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Lt. Patrick Calhoun Letter, 27 July 1845, New Orleans, LA, to John Caldwell Calhoun

Letter, 27 July 1845, from Lt. Patrick Calhoun (1821-1858) to his father, John Caldwell Calhoun, documents the younger Calhoun's role in the Mexican War. Patrick, an 1841 graduate of West Point, was a career army officer. In 1845, he was at western department command headquarters in New Orleans, serving as aide-de-camp to Brevet Major General Edmund Pendleton Gaines.

Gaines, the letter explains, had hoped to leave New Orleans by mid-July, but had remained until "the Troop destined for Texas" could sail. "Gen. Gaines intended at one time to review them prior to their embarcation, indeed ground had been selected near the city in which to review, when a circumstance occured which caused him to give up the idea. Col. Vose who was drilling his Regiment...preparatory to its being reviewed, was suddenly seized with an indisposition, brought on immediately by the heat of the sun and the exertion incidental to the drill, which obliged him to leave the parade, he had scarcely reached his quarters and was in the act of unbuckling his sword, when he fell dead upon the floor. This...rendered it evident that it would be imprudent to expose the Troop more to the sun than was necessary."

"Unless the Government at Washington is fully informed upon this subject," Calhoun continued, "it is...acting strangely and without proper forethought in sending in so small and ill appointed a force. The whole force when consolidated will amount to scarce fifteen hundred men, all told. Of these Gen. Taylor will at no time be able to bring more than eleven to twelve hundred into the field....The Dragoons will not be able...to join him under six weeks, and when they do, will probably not more than one half be mounted....The artillery company sent over, is without cannon, and will hardly get there before the 1st of September as they have not arrived here nor have they been heard of. Take the movement altogether it is one of the most bungling affairs I have ever known or heard of."

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