History Of Francisco

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BiographyFrancisco's origins are shrouded in mystery. It is believed he was born on July 9, 1760 at Porto Judeu on the island of Terceira, in the Azores. According to the traditional version of his biography,[1] he was found at about age five on the docks at City Point, Virginia, in 1765. Peter was taken to the Prince George County Poorhouse. Not speaking English, he repeated the name "Pedro Francisco". The locals called him Peter. The locals discovered the boy spoke Portuguese and noted his clothing was of good quality.

When able to communicate, Pedro said that he had lived in a mansion near the ocean. His mother spoke French and his father spoke another language which he did not know. He and his sister were kidnapped from the grounds, but his sister escaped, while Francisco was bound and taken to a ship. Historians believe it is possible that the kidnappers intended to hold the children for ransom or that they had intended to sell them as indentured servants at their destination port in North America, but changed their minds. The Azorean legend says the Francisco family had many political enemies and set up Peter's abduction to protect him from accident or death by his parents' foes.

Peter was soon taken in by the judge Anthony Winston of Buckingham County, Virginia, an uncle of Patrick Henry. Francisco lived with Winston and his family until the beginning of the American Revolution and was tutored by them. When he was old enough to work, he was apprenticed as a blacksmith, a profession chosen because of his massive size and strength (he grew to be well over six feet six inches tall, or 198 centimeters, and weigh some 260 pounds, or 118 kilograms, especially large at the time). Francisco became part of the movement for American independence; he attended Patrick Henry's famous "Liberty or Death" speech outside St. John's Church in Richmond.

[edit] American Revolution
Peter Francisco [left] fighting Tarleton's British cavalry (1814 engraving)At the age of 16, Francisco joined the 10th Virginia Regiment in 1777, and soon gained notoriety for his size and strength. He fought with distinction at numerous engagements, including the Battle of Brandywine in September. He fought a few skirmishes under Colonel Morgan, before transferring to the regiment of Colonel Mayo of Powhatan. In October, Francisco rejoined his regiment and fought in the Battle of Germantown, and also appeared with the troops at Fort Mifflin on Port Island in the Delaware River. Hospitalized at Valley Forge for two weeks following these skirmishes, he shared a room with the 20-year-old Marquis de Lafayette, with whom he became friends. At Lafayette's request, George Washington authorized the crafting of a special sword for Francisco, measuring some five feet long.

Over the next three years, Francisco became the most well-known private soldier of the war. On June 28, 1778, he fought at Monmouth Court House, New Jersey, where a musket ball tore through his right thigh. He never fully recovered from this wound, but fought at Cowpens and other battles.

He was part of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne's attack on the British fort, Stony Point, on the Hudson River. Upon attacking the fort, Francisco suffered a nine-inch gash in his stomach, but continued to fight; he was second to enter the fort. He killed three British grenadiers and captured the enemy flag. Francisco's entry into the fort is mentioned in Wayne's report on the battle to General Washington, dated July 17, 1779, and in a letter written by Captain William Evans to accompany Francisco's letter to the Virginia General Assembly in November 1820 for pay.

Following the Battle of Camden, South Carolina, Francisco noticed the Americans were leaving behind one of their valuable cannons, mired in mud. Legend says he freed and picked up the approximately 1,100-pound cannon and carried it on his shoulder to keep it from falling into the hands of the enemy. In a petition Francisco wrote 11 November