Page:Vol 4 History of Mexico by H H Bancroft.djvu/813

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DESERTION OF IMPERIAL TROOPS.

mations and manifestoes of Iturbide, who attributed the revolution to Spanish intrigue, and asserted that Echávarri was in communication with commissioners of that government residing in Fort Ulúa. But Echávarri's fidelity was never doubted, and his resignation was strenuously opposed. He firmly maintained his point, however, and the marqués de Vivanco was appointed in his stead. Whether it was that Iturbide was really anxious to avoid bloodshed, as some writers are inclined to believe, or that he recognized that a struggle would be hopeless, he made no effort to appeal to arms.[1] The fact is, that it was now too late. Desertion of the troops in the capital was unprecedented. It was, not confined to the clandestine departure of individuals, or even squads of soldiery. Whole corps formed in line, and openly marched away with colors flying and bands of music. His proclamations and exhortations to fidelity had no effect.[2] On the night of the 23d the troops remaining of the 9th and 11th infantry regiments sallied from their barracks, released the prisoners confined in the Inquisition—among whom was Padre Mier—proclaimed one of the liberated captives, Colonel Eulogio Villa Urrutia, their chief, and raising the cry of liberty and republicanism, marched to Toluca.[3] Next day the 4th cavalry regiment deserted in like manner, and in the evening the mounted grenadiers of the imperial guard followed.

Iturbide had stationed himself with some troops at Iztapaluca on the Puebla road in order to prevent

  1. When he first heard of Echávarri's defection he resolved to take the field in person, but changed his mind through the advice of the council of state. Ib. He recognized his mistake later, and says in his Manifiesto, 53: 'La falta que creo cometí en mi gobierno fué no tomar el mando de ejército, desde que debí conocer la defeccion de Echávarri, me alucinó la demasiada confianza.' But he did not suppose that at Vera Cruz the besiegers and besieged were working in accord.
  2. See his proclamation of Feb. 11th, in Gac. Imp. Mex., 1823, i. 80.
  3. Bustamante states that Mier lost one of his shoes in the confusion, and was conveyed away in a carriage. As the troops passed the emperor's residence near Tacubaya, they shouted, 'Viva la libertad y la república,' 'que causó mucha agitacion en la familia imperial.' Hist. Iturbide, 93-4.