below, being at this time severely galled by our spies and boatmen, were firing at random, and here we had two men, Allen and Oats, wounded. The anxiety which Don Juan seemed to evince in getting out of the reach of the cavalry shots made us suspect him of falsehood as to the depth of the river. At any rate, I determined to ascertain the practicability of crossing by first trying it in person. The head of the line was halted for this purpose, and, after wading through the rapids,  I was greatly rejoiced to find it not more than waist deep. Returning with this favourable report, Colonel Fisher and myself headed the line and effected the crossing with the same silence which had been previously preserved, and which was greatly favoured by the roaring of the river at this point among the rocks.
I had been appointed to the command of the right wing, and by the time the extreme left was across the river, the right was in immediate contact with a picket of the enemy, about fifteen or twenty strong. The constant fire below, which had been kept up between our spies and their cavalry, had so diverted the attention of this picket, that they did not discover us until we were almost touching, when the whole of them, in the greatest possible alarm, simultaneously hailed us. They received for answer to their "quien viva?" "Let them have it, boys!" when about one hundred shots from the right wing were poured into them. They never returned the fire, or ever kicked that we know of, and the only thing now to break the silence, save the firing down the river, was the thundering voice of old Colonel Ramires,2 some few hundred yards off, commanding the cavalry to charge us; but this order was given in vain. During this incident, which happened in less time than we have been relating it, the alcalde, favoured by the darkness of the night, fled. He had been placed in special charge of one of the boat-hands, the old sailing-master,  a braver or better man than whom did not belong to the army; but his English blood had been aroused by the "quien viva" of the picket, and he had let them have the full benefit of his double-barrelled "Joe Manton." So soon as the report of our firing ceased, I spoke to the old sailing-master to look to the alcalde, and received for answer, "By my soul, general, he is adrift!"
We were now fairly in the suburbs of the city, and marching in the direction of the Military Square, which we had little doubt was the stronghold of the enemy. About fifty yards from the picket we entered a street at right angles, down which an officer, mounted and in full gallop, was passing. As he passed the head of our line, some dozen shots were fired at him, with what effect we do not know; his horse floundered, and passed out of our immediate path. The head of the line was wheeled to the right, up the street from whence this officer came, and proceeding about one hundred yards farther, it was necessary to reconnoitre the position of the enemy. Here a halt was ordered, when I passed the next corner upon our left, which opened upon a street that led directly into the square, and in which street was placed their artillery, around which a