Their rashness, however, led to the discovery that Laborde's force had taken up a strong position in front of the village of Rolica, and that he apparently intended to give battle there. The next day was spent in reconnoitring the French position. It was a very strong one. Rolica stood on a table-land rising in a valley, affording a view of the road as far as Obidos.
Some five thousand men under General Ferguson were to ascend the hills on the left of the valley, while Trant, with a thousand Portuguese infantry and some Portuguese horse, were to move on the hills on the right; the centre, nine thousand strong, and commanded by Sir Arthur himself, were to march straight up the valley. Early in the morning the British troops marched out from Obidos.
Norris Idaho and after trapping there a few weeks we sold out and began to prepare for our long contemplated trip to the Amazon river South America. We sailed from Frisco in July For Brazil Via Cape horn. We landed seventeen days later in the good port Para, and from there reshipped for Obidos and from there fitted out for a new experience.
His force was conveyed to Villa Franca by water, and the general then pushed forward to Santarem, where he found Loison, and took command of his division. The British advanced guard, after arriving at Caldas, pushed forward, drove the French pickets out of Brilos, and then from Obidos. Here, however, a slight reverse took place.
Soon the jangada glided between interminable plantations of cocoa-trees with their somber green flanked by the yellow thatch or ruddy tiles of the roofs of the huts of the settlers on both banks from Obidos up to the town of Monto Alegre.
Then there opened out the mouth of the Rio Trombetas, bathing with its black waters the houses of Obidos, situated at about one hundred and eighty miles from Belem, quite a small town, and even a "citade" with large streets bordered with handsome habitations, and a great center for cocoa produce.
At last, notwithstanding the tide, which since leaving Obidos had begun to be felt, and which somewhat checked the progress of the raft, the town of Monto Alegre was passed, then that of Pravnha de Onteiro, then the mouth of the Xingu, frequented by Yurumas Indians, whose principal industry consists in preparing their enemies' heads for natural history cabinets.
His position was an exceedingly difficult one; his orders were to cover the march of Loison from Abrantes, and to form a junction with that general; but to do so now would be to leave open the road through Alcobaca and Obidos to the commanding position at Torres Vedras.
Batalha offered no position that he could hope to defend until the arrival of Loison; therefore, sending word to that general to move from Torras Novas, as soon as he reached that town, to Santarem, and then to march to join him at Rolica, he fell back to Alcobaca and then to Obidos, a town with a Moorish castle, built on a gentle eminence in the middle of a valley.
Eventually we found ourselves through the narrows of Obidos and reached the town of Manaos. Here we were rescued from the limited attractions of the local inn by Mr. Shortman, the representative of the British and Brazilian Trading Company. In his hospital Fazenda we spent our time until the day when we were empowered to open the letter of instructions given to us by Professor Challenger.