Several of the Christian cavaliers, bewildered by the uproar and confusion and shocked at the carnage which prevailed, would have led their men out of the action, but they were entangled in a labyrinth and knew not which way to retreat. While in this perplexity Juan Perea, the standard-bearer of one of the squadrons of the grand cardinal, had his arm carried off by a cannon-ball; the standard was wellnigh falling into the hands of the enemy, when Rodrigo de Mendoza, an intrepid youth, natural son of the grand cardinal, rushed to its rescue through a shower of balls, lances, and arrows, and, bearing it aloft, dashed forward with it into the hottest of the combat, followed by his shouting soldiery.
King Ferdinand, who remained in the skirts of the orchard, was in extreme anxiety. It was impossible to see much of the action for the multiplicity of trees and towers and the wreaths of smoke, and those who were driven out defeated or came out wounded and exhausted gave different accounts, according to the fate of the partial conflicts in which they had been engaged. Ferdinand exerted himself to the utmost to animate and encourage his troops to this blind encounter, sending reinforcements of horse and foot to those points where the battle was most sanguinary and doubtful.
Among those who were brought forth mortally wounded was Don Juan de Luna, a youth of uncommon merit, greatly prized by the king, beloved by the army, and recently married to Dona Catalina de Urrea, a young lady of distinguished beauty.* They laid him at the foot of a tree, and endeavored to stanch and bind up his wounds with a scarf which his bride had wrought for him; but his life-blood flowed too profusely, and while a holy friar was yet administering to him the last sacred offices of the Church, he expired, almost at the feet of his sovereign.
On the other hand, the veteran alcayde Mohammed Ibn Hassan, surrounded by a little band of chieftains, kept an anxious eye upon the scene of combat from the walls of the city. For nearly twelve hours the battle raged without intermission. The thickness of the foliage hid all the particulars from their sight, but they could see the flash of swords and glance of helmets among the trees. Columns of smoke rose in every direction, while the clash of arms, the thundering of ribadoquines and arquebuses, the shouts and cries of the combatants, and the groans and supplications of the wounded bespoke the deadly conflict waging in the bosom of the groves. They were harassed, too, by the shrieks and lamentations of the Moorish women and children as their wounded relatives were brought bleeding from the scene of action, and were stunned by a general outcry of woe on the part of the inhabitants as the body of Reduan Zafarjal, a renegado Christian and one of the bravest of their generals, was borne breathless into the city.
At length the din of battle approached nearer to the skirts of the orchards. They beheld their warriors driven out from among the groves by fresh squadrons of the enemy, and, after disputing the ground inch by inch, obliged to retire to a place between the orchards and the suburbs which was fortified with palisadoes.
The Christians immediately planted opposing palisadoes, and established strong outposts near to the retreat of the Moors, while at the same time King Ferdinand ordered that his encampment should be pitched within the hard-won orchards.
Mohammed Ibn Hassan sallied forth to the aid of the prince Cid Hiaya, and made a desperate attempt to dislodge the enemy from this formidable position, but the night had closed, and the darkness rendered it impossible to make any impression. The Moors, however, kept up constant assaults and alarms throughout the night, and the weary Christians, exhausted by the toils and sufferings of the day, were not allowed a moment of repose.*
*Pulgar, part 3, cap. 106, 107; Cura de los Palacios, cap. 92; Zurita, lib. 20, cap 31.