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   Chapter 34 CHIHUAHUA No.34

The War With Mexico, Volume I (of 2) By Justin H. Smith Characters: 13690

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03

1. Willock's battalion was under Price's command. The Mormons were intended for California. Kearny's order to Doniphan anticipated a suggestion made independently by Scott and by Benton in November, and forwarded, with Polk's approval, to Kearny on December 10 by Marcy. Doniphan was anxious to be ordered to Wool, and his men, reacting from the atrocious conditions prevailing at Santa Fe-of which quite enough will be heard in chapter xxxi-were eager to be off.

2. Arriving at Santa Fe without provisions, the soldiers soon ate up what supplies could be obtained there, and as the people were declared to be American citizens, nothing could be taken without the consent of the owners. Besides, Kearny had no adequate funds. By a surprising blunder the contracts for the supplies that followed him called for delivery, not at Santa Fe, but at Bent's Fort. Doniphan's setting out for the south was delayed by a lack of provisions. The description of his men is based upon a large number of documents (particularly the diaries of Gibson and Hastings and Ruxton's Adventures) which will be cited when the occupation of New Mexico comes to be considered (chap. xxxi).

3. Ruxton speaks of tents, but perhaps he was thinking of Clark's men. Doniphan stated that they marched across the Jornada without tents (St. Louis Republican, July 3, 1847).

4. December 19 Heredia reported to Santa Anna that there were 108 infantry and 320 cavalry at El Paso. There is no reason to suspect the honesty of this report, and none of the other troops in the state had time to reach that town before Christmas. Some ex-soldiers, however, are said in Apuntes, 141, to have joined the colors, making some 1200 in all, including militia.

5. It is impossible to state positively how many men Ponce de León had. The American accounts run as high as 1300 (Hughes), but evidently they were not based on reliable information, and very likely the writers assumed that all of Vidal's troops were under Ponce. From the Mexican accounts it would appear that such was not the case. Vidal would naturally keep men back to act as a reserve, hold what he called his "line of defence," and guard his person; and this probability is strengthened by the fact that three of his four guns were not used in the fight. The figures of several Mexican accounts are about 500. The reports of the details of the skirmish are equally irreconcilable. El Brazito (The Little Arm) was the smaller (eastern) of the two channels into which the river was here divided by an island.

6. Doniphan's operations to Dec. 25 inclusive; Mex. preparations at the Chihuahua frontier. 61Wooster, Sept. 25. 268Portrait of Doniphan. 240Kennerly, narrative. 61Kearny, special orders 11. Sen. 7; 30, 1. Richardson, Journal. Sen. Misc. 26; 30, 1, p. 61. 61Kearny, orders, Sept. 23. 61Doniphan, Oct. 20. 61Price, Feb. 26, 1847. 61Scott, Nov. 24 and Marcy's endorsement, Dec. 9. Cooke, Conquest, 51. 201Gibson, diary. Republicano, Jan. 26; Apr. 10, 1847. Picayune, Mar. 6, 18, 1847. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 105. Anzeiger des Westens, Apr. 11, 14; May 17, 18, 1847. 243Kribben, letters, Oct. 20, etc., 1846. Wash. Union, Mar. 18, 21, 1847. St. Louis Republican, July 3, 1847. Niles, Mar. 6, 1847, p. 7; Apr. 3, p. 71; July 3, p. 279. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 496–7 (Don.). Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 171, 1128. Apuntes, 141–3. Elliott, Notes, 227, 229. Sen. 23; 30, 1, pp. 90–6. Sen. 439; 29, 1, p. 2. (Loss) Ho. 24; 31, 1. Ruxton, Adventures (London, 1847), 171–2, 176, 178, 183. Statement re Doniphan from Hon. Champ Clark, Jan. 27, 1906. Benton, View, ii, 686–8. Mo. Hist. Soc. Colls., ii, no. 4. 212Hastings, diary. Cooke, Conquest, 39. Hughes, Doniphan's Exped., 256–67. Connelley, Doniphan's Exped., 589. From 76 the following. Trias, proclam., Nov. 19, 1846. Id., Nov. 23; Dec. 18. Balmúdez, El Paso, Oct. 28. Vidal, proclam., Dec. 21. Id., Dec. 26. Heredia, Dec. 25. Ponce to Vidal, Dec. 26. Gov. Chih. to prefect El Paso, Sept. 19.

7. October 22 Marcy, learning from Kearny that surplus troops might be ordered to report to Wool at Chihuahua, directed Taylor to notify and instruct any such detachment in case he (Taylor) should decide to have Wool join him (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 365). It was probably possible to have a Mexican spy go from Parras to Chihuahua and thence north to meet Doniphan, but so far as we are aware no attempt to do this was made.

8. The insurrection will be described in chap. xxxi.

9. During the stay at El Paso some of the traders stole away, went to Chihuahua, and sold ammunition to the enemy.

10. Lieut. Col. Mitchell had been ordered south by Price in December to open communication with Wool, who was believed to be approaching Chihuahua, and Mitchell had organized the Rangers as an escort. Christian Kribben, who commanded one of the two companies, wrote (Nov. 30) that Mitchell selected the best men then at S. Fe. The commander was named Hudson. (See also Richardson, Journal.) Mitchell nearly reached El Paso while Doniphan was engaged with the Indians; but, alarmed by reports of Mexican troops, he returned and joined Doniphan. There was no engineer in Doniphan's command.

11. Events from Dec. 26 to Feb. 27 inclusive. Sen. Misc. 26; 30, 1, p. 61. 61Price, Feb. 26, 1847. 61Wooster, Mar. 7. Gibson, diary. Picayune, Mar. 18. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 105. Wash. Union, Mar. 18. Richardson, Journal. 228Hughes to Miller, Jan. 26. Id. to war dept., Jan. 25. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 498–9 (Don.), 503 (Gilpin). Apuntes, 143. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 365, 1128. Elliott, Notes, 245. Ruxton, Adventures (London, 1847), 156, 158, 168. Kendall, Narrative, ii, 35. Mo. Hist. Soc. Colls., ii, no. 4. Hastings, diary. Hughes, Doniphan's Exped., 256, 269, 271–4, 280, 286, 289–95, 301–2. From 76 the following. García Conde, Apr. 5. Comte. gen. Chih., Oct. 10, 1846. Heredia, Jan. 9, 1847. Id. to S. Anna, Dec. 31, 1846; Jan. 5, 1847. Gov. Sonora to Bustamante, Feb. 28, 1847. Trias, Feb. 7. The artillery arrived on Feb. 1, but the baggage and provision train not until Feb. 5.

12. After the battle the Mexicans represented their forces as small; but, as Trias himself wrote on February 20 that he would set out the next day from Chihuahua City with 2000 troops (it is not probable that he looked upon the rancheros as troops), and García Conde was then north of the Sacramento with about 800 cavalry, it seems impossible to reduce the total given in the text.

13. Mexican preparations to defend Chihuahua; the ground and the fortifications. Sen. Misc. 26; 30, 1, p. 53. Gibson, diary. Republicano, Mar. 25; Apr. 10; June 8. Anzeiger des Westens, May 17, 18. Diario, Nov. 5, 1846. Edwards, Campaign, 127. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 498–513. Apuntes, 143–6. Ruxton, Adventures (London, 1847), 159. 47Conner, May 31, 1846. Memoria de ... Guerra, Mar., 1845, p. 28. Kendall,

Narrative, ii, 63. Hastings, diary. Hughes, Doniphan's Exped., 303–5. From 76 the following. García Conde, Apr. 5, 1847. Martínez, Oct. 10, 1846. Reyes, Oct. 9, 1846. J. M. Conde, Feb. 24; Mar. 15, 1847. S. Anna, Oct. 12; Nov. 11; Dec. 24, 1846; Jan. 4, 1847. Tornel, June 25, 1846. Gov. Durango, July 27; Sept. 3, 1846. Re-extracto of Sambrano letter. Boletín no. 8, Chih. Reyes to Trias, Oct. 7, 1846. Comte. gen. Durango, Aug. 22; Sept. 3; Oct. 30, 1846. To Reyes, Aug. 31; Sept. 9, 18, 25, 1846. Reyes, Aug. 25; Sept. 14; Oct. 2, 6, 1846. Memo., Sept 9. To director gen. of artill., Sept. 18. Patriotic junta, plan, July 27, 1846 (reported upon by generals, Sept. 4). Comte. gen. Chih., [Sept.] 15, 1846. Trias, Sept. 19; Dec. 26, 1846; Feb. 20; Oct. 26, 1847. Gov. Chih., July 23, 1846. Comte. gen. Zacatecas, July 31. Segundo cabo, Chih., July 18, res., 21, 25; Aug. 17. Estados of troops in Zac., Dur., Chih. and N. Mex. Heredia to S. Anna, Dec. 31, 1846; Jan. 5; Feb. 13, 20, 1847. To Heredia, Mar. 13, 1847. Memo, on defence of Chih. Heredia, Oct. 10; Nov. 2; Dec. 7, 1846; Jan. 19, 26, 30; Feb. 20; Mar. 2, 22, 1847. Estado of Dur. troops sent to Chih., dated Feb. 20, 1847. To comte. gen. Dur., Sept. 9, 1846. And many others.

14. A letter of May 18, 1847, from Chihuahua said that in the opinion of sensible persons commercial interest in the caravan had much to do with Doniphan's victories, and that certain extraordinary events could be explained in no other way (Republicano, June 8). 76Heredia suspected that Chihuahua merchants were secretly working to bring about the arrival of the caravan.

15. Doniphan might have crossed the cordillera bounding the eastern side of the valley and turned the Mexican position entirely, wrote 76García Conde; but he did not say that the wagons could have gone that way. If they could not, the plan was impracticable.

16. Doniphan said later: "There was no particular generalship at the battle. You were marched within the proper distance, when you were turned loose. The enemy first recoiled, then gave way, then fled." To a great extent this was true. Doniphan knew that he was not a general, and did not try to play the part. For a time at least he merely watched and whittled (Edwards, Campaign, 112). Affairs were mostly in the hands of his subordinates. But he gave some directions. Lieut. Wooster of the Fourth Artillery, who had arrived at Santa Fe on August 28, was on the ground, and according to his own report was mainly responsible for the conduct of the battle.

17. Events of Feb. 28. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 498 (Doniphan), 502 (Mitchell), 503 (Gilpin), 508 (Clark). (Loss) Ho. 24; 31, 1. 201Gibson, diary. 212Hastings, diary. American Eagle, V. Cruz, May 26. Richardson, Journal, 61–4. Polk, Diary, May 4. 188Edwards, diary. Sen. Misc. 26; 30, 1, p. 53. 61Wooster, Mar. 7. Republicano, Mar. 25; Apr. 10. México á través, iv, 644. Anzeiger des Westens, May 18 (Kribben). Wash. Union, July 12. Diario, Mar. 17; Apr. 8. Edwards, Campaign, 111–2, 117. Niles, July 3, 1847, p. 279. Robinson, Sketches, 57–8. Apuntes, 146–9. Elliott, Notes, 245. 13Bankhead, no. 29, 1847. Captain of Vols., Conquest, 38. Ruxton, Adventures (1847), 159. Mo. Hist. Soc. Colls., ii, no. 4. Benton, View, ii, 686. Cooke, Conquest, 89. 240Kennerly, narrative. Hughes, Doniphan's Exped., 306–13. Connelley, Doniphan's Exped., 418, 590. From 76 the following. García Conde, Apr. 5. J. M. Conde, Mar. 15. Yá?ez, Mar. 23. To Heredia, Mar. 2, 13. Heredia, Mar. 2; Apr. 1. Ugarte, Mar. 10. It is hardly necessary to point out that howitzers and cavalry should not ordinarily be used in storming entrenched positions. Ibarra's list of officers killed during the war (p. 8) mentions but one as falling here. This fact seems to suggest the true character of the battle. Drawing the fire of the Mexican fortifications by sweeping to the left prepared the way for our decisive charge.

18. Trias made active efforts but in vain. Heredia had only 200 men on April 10; and Ugarte on April 15 merely expected to have two small parties afoot before long. Arlégui, comandante general of Durango, was anxious to protect his own state by recovering Chihuahua, but the governor showed no interest in that project.

19. Sen. Misc. 26; 30, 1, pp. 61–2. Frost, Taylor, 304. 61Wooster, Mar. 7. Gibson, diary. Republicano, Apr. 10; June 8. Wash. Union, July 12. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 501 (Doniphan); 503 (Mitchell). Apuntes, 149. Robinson, Sketches, 62. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 1088 (Mora); 1128 (Doniphan). Rondé, Voyage, 136. Hastings, diary. Hughes, Doniphan's Exped., 316, 327, 335. Richardson, Journal. From 76 the following. Ugarte, Mar. 15; Apr. 8, 15. To comtes. gen. in Jalisco, Zacat., Guanaj. and Dur., Mar. 13. To Filisola, Apr. 1, 30. Gov. Dur. to comte. gen., Mar. 7; Apr. 3. Arlégui, Mar. 31. Id., proclam., Apr. 11. Heredia, Mar. 2, 18; Apr. 8. Trias, May 26. Olivares and Maceyra to Doniphan, Mar. 5. Gov. Zacatecas, Mar. 18. The news that Mexican forces were coming was not without foundation. Gen. Filisola, a veteran officer, had now been given Heredia's place, the comandantes general of three states had been ordered to the north, and the governor of Durango was expecting 1000 men.

20. About sixty-five Comanches had raided Parras just before the Americans arrived there, killing eight or ten persons. As the people of the town had been friendly to Wool, Captain Reid with about thirty-five men pursued the Indians, and without losing a life killed seventeen, wounded at least twenty-five, and recaptured nineteen boys and girls besides hundreds of horses and mules. Doniphan's men were reviewed by Wool at Buena Vista.

21. The return home. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 1127, 1131, 1136, 1143, 1170 (Taylor); 1128 (Doniphan); 1144 (Reid). Richardson, Journal. Hughes, Doniphan's Exped., 339–51, 359, 363–5, etc. Sen. Misc. 26; 30, 1, pp. 62–82. 61Wooster, Mar. 7. 65Wool, gen. orders 293. Cutts, Conquest, 89. Republicano, June 8. Richardson, Journal. Independiente, May 29. Wash. Union, July 12. Scharf, St. Louis, i, 379. Connelley, Doniphan's Exped., 591. Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 502. Captain of Vols., Conquest, 37, 39. Cooke, Conquest, 90, note. 148Chamberlain, recolls. 65Taylor, gen. orders 59. S. Anna, Apelación, app., 15–7. Connelley, Doniphan's Exped., 596. Mo. Hist. Soc. Colls., ii, no. 4. Hastings, diary. Niles, July 3, 1847, p. 279; July 17, p. 316; Aug. 14, p. 372. Robinson, Sketches, 64–71. 76Ugarte, May 3. 76Relaciones, May 20. 76Arlégui, May 7, 14. 76Aguirre, May 14. 76Jefe político, Mapimi, May 10. The distance from Chihuahua to Saltillo was called 675 miles. Doniphan resumed the practice of law, managed his fine farm, and served in the Missouri senate. When the Civil War broke out, he supported the Union; but apparently he felt too much tenderness for his neighbors to take up arms.

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