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The Twelve Month’s Volunteer--Volume 2 1847

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The Twelve Month’s Volunteer--Volume 2 1847
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Author(s): George C. Furber
Date Published: 2009/09
Page Count: 384
Softcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-765-3
Hardcover ISBN-13: 978-1-84677-766-0

Volume Two of a rare account of the Mexican war

These are the further adventures of the 'Twelve Month Volunteer'. Volume two of this Leonaur edition takes up the story of the American Army in Mexico and the 1st Regiment of the Tennessee Cavalry in particular in January of 1847. Furber continues to entertain his readers with the description of personal experience of the life of the army on the march, in camp and on the battlefield, as well as contributing a wider view of the war. Included is much of interest to genealogists. Both volumes of 'The Twelve Month Volunteer' are available in softcover or hardcover with dust jacket for collectors.

Now, reader, having given an account of the glorious action of Cerro Gordo, as it may be interesting to many, we will speak, in this note, of the appearance of the battle-ground afterward, as it appeared to us of the four companies of cavalry, who had come up with General Quitman's brigade. We remained there for a few days, to assist the 2nd Tennessee regiment, who had been left, with one company of regulars, to guard the hospitals of wounded, and to spike the cannon, burn the muskets, blow up the magazines, and, as much as possible, to destroy all the immense materiel of war, which, with so much labour and expense, had been collected at this stronghold by Santa Anna, in the vain hope of entirely defeating us, and which materiel was now not wanted by our army.<br>
Quitman's brigade passed on. and joined the main army at Jalapa, and we commenced our laborious task. Having, in our work, for three days, to traverse, again and again, all parts of the ground, we became more familiar with every position, than any other portion of the army had the opportunity to be; and the more we walked over its strong positions, the more we were struck with admiration of the glorious results of the battle. A battle-ground, after the fight, especially when such a rout as this has taken place, presents a melancholy appearance.<br>
We will give a short sketch of the scenes around, commencing at Plan del Rio. The hospital here presented a painful spectacle; all the little cane buildings on the side of the road were filled with wounded, who ware ranged along on blankets, stretched upon the bare, hard earth. Their situation was uncomfortable; the pain they were suffering was dreadful.<br>
They lay in their ordinary clothing, which, in many instances, was stiff with blood. Some had been shot through the body, and lay groaning in pain; others, being struck by cannon balls, had lost their arms or legs; some were shot in the head, neck, or sides; in every possible manner were they wounded. Some apparently suffered but little, and lay quietly, without a word; others, unable to move, were in good spirits, and freely conversed upon the battle, and their part in it.<br>
Walking around, were many who had been slightly wounded; several with the stump of an arm tied up in a bandage; some were shot in two or three places. One young man was shot by a canister ball, through the thigh, and another ball had wounded him, at the same instant, m the left side, while another had taken the cap from his head. The groans of many were heart-rending.<br>
One, who had been hit near the ear, by a canister ball, which had ranged down into his neck, and lay deep against the back bone, so deep that it could not be extricated, every few moments was delirious with pain; he groaned and rolled in intense agony, and in no position could he be relieved; he turned upon his side, his back, or, rising on his hands and knees, would press his fevered forehead against the earth; most earnestly and piteously did he continually beg of the attendants to be killed it was his only prayer; death, that night, came to his relief.<br>
Near him, another young man, clotted with gore, from a terrible wound on his head, by grape shot, was sinking under its effects; he lay quietly, and murmured sometimes incoherently, and sometimes plainly, of scenes at home; called upon his mother and his sisters, in terms of endearing affection, and was, in imagination, at the place of his childhood again; but never would he be there in reality, for, before he had been brought from the battlefield, the flies had clustered upon his wound, and the worms were already working within, beyond the reach of the surgeon to remove. His was a horrible death.<br>
Another lay near, whose jaw was shattered, tongue torn out, part of his neck gone, and his power of speech departed; but still he lived; and the quick, restless movements of his eyes, showed that he was fully aware of his terrible situation. The scene in all the houses was the same; men, wounded in every way, all suffering, all bloody; some improving, some shrieking with pain, some dying, and some dead; while the new burial ground, near, was receiving continually, the victims.<br>
Here, too, were some Mexican soldiers, severely wounded. After gazing at these painful scenes, the Author with a companion, saddled their horses, and proceeded up the road, to the nearest batteries on the hills, those that had been attacked by Pillow's brigade, and entered No. 2. The dead and wounded had from here been taken down; the blood, where so many had yielded up their lives, was caked upon the ground, and the rocks were smeared with it. Inside the batteries, the cannon, which had been employed in the work of death, still looked grim and threateningly; piles of shot were by them; tin canisters, containing about two hundred and fifty balls each, were ready to be forced down their muzzles; the spongers and rammers lay as they were left; great quantities of ammunition were in the magazines, nearby.<br>
We crossed to No. 3. The same scenes of abandoned cannon, piles of shot, and cases of powder, were here; but with them, too, were great numbers of muskets. From No. 4, to the road at 5, the way was strewed with muskets, bayonets, cartridge-boxes, belts, and scabbards, an, in many places, the ground was literally covered with loose cartridges.<br>
Here, at this battery, No. 5, were four old Spanish cannon, richly carved and with them one new one, that had recently been cast at the city of Mexico, with its name in large letters upon it, “El Terror di los Norte Americanos,” (“the terror of the North Americans”); but not much terror had it inspired in our troops. A great quantity of arms and ammunition lay around here, trampled underfoot.<br>