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The Cuban Major General who emancipated himself from slavery writes a message to Commander Alfredo Nodarse to inform him that his application to the Lieutenant Colonel rank had been elevated to superiority and signs his name in Fatherland and Liberty

Manuscript Document Signed: "Pedro Diaz" in iron gall ink. 10½x8. Fully Translated in English: "CommanderAlfredo Nodarse. This General Headquarters has decided to elevate to superiority your application for the military rank of Lieutenant Colonel dated on August 12 of last year. So, I wanted to share that with you. Fatherland and Liberty, Artemisa, April 25, 1899. Major General. Chief of the Forces. Pedro Diaz." Pedro Antonio Diaz Molina (1850-1924) was a patriot Cuban who inherited the slave condition of his mother Cesarea Regla and was given the last name of the owner Domingo Diaz. Since a very young age he knew closely the excesses of the Spanish Colonial Regiment and on April 1869, he escaped and started to fight for the independence of Cuba. Pedro served in the Chief of Military Sanity and worked under the command of the Venezuelan Salome Hernandez and of the Galician Francisco Villamil, both dead in 1871 and 1873 respectively, and also under the command of other chiefs he met during the struggle, such as the Polish Carlos Roloff and the Andalusian Diego Dorado. At some point he shared moments of the war of 1868 with other very important insurrects such as Miguel Geronimo Gutierrez, Honorato del Castillo and the brothers Fernandez Cavada. Pedro participated in many combats in the territory of Las Villas, Camaguey and Oriente, and gained the affection of his fellows due to his seriousness, loyalty, bravery and deep humanism shown while attending equally to Cuban and Spanish wounded soldiers. He ended the Guerra Grande serving in the jurisdiction of Remedios under the command of then Colonel Francisco Carrrillo Morales, and was granted the rank of Commander in 1879. When the Guerra Chiquita (Little War), also known in that territory as Guerra de Carrillo began, Pedro Diaz immediately joined it and remained battling until August 1880, when in precarious conditions to continue the fight, the revolutionaries of the zone deposed the arms in El Mamey de Buenavista, where he became a Lieutenant Colonel. He was proud to have too many scars all over his body, because they were a palpable testimony of his contribution to the independence of Cuba. As many other slaves, Pedro Antonio gained his freedom fighting against the Spanish colonialism, and during the Tregua Fecunda he lived in Remedios and worked as a laborer in the plants San Jose and Jinaguayabo, where he was always linked to the revolutionary movement. As soon as the news about the uprising of February 24, 1895 were known in the jurisdiction of Remedios, the Spanish authorities captured Francisco Carrillo in an attempt to stop the rebellion, but on June 5 the Lieutenant Colonel Diaz Molina took the arms and was recognized as the leader by who followed him, and soon after he was officially designated Chief of the Brigade of Remedios, that belonged to the First Division of the Fourth Force of the Liberation Army. Pedro Antonio remained fighting hard in that territory until the arrival of the invasion of Gomez and Maceo, whom he joined with a small cavalry force, and took part in all the combats in the path to La Habana, such as Los Indios, La Colmena, Coliseo and Calimete. On January 1, 1896 he entered beside Gomez and Maceo to the capital, they took Guira de Melena, Alquizar, Ceiba del Agua, Vereda Nueva, Hoyo Colorado, Punta Brava and El Cano. A week later, when Gomez and Maceo split and go to the Titan to complete the invasion until the further occidental side of the island, Pedro Antonio remained in La Habana and is named Chief of the Brigade of Batabano, which also included the zones of San Felipe, Guira, Quivican, Guara, Melena del Sur and adjoining counties. There, his military talent, capacity of persuasion with the Spanish functionaries and severity with the traitors shined. It was very popular in the province the action that he personally prepared and directed near Pozo Redondo that consisted in the capture of a train loaded with Spanish soldiers and war materials and that was circulating by the railroad Habana-Batabano. This success provided with arms to the different insurrect forces of the territory, so shortly after, Maceo postulated him for the rank of General of Brigade. After the arrival of Maceo to the West with his goals accomplished, General Diaz Molina fought beside him again in San Antonio de Las Vegas, Jaruco, Moralito and Batabano. Pedro Antonio was later given the title of Chief of the Division of Pinar del Rio and promoted to General of Division. From March to December 1896, he battled next to the Titan de Bronce and participated in countless war actions confronting numerous Spanish forces. Some of the dozens of combats where he participate are: Neptuno, Galope, Labori, Cayajabos, El Rubi, La Palma, San Claudio, Tapia, Consolacion del Sur, Descanso, Loma China, Ceja del Negro, Tumbas de Estorino and El Rosario. Maceo ordered him to receive and manage the war armament from the important expeditions that arrived to the coasts of Pinar del Rio directed by Colonel Francisco Leyte Vidal and General Juan Rius Rivera, to whom he gave the leadership of the Division under his command when Maceo decided that he would go with him to Las Villas with the purpose of having Pedro Antonio in charge of the First Division of the Fourth Force of the Liberation Army. After the catastrophe of San Pedro and being in the jurisdiction of Sancti Spiritus since the beginning of 1897, Diaz Molina worked in the mission given to him by Maceo leading the brigades of his Division in La Alameda, Trinidad, Aguada de Pasajeros, Las Delicias and other less important ones. By the end of March General Juan Rius Rivera was made prisoner and Maximo Gomez ordered Pedro Antonio to go without any delay to the west and take the leadership of the Sixth Army Force, which caused a jubilant reaction among the revolutionaries. Once there, he focused in the activation of the war operations, the reorganization of the military structure and the civil government, the strengthening of the clandestine information networks and the protection of the defenseless families. In that territory, Diaz Molina and his men had many victories such as the ones achieved in Las Animas, Bodega Nueva, El Rosario, El Inglesito, El Romero, La Gloria, Santa Paula, Aranjuez, San Miguel and La Madama. They also used the method of the incendiary torch, destroying more than one hundred stables dedicated to the cultivation of coffee and cane, and energetically opposed to the plan of autonomy offered by the Spanish government. Pedro Antonio Diaz concluded the war in a satisfactory way and was still fighting with all his forces in the camp of La Ceniza, when the American military invasion took place in the city of Pinar del Rio. On December 3, 1898 the Spanish troops established in Artemisa , then General Headquarters of famous Trocha de Mariel, moved to Majana. Without wasting any time, that same day the Cuban liberation forces commanded by Pedro Antonio made their triumphant entry with the National Anthem chords and the cheers and shouts of ¡Viva Cuba Libre! ¡Viva Cuba Independiente! ¡Viva Cuba Libre y Soberana!  During this first American invasion Diaz Molina was responsable to organize the Assembly of Veterans and Patriots in the town of Artemisa and he traveled one time to the city of Remedios, where he shared and talked about topics of common interest with some friends. In 1902 Diaz Molina was elected Chamber Representative of the municipality of Artemisa, position that he held until 1906. Two years later he made his last public appareance during the visit of Provisional Governor Charles Magoon to the city of Pinar del Rio during the time of the second yankee military intervention; Pedro Antonio accepted to do it because the authorities of province had requested it to him since they knew he was living legend of the independence war, who was never dishonest and remained loyal, as other veterans, to the patriotic tradition without ambitioning titles or lushness and instead all suffered as nobody the humiliation of the freedom taken away by the recent born American imperialism. His pseudo republican life happened in the town of Candelaria, where he lived with his wife Hilaria Bocourt and children. Pedro Antonio Diaz Molina died in Caimito on May 15, 1924. Multiple worn mailing folds. Toned, stained and soiled. File holes at blank left margin. Edges lightly frayed.  2-inchs diagonal tear at upper left corner touching 2 printed words. Otherwise, fine condition.

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Born: January 17, 1850 in Yaguajay, Sancti Spiritus, Cuba
Died: May 15, 1924 in Caimito, Cuba

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