General Joaquín Vara de Rey, commander of the forces garrisoning the advanced defensive position at El Caney. He died in action the 1st of July during the defense.
Born in 1840, he joined the Army at the age of sixteen, enlisting in the Infantry. He served as officer during the Cantonal revolution in the Spanish city of Cartagena (1874), and as battalion commander during the 3rd (Carlist) civil war in the northern province of Santander, (1874 -76). He was transferred to the Philippines, taking part in the operations against the insurrectional guerrillas in the interior of the island of Mindanao, and later in the expedition to control the Mariana Islands in the conflict with Germany.
Being transferred to Cuba, he participated in the campaign of 1895 – 97, being appointed Brigadier General in June, 1896. In 1898, he commanded the Brigade stationed at San Luis. After the outbreak of the war with the U.S., his unit was ordered to reinforce the Santiago garrison. Being appointed to command the defensive position at El Caney, he was injured in both legs while leading the defense against the attack of U.S. forces on July, 1, 1898, and shot to death by the enemy while being evacuated. He was buried in the field with military honors by U.S. troops.