This is Colonel Obed Stewart Murchison. I am writing this from a café in Montevideo. General Scott's men have secured this quarter of the city for the moment, but General Sanchez's men, bolstered by Brazilian irregulars, are expected to renew the attack shortly. I have time to write only a few words as I finish my cup of maté. There is much to say about the events of the last month, and I hope to post further dispatches as time and the fortunes of war allow.
Four short weeks ago (or has it been four centuries!), General Scott lay confined to his bed, and though his eventual recovery was expected, his days as an energetic participant in the nation's affairs seemed long over. But as a burning log seemingly reduced to dead embers might yet, before the end, have pith enough for a last triumphant burst of flames, so it is, at times, with generals. Yet, though I describe General Scott's sudden rising as a burst, it had clearly been long in the planning. On that March morning when I entered his chamber to inquire after him, I found the General sitting straight upright, in full uniform, pointing a pistol directly at my breast. Two burly privates stepped up behind me and secured my arms. "Murchison," said the General, "I have forty men ready at my service, and two hundred more waiting to meet me at the train. That train will be in New Orleans tomorrow, and from thence, a steamship will conduct us to the River Plate and the Banda Oriental, which shall, God willing, be in the secure and rightful possession of the United States of America by this coming fall. I want you to come with me, Murchison. You are a good soldier, and I'd as soon have you fighting by my side as any man alive. But by God, Murchison, if you stand in my way, I'll put a bullet through your heart right now."
It ought to have been a difficult choice that faced me. The adventure that General Scott proposed would be, beyond its obvious dangers, in violation of the stated policies of the nation we served, and even, by the harshest interpretation, an act of treason. Yet such was the veneration I felt for the General and his half-century of service to that nation, that it was hardly a choice at all. "Sir," I said, "bullet or no bullet, I am ready to serve you until the end." With the assistance of the privates, I helped the General from his bed and down the stairs, where we were met by the forty men he had mentioned. A small force of soldiers ran up to oppose us, led by Major Prettywillie, but were soon swept aside. A bayonet to the neck brought the Major down. He and I had scarcely been friends--I have never, I confess, disagreed so much with any man--yet I must say that he stood his ground bravely. May I have as good an end.
We were prepared to lift the General into a carriage, but he would have none of it. "To horse!" he cried. "I must be mounted!" Mounting him was no easy task, but once done, it was a wonder to see him in the saddle, as tall and firm as he must have appeared, all those years ago, at the gates of Mexico City. "To New Orleans!" he cried, pointing his saber in the direction of the railway station. "To Montevideo! For God and country and Miss Clair de la Lune!"
The shooting has resumed, and I must join my men. Hasta mañana, as the expression goes here.
 The principal city of Uruguay, located on the northern bank of the Rio de la Plata (River Plate). Murchison refers to Uruguay below by its colonial name, the Banda Oriental (Eastern Bank); the nation had become independent in 1828. Its politics remained dangerously unstable for decades afterwards, and at the time of the events Murchison describes, it was embroiled in the horrifically destructive War of the Triple alliance, which also involved Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.
 A tea-like beverage, made by steeping the dried leaves of the yerba maté plant (Ilex paraguariensis) in hot water (boiling water will make it bitter, though sometimes in the countryside it is preferred that way). The drink is enormously popular in Uruguay and several other South American nations.
 The identity of Miss Clair de la Lune, and her relationship to General Scott, have not been determined. Her name was evidently a pseudonym, presumably referring to the French folk song "Au clair de la Lune."
To be continued