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Chapter 9 Y Adventures Around the Capital Saturday, January 8, 1848. This morning Peter McKeever, of Co. D, was buried by his company, back of the guard house. They marked his grave on a headboard. This being the anniversary of the battle of New Orleans, most of our officers went to the city frolicing, and no doubt some good speeches were made. Many of them went over to the pulque tub to drink pulque, and also making fancy and patriotic speeches. Tonight we witnessed a magnificent sight. It was that of an eruption of one of the adjoining mountains. Owing to the darkness of the night we could not tell whether it was from the volcanic Popocatepetl or Iscotafelt. The throwing up of immense amount of red hot lava, then running down the west side with blue and green lights making a rumbling noise like so many running horses on a plank road. The whole was a beautiful sight and it was closely watched by all the soldiers. The scene will long be remembered. During the eruption the air smelt strong of sulphur. At dusk a party of Mexicans opposite our quarters had a dance, fandango, after which the hat went around for clacos. They danced what is called the regular Spanish National dance. Sunday, January 9, 1848. This morning a party of us got permission from Lieut. Haines to go to the city for the purpose of going to the Plaza de Toros, which is the popular place of amusement in the city. We started, arrived in the city, paid our admittance fee, seated ourselves and looked on; and it was really a curiosity to see the actors, or picadors, go through their performance. They were on horseback, and provided with a banderillos, some with a long spear, others with a small dart like a javelin, ornamented with ribbons, and intended to jade and infuriate the animals. The bulls were fine looking, with dilating horns, nostrils and wicked eyes. The picadors attacked them and hurled these banderillos at them. After being tantalized, turned upon the horse and destroyed him in a most horrible manner. After which the picador procured a fresh one, when the combat was renewed. The vast amphitheatre was filled with an anxious, eager crowd. After it was over we went out, and walked about the city, making inquiries when we were likely to leave for Queretaro City, but were unable to find out anything, except that our government at Washington was much harrassing Gen. Scott’s movement, in not sending forward troops. Gen. Scott is now placed in the same position as he was before he left the city of Puebla for this city. I see by the official report that the whole strength of our army is 14,964; out of this number we only have 11,162 fit for duty; the rest are sick with the diarrhoea, measles, etc. 258 Adventures Around the Capital Think of it, a little over 11,000 men fit for duty in a hostile country. No wonder Gen. Scott is constantly finding fault with the cabinet officers at Washington. “Come Jimmy Polk and Billy Marcy send forward those troops you promised us long ago, so we can go on and take posession of this whole country.” In the evening we left for San Angel. Nothing happened to us on the road. We met several ladrones, but they said nothing to us, nor we to them. Monday, January 10, 1848. This morning most of our soldiers were kicking up a fuss, on account of the little rations we were getting. In fact, never have we been so scarce of rations as we are at the present time, and particularly when we are so regularly quartered, when in regular quarters we always had plenty to eat; if it was not one thing it was another. So some went to Lieut. Col. Black and complained about our shortness in grub. The bread we got for the day was all eaten up in one meal, and we must go without anything to eat, except those that have a little cash. They will, of course, purchase bread. Today David Sullivan was shot at Tacubaya for desertion. He belonged to the regulars. This evening Col. Wynkoop and his party returned without finding old Santa Anna or anything else. Tuesday, January 11, 1848. This morning there is still growling about the shortness of our rations. At noon news came to our quarters that several dragoon companies...


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