restricted access 6. Let Them Come! Let Them Come!
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Chapter 6 Y Let Them Come! Let Them Come! Monday, September 13, 1847. This morning, one of our soldiers whom the lancers had taken prisoner some time ago made good his escape. He tells us some hard yarns about the Mexicans—how they used and threatened and fed him. He says that the Mexicans have six pieces of artillery, six-pounders, and about two thousand lancers and one thousand infantry; the lancers are well clothed and drilled, but the infantry are poorly clad, armed, and drilled; and he also says that their whole argument and talk is, that they will not spare the life of a single Yankee when the attack is made; they are recruiting fast, mostly all young men from this city; also, there is an American soldier, with a cut on his cheek, on Gen. Rea’s staff. This must be the soldier who, while on guard, sold his musket to the enemy, making an excuse that the enemy crept up behind him and took it from him; for this he was put in the guard house, from which, in a few days afterwards, he made good his escape. He also says that the enemy had him employed nearly all the time in carrying corn, barley, etc., and while the Mexican sentinels were talking to one another he made an excuse in going out for to hunt wood, and while the sentinels were still busy in talking, he watched his chance and made his escape through a cornfield which was close by He says that there are about fifteen deserters from our army among them, mostly Irish. God help them if we should ever get hold of them. He says that there are about one thousand lancers and guerrillas at El Pinal Pass, waiting for the coming train.1 Considerable firing upon our picket tonight. Siege of Puebla City commenced from this day September 14, 1847. Tuesday, September 14, 1847. This morning there was considerable of a fuss between Jack Wells and Peter Ahl, both belonging to our company, about some trifling affair, and were about coming to blows when Mr. Jerry Corson, our arbitrator, rushed in between them and stopped it, wanting to know the cause of the fuss. They both stated their grievances, and he told them that they should be ashamed of themselves to quarrel about so trifling affair, that they should both go to their respective bunks and keep quiet. Whatever Jerry says is gospel, for he is our peacemaker and decides all questions or disputes in our company. About 8 o’clock, a.m., we saw the lancers manoeuvring about the field and drilling. The road is full of lancers riding backward and forward in great bustle. This afternoon our spies came in and reported that the Mexicans would attack our quarters tonight, or in the morning. Having heard this report so often we place little dependence in it; yet they may make the often attempted attack, for they are constantly drilling 166 Let Them Come! Let Them Come! and recruiting. Our communication with the plaza and Alcalde is now entirely cut off. So the “diarrhoea blues” and “hospital rangers” will have to lookout for themselves in the future.2 In the evening Gov. Childs had two of Capt. Pedro Arria’s spy company bucked and gagged for stealing a rifle; they were both under the influence of liquor. Tonight Lieut. Col. Black ordered us all upon the ramparts to keep a sharp eye on the enemy. The Governor fearing an attack on our quarters, our pickets were doubled on all the posts. Wednesday, September 15, 1847. This morning, about two o’clock, we were aroused from our slumber on the ramparts, by a tremendous firing of musketry, volley after volley rent the air. We were on our feet with our guns cocked and primed and in good fighting order , waiting for the enemy to come, but they did not come. The cause of the firing was that several hundred lancers had charged upon our picket guard, but failed to drive them from their posts. At daylight we saw the lancers gathering in the Tivola Garden, commencing to shout and fire with vigor, and they seemed to be full of enthusiasm and excitement. Lieut. [Theodore] Laidley, of the Ordnance Department, placed the howitzer in position; after which he threw a bomb shell right in among them, which caused a little scatter. But they soon blew the trumpet to arms, and again appeared...