from here is very rough, and in place of seeing splendid country seats, mansions, gardens, lawns, flowers, shrubbery, trees, cultivated fields, &c., like it is in other cities, where we came from, it is a barren wilderness, mostly covered with wild, ragged, small knotty trees, gnarled and twisted, with wild chaparral, with thorns from one to five inches long, making it difficult to pass through without first cutting the way. Indeed, we Yankees wonder how the people live here, as we could not get a mouthful to eat since we landed. Nothing grows here but sand hills and wild chaparral. Snakes would even starve to death. Even drinking water is not to be found in this miserable section of country.
In our march up to the sand hills we were ordered to leave our knapsacks at the old stone ruins; so to-night we had to sleep without blankets. The sand hill was our bed tick and the blue sky our covering. I thought to myself where is the richness in this country.
Thursday, March 11, 1847.—This morning we were all anxious to see what had become of the Mexicans. We soon discovered them in large numbers on the adjoining hill near the city.
We instantly went to work, digging trenches with our hands and bayonets. Before we had finished the work the Mexicans opened on us with their musketry; but seeing that their shots all fell short, fell back, and then the castle of San Juan de Ulloa and all the forts stationed on the top of the stone wall surrounding the city, commenced to fire upon us. Our position being a very exposed one, we were ordered to fall back of the hill, more under cover. By this temporary retreat we expected the Mexicans would pick up courage and make a rally upon us, but they could not be bamboozled or drawn out in that way. We were in possession of a position to play havoc to a charging enemy.
Seeing that the Mexicans would not likely charge upon us, we were ordered to hold ourselves ready to charge upon the Mexicans at any moment.