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sarily confined to a narrow track, and is restrained by fear of the enemy from dividing itself into detachments. But the unhappy Mexicans found the invaders spreading themselves over the country in every direction, and small parties taking possession of populous towns. We may easily imagine the innumerable and horrible insults and excesses endured by the Mexicans, from a victorious and scornful enemy, conscious alike of his power and his impunity, and far removed from the restraint, however feeble, of public opinion.
Unaware of the vast superiority of their enemy in all the dread machinery of war, the Mexicans unhappily hazarded the bombardment of Vera Cruz. Three thousand shells, each weighing ninety pounds were, it is said, thrown into that devoted city, besides about the same number of round shot. For more than three days did this horrible tempest beat upon Vera Cruz. "The darkness of the night was illuminated with the blazing shells circling through the air. The roar of artillery, and the heavy fall of descending shot, were heard through the streets of the
The Americans lost not a single man, and had but seven slightly wounded; the Mexicans were utterly routed, with a loss of 198 killed and wounded.
The result of the battle of Sacramento is thus described in an official report: "The first shadows cast by the moon, found the American army camped upon the battle-field, after having in a contest of four hours annihilated a force six times their number, and driven the enemy from four positions of great natural strength, fortified by thirty-six forts and redoubts, having taken four times their strength in artillery, the whole transportation, food, and ammunition of the Mexicans, and performed à march of twenty miles without water." Col. Doniphan tells us, "The field was literally covered with the dead and wounded from our artillery, and the unerring fire of our riflemen. Night put a stop to the carnage." The Mexicans had nineteen pieces of cannon, and were sheltered by forts and redoubts, while the Americans advanced to the attack on an open plain. The victors, in a fight of four hours, had one man killed, and eight wounded. Triumphs over such enemies, afford little cause for military pride.
besieged city. The roofs of buildings were on fire, the domes of churches reverberated with fearful explosions."
This splendid scene, and the consequences accompanying it, must have been viewed with high satisfaction, by "The foe to all happiness human."
An officer of the navy, in an account written a few days after, says: "The bombardment lasted three days and a half. The city was greatly injured, the shells and round shot striking all over the town. One part near a small battery was utterly destroyed; and from the stench in the neighborhood, it is to be feared that the bodies of very many poor women and children, are buried in the ruins. I was in the Governor's palace, a very fine building, occupying one side of the Plaza, and was looking into a very handsome room where it was evident a shell had struck, when a Mexican gentleman came up and offered to show me over the house. I followed him, and directly we came to what had evidently been a superb room, but then almost entirely torn to pieces. He pointed to a place beside the door which was blown out—“ there,” said he, "sat a lady and her two children, they were killed by the shell which has wrought the injury you see."
Another officer says, that during the bombardment, 'many of our officers at night crawled up close to the walls to hear, and represented the screeching, crying, and lament of the women and children, and wounded, as being dreadful."
A visitor, immediately after the surrender, tells us : "A shell struck the Charity Hospital where the sick inmates were lying, and killed twenty-three." Says Mr. Kendall, an eye-witness: "The city, or at least the northern part of it, has been torn all to pieces-the destruction is
dreadful. It is impossible to get at the loss of the Mexicans by the bombardment; yet it is certain that women, children, and non-combatants, have suffered the most. The National Palace on the Plaza, had five shells burst within it; one of which, killed a woman and two children lying asleep in the kitchen."
"I rode to the town," says another writer, "to see what effect our shells had on it. I was prepared to see much destruction, but was perfectly amazed. The town is on its south-westerly side almost destroyed. The citizens of Vera Cruz say, the bombs did the most injury. They would fall on the houses, their weight carrying them from roof to cellar, and then burst, opening the houses from top to bottom, and killing all within.” Mr. Hine, thus describes his visit, the day of the surrender. Scarcely a house did I pass, that did not show some great rent made by the bursting of our bomb-shells. During my peregrinations, I came to a lofty and noble mansion in which a terrible bomb had exploded, and laid the whole front of the house in ruins. While I was examining the awful havoc created, a beautiful girl of some seventeen came to the door, and invited me into the house. She pointed to the furniture of the mansion torn into fragments, and the piles of rubbish lying around, and informed me, while her beautiful eyes filled with tears, that the bomb had destroyed her father, mother, brother, and two little sisters, and that she was now left in the world alone!
"During the afternoon, I visited the hospital. Here lay upon truckle-beds, the mangled creatures who had been wounded during the bombardment. In one corner was a poor decrepid, bed-ridden woman, her head white with the sorrows of seventy years. One of her withered arms had been blown off by a fragment of a shell. In
another place might be seen mangled creatures of both sexes, bruised and disfigured by the falling of the houses, and the bursting of shells.. On the stone floor lay a little child in a complete state of nudity, with one of its poor legs cut off just above the knee! Not even this abode of wretchedness had been exempted from the accursed Scourge of war. A bomb had descended through the roof, and, after landing on the floor, exploded, sending some twenty already mangled wretches, to the "sleep that knows no waking.'"
The following is an extract from a Mexican account, written amid the ruins of the city. "The enemy, in accordance with his character, selected a barbarous mode of assassinating the unoffending and defenceless cítizens, by a bombardment of the city in the most horrible manner, throwing into it four thousand one hundred bombs, and an innumerable number of balls of the largest size; directing his shots to the powder magazine, to the quarter of hospitals of charity, to the hospitals for the wounded, and to the points he set on fire, where it was believed the public authorities would assemble with persons to put it out; to the baker's houses designated by their chimneys, ' and during the night raining over the entire city, bombs, whose height was perfectly graduated with the time of explosion, that they might ignite in falling, and thus cause the maximum of destruction. His first victims were women and children, followed by whole families, perishing from the effects of the explosions, or under the ruins of their dwellings.
"At the second day of the bombardment, we were without bread or meat, reduced to a ration of beans, eaten at midnight beneath a shower of fire. By this time, all the buildings from La Mercede to the Paeraguia, were reduced to ashes, and the impassable streets filled with
ruins and projectiles. The third day the enemy alternately scattered their shot, and now every spot was a place of danger. The principal bake-houses no longer existed-no provisions were to be had."
The details we have given of this bombardment, afford us some intimations of the sufferings occasioned by the assaults upon the cities of Monterey and Mexico.* We enter into no particulars of the battles fought in Mexico. Every battle-field is necessarily one of horrors; but, as the sufferers are those who came there to inflict upon others the very fate of which they are themselves the victims, they claim and excite less of our sympathy than the mothers and their mangled infants of Vera Cruz, whose shrieks of agony swelled the triumphal shout which greeted the American General.
In all our conflicts in Mexico, the slaughter of the enemy has been tremendously aggravated, by their natural and military imbecility. Mr. Thompson, our former Minister, in his work on Mexico, remarks: "I do not think that the Mexican men have much more strength than our women. They are generally of diminutive stature, and wholly unaccustomed to labor or exercise of any sort. What must be the murderous inequality between a corps of American cavalry, and an equal number of Mexicans?" He regards the superiority of Americans to Mexicans as "five to one at least in individual combats, and more than twice that in battle." Hence it is, that the Mexican loss in battle has been prodigious. It is
* A letter from a Mexican published in the newspapers, says: "In some cases whole blocks were destroyed, and a great number of men, women, and children, klled and wounded. The picture was awful. One deafening roar filled our ears-one cloud of smoke met our eyes, now and then filled with flame; and amid it all, we could hear the shrieks of the wounded and dying. Altogether, we cannot count our killed, wounded, and missing, at less than four thousand, among whom are many women and children."