Page:The Fall of Maximilan's Empire.djvu/34

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had sailed on the 11th of March. The Republican, or Liberal, forces had followed closely on their heels during their march to the sea, capturing town after town behind them. Mexico City still resisted, as well as Querétaro, but both were closely invested. Vera Cruz, garrisoned by a Foreign Legion of some four hundred soldiers, and about two thousand Mexicans, still held out against the besiegers, who numbered about five thousand, under the command of General Barranda. On the night after the "Tacony's" arrival, the booming of cannon and the rattle of musketry proclaimed vividly the existence of a state of war, while the fires kept burning by the Imperialists to illuminate the walls, lent additional interest to the scene. In point of fact, however, operations were being carried on in a rather desultory manner, the forces being so small on both sides. The Liberals had not yet succeeded in bringing much artillery to the front, and the Imperialists had also very little besides the heavy ordnance of the harbor batteries and the great castle of San Juan de Uloa, which guarded the approach from seaward.[1]

While closely invested on the land side, the city was not in any way blockaded from the sea, and commercial operations had not suffered much check. Don Domingo Bureau, the Imperial Commissary,

  1. The castle of San Juan stands on a reef half a mile out from the town, the harbor being formed between the two.