페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

ASSAULT OF CHAPULTEPEC.

415

the enemy,

again made a desperate stand, and at this point, by a most fearful fire of musketry, checked the impetuous advance of the voltigeurs. Then, for the first time during that eventful day, hope animated the Mexican heart. But that hope was illusive. A single act of gallantry converted the momentary indecision of the assailants into an irresistible enthusiasm.

At this awful crisis, when to pause was to risk annihilation, for the ground was mined beneath them, Captain Chase, of the 15th infantry, dashed towards the right flank of the work, and bade his company follow-supported instantly by Lieutenant Beach of the same regiment with his company and by the voltigeurs and the 9th regiment of infantry, the work was stormed at all points, and

unable to withstand an onset so terrible and so determined, fell back to within the enclosure surrounding the fortress, with the daring stormers pressing rapidly upon his rear. Reaching the crest of the counterscarp and enveloping it, these three regiments, joined soon after by Clarke's brigade, and portions of Quitman's command, awaited under a severe fire of artillery and small-arms the arrival of McKenzie's party with the scalingladders. These soon came up, and another brilliant display of courage ensued. The ladders were quickly planted, and many of those who first scaled the wall fell back either killed or wounded. Nothing daunted, however, others promptly took their places, and as these fell, the ladders were thronged by spirits equally daring. Of Mckenzie's storming party, Lieutenants Rogers of the 4th and Smith of the 5th infantry were killed while gallantly leading their men,—and Lieutenant Selden of the 8th infantry, one of the first to mount the scaling-ladder, fell back severely wounded. But in spite of this resistance by the enemy, a foothold was at length obtained, and the stormers, swarming up the ladders and over the wall, rushed into the fortress and carried it. Captain Barnard, though twice wounded in the act, seized the colours of his regiment and unfurled the first American flag upon the captured

work, while Major Seymour, of the 9th infantry, entered the fortress sword in hand, and himself struck down the Mexican flag.*

In the mean time, Quitman, marching by the Tacubaya road, approached the works on the south-east, over a causeway obstructed by intersecting ditches and batteries, and further defended by an army strongly posted outside and to the east of the works.

Moving in reserve on the right flank of the assaulting column, Smith's brigade took a sweep across the meadows, turned the two batteries at the foot of Chapultepec, and presented a front against the enemy outside.

While the column, thus ably supported, was pressing boldly on towards the batteries, ready for a dash at them as soon as opportunity offered, the South Carolina and New York regiments, under Brigadier-General Shields, and the 2d Pennsylvania regiment, under Lieutenant-Colonel Geary, by an oblique movement to the left, crossed the low grounds at the foot of Chapultepec, and in the face of a terrible fire of artillery and musketry, effected a lodgment at the wall. Major Gladden, with his regiment, immediately penetrated the enclosure, through a breach made by the artillery; and the Pennsylvania and New York regiments as quickly effected a like entrance by climbing over a deserted battery further to the south.

As soon as this was achieved, the storming parties precipitated themselves upon the batteries and breastworks protecting the causeway; and, after a desperate conflict, in which Major Twiggs was killed and Captain Casey severely wounded at the head of their respective commands, captured the works and completely routed the enemy. This gallant attack was nobly seconded by Smith, whose daring Rifles were as usual among the foremost. The batteries being taken, and within them seven pieces of cannon and a large number of prisoners, the stormers, now united with

* Pillow's Report.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

WORTH'S MOVEMENT AGAINST SAN COSME.

417

Smith's brigade, pursued the fugitives to the causeway leading to the Garita Belen, and then, turning to the left, clambered up the steep ascent of Chapultepec, with the view of assisting in the assault of the fortress; but the immense crowds of the enemy,

whom they soon met flying down the hill in all directions, showed that Pillow had already anticipated them.

Part of Quitman's command, however, shared in the honour of its capture. Following rapidly upon the heels of Pillow's column, the New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina regiments struggled up the rugged acclivity, driving the enemy before them, and two active companies, one from the New York regiment, and one of marines, led by Lieutenant Reid, succeeded in reaching the crest of the hill in time to take part in the final assault. The daring gallantry which was then displayed in scaling the walls surrounding the fortress has been already related; but even when that gallant feat was successfully accomplished, the fortress itself still frowned defiance on its assailants.

Animated by the presence of the veteran General Bravo, the National Guards and the cadets of the institution contested the possession of this, their last stronghold, with the most heroic resolution ; but their efforts to retrieve the fortunes of the day could avail but little when directed against men who had fought, a forlorn hope, from the steeps of Cerro Gordo to the walls of Mexico. The struggle, though fierce and sanguinary, was brief. The fortress was carried, its artillery captured, and a large number of its defenders, including fifty general officers, made prisoners of

war.

But another and still more imposing event was now about to take place. The city of Mexico, whose almost unparalleled system of defences had so long baffled the advance of the Americans, at length lay open to attack. The garitas and the works protecting the causeways were the only remaining obstacles. These were now to be overcome.

« 이전계속 »