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I arrived here a week ago today and have been detained for a train and escort to proceed to Monterey. This is the hottest and dustiest place I have ever seen. It is on the right or east bank of the San Juan about three miles from its junction with the Rio Grande. The banks are about thirty feet above the present level of the water, though in the spring it rises five or six feet above their crests, washing away the foundations of the houses which are principally built of stone one story in height. Some of them are rather imposing looking buildings and have been surrounded by fine gardens, orange groves, etc. Alas ! they are now laid waste by flood and war. The best of the inhabitants are gone. Speaking of an escort to Monterey, it is at all times unsafe for any but strong parties to pass through this country, and the danger, of course, is much increased now when it is torn by invasion. I have received an order from General Patterson to organize an escort for the supply train from the recovered sick of the regular and volunteer forces left here by the army now at Monterey. On inquiry I find I shall have a command of about seventy-one regulars and one hundred and twelve volunteers rank and file, with nearly twenty officers. With this Falstaff regiment with which I should blush to march through Coventry, I shall take the field in the course of the week and shall probably reach Monterey in eight or nine days. Monterey and the valley in which it is situated is described by all who have seen it as unsurpassed in beauty, and having a climate which may be envied by all the rest of the world. The city, which usually contains about twelve thousand inhabi tants, is strongly fortified and stands at the foot of that immense range of mountains known as the Sierra Madre, at the outlet of the defile which leads to the city of Saltillo and on the head waters of the San Juan. . . . With regard to the battle I know little more than you will learn from the papers. The Fifth (in which you are particularly interested), in common with the rest, behaved well and did good service. Only one man of the regiment was killed and some twenty- four wounded. Rossell received a slight flesh wound. I wonder where the ball found flesh enough for its passage, without hitting the bone. Of the numerous occurrences of the battle field, I have only time to relate one which struck me as particularly affecting. It is connected with the death of Brevet Major Phil Barbour. When struck by the ball which caused his death in a few seconds, he immediately drew from his bosom his wife s miniature, opened it and exclaimed: " Tell her I died on the field of victory! " put it to his lips and instantly expired. . . .
- To Mexico With Scott Letters of Captain E. Kirby Smith to his wife, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, 1917, digitized by the Internet Archive.