General George W. Morgan ALS concerning the death and exhuming of a 4th Infantry officer killed at Chapultepec, Mexico.
In 1881, George Washington Morgan, who was the colonel of the 15th U.S. Infantry, wrote a letter to a presumed relative of a friend and young officer in the 4th U.S. Infantry killed at the Battle of Chapultepec, Mexico. In the autographed letter signed by Morgan, he recounts the story;
“Mount Vernon, Ohio, July 6th, 1881
Dear Sir, If I am not mistaken, you are a relative of Lieut. Rodgers of the 4th U.S. Infantry, who fell at the storming of Chapultepec, in 1847. I new him well, and was very fond of him, for he was as lovable as he was brave. He went into action in the uniform of a private soldier, save the shoulder straps, and was buried in a wide, deep trench with many others of our dead. I was then Colonel of the 15th U.S. Infantry, and my regiment was garrisoned at that place. By chance I learned that young Rodgers was missing, and that search for the body had failed. Taking my crutches, and a detail, I repaired to the largest trench, and had it uncovered, and five layers of bodies removed, when my eye fell upon the curling, brown hair, and head of my dear friend. His features were distinct, and his identity certain. I had tresses of his hair cut off, washed, and delivered to G.W Smith to be forwarded to his mother; and his remains were then placed in a coffin and buried under the shade of a grand old tree, from whence they were afterwards sent to his bereaved Mother, when I had once the honor of meeting. Believe me dear Sir to be, Very Truly,
George W. Morgan
Belmont Perry, Esqr.”
Taken from a history of the 4th Infantry, the regiment provided 50 men and 2 officers in the assault, and under a hail of shot, shell and mustketry, Hand to hand combat took place between the Americans and the defenders, but finally a lodgment was secured. The bodies of the dead of the 4th Infantry along with other troops, were buried in the trenches recently taken, and as described in General Morgan’s letter, were buried at least 5 layer deep, and interesting fact that I had not read before this.
Although written many years after the event, there is no doubt, that the scene was still quite clear in the mind of the man who ordered and took part in finding his friend lying buried among the dead at Chapultepec.
This is a 2 page ALS. The condition is fine with one tear on the last page, affecting one word only.
George W. Morgan, (1820-1893), was an American soldier, lawyer, politician, and diplomat. He fought in the Texas Revolution in a company commanded by his older brother. He later was commissioned by Sam Houston as a lieutenant in the Texas Army. He was a Texas Ranger as well. Morgan commanded both the 2nd Ohio and the 15th U.S. Infantries during the Mexican War. He attained the rank of brigadier general during the Civil War.
After the war, Morgan was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving two terms, and later was U.S. Ambassador to Portugal.
An excellent historic letter.