Union Officer Fernandez Cavada

Soaring through the air in a hot air balloon over the dangerous, flaming battlefield on April 19, 1862, Union officer Fernandez Cavada quickly and accurately sketched the deployments of enemy Confederate troops on the Virginia peninsula.  Cavada was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, to a Cuban father and North American mother.  After her husband’s death, Cavada’s mother moved her three sons to her native city of Philadelphia.  Cavada did not lead a ho-hum life.  In addition to his courageous service documenting enemy positions for the Union Army, he fought and was captured at Gettysburg, served as an engineer for the construction of the Panama Canal, and fought in Cuba’s Ten Year war of independence against Spain, rising to Commander-in-Chief of Cuban forces.  He was captured and shot by firing squad.

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