Battle of Estero Bellaco

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Battle of Estero Bellaco
Part of the Paraguayan War
Estero Bellaco (fragmento).jpg
Detail from a painting by Cándido López
Date2 May 1866
Result Allied victory

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
4,500 infantry
1,000 cavalry
mixed battery
At least 11 battalions of infantry
two artillery batteries
two cavalry regiments
Casualties and losses
330 captured[1]:53
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.


Combat of 2 May 1866 at Estero Bellaco: Attack of the vanguard of the Allied Army by the Division of the paraguayan Lieutenant-Colonel Don José E. Díaz.
Battle of Estero Bellaco, 2 May 1866(L'Illustration: journal universel, Vol. XLVIII, nº 1.227, 1º/09/1866).

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 vanguard, 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 infantry 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


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

Location of Estero Bellaco[edit]

positions of the belligerent forces on 2 May in Estero Bellaco.

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


  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