|Vargas Swamp Battle |
Batalla del Pantano de Vargas
|Part of Bolivar in New Granada|
Vargas Swamp Lancers memorial near Paipa, Boyacá.
|Commanders and leaders|
|José María Barreiro||
Francisco de Paula Santander
|+1,800 regular forces||~2,600 regular forces|
|Casualties and losses|
|140 to 500 dead||183+ dead|
Vargas Swamp Battle (Spanish: Batalla del Pantano de Vargas) was a battle that occurred near Paipa, on July 25, 1819. A joint Venezuelan and New Granadan army commanded by Simón Bolívar was trying to prevent Spanish forces from arriving at Santafe de Bogotá, which was lightly defended, before they did. Bolívar's army successfully bested the royalist army in spite of the exhaustion of the troops after climbing the Páramo de Pisba, and crossing the swamp. This battle and the next victory over the Spanish by the Boyacá Bridge secured the independence of New Granada.
During the action the left flank of the Patriot army was outflanked and withdrew in disorder. The British Legions played a decisive role in recovering the situation when their commander James Rooke led the 2nd Rifles in a bayonet charge against the Spanish defenses on the hills, gaining the position at great cost. A cavalry attack by a force of Venezuelan Lancers then decided the outcome of the battle, turning defeat into victory.