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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cox - Bernado de Galvez

General Bernardo de Galvez

Few Americans are aware that General Galvez was the Spanish governor of the Louisiana territory that encompassed 13 of our present states. They are also unaware that long before any formal declaration of war, General Galvez sent gunpowder, rifles, bullets, blankets, medicine and other supplies to the armies of General George Washington and General George Rogers Clark. Once Spain entered the war against Great Britain in 1779, this dashing young officer raised an army in New Orleans and drove the British out of the Gulf of Mexico. General Galvez captured five British forts in the Lower Mississippi Valley. They repelled a British and Indian attack in St. Louis, Missouri and captured the British fort of St. Joseph in present-day Niles, Michigan. With reinforcements from Cuba, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, General Galvez captured Manchac (10/21/1779), Natchez, Mobile (3/14/1780) and Pensacola (4/10/1781), the capital of the British colony of West Florida. At Pensacola, Galvez commanded a multinational army of over 7,000 black and white soldiers. These men were born in Spain, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Hispanola, and other Spanish colonies such as Venezuela. The city was defended by a British and Indian army of 2,500 soldiers and British warships. An American historian called the siege of Pensacola “a decisive factor in the outcome of the Revolution and one of the most brilliantly executed battles of the war.” Another historian stated that General Galvez’ campaign broke the British will to fight. This battle ended in May 1781, just five months before the final battle of the war at Yorktown. General Galvez and his contributions have been remembered even to this day with statues, and even a city named in his honor, Galveston, Texas. The listing of the names of Gavez’s armies, revolutionary war patriots, was compiled by Mr Robert C Churchill, an early 20th century president of the Louisiana SAR organization. He created the lists from documents Galvez sent back to Spain. The compilation is called SAR Spanish Records, and resides in the Howard-Tilton Memorial Libr. of Tulane University. A paragraph, originally in French, on page 108: “Travelers, without a fixed city dwelling, all men of resource; many seamen among them; the others, Creoles; all managed well and are men of labor; they are attached to the four city companies; almost all currently traveling; some hunting in the rivers; others busy rowing boats by which they carry the mail; others fishing, in the sea and in the lakes.” There are 124 names in this group entitled: “Travelers, traders among Indians, fishermen, most of whom are absent from the city.” [The city is New Orleans]. (S) Brother Jerome Lepre, “Sons of the American Revolution”, MCH&GS Journal, V18, #2, 6/1982, P75.