Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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VELASC0, Luis Vicente, Spanish naval officer, born in Villa de Noja, Santander, about 1710; died in Havana, Cuba, 31 July, 1762. He had obtained the rank of post-captain and commanded the ship-of-the-line "La Reina" at Havana when the British expedition under the Duke of Albemarle was threatening the island of Cuba in 1762. Velasco was appointed by the council of war commander of Morro Castle, and when the British army landed, on 7 June, on the beach of Cojimar, he prepared to defend the outposts, but, by the abandonment of the works of Cabanas by order of the council of war, he was soon reduced to the walls of the castle, and could not prevent the establishment of siege batteries at Cabafias. The bombardment began on 1 July, but Velasco defended the castle obstinately, and his batteries caused great loss to the besiegers. On 16 July he was dangerously wounded and carried to Havana, but on the 24th, hearing that the besieging works were advancing, he insisted on returning to his post. On the 30th a mine opened a breach in the walls, and the enemy captured the outer battery of San Nicolas, but in the attempt to storm the castle they met with a heroic resistance, the defenders being led by Velasco, although he had not fully recovered. Not until the latter fell and more than 1,000 Spaniards had perished did the British capture the castle. Velasco died the next day, and Lord Albemarle suspended hostilities and sent his remains with a guard of honor to Havana.
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