Juan Bautista Cabral
Juan Bautista Cabral was an Argentine soldier of the Granaderos a Caballo Regiment who died in the Battle of San Lorenzo, while (according to legend) he was aiding then Colonel Jose de San Martin, whose horse had fallen to enemy fire. The action of Cabral in this first military confrontation of the Argentine War of Independence gave him lasting fame and a prominent place among Argentine patriots.
Little is known about the life of Cabral. He was possibly from the neighborhood that now bears his name in city of Saladas, Corrientes. He joined the second squadron of the newly formed Granaderos in 1812. According to Pastor Obligado, Cabral's diligence and leadership led to corporal's stripes in December of the same year, and to promotion to sergeant the next year. On the other hand, Bartolome Mitre (in his Historia de San Martin y de la Emancipacion Americana) states that he was a private ("soldado raso") on the date of the battle.
Regardless of his rank, his action took place just after the battle started. The royalist forces (loyal to the Spanish Crown) had sailed up the Parana River and landed on San Lorenzo, Santa Fe. Enemy fire overturned San Martin's horse, trapping the colonel beneath it, while the royalists drew close charging with bayonets. Cabral dismounted and assisted San Martin. The exact details have been embellished to the point that it is impossible to say how much risk he took. Some versions have Cabral placing himself between the bayonets and San Martin, which is doubtful. In any event, Cabral was critically wounded, and he died in the refectory of the neighboring San Carlos Convent, which was used as a field hospital. There is a legend (whose roots lie in a letter by San Martin directed to the Asamblea del Ano XIII) that on his deathbed he said "I die happy, General; we have beaten the enemy."
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