Battle of Cerro Corá

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Battle of Cerro Corá
Part of the Paraguayan War
CHICO DIABO atravessando com uma lança Solano López (Semana Illustrada n 485, 27.03.1870).JPG
Corporal José Francisco Lacerda, known as Chico Diabo, kills Solano López with a spear.
Date 1 March 1870
Location Cerro Corá, Paraguay
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
Commanders and leaders
Paraguay Francisco Solano López  
Paraguay Domingo Francisco Sánchez  
Empire of Brazil Gen. José Antônio Correia da Câmara
Strength
416 [1]:106 4,000 troops
Casualties and losses
200 killed, 245 captured[1]:107 7 wounded[1]:107

The Battle of Cerro Corá was fought on 1 March 1870 on a hill-surrounded valley of the same name, in the north-east of Paraguay. This was the last battle in the Paraguayan War.

Background[edit]

In Feb. 1870, an Allied column under the command of Col. Bento Martins de Menezes, learned that Lopez was in the vicinity of Cerro Cora, which relayed the information to Gen. Jose Correa da Camara on 18 Feb. Gen. Bernardino Caballero was on a foraging expedition with 40 men when, on 1 March, the Allied vanguard under the command of Lt. Col. Francisco Antonio Martins attacked the Paraguayan camp at 1900 along the Aquidaban River.[1]:105-107

Present with President Francisco Solano López's personal guard were a group of women, led by Lopez's mistress Eliza Lynch. This group was composed of the soldier's wives, daughters, and others, who supported the soldiers called "Las Residentas".

Battle[edit]

Vice President Francisco Sanchez and Secretary of State Luis Caminos were killed trying to flee. Lopez was surrounded by six cavalrymen, and after refusing to surrender by firing his revolver, Corporal José Francisco Lacerda thrust his lance in Lopez's abdomen, mortally wounding him. Assisted by Capt. Francisco Arguello, he evaded the Brazilians and reached the Aquidaban-Niquil stream, but was unable to climb the steep bank because of his wound. Left alone, he was found by the Brazilians, but refused to surrender again, when Joao Soares shot him in the back.[1]:107

Aftermath[edit]

Landscape of Cerro Corá (Amambay, Paraguay), as seen from the top of Cerro Muralla.

After the Brazilian forces killed López, they headed towards the civilians in order to capture them. López and Eliza Lynch's eldest son Juan Francisco, who had been promoted to Colonel during the war and was 15 years old, was with her. The Brazilian officers told him to surrender, and upon replying "Un coronel Paraguayo nunca se rinde" (A Paraguayan Colonel never surrenders)[2] he was shot and killed by the allied soldiers. At this, Lynch, after jumping and covering her son's body, exclaimed "Esta es la civilizacion que han prometido?" (Is this the civilization you have promised?)[3] (making a reference to the allies' claim that they intended to free Paraguay from a tyrant and deliver freedom and civilization to the nation). She then buried both López and her son with her bare hands before being taken as prisoner.[3]

Cultural impact[edit]

Cerro Cora is a 1978 Paraguayan film set on the last days of the Paraguayan War.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Hooker, T.D., 2008, The Paraguayan War, Nottingham: Foundry Books, ISBN 1901543153
  2. ^ Bareiro Saguier, Ruben; Villagra Marsal, Carlos. ‘’Testimonios de la Guerra Grande. Muerte del Mariscal López. Tomo II’’, Editorial Servilibro. Asuncion, Paraguay, 2007. Page 106.
  3. ^ a b Bareiro. Tomo I. Page 106

Coordinates: 22°39′8″S 56°1′31″W / 22.65222°S 56.02528°W / -22.65222; -56.02528