Owing to the nature of the country and the character of the people, a Cuban revolution had its peculiarities. The island is a very long and rugged mountain chain surrounded by fertile, cultivated plains. The insurgents from their mountain refuges spied out the land, pounced upon unprotected spots, burned crops and sugar mills, and were off before troops could arrive.
General Lefebvre- Desnouettes met more resistance at Tudela, where the insurgents had broken down the bridge over the Ebro. On the 15th June he was before Saragossa, where Don Joseph Palafox had shut himself up; the whole population covered the roofs of the houses, where there was a constant hail-storm of musket balls.
The ill-faith shown to the Moors of the plain gave rise to an insurrection in the mountains, in which the Spaniards suffered a severe defeat. The insurgents, however, were soon subdued, and most of them, to prevent being driven from their homes, professed the Christian faith. By the free use of torture and the sword the kings of Spain had succeeded in adding largely to their Christian subjects.
The gentry of the disturbed districts rushed into the nearest towns for protection; police from the outlying barracks were called in to reinforce the threatened stations, and troops were hastily summoned from Dublin and the neighbouring garrisons. Meanwhile parties of the insurgents began to move about.
A few men armed with cutlasses, muskets, and pistols appeared to act as leaders; soon a search was made in neighboring houses for arms. I was surprised to see how many boys were in the ranks of the insurgents. They went to work as if insurrection were a frolic. I shuddered as I thought how many of them would be shot or bayoneted before night fell. The sentiments of the spectators seemed different.
The group of insurgents who were defending the centre retreated in confusion. Then the gloomy love of life awoke once more in some of them. Many, finding themselves under the muzzles of this forest of guns, did not wish to die. This is a moment when the instinct of self-preservation emits howls, when the beast re-appears in men.
Setting aside as logically unfounded or practically inadmissible the recognition of the Cuban insurgents as belligerents, the recognition of the independence of Cuba, neutral intervention to end the war by imposing a rational compromise between the contestants, intervention in favor of one or the other party, and forcible annexation of the island, I concluded it was honestly due to our friendly relations with Spain that she should be given a reasonable chance to realize her expectations of reform to which she had become irrevocably committed.
The insurrection was crushed. The royal troops admitted a loss in killed and wounded of 417. The loss of the insurgents can never be known, as both the dead and the wounded were generally conveyed away and secreted by their friends. On the morning of the 6th, the leaders of the Liberal party were sanguine of success. But the unexpected display of governmental force rendered the revolt hopeless.
Though the young nobleman fought like a lion, he was forced to retreat, and soon Claverhouse was compelled to follow his troops in their flight; as he passed Henry Morton and the other prisoners just released from their bonds, Evandale's horse was shot, and Morton rushed forward just in time to prevent his being killed by Balfour himself in hot pursuit. III. The Presbyterian Insurgents
On the 24th the insurgents were attacked when in the intricate passes of the mountains and encumbered with baggage-wagons, women, and camp-followers. Though thus taken at a disadvantage, they defended themselves vigorously, the mass of them falling in the mountain passes or being driven over the cliffs and precipices.