Episodes and anecdotes, 1821-1881: from the wooden ships to the pre-dreadnoughts.A book of naval history. Since de early 1821, the Carcamo brothers captured the palest “Sacramento” from the Spaniards, during the wars on independence of Peru. General San Martin incorporated this ship to the Peruvian forces and was the first warship in the Peruvian Navy.
The author, Juan del Campo Rodriguez, Counsellor in the Peruvian Diplomatic Service originally presented his work placed in a web page that has been visited by more than 25 000 people worldwide.
You see the growing of the new navy and the historical episodes such as its participation in the war with the Great Colombia, the battles of the Peru-Bolivia participation. The greatest development under great Marshal Ramon Castilla, which included the story of the brigantine “Gamarra” on California waters during the gold fever; the arrival of the first steam warships and the voyage of the frigate “Amazonas” around the world; the war with Spain in 1866; the battles of Abtao and Callao. And a most interesting version of the naval battle of Pacocha: a Peruvian ironclad, “Huascar”, against the British squadron of Rear Admiral de Horsey.
The story comprehends until the War of the Pacific between Peru and Chile, in 1879: the events referred to the naval campaign, including the naval battle of Iquique, the capture of the Chilean transport “Rimac” and the heroic feat of Miguel Grau, the great Admiral, and his crew aboard the ironclad “Huascar” in the battle of Angamos. The defeat in that battle opened the way for the invasion of Peru, 16-17 of January , 1881, in which the remainder of the Peruvian fleet was set afire and sunk in front of the port o Callao to avoid being captured by enemy forces. The surviving mariners continued the struggle by confronting the Chilean warships with smaller vessels, executing adventurous raids with the corvette “Union” or performing actions through the so-called “Special Forces”, which lead to the sinking of the enemy transport “Loa”, the schooner “Virgen de Covadonga” and other smaller warships.
In the naval campaign of the 1879 War of the Pacific between Peru and Chile, both countries had powerful fleets, purchasing their warships among the latest designs being produced in European shipyards, armed with breech-loading guns, torpedoes and thick armor plates.
The naval encounters in which corvettes, frigates, ironclads and torpedo boats were engaged, became the most spectacular in American waters. Such battles became lessons for navy worldwide.
There are given interesting and detailed information about several aspects regarding the construction of the ships that formed the Peruvian naval forces trough the years, including that participated in the naval campaigns of the War of the Pacific. The reader will learn about the country in which they were built, their seize, weight and armament and the circumstances of their acquisition. The author remarks the active participation of the Peru Foreign Service in the purchasing of warships. The members of the Navy and Foreign Service worked closely for these transactions with only the interest of the country in mind. The bought of two ironclads, a broadside ironclad, “Independencia”, and “Huascar”, a turret ram ironclad in the United Kingdom, and the corvettes “Union” and “America” in France, after the war with Spain, before the War of the Pacific.
In 1879 the war was unexpected for Peru; his fleet was not able to confront the Chilean battleships in combat. During the first months of 1879, thanks to a public collect, the Peruvian Government finally was able to buy some vessels. But Chilean agents were very active in Europe trying to impede the transactions of acquisition. Peru bought to a German company two 1,000-ton ships, “Diogenes” and “Socrates”. The transaction was discovered and German authorities seized them until the end of the war. One of them, the “Socrates” was finally commissioned n the Navy in 1889 as the gunboat “Lima”.
Itends with a brief epilog about the Peruvian Navy of today.