BARREIRO knew now that Bolívar was there. He determined to take the offensive at once and strike quickly. From his headquarters at Tunja, on the main road to Bogotá, he sent out two columns to scout the Sogamoso Valley. On the same day Bolívar, knowing his only chance lay in assuming the offensive himself, marched out from Socha; and his advance cavalry attacked and destroyed the enemy squadron of 300 men. This was Bolívar's first action after crossing the Andes and the victory, insignificant though it was, put new life into his army of scarecrows.
The following day Barreira came up with his main force and crossed the Rio Gameza. Bolívar, effecting a union with Anzoátegui and Santander, made a rapid march of fifteen kilometers in the early morning and arrived at the Gameza so suddenly that Barreira recrossed the river and took a strong position on a hill opposite. Bolívar sent four battalions to attack at once, among them the Rifles of Colonel Rooke. This was the first time Bolívar had seen the foreign legionnaires in action; and their behavior delighted him. The battalions stormed the hill, took it and drove the Spaniards to a new position. There Bolívar attacked them with his advance and center in successive charges for eight solid hours, but he couldn't budge them. He withdrew to the village of Tasco where he concentrated his forces, joining with the rear guard under Soublette.