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Rations issued to the poor of Vera Cruz.
roofs and exploded inside, tearing every thing into pieces bursting through the partitions and blowing out the windows.
The killed and wounded among the soldiery was very slight, about sixty in all; but the citizens suffered severely. It is said that between six and seven hundred men, women, and children were killed and wounded, more than three hundred being killed.
A vast quantity of ammunition was found in the work. The Mexicans, says a letter writer, left their national pets behind in the castle, and our troops suffered much annoyance from them last night. I allude, of course,
to fleas and other vermin. Santiago Fort, that spiteful little place which played so warmly upon our intrenchments, is a beautiful work, with nine guns in barbette, most of them fine English pieces. In fact, most of their best ordnance is of English manufacture, though they have some fine pieces made
the United States.
General Scott ordered ten thousand rations to be issued to the suffering poor of Vera Cruz, and it was an affecting scene to witness the crowd of half famished creatures as they gathered timidly around to receive their respective shares.
After some time spent in restoring the city to cleanliness from the disgusting state of filth in which its late possessors had left it, the Americans recruited themselves from their fatigues. Before setting out for the interior General Scott issued a manifesto declaring his principle of non-interference with Mexican religion and customs.
On the 1st of April the army left Vera Cruz, and
Description of Santa Anna's position.
advanced on the road to Mexico in high spirits, and in the expectation of a speedy battle, as Santa Anna was known to be in the neighbourhood with a large force. He had assembled another army after his defeat at Buena Vista, and now retired before the advance of General Scott to Puebla, stripped that city of every thing that could be of service to his army, and finally took up a strong position at Cerro Gordo, awaiting the attack of General Scott.
The following graphic description of the Mexican general's position, and General Scott's arrangements, is by a gentlemen who witnessed the battle.
“The road from Vera Cruz, as it passes the Plan del Rio, which is a wide, rocky bed of a once large stream, is commanded by a series of high cliffs, rising one above the other, and extending several miles, and all well fortified. The road then debouches to the right, and, curving around the ridge, passes over a high cliff, which is completely enfiladed by forts and batteries. This ridge is the commencement of the Terra Templada, the upper or mountainous country. The high and rocky ravine of the river protected the right flank of the position, and a series of most abrupt and apparently impassable mountains and ridges covered their left. Between these points, running a distance of two or three miles, a succession of strongly fortified forts bristled at every turn, and seemed to defy all bravery and skill. The Cerro Gordo commanded the road on a gentle declination, like a glacis, for nearly a mile—an approach in that direction was impossible. A front attack must have terminated in the almost entire annihilation of our army. But the enemy expected such an attack, confiding in the
Battle of Cerro Gordo.
desperate valour of our men, and believing that it was impossible to turn their position to the right or left. General Scott, however, with the eye of a skilful general, perceived the trap set for him, and determined to avoid it. He, therefore, had a road cut to the right, so as to escape the front fire from the Sierra, and turn his position on the left flank. This movement was made known to the enemy by a deserter from our camp, and consequently a large increase of force under General Vega was sent to the forts on their left. General Scott, to cover his flank movements, on the 17th of April, ordered forward General Twiggs against the fort on the steep ascent, in front and a little to the left of the Sierra. Colonel Harney commanded this expedition, and, at the head of the rifles and some detachments of infantry and artillery, carried his position under a heavy fire of grape and musketry. Having secured this position in front and near the enemy's strongest fortification, and having by incredible labour elevated one of our large guns to the top of the fort, General Scott prepared to follow up his advantages. A demonstration was made from this position against another strong fort in the rear, and near the Sierra, but the enemy were considered too strong and the undertaking was abandoned. A like demonstration was made by the enemy."
On the morning of the 18th, the army moved to the attack in columns, and their success was rapid and decisive. General Twiggs's division assaulted the enemy's left, where he had remained during the night, and, after a slight resistance, carried the breastwork at the point of the bayonet, and completely routed its defenders. Meanwhile Pillow's brigade, accompanied by General