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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - Hill (Page 1)

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The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History - Hill
Daniel Harvey Hill to William Latta
Saltillo, Mexico, 19 November 1846.
Autograph letter signed, 4 pages.

Saltillo Mexico
Nov 18
. 1846
My Dear Friend
I intended to have written to you long ago, but neglected to do so from mere indolence. I
am now determined to make some amends for my negligence, although I am shivering with cold
and my fingers so benumbed that they can scarcely grasp the pen. I will not trouble you with
details of the battles, as you doubtless have had them ad nauseum in every paper. However, I do
not hesitate to assert, that much as you may have read of the operations around Monterey, you
have not seen a single word of truth. All the statements as yet published, official and private, are
shamefully inaccurate, perhaps the most incorrect of all is Gen
Taylors own report. Not that the
honest old soldier meant to be partial, but because the scale of operations was so extensive that,
twas impossible for him to give his personal inspection to every thing. He therefore had to rely
upon the interested statements of others. My youthful fancies in regard to the battle field have
been sadly altered of late. I had always pictured to myself an extensive plain, covered with
armed hosts in gay uniforms, with banners streaming, music playing, bright armor glittering in
the sun-beams &c &c. Instead of which, we had to wade deep streams, climb mountain heights
and charge upon strong batteries without any other music than the concert of cannon balls and
without any other banners than our ragged clothes streaming in the breeze, and then after the
battle had been won, we had to lie down among the dead and dying in the wet and cold without
food, fire or blankets. During the four days siege, our Division though constantly & laboriously
employed got but one meal per day and I have heard of some who ate nothing but green corn
from the Mexican fields in the two days of most active employment. And then the afterclaps, the
lies that are told to pull down this man and exalt that, the miserable tricks & [2]intrigues to gain
newspaper notoriety. There were several letter writers in our Camp and never did the Autocrat
of Russia have a more loyal and loving set of toadies then did these contemptible scribblers. The
letters of the correspondent of the Picayune have been copied into nine tenths of the papers in the

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