Curupayty, Battle of

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Curupayty, Battle of

Battle of Curupayty, a major Paraguayan victory on 22 September 1866 during the War of the Triple Alliance. The Brazilian and Argentine expeditionary forces had been making steady, if very bloody, progress against the Paraguayans throughout 1866 and, by September, were approaching the fortress of Humaitá from the southwest. Hoping for real negotiations, or at least to buy time, Paraguayan President Francisco Solano López met with the Allied commander, General Bartolomé Mitre, at Yataity Corá.

Though this foray into diplomacy failed, it permitted López's British engineers time enough to construct a 2,000-yard line of deep trenches at Curupayty and to reinforce them with forty-nine cannon and Congreve rocket stands. Five thousand troops under the command of General José Eduvi-gis Díaz guarded this position, which the Allies assaulted in force on 22 September. Unknown to the advancing troops, their naval bombardment, which had begun in the morning, had been totally ineffectual, and when the 11,000 Brazilians and 7,000 Argentines came within range, Díaz poured concentrated blasts of grape and canister into them. The carnage was so dreadful that Mitre gave early orders for a general retirement.

The Allied dead numbered about 9,000, including the son of Mitre's successor, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. The Paraguayans lost only 50 men. As a result of this debacle, the Allies were unable to resume their advance into Paraguay for fourteen months.

See alsoLópez, Francisco Solano; Mitre, Bartolomé; War of the Triple Alliance.


Charles J. Kolinski, Independence or Death! The Story of the Paraguayan War (1965); The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 3 (1985), pp. 787, 790.

Additional Bibliography

Bethell, Leslie. The Paraguayan War (1864–1870). London: Institute of Latin American Studies, 1996.

Leuchars, Chris. To the Bitter End: Paraguay and the War of the Triple Alliance. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.

Marco, Miguel Angel de. La Guerra del Paraguay. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1995.

Whigham, Thomas. The Paraguayan War. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002.

                               Thomas L. Whigham