240 LETTERS OF CORTES. men, (who always accompanied me,) to go forward and ascend the roughest place, and that a number of muske- teers and archers should follow him ; Juan Rodriguez, of Villa Fuerte, and Francisco Verdugo, captains, with their men, and some of the archers and musketeers, to ascend another place ; and Pedro Dircio and Andres de Monjaraz, captains, to attempt the other point with a few musketeers and archers ; and that when they heard a musket discharged, they should all resolve to ascend, and purchase victory or death. Immediately, on the discharge of a musket, they began the ascent, and suc- ceeded in depriving the enemy of two bends in the moun- tain, but were unable to get any farther, finding it impos- sible to hold on with their hands and feet on account of the unparalleled roughness and steepness of the declivity. The enemy hurled down rocks from the summit with their hands, and these rolling until broken into fragments which scattered in every direction, did infinite mischief ; and so violent were these assaults of the enemy, that two Spaniards were killed, and more than twenty /wounded. In short, they were unable by any means to pass beyond where they were. Seeing that it was impossible to ac- complish more than had been already done,- and that great numbers of the enemy were coming to the relief of those on the mountain, the whole country being full of them, I ordered the captains to return, and when they had de- scended, our horse made a charge upon the enemy on the plain, killing many with their lances ,- after which we pur- sued them for more than an hour and a half. As there were great numbers of the enemy, the horse sallied forth first to one side, and then the other, and after they had come in from the pursuit, I was informed by some of them that they had gone more than a league from where
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