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Title:[Letter] 1846 Aug. 7 [to] Mrs. William R. Caswell / William 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: August 7, 1846
Extent: 4p
Summary:This document is a letter dated August 7, 1846 from Captain William Caswell to his wife in Jefferson County, Tennessee. Caswell served during the Mexican-American War and was part of the Tennessee volunteers. In this letter Caswell describes his trip down the Mississippi river and the islands along the coast of Mexico.
Collection:William R. Caswell Papers
Box:MS-18, b1

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Steam Ship New York. Gulf of Mexico.7th Augt. 1846
My Dear Wife.

Leaving you under the circumstances, in which I did, sick as you, was, and sick as you have been since, the more I think about [added: it] the more I feel it my duty to make every amend in my power, & this I can at present only do by writing to you frequently and by returning as early as I can do, consistently with my credit and character. I wrote to you from Orleans & gave you all the news I could think of. Since then I have but little news to write. We embarked on board this fine boat on wednesday[added: Tuesday] evening— the 5 General officers, their aids, & many other officers in the Quarter Master & Pay departments— with two companies of Illinois Volunteers, our servants and our saddle horses. Wednesday evening we passed down the Mis. [Mississippi] river, the coast or banks near the city are in a fine state of improvement— we passed the battle ground. Genl [General]. Butler who was a captain in the battle pointed out the lines of our army, the advance of the enemy & related many interesting incidents relative to the death of Packenham, the defeat of the British &c [and et cetera]— When we "turned out" of our state rooms next morning we were near the mouth of the river, the "Balize"— The land on either side, over grown with a rank grass, but too soft for cultivation & notwithstanding we occasionally came to a cabin inhabited— tho' [though] it is said that nothing but a Frenchman or a bull frog, could live in such a place— at the mouth of the river there is a light house, and other buildings— We met a good many vessels near the mouth of the river, in the Mis. [Mississippi] & in the gulf, for the commerce of Orleans is immense— and this war, has, and will continue of immense advantage to the City— The citizens avail themselves of it, by charging most exorbitant prices for every thing— for example, we paid $36—for two mess chests or boxes to hold our provisions $10— for a pair of blankets— $7— for two cots— $10 for collar & cuffs on Genl. Ps [General Pillow's] coat

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at the mouth of the river, we passed a school of Porpoises, jumping & rolling partly (& occasionally entirely) out of the water— We have quite a smooth voyage thus far, a good many of the passengers however have been sick with roll of the ship, but I have not. yesturday [yesterday] and to-day we have seen nothing beyond the ship, except the water & the sky.

Brasos Island— Saturday night. 8th. augt. [august]

Our Steamer anchored a little after day light this morning off Brasos Santiago, which is the inlet or pass into the lagune [lagoon] between the main land and Padre & Brasos Islands— A sail boat came off in which I alone went on shore for a light steam boat to land passengers & freight, as the steamer could not come near the shore— I soon had a steam boat along side the ship, we all came on shore & to night are in camps upon Brasos Island— We had not provided ourselves with candles & I am sitting upon a camp stool, and writing by a stove coal fire— We had a very smooth passage, and met with no adventure— We have found a great many of the Louisiana troops here, who have been discharged, and they give a very bad report of the army the prospects of meeting an enemy, for they say there is no army of Mexicans in organization, of the health &c— [and et cetera] So you cannot place any reliance in anything you may see of the various rumors upon these several subjects— We can see Point Isabel across the Lagune [lagoon] from here, with the white tents, upon the eminence— We are upon a barren Island of sand, upon which the we can hear all around us the roar of the surf — This evening I have been twice bathing in the salt water of the gulf, but did venture far from shore as 3 men from Alabama were lately lost while bathing supposed to have been by sharks— the sea shore is covered almost, with beautiful shells, such as you have made your

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pin cushions of. I will bring some home with me if I return this way as probably I shall— To-morrow we expect to move up the river to Barita, or rather a few miles above there to the encampment of the Tennessee volunteers— I heard by one man to-day that there was a good deal of sickness in their camps with diarrhea, and measles, —and from another man I heard that there was very little sickness, so that we cannot even here, ascertain the true condition & situation of the army— I have just returned since writing the above from Genl. [General] Shields' tent upon our right where I was invited, to take a glass of champaign [champagne] wine with the Generals and their aids whom I left in social converse, to finish my letter— The scenery upon this island is really a novel and singular one— the long line of tents, and of baggage waggons [wagons], for a few hundred waggons [wagons] in line, extend a long distance— the sea around us, the barren Island, uninhabited except by soldiers in their tents, with three cargo houses of deposit—

It is getting bed time, and I must close my letter for we move early to-morrow morning— This is a healthy situation— but the water is bad— in a few days we shall be in a healthy region— Good bye my dear wife— Give my love to Eliza & your Ma &c [and et cetera] & kiss the little boy for me— I cannot tell how anxious I am to see you I will write again in a few days— Write to Capt. W.R.C. U.S.A [United States of America] Matamoras—Mexico—

I close in haste as the tattoo is sounded} Your affectionate husband
WmR. [William Richard] Caswell

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Pt Isabel 10th Augt [August] 10Mrs. Wm. R. Caswell Russelville Jefferson County Tennessee

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