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"Here we are on the banks of the Nueces in the grand camp of the army of occupation.” So wrote Lt. Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana when in 1845, not many months before the outbreak of the Mexican War, he joined the white-tented encampment of General Zachary Taylor in Texas. And so he continued writing during the uncertain life of camp and campaign for the better part of the next two years. In these letters to his wife, published here for the first time, Dana provides a detailed, firsthand view of the United States’ war with Mexico—fighting off the Mexicans from within Fort Brown during the initial attack; hearing the distant thunder of artillery as Taylor’s army marched to the rescue of the beleaguered Seventh Infantry; occupying Matamoros; taking Monterrey, street by street with the defenders firing from the housetops. After Monterrey, Dana was at the siege of Veracruz and on the march to Cerro Gordo. Badly wounded in the attack on Telegraph Hill at Cerro Gordo, he was left on the field for dead, but was rescued by a burial party a day and a half later. Following the Mexican War, Dana went on to become a major general during the Civil War and later to have an illustrious career as a railroad executive. Nearly one hundred of his letters about the Mexican War survived and are now in the archives at West Point. From them Robert Ferrell has edited this vivid, eyewitness narrative.
Robert H. Ferrell, professor of history at Indiana University, is a widely published author and editor on American diplomatic history.
"It is surprising that these remarkable letters have never before been published, but fortunate that they are now available, with Professor Ferrell’s admirable footnotes, to devotees of American history."—The Atlantic
The University of Kentucky Press
Place of Publication
Napoleon Jackson Tecumseh Dana, Battle of Monterrey, Mexican War, United States soldiers
Latin American History
Dana, Napoleon Tecumseh and Ferrell, Robert H., "Monterrey Is Ours! The Mexican War Letters of Lieutenant Dana, 1845-1847" (1990). Latin American History. 4.