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Quitman at the gate of Belen. not to shrink for an instant from a steady advance, proves to the world the undaunted gallantry of our citizen soldiers, who have won for themselves the reputation of veteran troops—the charge led by the Mississippi rifle regiment upon Fort Teneria, without bayonets, has gained for the state a triumph which stands unparalleled.
The spirit of the general was infused into the hearts of his men, and so devoted were they to their duty, that when once they had entered upon an achievement its accomplishment was certain. One of his men, a private, was wounded by a cannon ball. An orderly passing by him complied with his request for water, and asked if he could do any thing more for him. “Yes, my friend,” said the poor fellow, "you can take my musket back to the 3d. I am a dead man, but I would like my piece to go back to my old regiment.” The musket was delivered, and the soldier died contented.
It was General Quitman's glory to enter the city of Mexico by the most difficult pass, that of the gate of Belen, and to raise the star-spangled banner, for the first time, over the “Halls of the Montezumas.” General Scott says,
“I had been, from the first, well aware that the western, or San Cosme, was the less difficult route to the centre and conquest of the capital; and, therefore, intended that Quitman should only maneuver and threaten the Belen or south-western gate, in order to favour the main attack by Worth—knowing that the strong defenses at the Belen were directly under the guns of the much stronger fortress, called the citadel, just within. Both of these defenses of the enemy were
Quitman at the gate of Belen.
also within easy supporting distance from the San Angel (or Nino Perdido) and San Antonio gates. Hence the greatest support, in numbers, given to Worth's movement as the main attack..
Those views I repeatedly, in the course of the day, communicated to Major-General Quitman; but, being in hot pursuit-gallant himself, and supported by Brigadier-Generals Shields and Smith-Shields badly wounded before Chapultepec, and refusing to retire—as well as by all the officers and men of the column-Quitman continued to press forward, under flank and direct fires —carried an intermediate battery of two guns, and then the gate, before two o'clock in the afternoon, but not without proportionate loss, increased by his steady maintenance of that position.
Quitman, within the city-adding several new de. fenses to the position he had won, and sheltering his corps as well as practicable—now awaited the return of daylight under the guns of the formidable citadel, yet to be subdued.
In the night the Mexican army fled from the city, and I communicated, about daylight, orders to Worth and Quitman to advance slowly and cautiously, (to guard against treachery,) towards the heart of the city, and to occupy its stronger and more commanding points. Quitman proceeded to the great plaza, or square, planted guards, and hoisted the colours of the United States on the national palace-containing the halls of Congress and executive departments of federal Mexico.”
ENERAL PERSIFER F. SMITH, “ of Louis
iana,” as he is generally designated, is a native of Philadelphia, and one of the bravest men and best soldiers in
the army. He served in command of PAS the Louisiana troops in the Florida war, and on
the formation of the volunteer division was ap
pointed colonel of the rifles. In six months he P was promoted to the rank of brigadier-general by brevet. This was for his services at Monterey. He led the right wing of Worth's division at the entering of that city, and fought his way through one street while Worth was engaged in the next with the other part of his division. This terrible warfare is thus described by S. C. Reid, Esq., in his work on the Scouting Expeditions of McCulloch's Texas Rangers.
“Every street was barricaded with heavy works of masonry, the walls being some three or four feet thick,
Street fight in Monterey.
with embrasures for one or more guns which raked the streets; the walls of gardens and sides of houses were all loop-holed for musketry; the tops of the houses were covered with troops, who were sheltered behind parapets, some four feet high, upon which were piled sand bags for their better protection, and from which they showered down a hurricane of balls.
Between three and four o'clock, from the cessation of the fire in the opposite direction, it was evident that the enemy had become disengaged, which enabled them to draw off men and guns to our side, as their fire had now become almost doubly increased. The street-fight became appalling-both columns were now closely engaged with the enemy, and steadily advanced inch by inchour artillery was heard rumbling over the paved streets, galloping here and there, as the emergency required, and pouring forth a blazing fire of grape and ball-volley after volley of musketry, and the continued peals of artillery became almost deafening—the artillery of both sides raked the streets, the balls striking the houses with a terrible crash, while amid the roar of battle were heard the battering instruments used by the Texans. Doors were forced open, walls were battered down-entrances made through the longitudinal walls, and the enemy driven from room to room, and from house to house, followed by the shrieks of women, and the sharp crack of the Texan rifles. Cheer after cheer was heard in proud and exulting defiance, as the Texans or regulars gained the house-tops by means of ladders, while they poured in a rain of bullets upon the enemy on the opposite houses. It was indeed a most strange and novel scene of warfare."