Today in History:

4 Series I Volume IV- Serial 4 - Operations in the South and West

Page 4(Official Records Volume 4)


Numbers 2. Reports of Major Isaac Lynde, Seventh U. S. Infantry, commanding captured forces.

HDQRS. SOUTHERN DISTRICT NEW MEXICO, Fort Fillmore, N. Mex., July 26, 1861.

SIR: I have the honor to report that on the right of the 24th instant a deserter from the Texas troops was brought in by our picket, and he informed me that a large body of mounted men, between 300 and 400, under command of Lieutenant-Colonel Baylor, Texas troops ,were moving up the river, and that he left them at Willow Bar, about 12 miles below the post. Presuming their object to be an attack on the post, I immediately ordered in the two companies of the Seventh Infantry from mounted parties were sent out to reconnoiter. In the mean time the enemy passed up the opposite side of the river through the town of San Tomas, where they captured 7 men of my command left behind by the battalion of the Seventh Infantry in the hurry of departure. After extracting from them wheat information they could in reference to the probable time of the arrival of the troops of First Breckinridge and Buchanan, they were released, and joined the post. All property, public and private, belonging to the command was seized and carried off or destroyed.

About 4.30 o'clock p. m. yesterday I moved in the direction of the town of Mesilla, where the Texas troops then were, with six companies of the Seventh Infantry, one acting as artillery, with the howitzer battery of the post and two companies of rifles. One company of infantry, with the band and convalescents, were left to garrison the post, under Lieutenants Stivers and Ryan, Seventh Infantry. Dr. Alden also remained behind. My command numbered about 380 men.

About 2 miles from Mesilla I sent Lieutenant Brooks, Seventh Infantry, A. A. A. G., forward with a white flag to demand the surrender of part of the Texas, who replied that if I wanted the town I must come and take it. I moved the battery forward, and fired two shells at long range, but they burst in the air short of the object. The command continued to advance slowly towards the outskirts of the town, while the battery, which had to be moved by hand, was working through the heavy sand. From a corn field and house on the right we received a heavy fire of musketry, wounding 2 officers and 4 men and killing 3 men. As night was coming on, and the fields and houses on both sides of the road were filled white men, and the howitzer useless, except as a field battery, owing to the difficulty of moving thought the sand, I decided to withdraw my force and return to my post. The march back was i\uninterrupted, and to-day I am fortifying with sand bags, &c., in anticipation of an attack. I have sent an express to Captain Gibbs, directing him to return to Fort Craig with his command, a she cannot join this post now. They have possession of the road above. Orders will be sent, if possible, to the commanders of the troops from Forts Breckinridge and Buchanan to take the nearest route to Fort Craig from a point where the orders reach them.

A re-enforcement of 100 men joined the Texans from Fort Bliss last night. Their force at present, with the addition of the citizens of Mesilla, is nearly 700 men. I am hourly expecting an attack. The