Julius Peter Garesché, Union Army Officer

During the heat of the Battle of Stones River in Tennessee, Cuban born officer and Union patriot Julius Peter Garesché was killed by cannon fire on December 31, 1862. Garesché graduated from West Point Military Academy, and served with distinction during the Mexican American War. A devout Christian and Catholic, he organized a charitable society in the state of New York to assist the poor and disadvantaged.  For this work, he was awarded the decoration of a Knight of St. Sylvester by the Catholic Pope.  During the American Civil War, Garesché again served his homeland at a lieutenant colonel in the Union Army, until he was killed in action at age 41.

Federico Degetau, First Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico 1862

Federico Degetau, Puerto Rico’s first Resident Commissioner after it became a US territory, was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico on December 5, 1862.  Degetau was a man of many talents, and his career roles included politician, art collector, author, lawyer, coffee grower, and educator.  He studied in Puerto Rico and at the University of Madrid, where he earned a law degree.  After US troops took over Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War, Degetau was appointed Secretary of the Interior of the first governing cabinet formed under American rule.  He was elected as Resident Commission to the US House of Representatives in 1900 and re-elected in 1902. After his career in politics, he turned to art collecting and academics, working to establish the Pan American University in Puerto Rico.