Not knowing what was become of Giron, Alvarado issued orders to repair the bridges over the Apurimac and Abancay, intending to pass that way in quest of the rebels.
Still pressing forward, the Spanish captain crossed the river Abancay, and the broad waters of the Apurimac; and, as he drew near the sierra of Vilcaconga, he learned that a considerable body of Indians lay in wait for him in the dangerous passes of the mountains.
The crash of this immense enterprise was too much for Don Juan. Threatened with creditors, Jews, escribanos and the police, he retired to a silver-mine he was opening in the province of Abancay. This mine, in successful operation, he depended on for satisfying his creditors. He found it choked up, destroyed with a blast of powder by some enemy.
Yet so rapid was the current, that above sixty horses were lost on this occasion, either drowned or dashed against the rocks. Fifty leagues even from Abancay would have carried the army almost to Arequipa, to turn the head of the Apurimac, and among the highest mountains of Peru.
The conspirators experienced a still more determined opposition from Alonso de Alvarado, one of the principal captains of Pizarro,-defeated, as the reader will remember, by the elder Almagro at the bridge of Abancay, and now lying in the north with a corps of about two hundred men, as good troops as any in the land.
Such was the battle of Abancay, as it was called, from the river on whose banks it was fought, on the twelfth of July, 1537. Never was a victory more complete, or achieved with less cost of life; and Almagro marched back, with an array of prisoners scarcely inferior to his own army in number, in triumph to Cuzco.17
Almagro's March To Chili Suffering Of The Troops- He Returns And Seizes Cuzco Action Of Abancay- Gaspar De Espinosa Almagro Leaves Cuzco- Negotiations With Pizarro While the events recorded in the preceding chapter were passing, the Marshal Almagro was engaged in his memorable expedition to Chili.
The president, having completed his preparations, began his march from Jauja in good order on the 19th of December 1547, taking the route of Cuzco, and especially desirous of crossing the river Abancay in some safe place. In this part of his march he was joined by Pedro de Valdivia, the governor of Chili.
The same assurances respecting the marshal's safety were given by the governor to Bishop Valverde, and some of the principal cavaliers who interested themselves in behalf of the prisoner.2 Still Pizarro delayed his march to the capital; and when he resumed it, he had advanced no farther than the Rio de Abancay when he received tidings of the death of his rival.
Almagro marched out with his army and defeated the superior force of Alvarado in the battle of Abancay, in July, 1537, in which, through the generalship of Orgonez, Alvarado's troops were captured with little or no loss in Almagro's army. Almagro had left Gonzalo Pizarro behind in Cuzco, but had taken Hernando, heavily guarded, with him. Orgonez had urged Almagro to put both of them to death.