A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 04 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 764 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 04.
he at length agreed to his proposal, and at the same time wrote for ten or twelve veterans, then residing in Coatzacualco, of whom I was one, desiring us to accompany Rangel on this expedition.  The country of the Zapotecas is composed of high and rugged mountains, always enveloped in clouds and mists, with such narrow and bad roads as to be unfit for cavalry, so steep that they must be climbed up like ladders, each successive soldier of the file having his head at the heels of the man immediately before him.  The natives of these mountains are light and active, and have a way of whistling and shouting, so as to make the hills resound again, insomuch that it is hardly possible to know on which side they are coming to attack.  Against such enemies in so strong a country, and with such a leader, it was impossible for us to effect any thing.  We advanced, however, under heavy rain, to a scattered village, part of the houses being situated on a rocky ridge, and the rest in a valley, and well it was for us that the Indians made no stand, as poor Rangel whined and moaned the whole way, complaining of pains in his limbs, and the severity of the weather.  It was at last agreed, as he grew every day worse and worse, that we could be of no use here, and were exposing ourselves needlessly to danger, to abandon this fruitless expedition, and return to our homes.  Pedro de Ircio was among the first who advised this, and soon set the example, by retiring to his own town of Villa Rica; but Rangel chose rather to go along with us to Coatzacualco, to our great dissatisfaction, as he expected benefit from that warm climate to relieve him of his pains.

We were hardly returned to Coatzacualco, when Rangel took it into his head to go upon an expedition against the Indians of Cimatan and Tatupan, who continued in rebellion, confiding in the impracticability of their country, among large rivers and trembling marshes; being also very formidable warriors, who used very long bows of great strength.  We were all very averse from this, but as Rangel produced his commission from Cortes, we were under the necessity to obey, and accordingly set out on the expedition, with about 100 horse and foot.  We soon arrived at a pass among lakes and marshes, where the Indians had thrown up a strong circular entrenchment of large trees and pallisades, having loop-holes to shoot through, and where they gave us a very warm reception with a flight of darts and arrows, by which they killed seven horses, and wounded Rangel and eight of our men.  We had often told him what stout warriors these Indians were, and he now declared that in future the old conquerors should command him, and not he us, for he would not have been now in such jeopardy if he had listened to our advice.  When our wounded men and horses were dressed, he requested me to go forward to reconnoitre, on which I took two comrades, and a fierce dog belonging to Rangel, desiring the infantry to follow close behind, but that Rangel and the cavalry might keep at a good

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