George Washington’s Victorious Christmas
Washington and the Spanish in 1781
War in the U.S., George Washington’s Christmas, after Yorktown. Year 1781, his happiest and saddest was spent among Spaniards. The war is practically over
George Washington’s Christmas, after Yorktown
George Washington’s Christmas vacation at the home of Spaniard Francisco Rendón.
As the representative of Spain in the 13 colonies, Francisco Rendón invited George Washington and his wife Martha to spend a vacation during Christmas and the end of the year, at his property in Philadelphia. The two already knew each other, Rendón was previously the Secretary of the Representative of Spain, someone whom George Washington considered his friend, Juan de Miralles.
When George Washington had problems he always went to the Spanish. And these always solved most of his problems. And above all the fundamental the pay of their soldiers, their uniforms, their weapons, preventing the British from being reinforced and preventing them from supplies etc.
In decisive moments, Spain was always by her side, from the Battle of Saratoga to the final Battle of Yorktown.
Both could remember that December 31, 1778, (3 years earlier). when Miralles organized the first dinner in honor of General Washington taking advantage of his stay in Philadelphia.
Miralles had arrived in Philadelphia with the best letter of introduction. He was backed by tangible facts in favor of Spain’s support for the North American patriots. Months before, one of the shipments organized by Diego de Gardoquí, directed to the Continental Army, had arrived at the port of New Orleans.
Spain’s support for the North American revolution was undeniable. Only 2 months earlier, the US Army had collected in New Orleans a donation consisting of:
9000 rods of blue cloth, 18000 rods of red woolen cloth, 1600 rods of white cloth and almost 3000 rods of white cloth from Alcoy in Spain
Which meant that almost all of the clothing for George Washington’s army uniforms came practically from that area of Alicante, Spain, as well as other Spanish shipments consisting of dozens of boxes and barrels of medicine, gunpowder and rifles.
Its origin had to be a secret that it was necessary to keep up appearances with Great Britain until Madrid decided to officially join the war.
Vital supplies for the army. It can be said that Spain almost dressed the Army of Washington, and that half of Castile in Spain had manufactured blankets for that army.
The Prussian Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, Johann von Robais (Baron de Kalb) and the French Marquis de Lafayette also attended that first dinner in 1778 organized by Miralles among other personalities.
Miralles, a firm supporter of the Independence of the 13 colonies, repeated dinner after dinner, always having Washington as a guest. A great friendship emerged from there, as Washington will acknowledge in his letters.
Miralles and the Army
He was soon able to show his support for George Washington and the 13 colonies. On a visit to the headquarters of the Continental Army he was able to see the bad situation he was in. Faced with the difficulties that the Washington army was going through, of supplies and debts to its soldiers, with late payments without paying.
Miralles backed them with his own fortune and with that of some merchants in Havana, paid loans, so that the Washington army could receive its pay. It also makes supplies with its ships from Cuba, including lemon, to avoid scurvy among the already malnourished continental troops.
Three years later, the Washington couple spent the last days of 1781 as guests of Francisco Rendón, their secretary. Francisco had everything prepared to entertain George and Martha Washington, because by wishes of the King of Spain he wanted to free both of them from domestic concerns, for a time.
It was an attempt to alleviate the recent loss of the General’s son, if it were more bearable. Her son lost his life to a fever he caught in Yorktown. Although the discreet Christmas dinner was at Morris’s house, the rest of the remaining days of the year would be spent at Francisco Rendón’s house.
Help Valley Forge
When Spain declared war on England (1779), Miralles was appointed Official Representative of Spain. To finalize the details of the attacks on the British, he decides to go to Morristown to talk to Washington. He wants to communicate the situation to you. Spain will prevent England from surrounding and blocking the 13 colonies. The entire Mississippi River will be controlled and the English will be thrown from the Gulf of Mexico, as it happened. He achieves his goal to reach the city, but falls ill. The long journey during that harsh winter can with him. Even so, he communicates that the aid from Spain will continue, as it had been during the last 6 years, but also will fight England.
Death of Juan de Miralles
Despite being housed in his own home in Washington and having the best care from his doctors and George’s wife, Martha, he died in little more than a week.
Curiously, the death of George Washington in 1799 has parallels with the death of his friend Juan de Miralles. They both died when they were 67, and at the Washington home, Miralles in Morristown and George in Mount Vernon.
They were cared for by the Washington doctors and cared for by his wife Martha. Apparently for having caught some cold, which caused a quick death in a few days.
Honors to Juan de Miralles
Washington managed to get the ceremony to take place despite the difficulties posed by the Morristown church of allowing a Catholic inside. He was buried with all honors. The Governor, along with the Congressmen and Senior Army officers, attended his funeral. It can be said that it was the first act of State, as a new country.
Letters of condolences on the death of Miralles
Washington wrote to the French Ambassador:
“The attentions and honors paid to Mr. Miralles were dictated by the sincere esteem that I always had for him”
In the letter to his widow;
“All the attentions that it was possible for me to dedicate to her late husband were dictated by the friendship that his worthy qualities had inspired me”
Letter to the Captain General of Cuba, Diego José Navarro:
“With the greatest pleasure I did everything that a friend could do for him during his illness” and “it must be of some consolation to his relatives to know that in this country he was universally esteemed and his death will be regretted in the same way”
They are all testimonies of the deep friendship that united him with Juan de Miralles.
These condolences and these honors contract with the subsequent treatment that his family received.
The forgotten and pending debt to the Miralles family
Some time later, Miralles’ daughter traveled to New York to collect the debt that the United States had formally contracted with her father for loans to the independence cause. “That moment will never come,” Morris said when asked by her daughter when she would get paid.
Army refuses to go to Yorktown
Letter from General Nathanael Greene, December 7, 1780:
“Nothing can be more miserable and distressing than the condition of the troops, starving with cold and hunger, without tents or camping equipment. Those of the Virginia line are literally naked; and a great part totally unsuitable for any type. homework. “
French officer Ludwig von Closen, August 1781 described: the miserable conditions of Washington’s army as it crossed the Hudson River on its march to Virginia and Yorktown.
The words of von Closen were the following:
“These brave men made your heart ache”
The French without resources
The entire French naval fleet. The Spanish fleet protects the French possessions. Although Spain was at war with England, it did not want to send signals that it supported the 13 colonies.
That is why all aid to Washington had to be covered up in some way. Therefore, although money was collected in Havana to help both the continental army and the French army, those in charge of collecting it were 2 French officers. That later they would send to Yorktown the more than 1 million of a Hispanic pesos.
The French fleet was not enough
The French Admiral had to protect the French routes and possessions in the area. For this reason, he asked Spain for its ships of the line to join its fleet. Spain wanted to remain on the sidelines and solved it by sending its ships to protect French possessions and its maritime routes. Thanks to this, the entire Grasse fleet was able to reach Yorktown with at least 200 more guns than the English fleet. And thanks to this the English, after losing the first naval battle against the French with serious losses in part of their ships, considered that they could not help the Cornwallis ground troops and left, leaving them to their fate.
Spanish blockade, prevents supplies to British
Meanwhile most of the Spanish fleet was blocking the Atlantic, to prevent the arrival of troops and supplies as reinforcements to the British in the 13 colonies.