Barna N. Upton

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Barna N. Upton

Birthplace: Charlemont, Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States
Death: October 15, 1847 (27)
Garita de Belen, Mexico City, Mexico (Died in Mexican War)
Place of Burial: Charlemont, Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Nehemiah Newhall Upton and Phebe Upton
Brother of Emma Dwight Hendee

Occupation: Farmer-Clothier
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Barna N. Upton

Veteran of Mexican American War

Enlisted: Dec.14, 1845

Rank: Private

Cos.: E and C


Branch: Infantry

Wounded in action Sept.13, 1847 at Garita de Belen (Belen Gate) in Battle for Mexico City; died of wounds Oct.15, 1847.

Upton was born on July 26, 1820, the eldest son of Nehemiah Newhall Upton, a farmer and clothier of Charlemont, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1845, fought in the Mexican War, and died in Mexico City on October 15, 1847 of wounds he received at a battle outside the city. Summary:Twenty-five ALS (three of which are manuscript copies) written by Barna N. Upton to his father Nehemiah, his brother Elias, his sister Susan, and other family members and friends, dating from July 7, 1842 to August 7, 1847. With the exception of his first letter, which was written to his family while he was working as a farmhand in Williamsburg, Massachusetts, Upton's letters document his experiences as a soldier in Company E of the 3rd Regiment U.S. Infantry before and during the Mexican War. The letters describe his enlistment in the army and camp life on Governors Island, New York, early in 1845; his voyage from New York to New Orleans that spring; camp life at Fort Jesup, Louisiana, Corpus Christi, Texas, Matamoros, Camargo, Veracruz, and Jalapa, Mexico; and battles in which he fought including Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, and Cerro Gordo. His last letter was written from Puebla as he prepared to march to Mexico City. A letter of April 20, 1848, written by William W. Fogg of Upton's Company, informs Upton's father of his son's death in Mexico City on October 15, 1847. Accompanied by typed transcripts of the letters, by an eleven-page typescript by W. H. Goetzmann and Jerry E. Patterson dated June 17, 1959, written as an introduction to the Upton letters which they had edited for publication, and a letter with enclosures from Eleanor S. Upton to Zara Powers dated January 3, 1956, regarding Upton genealogies.

Format:Archives or Manuscripts Cite as:Barna N. Upton Mexican War Letters. Western Americana Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.



Several sources quote pieces of Barnas's account of the Mexican War taken from letters he wrote to his family. I have been unable to find these letters in full content, and much of what is written is copyrighted, but I am taking the liberty to write down a paragraph or two that was quoted in a book.. His writings have been described as very vivid and descriptive and cover everything from camp life to the citizens of Mexico they encountered and their lifestyles, to the atrocities of war. D. Glenn

From Climax at Buena Vista: The Decisive Battle of the Mexican-American War; By David Lavender

"Ridgely's guns had been dismantled for loading and the first infantry had been ferried to the south bank when out from town came a delegation dressed in white, under a white flag, and riding white horses Surrendering their city with fulsome phrases,they asked the the rights of their inhabitants be respected. Taylor agreed. May's dragoons galloped ahead to raise American flags over the Mexican forts.The band struck up "Yankee Doodle", and the troops marched into the plaza with a lift to their spirits. In the eyes of young Barna Upton even nature brightened; the air felt lighter, the sky seem higher and more dazzling."


Attacks on the Belen and San Cosme Gates

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Quitman's Division made its way down the Belén Causeway towards the Belén Gate, defended by General Terres & Colonel Garay with the 2d Mexico Activos (200 men) and 3 guns ( 1-12 lbs. & 2-8 lbs.), while Worth's Division further to the north made its way up La Verónica Causeway towards the San Cosme Gate, defended by General Rangel's Infantry Brigade (Granaderos Battalion (Adj. A. Manero), 1st Light(Comdte. L. Marquez), part 3d Light (Lt.Col. M.M. Echeagaray)and parts of Matamoros, Morelia and Santa Ana Battalions (Col. J.V. Gonzalez) with 3 guns (1-12 lb, 1-8 lb. and 1 howitzer 24 lbs. Quitman was merely supposed to make a feint towards the city, but he pushed forward his whole division and broke through the defenses. Santa Anna arrived at the Belén Gate in a fury and relieved the front commander. Worth's Division in the meantime had a slow start against the Mexicans after beating off a Mexican cavalry attack. When he reached San Cosme, he found its defenses ill prepared, but the Mexicans defending it put up a good fight before falling back. Ulysses S. Grant found his way into the action along the causeway on Worth's front and helped in hoisting a cannon into the belltower of a nearby church. From this spot Grant fired into the defenders below. When the fighting subsided on all fronts, both gates had fallen and the Mexicans had withdrawn into the city. Other gates defended were: San Antonio by General M. Martínez ( 3d & 4th Ligero & 11th Line with 10 guns ) before withdrawing; Nino Perdido by the National Guards and 2 guns; and San Lázaro, Guadalupe and Villejo, which were defended by small infantry detachments. Other forces were stationed at la Piedad (1st & 2d Mexico Activos and Guanajunto Battalions), the Insurgente bridge (Gen. Arguelles : Invalidos and Lagos Battalion) and in the rear of these (Gen. Ramirez with 2d Ligero and various pickets) before withdrawing to the Citadel.


D. Glenn-2017

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Barna N. Upton's Timeline

July 26, 1820
Charlemont, Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States
October 15, 1847
Age 27
Garita de Belen, Mexico City, Mexico
Levitt Cemetery, Charlemont, Franklin County, Massachusetts, United States