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154 Pueyrredon's Retreat.
and an escort of sixteen Cintenos, with orders to proceed at a rapid rate on their journey; while he faced about to await the attack of the mixed multitude which he had just discovered in his rear.
He chose a position on a slight eminence which flanked the high road, drew up in line the Cintenos transformed into grenadiers, and, dividing into small guerrillas the force of forty-five effective men, advanced upon the people, certainly not under two thousand men, armed with sticks, lances, slings, and some muskets. For some time they resisted the attack, but, terror-stricken, no doubt, by observing the reserve, which he had left formed upon the height, they fled to the mountains for safety, leaving several dead upon the field. The march was continued; but a second and a third time was the party similarly attacked, and, in like manner as before, beaten off. "Those masses of Peruvian vagabonds," says the colonel, "have a facility equal to that of their own gamas, of dispersing among the mountains, and of reuniting the moment they observe the backs of their enemies turned to them." Thus he proceeded, during the whole day, amid reiterated skirmishes, till the shades of night dispersed the groups of his adversaries in the vici
Pueyrredon's Retreat. 155
nity of Laba. He arrived there without any other loss than of an officer killed, and a boy dangerously wounded. It was about nine o'clock when he reached the place, exposed to a rain as heavy as it was extraordinary at that season, but which was not without its consolation, as he anticipated that it would lend its aid to the total dispersion of the enemy, who still lurked about the neighbouring mountains.
It were difficult to describe the mortification he experienced when, on making this his first halt for the day, after a march of twenty-seven miles on foot, annoyed and embarrassed by the unceasing attacks of the enemy, drenched and exhausted, he found himself with scanty means of ministering to the wants of his men; for the Great House of Laba, as well as the cottages around it, had all been abandoned by their owners; so that the party was obliged, with short rations, to lie down for the night without even a fire to dry and warm them in that frigid climate. Pueyrredon was there joined by 150 Tarijenos (natives of Tarija), whom the junta of that town was sending to Potosi, but without arms.
In consequence of the difficulty of finding provi156 Pueyrredon's Retreat.
sions for these men, as well as for those already with him, he caused a sum of money to be paid to each of them, in order to remunerate them, in some sense, for the services they had performed, for the fatigues they had undergone, and to encourage them to persevere.
He prosecuted his march to Calsa, where he arrived at nightfall of the 26th, and there, at length, he was" enabled to procure nourishment for his soldiers. Thus refreshed, he continued his march by the road of Cinti, with the object of getting, as fast as possible, out of the territory, and rid of the baneful influence exercised by that capital.
Colonel Pueyrredon's account of his retreat extends considerably beyond the extract from it which we have given; but we have been content to follow him through this portion of it, because the history of his two days' march is sufficiently illustrative of that of the days which followed, till he reached Tarija, and this, he says, was "the first point of territory where he felt that he was upon friendly ground."
In the several rencontres which he had, some of them rather formidable; in the many privations which he suffered, still more formidable; in the Pueyrredon's Retreat. 157
patience with which they were endured; in his generous and always feeling conduct to his companions in arms; and in the watchful eye which he kept upon the hide bags of dollars, until he successfully brought them out of the enemy's clutches,— he showed himself at once a brave soldier and a, good citizen; and well convinced that money is not the sinew only, but the very heart's core of war, we question whether his little faithful troop would have shown so much fidelity, or supported their leader with such praiseworthy tenacity, if they had seen the laden mules driven off to the right hand or the left by a party of the enemy. Such were the results, for the time being, of the battle of the Desaguadero.
The Authors to General Miller.
Buenos Ayres bombarded—An Englishman afraid—Michelena, commander of the blockading Vessels, and the Washerwoman— Siege of Monte Video—The Junta of Three—Treaty of Pacification with Monte Video—Military Revolt—Government's account of it—The guilty parties executed.
London, 1842. While these things were passing in Peru, all was stir and bustle in Buenos Ayres. The famous "Marinos," with five small vessels and two gunboats, under the command of Michelena, came up from Monte Video, which Rondeau was bombarding. Taking their station at nine o'clock, P.m., in the inner roads, the flotilla, or Esquadra Sutil, commenced, without previous intimation, bombarding Buenos Ayres. The heated shells came describing their beautiful arcs over the city, already lit up by the lamp of night. The families were mostly at their tertulias; and though here one shell was bursting, and there another, the ladies could not be restrained from going to the tops of