any money left can get something outside of government rations to eat, but those who have none have to take what comes, good or not good. We are getting our rations more regular and more of them, but our water is bad and it can only be got by digging holes in the drifted sand. It can hardly be drank until it is boiled and coffee made of it. Our fleet is ordered to fire on the city to-morrow.
Sunday, March 21, 1847.—This morning sure enough our United States fleet weighed anchor and ran up under cover, and opened a tremendous firing on the city of Vera Cruz (True Cross). This I understand is done for the purpose of drawing the enemy's fire from our men, now building breastworks and planting batteries.
The guns of the Castle of San Juan de Ulloa were turned toward our fleet, and replied with real madness. The enemy firing off nearly two hundred shots in less than one hour and a half, and all the damage that they have done is the killing of one marine. This surely was a great loss to the poor man. He was a good soldier, and was stationed on the United States frigate "Potomac."
To-day has been a hot one, both in climate and among our gallant tars on board of our man-of-war. Several of our men, while working at battery No. 4, died from the effects of the heat, and drinking too much of this bad water.
I regret to mention that my friend, Lieut. C. M. Berry, was again affected from the hot sun and exposure, and reported unfit for any duty.
In the evening it clouded up and got very dark, and looked as if it was going to rain hard. It being dark it made it a beautiful sight to see the shells from our navy flying through the air into the city and Castle of San Juan de Ulloa, and shells and round shot are flying toward our fleet and elsewhere. It looked like so many rockets in the air.
The battery of Gen. Worth's division is nearly finished, and it is reported that Gen. Worth will open on the city tomorrow. The Mexicans have not yet discovered Gen. Worth's