THE end came even more quickly than Bolívar, with all his confidence, had hoped. The Battle of Ayacucho was fought only a month after he arrived in Lima. It was one of the decisive battles of the world.
The Colombian government, under the spur of Santander, had declared that, in accepting the dictatorship of Perú, Bolívar had automatically sacrificed his official position in Colombia and his authority over Colombian troops. Therefore, Sucre was named commander-in-chief of the army in Perú, superseding him. The Liberator took the announcement from Bogotá very hard; but he swallowed his resentment, wrote a polite letter of compliance to Santander and informed Sucre of his elevation. Sucre, always loyal to Bolívar, protested. He signed, with all his staff officers, a declaration of refusal to accept the mandate of the Colombian government; but Bolívar dissuaded them, expressing his complete confidence in Sucre and assuring them that he derived as much pleasure from Sucre's achievements as though they were his own.
So, though the troop movements and the tactics which determined the site of the action were his own, the actual execution of the battle that climaxed the Liberator's career fell to his beloved Sucre. Sucre took over the command with detailed instructions from Bolívar and with orders to avoid combat until reinforcements should reach him. Then, in Lima, Bolívar organized the fresh troops and supplies that arrived from Colombia and dispatched them to the field as rapidly as possible.