Paroissien, who was no stranger to the aftermath of battles, boarded the prize two days later to arrange an exchange of prisoners and found the decks still bloody and littered with remains. It was, he wrote, ‘a sight too horrible to describe’.
The capture of theEsmeralda left Lord Cochrane undisputed master of the coast. The Spanish frigates Venganza andPrueba were still at large in the Pacific, but after the ffair inCallao they played no further role and went entirely on the defensive.San Martin immediately recognised the significance of the event and reported the cutting out oftheEsmeralda to O’Higgins in glowing terms, writing:
It is impossible for me to eulogise in proper language the daring enterprise of 5 November, by which Lord Cochrane has decided the superiority ofour naval forces, augmented the splendour and power of Chile and secured the success of this ampaign. I doubt not that His Excellency the Supreme Director will render the justice due to the worthy chief, the officers and other individuals who have had a share inthat successful action.
Six weeks later, San Martin went further, and decreed that the name of the Esmeralda should be changed toValdivia in honour of Cochrane and of his victory in capturing that stronghold.