University of Texas Arlington

Mexican War Collection:

A Guide



Descriptive Summary

Title: Mexican War Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1844-1857
Abstract: The collection includes correspondence, financial documents, and military records. The materials all relate to the Mexican War, 1846-1848, and include both American and Mexican documents. Included are letters from American soldiers relating their experiences in the war and correspondence, orders, and supply requisitions from both American and Mexican army officers and government officials. Also included is a letter from Robert E. Lee, stationed at Camp Cooper, Texas, to Mrs. Stiles, August 14, 1856.
Identification: GA43
Extent: 0.40 linear ft.
Language: Materials are in English and Spanish.
Repository: University of Texas at Arlington. Libraries. Special Collections.
Repository: Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library

Historical Note

The Mexican-American War, fought between 1846-1848, dramatically changed both Mexico and the United States. Although the Mexican army was larger, the United States was economically superior, particularly in industrial production, and it could better supply its troops. The United States sent troops through Texas, which had been recently annexed. Fighting raged far into Mexican territory and as far away as California and Mexico City. Throughout the war and after, the United States had to maintain a military force that was larger than had been previously fielded by the government. The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in 1848, ended the war and significantly increased the territory of the United States. Mexico ceded lands that would later encompass the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Texas. In compensation, the United States would compensate the Mexican government by paying it $15 million. The war essentially destabilized both nations, causing each within just over a decade later to end up in bloody civil war

During the conflict, both American and Mexican soldiers fought and lived in remote environs. Their letters home and to their superiors reveal their fears and activities during this momentous time period. Many soldiers were volunteers and not in the regular army, and the war was a new experience for them. They wrote letters home describing exciting events transpiring around them and battles they had participated in. The officers who led these troops reveal actions taken in prosecuting the war. A great proportion of the officers who fought in Texas and Mexico would later come to prominence in the U. S. Civil War, leaders such as Robert E. Lee and Barnard Bee would later lead Confederate armies. During this conflict, a large number of documents was created by the participants. Supplying troops with ships and horse drawn transport required quartermaster officers to write voluminous reports to their subordinates and superiors. These types of documents and letters comprise this collection.


Scope and Contents

The collection consists of one legal size manuscript box containing 92 folders. The collection is organized in three series. The first series is U.S. Letters, 1844-1857, undated, which includes both personal and military correspondence from soldiers in the field relating to the war. This includes correspondence from soldiers to family and friends at home and military correspondence from officers relating to military activities. The second series, U.S. Documents, 1846-1856, undated, includes supply reports and other military orders relating to the conflict. The third series is Mexican Letters and Documents, 1846-1848, describing both military and political events of the war. Material includes letters relating to the Mexican-American War, as well as events outside the conflict which took place during the same period. Also included are orders to supply Mexican troops as well as military and political documents.


 

Organization

The Mexican War Collection is an artificial collection. An artificial collection is one that, in this case, has been created by Special Collections staff because all the letters and documents related to the the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848.
The collection is arranged in three series:
Series I. U.S. Letters, 1844-1857, undated, 0.21 linear ft. (40 folders)
Series II. U S. Documents, 1846-1856, undated, 0.04 linear ft. (7 folders)
Series III. Mexican Letters and Documents, 1846-1848. 0.17 linear ft. (45 folders)

Restrictions

Access

Open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish, reproduce, distribute, or use by any and all other current or future developed methods or procedures must be obtained in writing from Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library. All rights are reserved and retained regardless of current or future development or laws that may apply to fair use standards.


Index Terms

These materials are indexed under the following headings in the catalog of The University of Texas at Arlington Library. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Persons
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870--Correspondence.
Organizations
United States. Dept. of the Army--Records and Correspondence.
United States. Army--Regulations.
United States. Army--Supplies and stores.
Mexico.--Ejército--Records and correspondence.
Mexico.--Ejército--Regulations.
Mexico.--Ejército--Supplies and stores.
Subjects
Mexican War, 1846-1848--History--Sources.
Mexican War, 1846-1848--Personal narratives, American.
Places
Mexico--Politics and government--1821-1861--Sources.
Formats
Letters.
Alternate Titles
Historical Manuscripts Collection

Related Material

GA 57-60: Mexican War Broadsides Collection (1844-1859)


Administrative Information

Citation

Mexican War Collection, GA43, Box Number, Folder Number, Special Collections, The University of Texas at Arlington Library.

Acquisition

Gift and purchase, 1974-[ongoing].

The Special Collections Division of the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries acquired the materials comprising this collection from numerous different sources, and these documents have been filed here because they all pertain to the Mexican War. Some of the documents have been donated, others purchased.


Container List

 

Series I. U.S. Letters, 1844-1857, undated
Extent 0.21 linear ft. (40 folders)

Arranged chronologically and alphabetically. Material includes letters and manuscripts relating to the Mexican-American War, such as letters from soldiers to family and friends at home, and military correspondence from officers relating military activities.
Box Folder
1 1 February 23, 1844
Letter from General William Jenkins Worth describing events in Mexico.
2 June 21, 1846
Robert E. Lee letter about the outbreak of war. Includes partial transcript.
3 July 24, 1846
Jefferson Davis letter from New Orleans to Secretary of War William L. Marcy discussing the appointment of officers to his volunteer regiment.
4 September 25, 1846
Unknown soldier's letter fragment about the battle of Monterey. Includes transcript.
5 October 9, 1846
A photocopy of John Quincy Carlin's letter home describing his service in the war. He was killed later at Buena Vista on February 23, 1847.
6 October 10, 1846
Letter to Thomas Hall written by George W. Pritchett about the death of Hall's son.
7 October 14.
T. B. Thorpe letter written to Carey Hart of Philadelphia about the war.
8 October 17, 1846
General William Jenkins Worth letter to an alcalde in Monterey asking him to round up robbers.
9 November 4, 1846
W. H. T. Walker letter settling his affairs before shipping off to Mexico. Includes transcript.
10 November 21, 1846
General William Jenkins Worth letter written in Saltillo about foodstuffs for troops.
11 February 17, 1847
Letter from Col. John R. Coffey about the discharge of Lewis S. Hancock, a volunteer.
12 March 19, 1847
E. T. Blamire letter home about Mexico and inquires about life at home. Includes transcript.
13 March 21, 1847
General John E. Wool letter recommending job to an officer of the commissary.
14 April 23, 1847
W. L. Bliss letter describing battle of Cerro Gordo. Includes transcript.
15 May 1 and November 2, 1847
Two W. C. Perry letters to his daughter, Miss I. B. Perry, of New York.
16 July 2, 1847
Captain Philip Kearney letter about recruiting troops for Mexico.
17 August 3, 1847
Letter by Richard Pakenham, British minister to Mexico, about concern with Texas recognition and annexation.
18 August 25, 1847
Letter from Col. J. H. Wright to the Ayuntamiento of Monterey, informing the council to watch houses in the Mexican town for looters. This letter is in Spanish.
19 October 13, 1847
Paymaster B. Walker letter complaining about the failure to pay his troops.
20 November 23, 1847
Guy Carleton letter to George Gile of Littleton, New Hampshire, about the military action around Cerro Gordo.
21 November 26, 1847
H. L. Lelan letter home describing battle at National Bridge, Mexico.
22 December 13, 1847
Letter from Cass, Anderson, and Co. to "Major" describing goods purchased in Mexico.
23 December 15, 1847
Leonard C. McPhail letter requesting information about when a boat is due in at Matamoros.
24 December 18, 1847
Edward H. Burns's letter to Major Thomas R. Eastland inquiring about knapsacks for troops.
25 January 8, 1848
Williams letter from Mexico City to sister.
26 January 11, 1848
General John Wool letter from Monterey to the Alcalde of Monterey ordering the streets to be cleaned.
27 January 31, 1848
Thomas Dicks letter to his cousin about Buena Vista.
28 February 13, 1848
Robert Armstrong letter to sister about Mexico City.
29 February 17, 1848
W. C. Perry letter to his daughter.
30 February 27, 1848
Letter to Mariane P. Longfellow informing her of the death of a Captain Irwin.
31 March 11, 1848
T. B. Thorpe letter to Carey Hart of Philadelphia.
32 March 12, 1848
Anonymous letter to editors Gales and Seaton in Washington about the state of the armies in Mexico.
33 March 17, 1848
William Jenkins Worth letter.
34 August 23, 1848
Simon Bolivar Buckner's letter about a coat that is being made for him.
35 December 19, 1848
Letter from Secretary of War William L. Marcy to General Nathan Towson.
36 July 29, 1850
Letter from Quartermaster General G. S. Jessup to General H. Stanton about state of supplies in Sante Fe.
37 August 17, 1852
General Winfield Scott letter describing service of Moses J. Barnard.
38 August 14, 1856
Robert E. Lee letter to a Mrs. Stiles, written from Camp Cooper, Texas.
39 May 28, 1857
A. H. Gladden letter to General John A. Quitman about flag raising in Mexico City.
40 undated
Partial letter from P. M. Butler to General W. Thompson about the war.



 

Series II. U.S. Documents, 1845-1856, undated
Extent 0.04 linear ft. (7 folders)

Arranged chronically. Material includes quartermaster reports of supply and ship records, as well as orders issued to American troops. Also included is a poem written for the infantry by Barnard Bee.
Box Folder
1 41 November 14, 1845
Manuscript bond signed by General Zachary Taylor about debt owed to the Republic of Texas by the U.S. Army of Occupation.
42 February-November 30, 1846, undated
Supply document for the schooner Aaron Minsch, Company F substance and forage reports (four), Schooner John Thompson supply document, Order Number 6 which states that General John Wool takes command at San Antonio, Schooner Susan supply reports, Order Number 35 about the inventory of shovels and spades in San Antonio, Order Number 60 concerning Lt. W. R. Patrick of the 2nd Regiment attached to headquarters, Jefferson Davis document, and Truits' Texas Mounted Infantry forage report.
43 April 14-December 14, 1847, undated
Quartermaster requisitions for horse fodder (8 documents), abstracts of supplies used by U.S. volunteers at Point Isabel and the mouth of the Rio Grande (2 documents), supply reports addressed to Major Thomas Eastland, and bio for General George Crossman.
44 February 7-June 19, 1848, undated
Inventory of military stores at Vera Cruz and Monterey, clothing receipts from the Little Rock arsenal, cavalry supply reports (4 documents), description list of extra duty men, quartermaster reports for June, abstract of supply consumed by volunteer troops, document from Company G, 16th Regiment of Volunteers, and bio of General Alexander Welch Reynolds.
45 February 5-October, 1849
Claim of A. F. Read regarding pay, quartermaster requisition report, supply and fuel reports for Volunteers stationed in New Mexico Territory (4 documents).
46 1856
Barnard Bee poem about the Infantry. Excellent and witty, includes pen and ink drawings that are cleverly done.
47 undated
Resolution of the citizens of Brazoria County to support Sante Fe to remain a part of Texas. A petition of citizens of Pennsylvania to allow F. M. Partridge, Principal of Military Institute at Harrisburg, to serve in Mexican War. Removed to oversize (GO8)



 

Series III. Mexican Letters and Documents, 1846-1848.
Extent 0.17 linear ft. (45 folders)

Arranged chronically. Letters in this series include military correspondence, legal correspondence, and correspondence from Mexican soldiers. The documents relate to the war, as well as to events outside of the war taking place in Mexico. A summary explanation in English is included in the folders with some of the documents. Note: The letters and documents in this series are in Spanish and have not as yet been described.