« PreviousContinue »
him to advance against the royalist Colonel Barrandalla, who with about four hundred men occupied Ica, the only intervening royalist station between them.
In order to co-operate with Brandsen, Miller detached a small party under Captain Valdivia to Palpa, where the royalist Colonel Olachea, with a few regulars and fifty militia, were put to flight, with some loss in prisoners, who were sent to Acari. Ensign Quiroga, a lad of fourteen, was remarkable for his steady and soldier-like conduct.
Valdivia's advance caused Barrandalla to march with his division to Palpa : but the patriots having retired to Acari, he returned to his former cantonments, being also apprehensive of an attack from Colonel Brandsen. Miller remained at Acari for some time, in the expectation that Brandsen would effect the desired movement. The latter, however, did not advance beyond Pisco, although the minister of war had assured Miller that Brandsen should be positively ordered to occupy Ica. The reverses of Alvarado seemed to have paralyzed the junta gubernativa in Lima. The army under Arenales had not moved twenty leagues from the capital, and was diminishing daily, in consequence of having been so long kept inactive.
At this juncture Miller was disabled by an attack of mal de ansias, a species of cholera morbus. He was carried, in a litter, across the desert seven leagues, to the port of Lomas, where the zealous Captain Nesen was waiting with the Protector. hoisted on board more dead than alive. The dreadful disorder came on every other day, and continued
in paroxysms of fourteen or fifteen hours, for the space of ten days. Cold water was the only remedy administered. The complaint is common on that part of the coast ; but, although excruciatingly violent, not more than one out of three or four fall victims to it. The invalid was soon so much reduced that he spoke with difficulty. His friend Dr. Cordova (now dean of Arequipa) lay ill of the ague. Both were cooped up in the state cabin (if so it might be called) of the brig, and neither could move from his berth.
After having been on board a week, and there being no longer any hope of receiving reinforcements, or of the few Spaniards at Ica being driven to the interior, Miller gave an order for his company to embark. In the execution of this a difficulty occurred, which it may be worth while to describe, as it will illustrate the character of his soldiers. The captain, an intelligent officer, was unpopular from peevishness of manners, and the order, conveyed through him, was disbelieved. There had been so much of adventure in this little service, that a spirit of enterprise animated every man; and their excellent behaviour had secured such kind treatment from the inhabitants, that the men were unwilling to quit a place where they had enjoyed so much comfort. Seven stole away to Nasca, to levy contributions upon the wealthy royalist inhabitants. Captain Valdivia, a brave officer, and much beloved, was sent to bring them back. A ride of fourteen hours brought him to Nasca, shortly after the arrival of the runaways, who had already begun to collect contributions.
« Fire away;
When Valdivia approached, one of them levelled his
with me, by order of the colonel.” · He had the address to gain over five, and to handcuff the ringleader and another. In the meanwhile, Captain Allende with some difficulty persuaded the rest of the company to follow him from Acari to the place of embarkation ; but they, still disbelieving that the order had emanated from the colonel, displayed a mutinous spirit, grounded their arms, and refused to step into the boats, until they saw their colonel, who caused himself to be put on shore. Upon landing, he ordered Allende to point out the most refractory. Two were named, and they were instantly ordered into the boat, with an admonition to prepare for death. The rest of the company was then formed in a circle, and the colonel reprimanded them until he sunk to the ground from exhaustion. The misguided men were all much affected; many of them shed tears. The ringleader brought back by Valdivia from Nasca was the only man executed.
The whole of the men now being safe on board, Millar ordered the master of the Protector to weigh, and steer for Iquique, intending to operate upon Tarapacá, and to endeavour to form guerrilla parties to annoy the royalists in the south, trusting to obtain in the meanwhile reinforcements either from Lima or Chile. But in getting under weigh the fluke of the only remaining anchor broke, and no alternative was then left but to run before the wind for Callao. The schooner had been previously sent from Chala