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Antonio Maceo Timeline
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July. Gómez decides to invade the Guantánamo zone, which is strongly guarded by Spanish elite units.

At the beginning of the campaign, Maceo clashes with the famous rifle battalion of San Quintín, one of Spain’s most aggressive and disciplined units. In battle, Maceo’s aide, Manuel Amábile, sacrifices his life in order to save his leader. “It was not the last example of the love Maceo’s soldiers had for him.”

During a fierce battle at “La India,” José Maceo lays wounded in front of the enemy trenches, and Maceo refuses to retreat without another effort to save his brother. In a brave effort, Maceo leads a charge “through a veritable shower of bullets until the fortifications were breached and the buildings set on fire.” José Maceo is rescued, and after a long period of recovery his life is saved. The Spaniards fight to the death, and only one soldier escapes.

October 15. General Gómez leaves Maceo in charge while he attends a government conference on war strategy.


January/February. Spanish General Martínez Campos, after failing to defeat Maceo with 1,000 men, declares, “It is impossible to end the war by means of arms.”

January 27. Gómez speaks about Maceo: "The conduct observed by the chief of operations of the jurisdiction of Guantánamo, citizen José Antonio Maceo, is very worthy of the post which he occupies, and is evident in his valor, skill, and activity."

March. Maceo is promoted to full colonel.

March 8. Learning that Martínez Campos is expecting re-enforcements, Maceo intercepts the troops and stages a series of "flank and rear guard attacks," inflicting numerous wounds on the advancing columns.

March 18. Spanish troops receive additional support and engage Maceo in a six-hour battle. Maceo retreats.

March 27. Maceo strikes back, defeats Spanish troops at “Loma Del Burro.”


May 26 – June 7. During a conference with government officials, President Céspedes meets Maceo for the first time.

April 16. President Céspedes writes to Colonel Antonio Maceo:
"A few days ago I received the news that the operations of the enemy in Guantanamo had been completely paralyzed. This fact, which can be the result of various causes, undoubtedly recognizes as a primary motive the brilliant operations and heroic efforts of the Cubans who fight against the Spaniards in that district. Those have been operations and efforts which have obtained the sort of glory that is justly associated with your name and which is recognized and confessed by all."

Gómez renews his pressure for his plan to attack the West, arguing that Cuban victories in Guantánamo were important, but the revolution could only make real headway if it moved westward. The plan is accepted, but when ordered to divert men from the expedition to protect the members of the government, Céspedes refuses to obey, and is removed from command for disobedience.

The plan to move westward is later abandoned, and Maceo reluctantly replaces his old commander.

July 1. The whole army of Orience comes under Calixto Garcia. In the next four months, the rebel army wins victory after victory in the Guantánamo district. Maceo plays a leading role.

November. Maceo rejoins General García to help capture the town of Holguín. Exactly one month later the town is captured.

Late, 1872. As a result of the many successful Cuban campaigns, Captain General Valmaseda resigns. The new Captain General, Cándido Pieltán, adds 54,000 men, 42 artillery pieces, and 2,000 horses (aside from the thousands of guerrillas not formally part of the Spanish army but used mainly to guard towns, garrisons, plantations and mills) to the war effort. The Rebel Army, on the other hand, has close to 7,000 men.


August 6. A Royal Decree issued on this day condemns Antonio Maceo to death.

October 27. Members of the House of Representatives call for a meeting in Bijaugal. President Céspedes is not invited. As a result of this meeting, Céspedes is removed as president, and Salvador Cisneros Betancourt is proclaimed president of the republic.


February. Early in the month a meeting takes place between the highest-ranking officials of the Rebel Army, the president, his cabinet, and the House of Representatives. Gómez’s plan to attack westward is approved.

February. Rebel conservatives launch an all-out slander campaign against Maceo. The opposition stems from the effects of racial prejudice and propaganda about “black domination.”

February 4. With permission from the government, Gómez forms a force of 500 soldiers from Oriente and Las Villas (300 infantry and 200 cavalry), and names Maceo General of the new division, second in command only to himself.

February 10. In Naranjo, the new 500-man division defeats the 2,000 artillery-equipped veteran Spanish troops lead by General Manuel Portillo.

March 15. In the Battle of Las Guásimas, the rebel army is, again, victorious over larger Spanish forces. Maceo, with 200 cavalry and 50 infantry, attacks a column of 2,000 men sent from Camagüey. In all, the Spaniards pour 6,000 men and six pieces of artillery into the battle, but have to retreat.

March 17. As the battle of Las Guásimas continues and the Spanish cavalry is all but defeated, Spanish General Manuel Armizán requests help from troops in Camagüey. By the end of this battle, Spaniards suffer 1,037 dead and wounded, and the Cubans 166. The rebel victory uses so much ammunition and equipment that the western invasion is temporarily called off.

April 18. Maceo’s brother, Miguel, dies in his arms from wounds received in the attack on the Spanish garrison at Cascorro.

April 16. Captain General José Gutiérrez de la Concha signs one more (the third) decree proclaiming the death penalty for Antonio Maceo and confiscating all his property.

September 4. Calixto García is captured by the Spaniards. Maceo assumes command of the Second Division.


January 6. General Máximo Gómez crosses the ‘trocha’ (the long fortified line that the Spaniards erected to prevent penetration of the West. “The objective, Gómez tells his men, “is the destruction of the plantations which sustain the enemy, principally the mills from which the hacendados derive their wealth and with which they support Spain’s war effort.”

Maceo on a stamp

April 27. General Vicente García renounces allegiance to the revolutionary government and calls an assembly at Lagunas de Varona of all elements dissatisfied with the progress of the revolution. The move results in a disruption of the whole revolutionary movement. President Cisneros offers to resign.

June 18. Maceo meets with General Vicente García in Alcalá, near Holguín and expresses his disagreement with García’s actions.

December. Another vicious campaign against Maceo begins. He is again accused of seeking a Black Republic. Maceo ignores the charges.


March 28. The House of Representatives elects Tomás Estrada Palma as president of the Republic.

May 16. From his camp in Baragua, Maceo writes a letter to President Tomás Estrada Palma responding to the charges against him. Estrada Palma does not respond.


July 17. Maceo and General Gómez meet to discuss a plan to try and re-unite the political factions and continue the war.

July 24. General Gómez concludes an agreement with Limbano Sánchez, but Maceo warns (in front of Sánchez) that the later can't be trusted.

August 6. Maceo is wounded again in battle, and it is feared that he will not survive. Gómez leaves Maceo with Dr. Félix Figueredo and a small protective force (lead by Maceo's brother José) to continue the war.

August 13. Dr. Figueredo writes to Gómez that in spite of his earlier estimate that Maceo could not survive, he now appeared to be out of serious danger.

Late August. After an informer advises General Martínez Campos of Maceo's wounds and the small size of his escort, the General sends a column of 3,000 men to surround the area.

September. For over ten days, Maceo's brother José leads the running battle trying to break through a tightening ring of enemy foot soldiers.

September 27. Less than two months after receiving his terrible wounds, Maceo is able to mount his horse (Guajamón) and gallop away in a "cloud of dust and smoke." [Three days later he is safe in San Miguel with his wife, brother, and other members of his escort.]

Reporting the affair to Madrid, Martínez Campos writes:
"I thought I was dealing with a stupid mulatto, a rude muleteer; but I found him transformed not only into a real general, capable of directing his movement with judgment and precision, but also into an athlete who, finding himself indisposed on a litter, assaulted by my troops, abandoned his bed, leaped upon a horse and outdistanced those pursuing him."

September. Gómez writes in his diary: "General Maceo was seriously wounded, but that man, with his indomitable spirit and iron constitution, is already active again."

November. President Estrada Palma is captured and imprisoned by the Spaniards. Máximo Gómez is offered the presidency, but he refuses. [Many believe this to be the factor that ended the Ten Year War unfavorably for the rebels.] General Vicente García is named president of the Republic.

December. The rebel government, ready to discuss peace terms with Martínez Campos, asks for the neutralization of a part of Camagüey province.


January 29. In the Sierra Maestra Mountains, Maceo successfully ambushes an unusually large column of Spanish troops. The rebels capture their booty, including many weapons and ammunitions, and force the Spaniards to retreat with many dead and wounded.

February 4. While most of his troops are away and he's only left with 38 rebels, Maceo is completely surrounded and outnumbered more than eight-to-one. After three hours of brutal combat, the Cubans completely rout their enemy. Spanish prisoners are later released to the Spanish commanding general.

February 7, 8, 9. In the area of San Ulpiano, Maceo achieves a brilliant victory over the famous San Quentín battalion.

February 9. The Comité del Centro asks Martínez Campos for terms to cease fighting.

February 11. At a meeting in Zanjón, in Camagüey, the Treaty of Zanjón (Pacto de Zanjón) is accepted. Slaves who fought on either side are freed, but slavery is not abolished and Cuba remains under Spanish rule.

February 21. From New York, General Rafael Rodríguez writes to Félix Figueredo that he sent "Les Miserables of V. Hugo so that you may save it for Maceo."

March 4. The New York Times prints a lengthy review of “The Ten Years War.” It does not mention Maceo.

March 8. Maceo camps at Baraguá, near Santiago de Cuba.

March 15. In Baraguá, General Martínez Campos and other Spanish representatives meet with a small gathering of black and white Cuban officers led by General Maceo. The Spanish general continually addresses Maceo as “señor.” An eight-day truce is established, but it is agreed that it will end on March 23.

March 18. Maceo is offered a considerable sum of money to accept the Zanjón pact. He replies:

“Do you think that a man who is fighting for a principle hand has a high regard for his honor and reputation can sell himself while there is still at least a chance of saving his principles by dying or trying to enforce them before he denigrates himself? Men like me fight only in the cause of liberty and will smash their guns rather than submit.”

March 23. War breaks out again. Maceo issues a circular that becomes known as “The Protest of Baraguá.”

April 6. New York’s La Verdad pays tribute to Maceo’s action: “The hero of the day is Maceo, and it appears it is up to him to raise Cuba again to the pinnacle of its glory.”

May 10. Maceo leaves Cuba (under Presidential orders) in a Spanish cruiser headed from Santiago de Cuba for Jamaica.

May 21. At Loma Pelada, the rebel government accepts Spanish peace terms, officially ending the Ten-Year War.

May 23. Maceo arrives, unnoticed, in New York.

May 23. Maceo leaves Kingston in the steamship Atlas, heading for New York.

May 30. Maceo arrives in New York.June 6. A reception for Maceo takes place at the home of Reverend Garnit.

June 8. In New York, Maceo receives news that the rebels have accepted Spanish peace terms at Loma Pelada.

June 12. An interview with Maceo appears in Las Novedades.

August 5. In a letter to General Carlos Roloff, Angel Pérez shares his thoughts on Maceo: "…the attitude which we have encountered in Maceo up to this date has been hostile and insincere. He has always entertained very big ambitions. His tendencies have been and are to make himself the man not only of Oriente, but of Camagüey and Villas, or better said, the man of the new revolution." [During the Ten Year War, Roloff had refused the command of Gómez in Las Villas.]

October. After organizing the Cuban Revolutionary Committee (Comité Revolucionario Cubano), Major General Calixto García issues a manifesto inviting all Cubans to unite in the fight against Spanish rule.

October 25. Flor Crombet declares to Calixto García that he will not submit to orders from Maceo.

November 23. La Independencia, a publication of the Revolutionary Committee, urges slaves to “take your machetes in hand, and burn the cane.”

Maceo Timeline - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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