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four pieces, together with a large quantity of ammunition and small-arms.
In this terrible contest, the American loss was seven hundred and eighty-seven killed and wounded, fifty-eight of whom were officers.
The enemy being dispersed at all points, in obedience to the instructions of the General-in-chief, Casa de Mata was blown up, and the cannon-moulds and useless ammunition destroyed; after which Worth returned with his command to Tacubaya, to await the result of future reconnoissances.
Defences of the Southern Gates—Pronounced impracticable-Scott determines to
assault Chapultepec--Formidable Character of the Works-Mask Movement upon the Southern Gates—Movements of Pillow and Quitman-The Batteries opened upon Chapultepec-Operations of Twiggs on the San Angel Road- As. sault of Chapultepec-Its Capture-Worth's Movement against the Garita of San Cosmé-His Success-Tacubaya Causeway crossed by Quitman-Garita Belen carried— The City of Mexico taken-Surrender by the Mexican Authori. ties-Quitman Marches to the Grand Plaza--American Colours hoisted on the National Palace.
The dearly-bought victory of Molino del Rey was promptly followed up by the reconnoissances already projected, with the view of ascertaining the most practicable route by which the city could be approached.
The result of a close and daring scrutiny, principally towards the gates of the Piedad, Niño Perdido, San Antonio, and Paseo de la Viga, showed that a navigable canal, both wide and deep, and very difficult to bridge in the presence of an enemy, stretched along the southern front of the city, while the causeways, running for the most part through wet meadows and boggy grounds, were not only flanked by broad ditches filled with water, but were cut up in numerous places, to impede the progress of the troops, who would be exposed at the same time to severe cross fires from the Garitas, and from batteries and infantry breastworks, thrown up at every available point.
. The impracticability of these approaches being determined, Scott concluded to storm Chapultepec, and force an entrance into the city by the causeways either of San Cosmé or Tacubaya.
The prospects of success even here were scarcely less problematical; for, notwithstanding the destruction of Molino del Rey and Casa de Mata, the hill of Chapultepec still presented an array of obstacles of the most formidable description.
The base of the hill was girdled by a stone wall some four feet thick, and about twenty feet in height. Inside of this lay a considerable body of troops, protected by breastworks and the immense trunks of ancient cypresses.
The lower slope of the hill was mined in all directions, with the trains laid ready to be fired at any moment. Beyond the mines, and about midway of the ascent, was a strong redoubt, clasping the entire front. This also was filled with troops. Above this redoubt was an inner wall, enclosing the crest of the hill, with a wide and deep ditch and counterscarp. Inside this wall was the main citadel or fortress of Chapultepec, filled with troops, with eleven pieces of cannon, some of them of the largest calibre, and these commanded the approaches on all sides—the causeways leading to the city, and even the city itself.
In order to economize the lives of his troops, by deceiving the enemy as to the real point of attack, Scott arranged a movement upon a different point than that which he intended as the true one. Following out the orders of the General-in-chief, Quitman's division marched by daybreak on the 10th, to join the division of Pillow before the southern gates, and after this open exhibition of strength in that quarter, the two divisions proceeded by night secretly to Tacubaya, to operate upon Chapultepec, leaving only Twiggs, with Riley's brigade and Steptoe's and Taylor's batteries, in front of the southern gates, to maintain the deception by a series of menacing maneuvres and by false attacks.
This admirably executed stratagem was completely successful. Fully convinced that an attack was contemplated upon the southern gates, the enemy heavily reinforced his troops in that direction, and increased the strength of his defences by additional breast
PREPARATIONS FOR THE ATTACK.
works and batteries; nor was he undeceived until the evening of the 13th, when it was too late to repair his error.
As soon as the divisions of Pillow and Quitman reached Tacubaya on the night of the 11th, they were ordered into position before Chapultepec. In the course of the same night four batteries were established within easy range of that point; and, as it was the intention of the General-in-chief to delay the assault until the fortifications were well crippled by his artillery, Pillow and Quitman were ordered to remain passive until that object was effected.
On the morning of the 12th the batteries opened their fire upon Chapultepec and its outworks, under the direction of Captain Huger, and the bombardment and cannonade were continued with marked effect during the whole of that day, and down through the evening, until it became too dark to distinguish objects.
During this time, Twiggs, on the San Angel road, was holding a considerable part of the Mexican army in check, and his batteries were heard again in full activity, when Huger's guns reopened upon Chapultepec on the morning of the 13th.
The period for closer and more determined action having at length arrived, the plan of attack, which was in two columns, commanded by Generals Quitman and Pillow, was ordered to be simultaneously commenced on the west and south-east sides of the works.
An assaulting party of two hundred and fifty picked men, commanded by Captain McKenzie of the 2d artillery, was furnished by Worth's division to precede the column under Pillow, and a similar one, led by Captain Casey of the 2d infantry, was supplied by the division of Twiggs, to aid the column of Quitman. The remainder of Worth's division was held in reserve near Molino del Rey, with orders to support Pillow's attack, while that of Quitman was sustained in like manner by Smith's brigade, which
had moved up for the purpose that morning from the village of Piedad.
At eight o'clock on the morning of the 13th, the momentary cessation of the heavy batteries gave the preconcerted signal for the assaulting columns to advance. Pillow, who had occupied the buildings of Molino del Rey ever since the night of the 11th, promptly threw out his skirmishers to clear a sand-bag breastwork protecting a breach in the wall, through which it was necessary to pass. The enemy being driven from this position, McKenzie's storming party advanced, supported by four companies of voltigeurs under Colonel Andrews, and preceded by four other companies of the same under Colonel Johnstone. These eight companies, acting as skirmishers, soon took the lead and kept it; for the assaulting column of McKenzie, being encumbered with the scaling-ladders, were compelled to move less rapidly.
Protected by the cypresses, the enemy fell back slowly, disputing the ground inch by inch. Pillow being wounded at the base of the hill, the command of the column fell upon BrigadierGeneral Cadwalader, and that gallant officer proved himself fully equal to the occasion.
Terrible indeed was the struggle of these brave men, through the cypress forest, where every tree hid an enemy; amidst the sheeted fire and thunder of the guns of Chapultepec, and an incessant storm of musketry from behind trees and rocks and breastworks; and over mines, the trains of which were laid ready for ignition, shooting down the soldier appointed to fire them, as he stood at his post with the match lighted in his hand, ready to hurl them to destruction.
Thus it was the intrepid skirmishers pressed forward, followed by the stormers and the remainder of the assaulting column, and by Clarke's brigade of Worth's division, which had hastened up at a critical moment to their support.
From behind the redoubt, midway of the ascent, the enemy