Conception and end of Peralejo Battle between Martínez Campos and Antonio Maceo

Spread the love

Martinez Campos could not make Antonio Maceo in Mangos de Baraguá lay down his arms and join the Zanjón Pact. For the first time, in Maceo’s words, the sentence arises: No, we don’t understand each other.

However, that afternoon in Baraguá would not be the final farewell of the adversaries.

Martínez Campos, after winning the merit of the Zanjón Pact, went to Spain, where between 1879 and 1893 he occupied various military responsibilities, almost all linked to his expertise as a mediator in armed conflicts. Therefore, when the War of Independence resumed on February 24, 1895, he was appointed Captain General in Cuba.

He arrived in the Island in April 1895, when the Eastern Campaign, led by Antonio Maceo, was at its apogee. Martinez Campos, aware of the merits of the former and what it meant that he was in charge of the Cuban forces fighting there, decided to move to that region to personally direct the operations, in command of a contingent of men sufficiently equipped.

Camping on July 11 in the vicinity of Bayamo, Maceo learned that Martínez Campos was preparing a convoy in the nearby town of Veguitas with the objective of directing it to Bayamo the following day. He then concentrated his troops in Vegas de Yao, with the purpose of presenting him with combat. It had more than eight hundred men and experienced officers, among them Jesús Rabí, Quintín Banderas, Joaquín Tamayo and Saturnino Lora.

On the 13th, early in the morning, Maceo had his troops between the Barrancas savannah and the Mabay River, a place that turns its back on the Peralejo savannah, which allowed him to dominate all the access roads to Bayamo and thus surprise the columns of General Martínez Campos and Santocildes.

General Maceo did not count on the betrayal of two false merchants, who informed the Spanish chiefs of the presence of Cuban troops and their location.

The two Spanish Generals joined their columns, which had marched separately until they reached the Ox River: four hundred infants and forty horsemen from Martínez Campos, and one thousand one hundred infants from Santocildes.

Both Spanish generals with a column of 1,540 men, depart from Barrancas by the way of Solís (lower route), separating in Magueyes, Campos (to which the Guerrilla of the Travesí captain joins him) by the way of Peralejo and Santocildes penetrates in the mount in parallel direction of Martínez Campos, mocked the ambushes of the infantry of Rabí and attacked the impedimenta of Alfonso Goulet.

The Mambisas forces had been waiting for five to six hours, and at ten or eleven in the morning the battle begins at La Caoba, between the forces of Santocildes and Goulet, who falls dead.

The battle was violent for both sides. But Maceo balanced the actions through opportune maneuvers of cavalry and infantry. He and his men surrounded the Spanish troops and beat them for six hours, after which Martínez Campos managed to escape, helped by his sons, which was communicated by the prisoners to General Maceo:

The Cubans had one hundred and thirty-two casualties, between dead and wounded. Among the first, Brigadiers Goulet and Suarez, and Commander Moncada. The Spanish troops had more than one thousand one hundred and fifty casualties, between dead and wounded. General Fidel de Santocildes counted among the dead.

Eight days Maceo had Martínez Campos cornered in Bayamo, who dared to leave the city after receiving a reinforcement of around five thousand men.

Upon learning of the results of the action, Generalissimo Máximo Gómez wrote to Maceo, congratulating him and the chiefs and officers in his command for such a brilliant victory, also stating that this date would be one more page of glory in his military history.

In the future, the Spaniards were forced to place themselves on the defensive and as soon as they left their bases in the fortified towns, except in strong columns.

After the defeat of Martínez Campos against Antonio Maceo in the Peralejo Combat, the Spanish General asked the Crown to be substituted for his position as Captain General. He returned to Spain in January 1896.

However, before ceasing his functions he could not prevent the beginning of the Invasion towards the West, which started at the end of that first year of the war from Mangos de Baraguá, place of his first confrontation with Maceo, nor that the Mambises (Uprising forces) arrived victorious to the West in January 1896.

No, they definitely were never able to understand each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *