By Martha Gómez Ferrals / ACN.

Only 35 of his best horsemen accompanied Major General Ignacio Agramonte Loynaz on October 8, 1871, in the rescue of Brigadier Julio Sanguily, the brilliant and successful action of the Camagüey cavalry, which defeated a Spanish column of 120 better equipped troops - some stated that there were 300-, in the savannas near Puerto del Principe. 

The 10 Years' War (1868-1878) was going on. And there, in the plains of Camagüey, not only was the summoning power of a handsome, courageous and proud young man shown that day, along with his outstanding stamp of a mambí chief and exemplary soldier.

Moral superiority was embodied, that which leads to real and material achievements, of ideas and feelings, when they respond to an unstoppable will, to just principles and sound values. 

On the eve of his rescue, Brigadier Julio Sanguily was taken prisoner by an enemy column while he was spending the night, with permission from the command, at the ranch of a peasant woman in the area, where he washed his clothes and tried to recover from some injuries. 

One of his assistants managed to escape and reach the Agramonte camp and thus inform him of the mishap.

Immediately, the Major conceived a plan to rescue, alive or dead, the mambí officer, with a very risky plot. In modern language, it would seem that Agramonte formed an elite troop to execute the daring attack, with the selection of half of the soldiers who accompanied him at that time, which were about 70.

And it was not a secret for the local mambises and the surrounding Spaniards that the gymnast and fan of sporting and hunting shooting that was Ignacio Agramonte had formed ranks of disciplined and thrown fighters at the same time, with an advance and a force of devastating shock. This was confirmed shortly after by the enemy, much to his regret. 

Here appears, with the outstanding performance that he always had, the American captain Henry Reeve, nicknamed The Englishman. A young man of great speed and expertise, in the midst of incredible obstacles.

This served before the action to quickly investigate the place where they had the Mambi prisoner, the characteristics of the enemy column and the access routes. All this at a dizzying pace.

With the results found out by Reeve and with him also at his side, Agramonte headed to the scene to jump into action in a lightning way. An authentic load that today would be considered “from a movie”. No doubts.

Visualize this: It is said that the Major and his men entered trembling through the front of the strong Hispanic column and came out through the background with Sanguily mounted on a horse.

The prisoner was on foot, dressed as a Spanish soldier and following the back of a corporal tied. He shouted "Viva Cuba libre" for his own to identify him and thus he was lifted to a friendly mount, in the middle of the harsh skirmish.

Along the way they had caused 11 fatal casualties to the enemy, several wounded, the total astonishment of the Iberians, deeply surprised and had also planted the germ of a feeling of demoralization that undermined them for some time, in front of the troops of that almost Homeric Major.

Some also believed that those events emanated the beginning of the relentless hatred that the Spanish Army had for Major General Ignacio Agramonte, something that later led him to treat with sadism, burn and disappear his body after his death on May 11, 1873.

"Cornet, blow to slaughter!" It was the Major's shout after a brief harangue to his troops, since the brigadier was being rushed to Port-au-Prince where an urgent Council of War and the execution was surely awaiting him, as was the de rigueur at that time.

The Cubans followed Agramonte at full gallop, rescued the officer, decimated the Spanish troops, and captured dozens of horses, saddles, a tent, and a large number of projectiles, revolvers, and sabers. 

Among the men of the mambisado there was indescribable joy, hugs the brigadier and they say that Agramonte repeated happily, incessantly, that his soldiers had not fought as men, but as beasts, such was the voltage of the surrender.

Of course, Hispanics were not willing to speak of such shame. But that victory, pleasing to the Cubans, went down in history much to their regret with the name of Rescate de Sanguily, first spread by word of mouth by the Creole protagonists.

It was a time when the internal ills of our first emancipatory process were not yet so obvious and damaging, as they happened over the years. A fact like the one carried out by Agramonte, together with his outstanding record, at that time gave a lot of faith in the future victory. 

It was not a combat battle in itself, perhaps a real military skirmish, it doesn't matter. However, it has a precious message to this day. Cuba always remembers her. (Image: Internet) 


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