[Archive of Gen. Enos Hopping.]. Enos D. Hopping.
[Archive of Gen. Enos Hopping.]

[Archive of Gen. Enos Hopping.]

Mier, Mexico and other locales, 1826–1848. 8vo letter (10” x 8”), blue paper. 12 pp. of manuscript. With additional materials described hereafter.

An archive of manuscripts and printed materials relating to the career of Gen. Enos D. Hopping, including one interesting lengthy letter chronicling the end of the Mexican War and containing numerous references to Gen. Zachary Taylor and other U.S. military commanders.

Enos D. Hopping (1805–1847) was a personal and political friend of Secretary of War William L. Marcy and on 3 March 1847 was appointed by President James Polk as Brig. General in the U.S. Army during the ongoing Mexican War. At the heart of this archive is a twelve page letter—composed in sections over a week in June 1847—written by Hopping from Mata Mura, Mexico to his wife back in the U.S. At Mata Mura, Hopping commands a training camp and is eager for combat despite the war’s imminent close. “There are strong rumors of peace,” he notes:

Santa Anna has resigned all power, to save being turned out, and [José Joaquín de] Herrera has been instated President with the appropriation of the Priests & the peace party. If he shall be elected President, & a favorable congress shall be elected, I think there may be some chance for entering upon negotiation at least.

Hopping confesses his wish that “we shall be able to get up one fight first.” “This coming all the way to Mexico to fight without seeing the elephant is not the thing,” he remarks. While not seeing action, Hopping’s letter nevertheless contains much informative day-to-day reportage on the conclusion of the war. As the letter bears out, Hopping was in close contact with various top officials, including as Gen. Zachary Taylor (1784–1850), Gen. Winfield Scott (1786–1866), Col. Robert E. Temple, et al. Gen. Taylor in particular is frequently mentioned.

Hopping opens the letter by noting he is recovering his health after a period of sickness. “I shall begin to ride a horseback in a day or two,” he notes. Hopping also quickly responds to the ongoing guerilla warfare in Mexico and assures his wife, “I feel as secure here as I did in Syracuse.” This may have been Hopping’s last letter home, as he would die on 1 September 1847 in Mier, Mexico (near the Upper Rio Grande) where he was commanding another training camp. In addition to war content, the letter also covers the whereabouts of certain important U.S. Generals; the local weather (which is very dry); his wife and children’s activities back home; the local religious scene and a nearby Catholic Church he attends for one mass; political affairs and publications back home in New York; descriptions of the camp he presides over; observations of the local native population; having tea with commanders and men from New Orleans; taking siesta; horse-riding outings during which he sees seven-to-eight ft. cacti, and so on.

Some representative passages:

10 June 1847 “I heard this afternoon that Col. Temple had arrived at the Brazos with the balance of the 10th Regt. if so he will be up in a day or two. I want my camp chart & those equipments very much … My duties are nothing so far as labor is concerned, & never will be compared to what they would have been, had I been connected with a Regt. merely.”

11 June “The officers of the port have all called on me—some of them several times. Lieut. Col. Hay of Buffalo calls quite often. I rode down to his camp last night & saw them drill. I shall begin to return their calls in a day or two. I intend to be on the safe side & be prudent.”

“The Catholic Cathedral joins us on one side & we get their noise & hear every morning & some days several times a day. They commence in the morning about sun rise with their chime bells. Then comes their instrumental & vocal music. Chants. We are going in Sunday morning to see them.”

“After I had got shaved up Col. Taylor the Rr of Genl. Taylor company Genl. at this place called with Col. Ruthe[?] of Lousiana Col. of the Regt. of Dragoons belonging to the 10 Regts. He arrived here yesterday direct from N.O. half of his Regt. has gone to Vera Cruz and the other hand is here going to join Genl. Taylor. Maj. Cas, son of Genl. Lewis Cas of Michigan Senate in Congress has been here in command of Col. Ruthes Regt. up to this time.”

“Temple is at the mouth of the river waiting for the two companies to arrive that sailed joint before he did under the command of Capt. Andrews of Buffalo, & even cast away on the Florida coast & taken to Havana Island of Cuba by a Liverpool vessel that happened to come along. They are expected hourly. They were all saved with their vessel was a total loss. Maj. M[?] who sailed before either on the 27th April just before we were in New York has not arrived at the Brazor yet, nor has he been heard from that I can learn.”

“We have just heard that one of Genl. Scott’s supply trains from Vera Cruz to his army in the interior has been cut off by the Mexicans, but have not got particulars as yet. There was a rumor that Genl. Mura[?] had collected a force of a few hundred men near Victoria or San Fernando with a view of attacking this or some other place, but it turned out to be all rumor. Not the least danger in the world of his engaging in such an enterprize he might attack a waggon train with a 100 or two of soldiers but not this or any other port […] It is said the yellow fever has broken out with some virulence at Verza Cruz.”

13 June “I got up early this morning. I shaved, put on clean shirt etc. & went round to church with Wm Acken [?] & Cap. Simmons […] Some very well dressed ladies followed by formal servts, but black & the majority of them resemble our squaws except in dress. No bonnets are worn. All wear a shall or scarf on their heads. Some of the ladies are tolerable white but do not look healthy. The fault is they never go out except to church […] they are a mixture of Spaniard Negro & Indian and about an equal number resembling each […] I was very satisfied with the church & got Simmons to go with me to the store to purchase a summer hat.”

14 June “Today has been quite a busy day. Temple with the balance of the 10th Regt. arrived here last night about 12 o’clock, and between 12 & 1 o’clock come to my quarters with Col. Jay Maj. W. Caty[?] & three or 4 other of his officers to see me to learn whether they were to stop here or go on. They all stop here for the present, and they have been all day laying out their camp & pitching their tents. I have nothing to do with it to be sure. But have been making inquisitions for tents for ourselves.”

“Brazos is at the head of the island of Brazos Santiago where all vessels land & all government property is landed. It is nine miles from there to the mouth of the view, & over this distance every thing has to be transported by waggons which is an immense business […] The government have a large number of steamboats employed on this river transporting property & troops up & down.”

“I feel this morning healthy, vigorous almost as ever […] I feel that I shall enjoy myself here first rate, barring the want of society & the good wife. I cannot endure & have no desire to mingle with Mexicans male or female. In the first place they cannot understand me nor I them, and in the next place I cannot abide their mixture of Indian negro & Spanish, all black enough the lord knows.”

“I have just learned that the Col. of the 13th Regt. under my command will be here in a day or two. Col. Randall informed me also that he was told by an officer from Camango yesterday that Col. Bulkart the officer in command of the town at Camango informed him that my Brigade was to take up quarters at Mier a pleasant town between Camango & Monterey & establish then a camp of instruction. If that be so […] I may not remain here long. It is also rumored that Gen. Taylor in view of the inactive position he is to hold through the summer for want of sufficient reinforcements to proceed, is going home to Baten Rogue to visit his family on leave of absence not having been home in two years although so near. If this be so we shall not get active service this summer, a thing we all are regretting, as had contemplated a march on San Luis Poton & nice little fight there. Scott is evidently managing to take the wind out of the sails of Rough & Ready for the Presidency by keeping him inactive & doing all the active service hereafter himself, but he can’t cover[?] it. The more such a design is apparent the more it will set Gen. Taylor ahead with the people.”

CONDITION: Good, no losses to the text.

Additional archive contents (8vo and oblong 4to):

1826 License to practice law in New York State. Signed, John Savage, Chief Justice of Supreme Court of New York. [with] Military commission 1828 appointing Hopping pay master in a state militia regiment signed by Nathaniel Pitcher (1777–1826) who served briefly as the eighth Governor of New York. [with] 1829 Military commission appointing Hopping as Adjutant in the 147th Militia Regiment, Signed by Enos Throop. [with] 1831 document appointing him major to 147th Militia Reg., signed by Throop and John A. Dix who served at various times as New York governor, Secretary of the Treasury and Union Army Maj. Gen. [with] Beautifully engraved certificate appointing Hopping as an attorney in the state Supreme Court of the state of New York 1832. Signed by John Savage. [with] 1832 Military commission appointing Hopping as Lieutenant Col. Signed by Thropp. [with] 1832 certificate licensing Hopping to practice law. Court of Chancery signed by Reuben H. Walworth. [with] 1835 document appointing Hopping to a position in the court of Chancery, signed by William L Marcy as Governor. [with] 1838 certificate of appointment signed by Marcy. [with] Military commission appointing Hopping Colonel of the 147th Regiment, signed by William H. Leward 1839. [with] Two copies of an oath by Hopping related to his work on the circuit court, 1842. [with] Military commission appointing Hopping as Brig. Gen. in the state militia 1843, Signed by Gen. Nov. Bouck. [with] Beautifully printed invitation to military and civil ball 1844. [with] 1844 financial account document involving Hopping and industrialist and railroad magnate Dean Richmond (1804–1866). [with] 1847 personal financial document. [with] 1847 document appointing Hopping a Brig. Gen. in the U.S. Army, signed by Roger Jones, as Adjutant General [with] Letter dated 10 Aug. 1847 to Hopping from Charles Canning, requesting a position in the staff Department. [with] 1848 letter by Geo. Ringgold in response to repayments to Mrs. Hopping following her husband’s death. [with] Lot of misc. material, an indenture, clippings, etc.

CONDITION: Good.

Item #5555

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