Andes Liberator Army under the orders of General José de San Martín, held here the battle of Chacabuco, which lead to the Independence of Chile in this place, forces from the Center Division, commanded by Brigadier General Bernardo O'Higgins, defeated the royal battalions under the command of Brigadier Rafael Maroto.

Parque Chacabuco

Parque Chacabuco is a neighbourhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Its name is due to Chacabuco Park, which is in its centre, taking the name from the Battle of Chacabuco.

Patria Nueva

Patria Nueva (New Fatherland) was a period in the history of Chile that began with the victory of Ejército de los Andes in the Battle of Chacabuco on 12 February 1817 and ended with the resignation of Bernardo O'Higgins as Supreme Director in 1823.

Puerto Chacabuco

Puerto Chacabuco is a Chilean town in Aisén commune. Administratively it belongs to Aysén Province in Aysén del General Carlos Ibáñez del Campo Region and is located at the head of Aisén Fjord. It is the main port of the region, a port of call for ships sailing to the Laguna San Rafael National Park and the terminus of a Navimag ferry service from Puerto Montt.

Before the great burnings of the Patagonian forests and the eruption of Mount Hudson volcano in 1991 Puerto Aisén was the main port in the Aisén Fjord, but the ashes and earth erosion decreased the navegability of Aisén River and the port had to be moved further to the coast where Puerto Chacabuco now stands.

Puerto Chacabuco is named after the corvette Chacabuco with which Enrique Simpson explored the fjords and archipelagoes of Aysén Region in the 1870s. The ship is in turn named after the Battle of Chacabuco in 1817 during the Chilean Independence War.

Reconquest (Chile)

Spanish Reconquest or just Reconquest is a period of Chilean history that started in 1814 with the royalist victory at the Battle of Rancagua and ended in 1817 with the patriot victory at the Battle of Chacabuco. During this time the supporters of the Spanish Empire restored their control over Chile, while the patriots tried to spread the independentist ideas among the people, mainly through the guerrilla of Manuel Rodríguez Erdoiza. Authors such as the Chileans Julio Heise and Jaime Eyzaguirre prefer to call the period Absolutist Restoration, considering it merely the return to power of the royalists.

Argentine and Chilean wars of independence: Patria Nueva campaign
1817–1818
Political career
Military career
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