H. M. (Henry Marie) Brackenridge.

Voyage to South America, performed by order of the American Government in the years 1817 and 1818, in the frigate Congress (Volume v.2) online

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unfortunate men.

Not thirty years had passed away, before the au-
diencia of Charcas became the theatre of another re-
volution; but originating with, and carried on by, a
different class of population — the Spanish Americans.
Whether the unsuccessful attempt of Tupac Amaru,
had induced many to think of independence, or whe-
ther the revolution of the United States, or that of
France, had given rise to new ideas in the minds of
the people, it is not very easy to determine. Perhaps
these were lights which enabled them, the more dis-
tinctly to see their condition. As early as 1805, an
extensive plan is said to have been formed by a law-
yer of Cusco, of the name of Ubalde, but which was
detected, and its author publicly executed. The fact
proves, that among the enlightend, the independence
of their country from Spain was really meditated ; but
the first revolutionary movements were similar to those


ostensibly, with the intention of taking care of them-
selves, and preventing their country from falling into
the hands of the French. The utmost devotion was
manifested in favour of Ferdinand, but they thought
themselves equally entitled to establish juntas, and act
in his name, with other parts of the Spanish dominions.
The first step is every thing. This singular juncture in
Spanish aifairs, enabled the bold spirits who entertained
the idea of independence, to take the first step towards
that object, under the banners of the European sove-
reign, round which the whole population would rally ; and
if those whos penetrated the designs of the first movers,
ventured to oppose, their loyalty, itself, afforded a just
ground of suspicion.

The junta tuitiva of La Paz, was established in
March, 1809; but as the principal actors were Ame-
ricans, their conduct was disapproved of by the Spa-
niards. Although a junta, possessing similar views, had
been established in Monte Video, but composed of Spa-
niards. Their manifesto alleged their equal right with
other Spanish citiies, to establish a junta until the
restoration of the monarch ; especially at a time when
attempts w^ere made by the agents of the princess Char-
lotte, to place her in possesion of the country. The pa-
triots proceeded to organize a government, and to raise
forces for their defence, as they were immediately de-
nounced by the Spaniards. Cisneros, the viceroy of La
Plata, dispatched a force from Buenos Ayres, under
Nieto ; w ho was appointed president of the audiencia ;
an army was at the same time marched from Lima under
the command of Goyneche. Nieto carried the city by
storm, and immediately proceeded to execute " bloody
vengeance," on the principal inhabitants. The revo-
lution which occurred about the same time in Buenos
Ayres, prevented him from carrying into operation his
plans of proscription in their full extent ; the remains


of the patriot forces of La Paz, under the command
of Lanzas and Rodrigues, retired to the forests of Yru-
pani, whither they were pursued by the royal forces, and
gradually wasted in battle or by famine.

The first step after the revolution of the 25th of
May, 1810, at Buenos Ayres, was to march a force
towards the upper provinces. General Ocampo pro-
ceeded at the head of a thousand men, to which the title
of auxiliary army of Peru, was given. Concha and
Liniers were defeated in Cordova, were taken, and
in retaliation for the murders committed by Nieto
and Goyneche, were executed. The numbers of the
auxiliary army rapidly increased as it advanced to-
wards Peru, and was hailed with enthusiasm where-
ever it apppeared. General Balcarce arriving with a
reinforcement, found himself sufficiently strong to meet
the Spaniards. Balcarce attacked the Spanish en-
trenchments at Suipacha, and gained a complete vic-
tory. Nieto, and other Spanish leaders, were taken,
and put to death for the same reason that this sen-
tence was executed on Concha and Liniers. The
whole of the audiencia was almost instantly revolu-
tionized, and the Spanish forces, under Goyneche,
compelled to cross the Desaguadero ; the boundary
line between the two viceroy alties. The patriot Sitmy
consisted of six thousand men, imder Balcarce, as
commander in chief, and generals Viamonde, Dias
Veles, and Rivero. The army of the royalists was
about equal in numbers. The success of the patriots
had lulled them into a security, which was taken
advantage of by Goyneche. Castelli, who had accom-
panied the patriot army as the representative of the
junta, listened to an offer of negociation from Goy-
neche. An armistice was unfortimately agreed upon,
at the very moment when the fire of the revolution


was beginning to blaze throughout the neighbouring
viceroyalty — the nerves of the patriots were unstrung
at the time when they ought to have been braced to the
utmost; they resigned themselves to the pleasing de-
lusion, that the liberties of their country were already
fixed. " They celebrated the anniversary of the re-
volution on the magnificent ruins of the palace of Inca
Mayta Capac, at Tiaguenaco, singing hymns to their
country and to liberty." On the other hand, Goyneche
prepared for a treacherous attack, before the expiration
of the armistice ; at the same time, turning to his
advantage, among the superstituous and ignorant, the
comparative iiTeverence for religion in the soldiery of
Buenos Ayres. " The auxiliaries of Buenos Ayres,"
says Pazos, '' were more expert troops than the Peru-
vians, and were possessed of more vivacity of genius ;
their wars with the English had given them a mar-
tial air and spirit, and their commerce, their inter-
course with foreigners, and other cirumstances, had
rendered them more liberal in their opinions ; parti-
cularly in matters of religious worship practised by
the Peruvians, which consist chiefly in external forms
and superstitious ceremonies." Goyneche persuaded
many of these deluded people, that the Buenos Ayreans
had come for the purpose of destroying their religion.
He, also, proclaimed the virgin del Carmen, the com-
mander in chief of his army, contenting himself with
acting as her lieutenant.* These gross superstitions,
when preached by fanatic monks, had considerable
effect on the lower classes of Peruvians. Thus pre-
pared, Goyneche unexpectedly attacked the patriots at

* These circumstances are alluded to in the manifesto of inde-


Huaqui, on the 20th of July, and completely routed
them. The author of "The Outline/' attributes this
defeat, in part, to the unfortunate dissensions which
had by this time begun to shew themselves at Buenos
Ayres, between what was called the Moreno and the
Saavedra factions, and which spread to the army ; Dias
Velis and Balcarce being of the first, and Viamonte
attached to the second.

Goyneche took possession of La Paz, and several
of the neighbouring cities, but his progress was greatly
impeded by the bands of guerillas which continually
harassed his marches. These bands were particu-
larly numerous in Cochabamba, Chayanta, and Santa
Cruz de la Sierra. Enraged at this opposition, he
fell upon the plan of putting his prisoners to death;
and in order to strike terror into the country, is said
to have seized and shot many of the market people,
and cut off the ears of great numbers.* His progress
to the southward was, notwithstanding, extremely dif-
cult. Pueyrredon, who had been appointed governor of
Cordova shortly after the revolution, was now sent as pre-
sident of Chare as, with some reinforcements, with a view,
if possible, to make a stand against the royalists. But
he found every thing in such disorder, and the patriot
forces so completely broken, that nothing was left to him
but to collect its fragments, and fall back on Salta.
The retreat was executed in such a manner as to entitle
him to applause ; having saved the wreck of the army,
brought off a large sum of public money, and secured the
means of organizing a new force ; for, in its present state.

* See the manifesto of independence.
Vol. II. H


it was found impracticable to maintain his gromid against
the superior force of Goyneche.*

Pueyrredon being called to take part in the adminis-
tration of the government, he was succeeded by General
Belgrano ; who reached Salta with reinforcements, and
military supplies, but on the approach of the royalists,
withdrew to Tucuman, where, on the 24th of September,
1812, he was attacked by the Spanish General Tristan.
With the assistance of the volunteers and militia of the
city and vicinage, he gained a complete victory. f Tris-
tan retreated to Salta, where he was soon sd'tenvards fol-
lowed by Belgrano, and compelled to surrender with his
whole army, to the number of two thousand men. The
smothered flames of the revolution again burst forth, and
Goyneche found himself under the necessity of retreating
towards the north. The provinces of Potosi, Charcas,
Chayanta, and Cochabamba, once more fell into the
hands of the patriots. Belgrano, however, confiding in
the 'good faith of the enemy, generously set the captured
array free, on their taking an oath not to serve during the
war ; but they had no sooner joined Goyneche, than they
were ordered to take the field, in violation of the obliga-
tion they had entered into. In consequence of this, the
royalists, now imder the command of Pezuela, attacked
Belgrano at Vilcapugio, in the north of Peru, and after a

>jL . — —

t^> *< The retreat made from Potosi, 'by Colonel Pueyrredon, with
the remnant of the army and tlie public prtiperty, w«s executed so
heroically, that it, deserves to be taken for a model." Funess,
page 55.

t This was, pro])ably, one of tlie most brilliant actions fought during
the revolution, especially as the combatants were chiefly private citi-
zens opposed to regularly disciplined troops. The appellation of
eampo del honour, has been ^ven to th« spbt.

.11 .ao /


desperate action, the latter was worsted and compelled to
retreat to Ayuma, where he w2ls again attacked towards
the close of November, 1813, and completely defeated;
but the dispatch of Pezuela bestowed the highest praise
on his military conduct. In consequence of the victory,
Pezuela was enabled to take possession once more of the
principal cities of alto Peru, as low down as Salta and
Tarija ; and JBelgrano, who had been rendered unpopular
by his misfortunes, was recalled.

General Rondeau was dispatched with reinforcements,
to make head against the royalists ; and after rapidly
organizing an army at Tucuman, he advanced to meet
Pezuela. The patriot general ^was seconded at this
time, by the revolution which broke out in the provinces
of Icower Peru, in the neighbourhood of Cusco, and
which spread into several of the provinces of Las Char-
€as ; in consequence of which, Pezuela was compelled
-to fall back. Rondeau attacked and defeated the royal-
ists at Mochare and Puesto Grande, by which means he
w^as enabled to take possession of Potosi. The inhabi-
;tants of Gochabamba, on the approach of Rondeau,
once more declared themselves in favour of the patriots;
Pezuela, who possessed considerable military talents,
taking advantage of the situation of Rondeau, who had
detached a part of his force to co-operate with the peo-
ple of Gochabamba, advanced upon him by forced
marches, and compelled him to give battle at Sipe-Sipe,
in November, 18114 ; one of the most unfortunate for the
patriots ever fought in South America, though contested
with great skill and courage on both sides. Rondeau re-
tired to Tupiza, and afterwards fell back on Salta ; the
enemy advancing las far as Tarija. Pezuela being ap-
pointed viceroy, was succeeded by Serna, who adyanced
with two thousand men as far as Jujuy ; ,but was so
harrassed much by the guerillas of Salta, under Guemes,



that he was compelled to fall back on Tarija. Belgrano
was again restored to the command in 1816 ;* since that
period, each party has done little more than maintain its
ground. The Spaniards are in possession of the princi-
pal cities, and the comitry is, partially, under their in-
fluence, but very far from being subdued. There are nu-
merous parlies of guerillas, through the provinces of
Cochabamba, Charcas, and La Paz, under Padilla,
Wames, and others. In the minds of the people, there
can be little doubt that the cause of independence is daily
gaining ground, and the Spaniards can only be consi-
dered masters of what they can directly control with
their military force. During the important movements
in the direction of Chili, it became necessary to use great
caution in the management of the war in Peru ; it would
perhaps have been a wiser course to have pursued, from
the commencement, more of the Fabian policy, and not
to hazard so much on the result of a battle. The proba-
bility is, that they are now preparing to strike a decisive
blow. The present army has been continually improving
in discipline, as well as increasing in numbers. There is
no doubt, that its approach will be hailed by the people
of Peru, with greater joy than ever.

It has been asked, why have not arms been put into

• " Don Manuel Belgrano, who, since the battle of Vilcapugio,
had remained in retirement, resumed the command of the army of
Peru. The troops received with enthusiasm, the general who had so
often led them to victory, who had generously distributed to the
widows and orphans of those soldiers who had fallen in the battle of
Salta, the money voted to him by the government of Buenos Ayres
as a reward for that distinguished service ; and who had preserved
his integrity amidst the changes of party, and the intrigues of fac-
tion ; and had manifested no other ambition than that of devoting bis
life and fortune to the great cauf;e iu which he was engaged." — -~'
.Mr. Poinsett's report.


the hands ot the numerous Indian peasantry, to enable
them to terminate the war at once ? The incidents al-
ready related, furnish a sufficient answer to the question.
It might have been asked, with much more propriety,
why were not arms put into the hands of every male
citizen above fifteen years of age, during our revolution-
ary struggle, or into the hands of the American people
during the late war ? The truth is, but a small proportion
of the population of a country can be kept embodied,
and entirely withdrawn from their occupations ; a mere
unorganized multitude, is of very little importance when
opposed to regular armies ; an enemy, it is true, may be
greatly annoyed by guerillas, but these can only act with
any ultimate effect, in conjunction with a regular army.
It appears to have been the continual complaint of Ge-
neral Washington, that the term of service for which the
militia were called out, was too short ; and even then,
it was difficult to keep them together. During the late
southern war, General Jackson was, at one time, almost
abandoned by the Tennessee militia, although there could
be no doubt as to their bravery or devotion to the cause.
This loose and silly talk of putting muskets into the hands
of the Peruvians, even admitting that the patriots had a
sufficient supply for the purpose, shows but a shallow
knowledge of human nature, or of the composition of
armies ; and is only to be equalled by the lowness and
vulgarity of attempting to cast suspicion, by insinuations
of this nature, against the brave chieftains who are now
contending with the Spanish power in Peru.

I have thus given a very rapid, perhaps very meagre
outline of the interesting war carried on in the provinces
of alto Peru. Jt is, in fact, replete with incident, that
would furnish materials for history, of as high a character
as that of any other country. The part taken by the
United Provinces in this chequered contest, cannot fail

H 3

102 A VOYAGE, &c.

to create a high opinion of their resources, and of the
abilities of their leading men ; that under the various cir-
cumstances in which they have been placed — their war
with the Spaniards at Monte Video, and afterwards with
Artigas, and then with the Spaniards in Chili ; they have
been able to keep their enemies in check in Peru, entitles
them to the esteem of the brave, and the admiration of the



Military Force — Public Revenues— -Commerce — State of Learning and

General Information.

A HE forces of the republic, are distributed into four
divisions, or armies, which are kept on foot in different
and distant parts of this immense territory : the first, is
the army of the centre ; so called, from its head quarters
being in the capital ; the second, is the auxiliary army
of Peru ; the third, the army of the Andes ; and the
fourth, the auxiliary army of the Entre Rios. There are,
also, other corps under separate commands.

The table delivered by the government of Buenos
Ayres, and accompanying the report of Mr. Rodney,
exhibits all the details of their organization, in a very
neat and comprehensive manner. The peculiarities, if
they be such, in this organization, will be seen on
casting the eye over the table before-mentioned. For
instance, it will be seen, that there are no major-generals,
and but eight brigadiers, in all four of their armies ;
there being a grade of officers denominated colonel-ma-
jors ; which nearly corresponds with our rank of briga-
dier, and are thus often designated among them ; there
are also colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and commandants
of squadrons.

The force of the state is distinguished into regulars,
or veterans, civicos, and militia. The civicos, corres-
pond somewhat to our volunteer corps ; being composed
of the inhabitants of the towns, well-armed and dis-
ciplined. Certain requisites are necessary, to give the


right of being enrolled in this class of militia. The city
of Buenos Ayres, relies upon her civicos for her defence ;
and they are said to be exceedingly well trained. There
is also another kind of force, but which is almost exclu-
sively confined to the capital ; this is composed of the
slaves who are regularly exercised every Sunday, and
then marched to the different churches. The whole is
made up of corps of artillery, troops of the line, cavalry
of the line, auxiliary civicos, and militia of the country.

The army of the centre, is under the immediate direc-
tion and control of the general government, and is under
the command of General Ramon Balcarce ; one of the
three distinguished brothers of that name, who are all
generals in the regular service. It consists of five hun-
dred and thirty-three regular artillery, officers, non-com-
missioned officers, and privates ; the infantry is stated at
thirteen hundred and sixty-seven, officers, &c. The ci-
vicos, consisting of the brigade of Buenos Ayres, and
the brigade Argentina, an aggregate of five thousand
three hundred and five. The regular cavalry amounts to
five himdred and thirty-three, cavalry of civicos to
thirteen hundred and eleven ; the militia of the country
around Buenos Ayres, and which can be called together
in a few hours warning, amounts to eight thousand seven
hundred and two, all cavalry. It thus appears, that the
capital has a force of seventeen thousand seven hundred
and fifty-two, well-disciplined and well-armed men, ready,
at a very short warning, to make front against an enemy,
without counting those who are not enrolled, and who
would be called out on any extraordinary emergency.

The auxiliaiy army of Peru, is commanded by General
Belgrano ; a man of high reputation for integrity and
talents. He has taken great pains in forming his young
officers, and in disciplining his troops ; under his direc-
tion, a military academy has been established at Tucu-


man, and much of his attention is given to this institu-
tion, where there area number of cadets ; for the patriot
aimy is now beginning to be officered by young men,
who have been regularly taught the art of war, according
to the latest and most approved systems. An excellent
work on tactics has lately been published at Buenos
Ayres, under the patronage of the government ; and
Belgrano, in Peru, has taken infinite pains to encourage
the study of war as a science, as well as to connect it
with the most honourable, patriotic, and chivalrous sen-
timents ; a file of newspapers, published by him at Tu-
cuman, for the purpose of forming his young officers,
contains a series of essays on their obligations and
duties, which does great honour to the author. The
army of Peru is at present composed of two hundred
and thirty-four artillery, seven hundred and thirty-one
regular cavalry, two thousand four hundred and twenty
infantry ; making a total of three thousand three hundred
and eighty-five, without counting civicos and militia.

The army of the Andes is under the command of the
celebrated San Martin ; it is, at present, in Chili, in the
pay of that govenunent. It is composed entirely of re-
gulars, and is said to be officered by the flower of the
Buenos Ayrean youth, entirely formed by San Martin ;
who, in the excellence of his discipline, and in the pains
which he takes to instruct his officers, even exceeds Bel-
grano. His second in command, is general Antonio
Balcarce. His force consists of foui' hundred and sixty-
seven artillery, twelve hundred and twelve cavalry,
(very superior,) and three thousand three hundred and
ninety-eight infantry ; making an aggregate of five thou-
sand and seventy-seven.

The army of the Entre Rios is under the command
of Marcos Balcarce. By the official return, it contains
sixty-two artillery, five hundred and seventy-eight in-


fantry, three hundred and thirty-six cavalry ; in all, one
thousand and six. It is called the auxiliary army of
the Entre Rios, from the circumstance of having
marched, as alledged by Buenos Ayres, for the protec-
tion of the inhabitants of that province, at their solicita-
tion, from Artigas.

At Cordova, there are stationed five hundred and
forty-eight regulars; which, with the civicos at that
place, constitute a total of two thousand four hundred
and fifty-five. At Mendoza there are eighty-two re-
gulars, but there has been no return of its civicos, or
militia ; as is also the case with respect to the provinces
of Salta, Catamarca, Rioja, San Louis, San Juan, and
Tucuman. Excepting the troops in the pay of the state,
and the civicos and militia of Buenos Ayres, the amount
of the military force must be left to the uncertain esti-
mate of the number of the population, and the peculiar
habits and manners of the people. The country people,
(or gauchos,) were not permitted, under the Spanish go-
vernment, to carry any weapon but the knife ; at pre-
sent, the only one prohibited. Fire-arms were exceed-
ingly scarce ; it is, therefore, not to be expected, that the
gauchos should contribute much to the national strength,
until after having undergone some apprenticeship to
arms. But they are by no means difficult to be trained ;
and as any one may now procure fire-arms, the number
owned by individuals must be considerable. As no ge-
neral system, however, for arming and training the militia,
has yet been carried into effect in the provinces, it is im-
possible to say how far this force can be depended on.
In the provinces under Belgrano, there are a great number
of partisan chiefs, who carry on a kind of independent
irregular warfare, and are therefore not noticed in the
return. In the cities of Tucuman, Salta, and Jujuy,
there are corps of civicos ready to join the regulars if


necessary ; as they have in every instance in which the
Spaniards ventured to attack those cities. The total
given in the table, that is to say, twenty-nine thousand
seven hundred and fifty-seven, may very safely be taken
as the lowest estimate of the effective force ; of these,
about one half are regulars in the pay of the state. The
different kinds of force, are in the following proportions ;
one thousand two hundred and ninety-six artillery, thir-
teen thousand six hundred and ninety-three infantry, and
fourteen thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight

These troops are all well clothed and armed, and the
pay of the officers and men about the same as that of the
army of the United States. In recruiting, they expe-
rience the same difficulties that we do from the high
price of labour, and from the freedom and independence
to which the comitry people have always been accus-

Online LibraryH. M. (Henry Marie) BrackenridgeVoyage to South America, performed by order of the American Government in the years 1817 and 1818, in the frigate Congress (Volume v.2) → online text (page 8 of 25)