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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/268

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246 LETTERS OP CORTES. from fatigue and want of drink ; many of the Indians even, who accompanied us, perishing with thirst. Seven leagues from that place we spent the night in camp. At dawn of day we resumed our route, and came in sight of a great city called Suchimilco, built on the fresh water lake. As the inhabitants were apprised of our coming, they had digged many ditches and canals, and raised the bridges at all the entrances into the city, which is three or four leagues distant from Temixtitan. The population was large and intelligent, and resolved to de- fend themselves or die in the attempt. As soon as we had arrived there, having collected our whole force and disposed it in the best manner, I dismounted from my horse and proceeded with several of the infantry towards a ditch they had made, on the other side of which were posted a considerable number of the enemy. When the engagement commenced, they suffered much loss from the crossbows and musketry, and fled in con- fusion, while the Spaniards threw themselves into the water and passing on reached terra jirma. In the half hour during which the fighting lasted, we took the princi- pal part of the city, and the enemy retreating through the streets of water fought in their canoes till night. Some of them sued for peace, and others continued fighting ; and they so often asked for a cessation of hos- tilities, that we came to the conclusion that it was done to enable them to carry away their goods in safety, or to gain time for the arrival of succors from Mexico and Temixtitan. This day two Spaniards were killed, who having left the ranks for the purpose of plunder found themselves beyond the reach of assistance from the rest of the army. In the evening jthe enemy endeavored to devise some