MIRANDA left the army opposing Monteverde in the command of Colonel Ustáritz and went to Caracas to raise more troops and funds. He was in supreme authority at last, with no Congress to harass or hinder him. The Secretary of War had ordered, in conferring the dictatorial powers, "Do not consult any but the supreme law of saving the nation." But it came too late. Something had-gone out of the ex-general of France. The many disappointments and failures had undermined his faith in the Venezuelan people and shaken his self- confidence--though not his ego.
Colonel Bolívar was ordered to take command at the coast town of Puerto Cabello. Though far removed from the scene of hostilities, this was really an important post, for it was the best harbor on the coast and was dominated by a fortress in which a large number of wealthy and influential royalist sympathizers were imprisoned; but Bolívar accepted with ill grace, feeling that it was a deliberate move on the part of Miranda to get him out of the way--which it may have been.
With a draggle-tail and undisciplined army of 2300 men and ten pieces of artillery, Miranda marched out of Caracas on the first of May. He followed the Andean Cordillera southwestward, joined forces with the main army and took a position in the city of Maracay. Ustáritz had been defeated by Monteverde in several battles, during which his whole cavalry had gone over to the enemy. Nevertheless, Miranda now found himself commanding