Map of the siege of Yorktown in 1781, with the French fleet blocking the area, to prevent the English from receiving reinforcements
Yorktown: Victory with Hispanic help in the final battle
Spain paid the sailors, French and American soldiers, supplied its ships and won the decisive battle of Yorktown, which was already considered lost by starting the desertion of its troops
Map of the territory of Yorktown with the American encampment and English troops as distributed at the Battle of Yorktown. Siege of the French ships to prevent the English from receiving reinforcements.
Recognition of John Adams
“We should not be ashamed to recognize what our Independence owes to the molasses of the Caribbean (Cuba)”
(John Adams, Founding Father and President of the USA)
American historians recognize it
“The 1,000,000 pounds that the Ladies of Havana (Cuba) gave to the French, to pay the troops, can be considered the Foundation on which the Independence of the United States of North America was built”
Stephen Bonsal, American historian
Some recognized it at the end of the war, others deliberately forgot it. After the victory, when the peace was being signed, some had already forgotten the decisive help from Spain. And soon they invaded New Spain and later Cuba.
Spain’s help won the battle
The contribution of Spain changed the course of the war. The American finances without sufficient resources, could no longer do it. Lack of supplies, medicines, desertions, etc. A chaotic situation that was about to ask for the American surrender to the troops of England
Washington’s army was crumbling
No food, no supplies, and no money to buy it
They asked their French allies for help, but they could not give it to them. After years of wars, France’s finances could not even pay its own soldiers. Not even provisioning and repairing their own boats.
The aid and the entry of Spain into the War changed its course, their collaboration won battles and this war of Independence from England
The American army without money, without weapons, without provisions, without uniforms …
At the Battle of Yorktown: Spain changed the course of the War of Independence. All 13 colonies were bankrupt, and Spanish aid changed everything. Only a miracle could change the course of battle. If this battle was lost, the war would end, with English triumph.
The miracle came from New Spain
From Cuba, money and supplies, for French and North Americans
Without the great collaboration of Spain, the History of that Independence would have been quite another. France was already exhausted and with the treasury coffers empty, its naval navy inferior to the English fleet, without sufficient bases in America, owed the payments to its soldiers and sailors.
George Washington asked the French for money, but they could no longer give anything. His poorly provisioned army and his unpaid soldiers began to desert en masse.
Spain was also the protagonist, but it was hidden
Decisive in the English surrender and obtaining victory
“In this History fundamental facts have been deliberately omitted, because it was impossible to justify the subsequent behavior of the U.S with its ally Spain”
The Battle of Yorktown seemed to be the end of the rebels and the miracle also came from New Spain. Spain paid the French sailors and soldiers, supplied its ships, paid the salaries of the American soldiers, and won the battle and the independence of the United States.
The country ignored by American, English and French historians was decisive in the Independence of the United States of America. And so far almost no one disclosed the real story. It was hardly known that Spain was there and was decisive.
Supplies thanks to Spain
Initially by the Spanish commercial network, later by the Mississippi
Through the commercial network of Miralles, Gardoqui and Hijos were introducing aid through the Atlantic ports. A commercial company was even created to camouflage the deliveries of war material. Spain destroyed the British bases in the Gulf of Mexico, Boton Rouge, Mobile and Pensacola. His control of the Mississippi River and the Ohio allowed to supply arms, gunpowder, ammunition to the troops of Rogers Clark, Washington, etc.
North American Corsairs
They took refuge in New Spain. The corsairs of the 13 colonies took refuge and provisioned in New Spain
The 13 colonies did not have a fleet, with the exception of the small South Carolina fleet. They encouraged privateers, some would be the fathers of the North American Navy: John Paul, John Barry, Alexander Guillón etc. The performance of the Spanish corsair Ferragut who fought with the 13 colonies is also unknown.
Spain broke the English blockade
He thwarted the English isolation plan for George Washington’s troops
The English were unable to attack the rebels inside the 13 colonies. That is why the patriots controlled the innermost areas of the country. The Spanish victory and the taking of Panzacola was in May 1781. With it, the South of North America was closed to the English. They were unable to use the resources and troops of this city to come to the aid of their Yorktown troops.
George Washington followed the news of the taking of Pensacola through the Spanish Redón and with great joy he observed how the English were also blocked by the southern flank. This prevented England between September and October 1781 from supplying her troops at such decisive moments as Yorktown when the French fleet blockaded the Chesapeake Bay.
Spain won decisive battles
She helped the rebels from the get-go. Already in the battle of Saratoga Spanish muskets were used. And from that moment on, military and health aid was continued until the end of the war and the American victory.
The Second Hispanic Front
An armies of more than 8,000 soldiers
The great concentration of Spanish forces on the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico endangered all the English bases. England had to move troops from the 13 colonies to defend the Bahamas, Jamaica, Pensacola, etc. However, all fell into Spanish power except Jamaica since the Peace was signed, when their invasion was already being prepared. Troops that could have been decisive in the Battle of Yorktown.
Bankruptcy of the Continental Army
Neither George Washington’s army nor the French had money
The state of the finances of the 13 colonies was disastrous. Poorly dressed and fed troops lived in permanent discontent. Although some of the troops had been like this, for years. Most enlisted men did not renew their service when it ended. More soldiers died of starvation and disease than in battle. The soldiers’ wages were so late that most were not being paid their salaries, which they were entitled to.
Riots among the soldiers
Not long ago there had been a mutiny of hundreds of patriots against the army and the continental congress. George Washington solved it by arresting his leaders and a party of the rebels. These were forced to shoot their leaders. Something that multiplied the discontent among the troops and increased the number of rebels, although out of fear they were silent. The last words of one of the leaders of the rebellion, at the moment of being shot by his own supporters, in order to save his own life, resounded among the soldiers of Washington.
´ “I only said, what we all thought”
The uprising was controlled, but only temporarily. The poor conditions of the camps and the permanent arrears of payroll payments were chronic.
About 10 years after George Washington as president, he had to face another great mutiny, but it is led by many of his top and highest officials, fed up with the huge delays in paying their payroll.
This made it extremely difficult to renew and incorporate new soldiers into the army. Although there continued to be renovations and additions, the morale of the army was terrible. Most of the soldiers did not have the proper footwear and clothing. Although Spain sent George Washington 30,000 complete uniforms to match his men, the seven years into the war, most were already in poor condition or had disappeared.
As for food, something equivalent was happening. The bad and incomplete foods in their diet raged. In the years prior to 1780, the Spanish Juan de Miralles managed to bring cargoes of fruits such as lemon or lime from Cuba, camouflaged among his merchandise, to avoid scurvy for a time. Estimates made consider that 8 times more died than fighting against the English. Perhaps the climax was the Hell of Valley Forge, with the harshest winter of the time. But the bad conditions of the troops continued.
This situation contrasted enormously with the excellent feeding conditions of the Spanish troops who expelled the British from the Gulf of Mexico as well as the Bahamas Islands and were preparing from Santo Domingo for the final assault on British power in the Caribbean, the Island of Jamaica.
General Bernardo de Gálvez organized the first mass transfer of cattle in North America. More than 10,000 head of cattle were moved by cowboys, from the Hispanic ranches of Texas to New Orleans to feed the army of Spanish, Mexican, Cuban, American, French, Venezuelan, etc.
However, George Washington’s army did not have a strong supply constant and the economic resources were lacking.
Washington’s army crumbles
July 1780. When the French Rochambeau arrived, he saw a continental army led by Washington in dire conditions and with little military effectiveness for all of the above. A weakened population and an army with many casualties, which also had just experienced a smallpox epidemic.
April 1781. Washington himself wrote, afraid of missing the opportunity:
“We are at the end of our ties, and … now or never our liberation must come”
We were before a discouraged and anguished General. The British blockade for 7 years had destroyed the economy. Supplies of all kinds were in short supply. Only the Spanish aid that arrived from New Orleans and by means of ships navigating the Mississippi River, could alleviate the lack of arms, gunpowder and other military supplies. Troop morale very low. And the continental congress had no money to pay the troops.
May 1781. To remedy the lack of money, the Continental Congress dedicated itself to printing paper money. The result is hyperinflation. Paper money lost all its value, with exchange rates published as high as 500 to 1. The joke and anger at the ridiculous value of paper money was colossal. The procession in Philadelphia would go down in history in front of which they put a dog smeared with tar and stuck to his skin, the money in paper, without any real monetary value. He was followed by citizens adorned with banknotes, especially on their hats.
This inflation and distrust in the economic management of the Continental Congress would have repercussions in the future. It would be a long time before confidence in American money could be re-trusted. Subsequent governments had to back their paper currency in the Spanish Dollar. The paper money could be exchanged for Spanish silver money. For 70 years the Spanish Dollar was the guarantee and backing of the US currency, until 1857. From that year on, the official and only currency was the US Dollar. As a souvenir of that time, the Spanish sign would remain on the country’s currency.
Washington together with Rochambeau, organized the encerrona in Yorktown. But the lack of funds was distressing. He had no money to pay his army.
He feared the worst, a mutiny bigger than the one before, could cause his army to crumble.In a desperate attempt he wrote a letter to Robert Morris, in charge of finances:
“I must beg you, if possible, to obtain a month’s pay in cash for the detachment under my command. A part of the troops has not received anything for a long time and has shown signs of great discontent on several occasions “
Rochambeau’s money and his French are running out
Summer of 1781, the French army runs out of money. Reservations are running out and the money that had to arrive, did not arrive. Without that money he could not support himself in Yorktown.
June 1781. Seeing that it will not be possible for him to get financial resources of any kind, he asks for help. He sends a letter to the French Admiral Count De Grasse:
“I inform you that after August 20 I will not be able to support my army”
From the Continental Army comments:
“I shouldn’t hide from you, Mr. Admiral, that these people are at the limit of resources or that Washington will not have at their disposal half of the troops that he expected to have. While he is secretive on this subject, I think he currently has no more than 6,000 men in total. “
The Count of Grasse made attempts to raise money but failed. He went to present-day Haiti, to raise funds, but had no success. Despite the fact that he offered interest rates of up to 25% for the loans that were granted, he did not receive a response. The citizens distrusted the coffers of the King of France, which they already assumed to be empty.
August 1781. In the newspaper of the Spanish Saavedra de Sangroniz the attempts of Admiral Grasse to get money are mentioned. He desperately requested help from Havana. From the Island of Cuba, he had previously received supplies and repairs and maintenance of his ships. He asked the Spanish authorities for a loan of 500,000 pesos.
Spain prepares to help
June 1781 (Island of Cuba). The mayor of Havana, Juan Ignacio de Urriza, communicates to Bernardo de Gálvez, commander-in-chief of the Spanish and French armies:
“Following the Royal Order of March 17, they had prepared in advance for the delivery of one million pesos to the French commanders”
He also reported that he had received news from Veracruz that warships would soon bring money from the Viceroyalty of New Spain.
Havana on the island of Cuba, was not only the gateway to the Caribbean It was the main city in the area. A strategic point where the Spanish fleets of arrival and departure from America met. A city with great prosperity, which had nothing to envy to the most important European capitals. In terms of size, they had a population of 5 times the city of New York. It owned, trade, industry, naval shipyards, ships were armed, etc. Some of the warships of the time were built in it, such as the Santísima Trinidad, the largest warship of the time, a ship of the line with 4 bridges and up to 140 guns. Besides being a center with a rich cultural life with its theaters, etc.
August 6), 1781. Money shipments from Mexico did not arrive. The funds sent by the Spaniards from the Island of Hispaniola (Santo Domingo) and Puerto Rico contributed 100,000 pesos, but it was insufficient. There was a problem of temporary lack of liquidity in Havana, but also a bureaucratic problem. Without a special authorization, such an enormous amount could not be contributed to a foreign power, even if it were an ally such as France.
The astute Saavedra solved both problems at once. He asked the Cubans for help, as time was running out.
August (16), 1781. Record in his diary:
“The announcement was promulgated among the citizens, and it was proclaimed that anyone who wanted to contribute to help the French fleet with his money should send it immediately to the Treasury”
But Francisco de Saavedra de Sangronis, sought the solution to avoid diplomatic conflicts and involve Spain directly in the collection. He prevented the collection from being made directly by Spanish citizens. And he raised it as a popular help.
“Two French officers went to collect the funds, and within six hours the required amount was collected.”
The French watched with amazement as many ladies approached and took off their jewels and handed them over to the cause of the patriots of the 13 colonies. All that enormous amount of money was embarked on a frigate, which was escorted by an 80-gun warship of the line. Thanks to this the French fleet, the reinforcements and the money for the army of Washington and the French Rochambeau left for the Chesapeake.
The outcome of the battle and the war would be totally conditioned by this aid. French and American patriots would soon have new energies thanks to this economic aid.
September (5), 1781. King Carlos III issued an official notice. indicating the great satisfaction of the king for the help that the Spanish of Havana granted “the shortest time” to the Admiral de Grasse and the French fleet.
In Rochambeau’s words, he saw Washington:
“Waving his hat at me with gestures demonstrating the greatest joy. When I approached him, he explained that he had just received a dispatch … informing him that De Grasse had arrived. “
He reported that he had to go to Havana for the 1.2 million pounds that he was bringing and that he was transporting the 3,200 reinforcements that Rochambeau had requested.
The arrival of money was lived very intensely.
“The joy was enormous when we received the money from Havana”
(French General Rochambeau)
English General Henry Clinton fully understood how this new injection of funds could rejuvenate exhausted rebels. and change the course of the battle. Clinton wrote in his memoirs, how the money raised in such a short time in Havana, had made a great change in the preparation of the battle.
The Battle of Yorktown could begin on September 26 and ended on October 19 thanks to both Washingon and Rochambeau getting what they needed.
The Triumph of Ladies’ Money
The Ladies of Havana got 1,000,000 pesos, which they sent General Washington through the French and changed history by financing the battle.
This collection of the Ladies of Havana was fundamental to change History. Without that money. refreshments and repairs that were made in its shipyards, it is very likely that history changed. This enormous amount of money was shipped on a French frigate and escorted by a French ship of the line that headed to Yorktown.
The weight was so great that they had to reinforce the structure of the Yorktown house where they kept it, since they were afraid that the first floor of the building would collapse, due to the enormous weight of money.
Neither the French squadron would have departed for the Chesapeake, nor would Rochembeau’s French troops have received their salary, nor would George Washington’s army have had so many soldiers.
The Ladies’ Note
All this enormous amount of money that left Cuba was accompanied by a simple note that read:
“We send this money so that the children of American mothers are not born slaves”
The entire French fleet to Yorktown
Plans for Yorktown
In the meeting held by the Spanish Francisco de Saavedra and the French François de Grasse, they decided to send as many ships as possible to the Chesapeake bays, to block possible English naval aid to Yorktown. to the English General Cornwallis. He had placed his troops in a place on the coast that could be easily evacuated if necessary since he had British naval supremacy.
The admiral of Grasse, requested that the Spanish naval fleet accompany him. Saavedra saw diplomatic inconveniences, since Spain, although it was at war with England, had not yet recognized the 13 colonies as a nation. For this reason he proposed a change that was thus approved. Spain would guard the naval routes, protect the French merchant ships and the French colonies in the Caribbean.
Thanks to this maneuver, Admiral Grasse went with his entire fleet to the coast of Yorktown, while the Spanish navy guarded the French interests in the area. This French naval superiority made it possible for it to triumph when facing the English fleet. The withdrawal of the English ships after the confrontation for the damage suffered, caused that the English army camped in Yorktown was trapped in a mousetrap. About 20 days later he would surrender.
The 13 colonies considered sending this money as a donation and it was never returned. Soon it happened to them, what happened to New Spain (Mexico), would keep half of the territory of Mexico, which is now the U.S.
Years later they occupied the Island of Cuba and Puerto Rico. And they forced Spain to hand over all its islands in the Pacific Ocean. Spanish possessions for 400 years Philippine Islands, Guam Island, Micronesia Islands, Palau Islands, Solomon Islands, Mariana Islands, Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, etc.
In this way the territories of the Spanish Empire of the Pacific passed to the U.S
Summary: Spain financed the Battle
When the situation was desperate from New Spain the money arrived. The French and North American armies were able to supply themselves.
However, in U.S History, although Spain was the decisive protagonist, this has been omitted.
The Yorktown situation looked like the end. And again, help came from New Spain. The Corsairs of the 13 colonies were also helped and protected, repairing and supplying their ships.
But it was much more. Spain broke the English blockade of the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico and won decisive battles.
The money of the Ladies of Havana (Cuba) was the final point, to win the War of Independence of the 13 colonies.