Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/112

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cort sounded the advance, and the long train was off for Guadalajara; just as the first rays of the warm Autumn sun of the tropics gilded the tall towers of the grand old Church of Zacoalco—towers which have looked down on the gray-walled town unchanged for three hundred years—kissed the placid waters of the Laguna de Zacoalco, and crowned with glory the grand, old, green-clad mountains which surround the ever-beautiful valley.

Half-a-dozen miles from Zacoalco, we ascended a steep hill of volcanic origin, and came upon the battle-field of La Coronea. Here, the Imperialists sent out by Maximilian, to prevent the Republican Army of the West commanded by Gen. Ramon Corona advancing from Sinaloa, from uniting with those of Escobedo who commanded the Army of the North before Queretaro, were strongly intrenched on the summit of the broken, irregular hills, with stone walls in front. The position commanded the road on both sides and is naturally a strong one; but the tide of war had turned; the ragged Chinacos, who at first were demoralized in presence of the better drilled and better armed French, Belgian and Austrian mercenaries, had learned from experience how to fight them, and the foreign invaders were themselves demoralized and disheartened. Corona's forces carried the position at the point of the bayonet, and the Imperialists were utterly routed, the entire force being killed or made prisoners. Escobedo had already routed and scattered like chaff the Imperialist Army of the North under Miramon, at Zacatecas, and was laying siege to Queretaro. Corona arrived before the doomed city just in time to participate in the most desperate portion of the contest.