From El Diario, June 24, 1927, Luis Crespo reported:
Battles of the Peru – Bolivian Confederation: Montenegro
Having learned of the Argentine incursion (June 11), General Otto Felipe Braun moved his forces and marched with them from Tupiza to Tarija, acquiring accurate news regarding where the Argentines were heading.
Gen. Gregorio Paz, who was the head of all these, noting Braun’s movement, fell headlong into the Bermejo River, taking refuge in the village and mountains of Montenegro, on the banks of this river. After a dogged pursuit, Braun managed to reach there on June 24, 1838.
The Argentines were barricaded in 5 parallel positions, covering the sides with the new cavalry forces they had. Braun ordered to attack these positions. Bolivians despite being tired and worn for 20 days of continuous travel by broken and harsh roads, the soldiers charged impetuously and evacuated one after another of their positions to the Argentine, who retreated to the heights of Mount Montenegro, where they again entrenched.
So, Bolivians needed a supreme effort to complete the win. An onslaught Braun commanded by himself, and ably seconded by Agreda and O’Connor, gave the desired result. The Argentines, evicted from their last position, fled seeking their salvation on the run.
The official report says:
“It was necessary to pursue the fugitives by a drop of 3 leagues of a thick mountain and almost perpendicular cliffs full of the way; more, forgetting their fatigue and upon seeing this new obstacle, descending rapidly to the margins of Cuyambú, saw that evening crowned with the laurels of victory.”
The same official report continues:
“The field for the glory of our arms was covered with enemy dead and almost obstructed their path with all kinds of weapons, mounts, backpacks, suitcases horses most of the elements of war that brought the invaders. A lieutenant colonel, 17 officers and 180 soldiers were also taken, without regard to the dispersed that were gathering for the items that stood out immediately, and with whom, according to reports that have been received, were increased to over 250. A banner, 230 rifles, 84 carbines, 65 spears, 25 armor and 165 horses, most of them with mounts, were the trophies collected in this Journey. Our loss is 10 killed and 15 wounded, all troop.”
In turn, the commander in chief, Philip Braun, addressed the General Andrés de Santa Cruz the next part [report]:
“The winning division at Montenegro, burning in love and enthusiasm for their Gran Capitán [Great Captain], whose beloved image strongly lead in their printed hearts, from all the individuals of the south army, whereas none are to keep the collected trophies for their perseverance and courage in the battlefield, but belong to the illustrious warrior, paving the way for his glory, splendor and brilliance that has given up its weapons, crowning laurel. Anime noble and just feeling, is pleased to advance the idea that the standard enemy that runs through me, and that was caught in the glorious day of the 24, from the very hands of the reckless, who had the unthinkable dementia of their impure tread to enter the sacred soil of the pacifiers of Peru, will accept VE [Your Excellency] as a pledge of our enthusiasm and devotion and as a clear testimony of what this portion is capable of fighting, when fighting to uphold the dignity of the motherland and the glories of the restorer of them is inflamed by the memory of Victor Yanacocha and Socabaya that even to turn away their hearts and heads in battle …. “.
Such was the action of Montenegro, the disproportion of forces was 1-3, ie a Bolivian who fought against three Argentines, like it happened at Iruya.
The chiefs, who attended this action were:
General Otto Felipe Braun, commander in chief of the army. He was promoted to the rank of Marshal of Montenegro.
Colonel Sebastian Agreda, chief of general staff. General O’Connor, head of the National Guards of Tarija. Colonels Manuel Dorado and Eustaquio Méndez.
By this action, the winners were awarded with a cloth ribbon with the inscription: “Fought against 3”.
After his defeat, Argentines did not again appear anymore to the Bolivian forces nor dared to defend their territories invaded by them.
This situation continued until the fall of Santa Cruz, in 1839, when the new president José Miguel de Velasco ordered the evacuation of the Argentine territory by Bolivian troops.
Source: El Diario, June 24, 1927.