"It's just because you're here that we're moving," laughed Plaza. "Directly Bolivar caught sight of you and Crawford yesterday morning, he determined to march. 'Canterac won't stand against those fellows, he said." "Bolivar is a capable fellow and a good judge," said Alzura. "I wonder where General Miller is." "Went off in the night, reconnoitring with a party of mountaineers.
The younger ones were grumbling because San Martin did not at once attack the enemy, saying that Canterac would slip away to the mountains in the night. "Then his army will break up of its own accord," remarked a grizzled major. "He can't take his guns, and his troops are starving. Hundreds will throw down their weapons on finding us close at their heels."
"It contains a full list of the troops just dispatched to the south, and of those still remaining in Lima, with an exact statement as to the quantity of their stores and ammunition. It describes their position, and advises General Canterac how he can best enter Lima and seize Callao.
After the above-mentioned defeat of the Peruvian army by Canterac, San Martin had been compelled to withdraw his forces from Truxillo, on which Sucre, the next in command to Bolivar, advanced to Guayaquil and took possession of it.
"Well, Jack," exclaimed my old friend, on finding that I was really not much hurt, "you gave Miller a fine fright. He thought you were either dead or carried off. His troops are back in Lima. It seems Canterac was too good for you." "He flung half his army at us," I responded rather sulkily, for one does not like being reminded of a beating. "It must have been a matter of ten to one.
From them we learned that General Canterac had halted in a strong position halfway up the mountain; upon which I could see, by his restlessness, that the colonel was eager to resume the pursuit at once. A glance at his wearied men, however, showed him the folly of such an enterprise. "No," said he at last; "they couldn't stand it." Which was quite true.
Canterac is a fine soldier, and will be ready for us now; but I am going to see if he has left any weak places. Would you care to come with me?" "You're just a jewel, colonel," exclaimed the big Irishman enthusiastically, "and I'm eternally devoted to you. When do we start?" "Directly after breakfast. Will you take some with me?"
I found him later, with a hole in his side and a nasty gash across the face. He was not dead, however, and with assistance I carried him to the village, where a surgeon dressed his wounds. Then I returned to my regiment. "It's all over!" cried Alzura exultantly. "The viceroy is taken prisoner, and Canterac has come to sue for terms. He is with Sucre now." "Where is Plaza?"
"Canterac has the start of us now," said one, "and we shall never overtake him. We had the game in our hands, and have simply thrown it away." The grizzled major remained optimistic, saying, "You may depend that San Martin has some scheme in his head." But the rest of us were doubtful.
"Then I ask the worthy Don's pardon for suspecting him without cause. But how did you get here?" "I was brought in a wagon." "Lucky dog! Always lucky, Juan. I had to walk," and he showed me his feet, naked, and scored with cuts. After sympathizing with him, I asked him how events were shaping. "Canterac did not capture Callao, as he hoped, and is now back in the highlands.