To the Bitter End: Paraguay and the War of the Triple Alliance

By Chris Leuchars | Go to book overview

6
The Triple Alliance

López now seemed unsure of how to proceed. The campaign in Mato Grosso had had a limited success in terms of achieving easy conquests for Paraguay, but it had failed to attract Brazilian attention and to persuade the empire to divert some of its army away from Uruguay. It is not certain how committed López was to supporting the Blancos, but certainly the execution of Gómez had created a very poor impression, and his next move suggested that his main aim was, indeed, to help the Uruguayan government.

On 14 January, he formally requested permission from Argentina for Paraguayan troops to cross through Corrientes on their way to defend the legal government in Uruguay. He guaranteed that they would cause no damage and cited as a precedent the help that Argentina had given Brazil in 1855, when it had sent a squadron up the Paraná River in its boundary dispute with Paraguay. A negotiator, Luis Caminos, was also dispatched to Buenos Aires to liaise with Mitre and, more ambitiously, to raise a loan in order to buy weapons and other war material.

At first glance, López's motives for making this request seem baffling. For a start, it appears incredible that he believed that any country would give permission for a foreign army to cross its territory, no matter what the situation. Given that Argentina was in a state of professed neutrality in the Brazilian-Paraguayan war, the likelihood of its accepting was going to be extremely slim, especially if López's apparent belief that Argentina and Brazil were secretly in cahoots over Flores's invasion was correct. Interestingly, two days later, and before any reply could have been given, López moved an army across the High Paraná into the

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To the Bitter End: Paraguay and the War of the Triple Alliance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Maps vii
  • 1: The Country at the Heart of the Continent 1
  • 2: The Man Who Would Be King 10
  • 3: The Other Players in the Drama 15
  • 4: Political Relations in the Plate Region 22
  • 5: The Invasion of Brazil 31
  • 6: The Triple Alliance 38
  • 7: The Military Balance 47
  • 8: Conscripts and Volunteers 54
  • 9: The Invasion of Argentina 60
  • 10: The Rio Grande Campaign 71
  • 11: The March to War 85
  • 12: The Invasion of Paraguay 90
  • 13: Conflict in the Esteros 109
  • 14: The Battle of Tuyuty: May 1866 117
  • 15: The Funnel of Death: July 1866 129
  • 16: The Attack on Curupaity 140
  • 17: The Long Pause 155
  • 18: The Fall of Humaitá 169
  • 19: The December Campaign 191
  • 20: Endgame 213
  • Conclusion - Securing the Spoils 233
  • Notes 239
  • Selected Bibliography 245
  • Index 249
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