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

By Chris Leuchars | Go to book overview

11
The March to War:
September to December 1865

At the end of July, while most of the allied attention was focused on the southward progress of the Paraguayan columns along the River Uruguay, López had ordered Resquin to move down the Paraná. As usual, it is not clear exactly what his plans were. Thompson thought that he may have had the idea of advancing all the way to Buenos Aires and having himself crowned Emperor of the River Plate. Apparently he even had two [omnibuses] fitted out for the journey, one as a writing room and one as a bedroom. Although it soon became clear that this scheme was not on his agenda, there was very little that would have prevented him from at least trying such an outrageous plan. Resquin had up to 30,000 men under his command, and after the move of General Paunero across country to the River Uruguay, all that was between him and the Argentine capital were a few thousand Corrcntino troops who had shown every reluctance to engage him in combat. The Brazilian squadron could have caused problems by interrupting his lines of supply and communication, but they had also shown little desire to become actively involved. Interestingly, López's ambitions, or at least his courage, do not appear to have been as grand as his enemies depicted, and once again it seems that he was mainly waiting on circumstances.

Resquin's comparatively huge army was thus left with little to do, since it was used neither to extend significantly the Paraguayan advance along the Paraná, nor to support the beleaguered armies on the River Uruguay. Instead, it limited itself to moving down as far as Bella Vista and occupying the line of the River Santa Lucia. And there it did precisely nothing. The only action came from the artillery of Major Brúguez, who was ordered to place his guns on the high cliffs at Cuevas, where the river narrowed, south of where the Brazilian fleet was

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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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