Page:Notes of the Mexican war 1846-47-48.djvu/637

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

they marched, and, like the great Napoleon in Egypt, carrying everything before them by storm and in the face of extraordinary odds, the strongest position for defence in their country—capturing thousands of prisoners, cannon and ammunition—without a single defeat or the slightest check, driving the enemy from their entrenchments, forts and fortifications, some were almost impregnable, until, on the 14th of September, 1847, when Gen. Winfield Scott—like Saul of Israel, a head and shoulders above all his staff officers—rode at the head of our little army (then dwindled down, from carnage and disease, to six thousand men) fatigued and exhausted from marching and numerous battles engaged in in the valley; men who scarcely had shoes on their feet or clothing on their backs; men who had no pay for four or five months nor no more than half enough at any one time to eat; marched triumphantly into the main plaza of the city of Mexico, a populous city of over 200,000 souls, and planted our country's glorious flag upon the Halls of the Montezumas. [Great applause.] It was the first strange flag that waved over its capital for over three hundred years. [Applause.]

Oh yes, some of our comrades will yet remember when Gen. Scott rode from regiment to regiment, thanking God and his heroic men for their brilliant victories; and when he came to the rifle Voltigeur regiment—a regiment that lost nearly all its commissioned officers and more than one-half of its men—he noticed their thin ranks and shattered banners and wept, saying, "You have gone through fire and blood and have come out steel." [Applause.] Who has ever heard of more heroic deeds? who has ever read of more triumphant achievements? I have not, and it remains for future historians to give a correct idea of the Mexican war. There is not a parallel in all the bright pages of the history of the world like the campaign of Mexico. [Applause.]

"Yet in the face of all these brilliant achievements, staring in the eyes of our people, we are not recognized by our government. Yes, I regret, and it pains my very heart, to say that