Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/236

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230
LAST SCENE IN THE CONFLICT.

amon, and Mejia to death; and from other parties who were eye-witnesses, some of whom evidently sympathized with the Imperialists.

On the night of the 14th of May, 1867, the Imperialists were defeated at all points, exhausted and dispirited. They had lived on mule-meat and bean-bread for weeks, and even that was gone. Maximilian, despairing, at last, of assistance from abroad, saw that all was lost, and at 11 p. m. he sent Lopez, who was then the "officer of the day," to the head-quarters of General Escobedo, with instructions, to say to him, that he proposed to take fifty picked horsemen, escape across the Sierra Gordo to Tampico or Tuxpan, and embark for Europe, leaving the place to surrender at once, if his own life was guaranteed him. Escobedo repelled the proposition with contempt, telling Lopez that he had strict orders to refuse all terms to Maximilian, as an outlaw, and violator of the laws of war, and that he would carry the city by assault at the next attempt. Lopez returned to Maximilian, told him of his utter want of success, and then returned to the advanced post occupied by him, just below Las Cruces, on the north-western side, and in the outskirts of Queretaro.

Escobedo, reasoning that the proposition could only come from a man in the last extremity, at once called a council of war, and the general assault which had been previously ordered for the following day at 8 a. m., was directed to be made immediately. The Republican troops reached the out-post held by Lopez in front of Las Cruces at 4 a. m., and as soon as Lopez saw them, he told his men that further resistance was useless. Some say, that he said that the Republicans were deserters who came to join the Imperialists, but this is