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   Chapter 27 PALO ALTO, RESACA DE LA PALMA No.27

The War With Mexico, Volume I (of 2) By Justin H. Smith Characters: 32462

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1. The account of the Mexican army is based upon Memorias de ... Guerra, 1844; Mar., 1845; Dec., 1846; 152Claiborne, Mems.; Diario, May 30, 1845; Balbontín, Estado Militar; Paz, Invasión; 5Anaya, Memoria; Pe?a, Comunicación circular; Siglo XIX, Aug. 19, 21, 1845; S. Miguel, Repúb. Mex., 133–4, 136; Wash. Globe, Oct. 15, 1845; Molina, recolls.; Hist. Mag., Feb., 1870 (Deas); Zirckel, Tagebuch, 13, 111; Semmes, Service, 441, note; 75Memorias drawn up by war dept. chiefs, Nov., 1847; 81Seminario Polít. del Gob. de N. León; Moore, Scott's Camp., 19; 76Report of superior engineer board, Nov. 15, 1845; Balbontín, Invasión, 77–8; Monitor Repub., Nov. 30, 1847; 148Chamberlain, recolls.; 69report of spy, Apr. 5, 1846; N. Orl. Commerc. Bulletin, May 21, 1846; 76Carrera, report on artillery, Dec, 1847; 76reports of the powder mills at Zacatecas and Santa Fé.

Dec., 1843, a special school of application for artillery and engineer officers was decreed, but lack of money prevented its establishment. There was a normal school, intended to convey the rudiments of military knowledge to the privates through the corporals and sergeants, but it signified little or nothing. Attached to the engineer corps was a body of sappers, miners, and pontoniers; but, owing to lack of funds to equip it with, it served as infantry. The poorest cannon, especially at first, were kept at the fortresses. What horses could be had for artillery service were too light and frisky. Paredes reorganized this arm, and assigned to it about 250 officers, 5000 privates, and 200 clerks and workmen. The bronze cannon manufactured in Mexico during 1846–47 were not satisfactory, and the grape-shot was so poorly made that its range was considerably reduced. The importance of artillery had never been appreciated in that country. There was a good arsenal at Mexico, and there were old-fashioned powder-mills at Santa Fe (near that city) and Zacatecas. The latter blew up early in 1845, and, though repaired, worked at a disadvantage. Mexican powder was usually of an inferior quality. The Active corps contained fewer men than the Permanent. The infantry musket carried an ounce ball; and the escopeta bullet was even heavier and went farther. In both cases the very liberal charge of powder increased the normal range. Many of the escopetas were merely sawed-off muskets. The shaft of the lance was usually about six feet long and the head about one foot. The Line infantry included light companies (cazadores), which sometimes had rifles and sometimes deserved to be called sharpshooters. There were mounted cazadores also.

Each cavalry regiment consisted of four squadrons, and each infantry regiment included two battalions, one commanded by the lieutenant colonel, and the other by the major (comandante de batallón). There were mounted corps called hussars, etc., but the difference of name signified little or nothing, practically. Owing to the smallness of the horses, the cavalry had not much shock-value. There were 635 cannon on hand at the end of 1845, 25,789 muskets, 8155 swords, 100,000 artillery projectiles, and more than 400,000 bullets. Tornel imported 104 new cannon early in 1846. Differences of caliber interfered greatly with the usefulness of the muskets. March 9, 1846, the departments were urged to complete their legal quotas of troops as soon as possible.

2. On the first day when volunteers were to enlist only eleven came forward at Mexico.

3. The figures are based upon the 76official return of April 17 supplemented by a large number of Mexican and American statements. Most of the latter were exaggerated. The Americans were doubtless misled often by the statements of prisoners, who wished to please their captors. "The information obtained from prisoners ought to be estimated at its proper value" (Napoleon, Maxims, 53). Mejía, the regular commander of the first brigade, gave way temporarily to García on account of ill health.

4. 69Reports of spies. República de Rio Grande, June 27. 118Berlandier, memo., undated. 66Mansfield to Totten, May 4. 217Henshaw papers. 76Testimony at the trial of Arista. 76Mejía, Feb. 28; Mar. 18. 76Commander of zapadores, Apr. 8. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 68, 70. México á través, iv, 561. Campa?a contra, 4.

5. Monitor Repub., Mar. 17. Negrete, Invasión, ii, 113, 117. Revue des Deux Mondes, Aug. 1, 1847, 388–93. 13Elliot, nos. 12, 14, etc., 1846. 66Mansfield to Totten, Apr. 2, 23. 61Worth to Taylor, Apr. 2. 61Scott to Marcy, May 7. 65Taylor, gen. orders 42. 65Marcy, gen. orders 5. Sen. 230; 29, 1. 224Hitchcock, diary. 62Twiggs to Davis, May 4. The principal causes of the absenteeism were assignment to higher duties elsewhere and the impossibility (owing to the lack of a retired list) of replacing invalided or superannuated officers. Locomotor, Mar. 27. Campa?a contra, 4. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 129–30. Upton, Mil. Policy. 206. 285Mejía to Paredes, Apr. 3. 76Comte. of Zapadores, Apr. 8. 76Mejía, Mar. 14, 28; Apr. 2. 76Id. to Arista, Apr. 30. 76Ampudia to Arista, Apr. 30.

6. 66Sanders to Totten, Apr. 10 (Ft. B. badly placed). 185Id. to Duncan, Apr. 27. 69Requena to Arista, Apr. 30 (might have enfiladed). Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 217. República de Rio Grande, June 27. Picayune, May 10. 118Berlandier, memo. (Groves) Ampudia, Address (1846). 52Wickliffe to Buchanan, May 21, 1845. Giddings, Camp., 36. Niles, May 16, p. 165; 23, p. 179. Kenly, Md. Vol., 42. Polk, Diary, Apr. 1, 1847. 218Henshaw narrative. Apuntes, 35. 66Sanders to Taylor, May 2. Wash. Union, May 9; June 6. Meade, Letters, i, 59–60. Journal U. S. Artill., July, 1892, p. 293. 132King to Buchanan, June 1. 69Spy to Taylor, Apr. 11.

Taylor's army lay on the Pt. Isabel road, which connected here with the principal Matamoros ferry (Paso Real). Fort Brown was about a mile and a half from the site of the present fort. The line of the fort at Pt. Isabel enclosed about fifty acres, and could not be properly fortified with the means at hand in the time allowed. May 2 the works were far from complete. Some at least of the disadvantages of his position were pointed out to Taylor, but he seemed to feel no concern. Marcy was surprised that the Mexicans did not cross the Rio Grande near its mouth and capture Pt. Isabel. The explanation probably was that they believed the plan they acted upon was better.

7. 217Henshaw papers. 61Crossman to ... Apr. 23. 66Mansfield to Totten, Apr. 23. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 133, 138, 142, 288 (Taylor). Spirit of the Times, May 23. Meade, Letters, i, 66 (the murder of Cross caused intense resentment). México á través, iv, 561. Campa?a contra, 4. 69Walker to Taylor, May 2. Walker was absent on service when the men were surprised. 52Consul Chase, Tampico, May 1. National, June 18.

8. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 133, 302 (Taylor). (West Pointers) 224Bliss to Hitchcock, June 7. 76Mejía, Apr. 9. 76Id. to Arista, Apr. 30. 76Ampudia, Mar. 28. Tropic, May 7 (proclam. of Ampudia). Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, i, 57–9. Kenly, Md. Vol., 39, 40. (Promises, etc.) 69Arista, "Advice," Apr. 20. 69Report of spy, Apr. 5. Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 408. Meade, Letters, i, 53. London Times, June 8. Ho. 194; 29, 1 (Jones, May 5). Spirit of the Times, May 16. Esperanza, Apr. 18. Bustamante, N. Bernal, ii, 11. 69Mier y Terán to Mejía, May 4. Taylor gave orders to shoot soldiers attempting to cross the river. Later, British deserters were not accepted.

9. 76Arista, May 1, 7. So. Advocate, June 10, 1846. 76Ampudia to Arista, Apr. 30. 76Parrodi, Apr. 8. 69Arista, "Advice," Apr. 20. 76Mejía proclam., Mar. 18. (Lasted) Donnavan, Adventures, 102. 76Comte. gen. S. L. Potosí, proclam., Mar. 27. 76Comte. gen. Zacatecas to troops, Apr. 1. The Mexican press teemed with the ideas here suggested. To an Indian anything as foreign as a neighboring estate seemed dreadful. 76Ampudia, Mar. 28. Apuntes, 33. (Despised) 162Conner to wife, May 9; Henshaw narrative; Niles, May 16, p. 165; Sept. 12, p. 22. (Hardee) 224Bliss to Hitchcock, June 7. Ampudia's troops had mutinied on the way, but an appeal to their patriotism had brought them round. There had been, as was usual, a good deal of desertion; but to a certain extent those who stood by the colors were for this reason above the average (76Ampudia, Mar. 10, 11, 12). Taylor's method-uniformly despising the enemy and teaching his troops to do so-was contrary to the practice of C?sar, Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington (Napol., Maxims, 49, note).

10. (Obvious) Henshaw narrative. 63Marcy, Jan. 13. 69Friend, [Apr. 11]. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 138, 140, 142 (Taylor). 65Taylor, gen. orders 45. (Seven) 69McCall, report, Apr. 30. May 3 Taylor reported that his lack of light troops had helped to keep him in ignorance of the enemy's movements as if that lack had been due to some one else. He did not call on Texas for troops until Apr. 26. Ripley (War with Mexico, i, 133) says he did not call in February because such troops could serve only three months. But had a call been issued then, the troops would probably not have begun to serve for a month or two; and later he could have called for a second small body.

11. México á través, iv, 561. 76Arista, Apr. 27; May 1. 76Id. to Ampudia, May 5. Revue des Deux Mondes, Aug. 1, 1847, 394–6. Republicano, June 5. Campa?a contra. 76Arista to Mejía, May 1, 2. 76Mejía to Arista, May 1, 3. 69Diary captured in Arista's papers. 76Plana mayor diary. Apuntes, 35–7. Bustamante, N. Bernal, ii, 16. 76Testimony at trial of Arista. People in the United States could not believe Taylor would permit the enemy to get between him and his base (e.g. Mobile Herald and Tribune, May 3). At first Arista left only 1007 men at Matamoros, but, becoming anxious about the town, he sent back the Morelia battalion.

12. Henshaw narrative. Mansfield, Mex. War, 35. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 288 (Taylor). Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 175. Picayune, May 12. Nebel and Kendall, 1. Niles, May 23, p. 178. Ho. 1; 30, 2, p. 1161 (Conner). 62Twiggs to Davis, May 4. (Lowd, etc.) Meade, Letters, i, 74–5. Appleton's Biog. Dict. (art. by J. Davis on Taylor). Autograph, May-June, 1912 (Taylor). Smith, To Mexico, 44. Fry and Conrad, Taylor, 109–10. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 86. 76Diary of plana mayor. 76To Arista, May 15.

Mejía notified Arista that Taylor was preparing to move, but the news arrived so late that the guns of Matamoros did not open fire upon him. Arista pursued the Americans but could not overtake them; and a body of dragoons that he ordered on was equally unsuccessful. On the morning of May 3 the boom of heavy guns in the direction of Fort Brown (Grant, Mems., i, 92; Henry, Camp. Sketches, 88) alarmed Taylor, and he gave orders to set out at one o'clock (Henry, Camp. Sketches, 88; Smith, To Mexico, 44), which showed that he felt no great confidence in its defensibility even then; but he desired to strengthen the base and to receive some ordnance and reinforcements that he then expected (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 288), and hence sent Capt. Walker with a small party to communicate with Brown (Henshaw narrative). This was a hard task; but after some fighting, Walker reached the fort, stated that Taylor would return as soon as possible, obtained a reassuring report (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 293), and with great difficulty made his way back (Henshaw papers; Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 289, 293). May 1 Pt. Isabel had a force, including civilians who took up arms, of 400–500 (Niles, May 16, p. 165; 23, p. 179; Picayune, May 10; Wash. Union, May 9).

13. Meade, Letters, i, 74–8, 93. 65Taylor, gen. orders 56, 58. Journ. Mil. Serv. Instit., xli, 94. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 288, 292–4 (Taylor); 527 (spec. orders 60). Autograph, May-June, 1912 (Taylor). Nebel and Kendall, 2. Grant, Mems., i, 167–8. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 88–9. (Leaving train, etc.) 224Larnard to Hitchcock, June 13. Wash. Union, May 9, 29, 30. Niles, May 16, p. 162. 62Twiggs to Davis, May 4. French, Two Wars, 49. Some of the officers were anxious to wait for larger reinforcements (185L. C. to Duncan, Nov. 21), but Taylor feared Fort Brown was getting short of ammunition.

14. The battle of Palo Alto. Sen. 388; 29, 1 (Taylor and officers). 65Taylor, gen. orders 58. Id., Letters (Bixby), 1. Campa?a contra. México á través, iv, 561–3, 566. 224Bliss to Hitchcock, July 23. 61Arthur to brother, May 10. Meade, Letters, i, 79, 80. 13Pakenham, no. 54, 1846. McCall, Letters, 449–54. 224Larnard to Hitchcock, June 13. Eyewitness, Complete History, 23. 210Alvord to Hammond, May 22. Wash. Union, May 30. Map in Map Div., Lib. of Cong. Nat. Intelligencer, May 11, 18; Sept. 3, 10. N. Y. Journ. of Commerce, Feb. 24, 1847. Diario, May 29. Tex. Democrat, June 24. Spirit of the Times, May 30. Portrait of Arista, city hall, Mex. 350Weber, recolls. 213Hatch, letters. Picayune, Aug. 1, 1845; Sept. 24, 1846. Delta, May 24. 118Berlandier, diary and map. 185Duncan to adj. gen., June 19. 185Marcy to Duncan, July 27. Nebel and Kendall, 2–3. Smith, To Mexico, 45, 47–9. Fallo Definitivo del Supremo Tribunal [re Arista's conduct]. Sedgwick, Corresp., i, 16. Niles, June 6, pp. 215–16; Oct. 24, p. 122. Frost, Taylor, 81. Hist. Mag., Feb., 1870, 101–2. Haskin, First Artill., 80. Journ. Milit. Serv. Instit., xli, 96. Ampudia ante ... la Opinión Pública. (Stepped aside) Grant, Mems., 95. Sen. 378; 29, 1, p. 57. Sierra, Evolution, i, 214. Esperanza, May 23. Monitor Repub., June 2. Autograph, May-June, 1912 (Taylor). Ampudia to Fellow-cits. 285Arista to Paredes, May 14. 285Segura to Escudero, June 4. Ramsey, Other Side, 39, note, 48. (Losses) Ho. 24; 31, 1. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 295, 393 (Taylor); 392 (Marcy); 1102 (McIntosh); 403. 185Duncan to Belknap, May 12. French, Two Wars, 49, 50. 364Worth to S., June 13. Donnavan, Adventures, 102. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 90–3, 95. Roa Bárcena, Recuerdos, 36, 39. Sumaria mandada formar ... J. L. Uraga. Negrete, Invasión, ii, 233. Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 414–9. Apuntes, 38–41. So. Qtrly. Rev., Nov., 1850, p. 446. And from 76 the following. Testimony at the court-martial of Arista. To Arista, May 17. Arista, May 7, 8, 13, 1846; July 12, 1847. Ampudia, May 14. Requena to Arista, May 8. Vázquez to sister, May 25. Arista to Ampudia, May 5; to Parrodi, May 9. Ampudia to Arista, May 11. Plana mayor diary. Remarks. When first seen, the Mexicans were probably two or three miles from the Palo Alto pond, but they advanced until about a mile and a half from that point. Both lines of battle were too long. The batteries on both sides used solid shot mostly. On the placing of our gunners in advance of the troops, see Napoleon, Maxims, 45. The Mexican gunners fired mostly at the American artillery, but the American gunners mostly at the Mexican infantry. It was said that not more than a dozen Mexicans were killed with bullets. Many of the Americans were ordered to sit down or lie down (particularly the Eighth Infantry); and as most of the Mexican balls approached at a ricochet it was not very difficult to dodge them. Whatever the Americans accomplished was almost wholly due to their cannon. Not only the excellence of the ammunition and the accurate fire, but the boldness and rapidity of the manoeuvres astonished the Mexicans. It is not known why Taylor decided to rely on artillery, to which (it was stated) he had referred contemptuously on the morning of the battle as mere "gun wagons"; but presumably, as the field was peculiarly well suited for that arm, Ringgold and Duncan, supported by Bliss, urged him to let it have a chance. The American officers, though they had not over-much confidence in Taylor, felt a great deal in one another, and so had a vast advantage over the Mexicans (México á través, iv, 566). Ringgold was mortally wounded, but would not let his men leave their work to care for him. During the intermission the Americans removed their wounded, replenished caissons, and made repairs. Commodore Conner, hearing Taylor was likely to be attacked, sailed for that quarter, and on May 8 and 9 landed 500 seamen and marines at Point Isabel (166Conner Letter-book. See also 65Taylor, gen. orders 60.). The chief Mexican surgeon and a number of assistants made an early and rapid retreat. The Mexican loss was estimated by Taylor as 200 killed and 400 wounded; by

Arista as 252 killed, wounded, and missing.

15. (May 8 indecisive) 224Larnard to Hitchcock, June 13; Giffard to Pakenham, May 28; McCall, Letters, 454; Meade, Letters, i, 80; Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 416–7. Sen. 388; 29, 1. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 1. (Consulted) Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 418; Stevens, Campaigns, 20; Sedgwick, Corresp., i, 16; Journ. Milit. Serv. Instit., xli, 98; 185L. C. to Duncan, Nov. 24; Article by J. Davis on Taylor in Appleton's Biog. Dict. Accounts of this conference differ so much that little can be said of it. Some of the officers were for entrenching and awaiting reinforcements. It was known that Conner's fleet had arrived (note 14). (Defend) Taylor, supra; Henry, Camp. Sketches, 94; map of P. Alto in Map Div., Lib. of Cong. Churchill's 18-pounders and two 12-pounders taken from the baggage were left here. The wounded were sent to Pt. Isabel. Rives (U. S. and Mexico, ii, 153) states that Taylor marched early May 9 to Resaca de la Palma and parked the train there, but this is incorrect (Taylor in Sen. 388; 29, 1, p. 6; Henry, Camp. Sketches, 94; 369map of Palo Alto; Ripley, War with Mexico, i, 124; etc.). The point is important because troops were left with the train to protect the wagons-not as a rear guard (Rives). Rives (p. 154) states incorrectly that the Eighth Infantry was left with the train.

16. The battle of May 9. Sen. 388; 29, 1 (Taylor and officers). Apuntes, 42–7. Suárez y Navarro, Alegato. Campa?a contra. Negrete, Invasión, ii, 230, 233. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 295, 393, 396, 403 (Taylor); 392, 395 (Marcy); 1104 (McIntosh). 69Canales to Arista, May 9. 13Giffard to Bankhead, May 13. Henshaw narrative. 147Chamberlain, diary. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 1. 210Alvord to Hammond, May 22. 210Hammond to Simms, Apr. 1, 1847. 213Hatch, letters. Wash. Union, July 25, 1846. 369Map of P. Alto. Spirit of the Times, May 30; June 20. Picayune, May 19; June 3. Berlandier, diary and map. Nebel and Kendall, 3–4. México á través, iv, 564, 566. Fallo Definitivo del Supremo Tribunal, 19. Sen. 4; 29, 2. Ho. 1; 30, 2, p. 1162. Claiborne, Quitman, i, 253. Journ. Mil. Serv. Instit., xvii (Van Deusen); xli, 98. 370Taylor to -–, June 18. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 175. Ampudia ante ... la Opin. Púb. (Uraga). McCall, Letters, 455. Sen. 378; 29, 1, p. 57 (Bliss). Grant, Mems., i, 93, 96–8. Meade, Letters, i, 81–2, 149. 72Reales Ordenes, Serie de Gobernación, leg. 43. Appleton's Biog. Dict. (art. by J. Davis on Taylor). (Losses) Ho. 24; 31, 1. 285Arista to Paredes, May 9, 14. French, Two Wars, 51–4. Autograph, May-June, 1912 (Taylor). 210Bragg to Hammond, Dec. 20, 1847. Ampudia to Fellow-cits. 285Segura to Escudero, June 4. Smith, To Mexico, 49–52. 185Duncan to Belknap, May 10. Eyewitness, Complete Hist., 25–6. Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 422–3. Niles, June 6, pp. 211–7; July 4, p. 277; Sept. 26, p. 57. 224Larnard to Hitchcock, June 13. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 96–9. 61Arthur to brother. Puritano Mex., May 26. 224Bliss to Hitchcock, June 7. 61Patton to Polk, July 18, and enclosure. México á través, iv, 564, 566. Roa Bárcena, Recuerdos, 48. The verse is by José de Saltillo, trans. by C. F. Hoffman. And from 76 the following. Arista, May 9, 10, 13, 1846; July 12, 1847. Id. to Mateos, May 31; to Parrodi, May 13; to Taylor, May 10. Carrera, May 25. Requena to Arista, May 10. Testimony at the court-martial of Arista. R. Vázquez to sister, May 25. Plana mayor diary. Ampudia to Arista, May 11, 14. Canales to Tornel, May 10. Remarks. It would be unsafe to give fuller information than that of the text with reference to the positions of the Mexican corps. All the accounts are unsatisfactory. Owing to the nature of the ground and the irregular shifting of the troops, this was natural. The Mexican leaders thought their position would ensure victory. Horses were unsaddled and mules relieved of their packs. The chief danger to Ridgely's battery was from Mexicans ambushed-as Taylor had reason to suppose they would be-on both sides of the road. May, very tall and straight, with long black hair and a black beard that reached to his waist, became a newspaper hero, and for reasons that are rather hard to understand, was promoted several times during the war; but he seems clearly to have been essentially a cowardly sham. In this fight he seized a cannon, but only the infantry prevented the enemy from recapturing it. He claimed the credit of making Gen. Vega his prisoner, but the real captor was a bugler. By his own account, he could rally only six of his men after running through the batteries. The horses appear to have "run away" with the men. Taylor's report laid stress upon what occurred at the road, and he does not seem to have known-at that time, to say the least-what mainly caused the sudden collapse of the enemy; but an abundance of Mexican evidence, partly given under oath, makes the matter clear. See also Henry, Camp. Sketches, 98. After Americans were seen at the placeta Arista's secretary went to where the road crossed the resaca, and found May's dragoons there. This fixes the order of events. Duncan's battery did nothing during the battle, for Ridgely had the only opportunity to use artillery without injuring Americans. Duncan and Kerr followed the Mexicans at some distance; the Third Infantry co?perated; and so did the Artillery Battalion, after it reached the scene; but the Mexicans were not aware of any real pursuit. Fort Brown fired on the throngs of fugitives, but no sally was made. One might imagine the garrison feared the guns of Matamoros; but they watched the Mexican fugitives from the parapet. Mejía's ammunition had been almost used up. Paredes informed Congress, June 6, that after May 9 Arista had 4000 regulars (Memoria de ... Relaciones, Dec., 1846). May 13 Arista gave the number as 3758 "men." Arista's chief of staff estimated the captured, drowned, and dispersed as 500. Arista informed Parrodi, May 13, that the total number of men, including the wounded, taken by Taylor was less than 200, and this seems to have been true. May 11 prisoners were exchanged. Arista reported the number in American hands as 144, including the wounded.

17. When Taylor set out for Point Isabel, though he described the fort as "in a good state of defense," one side was still open, and the drawbridge and interior defences had not been begun (66Mansfield to Totten, June 23; diary in Nat. Intelligencer, Sept. 3); and not before the night of the third was the position considered by its defenders even comparatively secure. The fort had six bastion fronts, which made a perimeter of 800 yards, a strongly designed wall of earth 9? feet high from the natural ground, a parapet 15 feet thick, a ditch about 8 feet deep and from 15 to 22 feet wide, a gate and a drawbridge (mostly from 66Mansfield to Totten, Apr. 23). For about 4 feet from the base the inside of the wall was fortified with a sort of basket work of willow twigs. The magazine was made of pork barrels filled with sand, seven tiers thick and four tiers high, with a timber roof covered with 10 or 12 feet of sand. The fort was a "child of circumstance," admitted Engineer Mansfield (66supra), and in addition to the faults of position already mentioned, the ground was irregular and the defence was made difficult by the extent of the walls, for as considerable portions were allowed to remain covered with thick chaparral (66Mansfield, supra), its area was evidently too large for the 500 men which it had been intended to cover; but it was after all a strong work, and in comparison with it Mansfield regarded the Mexican forts as "trifling" (66to Totten, May 4). Near the end of April the four 18-pounders were removed from the battery to a bastion of the fort looking toward Matamoras, where they were protected with merlons faced with sand-bags, and so attack as well as defence was provided for; but there were only 150 rounds of ammunition for each of these guns. For this note: Henshaw narrative and papers; 66Mansfield to Totten, Apr. 23; May 4; June 23; 65Taylor, gen. orders 39, 45, 53; Mobile Herald and Tribune, May 6; Journal of U. S. Artil., July, 1892, p. 293; Taylor in Autograph, May-June, 1912; Nat. Intelligencer, Sept. 3; Robinson, Organization, ii, 49; Niles, June 13, p. 230; McCall, Letters, 441, 443; (300 wagons) Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 651 (Cross).

18. Sen. 388; 29, 1, pp. 31, 35 (Hawkins); 35 (Arista); 36 (Mansfield). Fry and Conrad, Taylor, 109. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 175. Apuntes, 37–8. Henshaw narrative and papers. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 288, 296 (Taylor); 293 (Brown). Campa?a contra. Picayune, May 19, 21; Aug. 28. 69Diary captured with Arista's papers. 69Ampudia to Arista, May 5–6. 69Canales to Arista, May 5, 7. México á través, iv, 561. (Losses) Ho. 24; 31, 1. 66Mansfield to Totten, May 4; June 23. 13Giffard to Pakenham, May 28. 76Ampudia to Arista, May 11. 76Mejía, May 4, 14. 76Mier y Terán to Mejía, May 3, 4, 5, 7; to Requena, May 4. 76Testimony given at the court-martial of Arista. 76Arista, May 7. 76Id. to Ampudia, May 5. 76Mejía to Arista, May 3. Nat. Intelligencer, Sept. 3. 76Requena to Arista, May 5. N. Orl. Commerc. Bulletin, May 18. 364Worth to S., July 25. Johnson, Thomas, 23. 76Canales, May 5. 76Diary, Apr. 30-May 6. Remarks. May 6 the fort was summoned, with an intimation that no quarter would be given, should the garrison hold out longer (Henshaw). Brown was mortally wounded by a bomb-shell. He was succeeded by Captain Hawkins. In all one man was killed; nine officers and men wounded (Ho. 24; 31, 1). An attempt was made to burn Matamoros, but the balls could not be heated sufficiently (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 293). Perhaps a general more farseeing than Taylor would have provided a furnace. Ampudia had about 830 men at first and later drew others from the city. When Arista called him to Palo Alto on May 8, a small force remained behind to continue the siege. Ripley (War with Mexico, i, 140) says that Arista should have reduced the fort. But Arista judged rightly that, if he should defeat Taylor, the fort would have to fall, and therefore it would be unwise to risk heavy losses; and probably he did not wish Ampudia to have the glory of capturing it.

19. 13Giffard to Bankhead, May 13; to Pakenham, May 28. 118Berlandier to Arista, undated draft. Sen. I; 29, 2, p. 46 (Marcy, report). Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 297 (Taylor). Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 3. (Bridge, plank, etc.) Meade, Letters, i, 101–2. Apuntes, 46. 69Sanders to Taylor, May 10 ("the scows and flats of the Quarter-Masters Dept. would give us the means of crossing the river at once"). Niles, May 30, p. 202. N. Orl. Commerc. Bulletin, May 18. Nat. Intell., May 18. 165Conner to Bancroft, May 28; to Aulick, May 18. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 132. 166Wilson to Conner, May 15. 166Bliss to Wilson, May 14. Ho. 1; 30, 2, pp. 1161–2 (Conner). Parkers Recolls., 56. (Steamers) Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 522; Henry, Camp. Sketches, 115 (the Neva at Matamoros May 24); Niles, May 30, p. 203; 166Munroe to Conner, May 9; N. Y. Herald, June 11. 65Taylor, gen. orders 59. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 297, 300 (Taylor). Wash. Union, May 18, 30; June 17. N. Y. Herald, June 10. 364Worth to S., June 1. 166Wilson to Conner, May 15. 166Bliss to Munroe, May 9. 166Sanders to Bliss, May 16. 166Bliss to Wilson, May 14. Giddings, Camp., 36.

There was additional help at hand. 69May 10 Captain Sanders, the engineer officer at Point Isabel, conferred with Conner about crossing the river, and Conner said he was "perfectly ready and willing to go into the river and proceed up as far as Burita," where he would place all his men and boats at Taylor's disposal. (In fact Conner did assist in the Burrita expedition actually executed.) This was reported to Taylor at once. Matamoros had no defences except toward the river.

20. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 297 (Taylor); 1206 (Arista). Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 3. Campa?a contra. 69Arista to Taylor, May 10. 76Parrodi, May 22. 76Plana mayor diary. 13Giffard to Pakenham, May 28. 61Spanish letter to Taylor, undated. 285Ampudia to Paredes, May 14. 76Arista, May 13, 16. (Duty) Jomini, Précis, i, 475; Wagner, Strategy, 45; Henderson, Science of War, 42. Apuntes, 47. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 107. 76Testimony at court-martial of Arista. Fallo Definitivo (Arista was entirely exonerated, and at a later day he became President).

21. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 298 (Taylor). Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 3. Apuntes, 47–51. Campa?a contra. 76Arista, May 16, 18, 29; June 4. 76Prefect of No. Tamaulipas to gov., May 29. 76Plana mayor diary. 285Torrejón to Paredes, June 3. 76To Arista, May 27; June 9. 76Parrodi, May 22–3, 31. Negrete, Invasión, ii, 219. 76Testimony at the court-martial of Arista. 76Ampudia, Sept. 9. 224Bliss to Hitchcock, June 7. Fallo Definitivo. Meade, Letters, i, 85, 95. 76Gen. orders, June 15, 1848. Arista had a choice between two routes-one through a settled region, the other through a desert-and for strategic reasons chose the latter.

22. 65Taylor, gen. orders, 59–61, 78–9, 83. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 297, 300–1 (Taylor). Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 3, 175. Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., i, 425–6. Reid, Scouting Expeds., 43. 66Mansfield to Totten, June 23. 370Taylor to ... June 18. Henshaw papers. Smith, To Mexico, 52–4. 76Parrodi, May 31. Murray, Reality, 75. 69Garland to ... May 24. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 106–9, 113. Meade, Letters i, 88. As Roa Bárcena says (Recuerdos, 40), the Americans were physically stronger than the Mexicans, had better arms, cannon, artillery horses, and ammunition, plenty of food, ample and well-served ambulances, were quicker and more forceful in their movements, and were more obedient; and the officers had more confidence in one another. They were also cooler and more intelligent, and had greater reserves of will-power, and the men felt more confidence in their superiors.

23. Meade, Letters, i, 98, 101. Metrop. Mag., Dec, 1907 (Hamilton, July 29, 1846). 139Campbell to Martin, July 29; (nine tenths) to D. Campbell, Aug. 9. Polk, Diary, Apr. 1, 1847. 224Larnard to Hitchcock, June 13. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 283. 224Bliss to Hitchcock, June 7. Schouler, U. S., v, 248. Weed, Autobiography, 571–2. Albany Evening Journal, June 18. Scott, Mems., ii, 389.

Larnard, an excellent officer, wrote to Hitchcock that Taylor did not give an order to the artillery on May 8 nor a material order to any one, and that he was no more responsible for winning the two battles than a rock rolling down a hill for crushing what is before it. This was intended, no doubt, to be taken with a grain of salt. The editor of Niles' Register said: Owing to an error in estimating the capacities of the enemy, the army under Gen. Taylor made a narrow escape from almost utter annihilation (July 18, p. 309); and, considering the ardor of the Mexicans as well as the embarrassment caused by the American wagons, one must believe that had the General carried out the plan which he seems to have formed, the results would have been unfortunate. See Semmes, Service, 70. Meade (Letters, i, 99) remarked that Taylor's neglect of precautions probably helped induce the Mexicans to fight. This was not true, for Arista's orders were express; but, even had it been so, one could not excuse a general for really (not seemingly, as a ruse) neglecting precautions and preparations demanded by the circumstances. "Boldness is the acme of wisdom" in war, the German general staff has said (Donat, Russo-Japanese War, 255); but the distinction between boldness and rashness is real and vital. No doubt graduates of West Point felt a prejudice against men of antecedents like Taylor's, but they showed in the course of the war a willingness to recognize merit. The popular enthusiasm over Taylor's "victories" was the greater because he had been supposed to be in extreme peril.

24. 52J. Parrott, June 4. Bankhead, nos. 71, 90, 1846. 285Vega to Paredes, Apr. 3. 76Tornel to Arista, May 27. The London Times, Feb. 24, 1847, quoted the Journal des Débats as saying in effect that the Mexican War prevented the establishment of a monarchy in Mexico. Paredes had no doubt been encouraged by the reports of Mejía regarding the state of things at Corpus Christi, and very likely these reports helped decide him to reject Slidell.

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