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Spanish Officers' Grave

Place:
At Sjællandsgade 50. In the garden behind Sct. Knuds Church at the South wall of the church.

Date of placement:
1908

Description:
The Memorial is a white marble cross with a palm leaf on the front and a front with an inscription. Behind it stands a granite stone into which is carved two crossing pistols and cavalry sables. Beside the granite stone you find a smaller stone with a Maltese cross which rests on a longer stone with an inscription.

Background
During the Napoleonic Wars a contingent of Spanish and French troops were deployed to Denmark to help fight the British but the moral was poor among the Spanish troops. Great Britain had a number of ships in Danish water and from these handbills were sent ashore wich offered to carry the Spanish troops home. Captain of horse Antonio Costa led two squadrons who in this way travelled from Horsens to Funen. When they arrived at the ferry crossing at Snoghøj they were met by French troops who had occupied the crossing and removed all vessels to prevent the Spanish troops from fleeing.

Because of the hopeless situation Costa wished to surrender and as a symbolic act of this hand over his sable to the French colonel. But the colonel refused to receive it since he thought they were still allies. Then Costa faced his soldiers and took the responsibility for their miserable situation. After this he drew his pistol and with the words, “Say Hello to Spain from Antonio Costa“, he shot himself through the temple. His body was buried on the spot but so badly that a Danish officer later that day had it transported to Fredericia where it was buried at the now abolished churchyard at Sct. Knud´s Church.

The neglegted tomb was renovated in 1908 on the initiative of two citizens who got in touch with Spanish Cavalry units whose officers collected a sum of money for the sepulchral monument.

Inscription:

Recuerdos á España de

Antonio Costa

+ 11. August 1808

(Translation: Say Hello to Spain from Antonio Costa)

(On the base of the cross)          

                                   

Erected by Spanish cavalry officers
(On the granite stone)