can road, and about as far south of the river, the last two running parallel,-stood the convent called San Pablo. This was built of stone, and formed the citadel, against the assault of Twiggs's division. The pile and its defensive works consisted* of a large main building, with a belfry, facing the Coyacan road, a smaller edifice in front, both enclosed by a wall, that was scaffolded for infantry. Twenty paces or more, in advance, was traced a field-work, having a curtain uniting two angles or bastions, with a ditch in front; the exterior side of the left bastion continued back to the wall of the convent ; that of the right was incomplete, and did not extend quite so far. The curtain mounted four guns, which commanded our approach, traced perpendicularly, from the Coyacan route ; the left bastion had one gun, bearing on the San Antonio causeway, which had shown its sting upon the gallant advance of Worth’s division ; the right had two piecest in barbette, which enfiladed another road branching three hundred yards distant from the Coyacan road, and coming directly to the convent. The rear, and partly the right flank, were not protected by entrenchments, and were guarded by a body of lancers. The walls of the yard and buildings, (the latter pierced for musketry)—the flat and parapeted roofs,—the windows and the belfry, were crowded with infantry soldiers—so, also, the lines of the field-work. Three thousand men under Gen. Rincon, acting President Anaya, and others, garrisoned the place. The ammunition proved to be abundant, as some was captured with the work. The “San Patricio” companies, or battalion, deserters from our army, and numbering nearly a hundred, were in large proportion stationed here, and, it is said, efficiently manned three

* These particulars are from the report of Gen. Smith, and from “The Other Side.” The latter speaks of the ditch, which is omitted elsewhere. The latter says of the convent (p. 292,) that “ a better (place) could not be required,” to resist or check an enemy. It was their strong point, and not the tête-de-pont, which the editor of the work says, in a note (p. 284)

never reckoned among the fortifications." What will Semmes say to this, who terms it the “ key point,” &c., &c., and upon this ground bases the assertion that Worth won the battle with the trifling“ subordinate” aid of the other divisions.

+ Report of Capt. Dimmick, commanding 1st artillery. Doc. No. 1, Appendix, p. 78.


of the seven* guns. A portion of them fought at the tête-de-pont.

The river is a moderate stream, ditched (fifty feet wide) for several miles, and embanked to prevent overflow. The dykes (on both sides) constituted breastworks, behind which, for a good distance to the east, were ranged dense masses of infantry. Trees grew upon and beside them, which afforded additional protection. The San Antonio causeway crossed the river at the Puente-del-Rosario, from four hundred to five hundred yards beyond the junction of the Coyacan road. This bridge was covered by a regular field-fort-the tête-de-pont-having curtains, bastions, and a wet ditch. In this work were mounted four guns, two in embrasuret pointing down the causeway, and two in barbette, commanding the left flank. As many men as could be employed, occupied the place. The distance to the convent, in a southwest direction, was about four hundred yards. Between the two a sort of breastwork was thrown up, behind which were sheltered a continuous line of infantry. Along the causeway in rear, towards the city, apparently for a mile or two, were stationed the reserves of cavalry and infantry: Santa Anna commanded, and was posted generally with the re

It is manifest that the position was a strong one, and it was certainly very numerously guarded. With more time to have recovered from the depression naturally engendered by flight,—to have reflected calmly and to have resolved firmly, it seems difficult to suppose that onefourth of their numbers could ever have dislodged them.


* All concur in the seven guns, except Semmes, who says three! This belief probably added to his impression that Worth’s division accomplished everything. There were four pieces in the bridge head, although Scott says three were taken. Col. Waite, commanding 8th infantry, which first entered the work, asserts it. Doc. No. 1, p. 64, Appendix.

† An embrasure is an opening through the parapet for cannon, which so fired may command a limited extent of country.* Barbette batteries are platforms elevated above the parapet, which enable guns placed on them to have a free range of the surrounding country. The literal French meaning of barbet is a shaggy dog. We have taken the feminine orthography!

We have placed part of the Saint Patrick companies in the tête-de-pont, through deference to Worth, who makes such report; although Santa Anna on the 19th November (see paper in proceedings of Pillows' court) says, that they were all ordered by him to the convent previous to the battle.

With less time than was granted, or could Pillow and Twiggs united, have continued rapidly the pursuit, looking to the actual results of the day, we may again reasonably suppose that the Mexican would have been promptly expelled from his works—the long battle not have been waged, and at less sacrifice,—and the position of the army identical with what it was on the evening of the 20th of August. But it would have been accidental,-a fortunate concurrence of circumstances-upon which now it is idle to speculate. The enemy numbered from 27,000 to 32,000 of all arms. Our general, dreadfully exposed on level ground, the view* intercepted by the corn and trees, the roads enfiladed by cannon, the other approaches through mud flats and over innumerable ditches—was placed under great disadvantages as to the ground : and, as to force, he counted but 7,845 men of all arms.† And, of these, all were not at any one time engaged in the conflict. The 7th infantry, the rifles, the voltigeurs, and two companies of the 8th infantry, unfortunately for them, and not at their desire, were not really in the combat. Harney, whose cavalry had been ordered up from San Augustin, could not act, from the nature of the ground. Quitmanless Shields' brigade--guarded, as the post of honour, says Scott, our trains, which were threatened by a large force in the rear.

But we turn to the series of conflicts which Hoffman's little battalion of 150 men had boldly commenced, and the events of the day may be found to disprove the remark of old Frederick of Prussia, that “ Dieu est toujours à coté de gros battaillons."

We commence with the conflict of Twiggs' division, because it was the first regularly in action, and had been nearly an hour engaged before Worth directed his brigade

* Thirty-two thousand acknowledged by the Mexicans themselves. See Intercepted Letters, to be found in Doc. No. 65, 1st ses. 30th Cong., p. 430, Pillow's court.

+ We rely on the map of Top. Engineers. Scott, in his report on entering the city, says 8,497. Doc. No. 1, p. 384. The proportion, he adds, was 1 to 31. It was nearer 1 to 41. The 7th infantry were not in action. They had changed position when Riley sent for them, (see his report,) and only arrived when the church was captured. The rifles marched to and fro. The voltigeurs were posted behind a church, (see Pillow's report,) and behind

Duncan's battery, (see Col. Andrews' report,) and were very little exposed. Two companies of 8th in fantry were in support of Duncan's battery. (Waite's report.) A squadron of Harney's cavalry did service, and will be noticed.

upon the tête-de-pont. Twiggs moved forward with Smith's brigade, preceded by a reconnoitering officer (Stevens.) Arriving within a few hundred yards of the convent, that officer reported that a one gun battery enfiladed the direct road to the work, and suggested that it could be turned by the left. A closer examination was ordered, under the support of Lieut. Smith of the engineer company of sappers and miners ; although the general supposed that the enemy's stand was taken solely to cover the retreat from San Antonio, which was now known to have begun. At this moment the rapid firing on the 6th infantry was heard. Believing it to be an engagement of the rifles, sent previously by Scott to support Lee's reconnoissance, Twiggs promptly despatched Dimmick (1st artillery) to move down the road, assist that regiment, and repulse* the enemy. Dimmick deployed his command, and advanced towards the front of the convent. In a few minutes he encountered a storm of grape, round shot, and musketry. Nothing daunted, he pressed forward, through the corn, until a view of the works could be had, when his right found themselves within a hundred yards of the curtain and left bastion, and the left at seventy yards from the right bastion. The discharges were terrible, but, without recoiling, these brave men sheltered themselves as much as practicable, held their ground, and maintained the fight. By the advice of Engineer Stevens, Taylor's battery was now brought into requisition. Conducted by this officer, it was planted in a field to the right of the forks of the road, and opened with the view to drive the infantry from their stations, and thus enable our men to storm the work. It was greatiy exposed, but Taylor continued the struggle, as Gen. Sinith remarked, under the "severest shower of grape, canister, and musketry, that ever was witnessed.” The sharp shooters were expelled from the steeple and the azoteas (flat roofs,) but it was futile to direct such light pieces against the entrench

* Dimmick says (report) that he marched about “noon.” Thus Twiggs' division must bave been engaged near an hour before Worth’s, which moved at first against San Antonio, at eleven A, M. (See his report) It is over two miles to Churubusco. The Pedrigal was crossed by one brigade, and the skirmishing was kept up all the way. It was one o'clock, at least, when he attacked the tête-de-pont.

For all the particulars, see the various reports, which we have scanned with minute attention.

ments, and, after an hour and a half's endurance of the storm, Taylor withdrew his pieces. His loss was two men killed, two officers, two sergeants, one corporal, and seventeen men wounded, and fourteen horses disabled, with others wounded, exceeding probably one-third of his command. The 3d infantry, under Alexander, had been ordered to the support of the battery; and they directed their fire under the protection of some mud houses, until an escalade couid be effected on the right bastion. Lieut. Smith, of the engineer company, had proceeded as directed, on his reconnoissance, soon after the 1st artilleryf opened its fire, and, arriving about midway of the main approach to the church, discovered the full extent of the enemy's defences. He sent word to Twiggs to turn the right flank, as the most vulnerable. But he had been anticipated. Twiggs had already despatched Riley's brigade (2d and 7th infantry) on that very service. This veteran hero left the 7th infantry in reserve, and moved with his own regiment (he was Lieut. Col. of it) against the right of the church. Blinded, like Dimmick, by the intervening corn, he came suddenly, at a short distance, upon a murderous fire, which was aggravated by exposure to our own men--the artillery-playing upon the front. For greater effect, he moved farther to the left, and renewed the contest. It became desperate. The head of one company, with its young and gallant commander (Lieut. Easly, 2d infantry) wast swept away by a single discharge.” The captain of “another (J. R. Smith) was twice severely wounded, and, with a single exception, all the men around were immediately shot down." Others were mortaily wounded, and numbers were prostrated. Several sallies from the yard were repulsed by inferior numbers. But after a struggle of an hour and a half the enemy were driven inch by inch, for they behaved gallantly, until the rear was attained; and the colours of the 2d infantry were planted at the moment the front gave way. When Riley's assault began to tell on the enemy, Smith ordered the 3d infantry to storm the work. Protecting themselves by some mud huts along the direct road to the church, these undaunted fellows, who had been

* Taylor's report, Doc. No.1. Appendix.
+ Lieut. Smith's report. Ditto.
| Riley's report. Ditto. The quotations are from it.

« ElőzőTovább »