Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/388

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to the edge of the cliff. Suddenly, as they arrived at the top, the officer called out "A moi les Zouaves!" "A moi la Légion!" giving such a volley of directions that the Mexicans imagined the whole French army was upon their traces. Startled from secure slumber, they were easily overcome. The French claim the destruction of three hundred men, a general, three colonels, and two lieutenant-colonels, with all the arms and the colors of the Mexicans, who, if they survived the weapons of the small attacking party, fled and were lost in the steep slopes of the precipice.

Fresh troops came from France, and by the beginning of another year the army of invasion, commanded by Marshal Forey, numbered forty thousand men, not counting the Mexicans on that side, whose numbers increased as the magnitude of the enterprise became known.

Puebla again was the scene of the struggle. For two months General Ortega defended it obstinately, but food became scarce. A convoy bringing provisions, under charge of General Comonfort, was seized by the French under Marshal Bazaine, and on the 17th of May the besieged army was obliged to succumb, without capitulating. The French advanced towards the capital, and the Mexicans abandoned it, Juarez withdrawing towards the north, where he re-organized his government at San Luis de Potosi. He never relinquished his office during the whole of the French intervention, and remained all the time, in the minds of loyal Mexicans, and also in the language and opinion of the government of the United States, President of the still existing Mexican Republic.