Feigning sickness, hospitals worse than prison, attempt at escape by sea and betrayal. In about eleven months after I had been put in this place, I found that some of my companions had been sick, and, as the soldier informed me, had been sent to the hospital. I asked him where the hospital was. He told me it was in the town, nearly a half mile from the castle. I thought I would pretend to be sick too, and see if they would send me to the hospital---hoping I might thus find means to escape. I told the officer of the guard I was sick; and the doctor was sent for. As I heard the door opening, I struck my elbows against the bricks, which raised my pulse, so high, the doctor thought I had a fever, and directed that I should be sent to the hospital. They sent an Indian, who carried me there on his back. When I got there, although I had two pairs of irons on me, they put my legs in the stocks. They consisted of two large, hard logs, having each two half-circular holes in it, so that the top one shut down on the other. I found that, with the irons and stocks, there was no chance of extricating myself. In addition to this, there were ten thousand chinches biting me day and night. So I resolved the next day to say that I was well, and return to my castle. But, in the evening, I was taken with a violent fever. I suppose it was caused by my removal from a place where there was no air, to one where there was too much.
It was about twenty days before I began to recover. In this time it had become very sickly in the town; and the hospital was so crowded, that my room was filled. There was a man laid on each side of me. One of them died in about three hours after he came, and the other that night. The next morning two more died close by me. I began to think that, in a few more days, it would be my time; but I still improved. In all the time I had been in the hospital, my allowance was two ounces of bread in the morning, with some gruel; and the head of a fowl and some soup for dinner. As I began to recover, I had a great appetite, but my allowance was not increased. I had money, but was not allowed to purchase. One day a parson brought me a hen's head, as usual. As I was almost starved, I was in a very ill humor, and would have destroyed myself, but for the reflection that I should let Him take my life who gave it to me. I took the plate as he gave it to me, and asked him why it was that my share of meat every day was the head and neck. He answered me, in a very short manner, that I must eat that, or go to hell for more! I flew into such passion, that I rose and throw my plate at him, and hit him on the head, and, as the priests in that country have their heads shaven, hurt him very much; and as I happened to be out of my stocks at that time, I sprang to my water-pot and threw that at him also, but unfortunately missed him. Being very weak, the effort to throw the pot with violence caused me to fall on my back; but I got up again as well is I could, and got back to the plank where I lay. In the spring I made, I had skinned my ankles with my irons. I had scarcely sat down, when the sergeant of the guard came in, and put my head in the stocks, for throwing at the friar, where I was kept for fifteen days. My only regret was, that I did not kill him; as they would then have taken my life, and put an end to my sufferings.
While my head was in the stocks, the chinches ate all the skin off my neck, for I could not help myself. When my head was taken out of the stocks, I told them I was well, and they might send me to the castle. The doctor had, my irons taken off my legs, and in their place a chain, of about fifteen pounds' weight was fastened to each leg. By wrapping them around my waist, I could walk very well, though I was weak. I thought I would try to escape on the road to the castle, for there were but two soldiers guarding me, and they were armed with sabers. I started off with them, and had got about three hundred yards from the hospital, when we came by a house on the outside of the town, having a large garden. In this house the woman sold a kind of small-beer. As I had money with me, I asked the soldiers if they would drink some. They quickly agreed to it. We went in the house, and called for some. She brought it out and we drank it, and called for some more. I asked one of them to go with me into the garden, which he did. I walked with him to the back of the garden, and found a large bunch of pinks, which grow in that country as large as roses. I asked him to come-and see those fine pinks. He came, and, in landing him one, with the same hand I caught him by the neck, presenting my knife-blade, which I had held ready in my other hand, and told him if he did not give up his sword, I would kill him. He quickly obeyed, and asked me what I meant. I told him I was going off, and, if he would go with me, there would be no danger of being retaken. He said be must do so, or he would be put in prison in my place. I saw, however, that he was unwilling. I then gave him a dollar, and started, telling him to go and buy the worth of it in bread for the journey, as we had no provisions; and that I would wait for him at the burying-ground outside of the town. So I left him, and went out at the back of the garden, and, before he could let the officer of the fort know it, I was safe in the woods.
By means of a steel I had to strike fire, I cut off my irons, and ascended the side of a mountain, so that I could see all the town and castle. I sat down in a shady grove, where the singing of birds and the thought of being at liberty so charmed me, that I was as happy as any monarch. The sweet-smelling blossoms, interwoven with the shade, formed for me a palace; and, though I had been starved in the hospital, I did not feel hungry, nor was I weak. I felt strong and happy, and sat in that pleasant shade till night. I then made my way into the town, and went to a shop, where I supplied myself with bread, bacon, cheese, and a large gourd of brandy. As I was passing near the door of another shop, I heard two men speaking English in the house. As they came out, I spoke to them, and found that they were Irishmen, who belonged to a privateer, which had that day come into port from the city of Lima. I asked them what sort of a man their captain was, and if they thought I could talk to him. They said they would conduct me to the house, and ask him if he would be kind enough to have some conversation with me. They did so. He sent me word to come to his room; and when I went in, he asked me, of what country I was. I told him I was an American. He could hardly believe me, is I spoke Spanish as well as he could. I told him I wanted to go in the brig with him, and that I had been a prisoner such a time. He said he would clear me from that place, but then we had no time to talk about it; that I must go away and take care of myself till the next night, and then go on board the brig and hide myself well. He would then sail, and I would be safe.
I went to the woods that night, and spent all the next day in listening to the songsters of the, forest, being greatly pleased. When night came, I went where the sailors were to meet me, and found them waiting for me. They gave me sailors' clothes, and I went on board like a jolly tar, thinking I was safe. That night we broke the head out of a water-pipe, and at daybreak I took up my abode in it. There were about three hundred such pipes on board. About ten o'clock next day a guard came and searched the vessel, and, as I was not to be found on board, they returned to the shore. The vessel was to sail in about two hours. There was on board an old Portuguese cook, who knew I was concealed, though he did not know where. The old wretch fell out with some of the Irish sailors, and went ashore, and told the governor I was hid on board the vessel; that he saw me, and heard their knocking off the hoops of a barrel. The poor Irishman was arrested, and told that I was a king's prisoner, and, if he did not show where I was, they would send him to prison. They frightened the poor coward so, that he told them I was on board, and he would tell where I was. They came with him on board, and he showed them the water-cask in which I was concealed. It was rolled out, and I was well tied, so that I could not move. I was then thrown from the vessel down into the boat, which bruised me badly, though no bones were broken. I was then landed and carried to the castle again, where my new pairs of irons were put on me, and I was placed again in my little cell. I consoled myself with the thought that I had enjoyed a few hours of liberty, and had heard the birds sing, and perhaps might hear them again. sdct
Back to solitary confinement and the quija companion. After some reflections upon my hard fortune, my mind became easy; and I thought of my poor companion the lizard. As I had just come out of the light, it was so dark I could not see anything. The next day my lizard came down the wall, and, as soon as I saw him, I reached out my hand for him to come on it, but he was afraid to come into my hand as be had done before my departure. I gave him some boiled beef, and he ate it; but when I wanted to take him, be ran up the wall. It was four or five days before I could get him to know me; then he was as friendly as ever, and was the only companion I had. One day I began to twist me a small string out of the palmetto of my mat. This was my work for four or five days, when I had a small cord about ten yards long. I laid it aside; and a short time afterward, I went to look out through the small hole in the thick wall. I saw a woman pass by I called her. She stopped, and said "Where are you?" I said: "You can't see me; I am a prisoner, and I want you to do me one favor." She asked me what it was. I told her to bring me some spirits. She said if she could get them to me, she would do it. I told her I had a string, and, if she would bring it, I would put out my string, so that she could tie it to the end, and I could pull it into my cell. I had yet some money, and threw some out at the hole, which she took and went on. I got a small piece of mortar out of the wall, and tied it to the end of the string, as a weight. I threw it out at the hole, and when I felt that it struck bottom outside, I tied it to my arm, and sat like a fisherman waiting for a bite. After some time, I felt my string move; then I heard the woman say, "Pull" then she said, "I am going." So she left me pulling up my line, which I did with great caution. When it came in sight, I saw that it was a cow's bladder. As it was soft, I got it in with great ease, although the hole was small. When I got it in, I took a drink, and put the bladder under my head. I lay for sometime, when my door began to open. I took my bladder and put in my pot of water, and covered it with my old hat. It was an old priest, who had come out of curiosity to see if it was true that I had a gentle lizard. He asked to see it, and said the officers of the guard had told him of it. I called him Bill; he was in my bed. I took him in my hand and played with him. The old man observed that it was in the power of man to do anything, if he would but turn his attention to it. He then gave me some money, and left me. I then took another drink, and lay down; and, though I found I was drunk, I took care to hide the bladder. I can truly say that, during the year and five months I stayed in this cell the last time, the hour I was drunk, and unconscious of everything, was the only happy time I saw.
Employment of munitions expertise for the royalist captors allow escape. One day when the officer came to search my irons, to see if they were good, I heard him tell the sergeant he must have some rocks blasted. The sergeant told him he had hands to bore the holes, but no one that understood charging them. I told them, quickly, that was nothing, that I could do it to great perfection. They went away, and I thought no more of it. In about three days, however, the sergeant came and told me the governor had given orders that I should go and blast those rocks, as I had said I knew how. "You see," said he, "that I have befriended you; and if you act well, perhaps you may gain more privileges. But I am sure you won't try to get away, as I have done this to get you out." I said, "No" but I was determined not to lose an opportunity to escape, if possible for I was constantly thinking of the chance I had lost at Salamanca, when the lady offered to free me. As soon as the sergeant told me this, I was sure I would escape, or be shot, for I was resolved to risk my life on it the very first chance. So my irons were taken off, and a ten-foot chain placed on each foot. I wrapped them round my waist, and started with two soldiers to take care of me. At the point where I had to work, there were about forty prisoners, and only about twenty soldiers to guard them. On the second day I went out I got twenty-nine cartridges, and sent to buy me a brace of pistols, which cost me twenty-eight dollars. Of the money I brought from Chihuahua, I had yet left about one hundred and fifty dollars. I made my matches to blast the rock in the gallery of a house near by. I sent the woman that lived here, to purchase me twelve knives; which she did, and kept them in her house till I called for them. sdct
That night I began to talk to some of the prisoners, and told them it was in our power to escape; and, if they said the word, it should be done. I was to wait till the next day for the answer of the chief one among the prisoners. The next morning, as we were going out, he came to me, and said some of them would go if I would give them notice. I told him that afternoon was the time; that I was determined to make a start, and if any one wanted to go, when they saw me take a basket of stones on my shoulder to where the prisoners were throwing dirt, they must be ready; that I would give him twelve knives to distribute among them; that I should try to take a gun from a soldier, and all must do the same, and not to run until we had the soldiers running, which would be in less than ten minutes after we began. The pistols I was to get were to come at that time, as the man who was to bring them was to give them to me on the way. So we got to the place. I went to the house, where I got my cartridges and the knives. The latter I gave to the man who was to give them to the prisoners. He put them in his basket; and after a short time, he gave me the sign that he had distributed them.. I arose and asked the corporal if I might carry some baskets of dirt, to exercise myself. He granted it. I started and filled my basket with broken stone, and went to a soldier. All the prisoners were waiting for me to begin. I asked the soldier to strike me some fire. As he was doing it, I took a stone out of my basket and struck him on the temple. He fell; I took his gun, dropped my basket of stones, and began to fire. Most of the prisoners were throwing stones; some were running. The soldiers all fled---there was not one that stood.
By this time most of the prisoners had started. There were but two guns taken besides mine. Seeing a reinforcement coming from the castle, and all the prisoners gone, except a few cowards that were afraid to go, I started off with an old Spaniard, who had come with us from Natchez [The old Spaniard is believed to have been Luciano Garcia of Real de Charcas and Nacogdoches who was part of the Nolan Expedition--WLM]. I saw that he ran very slow, and halted and fired, telling him to go on. He ran about fifty yards, and came back with his hat full of stones, to help me fight. The other prisoners were gone, but the Spaniard and I made them retreat. I then told him he must go, that I could escape; but if I left him behind, he would be taken. He then started, and I thought he was gone; for after I fired three rounds, and saw twenty-five soldiers advancing, I started, but in fifty yards more I met him. Said I, "Where are you going?"---"I have come to help my old friend," said he, "and have brought more stones." I told him there were too many soldiers, and we must go. By this time they fired at us. I exchanged shots with them, and the old Spaniard threw stones. The next fire, a shot broke his thighbone. He then said, "My thigh is broke---make your escape; but, before you go, shoot me, for I would rather be shot than taken." But, as I could not do this, I started, with the bullets singing around me, and finally escaped from them with my chains on. After I ascended a mountain, I sat down, greatly fatigued with the race and battle. I felt so much distress for the loss of my old friend the Spaniard, that I forgot I had my chains to remove. I had come with him from Natchez, but had only been with him three days at Acapulco. He was the only one of my four companions from Natchez that would agree to take part with me in this enterprise.
After sitting awhile, I began to think of my chains. I had a razor and my old knife-blade; these I stuck together and made saws, with which I removed my chains in a few moments. After this was done, I walked along the mountain, to listen if I could hear any of the prisoners taking off their irons; but I could hear nothing. I then sat down on a rock, regretting the death of my old friend. And as I was thinking what I should do, and which way I should go---as I was alone---I saw a soldier coming up the mountain. I caught up my gun, and started to charge on him. He had only a sword. When he saw me, he said: "You must not shoot me, my friend. My name is Corral, who always promised to go with you; and, as I saw you had made your escape, I came in search of you to go with you." As he said this, I knew him, and told him I was happy of his company, for all were gone, and I was left alone. We then sat down on a rock, to consider what was best, and what course we should take. It was impossible to travel through the woods, for the thorns and vines formed such a thicket, that, except it is in a path cut out, you can make no speed. By this time, night was coming on; and we went down the mountain, where I got water, for I had nearly given out for want of it. We then took a road for a small village called Cojucan to the west of Acapulco. We traveled that night till my feet blistered, and the skin came off of them; for, until that night, I had not traveled any for two years. We stopped just at daybreak, in a thick wood, close by a cattle ranch; and soon in the morning we saw a man coming through the woods, with a large gourd on his back. I called him, and he came to me. I asked him how far it was to Cojucan. He said it was nine miles. Thinking it best to make some arrangements with him for provisions, I told him I was a sailor, and had left the king's ship in Acapulco; that I wanted to go and live up on the coast, and not return to that ship any more. I told him we had money to pay him for all the favors he would do us; and, if he would bring provisions to that or any other place he would select, I would pay him his own price; but that he must act like a man, and not tell any one he knew of such men. He said he was a poor man, but we might rely on him, and must go with him to a place where no one would go.
We started with him, and, after going about half a mile through thick brush and vines, he told us to stop there---that he was going to bring us that gourd full of coconut beer. In a short time he returned, bringing the beer. I gave him some money, and he returned to his cabin; and, in about two hours, he came with provisions, and we took breakfast. His wife also came with him, and brought some oil and rags to put on my feet; and, although they were very painful, the thought of being free made me the happiest man in the world. We stayed here three days, during which time the ranchero and his wife supplied us with fruits and provisions of all kinds. By this time my feet got so I thought I could continue my journey. My idea was, that, when we got some fifty or sixty miles farther along the coast, I would buy a jackass, as they are plenty in that country, and would answer to pack our provisions. Thus, in six months, I could reach the United States. When the good man brought us some fruit that evening, we told him we wished to start that night, and he must bring us sonic provisions for the journey, and pilot us to the town of Aloaca. He said he thought I had better wait till my feet were cured, as the distance was about fifty miles. As I told him I thought I could travel, he went home and returned just at dark with provisions, and we set out. My friend the soldier had a sword: I had only a stick; for, having lost the cock off my gun, I had given it to thc Indian ranchero. We then took the road to Acoacan, through which we had to pass to go to Atoaca. When we came near enough to hear the dogs barking in the town, I told the pilot it was best to stop there, and for him to go on to the town, and, if he met any guard, he was known by them, and they would not injure him; and he could tell them his wife was sick, and he, was going after medicine. The soldier said that was all right, but, as the barking showed the town to be distant, we could all go together nearer. The pilot agreed with him; so we went on some three hundred yards further, when we suddenly saw ourselves surrounded by about seventy men, who rose up on both sides of us! They demanded of us to surrender.
The poor pilot sat down, and was taken. I spoke to the soldier and said, "Stand you close by me, and don't leave me, and we will escape." So we both charged he with his sword, and I with my stick. As they had only swords and pikes, and no guns, we broke their ranks and went through together, and gained the thick woods. After we had gone about half a mile, they being in pursuit of us, we came to a lake, about three hundred yards wide; and, notwithstanding such places are full of alligators, I plunged in, and the soldier followed. We waded a good distance, then swam a little, and then waded out to the flags and rushes. After hard work in getting through them, we got on dry ground, but in a great thicket of vines and thorns. We began to work through them as well as we could, without knowing what distance we were from any town or settlement. Being fatigued, we stopped, and began to dry our clothes. My shoes were full of sand, and the skin not yet having grown on my feet, they gave me great pain. But I could get nothing to cure them in that place. It was just daybreak as we swam the lake, so we spent that day in the thicket. We cut down a cabbage tree, and got the top out of it, which was all we had to eat. The next morning we set out early, and worked through the forest till about sunset, when we heard a cock crowing at great distance from us. We went in that direction, and came in sight of a small village, as we thought, though it was only the houses of some stock-keepers. I saw a pen that had some calves in it. I told the soldier we would retire back into the woods and at night come back and kill a calf. He agreed to it, and we went back to the woods. We had eaten nothing that day but some fruit. We returned to the pen at night, but the calves were gone. So we passed that place that night, and went on to see if we could find a road leading in the direction we wished to go. We soon got into a path that seemed to lead in the right direction, and we followed it till daybreak. sdct
Recapture at Cojucan and return to Acapulco. By this time it was much larger and more frequently traveled. Continuing on after daylight, we met a man, and asked him the distance to the next house on the road. He said the next place was the town of Cacalutla, which was close by. We then concluded that our best way would be to conceal ourselves until night, and then pass by that village. We did so. The man we met was a constable, and returned back after we left the road, and raised two or three small villages. He had been informed of our escape the night before, and had orders to take us. We went into the bushes, and I, lay down and rested till evening, without having eaten anything; and, before night, we set out on our journey. We went through some old farms, and passed around the town of Cacalutla, and fell into a road which led in the direction we wished to travel. About ten o'clock at night, we came to a small creek. We crossed it, and, just as we crossed on the other bank, about thirty men sprang up and ordered us to surrender. We both stuck together, as we had done before---I with my stick, and the soldier with his sword. But in the first charge, a person behind the soldier struck him with a cutlass and disabled his arm, so that he could not fire. He then ran. Some of them pursued him; the others surrounded me. My feet were so sore I could not run, so I was forced to fight. I broke through them by knocking one of them down with my stick. But I did not get more than forty yards, when I was surrounded again. I was determined to be killed before I would be taken; but one of them behind me bit me on the temple with a large stick, which knocked me senseless. When I came to myself, I was strongly tied, and saw my companion by me in the same condition. We were carried back to the village, where a new guard took charge of us and carried us back to Cojucan. Here we found our poor friend the ranchero, who had brought us provisions in the woods. Here I was ironed and put in the stocks, and two soldiers left to guard us. I struck up a trade with the guard to turn us loose, and agreed to pay them, forty dollars, which was about half the money I had. They agreed to it. I got one of them to buy me two old knives, which I struck together till I made saws of them. I then tried them on the lock of the stocks, and we saw that in a few minutes we could get loose. We then waited only for night, to cut ourselves loose, and felt sure of our escape. But, to our great misfortune, just at dark, we saw twenty Indians coming up, armed with bows and arrows. One of the guards asked them what they had come for. They said they had been sent by the governor to guard the prisoners, and especially the American, who, if not well guarded, would make his escape. The first-named guard told them to go home, as he and his companion would take care of us. He said this, knowing, if we did not escape, he would lose twenty dollars. The Indians said, no, they must stay, or the governor would punish them.
So they put out two sentinels, and sat down. I now saw that all hope of escape was lost, and I resigned myself to my fate, knowing that I would be sent back to the castle the next day. I spent that night without closing my eyes. The next morning, early horses were brought, and we were carried again to Acapulco. I was taken to the governor, who, as soon as he saw me, said:
He ordered them to take me back to the castle, and he would come there. I had not been long in the castle when the governor came. He ordered them to bring a large mulatto, and had me chained to him. We were put in a room where there were some twenty prisoners. That night one of the prisoners whispered to me, that the governor had told the mulatto, if he would take care of me, he would deduct a year of his time; and if I didn't obey him, be could whip me if he chose. I thanked him for the information. This mulatto was very sulky, and said nothing to me. I was dubious that, from his great size, he would flog me; but I was determined to try him the first word he said to me. Three days after I had been chained to him, we were taken out into the yard of the castle to eat breakfast. As I went to reach to get my broad, he jerked the chain, and threw me down. Near by me was half a bull's skull, with one horn on it. I went back the length of my chain, got the skull, and struck him with it on the head, which knocked him down. I continued my blows; he bellowed, "Murder!" the guard came and took the skull from me. The mulatto begged to be let loose from me. The news soon reached the governor, who ordered him to be separated and me to be flogged. But the officer did not flog me. I had a wheel put on my neck, so large that I could not reach the rim of it. Of all the modes of punishment, this was new to me. I could not move with it. I was in this situation four hours, when it was taken off, and I was taken back to my little cell, with two pairs of irons on me. Here I spent my time better. All was silent, and nothing to disturb me. I looked for my poor lizard, but he did not make his appearance. Two days after, he came down the wall; but he had got wild, and would not come to me. At last I caught him, and he became as gentle as usual. The governor of the castle wrote to the viceroy that he could not be responsible for me, and I must be sent to another fort. The viceroy sent orders that I must be taken to the East Indies, to a place called Manilla, where the king of Spain had possessions. I was to be sent in the first ship that sailed for that place. When I heard the news, I was well pleased; for I thought that, in a new place, I might stand a chance to get with some nation of Indians on that island. I knew it was inhabited by savages, and hoped for some chance to escape among them. As there was no ship ready, I had to wait, and keep company with my lizard, which I had determined to take with me if I went. I will relate the fate of the soldier who was taken at the same time with me. He was tried, and sentenced to ten years of slavery at Vera Cruz. My old friend the Spaniard, who had his thigh broken when I made my escape, died of the wound.sdct
The Mexican revolution offers release to fight with the royalists. While I was waiting for a ship, a revolution took place in Mexico, who had declared her independence. It went on with great force. They were turning all the prisoners into soldiers, and, among the rest, my four companions. About a week after all the prisoners, except myself, had been made soldiers, a man came and asked me if I would help them fight, if he would take me out. I said I would. He went to the governor, and told him that, as I had been so venturesome in trying to escape, I would be a good soldier; and asked him to let me be taken out. This was granted; and I was brought out of my small room, my irons taken off, and a gun and sword given me. I was then in a good fix for war. But yet the republican party was not less than three hundred miles distant. I did my duty well for fifteen days, until I had conversed with the soldiers on the subject of the revolution. They asked me what it meant. I told six or seven of them---such as I could trust---that it was a very great thing, and that all the natives of the country ought to join them; for the republicans intended to free their country from the king of Spain, and be the owners of their country themselves; that the Spaniards had taken it from them about three hundred years ago; that they intended to run all the Europeans out of the country, and then the natives would be generals and colonels, and all the riches would fall into their hands. Those to whom I said this were well pleased; but I charged them to say nothing about it to any person that would tell; and, if they said anything to any one, not to mention my name. In about three days after, one of them came to me, and said that he wished to go and join the patriots, if I would go. I told him to go and see how many men he could get to join and take their guns; then to let me know, and I would tell him whether I would go. But he said I knew more about it than they did, and, if I did not go, they could not. I told him to get what men he could, and I would go.
Meeting Jose Morelos. I then went to my four companions that had come from Natchez and tried them. They told me I was crazy to talk about it, for, if it was found out, I would be hung. I told them it was all a joke, and we said no more about it. The next day my soldier cartridge-box [unreadable]. I told him I would let them know when. So he left me. The next morning we had orders to embark, and land at a place five miles from Acapulco, called Marques. After we landed, Coseo, the commanding officer, called for volunteers to ascend the river, and find out where the rebel Morelos was. Six European Spaniards, one of my companions, named William Danlin, and myself, stepped to the front and offered our services. We received our orders, and started. We went up the river about three miles, when we came to a house where there were a great many fowls. The Spaniards said they must have some. I told them that, while they were catching them, I would go on ahead, and look out for the enemy. They agreed to it. I soon saw a company of the patriot militia. I stepped to one side of the road, and they did not see me till they came up. They had done duty at the fort, and knew me. I spoke to them, They said they knew I would not fight against them, and were overjoyed to see me. I told them there were, at the house below, six Spaniards, and William Danlin, whom they knew; that they could go and take them. They did so, and not one escaped. One of them stayed back with me, and tied me fast, by agreement, so that they should see that I was a prisoner. We were immediately taken to the camp of Morelos, where he had about one hundred and fifty men, and about twenty old broken guns. They told him who we were, and he said he wanted us to assist him in the struggle for one, told him I was a republican, and that was what I had come for. He then pointed to the twenty old guns and a small swivel, and showed us about six pounds of powder, which (being asked by us) he said was all he had. He said he had about a pound of saltpeter and two pounds of sulphur, but none of his people knew how to make it into powder. I told him I could do it; and got some women to grind it on the rocks they ground corn on for bread, and by night it was all ready to dry.
We informed Morelos that there were with us, before our capture, about two hundred well-armed men; that they would perhaps go up the river the next day to hunt for us; and that if he would go to a certain place where the road ran near to a lake, and lay an ambuscade in the rocks, and fire on them, he might drive them back. Next morning, at daylight, Morelos and his men marched to the place designated, and fired on them before they knew he was there. He killed two of them, and they broke back. That day I was drying the little powder I had made; and, seeing that we were in a bad fix to make headway, I told Morelos that, by going back, I could get seventy of the men on the king's side to desert and come with me. He said be would trust me, and directed me to go as if I had made my escape. As all that had been taken with me were confined except William Danlin and myself, I started with him that night, though he knew nothing of my plan. About ten o'clock the next day I got back to my old quarters (where I had suffered so long), with a view to take revenge for former sufferings. But if my plan had been discovered, I would not have lived two hours. I was well received by the king's officer, and again supplied with arms, and a new suit of clothes, which came in good time, as I was almost naked. I was asked what force Morelos had. I told him about a thousand men, well armed. The king's officer concluded then not to attack him without a more respectable force. I told him this to stop him till I could arrange my plan. In about ten days news came that a colonel, by the name of Parras, was advancing with about four hundred men, and that we were to meet him in the pass of the Sabano, miles from where Morelos was encamped with his small army. We went, three hundred in number, and joined Colonel Parras. We were then seven hundred strong. In about ten days move, three hundred more men were to join us, and we were to attack Morelos with the whole force.
All this time I had sent no word to Morelos. Some of us were sent out to kill white cranes, to get feathers to distinguish our men, as they were militia, and had no uniforms. I strayed to a house, where I found two women, whose husbands were with Morelos. I sent word by them to him to send a confidential man to meet me at that house the next day, and he would hear from me. That night 1 spoke to the sergeant, who had before wished to go with me, to be ready when I called on him. He said he would. The next day, when I went out to kill more cranes, I went and met the man sent by Morelos, and told him to tell Morelos to send, the third night after that, all the men be had to an old house about half a mile from our camp. I then returned, and the arrangement was all made. The night came. The seventy men, who had agreed to go over to the republicans, had managed to get on a picket-guard. About seven o'clock at night, I left the king's camp, took with me Mariano Tobares and Juan De Leon, and went to where I was to meet Morelos' men. Morelos' men, commanded by Julian de Abila, came about eleven o'clock. They were five hundred and twenty-seven in number, armed with thirty-six old guns, and the balance with lances and bows and arrows, and some with nothing but sticks. I made up my mind that night to die or be revenged. The sign and countersign were to be, when one said, "Who lives?" the other should answer, "Silence."
The king's camp was on the bank of the river. The artillery---four pieces---was mounted on the bank, pointed across the river, which was about knee-deep. In the king's camp were about two hundred regulars, stationed next to the artillery. We crossed the river below the camp, and came up under the bank till we got opposite the guns. We mounted the bank, killed the sentinel, took possession of the cannons, and turned them on the camp. This took them so suddenly, that the regulars surrendered without fighting. The balance of the king's army came running up, and asked what was the matter. By this time our patriots had armed themselves with the guns of the regulars, and we took the enemy nearly all prisoners, killing only three of them. We took five hundred and thirty-six prisoners, and all their arms and ammunition. Colonel Parras, without hat or uniform, mounted a horse barebacked, and escaped. The next day, four hundred of the prisoners---in fact, all the natives---joined our flag; so that, in one night, we had become respectable in men and arms. The three hundred men, who were also to have joined the royalists, camped that night in six miles of us; but getting news of the affair from some who had escaped, they struck their camp, and retreated for safety. They made no halt till they reached Huacaca, a city on the Pacific ocean. The next morning, General Morelos came up to the battle ground about nine o'clock. We were all in motion with our cannons and prisoners, and you may well conceive that we had a joyful meeting.