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Lieutenant Junior Grade PALACIOS Mendiburu, Enrique

Lieutenant Junior Grade

PALACIOS Mendiburu

He was born in Lima on August 16, 1850, his parents were José Palacios Urrutia and Maria Buenaventura Mendiburu. He completed his studies in Guadeloupe classrooms, from 1862 to 1864, and chose the career of arms, entering the Naval Military College on May 19, 1864.

The 7 of February of 1866, barely graduated from the School, participates in the combat of Abtao aboard the frigate "Apurímac" to the command of the Captain Manuel Villar, Chief of the Peruvian Division, that had the control of the allied squadron On that occasion, in the absence of the owner, the Chilean Captain Juan Williams Rebolledo and his frigate "Esmeralda". For his outstanding participation is promoted to the class of Ensign of Fragata.

At the end of the war with Spain, at the end of 1868, he was commissioned to bring the monitors "Manco Capac" and "Atahualpa" from the United States, purchased by the government of General Pezet. In spite of having been bought in September of 1867, they depart of New Orleans just 12 of January of 1869. In that trip, Palacios serves in the "Atahualpa". The trip lasts fifteen months, concluding in Callao on May 11, 1870. As a reward for this feat, the Chiefs and Officers who participated in it are promoted; Thus, Palacios obtains the rank of Second Lieutenant.

At the end of 1870, still being shipped in the "Atahualpa", he suffered a muscular rheumatism, reason why the 2 of December of that year he is granted license by three months to recover its health. Already recovered and being without position, 12 of September of 1872 is destined to the frigate "Apurímac" at the request of its commander, the Captain of Frigate Julio Tellería; Shortly after his health is broken again; This time he is a bad liver that forces him to request "final license and absolute separation of the service", being discharged the 24 of May of the same year.
In civilian life, Palacios is engaged in trade. By this time he meets Amanda de la Mar with whom she has a daughter, called Maria Rosa; Not being able to have her at his side because of his status as a bachelor, he does not fail to satisfy all his needs and entrusted to the care of his political brother and friend Eloy before leaving for war.

At the outbreak of the war with Chile in 1879, he rejoined the Navy and embarked on the "Independence" frigate, showing patriotism and detachment, renouncing his salary and even contributing to the expenses of the war with a monthly donation.

Embarked on the "Independence", he is one of the protagonists of the Punta Gruesa disaster, on May 21, 1879, when this ship ran aground on a bass that was not marked on the charts, while chasing the Chilean gunboat "Covadonga ". After this unfortunate event, he passed along with the other officers and midshipmen of the "Independence" to the transport "Chalaco" to be taken to Arica, being transferred the following day of the combat, to the monitor "Huáscar" commanded by Captain Miguel Grau, where he will carry out the rest of the campaign.

The "Huascar" campaign, guided by the right hand of its commander, faces the monitor alone, for five months, the entire Chilean squadron, transporting armament and troops, mocking the continuous persecutions of which it was the object; Taking the offensive in the Pacific, boldly enters the enemy's coasts, sowing the bewilderment. This incessant activity of the "Huáscar" stops the plans of invasion of the enemy, situation that could not prolong indefinitely; Sooner or later the already legendary monitor had to meet his fate, which he had mocked countless times. This destiny, tragic and glorious at the same time, awaits the monitor and his men at Punta Angamos, on October 8, 1879. On that occasion, the "Huáscar" beats the whole Chilean squad, including the armored "Admiral Cochrane "And" Blanco Encalada ".


uring this combat, considered as one of the first battleships in naval history, the crew of the "Huáscar", performs not only valiantly but also boldly and skillfully since in a certain moment, in spite of its material inferiority and the Ravages caused by enemy fire, resolutely takes the offensive and tries to spur the "Cochrane" that manages to avoid the collision favored by the difficulty of maneuver of the monitor, caused by imperfections in his rudder and rigging.

At the beginning of the combat, Palacios occupies his position of telemetric officer, seated on the combat tower, with the legs hanging out; Rock in hand, gave from there the distances to Grau, that occupied the tower of command; After the death of Grau, Aguirre, who directs the fires, orders him to go down to take care of the canyon of the right. At this point, being already the ship to the control of Aguirre, an esquirla of iron disarms the lower jaw, having to fasten it with a handkerchief. Overcoming the pain of this wound, it recovers on the deck of the steak in spite of the heavy hemorrhage that suffers. The combat continues, the command tower destroyed, the rudder unused, leaving the monitor unmanned; Palacios and Gervasio Santillana find in the shattered tower the corpses of Elías Aguirre and Jose Melitón Rodríguez. Pedro Gárezon takes command of the ship, whose aspect is desolating.

Seeing that all resistance is impossible because of the many casualties suffered, the lack of government of the ship, the incapacitation of the guns and the lack of ammunition, before surrendering, Gárezon orders to open the valves and sink the ship, having to stop its march, surrounded By the enemy squadron, which, dominating the monitor's deck, unloads its fires on the "Huáscar", which begins to sink slowly, unable to respond because the crew lacked minor weapons as they were destroyed by enemy bullets, and The ammunition useless to have been wetted by the water that penetrated in the poplar stern; Palacios, together with a group of aspirants and sailors, partially protects themselves from the hostile enemy fire ahead of the tower, until it is again wounded by fragments of iron caused by an enemy bomb.

The Chileans approach the monitor and act quickly to avoid the sinking of the "Huáscar" that already had three feet of water in their bilges. Palacios, badly wounded, falls down and awakens when the Chilean sailors take him to the Cochrane.

Palacios is exchanged by the Chilean Lieutenant Luis Uribe and driven to the steam "Coquimbo" of the English Navigation Company, to the anchor in Antofagasta and towards the Callao, but the courageous sailor does not arrive at its destination since it dies in Iquique 22 of October , Of traumatic tetanus, as certified by the doctor commissioned by our government. Its remains arrive at Callao on October 28 in the same vessel, giving both the Navy and authorities and the Peruvian people a sense of homage. His funeral takes place on November 5 in the cathedral, along with those of the other chiefs and officers gloriously killed in Angamos. From there, his remains are taken to the General Cemetery.

On May 28, 1880, Nicolas de Piérola posthumously decorated Palacios with the "Steel Cross of the First Legion of Merit," and ordered that his portrait, together with those of Grau and Aguirre, be kept in the meeting room of Said Legion.

In 1886, a decree ordered that those fallen at Angamos together with Admiral Grau, among them Palacios, should be reviewed as present in the ship that thereafter will be in the Navy, called "Rear Admiral Grau", and while this one does not Exists, that they do it in the General Command of the Navy. It is also stated that upon being called, the chief most characterized must respond "died in defense of the country and live in the mansion of the heroes." Their remains rest in the Crypt of the Heroes of War of 1879.