1763 - Spanish expedition against Brazil

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Hierarchical Path: Seven Years War >> Campaigns >> 1763 - Spanish expedition against Brazil

The campaign took place in January 1763

Introduction

On November 2, Antonio de Cevallos y Cortés, the Spanish military governor of La Plata (a semi-autonomous region of the vice-royalty of Peru encompassing today Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia) took possession of the Portuguese Colonia del Sacramento (in present day Uruguay) who had surrendered on October 31.

During the siege of Colonia del Sacramento, the Portuguese army in Brazil, foreseeing the fall of the place, had decided to erect a new fort at Santa Teresa. In early October, colonel Luis Tomás Osorio and engineer Juan Gomez de Mello were dispatched to Santa Teresa. Upon arrival, they immediately initiated the construction of a fort.

At the end of 1762, a Portuguese force of 230 dragoons from Rio Grande do Sul and some adventurers, under the command of captain Francisco Pinto Bandeira, had been sent from Fuerte Jesús, María, José de Río Pardo on the Yacuí river to take possession of the Spanish fort of Santa Bárbara.

Description of Events

By January 1763, the fort of Santa Teresa was still under construction.

On January 1, Bandeira's Portuguese force stormed and captured the fort of Santa Bárbara, defended by 7 artillery pieces, 500 soldiers from Corrientes and many Guarani Indians under the command of lietenant-colonel Antonio Catani. Bandeira brought back to Rio Pardo the captured artillery along with 9,000 cattle and 5,000 horses.

On February 10, unknown to the local belligerents, the treaty of Paris had been signed in Europe, putting an end to hostilities and ordering the restitution of all territories conquered by Spain.

On March 19, Cevallos left Colonia del Sacramento with 300 dragoons and marched eastward into Brazil.

On March 29, Cevallos reached Maldonado.

On April 8, Cevallos marched from Maldonado in 2 columns. His vanguards consisted of 150 men under the command of captain Alonso Serrato. Then came his artillery, followed by a convoy of 169 wagons.

On April 17, Cevallos reached the Fort of Santa Teresa and erected a battery of 6 guns. The fort was defended by 1,500 men and 13 guns.

On April 18, 400 Portugueses made an unsuccessful sortie, intending to prevent the construction of the Spanish battery. They were repulsed and forced to retire. After this failure, 1,200 Portuguese soldiers deserted from Fort Santa Teresa. Now colonel Osorio had only 25 officers and 280 dragoons left to defend the fort.

On April 19, colonel Osorio surrendered and the Spaniards took possession of Fort Santa Teresa. Cevallos gave orders to engineer Francisco Rodríguez Cardozo to improve the defence of the fort. Osorio and about 100 men were transferred to Maldonado. Cevallos sent 3 detachments to pursue the fleeing Portuguese forces. Captain Serrato was sent against Fort San Miguel and captain José de Molina towards Río Grande do Sul. The 3 detachments pursuing the Portugueses were instructed to converge on Rio Grande do Sul.

Fort San Miguel, defended by 15 guns, surrendered without opposing any resistance.

On April 24, Cevallos reached Río Grande de San Pedro.

On May 12, Cevallos made himself master of Río Grande de San Pedro and captured the Fort of Jesús, María, José de Río Grande. The Portugueses retired to São José do Norte on the opposite bank of the river, which was soon occupied by Cevallos' force. The Portuguese settlers fled to Porto dos Casais but were later transferred by Cevallos to Maldonado. In this action, Cevallos captured 27 cannon and 8 mortars.

Cevallos was then informed that peace had been signed in Europe and put an end to his campaign in Brazil

On December 27 1763, Colonia del Sacramento and the San Gabriel island were handed back to Portugal but the other conquests remained in Spanish power.

References

O'Hara, Danny, Eighteenth Century Wargaming Resources On-Line

Spanish Wikipedia, Primera expedición de Cevallos a Río Grande

Wikipedia, First Cevallos expedition