Martín De Álzaga - Defense of Buenos Aires

Defense of Buenos Aires

Alzaga convened an open council (cabildo abierto), which removed viceroy Sobremonte from military command, giving it to Liniers, and forbidding Sobremonte's return to Buenos Aires. On January 1, 1807 Alzaga was re-elected Mayor and took control of the city government.

The British fleet had not left the Río de la Plata, and awaited reinforcements which arrived under command of general Whitelocke. They captured Montevideo in June 1807, easily defeating Sobremonte's forces. Álzaga simply ordered the removal of the viceroy and ordered his arrest, replacing him temporarily with Liniers.

He participated in the organization of volunteer city militias, and army of more than 6,000 men, and paid for a regiment of Asturians and Vizcayans out of his own funds.

On 2 July 1807 the expected invasion came through, and Liniers was defeated at Miserere, on the outskirts of the city. Whitelocke did not pursue the escaping creole army giving his troops three days of rest. Álzaga convinced the defeated Liniers on preparing the city's defenses, taking advantage of the respite; organized the defense house-by-house, illuminated the city with oil lamps to continue working through the night and made sure all houses had projectiles and other defensive arms on their roofs.

The British resumed their attack on June 5, but made the tactical mistake of coming in separate columns, making it easier for the defenders to defeat them separately. At noon on the 7th, the British capitulated and retreated. Álzaga forced general Whitelocke to sign a document that included the surrender of Montevideo.

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