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Chapter 2 Y Bright Muskets and Bayonets Flashing in the Sun Tuesday, March 9, 1847. This morning we had orders to pack up and prepare to land. There was great excitement among the soldiers and sailors on board the ships, and much confusion in the fleet while making preparation for landing. In fact the whole scene was full of wild excitement: the passing of small boats to and fro, the dashing of the oars, the clangor of the officers’ sabres and the clinking of the cables, the sharp clarion voices of order by the officers, and the quick response by the officers and men. The soldiers mingling with the sailors in singing their favorite songs will ever be remembered by those who saw it the longest day of their lives. We were taken off our ship and put on so-called surf boats, after which we were taken and put on board of the United States frigate Potomac. In fact nearly the whole army was taken from the transport ship to the man-of-war. Some say it is on account of the channel being too narrow for all the ships to anchor, others have it [that] it is to protect the troops when they land in case of an attack. After we were all safely on board we weighed anchor, with bands of music playing the national airs, after which we started for the Island of Sacrificios and passed on until we arrived opposite the island, when the anchor was again let go to the bottom. Here are numerous vessels from all parts of the globe. The tops of masts and other rigging were filled with officers and sailors watching the movements of the ships, as well as the soldiers on board, all anxiously looking with strained eyes to see the landing and the attack upon our soldiers as we land. In fact, it put me in mind of seeing so many robins or black birds on a wild cherry tree, or crows on trees watching the dead carcass lying beneath. Gen. William J. Worth’s division, which is mostly composed of regular soldiers, was ordered to land first, about half past 3 o’clock, p.m. We saw from seventy to eighty surf boats holding from seventy to one hundred men each, with five or six sailors as oarsmen, coming alongside of the ships containing Gen. Worth’s division, for the purpose of embarking in these surf boats, after which they were drawn into line. Everything was now ready. The signal gun on board the flagship Massachusetts was fired. Off they started for the Aztec’s shore, with great excitement and cheers from all the soldiers still on board as well as from the foreign spectators on the rigging of their respective vessels. It was truly a magnificent sight to see them gliding towards the shore and the bright muskets and bayonets flashing in the sun. As soon as the surf boats struck the beach the soldiers instantly jumped on shore, some 36 Bright Muskets and Bayonets Flashing in the Sun in the water. We are now looking for the Mexicans to attack our men, but on they rushed in double quick time until they came to a sand hill. Here they planted the flag of our country with three hearty cheers, responded to with great enthusiasm by every soldier on board of the ships, as well as from all the vessels in this port. During all this bustle and excitement the bands were playing the national airs, “Yankee Doodle,” “Star Spangled Banner,” and “Hail Columbia.” They effected the landing southwest of Vera Cruz. The whole of Worth’s first division was now safely landed without the firing of a single gun, and without any opposition from the enemy. This was without expectation from us soldiers as well as a great disappointment to the spectators and foreigners who came many miles to see the attack upon our troops. Gen. Robert Patterson, who commands the second division, was ordered to land next. This division is called the Volunteer Division, it being composed of all volunteers, and our regiment is in this division. Surf boats came alongside of our ship and we embarked in these surf boats loaded down with as brave and gallant men as there is in the United States Army. The sailors rowed us to shore, when the boats struck the beach we leaped on shore, everyone wanted to be first. Some had to jump in the...


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