Siege of Paysandú

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Siege of Paysandú
Part of the Uruguayan War

Brazilians and Colorados storm the town of Paysandú
Date December 3, 1864 – January 2, 1865
Location Paysandú, Uruguay
Result Brazilian–Colorado victory
 Empire of Brazil
Flag of Colorado Party (Uruguay).svg Colorados
Commanders and leaders
Empire of Brazil Tamandaré
Flag of Colorado Party (Uruguay).svg Venancio Flores
Uruguay Leandro Gomez
Uruguay Lucas Pires
Uruguay Tristão Azambuja
30 cannons
4 cannons
15 cannons
Casualties and losses
90 dead
207 wounded
400 dead and wounded

The Siege of Paysandú began 3 December 1864, during the Uruguayan War, when Brazilian forces (under Marquis of Tamandaré) and Colorado forces (under Venancio Flores) attempted to capture the city of Paysandú in Uruguay from its Uruguayan Army defenders. The siege ended 2 January 1865, when the Brazilian and Colorado forces conquered the town.


By 3 December 1864 the Brazilian navy enforced a blockade of Paysandú with one corvette and four gunboats.[1][2][3] The besieged garrison had 1,254 men and 15 cannons, under the command of Colonel Leandro Gómez.[4] The Brazilians had 1,695 infantrymen, 195, artillerymen, 320 navy personnel (for a total of 2,210 men) and 30 cannons.[5] The Colorados deploying 800 infantrymen and 7 cannons (3 of which were rifled).[6] Colonel Gómez declined an offer to surrender.[2][3]

From 6 December until 8 December, the Brazilians and Colorados made attempts to storm the town, advancing through the streets, but were unable to take it.[7] Tamandaré and Flores decided to await Brazil's Army of the South.[7]

Meanwhile, Uruguay sent General Juan Sáa with 3,000 men and 4 cannons to relieve the besieged town. The Brazilians and Colorados briefly lift their siege while dealing with this new threat. Sáa abandoned his advance before encountering the enemy force, and fled north of the Río Negro.[8]

On 29 December, Field Marshal João Propício Mena Barreto's Army of the South reached Paysandú, with two infantry brigades and one artillery regiment under Lieutenant Colonel Émile Louis Mallet;[9][10] while Brazilian cavalry established camp a few kilometers away.[9][11] Meanwhile, in Paysandú commander Gómez beheaded forty Colorados[12] and fifteen Brazilian prisoners and "hung their still-dripping heads above his trenches in full view of their compatriots."[13]

On 31 December, the Brazilians and Colorados recommenced their attack, and after a bitter struggle overran the city's defenses on 2 January 1865.[11][14]


The Brazilians captured Gómez and handed him over to the Colorados. Colonel Gregorio "Goyo" Suárez shot Gómez and three of his officers.[15][16] "Suárez's actions were not really unexpected, as several members of his immediate family had fallen victim to Gómez's wrath against the Colorados."[17]

The Church of Paysandú was severely damaged at the end of the siege.


  1. Schneider 2009, p. 65.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Schneider 2009, p. 70.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Maia 1975, p. 264.
  4. See:
  5. Alves, pp.106–107
  6. See:
  7. 7.0 7.1 See:
  8. See:
  9. 9.0 9.1 Tasso Fragoso 2009, Vol 1, p. 154.
  10. Maia 1975, p. 265.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Maia 1975, p. 266.
  12. Barroso 1935, p. 206.
  13. Whigham 2002, p. 458, remarks by historian Thomas L. Whigham.
  14. Tasso Fragoso 2009, Vol 1, pp. 154–155.
  15. Tasso Fragoso 2009, Vol 1, p. 155.
  16. Bormann 1907, pp. 202–203.
  17. Whigham 2002, p. 459, remarks by historian Thomas L. Whigham.


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