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No. I.


Detachment of Missouri Light Artillery. Camp belowBracito, Rio Grande, Dec. 26, 1846.

Dear Sir: -- I can only write to you a few lines, being upon thepoint of breaking up camp. Our detachment overtook Col. Doniphan's command at Fra Cristobal. Major Gilpin, with 250 men,had previously left for El Poso, and Col. Jackson was followingwith 200 men. Col. Doniphan had but 150 men with him, theremainder of his regiment being sick, attending on sick, anddetached through the country. From Fra Cristobal our detachmentmarched with Colonel Doniphan south. When at the Laguna of thejornada del Muerte, news reached us through an express sent byMajor Gilpin that the Mexicans had determined to resist at ElPoso, and had collected a considerable number of troops intendingto give us battle. An express had been sent to Santa Fe for partof the artillery under Major Clark, but no news had as yetreached us from there, so that a detachment of 30 men from thethree companies of our corps are all that are here from thebattalion. At the southern end of the jornada, ten miles northof Dona Ana, the traders had encamped. Contradictory rumors ofthe enemy's approach reached us daily.

Yesterday (Christmas day), when we had just arrived in camp

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here with but 600 men, had unsaddled our animals, and most of themen engaged in carrying wood and water, the news was brought intocamp of the enemy's being in sight and advancing. It was about 2o'clock P. M., and the day was very pleasant. Our horses weregrazing some distance from camp at the time; we formed a singleline and determined to meet the enemy as infantry. Their attackbeing evidently designed on the left flank, near which was ourwagon train, our detachment was ordered from the extreme right tothe left, where we soon took up our position. One piece ofartillery, 490 regular lancers and cavalry, and 100 regularinfantry, besides some 500 militia from El Poso, composed theenemy's force, according to the best information I can obtainfrom responses of prisoners and from papers found among thebaggage on the field of battle. The enemy ranged the mountainsin their rear. In our rear was the river, with a littlebrushwood on its banks.

Previous to the encounter, a lieutenant in their ranks cameforward waving a black flag in his hand, but halted when withinone hundred paces of our line. Thomas Caldwell, our interpreter,went out to meet him. The messenger with the black flag ofdefiance demanded that the commander should come into their camp,and speak to their general. The reply was"If your general wants to see our commander, let him come here."

"We shall break your rank then, and take him there," was the retort of the Mexican.

"Come and take him," said our interpreter, unwittingly using thephrase of the Spartans at Thermopylae.

"A curse on you; prepare for a charge, " cried the Mexican; "We give no quarter and ask none;" and waving his black flag gracefully over his head, galloped back towards the enemy's line.

Their charge was made by the dragoons from their right, directed upon our left flank, bringing our detachment into the closest fire. Their infantry, with one howitzer with them, at the same time attacking our right flank.

Their charge was a handsome one, but was too well, too coo]y met,to break our line. After their fire had been spent, their frontcolumn being at about 100 steps from the front of our flank, ourline poured a volley into them, which being a few times repeated,created such havoc in their columns, that their forces wheeledto

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the left, retreating from our fire, and in their flight made anattack on the provision train. Here they met a very warmreception, and were soon compelled to fly in all directions, andin the utmost confusion. Their infantry having been put toflight the Howard company, under the command of Lieut. N. Wright, taking advantage of the panic, charged upon them, andtook their cannon from them This was soon manned by the artillerydetachment under Lieut. Kribben, in Col Mitchell's escort. Theenemy had by this time fled, leaving their arms baggage,provisions and other stores, on the field of battle.

A small body of mounted men under the command of Capt. Reid, hadby this time gathered together in a line, and charged upon theenemy, pursuing them into the mountains, where they soughtrefuge.

The number of their dead is said to be at least thirty; that oftheir wounded was slight so far as ascertained. had we a singlepiece of cannon with us they would have lost more of their men;but having no artillery on our side, we had to act as infantryuntil we got possession of the howitzer so gallantly captured bythe Howard company.

We lost not a single man, and had but seven slightly wounded. Wetook eight prisoners, six of whom died last night. Thus endedthe battle of Bracito, the first battle of the Army of the West,and as bravely fought by our men as ever men fought at anyengagement.

We have every reason to believe that there is more in store forus.

C. R. KRIBBEN, 1st Lieut., Mo. Light Artillery

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OFFICIAL REPORT OF THE BATTLE OF SACRAMENTO.SPECIAL DESPATCH FROM MAJOR M. LEWIS CLARK. Headquarters, Battalion Missouri Light Artillery. Camp near Chihuahua, Mexico, March 2, 1847.

To Col. A. W. Doniphan, Commanding American Forces in theState of Chihuahua:-

SIR: -- I have the honor to report, that, agreeably to yourinstructions, I left the camp near Saux on the morning ofthe 28th ultimo, accompanied by my Adjutant, Lieut. L. D. Walker,and non-commissioned staff, and proceeded in advance to aposition commanding a full view of the enemy's camp andentrenchments, situated about four miles distant from this point.The enemy was discovered to be in force, awaiting our approach,having occupied the ridge and neighboring heights aboutSacramento. Upon examination, it was ascertained that hisentrenchments and redoubts occupied the brow of an elevationextending across the ridge between the Arroyo Seco and that ofSacramento-both of which, at this point, cross the valley fromthe elevated ridge of mountains in the rear of the village ofTorreon, known by the name of the Sierra de Victoriano, that ofNombre de Dios on the east, and through which runs the Rio delNombre de Dios. This valley is about four miles in width, andentrenched by the enemy entirely across, from mountain tomountain, the road to the city of Chihuahua running directlythrough its centre -- and of necessity passing near to, and crossingthe Rio Sacramento, at the Rancho Sacramento, a strongly builtand fortified house, with adjoining corraals, and at otherenclosures, be-

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longing to Angel Trias, the Governor of Chihuahua. Fromobservation, it was ascertained that the enemy had occupied thesite between these hills, and that the batteries upon them weresupported by infantry -- his cavalry being in advanced positions,formed into three columns, between the Arroyo Seco, and ouradvance. During these observations, the enemy's advance guarddiscovering my party, approached rapidly, with the evidentintention of intercepting it, but being met by that of ourtroops, which I had sent forward, it as rapidly retreated. Atthis time, also, the three columns of the enemy's cavalryrecrossed the Arroyo Seco, and retired behind theirentrenchments. I then approached within six hundred yards of themost advanced redoubt, from which point the enemy's formation wasplainly discernible. The entrenchments consisted of a line withintervals composed of circular redoubt, from three to fivehundred yards interval, with entrenchments between each, coveringbatteries partly masked by cavalry. The redoubt nearest to myposition, contained two pieces of cannon, supported by severalhundred infantry.

The enemy's right and left were strong positions -- the CerroFrijoles on his right, and having high precipitous sides, with aredoubt commanding the surrounding country, and the pass leadingtowards Chihuahua, through the Arroyo Seco. The Cerro Sacramentoon his left, consisting of a pile of immense volcanic rocks,surmounted by a battery, commanded the main road to Chihuahua,leading directly in front of the enemy's entrenchments; crossingthe Rio Sacramento at the rancho, directly under its fire, andalso commanding the road from Torreon, immediately in its rear;the crossing of the main road over the Arroyo Seco, at the pointfrom which my reconnaissance was made, laid directly under thefire of the batteries on the enemy's right, which rendered itnecessary to ascertain the practicability of a route more distantfrom the enemy's entrenchments. The passage was found to bepracticable, with some little labor, and a point selected as thebest for the passage of the artillery, and wagons, and merchants'trains. The whole point of the enemy's line of entrenchmentsappeared to be about two miles, and his force 3000 men. Theartillery being masked, the number and calibre of the cannoncould not be estimated.

Further, I have the honor to report that the battalion ofartillery

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under my command, composed of 110 men, and seven officers, with abattery of six pieces of artillery, were, on the morning of thebattle, directed to form, under the direction of Capt. Weightman, between the two columns of merchants' and provisionwagons; being thus masked from the view of the enemy. In thiscolumn my troops continued the march to within fifteen hundredyards of the enemy's most advanced position; our direction wasthen changed to the right, and the column having crossed theArroyo Seco without reach of the enemy's fire, rapidly advancedtowards the table land between the Seco and Sacramento. At thistime the enemy was perceived advancing from his entrenchments, toprevent our seizing upon the heights, but by a rapid movement ofthe battery, it was quickly drawn from its mask, and seizing upona favorable position, protected in the rear by a mask, from theattack of a large body of the enemy's cavalry, ascertained to behanging on our rear, it was formed, and at once opened fire uponthe enemy's cavalry, rapidly advancing upon us. At this time hischarging column was about 900 yards distant, and the effect ofour strap shot and shells was such as to break his ranks, andthrow his cavalry into confusion. The enemy now rapidly deployedinto line, bringing up his artillery from the entrenchments. During this time our line was preparing for a charge-my artilleryadvancing by hand and firing. The enemy now opened a heavy fireof cannon upon our line, mainly directed upon the battery, withlittle effect. Lieutenant Dorn had his horse shot under him by anine pound ball, at this stage of the action, and several mulesand oxen in the merchant wagons, in our rear, were wounded orkilled, which, however, was the only damage done. The fire ofour cannon at this time, had such good effect, as to dismount oneof the enemy's pieces, and completely to disperse his cavalry,and drive him from his position, forcing him to again retirebehind his entrenchments. For a short time, the firing on eitherside now ceased, and the enemy appeared to be removing his cannonand wounded, whilst our line prepared to change our position, andmore towards the right, for the purpose of occupying a moreadvantageous ground. Our object being soon gained, the order toadvance was given, and immediately after I was directed to sendthe section of howitzers, to support a charge upon the enemy's

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left. I immediately ordered Captain R. H. Weightman to detachthe section, composed of two 12 pound mountain howitzers, mountedupon carriages constructed especially for field prairie service,and drawn by two horses each. These were commanded byLieutenants E. F. Chouteau and H. D. Evans and manned by sometwenty men, whose conduct in this action cannot be too muchcommended.

Capt. Weightman charged at full gallop upon the enemy's left,preceded by Captain Reid and his company of horse, and aftercrossing a ravine some hundred and fifty yards from the enemy, heunlimbered the guns within fifty yards of the entrenchment, andpoured a destructive fire of canister into his ranks, which waswarmly returned, but without effect. Capt. Weightman againadvanced upon the entrenchments, passing through it in the faceof the enemy, and within a few feet of the ditches; and in themidst of cross-fires from three directions, again opened hisfire, to the right and left with such effect, that with theformidable charge of the cavalry and dismounted men to your ownregiment, and Lieutenant Col. Mitchell's escort, the enemy weredriven from the breastworks on our right in great confusion. Atthis time, under a heavy cross-fire from a battery of four sixpounders, under Lieuts. Dorn, Kibben, and Labeaume, upon theenemy's right, supported by Major Gilpin on the left, and thewagon train escorted by two companies of infantry under CaptainsE. F. Glasgow, and Skillman in the rear, Major Gilpin chargedupon the enemy's centre and forced him from his entrenchmentsunder a heavy fire of artillery, and small arms. At the sametime, the fire of our own battery was opened upon the enemy'sextreme right, from which a continued fire had been kept up uponour line and the wagon train. Two of the enemy's guns were nowsoon dismounted on their right, that battery silenced, and theenemy dislodged from the redoubt, on the Cerro Frijoles. Perceiving a body of lancers forming, for the purpose ofoutflanking our left, and attacking the merchant train underCaptain Glasgow, I again opened upon them a very destructive fireof grape and spherical case shot, which soon cleared the left ofour line. The enemy, vacating his entrenchments and desertinghis guns, was hotly pursued towards the mountains beyond CerroFrijoles and down Arroyo Seco de Sacramento, by both wings ofthe

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army under Lieutenant Col. Mitchell, Lieutenant Col. Jackson,and Major Gilpin, and by Captain Weightman, with the section ofhowitzers. During this pursuit, my officers repeatedly openedtheir fires upon the retreating enemy with great effect. Tocover this flight of the enemy's forces from the entrenched camp,the heaviest of his cannon had been taken from the entrenchmentsto the Cerro Sacramento, and a heavy fire opened upon ourpursuing forces and the wagons following in the rear. To silencethis battery, I had the honor to anticipate your order to thateffect, by at once occupying the nearest of the enemy'sentrenchments, 1225 yards distant, and notwithstanding theelevated position of the Mexican battery, giving him a plungingfire into my entrenchments, which was not defiladed, and thegreater range of his long nine-pounders, the first fire of ourguns dismounted one of his largest pieces, and the fire was keptup with such briskness and precision of aim, that the battery wassoon silenced, and the enemy seen precipitately retreating. Thefire was then continued upon the Rancho Sacramento, and theenemy's ammunition and wagon-train retreating upon the road toChihuahua. By their fire, the house and several wagons wererendered untenable and useless. By this time, Lieutenant ColonelMitchell had sealed the hill, followed by the section ofhowitzers, under Captain Weightman, and the last position of theMexican forces was taken possession of, by our troops; thusleaving the American forces masters of the field. Havingsilenced the fire from Cerro Sacramento, one battery was removedinto the plain at the rancho, where we gained the road, and werein pursuit of the enemy, when I received your order to return andencamp within the enemy's entrenchments for the night. From thetime of first opening my fire upon the Mexican cavalry, to thecessation of the firing upon the rancho and battery ofSacramento, was about three hours, and during the whole time ofthe action, I take the utmost pleasure in stating, that everyofficer and man of my command, did his duty with cheerfulness,coolness, and precision, which is sufficiently shown by theadmirable effect produced by their fire, the great accuracy oftheir aim, their expedition and ingenuity in supplyingdeficiencies in the field during the action, and the promptmanagement of their pieces-rendered still more remarkable fromthe fact that I had, during the fight, less than two-thirds

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the number of cannoniers generally required for the service oflight artillery, and but four of the twelve artillery carriagesbelonging to my battery harnessed with horses. The remainingeight carriages being harnessed to mules of the country. Duringthe day my staff were of the greatest service -- Adjutant Leo. D. Walker having been sent with the howitzers, and thenon-commissioned officers remaining with me, to assist in theservice of the battery. In this action, the troops under yourcommand have captured one nine-pounder mounted on a cheek trailcarriage, one nine-pounder, one six-pounder, and sevenfour-pounder guns, all mounted on new stock-trail carriages. These pieces were manufactured in Chihuahua, except the sixpounder, which is an old Spanish piece. Three of thefour-pounders were made at the mint in Chihuahua. Seven of theten pieces were spiked, but have been unspiked since theircapture; four of these were rendered unserviceable in the action;one entirely dismounted, was seized by my Adjutant, whilst in theact of being dragged from the field by the retreating enemy. There were also taken, two pieces of artillery, mounting threewall pieces of one and a half inch calibre each, and these areformidable weapons upon a charging force. With these twelvepieces of artillery was taken a due proportion of ammunition,implements, harness, mules, &e. ; and they may be renderedserviceable by being properly repaired and manned; for whichpurpose I would ask for further reinforcement of my command. Itis with feelings of gratitude to the Ruler of all battles, that Ihave now the honor to report, that not a man of my command hasbeen hurt, nor any animals, with the exception of one horsekilled under Lieutenant Dorn, chief of the first section of sixpound guns, and of one mule, belonging to the United States, shotunder one of the cannoniers; neither has a gun or other carriageof my battery been touched, except in one instance, when a ninepound ball struck the tire of a wheel, without producing injury. This is a fact worthy of notice, that so little damage was doneto a command greatly exposed to the enemy's fire, and of itselfmade a point of attack by the enemy, if I may so judge by theshowers of cannon and other shot constantly poured into us, aslong as the enemy continued to occupy his position. I might callyour attention to the individual instances of personal courageand good conduct

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of the men of my command, as well as of the intrepid bravery,cool and determined courage of many of your own regiment, andLieutenant Col. Mitchell's escort, who charged with us upon theenemy's works, were it not impossible, in any reasonable, to nameso many, equally worthy of distinction; and did I not presume,that other field officers on that occasion, would report theproceedings of their own commands and the praiseworthy conduct oftheir own officers and men.

With high respect, I am, Sir, Your Most ObedientServant, M LEWIS CLARK, Major Commanding Bat. Mo. Light Artillery



Chihuahua, Febrero 17 de 1847

By a courier which arrived last evening at this capital we havethe following news.

On the 9th inst the invasive forces which occupied the city of ElPaso - passed by San Elecario in the direction of this capital. - Since the 5th inst. their vanguard, composed of one hundredmen under the command of Col. Mitchell, have already occupiedthis fort (S Elecario). The rest of the force, forming thecentre and the reserve, amounts to seven hundred and seventy men,besides seventy-four wagons which precede as many more wagonsloaded with munitions of war and provisions. Their artilleryconsists of four pieces of six pounds, two eight pounders, theobus which they took at Tamascalitos, and a little mortar forstones which they obtained at

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San Elecario, after having committed many outrages and violencesthere. They also bring a wagon with the arms which they tookfrom the suburbs of El Paso, and those which our troops leftthere in their retreat; their horses and oxen are in very badcondition.

The fear which possesses the soldiers is well known, since theythemselves say that they come against their will, and this isproved, by the desertion of several of them; and by the questionswhich all ask, if any troops have come from Mexico to Chihuahua,and whether they have cannon. They also intend carrying withthem as prisoners, the priest of El Paso, the prefect Don R. Barela, and some other persons of distinction, considering themas a guarantee against any rebellion which the Paseniens mayintend, or as hostages should such an event occur.

On the 7th inst. there came to them a courier with the news thatthe so-called Governor of New Mexico, Charles Bent, Esq. ,and fifteen soldiers of his guard have been assassinated by theNew Mexicans, and that all that state is following in an arduousinsurrection, which has been promoted principally by the peopleof the upper river. On account of this news, the find themselvesundecided which course to pursue, but Kirker has stimulated themto advance, telling them that Chihuahua will not be able topresent in resistance, a force of more than 1000 men, militia andcitizens, and commanded by poor officers. And he has made thembelieve that he has given their service the preference over thewar with the Apaches for us, and the pay for which is still owingto him.

The arms which part of these soldiers which they call MountedDragoons carry, is a rifled musket with a bayonet, and a sixbarreled pistol in the cartridge box belt; the other part whichthey wish to consider as light cavalry, use a shorter rifle, withsabre and six-shooter at the belt. All their animals are in verybad order, and most of the soldiers are mounted on mules. Acertain Owens and a Spaniard named Don Manuel (Harmony) hasoffered them resources of money when they occupy this capital.

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