1842 - Invasion to the Paraná River - Naval Combat of Costa Brava:

In the Banda Oriental was declared in December 1838, the so-called Great War (1838-1851) between Manuel Oribe, supported by the government of Buenos Aires Governor Brigadier General Dan. Juan Manuel de Rosas and Fructuoso Rivera installed in Montevideo, which had the support of the "Argentines Unitarians," opponents of Rosas, the Empire of Brazil and of the kingdoms of France and England, which had been dispatched to Rio de la Plata two Great War fleets.

In the Rio de la Plata operated the Argentine Confederation fleet, commanded by our first Admiral Sq. Guillermo Brown; who blocked the port of Montevideo.

The fleet armed by the government of Montevideo (Fructuoso Rivera), commanded by british Commodore John Halstead Coe had been totally destroyed by the naval forces of the Argentine Confederation led by Brown.

In 1841 reached Uruguay the Italian mercenary Giuseppe Garibaldi and in 1842, the government of Montevideo (Rivera) appointed him as a replacement for the british admiral Coe. Initiating Garibaldi, a campaign of harassment and pillage in the coastal populations of the Paraná River.

The government take notice of Buenos Aires Riverist attack, detach from the siege of Montevideo to Brown, who manages to intercept the fleet of Garibaldi, then waged, on August 16, 1842, a naval battle in the Paraná River near the town of Costa Brava (Corner-Corrientes Province). The ships commanded by Garibaldi were defeated by forces of Brown. After suffering heavy losses, Garibaldi escaped and many Argentine sailors wanted to follow him and to kill him, but Brown gave the order to let him go, saying "this is a brave gringo". Brown did not imagine the atrocities commit Garibaldi years later again to ravage the English Uruguay River.

Returned to Montevideo in 1843, and established by Oribe's siege of Montevideo, which was to last until 1851, Garibaldi organized a mercenary military unit that was called "The Italian Legion ", the head of which was placed at the service of Riverist government Montevideo, historically known as the Government of Defence. Among the military actions that took Garibaldi in front of his Italian Legion, stands which took place outside the walls of Montevideo called Combat of “Tres Cruces”, having been made ​​in the place so called, 17 November 1843.

After that, embarked on a new fleet of twenty ships with 900 men for landing troops, and with the protection of the squadrons of France and England, he occupied in April 1845 the city of Colonia.

Garibaldi, in his "Memoirs," says it was ...."difficult to keep the discipline that would prevent any abuse, and the Anglo-French troops, despite the strict orders of the admirals, did not cease to dedicate with taste theft in homes and on the streets. Ours, returning, partly followed the same example even when our officers did their best to avoid it. Suppression of the disorder was difficult, considering that the people in Colonia was abundant in supplies especially in  liquor that increased appetites of the virtuous looters. "

In September takes Island Martín García, defended by the Confederation, and the city of Gualegüay (Entre Rios), that suffers horrific looting. Notably Garibaldi admits the lootingwhich was a pattern of behavior of the mercenary corps which he led. In his memoirs calls his legion "virtuous looters."

The Naval Combat of Costa Brava:

The combat was a naval battle fought on 15 and 16 August 1842 between the Argentine squad commanded by Confederation Admiral Sq. William Brown and Riverist squadron commanded by the Italian Giuseppe Garibaldi. It was fought near Esquina, Province of Corrientes (Argentine), for two days in water and soil until her defeat Garibaldi providing blew up his ships to avoid giving them to Brown and escaped to the mainland.

This is one of the most Important Battles of Argentina alongside, Battle of Vuelta de Obligado and of the Quebracho.

The Almirante Brown sent people to land to do of “sirgadores” (towing the ship from the shore by ropes), having decided to move to the towpath with four ships maneuvering near the ground, where there was enough depth to the enemy, seeing that it was difficult and dangerous to attack frontally Garibaldi. At the same time, provided that the left end anchored to the Southwest from the enemy within range, harassing and disrupting the enemy's right wing reaction against the guns that we might make.

For its part, Garibaldi, who had recognized maneuver Brown's, sent his infantry with First Lieutenant Rodriguez outside the stockade to shoot the “sirgadores” and crews.

Became aware Brown and ordered Montaña, to go ashore with 100 men in three columns: one of 20 men under the command of Lt. Mariano Cordero - from Echagüe-be directed by the riverside, the right also 20 men under the command of Lt. French and 3rd in the center with 60 marines under the command of Montaña and Second Lieutenants Montandón and Castellanos. Montaña soon repel the enemy shore dislodging snipers. From that moment the right wing of Brown could move more freely and reach the shooting distance.

Let us now see what average shot distance was the combat. Not yet able to reliably know the elevation of the  Costa Brava guns. could reach At that time in these latitudes, cannons to the level could shoot from 350 meters (to 6) 600 meters (to 4), with an elevation of 8 reaching to 2,200 meters and 22 ° to about 2,700, with little difference between a barrel 24 and a 12. For the problem of marksmanship perhaps the effective range was about 1000 meters.

The authors estimate that seamless of sight (no surf) Brown's left wing armed with 12 cannons anchored to Southwest about 1,500 meters from the eastern so would have effectiveness harassment. The right wing meanwhile approached a similar distance considering that the four ships were to take the maximum fire cannon unfailingly.

When the Argentine units came within range of the eastern, Garibaldi opened fire stoically endured by the right wing, aided both by the left wing should have reached the assigned position. Brown was able to maneuver the ships to present the port side to the enemy, entering combat them all.

Presented thus: Echagiie was nearest the enemy, with his bow on the shore; near and to the south, using the slope of the coast, following the Chacabuco avoiding having to shoot above it third and also close placed the Americano southern, taking the same precautions and Brown moored the schooner July 9 and the Americano from its center aft.

At 1200 fire was widespread, beginning the softening of the enemy with artillery, no hasten approaches. The combat was stopped near the 16 so that people could eat and resumed shortly after until dark, with both sides taking measures of nighttime safety and care of ships and personnel wounded or dead, until Garibaldi, foreseeing their defeat did blow his ships to avoid  giving them to Brown and escaped to the mainland. The Argentines, wanting to pursue finalize itwere detained by Brown who said "let him escape that gringo is a brave".


Commander: Giusepe Garibaldi

Three warships

9 auxiliary vessels

31 guns

350 to 400 men

Casualties: 160-190 killed and wounded, all the fleet sunk, captured or dispersed


Commander: the Admiral William Brown.

9 boats

54 guns

610 men

Casualties: 20 dead - several wounded.