Mr. Egan to Mr. Blaine .
Santiago , March 31, 1891. (Received May 5.)
Sir.: Since my No. 143, of the 17th instant, there is but little to report in the progress of the revolution. On account of the impossibility of keeping up a supply of fresh water at Antofagasta, of the sterile nature of the surrounding country, and of the exposed position of the port, the Government withdrew its forces from that town and retired them inland to Calama, a distance of 160 miles, first destroying the nitrate works and the railroad and sending all the rolling stock to the interior. All the other positions south of Antofagasta are firmly held by the Government, which is rapidly increasing and organizing its forces. The new ships Almirante Lynch and Almirante Condel, referred to in my dispatch of the 17th, arrived on the 22d, and are now in Valparaiso ready for active service.
On Sunday, the 29th instant, a general election was held in all parts of the country except Tarapacá, resulting in the return of 30 senators and 90 congressmen, nearly all supporters of the Government. The elections passed off without any disturbance, the opposition taking but little part.
This Congress will meet on the 15th of April to organize and on the 20th for business.
Outside of Tarapacá the revolutionists have no organized force, and as communication with that province is cut off, it is impossible to gauge their actual strength. I do not believe, however, that they can, at the outside, command over 4,000 to 5,000 men, while the Government force amounts to 30,000 well-equipped soldiers.
I have, etc.,