Battle of Estero Bellaco

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Battle of Estero Bellaco
Part of the Paraguayan War
Date 2 May 1866
Location Ñeembucú Department, Paraguay
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
Flag of Paraguay.svg Paraguay Flag of Argentina.svg Argentina


 Empire of Brazil


Flag of Uruguay.svg Uruguay

Commanders and leaders
Paraguay Lt. Col. José E. Diaz
Paraguay Lt. Col. Bruguez
Uruguay General Venancio Flores
Empire of Brazil General Osorio
Strength
4,500 infantry
1,000 cavalry
mixed battery
At least 11 battalions of infantry
two artillery batteries
two cavalry regiments
Casualties and losses
2,300
330 captured[1]:53
1,555
8 captured[1]:53

The Battle of Estero Bellaco was one of the bloodiest battles of the Paraguayan War (1865–1870), with the Republic of Argentina, the Empire of Brazil and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay banded together against the Paraguayan government of Marshal Francisco Solano López.

This battle took place on 2 May 1866, in which the Allied army repulsed a surprise Paraguayan attack.

Setting[edit]

On 16 April 1866, Allied troops under the command of Marshal Osorio, crossed the River Paraguay and attacked Fort Itapirú and Paso de la Patria.[1]:51 By the 23rd, the Paraguayans had retreated behind the great marsh of Estero Bellaco. The Allied vangurard, under the command of General Flores, was camped on the southern edge of the marsh, with four Uruguayan battalions and their artillery battery, six Brazilian infantery battalions including artillery battery, a Brazilian cavalry regiment, and further behind, elements of an Argentinian infantry battalion and a cavalry regiment. Flores forces included: the Brazilian 5th, 7th, 3rd, 16th, 21st and 38th Voluntarios da Patria, the Uruguayan 24 de Abril, Florida, Independencia and Libertad, the Argentinian Rosario. Nearby was the main Allied army camped north of Paso la Patria. On 2 May 1866, President Lopez sent 4,500 Paraguayan infantry against this Allied vanguard.[1]:52

The Battle[edit]

The surprise attack started at 1130, the Paraguayans soon overwhelming the Brazilians and Uruguayans, and capturing the Allied artillery. It took the main Allied army, arriving an hour later, to force Colonel José Hedwig Diaz to retreat.[1]:53

Aftermath[edit]

Gen. Flores wrote his wife, "In the future my vanguard will be composed of Argentines."[1]:53

Location of Estero Bellaco[edit]

This estuary is located in the Ñeembucú Department, Paraguay, bordering the river of the same name.

Reference[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Hooker, T.D., 2008, The Paraguayan War, Nottingham: Foundry Books, ISBN 1901543153

Coordinates: 27°11′00″S 57°53′00″W / 27.1833°S 57.8833°W / -27.1833; -57.8833