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Page:The despatches of Hernando Cortes.djvu/419

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CONQUEST OF MEXICO. 397 Having satisfied myself by this fresh intelHgence of the existence of a rebelhon amongst the natives of that province, and of the murder of several Spaniards, I de- spatched with the greatest possible expedition a force consisting of fifty cavaliers and one hundred foot, inclu- ding bowmen and musketeers, together with four pieces of artillery, much powder and other munitions, under the command of a Spanish captain,* accompanied by two natives of this city, each at the head of fifteen thou- sand of their country Qien. I directed the captain to march with the utmost speed to that province, and exert himself to enter it without stopping any where, unless it should be absolutely necessary, until he arrived at the town of Santistevan del Puerto, in order to obtain intel- ligence of the inhabitants and people who had been left there ; for it might be that they were invested by the enemy, and in want of succor. The captain accordingly took up his line of march with all possible expedition, and entered the province ; he encountered the enemy in two places, but God our Lord granting him the victory, he pursued his way until he reached the town, where he found twenty-two of the cavalry and one hundred foot besieged by the enemy, with whom they had fought six or seven engagements ; by means of their artillery they had so far succeeded in the defence of the place, although unable to hold out much longer, even with the greatest exertions in their power ; and if the captain I had sent there had delayed his march three days, not one of them would have survived, for they were already perishing with famine. They had sent to Vera Cruz one of the vessels belonging to Francisco de Garay, to carry me in-

  • Gonzalo de Sandoval.