May 25 (1859) - 25 de Mayo (1859)

25 of May
Argentina's flag
Shipyard Britain
Type Mixed steam
Operator Argentina Army
Initiated 1855
Dumped 1857
Assigned 1859
Baja 1869
General characteristics
Displacement 110 t
Length 37 m
Manga 5 m
Strut 4.75 m
Draft 1.8 m
Rig pailebot
Armament 1859: 9 guns of a 12
1861: 6 carronades of 16, 1 cannon of 8
Propulsion Vapor
Power 28 HP
Speed 7 knots
Crew 75 men

On May 25, it was a steamship of the Argentine Navy whose capture in the Paraguayan Invasion of Corrientes , together with that of the Gualeguay , motivated the incorporation of the Argentine Republic into the Paraguayan War .


The First Argentine

At the beginning of 1855 the Argentine Steam Navigation Company contracted in Great Britain through an English trading house the construction of a steam destined to serve as a package in the Río de la Plata . In April 1855 the ship was already being built and on the 26th of that month the press announced that by August or at the latest in September it would be in a position to go to Bayonne (France) to pick up passengers bound for the city ​​of Buenos Aires and Montevideo .

However, delivery was delayed and it was not until January 31, 1857 that a friendly agreement was announced between the Argentine Company and the commission agent, as well as between the latter and the ship's builder. He arrived in February at the estuary of the Río de la Plata and with the name of First Argentine , under the command of Captain Esteban Gonnet and with Luis del Cerro as agent, immediately began the race between Buenos Aires, San Pedro , Obligado , San Nicolás de los Arroyos , Villa Constitución , Rosario and Paraná .

Iron hull and rig pailebot two sticks, had a length of 37 m, sleeve 5 m, strut 4.75 m a draft through 1 8 m and a displacement of 110 t. It was driven by an oscillating steam engine with two vertical cylinders with a power of 28 HP fed by coal that moved two side wheels.

On June 17, 1858 he had a collision on the Paraná River with the steamship Sycee (the future Caaguazú ).

War with the Confederacy

On August 19, 1859, it was acquired by the State of Buenos Aires from its new agent company Rubio y Casares to fight the Argentine Confederation squad.

After being enlisted mounting 9 guns of 12, under the command of Captain Domingo Pedraza and with a crew of 75 men, together with the Constitution , National Guard , Río Bamba , Buenos Aires and Caaguazú, he marched in division to Rosario (Argentina) . He participated in the bombardment of the city on September 20 and 21, 1859 and on October 14, 1859 he participated in the Combat of Martín García (1859) in which the Buenos Aires squad tried unsuccessfully to stop the national squad commanded by Mariano Cordero .

25 of May

October 28, 1859 was called May 25 . In 1860 , after mounting 6 carronades of 16 and 1 cannon of 8 mounted on a hill on the forecastle, Captain José María Manzano assumed command , who later handed it over to the same rank, Domingo Rodrigo. Luis Py and Eulogio Díaz also hold similar positions . He made numerous trips through the Paraná and the Uruguay River , many of them transporting leading figures of national politics: thus he transported Dr. Dalmacio Vélez Sarsfield to Rosario, the twelve conventional ones through Buenos Aires to theConstituent Assembly of Santa Fe in 1860 and Dr. Norberto de la Riestra to Paraná.

On October 23, 1860 it was disarmed in the Riachuelo and on November 27 of that year it was sold together with the Caaguazú with a resale clause to Manuel Sciurano, representative of its former owner, the Argentine Steam Navigation Company of Los Ríos de La Plata, Paraná and Uruguay , at $ f 24,350, returning to his first name and service.

On June 15, 1861, the Buenos Aires government executed the clause, acquiring it for 7000 ounces of sealed gold and recovering its name, under the command of Plácido Goldriz, it carried out river control tasks. In 1862 it remained stationary between Rosario, Paraná and Santa Fe until October when, under the accidental command of Domingo Olivieri, it went on to repair the Riachuelo, returning to Paraná at the end of the year under the command of Goldriz.

Civil war in Uruguay

In March 1863 Lieutenant Carlos M. Massini assumed command . When the so-called Liberation Crusade of 1863 occurred on April 19, 1863, on May 25, he was mobilized to the area of ​​the Uruguay River in safeguarding the Argentine interests in the area in the face of the civil conflict in Uruguay and between July and December of that year he remained stationary in front of Paysandú .

In 1864, it was stationary on Martín García Island until April, then departing for the city ​​of Corrientes . In May he returned to the city of Buenos Aires to carry out urgent repairs and between October and December, while the main actions of the Brazilian invasion of 1864 were taking place , he remained stationary in Concordia .

Paraguayan War

In January 1865 he was briefly detached to San José, then moving to Corrientes before the deterioration of the situation with Paraguay . Its appalling condition required repairs to be carried out, even to its machines, so there was no state of war and no imminent attack expected, Massini decided to proceed. In front of the city was also the Gualeguay steamship , whose condition was equally deplorable.

On May 11, 1865, the steamship 25 de Mayo anchored in front of the mouth of the Araza stream, keeping its weapons and crew on board, except for Commander Massini who was on land, while the Gualeguay was docked with an iron ground in front of the ravine and the deck and its weapons withdrawn, while its commander and most of the crew went ashore with the second-in-command, second-lieutenant Ceferino Ramírez , the constable Santiago Ortiz, the baqueano José Bar and the cabin boy on guard.

Around 6 a.m. on April 13, 1865, five Paraguayan warships under the command of Commander Pedro Ignacio Meza , the Tacuarí steamers ( flagship , 6 guns, José María Martínez), Ygurey (5 guns, Remigio del Rosario Cabral ), Paraguarí (4 guns, José Alonso), Marqués de Olinda (4 guns, Ezequiel Robles) and Yporá (4 guns, Domingo Antonio Ortiz), with 2,500 landing men, passed the city downstream. Despite the fact that since May 25 they identified the order to change course and prepare for combat (the signal book was identical), the captainDomingo Olivieri , second in command, anticipatingly ordered to load cannons but also to greet the Paraguayan fleet, which if responding turned north again initiating the attack on the Argentine ships.

While most of the aggressors were concentrated on May 25 , the Olinda was in charge of reducing and putting the Gualeguay afloat , which it achieved with difficulty in the face of the resistance of Ramírez and his men, and the Igurey , with 300 men from troop, managed to board May 25 . The ships were towed to Paraguay, after some shots were fired on the population by the Paraguarí .

Declared war on Paraguay after the armed aggression to its territory, from 1866 and until its recovery on May 25, it continued to appear on the payroll of the Navy as "Prisoner Steam." His crew remained a prisoner of the forces of Francisco Solano López , in the same inhumane conditions that the dictator reserved for the remaining prisoners of war and dissidents.

Commander Carlos Massini, his second Domingo Olivieri, lieutenants Fernando Leyton and Martín Calvo, midshipmen Teófilo Seguí and Adolfo Carreras, baqueano Federico Task, first engineer Hugo Bain, and the boatswain died in captivity. Lieutenant Vicente Constantino, a second guard, a constable, a carpenter, a sailor, a soldier, two preferably gunners and a fireman were able to survive until the end of the war.

Regarding May 25 , he briefly operated under the Paraguayan flag and participated in the actions of January and February 1866 on Puerto Corrales and Itaty. However, the initial poor condition of the ship, the lack of spare parts and adequate maintenance soon rendered it useless and it remained out of service until in January 1869 it was dammed by Brazilian forces who found it in terrible condition abandoned in a stream.

Delivered to the Argentine Navy on March 15, 1869, it was towed to Buenos Aires but after being inspected it was discarded, considering that it could not even serve as a pontoon.

Notes and references

Bibliography used

  • Arguindeguy, Pablo E .; Rodríguez, Horacio (1999). Ships of the Argentine Navy 1852-1899 their commands and operations . Buenos Aires: Brownian National Institute.
  • Burzio, Humberto (1960). National Navy . Buenos Aires: Secretary of State for the Navy.
  • Caillet-Bois, Teodoro (1944). Argentine Naval History . Buenos Aires: López Printing House.
  • Ministry of War and Navy, Memory to the National Congress , Imprenta del Comercio del Plata, Buenos Aires, 1866.
  • Cárcano, Ramón José (1941). Paraguayan War . Buenos Aires: Domingo Viau y Cía.
  • Marco, Miguel Ángel de (2007). The Paraguayan War . Buenos Aires: I started. ISBN 9789500428910 .
  • Beverina, Juan (1973). The Paraguayan War (1865-1870) . Buenos Aires: Military Circle.

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