Mr. Buck to Mr. Bayard.
Lima, Peru, August 15, 1885. (Received September 4.)
Sir: In anticipation of a battle and the possible storming of Truxillo, and apprehensions existing among foreign residents, as stated in my dispatch No. 21 of last week, I had an interview with the minister of, foreign relations, and requested of him that precautionary measures be taken for the protection of American citizens and interests in that vicinity, in view of prospective fighting.
The minister, Señor B. Garcia Urrutia, stated that General Ramirez had been placed in command of the Government forces with special reference to the protection of foreign residents, that he had great confidence in his prudence and had given instructions that every precaution compatible with the situation should be used to prevent excesses, such as were committed at the capture of the place last October, and for the protection of foreign residents and interests. Yet, in view of my statement, he would forward additional instructions by the first steamer.
Since my interview, however, Truxillo has been abandoned by the montoneros, who retired into the mountains, quitting the town on the 6th instant, two days before the Government forces reached it; so General Ramirez occupied the place on the 8th instant without resistance, and on the 11th instant sent some of his forces in pursuit of the retreating Cácerestas.
On the 10th instant, “Battalion Cajamarca No. 11,” with some accompanying troops, left San Pedro (near Pacasmayo) for Cajamarca.
Salaverry, the port of Truxillo, was declared opened on the 13th instant. I have not heard from Chimbote, some 85 miles to the south of Salaverry, which has been recently occupied by a body of Cácerestas, stated to number 120 men, but with the abandonment of Truxillo I presume must follow also that of Chimbote, if it has not, as is most likely, been already vacated.[Page 609]
Huacho, the first port to the north of Lima, some SO miles distant, was occupied by the montoneros on the 10th instant, but abandoned by them and reoccupied by Government troops two days later.
A convoy party of some 50 Government troops, with funds in charge, destined for Huaraz, was attacked by a force of montoneros some days ago, but the latter were defeated and Colonel Zarnudio, their commander, was taken prisoner.
On the 9th instant a party of Government cavalry started up the Oroya Railroad, and stopping off between Surco and Matucaua, encountered a force of Cácerestas, and dispersed them with loss and capture of several prisoners. Another body of Government troops pushed to the north of the Oroya Railroad, and occupied Canta, which had been taken possession of by the Cácerestas. Canta is in a valley about 60 miles to the northeast of Lima.
It is also stated that an attack was made on the 9th instant by the Cácerestas on Government troops at lea, some 130 miles southeast of Lima. The Cácerestas are said to have numbered 200, more or less, and to have been defeated. Thus it will be seen there has been displayed a marked activity by the Government of late, and the coast country has again been, at least partially if not quite, freed from the revolutionists. I trust, now, foreign residents in the north who have been subjected to all sorts of outrages and exactions, especially in the department of Libertad, will enjoy relief.
At Cerro de Pasco, the famous mining town beyond the crest of the Cordilleras, and the proposed terminus of the Oroya Railroad, the Cácerestas under Ferreyos have levied a forced loan on the business men of the place, not exempting foreign residents, with apprehension, as is stated, of a movement of Government forces southward.
The revolutionists have moved their custom-house from Mollendo to Arequipa. At the latter place they are still reported active, manufacturing ordnance, and using the railroad shops and machinery there for the purpose.
At Chiclayo, the prefect and commander of the department, Frias, has issued a decree levying on all sugars and concretes exported through the ports of Eten, Pimentel, San José, and Cheriepa, a war tax of 3 per cent, on the customs valuation of same, which valuation will be for a metric quintal of sugar of the first class, 10 soles silver, 7 soles for second class, and 2 soles for concrete, all of the same weights and in the same money. There has been criticism of this action in the Lima papers, imposing, as it does, not only over-burdensome, but discriminating, taxation on those products in the section designated; and the probability is suggested that the Government will prohibit collection of such tax.
I have, &c.,