"Surrounded by Dangers of all Kinds": The Mexican War Letters of Lieutenant Theodore Laidley

google preview

You are about to leave the UNT Press website.
Please select from one of the following:

Editor: James M. McCaffrey
Hardcover Price: $27.95

You are about to leave the UNT Press website. Please select from one of the following:

Buy this book from Texas A&M University Press Consortium .
(Distributor for UNT Press books)

Buy this book from Amazon
Buy this book from Barnes & Noble
Buy this book from IndieBound

Hardcover ISBN-13: 9781574410341
Hardcover ISBN-10: 1574410342
Physical Description: 6x9 240 pp. 1 photo. 2 illus.Bib. Index
Publication Date: October 1997
Series: War and the Southwest Series | Volume: 6

"Surrounded by Dangers of All Kinds": The Mexican War Letters of Lieutenant Theodore Laidley is now available as a free e-book at the UNT Digital Library and The Portal to Texas History.

Lieutenant Theodore Laidley, whose army career spanned forty years until his retirement as a colonel in 1882, was a young officer during the Mexican War. Like so many of his fellow soldiers he wrote long letters home describing new and unusual sights and events.

Laidley landed at Veracruz on the Mexican coast in March 1847, and assisted in the reduction of that important port city. He commanded a field battery at Cerro Gordo as General Winfield Scott began his march into the interior of Mexico. The young lieutenant remained with the garrison at Puebla, where his actions were instrumental in denying that city to Santa Anna in a month-long siege in the fall of 1847. Upon his arrival in Mexico City and the victory there and ensuing treaty negotiations, Laidley explored ancient sites and followed the trails first laid by Cortez. On August 2, 1848, the military occupation of Mexico ended and Laidley, now a Brevet Major, returned to the United States.

His letters home to his father in Virginia begin on August 23, 1845 (from Watervliet Arsenal, New York) and end on May 13, 1848 (from Mexico City). They reveal the horrors of the battlefield, his low opinion of volunteer soldiers, the jealousy over promotions within the officer corps, and continued concerns over his own physical and spiritual health.

"I suppose I shall not have time or opportunity to write to you again before we have met the enemy . . . I am sensible that I am going surrounded by dangers of all kinds, but I am going in the discharge of my duties, and God . . . will protect me, and if I fall it will be by His Will . . . "—February 12, 1847

"I do not see that we are a bit nearer a peace now than when we first started; we have had victory after victory and seem to gain nothing by it. Will we be any nearer when we have taken the City of Mexico?"—May 3, 1847

About Author:

JAMES M. MCCAFFREY is an associate professor of history at the University of Houston–Downtown. His previous books include This Band of Heroes: Granbury's Texas Brigade, C.S.A.; Army of Manifest Destiny: The American Soldier in the Mexican War, 18461848; with John F. Kinney, Wake Island Pilot: A World War II Memoir.

See Other Publications Edited By: