Open main menu

Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/333

This page needs to be proofread.


CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 311 for the enemy to sally forth, who Dot making their appear- ance, they pretended to retreat. The enemy from fear that they would turn about and charge upon them as usual, had taken refuge behind walls and on terraces in great numbers. And when the cavalry, now eight or nine in number, turned about to pursue them, a part of the enemy having succeeded in taking possession of the entrance to a street on high ground, our men were un- able to follow them as they fled along that street, but were compelled to resume their retreat. The enemy, elated with having forced us to retire, were seized with a sort of frenzy, but acted with such prudence that they confined themselves to situations from which they could not be reached, while the cavalry suffered great annoy- ance from the troops posted behind walls, and were com- pelled to leave the ground with two horses wounded. This occurrence led me to order a strong ambuscade, as I shall hereafter relate to your Majesty. On that eve- ning we returned to our camp, after having well secured all that we had taken, while the enemy exulted in the belief that our retreat had been caused by fear. The same evening I sent a messenger to the alguazil mayor, directing him to come to our camp with fifteen horse from his own division and that of Pedro de Alvarado. The next morning the alguazil mayor arrived with fifteen horsemen, and I had with me twenty-five others from the division of Cuyoacan, making forty altogether. Ten of these I ordered to sally forth in the morning with our main force, and in connexion with the brigantines, to attack the enem}^ and demolish the houses of the city in the usual manner, to as great an extent as possible ; and I proposed to come up with the other thirty horse when it would be time for them to retire. I also directed them,