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20th of November on the heights of Bombon, near Chincheros. The royalists were driven down into the valley of Pomacochas, and across the river of Pampas, by the bridge of Bejucos, which they destroyed. The river is at all times difficult and dangerous to ford.
The royalists bivouacked on the heights of Concepcion, and the patriots upon those of Bombon. The deep and rugged valley of Pomacochas being between them, rendered each position alike unassailable. The hostile forces were within two miles of each other, as the bird flies; but the distance to descend and ascend by the tortuous track was at least ten. Videttes occupied each bank of the river. The valley is thickly wooded, and the soil particularly rich. The atmosphere swarms with musquitoes to a degree that renders it uninhabitable. The Jesuits failed in three several attempts to settle there, and the ruins of an extensive establishment are still visible. The men placed on piquet returned to the encampment with their hands and faces swollen, and in a high degree of fever, from the bites of the large musquitoes, against which gloves and handkerchiefs were not a sufficient protection.
On the 24th, the tents and huts of the royalists had disappeared. Miller forded the river to ascertain if the army had withdrawn itself. had withdrawn itself. Four of his men, whilst ascending the opposite side of the valley, were suddenly attacked by a party in ambuscade. Two of them were made prisoners; and Major La Tapia, who accompanied the general, narrowly escaped by rolling himself down a precipice.
Matará.-Corpaguayco.-Precautions taken by the royalists to prevent desertion.-Patriots offer battle at Tambo Cangallo. -Continue their retreat.-Hostilities of the Indians.-Royalists occupy Guamanguilla.-Critical position of the independents. Battle of Ayacucho.-Viceroy taken prisoner.Royalists defeated.-Incidents.-Capitulation.
On the 25th of November, it was ascertained that the royalists had made a lateral movement to their right towards Vilcasguaman, and that the division Valdez had crossed the river near Guancaray, in order, it was supposed, to decoy the independents into the valley of Pomacochas, and to attack them there, should they be induced to resume their retreat towards Guamanga. Sucre, however, anxious to restore his communication with Lima, crossed the valley, without being caught in the defiles. In fording the river Pampas, the infantry were up to the breast in water; many were carried down by the stream, but such were the precautions taken that only two lives were lost. This operation was so tedious, and the roads so bad, that it took an entire day to march three leagues. The army bivouacked on the night of the 30th beneath trees of enormous dimensions, which clothed the sides of the valley, but the musquitoes effectually prevented repose; and although excessively fatigued, the order to march was looked
forward to, by all, with extreme anxiety: it was not, however, given until day-break, it being necessary to allow time for the baggage and stores to join. A farther ascent of two leagues and a half, through Ocros, brought the patriots to the table land, and in another half league they arrived at the descent which conducted them to the hamlet of Matará, where they bivouacked on the 1st of December. The rain had fallen in torrents during the whole of the day, and it still continued through the night. Matará is situated in a hollow, surrounded by gentle acclivities, which ascend to a considerable height.
On the 2d, the royalists appeared, and bivouacked on the edge of that part of the table land from which the patriots had descended the preceding day. The patriots occupied a position with a small grassy ravine in front, but in other respects objectionable. The viceroy, as if determined to play a sure game, and persuaded that he could annihilate his opponents without risking a general action, declined to attack them.
On the afternoon of the 3rd, the royalists moved to their left, along the crest of the ridge, but far enough below it to conceal their line from observation. Lieutenant-Colonel Bustamante, sent to reconnoitre, was taken prisoner on reaching the top of the hills. The object of the enemy was to gain the high road in the rear, which General Sucre perceiving, recommenced his retreat; but whilst defiling into the valley of Corpaguayco (a league from Matará), he was briskly attacked by the division Valdez, which had advanced in the morning unperceived. The Colombian bat
talion of rifles*, commanded by Colonel Sands, forming the rear-guard, was, after some resistance, overpowered and dispersed.
The battalion Bargas also dispersed, but was rallied by Miller, and made to protect the cavalry as it crossed the valley at Chonta by a pass and ford which he had fortunately discovered when examining the quebrada on the preceding day. Having gained the opposite side of the valley, the patriots formed, and drove back a royalist battalion which attempted to cross.
Major Duckbury, of the battalion Rifles, an Englishman, and one of the best and most indefatigable officers in the Colombian army, and two hundred patriots, were killed. Their field-train depôt; their spare horses and mules; and one of their two remaining field-pieces, fell into the hands of the enemy. The casualties of the royalists did not exceed thirty.
Notwithstanding this severe reverse, the patriots retreated at 11 A. M. on the 14th, in the best possible order, to Tambo-Cangallo, three leagues north of Corpaguayco, and seven south of Guamanga. They were followed by the royalists, but with great caution.
Fifteen soldiers passed over from the royalists on
This regiment was originally composed of British subjects, who greatly distinguished themselves in Colombia. The European soldiers having almost every one died or been killed off, the corps was next completed by twelve hundred Indians, who spoke nothing but their native dialect: the officers, being British, gave the word of command in English. As the Indians were expended in the course of service, their places were supplied by creoles, mulattos, &c. On the arrival of the battalion in Peru, only ten British officers remained with it. Colonel (now General) Sands, a native of Dublin, and formerly an officer in the British army, had risen by merit and services to the command of it. This gallant officer had been engaged in almost every action fought in Colombia. Captain Miller Hallowes, a native of Ashford, in Kent, Captain Ferguson, a gallant Irishman, and Captain Whittle, were also distinguished officers in the same corps. The latter commanded the battalion Bargas, which saved Bolivar's life by defeating the revolted regiment of artillery, and by suppressing the conspiracy which took place at Bogota in September 1828.
the morning of the 4th, a few hours after the affair of Corpaguayco. These men had served in the montoneros of Colonel Lanza, and had been taken prisoners near Cochabamba. Most of them brought their arms, and all requested to be attached to a corps. On the same morning, fourteen men of the liberating army deserted to the royalists. They had been made prisoners, and obliged to serve by the independents during the campaign.
The royalists avoided entering villages, and kept as much as possible along the ridges of the mountains, so that their march from Cuzco, to near Guamanga, was a perfect steeple chase. Their sufferings and difficulties may be conceived from what has been said relative to those of the patriots, in traversing the Andes on their advance from Huaras. The road from Guamanga to Cuzco may be considered in the very centre of the Andes, and winds up and down mountains encircling almost fathomless valleys. Many of the ascents are four and five leagues at a stretch, amidst scenery of the wildest grandeur imaginable.
The precautions taken by the royalist officers to prevent desertion also tended considerably to increase the privations of their men. Whenever they halted, the corps were bivouacked in column, round which a circle of sentinels, of the most trustworthy soldiers, was formed, and without that circle a great number of officers were constantly kept on duty. The soldiers were not permitted, on any plea, to pass the sentinels.
The vice-king, for the same reason, was averse to sending detachments in search of cattle, for, on such