Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/322

This page needs to be proofread.

300 LETTERS OF CORTES. Two days after the defeat, which was already known throughout the adjacent districts, some of the inhabitants of a place called Quarnaguacar, [Cuernavaca,] who were subject to the city, but had joined our allies, came to the camp and reported that the people of Marinalco, their neighbors, had done them much mischief and laid waste their country ; that they had now formed an alliance with the large province of Cuisco, and were about to wage a destructive war against them, on account of their having become subjects of your Majesty and allies of ours ; and that they intended after subduing them to march against us. Although so short a time had elapsed since our dis- aster, and we were in a situation rather to require succor than to give it, yet as they urged the matter with great importunity, I determined to go to their assistance ; and notwithstanding much opposition on the part of our people, who said that to send away from the camp any part of our force would be ruinous to ourselves, I des- patched in company with the people v;ho had asked our aid eighty foot and ten horse, under the command of Andreas de Tapia, whom I particularly charged to do whatever would most promote the service of your Ma- jesty, and our own security, but, as he saw the necessi- tous condition in which we were placed, not to consume more than ten days in going and returning. He departed, and having reached a little village between Marinalco and Coadnoacad, he found the enemy expecting him. Being joined by the people of Coadnoacad, he com- menced the attack at once, and with such gallantry did our men acquit themselves, that they routed the enemy and pursued them until they took refuge in Marinalco. That town stands on a very lofty 'height, inaccessible to cavalry ; and on that account, after destroying whatever