Imagens das páginas

The new viceroy was a mere soldier, and one in whom the officers had no confidence. General La Serna had succeeded him in Upper Peru, but had not been able to make head against the Argentines at Salta and Jujuy. In 1819 he came to Lima with the intention of returning to Spain. But he was prevailed upon to remain. Pezuela was believed to be incapable, and on January 29, 1821, he was deposed by a military cabal at the camp of Annapuquio. General Don José de La Serna then took office, and was the last viceroy of Peru.


Help was to come from Buenos Ayres, and of the most effectual kind. José de San Martin was the true hero of South American independence. Born in Paraguay, where his father was governor of the “Misiones,” San Martin went to Spain when a boy, and, after studying at the military college of Madrid, became a cadet in the Spanish army. His gallantry at the battle of Baylen gained for him the rank of lieutenant-colonel, but, hearing of the struggle for liberty in his native land, he resolved to resign his commission and return to South America. He at once received a high command, succeeding General Belgrano, and he established a regular system of discipline among the insurgent troops. In September, 1814, San

* After a photograph in a folio volume, El General San Martin, which was given to Harvard College library by D. F. Sarmiento, and contains, beside, an account of the inauguration of the statue in 1862, sundry documents relating to San Martin, a colored view of Pizarro's standard, used in the Conquest, and given to San Martin by the municipality of Lima, a “ bibliografia del General San Martin," which largely serves for a bibliography of the period of independence, and an account of the portraits of San Martin. There is a bust portrait in Miller's General Miller (London, 1829), and another view of this statue in Mackenna's Ostracismo de los Carreras.

Martin began the labor of creating an army of the Andes at Mendoza, the nucleus of which was 180 recruits from Buenos Ayres. It took the general two years to increase this force to an army fit for the invasion of Chile. All that time San Martin devoted himself to the task with sound judgment, ability, and industry. He enjoyed the full confidence of officers and

By 1816 he had 4,000 regular troops at Mendoza, well clothed and armed.

At length, on January 17, 1817, San Martin began his wonderful march across the Andes with 3,000 infantry, 960 cavalry, 1,200 muleteer militia-men, 120 laborers, and 70 staff officers. Provisions for 5,200 men

[graphic][merged small]

for fifteen days, ammunition, spare arms, and a train of field artillery were carried by 9,000 mules. The provisions were jerked beef seasoned with capsicums, toasted maize, biscuit, cheese, and onions as a cure for soroche, the illness caused by rarefied atmosphere at great heights. The divisions were commanded by Las Heras, Alvarado, and the fugitive Chilian O'Higgins. Many of the soldiers died of soroche, nearly all suffered from it, and only 4,300 mules ever arrived in Chile. Mendoza is 4,486 feet above the sea, and the summit of the pass attains a height of 12,700 feet. Thence there is a descent of upwards of 10,000 feet to the plains of Chile. The passage of the Andes occupied three weeks. In the passage of the Great St. Bernard, Napoleon had only to lead his troops to a height of 7,963 feet.

* After a mezzotint in J. Miller's Life of General Miller (London, 1829), vol. ii.

San Martin's army had to ascend nearly 5,000 feet higher, and in other respects their achievement was still more remarkable.

In February, 1817, the patriot army debouched from the mountains, and found the royalists under Brigadier Maroto occupying the pass of Chacabuco, 4,000 strong.

On the 12th, O'Higgins led his Chilians up the ascent, and carried the position at the point of the bayonet. San Martin then advanced to Santiago, and was nominated Supreme Director of Chile. But he declined the honor. His great object was the liberation of Peru, without which no other part of South America would be safe. Don Bernardo O'Higgins was chosen in his place, while San Martin went back to Buenos Ayres to solicit reinforcements. Returning to Chile in April, he

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

From Torrente's Revolucion Hispano-Americana, vol. ii. There are other plans in Miller's General Miller,

and in the atlas of Gay's Chile.

prepared to encounter General Osorio, the victor of Rancagua, who had arrived from Lima with 3,400 veteran soldiers. The patriots had advanced in their views. They no longer claimed the right of government during the king's captivity. Ferdinand VII was now free, and they refused to acknowledge him. On February 12, 1818, the absolute independence of Chile was proclaimed ; and in March the two generals, San Martin and O'Higgins, advanced southwards with 7,000 men, to encounter the royalists under Osorio, who had occupied Talca. The patriots were drawn up on the adjacent plain of Cancha-Rayada. On the 19th they were surprised by a night attack, thrown into confusion, and fled in all directions. The Argentine division of Las Heras alone retired in good order.

The generals succeeded in rallying the fugitives, and a fortnight after the defeat an army of 5,000 patriots was encamped on the Maypu, at a distance of nine miles from Santiago. Osorio advanced to a position in front of his enemies, the two armies being nearly equal in number. On the morning of the 5th of April the battle commenced which finally decided the fate of Chile. At first the patriots fell back in some disorder. But San Martin promptly brought up the reserves, and gained a complete victory.

Five days after the victory of Maypu, the indefatigable San Martin once more set out for Buenos Ayres, to lay before the government his plan for the liberation of Lima by a naval expedition from Valparaiso. The independence of the Argentine Republic had been proclaimed on the oth of July, 1816, and Don Juan Martin de Puyrredon, the Supreme Director, heartily supported the views of San Martin. That general returned to

[graphic][merged small]

Chile in January, 1820, and assembled an army of 4,500 men for embarkation at Valparaiso. The officers were nearly all either Argentine or European volunteers, and two thirds of the soldiers were from Buenos Ayres, the rest being Chilians. As many as 62 officers had come from Europe to strike a blow for freedom, and 3 from the United States. Of the Europeans, 37 were British or Irish, exclusive of 30 English naval officers. Of this number of 65 volunteers, no less than 21 were killed in battle, and 18 were wounded.

Everything depended on the organization of a fleet. The Spanish viceroy had concentrated an army of more than 20,000 men in Peru ; but the command of the sea is the one thing needful to secure success in the military invasion of the land of the Incas. This command the Spaniards were about to lose.

1 The Americans were Lieutenant Charles El- nas on March 31, 1818, and died in Chile; and

who was killed at the assault of Talca- Captain Daniel L. V. Carson, wounded before huano on Dec. 6, 1817; Captain Henry Ross, Talcahuano in 1817. who was wounded at the battle of Yerbas Bue

* After a cut in Lady Maria Graham's Journal (London, 1824).

In 1818 the Chilian government had bought two old East Indiamen, an old British corvette, and two brigs, and had mounted them with guns; the whole cost of this little squadron being £120,000. They were all commanded and officered by Englishmen. The Spanish frigate “ Maria Isabel ” was the first capture, and she was re-named the “O'Higgins.” The British admiral, Lord Cochrane, arrived at Valparaiso on November 28, 1818, hoisted his flag on board the “O'Higgins,” and received command of the patriot fleet : “O'Higgins" (50 guns), Lord Cochrane, Captain Forster, Major Miller ; “San Martin ” (56 guns), Captain Wilkinson ; “Lautaro”

[graphic][merged small]

(44 guns), Captain Guise; “Chacabuco” (20 guns), Captain Carter; “Galvarino " (18 guns), Captain Spry ; “Araucano" (brig). Captain Ramsay ; “Puyrredon ” (brig), Captain Prunnier. The feet sailed on January 16, 1819, and was off Callao in February, where the Spaniards had assembled their fleet: “Esmeralda” (44 guns), Captain Luis Coiz; “Venganza " (42 guns), Captain Blanco Cabrera ; “Sebastiana” (28 guns); “ Pezuela" (22 guns); “Maypu " (brig) ; “ Potrilla” (brig); besides six armed merchantmen. The frigate “ Prueba” (50 guns) was at Guayaquil. The patriot fleet engaged the forts at Callao, and returned to Valparaiso. In September,

* After an engraving in The European Magazine, May, 1809.

« AnteriorContinuar »