Brent Mount sent me the following letter from Samuel George W. Ely to his aunt and uncle, Addison and Hetty Mount.
In looking over some old papers this week, Mrs. R. M. Martin found a time marked letter wirtten by her father Saml. G. W. Ely while he was serving as a soldier in the Mexican war. The letter is written on a large double sheet and folded so as to form its own envelope. The ink is remarkably distinct and the paper remains in good condition despite nearly 82 years.
Young Ely was critically ill following the voyage and when the letter was written had not recovered much of his strength. There was evidently an interval of time between the first and second sections of the letter for the last part was written with all the marks of hand weakened by illness and the homesickness that is apparent between the lines.
The letter follows:
Texas, August 23, 1846
I now take up my pen to inform you that I have been sick some time but I am on the ment. I have eaten some greasy pan cakes, and molasses and tea and it tasted very well. The diet we have to live on is bacon, flour and crackers, rice, sugar and coffee and some times molasses, so you may inow how we get along, and a hard bed to lie on.
We left the barracks the 25th of July and went to Orleans where we stopped two days then we rossed the Gulf to Brazos, Santiago, where we stayed a week and then we moved up the Rio Grande about nine miles and are enfcamped about 300 yards from the river in a chaparral grove which is of singular appearance.
The chaparral grows some eight or ten feet high and resembles an old peach orchard, and beneath them grows the prickly pear to any amount, and cayenne pepper in abundance. Everthing that grows here has a thorn on. We are entirely surrounded by ponds of salt water and the water we use is out of the Rio Grande which is about like the Missouri.
The boyus had a very hard time crossing the Gulf. Such another vomiting I never saw and we had the misfortune to lose two of our company to wit: Robert Potter and John Simpson, whom we buried in the Gulf, a sight I never seen before.
I have no very important news. There is some news that we march up the river to Chemargo in a short time and some prospect that we shall have a battle. There is news that the Mexicaans have about 30,000 men collected at Monterey.
I thought I would try and write a few lines. I have been very sick. I had very good health all the time from Springfield to the barracks nd all the time I was there but as soon as we got on the steamboat I was taken with the headache for some two or three days and had to take medicine and have been sick ever sine. I have taken a good deal of medicine I assure you.
I am in good spirits that I will get well. I wish that I was there with you a week or two. I think I could get well. I wish I had some water out of the old pump and some of that good rice pudding that I ate that time I was there.
There is nothing to suit a sick man here. If they do well here they can stand anything I think. The river water is fetched at night and it will be clean by morning. I do not know when we will be discharged. The captain says that we will be home for Christmas time to take dinner. I am not very stout and will have to leave off writing.
I remain your nephew,
Samuel G. W. Ely