US Army Regulars in Camp
Major Luther Giddings, First Ohio Volunteers
A stroll through the encampment on the morning after our arrival at Camargo, afforded me, a raw volunteer, much pleasure and instruction. It was the first of any magnitude and by far the most beautiful one I ever beheld. Never before, indeed, had I seen a battalion of our regular troops either in camp or garrison. But there in the same field were horse, foot and artillery; not in great force, it is true, but perfect in all their appointments and discipline. Four light batteries of six guns each, a few squadrons of dragoons, and four brigades of infantry comprising the divisions of Twiggs and Worth, in all about three thousand men, comprised the regular army of General Taylor.
The tent of every officer and private was pitched in its proper place, so that knowing a man's rank and company, his quarters could be almost as easily found as any number in the streets of our principal cities. In front of the camp was a vast and well smoothed parade-ground; along the edge of which was a row of fading fires at which breakfast had just been prepared. The long lines of white canvas and stacks of burnished arms, interspersed with umbrageous rose-wood and mesqueet trees; troops of splendid horses standing with the calm dignity of veterans at their pickets; batteries of artillery, their bright muzzles gleaming from beneath tarpaulins like watch-dogs peering from their kennels; these assisted in forming one of those impressive martial spectacles that swell the veins and give fresh vigor to the step. Militia camps and parades I had often witnessed, but though every man wore the lace, and feathers, and gaudy trappings of a Field Marshal, they presented but a sorry mimicry of war. Here, however, was Mars himself; in repose, yet armed cap-a-pie and ready for action. The very calmness and order that pervaded the camp would have told plainly enough that it was no holiday affair even if many of the quiet men around us had not exhibited upon their persons and bronzed faces the marks of recent battle.
Luther Giddings. Sketches of the Campaign in Northern Mexico. (New York: 1853), pp. 74-75.