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Approach of Carrera's Forces.-Terror of the Inhabitants. Their Flight.-Sur
render of the Town.-Ferocity of the Soldiery.-A Bulletin.-Diplomacy.-A Passport.- A Breakfast.-An Alarm.-The Widow Padilla.- An Attack.-Defeat of Carrera's Forces.—The Town taken by General Morazán.--His Entry. -The Widow's Son.-Visit to General Morazan.--His Appearance, Character, &c.—Plans deranged.
It was broad daylight when we woke, without any machete cuts, and still in undisturbed possession of the town. My first thought was for the mules; they had eaten up their sacate, and had but a poor chance for more, but I sent them immediately to the river for water. They had hardly gone when a little boy ran in from the church, and told us that la gente were in sight. We hurried back with him, and the miserable beings on the steps, with new terrors, supposing that we were friends of the invaders, begged us to save them. Followed by three or four trembling boys, we ascended to the steeple, and saw the Cachurecos at a distance, descending the brow of a hill in single file, their muskets glittering in the sunbeams. We saw that it was not the whole of Carrera's army, but apparently only a pioneer company ; but they were too many for us, and the smallness of their numbers gave them the appearance of a lawless predatory band. They had still to cross a long plain and ascend the hill on which the town was built. The bellrope was in reach of my hand; I gave it one strong pull, and telling the boys to sound loud the alarm, hurried down. As we passed out of the church, we heard loud cries from the old women in the house of the cura ; and the old men and children on the steps asked us whether they would be murdered.
The mules had not returned, and, afraid of their being intercepted in the street, I ran down a steep hill toward the river, and meeting them, hurried back to the house. While doing so I saw at the extreme end of the street a single soldier moving cautiously; and watching carefully every house, as if suspecting treach. ery, he advanced with a letter directed to Colonel Angoula. The captain told him that he must seek Angoula among the mountains. We inquired the name of his commanding officer, how many men he had, said that there was no one to oppose him, and forthwith surrendered the town. The man could hardly believe that it was deserted. General Figoroa did not know it; he had halted at a short distance, afraid to make the attack at night, and was then expecting immediate battle. He himself could not have been much better pleased at avoiding it than we were. The envoy returned, and in a short time we saw at the extreme end of the street the neck of a horse protruding from the cross-street on the left. A party of cavalry armed with lances followed, formed at the head of the street, looking about them carefully as if still suspecting an ambush. In a few moments General Figoroa, mounted on a fierce little horse, without uniform, but with dark wool saddle-cloth, pistols, and basket-hilted sword, making a warlike appearance, came up, leading the van. We took off our hats as he approached our door, and he returned the salute. About a hundred lancers followed him, two abreast, with red flags on the ends of their lances, and pistols in their holsters. In passing, one ferocious-looking fellow looked fiercely at us, and grasping his lance, cried “ Viva Carrera." We did not answer it immediately, and he repeated it in a tone that brought forth the response louder and more satisfactory, from the spite with which it was given ; the next man repeated it, and the next; and before we were aware of our position, every lancer that passed, in a tone of voice reg. ulated by the gentleness or the ferocity of his disposition, and sometimes with a most threatening scowl, put to us as a touchstone “ Viva Carrera."
The infantry were worse than the lancers in appear. ance, being mostly Indians, ragged, half naked, with old straw hats and barefooted, armed with muskets and machetes, and many with oldfashioned Spanish blunderbusses. They vied with each other in sharpness and ferocity, and sometimes actually levelling their pieces, cried at us « Viva Carrera.” We were taken completely unawares ; there was no escape, and I believe they would have shot us down on the spot if we had refused to echo the cry. I compromised with my dignity by answering no louder than the urgency of the case required, but I never passed through a more trying ordeal. Don Saturnino had had the prudence to keep out of sight; but the captain, who had intended to campaign against these fellows, never flinched, and when the last man passed added an extra “ Viva Carrera.” I again felt rejoiced that the soldiers had left the town and that there had been no fight. It would have been a fearful thing to fall into the hands of such men, with their passions roused by resistance and bloodshed. Reaching the plaza, they gave a general shout of “ Viva Carrera," and stacked their arms. In a few minutes a party of them came down to our house and asked for breakfast; and when we could not give them that, they begged a medio or sixpence. By degrees others came in, until the room was full. They were really no great gainers by taking the town. They had had no breakfast, and the town was completely stripped of eatables. We in
quired the news from Guatimala, and bought from them several copies of the “ Parte Official” of the Supreme Government, headed “ Viva la Patria! Viva el Gener. al Carrera! The enemy has been completely extermi. nated in his attack upon this city, which he intended to devastate. The tyrant Morazan flies terrified, leaving the plaza and streets strewed with corpses sacrificed to his criminal ambition. The principal officers associated in his staff have perished, &c. Eternal glory to the Invincible Chief GENERAL CARRERA, and the valiant troops under his command." They told us that Carrera, with three thousand men, was in full pursuit. In a little while the demand for sixpences became so frequent, that, afraid of being supposed to have mucha plata, we walked to the plaza to present ourselves to General Figoroa, and settle the terms of our surrender, or, at all events, to " define our position.” We found him at the cabildo, quite at home, with a parcel of officers, white men, Mestitzoes, and mulattoes, smoking, and interrogating some old men from the church as to the movements of Colonel Angoula and the soldiers, the time of their setting out, and the direction they took. He was a young man-all the men in that country were young_about thirty-two or three, dressed in a snuff-col. oured cloth roundabout jacket, and pantaloons of the same colour ; and off his warhorse, and away from his assassin-like band, had very much the air of an honest man.
It was one of the worst evils of this civil war that no respect was paid to the passports of opposite parties. The captain had only his San Salvador passport, which was here worse than worthless. Don Saturnino had a variety from partisan commandants, and upon this occasion made use of one from a colonel under Ferrera.
The captain introduced me by the title of Señor Ministro del Norte America, and I made myself acceptable by saying that I had been to San Salvador in search of a government, and had not been able to find any. The fact is, although I was not able to get into regular bu. siness, I was practising diplomacy on my own account all the time; and in order to define at once and clearly our relative positions, I undertook to do the honours of the town, and invited General Figoroa and all his officers to breakfast. This was a bold stroke, but Talley. rand could not have touched a nicer chord. They had not eaten anything since noon the day before, and I be. lieve they would have evacuated their empty conquest for a good breakfast all round. They accepted my invitation with a promptness that put an end to my small stock of provisions for the road. General Figo. roa confirmed the intelligence of Morazan's defeat and flight, and Carrera's pursuit, and the “invincible chief” would perhaps have been somewhat surprised at the pleasure I promised myself in meeting him
With a very few moments' interchange of opinion, we made up our minds to get out of this frontier town as soon as possible, and again to go forward. I had almost abandoned ulterior projects, and looked only to personal safety. To go back, we reasoned, would carry us into the very focus of war and danger. The San Salvador people were furious against strangers, and the Honduras troops were invading them on one side, and Carrera's hordes on the other. To remain where we were was certain exposure to attacks from both parties. By going on we would meet Carrera's troops, and if we passed them we left war behind us. We had but one risk, and that would be tested in a day. Under this belief, I told the general that we designed proceeding to Gua