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   Chapter 26 THE PRELIMINARIES OF THE CONFLICT No.26

The War With Mexico, Volume I (of 2) By Justin H. Smith Characters: 46837

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1. The claims did much to embitter feeling in both countries, were one reason for Mexico's breaking off and refusing to resume diplomatic relations, and brought Polk to the point of resolving to recommend forcible action to Congress (p. 181). The series of diplomatic clashes led to the danger of a Mexican attack and hence to Taylor's advance; and his movement, besides exciting further displeasure in Mexico, offered her a convenient and promising opportunity to strike.

2. Smith, Annex. of Texas, 445, 449. 56Wickliffe, private, May 21, 1845. 63Marcy to Taylor, confid., May 28, 1845. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 79, 804. Donelson, June 4, 1845, in Sen. 1; 29, 1, p. 66. 297Polk to Dallas, confid., Aug. 23, 1845.

3. Richardson, Messages, iv, 388. 52J. Y. Mason to Donelson, Aug. 7, 1845.

4. M. B. de Arispe in Niles, Aug. 17, 1816. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 130 (Cárdenas); 140 (Ampudia); 430 (Taylor, no. 93). Cong. Globe, 30, 1, p. 911 (Stephens). 245Bliss to Lamar, Oct. 15, 1846. 52Buchanan to Slidell, Nov. 10, 1845. Wilson, Slave Power, ii, 8. Z. T. Fulmore in Tex. State Hist. Assoc. Qtrly., v, 28. T. M. Marshall, ibid., xiv, 277. I. J. Cox, ibid., vi, 81. Aguila del Norte, Mar. 11, 1846. Nat. Intelligencer, Nov. 5, 1845; Dec. 12, 1846. Ho. Report 70; 29, 2. Kennedy, Texas, ii, 30. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 200. Fisher, Memorials. Bolton, Texas, 1. Bancroft, No. Mex. States, i, 375, 604. Garrison, Extension, 100, 103–7. Tex. Dipl. Corres., i, 257 (Irion). 52Consul Belt, July 5, 1844. Jones, Memoranda, 299 (Hockley). Sen. 18; 30, 1, p. 8 (Marcy). Garrison, Texas, 262. México á través, iv, 375–6. Sen. 1; 29, 1, p. 90 (Donelson). 351Storrs to Webster, Oct. 23, 1847. 52Woll, proclam., June 20, 1844. Boston Advertiser, July 13, 1843. 64Ayunt. of Matamoros to Taylor, June 10, 1846. 82Gov. Tamaul. to govs., Nov. 27, 1846. South. Hist. Assoc. Pubs., v, 351.

The mere assertion of a boundary by Texas proved nothing. She claimed Santa Fe, but the U. S. did not regard the claim as valid (52Buchanan to Slidell, Nov. 10, 1845). Her jurisdiction was not established far beyond the Nueces. Santa Anna, while a prisoner in her hands, made a convention with her which appeared to recognize her claim, and the fact that he was under duress did not signify; but he did not possess Presidential powers at that time; Texas broke the agreement, and Mexico repudiated it. England appeared to countenance the claim of Texas by negotiating with her about the Beales grant, which lay in the disputed region (Wash. Union, Feb. 25, 1847), but this was not at all decisive. Trist's view that any previously existing boundary had been obliterated by the war does not seem to have been attacked by the Mexican peace commissioners (Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 214). Roa Bárcena argues that if there was no boundary in Apr., 1846, the United States could not assert that its territory had been invaded. This is a typically Mexican style of argument, apparently decisive but not sound. The reply is that while no established boundary existed, there was a claimed boundary, and that a serious claim entitles one to act and speak provisionally very much as if it had been established. Trist made another point: If Mexico does not consider the wide and swift Bravo a safe boundary, how could Texas feel satisfied with the little Nueces? The fact that the terms of annexation specified "the territory rightfully belonging to Texas" was often cited as evidence that we knew the Nueces-Rio Grande region did not. This was a mistake. The expression only meant that we were not ready to endorse all the territorial claims of Texas without investigating them. The most doubted of her claims had nothing to do with that region; it related to a part of New Mexico.

5. Clay, Works, v, 213. Amer. State Papers: For. Rels., ii, 662; iv, 424, 430, 468–78. Cong. Globe, 25, 2, app., 555 (Preston); 29, 1, p. 817 (Adams). Richardson, Messages, iv, 483. Woodbury, Writings, i, 361. Wash. Globe, Feb. 3, 1844 (Walker). Treaties in Force, 593. Buchanan to Slidell, Nov. 10, 1845. Forum, July, 1901 (Boutwell). Ficklen in So. Hist. Assoc. Pubs., Sept., 1901. Sato, Land Question. Wash. Union, Apr. 27, 1846. 297Polk to Houston, June 6, 1845; to Donelson, June 15, 1845. Claiborne, Quitman, ii, 14. Richardson, Messages, iv, 479 (Texas as a part of old Louisiana). Ho. Report, 752; 29, 1. 52Donelson to Mayfield, July 11, 1845. Smith, Annex. of Texas, 140–4, 457–8. Chase, Polk Admin., 128. Polk assured Houston that he need feel no apprehensions regarding the Texas boundary in the event of annexation. It may be said that Polk was inconsistent in offering to negotiate about the boundary; but people negotiate about claims they believe in and even about property they clearly own. He had in mind of course to hold the Rio Grande boundary by satisfying Mexico.

The aim in this paragraph is to bring out the essential (for the present purpose) points of a matter that it would require a long article to discuss fully, and many things have to be left unsaid. Personally the author regards the American claim and all conclusions based upon it as unsound. His aim is to show how the matter appeared to Polk. The author is indebted to Dr. E. C. Barker and Dr. I. J. Cox for assistance in reference to this statement; but no responsibility rests on them.

6. Sen. 1; 29, 1, pp. 236 (Totten); 193 (Marcy); 208 (Scott). Sen. 378; 29, 1, p. 44 (Cooper). Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 81 (Bancroft). Wash. Globe, Sept. 4, 1845. Journal Milit. Serv. Instit., xvii (Van Deusen). Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, i, 32, 36–7, 57. Stevens, Campaigns, 12–3. Commercial Review, Dec., 1846, 429 (Poinsett). Capt. Willing in Prof. Memoirs of Corps of Engineers. Cong. Globe, 29, 1, 534–5 (Yell et al.). Ho. 38; 30, 2 (strength of the regular army, Jan. 1, 1846: 7194). Ho. 24; 31, 1: on Texas frontier, May, 3554 (regulars "present and absent"). 61Maynardier, June 15, 1846. Grant, Mems., i, 47–8. Sen. 1; 29, 2, p. 53 (Marcy: May 13, 1846, the entire military force was not over 7640). In Nov., 1845, the army occupied thirty-seven posts.

Each regiment comprised ten companies, but for economy the army had virtually been skeletonized in 1842. After that time a company of infantry and "artillery" included theoretically forty-two privates, a company of field artillery sixty-four (Journ. Milit. Serv. Inst. of U. S., iii, 415), and a company of cavalry fifty; but the numbers always ran ten or twenty per cent below what the law allowed (Sen. 1; 29, 1, p. 193). One or more "grenadier" companies (tall men) formed the right of the infantry regiment, and it had also one or more "light" companies (180C. F. Smith, Sept. 30, 1846; J. D. Toll in Mich. Pioneer Soc. Colls., vii, 112).

Most of the infantry carried flintlock muskets, which could not be relied on for more than a hundred yards. Scott preferred that arm because it had been thoroughly tested (Rowland, Register, 407) and perhaps also because flints could be obtained more readily and surely than could percussion caps. Some 38,000 smooth-bore muskets and 10,000 rifles (calibre 54) were issued during the war. There seem to have been several models of muzzle-loading rifles: Harper's Ferry (1814), model of 1819, model of 1840 or 1842; and some of Hall's breech-loading rifles were used (Sen. 54; 30, 1, particularly table C). The First Mississippi had Whitney rifles (Rowland, Register, 407). The rifles were much more effective but much slower in operation than the muskets. Some 400,000 flints and 950,000 percussion caps were issued. Regarding arms, etc., one may consult Talcott, June 10 (Sen. 54; 30, 1); 39Maynardier to gov. Tenn., Sept. 28, 1847; 39Marcy to Id., Sept. 27; Ho. 2; 29, 1, pp. 402, 418, 425; Sen. 1; 29, 2, p. 162; Ho. 41; 29, 2 (Talcott's report); Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 683; Norton, Amer. Breech-Loading Small Arms; and visit the National Museum (Washington), and the museums at West Point, Colt's factory (Hartford), and U. S. Cartridge Co. (Lowell).

Our dragoons, who were "light cavalry," were armed with musketoons which were carried on sling belts except on the march, sabres of the Prussian dragoon style and horse pistols. The Mounted Rifles had percussion rifles and Colt's army revolvers but no sabres. The cavalry had sabres, rifle carbines, and Colt's navy revolvers (Brackett, U. S. Cav., 160). Some "pepper-box" revolvers were used (Arnold, Jackson, 113). The regular cartridge (very carefully made) consisted of powder, a bullet, and three buckshot (148Chamberlain, recolls.).

The field batteries were Companies K (Taylor) of the First regiment, A (Duncan) of the Second, C (Ringgold) of the Third, and B (Washington) of the Fourth. E (Bragg) of the Third actually served as light artillery though not officially recognized as such until June, 1847. Each of these companies had four or six bronze pieces, which included two or more 6-pounders and usually one or two 12-pound howitzers. See particularly 61Maynardier's statement, June 15, 1846, several letters in the Duncan papers, and Journ. Milit. Serv. Instit., iii, 415. In 1839 Capt. Robert Anderson translated the French "System of Light Artillery." By 1842 a long course of experimenting gave us suitable bronze for guns (Sen. 1, 30, 1, p. 679). That year the commander-in-chief ordered a regular course of practice with field artillery, and a liberal allowance of ammunition was made (ibid., 680). This branch of the service was also greatly improved by sending three ordnance officers abroad to study the subject. Each head of a battery was chosen for his special fitness, and Ringgold in particular devoted himself to developing the arm with remarkable intelligence and zeal (Henry, Camp. Sketches, 105; Niles, May 30, 1846, p. 201; 259Ridgely to cits., July 24, 1846; Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 679; Wynne, Ringgold; Benet, Ordnance Reports, ii, 158).

By permission of the French government, Capt. A. J. Swift was sent to Metz soon after the war with Mexico began to qualify himself to command and instruct an engineer company. The corps included Swift (who died before seeing service), G. W. Smith, and G. B. McClellan as officers, 10 sergeants, 10 corporals, 39 artificers, 39 second class privates, and two musicians (Engineer School, U. S. Army, Occas. Papers no. 16). The American infantry drill did not differ materially from that of the British army (Ballentine). Our army was not fully equal to the best European troops (Poinsett). There had been few opportunities to work the three arms together. A serious defect of the army was the lack of an intelligence department.

The privates wore cloth fatigue caps, jackets and trousers, all of blue; and the officers wore the same, except that at first they had single-breasted frock coats (128Brackett, diary. Id., Lane's Brigade, 250. Ramsey, Other Side, 424). Later, officers frequently had jackets like the men's, but differently trimmed. Further remarks on our army may be found in chap. xxxvi.

7. Taylor. Fry and Conrad, Taylor, passim. French, Two Wars, 84. 224Hitchcock to brother, Aug. 10, 1845. Howard, Taylor, passim. Robinson, Organization, ii, 6. 147Chamberlain, diary. 332Tennery, diary. Scott, Mems., ii, 382–3. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 198, 203. Meade, Letters, i, 26. Claiborne, Quitman, i, 253–4. Poore, Perley's Remins., i, 354. 280Nunelee, diary. Frost, Taylor, 277. 139W. B. to D. Campbell, Apr. 25, 1847. Grant, Mems., i, 100, 139. Donnavan, Adventures, 21. 180Pillow to wife, Aug. 8, 1846. Wash. Union, Aug. 24, 1846. Am. Hist. Review, Apr., 1919, 446, 455–6, 462 (Marcy's diary). And all of Taylor's correspondence.

8. Scott, Mems., ii, 381–2, 386, 408. Journ. Milit. Serv. Instit., xiv, 444. 224Williams to Hitchcock, Nov. 8, 1848. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 147. Meade, Letters, i, 131. Mrs. W. R. Stauffer of New Orleans, granddaughter of Gen. Taylor, to whom the author is indebted for documents and information, told him that the family name for Bliss was "Perfect Bliss." His precise title was Assistant Adj. Gen., of course. It is instructive to compare Taylor's autograph letters with the official reports credited to him.

9. 63Marcy to Taylor, confid., May 28. Sen. 1; 29, 1, pp. 57, 107 (Donelson). Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 81 (Bancroft); 800–2, 806 (Taylor); 804 (Donelson). Sen. 18; 30, 1, pp. 6 (Donelson); 3 (Taylor); 8, 9 (Marcy).Sen. 337; 29, 1, pp. 73–5. Sen. 378; 29, 1, p. 44 (Cooper). Journ. Milit. Serv. Instit., 1882, p. 399. Autograph, Dec., 1911 (Taylor). Wash. Union, June 25, 1847. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 193. So. Qtrly. Rev., Apr., 1846, pp. 440–3. Hist. Mag., Jan., 1870, 19. Mexico had an outpost customhouse at Point Isabel, just north of the Rio Grande. Paredes charged that a Mexican reconnoitring party was disarmed at Laredo, on the north side of the Rio Grande. We have no other evidence of such an affair. Taylor instructed Maj. Hays, commanding Texas Rangers at S. Antonio, to send word of any Mexican movements in the vicinity of Laredo, "with strict injunctions, however, to molest no Mexican establishments" (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 107), and the orders to occupy Laredo were not given until Oct. 15, 1846 (245Bliss to Lamar). Possibly a threatening Mexican party may have been disarmed as a measure of precaution, but the bare statement of Paredes cannot be accepted as proof.

10. Taylor, gen. orders, 1. Henshaw narrative. So. Qtrly. Review, Apr., 1846, pp. 442–4. 66Sanders to Taylor, Feb. 15, 1846. 197Gaines to R. Jones, Sept. 10. N. Orl. Tropic, Oct. 16. 42Gov. Va. to gen. assembly, Dec. 7, 1846. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 173. 224Hitchcock to brother, Feb. 10, 1846. 13Elliot, no. 21, 1845. 13Kennedy, no. 22, 1845. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 98, 100, 102–3, 802 (Taylor). Richmond Enquirer, Sept. 13, 1845. 52J. Y. Mason to Donelson, Aug. 7. 331Taylor to Conner, July 16. Mayer, War, 91–2. N. Y. Tribune, Sept. 12. French, Two Wars, 34. J. Davis in Cong. Globe, 31, 1, app., 1034–41. Polk, Messages, May 11; Dec. 8, 1846 (Richardson, Messages). Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 194. Meade, Letters, i, 26. Grant, Mems., i, 64. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 17, 32. Sen. 378; 29, 1, p. 45.

The Texans were kept at that point as scouts. Corpus Christi had been held by Texas during her revolutionary contest with Mexico (Tropic, Oct. 25, 1845). The other two companies of the Fourth Infantry were ordered from Fort Scott to Taylor, and Bragg's artillery came from Charleston harbor. The New Orleans artillery companies were called out without authority by Gaines, who commanded the military dept. of the west. They remained with Taylor the three months for which they engaged (Sen. 378; 29, 1, p. 3). Taylor planned to go on to S. Patricio, now a name rather than a place, 25 miles up the Nueces-a plan like that which he soon executed on the Rio Grande. Lieut. Col. E. A. Hitchcock, who had taught at West Point and now commanded the Third Infantry, pointed out that, should he do so, his base would be a fine mark for attack. Taylor would not see the point but he gave up the plan. (For this episode see: 224Hitchcock to brother, Feb. 10, 1846; Id., Fifty Years, 48, 196; Grant, Mems., i, 71–2; Meade, Letters, i, 29.) He thought of Pt. Isabel also; but, having so small a force, no engineers, and little artillery (at first none), he deemed it unsafe to go there (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 107).

11. London Times, May 14, 1846. (Knew) Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 195; So. Qtrly. Rev., Apr., 1846, p. 443; Mayer, War, 91. (Accepted) 52J. Y. Mason to Donelson, Aug. 7, 1845. 256Marcy to Wetmore, May 10, 1846 (private): A "liberal confidence" was reposed in Taylor; "His positions in Texas were left very much to his own judgment except they were to be taken between the Nueces and the Rio del Norte."

12. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 38–9. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 110. Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 257. J. Davis, in Cong. Globe, 31, 1, app., 1034–41. N. Y. Tribune, Sept, 12, 1845.

13. 65Taylor, gen. orders, 2. 61Id. to adj. gen., Feb. 3, 1846, and Scott's comments. 61Adj. gen. to Taylor, Jan. 5, 1846. So. Qtrly. Rev., Apr., 1846, pp. 440–57 [probably from Bragg]. Nat. Intelligencer, Nov. 20, 1845. 13Elliot, nos. 3, 14, 1846. 218Henshaw narrative. 136Butterfield, recolls. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 93, 96. 224Hitchcock to brother, Aug. 10, 1845; Feb. 10, 1846. Mobile Commercial Register, Aug. 23, 1845. Autograph, Jan.-Feb., 1912 (Taylor). 364Worth to S., Oct. 24; Nov.-, 20, 1845; to daughter, Nov. 3. Revue des Deux Mondes, Aug. 1, 1847, 388–90. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 198, 203, 215. Meade, Letters, i, 31, 37. 13Letter from Corp. Chr., Nov. 29 (sent by Elliot). 185Duncan to Bliss, Jan. 5, 1846; to court of inquiry, Jan. 7. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 45. 213Hatch to sister, Oct. 28, etc. The conditions were probably tolerable until November.

14. Worth to S., Dec. 20, 1845; Jan. 1; Mar. 4, 1846. Meade, Letters, i, 87. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 204, 206. 60Worth to Taylor, Mar. 8, 1846, and Scott's comments. 60Churchill to Scott, Mar. 2. 69Twiggs to Bliss, Feb. 18. 69Worth to Taylor, Feb. 24. 66Mansfield to Totten, Apr. 2. Polk, Diary, Mar. 11, 1846. (Concluded) 224Hitchcock to brother, Feb. 10, 1846.

15. 63Marcy to Taylor, Aug. 23. (No declaration) 297Polk to Dallas, Aug. 23; 52J. Y. Mason to Donelson, Aug. 7, 1845.

July 30 Marcy 63instructed Taylor to place some forces south of the Nueces, but Taylor had anticipated the order. The government was accused of issuing vague orders with the hope that the General would assume the responsibility of going to the Rio Grande; but it does not seem to have shrunk from taking a stand when it had the requisite information. Mexico did not in fact have all the "posts" north of the Rio Grande that Marcy seems to have supposed were there, but besides the customs men at Pt. Isabel, there seem to have been troops at Laredo and soldiers from Matamoros crossed the river. Aug. 30 Marcy ordered Taylor to drive the Mexicans beyond the Rio Grande, should they invade Texas (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 88). This was proper, for such an invasion would have seemed to mean war; but the order showed a want of prudence (Upton, Mil. Policy, 197) because (1) Taylor was expected to draw reinforcements from the states, which could not have provided them in time to save him from the sudden attack of an overpowering Mexican army, and (2) he was authorized to cross the river with militia, who could not legally be taken beyond the border. Oct. 4 Taylor wrote that under his instructions he did not feel at liberty to go to the Rio Grande. Oct. 16 Marcy directed him to place his winter quarters (which implied that no aggressive plans were in mind) as near the Rio Grande as prudence and convenience would permit (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 89). This was judicious, for (as Marcy pointed out) the troops might have to repel Mexican or Indian incursions, and, at a season when they would be somewhat unprepared to move quickly, it was particularly desirable to have them as near as possible to scene of action.

16. Polk, Diary, Jan. 13, 1846. The despatches were Slidell's Dec. 17 (with copy of El Siglo XIX containing the council's report) and Black's Dec. 18, which indicated that the administration and the council of state had decided against Slidell. Polk, Message, Dec. 8, 1846. Cong. Globe, 30, 1, app., 240–1. 63Marcy to Taylor, Jan. 13.

17. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 103, 108, 111, 116–21 (Taylor); 649, 651–2 (Cross). W. P. Johnston, Johnston, 131. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 207. 224Id. to brother, Feb. 10, 1846. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 52. 65Taylor, gen. orders, 13, 20, 26, 30. 69Sibley, Feb. 21. 69Hunt of the Porpoise, Mar. 11. 69Mansfield to Taylor, Mar. 6. 76Mejía, Mar. 14. The soldiers were accompanied by about an equal number of quadrupeds.

18. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 90, 92 (Marcy); 117, 120–4, 127 (Taylor); 651 (Cross). Diario, Mar. 30; Apr. 10. C. Christi Gazette, Mar. 12.

19. The march. Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 401–4. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 53–65. Smith, To Mexico, 22–9. French, Two Wars, 37, 41–5. Henshaw narrative. 69Twiggs to Bliss, Mar. 15, 1846. Grant, Mems., i, 69. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 211.

20. Picayune, Apr. 7, 1846. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 123 (Taylor); 127 (Mejía). 65Taylor, gen. orders 33. Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 404–6. Diario, Apr. 24. 69Alba to Taylor, Mar. 12. Henshaw narrative. Smith, To Mexico, 29–31. Grant, Mems., i, 87–8. 69Statement of Italian. And from 76the following. To Mejía, Mar. 1 (Mejía was forbidden to take the aggressive because the govt. wished first to gather enough troops to strike a decisive blow: 76to Vega, Mar. 1). Mejía, Jan. 18; Feb. 16; Mar. 4, 6, 14, 17, 18. Canales, Feb. 28. Mejía to Vega, Feb. 16. C. Bravo to Mejía, Mar. 13; reply, Mar. 17. To Vega, Mar. 1. Mex. officer (spy), Feb. 18. Mejía to Parrodi, Mar. 6; to Canales, Feb. 16. Ampudia, Mar. 28.

21. 65Taylor, gen. orders 34–7. Henshaw narrative. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 123, 125, 129, 132 (Taylor); 130 (Cárdenas). 224Hitchcock, diary, Mar. 25. 66Mansfield to Totten, Mar. 25; Apr. 23. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 173. Sen. 1; 29, 2, p. 46 (Marcy). 69Statement of Italian. Picayune, Apr. 7; May 1. Apuntes, 32. Niles, Apr. 18, p. 112. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 211–7. Meade, Letters, i, 59, 100. Nebel and Kendall, 1. Smith, To Mexico, 32–4. 163Taylor to Conner, Apr. 3. Robertson, Remins., July 7. Monitor Repub., Apr. 17. Diario, Mar. 15. 76Mejía, Mar. 21, 28. 76To Mejía, Mar. 21; Apr. 3.

On his way to Point Isabel Taylor was presented with a formal protest against his advance by J. Cárdenas, prefect of northern Tamaulipas. On the approach of his transports the captain of the port, by Mejía's orders, set fire to the customhouse and the few poor thatched cottages of the hamlet, and fled with the officials. Mar. 31 Taylor had present opposite Matamoros and at Point Isabel 248 officers, 3001 rank and file (62R. Jones to Cass, Jan. 21, 1848).

22. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 132–3, 145, 1202 (to Mejía, Mar. 28), 1203 (Taylor); 134 (minutes); 1203 (Mejía). 65Taylor, gen. orders 38–9, 45. 61Id. to adj. gen., Mar. 29. 66Mansfield to Totten, Apr. 2, 23. 285Mejía to Paredes, Apr. 3. 76Id. to Guerra, Mar. 28. Negrete, Invasión, ii, 120. Smith, To Mexico, 34. 118Berlandier, diary. 118Id., memo. Meade, Letters, i, 59.

Taylor, a few minutes after his arrival, deputed Worth to reach an understanding with Mejía. This proved impossible. Worth demanded permission to confer with the American consul residing at Matamoros, but was not permitted to do so. He notified the Mexicans that crossing the river in armed force would be viewed as an act of war. Taylor's field-work was called Fort Texas or sometimes Fort Taylor at first. Taylor offered to let the people of Matamoros continue to use their port on Brazos Island, which was north of the Rio Grande. 76Jan. 6 he had proposed to the Mexicans to agree on measures to prevent "exasperation on either side."

23. See p. 117. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 133, 138–9, 142, 145 (Taylor); 140, 144 (Ampudia). (Leave town) 52Consul Schatzel, July 18. Niles, May 2, p. 132. Monitor Repub., Jan. 28, 1847. Diario, Apr. 5, 8, 25. 283Gen. orders, army of the north, Feb. 18; Apr. 3, 14. Ampudia, To Fellow-Cits. (and docs.). Negrete, Invasión, ii, 154, 157, 160. 52Black to Castillo, May 1, 9. 52Castillo to Black, May 5. 69Report from spy. And from 76 the following. Mejía, Feb. 4; Mar. 17, 18; Apr. 2. Id. to Ampudia, Apr. 5. To Ampudia, Feb. 18; Mar. 28; Apr. 4. Ampudia, Mar. 28; Apr. 9, 11, 13, 14. Id. to gov. Tamaulipas, Apr. 12. Id.

to Schatzell, Apr. 11 (order of expulsion; any American crossing the river to be shot). Id. to Mejía, Mar. 30. Id. to Arista, Apr. 14.

Ampudia was thoroughly Mexican in demanding that he should have all the advantages and Taylor all the disadvantages of the quasi state of war that he insisted upon, in protesting against Taylor's action as a declaration of blockade, which it did not pretend to be, and in ordering Taylor to go beyond the Nueces, which he knew was regarded by many Americans (though by no Mexican) as the boundary of Mexico. In two additional ways he indicated that in his view a state of war existed (Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 144, 147). The American consul, seventy years old, had to set out on foot and spend the first night in a field during a norther (República de Rio Grande, June 6).

24. (Ampudia's orders) 73Bermúdez de Castro, no. 218, res., Mar. 29. México á través, iv, 545. Slidell, Jan. 14. Ramírez, México, 79. 285Mejía to Paredes, Apr. 3. Carre?o, Jefes, ccii, 141 (Ampudia was a Cuban by birth). 199Arista to Paredes, Dec. 15, 1845. 13Bankhead, no. 56, 1846. Meade, Letters, i, 61. (Aim) Bustamante, N. Bernal, i, 113. Apuntes, 34–5. And from 76 the following. (A.'s plans) Ampudia, Mar. 28. Id., to Arista, Apr. 14. To Ampudia, Feb. 18. To Arista, Feb. 10; Apr. 4, 20, 22. Arista, Apr. 12, 29. Parrodi, Apr. 29. Ampudia, Apr. 13, 14. Id., proclam., Apr. 18. Arista to Ampudia, Apr. 10.

According to Bermúdez de Castro, the Spanish minister, the opposition writers at Mexico expressed surprise because, after ordering Ampudia to attack the Americans, the government stated it had not committed and would not commit an act of aggression against the United States. Mar. 7 Ampudia ordered Mejía to attack the Americans, but not to risk a decisive action (76Mejía, Mar. 17). The evidence that Ampudia had been ordered to attack Taylor is supported by the fact that he tried to do so even after he knew he had been superseded.

25. (Orders) 76Tornel to Arista, Apr. 4; 76Arista to Guerra, Apr. 26; May 7; Washington Union, Aug. 27; Bankhead, no. 90, 1846. 76Arista to Torrejón, Apr. 24. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 132, 140, 1205 (Taylor); 290 (Thornton); 291 (Hardie); 1204 (Arista). 76Testimony in the court-martial of Arista (Jáuregui, Torrejón, Carrasco, Canales, Mendoza). Smith, To Mexico, 39–42. Spirit of the Times, May 23. Campa?a contra, 4. 69Court of Inquiry on Hardee, May 26. Wash. Union, May 9. Niles, May 16, pp. 165, 176. Negrete, Invasión, ii, 147. 65Taylor, gen. orders 74. 169Id. to Crittenden, Sept. 1.

Taylor had called repeatedly for reinforcements to the regular army (Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 102, 114, 132). Up to May 8 he received 56 recruits (ibid., 142). The conciliatory policy of the Americans made it impossible to take military precautions against spies, and Thornton was doubtless betrayed. He did his best. Taylor, with a view to the vigorous prosecution of the war, called on Texas for two regiments of infantry and two of horse, and on Louisiana for two of infantry. The order to attack Taylor was doubtless recommended by Tornel, the minister of war, who hated the United States; but perhaps he had a particular motive. He had been at work for S. Anna when Paredes seized the Presidency, and he knew that it would cripple Paredes (thus opening the way for S. Anna) to provide funds and send troops from Mexico City for a war with the United States (52Black, May 26; Dimond, Jan. 15).

26. Boston Atlas, a strong Whig journal, said, Dec. 11, 1846: "There is no doubt that the conduct of that government [Mexico] towards us has been such as might have justified the extreme resort to war." Polk, Diary, Apr. 21, 25, 28; May 3, 5–9.

27. C. J. Ingersoll, chrmn. Ho. com. for affairs (Cong. Globe, 29, 2, app., 128): I urged Polk to anticipate invasion by crossing the Rio Grande, but he would not. (Reasons) So. Qtrly. Rev., Nov., 1850, 434–5. 331Taylor to Conner, Apr. 3. (Effect) 60Lieut. Irons, Apr. 20; 76Arista, Apr. 27; Negrete, Invasión, ii, 120. (Flimsily) 312Mejía to Arista, Oct. 6, 1845; 76Requena in trial of Arista.

28. Cong. Globe, 29, 2, p. 498; 30, 1, app., 64. Polk, Message, Dec. 8, 1846 (Richardson, Messages, iv, 484). (Marcy) Sen. 1; 29, 1, p. 194. 52Buchanan to Trist, Oct. 25, 1847. Jan. 27, 1847, a bill establishing post-routes south of the Nueces passed the Senate unanimously (Cong. Globe, 29, 1, p. 251). (Six months) Nat. Intelligencer, Sept. 4, 1846. (People) Mo. Reporter, Jan. 6, 1846. It is true that no right to go to the Rio Grande was explicitly asserted; but as everybody held that either that stream or the Nueces was the boundary, a claim extending beyond the latter extended practically to the former. See Lumpkin's speech (Cong. Globe, 29, 1, 836). More than a month before Taylor left Corpus Christi the House voted down a motion to ask the President whether he had ordered our forces to move against Mexico, and thus became accomplices of Polk (Von Holst, iii, 214–5). The order of Jan. 13 soon became known to Congress and the public (Cong. Globe, 30, 1, p. 279). Feb. 3 Ashmun of Massachusetts offered a resolution calling upon the President for information regarding the matter (ibid., 280). Mar. 23 Brinkerhoff stated in the House that Taylor's army must be supposed to be approaching or already upon the Rio Grande; yet no one in Congress protested (29, 1, 534). Mar. 26, 1846, while discussing an appropriation bill, McIlvaine of Penn. said that in sending troops to the Rio Grande Polk had been "invading Mexico" (ibid., 558); yet, though he made a most urgent appeal to the opponents of slavery-in behoof of which he intimated the step had been taken-and there were other objections to the bill, it passed the House by 111 to 38 (ibid., 573–4). Note also the vote on Delano's motion (chap, ix, note 4). See chap. xxxiv, note 16, and the corresponding text.

29. (1794) Ho. Report 752; 29, 1, p. 44; C. J. Ingersoll in Cong. Globe, 29, 2, app., 129; Chase, Polk Admin., 131–2; Schouler, U. S., i, 296–7. (Fla.) Moore, Amer. Diplom., 163; H. Adams, U. S. v, 310–4, 318. Benton, Abr. Deb., xvi, 77 (Pearce). (Hilliard) Cong. Globe, 29, 1, p. 148. (Adams) Ibid., p. 127.

30. (Weakened) Wash. Union, Jan. 11, 1848 (Reverdy Johnson in Senate); 256Marcy to Wetmore. May 10, 1846; Cong. Globe, 29, 1, app., 934; 30, 1, app., 65. (Wise) 52Buchanan to Slidell, Jan. 20, 1846. (Argument) 56W. S. Parrott, Aug. 5, 1845; Slidell, Feb. 17, 1846; 364Worth to S., Oct. 2, 1845; Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 107 (Taylor, Oct. 4); Niles, July 18, 1846, pp. 313–4; Polk, Diary, Sept. 1, 1845; 108Mayer to Bancroft, May 22, 1846; London Times, May 30, 1846 (Wash. corr.); Calhoun in Cong. Globe, 29, 2, p. 499 (Those in power were confident that the march to the Rio Grande would not bring on war); M. Brown in Cong. Globe, 29, 2, app., 356 (Polk determined to convince the Mexicans by hostile demonstrations that they must settle promptly); Hilliard denounced Polk in the House for using a display of force to intimidate Mexico (Cong. Globe, 30, 1, p. 566), and Calhoun felt somewhat the same (ibid., 497); Boston Atlas, May 15, 16, 1846 (Wash. corr.); Howe, Bancroft, i, 282; 345Poinsett to Van Buren, May 26, 1846; 108Bradford to Bancroft, Aug. 17, 1845; Coxe, Review, 38. Public men who talked with Polk probably knew more about his views than anti-slavery agitators who did not. Calhoun and Brown were criticising, not defending, Polk. 162Bancroft to Conner, Jan. 17, 1846. Wash. Union, Oct. 15, 1847. (Conceded) Boston Atlas, May 15, 16, 20, 1846. See also chap. vi, note 22, last paragraph.

31. Wash. Union, Oct. 15, 1847. 256Paper indorsed "Projet-Genl. Scott." Richardson, Messages, iv, 486. (Sabine) 76Mora, Nov. 15, 1845. (Prevented) 81Arista to troops, July 31, 1845; 76Id. to Parrodi, Dec. 22. Addressing the nation in denunciation of the revolution of Paredes, Dec., 1845, the Mexican Chamber of Deputies stated that only his attitude had prevented war upon the United States that year. 77Almonte, Sept. 20, 1844. (Mobile) 66Sanders to Taylor, Feb. 15, 1846; Elliot, chap. v, note 6; Nat. Intelligencer, May 29, 1845; Sept. 10, 1846. (180) Stevens, Campaigns, 18. 52Dimond, no. 257, 1845. W. S. Parrott, July 22, 1845. 297Polk to Dallas, Aug. 23, 1845. (Accentuate) 256Marcy to Wetmore, Aug. 12, 1845; Jan. 21, 1846 (Our relations with Mexico "have worsened by the change which has undoubtedly taken place in that country"). 76Mejía to Canales, Feb. 16, 1846; to Guerra, Mar. 17. Art. 1, sec. 10 of our Constitution and the Act of Feb. 28, 1795, show that not only invasion but danger of invasion authorized military measures. Authorization implied a corresponding duty. To neglect this duty and throw the matter into Congress, where partisan complications and ignorance regarding the region and the circumstances prevailed, would have caused the delay which the Constitution aimed to prevent. Note also Cong. Globe, 29, 2, app., 209–10, col. 1 (action of com. for. rels.). Again, had Texas been independent in Jan., 1846, no one would have censured her for sending troops to the Rio Grande; and the United States succeeded to all her rights. This right was independent of our claim to the intermediate region (Cong. Globe, 30, 1, app., 425–6).

32. Picayune, Dec. 12, 1846. (Confessed) 218Henshaw narrative. 13Giffard to Bankhead, May 13, 1846. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 106.

33. 297Scott, memo., undated.

34. Von Holst, U. S., iii, 245, note. Autograph, Jan.-Feb., 1912 (Taylor, Apr. 7). The proof that Mexico claimed still to the Sabine is voluminous: e.g. Paredes, proclamation, Mar. 21, 1846 (Mexico "does not acknowledge the right of the American flag on the soil of Texas, and she will defend her invaded territory"); 76Gen. Mora, Nov. 15, 1845 ("the contest in which the Republic is engaged with the United States for the possession of the territory of Texas"); Diario, Mar. 25; Sept. 18, 26 (the Sabine "is the boundary"), 1846; Monitor Repub., June 28, 1847 (Mexico "neither recognizes nor has recognized any boundary except the Sabine"); Pe?a, Comunicación circular, Dec. 11, 1845 (indicates repeatedly that the object of the war would be the recovery of Texas); Otero, Comunicación. (After Herrera's fall "reconquest [of Texas] again became our policy"); Memoria de ... Relaciones, Jan., 1849. Wash. Union, Nov. 10, 1847. (Probably) 69Alba to Taylor, Mar. 6, 1846; 76Mejía, Jan. 21; Mar. 28; 76Mora, May 4; Bankhead, no. 47, 1846: note Mejía's action in Feb. and March, 1846, supra; and Ampudia's orders to him before Taylor left Corpus Christi (note 24). (Notice) 76Relaciones to ministers at London and Paris, July 30, 1845. Benton in Cong. Globe, 29, 2, p. 497 (the causes of the war existed before Taylor advanced, and his advance resulted from them). See also the next note.

35. Otero, Comunicación. Negrete, Invasión, iii, app., 486, 490. Monitor Repub., Oct. 29, 1847. (Arista) Suárez y Navarro, Alegato, 48. Polk, Message, Dec. 8, 1846 (Richardson, Messages). Paredes to Arista, Apr. 18 (captured in A.'s baggage, May 9, 1846) in Wash. Union, Aug. 27, 1847, and in Tex. Democrat, Nov. 11, 1846. The reader will not fail to note the decisive bearing of the letter of Apr. 18 on the question discussed in the preceding paragraph.

36. Vattel, Law of Nations, 352. If any substantial arguments against Polk's course existed, Calhoun, Webster or the American (Whig) Review should have been able to find them. Calhoun (Cong. Globe, 29, 2, p. 500) said Polk should have refrained from sending Taylor to the Rio Grande and have referred to Congress or the Senate the question of the boundary. But (1) he forgot that as to the boundary near the east (the only part of it now under consideration) our government stood committed; (2) he did not seem to know whether Congress or the Senate was the proper authority on the subject; (3) he refuted his criticism by saying that Polk should have referred the question on finding he could not settle it by negotiation; and Polk, instead of having found he could not do so, had Taylor advance with the hope of thus inducing Mexico to negotiate; (4) Calhoun had thought it right in 1844 to place our military forces virtually at the orders of Texas for defensive uses (Smith, Annex. of Texas, 367), and she would very likely have sent them to that river (see Wash. Union, Feb. 22, 1847); (5) reference of the question to Congress would almost certainly have caused long delay and paralyzed the Executive, for about fifteen unsuccessful attempts were made in the business of annexing Texas to determine the boundary, and after the war that subject vexed Congress for nearly two years. (See also the text.) Calhoun's fundamental objection against the President's policy, however, was that Polk should have let the Mexican difficulties alone until after settling the Oregon question (Cong. Globe, 29, 2, p. 498). But (1) it was not certain that the Oregon question could be settled amicably; at one time, as we have noted, Polk believed it could not be; and therefore it may well have seemed prudent to get rid of a smaller but annoying affair before the greater one should reach a crisis; (2) other important reasons for settling with Mexico have been given on pp. 118, 120–2, 134–7.

Webster, after thinking on the subject for more than half a year, took it up in a long speech at Philadelphia (Writings, iv), and said: Polk ordered the occupation of territory to which we had "no ascertained title" (p. 26). [But a serious claim may be an adequate basis for pacific joint occupation.] Polk viewed the Rio Grande as the boundary [being committed to that position], and "intended to extinguish the Mexican title by force" (p. 27). [Polk desired to extinguish it through negotiation, and had not abandoned the effort to do so when he ordered Taylor to advance. Mexican jurisdiction was not to be attacked. There were other grounds than that alleged by Webster for the instructions given to our general.] Taylor was ordered to treat every Mexican assertion of title as an act of hostility (p. 29). [By no means. Taylor was ordered not to molest the Mexican posts.] Why did not Polk consult Congress before ordering Taylor to the Rio Grande (p. 29)? [The matter could not be laid in definite shape before Congress until the fate of Slidell's mission should have been decided. Polk's diary shows that he desired to present the matter to Congress as promptly as he could.] Only "self-defence" could justify sending troops into a territory claimed and occupied by a power with which at that time no war existed (p. 29). [This can hardly be admitted. We claimed the territory; Mexico was believed to have troops there; it was only fair to place ourselves on an equality with her.] And "there was, I think, no case of such necessity for self-defence" (p. 30). [Webster admits that for self-defence (i.e. defence of the Texans, now virtually American citizens) we had a right to send the troops, and it is believed that the necessity of such defence has been established in the text.] Taylor's letters prove that there was no danger of a Mexican invasion (p. 30). [Taylor's outlook extended, and his letters had reference only, to the immediate frontier, and even to little of that except Matamoros. He could furnish no opinion regarding the intentions of the Mexican government. Of the orders actually given to the Mexican generals he was in total ignorance until after May 9, 1846. The outlook of the authorities at Washington was broader and clearer than his, and as the text shows they were warned officially that Mexico was liable to make secret preparations and a sudden invasion.] "Ordering the army to the Rio Grande was a step naturally, if not necessarily, tending to provoke hostilities" (p. 31). [Of course the assertion of a claim denied by another power tends naturally in the direction of hostilities, but no nation can for that reason forbear to assert its claims. Webster's suggestion that sending the troops did not necessarily produce hostilities is noteworthy.] If the President can declare war, what becomes of the Constitution, which gives that power to Congress (p. 32)? [The President may take steps logically leading to war; but in this case there was reason to believe that Taylor's advance might tend toward peace.] Was it Polk's object to force Mexico to treat? If so, it was an "idle hope" (p. 32). [Here Webster seems to admit that such might have been Polk's intention. The fact that Polk failed does not prove that such was not his design. Webster failed to acquire northern California, but he certainly attempted to do so.] It will be said that Polk's course was sanctioned by "the act of May 11th," 1846 (the virtual declaration of war against Mexico, the preamble of which stated that Mexico had brought on the war), but neither a preamble nor an act of Congress can "create a fact" (p. 32). [But a preamble can state an opinion; and Congress thus expressed an opinion justifying the President's course.] "I hardly suppose" Congress by that act "meant more than to enable the President to defend the country, to the extent of the limit claimed by him" (p. 32). [He claimed the Rio Grande as the limit; and if Congress believed the country was to be defended to that river, it believed the country extended to it, and consequently that Polk had a right to send troops thus far.

The most plausible criticisms made by the American (Whig) Review (July, 1846) were the following: Buchanan informed Slidell that the army had been ordered to advance in view of his probable rejection, and hence Taylor's advance was not, as Polk asserted, due to the urgent necessity of defending Texas. [But the probable rejection of Slidell meant probable fighting of a more or less serious nature north of the Rio Grande.] Attempts were made from time to time, by throwing out hints, to induce Taylor to advance on his own responsibility to the Rio Grande [note 15]. As he did not, Slidell was sent to precipitate the issue. [There is no evidence in support of this theory and much evidence against it, as we have seen.] As Slidell failed to do so, Taylor was positively ordered to the Rio Grande. [January 13 there was every reason to believe that Slidell would be rejected, and that thus an issue would be precipitated. December 20 Pe?a y Pe?a wrote to Slidell that unless the pending difficulties were settled by negotiation there must be war.

In January, 1847, the Review repeated Webster's argument that Taylor reported no danger of invasion. [Note the comment made above.] October 16, Marcy wrote to Taylor that no serious danger from Mexico was feared, yet gave him authority to advance to the river. [A foray would not be considered a serious military operation, but it was necessary to guard against forays.] On January 13, Polk had no reason to expect that Paredes intended to open hostilities. [He had grave reasons for expecting hostilities. See p. 100.] He had Slidell's despatch of December 17, which intimated that it might be more possible to negotiate with Paredes than with Herrera. [Slidell only said that he might have greater chances of accomplishing something with a less friendly but more efficient government.] Besides, it was known that war would have to proceed from the Congress, not from the President of Mexico. [Holding that Texas was a part of Mexico and the presence of American troops there an invasion, Paredes took the ground that attacking us would not be making war, but merely defending the country as it was his duty to do. (See his manifesto of April 23, 1846.) Consequently no action by Congress was necessary.] Polk says the Mexicans did not place their hostilities on the ground of our occupying non-Texan territory, but they did do so. [Certain Mexicans took this ground for the purpose of embarrassing the Americans, among whom there was known to be a difference of opinion on this point; but the national Mexican authorities regarded as our essential offence the presence of our troops on Texan soil: note 34.

In February, 1847, the Review said that on January 13, 1846, Polk did not know Slidell would be rejected. [Polk carefully avoided stating that at that date Slidell's rejection was certain. He spoke of it as "highly probable," which was rather less than could have been said.] April 6, Taylor referred to the Mexicans of Matamoros as "the enemy." [As the word occurred in a report to our government it did no harm, even if not well chosen; but at that date Taylor had been given by the Mexicans sufficient ground for using it.] Taylor pointed guns at Matamoros for the purpose of stinging the Mexicans into hostility. [See p. 151.] The intention of the American government was to manage things so as to make Taylor the scapegoat if matters should go ill, and take the credit if they should go well. [The orders of the war department were probably as definite as they could safely be made. See p. 142.] Polk ordered Taylor to advance because he did not believe the failure of Slidell would be a pretext for war that Congress would accept. [This does not agree with the charge made by Polk's enemies (e.g. supra) that he sent Slidell in order to have him rejected and thus bring about a war. It is also wide of the mark. In Polk's mind the essential ground for action was not the rejection of Slidell but our grievances, and his diary shows that he believed this ground would be accepted by Congress, or at least believed so to such an extent as to decide upon raising the issue squarely.

In October, 1847, the Review stated the policy which it said Polk should have adopted: to issue a statement that we would defend Texas, that Mexico must pay the claims of our citizens, and that we desired no Mexican territory; next, to take a defensive position in Texas, perhaps occupy a Pacific port as security for our claims, and then await developments. [As a military programme this plan of standing on the defensive was seriously considered by the government and, as we shall see, was condemned for both political and military reasons. To say we desired no Mexican territory would have been meaningless unless we pledged ourselves to take none, and to issue such a promise on the eve of a war the course of which could not be predicted, and especially in view of the fact that Mexico could pay no large indemnity except with territory, would certainly have been imprudent, and the Review's proposition to seize a port as security for our claims suggests as much. This proposition, by the way, was less justifiable than going to the Rio Grande, for we had a claim to the intermediate territory and no claim to a Mexican port. To take a defensive attitude in Texas signified either going to the Rio Grande in order to obtain a good strategic position, or maintaining at great expense for an indefinite period an army large enough to guarantee the Texans against attack at any and every point. The first of these plans was the one adopted by Polk; the second, on account of the expense, would have been unjust to our own people, and in the end would have compelled us to increase our demands for indemnity against Mexico. Moreover, there were strong objections to waiting (p. 136); and, had Mexico simply adhered to the policy of passive resistance, all our trouble and expense would have brought us no nearer a settlement. Still other objections to the plan of the Review could be offered.

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