No. 368.
Mr. Buck to Mr. Bayard.

No. 57.]

Sir: In my No. 56, of last Saturday, 28th ultimo, you were advised that the situation here seemed very serious.

On Saturday evening, after dark, the several diplomatic representatives here received a manifesto from Colonel Solar, General Cáceres’ general minister, dated at Vitarte (about 4 miles from Lima), November 27, of which I inclose a copy and translation.

At once, by concert with the French minister, Count Piná, the English, Italian, and Spanish ministers and myself met at his legation to consider the situation. We had not time, owiug to the urgency of the case, to get together all the members of the diplomatic corps in a formal meeting.

We agreed that the manifesto from General Cáceres, in view of his near position, should be accepted, not as grounds for making any representations to the Government, but as a notice from an invading force of imminent danger, in conjunction with the visible preparations being made by General Iglesias in the very heart of the city for a combat, justifying the liveliest feelings for the safety of our several colonies.

We therefore unanimously resolved to address to the minister of foreign affairs the note of which I inclose a copy and translation.

This action was taken between 10 and 11 o’clock at night, after due interchange of views; and the note was placed in the hands of the chancellor of the French legation to be delivered at once.

He, however, did not succeed in finding the minister of foreign affairs, and was informed at the palace that orders had been issued to receive no dispatches whatever during the night, and the note was not delivered until 8 o’clock Sunday morning.

The reply of the minister of foreign affairs was not made until the afternoon of same day, and was evasive, simply acknowledging receipt of the note and stating that the subject-matter would have to be considered by the cabinet and, as soon as that had been done, he would advise us. Meanwhile, at ten o’clock on Sunday morning, the whole diplomatic corps convened at the house of the dean (the Chilian minister), and it was resolved unanimously, in view of the imminent peril, in the interest of humanity, to tender the good offices of the corps to ascertain if they could be of any service in avoiding a combat in the streets of the capital.

A memorandum was formulated, of which I inclose copy and translation, and the Italian, Argentine, and Bolivian ministers were appointed as commissioners to communicate the same. This they did, and the result is announced in a note of which only the inclosed translation has been furnished me.

* * * * * * *

As will be observed from the note of General Cáceres, he had established himself within about 4 miles of Lima, at Vitarte, on November 27.

Combats followed on Saturday and Sunday; and on Monday, November 30, there was active fighting all day, between the advancing skirmish [Page 763] line of General Cáceres and outposts and skirmishers of the Government.

The two lines occupied positions with their right resting on the river Rimac, south of the stream, and extending across a level stretch to the foot of the hills and thence along the crest of parallel ranges in the segment of a circle to the southeast, some three miles. The sharpest fighting occurred when the Cáeristas captured the peak, some 1,400 feet high, called San Bartolomé, when two pieces of Government artillery were taken between 9 and 10 a.m., and at the Government’s right, where its forces had artillery stationed, which was captured by the Cáceristas late in the evening.

Through the whole two days of fighting without the city, the Cáceristas made constant advances, taking position after position, and finally driving the Government forces into the city late Monday evening.

Early in the day the noted negro cavalry leader, Colonel Pachas (chief of the squadron of Polica), was killed, and his death seems to have had a demoralizing effect on the Government troops.

The general line of fighting along the hills could be seen from the house-tops of Lima, and was watched by thousands of people in towers and on the roofs.

The Government occupied the mountain of San Cristobal, more than 1,100 feet high, just to the north of the city, on Monday evening. It is almost an inaccessible peak and overlooks the city and country for miles, until in one direction the view is cut off by the higher peaks of the Cordilleras, and in the other it is limited by the far-away horizon line of the Pacific. This was the extreme limit of their occupation to the north.

In connection with the city, north of the Rimac the Iglesias forces occupied the old bridge Desamparados, stretching their line behind its stone battlements and thence, under cover of the buildings to the American railroad station of Desamparados, just opposite the northeast corner of the palace fronting on the main plaza, the palace itself having been converted into a formidable citadel. They also occupied the house-tops to the north of the palace, the cathedral towers to the north of the plaza, and commanded with artillery and gatling guns the streets running east and west along the front and rear of the palace and the next parallel street south of the plaza, and also the two streets running north and south along the other two sides of the palace and the plaza. They also occupied the artillery barracks in the southeast part of the city, and the principal church towers; notably those of San Francisco, San Pedro, San Domingo, Mercedes, and San Augustin, all of which are formidable fortresses in themselves; and from their superior elevations overlook the palace and the plaza within easy rifle-shot.

The Cáceristas entered the city during Monday night to the east, through the old “Portada de Maravillas” into the “Calle de Anchas,” and through the “Portada de Barbines” into the “Calle de Juuin.” Along these streets they could approach by oblique lines under cover to the center of the city, and from them distribute themselves into position without being raked by fire from the palace and plaza, except as they crossed the streets commanded at right angles from the strongholds of the Government. Thus they occupied with their right the “Puente de Viterbo”—more commonly known as “Battas Bridge”—a splendid iron structure, and approached the church of San Francisco, which they stormed and captured, thus gaining a splendid position within one square of the palace, with an open plaza in front, and threw up a barricade of large stone slabs, taken from the sidewalks, across the entrance to San [Page 764] Francisco plaza, looking towards the palace. With that small plaza thus covered, they could handle their men and artillery from the church and behind their protections. Thence they extended their lines along the Calle de Abancay, throwing up barricades at the intersection of the three streets Junin, Muallaga, aud Ucayali, which were commanded by the fire of the Government troops from the palace, plaza, and at the corner of the streets Ucayali and Carabaya.

The legation where we were stationed during the fight is in the street Carabaya, between the plaza and the corner of Ucayali. Behind each of their barricades the Cáceristas had cannon, and for the first time in the history of street fighting in this country artillery was used by the attacking force, and the explosion of shells added to the general horrors of a battle in the heart of a great city.

Early in the day, Tuesday, the Cáceristas captured the towers of San Pedro, and from that point on their left to San Francisco on their right, and from the towers of those two churches, there was the heaviest firing during the day.

An attack was made on the artillery barracks at one time, but it was soon abandoned, and at another a force of Cáceristas climbed the peak of San Cristobal and drove down the steep sides toward the city the Government troops who were from their lofty cover keeping up a harassing fire on that part of their force stationed at “Battas Bridge,” but after a most wonderful feat in scaling steeps so precipitous that a man can with difficulty climb them unincumbered, they found the place was not worth sparing men to occupy, and they gave it up in order to concentrate their force along the main line of fight, as indicated, in the designated streets.

The firing began before 6 o’clock a.m. and lasted until 6.30 p.m., when the Government asked for a truce. Thus was ended one of the most brilliant and remarkable military achievements of which I know any record; indeed, so remarkable that only success, which overrides all rules, could make its conception appear other than the promptings of despair or the rashness of reckless adventure.

The obscureness of the field of action and the smallness of the forces involved alone can keep it from centering upon General Cáceres the eyes of the world.

After the battle of Jauja, and what must have been a serious loss, he marched his army of over 2,000 men about 200 miles from Huaripampa, in the Tambo, to Lima, across the rugged Cordilleras, almost without roads, over the ice and snows of the mightiest mountains, stopping only two days en route for rest, encountering almost intolerable hardships, yet sometimes making 30 miles a day with his soldiers on foot leading their horses, which were loaded with arms, provisions, and cannon, the latter being taken to pieces and strapped on pack-saddles. Of this distance only about 85 miles was aided by railroad.

At Chicla, the terminus of the Oroya road, he captured one locomotive and ten cars, and, although the Government had destroyed bridges on the line, * * * he had these put in place and with such scant railroad facilities had transferred his army down the gorges of the Rimac to Lima in twelve days after the battle of Jauja, and in four days more he had driven the Government forces, larger than his own, superbly equipped and armed, from every position on the outskirts of the capital, corraled them in the walls of their inner defenses within the heart of the city, and forced the Government, with all its superior resources, and behind its central fortress, to sue for a peace which conceded virtually just the terms he had always consistently demanded.

[Page 765]

The Government claimed before the combat to have 3,700 men, but I doubt if they really had more than 2,500. Perhaps Cáceres did not have under his command more, than 2,300 men when he entered the city.

The wounded in the hospitals are stated as follows: Government forces, 14 officers and 79 soldiers; Cáceristas lost 20 officers and 112 soldiers; citizens, 30. The number of dead is not given.

Tuesday evening, after thirteen hours of fighting, the minister of foreign affairs, communicated with the Brazilian minister, whose residence was most accessible, the firing being too heavy to reach other legations, and stated that the Government desired to suggest terms for peace, and wished to accept the good offices of the diplomatic corps.

These terms were stated verbally, but were as recorded in the act, written in General Cáceres’s headquarters, of which I inclose copy and translation.

Of course great haste was needed, as General Cáceres had announced when the truce was asked, unless an arrangement was effected by noon of Tuesday he would reopen fire, so a pen copy had to be obtained afterwards.

Meanwhile General Cáceres, upon the truce being asked, had communicated to the French minister by note his desire that an arrangement should terminate bloodshed, and indicated his inclination to abide by the same terms which he had repeatedly suggested before.

The diplomatic corps convened at the Chilian minister’s at 10 o’clock Wednesday morning, and concluded to proceed in a body with the terms suggested by General Iglesias to General Cáceres’ headquarters, and on behalf of the Government lay them before him.

Upon presenting the matter General Cáceres stated the terms were virtually those he had repeatedly himself proposed and were in accordance with his views, so they were, for purpose of definite record, put into writing, and signed in duplicate by General Cáceres, and each member of the diplomatic body. One copy was left with General Cáceres; the dean took the other, and the whole corps proceeded at once to the palace, presented the document to President Iglesias and his foreign minister, and it was signed by him, and a copy made and left with the minister of foreign affairs.

I have only to add that these preliminaries being accomplished, General Iglesias named as commissioners on the part of the Government Monseñor Tovar, Dr. José Nicolas Rebaza, and Dr. Manuel A. Barinaga, and General Cárceres on his part Messrs. Cárlos M. Elias, José Gregorio Garcia, and Dr. José Eusebio Sanchez.

These six commissioners met in the Spanish legation, and formulated the conditions for the formation of a new provisional Government, and named the several members of the new cabinet as follows: President of the council and minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Antonio Arenas; minister of Government, police and public works, Dr José Eusebio Sanchez; minister of justice, public instruction, and beneficence, Monseñor Dr. Manuel Tovar; minister of war and navy, Colonel Manuel Velarde; and minister of the treasury and commerce, Pedro Correa y Santiago

* * * * * * *

I have the honor, &c.,

[Page 766]
[Inclosure 1 in No. 57.—Translation.]


Most Excellent Sir: The gravity and most high importance of the events about to occur in search of a solution which may put an end to the fatal struggle in which the forces of General Iglesias are engaged against the opinion of the country, oblige me to address myself in the name of his Excellency, the provisional President of the Republic, to your excellency as a worthy member of the diplomatic body resident at Lima.

General Iglesias, against all precepts of right and human laws, is engaged in maintaining his personal authority at the cost of Peruvian blood already profusely shed, and intent upon the pursuit of this end has converted the capitol of the Republic and the Government palace into a military fortification, compelling even neutrals to sacrifice themselves at the altar of his foolish ambition.

Hard as may be so cruelly bloody a sacrifice, unavoidable duties prevent my Government from refusing to take sides in this, it being the only bulwark behind which General Iglesias sustains his unpatriotic Government. Only he and those who being able and perhaps in duty bound to do so, fail to prevent the sad consequences, will be responsible for the same.

I am, then, under the necessity of informing your excellency of the determination of my Government to seek General Iglesias within the formidable intrenchments of the palace as the only means existing of accomplishing the task imposed upon it by the nation. Not the least responsibility will rest upon us on account of the blood that will be shed there, nor the horrors accompanying such an event.

It is hereby certified, notwithstanding, that General Cáceres is still disposed to desist from the employment of force and to resign the authority with which he is invested immediately General Iglesias does the same, thus leaving the people free to exercise their will without violence or coercion.

It is my honorable duty to inform your excellency of the intentions and sentiments that animate my Government in the present question. Hoping your excellency will take such steps as may appear just and proper in view of the common calamity with which all are threatened,

I subscribe myself, &c.,

General Minister of General Cáceres.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 57.—Translation.]

Note of portion of the diplomatic corps to Mr. Urrutia.

Mr.Minister: Consequent upon accounts received from good sources and in view of the visible military preparations which have been going on for some days at the Government palace, the undersigned unfortunately feel themselves justified in fearing an imminent attack upon the city of Lima.

Being intrusted with the protection of the interests of their respective countrymen, the painful impression made upon them by the prospect of a battle threatened to be I fought in the streets of the city and the well-founded alarm caused to them, in consequence, cannot escape the foresight of the Government. It being, under the circumstances, incumbent upon them in so far as they may be able to do so before it be too late to take efficient measures for the protection of their charges, the undersigned earnestly beg your excellency to be so good as to inform them without delay whether the Government has really determined to offer battle in the capital itself to the forces that actually threaten her.

Awaiting a prompt and explicit reply and formulating from this moment the most ample reservations as to the responsibility regarding the damages that may accrue to their respective colonies, the undersigned avail themselves of this opportunity to renew to your excellency the assurances of their high consideration.

  • BUCK.
  • PINÁ.
[Page 767]
[Inclosure 3 in No. 57.—Translation.]

Note from diplomatic corps to Mr. Urrutia.

In Lima, on the 29th day of November, 1885, met together the Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary, Mr. Jovino Novoa for the Republic of Chili, Mr. Jacinto Villegas for the Argentine, Mr. Charles W. Buck for the United States of America, Mr. José Manuel Braun for Bolivia, and the Condé a de Piná for the Republic of France; the resident ministers, Mr. Hermann A. Schumacher for the Empire of Germany, Mr. Emilio de Ojeda for His Christian Majesty, Mr. Enrique de Gubernatis for His Majesty the King of Italy, Mr. Charles Mansfield for Her Britannic Majesty, and the Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. Enrique de B. Cavalcanti de Lacerda, for the Empire of Brazil, and Mr. Shu Cheon Pon for the Empire of China, and agreed upon the following:

“The diplomatic corps, in view of the present state of affairs and of the possibility of a combat taking place in the city of Lima, think it a duty to humanity to offer to the Government of Peru their good offices in so far as these can serve to avoid the calamities and disasters of this combat.”

It was also agreed to name Messrs. Villegas, Braun, and Gubernatis to present a copy of this act to the minister of foreign affairs of Peru.

Jovino Novoa, Jacinto Villegas, Charles W. Buck, José Manuel Braun, Piná, Emilio de Ojeda, C. Mansfield, E. de Gubernatis, Hermann A. Shumacher, Shu Cheon Pon, H. B. Cavalcanti de Lacerda

True copy of the original act.

    Minister Plenipotentiary of Chili.
    Secretary of the Legation of Chili.
[Inclosure 4 in No. 57.—Translation.]

Note from the Italian minister to Peru to the diplomatic corps.

My Dear Colleagues: After considerable search we found Urrutia, who had been informed of our mission by Novoa, and was prepared with his answer. His answer was as follows: “The Government appreciate the generous sentiments which determined the action of the diplomatic body, and are extremely grateful for your good offices.”

At one moment he appeared to say, “Are grateful for and accept;” but having desired him to repeat his sentence, he confined himself to expressing their gratitude. All attempts to extract another word proved fruitless, more especially as Mr. Villegas put a stop to this interview by remarking that our object reduced itself to receiving his answer and transmitting the same. Mr. Urrutia nevertheless closed by adding that in the event of a conflict taking place the responsibility rested with Cáceres, not with Iglesias. Upon this he asked me whether, in consequence of the declaration made by the diplomatic body, it remained his duty to answer yesterday’s note. I replied that I was not intrusted with the mission of expressing the opinion of my colleagues on that score, but that I could give him my personal views. “In my opinion,” I continued, “all depends on the reply which the Government may return to our offer of good offices. Should our good offices be accepted and enable us to avert the disasters we anticipate, then our note has no farther reason to exist; but if, on the other band, the Government, while expressing their acknowledgments, reject our offer, I should desire to learn at an early date the intentions of the Government, in order to take measures in consequence.” Mr. Urrutia took note of my views, and reserved to himself to ask you for your opinion.

I am,


Mr. Buck, Count Piná, and Colonel Mansfield.

[Inclosure 5 in No. 57.—Translation.]


The diplomatic corps being assembled in the building of Congress in the presence of General Cáceres with the object of seeking a means of solution of the existing internal contest, the minister of Chili, Mr. Novoa, for himself and his honorable colleagues, [Page 768] set forth that the diplomatic corps, in their desire to contribute to the pacification of Peru, had tendered their good offices to General Iglesias, and that he, accepting them, had stated that he was animated by the same sentiments and was ready to enter into arrangements with General Cáceres on the basis of both resigning the power exercised by them, and determining by means of special commissioners a third authority (entidad), that should convoke an election of President, vice-president, senators, and deputies of the nation.

To this statement of Mr. Novoa, ratified by each and all of his honorable colleagues, General Cáceres answered, showing that the basis just now proposed by General Iglesias preserved perfect conformity with that which had before and on repeated occasions been presented by himself, in his desire to insure internal peace,: Mr. Novoa then stated that once in accord, as they were, on the essence of the question, it was in his opinion indispensable that General Iglesias be immediately informed of this result, in order that he might name special commissioners.

After this conclusion Mr. Ojeda pointed out the advisability of making record of the present conference in order to give relief and tranquillity to the alarmed inhabitants of the city.

Mr. Novoa added that General Iglesias had expressed his desire that after settlement had been made there should reign in all political parties complete oblivion of past differences, leaving neither conqueros nor conquered, hut Peruvians bound by the indissoluble tie of love of country.

General Cáceres having manifested that he was moved by the same sentiments, the act was pronounced terminated.

Cáceres, Jovino Novoa, Jacinto Villegas, Carlos W. Buck, José M. Piná, Braun, Hermann A. Schumaker, Emilio de Ojeda, E. de Gubernatis, C. E. Mansfield, A. B. Cavalcanti de Lacerda, Shu Cheon Pon, Pedro A. del Solar, A. Morales Toledo

A correct copy of the original.

[l. s.]
Minister Plenipotentiary of Chili.

[l. s.]
Secretary of the Legation of Chili.
[Inclosure 6 in No. 57.—Translation.]

agreement of the peace commissioners.

Met together in the house of the Resident Minister of Spain, Messrs. Dr. José Eusebio Sanchez, Carlos M. Elias, José Gregorio Garcia, Monseñor Dr. Manuel Tovar, Dr. Manuel A, Barinaga, and Dr. José Nicolas Rébaza, being the commissioners named, respectively, by General Andres A. Cáceres and General Miguel Iglesias, with the object of arriving at an agreement to put an end to the actual state of affairs and to secure internal peace, they proceeded to exchange the corresponding full powers, which were found ample and in order.

Dr. Ermel J. Rospigliosi having been named secretary of the commissioners, Dr. Tovar proposed that the act drawn up at the meeting of the honorable diplomatic corps on this day should be read; and starting with the agreement arrived at and accepted in the said meeting, and agreed to by General Iglesias and by General Cáceres, and in view of the full powers given to the commissioners, the following was agreed to:

  • Article 1. To put in force at once the constitution of 1860.
  • Art. 2. That the resignation to which the said act refers, made by Generals Cáceres and Iglesias, will be made evident in an explicit manner by the respective decrees which will be issued to the effect.
  • Art. 3. That the authority which shall assume the government to which said act refers will be a council of ministers named by the commission, giving to each member a portfolio, and naming the one to which the presidency of the council corresponds.
  • Art. 4. The council of ministers will call popular elections for President of the Republic, vice-president, senators and deputies within the third day of their installation, which elections will be made according to the constitution of 1860.
  • Art. 5. Both the forces of General Cáceres, as well as those of General Iglesias, will, remain under the command of their respective commanders-in-chief, who will hold them at the disposal of the council of ministers, they taking up their quarters in the following places: The forces of General Cáceres will encamp in the zone of the plantation of Santa Clara; those of General Iglesias in the zone of Chorillos; those that should arrive from the north of the Republic in Callao; and those under the command of Colonel Gregorio Relaize in the zone which the new Government shall appoint. [Page 769] The evacuation of this capital should commence to-morrow, Thursday, 3d instant, at 1 p.m., the city remaining in charge of the police forces, under the command of the actual prefect of the department.
  • Art. 6. The council of ministers having charge of the executive power remains formed as follows:

President of the council and minister of foreign affairs, Dr. Antonio Arenas; minister of government Police and public works, Dr. José Eusebio Sanchez; minister of justice, public instruction, and beneficence, Monseñor Dr. Manuel Tovar; minister of war and marine, Colonel Manuel Velarde; Minister of finance and commerce, M. Pedro Correa y Santiago, having agreed that the portfolios are obligatory.

Dr. Sanchez and Monseñor Dr. Tovar strongly opposed being named for government and justice, respectively, but they were overruled by the other members of the commission. It was lastly agreed to make three copies of the present memorandum of agreement, with the end that one should be given to General Cáceres, another to General Iglesias, and the third to the president of the council of ministers, and they signed José Eusebio Sanchez, Manuel Tovar, José Nicolas Rébaza, Carlos M. Elias, Manuel A. Barinaga, José Gregorio Garcia.

note communicating result to president of council and ministers.

Ermel J. Rospigliosi, secretary, having communicated the preceding agreement the following note was sent:

Lima, December 2, 1885.

Mr. President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dr. Antonio Arenas:

Mr. President: The undersigned, named in commission by Generals Miguel Iglesias and Andres A. Cáceres, with the object of arriving at an arrangement which would put an end to the actual state of affairs and secure internal peace, have proceeded to elect a council of ministers to exercise the supreme command in the terms which appear in the act which we have the honor to forward to your honor, who has been named to preside over the same.

Which we have the honor to communicate to your honor for the after effects.

God guard your honor.

Manuel Tovar, José Eusebio Sanchez, José Nicholas Rebaza, Carlo M. Elias Manuel A. Barinaga, J. Gregorio Garcia