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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/327

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 305 allies, who were occupied in slaying those whom the cavalry had left behind. In this rout more than two thousand of the enemy perished. The infantry and allies, exceeding seventy thousand men, having reached the place where the cavalry had halted, began to advance towards the town, in which the enemy rallied, having placed their women, children and effects safe in a fortified place on a lofty height near at hand. But when our force rushed furiously upon them, they retreated to the fort which occupied a strong position on a steep and rough de- clivity. The town was burnt and plundered in a very short time, and as it was evening, the alguazil mayor was not desirous of attacking the fort, especially as the men were weary, having been fighting the whole day. The enemy spent all the night in shouting and making a con- stant din with horns and kettle drums. The next morning the alguazil mayor Led the way up to the enemies' fort, though with the fear of encountering a formidable resistance ; but when they reached the place, none of the enemy were to be seen ; and some of our Indian allies came down from the summit of the hill and informed us that there was no one left, but all the enemy had gone away at early dawn. At the same time there were many people on the surrounding plains, but these were Otumies ; the cavalry believing them to be enemies, rode towards them and struck three or four with their lances ; and as the language of the Otumies is different from that of Culua, they were not understood until they threw down their arms and approached the Spaniards, and even then three or four of them were pierced with lances ; but they were well aware that it happened from their not being known. Contrary to the expectations of the enemy, the Spaniards permitted them