Incredible Battle of Buena Vista 3d Indiana Infantry battle letter! Four page letter written in period ink from Lt. Harrison Daily to his father.
Letter is in very good condition. Please also see the battle map Daily drew also listed on this website.
Below is a transcript of this great letter.
$895.00 plus shipping
Camp Taylor Feby 28 1847
You will perceive by the heading of this letter that we occupy the position that we had before the flight. On the night of the 20th we sent a picket guard out on the San Luis Road some 30 miles to a place called sucumation(?) the ____ on the morning of the 21st and reported Santa Anna and army encamped at that place. As soon as the news was received the Genl. ordered the army to fall back some 12 miles to place called Buena Vista. Where we encampd for the night on the 21. On the morning of the 22 the long roll ____ when we formed in order of battle, and for the first time saw the enemy. The sight of them was hailed with as many cheers, as was the election of Little Jimmy Polk in 44. We continued to maneuver until about 3 o'clock when they fired the first gun. At which signal an engagement commenced between our skirmishers and theirs which continued until dark. We had but one man wounded and their loss was but trifling. On the following morning the action recommenced by daylight between the skirmishers and by 7 o'clk the engagement was general. Our regiment and one of the Ill. were held in reserve until about 11 o'clock when we ordered into the field as our whole force had been forced back
Our Regt. part of 2d & Mississippi Rifleman held the field on our left flank where the greatest exertions of enemy were made, the ILL. were fighting hard on the left of our Regt. flank we continued maneuvering & fighting until about 3 o'clock when the whole energy of the Mexicans were put forth to annihilate us.
They brought their artillery to bear on us and charged with their lancers backed by their infantry, it was a fearful moment for the American army at that time if the little band opposed to them had broke it would have been sorrowful times for us. But they stood like heroes and now have the gratification of knowing that they turned the tide of battle that was the last charge of any importance during the remainder of the day. Except that our Regt. saved one of the ILL. Regts from being cut up. They were pressed by 3 or 4 times their own force when we came up drew off their fire & gave them time to rally. In that charge William Coombes (poor fellow) was wounded in the thigh with a musketball. During the remainder of the evening we could occasionally get a shot at stray mexicans. During the night (23) the whole mexican force fell back on this place. Leaving all their wounded in the field thus concluding it is said one of the bloodiest fights of late days. (Genl Taylor says so) Our force in the
field was 3800 effective men. Santa Anna acquits his force at 20,000 or about 6 men to one & they had about the same number of field pieces but heavier. then ours. It is a victory and such a one as will raise the value of volunteers stock as it was purely a volunteer fight, with the exception of the artillery and one squadron Dragoons, and Indiana has reason to be proud of her volunteers (although some reflections are thrown on the second Regt but I hope unjustly) Indiana’s Rifleman opened and Indiana’s heavy Infantry closed the fight, and if “old Clark” is not proud of her Representatives it is no use for men to bear the brunt and stand steady in the heaviest of the fight. Captain Gibson Lts Fouts & Carr won laurels that will outlive them for their coolness and bravery in action, Gibson was cooler than I ever saw him and you know how steady and cool Fouts & Carr can be when not excited & I do assure you they were not the least. Our loss of killed 270. Wounded 460 the Mexicans must have lost at 1000 men killed judging from the appearance of the field. The loss of our Regt was 9 killed & 56 wounded, only 2 wounded in our company. Wm Coombes & Martin Conaway who is severely wounded in leg below the knee, he will however recover in a short time without the loss of his leg. Coombes after suffering amputation of the leg died last night about 11 o'clock. No one else from our part of the country was even scratched although the balls flew thick.
It is reported that the Mexican loss of killed wounded and missing was 7000. the next morning after the battle and that they were continually leaving. I have not time to write a connected account I must leave that to men that have less to do than myself, give my respects to all
Tell Davy Patterson that his nephew fought bravely through the battle and escaped without a wound. Doct. Athon distinguished himself for his activity he dressed at least 2/3 of the whole number wounded besides helping to whip a large no of lancers who attacked the hospital
(NOTE: the section below is written on the center panel in a different direction, like it was added after it was folded)
Some of our men that was taken prisoner has just come in from Encarnation and report that the Mexicans have left that place in perfect Rout- leaving some 1000 wounded men at that place. and the wounded and dead are left it all stopping places on the Road