Florida Mom Champions Forgotten Revolutionary War Hero

Image: Florida Mom Champions Forgotten Revolutionary War Hero Statue of Bernardo de Galvez in Washington, D.C.

Monday, 05 May 2014 06:59 AM

By Elliot Jager

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In 1783, the Continental Congress promised to honor Bernardo de Galvez for his contributions to the Revolutionary War. Teresa Valcarce is lobbying for that commitment to finally be honored, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Galvez was governor of Louisiana, which was then part of Spain, and supplied American colonists with weapons. In 1779, he commanded attacks against British stations along the Gulf Coast. He sailed alone into Pensacola harbor – a British bastion.

"Shamed and inspired by his example of personal leadership and bravery, the remaining ships followed," the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad said, according to the Times. It also noted that the Galvez coat of arms was amended to read, "Yo Solo," or "I alone." Galvez's actions, said the commission, "relieved British pressure on Washington's armies."

In 1783, Revolutionary War financier Oliver Pollock offered, and Congress accepted, a portrait of Galvez "to be placed in the room in which Congress meet[s]," the Journals of the Continental Congress recorded.

It is unknown if the portrait was ever put on display.

Now, Valcarce, a 45-year-old mother of three, and a group from Pensacola, Fla., want that pledge honored and for Galvez to be granted honorary citizenship. They are ready to donate a new portrait.

Valcarce said, "I am only asking my country to keep its word." A Spanish immigrant, she became a U.S. citizen six years ago and has been lobbying elected officials, historians, and even the Spanish prime minister on behalf of Galvez.

Joseph Donnelly, president general of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution told the Times: "If we make a promise to hang a portrait of the Spanish hero of the American Revolution in the U.S. Capitol building, and we can honor that promise without spending a nickel, why don't we?"

Galvez is well remembered in Texas where the city of Galveston is named in his honor. In 1980, a postage stamp was also issued in tribute to his contributions.

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