Commodore David Conner, aboard the U.S.S. Raritan, off Sacrificios, to John Y. Mason, Secretary of the Navy, at Washington, D.C. Dispatch reporting the landing of Scott's troops at Vera Cruz.
United State Ship Raritan,
Sir: - In my last despatch, dated on the 7th instant, I informed the department of the arrival of Major General Scott at Anton Lizardo. Most of the transports with troops, and the material of the army, having arrived about the same time, a speedy disembarkation was resolved upon; it being important that we should effect a landing before a norther should come on, as this would delay us two or three days.
After a joint reconnoissance, made by the general and myself, in the steamer "Petrita," the beach due west from Sacrificios, one the points spoken of in my previous letter, was selected as the most suitable for the purpose. The anchorage near this place being extremely contracted, it became necessary, in order to avoid crowding it with an undue number of vessels, to transfer most of the troops to the vessels of war, for transportation to Sacrificios.
Accordingly, on the morning of the 9th at daylight, all necessary preparations, such as launching and numbering the boats, detailing officers, &c., having been previously made, this transfer was commenced. The frigates received on board between twenty-five and twenty-eight hundred men, with their arms and accoutrements; and the sloops and smaller vessels numbers in proportion. This part of the movement was completed very successfully about 11 o'clock, a.m., and a few minutes thereafter, the squadron under my command, accompanied by the commanding general, in the steamship Massachusetts, and such of the transports as had been selected for the purpose, got under way.
The weather was very fine - indeed we could not have been more favored in this particular than we were. We had a fresh and yet gentle breeze from the southeast, and perfectly smooth sea.
The passage to Sacrificios occupied us between two and three hours. Each ship came in, and anchored without the slightest disorder or confusion in the small space allotted to her, the harbor being still very much crowded, notwithstanding the number of transports we had left behind. The disembarkation commenced on the instant. Whilst we were transferring the troops from the ships to the surf-boats, (sixty-five in number,) I directed the steamers "Spitfire" and "Vixen," and the five gun-boats, to form in a line parallel with and close to the beach, to cover the landing. This order was promptly executed, and these small vessels, from the lightness of their draughts, were enabled to take positions within good grape range of the shore. As the boats severally received their complements of troops, they assembled in a line abreast, between the fleet and the gun-boats; and, when all were ready, they pulled in together, under the guidance of a number of the officers of the squadron who had been detailed for this purpose. General Worth commanded this, the first line of the army, and had the satisfaction of forming his command on the beach and neighbouring heights just before sunset. Four thousand five hundred men were thus thrown on shore almost simultaneously. No enemy appeared to offer us the slightest opposition. The first line being landed, the boats, in successive trips, relieved the men-of-war and transports of their remaining troops, by 10 o'clock, p.m.
The whole army, (save a few straggling companies,) consisting of upwards of ten thousand men, were thus safely deposited on shore, without the slightest accident of any kind.
The officers and seamen under my command vied with each other, on that occasion, in a zealous and energetic performance of their duty. I cannot but express to the department the great satisfaction I have derived from witnessing their efforts to contribute all in their power to the success of their more fortunate brethren of the army. The weather still continuing fine to-day, we are engaged in landing the artillery, horse, provisions, and other material.
The steamer New Orleans, with the Louisiana regiment of volunteers, eight hundred strong, arrived almost opportunely, at Anton Lizardo, just as we had put ourselves in motion. She joined us, and her troops were landed with the rest. Another transport arrived at this anchorage to-day. Her troops also have been landed.
General Scott has now with him upwards of eleven thousand men. At his request, I permitted the marines of the squadron, under Captain Edson, to join him, as a part of the 3d regiment of artillery. The general-in-chief landed this morning, and the army put itself in motion at an early hour, to form its lines around the city. There has been some distant firing of shot and shells from the town and castle upon the troops as they advanced, but without result.
I am still of the opinion expressed in my previous communications, as to the inability of the enemy to hold out for any length of time. The castle has, at most, but four or five weeks' provisions, and the town about enough for the same time.
I am, very respectfully, &c.,
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Citation: Steven R. Butler, ed. A Documentary History of the Mexican War (Richardson, Texas: Descendants of Mexican War Veterans, 1995), pp. 196-197.