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Agustin Arturo Prat

PRAT, Agustin Arturo, Chilian naval of-fleer, born near Quirihue, Itata, 3 April, 1848; died at sea, 21 May, 1879. He received his education in the College of Santiago, and in August, 1858, entered the naval academy of Valparaiso. in January, 1860, he shipped as apprentice on board the " Esmeralda," passing his examination as midshipman, 15 June, 1862, and he served on the same vessel as sub-lieutenant during the capture of the Spanish gun-boat "Covadonga," 26 November, 1865, and the .engagement of Abtao in February, 1866. After serving in Valdivia, the Chiloe sound, and the Strait of Magellan, he studied law, and in 1878 was admitted to the bar of the supreme court. Soon afterward he was sent by the government on a mission to Uruguay and the Argentine Republic, but, on hearing of the war against Peru and Bolivia, returned to his country, and during April, 1879, in command of the "Covadonga," assisted in the blockade of Iquique. When Admiral Juan Williams Rebolledo (q. v.) left with the fleet for Callao on 16 May, Prat was promoted to the command of the "Esmeralda," and with the "Covadonda," also under his orders, left to sustain the blockade of Iquique. On this cruise he was attacked early on 21 May by the Peruvian iron-clads ' Huascar" and "Independencia" under Admiral Miguel Grau (q. v.). During the engagement one of his boilers burst, and he fell an easy prey to the " Huascar," the "Independencia," in chase of the "Covadonga," having struck on a reef. The turret-ship, to bring matters to an issue, rammed the " Esmeralda," and as the latter was struck behind the mizzen-mast, Captain Prat, with sword and revolver in hand, jumped on board the "Huascar," calling on his men to follow him, but the two vessels immediately separated, leaving all but one man behind. As Prat refused to obey Grau's summons to surrender, and killed the signal officer on deck, he was shot down from the turret. Grau, who had highly esteemed Prat for his courage, collected his personal effects and sent them to the widow with a letter of regret. Prat's country has honored his memory by erecting a granite pyramid with his bust at Atacama in October, 1879, and bronze statues at his native town of Quirihue in 1880, and in Valparaiso, 21 May, 1886.

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