Birth of Admiral Miguel Grau Mr. Miguel Grau Seminario
He was son of the Colombian colonel (nationalized Peruvian) Juan Manuel Grau Berrío and of the piurana lady Luisa Seminario del Castillo. Although he was born in Piura, he lived his childhood in the port of Paita, where he forged his sailor vocation. When he was 9 years old, he embarked as a cabin boy in a merchant ship, but this first trip was frustrated when the ship was shipwrecked in front of Gorgona Island (1843). However, he did not get discouraged and embarked again the following year. For ten years he sailed in 12 different ships, touring different ports in Asia, the United States and Europe, also completing a circumnavigation, before returning to Callao in 1853.
In 1854, Grau joined to the Peruvian Navy as a midshipman, serving successively on the Rímac steamer, the Vigilante pailebot and the Ucayali wheel steamer. In 1856, with the rank of Ensign, it happened to serve on board of the frigate Apurímac, integrating itself fully to the navy officers corp. At the request of his fellow countryman, Lieutenant Junior Grade Lizardo Montero, he joined the conservative revolution of Manuel Ignacio de Vivanco against President Ramón Castilla. Having control of the Apurimac and other ships, the revolutionary sailors operated for almost a year along the Peruvian coast and participated in the attack on Callao on April 22, 1857.
Defeated the vivanquista revolution, Grau was expelled from the Navy (1858), reason why it had to return to the merchant marine, sailing along the Peruvian and ecuadorian coast. He also traveled to Polynesia (1862). Favored by the law on May 25, 1861 given by Congress, in 1863 he was readmitted to the naval service as a Lieutenant Junior Grade and became executive commander of the Lerzundi steamer. Shortly thereafter, as a Lieutenant, he was sent to England, commissioned to negotiate the purchase of naval units and supervise the construction of them. He returned as commander of the Union corvette, which, together with his twin America, was acquired in France. During the trip to Peru, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander. Already in Peruvian waters, he joined the restorative revolution of Mariano Ignacio Prado, being promoted to Commander (1865). During the Spanish-South American war, he remained in command of the Union and acted in the battle of Abtao, fought on February 7, 1866 against the ships of the Spanish squadron of the Pacific.
He was in Valparaiso, with the Peruvian squadron, when, along with other sailors, he protested against the Prado government's decision to hire US Commodore John R. Tucker as commander of the Peruvian navy on a projected naval expedition to free the Philippines from the Spanish domain. Accused of insubordination, he was imprisoned, confined on San Lorenzo Island and put on trial, to finally be declared innocent (1867). For the third time, he returned to the merchant marine and for almost a year sailed under the command of two steamers of an English company. On April 12, 1867, he married with Dolores Cabero y Núñez, union from which ten children were born. He was one of the founders of the Club of the Union; an important Peruvian social club (1868). He was also an illustrious member of the traditional National Club.
At the beginning of 1868, Grau was reincorporated to the naval service as commander of the monitor Huáscar, being promoted shortly after to the rank of Captain. He had a prominent role in the attitude assumed by the navy against the rebellion of colonels Gutiérrez, in defense of the constitutional order, signing along with other leaders and officers a proclamation against the revolutionary coup (July 23, 1872).
In 1873, under Huáscar, Grau made a cruise through the Peruvian south and the Bolivian coast, when the threat of an armed conflict between Chile and Bolivia occurred for territorial reasons. In 1874 he was commander of the Evolutions Squadron, crossing the Peruvian coast between Callao and Iquique, and collaborating in the debasement of the attempted coup of the caudillo Nicolás de Piérola.
In 1875, Grau was elected deputy for the province of Paita, by the Civil Party, parliamentary work temporarily interrupted to exercise the General Command of the Navy, between June 1, 1877 and July 10, 1878. In such quality, On January 2, 1878, he presented the National Congress with a detailed report on the deficient state of warships and the shortcomings of the Navy, making judgments that were a real warning, a year before the outbreak of the war with Chile.
At the outbreak of the War of the Pacific, on April 5, 1879, Grau obtained a license from Congress to return to service, taking over the command of Huáscar. He was appointed head of the first naval division, starting his campaign in May. During the following five months, he developed an intense activity, keeping in check the powerful Chilean fleet. He won the naval battle of Iquique on May 21, 1879, sinking the Esmeralda corvette and earned unanimous respect for his humanitarian action to rescue the Chilean shipwrecked and send the widow of Lieutenant Commander Arturo Prat, commander of the Esmeralda, a heartfelt letter accompanying the personal effects of said boss.
In the following months, Grau made several incursions into waters controlled by Chile, attacking surprisingly, harassing their lines of communication and bombing the military installations of the ports. On July 27, 1879, he was promoted to the high class of Rear Admiral. Finally, on October 8, 1879, facing Punta Angamos, the Huáscar was surrounded by two enemy divisions, locking up an unequal battle. Grau died in the first minutes of the fight, due to the effects of a grenade fired by the battleship Admiral Cochrane, which destroyed his body. His officers and sailors continued the fight, until they were killed or put out of action. Only with the elimination of Grau and Huáscar, which had acted as a true mobile wall of Peru, the Chileans were able to invade Peruvian territory, six months after the war began.
His remains, initially buried in Santiago de Chile, were repatriated in 1890 and transferred to the Crypt of the Heroes in 1908. On October 26, 1946 he was posthumously promoted to the rank of Admiral. In his capacity as former deputy, he has a permanent seat in the Peruvian Congress.
Mr. José de San Martin, in command of the Southern Liberation Expedition, disembarks in Paracas on September 8, 1820. The Liberation Army, with San Martín himself in charge, entered the city in the afternoon hours. In their wake, many locals lived patriotic troops and there were young people, who volunteered as a credential carrying some of the proclamations clandestinely distributed in ports, months before, by Vice Admiral Cochrane. Realist forces for now, fled to the mountains.In Lima, General José de San Martín invited the Cabildo and population of Lima to swear to Independence. The signing of the Peruvian Independence Act took place on July 15, 1821. Manuel Pérez de Tudela, a lawyer from Arequipa, drafted the Act of Independence. On Saturday July 28, 1821, in a very solemn public ceremony, José de San Martín, enunciated the famous Independence of Peru proclamation. First he said it in the Plaza Mayor of Lima, then in the plaza of La Merced, and then in front of the Convent of the Descalzos.The liberator with a Peruvian flag in his hand exclaimed:SINCE THIS MOMENT, PERU IS FREE AND INDEPENDENT BY THE GENERAL WILL OF THE PEOPLES AND BY THE JUSTICE OF THEIR CAUSE THAT GOD DEFENDS. LONG LIVE THE COUNTRY! LONG LIVE FREEDOM! LONG LIVE INDEPENDENCE!
At the beginning of 1911, the Peruvian government had news that Colombian Army forces, without any justification, had for some time been occupying part of our territory located near the border, an area delimited by the Caquetá River. These troops, after being advised by the channels established for these cases, refused to leave the occupied sector peacefully, thinking perhaps that this transitory possession was to become final.
As a result, the Peruvian government ordered the departure of the American gunship commanded by Lieutenant Mr. Manuel A. Clavero, with the dual mission of carrying out an investigation into this abnormal situation, and of executing if the veracity of the information received is verified, the unlawful appropriation of the territory by the Colombian forces. His slogan was to leave a Peruvian military garrison in that place, after evicting the occupants. To do so, he must first exhaust all peaceful means within his reach.
After an unsuccessful search, which lasted a few months, America returned to Iquitos in June, not without having left the troops he led, at a convenient point on the banks of the Putumayo River.
In this city, Clavero obtained additional information with concrete and precise data. Disembarked some patients brought, re-provisioned the ship and replaced its crew, left again with the same mission. Some owners of Loreto, a department in which patriotism is deeply rooted, made their boats available to the country and the government to help transport troops. This is how the American gunship sailed together with the boats Loreto, Estefita and Tarapoto, to form a convoy and carry out its mission.
Around 300 infantry men of the Army Battalion No. 9, were transported in the gunship, and in the Loreto and the Estefita. The Tarapoto was designated as a hospital ship. Army troops were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Oscar R. Benavides, who was the military chief most characterized in the convoy.
At the command of the America, as was already mentioned, the Lieutenant, Mr. Manuel A. Clavero. Its staff was formed by Lieutenant Junior Grade Mr. Héctor Mercado and engineers J. Runciman and C. Lima. The ship was carrying two Armstrong 37mm guns as weapons. and two machine guns.
On July 10, 1911 in the last hours of the morning, arrived the convoy, after to have crossed the Caquetá river, to the environs of the place denominated the Pedrera. The information coincided in expressing that in this place was the Colombian General Gamboa, commanding about 400 troop men. Clavero and his officers could verify the truth of the information, by verifying the presence of Colombian soldiers in the vicinity.
At a proper distance, a boat was lowered and a parliamentarian was embarked on it. Despite the signals made indicating these purposes, the occupying forces opened fire by undoing the boat from the side of the America. Soon after, however, the firing stopped and the MP was able to disembark. Made the friendly notification to vacate the territory within the greatest guarantees placing the orders of the Colombian forces to the Estefita, a delaying response was received, which they needed at least two days to give a definitive answer.
The Peruvian forces, with well-founded reasons, did not accept this response from General Gamboa, afterwards proving the correctness of this procedure, since the Colombians had highlighted troops upstream, in Puerto Córdoba, a day's walk from La Pedrera. Last, and this time, to the occupants of our territory to evict him, otherwise, they were informed that the Flotilla would be forced to use force.
The Colombians maintained their position accepting the challenge. At 1:00 PM the battle began. The first shot was made by the bow piece of the America, directing the fire the Executive Commander himself, who maneuvering said gun, continued fighting in the manner indicated throughout the action. The stern piece had as its first pointer the Petty Officer José Navarro Solano. A live fire of musketry was the Colombian response, the combat having continued throughout the afternoon, without resolving superiorities.
A "cascade" (cashuera) with a low rocky bottom, was the natural defense behind which the Colombian troops were sheltered; its existence prevented our ships from crossing the line of the opposing fortifications and arriving just at the indicated point to beat them successfully. The current, too impetuous, and the natural danger of stranded, were opposed to that, sighted part of the enemy site, could make more effective shots on him.
At nightfall the Colombian fire ceased, the flotilla retreating back from Caquetá. The losses of the opponent were ignored, but on our side the parliamentarian had died and there were some wounded. A meeting chaired by Commander Benavides was convened, attended by all the officers present; the instructions of the case were given and then, both the crew and the troops were harangued in front of the same corpse of the parliamentary officer, Ensign Bergieri, killed in the performance of his duty.
At 0700 hrs. of July 11 the fight started the previous day resumed. The struggle was fought by both parties, but the results remained vague and unsuccessful. At 2300 hrs. America, sailing alone, attacked the adversary again, but her fire did not respond.
At dawn of the third day the Flotilla returned to the charge and fought impetuously until approximately 1500 hrs. without defining the action. Clavero, understanding the indecisiveness of the situation and the essential need to take a risky attitude to ensure success, resolved to sail the waterfalls and use all available means to surround the enemy. Giving order to force the machines to be able to overcome the strong currents came to exceed the safety limit of the design. Fifteen minutes he fought the gunboat against the current raffle with luck the almost sure risk of running aground; in this interval, the Colombian fire concentrated on its ship with remarkable intensity. When it seemed that the eddies were going to triumph, the strong current of the place made her return defeated in her attempt.
However, the will to win and the patriotism of those men could, however, be greater than the impetuous nature of the waters. Shortly after a quarter of an hour had elapsed, the gunship could sail out of the danger of grounding, but constantly hit by the opposite fire. Following his trail and example, despite having gotten the rudder, Loreto managed to force the way. Immediately, both ships docked to the shore and made the disembarkation of the troops of Infantry Battalion No. 9 that they were transporting.
The daring maneuver of our ships, unexpected and believed impossible by the Colombians, made their calculations fail. Flanked by that landing, they immediately started a very rapid retreat into the jungle, not without leaving people and supplies that were taken by our troops. General Gamboa, chief of the invading forces, fell among the prisoners. Casualties in the America were 1 dead and 5 injured, in addition to the numerous casualties that were recorded between the officers and infantry troops; 38 impacts and some damage to the hull and superstructure were the material balance of that battle.
Thus, in the last hours of the afternoon of July 12, 1911, the gallardo national flag was hoisted again in that place ratifying its Peruvianism and as a reward for the effort of those patriots who had also fought in defense of our territorial integrity .
On July 31, 1911, the America anchored in Iquitos; On board he was wounded and sick. Lieutenant Manuel A. Clavero was among them; his ailment: yellow fever. Three days later he was able to disembark. The Iquitos people in full paid him, his crew and the troops of our Army a warm tribute, as a living testimony of his just admiration.
A few days later, having recovered his illness, Clavero fell into bed to avoid getting up any more. His death took place on August 12, 1911, when his brilliant career and his unique military gifts promised him a wonderful future as a sailor. Yellow fever, contracted in acts of service, snatched from the Institution and the Fatherland the brave Commander of the America.
At the beginning of the 20th century, exploration of the Amazonian rivers and delimitation of borders by several Navy officers began. From the middle of the year 1903 the forces of the Ecuadorian Army, as was their custom, had taken possession of the territories of the Amazon.Continuing with the confrontations between Peruvians and Ecuadorians in the region of the Napo river, the Peruvian forces commanded by Lieutenant Oscar Mavila Ruiz, embarked on "Iquitos" boat. Lieutenant Mavila was wounded in this action of arms.
After the battle of Iquique on May 21 1879, the monitor "Huáscar" was with the Peruvian transport "Chalaco" commanded by the Captain Manuel Villavisencio, took coal of that ship and transfer to the shipwrecked ones of the frigate Peruvian "Independencia" and the Chilean corvette "Esmeralda" to be transported to the port of Arica.
Meanwhile, the port of Iquique remained blocked by the Chilean squadron, which, incidentally, was found with its supplies of decimated coal. Situation that could have been exploited by our ships, as the Chilean commander Manuel Bulnes himself later expressed:
"If Grau suspects the situation of our squad, he could more than repair the disaster of 'Independence', because our ships were locked in Iquique for lack of coal, in front of an enemy city, he could block it by placing himself at the entrance of the port and preventing the entrance to the transport that will take you coal and food "(Valdizán Gamio: 1993, 213).
It is in this context that our monitor makes expeditions that frustrate the supply of food, coal and war material to Chilean ships in both Mejillones and Antofagasta, capturing many of their transports and boats that were used for that purpose, among them the boat "Emilia" (loaded with metals) that was sent to Callao commanded by Lieutenant Melitón Rodríguez.
On May 29, "Huáscar" arrived again in Iquique, this time on board the monitor was President Mariano Ignacio Prado, who ordered to Miguel Grau, to go successively to Ilo and Callao. Just as he was sailing towards the port of Chalaco, he found the armored "Cochrane", the frigate "Blanco" and the corvette "Magallanes", starting a chase that was interrupted by a brief confrontation between the "Huáscar" and the "Blanco" that It did not have major consequences. The "Huáscar" could well escape the confrontation and arrived at Callao, where he remained until the month of July.
While the "Huáscar" was repaired in Callao, the Peruvian transports continued operating, among them the "Chalaco" that, commanded by Manuel Villavisencio, transported troops and rifles to Iquique, the "Talisman" did the same with weapons for Bolivia, the "Oroya" and "Limeña", from Panama, transported rifles, cartridges, cannons and machine guns for the Bolivian army in Arica.
Despite the blockaded port of Iquique and the "Huáscar" repairing in Callao, our ships continued to sail in fulfillment of their missions until the month of July in which our monitor sailed from this port towards that with the objective of spolonating any of the blocking vessels. The Chilean blockade squad was conformed at that time by the armored "Cochrane", the corvette "Magallanes", the transports "Abtao" and "Matías Cousiño".
The "Huáscar" arrived on July 8 to Arica, continuing his trip to Iquique, where he arrived two days later. At 2.30 h. of July 11, the "Huáscar" broke its fires against the "Matías Cousiño", the "Magallanes" came to the aid of the Chilean transport, and the "Huáscar" tried to spur it without success. Later, the "Cochrane" and "Abtao" joined the fight, which lasted until dawn, without causing losses and damage to our flagship, which was able to return to the port of Arica.
Since the early twentieth century, the explorations in the Amazon, especially with the formation of the Board of Roads. On the other hand, under the auspices of the Government or the Geographical Society of Lima and sometimes have been made by our sailors another kind of explorations, fixing the geographic coordinates of many points of the national territory.
During these events, the borders were not well defined, that is why on several occasions the Ecuadorian troops, above all, occupied national territory without being able to be timely rejected. In the Napo river region there were fortuitous encounters between Peruvians and Ecuadorians. Lieutenant Oscar Mavila Ruiz in command of the boat "Cahuapanas" was in charge of these operations.
During the month of July, the "Huáscar" Monitor and the "Union" corvette ventured through the ports of Taltal, Chañaral, Caldera, Carrizal and Huasco, destroying feluccas and capturing prey, three of which were sent to Callao. On July 23, both Peruvian ships captured the steam transport "Rímac" and drove it to Arica. The "Rímac" sailed with precautions; On its direct course to Antofagasta, it took the high seas without sighting the coast and during the whole night the lights did not come on. When night fell on the 22nd, the steam arrived in front of Antofagasta, some 30 or 40 miles offshore. At dawn, the service watch had seen with the first light of dawn, a smoke that was marked more and more. The sailor announced to the Union corvette, while his captain Ignacio L. Gana thought he saw the battleship Cochrane. This motivated the desperation and subsequent insubordination of the sailors, who, desperate assault the camera, invade the canteen and cellars.
At the same time, a fire started and then it was controlled. The "Rimac" continued to the east, while the "Union" advanced at great speed, crossing at a distance of 300 meters. The Peruvian corvette launches a barrage with its starboard cannons. At 10 o'clock in the morning, the white flag of surrender was raised on the ratchet. The capture had lasted 4 hours and as a result of the Peruvian corvette shots a soldier died and four were wounded, all of them belonging to the squadron Carabineros de Yungay.
The monitor Huascar dispatched a boat with several individuals of the garrison, three junior officers and the Major of Orders, Commander Manuel M. Carbajal, who attentively greeted and expressed his personal condolences to the Officers who were mourning the loss of their vessel. The transport Rímac, was driving a regiment of carabineros, called Yungay conformed by more than 258 men. All of them under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Manuel Bulnes. He also drove 215 horses, a large amount of coal, weapons, projectiles and other items of war. The Rímac was a steam of two thousand tons and armed with four 32-inch guns. His capture caused a great social and political commotion in Chile, whose citizens demanded to change the military strategy and thus achieve the capture of the monitor Huáscar and destruction of the Peruvian fleet.