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   Chapter 37 THE GENESIS OF TWO CAMPAIGNS No.37

The War With Mexico, Volume I (of 2) By Justin H. Smith Characters: 44454

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1. As early as August 16 Pillow wrote to his wife that Taylor thought it would be necessary to attack the city of Mexico by way of Vera Cruz.

2. The fortress of San Juan de Ulúa stood on a reef about three-quarters of a mile from the strong fort which guarded the north end of Vera Cruz at the water line. U. S. Consul Campbell of Havana informed Conner before June 10, 1846, that the defences of Ulúa on the side facing the city were partially undermined and poorly armed, and that, as all the Mexican preparations had been founded on the belief that future assailants would adopt the French plan of attack, he could place his vessels on that side at night with little or no injury, and easily take the fortress by escalade; but Conner does not appear to have endorsed this opinion. An American named Jobson, who resided at Vera Cruz, wrote to the war department, Feb. 14, 1847, that nobody except the Americans was afraid of Ulúa; that in September, 1846, it had been garrisoned by only 180 men, who, being neither paid nor fed, ran up the American flag on the night of Sept. 17; and that Conner might have passed in by the south channel, put 500 men ashore, and captured the fortress in half an hour. See chap. xxx, note 20.

3. These regiments were to come from Mass., New York, Penn., Va., No. and So. Carolina, Miss., La. and Texas (mounted men)-one from each; and in December a second regiment was invited from Penn. There was considerable hesitation about calling on Massachusetts, but it was concluded that should she fail to supply her quota, the country would take note of her attitude. Marcy issued the calls on Nov. 16 (Nov. 27 Florida was asked for a company), and the abruptness of the change wrought by Benton is shown by the fact that only five days earlier Marcy had stated that the volunteers then in service were "deemed sufficient for the prosecution of the war" (Wash. Union, May 28, 1847). The field and staff officers were to be a colonel, a lieutenant colonel, a major, an adjutant (a lieutenant from one of the companies), a sergeant major, a quartermaster sergeant and two principal musicians. Each of the ten companies of a regiment was to have a captain, a lieutenant, two second lieutenants, four sergeants, four corporals, two musicians and eighty privates, but a company including sixty-four effective privates was to be accepted. These privates were to be in physical vigor and apparently 18–45 (inclusive) years of age. The field and company officers were to be men appointed and commissioned under the laws of their state. The rendezvous of the infantry were to be Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, Guiandotte (Va.), Wilmington, Charleston, Vicksburg, New Orleans. Most of the regiments were made up rather slowly, and there was so much difficulty in Virginia that her recruiting officers went into Maryland. This difficulty appears to have been due to a lack of enthusiasm for the war (first part of chap. xxxiv). The supposedly brilliant victory at Monterey had exercised a favorable influence, but the obligation to serve the war out had a contrary effect, and the terms of the law, which required the independent action of the state governments, caused delay in some instances. The First Pennsylvania reached New Orleans Dec. 29 and 30, and at that time the Mississippi regiment was expected to arrive there by Jan. 10. The South Carolina regiment was ready on Dec. 22.

Special efforts were made at the same time to bring the regular army up to 15,000 men. The authorized maximum was at this time 16,998 (including 780 commissioned officers), but in spite of energetic recruiting only 10,381 were actually serving in the two regiments of dragoons, one of Mounted Riflemen, four of "artillery," eight of infantry, and a co. of engineer soldiers (Sen. 1; 29, 2, pp. 62–3). Nov. 3 the recruiting officers were authorized to pay a citizen, non-commissioned officer, or soldier $2.00 for each accepted man brought to the rendezvous (65gen. orders 48). The minimum height was reduced to five feet and three inches (65gen. orders 51). Men desiring to enlist had probably felt more drawn to the briefer volunteer service, and had waited for a second call. Besides, the widows and orphans of volunteers (but not of regulars) were to be pensioned, and the prevailing high wages for labor deterred many from wishing to enlist. The lack of officers in the regular army still continued serious. On July 30, 1846, less than one third of the regimental field officers were available. The regiments in Mexico did not average one field officer apiece.

According to the report of the adjutant general dated Dec. 5, 1846, Taylor had (including the garrison at Tampico and troops en route, but subject to some deductions) 7406 regulars and 10,926 volunteers, besides 621 and 2039 respectively under Wool. Adding to these 446 and 3546 respectively under Kearny, and the New York regiment en route to California, one finds that the land forces amounted to 25,750 men before the November calls were issued; but subtractions of an unknown magnitude needed to be made from these figures so far as availability was concerned. These and further details may be found in Sen. 1; 29, 2. See also the following. 62Marcy to govs., Nov. 16. Sen. 1; 29, 2, p. 46 (Marcy, report). 61Bowman to Jones, Dec. 4; to Polk, Dec. 29. 61Brooke to Jones, Dec. 29. Wash. Union, Nov. 30, 1846; May 28, 1847. 61Jones to Scott, Dec. 17. Polk, Diary, Nov. 7, 10, 14–16. 62Marcy to gov. Fla., Dec. 27. 63Marcy to gov. Mass., Nov. 16; to gov. Tex., Nov. 20; to gov. Iowa, Nov. 25. Niles, Nov. 21, 1846, p. 179; Jan. 16, 1847, p. 308. 29Brown to Marcy, Oct. 6. Sen. 1; 29, 2, p. 62. 13Pakenham, no. 132, Nov. 23. Cong. Globe, 30, 1, p. 428 (Cabell). Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 478 (Freeman), 873 (Marcy). West Va. dept. arch. and hist., report, 1910, p. 186.

4. Genesis of the Vera Cruz expedition. Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 45 (Marcy, report). 52Black, Oct. 29. Benton, Abr. Deb., xvi, 63. 13Pakenham, nos. 119, 130, 132, 140, 150. 228G. Flagg to A. Flagg, Dec. 17. Picayune, Apr. 30; Oct. 5; Dec. 11, 1846; Feb. 2, 1847 (Taylor to Gaines). (Calhoun) Cong. Globe, 29, 2, app., 323. Polk, Diary, July 2; Aug. 29; Oct. 10, 17–22; Nov. 7–17; Dec. 1, 2, 1846; Jan. 2, 1847. Meigs, Benton, 361. 108Bancroft to Polk, Dec. 3. Benton; View, ii, 693–4. 108Buchanan to Bancroft, priv., Dec. 29. Claiborne, Quitman, i, 273. 335Letter from P. F. Smith (with Trist's letter to Buchanan, Sept. 28, 1847, private). Wash. Union, Sept. 29; Oct. 2. Niles, Mar. 13, 1847, p. 20. 206James Graham to Gov. Graham, Jan. 10, 1847. 256Marcy to Wetmore, Nov. 1. Scott, Mems., ii, 404. Johnston, A. S. Johnston, 134. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 333, 355, 363, 1231 (Marcy); 1268–1270, 1273–4 (Scott); 351 (Taylor). 297Benton, memo., July 4. 297Mackenzie to Buchanan, July 7. 47Conner, June 11; July 22; Oct. 4. Meade, Letters, i, 148. 52Campbell, June 9. Schouler, Hist. Briefs, 155. 58Jobson, Feb. 14, 1847. Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 170. Bancroft to Conner, May 30. Conner, Castle of Ulloa. 256Totten to Marcy, Nov. 23, 1847. 180Pillow to wife, Aug. 16. 169Taylor to Crittenden, Sept. 1. 13Doyle, no. 79, 1843. 69P. F. Smith, memoir, Oct. 14. 354Welles papers. 152Mason to Conner, Nov. 29, priv. and confid. Journal des Débats, Nov. 4. Boston Atlas, Dec. 17. Buchanan, Works, viii, 365. Diccionario Universal (Ulúa). Cong. Globe, 29, 2, app., 191. (Ulúa) See chaps. xxii, p. 21, xxx.

5. It is believed that the preceding text and notes afford ample support for this sentence. Note 27 contains additional references; and see Ripley, War with Mexico, i, 361–2. Taylor seems never to have perceived that Polk could have superseded him with a Democrat by merely sending Jesup or Wool to the army with reinforcements before brevetting him major general and ordering him to serve with his brevet rank. Nov. 10 Polk asserted in his diary that he had known no politics with reference to Taylor. The diary shows that he was aware how Taylor felt about him. This was not at all surprising. Pillow's letters indicate plainly that he understood the matter and he was in confidential correspondence with the President. Pillow wrote to his wife that Taylor systematically proscribed Polk's friends, and this may offset some of Taylor's assertions that he himself was persecuted by the administration.

6. Dec. 10 (Bixby) Taylor wrote to his son-in-law that he would not say he would refuse to serve, if elected President. This meant of course that he was a candidate. His formal announcement came the following month.

7. It is probable that the administration knew how Taylor felt about the Vera Cruz expedition, for he was outspoken, and Polk had more than one correspondent in his camp.

8. Scott, like nearly all the Whigs, disapproved of a war made by a Democratic administration for (as the Whigs generally alleged) party reasons, but was ready to do his duty as a soldier (13Pakenham, separate and confidential, Sept. 28).

9. The selection of the commander. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 363, 367, 369, 373 (Marcy); 372, 1268–70 (Scott); 383 (Bliss); 384 (Patterson). 169Scott to Taylor, Sept. 26 ("I never, for a moment, ceased to watch over your fame and interests with the liveliest solicitude"). Polk, Diary, Sept. 5, 15; Oct. 22; Nov. 10, 14, 17–19, 21, 1846; May 6, 1847; Jan. 4, 1848. Scott, Mems., ii, 386, 399. London Times, June 30, 1847. 132Slidell to Buchanan, Nov. 5. 169Scott to Crittenden, Sept. 17. 169Taylor to Crittenden, Jan. 26; Mar. 25, 1847. 354Welles papers. Note particularly Taylor's political exchanges with. 169Crittenden and Wood (Bixby coll.) during the summer and autumn. 180Pillow to wife, Oct. 27; Dec. 8. 330Taylor to brother, Dec. 12, 1846; Jan. 19, 1848. Id., Letters (Bixby), June 3; Aug. 23; Nov. 26; Dec. 10, 13, 1846; Jan. 26; Feb. 9; May 9; Aug. 29, 1847. 345Blair to Van Buren, July 7. Coleman, Crittenden, i, 243–4. 169Scott to Marcy, Sept. 12. 62Marcy to Scott, Sept. 14. 256Id. to Wetmore, June 28. Watson, In Memoriam, 115. Grant, Mems., i, 120. Meade, Letters, i, 175. Nat. Intelligencer, Aug. 29. Garrison, Extension, 242. Bancroft, Pacific States, viii, 375. Mag. of Amer. Hist., xiv, 564. Slidell to Buchanan, Nov. 5, 1846, private: "The fate of the Administration depends on the successful conduct of the war" (Curtis, Buchanan, i, 601).

10. Scott's figures were slightly below the adjutant general's. Possibly the latter used returns of later dates. Taylor did not have so many available troops, and accused Scott of stating what he knew or should have known to be false (Bixby coll., 181); but if the adjutant general was incorrectly informed as to the strength of the forces, the fault was Taylor's. See note 3.

11. Scott was severely criticised by Marcy (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1239) and others for ordering so many boats, guns and shells, and it was triumphantly proclaimed that, as the result proved, he did not need so large an outfit. But this argument was not sound. He had to reckon on a failure to produce and deliver at the point of shipment in season all that he specified, on a heavy loss through wreckage and other accidents, on the probability that his landing would be opposed, and on the expected necessity of reducing Ulúa; nor did he know that naval guns (to which he actually was compelled to have recourse) would be available. It has been said, too, that the army could have landed in the boats of the blockading squadron, but Scott found on inquiry that only about 500 could go ashore in them at a single trip (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1274). Scott on the other hand was unreasonably bitter in charging the war department with negligence. More could have been done by the government, and errors were committed, but shortcomings and mistakes were inevitable. Marcy's reply to Scott's charges (Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 1218, 1227) needs to be scrutinized carefully. Ripley (War with Mexico, ii, 14) ridicules Scott (for asking for a pontoon train) on the ground that every stream between Vera Cruz and Mexico was fordable. But (1) Scott could not be sure his operations would be confined to that line; (2) he operated in fact on the lower Alvarado River, where it was not fordable; (3) had the national bridge been blown up, pontoons might have been useful there for wagons and heavy guns. Río del Plan was a small stream, but the enemy caused the Americans much trouble by destroying the bridge at Plan del Río. See Ripley, op. cit., ii, 165.

12. The proof that Scott and the administration intended that Taylor should not be placed in jeopardy is superabundant: Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 357, 366, 389 (Marcy); 844, 1272, 1276 (Scott). Scott even intended to give Taylor his personal aid, should the Mexicans attack him in force; and this was one of his reasons for going to Camargo (ibid., 844; 61Scott to Brooke, Dec. 28).

13. As late as Jan. 2, 1847, every member of the Cabinet except Clifford was opposed to Scott's marching against the city of Mexico, though Polk favored taking that step should it be necessary in order to obtain peace (Polk, Diary).

14. Taylor alleged bitterly (Bixby, 182) that discourtesy and injury were done him by the failure to notify him promptly of the expedition, but Polk's precaution was wise. Some despatches were intercepted or lost, and soon a most important letter from Scott to Taylor, marked "confidential" both outside and within, was opened by a subordinate at Monterey and publicly discussed (Scott, Mems., ii, 402). See note 15.

15. Nov. 25 Marcy wrote guardedly to Taylor with reference to the new expedition, but the despatch went astray (62adj. gen. to Taylor, May 5, 1847). It is surprising that cipher was not used. It seems as if a ciphered letter giving the necessary explanations and ordering Taylor to place the required forces at specified points by specified dates should have been sent to Taylor in triplicate by trusty messengers not later than Nov. 30.

16. Scott's operations, etc., up to Dec. 27. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 373, 838–41, 1218, 1268, 1270, 1273–5 (Scott); 369, 372, 873, 1231 (Marcy); 1253 (Jesup); 1100 (Taylor). Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 95, 181. Senex, Myth. Wise, Seven Decades, 235. Polk, Diary, Nov. 10, 20, 1846; Jan. 2, 1847. Jameson, Calhoun Corres., 727–8. Journ. of Milit. Serv. Instit., xiv, 442. 234A. Johnson to -–, Dec. 2. 191Fairfield to wife, Dec. 13. Scott, Mems., ii, 402. 256Id. to Marcy, Dec. 27, private. 61H. L. Scott, Nov. 24. 61W. Scott, memo., Nov. 29. 62Jones to Taylor, May 5, 1847. 164Scott to Conner, Dec. 26 (P. S. Dec. 27). Picayune, Dec. 24. "The Brazos" signified loosely a region comprising Brazos Id., Pt. Isabel, and sometimes the mouth of the Rio Grande.

Scott blamed Marcy for permitting him to spend only four days at Washington in preparatory work (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1218). Marcy replied that Scott passed twenty-six days in going from the capital to New Orleans via New York when he might have reached that place in seven (ibid., 1228). The reply looks effective but does not cover the ground. Marcy said Scott was not needed at the war department, where the initial work had to be done; and hence the General did well to fortify himself for the campaign and gain time for reflection by choosing the sea route. The voyage took nineteen days instead of twelve on account of head winds.

While he was at New Orleans a newspaper published there stated that the expedition (which Scott intimated was bound for San Luis Potosí) would strike at Vera Cruz, and Polk showed what he meant in promising Scott his full confidence by charging that he had betrayed the secret (Diary, Jan. 14; Feb. 27). The secret was out at New Orleans in reality about two weeks before Scott arrived there, and the newspaper stated later that its information did not come from any person connected with the army (Niles, Feb. 13, 1847, p. 370). (See 256Scott to Marcy, Jan. 27, priv.) Polk also complained-another mark of confidence-that Scott's vanity was causing him to make "extravagant preparations," as if Taylor had not shown at Monterey the consequences of failing to prepare adequately. In fact Scott, instead of insisting upon extravagant preparations, wrote Dec. 23 that he would move against Vera Cruz if he could land even 5000 men there early in February (374to Conner).

17. The new First Division included Harney's (Third) Brigade, now consisting of Co. C (Bragg's light battery) of the Third Artillery, companies B, C, D and E of the Second Dragoons, the Second Infantry and the Third Infantry; and P. F. Smith's (Fourth) Brigade, now consisting of Co. E (Sherman's light battery) of the Third Artillery, two companies of the Mounted Riflemen (without horses), the First and the Seventh Infantry. The rest of the Second Dragoons were to be assigned whenever they should join. Five companies of the Second Infantry had been for some weeks at Montemorelos; the rest, like the Second Tennessee, marched to that point from Camargo. The Fourth Infantry and two companies of the First Artillery were to occupy the citadel. The Washington and Baltimore battalion, which had belonged to the First Division, was now attached to Quitman's brigade. It will be noted that Taylor, who was incorrectly said to have been exposed with inadequate forces to Mexican attack, now treated Worth in precisely that way, exposing also Saltillo, which he himself called "our most important point" in that region (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 381). Taylor overtook Quitman Dec. 16. Nearly 2000 wagons were now under Taylor's orders, yet pack-mules were used mainly for the train. By the railroad Victoria is 284 kilometers from Monterey.

18. As the Americans had no positive information regarding Santa Anna's intentions and movements, Worth was blamed for giving a false alarm. Rives (U. S. and Mexico, ii, 304) says S. Anna was unable to leave S. L. Potosí. Worth really did expect the Mexicans to reach him considerably sooner than they could have done. Major Gaines with three companies of Kentucky cavalry, previously ordered to Saltillo, seems to have arrived there on Dec. 17. Butler was now ordered to take command at that point.

19. In one letter Taylor stated that he received Scott's note when two days from Monterey, but this must mean "second day." Dec. 20 Scott had written to him from New Orleans, explaining his plans more fully, but this letter did not reach him until January 16 (Ho. 60; 30, 1, 1101).

20. From Montemorelos Taylor sent a topographical engineer, escorted by a squadron of dragoons under May, to examine Santa Rosa Pass and rejoin the command at Linares. Ten men of May's rear guard and the baggage were cut off in the pass (Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 387–8, 1095. Maury, Recolls., 31. Henry, Camp. Sketches, 284).

21. "Norther" was the name given to an extremely violent wind which blew at frequent intervals from October to April, lasting usually about three days. During Scott's operations one lasted seventy-six hours. It grew more violent as one went south toward Vera Cruz, probably because the cordillera approached the coast and produced somewhat the effect of a funnel. Its merit was that it prevented yellow fever.

22. The real Mexican cavalry numbered about 1000 under Gen. Romero, who was sent by Valencia, now commanding at Tula, because the governor of Tamaulipas had asked for 1000 infantry. The cavalry arrived at Victoria on Dec. 24. Only 200 were regulars. The rest were badly armed and munitioned, and cavalry were not suitable for a region covered with woods and intersected with rivers. The people, however, prepared to co?perate with them; but arms were lacking, and the revenues of the state had mostly been cut off by the occupation of Matamoros and Tampico (Gaceta de C. Victoria, July 23, 1846). Valencia was very anxious to attack the Americans, but Santa Anna would not permit this-probably because he did not wish Valencia either to be defeated or to win éclat by succeeding. December 26 Romero received positive orders not to risk an action, and two days later he retired (82gov. Tamaul. to gov. Puebla, Jan. 6, 1847. 77Id. to Relaciones, Apr. 23). Taylor strongly desired to capture Valencia (Roberts, diary).

23. Taylor's march to Victoria (including Worth's alarm). Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 513 (orders 156); 361, 379, 381, 385, 387–8, 848, 1100 (Taylor); 839, 851, 1156 (Scott). Meade, Letters, i, 170, 172. Autograph, July-Aug., Nov.-Dec., 1912 (Taylor). Diccionario Universal (Itinerario). 307Roberts, diary. Sen. 32; 31, 1, p. 8, note. Henshaw narrative. Velasco, Geog., iv, 150. Claiborne, Quitman, i, 277 (Holt's journal). Henry, Camp. Sketches, 262–287. Robertson, Remins., 185–198. Vedette, ii, no. 9 (Townes). 193Foster to father, Dec. 10. 139W. B. Campbell to D. C., Jan. 2, 1847. 69Worth to Bliss, Dec. 16; to Butler, Dec. 18. 69Butler to Bliss, Dec. 20. 69Wool to Worth, Dec. 24. 69Riley to Bliss, Dec. 10. 69Quitman to Bliss, Dec. 30. 69Worth to Bliss, Dec. 4. 65Taylor, gen. orders 160, Dec. 22. 169Id. to Crittenden, Jan. 26, 1847. Id., Letters (Bixby), 180. Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., ii, 300–1. 61Clarke to McCall, Dec. 27. Apuntes, 86–7. Scott, Mems., ii, 402. 69Wool to Butler, Dec. 25. Delta, Jan. 24; Feb. 13, 1847. 52Black, Oct. 8. 299Posey to Gordon, Feb. 19, 1847. N. Y. Herald, Feb. 6, 1847. Scott wrote privately (256Jan. 16) that "friend Taylor ... turned his back upon the appointment I gave him ... saying he would be back, at Monterey, in 36 days, the 1st of February!!" Taylor actually wrote that he might return "early in Feb." (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 848). Also the following from 76. S. Anna, Dec. 22, muy priv. Id., Dec. 24; Jan. 1. Gov. Tamaul., Oct. 22; Dec. 3. E. González, Dec. 29. Comte. Nat. Gd., Catorce, Dec. 30. Instead of admitting that his journey to Victoria delayed the receipt of Scott's letter of Jan. 3 to him, Taylor complained in his characteristic fashion that it should have been sent by a special messenger (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1101).

24. One naturally inquires why Taylor concentrated more than 5000 men at Victoria. He stated that he went in that direction to examine the passes and establish one or more posts, and that he sent Patterson's command there because Mexican parties were going from Tula to that point; but he had been ordered,

Oct. 22, to have 4000 men ready to embark for Vera Cruz, if he could spare them (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 366), and presumably had this in mind. But see his letter, Bixby coll., 72.

25. Such was the regular Mexican measure. In this as in some other cases the American estimates were higher.

26. Patterson's march to Victoria. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 358 (Marcy); 379, 387–8 (Taylor); 383 (Bliss); 383–4 (Patterson); 569, 571 (Jesup). 60Patterson, Dec. 8. 292Pillow to wife, Dec. 15. Amer. Flag, Matamoros, Dec. 26. 332Tennery, diary. 254McClellan, diary. 322Smith, diary. Diccionario Universal (Itinerario). Ho. 13; 31, 2 (G. W. Smith). Engineer School, U. S. A., Occasional Papers, no. 16 (G. W. Smith). 60Belknap, memo, (with Patterson, Nov. 1). 193Heiman to Mrs. Foster, Feb. 28. Lawton, Artillery Officer, 16. Furber, Twelve Months Vol., 275–318. 335Trist, draft of address. Welles papers (Pol. Hist. of U. S.). 139Campbell to D. C., Nov. 2, 1846; Jan. 2; Feb. 19, 1847. Scott, Mems., ii, 423. 159Collins, diary. Hist. Teacher's Mag., Apr., 1912, p. 75. Smith, Annex. of Texas, 250–1. N. Y. Herald, Nov. 3, 1857 (Scott). 146Caswell, diary. 275Nelson to Coe, Oct. 14, 1846 ("The General in making a speech to us a day or two ago said that we should go on, or if it so happened that we had to stay that he (Pillow) would remain with us. This would make our situation deplorable indeed. Our Brigadier General I am sorry to say is universally unpopular"). Two soldiers wrote: "We do not charge Gen. Pillow with that wholesale abuse that has been heaped upon him by many. It is his misfortune to be cursed with unalloyed selfishness" (McLean County Hist. Soc. Trans., i, 24). 280Nunelee, diary. Claiborne, Quitman, i, 277 (Holt's journal). 180Pillow to wife, Oct. 27. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 180. Trans. Ills. State Hist. Soc., 1906, 177–8. McCall, Letters, 474. 273Mullan, diary. Bishop, Journal.

27. Scott's operations, Dec. 27-Jan. 7, including the division of the troops. 61H. L. Scott, Dec. 28. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 842, 844, 848, 851, 853, 875, 1156 (Scott); 858–9 (Butler); 860–1 (Worth). 61Butler, Jan. 8, 1847. Wash. Union, Jan. 13, 1847. (Suggested) Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 353; Taylor, Letter to Gaines. (Ordered) Polk, Diary, Nov. 17–19. (Appointed) Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 372 (Marcy). (Authority) Polk, Diary, Mar. 21, 1847; Cong. Globe, 30, 1, p. 502 (Douglas). (Condition) Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 390, 1276. (Admitted) Ibid., 1102. (Manner) Ibid., 373, 839, 848, 851. (Purpose) Ibid., 373, 839; Scott, Mems., ii, 403. (Reach) Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 848, 852. (Required) Ibid., 864; Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 47. (Recognized) 169Taylor to Crittenden, Jan. 26, 1847. ("Wormed") Ibid.; 370Taylor to Davis, Apr. 18, 1848. (Kill) 330Taylor to brother, May 29, 1847. ("Contemptible") Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 180. (Suggestion) Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 337, 375 (Taylor). ("Intrigue") Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 84. (Outraged) Ibid., 180. (Degraded) Ibid., 181. ("Discourteous") Ibid., 179. (Ruin) Ibid., 90, 95. (Expecting) 169Taylor to Crittenden, Jan. 26, 1847; Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 890, 1109–10, 1113. ("Sacrificed") Ibid., 863; Bixby coll., 114. The New Orleans Comm. Bulletin said a fearful responsibility rested on the government for exposing Taylor. See also 330Taylor to brother, Feb. 8; Apr. 5, 22; May 29, 1847; Jan. 19, 1848.

For a particular reason both Scott and Taylor (169to Crittenden, Jan. 26) felt sure that Santa Anna would go to Vera Cruz promptly. This reason was the capture of Scott's original letter of Jan. 3 to Taylor, borne by Lieut. Richey (French, Two Wars, 71; Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 876, 890; Meade, Letters, i, 182; Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 82). It was believed that the letter was in Santa Anna's hands by about Jan. 15. For this reason and the tardiness of the new volunteer regiments Scott felt that he needed more and Taylor fewer troops than he otherwise would have estimated (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 893). Indeed, Taylor wrote to Scott on Jan. 26 that Santa Anna had already left the north (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 890). Scott was so confident that he would meet serious opposition at Vera Cruz that he employed five or six agents to obtain information about the forces assembling there. Marcy entertained the same expectation (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 369). Ripley (op. cit., i, 358) argues that S. Anna had a better chance of success in attacking Taylor than he would have had in attacking Scott, and therefore Scott should not have believed that S. Anna would oppose his debarkation. But Ripley could not have proved his premise; and, even were that true, the additional advantage that would have been gained by guarding the route from Vera Cruz to Mexico City looked like a decisive consideration. S. Anna's moving against Taylor was largely due to political considerations not understood by either Scott or Ripley.

Taylor gradually settled down upon the idea that the aim of Polk and Scott was to cause him to leave Mexico in disgust (330to brother, Feb. 8; Apr. 5). Later he changed "Scott, Marcy & Co." to "Scott, Polk & Co." (330to brother, Jan. 19, 1848), thus smiting at one stroke a rival in his own party (see 330letter to brother, Apr. 5, 1848) and a supposed rival in the other.

The number of troops left with Taylor for defence against an enemy who was not expected to advance was about 800 regulars and 6–7000 well seasoned and respectably trained volunteers (169Taylor to Crittenden, March 25, 1847) besides several regiments of new volunteers-say 2400–2800 men-who were expected to arrive soon; while Scott had less than 13,000 to face (with all the disadvantages of debarking) the garrisons of Vera Cruz and Ulúa, the army that Santa Anna was believed to be leading against him, and all such reinforcements as the Mexican government could raise when threatened at the vital point. Moreover Scott's new volunteers were to land with practically no training whatever, and could hardly be counted on for the initial fighting. Taylor said that for a blow at the capital 25,000 men (10,000 of them regulars) would be required (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 353). As Scott pointed out, Taylor now had really nothing to do except defend Texas (Memoirs, ii, 409) and, should it be practicable, aid Scott's offensive by threatening to advance. Scott took Robert E. Lee from Taylor's army.

On receiving Scott's orders of Jan. 3 Taylor replied in a style corresponding to his state of mind (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 863). Scott answered: "There are some expressions in those letters [of Jan. 15] which, as I shall wish to forget them, I shall not specify or recall" (ibid., 864); and to Marcy Scott wrote privately: "However, he [Taylor] is still the same excellent man" (256Jan. 23). In his correspondence on this subject Taylor appeared to regard the troops placed under his command as his personal property. The battle of Buena Vista has commonly been cited as the cause of Taylor's election, but it was the idea that he had been deliberately exposed to the Mexicans which gave that victory its remarkable political effect (210Simms to Hammond, Jan. 15, 1847; So. Qtrly. Review, Jan., 1851, p. 37). It may be observed further that for the government to sacrifice him, his army and all the public property in northern Mexico, and give Santa Anna an opportunity to ravage Texas would have been to commit suicide. The idea was unreasonable.

28. Scott, who was a great soldier but not a great lawyer, had the imprudence to attack Marcy, a master of fence, in regard to the supply of vessels, and he fared rather badly. Marcy's defence was, however, by no means wholly sound. He himself called it privately a "special plea" (256to Wetmore, Apr. 11, 1848). For example, Dec. 15, 1846, he notified Scott (and also Jesup, who had gone to the front) that he was ordering ten transports in ballast to the Brazos, but later, on receiving a letter dated Jan. 27 from Jesup (then at the Brazos) which over-confidently stated that all needed vessels could be chartered there, he countermanded the order; and this looks like a satisfactory defence against Scott's complaint that none of the ten transports specified by him in his requisition appeared. But Marcy neglected to inform Jesup or Scott that the order had been countermanded, and, as Jesup's letter could not have reached Washington before about Jan. 7, Jesup naturally assumed that the ten transports had got under way. Indeed, Jan. 23 the adjutant general wrote what Scott understood to mean that the latter might soon expect ten ships in ballast (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 897). Therefore Jesup and Scott counted upon them (ibid., 896), and naturally did not exert themselves to obtain shipping (when disappointed about vessels already engaged) as otherwise they doubtless would have done. (See Scott, Marcy, Jesup, Hetzel in Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 894, 1218, 1227, 1253.) Besides, it was found necessary to send a number of the Brazos vessels to Tampico for the troops of Patterson, Twiggs and Quitman. Jesup (supra) charged Scott with causing delay by changing the assignation of certain regiments; but Scott certainly did not desire to waste time, and it is only fair to suppose that he made the changes for adequate reasons. Jesup complained that many of his officers were inefficient, and Marcy with well feigned na?veté replied that their names had been presented to Polk [by politicians] with "the highest testimonials."

29. Harney soon disobeyed Scott's positive orders at Medellín bridge (chap. xxii, note 25), and his biographer admits that he might justly have been shot (Reavis, Harney, 186). Scott, however, merely refrained from reporting the affair, whereupon Harney complained that he had been unjustly ignored. One of the best reasons for studying the Mexican war is to observe how political considerations interfered with military affairs. The Harney episode was enough to justify Scott's apprehensions of a fire from the rear, but it was not the only instance of executive meddling (213Hatch to sister, Feb. 11, 1847). Another incident also, which occurred at this time, illustrates his magnanimity and good sense. Lieut. Col. Ethan Allen Hitchcock, a man of notable talents and attainments and formerly instructor in tactics at West Point, was admirably qualified to act as inspector general, and Scott gave him the post although Hitchcock had repeatedly opposed him, and was personally unfriendly to him. Experience soon made Hitchcock one of Scott's firmest admirers and partisans (Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 234–6).

30. Scott's operations, Jan. 8-Feb. 15. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 844, 855–6, 866, 875, 880, 882, 890–1, 893, 896, 1218, 1273 (Scott); 874, 1227 (Marcy); 568, 571, 1253 (Jesup); 884, 894 (Hetzel); 868, 870, 887–9, 893, 1164–6 (H. L. Scott); 867, 869, 888 (Harney); 860–1, 870 (Worth); 858–9 (Butler). Niles, Feb. 13, p. 369; Feb. 27, p. 401. 63Marcy to qtrmr. officer, Dec. 11, 15, 1846. Lawton, Artillery Officer, 42–3. 358Williams to father, Jan. 17. Ballentine, English Soldier, i, 257. Picayune, Feb. 3; Mar. 12. 180Pillow to wife, Feb. 14. 65Scott, gen. orders. 8, 11. Polk, Diary, Dec. 14, 1846; Feb. 20, 1847. Reavis, Harney, 186. Grant, Mems., i, 123–4. 61Worth to adj. gen., Feb. 17. Meade, Letters, i, 176. 60Scott to Marcy, April 5, 1847. 256Id. to Id., Jan. 23, 1847, private. Amer. Flag, Matamoros, Feb. 17. Oswandel, Notes, 48. 62Stanton, Nov. 29; Dec. 7, 13, 20, 1846; Jan. 5; Feb. 16, 1847; Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 91 (Hitchcock). 322Smith, diary. 364Worth to S., Feb. 17; to wife, Feb. 18. Smith, To Mexico, 84–103 (Worth's march from Saltillo).

31. An American estimate was 130 miles. This is partially explained perhaps by the fact that the pioneers made some "short cuts" (mule paths) available. Meade (Letters, i, 159) even cut the distance to about 100 miles, but this appears to have been little more than a guess. By the railroad the distance is about 141 miles.

32. From Victoria to Tampico. 146Caswell, diary. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 1097 (Taylor); 879 (Patterson). Diccionario Universal (Itinerario). 303Orders 3, Jan. 12. Robertson, Remins., 199–207. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 181. U. S. Engineer School, Occasional Papers, no. 16 (G. W. Smith). Ho. 13; 31, 2 (Id.). Prieto, Tamaulipas, 229. 332Tennery, diary. 273Mullan, diary. Lawton, Artillery Officer, 27. 322Smith, diary. 169Taylor to Crittenden, Jan. 26. 69Colección de Itinerarios. 307Roberts, diary. Meade, Letters, i, 174–5. Defensor de Tamaul., Jan. 18. 76Cos, Feb. 1. 218Henshaw narrative. 139W. B. Campbell to wife, Jan. 25. Furber, Twelve Months Vol., 342–93.

33. The author's opinion of Pillow is based upon his letters to his wife, Polk, Scott, Duncan and others, the Trist papers, the Campbell papers, the records of two courts of inquiry regarding his conduct, and a large number of additional documents, most of which will be cited later, particularly in chaps. xxvi and xxix. An army correspondent of W. T. (later Gen.) Sherman described Pillow, Feb. 26, 1848, as "a mass of vanity, conceit, ignorance, ambition and want of truth." There was good warrant for this characterization, but one should add plausibility, cunning, energy and a genial disposition. For his personal appearance: Semmes, Service, 165.

34. Scott had not yet heard from Washington regarding Harney.

35. At Tampico. 332Tennery, diary. 273Mullan, diary. Lawton, Artillery Officer, 10–64. 146Caswell, diary. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 896, 899, 900, 1169 (Scott); 901 (Totten); 850 (Clarke); 896 (Hetzel). Robertson, Remins., 207–13. Bishop, Journal. 180Pillow to wife, Dec. 8, 1846; Feb. 23, 1847. 111Beauregard to Totten, Jan. 9, 14; to Gates, Feb. 24. Kenly, Md. Vol., 241–5. 330J. T. Taylor to Scott, Feb. 12. 280Nunelee, diary. Apuntes, 88. Meade, Letters, i, 177, 184–5. 218Henshaw narrative, Feb. 20. 254McClellan, diary. 303Shields to Quitman, Mar. 4. 159Collins, diary, Feb. 19, 25. Davis, Autobiog., 121–3. 65Scott, gen. orders 21, Feb. 19. 76Cos, Feb. 19. 76Anon. letters to Garay, Jan. 25, 28, etc. 139Campbell to wife, Feb. 3, 7, 16. Mason, Lee, 37. Furber, Twelve Months Vol., 394–415. Works defending the two land approaches to Tampico were now ready, and Col. Gates of the Third Artillery with a company of artillery, the Md. and D. C. battalion and the new Louisiana regiment-about 1200 men in all-were detached as a garrison. Rumors came that Taylor was in danger, but the air was full of rumors about the enemy, and Scott had ample ground for disregarding these, though criticised for doing so. Von Moltke said (Franco-German War, 71): "It would have been unjustifiable to entirely change the line of march on the ground of rumors that might, after all, prove unfounded." Feb. 19 Scott announced his staff appointments. The possession of Tampico was extremely useful to him. Fresh provisions abounded there, and the embarking of about 5000 men on the dangerous coast at the Brazos was avoided.

36. The Louisiana men went from Lobos Islands to Tampico. Col. De Russey and the other part of the regiment were wrecked about Feb. 6 on the coast nearly opposite those islands, but after some hardships and considerable danger of being captured by Gen. Cos, commanding at Tuxpán about forty miles distant, they made their way to Tampico, meeting en route an expedition sent to rescue them (Meade, Letters, i, 179; Lawton, Artillery Officer, 32–5; 270Moore, diary; 76F. de Garay, Mar. 5).

37. To Lobos Islands. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 1256 (Hetzel); 1259 (Babbitt); 878 (Conner); 568 (Jesup); 840, 841, 846, 880, 891, 896 (Scott). 65Scott, gen. orders 1, 6, 8, Jan. 15, 30, 30. Lawton, Artillery Officer, 23, 65. 61Brooke to Munroe, Jan. 11; to Scott, Jan. 9, 21. 62Stanton to Jesup, Feb. 16. Scott, Mems., ii, 413. 298Porter, diary. 254McClellan, Feb. 23. 193Foster to mother, Feb. 26. Ho. 59; 30, 1, p. 41. Smith, To Mexico, 105, 108. 164Scott to Conner, Dec. 26, 1846. Niles, Mar. 13, p. 21; 20, p. 48. Hartman, Journal, 6. Oswandel, Notes, 54–6. Picayune, Feb. 18. 159Collins, diary. 146Caswell, diary. Ballentine, English Soldier, i, 266. Bishop, Journal.

38. Polk and Marcy felt that he was looking for an issue (256Marcy to Wetmore, April 25, 1847), and his course warrants that supposition.

39. Taylor's movements. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 861, 890, 1097 (Taylor), 875 (Scott). Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 72, 85, 87, 180–2. 169Id. to Crittenden, Jan. 26. Polk, Diary, Oct. 20, 1846; Jan. 5; Mar. 21–23; Apr. 1, 1847. 256Marcy to Wetmore, Mar. 11. Journ. Mil. Serv. Instit. xiv, 443.

Jan. 26 Scott wrote to Taylor: "I must ask you to abandon Saltillo, and to make no detachments, except for reconnaisances and immediate defence, much beyond Monterey. I know this to be the wish of the government, founded on reasons in which I concur" (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 864). In reply Taylor wrote on Feb. 7 that he was going to remain at his advanced position unless "positively ordered to fall back by the government at Washington" (ibid., 1162). In addressing the government on the same day (ibid., 1110) he referred to Scott's instructions as advice. But such language from a superior officer was clearly an order courteously phrased, and this interpretation is confirmed by the fact that Scott deemed it necessary to give Taylor express authority later to make a diversion toward San Luis Potosí (ibid., p. 876). Polk (Diary, April 7, 1847, and elsewhere) remarked that Taylor had violated his orders by taking his advanced position.

Taylor's ostensible reasons for so doing as given by himself (Bixby coll., 182) were these: 1. It would be safest to fight, should the Mexicans advance, immediately on their getting across the desert region that lay between San Luis Potosí and the advanced American position, rather than let them recuperate and use Saltillo as a base. 2. Had the Americans fallen back to Monterey, Santa Anna would have invested it, the Mexicans of that section would have risen, every animal at Monterey would have starved or been destroyed, the troops-disheartened by retreating, and beyond succor-would have surrendered or been cut to pieces, and every American dép?t in the rear would have been abandoned or captured. 3. Doniphan would have been ruined. But (1), as we have seen (note 27), Taylor believed on Jan. 26, Feb. 4, 7, and 14 (i.e. both before and after taking the advanced position) that he was in no real danger of being attacked by Santa Anna, and hence had not the warrant of a supposed emergency for disregarding his instructions. (2) This advanced position was not, as his explanation assumes, a good place at which to meet the Mexicans, and he retired from it before the battle of Buena Vista. (3) Rinconada Pass, on the other hand, could probably have been made virtually impregnable toward the south, and, if properly defended, could at least have held out for a considerable time. (4) It was not reasonable to suppose that Santa Anna, learning that Scott was about to strike at the vitals of Mexico, would undertake to carry the Pass and besiege a city like Monterey, prepared in all ways-as Marcy had instructed Taylor on Oct. 13, 22 (Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 356, 364) to prepare it-for a stubborn resistance (Howard, Taylor, 238). (5) If, however, Santa Anna were going to do so, as Taylor's explanation assumes, the policy of Scott and the administration was certainly the true one, since it would have contributed to a triumph on the line from Vera Cruz to the capital. (6) Taylor's retirement to Monterey and vicinity would have entailed no loss of prestige or confidence on the part of the Americans, since it would have formed one part of a bold offensive plan; but would only have diminished somewhat Taylor's personal effulgence. (7) It was not reasonable to believe that the men with whom Taylor (Bixby coll., 86) was ready to meet Santa Anna in the field could not hold their own against him in strong works (Meade, Letters, i, 179), and a success at Monterey would have been not only more certain but more decisive and less costly than at Buena Vista (Scott, Mems., ii, 412). Moreover Taylor would have had the Monterey garrison as well as the troops who actually fought at Buena Vista. (8) Taylor represented that he could not transport siege guns from Camargo to Monterey, and how could he have expected Santa Anna to bring them to Monterey from San Luis Potosí? (9) If Monterey did not contain ample forage for the animals, the fault was Taylor's; and, if he was to stand a siege, most of the animals could have been sent to the Rio Grande (Ripley, War with Mex., i, 435). (10) Reinforcements from the north were en route, and succor from Scott could have reached Monterey more easily than a position far in advance. (11) Doniphan could have retired from Chihuahua by the way he had gone there or (like a party of only forty men: Hughes, Doniphan's Exped., 335) via Presidio del Rio Grande; and before moving toward Saltillo it was his duty to ascertain, as he actually did, whether he could safely go there.

Another point brought forward by Taylor was that had he remained at Monterey, the Mexicans could more effectually have annoyed his flanks and lines of communication (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1110); but (1) evidently, had he remained at Monterey, his flanks and lines of communication would have been less extended and more easily protected than when he was about eighty-five miles farther on (Polk, Diary, Mar. 23, 1847), and (2) as a matter of fact his flanks were effectually annoyed and his communications entirely cut off. (For certain points in this discussion the author is indebted to Ripley's "War with Mexico.") In short, the only rational explanation of Taylor's course appears to be that suggested in the text. Oct. 15 Taylor wrote: Every day's march beyond Saltillo will weaken our position and strengthen the enemy's (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 352). Nov. 26 he wrote: "We have advanced as far from our base in this quarter as we ought to venture" (Bixby coll., 72).

The troops that Taylor now had were: regulars-two squadrons of cavalry, four batteries (16 guns), and at Monterey one company of artillery; volunteers-two regiments of horse, eight regiments of foot, and two guns at Monterey, Saltillo and beyond Saltillo; and three regts. of volunteer foot holding the line to Camargo and down the river (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1098).

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