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Daguerreotype Mexican American War

Started by J. Wilhelm, April 17, 2022, 09:46:29 PM

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J. Wilhelm

From a historian I follow on Twitter. Historian Enrique Ortiz (aka "Tlatoani Cuauhtémoc" @Cuauhtemoc_1521) dug up an extraordinary daguerreotype from 1847, taken on the field of battle, on 18th of April, 1847, during the Battle of Mt. Cerro Gordo, Veracruz. The Americans have taken prisoners and among them is Mexican Sergeant Antonio Bustos who had recently lost the left foot to a stray bullet. The injury required the amputation of his leg by Belgian doctor Peter Van der Linder (on the Mexican side; he's listed as "Pedro Van der Linder"").

The daguerreotype was taken right after Sgt Bustos, Dr. Linder et al were taken as prisoners
Battle of Cerro Gordo, Veracruz, 1847. Mexican American War.

The processed image

A letter from Van der Linder to Colonel Luis Carrión, in charge of the Medical Corps details how the events transpired:

"At 6am on the 18th, some wounded arrived. Knowing that the enemy had taken the Mount, I deemed unnecessary to recall an ambulance carriage, as It was already behind us, and thus came to help Mr. Rivadeneira. Further behind, at three rifle shots of distance,on top of the hill, there was a cottage made from weeping bamboo, where I found several wounded infantry men, among them Sgt. Bustos.

All our cavalry was spread over the Camino Real (Royal Road). The brigade of Mr. Ortega galloped down the hill, and thus Mr.Dominguez came to me at such speed that I had to stop him, so I could help with the amputation of Sgt. Bustos' leg.

I set up all necessary implements for the operation in the cottage hall and had Mr.Tarbe and Mr. Verde hold the patient, with Mr. Dominguez and Mr. Rivadeneira helping me on everything else. I began cutting into Sgt. Bustos' flesh as bullets rained on the cottage. As some of the bullets went through the thin walls of the cottage,it forced q retreat of the cavalry in front of the cottage."

Enrique Ortiz adds "Dr. Van der Linder was almost shot to death with his helpers, had it not been for the intervention of a Mexican captain."