Notes of the Mexican war 1846-47-48/Chapter 6
Monday, September 13, 1847.—This morning, one of our soldiers whom the lancers had taken prisoner some time ago made good his escape. He tells us some hard yarns about the Mexicans—how they used and threatened and fed him. He says that the Mexicans have six pieces of artillery, six pounders, and about two thousand lancers and one thousand infantry; the lancers are well clothed and drilled, but the infantry are poorly clad, armed, and drilled; and he also says that their whole argument and talk is, that they will not spare the life of a single Yankee when the attack is made; they are recruiting fast, mostly all young men from this city; also, there is an American soldier, with a cut on his cheek, on Gen. Rea's staff; this must be the soldier who, while on guard, sold his musket to the enemy, making an excuse that the enemy crept up behind him and took it from him; for this he was put in the guard-house, from which, in a few days afterwards, he made good his escape; he also says that the enemy had him employed nearly all the time in carrying corn, barley, etc.; and while the Mexican sentinels were talking to one another he made an excuse in going out for to hunt wood, and while the sentinels were still busy in talking, he watched his chance and made his escape through a corn-field which was close by; and he says that there are about fifteen deserters from our army among them, mostly Irish; God help them if we should ever get hold of them; he says that there are about one thousand lancers and guerillas at El Pinal Pass, waiting for the coming train. Considerable firing upon our picket to-night. Siege of Puebla City commenced from this day September 14, 1847.
Tuesday, September 14, 1847.—This morning there was considerable of a fuss between Jack Wells and Peter Ahl, both belonging to our company, about some trifling affair, and were about coming to blows when Mr. Jerry Corson, our arbitrator, rushed in between them and stopped it, wanting to know the cause of the fuss; they both stated their grievances, and he told them that they should be ashamed of themselves to quarrel about so trifling affair, that they should both go to their respective bunks and keep quiet. Whatever Jerry says is gospel, for he is our peacemaker and decides all questions or disputes in our company.
About 8 o'clock, a.m., we saw the lancers manœuvring about the field and drilling; the road is full of lancers riding backward and forward in great bustle.
This afternoon our spies came in and reported that the Mexicans would attack our quarters to-night, or in the morning. Having heard this report so often we place little dependence in it; yet they may make the often attempted attack, for they are constantly drilling and recruiting. Our communication with the plaza and Alcalda is now entirely cut off. So the "diarrœa blues" and "hospital rangers" will have to lookout for themselves in the future.
In the evening Gov. Childs had two of Capt. Pedro Arria's spy company bucked and gagged for stealing a rifle; they were both under the influence of liquor.
To-night Lieut.-Col. Black ordered us all upon the ramparts to keep a sharp eye on the enemy. The Governor fearing an attack on our quarters, our pickets were doubled on all the posts.
Wednesday, September 15, 1847.—This morning, about two o'clock, we were aroused from our slumber on the ramparts, by a tremendous firing of musketry, volley after volley rent the air. We were on our feet with our guns cocked and primed and in good fighting order, waiting for the enemy to come, but they did not come. The cause of the firing was that several hundred lancers had charged upon our picket-guard, but failed to drive them from their posts.
At daylight we saw the lancers gathering in the Tivola Garden, commencing to shout and fire with vigor, and they seemed to be full of enthusiasm and excitement.
Lieut. Laidley, of the Ordnance Department, placed the howitzer in position; after which he threw a bomb shell right in among them, which caused a little scatter. But they soon blew the trumpet to arms, and again appeared in the Tivola Garden, waving their swords and lances in the air, when suddenly, Lieut. Laidley with his howitzer company, fired two bombs, both exploding in their midst; then you should have seen the excitement, and the would-be gallant lancers vamose (and cut dirt and dust). But they soon again appeared at the opposite side of the Tivola Garden, blowing the charge at a furious rate.Word was now sent to Fort Loretto to open her two twelve pounders on the city. The first shot struck our hospital, our gunner mistook our men for Mexican greasers on the roof. After this blunder was found out, our men threw fire-bombs right into the main plaza, which had the effect to silence the Mexicans for the day.
To-night the whole city seems to be in an uproar; drums were beaten up and down the streets, followed by pastrge a wicked, boisterous crowd, with mucho salado (good, merry), sky rockets illuminated the dark skies, and it reminded me of a picture I had seen when a boy, of the judgment day. The citizens in general all seemed to be much confused.
To-night every soldier was ordered up on the ramparts.
Thursday, September 16, 1847.—To-day is the thirty-seventh anniversary of Mexican independence, and, no doubt, it will cause great excitement and enthusiasm among the lower class of people. They will mostly all get borracho (drunk), and, perhaps, be foolish enough to attempt a charge on our quarters; for bad whiskey has been the cause of doing many foolish things and killed many innocent people.
About 10 o'clock, a.m., Gov. Childs received a letter from Gen. Rea, stating that this was the thirty-seventh anniversary of their independence, that his umbras were full and wild with entusiasmo and fight, and that he (Gen. Rea) has fully determined to make an attack on our forces, and take the garrison of San Jose from us, if he had to lose five hundred men; and, to save life and blood, he (Gov. Childs) had better surrender. To this Gov. Childs promptly replied by telling Gen. Rea to come on with his strong and entusiasmo forces, as he (Gov. Childs) had about three hundred effective men for duty, and about two thousand sick soldiers lying in the hospital under his protection; that Gen. Rea will have to lose over five thousand men before his (Gov. Childs') men will be willing to surrender up the garrison to your excellency.
After Gen. Rea received the answer, the Mexican officers could plainly be heard making military and warlike speeches, singing songs, passing the bottle around and drinking toasts until noon, when a large rocket went up into the air as the signal for the grand charge on the Yankees. It was reasonably supposed that we would have a hard and bloody battle, and, I assure you, we were all ready and well prepared to receive them. We now saw them forming into line; the lancers seemed to be well equipped and mounted on spirited horses. About five hundred lancers now made a charge in full gallop up the street leading to our quarters (Quartel San Jose), and when they came near enough, we opened fire, with grape and canister, right into their ranks, which checked them, and they were obliged to retreat with great loss, the street laying full of dead and wounded Mexicans and horses. We let the Mexicans gather in their dead and wounded, after which they amused themselves by firing at our pickets—firing volley after volley, which became so hot that our men were obliged to fall back one square towards our quarters. This is what may be called coming to close quarters. Some of our pickets could not be driven away from their posts; they were, however, to save their lives, compelled to stand in the doorways of houses near where they were stationed. This shelter saved them; otherwise, every one of them would have been killed. During this little engagement there were many shots fired.
In the afternoon a party of Mexicans were discovered carrying sand-bags and building a breastwork, also planting a bateria (battery). Lieut.-Col. Samuel W. Black was notified of it, when he immediately ordered the howitzers and Fort Loretto to open on them, and, I tell you, the way the dust flew looked like a whirlwind. The Mexican infantry were lying behind a stone wall, firing continually at our men at San Jose, but their bullets mostly fell short. Seeing this, we thought that it was no use for us to fire at them; it would only be a waste of ammunition.
The Mexicans were not leaving the stone wall, and they again attempted to rally their scattered forces by blowing the bugle charge. We now saw a large party of lancers trying to get in our rear. Col. Black instantly sent orders with a messenger to Fort Loretto to point out the spot where the lancers were. The fort then opened and fired right in among them, and it was astonishing to see the large force concealed there. The place was getting too hot for them, and, seeing that the Mexicans were about to change their quarters, we up and let them have a volley of musketry. This frightened and demoralized them so that they did not know which way to retreat. I saw several drop to rise no more, besides some so badly wounded that they were hardly able to crawl behind some ambush for safety. The Mexicans have now fully retreated outside of the range of our artillery and musketry, and I hope they will trouble us no more to-day. We could plainly hear Gen. Rea fromante and juramento (thundering and swearing), no doubt on account of his defeat. Thus ends the thirty seventh anniversary of the Mexican independence.
Friday, September 17, 1847.—This morning after daylight we looked all around to see what had become of those gallant lancers who, yesterday, were so full of enthusiasm that they made one of the most desperate efforts to drive us out of this city, but were handsomely repulsed.
At 8 o'clock this morning Gov. Childs received a letter from the Alcalda, stating that he has resigned his office of alcaldaship of the city of Puebla, and that Gen. Rea has fully taken possession of it and declared martial law in the city of Puebla.
At 10 o'clock, a.m., I was placed on picket guard at Post No. 9—a very dangerous one it is; but I shall try and take care of the post as well as myself.
At noon the lancers made another rush in the plaza, and charged right up to our bakery, which is owned by a Frenchman, who has been baking for our detachment since we formed the garrison. They succeeded in capturing our bread and a quantity of flour. They chased the baker, who, luckily, made his escape over the back wall of his yard, and made his way up to our quarters and reported the circumstances. The firing has been very brisk all day, and while one of Co. A, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, who happened to be on guard, was released from his post, he received a shot from around the corner close by. It seems they are getting bolder. They now have cotton and tobacco bales at the corners of the streets to stand behind and fire at us or whoever attempts to cross the streets. Lieut. E. C. Lewis, of Co. G, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, has been missing for two days. Fears are entertained that the Mexicans have either killed or taken him prisoner.
In the evening several shots were fired at me. One ball hit the strap attached to my canteen. Firing was heard at different times during the night.
Saturday, September 18, 1847.—This morning, after I was released from guard, I fixed the strap of my canteen; during this time, Mr. Kelley, a resident of this city, and who has a large factory here, informed us that the Mexicans will make another attempt to-day to drive us out; so at 11 o'clock, a.m., the bells throughout the city began to ring, and a hundred of rockets filled the air, the trumpet sounding the charge; now we see them forming in the streets, marching towards our quarters; one howitzer is brought down from the parapet or rampart, and run up the street behind our sand-bag breastworks; and after firing several rounds of shell and canister, the lancers dispersed in confusion. Fort Loretto opened a brisk fire on the city, and kept at it all day without intermission.
In the evening there was a detail of two soldiers from each company to go to the Tivola Garden scouting, and my friend, Robert Eurick, of our company, was in that expedition, and they were not gone more than an hour before the Mexicans, several hundred in number, came up, and the lancers got so close to our fellows that they could easy have fired on them before they knew it, but laid still until the Mexicans had passed, and then crawled on hands and knees, and in that way made their escape. It was strange that the lancers did not see them.
Sunday September 19, 1847.—This morning all is quiet, but at noon a party of lancers attacked our picket guards; but the cowardly dogs stood behind the house corners and fired therefrom.
In the afternoon the guerillas charged upon our butcher and took him prisoner, and two hundred head of cattle; so they stopped off both beef and bread; next will be the water stopped off. Co. D, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, went out behind the Fort Loretto and succeeded in recapturing one hundred and fifty head of cattle, which caused much joy among our soldiers.
In the evening the Mexicans had a great meeting in the Plaza, urging the citizens to rise in arms, but Fort Loretto disturbed them by throwing two bombs right in the Plaza, killing five and wounding a great many; so an Englishman tells us to-day. Our guards killed five and took several Mexican prisoners; as usual, firing all night.
Monday, September 20, 1847.—This morning the different consuls hoisted their respective colors on their dwellings to be protected from the firing of Fort Loretto.
At noon about one hundred rockets rent the air, and we soon learned that the rejoicing was on account of Gen. Santa Anna, with six thousand troops, advancing towards this city, and would be here in a few days to drive the d—— Yankees out. So Gen. Santa Anna must have got badly whipped at his much boasted capital. These are the same people that cried out death to Gen. Santa Anna a few days ago.
In the afternoon a lancer fired at one of our picket-guards, and one of our men followed him as soon as he fired, but the lancer jumped from his horse and ran into a house close by, and shut the door, but our man burst the door in and took the lancer, the would-be murderer. He had a brass pistol, sword and carbine, and on his person was found a Captain's commission, signed by Gen. Rea. He was put in the guard-house by order of Gov. ChiIds.
This evening everything is very quiet. No firing. So much so that it looks suspicious.
Gov. Childs ordered two companies on the ramparts to-night, and to keep a sharp lookout towards the Tivola Garden, the place where the Mexicans mostly quarter. Oh! how I would like it if they would make another bold attack on our quarters. It would do us good to have another sweep at them.
Tuesday, September 21, 1847.—This morning an extra paper was published in this city by Gen. Rea, stating that he never intended to storm the garrison of San Jose, for his force was too small, and that the Yankees were too strongly fortified, and that he only wanted to scare us out. Good excuse for Gen. Rea for not driving us out of the city, because he couldn't; having failed in all his daring attemps to take the city from us. He also states that the firing from Fort Loretto, into the city and Tivola Garden, where he (Gen. Rea) had his main forces encamped, was very severe on his troops. So he thought best to withdraw his force from these hot quarters to the city, but there it was worse for the city, for when anything happens in the city away goes a shell into it, which silences them.
In the evening news was afloat again that Gen. Santa Anna was encamped near this city with six or seven thousand soldiers and several pieces of artillery, but that they will not come into the city for several days; they being much fatigued and in want of rest.
Late in the evening it was reported that the Mexican officers held a meeting to determine on whether or not to go on to El Pinal Pass, and there to await for the train coming from Vera Cruz. What conclusion they have come to I, of course, am unable to say, but there is one thing sure, if they can't do anything with our small garrison here they had better not undertake to attack a train which is guarded with about fifteen hundred soldiers, and a well-mounted battery of about six pieces.
Wednesday, September 22, 1847.—This morning, a courier, disguised as a probre vestido, (poor clad) lepero, arrived with despatches from Gen. Scott who is at the city of Mexico. It is natural to suppose that we were all very anxious to learn the news, and it soon drew a large crowd at the Governor's headquarters. Finally Gov. Childs came out at the second story balcony window; we all knew that he had good news, for as soon as we saw him he was winking and smiling all over his face, he said: "Men, do you want to hear good news?" Every one cried out yes, yes, let us have it." [Cheers.] It is this: "That Gen. Winfield Scott and his gallant little army have fought three hard battles, and the whole three were gallantly fought and victoriously won." [Loud cheering.] "And that our flag, the Stars and Stripes, were now floating gracefully over the halls of Montezumas." [Great cheering.] "Again, that Gen. Santa Anna's army is defeated and scattered in all directions."
Such another cheering and shouting for joy was never seen or heard of before, it lasted fully ten minutes, and if Gen. Santa Anna's scattered forces were encamped anywhere near the city, they must have heard the many cheers going up.
After the noise had subsided the Governor said that there is no doubt now, but that Gen. Santa Anna with his scattered troops, are now near this city, and no doubt making all necessary arrangements to capture Puebla City, and our little band, for the purpose of trying to redeem his high reputation as a great military general. He will make one of his utmost efforts to capture our forces, and then embarrass Gen. Scott at the capital. He warned us, one and all, that when that bold stroke is made, to be ready to scatter the fragments of Gen. Santa Anna's army to the four corners of the earth or somewhere else.
These remarks caused another great cheering, with answer, "we will! we will be ready."
At noon, we heard a report that Gen. Rea with his lancers, were quartered in the Plaza de Toros, where we were quartered previous to the main army leaving Puebla City for the capital.
This afternoon there was a general ringing of all the church bells, and firing of rockets; the citizens looked much excited, which excitement continued on until a number of round shot and shell had found their way into the plaza from Fort Loretto. This put a stop to their nonsense, as it has done on several other occasions before.
Later in the afternoon we found out the cause of all the rejoicing and excitement; it was the arrival of Gen. Santa Anna with about eight thousand troops he had gathered after his defeat at the city of Mexico. His army is encamped at the outskirts of the city, much to the delight of Gen. Rea and his often defeated forces. The people, that is, generally the worst portion, are hailing Gen. Santa Anna's coming with joy, and are now boasting that they will soon drive these infernal Yankees out of the city; so I suppose work will soon commence.
In the evening a small party of lancers made their appearence in the Tivola Garden, no doubt reconnoitering. Also a party of the same class of umbras appearing behind the pillow, or little hill, near the Tivola Garden, brandishing their swords and lances with great gallantry. This reminds me when I went to school, of a boy making fists in his pockets and saying nothing.
To prove the enemy's gallantry, a howitzer was brought into position, and fired a few shots among them, which soon made them leave the garden, not liking the "imitation" of those cannons, as Gen. Rea told his officers and men in one of his patriotic speeches, before he made that gallant charge on our quarters at San Jose.
Late this evening, Gen. Rea was seen riding up to the Tivola Garden on a beautiful white mustang, when that "imitation" was again opened on him, after which he left in double quick time.
Thursday, September 23, 1847.—This morning it is rumored that Gen. Santa Anna arrived in this city without his army; coming in advance with his staff and picked lancers as his body-guard; his troops are encamped about ten miles out of the city. It is said that they are drilling and recruiting for the purpose of driving us Yankees out of the city of Puebla. They will have a happy time of it when it comes to that; it will be like Gen. Rea's boasted attack, they will leave quicker than they came.
At noon, through the information of a Mexican muger (woman), we found out that a large quantity of Mexican tobacco belonging to the Mexican Government, was concealed in a large stone building, just one square (or block as they are called here) from our quarters. Gov. Childs sent for some of the volunteers and told them to charge on the building and capture the tobacco, which order was obeyed, and it wasn't long before we had about two hundred bales of tobacco up in front of our quarters; after this, nearly all hands went to work to build a breastwork out of the bales of tobacco, across some of the streets leading into the square three deep. "If you want your tobacco you will have to fight for it."
While the soldiers were charging on the tobacco warehouse, three companies of soldiers were stretched across the streets leading to the square, ready to fire on any force that might make a flank movement on our men. But no interference took place. Tobacco is now cheap.
To-night a constant firing upon our picket-guard is going on, but am glad to say, is doing very little harm; also a large meeting, composed of citizens and Mexican soldiers was held in the Plaza, to adopt some plan to drive these stubborn Yankees out of the Quartel San Jose.
Gen. Santa Anna said, "that by uniting his force with that of Gen. Rea, and the assistance of the citizens, that he would then be able to drive the Yankees out of the city without much trouble." This plan was adopted with cheers and firing of rockets.
To-day is the three hundred and twenty-eighth anniversary of Conqueror Cortez entering the ancient capital of Tlasculla, it being the 23d of September, 1519, which anniversary is still celebrated by the old Spaniards and mixed races, as a day of feast and jubilee, particularly in Puebla and TIasculla cities.
Friday, September 24, 1847.—This morning it is rumored that while we were charging on the tobacco, Gen. Rea sent out to his camp to bring in all his forces, as the American soldiers were storming the city. This accounts for the large force of lancers we saw last evening in the Plaza.
At 10 o'clock, a.m., Gen. Rea and his staff, and accompanied by two hundred lancers, passed around the city to reconnoitre Guadaloupa Heights, but kept off a respectable distance, except some of the brave guerillas rode up and fired off their escopets and then vamoosed. They received one good volley of musketry from our soldiers stationed there, which did no execution, the distance being too great.
In the afternoon a courier came into our quarters with despatches for Gov. Childs, stating that the train was at Jalapa City, under command of Gen. Joseph Lane, with a force of two thousand and five hundred men. We also received New Orleans papers, bearing date the 4th inst.; friends can imagine the joy that we felt on hearing the news. We gave three cheers for it. The papers state that Gen. C. Gushing (who is he; another paper general?) was landing troops at Vera Cruz when the courier left; also stating that Gen. Lane's force was on a forced march to relieve us from our perilous position.
In the evening the firing is somewhat brisker than last evening, but we don't mind musket balls so long as they don't fire cannon balls or shells. It is again rumored that Gen. Rea is going to attack us to-night. They had better not, for we are too full of joy and enthusiasm, as he, Gen. Rea, calls it; so they had better stay away, if they know what is good for themselves.
To-night I volunteered my services to go on picket guard. Post No. 6, in place of the guard taken sick; and no wonder he was taken sick; it was the hottest post I have ever been on; I tell you, there was some sharp shooting going on; my bayonet was shot off at the top of my musket; the musket balls flew like hailstones around my head and feet, not knowing what moment I might have to fall; but I was determined to stand my ground and not yield an inch. The night was so dark that we could not see one another, and could only aim at the flashing of muskets. At twelve o'clock one picket was wounded; the Sergeant of the guard relieved him of his post; his post was next to mine (No. 5). There has been more firing to-night at our pickets than any night since the siege commenced; they are determined to drive or kill our pickets off; can't do it.
Saturday, September 25, 1847.—This morning, after I was relieved from my dangerous position, I went to the ordnance department and got myself a new bayonet, in the place of the one I had shot off last night. This is the second one I have had shot off.
About 10'clock, a.m., we saw a great cloud of dust on the ruta, a few miles from the city, and it was not long afterwards when it was announced that Gen. Santa Anna's army, about eight thousand men, were entering this city. This news indicated at once that something of an extraordinary movement was about to take place; and so, of course, we were all ordered to be prepared for the contest. The artillery men were ordered to stand by their howitzer pieces with the slow match burning, ready the moment when the attack is made.
At noon a flag of truce, accompanied by a priest and several Mexican officers, came riding up the street as far as our picket line. Here they were stopped, and our Adjt. Welder went to receive them. They handed the Adjutant a letter stating that it was from Gen. Santa Anna to Gov. Childs. It was brought to Gov. Childs, and its contents were commanding Gov. Childs, Governor of Puebla, to surrender up all his forces now stationed in Puebla, and to march out with our private arms, such as pistols, and either to join Gen. Scott at the city of Mexico, or fall back to Perote Castle, and that he (Gen. Santa Anna) would give Gov. Childs until to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock to make up his mind what he intended to do about it. And that if Gov. Childs did not submit to his fair and reasonable request, that he (Gen. Santa Anna) has eight thousand troops under his control, full of courage and enthusiasm, to drive us out, and that he would not be responsible for the damages, and the loss of American soldier's lives. This was a bumper.
Gov. Childs immediately called his officers together, and after talking over Gen. Santa Anna's proposition, they came to a unanimous conclusion to reply to Gen. Santa Anna, stating that he (Col. Childs, of the United States Army, and now Governor and Commander of the city of Puebla,) has read his communication, and that it gives him great pleasure to say that he (Col. Childs) could not comply with his (Gen. Santa Anna's) fair and reasonable request, as his men don't know of any such word as, surrender; therefore, you will be obliged to come on with your eight thousand enthusiastic troops, and that he would meet him with his three hundred half starved soldiers against his forces, and give him as warm a reception as he received at the capital of Mexico from Gen. Scott.
When this message went to Gen. Santa Anna the streets were cleared of all the citizens; and we, of course, were now certain of having a bloody battle with the eight thousand troops.
Gov. Childs is now busy in going from one post to another, and from quarters to quarters, telling his little band of Gen. Santa Anna's demand, and his reply to Gen. Santa Anna, which was received with much shouting, cheering and hurrahing, and which made the hills around Puebla echo, sounding in the ears of Gen. Santa Anna, and his army, like thunder. "Let them come! Let them come!" was the general cry and cheers all around, that we would rather die than to give up our reputation, character and good name.
Capt. Rowe, of the Ninth United States Infantry, who, by-the-by, was left here in the hospital when Gen. Scott's army marched on to the capital of Mexico, has so far recovered that he was ordered to make up a company of hospital Rangers, so called, who were able to do light duty. He succeeded in getting one hundred and fifty men, who, like ourselves, were anxious to be counted in the battle with Gen. Santa Anna; also Lieut. Merrifield, of the Fifteenth United States Infantry, who also was left in the hospital when Gen. Scott left, made up a detachment of rifles from the same hospital; also Lieut. Morgan, of the Fourteenth United States Infantry, also left back, made up a detachment of marines, etc., from the hospital. So everything is now ready to meet Gen. Santa Anna and his boasting legions—to give battle whenever he is ready.
To-night every man that is able to carry a musket or a rifle is ordered on duty with sixty rounds of cartridges in his box. We, the old regulars, are all up on the ramparts, watching with all our eyes and listening with our ears wide open.
12 o'clock.—No attack yet.
Sunday, September 26, 1847.—This morning, long before daylight, we expected to be attacked by Gen, Santa Anna, but he did not come.
At noon Gen. Rea issued an order for every Mexican citizen to move three squares from the Yankees' quarters, and any citizen refusing to move, or is known to sell or have any trading and dealing with the Americans, would be considered and looked upon as traitors to the Republic of Mexico; and in case the American army should be defeated, they will then suffer the penalty of death, and their property, if they have any, will be confiscat (confiscated).
This unexpected order caused a good deal of confusion and excitement among the Mexican people who live in our immediate neighborhood, and you should have seen the people moving. It beat all the first of Mays in the United States. Many of the pobre (poor) people refused to move, but preferred to stay under our protection and run the risk. They are mostly regateros (hucksters).
Thus the Mexicans are not satisfied with stopping off our beef, bread, etc., but they have the impudence to deprive us of our vegetables and leche (milk). Col. Black remarked that this looks as if the Mexicans wanted to starve us out in place of driving us out.
In the afternoon it was discovered that Gen. Santa Anna had the Saint Augustine Church barricaded with sand-bags and cotton or tobacco bales.Gov. Childs ordered the twelve pounder stationed in the front of our quarters to fire upon it. A tall sergeant of the regular army, named George Orwill, who trained the piece and made some good hits—one shot in particular which struck the clock and knocked it to pieces; so you can see we beat their time.
|Fort Loretto||Guadeloupa Heights — San Jose Quartel|
|SIEGE OF PUEBLA, BEGAN SEPTEMBER 13, ENDED OCTOBER 12, 1847|
The Mexicans now have picket guards stationed all around our quarters, and are stopping off our wood, coal, and all other necessaries to keep the stream of life up, from coming into our quarters.
Firing is still brisk, and is getting brisker every hour, and a shower of bullets are constantly poured into our quarters from the street, balconies, houses, and church-tops, upon our devoted heads, wounding several of our men.
To-night, we are all again on the ramparts, expecting an attack for sure; if not, we will begin to think that Gen. Santa Anna is as big a coward and fraud as Gen. Rea; in fact, we are beginning to get tired of watching day after day and night after night for these cowardly Mexicans, who are constantly threatening to make an attack upon our quarters.
To-night we can plainly hear the Mexican pickets challenge each other—sentinels alarida pasa (cries of pass)—until it goes clear around their pickets; and this seems that the Mexicans are even afraid that Col. Childs, with his three hundred nearly worn-out Yankees, might make an attack on Gen. Santa Anna's eight thousand soldiers and six pieces of artillery.
Twelve o'clock, p.m. Contrary to all our expectations, the Mexicans again have failed to make an attack upon us. They must be making desperate arrangements to make a bold and daring attack upon our garrison, and defeat our little band, but we are not asleep; nay, we are anxiously waiting for the time to come, and quote the language of a poet, which says:
"Freedom calls us—quick, be ready,
Think of what our sires have been;
Onward, onward, strong and steady.
Drive the tyrant to his den."
Gen. Santa Anna's Demand for the Surrender of
|September 25, 1847|
Having taken possession of this city, with the forces under my command to operate against the points occupied by you, and for the purpose of restoring to full liberty the citizens who have suffered so much from the troops of the United States, I deem it proper before making any movement, and for the sake of humanity, to intimate to your Excellency, that you should have leave, within a limited time, to abandon the places you now occupy in this city, and march out with the honors of war, either to join Gen. Scott, or to proceed to Perote, as may be most convenient for you; but if this moderate proposition be not accepted by your Excellency, I shall, in that case, with the deepest feeling, proceed to act in a military manner, and assault all your positions, the consequences of which your troops must suffer; inasmuch as there is in the vicinity of your Excellency, an army of eight thousand men determined to cause the rights of this nation to be respected. God and Liberty.
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna,
General-in-Chief of the Mexican Army.
Senor Col. Childs,
Commander of the United States forces in this city.
Col. Child's Reply to Gen. Santa Anna.
|City of Puebla, Mexico|
|September 25, 1847|
I had the honor of receiving (now 2 o'clock, p.m.,) your Excellency's note of this date, notifying me that you had taken possession of this city, for the purpose of restoring to full liberty the citizens who have suffered so much from the troops of the United States. And also offering the garrison certain terms in case they would, in a limited time, abandon the points occupied by us. In regard to the first point, I deem it necessary and just in vindication of the good name of the military forces of the United States—which they have earned by their humanity, good order and discipline which has at all times distinguished their conduct, and more particularly while holding military possession of the city of Puebla—to deny the imputation conveyed in your Excellency's communication, but on the contrary, would assert that the rights of persons and property have been most scrupulously respected and maintained to a degree unparalleled in warfare. And would willingly leave the question for the decision of the intelligent and impartial portion of the population of this city: By whom have they suffered most violence, from their own people or from troops of the army of the United States?
As for the other portion of your Excellency's communication, demanding a surrender within a limited time, of the places held by the troops under my command, I have but this reply to make to your Excellency; that having been honored with the custody and safe keeping of these places, it is my desire and my duty to maintain them to the best, feeling fully confident in the means at my disposal to accomplish that purpose. With consideration of high respect, I have the honor to be your Excellency's most obedient servant.
Thomas Childs, Colonel U. S. A.
Civil and Military Governor.
To his Excellency, Senor Don Lopez de Santa Anna,
Commander-in-Chiff of the Mexican Army before the city.
Monday, September 27, 1847.—This morning at 10 o'clock I was put on picket-guard at Post No. 6. I noticed the people moving from this end of the city with all haste.
An old Mexican man told me that Gen. Santa Anna would make the attack on our forces to-morrow, that he has been awaiting to give his dear people a chance to move all their things out of danger's way. Let them come, as we feel confident that the crown of victory will perch upon our banners when the last great effort shall be made. At noon the Mexicans succeeded in stopping off our water. I wonder what they will stop off next. One thing sure they cannot stop our mouths from hurrahing, which bothers them. Some of our officers have it that there is no train on the road from Vera Cruz, that the last courier from that place was a fraud and a cheat.
This bad news has almost put the boys out of good-heart. Expecting all the time to be relieved soon. Yet, at the same time, we are determined to fight as long as there is a mouthful of grub in our quarters.
This afternoon the firing was resumed vigorously. The gallant lancers are riding up, and aback, and across the streets with great bravery, discharging their escopets as they pass. This they think is very brave in trying to shoot a poor, harmless unarmed, probably a sickly, Yankee.
To-day is the Mexican's twenty-sixth anniversary of Gen. Augustine Iturbide entering the city of Mexico. It having taken place on September 27, 1821. And before the Junto was called different adherents were fighting among themselves who should be their president.
The church party (as stated before) were mostly in favor of Augustine Iturbide, and through their influence he was made president, when nearly the whole country, under the influence of the priests, sent in its allegiance to the new government.
Even the Creoles, the Indians, and the mixed races, had banded their interests, and had reached the first point in the problem of Mexican freedom. But the moment was pregnant with an intense and fresh mental activity, and another step must be taken perforce, and they immediately divided into three parties.
The republicans wanted a central or a federal republic. These opposed the military power, whom they accused of a desire to usurp all authority, which properly belonged to the whole people.
The Ferdinand Bourbons (or Bourbonists. as they called themselves,) adhered to the idea of inviting Ferdinand to the throne, and being very strongly supported by the priests were really the dominant party. The third party which sprang up was the Iturbidists, who desired to place their favorite upon the throne, which the plan of Iguala had reserved for Ferdinand de Bourbon. A larger part of the military who had followed Augustine Iturbide in his successes were in favor of the latter movements. The adherents of Iturbide did not, however, feel themselves sufficiently strong to attempt this movement, while the priest or clergy favored the Bourbonists. Thus the growing interests of the different parties daily made a wide gap between them, and daily pointed to the necessity for some strong hand to turn the powerful revolutionary elements into a peaceful channel. In this condition of affairs news arrived from Spain that the Cortez had refused to ratify the treaty of Iguala, near Cordova, which the victor O'Donojo had signed with Iturbide. They thus rendered it impossible for any Spanish-Bourbon to ascend the throne of Mexico.
In the uncertain position in which the Bourbonists now found themselves, they were unprepared to oppose the rapid action of the Iturbidists, who now, May 18, 1822, proclaimed Iturbide emperor, under the title of Augustin I, and forced Congress to ratify the usurpation. Immense sums were voted to maintain the royal dignity, a large army drained the resources of the people, and the emperor, waiving all constitution and consideration, made himself virtually Dictator of Mexico. The reign was, however, a very short one; he was dethroned and expelled from the country for extravagance—luxury, carried to excess, led to the fearful moral deterioration and corruption—also for conspiracy. He was compelled, March 8, 1823, to flee to Italy.
During Iturbide's absence, a provisional government was formed, and Senor Bravo was at the head of it from April 1, 1823, to August, 1823, when the people again became dissatisfied and waged war against one another. The leaders had ordered the doors of the prison pen to be opened to the outlaws and criminals, under the pretence of doing their country services, that they may satisfy their brutal thirst for blood, pillage, and reign of terror, such as unhappy Mexico had known all too often.
Gen. Victor assumed command of the troops; he sought a Federal government; a new constitution was made; and in October, 1824, Gen. Victor was appointed President of the Republic of Mexico.
During the emperor's absence in Italy, the National Congress passed a law, that in case the ex-emperor should ever attempt to land in this country (Mexico), in any capacity whatever, he should be arrested and declared an outlaw, and the authorities should punish him as such. The emperor was not aware of this act when he landed, which was July 14, 1824. Gen. Garza, then Governor of Vera Cruz, professed friendship for Iturbide, offering to assist him; and by his advice he went on towards the capital. When near Cordova, he was arrested as a traitor, tried, convicted, sentence of death passed upon him, and was shot at a small town named Medallin, near Vera Cruz, July 19, 1824. After his death he was taken to Vera Cruz, where a wild horse was hitched to his body, and dragged at a furious rate through some of the streets in Vera Cruz, after which he was buried without a coffin or a shroud. Thus the hero of Iguala, the liberator of Mexico, fell by the treachery of Gen. Santa Anna and his pretended friend, Gen. Garza, Governor of Vera Cruz.
The emperor's family soon afterwards removed with the remains to the United States, and settled down in Philadelphia, where they (except the son on Gen. Santa Anna's staff) now reside. The remains of the ex-emperor Iturbide were taken to the St. John's Catholic Church, Thirteenth street below Market street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Gen. Victor's new republican constitution did not prosper. The Catholic Church was again in its way and trouble. The elements of republicanism, following rapidly upon the heels of freedom from Spanish rule, had crept into the worn frame of Spanish misrule; and the intellect of the Creoles, expanding with the new light of education and advancement, forced the Catholic clergy to direct the storm they could not breast.
The new constitution still clung closely to that curse upon its body politic, which has been so fruitful in revolutionary throes. It provided for a concordot with the Holy See, which was to throw nearly the whole of Mexican church management into the hands of the Roman Pontiff.
The clergy figured to exempt themselves entirely from any church if government controlled over their property and monopolies; the old shadow of caste crept into it; the secular and parochial clergy were confined to the lower offices, such as parish priests; all the bishoprics, deaneries, and chapters could only be filled by old Spaniards. It will be remembered that the lower order of church offices had been the only ones during colonial rule to which the Creoles and mixed races were eligible. Thus, the old feeling of caste still shook its head above the soil of Mexico, and, united with the clergy, cursed the land it had already desolated and ruined.
It is unnecessary to run through the long list of revolutions which have torn this country of Mexico in her struggles to free herself from her inherited miseries. The number of presidents and dictators who have followed each other in rapid succession, shows what a terrible struggle and fratricidal strife has been going on at the very door of the United States for nearly a half century, from the date of the revolution of Iturbide.
Some of the presidents ruled but a short time; among them was our distinguished friend, Gen. Santa Anna, who ruled for a few months in 1839, and Gen. Bravo (who had command of the castle of Chapultepec in this war), who followed him, ruling, in all, eight days, and so on; in fact, the list is too numerous to mention; and the changes will not cease until the United States spreads its wings of protection over it.
Tuesday, September 28, 1847.-This morning some of our men went into the houses the Mexicans moved out of, and helped themselves to some clothing. They brought in some splendid silks, velvets and other valuable things. At the same time exposed to the firing from the enemy, At noon the firing commenced very briskly, and kept up all day. Each sentinel shooting his forty rounds. I myself, from the time I was put on picket-guard, until this morning, shot away sixty rounds, and during this I shot and wounded two umbras and one priest, who were constantly annoying me, and you ought to have seen the old priest jump, and his long stovepipe hat flying off the back of his shaved head. I must have hit him on the left leg (or he played opossum), for he immediately limped, and placed his left hand thereon. The Mexicans seemed to fire at me more than any other sentinel, and I made some very narrow hairbreadth escapes. One bullet cut a lock of my hair off, and grazed the skin a little; it burned like fire.
In the evening the Mexicans (cowardly dogs) attacked our hospital, and succeeded in setting fire to the main gate, and while in the act one of our riflemen, who was stationed near the hospital, was shot dead; at the same time falling into the fire, and he burned to a crisp. The firing became so severe that Gov. Childs detailed a party of soldiers, commanded by our Adjt. Welder, to charge, and take a point near our hospital; but by some misunderstanding, our men charged on a strong and well-constructed breastwork, which was constructed across the street about two squares from our quarters.
When the word "Charge" was given, we started off with a yell and charged on the breastworks, and captured it from the enemy. The Mexicans being over three hundred strong. They fired off the first shot, and then retreated; while our men were rallying and charging on these works, our old friend William Eurick fell mortally wounded. He being shot through the heart, and while in the act of falling he threw up his right hand, at the same time holding his musket, and with his left hand on his breast, he exclaimed in a clear and loud voice, "Oh! my God, I am shot!" These were the last words poor William Eurick, of Little York, Pa., spoke upon God's earth. They now discovered that our force was very small (only thirty-three in number), and charged upon us, and recaptured the breastworks. Our men seeing that they were overpowered were compelled to retreat in the midst of showers of bullets to save themselves, and even were obliged to let the body of William Eurick lay where it fell, with feet to the foe and back to the earth, and his smiling countenance toward the dosel (canopy) of heaven.
This unfortunate affair has caused a little encouragement among the Mexicans, and they kept up firing very briskly, and double guard were placed on all the important points.
At 12 o'clock to-night Jerry Corson, Alburtus Welsh, myself and others went in search of William Eurick's body. We went in a body until we came to a corner of a street, and there prepared ourselves for what might follow. His body laid so close to the enemy's breastworks, that to get possession of it, without being exposed to a galling fire from the enemy, was considered an entirely hopeless and dangerous undertaking.
After creeping along the wall within a few yards of where we supposed William Eurick had fallen, we stopped. Here Jerry Corson, a bosom friend of William Eurick, advised us to remain, and he would crawl upon his hands and knees along the shady side of the stone wall—it being moonlight at the time. After searching for the body for about ten minutes, he returned, stating that the Mexicans must have taken it away, for it was not lying where he fell. So we returned to our quarters without succeeding in getting his remains.
I have just been informed that Charles Collinson, of our company, was wounded yesterday, and again to-day in the foot. He deserves mention and great praise for his cool and determined courage in remaining on his post. The blood was running into his shoes, and for three hours he refused to be relieved until his time was up.
No attack yet! What does all this mean? Why is the assault on our quarters delayed so long? The Mexicans must surely have force enough to make an attack on us. Probably they have a little compassion on us poor famished Yankees—wanting us to live a few days longer. When they attack us they will give us no quarter or show for our lives. Come, Santa Anna, with your eight thousand men, for we would sooner fight you than any other general in your country; for when we lick you, we will have the name and honor of licking the greatest Mexican chieftain.
Wednesday, September 29, 1847—This morning, a little before daylight, the sentinel reported that the body of William Eurick was still lying where he fell. At this announcement his friend and messmate, Jerry Corson, started off with the determination to either bring in the body of Bob Eurick or leave his upon Eurick's. He went creeping alongside of the stone wall, hurried into the middle of the street, caught hold of Eurick's legs, pulled him upon his back, and in this way he brought in the body of William Eurick. Thus for fidelity and courage Mr. Jerry Corson, of Co. C, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, is one man out of five thousand. He accomplished this all in about ten minutes. Most of our men thought it could not be possible, but it is, fortunately, true.
Mr. William Eurick was a man of about thirty years of age and over six feet in his stockings, weighed about one hundred and eighty pounds, and it is a marvel to know how Jerry Corson succeeded in getting him on his back so quickly and bringing him—a heavy man—without any assistance; for Jerry Corson has been in delicate health for some time.
The firing has been kept up briskly all day, and the enemy have succeeded in wounding several of our soldiers.
This evening, being short of active duty men, I again volunteered my services to go on picket guard; I was stationed at Post No. 9, and while on post the enemy made several daring attempts to charge up the street leading to our quarters, San Jose, but were handsomely repulsed each time by a volley of musketry, shells, rockets, etc., from our howitzer battery, stationed at the street corners and crossings, which are commanded by the howitzer men. To-night there was some sharp shooting at one another; the Mexicans seemed to have me singled out, no doubt for wounding one of their gods the other day. The way the bullets flew was a caution; they flew around my head and bouncing on the pavement like so many hailstones, only a little more noisily; and one bullet went through the top of my cap, cutting away a part of my beautiful and well-adorned top-knot hair. Thus, the enemy succeeded in cutting a lock and one-half of my top-knot off; for this compliment I am indebted to the Mexicans, as it will save me the trouble of carrying out the celebrated hair order of Gov. Childs; fortunately I was not wounded.
Thursday, September 30, 1847.—This morning, before daylight, it was rumored that Gen. Santa Anna was busy in building breastworks and planting a battery, for the purpose of playing on our quarters, San Jose. Sure enough, when the day began to break, we could plainly see the Mexicans building a breastwork and battery near the church, right opposite our quarters; their guns are bearing towards our Quartel, San Jose; these guns looking us in the face caused a little excitement among our men, fearing that Gen. Santa Anna, in place of charging upon our quarters, has assumed the plan of Gen. Scott at Vera Cruz—will bombard or shell us out of Puebla.
About 10 o'clock, a.m., the Mexicans opened with a rolling fire in quick succession, with great activity and bravery, throwing grape, canister, and round-shot.
As soon as the enemy commenced firing into our quarters, a battery of several guns were immediately put into a position at the east end of Quartel, San Jose, and with the aid of a brass twelve-pounder, recently brought from Fort Loretto, we replied to their brisk firing. The big sergeant, Orwill, Corp. Francis Casey, and their gunners, leveled and handled their pieces so well that it played havoc among the gallant Mexican battery, making the dust and splinters fly in the air.
The Mexicans had good gunners, for they hit our quarters almost every time they fired, making the boys jump about, the dust and fragments of the falling wall fly in every direction, but doing little or no damage. Strange, the twelve pounder and howitzers stood in the open square, in front of our quarters, without any breastworks or anything around them to protect our cannoneers; yet the Mexicans fired ten shots at our quarters, San Jose, to one at the battery in the open plaza of San Jose. We well remember the orders given to us by Gen. Robert Patterson, on the sand hills, back of Vera Cruz, when the balls were flying as fiercely as they are now, to lay down and not to expose ourselves so much. This was the same case here at San Jose—laid down flat on the ramparts, close to the battlement wall, and in this way we escaped from being shot down. Some of our men begin to think that it is all up with us; the canisters are flying all over our quarters, and shells are bursting right over our heads, wounding several of our men dangerously; both sides fired briskly until late in the evening, when the Mexican battery was silenced by our twelve pounder; oh, I tell you it was a pleasure—although a dangerous one—to see the balls from the twelve pounder hit their battery; almost every time balls struck the wall and made the dust fly in the air. They now have left their breastwork near the church, and have fallen back to the Tivola Garden; they have succeeded in gaining the brick-kiln; this is surely an important point for the enemy, and they are making desperate efforts to hold the Tivola Garden.
Myself and a party of our men were detailed to go out reconnoitering, and came very near being captured by the lancers, who numbered over two hundred, who were trying to cut off our retreat; but a few good shots from our howitzer (which we had along), saved us from being cut off. We returned and reported to Gov. Childs. We discovered that the Mexicans have breastworks built across all the streets leading to our quarters.
After I had something to eat, I went to a side room and viewed the body of William Eurick; his faithful friend, Jerry Corson, was standing by his body in tears. The body was cleanly washed, and dressed in the same suit he fell in. While examining the body, I found several bullet holes in his pants, and one bullet hole through the sole of his boot, which must have been fired at him after he had fallen dead in the street.
What good was it to fire through the body of a dead man, or even wounded, if found alive? It would have been looked upon as murder to shoot a man after he was laying on the ground in agony.
After 5 o'clock, p.m., we buried him back of our Quartel San Jose, among the poplar trees. We could not bury him any sooner as the firing from the enemy's breastworks (now vacant), was so great and severe, that the moment a soldier got outside of his quarters he was fired upon and shot down.
His coffin, (which was made of rough boards, as no other could be obtained at this time), was placed on a cannon carriage and hauled to his grave and he was buried with all the honors of war.
He now sleeps where the soldier should sleep, on the field of his fame, where the poplar and the weeping willow kissing a passing rivulet, forms a gloomy canopy over his remains. Here he will rest beneath the clods of the valley, undisturbed, we hope, by the clamor of battles and the loud roar of the cannons and the rattling of musketry, until the last summons shall have gone forth to the nations of the earth, when the warrior and civilian will appear before the eternal throne.
Corp. William Eurick, hailed from Little York, Pa., he came with that little band, already mentioned, where he, with the rest of his comrades, left that little town of his birth, with enthusiasm and patriotic feeling.
As already stated, he met his fate while gallantly and bravely rushing at the Mexican breatworks, which, before, his death, was constantly annoying us; in doing which, he received his mortal wound through the heart, which almost caused instant death.
He was a genial, a brave soldier, and a beloved companion. Thus another flower is stricken down from our little band. Another one has left our company's ranks, and a hero, a jewel, stolen from some treasure of love at home, for the dark and silent tomb.
Thus our soldiers are daily passing away, and almost hourly in some grave-yard the soil of a foreign land is flung upon our gallant soldiers, who have either died from the bloody hands of the enemy, or have fell victims to that dreadful disease diarrhœa.
To-night, I learn that my friend, John B. Herron, of our Co. C, was severely wounded, while on picket-guard. Post 9 and 10; also, two of Co. A's and two of Co. D's, and one of Co. I's, all belonging to the First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. A marine was wounded while standing guard at the hospital; and one rifleman was killed while on picket guard at Post 7.
There has been more firing to-day and to-night than at any time since the siege commenced.
Friday, October 1, 1847.—This morning there was little firing, and we noticed that the Mexicans had removed their battery from the position of yesterday. I guess Sergt. Orwill and Corp. Casey, with their twelve-pounders, were too much for Gen. Santa Anna's artillerymen.
About 8 o'clock, a.m., the Mexican army, numbering about five thousand men, were seen coming towards this city. They moved out on the National Ruta leading to Amozoquco, and, when opposite to Gaudaloupa Heights, the artillery stopped and turned their pieces towards Gaudaloupa and fired several round shot at our men, who were stationed there as a garrison, but doing no damage. They then fell into line and left for El Pinal Pass, there to await the coming train and try to plunder it of its contents—that is, if they will be successful. Thus, Gen. Santa Anna, after several most desperate efforts to capture this city, has failed, and is compelled to leave without carrying out his much fanfaron proclamation to his people in regard to capturing this city and driving us out and showing us no quarter. Oh, Santa Anna, we have heard your fanfarronando before and it was the general opinion among the soldiers that you would be sadly disappointed in your object, and that you would leave this city more quickly than you came, with stinging fleas in your ears, which, from the present retreat of your army, is true!
The train which Gen. Santa Anna is going to meet is under the command of Gen. Joseph Lane, and is about fifteen hundred strong. It is composed of infantry, cavalry and several pieces of artillery, also Captain Walker's Texas Rangers are with it. These officers would sooner fight than eat, and they will give Gens. Santa Anna and Torrejon battle in the El Pinal Pass, which is a strong position for defence. I have been there and know all about it. We have worked our way through, and so will Gen. Lane.
Gen. Rea, with about a thousand men, is to remain here. His force is mostly mounted lancers. They are to harass and annoy us and shoot down a poor soldier whenever an opportunity offers.
In the evening I noticed that the Mexicans had still their picket-guard stationed around the city, and, of course, firing at every picket or other soldier who might happen to be outside his quarters.
To-day one of Co. A, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers was badly wounded. He was shot from the house-top, behind the battlement wall. By-the-by, most every house in the towns or cities has strong battlement walls from two to four feet high from the roof, through which they have portholes, mostly for musketry, from which they fire, and all our men who may venture outside their quarters are shot down.
To-day nearly all those men who were not on guard were detailed to put up additional breastworks around our quarters, also large ladders were made and placed around the parapet, so that in case of an unexpected attack we could ascend at a moment's notice. I have just been informed that a courier has arrived with despatches from Gen. Lane, stating that the train left Perote Castle yesterday morning on its way hither, and would push through as fast as possible.
This news was enthusiastically received; and on the receipt of it, Gov. Childs instantly despatched a courier back to tell Gen. Lane to be prepared, as Gen. Santa Anna with about five thousand troops, will make a stand at El Pinol Pass, and to strongly oppose him at that place. The courier told Gov. Childs, that he saw the Mexican army on the other side of the Amozoquco, on their way to El Pinol; when he first saw them, he thought they were our men, but when he saw his mistake, he turned about-face and started across the plains limping with a stick, letting on that he was an old crippled Mexican. Thus no notice was taken of him, and passing to their rear he again reached the National road.
Later in the evening it was discovered that the Mexicans were leaving the Tivola Garden, hauling away all their cotton bales out on the National ruta, there, no doubt, to build a breastwork across the road, to fire upon Gen. Lane's train when they should enter the city; that is, if our men are successful at the El Pinol Pass. But we have no fear but that Gen. Lane and Sam Walker will knock helter skelter out of Gens. Santa Anna and Terrejon, at El Pinol Pass.
To-day one of the diarrhœa blues wanted to run across the street, and was instantly and dangerously shot in the side, he was shot from the same port-hole where one of Co. A's men was shot. When Gov. Childs heard of it he remarked, that that house has got to be destroyed in some way or other.
To-night the firing is going on quite briskly, and we can plainly hear the sentinels answer each other's questions about old Santa, and what they intend to do.
Saturday, October 2, 1847.—This morning I was again detailed to go on picket-guard, it seems that my turn comes pretty often. About 8 o'clock, a.m., our Quartel San Jose commenced to shake. The things that were hanging on the walls were set swinging to and fro, and we all looked at one another with astonishment and much horrified, not knowing what it meant. But we were soon informed that it was a slight shock of an earthquake among the volcanic mountains.
At 10 o'clock, I was put on guard, and while going to my post, I noticed a dragoon who was watering his horse, was shot in his right thigh, fracturing it so badly that it soon afterwards had to be amputated; it is feared that he will die.
At noon two of Co. A's and one of Co. I's, all of the First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, were wounded while going to their respective posts. Co. A has but eighteen men now fit for duty, the rest being either dead or wounded.
About 2 o'clock, p.m., Gov. Childs issued orders to the men to get themselves ready with sixty rounds of cartridges, as he was going to charge on and destroy some of these port-hole houses and all other barricaded buildings, from which the firing has been so severe on our men for the last few weeks. In fact, the bullets fly right into our fire-place, and men have been wounded while cooking; and I have known on several occasions, bullets to go through our coffee pots, and we have lost all our coffee.
The different detachments formed some time ago, were again ordered to form into their respective companies.
The first detachment, which is composed mostly of riflemen and Voltiguers, under command of Lieut. Morgan, is to charge on the barricade near the picket-post. No. 7 and 8. The second detachment, marines, under command of Lieut. Merrifield, is to charge on and take possession of a certain building from which we have been recently annoyed by receiving a rattling fire most every hour. The third detachment is composed of ten picked men from each company, (that is, from the six companies of Pennsylvania Volunteers), First Sergt. Edwin R. Riles, of Co. A, Fourth United States Artillery, volunteered his services, he was appointed Sergeant over the company, they were under the command of Capt. William F. Small, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers.
Capt. Small was ordered to cut his way through the walls of a whole row or square of stone houses, so as to get in the rear of the Mexican battery that was erected across the street, one square from San Jose Quartel.
This expedition I missed, on account of being on picket guard. I tried to be relieved to go with the expedition, but the officer of the day would not let me off, saying that picket duty was one of the most important stations in the department. I even went to Capt. Small to see whether he couldn't get me off to go with him, but no go; but I assure you friends Jake was not idle, as I was constantly firing at the enemy, and the enemy at me. And I can positively say that I have laid out several that will fire at me no more; in fact I am surprised myself that I haven't been killed or wounded. The picket posts Nos. 5 and 6, and the post that I am stationed on, are doubled, and are ordered to keep up a constant firing on the enemy, so as to draw the Mexicans on our way. When everything was ready to start, a fire from the twelve pounder was to be the signal for all the parties to charge. Boom! went off the twelve pounder. Lieut. Merrifield charged on the building designated for him with huzza! huzza! and took it in a gallant manner, without the loss of a single man, either killed or wounded. He drove the enemy from the building, and is now in full possession of it, and we are rejoicing over the result.
Lieut. Morgan made his charge on a well-barricaded house, but he was not so fortunate. He was was repulsed by an unexpected large force of the enemy, and was compelled to fall back one square. After Gov. Childs heard of his (Morgan's) repulse, he ordered them to fall back to their quarters, which was done in good order. In their charge they lost one man, named John H. Burgess, a Voltiguer, who was killed out-right, and four or five wounded. Lieut. Morgan seemed to be much mortified on account of his defeat, and said the reason of their repulse was in not having ladders to climb up, and get into the windows of the barricaded house; and seeing that there was no earthly hope of taking this barricaded house, fell back in good order one square for protection, and to save themselves from being shot down like dogs. He spoke highly of his detachment.
Word now comes from Capt. Small's party of fifty picked men, saying that they are at work piercing their way through the deserted stone houses, so as to get in the rear of the enemy's battery, and then charge upon the enemy by surprise; that is, provided the enemy don't stop them before they get through, but there is no fear on our side of the house, for the Captain is a fighting man, and all his men are fighting soldiers, and have expressed a determination to capture the breastworks, if possible.
At 6 o'clock, p.m., Col. Black went to the headquarters and told the balance of the soldiers off duty, that he wanted them all to build a breastwork across some street. After a little murmuring, they went to work. During all this time the enemy opened a fearful fire on those working on the breastwork; but, as far as I hear, they have done very little damage, except wounding one man.
We now see a large body of lancers near our picket posts, forming, and moving some of their bales of cotton, so as to give them a chance to fire upon our men without injuring themselves; but we on the picket guard opened a volley of musketry, and also the twelve pounder gave them a few solid pills, which had the effect of soon scattering them in all confusion, and fell back out of the reach of our artillery.
Up to this time there is no later news from Capt. Small and his party, but Gov. Childs thinks he is all right.
Fort Loretto and some of our howitzers are keeping up a constant firing on the doomed city, so that the enemy cannot hear our men digging through the walls. The rockets swept through the street, leaving it in one mass of fire. The firing of musketry and cannons, intermingled with the terrific peals of thunder and lightning, made it an awful night. Firing was kept up until it Iluvia (rained), which silenced the firing on both sides, and we were not sorry for it, for we have been kept steady at it all day.
Twelve o'clock, p.m. Capt. Small sent in word to Gov. Childs, stating that all is working right with him, and that he expects to be at his journey's end about morning if nothing happens him.
At this time a cowardly Mexican greaser came up the street and fired his escopet at me, the ball fortunately passing through my canteen. It seems these greasers are still after me, trying all plans to get me out of the way, and I again made a very narrow escape.
Sunday, October 3, 1847.—This morning, before daylight, our men were again all called under arms, on account of nearly all the bells in the city ringing, and other excitement. The air was again filled with rockets, etc. I was informed by a friendly Mexican that all their excitement was to excite the people and arouse them to arms to protect their homes, firesides, and their country; but, like all bombastic appeals, it proved a failure.
About 8 o'clock, a.m., word came from Capt, Small to Gov. Childs, stating that they have succeeded in reaching the large red house, and that they were now cutting their way through the last wall, and had so far met little opposition from the enemy. About an hour afterwards another messenger came, stating that he had gained a position opposite the barricade by driving the enemy away with a loss of fifteen killed and wounded. The enemy let their dead lie; and all the wounded, except two, who were too badly wounded, escaped. The enemy had taken our men for their friends, and knew no better until our men fired a volley into them; when they saw their error they ran in all confusion. This news pleased Gov. Childs so much that he threw up his cap and hallooed out at the top of his voice, and with a wave of his right hand, "good for Capt. Small and his little band." There was, on the strength of this news, much rejoicing and a general shaking of hands. It seems that some of the Mexicans, who were in another building or room, when they saw that they were our men, put their muskets through the port-holes of the wall, and then fired upon our men, shooting two fingers off of one of Co. I's men, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. This was about all the damage the Mexicans have done to Capt. Small's party.
The barricade, just captured by Capt. Small, consists of one hundred and fifty bales of cotton; all stolen from the manufacturers in and around this city; which, on the enemy's retreat, was set on fire by the enemy, and nearly all consumed. These cotton bales formed their breastworks, and from these works the firing was very annoying to our men. These breastworks were well built and planned, they were formed two and three bales deep, so that our twelve pounders could not have much effect upon it.
Thus friends you will see that the Mexicans have also adopted Gen. Andrew Jackson's plan for building breastworks of cotton bales; and, no doubt, telling the owners if you want to save your cotton you will have to fight for it.
After the red house (so called on account of it being red) was captured, our soldiers instantly made port-holes through the walls, and occupied it as well as the corner building. During their firing and repairing, a young and gentle-looking Mexican came up the street (not knowing that Capt. Small had taken possession of the barricade). He loaded his escopet, and then putting his head into the window, and was about to fire off his gun, when, at that instant, one of Co. K (John H. Herron, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers,) up with his gun and shot the Mexican. He falling out of the window on the stone pavement, and suffered in great agony. When Capt. Small heard of it he denounced the shooting as a most brutal and cowardly act. The Captain picked him up and brought him into Gov. Child's headquarters, where medical aid was brought in. The poor fellow prayed and cried like a child, saying that he wished to see his father, mother, sister and the priest, as he was surely going to die. He was was not a regular soldier, he merely volunteered during the siege of Puebla. He was well-dressed, and had a brand-new escopet, no doubt fitted out by his parents and friends. He is very intelligent, and says that there has been a great many killed and wounded since the siege commenced. The poor fellow censured our soldier for shooting him in cold blood. He not knowing that our men had captured the building. He only lived three hours, when he died. He was soon buried, near where he fell, without seeing his parents or priest, as there being no way to send for his parents or priest, on account of them living outside of our picket-line.
This evening Col. Childs sent Lieut. Laidly, of the United States Ordnance Corps, to blow up the building, as he could not spare the men to guard it.
So at 6 o'clock, p.m., Lieut. Laidly blew it up, by placing a keg of powder under each corner of the building, and in a short time the whole building was in ruins. The shock and thundering reached the plaza, which caused considerable excitement among the citizens, they not knowing what to make of it. The bells of nearly all the churches rang. They expecting the d—— Yankees were going to blow up the whole city of Puebla, as the explosion made a most fearful noise.
After the explosion and the destruction of the building, Capt. Small and his party were withdrawn and returned to their quarters much exhausted and fatigued. They were received with applause and congratulation among their fellow soldiers. They were declared off duty for the night, and, of course, they all went to bed and had a sleep. They all spoke highly of Capt. Small as a bold and fearless leader who worked as hard to get through the walls as any of the men, and remarked, that if they succeeded in accomplishing their work in breaking through the whole row of houses, it would be recorded as one of the most daring deeds of the whole war.
They all say that the breaking through all these houses was no easy job, not knowing, when they got through one house, whether the other might not be full of Mexicans, and the moment our men got through the wall they might have been shot down before they knew where they were. It rained hard all night, which made the operation still more disagreeable and dangerous, for the fall of rain was so heavy that they couldn't hear whether there was anything in the next house or not.
During to-day's firing two of Co. D and one of our company (C) were wounded, and one riflemen, named Smith, was killed at Post 7. When his death was announced in our quarters, he was brought in and buried with honors.
Monday, October 4, 1847.—This morning there was another ringing of bells and firing of rockets—blowing the charge around all the Mexican quarters. This alarming and confusing of the citizens is another appeal from Gen. Rea to the people to arouse and take up arms and defend their firesides; but, like all the rest of appeals, was in vain, and the citizens would not rally around his guerilla flag. So the firing was not so brisk as it had been before, except the blanket agrazients, who are constantly firing at our pickets from behind the house corners, etc.
About 9 o'clock, a.m., I called on several of Capt. Small's party—so called, and talked about picking their way through a whole row of stone houses. They all praised Capt. Small and Sergt. E. R. Biles as brave and heroic officers. Even Mr. John H. Herron, who shot the Mexican boy or young man at the window, says that Capt. Small is one of the most daring officers he ever heard or read off, but he thinks that the Captain was a little too hasty in expressing his feelings and sympathy for the Mexican boy or young man. He says that he saw the Mexican come up the street with his escopet in his hand, and going into the building the back way, and soon afterwards again saw him going to a window, and it looked to him (Herron) as if the Mexican was getting ready to fire. When he saw this, he up with his musket and fired first, and brought him (the young Mexican) to the pavement. He also says, that he is fully convinced that the Mexicans knew that our force was in one end of the building, and that this poor innocent young Mexican had fully made up his mind to shoot the Yankee, but the Yankee was too quick for him.
At noon I volunteered to go on picket guard for two hours, at Post 7; it seems the sentinel that was to go on this post was shot and dangerously wounded at his mess fire-place, just before going on guard, and there being no one just at hand, I went on duty, and never did I see sharper shooting; it seems that I was a perfect target for the Mexicans; and judging from the balls fired and bouncing around the street and pavement, they must have been from some of our own rifles.
About 2 o'clock, p.m., an express came from Gen. Scott at city of Mexico, saying that everything is quiet at the city of Mexico, and was anxious to know how the garrison is getting along, whether Gen. Santa Anna has taken any position of note from us, and also was very anxious to know whether Gen. Santa Anna had succeeded in raising the citizens of Puebla to arms, to drive the American forces out of Puebla.
Gen. Santa Anna, before he left the city of Mexico, boasted that he would march with the balance of his army to Puebla, storm and take possession of the said city, and drive the Yankees out and into the Gulf of Mexico, or die in the attempt.
It is true. Gen. Santa Anna has made several desperate attempts to capture this city from our little garrison, but has been defeated each time, not even capturing a single soldier. Gen. Santa Anna himself is now en route for that direction, and I think, the way things look, Gen. Santa Anna will himself be driven into the Gulf of Mexico.
The report also states that Gen. Scott hung forty deserters—soldiers that deserted from our army during the war with Mexico; they were called the St. Patrick Guards, a very appropriate name; they were nearly all captured at the bloody battle of Churubusco, and among those captured was the notorious Col. Riley, who was a lieutenant in the Third United States Infantry, and deserted at Fort Brown, Texas, in May, 1846. He was one of our bitterest enemies in all Mexico, and the only thing that saved his neck was that he had deserted just before the time our government declared war against the republic of Mexico. Capt., or Col. Riley, as he is called, received sixty lashes on his bare back, and branded his cheek with the letter D (deserter), and is now in irons in the castle of Chapultepec, there to remain until the termination of this war now raging in Mexico.
In the evening Gov. Childs went to Fort Loretto to see how things looked there. After he was satisfied that everything was right, he left for Guadaloupa Heights. While on his way up, a party of lancers came out of a corn-field close by, and drove him back to Fort Loretto. A Mexican officer on a splendid white horse, rode up and fired his pistol off at the Colonel, when instantly, a shot from Fort Loretto, (a twelve pounder), struck the gallant officer, which completely cut him in two; the rest left in double-quick time leaving him lay, no doubt they will remove his body to-night.
Late this evening, a Mexican greaser missed the boundary line, and got one square too far up towards our quarters, and on turning around the corner, he saw his dangerous position and gave himself up to our picket-guard as a prisoner of war. He had a musket at the time, loaded and cocked ready for use, it was one of the old Florida muskets belonging to the United States.
To-day five of the picket-guards were wounded, and it is reported that another rifleman was shot dead at his post. The riflemen seem to be very unfortunate as they mostly all are killed outright.
To-night the firing is very lively and continues on. Until we will be relieved by re-enforcements, then, and not until then, will we be able to drive these infernal highway robbers and cut-throats out of the city.
This continual killing and wounding of our men is fast decreasing our garrison, in fact, scarcely can we raise two hundred and fifty men that are able and fit for duty. Some are dying in the hospital, while those on duty are either killed or wounded. But we are determined, (what is left of us), to hold out to the last man, rather than to yield up to the enemy.
I learned to-night, that the messenger who came from the city of Mexico, was the third one that has been sent from that place to Col. Childs, the rest having either been captured or killed by the guerillas, so you see that to be a messenger in this country is a dangerous position.
Tuesday, October 5, 1847.—This morning, as usual, firing from street corners and house-tops, until about 8 o'clock, a.m., when a company of lancers, accompanied with some infantry make their appearance on the Amozoquco Road making a big dust.
I assure you there was some anxiety to know the cause of their coming in from that direction.
It is now supposed by our men, that Gen. Santa Anna must have encountered Gen. Lanes' forces, and after getting whipped, were now on their retreat to this city to assist Gen. Rea to try to drive us out again.
At noon we discovered the enemy carting sand-bags and fortifying Saint Augustine Church, also building a small breastwork in the Tivola Garden. Gov. Childs ordered his favorite, the twelve-pounder, to be brought into the square in front of our quarters, and placed in a position to play upon the church if they attempt to fire upon our train when it enters the city, for it must come in on the Amozoquco Road. Sergts. Orwill and Biles and Corp. Casey were again ordered to take charge of the twelve-pounder.
In the afternoon Capt. Herron, of Co. K, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, was ordered with his company to take possession of a brick buildings—in fact, it is more of a brickyard—enfilading the plaza. Around this brickyard was also a stone wall, from behind which the enemy annoyed us very much. Capt. Herron's orders were, that after he had captured the brickyard and building, to tear or blow it down and hold possession of the ground. The Captain started, and when near the stonewall, he charged with a yell, and took the brick house and yard in a gallant manner, with only a few slightly wounded. For this brilliant achievement the Captain and his company were highly congratulated by Gov. Childs. The enemy that guarded the brick house retreated to the Saint Augustine Church, and instantly opened a heavy fire on Capt. Herron's company. Gov. Childs, seeing the dangerous position of Capt. Herron, ordered Sergt. Orwill to fire the twelve-pounder on the Saint Augustine Church, and, I tell you, the way the big Sergeant and his little crew handled and aimed their cannon was a caution. He put eight or ten balls right into the arches or belfry of the steeple—doing considerable damage—yet at the same time the Mexicans would not cease firing until a bombshell from Fort Loretto fell right into the churchyard, which made them scatter and the dust fly.
After this the enemy left the church and made several attempts to rally their forces, and charged upon some of our weak points, but were repulsed with great loss.
In the evening a small party of our men left Gaudaloupa Heights to reconnoitre, and when they got down near the Tivola Garden, a body of about two hundred lancers were trying to cut our men off, and were very near accomplishing their aim in capturing our men, but, fortunately, a bomb from Fort Loretto exploded near them. They then saw their danger, and prepared for what might come. Our men brought with them several wagonloads of apples and a large quantity of turkeys, chickens and puerco (hogs), which, I assure you, came in very good.
Late this evening Lieut. Montgomery P. Young, of Co. G, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, aged thirty-two, died after a very short illness, Lieut. Young is from Philadelphia, Pa., and was by profession a lawyer. He was a talented, brave and good officer, very kind and good to his men. Rumors have it, that a few days ago Lieut. Young, with a small party of soldiers, went out foraging after beef or anything they could get hold of. They did not go far, before they came to a flock of sheep; which, like all flocks of sheep in this country, were guarded and protected by a shepherd and his faithful dogs. Lieut. Young gave orders to capture the sheep. The shepherd and his dogs resisted from falling into the hands of their capturers. At this instant Lieut. Young pulled out his pistol and shot the poor shepherd (not intentionally) dead, and brought in the sheep to be slaughtered for our garrison. It is said that when the shepherd fell dead his dogs straddled over his dead body and moaned and licked his face. They say it was a sad scene. A sudden change came over Lieut. Young, and it is naturally presumed that this unfortunate and sad act troubled and worried Lieut, Young to death.
Lieut. Young was buried to-night back of our quarters (San Jose) under several large poplar trees.
The firing to-day and to-night is not so brisk as it has been for several days back.
Wednesday, October 6, 1847.—This morning, as usual, firing from all corners and house-tops.
At 10 o'clock, a.m.,a lancer was taken prisoner from behind Fort Loretto. He says that Gen. Lane and his train is just beyond the El Pinal Pass. The prisoner was dressed as a ranchero in disfras, for the purpose of bringing in the news to Gov. Childs. He also says that the lancers ran him so hard that he was obliged to dismount and take to the cornfields to save his life, and this is the reason he came in the back way, so as to avoid the lancers from seeing him. But his tale is not believed by our officers; and, therefore, he was put in the guard-house for the present time. In fact our men looked upon him as a spy, trying to find out our forces and different positions, and strength, for the Mexicans can't believe that our forces are so small, for the enemy says that when we yell or cheer it sounds as if we were about five thousand strong. At noon, owing to Capt. Herron's party making a raise of apples yesterday, most every mess in our quarters (San Jose) had apple dumplings for dinner, but the infernal greasers stopped our leche so were obliged to eat them without Ieche, but we had plenty of sugar, and I can assure you we didn't growl much about the leche.
About 2 o'clock, p.m., a Mexican came around the corner with a white flag, and a letter in his hand addressed to Gov. Childs. The Sergeant of the guard took him in charge, and handed him over to the Governor; and in about a half an hour he returned, and the Sergeant escorted the Mexican outside of our picket-line.
The result and contents of the letter I did not learn, but I suppose it was like all the rest, to exchange prisoners in disguise, so as to catch us Yankees in a trap.
We still hold possession of the Tivola Garden, but exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy's breastworks, near the Saint Augustine Church, and from other vicinities, which is annoying our men very much.
In the afternoon some of our pickets discovered a fire in a building close to our quarters; several of our men went to the burning building, and to their astonishment they found several drunken teamsters lying on the floor asleep; our men soon extinguished the fire, and they say that had it not been for our picket-guard, they would have been burned up like a terebintia barrilete (turpentine barrel), for they were really travelling distilleries when they got up and left.
During the day, three of our pickets were wounded while on duty at their posts; also one of our teamsters while crossing the street, was shot through the foot, fracturing it to such an extent, that it is feared that it will have to be amputated; also one of Co. A, Fourth United States Artillery, wounded through the left knee.
It has rained all the afternoon, which has the effect of slacking the firing considerably, with no regret on our side. In the evening one of the dragoons (a young man too) died. Previous to his death he looked as pure as an orange flower that clasped his forehead. He was stricken down as he stood at his post, and from the din and rattling of musketry and rounds of artillery, he was borne to the grave, the garden of the slumberers, never to rise more.
Thursday, October 7, 1847.—This morning while my friend Alburtus Welsh was on picket-guard, he heard several shots which sounded about two squares from our quarters, up the street, he watched for he was anxious to know the cause, or to find out who was firing from that section of the city, before he gave the alarm, when to his surprise, he saw five or six of the hospital rangers sitting in the street, shooting at some tame pigeons on the house-tops, as unconcerned as if there weren't any enemy about. Comrade Welsh called to them several times, and told them not to fire as they might draw the fire of the enemy that way, but like all the diarrhœa rangers, would pay no attention to what he said. So the sentinel was compelled to call the Sergeant of the guard, and the Sergeant the Officer of the Day; who sent word to the sentinel, to shoot the first soldier who disobeyed his orders, but by this time the diarrhœa blues had left the street for their hospital, thus sparing Mr. Welsh, the unpleasantness of shooting at one of his own comrades.
At noon one of our riflemen, who has been sick and in the hospital, slipped the hospital guard and went too far down the street. A party of Mexicans, who happened to be concealed in a house close by, fired a volley of musketry through the unfortunate victim's body, mangling him in the most horrid manner. This poor soldier had to lie where he fell in the street, for none of our men dared to go down to get possession of his body; same to the Mexicans, for death would be certain to any one who would attempt to cross on either side.
The firing to-day has been very severe, especially from those who are on large buildings, behind the brick or lattice works. Below Post No. 6 the Mexicans have the range of the steeple guarded, and whenever any one of our men shows himself he is instantly fired upon by half a dozen sharp-shooters, from our American deserters, with our own United States rifles; but bless them if we ever should be so fortunate as to catch them; there wouldn't be much controversy held over them.
In the evening our wood has run out, and as the Mexicans have forbidden all fuel, produce, etc., from coming into our quarters, we were of course obliged to go to work and pull down gates, doors, windows, door-sills, etc.; in fact, everything in the shape of wood and rubbish was gathered in a few hours, and it wasn't long before we had several cords of wood piled up in the yard; so the enemy didn't make much by that operation.
Friday, October 8, 1 847.—This morning, and in fact since 12 o'clock last night, everything in and around the city is very quiet, so much so that our men begin to think that it looks very suspicious, not one shot being fired all morning. Gov. Childs remarked that he don't like this sudden ceasing of firing and quietness; he thinks that the Mexicans are doing this to make us believe that they have left the city, and therefore throw us off our guard, and try to surprise us.
So on the strength of this quietness. Gov. Childs came to our quarters and ordered the reveille to be beaten one hour and a half before daylight; so in case the Mexicans did intend to surprise us, they would be disappointed, and us Yankees wide awake to receive them.
About 11 o'clock, a.m., news came from Guadaloupa Heights, stating that the enemy were moving towards this city from the Amozuquco Road, and another division on the so-called Orazaba Road; the latter with about three or four thousand lancers and infantry. This report must surely be a mistake in regard to numbers, for there cannot be more than two thousand lancers outside of the city, unless Gen. Santa Anna is coming back. The approaching of the lancers towards this city means some mischief, and as a matter of course we were immediately put under arms to meet the crieses. About noon the whole Mexican force came marching, with their banners flying, their band playing the national airs of the land of the Montezumas, into the city of Puebla. Then you should have heard the ringing of bells, shooting of sky-rockets and shouting. It was enough noise to make the Mexicans all go crazy.
About 3 o'clock, p.m., the enemy made several desperate attempts to drive our men out of Tivola Garden, but we kept firing volley after volley in among them, which kept them at bay. They can now be seen gathering in full force near Tivola Garden, sounding the charge and their bands playing patriotic pieces. Everything looks much confused and excited among the enemy. The housetops, balconies and windows were all filled with anxious spectators to witness these brave and gallant lancers make a charge on the Yankees and drive them out of the city of Puebla.
While the enemy were manœuvring and getting into position to charge. Fort Loretto and Gaudaloupa Heights opened fire upon the gallant lancers. The bombs took the enemy by surprise. I say again, that the shells, bombs, etc., did all the work, and in one hour the Tivola Garden—that is, at one end—was clear again of the Mexicans and our men in possession of the garden.
At this instant Col. Childs ordered all soldiers that were able up on the ramparts of San Jose, and such cheers as we sent up none but American soldiers could send; they made the very hills echo. Lieut.-Col. Black remarked that he did not think that we could halloo so loud and wicked—only getting half rations to live on and scarcely any rest.
This little excitement and hurrahing called up our bugler, Mr. William Byrely, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who played Yankee Doodle, Hail Columbia, and other national airs, which caused another hearty cheering. The enemy are now out of sight and the firing has ceased.
During the enemy's firing a rifleman was shot through the head and instantly killed on his post, No. 9. Towards evening we left the ramparts, fully convinced that the enemy had changed their programme from a charge to a retreat.
I regret to say that a nice little boy who was waiting on Col. Ramsey, of the Eleventh Regiment, like many others, when his regiment, the First, marched on to the city of Mexico, was left here sick, was shot through the leg while crossing the street. He cried bitterly, and wanted to see his papa and mamma.
To-night Col. Black came to our quarters and ordered about fifty men up on the ramparts to watch the movements of the enemy. He thinks this retreat was only a sham to throw us off our guard. It rained hard at the time, which, of course, made it anything but comfortable for the men to lay on the ramparts without any shelter to protect them from the torrents of rain. Yet the men seemed to take it all cheerfully; not a growl or murmur was heard among them.
Twelve o'clock, night.—The Mexicans commence heavy firing on our pickets and quarters. This shows that they have not left the city. Our men are returning the compliment, and letting them know that we are still about.
Saturday, October 9, 1847.—This morning Lieut.-Col. Black came to our quarters and asked those who were not on active duty to go on guard, as the firing was very heavy, and fearing that the enemy, on account of it raining, might make an attack, and drive in some of our pickets. He said that he was fully aware that we were nearly all done out, and to do this for his sake; which orders were obeyed. It rained fearfully, yet the enemy kept up a constant firing, but doing little or no damage.
About 10 o'clock, a.m., another flag of truce came into Gov. Child's quarters, asking Gov. Childs to cease firing and hostilities for three days, as the Archbishop of Puebla was dead, that they were going to hold high mass, and other religious ceremonies over him, and wishing no firing on either side during that time. We cheerfully accepted the ceasing of firing, for we wanted a little rest, too; besides showing all due respect to the reverend dead.
The flag of truce was this time accompanied by two Catholic priests. When they first came to our pickets they were, of course, halted, and the Sergeant of the guard called. The Sergeant noticed what was up, took the Officer of the Day, who happened to be Capt. Small, with him. Here Capt. Small took out his pocket handkerchief, and tied it over the priests' eyes; after which he brought them stumbling to Gov. Child's quarters. During the time the priests were in Gov. Child's quarters the streets leading to our quarters were filled with a mass of excited people; no doubt all anxiously waiting for their return, and to hear the result and prospect of the flag of truce.
After their consultation was over the priests were escorted outside of our picket-line, and proceeded on down the street, where they were greeted by a large crowd of their fellow citizens, who followed them to the Catholic cathedral and heard the report of their commission.
At noon I was put on picket-guard with instructions not to fire on any Mexican, who might happen to be in the street, unless fired upon by the Mexicans first. After these instructions I proceeded to Post 9. So while the Sergeant was going to the other sentinels to give them the same orders he, himself, had four shots fired at him; one shot hit his coat button, and he made a very narrow escape from not being killed. The Sergeant returned and reported the outrage to Gov. Childs, who said that he would hold the armistice sacred, as becomes an American's honor.
It was supposed by our men that the Mexican officers had not yet cautioned their sentinels on their posts. After this there was no more firing until towards evening, when one of Co. K, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, was shot in the leg from a house-top, near Post No. 6.
This has caused a little indignation among our officers and soldiers, about the Mexicans violating the armistice; and if they don't stop firing we will return the fire. This evening the last of our beef has just been issued by our Commissary. So we will soon be out of beef and wood, and for some time only on half rations. The cry is, "What will become of us?" If Gen. Lane don't soon arrive to our relief, God only knows what will become of us, for we have resolved never to surrender, and the Mexicans have threatened that if we don't soon surrender they will make this a second Alamo. Yet we still live in hopes of our train coming shortly. God speed to it and guide it safely through the fiery and threatening storm.
There is scarcely any firing going on now, so I think the Mexicans will obey the armistice during the time named.
To-night, about 12 o'clock, while my attention was drawn to our quarters, I was suddenly attacked by three Mexicans from behind; one of these villains tried to stab me in my back, but the point of his dagger, hitting my cartridge-box belt, it glanced off, while the other greaser rushed in front of me, trying to take my rifle from me. At this instant I pushed the Mexican in front of me backwards and he fell into the street; at this time I wheeled around and shot the one who was trying to stab me in the back; he fell, but soon got up again, and the other two carried him off in their arms before I had a chance to reload again. This whole transaction of attempting to assassinate me was all done in about ten seconds. I must have shot the Mexican in the groin, because he was putting his hand there and groaning. The sentinel at Post 5 heard the scrambling and shot fired. I sent for the Sergeant of the guard, who soon reported himself, after which I related to him the circumstances: he remarked that I was the luckiest man in the whole garrison for narrow escapes. Oh! I was wishing I only had a double-barreled gun at the time!
Sunday October 10, 1847.—This morning it gives me pleasure to note that the armistice is fully carried out on both sides, there being no firing.
This is a lovely morning; the sun came up from behind the hills clear and bright, and it reminds me of the many Sabbaths I have spent at home; in fact, on account of everything being so very quiet, I feel as though I was once more in a free and Christian land.
Before I was released from guard duty, I noticed two Catholic priests talking to some four or five greasers, who were making signs, motions, etc. I took it for granted that they were the very Mexicans who attempted to kill me last night. These old priests, as a general thing, are the bitterest enemies we have in this country; they principally go around among the poor, ignorant, and half-civilized people, and make them believe that we, the Americans, are heretics; that we were fighting for the cause of the diablo (devil), and against the Catholic Church; that their, the Mexicans' cause was for God, Christ, and the Holy Catholic Church. In this way they make many people believe that if they fight for their country and the Catholic Church, and fall or be killed in fighting these heretics, their souls would then fly to heaven without any mass; and this is one reason why so many bold, ignorant Mexicans stand up to be fired at, and blow their ignorant souls to heaven or some other port.
Before I was relieved from guard I went and examined the track of the wounded Mexican, and I saw big blood spots as far as I dared to go, and from the loss of blood, showed that I must have wounded him pretty badly—the villain who would have been my asesino (assassin), if not for an instant prevented.
Thus, these holy apostles not being satisfied with shooting our men down whenever they show their heads outside of their quarters, but must come cowardly, sneakingly, up along the walls of the houses in the darkness of the night, and try to murder a man while his face, for a minute, is turned in another direction; but I assure this is only lent; I will, if God spares me, make it all right with them some day.
In the afternoon the Mexicans again gathered in large numbers in the Tivola Garden, and unexpectedly and unlooked for, commenced heavy firing on our pickets, also on our quarters; but Gov. Childs bade us not to fire, as he was determined to respect the armistice. So when the enemy saw that we took no notice of their firing they must have got ashamed of themselves, and they soon ceased firing.
In the evening another flag of truce came to our picket line, and was stopped until our Officer of the Day went down to blindfold the bearers, after which they were brought to Gov. Childs' quarters. They looked like Mexican officers in disguise of priests, trying to find out our numbers and positions; but there is no use in coming in disguise; they cannot fool us Yankees in that way, as we are becoming acquainted with their many tricks. The mission of the bearers of the flag was not made known to us, but it was rumored that it was about exchanging prisoners.
This afternoon the Mexicans are seen walking from one square or block to another as unconcerned as if there was no Yankee soldier in the city.
This evening we saw the Mexicans withdrawing their forces from an old church building up by the Post No. 9; so we will no more hear the sounding of the reveille and tattoos grating on our ears from that quarter. Yet there are plenty of Mexicans in the church opposite the Tivola Garden, drilling every day and evening.
Later in the evening, about 10 o'clock, our picket guard who is stationed in the rear of our quarters fired off two successive shots. This alarm aroused the whole garrison, and all rushed upon the ramparts, as to hear a fire from that quarter was something unusual; but we were not up long before a heavy fire opened upon us from the ravine in our rear. We were so anxious to give them a volley that we could not hold from firing any longer; so we let go, and gave them a couple of good volleys, which silenced them for the night. During this firing one of Co. I, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers was slightly wounded.
After the firing was over, Gov. Childs sent word for us not to fire again unless the enemy attempts to make an attack; he says he will, for his part, respect the armistice until the time runs out. Monday, October 11, 1847.—This morning, after finding everything quiet, we left the ramparts, all still hungry with rheumatism from lying on the cold, damp roof all night, watching the enemy.
About 8 o'clock, a.m., the bells throughout the city commenced to ring in honor of the archbishop's funeral; they also tolled at intervals throughout the day. Yet, with all due respect and honor paid to the dead bishop on our side, the blanket greasers, who profess to be so religious, and swear by the gods that they will do anything—yes, even sacrifice their lives—for the Holy Church, kept up a continuous fire on us poor heretics and worshipers of the diable, during all these ceremonies; in fact, most of the Mexicans paid no respect or regard for the dead bishop. No wonder there is no prosperity in this bigoted country.
The gallant lancers would be riding up the Tivola Garden behind the large white pillars, and there, in bold defiance, brandish their swords; and we couldn't help but laugh at their foolish movements. They kept at it for some time, and sometimes fired off their guns; and seeing that we were taking no notice of them in returning the fire, they left in disgust; but no doubt the enemy thought it was mucho valentios.
This evening a poorly-clad Mexican woman, who used to, before the siege commenced, bring us leche to our quarters, has volunteered to be our spy. She got in past the Mexican sentinel without any suspicion, coming boldly up to our sentinel, who of course stopped her. She stated her errand, after which the Officer of the Day was called for, who quickly responded, took her to Gov. Childs' quarters, where they found a letter sewed in her garments. It was from Gen. Lane to Gov. Childs, stating that he, Gen. Lane, had a fight with Gen. Santa Anna at Huamantla, and whipped the old chieftain, and captured two pieces of artillery and Col. La Vega, son of Gen. La Vega, and Maj. Augustin Iturbide, son of the old revolutionist Emperor of Mexico. Gov. Childs was urged to hold out, as he was at Amozoquco, and would be in Puebla to-morrow forenoon. By this time a crowd had gathered around Gov. Child's quarters, waiting for the news; when presently he came out on the balcony, smiling all over his face; he was received with cheers, after which, he made a thrilling and interesting speech.
He spoke feelingly as well as eloquently, mentioning several incidents which happened during the siege, he finished by saying "that the day is ours, the enemy with their immense forces who have harrassed us for nearly two months are whipped, and thank God, that by to-morrow noon, we will be delivered from our bondage; the siege is ended, and the suffering and privation you have endured is now over, and I thank you men who have never faltered or murmured, for your heroic conduct, and it shall forever be my proudest recollection, to point with pride to the officers and soldiers under my command, for their brilliant achievement of Puebla City. Again, I thank you, and may God bless you all."
The speech was listened to with deep and earnest attention, and after its conclusion you should have heard the cheering, shouting, whooping, hugging and pulling one another to and fro, for about half an hour, what joy and gladness was on the faces of every soldier. Men were rushing around to hunt up the old Mexican woman, and when they had found her, they asked her about fifty different questions all at the same time, all anxious to hear more; her only answer was Si, Si, Senor.
To-night some of our men gave her a coat and a blanket, and she slept in our quarters.
About 10 o'clock, to-night. Gov. Childs came to our quarters, and told some of our men to keep an eye on her, for fear it might be a trick of the enemy's; some of our men did keep an eye on her, but I think she is a friend of ours, and a true woman, and I feel fully satisfied that the letter from Gen. Lane is a genuine one.
In fact, the movements of the people plainly show that there is something rotten on their side of the house. No firing. thus we are undisturbed by the enemy; thus with the good news of to-day, we can all rest and sleep with contentment.
Tuesday, October 12, 1847.—This morning nearly all the soldiers were up by the dawn of the day. Some were looking and hunting up the old Mexican woman, asking her how she rested, while others were preparing (not for election), but for the reception of the long-looked-for train, which, according to the news, will arrive to-day.
To-day being election, at home, and as we cannot participate in defending the cause of our glorious Government at the ballot-box, our feelings and well-wishes are with those of our friends whom we know will do justice in defending the soldiers who are now upholding the principle of our glorious country's flag in the land of Montezumas.
About 8 o'clock, a.m., the wood and vegetables arrived in our quarters, which at once showed us that the news of yesterday was true, and the Mexican sentinel was no longer to be seen going to his weary and watchful post.
There were a few shots fired from the Saint Augustine Church, but doing little or no damage on our side.
About 10 o'clock, a.m., the advance of Gen. Lane's command began to come in sight of Puebla.
The bells of Guadaloupa Heights rung, which was the first signal of our troops coming. Our old flag (the Stars and Stripes) was run up on the flag-staff, on the ramparts, which caused rousing cheers.
The bells of churches in our neighborhood were rung, and Fort Loretto, from her towering ramparts, made the city of Puebla, and the hills around it, echo with the peals of her artillery.
The mounted howitzers strained themselves in responding to the twelve pounders; and we, the three hundred half starved Yankees (as Gen. Rea used to call us), were wild, and filled to overflowing, with enthusiasm. We sent up huzza after huzza, until the dragoons of Gen. Lane's army had entered the outskirts of the city. The lancers are now going to the plaza, and they seem to be determined to show fight before they leave this city. Gov. Childs instantly ordered Capt. Herron, of Co. K, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, to march down to the plaza, or near by, and take position. They started off, with a cheer, for the plaza. They were supported by Lieut. George Moore, of Co. D, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers. When Co. K got near the plaza, a body of about one hundred lancers showed themselves. Capt. Herron, seeing them forming in the plaza, ordered a charge on them, and succeeded in driving them back. But he kept following them up until he (Capt. Herron) was about three squares from the Alameda Park, where they stopped, and again showed fight by forming into line of battle, looking as if they were getting ready to charge on Capt. Herron's company. Capt. Herron now thought that the enemy had got him into a trap. He halted and formed his company to receive the charge, and, at the same time, telling his men not to fire a gun until they were sure that every shot fired would empty a saddle. After waiting for the lancers to charge, and seeing that they didn't intend to charge, on him (Capt. Herron), was about to face and fall back, but the men hallooed out, "No! no!" let us follow them. They followed the lancers until they got within one hundred yards of them, when they fired a volley of musketry into them, killing six or seven, besides wounding as many more.
Before Capt. Herron's men could reload again the lancers had made a bold charge upon his company. The lancers were, in the meantime, re-enforced from another street. Capt. Herron now saw his danger and folly. He ordered his men to stand and charge bayonets, and every man to defend himself the best way he could. They, of course, were soon overpowered, cutting our men right and left; so much so that our men were obliged to retreat the best way they could, leaving thirteen of his gallant little band lying dead on the street. Some were almost cut in two.As soon as Lieut. Moore heard the report of musketry he
|Sentinel Post 9.|
|STREET FIGHT, PUEBLA CITY.|
hastened to the support of Co. K, and our company (C) was ordered to follow Co. K, to drive the lancers, and save the balance of Co. K. After which they marched back to our quarters, and all but one (Co. K) were ordered out to escort the train into the city of Puebla.
As soon as the advance of Brig.-Gen. Lane entered the city, by the National Road, a volly of musketry, from a large brick building on the left of the street, was fired upon them. Gen. Lane then ordered Col. Charles Brough's Fourth Ohio Regiment to be brought into line to charge on this building, to be supported by Col. Wynkoop's four companies, of the First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Capt. Simmon's battery. After which they charged with a hurrah! When near the building they fired a volley into it, which seemed to be well fortified. The enemy now became so confused that they fled out the back way into the street. Our men then shattered down the doors, and broke the windows all to pieces.
This brick building was only one square from our outer picket post, from which, during the siege, the Mexicans kept constantly firing on our men, and succeeded in killing and wounding many of them. The capturing of this building has caused great rejoicing among our men.
In the charge on the building Mr. John Doyal, of Co. B, First Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers, was killed, besides others wounded.
After the capture of this building, the enemy started to street fighting, and our men were fired upon from the houses which had the white flag hanging out of the windows. They, of course, were picked off at every opportunity by our sharpshooters, with a hurrah.
The lancers, who have given us a good deal of trouble, are now on a retreat towards the Alameda Park, firing as they fall back. Our cavalry, consisting of six companies, under command of Major Lally, were ordered into line, and, charging upon the retreating lancers, drove them about a mile beyond the plaza. Our riflemen would go into different streets, and whenever they saw a lancer, he would most surely be unsaddled and sometimes his horse captured. Now and then we could see them pop down a greaser from the housetops.
After we supposed we had driven the lancers out of the city, we returned to the fortified house just captured; but before we got there, a body of lancers—no doubt hidden in some senor's yard—came riding out of a street and fired upon us, wounding several of our men. We instantly came to about face and made a rally on the lancers, and it was not long before we had them scampering off into different streets and alleys.
By this time Col. Brough, of the Fourth Ohio, got full possession of the main entrance of the city, and sent a party of his men up on the steeple of the Saint Augustine Church and took down the Mexican flag and slit it into ribbons, and then let it fly to the winds, after which the Stars and Stripes, the emblem of our country, was placed in its stead—now waving triumphantly in the breeze in the land of the Montezumas.
But there is a good deal of street fighting and firing throughout the city. The foreign inhabitants of this city hung out their respective colors; in fact, almost every Mexican house had a white flag flying from its window, and when we passed them, they would say, "The Americano mucho valentacho mucho valentias.
After the enemy had left the city, some of our men went to work and plundered the houses that the Mexicans had been firing from during the day. Some made out very well, getting from one to two hundred dollars worth of silks, shawls, etc. I could have gotten plenty of the finest silks, but what good would they be to me; so I took nothing but a splendid gentleman's shawl worth about thirty dollars. After I got this shawl, I left and returned to quarters; and its well I did, for the patrol came around and gobbled up every one and took them to the guard-house. I intend to keep this shawl, and if I live will take it home with me, as a great relic.
Every one of our men seem much rejoiced over the enemy having met with their final defeat in this city. Their ranks are now shattered, and their flags and banners which they used to fling in our faces, are now trailing in the dust in their own tierra calienta.
Thus the long sitio (siege) of Puebla City is over, and the sufferings and privations, I hope, are now ended. The siege which lasted over one month, will forever stand in the memory of every soldier who participated in it, as one of the most surprising events in the history of the Mexican war.
When its results are compared with the fierce and desperate contests and ever confident predictions of the now overwhelming and defeated enemy, let honor be given and recorded to those to whom it belongs.
I hear to-night that Gov. Childs is very indignant and mad at Capt. Herron, of Co. K, for the blunder he made in following the lancers beyond his orders.
It seems, that Capt. Herron was ordered to take a position near the plaza, and there to remain unless overpowered by the enemy, in which case, he was to fall back on his supporting company or to a place of safety. But instead of carrying out the instructions of his superior officer, he, Capt. Herron, (like most any other brave officer would do when the enemy were beating a retreat), kept following the lancers, until the lancers had Capt. Herron just where they wanted him; then suddenly a company of lancers, who had been leading Capt. Herron's company into the trap, were re-enforced with about two hundred lancers. The enemy now seeing their opportunity, charged on Capt. Herron's brave little band, and killed and wounded nearly one-half of his company. Capt. Herron himself, was wounded by a sabre cut, and made his escape by keeping under the lancer's horse.For disobeying his orders. Gov. Childs gave Capt. Herron a severe reprimanding, and told him, that he, Gov. Childs, would never report him in his general orders to the commander-in-chief So this is the reason that Capt. Herron's heroic deeds at Puebla City are not mentioned in Gov. Child's official report to Gen. Scott.
Wednesday, October 13, 1847.—This morning most all of our men were busy in killing hogs, turkeys and chickens, which we captured in our charge through the city yesterday; others were still out, plundering the deserted houses, which they continued to do until the dragoons were sent out to stop them.
Many houses have still the white flags hanging out of their windows for protection. Flags are flying out of the very houses from which the enemy used to fire at us only a few days ago; probably they have become reconciled.
I noticed that pieces of artillery have been placed in several streets, so as to rake and scatter the enemy, should they attempt any further hostilities, but there is not much danger of their troubling us much more, as we have them just where we want them, except the guerillas, who will no doubt, take advantage of the soldiers who may be straggling through the city alone.
To-day for the first time, we were informed of the sad intelligence of the death of Capt. Samuel H. Walker.
This distinguished partisan chief, the thunderboldt of the Texan rangers, fell mortally wounded at the battle of Huamantla, on the eighth instant, and expired in a few minutes. His last words to his men are worthy of his fame and heroic career, they were: "My brave comrades, I have at last run my race, my command over you will soon cease, yes, I hear the summons, but never mind me, maintain your ground firmly, don't yield an inch, and do as your commander did, fight until you die." And with a wave of his trembling hand he bade them "good-bye, and may God protect you all in this cause."
His colored servant Sam (so-called), stood by him and fanned his fevered brow, he took it very hard and cried like a child. Sam thought the world of his master, in fact, the whole company thought a great deal of Sam, as he was with Capt. Walker in all his skirmishes and adventures in Mexico. He fell, but not until the battle of Huamantla was fought and won. The shout of victory was the last sound which saluted the ears of the gallant Capt. Walker.
Capt. Walker was born in Maryland, and at the time of his death was but thirty-two years of age. He had gone through more scenes of battles, adventures, bloody skirmishes, hairbreadth escapes and partisan warfare, than any other person ever encountered at the same age. He has been all through the Florida, Texan and the Mexican wars.
After routing the guerillas on Gen. Zach. Taylor's route, he was ordered to ship his company of mounted riflemen to Vera Cruz, and join Gen. Scott. He soon marched his company to Perote Castle, where he was stationed to keep the guerillas and the other outlawed statesmen at bay.
His bold and daring feats, struck terror to the hearts of these national highway robbers, on the National road. He was with us at the battles of Las Vegas and La Hoya, on the 20th of last June, when he charged and routed the enemy in every direction, and was the general cause of the enemy's defeat. At Huamantla he took a conspicuous part.
Before he arrived at Huamantla, he learned from his spies, that Gen. Santa Anna was moving from the above-named town towards the mountains; he gave a Mexican (so I am told), fifty dollars, to point out to him, Walker, the spot where Gen. Santa Anna was; the place was shown him, and he and his men resolved to hasten forward and try to surprise the enemy. On they dashed until they reached a narrow lane leading to the town, here the Captain ordered his men to close in two's. After getting closer into town, he gave orders to charge.
Onward they galloped, over ditches and ruts, and then up the street, where Capt. Walker noticed the enemy moving their artillery in position so as to play on his men, but he was too quick for them, for he was now on top of them and had captured two pieces of their artillery.
Capt. Walker trotting and galloping his horses, brought him way ahead of the Infantry. Gen. Santa Anna now seeing that Capt. Walker was alone, called his lancers (some say about three thousand) together and approached toward Huamantla. Capt. Walker seeing the lancers coming, hastened with his men to place the captured cannons in position, and when the brave lancers came charging on his little band, he fired the cannons right into their ranks and drove them back, capturing several prisoners.
By this time, the Infantry under Gen. Lane and Col. Wynkoop, were rapidly approaching to re-enforce Capt. Walker.
The enemy, as stated, fell back. Capt. Walker loaded his guns, and was about changing his position to a churchyard surrounded by a high stone wall, to preserve the two cannons which he had captured, when at the same time a cowardly Mexican greaser, from the window or housetop, fired and shot him through his head, while another one shot him through his breast from behind the corner. He then fell in the arms of our Surgeon, Reynolds, of Mifflin Co., Pa., who used to be our family physician, and to whom I am indebted for the above information.
The doctor also states that the ball passed through the right side of his forehead, penetrating to the base of the brain, and the escopet ball passed through his lungs, and that he refused to be removed. His men gathered around him and he addressed them in the words already mentioned.
Just before he died Gen. Lane's forces began to come up. Col. Wynkoop hastened to Capt. Walker. He wanted to speak to him before he died, but it was all up. He died with a cheering look. His men burst into tears. His remains were borne into the convent yard, there wrapped up in linen, after which he was buried without a coffin in a well-secluded spot.
His men resolved from this out that they would take no prisoners, and death to all Mexicans found with firearms in their hands; charged after the retreating army of Gen. Santa Anna, overtook them, and killed several hundred of the enemy. The carnage, they say, was awful—cutting the enemy down right and left, just like a mower cutting grass or grain. All along the road in which Capt. Walker's men and Maj. Lally's cavalry went was covered with the dead and wounded enemy.
Thus, the death of Capt. Walker has and will cause the life of many a poor innocent Mexican. Our men look upon Capt. Walker's death as murder. All soldiers killed when no armed enemy is near is murder, and the guilty ones are treated as murderers.
Thus this great Captain has suddenly met his death, and full too soon to gather the honors ripe for the more mature years of soldiers of daring and ambition. In our continued and varied experience in the army it has never been our fortune to meet a grander and nobler soldier than Capt. Walker. He was brave, faithful and obedient to his superior in rank and kind to his men. He was, without doubt, one of the bravest officers in our army; in fact, to recklessness in all dangers, and it may well be said that no one could be more sadly missed from our army. Our whole regiment condoles with the company in its irreparable loss; all feel the loss of Capt. Walker with a sorrow which words cannot express. The social ties with him and his company's pride, shared by us all in camp, on the field and in garrison, are past and will be the memories of the past,—the hope for the future all riven by a flash sent by a Providence whose ways seem now, more than ever, past finding out. Thus a noble life has been put out by a cowardly assassin.
This train brought up the other four companies belonging to our regiment, which were left stationed at the Castle of Perote, under command of Col. F. M. Wynkoop and Maj. Bowman. We had a glorious time hand shaking when we got together; for they, having heard so much bad news about us, thought that we were nearly all killed off or starved to death. They also bring us the sad intelligence of the death of three of our company, namely, John Begley, died July 28th; Edward Budy, died August 7th; and Charles Smith, died August 15th. Mr. Begley was an old man, but Smith and Budy were both young men. All hail from Philadelphia. Mr. Budy's health was good when we left Vera Cruz—his face was the very picture of an orange; but lying out in the wet day and night near Jalapa City, like many more, affected him and caused his death. I believe he was somewhat related to Budy, the baker, on Chestnut Street above Broad.
The time we left Perote for this city (Puebla) these men were left back in the hospital sick with the diarrhœa. True, like a good many more, they did not die at the hands of the enemy's bullets, but died of disease contracted while gallantly defending their country's cause. They now sleep, with their comrades under the wings of Castle Perote.
This evening a strong guard is stationed at the corner to keep the soldiers in their quarters. And the patrols are parading the streets, picking up all the stragglers they can find, to save them from getting their throats cut by the guerillas, as there is a great many guerillas running through the city in disguise, and if they come across any one of our men that cannot defend himself he is sure to be killed, and no mercy shown. One of the Fourth Ohio Regiment had his throat cut from ear to ear last night, and several others got stabbed in their backs, while trying to make their escape. There is now no firing, which seems very strange, being so used to it. We feel lost for want of amusement; but, throwing all jokes aside, we are all mighty glad that the long siege is over.
And the words of Gen. Scott to Col. Black, on his departure for the capital of Mexico, "There will be fighting enough for us all before this war is over," came true, and I think we had more than our share, and ought to have a good rest before we march any further.
I hear to-night that John B. Herron, of our company, who was wounded some time ago on picket-guard, is very ill; the wound has led into inflammation.