National Intelligencer

Washington: Thursday, June 24, 1847

page 3, column 3

 

Army Portfolio by Captain D. P. Whiting of

the 7th Infantry, U. S. Army

 

While myriads of prints, hastily gotten up and roughly executed, representing scenes connected with the army of Mexico, are flooding the country, and meet the eye in the windows of every print-shop, it is gratifying to perceive a work like the above, entitled to the name of pictures, of great interest in being authentic and accurate representations of the scenes they portray, being taken upon the spot, and, for the sake of their beauty, well worthy of a place on the most fashionable centre-table.

 

The present number contains, besides a sketch of the encampment of the army at Corpus Christi in 1845, four views in the vicinity of Monterey.  The scenery rivals that of Switzerland. Nothing can be more beautiful that the scene in the view of Monterey., from the east side of the main plaza, or public square.  On one side you can see the mountain range of the Sierra Madre -  a belt which running nearly parallel with the Gulf coast, through the whole extent of the interior from the “Tierra Caliente, or low land of the seaboard.  At the right is the picturesque Mitre Mountain, a magnificent and most remarkable peak of rock.  While looking at the picture, we can imagine ourselves in the city of Monterey with its flat-roofed houses, each surrounded with a heavy parapet of stone pierced with holes, intended originally to carry off the rain, but which could easily be used as loopholes for musketry; and we realize the statement that every house was a fortress, and our surprise is no longer at the terrible carnage among our men who penetrated these streets, but that they were able to penetrate them at all.

 

The view of the “Heights of Monterey,” and the points successfully attacked by Gen. Worth’s division, also show us how unavailing are all barriers to our arms when our soldiers have determined upon victory.  We remember, in the accounts of the battles received at the time, it was stated that the heights stormed on the 21st and 22d September were so steep that the men had to use their hands as well as their feet in the ascent, and that the guns were fairly lifted up.  No description could give us so distinct an idea of the difficulties overcome, and, indeed, of the whole affair, as these views; they are what they pretend to be - illustrations of the military operations of our army in Mexico.  That there is no exaggeration in these picture we are assured, not only by Captain Whiting himself, but by all the officers who have been in Mexico, who declare them to be the most truthful representations of nature.

 

The view from Independence, or Palace Hill, is a very beautiful picture inferior to none of the set.  The most prominent object in the foreground is the Bishop’s Palace - a fortress commenced on a grand scale but never completed.  Immediately after the fall of

 

Matamoros, every exertion was made to put this stronghold in a state of impregnable defense;  the walls were strengthened, and the windows filled in with masonry.  But the stars and stripes are now waving from its battlements; while below are grouped the officers and men who, a short time before, were engaged in a death-struggle with their foe; now, their arms stacked before the palace gates they were quietly looking upon the city, and watching the conflict of the troops upon the eastern side.  Beyond the city, to the left, stretch out the verdant plains of the Tierra Caliente, scattered over with once peaceful villages; and abruptly from these plains rises the Sierra Silla, or Saddle Mountain, so called from the resemblance of its peak to a Mexican saddle.

 

The view of the valley towards Saltillo, with the rearguard and baggage train moving to the city after the capitulation; the stupendous heights of the Sierra Madre contrasting with the soft verdure if the banks of the stream below, is one of great beauty.

 

Captain Whiting left the valley of the Rio Grande with General Worth’s division, for Vera Cruz, before the battle of Buena Vista; but we hope we shall receive additional sketches from his pencil; for which many points in the progress of Gen Scott  from Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico afford admirable material.


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