also has a personal narrative relating how her uncle Colonel Antonio
Gamboa won the famous Battle of the Carboneras. (Carboneras
refers to the place of the battle.) This was one of the decisive battles
ending the brief French rule by Maximillian, 1864 to 1867. Colonel Gamboa
was approaching a sizable French force. He had been ordered to retire
in face of this well equipped, well trained body of French troops; but
rather, he waited until nightfall, stealthily observing the enemy forces
all the while. The French followed their usual custom of clustering
their soldiers in circles for the night and stacking their rifles in
the middle of each circle, stock down and barrels pointing upward.
After nightfall when all was quiet in the camp, Colonel Gamboa tied
a long rope between two horses. Then he stampeded the horses directly
through the French encampment. The rope pulled down all the stacks of
rifles and scattered them out of reach of the soldiers. Taking advantage
of the surprise, General Gamboa and his Mexican forces attacked with
swords, machetes and knives, literally hacking to death the startled
French soldiers who could not escape.
This famous battle is written up in Mexican history books as a key battle
in ending the French occupation and a patriotic example of the valor
of the Mexican soldiers.