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Title:[Letter] 1847 Apr. 24, Camp near Jalaka [to] Mrs. W[illia]m R. Caswell, Jefferson County, Tennessee / W[illia]m R. Caswell :a machine readable transcription of an image
Author:Caswell, William R.

This work is the property of the McClung Historical Collection, Knox County Public Library, Knoxville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Manager of the McClung Historical Collection, 500 West Church Avenue, Knoxville, TN, 37902-2505. (865) 215-8801.

Date: April 24, 1847
Extent: 3p
Summary:The following document, dated April 24, 1847, is a letter written by William R. Caswell to his wife during the Mexican-American war. Caswell was one of many Tennessee volunteers to fight in the war. He writes to assure his wife that he is safe and well after the battle of Vera Cruz, and he expresses hope of returning home soon.
Collection:William R. Caswell Papers
Box:MS-18, b1

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[added: No [Number] 41 — The last letter from Plan Del Rio 18th. Just not numbered [added: it should have been No [Number] 40.]]

Camp near Jalaka 24 April 1847
My Dear Wife

I wrote to you a few lines on the evening of the battle of Sierra Gorda — I wrote then as I write now, merely to let you know that I am safe and well. I have for a long time [added: believed] that immediately after some anticipated occurrence, just [unclear: before ] us, we should be discharged and permitted to return home — In all this I have been disappointed until now I have concluded that tho' [though] possibly we may soon return home from this place, yet probably we shall be retained in the service until the end of our term. I was very much disappointed in finding the Mexicans prepared to make a stand in the mountains at Sierra Gorda, for I thought we should have no more fighting. — I had 24 men mounted besides Sam. [Samuel] Bell & myself at the time the army marched from Vera Cruz , they were the only horses of our Regiment which had arrived — We [added: alone of our Regiment] marched with the army, and were in the battle — And from the time we left Very Cruz up to our arrival here a few days since I was put upon constant duty with my few men. — Conveying despatches [dispatches] to Genl [General] — Twiggs in front to Gen [General] Scott in rear [added: & to the different corps of the army] by riding night and day — guarding [unclear: provender ] and provision trains [added: & escorting staff General, — Staff and Engineer officers upon reconnoitering & tours of survey] — which was a hazardous service, for on one of there excursions 18 of us were attacked by a party of Ranchero's some 30 or 40 I think (tho' [though] the a company of Dragoons and a company of Infantry who had a skirmish with the same party on the day afterwards report them to have numbered 2 or 300—) We charged and ran them into the chaperal [chaparral] — dismounted and drove them off — In this I had two men wounded (one of whom died) but I brought off my wounded and waggons [wagons] In the battle of the 18th I formed my men with the reserve of Genl. [General] Pillows Brigade— ready to dash upon the enemy whenever the storming party should have obtained possession of the enemy breast works, they were however repulsed as you will see reported — With my men I was exposed to the fire of the cannon and musketry, but all escaped unhurt — I shall tire you many times hereafter with the particulars of all I have seen & heard on this campaign, and this is my excuse for not writing more at large in my letter — Indeed I feel like writing about nothing but returning home, — And now let me tell you your prospects in that great end of the campaign to which I look with so much anxiety — Gen. [General] North has gone forward to the Castle of Perote , which is considered one of the enemy's strongest fortifications; and it was supposed that the enemy would fight us there if any where on the route to Mexico — But instead of finding the enemy in force at Perote — Gen. [General] North found a Mexican officer there who had been sent to deliver up to him the castle (capable of garrisoning 10,000 troops) and with

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the castle 50 pieces of artillery — Before Gen. [General] North arrived at Perote, he had passed a position which the enemy had fortified, and armed with 15 cannon this position was abandoned, and the cannon spiked — By their not spiking their cannon at Perote and by their sending an officer to deliver up the place; it is thought by many it is [added: to be] an inkling of peace — Besides this it is said that we have now captured all the Cannon in Mexico, except six pieces — Gen. [General] Taylor too is said to be on his way to the City of Mexico and as near, if not nearer than we are The Mexicans [added: Government] certainly has not the means of supporting an army — And all together it does seem that they are pretty well wound up — Yet there is no calculating upon such a perfidious people — who are governed as slaves, (and mostly in ten times worse conditions than our slaves)— by Officers, more false, more deceitful than they are — Gen. [General] Scott [added: with his army] will go to the city of Mexico, whether we have peace or [added: a continuance of] war — If he is assured there is to be no other battle, he will discharge us immediately, otherwise we shall accompany him— The diligence left here on day before yesterday for the City of Mexico, we shall remain here some two weeks longer, and in the mean time [meantime] Gen. [General] Scott confidently expects to receive proposals for peace — perhaps by return of the diligence — This is the most delightful climate I was ever in, al a little too cool by night, to us [added: those] who sleep as I do [added: now] without any other bed or shelter except the grassy turf, the sky, and a good blanket —— We have good water too, cold as that of our own mountain springs— Jalapa is the finest city I have seen in Mexico I have looked around [added: a little] for something to get for you and Eliza — but I have not seen any thing [anything], except such as I can get in Orleans [added: of better quality] and upon better terms than here — Give my love to Eliza— to your Ma and all the family — It is probable I shall not have another opportunity of writing to you again before I return — Unless I should be detained several days in Orleans, as perhaps I shall — in having my men paid off and discharged — if so I will write to you from that place — A short time past, I thought often with much pleasure [added: as I do occasionally yet] of many things (flowers, articles of dress, and [added: indeed of] every pretty thing I saw, with a wish to bring it home with me for you, and have made memorandums of such things as I could get for you in Orleans — Now I think [unclear: and ] [added: mostly] I should be quite happy if I could get home myself alone — Another kiss for "that boy"—

your affectionate husband
Wm [William] R. Caswell

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Mrs. Wm. [William] R. Caswell Russelville Jefferson County Tennessee U.S. [United States]

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