As I announced in my last, the attack on Humaita was inevitable. Time, the great test of all things, has proved the truth of my assertion. The great and long-expected attack on Humaita has taken place. The invincible stronghold of tyranny and the bulwark of the only little corner in free America where haughty oppression ruled has been overcome by the Brazilian iron-clads.
A division of the imperial navy, consisting of three iron-clads under the Command of Carvalho, at half-past three yesterday morning forced the passage of Humaita. At the same time the wooden fleet kept up a steady fire on the land batteries at Curupaiti and at Piris and Paso Pucu.
The army, from 2 o’clock in the morning, stood ready to attack along the entire line from Tayi to Tuyuti. At 3 a. m. a feint attack was made, and then the squadron commenced to force the pass, which took forty-two minutes to effect. The iron-clads suffered very little. The moment Caxias knew of the fleet having passed, he ordered the whole line to fall back.
The Brazilians having taken two important fortresses to the north of Humaita, Lopez is cut off from the Gran Chaco; it is impossible, therefore, that Humaita can hold out much longer.
The monitors can run up the Tebicuari, and thus facilitate the crossing of the allied army, in order to attack Lopez’s reserved force stationed behind that river. In a few months it is possible, therefore, the war will be over.
Marshal Caxias deserves the highest praise for his tactics, which have led to such an important success.
On the morning of the 17th an ugly fight took place between Paraguayan and Argentine forces; the latter lost eighty men and a commander, and the enemy lost about the same.