Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/120

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for the purpose of keeping the ship broadside to the castle, and also to the cooling breezes from seaward. In this position the "Tacony's" battery bore on the north bastion, Vera Cruz, and on the city, covering the "Jason"; and the "Jason" flanked the castle. No guns then mounted in San Juan could command them, but the infected air from the castle, where "Yellow Jack" was holding high carnival, came direct to the "Tacony" and presented a danger well appreciated by her commander, but one that had to be faced.

Both ships kept steam up all night, and their chains ready to slip, and every preparation was made to meet any emergency that might arise. The "Barracouta" also weighed anchor and took up a position about a quarter of a mile outside the "Jason," but within range.

The next morning peremptory orders were received through the consuls from the officer in command of the castle, for both vessels to move from their positions and leave the harbor under penalty of being sunk at their moorings. The order was politely but firmly rejected. The commanders claimed the rights of treaties which had not been abrogated by the late Imperial government, and alleged the dangerous attitude of the excited populace in the city towards all foreigners, in view of which they deemed their presence necessary; and therefore they could not change their anchorage.