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Vessels Laurada and Horsa were Part of Two Roads to attempt to Reach Freedom
Barnes, Kenneth C. 2005 Journey of Hope: The Back-To-Africa Movement in Arkansas in the Late 1800s (Google eBook). University of North Carolina Press books.google.com/books?isbn=0807876224
My intent was to follow the expeditions to free Cuba from Spain, and thus the vessels Horsa and especially the Laurada came to my attention via computer searches. It was a surprise to learn that both vessels had also served in the Back to Africa Movement.
"page 135 `...in fact, about half of all known emigrants to Liberia from Arkansas traveled on the two large IMS-sponsored expeditions aboard the his Horsa and Laurada in 1895 and 1896. The Laurada's voyage of March 1896 would transport the last boatload of American settlers to the Liberian Republic."
Perhaps there are some who do not know about the role these ships played in driving the Spanish out of Cuba.
Gibraltar is on the edge of the sea currents that wash towards the northwestern coast of Africa, however after passing the Canary Island the currents ride towards the Caribbean and thus to Cuba. Thus I wanted to know (for book in progress Love and War in Cuba") which group of freedom seekers was the Laurada carrying at that time it stopped there.
This book, Journey of Hope: answered my question (see above citation)
However, there was racial component to this voyage too. The Spanish government was doing everything in its power to stop the Cubans from achieving freedom. These Spanish efforts included trying to drive a wedge between white and black in the Cuban Mambi army.
In this the New York Times played an unfortunate propaganda role.* The Spanish intent was to drive a wedge between the followers of Mambi General Jose Maceo and those of my great-grandfather Calixto Garcia I~niguez; they were not successful.
Then the Spanish tried to end the war by tempting great grandfather to fight in a place where Spanish naval cannon could be brought to bear.**
What the Spanish were not aware of was that Jose Maceo and Calixto Garcia were descendants of part Native American who had fought unsuccessfully for Spain in Venezuela. And thus here at least the race card ploy failed.
* False report from: NY Times 1896. Jose Maceo Murdered. Shot in Cuba by One of His Own Soldiers-A Race War. The New York Times, July 15, 1896
PHILADELPHIA, July 14.--Cablegrams received here to-day from Cuba confirm the truth of the story of the killing of Gen. Jose Maceo, brother of Gen. Antonio Maceo, the Cuban insurgent leader. From the cablegrams received the killing of Maceo was nothing more or less than cold-blooded murder. It further would appear that a race war has broken out in the insurgent ranks between the whites and the blacks, and that the shooting of Maceo is the first incident of this unfortunate conflict. Since the arrival in Cuba of Gen. Calixto Garcia, that leader and Maceo have not been friendly. Maceo resented the superior authority conferred upon Garcia by the Cuban Junta in New-York, and Garcia has been determined to assert his superior rank. When the last cargo from filibustering steamer Bermuda was landed Jose Maceo seized all the arms and munitions. Garcia protested against this confiscation. When the last cargo from the steamer Three Friends was landed on the coast near Juragua, Maceo marched to the seaboard with 150 men and took possession of the arms and ammunition. As he was returning from the coast he was ambushed and shot to death by men who, it was asserted, were from his own army. The trouble between the blacks and whites has been further accentuated by the recent shooting by Gen. Gomez, of Manuel Gonzalez, Provincial Treasurer, his secretary, and several subordinates, for the alleged shortage of $15,000 or more in the cattle tax funds, Gonzalez and the other men shot by Gomez were negroes.
** NY Times Report from Havana 1897 ROLOFF LANDS IN CUBA. LAURADA UNLOADS AT BANES, PROTECTED BY GARCIA'S MEN. Spaniards Assembling Troops and Ships of War to Invest the Only Port Held by the Cubans. New York Times April 15, 1897 [...] April 14--The expedition under Gen. Roloff, by the steamer Laurada, carrying 2,400 rifles, 500,000 cartridges, and several pieces of rapid firing artillery, landed alongside the quay of Banes. Gen. Calixto Garcia, with 5,000 men, came to protect the convoy of arms and ammunition; but as Roloff had no men to ar, Garcia was compelled to carry the arms into the interior. The gun boats Neva Espanas and Mealicia had arrived at Nipe from Havana. The cruiser Reina Mercedes had left Havana on April 12 with four companies of marines and infantry, under the command of Rear Admiral Marence, to unite with all the forces which had left Nipe and Gibara, with a view to a combined land and sea attack upon the insurgent position for the recovery of the port of Banes. It is reported that the insurgents, hearing that a Spanish gunboat might arrive at any moment, closed the entrance of the port with torpedoes (mines ld) Gen. Roloff, assisted by local bands, and finally by rebels under Gen. Garcia, commenced to fortify the heights around the port, hastily casting up trenches to make the port temporarily impregnable to any Spanish forces in the neighborhood of Gibara. Nipe is separated from Banes by the San Peninsula. Three columns, 2,000 men in all marched on Banes, where they are detained in full view of the formidable and nearly impregnable insurgent positions. Reinforcements have been sent forward by the Spaniards, and Admiral Navarro will sail tomorrow by the cruiser Legaspi for the Caribbean and hence for Nipe to personally direct the attack by sea. The reinforcements expected will be under Gen. Livares (probably Linares ld). Evidently an important battle is in sight if the insurgents try to defend their advantageous stronghold and their claim of being able to hold a seaport. Great anxiety exists with reference to the garrison of 100 men in the fort defending the quay of Banes. It is believed they will be compelled to surrender for lack of water and supplies. The cruiser Pingon (which in the Cuban vernacular means great penis ld) has twice been compelled to break chains in order to enter the Banes port