244 LETTERS OF CORTES. Coadnabaced, in which was a large force of the enemy.* The town was well defended by its situation, being sur- rounded by mountains and ravines, some of the latter fifty or sixty feet in depth ; and no horsemen could enter the place except by two ways, which were then unknown to us, and even these rendered it necessary to make a circuit of more than a league and a half to find the en- trance. There were, indeed, bridges of wood that led into the town, but these were raised, and were so strong and so well secured that although we had been ten times as numerous, we could not have made use of them. As we advanced towards the place, the enemy shot a great number of arrows, darts, and stones at us ; and while we were deliberating what course to take, a Tlascallan crossed over without being observed by them, by a very dangerous passage. When the enemy suddenly discov- ered him, they imagined that the Spaniards had efiected an entrance at that point, and alarmed they blindly fled, pursued by the Indians and three or four young persons, servants of mine, with two others belonging-to a captain's command, who, when they saw the Indian pass over, had followed him and crossed to the other side. In the mean time I began to lead the way with the cavalry to the mountain to find an entrance to the town, while the Indians, our enemies, were constantly shooting darts and arrows at us, there being only a ravine, like a ditch, between them and us.t While they were thus engaged, the five Spaniards that had crossed over, whom they had not seen, suddenly came upon their rear, and began to
- Cuernabaca, before called Cuaunahuac, is a very pleasant and very strong
place ; where are still preserved the houses of Cortes, used as a fortress, together with other memorials of the conquest. — L. t This ravine yet exists, and the description of Cortes still holds true. — L.