Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    A Mexican War soldier writes to give "some account of my Mexican tour"

    Mexican War Letter. Great content autograph letter signed, four full pages, 8" x 12", September 1848, Bloomington, McLean County [Illinois]. Mexican War soldier Leonard Sevett writes this illuminating letter about his experience as a soldier in the Mexican War to "Friend Drummond" after the war had ended and he had returned to his home in Bloomington. Sevett begins his letter by playfully admitting that his intention in this letter is to "make myself the hero of the story". Aware of the regional split concerning the war, he then writes of the differing views held by Southerners and New Englanders about the Mexican War: "Cold, calculating" New Englanders were against the war because "they have suffered less. . . . Her sons were not its victims. Her hearths were not desolated by its battles." But that was "not so the South. Every village is in mourning." Sevett admits to taking sides with the South and he gives a list of reasons for joining the fight: "chivaldry [sic] . . .patriotism . . . the secret charm in the name senorita . . . and an insaciable [sic] love for roving I shouldered my rusty gun and was mustered into service."

    He volunteered at Madison, Indiana. From there, he went to Kentucky and "after drilling about a fortnight we started for New Orleans and then to Vera Cruz." While travelling with a company of infantry guarding a wagon train from Vera Cruz to Cordova, a skirmish broke out between U.S. and Mexican guerillas: "a man standing about three feet from me was shot in the chin. His jaw was broken but he survived." On the trip back to Vera Cruz, Sevett was "attacked by the infernal diarrhea. It was four days before I arrived at the Hospital at Vera Cruz. I was so week then as to be unable to walk. My discharges were entirely blood and averaged about twenty a day. I had a good look to die I assure you." Sevett reports that four weeks later he was finally "able to walk about."

    He ends his letter by describing his miserable journey back to New Orleans following the end of the war aboard a bark with 126 "sick soldiers none of whom could have walked the quarter of a mile to save life." With rations of "tainted pork, coffee and wormy crackers", the trip was made even worse when "the hold of the vessel soon became so filthy that no well dog could live there". Thus ends Sevett's letter, though he promises to be "more explicit at another time." Fastened together with light blue ribbon, the letter contains folds and is in fine condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2009
    24th-25th Saturday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 787

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 April 17 Featuring the Michael Ward Collection Americana & Political Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The department director has the heart of a true and highly knowledgeable collector with the business acumen of someone who has been not only successful but has decades of an impeccable track record
    David Greenburg,
    Chicago, IL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search