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come that when Pat and Chi heard of their fellow conspirator's capture, which they did with marvellous quickness by the means that the natives know so well how to use, “the grapevine telegraph,” they at once gave the signal and immediately wails of human suffering and despair rose all over the country. It is useless to go into detail; from now on, burned villages, outraged homes, and bloody work, not wholly on the side of the Indians, make a long and evil list not good to look upon and one that I shall leave with pleasure.
The rebellious natives seemed for a while unconquerable; their savage ferocity and valor seemed irresistible. The long highway from Valladolid to Merida was thronged with constant streams of weary pilgrims striving to reach safety. At times the natives would plunge with the ferocity of demons upon these throngs of panic-stricken pilgrims, and at other times they would most strangely refrain from bloody deeds when they might easily have worked a fiendish will had they so desired. It is supposed that Jacinto Pat, the most humane of the rebellious chiefs, held back his band from useless rapine and slaughter, while Cecilio Chi, a human tiger, lost no time to glut his appetite for outrage and bloodshed. For a time it seemed as if the rebellious natives would indeed make good their threats and drive the white men into the sea. Town after town, city after city, fell by the torch and mascab of the triumphant Mayas.
From bleeding Yucatan went up a bitter wail for succor. Commissioners were sent to Mexico, to the United States, and even to the island of Cuba, asking for aid. At last, in very desperation, she was willing to sacrifice her dear bought independence to save her actual existence, and the authorities of the United States were informally consulted on that delicate point, but the opinions given were so unanimously against the probabilities of success on that line that the project was given up.
But while the United States could not and would not interfere in the matter officially, it has been stated by those who were at the time in a position to know, that all possible aid and encouragement, short of actual and direct official aid, was given them in this their hour of need. How much or how little truth there is in this statement is not for me to say at this time, whatever I may discover and make public at a later date. Suffice it now to say that in the year 1847 a well drilled, well armed and perfectly uniformed force of nine hundred and thirty-eight men disembarked at the then port of Sisal, from sailing vessels hailing from New Orleans, and were at once ordered to Merida, where they went into barracks on the site of what is now the Suburban Police Station, at Santiago Square. From there they went, as ordered, to the front, and most of them to their death, for I am told that of the nine hundred and thirty-eight that disembarked at Sisal, only eleven lived to reach the United States.
From now on I shall quote the statements of active participants on both sides of the struggle, statements made to me personally and noted down with great care. Two of the survivors of the Americans, Edward Pinkus and Michael Foster, were yet living in Merida during my remembrance. Of these two, one, Pinrus, has since died and the other, Foster, still lives but with impaired mind. Fortunately, before the one had died and the other had lost his intelligence, I had improved a favorable opportunity and had obtained from them statements as given below.
Edward Pinkus was born, he told me, in Warsaw in 1820; he came to America at an early age and in due time became a full American citizen and an enthusiastic admirer of our American institutions. He was with General Scott throughout the Mexican war. After peace was concluded he returned to the United States, where he lived until summoned by his old officer, Col. White, of the Southern
Rangers, to serve as his adjutant on an expedition against the rebellious Indians of Yucatan. After the Rangers were formally disbanded (death had practically disbanded them some time before), Pinkus, wounded and sick nigh unto death, returned to Merida. There he was tenderly nursed back to life and health by the lady, a native of Merida, whom he afterward married. Afterward he went in and fought against the French by the side of Juarez. When peace was again declared he returned to Merida and started what was then the finest tailoring establishment in the province. He lived to see his sons grow up to be men of influence and respectability in the community. He died in 1904, indirectly from the wounds received in the fights with the Indians. I now give his direct, personal statement:
"I came over as Adjutant to Col. White, commanding Southern Rangers. Our officers were Col. White, Lieutenant Colonel Linton, Captain Smith and Captain Daws. Captain Daws came over first with two hundred men and Colonel White came over some time after, but Colonel White was in full command. We were in all nine hundred and thirty-eight men and, of all these fighting men, only eleven lived to reach the United States again. Our first fight with the Indians was at Sacalum and they beat us bad, for they fought like devils, but the second time they attacked us, at nine o'clock that same night, we beat them badly. I, with a part of our force was in Tijosuco when it suffered the great siege, and there we lost a great many men and officers. In the battles of Bacalar, in the three battles of Chan Santa Cruz, at Tabi, Peto and, most of all, at Calumpich, we lost most of our men. I was wounded three times. Captain Daws was one of those who lived to return to the States. When I was in San Francisco in 1890 I saw him there. He was short and fat but a good officer and very brave.
Michael Foster, the second and last known survivor of the fighting Americans in Yucatan, was born in Philadelphia in 1823, and is now eighty-two years old. He was,
as he frankly states, of a roving, incorrigible disposition and apparently was given by the authorities the alternative of joining the expedition to Yucatan or going to prison. He enlisted and served with White until the rangers were disbanded, when he married a native of Yucatan by whom he had one son, Carlos Foster, still living.
Michael Foster was, at the time of making his statement, in 1904, clear in intellect but had almost forgotten his native tongue. He spoke the Spanish and the native Maya tongue with far greater facility than he did the English language. His statement is as follows:
"I came to Yucatan with Colonel White. We disembarked at Sisal and then marched on to Merida. There we executed the Cacique of Santiago; he was shot in the yard of the Santiago Police Station where we were in barracks. During the battles of Peto and Ichmul we lost many of our men. At Santa Maria we lost forty-seven and at Tabi thirty-six, but at Calumpich nearly three hundred of our bravest men were killed. The Indians there played us a trick; they made concealed pitfalls in the path and placed sharp pointed stakes at the bottom; then they appeared and dared us to come on; we rushed after them with hurrahs and many of our men fell into the pits; we lost many men that day but we killed a great many more of the Indians than they did of our men. Pinkus and myself are now the only ones left and I guess that we will go soon too. I am over eighty and have lived hard all my life.”
General Naverrette, an old Indian fighter of Yucatan, whose scarred body bears witness to his valor, stated to me as follows:
“Colonel White was my friend and so was Captain Daws; both were brave men and strict disciplinarians. The men they commanded were brave men and died valiantly, almost to a man. They suffered their greatest losses at the siege of Tijosuco and the battles of Calumpich."
I will now give the statements of those who actually fought against those men and, right here it may be well to note two interesting facts, that by a curious coincidence make me, perhaps, of all living persons, the only man who could produce these statements. Several years ago, while on an exploration into the then almost unexplored interior, I chanced upon an aged native working his milpa alone. I spent some time in the neighborhood investigating a hitherto unknown ruined group, and during a part of this time he worked for me. Being conversant with his language, although a stranger, gave him confidence in me to the extent that he told me his life history. He had been one of the Sublevados and had fought in the battles of Tabi and Ichmul against the white strangers. Afterwards, when the great war chief, Cresencio Poot, was traitorously killed by an under chief, Aniceto Dzul, he, too, fled with other adherents of Poot, in fear of his life. Since then he had lived alone and in constant fear on one hand of the white men and on the other of the Indians. Upon my next return to Merida, I interested the Governor in his story and was to bring him back with me to Merida, guaranteeing him safety and good treatment. But when I went back on my next trip, no traces of him personally could be found, although his gun and his hammock were in their accustomed place. It seems most probable that he was killed, either by some poisonous reptile, a jaguar, or perhaps by some roving band of the Sublevados, his former companions.
The second interesting fact is that Leandro Poot, the younger brother of the former war chief of the rebellious Mayas, is now and has been for several years a dweller upon my plantation of Chichen. We have had many hours of pleasant and interesting conversation and the statement he gives was in this way obtained.
Dionisio Pec, the solitary maker of milpas made his statement as follows, and I have tried as far as was possible to preserve his style of making it in the vernacular.