CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 149 prevented our walking about. I sallied forth at two or three different points, where they were engaged stoutly with our men ; and at one time, when a captain had led forth 200 men, they fell upon them before he had time to form them in order, and killed four of their number, besides wounding the captain and several others. I was also wounded, and many of the Spaniards who were with me engaged in another quarter. We destroyed fe<^ of the enemy, because they took refuge beyond the bridges, and did us much injury from the roofs of houses and terraces, some of which fell into our possession and were burned. But they were so numerous and strong, and so well defended and supplied with stones and other arms, that our whole force was not sufficient to talie them, nor to prevent the enemy from attacking us at their pleasure. The attack on the fortress or garrison was made with such violence that they succeeded in setting fire to seve- ral parts of it, and a considerable portion of it was burned without our being able to prevent it, until we cut away the walls and levelled a portion of the building with the ground, by which we obstructed the progress of the fire, and extinguished it. And had it not been for the great caution that I used in posting musketeers, archers, and several pieces of artillery, they would have scaled our walls in broad daylight without our being able to resist them. Thus we fought all that day until the darkness of night enveloped us, and even then they continued to assail us with noises and alarms till daylight. That night I directed the breaches caused by the fire to be re- paired, together with all other parts of the garrison that seemed to require it ; and I arranged the quarters, de- termining who were to remain in them the next day, and 20
Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/171
This page needs to be proofread.