George M. (George Makepeace) Towle.

Pizarro : his adventures and conquests online

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galloping of horses was heard ; and, before the
young Inca could conceal himself, Juan Pizarro
rode into the brush, followed by several horse-
men, and arrested him.


It appears that certain Peruvians, who were hos-
tile to Manco, had suspected his design, and had
watched him ; and no sooner had he escaped than
they ran and told Juan.

Manco was at once taken to the great fortress
overlooking the city, where he was imprisoned
under a strong guard.

It was at this moment that Hernando Pizarro,
that brother of the conqueror who had been to
Spain with the emperor's share of the treasure,
returned to Peru. After visiting the governor at
the City of the Kings, he repaired to Cuzco, of
which he took command.

Hernando, though by nature a stern, headstrong,
cruel man towards his own soldiers, was the most
gentle of all the Spaniards in his treatment of the
Peruvians. He alone had succeeded in winning
the friendship of poor Atahualpa, and had bit-
terly opposed that Inca's execution. On his re-
turn to Cuzco, he took the same care to cultivate
the good-will of the captive Manco. He ordered
the strictness of his confinement to be relaxed,
and sent him the choicest viands that Cuzco
afforded. Then he released him from imprison-
ment altogether, and made a companion of him.

258 PI2ARRO '.

Manco, with great craft, took advantage of Her-
nando's leniency. He still dreamed of liberty,
and of delivering Peru from the invader.

One day the Inca said to Hernando,

" Sir, I know of some secret caves where an
immense amount of treasure is hidden. They are
among yonder mountains ; and, if you will send
me thither with a small escort, I will speedily
bring all this treasure to you."

Hernando's insatiable love of gold disarmed his
usual caution. Forgetting the Inca's previous
escape, he let him go as he proposed, sending two
Spaniards with him. Once more Manco found
himself free ; nor did he hesitate to avail himself
of the opportunity. Ten days elapsed, and
Hernando still awaited in vain his return with
the promised treasure. Then Hernando became
alamed, and sent out his brother Juan, at the
head of sixty horsemen, in search of the royal

Juan rode at full gallop out upon the high-road,
directing his way straight towards the mountains.
He had not gone more than six or eight miles
when he met the two Spaniards who had accom-
panied Manco returning in all haste to the city.


"Captain," they cried, "go no farther! The
Peruvians have risen by thousands, and are pre-
paring to march on Cuzco. The mountains are
swarming with warriors. From every direction
they are flocking to the Inca's standard. He is in
their midst, and will lead them against us."

Despite this startling news, Juan resolved to
advance some distance farther. On reaching a
river, he saw on the opposite bank a great num-
ber of Peruvian troops. With all the rashness
and fire of a Pizarro, he plunged his horse into
the stream, and his comrades promptly followed
him. Climbing the opposite bank, they set
fiercely upon the Peruvians, and, after a hot fight,
succeeded in driving them back among the hills.
Juan then encamped upon the plain.

The next morning a sight which might well
fill him with dismay greeted his eyes. Looking
towards the mountains, he saw the defiles swarm-
ing with dense masses of Peruvian warriors ; and
presently he was assailed by clouds of javelins
and arrows. He fought bravely all day, and suc-
ceeded in keeping his innumerable foes at bay ;
but, perceiving that the Peruvian host was con-
stantly increasing, he at last gave up in despair,


recrossed the river, and retreated in all haste
upon Cuzco. At this juncture he received an
urgent message from Hernando, urging him to
return without delay, and apprising him that
Cuzco was already besieged by an immense army
of Peruvians.

As he approached the city, he saw that this was
but too true. It seemed to be completely sur-
rounded by the vast throng of besiegers. But he
dashed forward, and, scattering the Peruvians right
and left, succeeded in entering Cuzco without acci-

A terrible danger now hung over the Span-
iards ; and their valiant chief was far away on the
sea-coast, as yet in happy ignorance of the threat-
ened ruin of his conquest.




S the next morning dawned, and the
brothers looked from their watch-towers,
the city seemed enveloped, as far as eye
could reach, by a mighty multitude of Peruvian
braves. The plains, valleys, and hilltops seemed
covered with them ; while the wild warlike music
that resounded from their camps, and the fierce
cries that every now and then arose among them,
could not but make even the valiant Spaniards

Hernando had a force of only two hundred
men, including both cavalry and infantry, and a
thousand Peruvians, who, though devoted to the
conquerors, could be of but little use in an en-
counter with such an army as was gathered around
the city. To attack the beseigers was useless : he


could only wait until succor came from out-

But it soon became apparent that the enraged
besiegers did not intend to wait to starve out the


Spaniards. They attacked the city from every
side with intense ferocity. Showers of arrows,
stones, and spears, rained upon every street and
building. But this was not the worst. The
assailants shot into the midst of the city burning
arrows and red-hot stones, and ere long many of
the buildings were in flames. The Spaniards
could make no effort to stop the conflagration.
Happily they were encamped in the open square,
where they were protected from the flames, and
escaped being burned alive ; but in a few hours
Cuzco blazed, little better than a lurid ruin, all
around them. The flames raged and leaped from
tower to tower, from street to street. Lofty edi-
fices fell with a deafening crash ; and, when at last


the fire had devoured all it could reach, scarcely a
public building, except the great Temple of the
Sun and the Convent of the Virgins, remained.

Made desperate by this disaster, and by the
terrific storm of missiles that never ceased to fall,
Hernando led his gallant band again . and again


beyond the walls, and frantically attacked the
besiegers. But, each time that they sallied forth,
they were driven back with thinned ranks ; and at
last they were forced to abandon all hope of
driving their countless assailants away.

The Peruvians now stormed the fortress that
rose above the city, and, after a desperate conflict
with a handful of Spaniards, succeeded in captur-
ing it. This disaster made the hearts of the
Spanish soldiers sink with discouragement. They
begged their leaders to abandon Cuzco ; to break
at all hazards through the dense ranks of the
enemy, and so escape to the sea-coast. But Her-
nando Pizarro was made of sterner stuff. He
would not yield up a city it had cost so much to
take, and he animated his faltering colleagues
anew by his stout and unyielding spirit.

To retake the great fortress was now an abso-
lute necessity. It seemed an impossible task ; for
the ramparts rose on a steep crag on the side of
Cuzco, and could only be reached by storming
it in the rear. But Hernando resolved that
the attempt should be made, and to his heroic
brother Juan he committed the dangerous duty of
making it.


Juan set out about sunset with a picked body
of cavalry. Deceiving the enemy by the direc-
tion in which he sallied from the city, he suddenly
turned, rapidly marched to the rear of the fortress,
and fearlessly assailed it. The conflict was long,
desperate, and bloody. The brave Juan always
appeared at the head of his men, wielding his
sword with the strength of a giant, and dealing
deadly havoc among the foe. The parapet was
taken ; and Juan, springing upon it, shouted to his
men to follow. At this moment a large stone,
hurled at him with enormous force, struck him on
the head. He fell with a groan, but soon rose on
his knees, and continued to urge his men forward.
The blow was a fatal one. Juan was taken back
to Cuzco, and, after lingering some days, died in
his brother's arms.

After a most heroic and protracted contest, the
great fortress was taken. But the Spaniards
were still in a desperate position. Weeks had
passed, and no succor came. They heard with a
shudder that the whole country had risen ; that
Pizarro, instead of being able to come to their
relief, was himself in danger ; and that re-enforce-
ments were constantly being added to the besieg-


ing army. To add to the horror of their posi-
tion, food began to fail them. The provisions in
the city had been largely consumed by the fire ;
and it was rarely that they could, by making excur-
sions outside the walls, capture enough food to
last them a day. There seemed nothing before
them but death, either by starvation, or, what was
as bad, by the savage and avenging hands of the
people they had conquered.

Meanwhile Pizarro, on the sea-coast, was at-
tacked by another Peruvian force. Luckily he
had with him a small but intrepid company of
cavalry; and, as soon as the foe appeared on
the plain through which the River Rimac runs,
he ordered the cavalry to sally out upon them.
The attack was short and sharp, and resulted in
a complete rout of the Peruvians. But Pizarro
soon learned the terrible news from Cuzco ; and,
although he had escaped danger himself, he be-
came very much alarmed for its safety. Collecting
all the men he could spare, he sent them forward
to relieve, if possible, the Peruvian capital. But
one and all of these expeditions failed to reach the
besieged city. They went forth only to meet with
a tragic fate. One by one they were hemmed in


and cut off by the now infuriated Peruvians, who
gave them no quarter, but slaughtered them with-
out mercy. The few who returned from these
marches brought back harrowing tales of the mas-
sacre of their comrades. At last Pizarro found he
could send no more troops away -without leaving
his new and fair City of the Kings to certain de-

He was at his wits' end to know what to do.
The whole fruit of his victories seemed about
to be snatched from him. It appeared doubtful,
indeed, whether any Spaniard would escape alive
from Peru. The soldiers he still had with him
clamored to return to Panama ; which was yet
possible, for several ships rode at anchor at the
mouth of the Rimac. But Pizarro's stout soul
was not subdued even by the disasters and perils
which surrounded him on every hand. Instead of
using the ships to retreat from his hard-won con-
quest, he sent them back to Panama and Guate-
mala with the most earnest appeals to the gov-
ernors of those places for aid. He begged them
to despatch troops, and save the wealth, power,
and honor of the Spanish dominion in Peru ; and
promised Alvarado, who had come as his enemy,


and returned his friend, to share all the conquests
they might thenceforth make together.

While Pizarro was making these frantic efforts
to restore his imperilled fortunes, the devoted
garrison of Cuzco held out manfully. They bore
their privations like heroes, and neglected no op-
portunity, miserable as was their situation, to deal
a blow at their besiegers. By their obstinacy they
finally wore out the Inca and his army. After
Cuzco had been beleaguered for five months,
Manco, finding it difficult to feed so enormous a
body of troops, and anxious that the fields should
be sown, sent home large numbers of his soldiers,
while he remained before Cuzco with the rest.

The Spaniards at once availed themselves of
this relaxation of the enemy's hold. They sallied
in bold bands out of the city, scoured the country
around, gathered grain and other provisions, and
returned laden with these welcome stores to their
quarters. They attacked the Peruvians again and
again, ruthlessly riding them down with their
horses, mowing them down with their guns, and
sweeping them down with their sharp Toledo

Hernando now resolved to attempt the recapture


of the young Inca Manco. It was a rash project :
for Manco's quarters were in a lofty fortress,
perched upon an almost inaccessible cliff ; and he
was perpetually surrounded by the bravest legions
of his army. Hernando, however, was not easily
dismayed. He chose eighty of his hardiest and
bravest cavalry, and one night sallied forth,
crossed the river, and at early dawn climbed the
steep towards the fortress. No sooner did the


Peruvians espy him than they hurled down upon
him a perfect tempest of stones and arrows. The
Spaniards held their ground desperately for a
while : but the numbers of the enemy were too
great, and their resistance was too hot, to allow
Hernando to approach the ramparts ; and he was
forced to retreat. He succeeded in reaching
Cuzco safely, but not until he had lost a large part
of his valiant cavalry.

While the Spaniards were thus engaged in
heroically battling against one peril, the uprising
of the Peruvians, another and greater peril men-
aced them from a distance. They had not over-
come the fierce assaults of the Inca's subjects
before they were called upon to resist a more
formidable attack from their own countrymen.




LMAGRO, when the Peruvians thus at-
tacked the Spaniards at Cuzco, was far
on his way southward with his stalwart
band of adventurers. The plucky little cavalier,
though now nearly seventy years old, and en-
feebled by disease as well as age, was resolved, if
possible, to make a conquest as rich as that of
Pizarro ; and he pushed bravely on, in the hope of
finding in the south another golden land like Peru.
His hopes, however, were destined to be frus-
trated. For a while, he and his men advanced
cheerily along the great highway that led from
Cuzco to the southern limits of the Inca's empire ;
but as soon as they left it, and entangled them-
selves in the rude and savage mountain-passes,
their progress was slow and painful.


It was not long before they began to endure
terrible sufferings. It grew so bitterly cold, that
their fingers and toes froze, and dropped off. In
those dreary and desolate wilds they could find no
food ; and the poor fellows were at last reduced to
feed upon the corpses of their horses, while the
Peruvians who were with them devoured their com-
rades who fell dead from hunger or cold by the
wayside. Everywhere they went, they found that
the natives had burnt their huts and provisions,
and had fled from the pathway of the stranger.

The few Peruvians that Almagro succeeded in
capturing he subjected to the most ferocious cru-
elties. He forced them to carry his ammunition
and clothing ; and, when they resisted, he caused
them to be burned alive.

After going a distance of three hundred miles,
and failing to find any of the treasure he hoped to
obtain, Almagro was forced to turn back, and
march northward again. His expedition was a
sad failure, and the only desire of his suffering
soldiers was to get back safely to Peru. In re-
turning, they were forced to cross a dreary desert ;
but the prospect of once more reaching a land
of riches and plenty buoyed them up, and they
pushed rapidly forward towards Cuzco.


When Almagro had come within about a hun-
dred and fifty miles of that city, he heard the
news of the Peruvian rising, and of the siege of
Cuzco. It at once occurred to him that he might
take advantage of this state of things. He had
by no means given up his claim to Cuzco ; and
now, more than ever, when he had failed to con-
quer a new country for himself, was he resolved to
possess the capital of Peru, and become its ruler.
He therefore hastened forward ; and his soldiers,
who were warmly devoted to him, eagerly hailed
this prospect of the stirring action of conflict again.

When Almagro came near the Inca's camp, he
sent to Manco, and asked for an interview with
him. The young Inca received Almagro in his
camp, and pretended to welcome him as a friend ;
but no sooner had the Spanish chief departed
than the Peruvians prepared to resist him.

Manco marched against him with no less a force
than fifteen thousand warriors. But the doughty
Almagro was prepared for him. After a sharp
battle, the Peruvians were repulsed and routed.

Almagro now resolved to lose no time in attack-
ing Hernando Pizarro at Cuzco. Advancing with
his brave little army upon the city, he availed


himself of a dark, tempestuous night to storm it.
He found but little opposition. The force under
Hernando had greatly dwindled during the long
siege, and Almagro took possession of the great
square almost without the shedding of a drop of

Among his officers was a very brave and ener-
getic cavalier, who was faithfully devoted to Al-
magro's cause. The name of this cavalier was

Orgonez no sooner found himself in Cuzco,
than, choosing a band of tried soldiers, he has-
tened to the palace where Hernando Pizarro and
his brother Gonzalo had their quarters. Both
Almagro and Orgonez heartily hated Hernando,
whose haughty bearing and domineering temper
had often deeply offended them. Orgonez at-
tacked the palace furiously ; but Hernando was
defended by a gallant company of about twenty
men, who desperately resisted the attack.

At last Orgonez, finding that he could not take
the palace, ordered his soldiers to set fire to it.
Presently it began to blaze up. It was no longer
possible for those inside to remain ; and Hernando
and his followers rushed out, and were at once


seized by their assailants. Hernando himself had
scarcely emerged from the door when the whole
roof of the great building fell in with a deafening

Although Almagro was at last master of Cuzco,
he was in great peril of losing it again ; for at
Xauxa, forty miles away, was encamped a body
of five hundred Spaniards, under a general
named Alonzo de Alvarado, which had been sent
by Pizarro from Lima for the succor of his

Almagro saw that he must lose no time in at-

o _

tacking Alvarado. The latter had his camp on
the banks of a river, opposite a bridge. At some
distance farther down was a ford, where he had
also taken pains to leave a guard. It happened
that among his officers was one named Lerma,
who was secretly a friend of Almagro. To this
treacherous man Alvarado owed the misfortune
which soon overtook him.

Almagro, leaving a garrison at Cuzco, issued
forth with the rest of his troops to assail Alva-
rado ; and Orgonez went with him. On approach-
ing the river, he received a message from Lerma,
who apprised him of the ford lower down the


river, and advised him to pretend to attack the
bridge, but to really lead his main force to
the ford, and cross there.

No time was lost in following out this plan.
Almagro advanced upon the bridge, as if about to
attack it ; but, as soon as night fell, he sent the
greater part of his force down to the ford under
Orgonez, while he himself remained at the bridge
with the rest.

Orgonez quickly led his men into the shallow
water, and, after a sharp fight with those who were
guarding the ford (in the course of which he him-
self was severely wounded in the mouth), suc-
ceeded in getting a footing on the opposite shore.
Alvarado soon learned what was going on, and
hastened down the bank, too late, to defend the
passage of the ford. Then Almagro, seizing his
chance, forced his way across the bridge, fell upon
Alvarado in the rear, and, after a brief though
desperate encounter, defeated him, and took a
large number of his soldiers prisoners.

All this while Pizarro remained at Lima, the
" City of the Kings," impatiently awaiting the aid
he had summoned from Panama and Guatemala.

After living in this distressing suspense for


several months, which seemed an age to him, his
eyes were delighted with the arrival of some
ships, which brought a goodly re-enforcement of
soldiers, and were, besides, laden with cargoes of
provisions, ammunition, and clothing. The sol-
diers were under the command of a renowned
cavalier named Espinosa, who heartily devoted
himself to Pizarro's service.

Pizarro hastened to organize another army for
the purpose of marching to Cuzco and raising
the siege of the Inca. Though he had grown
sick of war, and longed to live in peace in his new
city, which was now built, and was fast being filled
up by Spanish settlers, his dauntless soul could
not rest until he had crushed all opposition to his

He set out at last at the head of about five
hundred men, two hundred and thirty of whom
were cavalry. But he had scarcely left the valley
of the Rimac when the news reached him of
Almagro's sudden return, his capture of Cuzco,
and his crushing triumph over Alvarado. With
the quickness of his military instinct, Pizarro saw
that it would not be safe to advance farther,
with so small a force as he had, against his


victorious rival. So he returned to Lima, and
resolved, as the part of prudence, to send an
envoy to Almagro, and, if possible, to come to
terms with him. He despatched Espinosa to him ;
but Almagro was flushed and insolent with success,
and, instead of listening to Pizarro's proposals,
put himself at the head of a large force, and
marched straight towards Lima. No longer con-
tent with Cuzco, the old cavalier's towering ambi-
tion now extended to the mastery of all Peru.

Almagro carried Hernando Pizarro, closely
guarded, along with him. Orgonez, whose hatred
for Hernando knew no bounds, begged the chief to
kill him, instead of taking him on the expedition.

" A Pizarro," urged Orgonez, " was never
known to forget or forgive an injury ; and you will
surely rue the day if you let Hernando live."

Hernando's lot, since his capture, had been a
hard one. He had been closely confined in a
dungeon, and had been scantily fed. But his
jailers allowed him one consolation. Among Al-
magro 's most trusted officers was a certain Diego
de Alvarado, a brother of the cavalier who some
time before had attempted to invade Peru, as has
been related. This Alvarado became Hernando's


constant companion in prison, and they beguiled
the time by gambling. In this bad occupation,
Hernando won a large sum of money from Alva-
rado ; but, when the latter offered to pay his debt,
Hernando refused to take it. This made Alva-
rado his fast friend, and he was destined to do
him afterwards more than one valuable service.

Almagro, with a formidable body of troops,
marched rapidly across the country, and soon
made his appearance in the lovely valley where
Lima, Pizarro's new capital, stood.

Pizarro had no sooner learned Almagro's near
approach than he sent a gentle message to him,
proposing an interview. To this Almagro con-

On a balmy afternoon in November, the two
Spanish chiefs, once such devoted friends, but
now enemies at heart, met on the verdant banks
of the Rimac, each surrounded by a picked band
of cavaliers. Almagro, as soon as he saw Pizarro,
started forward with a smile on his lips, and
stretched out both his hands, as if to welcome the
governor with all his old cordiality ; but Pizarro
drew himself up proudly, put his hands behind
his back, and made a cold and haughty bow.


Then, turning upon Almagro with flashing eyes,
he exclaimed,

"Why have you seized my city of Cuzco, and
cast my brothers into prison ? What means this
hostile armament that you have brought hither ? '

Almagro replied sharply that Cuzco was his by
right, and that he was resolved to defend it. The
dispute grew warmer and warmer, until the cava-
liers seemed about to come to blows ; when
Almagro, looking around suspiciously, and fear-
ing that Pizarro's attendants were about to rush
upon him, turned on his heel, mounted his horse,
and hurried off to his camp.

In spite of this quarrel, the two cavaliers did
not at once attack each other. They continued to
send messages to and fro, and at last came to
terms on the matters in dispute between them.
It was agreed that Almagro should keep posses-
sion of Cuzco until fresh instructions came from

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Online LibraryGeorge M. (George Makepeace) TowlePizarro : his adventures and conquests → online text (page 13 of 16)