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He joined the cavalry militias in the south of the present province of Mendoza, very young, dedicated to fighting the Indians. He served for many years in different destinations, in the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata.
At the orders of Viceroy Pedro de Ceballos he fought against the Portuguese. Later it remained in the garrison of Buenos Aires. He also participated in the campaign to evict the English from Puerto Egmont, in the Malvinas Islands. In 1801, when he was sixty years old, he participated in the campaign against the Portuguese, who had occupied the Eastern Missions; He was forced to surrender his troops in Cerro Largo before the superiority of the invading forces.
I had already retired when the English Invasions took place. Viceroy Sobremonte did not call him to defend the city of Buenos Aires, so he escaped the oath of allegiance to the King of England. When the merchant Martín de Álzaga gathered troops to recover the city, he joined them and fought together with the citizen militias on the day of the Reconquista, August 12, 1806.
He joined as head of one of the companies of the Arribeños Battalion, and in that position he fought in the defense of the city the following year.
He was sent, with all his regiment, to orders of his commander Francisco Ortiz de Ocampo, in the first aid expedition to Upper Peru. He fought in the defeat of Cotagaita and in the victory of Suipacha.
He remained in the patriotic ranks until the battle of Huaqui, after which he was abandoned by his troops. Literally he was left alone in the battlefield, although he managed to flee, following General Pueyrredón.
General Manuel Belgrano put him in command of the Infantry Regiment No. 7, and in that position he fought in the battles of Tucumán and Salta. Most of the officers of the Army of the North did not reach the age of 30, and Balcarce, head of Huaqui, was 34 years old. Belgrano was 43 years old when he participated in the battle of Salta, and was already considered a veteran. Bolaños was 72.
Belgrano decided that what he had done and that he deserved a break was enough; so that he got the government to name him governor of Mendoza. He exercised the government throughout the year 1812, and ended up deposed for considering him too addicted to the ousted first Triumvirate.
He returned to the Army of the North, discouraged from his passage through politics, and confessing that he was a soldier, whose life had no meaning far from weapons.
Belgrano then decided to appoint him governor of Jujuy, and when Bolaños resigned, he rejected all the resignations he presented. The defeats of Vilcapugio and Ayohuma forced the Army of the North to pass by Jujuy to Salta, and the civil authorities also left the city.
Since then he was taken to retirement, and settled down definitively in Buenos Aires; As he still claimed to provide military services, Minister Bernardino Rivadavia included him in the list of senior officers retired at the end of 1822. He collected his full military salary for the rest of his life.
He died in Buenos Aires in January 1824, aged 83.
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