Skip to main content

Full text of "The war with Mexico"

See other formats







Cornell um 

E 404.S66 

"■^ The war with MexicO' 

3 1924 020 378 604 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



Annexation of Texas 

Octavo ix + U% pages 
By mail, postpaid, $3.00 

This is the only work attempting to 
deal thoroughly with an affair that 
was intrinsically far more important 
than had previously been supposed, 
and was also of no little significance 
on account of its relation to the war 
with Mexico. 







ONY," "Arnold's march from 



Nifa gorb 


All rights reserved 

A 4!o\ \c>n 

CopYEianT, 1919, 

Set up and printed. Published December, 1919. 

Norwood Press 

J. 8. Gushing Co. — Berwick & Smith Co. 

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 

Y I i ; ;i-i V I Hn 



Maps and Plans in Volume II vi 

Conspectus of Events xi 

Peonunciation of Spanish xiii 


XXI. Behind the Scenes at Mexico 1 

. XXII. Vera Cruz .17 

XXIII. Cerro Gordo 37 


XXV. On to the Capital 79 


XXVII. Negotiations 120 

XXVIII. MoLiNO DEL Ret, Chapultepec and Mexico . . 140 

XXIX. Final Military Operations ^6^/ 

XXX. The Naval Operations 189 

XXXI. The Americans as Conquerors 210 

XXXII. Peace 233 

XXXIII. The Finances of the War 253 

XXXIV. The War" in American Politics 268 

XXXV. The Foreign Relations of the War . . . 294 

XXXVI. Conclusion 310 

Notes on Volume II 327 

Appendix (Lists of Sources) 517 

Index 563 


As equally good sources disagree sometimes, a few inconsistencies are un- 
avoidable. Numerous errors have been corrected. An asterisk indicates an 
unpublished source. Statements, cited in the notes, have also been used. 


1. The Fortress of San Juan de Ulua in 1854 21 

From a *plan in the War Dept., Washington. 

2. Siege of Vera Cruz : General Plan 24 

From a map drawn by McClellan from surveys done by six Ameri- 
can oflRcers (N. Y. City Public Library) ; *a map drawn by order of 
Lieut. Col. Henry Wilson (War Dept., Washington). 

3. Siege of Vera Cruz : The American Works .... 28 

From a map drawn by Lieut. Foster, based on surveys of four 
American officers (War Dept., Washington). 

4. From Vera Cruz to Perote 39 

Based on a map issued by Manouvrier and Snell, New Orleans, 
1847 (Papers of N. P. Trist). 

5. Contour Lines near Cerro Gordo 40 

From a *drawing in the War College, Washington. 

6. Battle of Cerro Gordo : General Map 43 

Based on a map drawn by Lieut. Coppfie from the surveys of Maj. 
TurnbuU and Capt. McClellan (Sen. Ex. Doc. 1 ; 30 Cong., 1 sess.) ; 
a map drawn by McClellan (Mass. Hist. Society) ; a *sketch of a 
reconnaissance by Lieut. Tower (War Dept., Washington) ; *Cro- 
quis de la Posicion del campo de Cerro Gordo, 1847 (War Dept., 
Washington) ; a plan by I. A. de Soieoki (Vera Cruz City archives) ; 
and a *sketch by Lieut. Thos. Williams (among his letters). 

7. Battle of Cerro Gordo : Central Portion 51 

Based on the same sources as No. 6 supra. 

8. From Jalapa to Puebla 61 

Based on a Fomento Dept. map. 

9. Profile of the Route from Vera Cruz to Mexico .... 62 

From a map published by Manouvrier and Snell, New Orleans, 
1847 (Papers of N. P. Trist). 

10. A Part of the Valley of Mexico 80 

From a map surveyed and drawn by Lieut. M. L. Smith and Bvt. 
Capt. Hardcastle (Sen. Ex. Doc. 11 ; 31 Cong., 1 sess.) ; and a map 
by Balbontin (Invasion Americana) . 

11. Battles of August 19 and 20, 1847 : General Map . . .100 

Based on a map drawn by Hardcastle from the surveys of Maj. 
Turnbull, Capt. McClellan and Lieut. Hardcastle (Sen. Ex. Doc. 1 ; 




30 Cong., 1 sess.) ; the Smith and Hardcastle map (No. 10 supra) ; 
a *map drawn by Capt. Barnard from the surveys of Capt. Mason 
and Lieuts. BeaurSgard, MoClellan, and Foster (War Dept., Wash- 
ington) ; a map drawn by Hardcastle from the surveys of Mason 
and Hardcastle (Sen. Ex. Doc. 1; 30 Cong., 1 sess.); a map in 
Apuntes; and a map drawn by McClellan (Mass. Hist. Society). 

12. Battle of Contreras . . 108 

Based on the TurnbuU map (No. 11 supra) ; a *plan of Capt. Gard- 
ner (Pierce Papers) ; *notes by Capt. Henshaw on a map by Hard- 
castle (Mass. Hist. Society) ; a *sketch by Lieut. Collins, 4th 
Artillery (Collins Papers) ; New Orleans Picayune, Sept. 12, 1847 ; 
a plan by Balbontln (Invasi6n Americana) ; and a map in Apuntes. 

13. Battle of Churubusco Ill 

Based on the TurnbuU map (No. 11 supra) ; a map drawn by 
Hardcastle from the surveys of Mason and Hardcastle (Sen. Ex. 
Doc. 1 ; 30 Cong., 1 sess.) ; and a sketch by Balbontin ("Invasidu 

14. The Tgte de Pont, Churubusco 112 

*Drawn by Lieuta. Beauregard and Tower from Beauregard's 
survey (War Dept., Wtishington) . 

15. Profile of East Curtain, T§te de Pont, Churubusco . . . 113 

♦Drawn by Beauregard from the surveys of Lieuts. McClellan, 
Beauregard, and Foster (War Dept., Washington). 

16. The Fortifications of Churubusco Convent .... 114 

*Drawn by Beauregard and Tower from Beauregard's survey (War 
Dept., Washington). 

17. Battles of Mexico : General Map 141 

Based on a map drawn by Hardcastle from the surveys of Turn- 
bull, McClellan, and Hardcastle (Sen. Ex. Doc. 1 ; 30 Cong., 1 sess.) ; 
and a map drawn by McClellan and Hardcastle (published by the 
government) . 

18. Battle of Molino del Rey 143 

Based on the maps specified under No. 17 supra ; a sketch by Hard- 
castle (Sen. Ex. Doc. 1 ; 30 Cong., 1 sess.) ; and a sketch in New 
Orleans Picayune, Oct. 17, 1847. 

19. Battle of Chapultepec 150 

Based upon the maps specified under No. 17 supra; a *sketch 
drawn by Tower from surveys of Beauregard and Tower (War 
Dept., Washington) ; a plan accompanying Gen. Quitman report 
(Sen. Ex. Doc. 1 ; 30 Cong., 1 sess.) ; *recollection3 of Seuor 
D. Ignacio Molina, Chief Cartographer of the Pomento Dept., 

20. Blindage at Chapultepec 151 

21. The Citadel, Mexico, in 1840 (War Dept. *plan, Washington). 159 

22. Alvarado, Mexico 198 

A *plan by J. L. Mason (War Dept., Washington). 

23. A Part of Tabasco River 205 

Based on a map in Ho. Ex. Doc. 1 ; 30 Cong., 2 sess. 



24.' Guaymas, Mexico 206 

' From a plan in Ho. Ex. Doo. 1 ; 30 Cong., 2 aess. 

25. Mazatlan, Mexico 207 

From a *drawing by Commander Wouldridge of Brigantine Spy 
(Admiralty Papers, Public Record Office, London). 

26. The Tip of Lower California 207 

Based on a map in Sen. Ex. Doo. 18 ; 31 Cong., 1 sess. 

27. Territory acquired from Mexico 241 



Marcli. The United States determines to annex Texas ; W. S.Parrolt 
sent to conciliate Mexico. 
Texas consents ; Taylor proceeds to Corpus Christi. 
Larkin appointed a confidential agent in California. 
Slidell ordered to Mexico. 
Slidell rejected by Herrera. 


Taylor ordered to the Rio Grande. 

Taylor marches from Corpus Christi. 

Slidell finally rejected by Paredes. 

Taylor reaches the Rio Grande. 

Thornton attacked. 

Battle of Palo Alto. 

Battle of Resaca de la Palma. 

The war biU becomes a law. 

Kearny's march to Santa Fe begins. 

Monterey, California, occupied. 

Camargo occupied. 

Paredes overthrown. 

First attack on Alvarado. 

Los Angeles, California, occupied. 

Santa Anna lands at Vera Cruz. 

Kearny takes Santa Fe. 

Taylor advances from Camargo. 

Santa Anna enters Mexico City. . 

Operations at Monterey, Mex. 

Insurrection in California precipitated. 

Wool's advance from San Antonio begins. 

Kearny leaves Santa Fe for California. 

Santa Anna arrives at San Luis Potosf. 


































I, 20-24. 







Oct. 15. Second attack on Alvarado. 

24. Sm Juan Bautista captured by Perry. 

28. Tampico evacuated by Parrodi. 

29. Wool occupies Monclova. 
Nov. 15. Tampico captured by Conner. 

16. Saltillo occupied by Taylor. 

18. Scott appointed to command the Vera Cruz expedition. 

Dec. 5. Wool occupies Parras. 

6. Kearny's fight at San Pascual. 

25. Doniphan's skirmish at El Brazito. 

27. Scott reaches Brazos Id. 
29. Victoria occupied. 


Jan. 3. Scott orders troops from Taylor. 

8. Fight at the San Gabriel, Calif. 

9. Fight near Los Angeles, Calif. 

11. Mexican law regarding Church property. 

28. Santa Anna's march against Taylor begins. 
Feb. 5. Taylor places himself at Agua Nueva. 

/ 19. Scott reaches Tampico. 

^22-23. Battle of Buena Vista. 

27. Insurrection at Mexico begins. 

28. Battle of Sacramento. 
Mar. 9. Scott lands near Vera Cruz. 

29. Vera Cruz occupied. 

30. Operations in Lower California opened. 
Apr. 8. Scott's advance from Vera Cruz begins. 

18. Battle of Cerro Gordo ; Tuxpdn captured by Perry. 

19. Jalapa occupied. 
May 15. Worth enters Puebla. 

June 6. Trist opens negotiations through the British legation. 

16. San Juan Bautista again taken. 

Aug. 7. The advance from Puebla begins. 

20. Battles of Contreras and Chvu-ubusco. 
Aug. 24^Sept. 7. Armistice. 

Sept. 8. Battle of MoUno del Rey. 

13. Battle of Chapultepec ; the "siege" of Puebla begins. 

14. Mexico City occupied. 

22. Pefia y Pefia assumes the Presidency. 

Oct. 9. Fight at Huamantla. 

20. Trist reopens negotiations. 
Nov. 11. Mazatliin occupied by Shubrick. 



Feb. 2. Treaty of peace signed. 
Mar. 4^5. Armistice ratified. 

10. Treaty accepted by U. S. Senate. 
May 19, 24. Treaty accepted by Mexican Congress. 

30. Ratifications of the treaty exchanged. 
June 12. Mexico City evacuated. 
July 4. Treaty proclaimed by President Polk. 


The niceties of the matter would be out of place here, but a few general 
rules may prove helpful. 

A as in English "ah"; e, at the end of a syllable, like a in "fame," 
otherwise like e in "let" ; i like i in "machine" ; o, at the end of a syllable, 
like o in "go," otherwise somewhat like o in "lot"; u like u in "rude" 
(but, unless marked with two dots, silent between g or q and e or i) ; y like 
ee in "feet." 

C like k (but, before e and i, like *ih in "thin"); ch as In "child"; 
g as in "go" (but, before e and i, like a harsh h) ; h silent ; j like a harsh h ; 
II like t Ui in "million" ; n like m in "onion" ; qu like A; ; r is sounded with 
a vibration (trill) of the tip of the tongue {rr a longer and more for- 
cible sound of the same kind); s as in "sun"; x like x in "box" (but, in 
"M6xico" and a few other names, like Spanish j) ; z like * th in "thin." 

Words bearing no mark of accentuation are stressed on the last syllable 
if they end in any consonant except n or s, but on the syllable next to the 
last if they end in n, « or a vowel. 

*In Mexico, however, usually like s in "sun." fin Mexico usually 
like y. 


September, 1846-March, 1847 

The revolution of August 4, as already has been suggested, 
was a complex and inconsistent affair, combining most hetero- 
geneous elements: the popular institutions of 1824 and the 
autocratic power of the soldier upheld with bayonets ; the army 
and the people, whose relations had always been, and in Mexico 
always had to be, those of wolf and lamb ; the regular troops 
and the National Guards, who loved each other as fire loves 
water; General Salas reluctantly taking orders from Citizen 
Farias, and both of them doing obeisance to Liberator Santa 
Anna, whom both distrusted ; and all cooperating to revive 
a federal constitution, which had been found in practice un- 
workable, and needed, in the opinion of everybody, to be 

Such a state of things argued insincerity ; and in fact many 
had taken up the cry of Federalism at this time simply because 
the failure of reactionary designs had made the word a popular 
appeal, and because — nearly all the former leaders of that school 
having been crushed by the Centralists — there seemed to be 
room for new aspirants; while the state of things indicated 
also that more troubles were soon to arrive, since evidently 
no final solution of the political problem had been achieved, 
and such a welter of principles, traditions and methods was a 
loud invitation to the demagogue and the schemer. Don 
Simplicio predicted that new stars were to flash out soon in 
the political heavens, and then disappear before the astronomers 
would have time to name them ; and it added significantly, 
"The comets will be found to be all tails." ' 

VOL. II — B 1 


In particular the field was open for radical democracy. Calm 
judgment is never listened to in a period of excitement, and 
the Mexicans, like the French of 1792, instead of resorting to 
the practical Anglo-Saxon rule of compromising differences, 
believed in carrying principles to their logical end. Centralism 
and monarchical ideas had failed to render the nation happy; 
democracy was therefore the panacea, and the more of it the 
better. The demoralized condition of the people promoted 
this dangerous policy. Referring to all those concerned with 
public affairs, a thoughtful writer of the day characterized 
them as ignorant, destitute of honor, patriotism, morality, 
good faith or principles of any kind, and influenced exclusively 
by self-interest and ambition ; and naturally men of the opposite 
kind held aloof in disgust and despair. For these reasons the 
conservative wing of the Federalists, led by Pedraza and known 
as the Moderados (Moderates), found itself distanced in the 
race for support ; and the Puros — that is to say, pure Federal- 
ists and democrats — gained the ascendency at once.' 

Their acknowledged leader, as we have seen, was the patriotic 
though indiscreet Farias, but he was more honest than brilliant, 
and a man stepped forward now who reversed that description. 
This man was Rejon. A keen, subtle mind, a bold, unfaltering 
will, a ready, plausible tongue and a tireless ambition quite 
indifferent about means, characterized him chiefly, and for the 
present crisis these were redoubtable qualifications. The 
Spanish minister once remarked, after conversing with him, 
that it was impossible to trust a person who possessed no 
principles except the transient interests of his ambition. And 
Rejon had another qualification that was no less important. 
Though unworthy of confidence and everywhere distrusted, 
Santa Anna counted as an essential factor in all plans, a power 
that each party felt it must have ; and Rejon was believed at 
this time to represent Santa Anna.' 

The aims and to some extent the methods of the radical 
faction were borrowed from the United States, but without 
regard to differences of race, experience and present circum- 
stances. Government, they maintained, should be completely 
democratic and completely secular ; and they dreamed of this 
consummation almost voluptuously, as a Mussulman dreams 
of paradise. They held public meetings, where everybody 


was free to speak ; and in these disorderly gatherings they dis- 
cussed religious freedom, the seizure of Church property, the 
reformation of the clergy, the secularization of marriage and 
education, the necessity of destroying military domination in 
politics, and the capital punishment of all suspected monar- 
chists. In short, from the conservative point of view, they 
passed sentence of death on society. Santa Anna did not; 
sympathize with their programme. He wished society to live 
— for him, and he was conducting now an equivocal corre- 
spondence with men hostile to the Puros. But it probably 
suited his purpose to have them succeed for a time, and to 
have the substantial citizens add to their litany, "From Rejoh 
deliver us, good Lord!" He himself had played the part of 
the Lord before now, and was willing to do so again, though he 
preferred the more terrestrial name of dictator.' 

Of course property felt the menace, and it had reason to do 
so. During the latter part of September, 1846, an editorial 
in the official journal, commonly attributed to Rejon, intimated 
that if the rich did not contribute for the war, the people would 
know where to find their wealth; and even foreign houses 
were threatened. The British minister forced a prompt re- 
traction of this language so far, at least, as his fellow-country- 
men were concerned; but within two weeks a number of 
capitalists were invited to loan 1200,000 with an intimation 
that, unless they did so, the money would be taken. Every 
one understood that the leopard, though now comparatively 
silent, had not changed his spots and would not, and hence 
four elite militia corps, familiarly known as the Polkos, were 
formed at Mexico to protect life and property. One of these; 
called the Victoria battalion, was composed of merchants-, 
professional men and scions from wealthy families. Another, 
which bore the name of Hidalgo, consisted of clerks ; and the 
Bravos and Independencia battalions, made up largely of 
artisans, represented the industrial interests of the city. The 
ministry, who desired to exclude such persons from the National 
Guard, opposed the recognition of these corps ; but, supported 
by Salas, the substantial citizens carried the day.' ' 

An equally natural reaction caused by radical violence was 
political. In the hope of welding the Federalists into a harmo- 
nious party, the council of government had been revived, and 


members of both wings had been appointed to it. Santa 
Anna, in order to establish his particular friend Haro at the 
head of the treasury, next proposed to transfer Farias from 
that office to the presidency of the council. This was under- 
stood — correctly, no doubt — as a move to eliminate him 
virtually Jrom the government, and was fiercely denounced ; 
but Santa Anna then remarked that should Salas for any reason 
drop out, the president of the council would take his place 
at the head of the government, and Pedraza could have the 
post in case Farias preferred to remain as he was.^ This put 
a new look on the matter, and the programme was carried out ; 
but the Puro attacks upon their rivals continued to excite 
bitter resentment. When it was arranged that Farias and 
Pedraza should publicly shake hands, and crowds gathered 
to witness the amazing ceremony, it failed to occur. The 
Moderados belonging to the council resigned ; the body ceased 
to enjoy prestige and influence; and Farias lost all official 
power. Naturally some of the blame for this result was laid 
to the charge of the Pedrazists. Partisan rancor grew still 
more savage. The fury of the French revolution was rivalled. 
"We must finish with our enemies or die ourselves," cried one 
factional organ ; " the scaffold must be raised ; we must drink 
their hearts' blood." Bankhead described the situation as one 
of "universal terror and distrust." ' 

About the middle of October there came an explosion. Ap- 
parently Rejon demanded that Salas initiate the Puro reforms, 
and the acting Executive, who was not only weak and incom- 
petent but obstinate, resented the pressure, and turned his 
face toward the Moderados. To the Puros this looked reac- 
tionary, and he was charged with a design to prevent Congress 
from assembling. Next it was required of Salas that he should 
give way to Farias as the representative of the new regime, 
and probably there were threats at least of bringing this change 
about, if necessary, through an insurrection of the populace.^ 
Then Salas, with the Hidalgo battalion of which he was the 
commander, took possession of the citadel. The people, alarmed 
by rumors that a sack was contemplated, flew to arms; and 
Rejon found it necessary to moderate his tone.^ 

When the Executive, as was inevitable, dismissed him from 
office, he submitted; and Santa Anna himself, though his 


orders to Rejon had been to hold the post whatever Salas might 
do, found public sentiment at the capital too strong for him, 
and concluded to accept the change. Rejon's conduct had 
excited so much dissension and alarm, that his removal grati- 
fied all sensible persons at Mexico. The rumors and the 
disturbance were now attributed oiEcially to agents of the 
United States, and comparative quiet returned.^ 

The aims of Santa Anna and those of the Puros may have 
been exactly contrary in these events; but both overshot the 
mark, and they suffered a common loss of prestige. As one 
method of restoring it, they induced the governors of San Luis 
Potosi and Queretaro to declare that within their jurisdictions 
the Liberator would be recognized as head of the nation until 
the assembling of Congress; but their principal scheme was 
to carry the Presidential election. Congress, chosen on the 
first day of November, was to elect, and it consisted chiefly 
of men termed by well-to-do citizens "the dregs of society" 
— that is to say, poorly educated radicals taken from the 

This appeared to ensure a Puro triumph, yet there were 
serious difficulties. Rejon had been discredited, and the 
former administration of Farias had left painful memories. 
Besides, it was feared that his election would offend Santa 
Anna, who of course was not on very cordial terms now with 
the tribune of the people, and preferred to have a weak man 
like Salas, with whom satisfactory relations had grown out of 
the Rejon episode, continue in power. At one time Almonte 
seemed to be the Puro favorite ; but finally it was decided to 
cast the Presidential vote for Santa Anna, who could not 
legally hold the chief political and the chief military offices at 
the same time and would no doubt remain with the army, 
and to elect Farias to the Vice Presidency as the actual execu- 

Even this combination, however, met with strong and un- 
expected opposition. The conservatives and moderates were 
naturally against it ; certain states — for the voting was done 
by these quasi sovereignties as units — could not forgive 
Santa Anna for past misdeeds, and the powerful Church party 
looked upon Farias as Antichrist. Finally Escudero of Chi- 
huahua, whose delegation held the balance of power, opened 


negotiations with Farias, and that gentleman declared in writ- 
ing his willingness to "join loyally" with any one who desired 
"in good faith the welfare of the country." Holding this 
instrument — a weapon, should there be need of it in their 
hands, a number of the Moderados, who realized his honesty, 
vigor and good intentions, and believed now that he would 
give them a share in the administration, accepted the Puro 
candidates, and on December 22 by a narrow majority these 
were elected. The news produced a commotion ; but without 
encountering serious opposition Farias took up the reins of 
government at once.^ 

; . His primary aim was to support the war. This he intended 
to do because he felt an ardent patriotism, but other reasons 
also lay in his mind. Abominating the military class, he 
desired to have as many as possible of the corrupt officers left 
on the field, and he designed to keep the army so busy, that it 
would not be able to prevent the states, which were generally 
Federalist and democratic in sentiment, from organizing their 
strength, and making sure that no tyrannical central power 
would ever raise its front again. But the first requirement 
for military operations was money. Farias had, therefore, 
to take up immediately the financial problem, and he found 
it most difiicult.' 

, Of all the fields of Mexican misgovernment the worst had 
been the treasury, for it not only required a care and a good 
judgment that were peculiarly foreign to the national tempera- 
ment, but provided opportunities for illegitimate gains that 
were most congenial. During Spanish rule the needs of the 
country had been fully met, and about nine millions a year, 
almost half of the revenues, left as a surplus. Under Iturbide 
afinancial system which three centuries of able administration 
had built up was despised, and with mines abandoned, agri- 
culture discouraged, commerce paralyzed, honesty relaxed, 
taxes diminished for the sake of popularity, and expenses in- 
creased for the sake of glory, the foundations of ruin were 
promptly laid. The logical superstructure soon mounted 
high in the shape of two British loans, which bound Mexico 
to pay about twenty-six million dollars in return for about 
fifteen, a large part of which was practically thrown away 
h>- her agents.^ 


The expulsion of the rich and thrifty Spaniards, the costs 
of civil wars, in which the nation paid for both sides, unwise 
and unstable fiscal systems, borrowing at such rates as four 
per cent a month, incredibly bad management,* and methods 
of accounting that made it impossible for the minister of the 
treasury to know the actual state of things, were enough to 
complete the edifice ; but they were supplemented with pecula- 
tion, embezzlement, multiplication of offices, collusion be- 
tween importers and customhouses, and systematic smuggling 
winked at by half-starved officials. Revenue after revenue 
was mortgaged, and by 1845 the government found itself 
entitled to only about thirteen per cent of what entered the 

Since the beginning of hostilities our blockade, assisted by 
new methods of wholesale smuggling, had greatly reduced 
the income from duties, which had always been the principal 
reliance; the adoption of the federal system had given the 
best part of the internal revenue to the states ; and the residue 
was almost wholly eaten up by the officials. The foreign 
debt amounted now to more than fifty millions and the domestic 
debt was nearly twice as great. Every known source of income 
had been anticipated. Freewill offerings had proved illusory. 
By ceasing to make payments on account of the debt in May, 
1846, the government had largely increased its income, of 
course, but it had forfeited all title to financial sympathy ; 
and the high oSicials, who robbed the treasury still in this time 
of supreme distress, had stripped it of all title to respect.* 

The government, therefore, had no real credit. Men who 
made this kind of gambling their business would now and then 
furnish a little money for a brief term at an exorbitant rate. 
In February, 1846, for example, a loan was placed at a total 
sacrifice of about thirty-seven per cent. But when the treas- 
ury was authorized to borrow fifteen millions in a regular 
way, nobody cared to furnish any part of the sum. New taxes 
were equally vain. In October, 1846, the government imposed 
a special war "contribution" in order to save the Mexicans, 
it explained, from becoming foreigners in their own country, 
like the Spaniards of Florida; and the chief result was to 
enrage a handful of persons, who found they had been silly 
enough to pay while almost everybody else had laughed. In 


November a forced loan was demanded of the clergy, but the 
project aroused such opposition that substantially it had to 
be given up. The whole gamut of methods, even violence, 
has been tried in vain, said the ministry in December. Business 
was dead, confidence gone, capital in hiding or sojourning 
abroad ; and if by good luck a bag of silver dropped into the 
treasury, it seemed to evaporate instantly. Financially, 
reported the Spanish minister, the situation of the country was 
"truly frightful." 5 

To make it more, not less, frightful, there did exist one vast 
accumulation of riches. This was the property belonging to 
the Church. No one could seriously deny that the nation had 
authority to use, in a time of dire need, funds that had been 
given to the organization in days of plenty, for this was a 
principle of Spanish law, and the Crown had exercised the right 
without so good an excuse. There was also a particular reason 
in the present instance, for the wealth of the Church, aside from 
articles- used in worship, consisted mainly of land, and, as 
virtually no land tax existed in Mexico, it was escaping the 
common burden ^ — a burden, too, that was peculiarly for its 
advantage, since in the case of American conquest it was bound 
to lose its exclusive privileges. Besides, there was the saying 
of its Founder, "Freely ye have received, freely give." ^ 

Very naturally, then, people had been casting their eyes for 
some time at the riches of the Church. In June, 1844, El 
Sigh XIX, the most thoughtful newspaper of Mexico, had 
suggested raising funds for the Texas war by mortgaging some 
of its property; and a few months later Duff Green, then on 
the ground, had expressed the opinion that Mexico would have 
to choose between that resource and forced loans. In July, 
1845, the correspondent of the London Times dropped a similar 
hint in that journal, and in the course of the year it became 
a popular idea, that the Church could perform a great public 
service, and at the same time vastly strengthen its own position, 
by providing means for the anticipated war against the United 
States. In October, 1846, the Monitor Republicano suggested 
once more a mortgage of ecclesiastical property; and at one 
time the government actually decided upon the measure. 
Bankhead admitted that he could see no other resource. Thesfe 
hints were not, however, acted upon by the clergy ; and after 


many long discussions they would only agree to advance $10,000 
or $20,000 a month for a limited period. This was to insult the 
nation, exclaimed the Monitor Republicano.^ 

Charged now with full responsibility, Farias met the issue 
squarely. Not only was he determined to earry on the war, 
but the letters of Santa Anna had been, and were, most urgent. 
November 7 the General demanded that "no step" should be 
neglected, if it could "help to prevent the name of Mexican 
from soon becoming the object of ridicule and contempt for 
the whole world." "Do not reply that the government cannot 
obtain funds," he wrote later; "This would be saying that 
the nation has ceased to exist ... so rich a nation cannot lack 
money enough to support its independence, nor can the govern- 
ment say that it has no authority to look for the money." 
These letters evidently referred to ecclesiastical property, and 
they were followed up at New Year's with almost daily com- 
munications of the same tenor. Such fearful urgency had a good 
excuse, for the government was now sending him no funds.* 

It had none. Although Farias kept faith with Escudero, 
the Moderados as a party showed the radical chief no mercy; 
the Centralists loathed the apostle of federalism ; all con- 
servatives detested the typical democrat, and the clericals 
abominated the extinguisher of titles. All the old ladies 
thought him worse than Luther, and many of every kind and 
condition rebelled at his brusque and tactless ways. No person 
of substance would lift a finger to support his measures. A 
cloud of distrust, passion, hostility and mortal hatred — mostly 
an emanation from the whole wretched past of the country ^ — ■ 
grew thicker about him each day. Raise money he could not. 
Moreover he probably felt little desire to do so by any of the 
ordinary methods. One of his cardinal principles was the 
necessity of destroying the fuero, the political strength and the 
intellectual domination of the Church by reducing its wealth ; 
and now the demand of Santa Anna, the army and the nation 
that funds be provided for the war, appeared to make this policy 
opportune and even irresistible.^ 

A committee of Congress reported against the plan of borrow- 
ing on the security of Church property ; but that signified little, 
for no practical substitute was offered. There were fears that 
the army would break up. There were fears that for self- 


protection it would proclaim a dictatorship or march upon the 
capital. Santa Anna's warning and threatening communica- 
tions were shown to Congress. The legislators tried to evade 
the issue, but they were told that all the responsibility rested 
upon their shoulders ; that it was for them to choose between 
the salvation and the ruin of the fatherland ; and on January 7 
they grappled with the problem. Behind them — tireless, 
uncompromising, inexorable — the Executive insisted upon 
action; ajid behind him stood Santa Anna, demanding the 
same thing and promising to support it.^ 

The session lasted virtually until January 11. The debates 
were hot, and they were bitter. To make use of the Church 
lands, it was argued, would invade the rights of property, lay 
upon one class of society the general burden, and, should the 
lands be sold, involve a tremendous loss of values, since there 
was little ready money in the country, and few would have 
the means and inclination to purchase. The country must be 
saved, answered Rejon, Juarez and their allies; is there any 
other resource? — point it out. "If the Yankee triumphs," 
cried one speaker, "what ecclesiastical property or what 
religion will be left us?" And upon these principal themes 
were played an infinite number of variations in all the possible 
tones of Mexican eloquence and fury.' 

Just before midnight on the ninth, however, the turmoil 
ceased ; the handsome chamber of the Deputies became still. 
High above the throne in front glimmered pallidly the sword 
of Iturbide ; in letters of gold, on the semi-circular wall at 
the rear, all the names of the Benemeritos of Mexico reflected 
the subdued light; shadows filled the galleries; exhausted 
members half-slumbered in their chairs, and others talked 
wearily here and there in groups ; but the stillness was momen- 
tous, for the first article of a new law had been passed, author- 
izing the Executive to raise fifteen millions, for the purposes 
of the war, by pledging — if necessary, even selling — property 
vested in the Church.' Minor discussions followed. The 
religious, charitable and educational work of the clergy was 
guarded completely; many provisions designed to hamper 
the realization of the main purpose were accepted in order to 
conciliate opposition; and at length, on January 11, the plan 
became law.' 


"The crisis is terrible," wrote the minister of relations two 
days later, and well he might. All the fierceness and intrigues 
of partisan politics, all the cunning of high and low finance, 
all the subtleties of priestcraft and all the terrors of a haughty 
Church came into play.* Freely we have received, but we will 
not give, and anathema to him who takes, was in effect the 
dictum of the prelates. For a time it looked as if no official 
would venture, at the peril of excommunication, to promulgate 
the law ; but Farias and Juarez found a man, and he was ap- 
pointed governor of the Federal District, in which lay the 
capital, for that purpose. Then came protests from the 
"venerable" clergy, complaints from state governments, 
mutinies of troops, and civilian insurrections organized by 
priests. Cries of " Viva la religion ! Death to the govern- 
ment!" resounded in the streets of the capital. Ministers 
of state were hard to find, and they soon went out of office. 
Minor officials resigned so rapidly they could hardly be counted. 
Santa Anna, after hailing the law as the salvation of the country, 
turned against it. Moderados in Congress, encouraged by the 
outcry, hurled epithets harder than stones at the Puros.^ 

On the other hand some of the Deputies, the regular troops 
at the capital, who expected to profit by the law, the comandante 
general of Mexico, the National Guards and the democratic 
masses rallied to the support of the government; and Farias, 
his long head erect, and his face, always thoughtful and sad, 
now anxious but set, appealed to the patriotism of the nation, 
made the most of his authority as chief of the state, and held 
to his com-se with inflexible energy and courage. Not only 
was he determined to have the law respected, but he demanded 
that it should be made effective. Chaos was the result. 
"When we look for a ray of hope," said El Republicano, "we 
discover nothing but alarms, anxieties and every probability 
of social dissolution." "Furious anarchy," was Haro's de- 
scription of the scene. There must soon be a crash, he added ; 
"the Devil is running away with us." ^ 

Peaceful interests were not, however, entirely forgotten 
amid this turbulence. During the second week of January 
Moses Y. Beach, proprietor and editor of the New York Sun, 
arrived at Vera Cruz from Havana. He carried a British 
passport. Besides his wife Mrs. Storms, a remarkably clever 


newspaper woman, accompanied him. Presumably she was 
to play the part of secretary, for Beach had large financial 
enterprises in mind, and confidential clerical assistance would 
certainly be necessary. For some reason letters were written 
from Cuba to Santa Anna and the authorities at Vera Cruz 
denouncing him as an American agent ; and the party had to 
go through with a tedious examination of three days, for the 
comandante general had been expressly ordered to watch all 
suspicious foreigners hailing from the United States. But the 
ordeal was passed satisfactorily, and on the twenty-third or 
twenty-fourth of January Beach arrived at the capital. Letters 
from Roman Catholic prelates of the United States and Cuba 
gave him a confidential standing at once in the highest Church 
circles ; his project of a canal across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec 
excited the lively interest of Santa Anna's particular friends; 
and his plan for a national bank brought him into friendly 
relations with Farias and the other Puro leaders.^" 

Still, the presence of this agent of civilization did not restore 
tranquillity. On February 4 the government contrived by 
shrewd management to put a law through Congress, which in 
effect gave it autocratic power to raise five millions, and thus 
cut through the complications and restrictions that had rendered 
the action of January 11 substantially inoperative. The wrath 
of the Church blazed afresh. At all hazards Antichrist must 
be put down. Already they had concluded to supply Santa 
Anna with money, in return of course for his aid against Farias, 
and now they opened negotiations with the Moderados. This 
party, however, thought it would be good tactics to divide the 
Puros by supporting Farias, provided he would let them control 
his policy, and they so proposed ; but the impracticable fellow, 
who was battling for principles and not place, declined the 
offer. Finally the Puros themselves, realizing that all the 
other factions were against their chief, decided that under his 
leadership they could not succeed, and resolved to throw him 

While they were casting about for a method, a certain Person 
advised the clericals to offer an organized resistance against 
the laws of January 11 and February 4, and circumstances 
made that course easy. General Pefia y Barragan, suspected 
of conspiring against the government, was placed under tem- 


porary arrest, and this made him eager to head a revolution. 
Farias, understanding that the Independencia battalion could 
not be trusted, ordered it to Vera Cruz, imagining that it would 
not refuse to march against the enemy. But on various more 
or less valid pretexts it did so ; the other three elite battalions 
joined with it ; and on February 27 they declared that Farias 
and Congress, having lost the confidence of the nation, had 
forfeited their authority, demanding at the same time the 
annulment of the "anti-religious" laws.'^ Amidst the ringing 
of bells and burning of gunpowder, the city echoed with the 
cries, "Death to Gomez Farias! Death to the Puros!" 
Cannon were soon at the street corners, and the usual scenes 
of a Mexican insurrection, fatal chiefly to peaceful residents, 
were presently on exhibition. The clergy, there is ample reason 
to believe, paid the costs, and priests left the confessionals to 
herald this new crusade in the streets. ^^ 

After about nine days of indecisive skirmishing, however, 
the clericals felt discouraged. The nation had not rallied to 
their cause as they had expected. The sum of $40,000 was 
required for the next week of fighting, and they hesitated. 
But again a certain Person urged them on. The awkwardly 
drawn Plan was reduced to one article — Farias must be 
deposed. On that almost all could agree. Monarchists, 
Centralists, Santannistas, Clericals, Moderados, Puros were 
for once in happy unison. Salas reappeared with some troops 
to take revenge on his old enemy. And yet with epic heroism 
Farias, never faltering and never compromising either his official 
dignity or his personal character, held firmly on with his few 
soldiers and' such of the populace as he could arm. Again the 
battle raged, and again the innocent fell. But who was it that 
directed this tempest? Who was the mysterious Person, 
overwhelming the government of Mexico with darkness and 
confusion at this critical hour ? He was Moses Y. Beach, agent 
of the American state department and adviser to the Mexican 
hierarchy. Permission had been given him to bring about 
peace, if he could ; and, unable to do this, he seized the oppor- 
tunity to help Scott." 

The time had now arrived for the Saviour of Society to 
appear, since all rational persons were desperately tired of the 
vain struggle; and Pena y Barragan wrote to Santa Anna, 


begging him to take possession of the Presidential chair. Con- 
gress did nothing, for many Deputies — fearing that it might 
act in a manner contrary to their sentiments — remained away 
from the chamber, and a quorum could not be assembled; 
but when Pedraza was arrested by the government, a large 
group of Moderado members, feeling that Santa Anna's "vic- 
tory" at Buena Vista had confirmed his power, addressed him 
to the same effect as Pena ; and the Liberator, giving his best 
corps barely four days of repose, and explaining his departure 
from the north as one more sacrifice on the altar of his country, 
set out with a substantial body of troops for Mexico.'* Along 
his route women made wreaths and threw them before his 
feet. Men of every faction acclaimed him ; and from Queretaro 
to the capital the road was filled with carriages, in which all 
sorts of persons desiring to reach his ear. strove to outdo one 
another in despatch.^" 

On the first news of the insurrection Santa Anna's impression 
had been that its ulterior aim was hostile to him,'^ for his 
partisans at the capital supported the government; and, as 
a Puro envoy confirmed this impression, he promised Farias 
military aid ; but then appeared Moderado agents with strong 
assurances and probably with stronger financial arguments, 
and he went over, though not openly, to their side of the contro- 
versy. Both parties were ordered by him to discontinue 
hostilities, and both did so at once ; for, as the clergy had now 
shut their strong boxes, the insurgent officers were anxious to 
reestablish a connection with the national treasury, while 
the regulars of Farias would not disobey Santa Anna. After 
the President's arrival at Guadalupe Hidalgo a Te Deum was 
celebrated there in honor of his triumph over the Americans; 
and the next day, March 23, amidst real demonstrations of joy, 
he formally superseded Farias, while a certain Person '^ — dili- 
gently but vainly sought after by the police — was hastily 
making his way through the mountains in the direction of 

Apparently Santa Anna had experienced the luckiest of 
turns. Precisely when the Americans had shattered his plans, 
and he found himself buried in the northern deserts with a 
broken, starving army," this insurrection gave him a splendid 
occasion for making a triumphal march to the capital amid 


plaudits of gratitude and admiration, and he now found himself 
at the summit of prestige and power.^* In reality, however, 
his situation was by no means entirely satisfactory. Under- 
standing that the Puros — who in reality had served him with 
substantial good faith and therefore stood highest in his present 
sympathy — had lost their dominant position, he allied himself 
with their opponents; but the Moderados disliked and dis- 
trusted him still, and he received at least one distinct notice 
that by taking their side he was placing himself gratuitously 
in the hands of his enemies. The Puros did not feel extremely 
grateful to him for merely avoiding an open break with them ; 
and, although it seemed wise to join in the acclamations lest 
some worse thing befall them, they were already sharpening 
their arrows against him. Indeed, they were believed to be 
sharpening their daggers, and he took full precautions. The 
clergy had trembled and recoiled on hearing that his arms 
had triumphed against the Americans, and the Saviour of 
Society now appeared to lean toward them — or toward their 
strong boxes; but they knew him well enough to foresee, as 
they soon realized, that he intended to extort ample compen- 
sation for all the favor shown them.^" 

Such was the inner state of things, and the external course of 
events proved not less interesting. The effect of the insur- 
rection upon the progress of the war, as we shall presently see, 
was notable, and in substance it produced a counter-revolution 
in domestic politics. As Farias was no more willing to resign 
than to compromise, some disposition of him seemed necessary, 
for Santa Anna would evidently have to take the field again 
shortly, and it would not have been expedient, whatever the 
rights of the case, to let the executive power fall back into his 
control. It was therefore decided to abolish the Vice Presi- 
dency; and in this way fell on April Fool's Day the noblest 
but most unpopular man in the country .^^ At the positive 
dictation of Santa Anna General P. M. Anaya, a Moderado, 
was then elected substitute president, while the raging Puros 
raged in vain. The clergy succeeded, by offering two millions 
of real money, in persuading Santa Anna to annul the laws of 
January 11 and February 4; but .the day before he did this. 
Church property worth twenty millions was placed by Congress — 
theoretically, at least — within the reach of the government.^" 


Not many weeks before this, Don Simplicio had announced, 
"There will be presented an original tragi-comedy entitled 
'All is a farce in our beloved Mexico,' " and now J. F. Ramirez, 
who had been minister of relations when the hated law passed, 
exclaimed in bitterness of heart : All of us, without an exception, 
have been acting in a way to deserve the contempt and chastise- 
ment of cultivated nations; "we are nothing, absolutely noth- 
ing, with the aggravating circumstance that our insensate 
vanity makes us believe that we are everything." ^^ 



February-March, 1847 

On the twenty-first of February, General Scott, who had 
sailed from Tampico in a storm the day before, observed in 
the distance what seemed to be greenish bubbles floating on the 
sea. These were the Lobos Islands, and presently he found 
there on transports the First and Second Pennsylvania, the 
South Carolina, and parts of the Louisiana, Mississippi and 
New York regiments of new volunteers. Within a week many 
more troops, including nearly all the regulars of the expedition, 
arrived from Tampico or the Brazos, and the natural break- 
water that protected the anchorage — a sandy coral island of 
about one hundred acres, fringed with surf, covered with bushes 
and small trees woven together with vines, and scented by the 
blossoms of wild oranges, lemDus and limes— veiled itself behind 
the spars and cordage of nearly a hundred vessels.' 

Judicious measures prevented the smallpox from spreading. 
Drilling began ; and the drum, fife and bugle aroused a fight- 
ing spirit, while visiting, social jollity and military discussion 
tended to create an army solidarity. In the evening bands 
played martial airs, and the watch fires on the coast gave an 
additional sharpness to the ardor of the soldiers. Meanwhile 
the General, who still expected vigorous opposition to his land- 
ing, waited impatiently for more surf-boats and heavy ordnance, 
looked anxiously for the ten large transports ^ in ballast req- 
uisitioned by him in November, elaborated his plans for dis- 
embarking, and issued the corresponding orders.' 

The next rendezvous was to be off Anton Lizardo, about a 
dozen miles beyond Vera Cruz and some two hundred more from 
the Lobos anchorage, where islands, reefs and the shore of the 
mainland combined to form a deep and capacious harbor; 

VOL. II — c 17 


and about noon on the second of March the steamer Massa- 
chusetts plowed through the fleet, dashing the spray from her 
bows, and set off in that direction. A blue flag with a red centre 
waving at her main-truck indicated that Scott was aboard, 
and when the noble figure of the commander-in-chief, standing 
with uncovered head on the deck, was observed, peal after peal 
of cheers resounded from ship to ship. The clanking of anchor 
chains followed them ; the sailors broke into their hearty songs ; 
the sails filled gracefully ; and the fleet stood away.' 

For two days its progress was not fast, but then a norther 
set in. Like a panorama, peak after peak on the lofty sky 
line passed rapidly astern; and finally Orizaba, the "mountain 
of the star, " upreared its head superbly more than three miles 
above sea level not far inland. Then came Green Island, where 
the Albany and Potomac were on hand to give any needful 
assistance,^ and the John Adams showed her black teeth to lurk- 
ing blockade-runners ; while in the distance the frowning bas- 
tions of Ulua "castle" could be made out, and the sixteen domes 
of Vera Cruz appeared to be promenading along her white 
wall. Pitching and rolling on the huge billows of inky water, 
with foam leaping high over their bows, the transports threaded 
their way swiftly between the tumbling and roaring piles of 
surf that marked the reefs, and finally, on March^, the swallow- 
tail pennant of Commodore Conner and the flags of the American 
squadron were seen off Anton Lizardo. Cheers followed cheers 
as the transports dropped anchor one after another ; and when 
the sun went down in a blaze of glory behind Orizaba, the spirits 
of the men, stimulated by so many novel, beautiful and thrilling 
scenes, by the approach of combat and the expectation of 
triumph, reached the very culmination of military enthusiasm. 
It was a good beginning — except that Scott arrived a month 
late, and the yellow fever usually came on time.' 

"Heroic" Vera Cruz, the city of the "True Cross," was in 
form an irregular hexagon, with a perimeter some two miles in 
length, closely packed with rather high buildings of soft, white- 
washed masonry. Although famous as the charnel house of 
Europeans, it was a rather pleasant place for those who could 
endure the climate. The little alameda, across which many a 
dandy strutted every day in tight linen trousers, a close blue 
jacket, gilt buttons and a red sash, and many a pretty woman 


tottered coquettishly in pink slippers, was charming. The 
curtained balconies gave one a hint now and then of ladies 
making their toilets and smoking their cigarettes just within ; 
and the flat roofs, equipped with observatories commanding 
the sea, were delightful resorts in the cool of the day. Along 
the water front extended a massive wall, supplemented at the 
northern end with Fort Concepcion, at the southern end with 
Fort Santiago — both of them solidly built — and, between 
the two, with a mole of granite some two hundred yards in 
length. Landward the defences were feeble, for it had long 
been assumed that any serious attack would be made by water ; 
but there were nine well-constructed, though in most cases 
not large, bastions, and between them dilapidated curtains of 
stone, brick and cement about fifteen feet high and two and a 
half or three feet thick. ^ 

Behind the town extended a plain rather more than half a 
mile wide ; and beyond that rose hills of light sand — enlarged 
editions of the dunes that ran along the shore north and south 
of Vera Cruz — which gradually increased in height until some 
of them, two or three miles inland, reached an elevation of 
perhaps three hundred feet. Then came dense forests, cut 
here and there by a road and occasionally diversified with oases 
of cultivated land, richly scented by tropical fruits and flowers. 
To the southwest of the city lay a series of ponds and marshes, 
drained by a small stream that passed near the wall ; and this 
creek, supplemented by cisterns and an underground aqueduct, 
provided the town with water. In the opposite direction, on a 
reef named the Gallega — distant nearly three quarters of a 
mile from Fort Concepcion — rose the fortress of Ulua, built 
of soft coral stone, faced with granite, in the most scientific 
manner, and large enough to accommodate 2500 men.'* Water 
batteries lay wherever it seemed possible to effect a landing, 
and tremendous walls, enfeebled by no casemates, towered 
to a height of about sixty feet.' 

At the beginning of March, 1846, Mora y Villamil, the highest 
engineer ofiicer in the Mexican army and at this time coman- 
dante general of Vera Cruz, feared that on account of Slidell's 
departure the Americans might suddenly attack him. Aided by 
Lieutenant Colonel Manuel Robles, a skilful and active subordi- 
nate, he drew up detailed plans for repairing the crumbling fortifi- 


cations of the city and castle, and these were approved by the 
government; but the lack of money prevented the full exe- 
cution of them. In October the captain of a British frigate 
warned the new comandante general that an American attack 
was imminent; and at about the same time Santa Anna, 
while bitterly reproaching the government for its neglect of 
the town and pointing out what needed to be -done, charged 
him to make the "strong buildings" a second and a third line 
of defence in case of attack, and then perish, if necessary, under 
the ruins of the city; but again the want of funds vetoed 
adequate preparations. On the other hand, unpaid soldiers 
paid themselves by stealing powder and selling it.^ 

About the middle of November it was learned at Mexico 
from a New Orleans newspaper that an expeditioh against 
Vera Cruz had been projected, and within two months the 
news was confirmed. Santa Anna heard of it, and wrote 
that 6000 militia should be assembled there. He was told 
in reply that his demand would be met early in February; 
and assurances were given to Congress that everything req- 
uisite had been done.^ By the fourth of March the coman- 
dante general, to whom the information had been transmitted, 
was inditing urgent appeals for help, and soon the appearance 
of Scott showed that a crisis had arrived. In reliance on the 
promises of the general government, hopeful and incessant work 
on the fortifications now began; but within four days letters 
from the war department, conferring unlimited powers upon 
the commander, admitted that on account of the Polko in- 
surrection at the capital no assistance could be given, and many 
of the people not only left the city, but endeavored to draw 
their friends and relatives from the National Guards.' 

In point of fact military men had long known that Vera 
Cruz, as a fortified town standing by itself, was indefensible. 
General Mora admitted that it needed stronger exterior works 
than could be constructed ; and there was no squadron to keep 
Ultia supplied with provisions. The proper course for the 
comandante general was either to strip the city of whatever 
Scott could use, and merely endeavor to prevent him from 
advancing farther, as was privately argued by leading members 
of Congress, or — for the moral effect of such an example — to 
send all non-combatants away, and struggle until crushed; 



but neither public sentiment nor the government would have 
permitted the first of these plans, and, while the comandante 
had the second in mind on the fifth of March, it was too heroic 
for execution.* 

Besides, there seemed to be a fighting chance. UWa was much 
stronger than when the French, aided by fortune, had captured 
it, and the anchorage occupied by them could now be shelled. 
Some of the guns had been improperly mounted ; some of the 


carriages were old ; at some of the embrasures balls of different 
calibres were mixed ; pieces without projectiles could be found, 
and projectiles without pieces; rust had impaired the fit of 
many balls ; but the city and the fortress together had probably 
three hundred serviceable cannon and mortars,* more muskets 
than men, and plenty of ammunition. As an assault was 
expected, the streets were defended with cannon and barri- 
cades, sand-bags protected the doors and windows, loopholes 
without number were made in the wall, the rather shallow but 


wet ditch was cleared, and although barbed cactus made the 
approach of an enemy to the bastions almost impossible, 
thousands of pitfalls — each with a sword, bayonet or short 
pike set erect at the bottom — were dug beyond the wall, so 
arranged that no one marching straight forward could well 
avoid them.' 

Juan Soto, the governor of the state, was indefatigable, 
and as the state militia numbered about 20,000, it seemed 
reasonable to count upon succor. Giffard, the British consul, 
expected that substantial help would come from that source. 
Other states were likely to furnish aid ; and the people, taught 
by the long inaction of the Americans off the shore to despise 
them and encouraged by fictitious reports that assistance would 
be rendered by the national government, felt united and enthu- 
siastic' The city council offered all its resources, and the 
well-to-do raised funds for a hospital by giving a theatrical 
performance. The garrison, led by the brave, active and pop- 
ular though not very able Morales, now comandante general, 
may be estimated as at least 1200 in Ulua and 3800 in the 
city.* About half of them were merely National Guards; 
but these, decorated with tricolored cockades and red pompons, 
looked and felt extremely dangerous. "As God lives," cried 
one of their leaders, " either we will triumph, or all of us, without 
a solitary exception, will be interred in the ruins." The civil- 
ians remaining in town may have numbered 3000.' 

Bearing in mind the necessity, not merely of taking Vera 
Cruz and Ulua, but of getting his army away from the coast 
before the advent of yellow fever, and satisfied that Polk 
would show him no mercy in case of ill-success. General 
Scott examined his problem with all possible care, and con- 
sulted freely the officers he particularly trusted.'" He could 
not very prudently have left, say, 500O men to mask or possibly 
reduce Vera Cruz, as some critics insisted he should have done, 
and advanced with the rest, for the essential purpose of his 
expedition was to capture that place, and such a course might 
have been viewed by the government as insubordinate. 
Besides, that policy would probably have been regarded by the 
Mexicans as a sign of weakness ; the possession of the harbor 
and shipping facilities would evidently aid all further opera- 
tions; by holding them it would be possible to deprive the 


enemy of war supplies and other necessaries ; the arms, ammu- 
nition and cannon of the Mexicans were highly valuable, espe- 
cially to them ; and the American army would not have been 
an adequate aggressive force after thus detaching nearly half 
its numbers. The obstacle before Scott had, therefore, to be 
faced and overcome." 

The best method, evidently, was to reduce the town before 
seriously attacking Ulua, because that success would greatly 
diminish the enemy's fire, make it possible to contract and so 
strengthen the American line, and somewhat facilitate the 
transportation of supplies. Such had been the General's plan 
from the first. Officers eager for distinction recommended an 
assault, and Scott well knew that a quick, brilliant stroke would 
best win him fame and popularity." But he understood 
equally well that an assault, necessarily made at night, would 
entail a heavy loss of his best men — enough, perhaps, to 
prevent his advancing farther and escaping the pestilence — 
besides involving a great slaughter of both combatants and 
non-combatants in the town. On the other hand, as the British 
consul and the British naval commander agreed, there was not 
enough time before the yellow fever season to warrant relying 
upon starvation alone. ^^ Siege and bombardment were there- 
fore indicated, and Scott promptly decided upon that plan as 
combining, better than any other, humanity with effectiveness.'' 

The initial step was to select a point for debarking; and 
Conner, whom Scott had requested in December to study this 
problem, had already fixed upon the beach of Mocambo Bay, 
two and a half or three miles southeast of ^^era Cruz, which 
was somewhat sheltered from northers and could be swept by 
the guns of the fleet. Sacrificios Island, a strip of sand repre- 
senting a large reef, was just off shore, too, forming an an- 
chorage here. Accordingly Scott, with Conner, the principal 
generals, Robert E. Lee, P. G. T. Beauregard and other officers, 
went up in the little steamer Petrita, reconnoitred the spot, and 
then — probably to deceive the Mexicans regarding his inten- 
tions — ran within a mile and a half of Ulua, where he was 
almost sunk by the gunners." His judgment agreed with the 
Commodore's, and orders were given to land on the eighth. 
But when that morning came, signs of a norther showed them- 
selves. The glass fell. The heat became stifling. A southerly 




wind loaded with moisture blew, and the summit of Orizaba, 
clad in the azure hue of the poet, stood sharply forth ; hence 
the orders were countermanded.^^ 

The signs failed, however, and the extra day was available 
for the last preparations. A detailed plan of debarkation had 
been drawn up and announced while the army was at Lobos 
Islands, but certain difficulties had not been anticipated. The 
ten large transports in ballast had not come, and to land from 
a great number of small vessels at Sacrificios, where there was 
little room and foreign warships occupied all the safe anchorage, 
appeared imprudent. Conner, therefore, offered to transport 
the army on larger, better and more ably handled vessels belong- 
ing to the squadron, and Scott's wise acceptance of the proposal 
involved extensive readjustments.^' 

These, however, were skilfully arranged, and when the dawn 
of March 9 announced a perfect day, a scene of the greatest 
activity began. Signals fluttered to mastheads. In clarion 
tones officers issued their orders. Despatch boats dashed here 
and there. Sailors and soldiers roared their favorite airs. 
Fully half of the 10,000 and more troops were placed on the 
frigates Raritan and Potomac, and most of the others on smaller 
vessels of the squadron. At about eleven o'clock the order to 
sail was given. Amid thunderous cheers the Massachusetts 
plunged through the fleet, and took its place in the lead with 
Conner's flagship. A gentle breeze from the southeast filled 
the sails ; and the war vessels and transports were off. After 
a smooth voyage they began to arrive near Sacrificios at about 
one o'clock, and in close quarters, but without mishaps or 
even the least confusion, each dropped anchor in its allotted 
space.^^ The yards and rigging of the foreign war vessels 
were black with men, and ladies, armed with glasses and 
parasols, gazed impatiently from the deck of the British 

Without the loss of a moment three signal flags rose to the 
main-truck of the Massachusetts, and the work of landing 
Worth's brigade of regulars began. The double-shotted cannon 
of the squadron were brought to bear on the shore. Seven 
gunboats drawing eight feet or less formed a line within good 
grape range of the beach, and cleared for action. About sixty- 
five surf-boats, which had been towed from Anton Lizardo by 


steamers, were rowed by naval crews to the vessels carrying 
troops — each having a definite assignment — and after re- 
ceiving from fifty to eighty soldiers apiece, making up the 
whole of the brigade, attached themselves in two long lines to 
the quarters of the steamer Princeton, which had now anchored 
about 450 yards from the shore. This process consumed several 
hours, and it was hardly ended when a shell whizzed over 
them. "Now we shall catch it," thought the soldiers, for 
rumors of opposition had been heard, two or three hundred 
cavalry could be seen, and artillery was supposed to be lurking 
behind the dunes.^^ 

The flash of a signal gun shot now from the Massachusetts ; 
the surf-boats cut loose, faced the shore abreast in the order of 
battle, and struck out for land ; and a cheer burst from every 
American throat. Great Orizaba cast aside its veil of haze, 
and stood out against the setting sun. Not a cloud flecked the 
sky ; not a ripple marred the burnished water. Ulfia and Vera 
Cruz thundered loudly, though in vain. National airs rolled from 
our squadron. Shells from the gunboats broke up the Mexican 
cavalry and searched the dunes. The oars of the straining 
sailors flashed. Muskets — not loaded but with fixed bayonets — 
glittered. Regimental colors floated at the stern of each boat. 
Suddenly one of the boats darted ahead and grounded on a bar 
about a hundred yards from the shore. Out leaped Worth; 
his officers followed him ; and the whole brigade were instantly 
in the breaking ground-swell, holding aloft their muskets and 

Here was the chance of the enemy, for our vessels could not 
fire without endangering Americans ; but no enemy was to be 
seen.^^ Led by their color-bearers the regulars quickly splashed 
ashore, formed in a moment, charged to the crest of the first 
dune, planted their standards and burst into cheers; the men 
on the ships, tongue-tied for some time by an excitement and 
anxiety that made their brains reel, answered with huzza 
after huzza till they made the bay " seem peopled with victori- 
ous armies," wrote one of the soldiers, and the strains of "Star- 
Spangled Banner" broke from the bands. Less formally, but 
rapidly and in order, the boats went back for the troops of 
Patterson and Twiggs ; and by midnight, without having met 
with a single accident, more than 10,000 men, duly guarded 


by sentries, were eating their biscuit and pork on the sand or 
preparing to bivouac.^^ 

During the night Mexicans in the rear did some shooting but 
without effect, and the process of investment began. Diverting 
attention from this by having a gunboat, sheltered about a mile 
from the city behind Point Hornos, throw shot and shell into 
Vera Cruz for a couple of hours the next forenoon, Scott had 
Pillow's brigade capture the hill of Malibran behind Worth's 
camp, and push on toward the rear of the city. Quitman 
then passed it; Shields passed Quitman, and Twiggs passed 
him. Wallowing up and down the slopes of deep sand in a 
sultry heat without water to drink proved to be extremely 
hard work; and breaking through the valleys, where a matted 
growth of chaparral — armed with thorns as keen as needles 
and stiff as bayonets — resisted everything but sharp steel, 
was harder yet. Day and night Mexican irregulars, both in- 
fantry and horse, and cannon salutes from the city and the 
castle embarrassed operations, and there were many brisk 
skirmishes. Moreover the landing had scarcely been made 
when a norther set in, covering the men with sand, blowing 
away old hilltops and building up new ones. But not long 
after noon on March 13 Twiggs reached the Gulf north of the 
city. The next morning a well-supported detachment from 
each brigade advanced as far as it could find cover, driving the 
Mexican outposts before it; and by night these detachments 
were only about seven hundred yards from the town.^^ 

The American position as a whole, known as Camp Wash- 
ington, was now a semi-circular line about seven miles long; 
There were gaps, but these were rapidly closed with strong 
pickets. The railway and the roads were all occupied; the 
visible water supply of the city was cut off; and on March 16 
Scott announced that nothing less than a small army could 
break through. Meantime, whenever the weather permitted, 
artillery, stores, horses and provisions were landed in the most 
systematic manner. Safeguards were issued to the repre- 
sentatives of foreign powers at Vera Cruz, and in a letter of 
' March 13 to the Spanish consul ^^ Scott indicated plainly that 
" bombardment or cannonade, or assault, or all" of these might 
be expected by the citizens.^^ 

The time to plant artillery had now arrived, and the ideal 



spot was found on the sixteenth; but after a battery had been 
laid out there, access to it proved to be dangerously exposed. 
Two days later, however, a fairly good point was discovered, 
near the cemetery and Worth's position, about half a mde 
south of the town, which screened it somewhat from the castle ; 
and preparations to establish two mortar batteries there, about 
one hundred yards apart, began the following night. At the 

same time a deep road, wide enough to admit a six-mule team, 
was under construction.^^ 

Most of this labor had to be done at night, and the utmost 
possible silence observed. As the transports lay a mile off 
shore, while the only wharf was an open beach, and a norther 
blew violently from the twelfth to the sixteenth, the work of 
landing ordnance and ordnance stores proceeded slowly. Fortu- 
nately the work on the batteries was not discovered ; but the 
fire of Paixhan guns and heavy mortars from the city and 
castle, though irregular and singularly unfruitful despite the 
undeniable skill of the gunners,^' compelled the Americans to 
adopt extreme precautions. Nor were these embarrassments 
the only ones. Notwithstanding seasonable orders, only fifteen 
carts and about a hundred draught horses had arrived. Not 


more than one fifth of the ordnance requisitioned by Scott about 
the middle of November and due at the Brazos — he now 
reminded Marcy — by January 15, had yet appeared. A great 
many artillery and cavalry horses had been drowned, injured 
or delayed ; and there was a shortage of almost every requisite 
for siege operations.^" But the army and the navy cooperated 
zealously; soldiers took the places of draught animals; and 
in spite of every difficulty three batteries, mounting seven 10- 
inch mortars, were in readiness by two o'clock on the afternoon 
of the twenty-second, and the soldiers felt eager to hear what 
they called the "sweet music" of these "faithful bull-dogs."^' 

At this hour, therefore, Scott formally summoned the town, 
intimating that both assault and bombardment were to be 
apprehended. The reply was a refusal to surrender ; and at a 
quarter past four, accompanied by a deafening chorus of joyous, 
frantic shouts and yells, the American batteries opened, while 
the "mosquito fleet" of two small steamers and five gunboats,^^ 
each armed with a single heavy cannon, stationed themselves 
behind Point Hornos, and fired briskly.^* 

Like "hungry lions in search of prey," a soldier thought, the 
shells from the mortars flew "howling" to their mark. With 
heavier metal and vastly more of it. Vera Cruz and the castle 
replied. The city wall blazed like a sheet of fire. Shot, shell 
and rockets came forth in a deluge, it seemed to the men ; and 
the two columns of smoke, rolling and whirling, mounted high 
and collided as if striving to outflank and conquer each other. 
Still more terrible was the scene at night. A spurt of red fire ; 
a fierce roar; a shell with an ignited fuse mounting high, 
pausing, turning, and then — more and more swiftly — drop- 
ping; the crash of a roof; a terrific explosion that shook the 
earth,; screams, wailing and yells — all this could be distinctly 
seen or heard from the American lines. During the twenty- 
third and the following night the fire still raged, but on the 
American side more slowly, for although ten mortars were now 
at work, a norther interrupted the supply of ammunition.^^ 

But while the bombardment made an interesting spectacle, 
as a military operation it was proving unsatisfactory. The 
ordnance thus far received by Scott was inadequate for the 
reduction of the city — to say nothing of Ulua. With mortars, 
especially as the distances could not be ascertained precisely, 


it was impossible to be sure of liitting the bastions and forts. 
Shells could be thrown into the town, but while the houses suf- 
fered much, the fortifications and garrison escaped vital damage, 
and there was no sign of yielding. Not a few in the American 
army, who had supposed that a fortified city could be taken 
at sight like a mint julep, grew impatient ; the oflBcers eager for 
assault fumed ; Worth, proud of his quick work at Monterey, 
sneered; Twiggs grunted. As an army man Scott naturally 
desired that branch of the service to reap all the glory of its 
campaign, but he now found himself compelled to ask for naval 
guns heavy enough to breach the wall, and make an assault 
practicable; and when Perry, who had taken Conner's place 
on the twenty-first, insisted that men from the squadron should 
work them, he consented.^* 

The new battery, constructed by Robert E. Lee and mounting 
three long 32's for solid shot and three 68's for shells, was planted 
just behind the bushy crest of a slight eminence, only some 800 
yards from the city wall, where the enemy did not suppose 
that such an enterprise would be ventured ; and until the guns 
were about ready to be unmasked on the morning of the twenty- 
fourth, its existence was not suspected.^ Here were instru- 
ments of power and precision, and they told. The Mexicans 
concentrated upon them a terrific fire, but with no serious effect ; 
and when on the next morning a battery consisting of four 
24-pounders and two 8-inch howitzers joined the infernal 
chorus, the fire, though hindered occasionally by the tardiness 
of ammunition, was " awful," said Scott and Lee, while the city 
appeared like one dense thunder-cloud, red with flashes and 
quivering with incessant roars.^* 

That night the batteries played still more fiercely. Some- 
times four or five shells were sizzling through the air at once. 
The fire, said an officer, was now "perfectly terrific"; and 
to heighten the wildness of the scene, many vessels could be 
observed by the light of the moon going ashore in the norther. 
About thirty were wrecked by this one gale, and others had 
to cut away their masts. In the meantime preparations for 
assaulting both by land and by water, should an assault prove 
to be necessary, were actively pressed.^* 

In town, during the early period of these operations, the 
enthusiasm continued to run high, for the cautious and faint- 


hearted had gone away, and the reports of the irregulars, con- 
stantly skirmishing against the Americans, were colored to 
suit the popular taste. Work on the fortifications proceeded, 
and fresh cartridges for the artillery were made with feverish 
haste. Bands played; the gunners amused themselves by 
firing at small and far distant groups among the sand-hills; 
and at night fireballs and rockets lighted up the plain in an- 
ticipation of the hoped-for assault. When the investment was 
completed, when the American outposts drew near the town, 
and especially when it became known that preparations for 
a bombardment were under way, the people grew more serious ; 
but it was expected that forces from without would break the 
line, or at least prevent the construction of batteries.^* 

A painful disappointment followed, however. Soto made 
great efforts to collect the tax levied by the state; but the 
citizens, impoverished by the long blockade, had no money, 
and without cash troops could not be fed. In spite of many 
hopes the fluctuating bands under Colonel Senobio, the chief 
leader of the irregulars in the vicinity, do not seem to have 
risen at any time far above 1000, and perhaps never reached 
that number. In vain Soto appealed for an able general and 
a nucleus of regulars. They were not within reach, and the 
few pieces of artillery could not be moved. The states of 
Puebla and Oaxaca tried to help, but were tardy and in- 

Men from the upper country dreaded the yellow fever ; and 
those of the coast, volatile by nature, ignorant of real warfare, 
without organization, training or discipline, were astonished 
and confounded when they struck the solid American line. 
They pecked at it continually, but Morales himself could see 
that no skill, concert or strength marked their efforts. Dis- 
couragement and wholesale desertion followed. The city, 
therefore, could not obtain provisions by land ; and as most of 
the seamen alongshore fled to the mountains, and boat com- 
munication became more and more difficult, it was realized 
that supplies from the interior were out of the question. After 
March 20 the troops could be given little or no meat; but 
soldiers wejfe detailed to fish the prolific waters under the guns 
of Ulua, and no doubt beans and tortillas, the staple food of the 
common people, continued to be fairly plentiful.^^ 


The opening of the bombardment, however, precipitated a 
crisis, and as our fire grew more and more intense, the con- 
sternation and suffering increased. Crashing roofs; burning 
houses; flying pavements; doors, windows and furniture 
blocking the streets ; a pandemonium of confused and frightful 
sounds ; bells ringing without hands ; awful explosions ; domes 
and steeples threatening to fall ; the earth quaking ; crowds of 
screaming women, who rushed hither and thither; terrible 
wounds and sudden deaths — all these were new and over- 
whelming scenes.25 Only one bakery escaped destruction, as it 
happened, and the children cried in vain for bread ; the priests 
would not leave their shelter to comfort and absolve; and 
finally the very instinct of self-preservation was lost in a stupid 
despair more dreadful to witness than death itself.^^ 

The troops in the southwestern section, under our heaviest 
fire, became terror-stricken. In other quarters men left the 
ranks to look after families and friends ; and when a murky 
dawn ended the terrible night of the twenty-fifth, demoraliza- 
tion was rife. People wandered about the streets cry- 
ing for surrender. Always passionate, they now hated 
their own government for deserting them. The consuls 
went out under a flag of truce, but Scott refused to see 
them, sending them word — it was reported — that any 
persons leaving the city would be fired upon, and that unless 
it should surrender in the meantime, new as well as the old 
batteries would open the next morning. This fact over- 
whelmed the people; and the prospect of being exterminated 
at leisure by an enemy who could not be injured, beat down their 
last thought of resistance. ^^ 

Consul Giffard had predicted that any plausible excuse for 
surrender would be turned to good account. Supplies were 
now said to be failing, and in the course of this dreadful night 
an informal meeting of officers agreed upon capitulation. 
Naturally the idea gave offence to many, and there was talk of 
opening a way through the American line with the sword. 
But a council of war soon decided to negotiate ; commissioners 
were appointed; and Scott, who was invited to take similar 
action, did so. The six men came together on thfe afternoon 
of the twenty-sixth, but could not agree; and the Mexicans 
returned to the city, leaving behind them a proposition.^^ 


Worth, who was our chief representative, believed the nego- 
tiations were simply a waste of time, and favored an immediate 
assault ; but Scott saw that the Mexicans, while trying to save 
appearances, really meant surrender, and the next morning 
granted with certain vital modifications their terms.^' His 
demands were accepted, and it was thus agreed in substance 
that Landero, to whom the command had been turned over, 
should march his army out with all the honors of war, the 
troops be paroled, and the armament — so far as not destroyed 
in the course of the war — be disposed of by the treaty of 
peace. It was further agreed that all the Mexican sick should 
remain in town under Mexican care, private property be re- 
spected, and religious rights be held sacred.^' 

It was a "shameful surrender," declared Santa Anna, and 
from a military point of view this could hardly be denied. Ultia 
had practically not been touched ; it had a considerable supply 
of provisions, and there was a chance of obtaining more from 
blockade-runners. Vera Cruz was in a harder yet not in a 
desperate plight. Men of importance there, knowing the city 
would be denounced for surrendering, naturally endeavored to 
prove that it had suffered terribly and exhausted its resources 
before yielding ; and the principal neutrals — friendly toward 
them, engaged mostly in trade, and more willing to have life 
sacrificed than property — raised an outcry against the pro- 
ceedings of Scott that became a fierce indictment in Europe 
and the United States. But the British naval commander, 
though not inclined to favor the General, reported that the 
casualties in the city were only eighty soldiers killed or wounded, 
about one hundred old men, women and children killed, and 
an unknown number injured, and that its food supply, while 
no doubt less delicate and varied than could have been desired, 
would have lasted beyond the middle of April; and there is 
considerable evidence that his figures were approximately 
correct.^* Ammunition did not fail, nor did water.^' 

The surrender was really due therefore to the moral effect 
of Scott's artillery. Even Giffard, who termed his operations 
cruel and unnecessary, admitted this ; and, bearing in mind the 
General's obligations to obey his government and save the lives 
of his men, the inevitable horrors of an assault by night, and the 
serious danger that a reliance upon starvation as the sole means 

VOL. II — D 


of reducing the city would have given time for Santa Annas 
regulars and the yellow fever to arrive, one concludes again 
and finally that Scott's method was humane and wise. 

Owing to inequalities of the ground, the character of the soil, 
great skill on the part of our engineers, incessant care and re- 
markable good fortune, the total losses caused by 6267 Mexi- 
can shot, 8486 shells and all the bullets of the irregulars were 
only about nineteen killed and sixty-three wounded. The 
siege was not exactly a fete champetre, however. It was tire- 
some to be awakened at night so often by Mexican skirmishers, 
disagreeable to be routed out by the diabolical screech of a 
heavy shell, and quite annoying to have one of the " big dinner- 
.pots," as the, soldiers called them, explode close by. Satu- 
rating dews, abominable drinking water, scanty and bad 
rations, howling wolves, hzards in one's boot, "jiggers " that 
made the feet itch incessantly, fleas that even a sleeping-bag 
could not discourage, and sand-flies nearly as voracious, were 
minor but real afflictions. When a norther began, the whole 
aspect of nature seemed to change. The sky became a pall, 
the atmosphere a winding-sheet, the wind a scourge; and the 
roaring, chilling blast filled one's ears, eyes, mouth and even 
pores with biting grit, cut the tents into ribbons, and sometimes 
buried their sleeping inmates.^" To escape from the Mexican 
shot sentries often had to burrow in the sand, and under the 
tropical sun they learned to appreciate the power of the old 
brick oven. When carrying provisions or dragging cannon, 
amidst hills that blazed like the mirrors of Archimedes at 
Syracuse, men often dropped.'^ 

On the other hand, besides the initial high spirits, which 
helped immensely, and the excitement and comradeship that 
knocked off the edge of ^hardships, there were special sources 
of cheer — particularly the "blue-shirts," as the seamen were 
called. When turning out in the face of an icy sand-blast 
sharp enough to cut granite, it was something to hear a salty 
voice give the order, "Form line of battle on the starboard 
tack ! " But sailors on shore leave, who burst from their long 
confinement like birds let loose, and "cruised" in the environs 
with perfect abandon, were better yet. Their sport with the 
wild monkeys was truly edifying, and their delight over the 
burro would have set Diogenes laughing. Sometimes they 


rode him, and sometimes they carried him. Planted in the 
Mexican style just forward of the creature's tail, they felt 
that at last they were riding the quarter-deck, and commanding 
a snug vessel of their own. Above all they enjoyed "mooring 
ship." This congenial manoeuvre was achieved by taking 
aboard for " anchor" a heavy block of wood, previously attached 
to the donkey's neck with a long rope, then racing at full 
speed, heaving the "anchor," paying out the cable, and 
bringing up in a heap on the sand — the donkey on top, very 

Not less cheering and a little more military was the news, 
which arrived by the fifteenth of March, that "Old Wooden- 
leg's" army had been "licked up like salt" at Buena Vista. 
And still another comfort was to gaze from a safely remote hill 
at Vera Cruz, which looked — the soldiers agreed — so oriental, 
with airy palm trees visible over the white wall, hundreds of 
buzzards floating in wide circles far above, the dark bulwarks 
of Ulua set in waves of purple and gold on the left, a forest of 
American spars and masts on the right, piercing the misty 
splendor of the yellow beach, the bright sails of fishing boats in 
the middle distance, and the vast, blue, cool Gulf beyond it 
all. How the panting soldiers gloated on the prospect of taking 
possession ! ^^ 

And on March 29 they did so. The day was enchantingly 
summerlike ; a delightful southeast breeze came over the water ; 
and the domes of Vera Cruz were gilded with splendid sunshine. 
In a green meadow, shaded with cocoanut palms, a little way 
south of the town, Worth's brigade was drawn up in a dingy 
line, and a dingy line of volunteers, about seventy yards dis- 
tant, faced it. At one end of the intervening space, near the 
city wall, stood sailors and marines. The American dragoons 
and a battery were opposite them, and a white flag waved at 
the centre. A little before noon the Mexican troops, in their 
best uniforms of blue, white and red, marched out of the gate, 
formed by company front with a band at the head of each 
regiment, advanced to the flag, and stacked arms. A few 
slammed or even broke their muskets; many kissed their 
hands to the city ; and a standard bearer, who had removed his 
flag from the stafi' and secreted it in his bosom, wept for joy 
when permitted to keep it. But most of the men seemed in 


fairly good spirits, and as a rule the much-decorated officers, 
who retained their swords, produced a fine impression.^^ 

As the rear of the column left the gate, the Mexican banner 
on Fort Santiago, after receiving a last salute from the guns 
of the city and castle, was lowered; and then issued forth 
a crowd of men, women and children, loaded with fiddles, 
guitars, parrots, monkeys, dogs, game-cocks, toys and household 
utensils, that was enough to destroy any funereal sentiments 
which otherwise might have been felt. Even by the Mexican 
accounts, not a word or look of triumph, not even a note of 
authority, was chargeable to the victors; and Worth, who 
received the column, proffered a thousand courtesies. General 
Scott, the so-called "vain-glorious," remained in the back- 
ground; but he sent a note excusing from their parole about 
forty officers, whom he expected to aid him at the capital as 
in effect advocates of peace.^^ 

Amid cheers and the waving of caps, American flags then 
rose on the forts, greeted by hundreds of salutes from sea and 
shore. It seemed, wrote a soldier, as if there were nothing in 
the world but cannon, and all the cannon thundering; and 
the glory of the Stars and Stripes, gleaming amidst the smoke, 
gave a new significance to the emblem of patriotism. With his 
bands playing favorite American airs. Worth's brigade now 
marched into the town; and later Scott, with his staff and a 
brilliant escort, followed it. Perry took formal possession of 
TJltia ; and the disbanded Mexican troops that resided elsewhere 
scattered to their homes, preparing the people for submission 
wherever they went by tales of American invincibility, and 
teaching them by every sort of outrage to welcome American 



April, 1847 

I BELIEVE it would be many months after the capture of 
Vera Cruz and the fortress of Ulua, said Minister Pakenham 
in substance at the end of January, 1847, before an army strong 
enough to advance any distance into the interior could be col- 
lected there, and meantime the climate would be "frightfully 
destructive." He^tjjatigue, differen ces in foo d, and the yellow 
fever will cause heavy losses, wrote Bermudez de Castro, the 
Spanish minister at Mexico in March, and the road to the 
capital passes so many centres of population and so many fine 
military positions, that without great labor and preparations 
an invading force can be destroyed. Two men better qualified 
to express opinions on the matter could scarcely have been 
found; but without hesitation the "scientific and visionary" 
Scott addressed himself to the task. Had the requisitions duly 
made by him in November been complied with, he might by 
this time, at a trifling cost in lives, have been standing on the 
great plateau, and quite possibly within the capital ; but now, 
with only two thirds of the desired troops ^ and an insufficient 
supply of many other essentials, he fearlessly girded up his 

Stores were expeditiously landed. The First Infantry and 
two independent volunteer companies received orders to 
garrison the town and the fortress. It was arranged to mini- 
mize the danger of yellow fever by keeping the Americans at 
the water-front as much as possible and cleaning the city. 
The military department of Vera Cruz, extending fifty miles 
inland, was created. Foreign merchants, under the threat of 
a six per cent duty on exported gold and silver, supplied funds 
by cashing official drafts on the Un'ted States at par. "One 
more appeal ... to the ninety-seven honorable men, against, 



perhaps, the three miscreants in every hundred," urging them 
to cooperate actively in preventing even trivial outrages, was 
issued ; and the people of the region were addressed ^ in a 

"Mexicans," said Scott, I am advancing at the head of a 
powerful army, which is soon to be doubled, and another army 
of ours is advancing in the north. "Americans are not your 
enemies," however, but only the enemies of those who mis- 
governed you, and brought about this unnatural war. To the 
peaceable inhabitants and to yovu- church, which is respected 
by the government, laws and people in all parts of our country, 
we are friends. Everything possible will be done to prevent 
or punish outrages against you; and on the other hand any 
citizen, not belonging to the regular forces, who undertakes 
to injure us will be severely chastised. "Let, then, all good 
Mexicans remain at home, or at their peaceful occupations." 
Let them, also furnish supplies, for all who do so will be paid 
in cash and protected. If such a course be followed, the war 
may soon end honorably for both sides; and the Americans, 
"having converted enemies into friends," will return home.^ 

The problem of transportation, however, caused the General 
a great deal of trouble. As early as the beginning of February 
notice of his probable needs had been given by him to the 
quartermaster's department, and presumably steps had been 
taken to meet them ; but the loss of animals on board the ships 
during storms or by the wrecking of transports had upset all 
calculations.' For wagons especially he was dependent upon 
the United States. At least eight hundred were needed, and 
up to April 5 only one hundred and eighty had arrived, though 
three hundred more were known to be on the way. Four or 
five thousand mules were required for wagons, two or three 
thousand for pack-saddles, and about four hundred mules or 
horses for the siege train; and by the same date less than 
1100 had been obtained. An expedition to the village of La 
Antigua^ on the north shore met with little success in this 
regard, and a more important one, to the rich country on the 
upper Alvarado River,^ which was supposed to abound in 
horses and mules, produced but very disappointing results.^ 

In the opinion of Scott, however, the district near Jalapa, a 
beautiful city about seventy-four miles inland, was likely to 



prove more satisfactory. From Beach's friend, Mrs. Storms, 
who had presented herself to him on March 20, he seems to 
have learned that friendly sentiments were entertained there. 
No serious opposition below that point and even for some 
distance beyond it seemed to him probable; and hence on 
April 8, although his means for equipping a road train were 
but a quarter of what he desired, and only an inadequate siege 
train could be moved, the second division of regulars, com- 
manded by Brigadier General Twiggs, marched for Jalapa, which 


was also the first point where large quantities of subsistence 
and forage could be obtained.^ 

Measures to defend the route had been set on foot by Mexico 
in good season.* From the lofty plateau of the interior the 
national highway — which it was evident that an American 
army would have to follow on account of its artillery — wound 
through mountains to sea level, presenting, according to the 
minister of war, "almost insuperable obstacles against any 
audacious invader." Not far above Jalapa the village of Las 
Vigas marked a spot of military value, and the narrow, rugged 
pass at La Hoya, though it could be turned without much 
difficulty, afforded an excellent opportunity to stop a weak 
force or delay a strong one, while below that city Corral Falso, 



Cerro Gordo, Plan del Rio and the national bridge (puente 
nacional) were fine points. As early as October 11, 1846, an 
order to fortify several of these positions was issued. Some 
gangs of laborers assembled, a little preparatory clearing of 
the ground was done, a few cannon were moved about ; but 
energy, money, supplies, appliances and engineering skill fe;l 
indefinitely short of the requirements, and up to the twentieth 
of March, 1847, nothing substantial was accomplished.' 

That day Santa Anna arrived near the capital on his return 
from the north, and, although he expected Vera Cruz to delay 
the Americans much longer than it did, he seems to have taken 
the southern danger into consideration at once. Disputes 
between the generals had sprung up. As a result La Vega 

was given the district from 
Vera Cruz to Corral Falso, 
General Gregorio Gomez 
that extending from Corral 
Falso to Las Vigas, and 
General Gaona a jurisdic- 
tion above this; and each 
was ordered to fortify his 
best points and raise as 
many troops as he could. 
Over all of these officers 
was then placed General 
Canalizo, a little man with a big tongue, as commander-in- 
chief of the eastern division. The forces under Senobio and 
other chiefs were to be gathered, "regularized" and trained. 
The troops — a cavalry brigade, two brigades of infantry and 
a force of artillery — that had followed the President from 
La Angostura were ordered to march toward Vera Cruz by 
the shortest route, a brigade under Rangel to proceed from 
the capital in the same direction, and 2000 National Guards, 
from Puebla to join those corps ; and General Mora, who now 
commanded the Army of the North, was instructed to send 
his bronze 16-pounders to Jalapa with all possible speed.'' 
Every effective engineer then at the capital received similar 
marching orders, and attention was given to the need of 
ammunition, wagons, mules and other necessaries, At the 
same time instructions were issued to block the route via 

Contour Lines near Cerro Gordo. 

The difference of elevation between two 
lines is fifty metres. 


Orizaba at Chiquihuite, a naturally strong position below that 

Late on March 30 news that Vera Cruz had fallen reached 
the capital. At once the government expelled Black, the 
American consul residing at Mexico, and issued a circular call- 
ing upon all citizens to forget rancor and dissension, offer their 
lives and fortunes, and stand unitedly behind the President. 
"Mexicans," exclaimed Santa Anna, "do not hesitate between 
death and slavery. . . . Awake ! A sepulchre opens at your 
feet; let it at least be covered with laurels !" and he adjured 
Canalizo in the name of the country to fortify Corral False 
and Cerro Gordo, and above all to defend the national bridge 
"in all possible ways and at all costs" in order to give time for 
troops to concentrate above it. With Senobio's forces and 
the militia — amounting, said this letter, to more than 2000 
men — and aided by the topography of the ground, itself 
"equal in value to an army," the enemy could be detained, 
the President assured him ; and he was authorized to shoot 
every deserter and every coward. At the same time Governor 
Soto was directed to proclaim martial law, call out all the fit 
men between the ages of fifteen and fifty years, and aid Canalizo 
in every possible way. Then, after transferring the executive 
power to General Anaya, the substitute President, Santa 
Anna left the capital on April 2. As he went down the steps 
of the palace to his waiting carriage, he and the onlookers felt 
sad presentiments they could not hide. Even his enemies 
had tears in their eyes, and it seemed to every one like a final 

On the way gloomy reports met him. Soto wrote that while 
all in his power had been done, the fate of Vera Cruz had 
smitten the people with terror, and the resources of the state 
were far from adequate. Canalizo wrote no more hopefully. 
Efforts had been made to rouse the spirit of the public* Under 
penalty of death all intercourse with the Americans had been 
prohibited, and under the same threat all citizens had been 
ordered to place beyond the invader's reach whatever could 
be of service to him. But the outlook was dark. Although a 
good engineer had been at the national bridge for a week, 
work on the fortifications had scarcely begun ; eight hundred 
out of a thousand men had fled panic-stricken on learn- 


ing of Scott's triumph at Vera Cruz, there was little ammunition 
or money, and the bridge could not be held. In view of Santa 
Anna's adjuration Canalizo promised to make another effort, 
but he soon ordered La Vega to abandon the position. The 
light fortifications j-ecently built were demolished, and as 
wagons to carry the guns away could not be obtained, they 
were spiked and pitched into a ravine.' 

Observing at La Hoya that virtually nothing had been done, 
Santa Anna ordered Engineer Cano to fortify the pass, and 
then went on to his great hacienda of El Encero, eight miles 
below Jalapa, where he arrived on the fifth. Two days later, 
in company with Lieutenant Colonel Robles, he passed Corral 
Falso, five miles farther down the highway, and the hamlet of 
Cerro Gordo, nearly five miles beyond that, and finally, making 
a steep and circuitous descent, he came to Plan del Rio, about 
five miles from the hamlet. Near the first of these three posi- 
tions the highway passed through a narrow, craggy defile, that 
could not be turned ; but Santa Anna decided to make a stand 
at the second, because according to the country people and the 
traditions of both the Spanish regime and the revolutionary 
war, it was equally unassailable on the flanks, and holding it 
would force the Americans to remain within reach of the yellow 
fever, which ceased to be terrible just above Plan del RIo.^* 

Very little work had been done at Cerro Gordo, but the 
position seemed admirable. About half a mile below the hamlet 
the descending highway entered a ravine, which rapidly 
deepened. On the left of this rose a hill named El Telegrafo, 
which, though low and easily ascended from the direction of 
the hamlet, was five or six hundred feet high on the opposite 
side and extremely steep. To the right of the ravine the grade 
of the hamlet continued for more than a mile, ending finally 
in three tongues, just south of which the plateau was cut, 
approximately east and west, by a precipitous canyon of rock 
more than five hundred feet deep, the channel of a small stream 
called the Rio del Plan. The tongues, which may be desig- 
nated from south to north us A, B and C, were parallel to the 
highway and more or less fully commanded it.^" Near the head 
of the ravine, at a spot that may be called D, a road branched 
off from the highway toward the tongues, and there was a 
low eminence, E, in this vicinity." 




Believing that Scott could advance with artillery only by 
the highway, Santa Anna gave his chief attention to this part 
of the terrain, and recalling Cano and his men from La Hoya, 
he sent them to assist Robles here. At the ends of the tongues 
parapets were laid out, which, though not completed, served 
to indicate the correct positions ; and in front of each the bushes 
and trees were cut down and left on the ground, so that an 
assailant should be impeded and should have no screen. On 
A General Pinzon, a mulatto of considerable ability, was placed 
with about six guns and some five hundred men. At B, where 
the highway had formerly rdn, there were not less than eight 
guns and about a thousand troops under General Jarero. C 
was held by Colonel Badillo with about five pieces and nearly 
three hundred men." E was entrusted to General La Vega 
with a reserve of some five hundred grenadiers; and that 
officer had charge also of a six or seven gun battery at D and 
of a neighboring breastwork, parallel to the highway — which 
was cut at that point — and completely dominating it, where 
the Sixth Regiment, counting nine hundred bayonets, was 
placed. In all some 3500 men, including the artillery, occupied 
this wing." 

Aprl 17 Santa Anna ttansferred Robles, Cano and their 
laborers to the other side of the highway. On the summit of 
El Tel6grafo, which commanded the entire position, there was 
a level space of about an acre, and in it stood a square stone 
tower. Here a breastwork, some distance back from the crest 
and partly enclosing the tower, was imperfectly constructed; 
four 4-pounders were planted ; all the bushes, cactus and small 
trees within musket range on the slope were cut down and left 
on the ground; and the Third Infantry, consisting of about 
one hundred men, took possession of the summit. To the left 
and rear of this point ran a spur, which rose to a minor crest 
— a broken ledge eighteen or twenty feet high — some thirty 
feet lower than the summit and about a hundred yards from it. 
In the rear of all these points, close to the hamlet, lay the main 
camp and strong reserves of troops and guns. To Santa Anna 
the position seemed impregnable. He reported to the govern- 
ment that it was completely fortified, well armed with artillery 
and garrisoned with 12,000 men.^^ News from the capital 
that revolutionary movements were on foot and that some- 


thing must be accomplished to prevent the idea of peace from 
gaining currency, no longfer troubled him. Confiding in his 
army and his position he gave free rein to his •<^anity, his lord- 
liness and his exultation. Here should the proud invaders be 
rolled back or here under the saffron wing of the plague should 
they rot. And then let domestic foes tremble ! " 

But a number of circumstances undermined him. The 
narrow camp, too much crowded with cottages, tents, huts and 
niarket booths, became confused even while there were no 
hostilities. Insects kept the troops restive. The supply of 
water, brought in barrels from the Rio del Plan, was insufii- 
cient,^^ and many drank the crude sap of the maguey, which 
made them ill. A sort of cholera set in, and exposure pro- 
duced lung troubles. Far worse, however, were the moral 
distempers. Some of the troops had turned their backs to 
the Americans at Palo Alto, the Resaca, Monterey and Buena 
Vista, while others had recently, to their utter amazement, 
seen heroic Vera Cruz and mighty Ulua, the pride of Mexico, 
haul down their flags ; and men of both classes represented the 
enemy as invincible. Every deserter was ordered shot, and 
this interference with a popular diversion gave offence." 

Looking at the shaggy hills and ravines on his left, Santa 
Anna declared that a rabbit could not get through there. 
Perhaps not, thought many a soldier, but the Americans are 
not rabbits. About seven hundred yards in front of El Tele- 
grafo stood a similar though somewhat lower hill called La 
Atalaya, which commanded a wide expanse of the rough country, 
and the engineers felt it should be fortified and strongly held ; 
but the President would merely station twenty-five men there. 
Robles himself believed that Scott could turn the main position, 
and wanted fortifications erected at the extreme left; but 
Santa Anna would listen to no advice, and his cocksureness 
itself excited alarm. In private, officers talked of a disaster, 
and even Canalize foreboded it. The tinder of a panic was 

Meanwhile Twiggs with two field batteries,^^ six 24-pounders, 
two 8-inch howitzers, four 10-inch mortars, and a squadron of 
dragoons — in all some 2600 men — set out in the footsteps 
of Cortez.^* Most fortunately the troops had a stock of en- 
thusiasm, for the beginning of the march was terrible. After 


going three miles along the beach they struck off at a right 
angle for six or eight on a deep, sandy road, sometimes three 
or four feet below the level of the ground, with a blazing sun 
overhead, not a breath of movhig air, and Twiggs's horse for a 
pace-maker. Many threw away everything detachable, and 
the greater part of the division — at least four fifths, it was 
said — fell by the way. Some died, and many others did not 
rejoin the command for days. Unbroken mules and drivers 
ignorant of their business added to the difficulties. The 
meagre facilities for transportation did not permit even officers 
to have tents, and some of the scanty supplies were lost through 
the breaking down of wagons.^^ 

The next day, happily, a change took place. The column 
set out before sunrise, marched more slowly, and halted oc- 
casionally; and the national highway, no longer buried in 
sand, proved to be a spacious, comfortably graded cement 
avenue, carried over the streams by handsome bridges of cut 
stone, and flanked on both sides by the estates of Santa Anna.^^ 
Now it penetrated a dark forest of palms, cactus, limes and 
countless other trees festooned with vines, and now it crossed 
rolling prairies. Here it was cut through solid rock; here it 
skirted a beautiful hill, with a charming vista of leafy glades ; 
and presently it was clinging as if in terror to the face of a cliff. 
Bowers carpeted with many soft hues and perfumed with 
heliotrope recalled ideas of Eden, while marshes full of strange 
bloated growths, bluish-green pools rimmed with flowers of a 
suspicious brilliancy, and thick clumps of dagger plants tipped 
with crimson offered suggestions of a different sort.^^ 

Matted tangles of leafage spattered with gold, big tulipans 
gleaming in the shadows like a red rose in the hair of a Spanish 
dancer, blossoms like scarlet hornets that almost flew at one's 
eyes, and blooms like red-hot hair-brushes, the sight of which 
made the scalp tingle, were balanced with big, close masses 
of white throats and purple mouths, and with banks of the 
greenish-white cuatismilla, discharging invisible clouds of a 
fragrance that seemed to be locust blended with lily of the 
valley. Trees with tops like balloons, like corkscrews and 
like tables, trees drained almost dry by starry parasites that 
swung from their branches, trees covered with strawberry 
blossoms — or what appeared to be strawberry blossoms — 


that were to graduate into coffee beans, trees bare of every- 
thing except great yellow suns, the Flower of God, that fasci- 
nated one's gaze — these and countless other surprises followed 
one another ; and then would come a whole grove netted over 
with morning glories in full bloom. Amid scenes like these our 
exhausted troops quickly regained their spirits.'^ 

Toward the end of the march on the eleventh, when about 
thirty-seven miles from Vera Cruz, the troops crossed a branch 
of the Antigua, and soon came to the river itself. In the 
triangular space thus bounded rose a hill crowned with an old 
fort.'^* Here stood the national bridge, a magnificent structure 
more than fifty feet high and nearly a quarter of a mile in length, 
commanding romantic views of the rapid stream winding 
through towering vistas of luxuriant vegetation. On leaving 
the bridge the road made a sharp turn to the left at the foot of a 
high and very steep bluff ; and it seemed as if a battery planted 
at the top of the bluff, as La Vega's had been, might stop an 
army until overpowered with siege guns. But Canalizo had 
been wiser than his chief, for there were fords above and below 
and cross-roads in the rear, that made it possible to turn the 
position. So amidst a wondrous illumination from glow- 
worms and fireflies, the troops made their third camp here 
in peace.^' 

Beyond this point the influence of Canalizo could be seen. 
The bamboo huts thatched with palm-leaves were all vacant 
and empty. Scarcely one living creature could be seen except 
flitting birds. These, however, still abounded : parrots, ma- 
caws, hawks, eagles, orioles, humming-birds, mocking-birds, 
cardinals brighter thari' cardinals, cranes larger than cranes, 
talkative chachalacas, toucans as vociferous as their bills were 
huge — every color from indigo to scarlet, and every note 
from the scream to the warble; and the same ocean of green 
still rolled its vast billows, warmed and brightened by the 
same golden sun.^^ 

At the end of this march, about thirteen miles from the 
national bridge, the highway narrowed and pitched down a 
long, steep, winding descent, with overhanging trees and rocks 
on one side and a precipice on the other, as if making for the 
centre of the globe. Then it crossed Rio del Plan, and came to 
a small, irregular opening, where a few scattered huts could be 


seen. This was Plan del Rio. Views of superb heights de- 
lighted the eye, but the hot breath of the coast could be felt 
in the valley. Even the hollows between the sand-hills of 
Vera Cruz were thought less pestilential. But the men lay 
down, and, as a soldier wrote, covered themselves with the 


In the midst of scenery like this, "Old Davy" Twiggs ap- 
peared like a perfectly natural feature. His robust and capa- 
cious body, powerful shoulders, bull-neck, heavy, cherry-red 
face, and nearly six feet of erect stature represented physical 
energy at its maximum. With bristling white hair and, when 
the regulations did not interfere, a thick white beard, he seemed 
like a kind of snow-clad volcano, a human iEtna, pouring forth 
a red-hot flood of orders and objurgations from his crater of a 
mouth ; and he was vastly enjoyed by the rough soldiers even 
when, as they said, he "cursed them right out of their boots." 
In a more strictly human aspect he made an excellent disci- 
plinarian, and he could get more work out of the men than 
anybody else in the army ; but as a warrior, while he always 
looked thirsty for a fight, j he was thought over-anxious to fight 
another day — to be, in short, a hero of the future instead of 
the past ; and as a general, Scott had already said that he was 
not qualified " to command an army — either in the presence, 
or in the absence of an enemy." His brains were, in fact, 
merely what happened to be left over from the making of his 
spinal cord, and the soldiers' names for him — the "Horse" 
and the " Bengal Tiger" — classed him fairly as regarded 

Twiggs had been warned by Scott that a substantial army, 
commanded by Santa Anna, lay in his front; lancers were 
encountered on April 1 1 ; and a reconnaissance of that after- 
noon, made because the enemy were said to be in force just 
ahead, proved that guns commanded the pass of Cerro Gordo ; 
yet the next morning he advanced in the usual marching order. 
Nothing saved his division but the eagerness of the Mexicans. 
They opened fire before he was entirely within the jaws of 
death, and he managed to retreat — extricating his train with 
difficulty, however. The enemy have given up and withdrawn, 
boasted Santa Anna, while the Americans felt ashamed. Further 
reconnoitring on that day gave a still more impressive idea of 


the problem ahead ; but the General, as if intoxicated by hold- 
ing an independent command, ordered an assault made at 
daybreak the next morning. The Volunteer Division, consist- 
ing at present of two brigades, a field battery and a squadron 
of cavalry, then arrived. Patterson, who led it, seemed, 
however, by no means eager to accept the responsibility of 
command, and, as no confidence whatever was felt in Pillow, 
the second in rank, he placed the entire force under Twiggs 
on the ground of illness. Pillow and Shields, who were thought 
no less willing than Twiggs to make a bid for glory at the 
expense of their men, then demanded a day for rest and prepara- 
tion ; and accordingly, about sunset on the thirteenth, orders 
for the attack were issued.^" 

But the officers and soldiers, distrusting alike the informa- 
tion and the ability of their commander, now felt extremely 
depressed. The situation appeared hopeless, thought even 
Lieutenant U. S. Grant ; and Captain Robert E. Lee described 
the Mexican position as an "unscalable" precipice on one side 
and "impassable" ravines on the other. It seemed, wrote 
a third man, like a Gibraltar ; and the idea of assailing it w th 
Twiggs for leader inspired the deepest alarm. Everybody 
not selfishly ambitious desired to wait for the commander- 
in-chief; and yet Polk, in order to justify his depreciat on of 
Scott, said with reference to this very situation, that our forces 
would be victorious, "if there was not an officer among 
them." Suddenlj', however, the faces of the men brooding 
round their bivouac fires lighted up, for news came that 
Patterson, in order to veto the project of Twiggs, had assumed 
the command, and ordered offensive operations to be sus- 

Scott, whose ideas of an army differed radically from those 
prevalent in Mexico, haMly believed that Santa Anna could 
place himself below Jalapa at this time with as many as 4000 
men, even though reports of a larger number reached him; 
but he arranged to drop his work at Vera Cruz on the first news 
of serious opposition, and letters from Twiggs and Pillow, re- 
ceived late on April 11, led him to set out the next day. Early 
on Wednesday afternoon, the 14th, he was at Plan del Rio, 
doffing his o'd straw hat as the soldiers, who doubtless realized 
that in taking Vera Cruz by siege instead of assault he had 

VOL. II — B 


spared their lives, cheered tumultuously. Instantly chaos 
became order, confidence reigned, and the jealous clashes of 
the commanders ended. Now something will be done, thought 
the officers ; the soldiers began to laugh and whistle ; and what 
an officer called a "hum of satisfaction" pervaded the camp. 
Already the battle was half gained.^ 

Engineers Beauregard and Tower had by this time done 
some reconnoitring, and, as indeed would have been fairly 
obvious to any intelligent person, had concluded that a turn- 
ing movement against the Mexican left — toward which a 
trail had been found to lead — offered the best hope. But an 
idea was not a plan. The reconnaissances were far from com- 
plete, and reports upon the Mexican position and numbers 
differed materially. Hence the commander-in-chief, who 
accepted everything valuable done by his subordinates but 
never surrendered his own judgment, decided to begin anew, 
and, in the hope of gaining the highway in Santa Anna's rear 
and cutting off his entire army, sent Captain Lee at once to 
the ravines.^' Friday that indefatigable engineer found him- 
self in contact with the Mexican lines far to the rear of El 
Tel6grafo. Reconnoitring could go no farther, and the high- 
way toward Jalapa was not actually seen ; but there were good 
reasons for believing it near, and the! construction of a "road" 
for troops and artillery on the route discovered by Lee was 
pressed with great energy. At about 9 o'clock on Friday 
evening all the facts and conclusions were brought together in 
a plan by Major John L. Smith, senior engineer on the ground, 
and in substance his plan was adopted. Its essential point 
was, in accordance with Scott's announced aim, to gain the 
highway in the Mexican rear first of all, and then — not until 
then — attack in the rear and perhaps also on the front. ^^ After 
the adjournment of this conference the army was further 
cheered by the arrival of Worth, 1600 picked men and a num- 
ber of heavy guns. The Mexican forces were estimated as 
12-18,000, and Scott had only 8500 ; but the bright stars of 
that night looked down on an army sleeping soundly in full 
courage and confidence. ^^ 

At seven or eight o'clock the next morning Twiggs advanced. 
His instructions were to avoid a collision, occupy La Atalaya, 
reach the Mexican left, and rest on his arms near the highway 



until the remainder of the army should be in position, and the 
time for acting decisively should arrive. Accordingly, aftei- 
marching about three miles along the highway he turned off 
to the right by the road already cut, ordering the men to trail 
arms and preserve absolute silence. At one point the road 
lay for twenty-five or thirty feet in view of the enemy, and 
Lee proposed to screen it with brush. But this appeared to 
Twiggs quite unnecessary, and hence the Mexicans could ob- 
serve not only the troops but four mountain howitzers, four 
6-pounders, and two 12-pounders gleaming in the sun. Pinzon 


Scale of Feet 

and also the outpost on La Atalaya notified Santa Anna of 
the American movement, and strong reinforcements were 
therefore despatched to that hill.^* 

Twiggs advanced but slowly, for the road — hewed in the 
roughest way through oaks, mesquite, chaparral, cactus and 
the like and over almost impassable ground — could barely 
answer its purpose, but about noonday the command found 
itself in the vicinity of La Atalaya. Lieutenant Gardner of 
the Seventh Infantry was then directed to ascend a neighbor- 
ing hill with Company E, and take an observation of the 
enemy. He was attacked; upon which Colonel Harney, now 
commanding Twiggs's first brigade in place of Persifor F. 


Smith, who was ill, sent forces to relieve him, pursued the 
Mexicans to La Atalaya with the Mounted Rifles, First Ar- 
tillery and other troops, and after a stiff combat occupied that 

One of the captains — for on such ground independence of 
action was unavoidable — inquired of Twiggs how far to 
charge the enemy. "Charge 'em to hell!" roared the Bengal 
Tiger; and naturally enough a small American force rushed 
down the farther slope of La Atalaya and began to ascend 
El Telegrafo. It was then in a desperate situation, exposed 
to the cannon of the Mexicans and to overwhelming numbers. 
A party of Americans under Major Sumner, which bravely 
hastened to its relief, succeeded only in sharing its plight. 
But happily cover was found; a howitzer discouraged the 
enemy; and later this group was able to retire. La Atalaya 
remained in American hands despite attempts to recover it; 
but the Mexicans had been fully warned, and our troops were 
not lying on their arms near the Jalapa route. Meantime or 
soon Shields's brigade came to the support of Twiggs, who 
now had control of nearly 5000 men. The casualties amounted 
to about ninety on our side and more than two hundred on 
the other; but the Mexicans, whose operations had been 
directed by Santa Anna hiniself, believed the Americans had 
seriously attacked El Telegrafo, and exulted loudly with shouts 
and music over what seemed to them a triumph .^^ 

Santa Anna did not yet believe, or would not admit, that 
Scott's main drive would be aimed against his left, but he 
recognized the wisdom of strengthening that wing. He there- 
fore ordered a breastwork, which was made of short palisades 
reinforced behind with stones and brush, to be thrown up near 
the base of El Telegrafo, placed a couple of 12-pounders, the 
Second Ligero and the Fourth Line regiments on the summit, 
selected brave Ciriaco Vazquez to command there, planted 
five guns on a slight eminence near headquarters to guard the 
mouth of a wooded ravine on the left, had the ground in front 
of this battery partly cleared, and ordered the Eleventh regi- 
ment and Canalizo's cavalry to support the guns. The Ameri- 
cans were not less active. By dint of extraordinary exertions 
General Shields's brigade, assisted by other troops, dragged a 
24-pounder and two 24-pound howitzers with ropes through 


the woods and rocky gorges, pulled them up the steep and bris- 
tling side of La Atalaya, mounted them, and constructed a 
parapet for them and the rocket battery; and with perhaps 
even greater difficulty four New York companies placed an 
8-inch howitzer on the farther side of Rio del Plan over against 
the tongues, A, B and C. Darkness and rain did not facilitate 
these operations .^^ 

Sunday morning the sky was clear, a gentle breeze from the 
Gulf just fluttered the red, white and green flag on the stone 
tower, and the Mexican trumpets blared in all directions. 
Soon the guns of La Atalaya solemnly announced the battle, 
producing consternation at first on the summit of El Telegrafo ; 
but the pieces were badly aimed, and accomplished little beyond 
encouraging the Americans and calling forth a vigorous reply .^* 
The Second Infantry and Fourth Artillery under Brevet 
Colonel Riley of Twiggs's division now moved on toward 
Santa Anna's rear and the Jalapa route, supported by the 
brigade of Shields, which included the New York regiment and 
the Third and Fourth Illinois. Learning of this activity in 
the valley. General Vazquez ordered Colonel Uraga with the 
Fourth Infantry and a 4-pounder to the minor crest of El 
Telegrafo, and as Riley crossed the continuation of the spur he 
was much annoyed by their fire. Four companies of the 
Second Infantry were therefore detached as skirmishers, and 
before long, in spite of Scott's orders and the protest of Lee, 
who was conducting Riley's command, Twiggs, pawing the 
ground somewhere out of range, ordered Riley's whole brigade 
up the hill. Shields, however, proceeded along the route dis- 
covered by Lee. The ground was rough and precipitous, and 
the growth of trees and thorny chaparral dense; but the 
General — a stout, soldier-like man with a heavy mustache, 
black hair and brilliant dark eyes — had a great deal of energy, 
and in three straggling files his men pushed on.^^ 

During the artillery duel Harney's command lay under cover 
on the summit of La Atalaya, listening to the harsh, bitter 
shriek of the Mexican grape, which tore the bushes into shreds ; 
but at about 7 o'clock a charge upon El Tel6grafo was ordered.^* 
As the troops measured the height, crowned with guns and 
fortifications and topped off with a scornful banner, the attempt 
seemed almost impudent; but that was the day's work, and 


it had to be done. First the "cursed Riflemen," as the Mexi- 
cans named them, were diverted to the left, where the Mexican 
Sixth Infantry could be seen approaching ; the bugles sounded ; 
and then the Third and the Seventh Infantry, supported by the 
First Artillery, dashed down the slope of La Atalaya. Here 
and in the valley they were swept by a deadly shower of bullets, 
canister and grape, and the front melted like snowflakes ; but, 
as fearless Captain Roberts of the Rifles put it, " When dangers 
thickened and death talked more familiarly face to face, the 
men seemed to rise above every terror." The contest at the 
palisade breastwork was hard, and the Mexicans dared even 
to cross bayonets with Americans ; but they finally gave way. 
Here a little time was taken for rest, and then forward pressed 
the troops, helping themselves up the slope, over craggy rocks 
and loose stones, and through the chaparral by catching at 
bushes and trees. The screen of woods and the steepness of 
the incline protected them now.^* 

Very different proved the cleared part of the hill, where 
small trees, bushes and thorny cactus lay spread with tops 
pointing down. Here progress was slow and concealment 
impossible. But with deliberate fearlessness the men plodded 
firmly on, firing at will, strong in that mutual confidence which 
gives a charge its force. They "seem to despise death," cried 
the Mexicans in astonishment. Here and there one was struck 
down; here and there, breathless and exhausted, one dropped; 
but no flinching could be seen. Like the wave of fire in a burn- 
ing prairie, the line moved steadily up. "Charge, charge!" 
shouted the officers ; and the men yelled and cheered, yelled 
and cheered, yelled and cheered till sometimes it seemed as if 
even the trees were cheering, till sometimes the roar of the guns 
could not be heard ; and Harney — red-headed, tempestuous 
Harney of the steel-blue eyes — at last in his element, led them 
as they deserved to be led. Superbly tall, his athletic figure 
needed no plume; the sword in his long arm waved them on; 
like the keen edge of a billow rushing upon the shore his calm, 
shrill voice rode the tumult.^* 

Just below the crest a pause for breath ; and then the blue 
stripe was up and over. At the breastwork the fighting was 
sharp, for Santa Anna had sent up two more regiments; but 
soon Vazquez fell ; with pistols, bayonets and clubbed muskets 


the Mexicans were driven from the summit ; and in a moment 
big Sergeant Henry of the Seventh had the Stars and Stripes 
flying from the tower. Riley's men, pushing up through dense 
thickets under a hot fire, had now taken possession of the spur ; 
and while some of them hurried on to join Harney, others shot 
down the gunners of the battery on the summit. In a twinkling 
Captain Magruder turned the pieces, and poured a storm of 
iron on the flying Mexicans. General Baneneli, commanding 
the reserve just below, tried hard to charge, but his men would 
not face the yelling Americans. The Grenadiers and the 
Eleventh Infantry, hurried by Santa Anna in that direction, 
were overwhelmed by the fugitives; Riley's advance plunged , 
down the hill toward the Mexican camp ; and an indescribable 
confusion ensued. ^^ 

Just at this time, after a fearful march of perhaps two miles, 
Shields with his foremost companies emerged from the chaparral 
on the Mexican left, and hastily prepared to charge. Three 
guns of the headquarters battery, one hundred and fifty or 
two hundred yards distant in their front, had been turned upon 
Riley, but the other two let fly at them. Shields fell and his 
men recoiled. It was no wonder. About three hundred raw 
volunteers, without regulars and without artillery, stood before 
cannon and an army ! Some two thousand fresh horse under 
Canalizo, guarding that very ravine, faced them just at the 
left of the battery, and the cannon kept at work. But their 
mere emerging from the close chaparral at this point, in a 
strength which the enemy could not measure, was of itself a 

"The Yankees! They have come out to the road!" cried 
the Mexicans; "Every one for himself!" Some of Riley's 
men shot down or frightened away the gunners of the battery, 
and in another moment seized three of the pieces. At the 
same instant a section of Shields's brigade, which had now come 
up in more force, captured the other two, while a second section, 
followed by the Seventh Infantry, struck for the highway. 
Canalizo, afraid of being cut off, took flight, as many had 
already done ; and all the rest of the Mexicans who could, either 
followed him or, like Santa Anna himself, rushed headlong 
down one or the other of two paths, narrow and steep, that 
descended into the canyon of the Rio del Plan. Scott, who 


had watched the charge "under a canopy of balls," as Major 
Patten said, was now on the scene. Harney, his old foe, he 
greeted in the warmest and friendliest of terms; and, as he 
moved among the victorious troops with tears rolling down his 
cheeks, he spoke to them noble and touching words, as not 
merely their commander but their elder brother in arms, fully 
sharing their pains, their pride and their joy.^^ 

While these brave scenes were enacted, the other flank wit- 
nessed a burlesque of war. Naturally Scott planned to attack 
the Mexican right in order to deceive Santa Anna regarding 
his intentions, prevent the troops of that wing from going to 
the assistance of the other, and perhaps accomplish something 
positive in that quarter.^^ This piece of work was assigned 
to Pillow's brigade, and although he objected to it as dangerous, 
a hint about discipline brought him into line. As early as April 
13, in view of Twiggs's plan, he and Lieutenant Tower of the 
engineers had reconnoitred the ground, and this examination 
had been continued on the fifteenth and sixteenth; but the 
General did not understand or did not remember what he saw. 
It was clear, however, that a force attacking between A and 
the canyon would have the enemy on but one side, and would 
be as far as possible from the guns occupying B and C. With 
Scott's approval this plan was adopted, and the 8-inch howitzer 
was placed so as to command the flank and rear of the battery 
at ^.29 

Pillow's orders were to set out on his march of about four 
miles at 6 o'clock on Sunday morning, yet he did not reach his 
position until almost 9. One reason for the delay probably 
was, that in consequence of a manoeuvre, executed by his 
order, the rear of the column missed the proper route. Another 
reason also may be surmised. Aside from wanting confidence 
in their general's military capacity, his troops had long dis- 
liked him ; and his display of unfeeling harshness on the march 
from Vera Cruz had given further offence. Under such cir- 
cumstances things never can go well.^^ 

During the march he announced that he had changed his 
mind, and would have the First Pennsylvania (Wynkoop) 
supported by the First Tennessee (Campbell) attack on the 
northern face of tongue A, and the Second Tennessee (Haskell) 
supported by the Second Pennsylvania (Roberts) attack on 


the southern face of B, which was obviously sure — since it 
guarded the old road — to be held more strongly than either 
of the other tongues.^* This ingenious plan, moreover, divided 
the American while tending to concentrate the Mexican strength. 
By mismanagement he reversed both of his attacking regiments 
— a mistake that caused embarrassment and loss of time ; and 
then on leaving the highway, about three miles from Plan del 
Rio, and entering the narrow path leading to the point of 
attack, he adopted this order: Wynkoop, Haskell, Campbell, 
Roberts, which — since it was necessary to advance mostly 
in single file — placed Campbell and Roberts a long distance 
from the troops that each was to support, so that neither of 
them reached his position before the fighting on this wing 

On arriving at the appointed spot, where the orders of Mexi- 
can officers at B could be heard very distinctly, Haskell began 
to form his badly scattered regiment. "Why the Hell don't 
Colonel Wynkoop file to the right?" shouted Pillow at the top 
of his voice. A bugle in the front sounded instantly, and 
within three minutes the Mexicans opened a heavy fire of grape 
and canister. Some of Haskell's men, brave but not in hand, 
bolted; others took shelter; and the rest, at Pillow's order, 
charged pell-mell. Emerging into the cleared space they re- 
ceived a murderous fixe from all of the tongues. In less than 
three minutes about eighty, including every field officer except 
the colonel, were either killed or wounded, and all able to move 
were in flight. Pillow meanwhile, squatting in the bushes with 
his back to the enemy at a distance of about 450 yards, was 
"shot all to pieces," as he said, by a canister bullet that slightly 
wounded his upper arm ; and he retired at a run, leaving Wyn- 
koop without the promised instructions.^' 

A state of general confusion ensued. Campbell and his men 
were anxious to charge; Wynkoop felt no less eager when it 
was too late; the Second Pennsylvania was demoralized; all 
were more or less under fire. Campbell, however, to whom 
Pillow resigned the command, got the men almost ready to 
charge upon tongue A ; but then Pillow, venturing back from 
the rear, withdrew his brigade so far into the woods that, until 
notified by Scott, he did not know the Mexicans in his front, 
who found their rear was occupied by the Americans, had 


surrendered. As for the 8-inch howitzer, it fired seven in- 
effective shells; and then, at the critical time, as Pillow had 
neglected to arrange a code of signals, Ripley, who controlled 
it, suspended work. Evidently, as Polk said, gallant Ameri- 
cans — and such Pillow's men really were — did not require 
a commander ! ^® 

A little before 10 o'clock the fighting was over and pursuit 
began. Having little cavalry and no adequate subsistence 
train Scott's powers in this respect were limited; but every 
man had been expected to set out in the morning with rations 
for two days, and substantially all the troops except Pillow's, 
accompanied by two incomplete batteries, moved actively 
forward. Patterson once more became well enough to act, and 
took charge of the advanced forces. Frequently bands of 
fugitives were seen at a distance, looking in their cotton or linen 
jackets like flocks of sheep. The artillery had some fair long 
shots, and occasionally other troops also came within reach of 
the enemy. But the Mexicans fled — even the cavalry — 
without stopping for ceremony, too much cowed to face even 
a small party of Americans ; and the results were of little sig- 

Heat and exhaustion checked the most advanced pursuers 
about four miles from Jalapa, but nothing could stop the 
Mexicans. Like stampeded cattle, the fugitives thought only 
of flying until worn out. No stand was made at Jalapa. 
At La Hoya, the second line of defence, General Gomez, hear- 
ing of the disaster, sent word to the rear, "All is lost at Cerro 
Gordo, all, all!" and fled. In complete disorder, panting, 
starving, falling by the way — the horses of the cavalry in a 
like state — the men streamed on toward Puebla, plundering 
when they could. Thousands also of those who surrendered 
managed to escape at one place or another in the rough, wooded 
country, and, as Scott could with difficulty feed his own army 
and thought future opposition could be weakened by proving 
the friendly sentiments of his proclamation, the remaining 
3000 were released on parole.^" More than 4000 stand of arms, 
old and not worth using, were destroyed; and about forty 
cannon, which Scott had no means of transporting, were 
rendered unserviceable and left at Cerro Gordo. The Mexican 
casualties were estimated at 1000 or 1200, while the American 


loss during the two days amounted to only thirty officers and 
387 men, of whom sixty-four were killed.'^ 

Next morning the Americans advanced again. For the two 
last miles below Jalapa the highway ran between continuous 
hedges loaded with blossoms and vocal with the songs of birds, 
while bougainvillea flamed here and there on a cabin or tree-top 
in a conflagration of purple, and the air was laden with de- 
licious perfumes; and when the town was descried from an 
eminence, it seemed like a delicate mosaic set in a massive 
frame of rich emerald. Friends had been left behind forever, 
but grief was offset by the joy of surviving ; and after dressing 
ranks the troops began to^eutfir. Jalapa^at^about 9_o'clock with 
bayonets fixed, colors flying and bands playing. Some of the 
girls could not help laughing at the unkempt appearance and 
nondescript costumes of the terrible and victorious Yankees; 
but the people, who lined the streets, appeared neither hostile 
nor afraid, and the bells rang out a welcome.'^ The soldiers 
for their part soon felt they had reached Eden, and they were 
none the less content on hearing of the dull saffron haze which 
now hung over Vera Cruz — a visible token that " King Death 
in his Yellow Robe" had once more set up his throne there; 
while Scott himself, wishing to tranquillize the army and 
favorably impress the public, proceeded to hide the errors of 
his subordinates with reports that misled the public.^^ As 
for the future he cheerfully announced, "Mexico has no longer 
an army." Apparently the United States had a very substan- 
tial one; but surprises were soon to occur .^^ 



April-August, 1847 

Wishing to take advantage of the Mexican panic, Scott 
hurried Worth's division after the fugitives. Down the steep 
hill on which Jalapa lies poured the men in blue, passing the 
little plaza and the quaint cathedral; and then without halt, 
leaving the city of flowers and its groves of liquidambar, they 
set out on a long, gradual ascent. What a march they now 
had! "The most beautiful country there is," commented an 
officer ; and, his remark was truer than he knew. ' Dominated 
by the splendid snowy peak of Orizaba, there spread a vast 
expanse of hills and gorges, mountains and valleys, here studded 
with white villages, there gemmed with a silver cascade, yonder 
brightened with fresh fields of corn and grain, always variegated 
with the shadows of lazy clouds, and everywhere softly receding 
into a deeper and still deeper blue ; and as the column wound 
in and out through the clear, cool and fragrant atmosphere, 
every turn revealed new beauties or displayed once more the 
beauties already seen — only a little nearer each time, or a little 
more remote.^ 

Gradually the ascent grew sharper and the air cooler, and 
about a dozen miles from Jalapa Worth came to the Black Pass 
— the " terrible pass," wrote Scott — ■ of La Hoya, where for 
more than a mile the troops were squeezed between two steep 
mountains, cleared to afford artillery a fair sweep, and partly 
fortified ; but the seven or eight guns lay on the ground spiked, 
and not an enemy could be seen. Then after making a sharp 
twist they kept on winding and ascending for about six miles 
till they reached the log houses of Las Vigas, much like those 
of Russia and Sweden. Vegetation was luxuriant still; but 
the trees on the steep hills at the left were evergreens, and the 
flowers that brightened the overtowering walls, buttresses and 




spurting arches of black lava were mostly dandelions and yellow 
jarilla, for the Americans now stood a mile and a half above 
the sea and almost three quarters of a mile above Jalapa. 
Here the winds bit ; and now and then masses of thick vapor, . 
whirling up from an immense gorge and burying the column for a 
time in wintry twilight, would sweep on ahead of it in rolling, 
shining volumes of heaven-high clouds.' 

This was the final pass; and after marching some twelve 
miles farther, one saw at the left edge of a sandy, gravelly plain, 
set with occasional tufts of coarse grass, the dust-brown castle 
of Perote and, seemingly just above it though in reality several 
miles distant, the pine-clad mountain of that name. The 
castle was a superb specimen of military architecture, capable 
of accommodating more than 2000 men ; but it had long served 
chiefly as a state prison, a 
refuge for troops, an arsenal, 
and a depot for the rich 
convoys that went this way. 
The American troops could 
have passed by on the other 
side of the plain, had that 
been necessary; but it was 
not. With only twenty-three 
gunners and scarcely any 
powder, General Gaona could 
not have defended the place. Canalizo therefore ordered him 
to evacuate it on the nineteenth ; and at noon on the twenty- 
second Worth took possession of its elaborate bastions, more 
than fifty cannon, more than 25,000 balls and shells and even 
500 muskets, which the terror-stricken Mexicans had not cared 
to remove. Throwing Garland's brigade and Duncan's battery 
about fifteen miles in advance to facilitate the gathering of 
subsistence, Worth now halted in accordance with his orders.' 

Scott meantime remained at Jalapa to study his problems 
and make his preparations. The capital of Mexico, he be- 
lieved, lay at his mercy, and this opinion seems to have been 
correct; but unlike his critics, who merely had to deal with 
legions of ink on areas of paper, he found that much needed 
to be done before seizing it. The position of the Americans 
depended vitally on military prestige, and it was therefore 

1 -■■- y-^ 


JALAPA TO PUEBLA y^^ Las v«»a^ ^ 

i '%. y ■ y ^ Perote .„■'., -r«.- 

i t* / \.^ Tepeyahiialco 

^^r ^^^r^ , ■# II 

^ I ^'i^'; Nopalacan 

M Wi ° J 

L -^' 

'i ., \ '"' OAcaiete 
4PuebIa 4) o *■„ 


t, a ••.rv""i . %,,:--.. 


.SAUIico-Sl '•..'^-' V.i 1 > 





' Mexico 

Venta de C<$rdoba 



enta de Tesmalucos 
I S.Martin " 

Perote ] Orizaba Ht 

rEl Encero 
^ Cerro Gordo 

I Pnente NacionaJ 

L Santa Fe 
t Vera Cmz 

of the utmost importance to suffer 
no reverse. His first care was to 
make sure of getting up in advance 
of the especially fatal rainy season, 
which was expected to begin at the 
latest by the first week of June, 
the needful clothing, equipments, 
ammunition, salt, medicines and 
many other imported articles ; and 
since the lack of cavalry and a due 
regard for the health of the troops 
forbade trying to keep the road 
below Cerro Gordo clear of Mexi- 
cans, this tedious work involved the 
use of heavily escorted convoys,^ 
and the exercise of unceasing vigil- 
ance, energy and skill .^ 

His next care was to gather pro- 
visions, determine whether supplies 
of breadstuffs, meats, rice, beans, 
coffee, sugar and forage existed near 
the proposed line of march, and 
arrange for obtaining them despite 
the hatred of the people, which 
quite equalled their fear.' A third 
care was to divine what Santa 
Anna intended and was able to do, 
for news came that he was now on 
our flank and rear, preparing to 
conduct guerilla war against the 
American detachments and convoys. 
Contrary to his expectation Scott 
found subsistence and forage scarce 
at Jalapa, and as Quitman's brigade 
came up without the extra rations 
it had been ordered to bring, the 
situation proved embarrassing. A 
scarcity of funds aggravated it 
alarmingly. An immediate advance 
upon the capital was therefore out of 

the question ; but on April 30 Scott issued preliminary instruc- 
tions, enjoining kind treatment of the people in the strongest 
possible terms, as absolutely necessary if the troops did not 
wish to starve ; and the volunteers were ordered to set out on 
the fourth and fifth of May.^ 

But now a difficulty that had been feared by Scott rose 
directly in his path. Seven regiments and two companies of 
volunteers were to be free at various near dates, averaging 
about the middle of June. Polk, believing that many would 
reenlist, had recommended that a bounty should be offered 
as an inducement, and Congress had acted upon the suggestion. 
April 26 General Scott received the law and promptly circulated 
it ; but he soon found that Polk's expectations were to be dis- 

It would have been quite agreeable to linger at Jalapa, 
strolling about this paradise of birds, gazing at the many-hued 
blossoms of a perpetual springtime, feasting on the delicacies 
of semi-tropical gardens, winning occasional glimpses of exotic 
luxury through doors ajar, listening to ever-graceful senoritas 

— a few dazzling blondes as well as many sparkling brunettes 

— who played the guitar hour after hour in their grated win- 
dows, and catching glances now and then from eyes of fire ; 
but the soldiers had learned what campaigning really meant. 
They had been allowed to go unpaid and unprovided for. They 
had met with hardships and privations not counted upon at 
the time of enlistment. Disease, battle, death, fearful toil 
and frightful marches had been found realities. Besides, they 
had now "seen the elephant," as they said ; they felt they had 
won glory enough; and, as even Colonel Campbell admitted, 
they "sighed heavily" for home, family and friends. In spite 
of their strong desire to see the Halls of the Montezumas, out 
of about 3700 men only enough to make one company would 
reengage, and special inducements, offered by the General, 
to remain as teamsters proved wholly ineffective.' 

One course now open to Scott was to march on, trusting that 
new forces would arrive seasonably to replace the soldiers dis- 
charged ; but of this he had no assurance. Another was to 
assume that even when legally free the volunteers would not 
abandon him in the enemy's capital; but the evidence was 
all to the contrary. More than once American troops had in- 


sisted upon their rights without considering the needs of the 
country ; and now five colonels declared in writing that " only 
a very small proportion" of their men would "under any 
supposable circumstances" remain in the service "for any time 
whatever" beyond their term. Such was the sentiment of all 
these volunteers.® 

Moreover, to advance, capture Mexico and so force the men 
to sail from Vera Cruz in the midst of the pestilential season 
would have been insubordinate as well as inhumane, for the 
government had ordered most emphatically, with particular 
reference to the yellow fever, that regard for their health must 
outweigh all military considerations.* The returning volunteers 
would also have been expoSed, under inexperienced commanders 
and without a proper complement of artillery, to Santa Anna 
and the guerillas, and those remaining behind at the capital 
would have been regarded by the Mexicans as destined prey. 
On the other hand, should the entire army retreat after captur- 
ing Mexico, the exultant people would have risen almost en 
masse to starve, harass and slaughter them ; while even Worth 
doubted whether Scott's whole force, could it by any pos- 
sibility be persuaded to remain intact, would be strong enough 
to hold the capital. Finally, as the sequel was to show and 
as any well-informed pergon could have foreseen, merely captur- 
ing and retaining Mexico City was not sure by any means to 
end the war. The seat of government could easily move, and 
Scott was correctly informed that it proposed to do so. Santa 
Anna was in the field with a growing army; his moral and 
physical resources had not been exhausted ; and more fighting 
needed to be done.® 

Scott was called slow by some of his critics, but when the case 
permitted he could make a quick decision; and on the sixth 
and seventh of May the A'olunteers referred to — " with a 
joyous and pleasant countenance upon every man," as one of 
them wrote — set out for home under Patterson.^ Their 
departure left the General with an army of 7113. As for early 
reinforcements, he had recommended on November 29 the 
addition of twelve regiments to the regular establishment, and 
had said that about the first of May they would be indispen- 
sable ; but at present he only knew that 960 recruits were on 
the way. None the less he sent Quitman forward with three 


regiments of November volunteers, and on the sixth of May 
instructed Worth to advance with his division and two of 
those regiments, led by Quitman, against Puebla, leaving the 
third regiment with a sufficient number of artillerists at Perote.* 

For the confidence with which less than 4000 men were thus 
advanced beyond the reach of prompt assistance, to cope with 
a strong city and the Mexican troops, there was a special 
reason. The heads of the Roman Catholic Church in Mexico, 
who did not feel all the religious intolerance which they deemed 
it proper to exhibit in public, cherished no love toward Santa 
Anna. For many years his rapacity had given them offence; 
and one of his first acts on landing at Vera Cruz in August, 
1846, had been to strike at their power. They had therefore felt 
disposed to favor the continuance of hostilities, hoping that he 
and his myrmidons would be destroyed. But when Moses 
Y. Beach made it plain to them on the one hand that resistance 
to the United States would be dangerous, and on the other 
guaranteed the freedom and the property of Church and citizens, 
they decided to support our efforts in behalf of peace, work 
against Santa Anna as the chief obstacle, and arrange secretly 
to have Jalapa, Perote, Puebla and Mexico City refrain from 
opposing Scott.* . 

At "unconquered Puebla," which was more fully under the 
domination of the Church than any other Mexican town, circum- 
stances favored the clerical design. Terrible stories had been 
circulated there about the Americans. They were barbarians, 
vandals, tigers; they had branded and sent across the Gulf 
into slavery shiploads of. Tampico people, and stuck little 
children on their bayonets at Vera Cruz. But these tales had 
now lost all credibility. Santa Anna had been found out. 
Buena Vista no longer seemed a Mexican victory. The military 
caste was not only hated but despised. News had come that 
wherever the Americans took possession, odious taxes were 
abolished and trade became brisk. Scott's treatment of the 
people shone in comp.arison with Santa Anna's, and his soldiers 
looked angelic beside the guerillas. The defeat at Cerro 
Gordo caused not only deep discouragement but even deeper 
disgust, for the men and money of the state had been sacrificed 
to the incompetence of the commanders. Besides, marvels 
were told of the Americans. They could hew a man asunder 

VOL. II — F 


at one stroke ; their horses were gigantic and incredibly swift ; 
their artillery was unspeakably terrible ; and every one of their 
bullets might split into fifty pieces, each of the pieces fatal. 
Worth's division included 5000 of these warriors, an American 
deserter stated.^ 

With such popular support the clericals had Isunza, who was 
closely connected with them, put in place of the vigorous 
Ibarra as governor, and he not only took a stand for non-resist- 
ance, but answered the appeals of the national government 
with sharp complaints. Instead of preaching against the 
Americans, the churchmen led pious processions about the 
streets, to show that prayer and not the arm of flesh was to be 
relied upon. The arms and ammunition were sent away — for 
safe-keeping. The governor would supply no funds for military 
purposes. "Reason prohibits vain sacrifices," he remarked. 
The comandante general decided that the city could not be 
defended. The prefect ordered that after the arrival of the 
Americans, not more than three citizens were to meet in public, 
and that none should carry arms; -while the ayuntamiento 
announced that no unsigned placards would be tolerated. 
"Men are not all called to play the role of heroes," observed 
the Monitor del Pueblo. We can only "await with resignation 
the terrible blow with which Providence chooses to afflict us," 
decided the city authorities. All the arrangements are com- 
plete. Worth was notified by headquarters on the tenth of May. 
The people are waiting for you, reported foreigners from 

Scott, for his part, agreed to protect the citizens and espe- 
cially the Church, and he put forth on the eleventh of May a 
proclamation called by him "the crowning act of conciliation," 
which was drawn up under his direction by a representative of 
the bishop of Puebla, and embodied the ideas and sentiments 
deemed by the leaders of the clerical party most likely to be 
effective.'' The oppression under which the people of Mexico 
lay crushed received in this proclamation brief but vivid treat- 
ment, distrust regarding Santa Anna's abilities, honor and aims 
was excited, and the Americans were represented as true 
brethren of the Mexicans. Paredes, an unpatriotic usurper, 
had forced us to take up arms in behalf of republican insti- 
tutions and the welfare of the whole continent, as well as for 


the maintenance of our proper dignity ; but we were anxious 
now as ever, to live in peace and friendship with Mexico, even 
though determined, if the war must continue, to do the work 
of the sword thoroughly.* 

On the other hand Santa Anna was not idle. His first 
thought on quitting the terrible field of Cerro Gordo was that 
Canalizo's horse would stop at El Encero, and that he might 
rally the flying infantry upon it ; but on moving in that direction 
by the southern bank of Rio del Plan he found himself cut off 
by the American pursuit, and turned abruptly to the left. 
Always profoundly depressed after a reverse, he rode along grim 
and speechless, as if stunned ; but the next day an enthusiastic 
reception at a small town, aided perhaps by the marvellous 
beauty of the district, lifted his head. In the early evening 
of April 21 he reached Orizaba, and here the applause of the 
readily excited townsfolk made him feel himself once more a 
general and a President.^^ 

His low intellectual plane did not permit Mm to understand 
his mental inferiority or to perceive the real strength of the 
unpretentious and apparently careless Americans.' It was 
impossible for him, looking abroad upon a vast and potentially 
rich country with all the vanity of his people, to believe that a 
handful of poorly dressed Yankees, imperfectly trained and 
seemingly not very martial, could overpower its millions. 
He felt that sooner or later his groping finger would touch 
the right spring, as it had done so many times before, and the, 
nation would rise up about him. Pride, self-will and blind 
passion, raging in his heart, inflamed his courage; and his 
sense of a proprietary claim to the country inspired him with a 
sort of patriotism. What has been lost after all, he said, 
except a position and some cannon ? The nation is still mighty. 
Let it but join me, and I shall yet be victorious.'^ 

Within his reach lay the brigade of Antonio de Leon — a 
little more than 1000 poorly armed men with two 6-pounders 
— just from Oaxaca, the presence of which in this quarter, 
had brought him to Orizaba, and also the National Guards 
ordered before the battle to Chiquihuite. Larger and smaller 
bodies of fugitives and irregulars, learning where he was, came 
in. All the armed men of the vicinity, whatever their proper 
function, he caught in his unsparing net, and he summoned 


to the colors every citizen from sixteen to forty years of age. 
Beyond the sweep of his arm far less animation reigned. One 
disappointment more, one hope less now, was the mildest 
frame of mind among the public. Canalizo, a faithful dog 
that for the present had been kicked one time too many, sharply 
resented Santa Anna's complaints. The scattering soldiers 
and officers, denouncing him bitterly as well as exaggerating 
the power of the Americans, discouraged the people. A popular 
newspaper demanded savagely that he should be court-mar- 
tialled. The charge of collusion with the invaders came back 
to life. Many of the Indians, feeling that an American triumph 
would help them, became restive .^^ 

But the government stood resolutely behind him, and he was 
invested with plenary powers. Soto tried again to rouse the 
people of the state. From a wider and wider circle fugitives 
and laboring men were gathered. Small cannon and some 
artillerists came within his reach. The stocks of horses and 
mules that Scott had tried in vain to get from the region of 
the upper Alvarado River were turned to account. Con- 
siderable money and supplies arrived from the government, 
and other funds and necessaries were taken without formalities 
wherever they could be discovered.^" By the first of May 
he pretended there were 4000 men under his flag, and no doubt 
he did have 2500.1^ 

By g6od fortune more than by design, too, he found himself 
in an excellent position, within striking distance of Scott's 
communications, rear and base ; and even though not richly 
imbued with the spirit of Napoleonic warfare, he laid his plans 
accordingly. But — fortunately for Scott, who might have 
been seriously embarrassed ^^ — Santa Anna was more politician 
than general. On May 15 the election of a President was to 
occur, and the votes had to be counted at the seat of govern- 
ment. His enemies and rivals were incessantly busy there. 
A revolution had begun to brew, he understood. A suspicion 
had got abroad that he intended to give up the fight and move 
into Guatemala ; and news reached him that INIexico City was 
to be surrendered. For these reasons and to obtain additional 
supplies, all his forces were directed upon Puebla ; and at the 
head of a motley and miserable army numbering — he boasted 
— 4500 men he arrived thereon May 11. '^ 


His reception was not flattering. Aside from the fact that 
everybody of much account felt ready to see Scott, the town 
had suffered pi'eviously through Santa Anna's visiting it, ac- 
counts of his exactions had come from Orizaba, his presence 
was thought likely to result in hostilities, and the people feared 
that he would compel them to take up arms. Many fled at 
his approach, and many more wished they were elsewhere. 
Not without excuse under the circumstances, his conduct was 
arbitrary, insulting and extortionate. He cashiered all the 
officers of the Vera Cruz garrison, raved at the indifference 
of the authorities and people at Puebla, seized the horses, 
made liberal demands for cash, and — it was asserted — even 
took ornaments of gold from the churches. Some funds, a 
quantity of ammunition and some cannon were finally obtained 
here; but Isunza furnished him less than two hundred men, 
and perhaps the indignation of the people quite offset his 

Close behind him, too, came the Americans. Already a 
day's march apart. Worth's two brigades maintained that 
interval for some time, followed by Quitman with the New 
York and South Carolina regiments at an equal distance. For 
six or eight miles from Perote the country was highly cultivated 
and already brown with ripening wheat and barley ; but then 
came a sandy, arid region where steep, conical hills of bare 
limestone, calcined like those of the Rhone valley, shot up from 
a wide, smooth plain in extravagant confusion, and appeared 
to bar the way. Hacienda buildings that were crenellated 
fortresses could be seen here and there ; but the only cheering 
sights were glimpses of silvery Orizaba, a number of smaller 
mountains with Italian profiles, forked lightnings at play 
sometimes in the black clouds, and riiirages of gardens, lakes 
and sylvan shores that deceived even the most experienced." 

At Ojo de Agua, about thirty-five miles from Perote, a 
spring of water almost as large as the fountain of Vaucluse 
gave rise to a creek, which watered palmettoes and extensive 
meadows. Eight or nine miles farther on, the troops came 
to dark Nopalucan, which lay reclining on a comfortable emi- 
nence and viewing complacently its fertile valley. Then 
some twenty-five miles of romantic scenery brought them to 
Amozoc, a manufacturing town of 2000 souls ten or eleven 


miles from Puebla, and here Worth, who had madeeasy marches 
for two days in order to lessen the interval between him and 
Quitman, halted his now united brigades at noon on the four- 
teenth to aw;ait that officer, and to give his own dusty division 
itime to "brush up." 1* 

: Santa Anna, after sending his infantry and artillery toward 
Mexico early that morning, had moved off with some 2000 
cavalry to surprise Quitman, supposing that he would be at 
his usual distance behind Worth, and that Worth had con- 
tinued his march. The consequence was that his troops, finding 
themselves at about eight o'clock within half a mile or so of 
Duncan's battery and under fire, scattered promptly up the 
hills and into the woods. Divining correctly that he would 
ireassemble them to strike at Quitman, Worth despatched forces 
at once to the rear ; but Quitman, who had set out in the night, 
was now only two miles distant, and, warned by the artillery 
fire, had prepared to meet the enemy. Santa Anna therefore 
; accomplished nothing more than to fatigue his men, and give 
-them a superfluous lesson in running away ; and after returning 
,with them to Puebla for the night, he evacuated that city 
;bef ore daybreak the next morning with one more failure to his 

While at Nopalucan, May 12, Worth had addressed the 
governor and the municipality at Puebla, saying that in three 
days he should take possession of the city, and that he desired 
ito confer with the civil authorities before doing so, in order 
to arrange for the maintenance of order and worship. Owing 
to what was regarded as a lack of formality in this proceeding 
and to Santa Anna's insistence that Worth should have ad- 
dressed him, no reply was made. But when a second letter 
arrived in the evening of the fourteenth, the ayuntamiento 
appointed a commission to meet the American general, and the 
next morning a conference took place at Chachapa, where our 
troops arrived at an early hour. Generous pledges of civil and 
religious protection were then offered and accepted; and the 
Pueblans, who adopted the usual jockeying tactics, drew from 
Worth an agreement that Mexican law, to be administered by 
Mexican authorities, should remain in force, although Scott's 
General Orders 20 had thrown the protection of military law 
round the American troops.^^ In short, said Hitchcock, 


the inspector general of the army, Worth — not Puebla — 
surrendered ; and Scott found it necessary to rectify the error.^' 

At a little before ten o'clock that day the American troops 
— who had suffered badly from dust on the arid, stony hills, 
consoled only by views of the great snow-clad volcanoes glitter- 
ing behind Puebla — approached the city. It was a proud 
moment for them when, as their brilliant commander said, 
"with all the flush and glow of victory in their hearts" they 
entered the second city of MexicoinimportaJifie and the first 
I'n military fame. Almost "the "entire population of the town 
looked on. Streets, sidewalks, windows and balconies were 
thronged with holiday-makers. As usual, the appearance of 
the victorious Americans fell sadly below expectation — per- 
haps only demigods in luminous mail could have reached it ; 
but the people showed an intense curiosity to scrutinize them. 
Sometimes the troops had to work their way through the crowd ; 
but no ill temper was displayed on either side, and finally, 
reaching the main plaza, our men stacked their arms and lay 
down to sleep as if at home.^^ 

Puebla, a fine city laid out in the rectangular style and in- 
habited by some ^0,000 persons, was chiefly noted for piety, 
cotton mills, dolls and sweetmeats. The principal feature 
was the cathedral with its two dark towers — each of them 
capped with a yellowish, incrusted dome bearing aloft a globe 
and cross, and each filled with numberless bells of all sizes, 
which singly performed special offices, and three times a day 
rang together in a celestial chorus. Eight or ten altars, reful- 
gent with sacred vessels of gold, silver and precious stones in 
amazing profusion, lighted up the interior ; and there was also 
a candelabra so big — or was it so grimy ? — that $4000 had 
been paid a few months earlier for cleaning it. Near by, in 
the arcades of the plaza, could be found the dolls and sweet- 
meats ; and of course Poblana market girls, too, were there : 
black eyes, black hair combed over the ears, huge silver ear- 
rings, snowy chemisette partly hidden with a gray rebosa 
(scarf), short red petticoat fastened round the waist with a 
silk band and fringed with yellow, small shoes and large silver 

For almost a fortnight Worth now had an opportunity to 
show the real breadth of his admired talents. With the eecle- 


siastical authorities, for obvious reasons, no difficulties occurred. 
He and the bishop exchanged calls promptly. Bells rang, 
churches opened, and in some of them public rejoicings were 
celebrated. But between him and the civil functionaries, 
mainly in consequence of his excessive complaisance, there 
sprang up not a little friction. His troops felt very much 
dissatisfied, for his nervous and restless temperament was in 
continual excitement about Mexican attacks, and once he 
kept them standing under arms needlessly all day. Such alarms 
came to be known as "Worth's scarecrows" ; and as the natural 
consequence, had a real danger presented itself, the men would 
have responded tardily and half-heartedly.^^ 

Worse yet, on evidence for which he himself could not say- 
much, he warned his division a little later (June 16) by means 
of a circular, that attempts to poison them were to be feared, 
adding gratuitously, "Doubtless there are among those with 
whom we are situated many who will not hesitate, as is the 
habit of cowards, to poison those from whom they habitually 
fly in battle — a resource familiar in Spanish history, legiti- 
mately inherited and willingly practised by Mexicans." Of 
course the circular was not likely to elude publicity, and its 
indiscretion blazed. It gave the Pueblans a dangerous hint, 
insulted all Mexicans, and reflected grossly upon Spain, whose 
continued neutrality was highly desirable." Evidently, though 
quite able to criticise. Worth did'not possess all the qualifications 
of a commander-in-chief.^^ 

Happily a wiser mind and steadier hand now took charge. 
Until May 20 General Scott had felt compelled to wait at 
Jalapa for a heavy train, from which he expected much more 
than he received. Two days later Twiggs set out, and on the 
twenty-eighth Scott — after leaving a garrison at Jalapa and 
a smaller one at Perote — reached Puebla with four troops 
of horse one day in advance of the division.^^ As at Plan del 
Rio his arrival brought confidence and tranquillity. Needless 
alarms ended. Rumors of hostile forces were investigated 
promptly by his Mexican Spy Company '' or other trustworthy 
persons, and the General fixed his mind on greater work than 
trying to hunt down every party of irregulars that raised a 
dust in the vicinity. The troops were drilled each morning and, 
if the weather permitted, later each day, and after about six 


weeks of this made a brilliant showing, when reviewed by 
divisions. The engineer soldiers received special training for 
the work supposed to lie before them; careful maps of the 
district between Puebla and the capital were prepared; and 
Scott frequently gathered the engiiaeers and the heads of the 
army at his quarters of an evening, discussing military affairs 
or monologuing inimitably on the many interesting persons 
and events familiar to him.^^ 

The Mexican government ordered that nothing marketable 
should be taken into the city, but the Pueblans replied un- 
answerably : There is no power to enforce that policy ; and if 
there were, the result would be to starve us, not the Americans, 
for they could supply their needs by the sword and we could 
not. The markets offered, therefore, all sorts of articles and 
at moderate prices. Indeed they were too abundant, for the 
soldiers gormandized on fruits and sugar-cane brandy, and 
these indulgences, added to the want of salt meat, the change 
of climate and water, the rare atmosphere, the chilling winds 
and the lack of suitable clothing, caused a great amount of 
sickness — principally dysentery and ague. On the fourth 
of June more than 1000 Americans were on the invalid list, 
and that number largely increased .^^ 

Sickness of mind prevailed no less. It depressed one to hear 
the dead march almost every evening. Rumors of wholesale 
plots to assassinate the officers and poison the men tried their 
nerves. Renewed efforts to cause desertion excited alarm. 
Whig speeches condemning the war and suggesting that bloody 
hands and hospitable graves ought rightfully to be the welcome 
of our soldiers in Mexico undermined confidence and courage. 
Poverty chilled their marrow. Men had served eight months 
and been paid for two. At the time when shoes and other 
indispensable clothing had to be obtained at an exorbitant 
cost, the army was already in debt and credit was flickering.^" 
Through an intercepted letter the Mexicans knew of Scott's 
financial difficulties, and the Americans knew that they knew. 
The expected revolution against Santa Anna did not break 
out, and a pacific President was not elected on June 15, as 
General Scott had almost expected.^^ 

To crown all other discouragements, we had a ridiculously 
fsmall army, while news came repeatedly that Santa Anna's 


forces were growing rapidly. With less than 5800 privates 
— not over 4000 of them available for an advance — the 
General had to face, not only the Mexican army, but a nation 
of seven million inflammable persons, who might at any time 
be roused to fury by some untoward event. Even the 960 
recruits that had been counted upon did not arrive. June 3, 
therefore, deciding to throw away the scabbard and meet all 
odds with the naked sword, he reluctantly ordered up to Puebla 
the garrison of Jalapa ^^ and a part of the men left at Perote, 
cutting himself off in the heart of the enemy's country .^^ 

Pillow, the great captain, wrote censures on this course to 
Polk, and Polk, the consummate strategist, agreed with his 
agent; but Scott understood that necessity is a supreme law 
and courage the soldier's first axiom. A farther advance was, 
however, impossible. To leave Puebla without a garrison, 
allowing that strong city, reoccupied by the enemy, to menace 
the rear and stand like a wall of stone across the path of rein- 
forcements and supplies, was out of the question ; and troops 
were also needed to protect helpers and overawe enemies 
among the civil population. If reduced by these deductions 
the army would not have constituted a striking force. Nothing 
could be done but stand at guard, and await new troops.^^ 

These, for a number of reasons, were delayed. Marcy's 
report of December 5, 1846, presented to Congress at the open- 
ing of the session, admitted that the regular army stood nearly 
7000 below full strength, and it also recommended the addition 
of ten regiments ; but the administration, feeling at sea about 
its war policy, and not realizing how far the men on the firing- 
line came short of their estimated numbers or how much time 
would be required to place new troops there, took no decided 
stand in the matter. On the twenty-ninth, however, a bill 
authorizing the new regiments was presented in the House by 
the military committee, and the President followed this up 
some days later with a Message. A law offering a bounty of 
twelve dollars to encourage enlisting, upon which the war 
department acted promptly, was the next move; and on 
January 11, 1847, the House, excited by news that Worth stood 
in great peril at Saltillo, voted the new regiments. The Senate, 
on the other hand, procrastinated until Marcy was in despair, 
and Polk twice decided to address the countrv. Without 


much doubt partisan scheming and personal aims were chiefly 
responsible for the delay; but difl:erences of opinion, more or 
less honest, regarding the comparative utility of regulars and 
volunteers, the expediency and proper terms of a land bounty, 
and the rights of the Senate in regard to the choice of officers 
caused much discussion, in which every issue touching the 
inception and conduct of the war had to run the gantlet of 
passionate vociferation.^^ 

Progress was also hindered in another way. Although Polk 
had found it necessary to appoint Scott and had given that 
oflScer to understand that bygones were to be bygones, he liked 
him no better than before, did not wish the Whigs and their 
possible candidate for the Presidency to win more glory in 
the war, and realized the political wisdom — particularly in 
view of Calhoun's unfriendliness — of pleasing the Van 
Buren Democrats. There were also objections to the existing 
arrangement that could be stated publicly. The number of 
troops to be employed in Mexico was said to require a chief of 
higher grade than a major general, and Polk took the ground 
that the commander — especially since he might be desired to 
handle the question of a treaty — should be in full agreement 
and sympathy with the Executive.^^ 

For these combined reasons he offered to Benton the post 
of lieutenant general, provided it could be established, before 
Scott left Washington, and about the first of January requested 
Congress to authorize the appointment of such an officer.^' 
This precipitated a commotion. The Senator's harsh, domineer- 
ing ways had made him unpopular, and grave doubts regarding 
his technical and temperamental fitness for the place existed 
not only in Congress but in the Cabinet. Calhoun and his 
friends detested the idea of letting Benton gain so much prestige 
and with it very likely the Presidency ; the partisans of Taylor 
and Scott resented such treatment of their favorites; all the 
Whigs, besides suspecting Polk of scheming to evade respon- 
sibility and make Benton his grateful successor, rallied to the 
support of their two most prominent men ; and, after serving 
for some time as an embarrassment, the plan was rejected.^ 

Finally, then, after a conference committee had adjusted 
the differences between the two Houses, the Ten Regiment 
Bill, though defeated once in the Senate, passed that body on 


February the tenth, and received Polk's approval the next day ; 
and as a loan bill had been worried through Congress at the 
end of January, something was apparently to be done.^* Since, 
however, the officers were liable to be discharged on the con- 
clusion of peace, it was not believed that many already in the 
service could be induced by a slight advance in rank to enter 
the new establishment, and for this and probably other reasons 
few of the more than five hundred places were offered to the 
army. The field was therefore clear for civilian warriors, 
and their campaign opened at once. Not limiting their opera- 
tions to Capitol Hill, applicants for commissions besieged and 
assaulted the White House. "I have pushed them off and 
fought them with both hands like a man fighting fire," wrote 
Polk in his diary, but "it has all been in vain." "Loafers 
without merit" came, and equally meritorious Congressmen 
supported them. Not one in ten of the appointees was known 
to the President, and their degree of unfitness was precisely 
what might have been expected. A considerable number of 
them had actually been run out of the service — in some cases 
for bad conduct before the enemy — and many were found less 
teachable than privates.^' 

During February this beautiful exhibition continued, and 
such were the only immediate fruits of the much debated law, 
for it empowered no one to organize the new troops into brigades 
and division's or to appoint general officers, and the military 
appropriations had not yet been made. Further Congressional 
exertions, therefore, had to be put forth; but at last on the 
second and third of March, after a loss of almost three months 
at this crisis of the war, the deficiencies were supplied, and 
enlistment shortly began. Vigorous efforts were made by the 
administration to set the new regulars in motion, company by 
company, and even squad by squad ; and finally on the nine- 
teenth of April, since little more could be expected from the 
November calls, requisitions for six and a half new regiments 
of volunteer infantry and twelve companies of horse — all 
to serve until the conclusion of peace — were issued.^' 

On the fourth of June, then, about six hundred new troops, 
commanded by Brevet Colonel Mcintosh, left Vera Cruz for 
the interior, escorting a long train of loaded mules and wagons 
and two or three hundred thousand dollars in specie. Mexican 


irregulars, who knew the value of the convoy, soon attacked 
and stopped it. Cadwalader, then waiting for a part of his 
brigade, reinforced Mcintosh on the eleventh with about 
five hundred men and took command. Fighting his way along 
he incorporated the garrison of Jalapa commanded by Colonel 
Childs, and on the twenty-first reached Perote.^^ 

Meanwhile Pillow, now a major general by the grace 
of his former law partner, arriving at Vera Cruz and finding 
there some 2000 of his men, had advanced with most of them on 
June 18 ; and although Scott was in the most urgent need of 
money, Pillow ordered Cadwalader to await his arrival at Perote. 
Eventually, on July 3, the combined forces were in motion, 
and five days later all of them — including the recruits long since 
expected — passed the brown gate of Puebla. Of the rank 
and file Scott now had 8061 effectives and 2215 sick. Next 
Brigadier General Pierce with some 2500 men got away from the 
coast about the fifteenth of July,^* and after similar fighting 
appeared at headquarters on the sixth of August with a heavy 
siege battery, a long train of wagons and $85,000 in unsalable 
drafts, but with none of the specie that had been expected 
and regarded as indispensable.^^ 

Scott now had about 14,000 men, some 2500 of whom lay, 
however, in the hospitals, while about s"x hundred were con- 
valescents too feeble for an ordinary day's march. The cavalry, 
led by Colonel Harney, included portions of the three dragoon 
regiments under Captain Kearny, Major Sumner and Major 
McReynolds. For artillery, besides the siege train, there 
were the field batteries of Duncan, Taylor, Steptoe and others,^* 
and the howitzer and rocket battery of Talcott. Brevet Major 
General Worth's division of infantry, known as the First, con- 
sisted of Brevet Colonel Garland's brigade (Second and Third 
Artillery, Fourth Infantry and a light battalion) and the brigade 
of Colonel Clarke, which included the Fifth, Sixth and Eighth 
Infantry. The Second Division, commanded by Brigadier 
General Twiggs, was composed of the regiments under Brevet 
Brigadier General Persifor F. Smith (Mounted Riflemen, First 
Artillery and Third Infantry) and Brevet Colonel Riley (Fourth 
Artillery, Second and Seventh Infantry). Major General 
Pillow, higher in rank than the brave, able and experienced 
Worth, a professional soldier, had the Eleventh and Fourteenth 


Infantry and the Voltigeur regiment under Brigadier General 
Cadwalader, a polished veteran of Chestnut Street parades, 
Philadelphia, and the Ninth, Twelfth and Fifteenth Infantry 
under the gentlemanly Franklin Pierce, a social and political 
hero of Concord, New Hampshire; while General Shields's 
brigade (New York and South Carolina volunteers) and Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Watson's, consisting of three hundred marines 
and a detachment of the Second Pennsylvania, made up the 
division of Quitman; an excellent person and politician, who 
had now reached the highest military grade.^^ 

The troops that had been waiting at Puebla were by this 
time in fine training ; and the new men, besides receiving the 
soldier's baptism on the way up, had learned at least the value 
of discipline and skill. The former had become to a large extent 
acclimated, and they felt an entire confidence in their com- 
mander, which, fully accredited by his victories, extended 
promptly to the reinforcements. The essential clothing had 
been purchased or manufactured. Thanks to indefatigable 
exertions a large stock of provisions had been accumulated, 
and at a cost of 15 per cent funds for the march to the capital 
had been raised. Although time had permitted the friendly 
sentiments and reasonable arguments of Scott's proclamation 
to leaven the people, and association with the Americans had 
refuted the calumnies previously effective against them, our 
oflBcers and men expected hard fighting. Thoughts of distant 
homes and of near perils were silvering many a fine head. There 
were no good laughers in the army now. But in an equal degree 
hearts were nerved. Mentally the cost of success, figured 
without discount, was already paid. All felt eager to advance. 
And when, anticipating Pierce's arrival by one day, Scott gave 
the order, a soldier's joy lighted up their bronzed features.'" 


April-August, 1847 

Almost immediately after Santa Anna left the seat of 
government for the Cerro Gordo campaign, more than twenty 
generals and several members of Congress were called together 
at the palace by Anaya to consider the defence of the capital.^ 
Apparently the problem could be solved without' much diffi- 
culty. Mexico lies in a rather shallow basin — said to be the 
crater of an ancient volcano — about thirty-two by forty-six 
miles in diameter. In the time of Cortez the site had consisted 
of islands barely rising above the water, but the spaces between 
these had gradually been filled, and the water had subsided. 
Six lakes could still be counted, however; almost everywhere 
else in the environs there were marshes traversed by elevated 
roads or causeways; and the rim of the basin, as well as the 
routes beyond it, seemed to offer advantageous points for de- 

The sentiment of this council and of the city, though con- 
cealed under a cloak of bellicose ardor, opposed resisting the 
Americans in earnest, or at all events opposed inviting bombard- 
ment ; and it was therefore decided merely to take precautions 
against a raid, fortify certain points on the roads, and bring 
out a host of irregulars to hang upon the rear and flanks of the 
enemy. All men capable of bearing arms were summoned to 
the colors. The states were called upon for aid. Hopes of 
borrowing twenty millions imparted a sunny look to the situa- 
tion ; and ecclesiastics, naturally passive in view of the agree- 
ment with Beach to let Scott have the city, were deliberately 
forced into the streets by the civil authorities to preach fanati- 
cism and rouse the public from their apathy. Except perhaps 
by this last method, however, little was accomplished. "Let 
us unite, let us unite, and do you go and fight against the 




French," some of the Spanish priests had said when their coun- 
try was invaded by Napoleon. So things went now in Mexico, 
and every one assigned to himself the duty of exhorting. Fine 
ideas beamed forth, but everything of practical utility was 
conspicuously wanting. Still, as the American volunteers 
were considered "banditti, without the slightest knowledge of 
military tactics, without any sort of training, without con- 
fidence, and in general easily terrified," no keen sense of alarm 
was felt.^ 

The disaster of Cerro Gordo cast new and fearful shadows up- 
on the scene.' That defeat, said Anaya, " simply means complete 


ruin for the whole republic," and even his gratification that 
Santa Anna's "interesting person" had not gone down in the 
wreck seemed rather of an iridescent kind. Military con- 
fidence, which had revived after earlier shocks, gave way en- 
tirely. The prestige derived by Santa Anna from his alleged 
success at Buena Vista was now torn to shreds by panting 
fugitives from the south. About a thousand pamphlets, for 
which no language was too savage or too true, poured light upon 
his character and achievements, and the military men as a 
class met with similar treatment.' To be sure, the government 

promised boldly to continue the war. April 20 Congress in- 
vested the Executive with autocratic powers, and prohibited 
all steps toward peace.* The Federal District, in which lay the 
capital, was placed under martial law. Urgent demands for 
troops were sent wherever soldiers could be supposed to lurk. 
Once more the authorities called upon every citizen of the proper 
age to take up arms. Quotas aggregating 32,000 men were 
formally assigned to the states. Light fortifications, intended 
to delay and perhaps block the Americans, were ordered to be 
thrown up along the route; and the heads of the Church 
issued an appeal for concord and morality.^ 

But all of these proceedings displayed more alarm than 
courage, more desperation than intelligence. Many of the 
defensive points were found valueless. Tools, funds, engineers 
and laborers fell short. The meagre donations for continuing 
hostilities evinced a total want of enthusiasm. The problem 
of obtaining enough troops, provisions and artillery to defend 
the town seemed more and more insoluble, and the danger not 
only of bombardment but of sack more and more terrible. 
Grandees got out their old travelling coaches, and even plain 
citizens began to emigrate. The government itself decided 
that against an army represented by American deserters as 
more than 16,000 strong, fully equipped, shortly to be rein- 
forced, and soon to advance, the city could not possibly be 
held; and the favorite plan of the administration, the most 
promising that could be devised, was to buy up Scott's Irish 
soldiers through the priest McNamara, recently conspicuous 
in California, and facilitate their desertion by having Santa 
Anna attack Puebla. Should this fail, submission and peace 
appear to have been deemed inevitable.^ 

With some exceptions rulers and people alike, wearied by 
decades of dissensions, oppression, scheming, robbery and illu- 
sory promises, discouraged by the passive opposition of the 
clergy and the wealthy classes, overwhelmed by a series of 
military disasters, convinced that incompetent and perhaps 
traitorous generals led the armies, and powerless to discern 
any happy omens for the country, felt neither hope nor spirit ; 
and the kindness of the Americans, added to their invincibility, 
had now overcome even the instinct of race.® 

To heighten the confusion, a state of governmental chaos 


reigned. Anaya had at most but little prestige or influence, 
and friends of Santa Anna, angry because excluded from office, 
created a friction between the two that weakened both. The 
ministers could not cooperate harmoniously. General Bravo 
was given command of all the troops in the Federal Distr ct 
and the state of Mexico, and Santa Anna did not want him in 
that important position. Congress devoted itself, when not 
harassing the administration, to wrangling over a new con- 
stitution, substantially that of 1824, which finally was voted on 
the eighteenth of May. In conscious impotence the Puros 
writhed and snarled ; and their enemies, the Moderados, after 
having triumphed and brought Santa Anna to their side, now 
boldly paraded their dislike of him, and, by showing no concern 
except about retaining their power, excited hostility and 
contempt. Common sense was no less wanting than patriotism ; 
and when these two parties finally agreed to save the country, 
their plan was — to supplement the constitution with two more 

Of all the discontent, resentments and ambitions the now 
despised Santa Anna became naturally the target. Almonte 
still plotted to be President. Arista and Ampudia, joined now 
in disgrace as formerly in misfortune, felt thoroughly dissatisfied. 
Gomez Farias could not forget his betrayal, and Olaguibel, 
governor of the most important state, Mexico, loyally sup- 
ported him. Bravo reciprocated Santa Anna's dislike. Valen- 
cia aspired to the chief military command. All in favor of 
ending the war — who now had an organ. El Razonador — 
considered Santa Anna a bar to peace and even to the faithful 
observance of a preliminary armistice; and some of them, 
arguing that his extraordinary powers were cancelled automat- 
ically by the adoption of a new organic law, advocated placing 
him in the interior somewhere, ostensibly to wait for new troops, 
and negotiating a treaty without his knowledge. The Puros 
were expected to explode a revolution against him about the 
twentieth of May, and for all sorts of personal or patriotic 
reasons a host of minor individuals made ready to cooperate 
with it.* 

But all these busy folks were only mice, reckoning without 
the cat. On leaving Puebla Santa Anna proceeded to San 
Martin, which lay on the direct road to Mexico where it began 


to ascend the rim of the Valley. Works had been erected 
near, but it was found they could easily be turned and not 
easily be provisioned ; and a council of war decided to occupy 
the capital, since only there could large resources be counted 
upon. May 18, therefore, the wretched army of 3000 or 
3500 men arrived at Ayotla, fifteen miles from their destination. 
Learning of this unexpected and undesired event, the hostile 
elements undertook to "pronounce" at once, but could not set 
the movement off. Three leading statesmen of the dominant 
party then hurried to meet the General, and after arguing all 
day persuaded him to write that Anaya might remain in ofifice 
and even decide whether Mexico City should be defended, 
while he himself would retain his military command, or, if 
dissatisfied with Anaya's decision, would resign.^ 

But presently cunning Tornel and one or two others convinced 
Santa Anna that a mere handful of enemies had spread this net 
in order to drag him from power, and eliminate his influence on 
the vital question of peace. Jealousy and fears inspired by the 
favor that Valencia and Bravo were apparently enjoying, added 
to the urgency of his officers, did the rest; and on the nine- 
teenth, in spite of the understanding just agreed upon — indeed, 
only about an hour after his letter reached the palace — his 
troops entered the city. Anaya's rather sour and curdled 
face flushed hot and bitter. He did not care to retain the 
Presidency, for he believed a revolution would soon break out ; 
but forcible ejection, in disregard of a written promise, was 
another affair. He found himself powerless, however ; and the 
next day, after inducing a council of generals to decide upon 
holding Mexico, -Santa Anna announced that he would sacrifice 
his wishes, and resume the executive power.* 

The state of things that ensued was indescribable. Nothing 
equal to it has been known perhaps, and nothing imagined 
save the witches' caldron. One public man estimated the 
number of bubbling intrigues as twenty millions. Nothing is 
left us except vanity and dissension, but those we possess in 
the superlative degree, wrote Ramirez. Congress had no 
prestige, no power, no capacity; and its factions could see 
nothing except opportunities to stab one another. Santa Anna's 
breach of faith intensified the distrust and hatred of the Mode- 
rados without gratifying the Puros. Hoping to win some pop- 


ularity, he restored the freedom of the press, which .had recently 
been curtailed ; but his enemies merely- took advantage of it. 
"The man of La Angostura, of Cerro Gordo, of Amozoc, weary 
of destroying Mexicans on the field of battle, comes home 
tranquilly to find repose in the Presidential chair," exclaimed 
Almonte's organ.^ 

A plausible and eloquent manifesto put out over Santa 
Anna's name dropped cold on the pavement. No basis of 
popular or political strength for even a temporary footing could 
be discovered by his counsellors. Santa Anna himself felt 
staggered by the opposition. His only chance was to place 
the nation between the devil and the deep sea — between 
bayonets and chaos — hoping it would again call upon him to 
save it ; and so on the twenty-eighth, declaring that schemers 
and revolutionists, who found him in their way, paralyzed his 
efforts to serve the country, he made another sacrifice, and 
resigned the Presidency.^ 

Unhappily for him it soon appeared likely that Congress 
would accept the sacrifice, while on the other hand certain 
aspects of his outlook brightened. Busy Tornel induced a 
fraction of the Puros, who realized their helplessness, to adopt 
his cause. Valencia, though much to Santa Anna's repugnance, 
had been given for his present portion the chief command at 
San Luis Potosi, and so disappeared from the capital. Almonte 
found himself in prison under a charge of conspiracy. Arista 
and Ampudia were banished from the vicinity. Bravo retired 
from his command. At the same time promotions fell copiously 
on devotees; and the happy recipients knew these might 
well cease to be valid, should their patron fall. Almonte was 
said to have received a majority of the votes for President, 
while Santa Anna had been supported by only Chihuahua; 
but so much territory lay in American hands that a question 
about the legality of the election arose, and Congress deferred 
the matter. On the second of June, therefore, the arch-pres- 
tidigitator laid himself once more upon the altar, and in order 
to save the country from Scott and anarchy withdrew his 

"Mexicans, I shall be with you always — to the consumma- 
tion of your ruin," so the Monitor Republicano paraphrased his 
announcement; and then it added: "What a life of sacrifice 


is the General's; a sacrifice to take the power, to resign, to 
resume ; ultimate sacrifice ; ultimate final ; ultimate more final ; 
ultimate most final; ultimate the very finalest. But let him 
cheer up. He is not alone in making sacrifices. For twenty-five 
years the Mexican people have been sacrificing themselves, all 
of them, in the hope that certain persons would do good to the 
country." But in spite of sarcasm and ridicule Santa Anna had 
triumphed. Hated by many, disliked by most, distrusted by 
nearly all, yet forging ahead because he was on the ground with 
troops, because his combination of good luck, audacity and 
cunning could not be matched, because the Moderado govern- 
ment had proved incompetent, because a regime of dissension and 
anarchy could organize no solid opposition against him, and be- 
cause a group of selfish interests found in him a sharp, tough bit 
of steel to fix at the head of their spear, he triumphed once more.' 

The victory threatened, however, to be fatal. In every 
direction lurked pitfalls charged with gunpowder. In all the 
history of Mexico dissensions had never been more bitter, 
nor political and social chaos nearer. Congress annoyed him 
until at length, by failing week after week to form a quorum 
lest one faction or another should score an advantage, it fell 
into abeyance and left him virtually a dictator.^ In the hope 
of obtaining funds from the Church, he gave deeper offence 
than ever to the most prominent of the Moderados ; but the 
prelates, in alliance with leading monarchists, continued to 
plot against him. Newspapers waged a bitter campaign un- 
til choked with an iron hand. His persecution of the generals 
excited fierce resentment. A Piu-o chief, entering the Cabinet 
and getting a glimpse of his ulterior aims, resigned in six days.* 

In short the administration had no political creed, and could 
find no political support; and the assistance of that indis- 
pensable villain, Tornel, who could be seen stealing to the. 
palace at the hour when the night-hawk begins to fiy, covered 
it with discredit. Executive authorities waged almost civil 
war upon one another. Rumors, not without some basis, that 
a formal dictatorship was in view, could not be stilled ; and 
the general want of confidence in the President's character and 
aims rendered the most skilful appeals to patriotism vain. 
Only by the utmost exertions could the fragile edifice of govern- 
ment be kept balanced on the point of the bayonet.* 


Nor was the opposition against Santa Anna confined to his 
immediate vicinity. The people of Mexico City had always 
despised the outlying states; and not only was this disdain 
repaid, but the capital, source of so many political and financial 
ills experienced by the rest of the country, was looked upon by 
a great number of thoughtful men as hopelessly corrupt — 
as a diseased part that required amputation. When restoring 
the old federal system in August, 1846, in order to satisfy his 
democratic allies and win popularity, Santa Anna apparently 
did not foresee, as Consul Black did, that after realizing their 
power and getting into touch with one another, the states 
would take a firm position upon their prerogatives. In addition 
to such difficulties, it was commonly felt that military men and 
the army stood mortally opposed to democracy and federal 
institutions, that success in the field might enable Santa Anna to 
overthrow this principle and these institutions, and that a loud 
cry for patriotism and war, combined with a systematic with- 
holding of men and supplies, would compel him to fight and 
ensure his ruin.* 

By evasions, therefore, or in some cases positive refusals 
to obey the commands of the general government, substantially 
all the states withheld support, frequently alleging that under 
the regime of the new constitution its extraordinary powers, 
conferred by the law of April 20, did not exist, and that all 
National Guards, as well as all revenues assigned to the states in 
September, 1846, were independent of the national authorities. 
In this opposition Zacatecas naturally played a leading part, 
but perhaps Olaguibel, an impressive, honest and able man, 
who had travelled in the United States and Europe and 
had filled his library with busts of the leading American 
statesmen, was its foremost representative ; and the firm sup- 
. port of his constituents, who felt intensely jealous of Santa 
Anna, as well as the cooperation of Gomez Farias, rendered 
him a formidable person. Balked thus by constitutional 
theories that not only flattered local interests and pride but 
were noticeably economical, Santa Anna could obtain — aside 
from the troops brought by General Juan Alvarez and a few 
others — very little assistance outside of the Federal District.* 

That was hard enough, but still greater difficulties lay behind 
it. In the far northwest Sonora, Sinaloa and Durango enter- 


tained the idea of uniting as a new republic, and six of the 
central states were banded together in a Coalition. This 
extra-legal, if not illegal, organization had been called into 
existence in January, 1847, by the pronunciamiento of the 
Mazatlan garrison, which aimed at making Santa Anna dic- 
tator. By the end of May it was in good shape, and had a plan 
for troops of its own. Two weeks later the delegates, who 
made Lagos their place of meeting, called themselves an 
Assembly, and were buying arms; and by the fourth of July 
they felt bold enough to declare null a decree of Santa Anna. 
Of course the ostensible purpose was to protect independence, 
nationality and federal institutions ; but, as the correspondence 
of the state governors reveals, the real aims included the 
establishment of a "new pact of alliance," a new confederation, 
in which Santa Anna and that Babylon, the city of Mexico, 
should have no part. With this Coalition a large number of 
the Puros naturally sympathized.* 

In the face of it all, however, the futile strategist of Cerro 
Gordo, with a truly superb wilfulness and a more truly pitiful 
self-confidence, snatched up once more the bloody dice. 
Cannon were brought from distant points, cast by the govern- 
ment from bells and old ordnance at Chapultepec and else- 
where, or manufactured by contractors. New muskets, of 
which foreigners offered to deliver great stocks at Mexican 
ports or by way of Guatemala, were purchased; old ones, 
appropriated by deserters or stolen during revolutions, were 
hunted up ; and all citizens were ordered, though perhaps with- 
out great results, to let the government have what arms they 
owned. Immense quantities of powder were produced at 
Morelia, at Guanajuato, at Santa Fe near Mexico, and at the 
capital; a great deal was imported overland from British 
Honduras, and additional supplies came from New Orleans by 
the way of Campeche. At various points mortars, bayonets, 
projectiles and numberless other articles were turned out by 
government establishments or private contractors. Forges 
clanged on all sides; and wherever the President's restless 
and unscrupulous mind could have its way, there reigned a 
feverish activity, cooled only by a want of funds." 

At Mexico City, before his arrival, some 2000 regulars and 
8000 National Guards, besides the officers, were in garrison; 


and these with his army, five hundred from Queretaro, some 
two hundred Irish deserters, an unknown number of able-bodied 
loafers impressed at the capital, and larger or smaller accessions 
from other sources, made up the Army of the East. The 
Army of the South under Juan Alvarez, who commanded the 
line to Acapulco with headquarters near Mexico, had on its 
roll at the end of June 2748 officers and men ; and Canalizo, 
comandante general of Puebla, who became reconciled to his 
chief in June, was supposed to have a few thousands of National 
Guards and irregulars. But as most of these forces were poorly 
paid and a large part of them served unwillingly, desertion — 
in spite of the severest rules — was common, and the numbers 
fluctuated incessantly." 

At San Luis Potosi, meantime, lay the Army of the North, 
which contained the largest percentage of veterans. In May 
Valencia, so long a rival of the President, had talked in a very • 
lofty style, as if already the military head of the nation, about 
marching south and cutting Worth to pieces, and Santa Anna, 
though anxious to get his troops, now wished him to remain at 
a distance ; but in July, on account of Scott's approaching 
reinforcements, it seemed necessary to bring down that army, 
and it arrived at Guadalupe Hidalgo, a few miles north of 
Mexico, on the twenty-seventh, numbering more than 4000 
men with twenty-two guns. Just how many soldiers the 
President then had cannot be stated, and in all probability 
no one could have stated at the time ; but, such as they were, 
there seem to have been fully 25,000 men and probably, as 
reports and intercepted letters convinced many of the Ameri- 
cans, 30,000, if not more.^ Some were well dressed, well 
equipped and well trained ; but from that pinnacle the army 
descended to mere off-scourings, whose rags were as the 
President said, " a disgrace to the nation," and whose military 
efficiency doubtless corresponded." 

Of equally varied quality were the jofficers. The generals 
best known to the country were nearly all out of the service 
now, being under charges or at odds with the head of the 
government. Valencia was a conspirator, a drunkard, a dolt 
and a volcano. Alvarez, an ignorant mulatto from the wilds, 
understood only half-savage, partisan fighting. Lombardini, a 
strutting lackey, who commanded the Army of the East 


except when Santa Anna took personal charge of it, strove to 
conceal behind a swarthy face, a heavy mustache and goatee, 
and a ceaseless volubility the poverty of his intellect ; and the 
great mass of the officers were — well, they had already shown 
their value. They were now ordered to be intelligent and brave, 
to be zealous whether paid or not paid, to do their full duty and 
something more, to cast behind them every thought of accepting 
parole, and to say nothing against their superiors ; but it lay 
beyond the power of orders to make them what they could not 
be, and the small number of excellent men were lost in the crowd.^^ 

Regarding the plan of operations a radical difFerence of 
opinion existed. To not a few the idea that Scott was lying 
comfortably at Puebla seemed almost unendurable. They 
longed to have him attacked unceasingly; and they insisted 
that, should the arrogant invader dare to march for the capital, 
every step of the route should be contested. Santa Anna on 
the other hand st'll believed in concentration, and though some 
regard was paid to the apprehensions of the ayuntamiento, his 
views naturally prevailed. The plan adopted, then, after 
considerable vacillation in regard to details, was to protect 
the entire perimeter of the city with fortifications, inundate 
more or less the surrounding meadows, and prevent Scott from 
seriously injuring the town with his artillery by erecting a 
series of works at the most advantageous points of the environs. 
These protected lines were to be held by the less reliable corps 
— National Guards, for example — and the troops belonging 
to the regular army were to be a mobile force ready to defend 
the city at any threatened point.^^ 

The plan was thus essentially defensive, and it has been said 
with much force that a system of this kind promises merely 
negative results in the case of success, and positive ruin in the 
case of defeat. But the present situation was peculiar. Sup- 
plied with provisions for no long period, and without hopes of 
early and strong reinforcements, the Americans were bound 
to fail unless promptly and signally victorious, and their enter- 
ing the Valley would then have meant destruction. "Scott is 
lost," exclaimed the Duke of Wellington after the Americans 
crossed the rim ; " He cannot capture the city and he cannot 
fall back upon his base." Santa Anna's plan, therefore, did not 
merit the criticism bestowed upon it." 


Besides, Alvarez with nearly all the Mexican horse was to 
swing in behind the advancing Americans, cut off their com- 
munication with Puebla, follow, annoy and injure them in every 
possible way, conceal his real strength so as to bring out and 
overwhelm their cavalry, attack vigorously whenever Scott 
should become seriously engaged before Mexican fortifications, 
and be ready to prevent his retreat. Canalizo with his thou- 
sands was to support Alvarez; and Valencia also, advancing 
from Guadalupe Hidalgo to the village of Texcoco, east of 
Mexico, was to cooperate with him, and especially to throw 
himself with all his energy into the attack on the American 
rear or flank, whenever Scott should assail the outer works. 
At the same time the people of the neighboring towns and 
villages were to swarm about the invader like hornets, and 
sting him day and night incessantly. In short the plan was 
excellent — only Santa Anna overlooked, as usual, several 

As soon as he took up the reins of government the con- 
struction of defences had begun, and now, under the technical 
direction of General Mora, Manuel Robles and Juan Cano, it 
was pushed with all the energy of an intense military despot who 
stuck at nothing. Villages were depopulated, haciendas robbed 
of their laborers, jails emptied, and the streets cleared of 
vagabonds. Enforce obedience, the governor of the District 
was curtly told when he reported that his orders had no effect. 
Sunset no longer promised repose, and the church bells no 
longer meant worship. Informed on July 18 that Scott would 
leave Puebla on the twenty-first, Santa Anna rose above his 
exemplar, Napoleon, and took for model the Creator. Within 
eight days let all the works be completed, he decreed. But 
engineers, laborers, tools, instruments, timber, provisions, time 
and cash — much of which was embezzled by high oflBcers and 
officials even at this juncture — all fell short, and Santa 
Anna's serviceable cannon were not enough to equip even the 
works constructed.^^ 

Certain points, however, became quite formidable, and 
especially Old Peiion, a lofty, precipitous hill of rock standing 
by itself, close to the Puebla route, seven miles from the city." 
Stockades, breastworks, parapets and guns bristled on summit 
and brow ; works at the base and in advance commanded all 


dangerous approaches ; a trench full of water crossed the road ; 
the meadows in front — cut with ditches — were inundated ; 
and the swampy edge of Lake Texcoco guarded the opposite 
side of the road. To the Mexicans, who always measured the 
/ strength of a chain by its heaviest link, this position seemed a 
wonderful protection ; and in general the people, if not the city, 
were strongly fortified by the President's labors." 

For other reasons also the morale of the inhabitants improved. 
Characteristic light-heartedness made them turn from past 
defeats to future triumphs. They were told that at Cerro 
Gordo Scott had made his troops fight by opening a battery 
upon them from the rear ; that his men, while they presumed 
to think they could make "vile slaves" of the generous and 
valiant Mexicans, were few, sickly, poverty-stricken, dis- 
satisfied ; and that Polk, embarrassed by the expense of the 
war, could send him but scanty reinforcements. Greed, 
brutality and sanguinary ambition were charged against us at 
this crisis by the London Times in its usual contemptuous 
manner, and the Diario eagerly quoted it. The successes of 
the guerillas against American convoys roused a lively enthu- 
siasm. "Only a little, a very little" effort is necessary to beat 
the hateful Anglo-Saxon, proclaimed the government; and a 
review of the brilliant Eleventh Infantry, headed by its band of 
twenty-five pieces, made that little seem easy and agreeable." 
People who bore the names of saints as a matter of course 
easily exploded Scott's Address of May II. How absurd, 
they cried, for the American general to pretend he is a Chris- 
tian : there is no St. Winfield in the calendar ! The only hope 
of the Americans lies 'n Mexican dissension, therefore let us 
disappoint them, it was urged ; and to promote harmony all 
the newspapers except the official organ were suspended on 
plausible grounds. Santa Anna's activity and warlike spirit 
had to be recognized by all. We must confide in him and 
gather round him like a band of brothers, preached the Diario; 
and when all political trials were ordered to end, and the Presi- 
dent banqueted at Valencia's house, the fraternal era so long 
hoped for seemed at hand." 

Finally, on the ninth of August, at two o'clock in the after- 
noon, a I6-pounder boomed portentously from the citadel. 
The long roll was beaten. Bands of music patrolled the city. 


Hands clapped. Vivas echoed through the streets. Rockets 
flashed rosettes in the sky. " Blinded by pride the enemy have 
set out for the capital," proclaimed Santa Anna; "For this, 
Mexicans, I congratulate myself and you." The government, 
while savagely and contemptuously scoring the Americans, 
announced a series of reforms to be effected by Santa Anna, 
not as a constitutional magistrate, but as a Divine Providence ; 
and the Diario echoed back, "Half a dozen of these measures 
would change the face of the Republic." The President as- 
sumed command of the army, and every citizen from sixteen 
to fifty years of age took his place in the ranks. Amidst the 
most fervid enthusiasm of crowds that filled the streets, bal- 
conies and housetops, troops followed troops gaily toward Old 
Penon, and two days later the forces were reviewed there.^^ 

Tents gleamed under a splendid sun. Bands played as if 
inspired. The soldiers marched with a quick, impatient step. 
Anaya — recently the chief magistrate, Gorostiza — the primate 
of Mexico's literary men, white-haired Herrera — the most 
honored of her political chiefs, and countless other dignitaries 
did honor to the occasion. The rich vestments of the clergy* 
gave exquisite lustre and color, and their pompous benedictions 
added a sense of more than human grandeur. All were happy, 
radiant, brotherly. Every thought of peace, every thought of 
opposing or even doubting Santa Anna appeared to be for- 
gotten. In all his previous career so refulgent a day had never 
been his. "Ecce Homo!" cried the Diario; "Behold the illus- 
trious champion of 1821, the hero of 1829, the genius of 1838!" 
For him the hill became a Mount of Transfiguration. Or rather, 
perhaps, it was Mt. Sinai, where Deity appeared in thunders 
and lightnings. You must, was the command to the 
governor of Zacatecas this day. Let the state of Mexico send 
me her troops, rang the message to Olaguibel. And Olaguibel 
replied meekly. They shall go to-morrow.^^ 

Scott was in fact advancing. On the morning of Saturday, 
the seventh, his camp was astir early. The base of Popocate- 
petl seemed black, and the slopes a pale, silvery blue; but its 
top, almost 18,000 feet above the sea, was a "Blazing Star," 
as some of the Indians named the mountain, and appeared 
like an omen of victory. The Second Division was soon ready. 
Twiggs faced it, waved his hat round his white head, and cried 


in the voice of Ajax, " Now, my lads, give them a Cerro Gordo 
shout !" A simultaneous hurrah from twenty-five hundred iron 
throats was the response ; and at six o'clock, preceded by the 
cavalry and the engineer company and followed by the siege 
train — while his band, mounted on splendid white horses, 
played our national airs — he began the eventful march. One 
day apart, Quitman, Worth and Pillow followed him. Though 
it was announced that no man unable to do three marches could 
be permitted to go, hundreds of convalescents unequal to the 
effort insisted upon trying, and, gradually falling out, rejoined the 
garrison of Puebla. Feeble in numbers ^^ for such an enterprise, 
but confiding in their quality, their leader and their prestige, 
the 10,738 men and their officers pressed boldly forward.^^ 

For a time the dust proved extremely annoying and the sun 
scorched; but soon mountain air began to be felt, and the 
troops entered a wide, blooming and scented valley, full of rich 
fields, grazing herds, noble hacienda houses that were almost 
palaces, and trim white churches that seemed like stragglers 
from the great host at Puebla. In the rear shone Orizaba and 
the nearer pyramid of Malinchi. On the left Popocatepetl 
and his consort, the Sleeping Woman (Iztaccihuatl), deeply 
blanketed in fleecy white, looked hardly a stone's throw distant ; 
and after the sun had set, the air grown cold, and the valley — 
now less open — filled with shadows, their purple tops glowed 
like interplanetary lighthouses." 

Soon after passing the ugly little town of San Martin, twenty 
miles from Puebla, the troops began to ascend more rapidly. 
Eleven miles more brought them to a mountain river, Tesme- 
lucan, where the elegant aerial bridge that spanned the abyss 
made them almost feel they were flying. The scenery now 
became Alpine. Deep chasms answered to peaks, and lovely 
glens to precipices; and the cedar, the oak and the ash, as 
well as pines of extraordinary height and straightness, reared 
themselves on the slopes. At Rio Frio, about thirty-six miles 
from both Puebla and Mexico, where an icy stream dashed 
foaming down the rocks, the mountains closed in on the left, 
and their crest, lined with deserted parapets, almost overhung 
the road." Then a stiff er climb of about five miles placed the 
troops on a narrow plateau which formed the summit ; and they 
were now 10,500 feet above the sea." 


A few miles down the steep descent on the other side their 
prospect opened, and below, girt round with singularly bold 
mountains — rough, dark and purplish, but softened here and 
there with a wisp of shining vapor — lay the Valley of Mexico, 
which the pellucid atmosphere, transmitting colors and outlines 
undimmed, brought wondrously nigh. Ten small volcanoes, 
that had been crumbling for ages untold, stood clothed in 
luxuriant verdure nearly to the summit. Six broad lakes 
now laughed under the brilliant sun and now brooded in the 
shadows of passing clouds. Velvet champaigns — cut with 
ash-colored roads, gleaming canals and straight lines of poplars, 
and studded with walled haciendas, rambling towns and cozy- 
looking villages — were further variegated with highly cul- 
tivated fields of many crops, with groves and orchards from 
which peered steeples and bell-towers, with villa roofs of tiles, 
red and cheery, and with whitewashed cottages that shone 
like silver. Every possible hue of green and every possible 
tone of light and shade blended into one harmonious effect. 
And in the midst of this wonderful scene, as the climax of the 
stillness and beauty, the focus of all eyes, the aim of all desires, 
untarnished by smoke, seemingly without stain, bright with 
sunshine, begemmed with many a palace, park and lofty 
church, slumbered the capital of Mexico, Venice-of-the- 
Mountains. Not one of the fascinated soldiers but held his 
breath; and not one, testified the commander-in-chief, but 
said to himself or his neighbor, "That splendid city shall soon 
be ours!" ^^ 

Along this part of the route almost 13,000 trees had been cut 
down for barricades, and some of them had been placed in the; 
road ; but the Americans were not materially hindered, and in 
crossing the lower slopes they found little to do except admire 
the wondrous variety and profusion of the wild-flowers. On the 
eleventh, seeing Mexicans ahead for the second time, Twiggs 
waited for Quitman; but a few hours later, after passing a 
cross-road, he went on about four miles, and occupied the adobe 
village of Ayotia, half-buried in olive trees, while Harney's 
cavalry took post at San Isidro, a mile and a half in advance, 
and Quitman camped in the rear. The next day Worth's 
division turned to the left by the cross-road, marched three 
miles and a half to the squalid little town of Chalco, simmering 

itiji ArrKUAUM ru MEXICO 95 

at the margin of the shallow, marshy lake bearing that name, 
and finally halted a little distance beyond ; and Pillow camped 
at Chimalpa, not far beyond Worth." 

But what had the enemy been doing ? The people along the 
route, who were to have stung the Americans day and night, 
recognized the difference between them and the Mexican irreg- 
ulars, welcomed them cordially, and gave them all possible 
assistance. Canalize — who seems to have been cowed by the 
disaster of Cerro Gordo, and some time before this had fled 
from San Martin, with six hundred men at his back, on seeing an 
American ofBcer, detailed to arrange an exchange of prisoners, 
approach with a small escort — felt no desire to fight, besides 
which most of his troops revolted or deserted ; and Governor 
Isunza not only failed to assist him with men and means, but 
flatly refused him a particular corps, expressly demanded by 
the Executive at Mexico. ^^ 

Alvarez, well-nigh a brigand, had always fought for his 
own advantage, knew that all the other chief leaders were doing 
this now, and, in addition to cherishing resentments against 
Santa Anna, probably felt no craving to play a strictly inferior 
part. Though he did not have all the men for whom he seems 
to have been drawing rations, his force was important, and in 
three particulars he obeyed his orders. He stationed himself 
at the designated point on the flank of San Martin, kept beyond 
the reach of Scott's artillery, and scrupulously refrained from 
attacking the Americans on unfavorable terms; but while he 
made excuses bravely, and proposed valiant operations that 
Santa Anna forbade as inconsistent with his general plan, he 
retired some ten miles from the route on the plea that his ex- 
hausted horses required pasturage. For probably similar reasons 
Valencia quibbled and shirked ; his train of heavy guns — 
which, though needed in the fortifications, he would not give 
up — impeded his movements ; and so the only hostilities were 
a trifling skirmish with irregulars, in which one American 
trooper fell a victim to his own rashness. Thus ended, to his 
deep disgust, the flrst chapter of Santa Anna's hopes.'^ 

Four lines of advance now offered themselves to Scott. By 
taking the cross-road to the right he could have skirted Lake 
Texcoco, passing the village of that name, and approached the 
north or the northwest quarter of Mexico. But the route would 


have been long, deficient in- water and fuel, and circuitous ; 
it was defended by Valencia with an ample supply of artillery; 
a movement in that direction would have made surprise or 
even sudden attack impossible for him ; at a pass near Guada- 
lupe Hidalgo stood fortifications; and a march round these 
would have involved another long circuit on exposed and un- 
known ground. This route, therefore, was not seriously con- 
sidered. On the other hand, after the most thorough investi- 
gation, Scott had planned before leaving Puebla to take the 
cross-road to the left, march along the southern shores of Lakes 
Chalco and Xochimilco, and reach San Agustin, some ten miles 
to the south of Mexico ; and it was for this reason that he placed 
Worth, who was to lead the movement while Twiggs was to 
menace Old Penon, near Chalco.^' 

On reaching the ground, however, unfavorable reports .about 
this road were given by Mexican spies ; and the General, partly 
for that reason and partly to mystify the enemy, reconnoitred 
the Penon and also a fourth route, which led to the village of 
Mexicaltzingo, about five miles from the city. In regard to 
the Penon his engineers — who pushed their investigations with 
the utmost intrepidity, studied every foot of the red ledges 
dripping with crimson gravel, and even penetrated behind the 
hill — decided that it could be carried, but only at a severe 
loss; while the evidence concerning the fourth possibility led 
to a substantially similar conclusion, supported by the addi- 
tional objection, that apparently success would place the 
Americans on difficult and unknown ground. At about the 
same time Scott obtained further information regarding the 
Chalco route, which seemed to justify the opinion formed at 
Puebla. Consequently the orders to attack Mexicaltzingo — 
issued either because at the time Scott thought he should march 
that way or because he desired to mislead the cunning Mexican 
spies, who even gained the confidence of high American oflScers— 
were suddenly rescinded in the night of the fourteenth, and 
the next day, though Twiggs continued to threaten the Penon 
until the morning of the sixteenth, all the rest of the army, 
headed by the cavalry and Worth's division, set out for San 
Agustfn, distant from Chalco some twenty-five miles.^' 

For about half this distance the road was little more than 
a narrow lane, with a lake — or more properly a watery marsh 


— on the right and bold foothills close on the left. Spaces of 
firm ground there were. At one time venerable olive trees 
formed an arch over the road ; once the troops camped in a 
fine grove, and some ledgy, rocky spurs had to be crossed. But 
for much of the way, although the weather had been remarkably 
dry for the midst of the rainy season, the story, as Scott had 
anticipated, was "mud, mud, mud." Now and then a man 
would slip and sink to his waist in a bog-hole ; in places the 
track was quite overflowed ; the chilly, torrential rains of almost 
every afternoon increased the difficulties; and the labor of 
getting several miles of wagons and heavy guns along such a 
route was almost incredible. Besides, the troops had to be 
ready at all hours for attack — frontal, rear or flank. But 
early in the afternoon of the seventeenth Harney and Worth's 
advance reached San Agustin, a delightful place full of handsome 
gardens and orchards ; and the next day the rest of the troops 
joined them — "ready," as a soldier put it, "for anything 
except a thrashing." ^^ 

But again, where were the Mexicans ? With so many works 
to construct, Santa Anna could hardly be censured for leaving 
unfortified — especially as both an inner and an outer line were 
made ready against any forces using it — a route that seemed 
to be quite impracticable for an army train; but he might 
have placed upon it a few light guns and a body of skirmishers, 
who could have embarrassed the Americans greatly. This, 
however, with his usual over-confidence and faulty judgment, 
he neglected to do. Yet he was not idle. On the fourteenth 
he knew the Americans were talking of a march to San Agustin ; 
and though he suspected this language might be a blind, he 
not only sent additional forces to that quarter, but ordered 
Alvarez to follow Scott, should such a movement occur, and 
be ready to fall upon him bravely should he attack a fortified 
position ; and when the movement actually began on the follow- 
ing day, though Santa Anna misinterpreted its aim, he promptly 
took further defensive steps on that line.^* 

One result was a slight brush between Alvarez and Twiggs 
after the latter moved from Chalco on the sixteenth; but 
Alvarez soon found so many difficulties in the road pursued 
by the Americans and so little food or pasturage left in their 
rear, that he once more abandoned his appointed field of 


operations. Santa Anna would not break up his general plan 
by sending strong detachments from the southern line; and 
consequently Scott's march was merely annoyed by a few hun- 
dred irregulars, who fired at intervals, rolled great stones down 
the slopes, and cut ditches in the road, but broke from cover and 
fled like scared rabbits when C. F. Smith's corps of light infantry 
ran leaping and shouting across the hillsides. Thus ended the 
second chapter of Santa Anna's hopes.^^ 

Meantime a precipitate rearrangement of the Mexican forces 
took place. The President, after reconnoitring the American 
advance, hastened to place himself between San Agustin and 
Mexico. Troops were despatched from the Peiion to various 
points on the southern front, and Valencia was ordered to 
proceed by the way of Guadalupe Hidalgo to the same quarter. 
But the former status could no more be restored than one could 
put back the smoke of an exploded shell. The strongest 
fortifications had been turned and rendered useless; and any 
one could see that on the side now threatened, where a number 
of causeways approached the city, the defence of it would 
almost necessarily be weakened by a division of the garrison. 
After such enthusiasm and such impatience to meet the enemy, 
retirement unadorned with laurels or with even the stains of 
combat produced a humiliating reaction in all hearts.^' 

At Mexico the returning soldiers found empty streets, un- 
tenanted balconies and bolted windows ; and the silent, sombre, 
fearsome aspect of a besieged city enveloped and oppressed 
them. Doubts as to Santa Anna's competence or loyalty, 
which had slept but not died amidst the recent glorification 
and his confident promises of "a splendid triumph," awoke. 
People recalled that precisely when the enemy were moving 
against Vera Cruz, the Mexican army had been led off into the 
northern deserts ; and they hotly demanded why the engineers, 
the laborers, the troops and the cannon had been massed at 
Old Pefion, where Scott could nullify them all by a turn of 
the wrist. As if in answer, it was publicly stated that an 
outpost had found a treasonable communication addressed by 
the President of Mexico to the American commander; and 
so ended Chapter III of Santa Anna's hopes." 



August, 1S47 

While grievously disappointed by the collapse of his efforts 
at Old Penon, Santa Anna felt by no means despondent regard- 
ing his new line. Toward the south ran the great highway of 
Acapulco — 'along which numberless cargoes of silks, teas 
and spices had approached — guarded at about a mile from 
the city by the gateway or garita of San Antonio Abad. Three 
miles and a half beyond that garita the highway crossed a 
bridge over Churubusco River, here practically a drainage 
canal running between high embankments planted with maguey, 
with Mexicaltzingo about a mile and a half distant at the left. 
On the farther side of the river, a fifth of a mile southwest of 
the bridge, stood a massive convent and church, skirted by 
the rambling hamlet of Churubusco. Passing the church at a 
distance of three hundred and fifty yards the highway veered 
slightly toward the east, and some two and a quarter miles 
from the river came to a great feudal hacienda named San 
Antonio, adorned with trim silver poplars and Peruvian pepper 
trees along the front of its buildings. A scant mile then brought 
one to the similar but far less pretentious establishment of 
Cuapa; and two scant miles more to San Agustin.^ At 
the Churubusco bridgehead and convent and at San Antonio, 
where the erection of defences had begun some time before, 
laborers could now be seen working — particularly at San 
Antonio — like bees; and with all possible haste guns, as 
well as troops, were brought over from the Penon. Here, said 
the President, he "desired to have the battle fought." * 

To increase his confidence, troops not only occupied Mexi- 
caltzingo on the left, but in even stronger force guarded the' 
opposite flank. About three miles toward the south from' 
San Cosme, the western garita of Mexico, the traveller, passing 
the fortified hill of Chapultepec on the right, found himself at 





the genial suburb of Tacubaya. Keeping on in the same 
general direction for nearly six miles and traversing Mixcoac 
at about half-way, one came to San Angel, a pretty but narrow 
town of some importance on the skirt of the foothills. Two 
miles from here toward the east at Coyoacan, a garden spot 
loved by Cortez and Alvarado, the fine brigade of Perez, which 
consisted of about 3500 infantry, was now placed; and at 
San Angel itself a high military officer, followed by some 
5500 troops ^ from Guadalupe, drove up in a coach about noon 
on Tuesday, the seventeenth of August. The man was of 
average height but unusually broad, with a bull-neck deep in 
his shoulders, as if some person had tried to force a good idea 
into his head with a pile-driver, a hard, cruel, domineering 
look about his blue eyes, small side-whiskers, and a heavy 
mustache. It was Valencia, whose imputed schemes and 
intrigues had of late been keeping every tongue busy.^ 

Valencia's instructions were to block the way from Coyoacan 
to Tacubaya with men and works; but he mounted at once, 
rode on south by the turnpike, passed Ansaldo — a farmhouse 
buried in its orchard, two miles and a half or so from San Angel 
— and a strong half-mile beyond it paused. On his right, 
open ground sloped gradually back into a rounded hill, sonie 
three or four hundred yards from the road ; and below him on 
the left flowed a small but lively stream at the bottom of a 
deep, wide ravine, near the opposite side of which stood the 
adobe buildings of Padierna farm.* 

From this point a mule-path, barely practicable for horses, 
wriggled off in the direction of San Agustln, here about four 
miles distant in a straight line; and — covering the whole 
intermediate plain from San Antonio and San Agustin on 
the one side to Padierna and San Angel on the other, from 
Coyoacan on the north to the mountains on the south — ex- 
tended a pedregal or lava bed, which looked as if a raging sea 
of molten rock had instantly congealed, had then been filled 
by the storms of centuries with fissures, caves, jagged points 
and lurking pitfalls, and finally had been decorated with oc- 
casional stunted trees and clumps of bushes. After pursuing 
the mule-path for some distance, ordering a camp and batteries 
established on the slope of the rounded hill, and instructing 
experts to reconnoitre the ground thoroughly, Valencia re- 


turned to his post; and in the evening, on learning from the 
experts that four other paths — one of them available for 
artillery — led from San Agustin to San Angel, he summarized 
the reconnaissances in a letter to Santa Anna, complaining that 
he had neither room to manoeuvre nor time to fortify where he 
was, asking leave to change his position, and calling for 2000 
more men.* 

The next day, Wednesday, the eighteenth, Santa Anna, 
writing back that Scott intended to attack San Antonio, 
ordered Valencia to place his troops at Coyoacan, and send 
his artillery to Churubusco, a mile farther east. Valencia, 
who by this time had placed a strong outpost on the mule- 
path and sappers on the rounded hill, replied that Scott, striking 
both at San Antonio and at San Angel, would push his thrust 
in whichever direction he should find the easier, and that he 
could not conscientiously leave the second point unguarded by 
obeying those orders. Notes worthy of the most finished and 
effusive pirates were then exchanged; and in the end Santa 
Anna, who longed to remove his insubordinate general but 
dared not, authorized him to do as he pleased and assume, of 
course, the attendant responsibility.' Accordingly on Thurs- 
day morning Valencia advanced with trumpets, drums and 
flags to the rounded hill, and proceeded to array his forces. 
A long, low, earthen parapet with an angle at the southern end 
already faced Padierna, and five guns were in battery; but 
the summit of the hill was neglected.* 

During this time the Americans were not inactive. Early on 
Wednesday Scott directed Worth and Engineers Mason and 
Tower, supported by Garland's brigade of infantry and a body 
of dragoons, to reconnoitre San Antonio.^ The task was 
accomplished boldly and thoroughly; and they found the 
place heavily defended, not only in the vicinity of the white 
castle which formed the headquarters of the hacienda, but for 
a long distance eastward ■ — where, moreover, the water-soaked 
ground almost forbade approach — and saw countless laborers 
toiling hard upon the works. The presence of at least one 
24-pounder was demonstrated, and other heavy cannon were 
believed to be there. In Worth's opinion, the cost of making 
a successful assault by the narrow, gun-swept causeway with 
fascines and ladders would cripple the army.^ 


Questioning peons through an interpreter, the officers learned 
of a path which began at the highway near Cuapa, made a 
circuit on the left through the pedregal, and apparently re- 
tiu-ned to the highway some distance inside the works, and 
this received careful attention; but the conclusion was, that 
while infantry could filter through it, artillery could not pass ; 
and to advance by such a route in the presence of a strong, 
unshaken enemy, whose front and other flank could not be 
attacked or seriously threatened, appeared worse than hazardous. 
Even Scott felt rather depressed on hearing the reports, es- 
pecially as fortifications were said to exist north of the hacienda. 
The men, wagons and guns, all covered with mud, that lay 
scattered about on the wet ground, seemed little indeed like a 
conquering army. Except for some cattle, the army had only 
four days' provisions ; the hard bread was already musty, and 
the horses lacked forage." 

Later, however, Lee and Beauregard brought somewhat 
more promising information. To the hacienda of Peiia Pobre, 
a mile and a quarter from Sari Agustin toward the west, they 
had found a good road ; and then, after proceeding about an 
equal distance by a mule-path to the top of a sharp ridge, they 
had seen the path continue to Padierna and the turnpike, 
which lay in full view nearly a mile and a half away, and they 
believed it possible to make a road by that line. Their escort 
had routed a hostile corps of observation, and some men had 
been seen at work on a rounded hill beyond the turnpike, but 
no other Mexican forces appeared to be near. Indeed, it 
seemed probable that much less adequate defences had been 
' provided here than on the great southern highway, and in 
this direction Scott resolved to strike. "An enemy that halts, 
vacillates, declines the battle offered him, makes a circuit, 
hunts for a position and finds none to suit him is an enemy lost," 
exulted the Diario.^ 

The next morning, August 19, therefore — while Quitman 
unwillingly remained at San Agustin to guard the base,^ and 
Worth, with his engineers and troops, continued to reconnoitre 
and threaten on the San Antonio side — Scott ordered a force 
of engineers to build a road in the other direction. Pillow's 
division was to furnish working-parties, and Twiggs's to clear 
away whatever Mexican detachments might undertake to 


hinder the operations; and the implied instructions were to 
gain and hold the San Angel turnpike, so that San Antonio 
could be turned. Scott did not expect or desire a general en- 
gagement at this time ; but he directed Pillow to take command 
and employ both divisions, if a battle should be opened, promis- 
ing that in such an event he would soon appear on the field. 
Under these instructions the troops advanced cautiously but 
rapidly the first mile and a quarter, constructed a road to the 
summit of the ridge, pulled up the guns with drag-ropes, and 
looked over. As the returning tide makes a sea in the Bay of 
Fundy, where only bare ground had been visible a few hours 
earlier, Valencia's army had taken possession. It was now one 
o'clock, and evidently road-building was over for a while.^' 

Pillow, however, knew all about winning victories. From 
a central hill, Zacatepec, where he stood, he could measure 
Valencia's forces to a nicety, and he decided to brush them 
away. By his order the Mounted Rifles, particularly the ad- 
vanced companies of Roberts and Porter, deployed quickly, 
drove the Mexican skirmishers in a handsome style from rocks 
and fissures, and finally occupied Padierna. At the same time 
and under his instructions Magruder — tall, blonde and intrepid 

— advanced his field battery nearly a mile without cover over 
that almost impassable ground, which the enemy had now 
barred with stone walls, planted it under the slight protection 
of a transverse ledge, and not long after two o'clock opened a 
duel with Mexican siege guns, 68-pound howitzers and many 
lighter pieces, more than twenty in all, at a range of about 
900 yards, while brave Callender fought the howitzer battery 
beside him, dashing little Reno set off rockets, and Smith's 
and Pierce's brigades, which were presently to attack Valencia's 
camp, furnished support. And Pillow knew also how to "bag" 
a defeated enemy. So he ordered Riley's brigade to the ex- 
treme right to cocperate with the frontal attack by checking 
reinforcements and cutting off Valencia's retreat. Then he 
countermanded this order, but not in season." 

Zigzagging, scrambling, leaping, and sliding as best they 
could over about a mile of pedregal, Riley's brigade crossed 
the stream and the turnpike, formed in the orchard of Ansaldo, 
routed small bodies of lancers, passed through San Geronimo 

— an Indian village lying amid trees and ravines a quarter of 


a mile west of Ansaldo and about three times as far from 
Valencia — had a stiff but victorious brush with Torrejon 
and three regiments of cavalry, defied Valencia's cannon, some 
of which now faced this way, found cover at length in broken 
ground between the village and his camp, and waited for the 
Mexicans to be routed. But the major general commanding 
failed in the prime essential of his plan, for he did not induce 
Valencia to retreat. Badly crippled, the American batteries 
became silent after an hour or so, the brigades that had ex- 
pected to charge saw clearly they could accomplish nothing, 
and Riley found himself isolated. So ended wretchedly the 
first phase of the battle of Contreras,* Pillow's phase.^' 

But by this time a second phase was taking shape. Pillow 
himself perceived that Riley had been thrown into imminent 
peril, and sent Cadwalader's brigade, which was followed by 
the Fifteenth Infantry, to his support. Smitli, useless where 
he was and probably feeling little confidence in Pillow or Twiggs, 
decided to regard himself as the senior officer present, gathered 
his men, except those employed in skirmishing, and, with a 
yell of endorsement from them, proceeded in the direction that 
Riley had taken — not, however, primarily to intercept Valen- 
cia's retreat or reinforcements, but with a direct view to 
attacking his left flank. At about the same time — probably 
by half-past three o'clock — Scott himself joined Pillow and 
other officers on Zacatepec, viewed with his usual battlefield 
equanimity the desperate state of things, now spread before 
him like a map on a table, studied Valencia's batteries, the 
heavy ranks of supporting infantry and the long lines of cavalry 
in the rear, and soon fixed upon woody San Geronimo — 
marked at a line distance of about a mile and three quarters 
by its white steeple — as the key to the situation, since it both 
flanked and isolated Valencia, and ordered Shields's brigade 
also, which had followed him from San Agustin, to that point." 

Smith, arriving at San Geronimo about an hour before sunset, 
found all of the commands, except Shields's, that had been 
ordered to go there ; and he also found that Santa Anna, after 
Jiurrying from San Antonio through Coyoacan and San Angel, 
had placed himself with Perez's brigade and seven or eight 
hundred cavalry and artillery on low hills about one half or 
three quarters of a mile behind San Geronimo, and — though 


checked by Cadwalader's brigade — was making ready to 
attack. Smith at once began preparing to dispose of him, 
while the Mexicans on the hills, after four or five guns arrived, 
indulged in vivas, music and a little harmless cannonading; 
but both commanders finally concluded that the hour was 
now too late for a battle. Santa Anna also decided that an im- 
passable ravine separated him from the Americans, and that 
he could not prudently expose his men and arms to the rain then 
imminent; and therefore, leaving his cavalry and artillery 
behind, he put the rest of his forces under cover at San Angel.'^ 

Night and a storm now set in, but behind the curtain of 
darkness four striking scenes were presented. Scott, the 
general who seemed to have lost half his army all at once 
without a battle, sat at headquarters anxious and helpless. 
Seven times he despatched an officer to his isolated right with 
orders, and seven times the officer failed to get through. But 
still he waited — patient, considerate for those about him, 
hopeful and alert, reflecting no doubt that brave men, skilful 
officers and the natural strength of San Geronimo would count. 
Valencia, on the other hand, feeling that at last he had proved 
Santa Anna a blunderer, and had forced him into the position 
of a mere assistant, was jubilant, boastful and literally in- 
toxicated. He reported grandly on his "brilliant day," and 
scattered promotions as if already head of the state." 

Santa Anna, devoured by passions and perplexities, now 
sent Jose Ramiro to Valencia by a circuitous route with orders 
to retreat at once. Not long afterwards two of Valencia's 
aides reached San Angel, bringing news that, instead of being 
exterminated, thousands of Americans were established in 
the San Geronimo woods. Don't talk to me, Santa Anna cried 
to the aides, who endeavored to excuse the situation ; Valencia 
is an ambitious, insubordinate sot; he deserves to have his 
brains blown out, and I will not expose my men to the storm 
for him ; let him spike his guns, make the ammunition useless, 
and retreat. When Ramiro arrived at the camp, Valencia 
would not listen to his message, and fiercely demanded am- 
munition and men; but when his aides reported, he saw his 
doom.' "Traitor, he has sold us!" he cried, storming like 
a madman in the midst of his troops. Soldiers heard and 
echoed the cry. Women shrieked. Frightened horses broke 



loose and galloped into the night. Americans with lights are 
creeping in behind us, reported Torrejon. The army under- 
stood. Scouts were feeling the way. The price had been paid 
to Santa Anna. Their blood would soon be claimed." 

In ignorance of all these outside events the Americans at 
San Geronimo, too exhausted to eat, bore the torrents of chill- 
ing, beating rain without fires and in darkness as best they 
could. Some found huts, but most of them lay in the mud or 
stood up under trees. Smith's and Riley's men occupied the 
lanes, and Shields's brigade, which stumbled in at about mid- 
night, put up in the road and an orchard. Officers fared like 


privates. In such a plight, the troops listened for hours to 
the music and vivas of the enemy, and for their own part could 
only reflect on the painful and fruitless exertions of the day 
and on the prospects of the morrow. Without cavalry, with- 
out cannon, without reserves of provisions or ammunition, 
without hope of quarter, they felt that with some 4200 men 
they might have to face 25,000 exultant Mexicans and any 
amount of artillery at daybreak. But everybody believed in 
General Smith.'" "Here he is!" "Now we'll have them!" 
Riley's soldiers had cried on seeing Smith arrive; and the 
confidence was not misplaced.'^ 

During the afternoon a ravine leading toward Valencia's 
rear had been found. Smith seized upon the hint at once, 
and proposed to attack by that route before daybreak with 
bayonets only; a conference of officers agreed to his plan; 
it was decided to notify Scott, and suggest that a diversion 
be made on Valencia's front at the proper time; Lee under- 
took the almost impossible feat of carrying this message across 
the pedregal; and Officers Tower and Brooks, whose lights 
— probably occasional matches — Torrejon had reported, 
were sent off to study the ravine, and prepare to be the guides. 
As Santa Anna was expected to attack early. Shields accepted 
the charge of building fires in the morning as if no Americans 
had left the ground, and holding San Geronimo." 

Two hours after midnight the troops were roused, and at 
three o'clock Eiley began to move. But it was tedious work 
to marshal the scattered corps in the darkness and rain by touch 
and whisper, and morning broke before the last were out of 
the village. The ravine branched deceptively; it was full of 
rocks, too; and the watery clay, a soldier said, slipped like 
"soft soap." Finally, however, the units closed up at about 
a mile from San Geronimo, and, partially hidden in a fog, 
scrambled up to firm ground behind a low hill. As it was now 
light, the firearms were put in order ; and with quick adaptation 
to the topography, the present arrangement of the Mexicans 
and their probable movements. General Smith marshalled and 
instructed the troops.'^ 

Riley's brigade, about 1300 strong, was to be the storming 
party. Cadwalader's in halves formed a wing on each side 
to keep off cavalry. A part of Smith's, together with the 


engineer company, was directed to slip along behind elevated 
ground, and fall upon the flank or rear of a Mexican force 
posted in advance; and the rest of it, marching by the left, 
was ordered to strike the camp and a large body of lancers 
on the flank. Even the possibility of a rear attack from 
Santa Anna, supposed to be still where he had been seen the 
evening before, was provided against. Meanwhile the troops 
that had remained in the pedregal, assembled as well as possible 
by Twiggs and Lee during the latter part of the night, in 
accordance with orders from Scott, watched and waited near 
Padierna under Colonel Ransom of the Ninth Infantry." 

Finally a slightly round-shouldered man, with blue eyes, a 
sandy mustache and sandy hair, walked slowly to the front 
and looked at his watch. It was about six o'clock. "Are 
you ready?" he asked in a cheery voice. "Ready!" the 
troops answered with a meaning smile. He gave them a keen 
glance. "Men, forward!" he then ordered, for it was General 
Smith. "Forward, forward!" flew the command through 
the ranks, and ahead they went.^^ 

Struck on front and rear General Mendoza's advanced corps 
fired without aiming, turned and bolted ; but Ransom's men, 
darting across the ravine, gave Valencia something else — 
something he fancied more serious than Smith's approach — 
to think about. Only a pair of 6-pounders bore on Riley, and 
they fired high. Soon the Mexicans at the breastwork, ex- 
changing shots wildly with Ransom, found that bullets were 
coming from behind, leaped over the parapet and fled. At- 
tacked by Smith's men, the lancers gave way and upset the 
rest of the infantry; and Riley's column, deployed as well 
as time and the ground would allow, bore down like a flood. 
All was now confusion in the camp : infantry, horse, artillery, 
mules, women, laborers in a mob. Some of the gunners re- 
mained at their pieces — chained to them, it was said — but, 
like the infantry, they aimed little; and almost in a moment, 
like a bag turned upside down, the camp was empty of all 
the Mexicans who could get away. Again General Smith 
drew out his watch. "It has taken just seventeen minutes," 
he remarked." 

Riley's brigade halted to secure the prisoners and the spoils, 
among which — to the frantic delight of the soldiers — were 


the two cannon lost so nobly at Buena Vista; but the rest of 
the victorious troops pursued the enemy to San Angel; and 
the Mexicans fleeing by the turnpike toward Ansaldo, cannon- 
aded from their own camp and running the gantlet of Smith, 
Ransom and even Shields, who had moved down toward the 
road, fared badly. Others, including Torrejon and a large 
part of the cavalry, managed by taking rough paths to reach 
San Geronimo and the hills. Valencia also escaped ; but Salas, 
who tried to check the flight, was captured. Seven hundred 
Mexicans fell, it was estimated ; over eight hundred were made 
prisoners ; the captured cannon, including the best that Santa 
Anna had, and the captured ammunition proved invaluable; 
and the cost, as reported by Scott, was not over sixty Ameri- 
cans killed and wounded.^' 

Nor were such the only consequences of this lightning-stroke. 
Santa Anna, having at length decided to rescue Valencia and 
raised his forces to at least 7000 by drawing Rangel's reserve 
brigade from the city, had set out at daybreak for his position 
of the night before; but when in sight of Valencia's camp he 
learned from flying soldiers that all was over, and that his 
outer line of defences had failed. Angrily striking at fugitives 
with his whip he turned back, and waited near San Angel for 
a while, unable to decide anything. Then he sent Rangel to 
guard the southwest section of Mexico, despatched orders to 
evacuate San Antonio and Mexicaltzingo, and marched with 
the rest of his forces to Churubusco. Here priceless time was 
spent in raving against Valencia — whom he ordered shot at 
sight — in a passion that almost crazed him. His dominant 
idea now, so far as he could think at all, was to make the capital 
a second Troy ; and, probably with that in view, he set Perez's 
brigade in motion toward the city.^^ 

After a time, however, reason gained the better of despera- 
tion, and seeing the necessity of protecting the retreat of the 
San Antonio garrison, he ordered General Rincon, who was ably 
seconded by Anaya, to hold the Churubusco convent as long 
as possible, garrisoned the bridgehead with one of P&ez's 
regiments, extended two others far down behind the embank- 
ment of the river eastwardly, used a part of the remaining two 
as a line from the bridgehead to the convent, and stationed 
the rest on the highway behind .^^ 



The convent position included, besides the building proper, 
a strong church with a parapeted roof, a high stone enclosure 
provided on the inside with scaffolds for troops, a broad, wet 
ditch, two outside bastions facing Coyoacan, unfinished but 
strong breastworks on the west and south, two detached adobe 
huts pierced with embrasures on their southwest sides, four 
8-pounders, three smaller guns, and for garrison some 1500 
or 1800 men, consisting of the Mexico battalions named Inde- 
pendencia and Bravos, the San Patricio contingent of American 
deserters or most of it, and some detachments of other corps ; 


Sccle of 7ards 
250 500 


while the bridgehead, a powerful, scientifically constructed 
work, with four feet of water in the ditch and three heavy 
cannon, appeared to defy attack. Surveying this excellent 
position Santa Anna recovered some of his courage, and began 
work actively to complete the fortifications near the bridge. 
The untried militia at the convent were almost in despair when 
they found themselves in the forefront, but he promised to aid 
them at the critical time.^''^ 

Scott, for his part, left San Agustin before he knew how 
Smith's plan had worked out, met the news on the pedregal, 
kept on to San Angel, and near that place, amid tumultuous 
cheering, took command of Pillow's and Twiggs's divisions." 



The road to Mexico by way of Tacubaya lay open, but he 
could not move now in that direction and leave Worth, Quit- 
man, the artillery, the baggage, the stores and the sick to join 
him as best they could, exposed — as it was believed — to 
some 25,000 Mexicans. The first needful step was to capture 
San Antonio and reunite his army. Worth had already been 

directed, after the rout of 
Valencia became known, to 
attack and also turn that 
position whenever he should 
learn that Pillow and 
Twiggs had gained its rear ; 
and as a cross-road led 
from San Antonio to Coyo- 
acan, Coyoacan was the 
proper point of concentra- 
tion. Scott therefore went 
there with his troops, and 
sent Lee, strongly escorted 
by dragoons and Mounted Rifles, to reconnoitre the enemy and 
give the preconcerted signal for Worth's advance. Further 
to assist that general. Pillow with Cadwalader's brigade was 
now ordered down the cross-road.^* 

Worth did not, however, wait for assistance. At about 
eleven o'clock he sent Colonel Clarke's brigade — the Fifth, 
Sixth and Eighth Infantry — and Brevet Colonel C. F. Smith's 
battalion from Cuapa to turn San Antonio by the path on the 
left hand and cut off retreat, and placed Garland, accompanied 
by Duncan's battery, in a somewhat sheltered spot, as near 
as possible to the fortifications, with orders to advance on 
hearing the other brigade at work. Clarke's tortuous path 
seemed to be three miles long, and as it lay for two thirds of 
the distance in the pedregal, where the troops had to slide and 
scramble in single file, two hours were occupied in the march. 
The Mexicans, therefore, warned by seeing this movement — 
which they vainly attempted to check — as well as ordered 
by Santa Anna to retire, made the utmost efforts, after spiking 
some of their guns, to escape with the rest of them. But the 
garrison of San Antonio and the neighboring fortifications, 
which consisted of the Hidalgo and Victoria battalions of 

i-aa iSAiTijlii Ul'- UUUKUBUiSUO 116 

Mexico and some other militia, were wholly unfitted to execute 
a difficult retreat in the face of the enemy. Not far from its 
middle Clarke struck their column; and while the first part, 
led by General Bravo, kept on toward Churubusco bridge, 
the second broke up and scattered.'^ 

By this time Garland, having found by pushing a company 
forward that San Antonio had been evacuated, hastened on 
to unite with Clarke. The enemy were quickly driven from 
fortifications of a minor importance at Sotepingo, and the 
division then rushed for- 
ward after Bravo, while the 
Mexicans — a mass of cav- 
alry, infantry and artillery, 
wagons, mules, women, ser- 
vants, carriages and camp- 
followers — made all pos- 
sible speed. Owing to the '^^™ ^^ p°nt. 

effects of the rains, two Profile of east curtain. 

Mejdcan guns and a number of wagons were mired on the 
way; and near the Churubusco bridge Perez's brigade, hard 
pressed by the Americans from San Angel, crowded in upon 
the stream of fugitives.^* 

So it happened that when Engineer Stevens climbed the 
church tower of Coyoacan at about noon to reconnoitre, he 
observed a large body of Mexican troops pouring along the 
highway from San Antonio. Apparently Santa Anna was 
drawing all his forces to the city. Dense fields of corn six feet 
high or more almost hid the works at the convent. Perceiving, 
however, the nose of a bastion, Stevens concluded there might 
be one gun at that point, which he thought could be rushed; 
and a prisoner mentioned only two guns. The entire American 
army, reacting from the gloom of the previous evening, exultant 
over Smith's victory, and almost intoxicated by the change 
from storm to splendid sunshine, was now feeling invincible, 
eager and over-confident. Stevens merely shared the con- 
tagion ; his report — precipitate and misleading, as he fully 
admitted later — signified that without loss of a moment the 
San Antonio garrison ought by all means to be intercepted; 
and so Scott did what we know it had not been his intention 
to do: ordered Twiggs immediately to the convent and high- 

VOL. II — I 



way by the direct road. "Make haste, my sons," he called 
to the troops, "or they will be gone before you reach them !" ^^ 
At his instance and by way of precaution, engineers were 
sent on to make investigations; but, as the case appeared 
simple and urgent, the investigating and the fighting began 
hastily together. In a haphazard way the Mounted Rifles, 
or at least a part of them, became engaged; then the First 

Artillery advanced ; and soon 
the rest of Smith's brigade— 
the Third Infantry — besides 
the engineer company and 
Taylor's battery were thrown 
in. Rincon, a gray-haired 
Spanish veteran, deceived our 
generals, for he desired to 
save ammunition, and there- 
fore did not open his artil- 
lery fire till the Americans had come within musket range. 
To pause after the conflict began would have chilled the 
ardor of the troops and encouraged the enemy. Victory or 
defeat were the only alternatives, and a defeat could not be 
thought of.i" 

Victory did not arrive, however ; so now the Second and the 
Seventh Infantry, led by Riley, attacked the Mexican right. 
Amidst the corn the American infantry became scattered, yet 
in the same haphazard way fought on ; and Taylor, placed 
in a very exposed position before the state of things was under- 
stood, fired at short musket range with beautiful precision and 
rapidity. But the Mexicans, inspired by good leaders and by 
the example of the American deserters, who aimed the cannon, 
stood their ground. From parapets and bastions poured sheets 
of unceasing flame, sally followed sally, and guns at the bridge- 
head cooperated. In an hour and a half Taylor drove the 
enemy from the walls and from the roof of the church, but he 
lost twenty-four men and fourteen horses killed and wounded. 
The battery had to be withdrawn, and victory seemed almost 
beyond reach .^^ 

Worth had now been attacking the bridgehead for half an 
hour or more. Hurrying the troops along, without giving them 
definite instructions, at a speed limited only by their wind and 


the obstacles in their way, he had left the Sixth Infantry on 
the highway, placed the Fifth and the Eighth at the right of it, 
and sent the rest of his infantry obliquely against the Mexican 
left; and then, without a reconnaissance of the bridgehead, 
the Sixth was ordered to charge whatever lay in its front.^^ 

Probably the army contained no better corps, but it recoiled 
twice in confusion under a terrific storm of iron and lead. 
Valor was not lacking, but the men were dumfounded to come 
"butt-end first," as a soldier put it, upon such a fort so strongly 
held, when they had supposed they were chasing a parcel of 
rabbits ; and their numbers were unequal to the task. Officers 
as well as men showed every sign of panic. The regiment 
could not be kept on the highway; and the troops in the tall 
corn on the right accomplished no more. The ground was soft 
there ; and it was cut up with dikes and with deep, wide ditches 
containing about three feet of water. The men fought, but 
they fought in general disorder. C. F. Smith found himself 
with not more than twenty of Ms battalion at hand. Even 
the artillery, the backbone of the army, failed now, for Dun- 
can's light pieces could not challenge the bridgehead squarely 
on the highway, and the ground beside it was unsuitable for 
them; while occasional fire from the convent and the ex- 
plosion of an ammunition wagon abandoned by the Mexicans 
added to the difficulties.^^ 

At the same time, besides these two combats which Scott 
had not expected, one planned by him was taking place. A 
few minutes after sending Twiggs toward Churubusco he 
ordered Pierce — and presently Shields also — to follow a 
road leading north from Coyoacan, cross Churubusco River, 
and move toward Santa Anna's rear, so as to protect the Ameri- 
can flank and rear, favor the attack on the convent, and cut 
off the retreat of the Mexicans. The route adopted by the 
troops after leaving the road took them for a mile and a half 
through cornfields and marshes, and placed them near the 
highway, about three quarters of a mile north of the bridge- 
head, not far from the hacienda of Los Portales. To parry 
the blow Santa Anna at once moved in that direction with the 
Fourth Ligero, the Tulancingo regiment and most of the 
Eleventh Line, his finest corps, extending his men — perhaps 
2200 in all — until they almost overlapped the Americans; 


while some 1500 or 2000 cavalry, probably consisting of the 
horse that had followed him to San Angel reinforced by that 
which had escaped from Contreras, menaced — though afraid 
to attack — Shields's left.^^ 

Precisely what occurred now cannot be stated, for apparently 
most of the reporting officers were more anxious to conceal than 
to disclose facts; but it seems clear that Shields handled the 
men clumsily, that his own regiments fell into disorder when 
charging and shrank from the devouring Mexican fire, and that 
Pierce's brigade, composed of excellent material but officered 
to a large extent with political favorites, actually skulked. 
The Mexicans, on the other hand, finding two ditches along 
the highway to protect them from the dreaded bayonet and 
an embankment to screen them somewhat from bullets, fought 
stiffly. Shields was therefore unable, with his six hundred 
good men and two small howitzers, to make any impression, 
and after a time his troops huddled wherever they could in 
the shelter of some buildings.^'' 

But finally, between three and four o'clock, the spell broke. 
Worth's men, though astonished and for a time dismayed, had 
no thought of giving up. "Victory or death" was not a phrase 
to them, but a conviction. Though dikes, ditches, bad ground, 
corn higher than their heads, and the Mexican artillery fire 
broke up their organization, personal courage and personal 
leadership survived. In smaller or larger groups they fought 
on. Santa Anna, by taking the Fourth Ligero from Perez 
to defend the rear, deducted half the strength of his left wing, 
and no doubt Shields's operations, very suggestive of the 
American methods used in previous battles, tended to make 
the troops at the bridgehead nervous. Gradually a part of 
the unlucky Sixth and men of C. F. Smith's and Garland's 
commands, working toward the extreme American right, out- 
reached the enemy, crossed the river, turned the Mexican line, 
and moved on toward the highway. This created great alarm. 
The fate of Valencia was recalled. Many of the officers wilted. 
Ammunition seems partially to have failed; and at length, 
under a still galling fire, some of the Eighth Infantry, followed 
by more of the Fifth, waded the ditch of the bridgehead — 
twenty feet broad it was — climbed over the parapet or pushed 
through the embrasures, and settled the question hand to hand.^'' 


At once Duncan planted two of his guns on the highway 
near the convent, and for ten or fifteen minutes, aided by a 
piece or two at the bridgehead, he fired with a judgment, 
rapidity and accuracy that delighted the on-lookers. By this 
time two of Rincon's guns at the right of the convent and 
one of the other pieces had become unserviceable; the am- 
munition, so lavishly expended, had failed the infantry; and 
the loss of the bridgehead, which stood on higher and com- 
manding ground, was recognized as a most serious blow. The 
artillery commandant began to move a cannon from the front 
side to the right. Only two guns were in play on the front; 
and our Third Infantry, noting the slackened fire, dashed over 
the parapet at the left of the convent. Still the American 
deserters would not permit a white flag to be shown, and the 
garrison retired sullenly to the interior of the building. But 
Captain J. M. Smith, seeing that active resistance was over, 
now put up a white handkerchief himself to prevent further 
bloodshed. The signal of surrender stopped Duncan's work, 
too ; and the Mexicans, astonished by the consideration shown 
them, laid down their arms.^^ 

Perez and Bravo with a large part of the troops were now on 
the way to Mexico via Mexicaltzingo and Old Penon, and 
others were taking flight along the highway, pursued by Worth's 
division. Shields perceived what was occurring, and harangued 
his brigade. "The South Carolinians will follow you to the 
death," answered the "Tigers," as they were called by Scott. 
Many, if not all, of the New Yorkers joined them; Pierce's 
ofiicers mustered pluck enough to guard the left; and once 
more a charge was made. It proved no easy work, though, even 
now. First and last more than a third of Shields's brigade were 
killed or wounded. Brave, handsome Butler, commanding 
the Tigers, and his lieutenant colonel went down, and Colonel 
Burnett of the New Yorkers fell. But at last Shields carried 
the day, captured nearly four hundred Mexicans, and met 
Worth's cheering van on the highway." 

All joined then in the pursuit, supported with a captured 
6-pounder and a howitzer, and took liberal toll as they went, 
until, after charging nearly two miles, they were halted by 
Worth. Orders from the commander-in-chief to the same 
effect soon arrived. Four companies of dragoons under 


Harney were permitted, however, to keep on, and when the 
sight of a battery led him to pull up, Captain Kearny of the 
First resolved to charge the guns, and galloped ahead.^^ 

" Oh, what a glorious sight it was to see Phil Kearny riding 
into them !" wrote a soldier. His own troop were picked men; 
they rode picked horses — all iron-gray — that now seemed 
endowed with supernatural strength; and his other troop 
were fit comrades. Standing quite upright in the stirrups they, 
looked like centaurs. Little by little the rear fours, hearing 
the trumpet sound the recall, dropped off; but the leader and 
about a dozen others kept on like a swift vessel, dashing the 
billows of humanity right and left. The battery, which stood 
at the garita, fired upon friend and foe alike. Still the little 
group arrived there, leaped from their horses to carry it, and 
found — that they were alone. The panic of the enemy, 
however, saved them. Tearing loose and springing into the 
saddle, they got away. But a grape-shot was faster than 
Kearny ; and so, losing an arm but winning a brevet, he finished 
valiantly the battle of Ghurubusco.^^ 

Santa Anna's total loss for the day — the killed, the wounded 
and especially the missing — may be roughly estimated as 
10,000. He admitted that he lost more than a third of his 
men. After he was able to find where he stood (August 30) 
the Army of the East contained 11,381 privates. Alvarez had 
2447 privates (August 26) ; and, besides remnants of Valencia's 
troops, there were doubtless many small bodies of militia. 
Scott estimated the Mexicans killed and wounded as 4297, 
and 2637 prisoners, including eight generals, were reported; 
while the American ordnance was more than trebled, and the 
scanty stock of ammunition enormously increased. Out of 
8497 engaged in the two battles, we lost fourteen officers and 

119 privates killed, sixty and 805 respectively wounded, and 
some forty of the rank and file missing, who probably lost 
their lives.^" 

The high moral qualities displayed by our troops made the 
day glorious, as Hitchcock said, "in the highest degree"; and 
the army, naturally overestimating the numbers of the enemy, 
■ felt exceedingly proud. Scott, riding about the field, gray 
and massive, was hailed by the troops as the very genius of 
power and command. 


" Never did mightier man or horse 
Stem a tempestuous torrent's course," 

they felt; and when he addressed them with the eloquence of 
a soldier's heart, it seemed as if the cheers that followed must 
have shaken the "Halls." Nature, however, appeared to view 
the situation difl'erently. The mountains above Padierna 
wrinkled their foreheads with still deeper furrows, or knit 
them with still darker scowls. Dense black clouds, preceded 
by gleaming heralds, rushed suddenly across the sky. Light- 
ning flashed in sheets. Thunders rolled until the earth seemed 
to tremble. Torrents of rain deluged the ground; and in a 
little while, almost like something heavy and solid, night 
swiftly and prematurely descended.^ 



May, 1846-September, 1847 

After fighting ceased, the Americans found temporary 
quarters wherever they could. Most of Shields 's command 
occupied Los Portales "in a" most deplorable condition," and 
Worth's division remained at the same point or in Churubusco. 
Some of Pillow's men retired to San Antonio, and there passed 
the night without rations, blankets, fires or lights, while others 
moved across to Mixcoac. A part of Twiggs's lay in a muddy 
field without shelter, while the rest made their way to Coyoacan 
or San Angel. Some of the troops, covered with sticky mud, 
slept in a barn on straw, and acquired an extremely curious 
appearance. For all it was a hard night, and perhaps hardest 
for the ofiGcer on guard. The hours crawled. Thoughts of the 
battle, the morrow and the distant home barely stirred his 
leaden brain. Every instant, drowsiness threatened to become 
stupor. Now and then a sentry's challenge, the snort of a horse, 
the blast of a bugle roused him with a start. At last came a 
streak in the east. He called the drummer, and ordered him 
to " beat off." Instantly the sharp roll was taken up by others. 
The bustle of men awoke ; and the troops were alive again. 
Joy and pride welled up in their hearts, but the sadness of 
bereavement also and a sense of disappointment. They seemed 
to have won the race but lost the prize. Why had they not 
slept in the city ? ^ 

There were adequate military reasons for this. It was be- 
lieved that Santa Anna still had some 20,000 men, and what 
fortifications defended the interior of Mexico no one pretended 
to say. Three surprises had met the Americans during the past 
forty-eight hours. They had sick and wounded, prisoners, 
wagons and captured material to look after. They were 



scattered, unmunitioned, spent. Not a few had become ill. 
In spite of Scott's precise orders to carry rations a large number 
had gone hungry for about a day, and many had fasted longer. 
The stock of provisions had practically been exhausted. If I 
repulsed, the troops would have faced starvation ; if successful, ' 
they would have been a disorganized mass of ravenous, in- 
furiated soldiers in a hostile city. Almost all, even officers, 
were eager for a revel in the "Halls" ; they would largely have^ 
scattered for something to eat and something to drink; many 
would soon have been intoxicated; and fearful scenes, costly 
alike to them and the inhabitants, would have disgraced the 
victory and imperilled the army.^ 

Besides, the aim of the United States was peace ; it appeared '' 
certain that in view of the battle just won the Mexicans would 
be disposed to offer acceptable terms ; and resident Americans 
as well as neutrals had assured Scott that by taking the city', 
breaking up the government, dispersing the sensible and sub- 
stantial men who desired a settlement, and perhaps rousing the 
people to desperation, he would be defeating his own govern- • 
ment. On the other hand, as the General had reckoned before 
leaving Puebla, the presence of a victorious American army 
waiting at the gate seemed likely to excite intense fears of 
slaughter and sack, and prove a most effective argument ■ 
for negotiation. Consequently, though sure he could break 
his way in, Scott deliberately sacrificed military glory, and 
halted. The wish to end hostilities was the dominant con- 
sideration ; and, fully to understand this, we must now place 
ourselves at Washington, and then return to our present point 
by a singularly winding route.^ 

Both in his war Message of May 11, 1846, and later, Polk 
announced that he would be ready to negotiate whenever 
Mexico would make or even hear propositions ; and he sought 
a listening ear with a persistence due to several causes : a real 
des're to end the war, a naive ignorance of Mexican psychology, 
the exigencies of home politics and foreign relations, a natural 
predilection on his own part and on Buchanan's for schemes 
and tactics, and behind all a sincere wish, in accordance with 
our long-standing sentiment and policy, for the prosperity 
and friendship of the sister republic. Taylor was therefore 
instructed to place himself on confidential terms, if possible, 


at the Mexican headquarters with a view to bringing about 
negotiations; and in Hne with this pohcy Worth, while at 
Saltillo, offered pleasant sentiments to Santa Anna on the 
subject of peace.^ 

The battles on the Rio Grande and the unwelcome effects 
of the blockade tended to sober Mexico, as did the aloofness 
of Great Britain ; and Marcy counted not a little on the settle- 
ment of the Oregon question. Intimations were received 
from Consul Black in June and July, 1846, that not only all 

V thoughtful citizens but Paredes himself desired to reach an 
agreement. Bravo and his Cabinet, who temporarily assumed 
the reins of government, felt more strongly in the same way, 
and were more free to act; other signs also pointed in that 
direction ; and it was hoped that Santa Anna, should he regain 
power, would favor peace. "The American administration, 

' on the other hand, felt much embarrassed by the unexpected 
seriousness of the problems involved in the conflict. So on 
the twenty-seventh of July Buchanan addressed the Mexican 
minister of relations, waiving as undesirable all discussion 
upon the causes of the war, and inviting negotiations in the 
most conciliatory manner.'' 

But the government of Salas, which received this overture, 
had attacked Paredes for slackness in prosecuting the hostilities ; 
and he now counted upon this issue for maintaining the power 
it had given him. Besides, wrote Bankhead, the Mexicans 

.were still confident they could hold their own against the 
United States ; and the war spirit ran so strongly that Santa 

■ Anna, returning from exile to treat, remained to fight.^ Rejon, 
therefore, answering -Buchanan in a lofty and cutting strain, 
refused to ignore the causes of the war, and only promised 
that Congress, on meeting in December, would take the matter 
up. In other words, as an American newspaper observed, he 
said in effect : We are sorry that you feel so tired of the cam- 
paign ; as for ourselves, we are quite comfortable. The reply 
was not one to fire the popular heart of the United States; 
and without committing Mexico to anything, it required our 
Executive to prepare for a long and arduous contest. Nor was 

Salas reassuring when he laid the subject before Congress. 
"If Mexico fights with constancy and courage, hers will be 

the triumph," he proclaimed, and therefore the government 


has not desired to hear proposals of peace. Polk answered 
Rejon by ordering the hostilities to be conducted more harshly, 
and by announcing in his Message at the beginning of December 
that an indemnity covering the costs of the war, as well as our 
claims, would be required; but the Mexican Congress did 

About a week after Buchanan addressed the minister of 
relations in July, Polk recommended to Congress a naive 
measure admirably fitted to embarrass peace negotiations 
as much as it was irxtended to facilitate them. This was an 
appropriation of $2,000,000 to be used in that business for 
"extraordinary expenses." Probably the measure, vigorously 
though confidentially pressed by the Executive, would have 
passed ; but Senator Davis killed it by speaking against time. 
In the following session a similar proposition granting three 
millions came up about the middle of January, 1847, and on 
March 3, after every Congressman with a voice had talked 
himself out, it was carried. The natural result followed. 
Even at our Capitol there were open though false charges 
that bribery was contemplated, and to the Mexican that design 
seemed of course transparently^ plain. No public man who 

' cares for his reputation can vote for peace now, said the Diario? 
The sentiment in favor of offering to treat with our weak 
and unfortunate neighbor — as illustrated by formal action 
in Rhode Island and New York, for example — was in fact 
strong. Even the British minister at Washington recognized 
that the feeling in the Senate was " entirely in favor of generous 

f and pacific measures towards Mexico." Such Whigs as Web- 
ster and Winthrop demanded that a commission be sent; 
Benton favored that idea; and about the middle of January, 
1847, it was powerfully supported by Atocha, who presented 
himself at the capital. This cunning and perfectly unscru- 
pulous intriguer, who had been expelled by Santa Anna's 
enemies in 1845 because he represented the dictator's corrupt 
financial methods and then by Santa Anna himself in September, 
1846, because he knew too much about the Liberator's dealings 
with Mackenzie, readily proved his intimacy with leading 
Mexicans, created the belief that he was the government's 
peace agent, induced our administration to propose on January 
18 a meeting of American and Mexican commissioners at 


Jalapa or Havana, and was made the bearer of Buchanan's 
despatch to the minister of relations.^ 

Undoubtedly, though invested with no diplomatic functions, 
Atocha was expected to do much personally; but in this he 
totally failed. At Vera Cruz the people attempted to murder 
him. At Mexico he was ordered to leave almost immediately, 
and was prevented from talking with any person of influence ; 
and such use as he contrived to make of the pen, in suggesting 
terms of peace to Rejon, proved utterly fruitless. In short, 
the American messenger was handled with tongs, and he was 
back at Washington about the twentieth of March with an 
offensively worded note, refusing to treat until all Mexican 
lands and waters should be evacuated by our forces. Clearly 
this was a most unhappy overture.^ ^ 

Many circumstances combined to inspire such boldness on 
the part of our antagonist. Aside from the personal interest 
of many public men in continuing the war, and the belief, 
prompted by vanity and encouraged by specious arguments, 
both domestic and European, that natural defences, latent 
resources and the military ardor of brave citizens fighting for 
their homes would enable her to beat untrained money-grub- 
bers and "cowardly adventurers," operating far from their 
base — aside from all this, hatred of "the rapacious invader," 
a fear that peace would only lead to fresh demands and fresh 
encroachments, and the fine theory that no people struggling 
for their independence could be vanquished exerted a strong / 

The fact that an a,ctual occupation of California would have 
to be reckoned with could hardly be faced. To make peace 
without first gaining a victory seemed humiliating, sure to be 
disadvantageous, and likely to make dispirited Mexico the 
sport and prey of the whole world; and Santa Anna in par- 
ticular felt strongly on this point, because his personal future 
as well as the cause of the nation required some show of success.' 
No peace is possible now except the peace of the grave — 
national and racial extinction — it was insisted. Many'^^ 
reasoned that Polk, to satisfy the United States, would have 
to demand, as matters stood, a huge indemnity. Why regret 
a war that is bringing so much gold into the country; a war 
that will overthrow Santa Anna, the corruptionists, the in- 


triguers, the military men and the sham patriots; a war that 
will put an end to extortion and finally unite all the good ele- 
ments of the nation, demanded not a few; and why make 
sacrifices to stop it, when peace will bring civil wars, which are 
\worse? ' 

t Better subjugation than surrender, cried some in desperation ; 
while others believed that an American conquest and an- 
j nexation would extinguish privilege ar^d monopoly, set up a 
I pure democracy, ensure stability and order, bring in a flood 
j of enterprising northerners, and make the country prosper. 
The clergy in particular, anxious to preserve their property 
and their ease, felt rather more than willing to accept such a 
denouement. On the other hand, many believed that our 
J people neither would nor could bear for any length of time 
the expense of the contest. This was the key to Rejon's policy, 
as he told the Spanish minister. It was, therefore, only neces- 
sary to protract the war a little — meanwhile allowing the 
wrath of Heaven time to pass away — in order to reach the very 
pinnacle of glory.' 

• European journals offered much encouragement. Mexico 
need only be obstinate, advised the London Times, and it 
seemed a most agreeable prescription. The United States 
cannot long maintain the necessary troops, predicted the 
Globe. The Americans are tired of the war, need peace more: 
than Mexico, have no disciplined soldiers, cannot follow up 
their successes, and with good reason dread British inter- 
' ference, remarked some of the French papers. Even more sig- 


nificant were expressions coming from the United States. 
Hold fast, and you can make "a brilliant treaty," said a letter. 
All are disgusted with the hostilities, and in four years this 
country will kneel and pray for peace, declared others. Per- 
sistent American denunciations of the war as dishonorable 
made the idea of submission look shameful to our enemies. 
No nation as brave and numerous as the Mexicans have ever 
been conquered, announced the New York Express. The 
American treasury will soon be empty, predicted the National 
Intelligencer; and that influential paper endorsed the view 
that our antagonist could wear us out. Calhoun used all his 
powers to show that it would be "folly" to push the war, and 
ruin to push it successfully. Still more encouraging were the 


^ Whig orators. In the voice of doom Webster threatened the 
President with impeachment; and Corwin exclaimed, "Call 
home your army ; I will feed and clothe it no longer." Reports 
of a Whig revolution circulated at Mexico; and the belief, 
accepted by many in Europe also, that at any rate the Whigs 

* would soon come into power and reverse the policy of the 
American government, was confidently entertained by cm- 

But nothing proved so comforting, so cheering, as the con- 

' duct of our government. The call for 12-months volunteers^ 
appeared to indicate the limit of our endirrance, and invited 
procrastination. Polk's assurances, followin'g so many earlier' 
assurances from American Presidents, that for our own sake 
we desired Mexico to be strong, prosperous and friendly, im- 
plied that we did not intend to crowd her far. Our conciliatory 
language and repeated efforts to negotiate were noted as clearer 
signs of weakness. The employment of an agent like Atocha 
seemed a confession of impotence ; and the appropriation of - 
three millions for secret expenses in order to obtain peace, as^ 
El Republicano put it, looked like throwing up the sponge. 
Polk wishes to exchange a bad war for a good bargain, sneered 
Le Constitutionnel of Paris. An extension of our boundary 
was believed to be one aim of the negotiations we urged ; and 
the Mexicans felt, said Pakenham, that we should not think 
of buying territory, if able to take it by force. The idea of 
selling it under such circumstances was viewed as doubly 

Happily saved by his ignorance of Mexican character and 
sentiment from the mortification of knowing all this, fully 
conscious that the war was unpopular even with his own party, 
and hopeful that Buena Vista and the capture of Vera Cruz 
had affected Mexico, Polk favored the idea of a commission. 
Benton, however, would not have Slidell on the board; the 
President could not well ignore Slidell unless a higher oflBcial 
— the secretary of state himself — should be made sole repre- 
sentative ; and no first-class man could go to Mexico and dance 
attendance on the whims, delays and insults of a government 
that scornfully held off. Indeed, the nation could not afford 
to place the head of our state department or a commissioa 
of leading public figures in such a predicament.* 

L J-^.in.\^±n \JKJ±VA.x\l.l.VJiJ±\JXy±UlX 

At length, however, Buchanan's resourceful mind thought 
of sending Nicholas P. Trist, a protege of his own and now chief 
clerk of the state department. Trist's dignity, it was doubt- 
less thought, would not be too delicate ; his action, it seemed 
evident, could be controlled ; and the glory of success, if a treaty 
should be made, would belong to the administration — par- 
ticularly the secretary of state — and not exalt the agent in 
any dangerous political sense. Besides, the chief clerk was 
a man of agreeable and impressive appearance, admitted 
talents, unusual industry and the highest character; he had 
studied at West Point; he knew diplomatic business; as 
consul at Havana fora term of years, he had become acquainted 
with Spanish-American traits; and he spoke the language of 
Mexico fluently. He was therefore immediately appointed 
as Polk's agent — though officially styled " Commissioner 
Plenipotentiary" — to be paid, not as a diplomatic representa- 
tive, but from the appropriation for the contingent expenses of 
foreign intercourse.* 

The appointment was not, however, entirely felicitous. 
Trist, associated with Jefferson as law-student and as grandson 
by marriage and associated with Jackson as private secretary, 
Jiad sojourned on Olympus and tasted the ambrosia of the gods ; 
but he did not possess their divine constitution, and ambrosia 
disagreed with him. It gave him queer feelings in the head 
that were not exactly growing pains, and produced a state of 
mind that was neither of heaven nor of earth. The Declaration 
of Independence was always resounding in his thoughts, and 
mentally he was always walking up the stairs of the White 
House arm in arm with a hero, sage and prophet ; but he over- ] 
looked the foundation of downright common sense on which j 
great men build, and lacked the humor that might at least 
have kept him near the ground.* 

Aspiring, as he said, to influence the course of the world by 
drawing supernal truths from the region of abstract speculation, 
he resembled the gazing astronomer who walked into the ditch ; 
and a deep, sticky ditch lay just before him. Cordial cooper- 
ation with Scott was almost indispensable for the proper exe- 
cution of his work ; but he thought he disliked the man, he knew 
that Polk and the Cabinet disliked him, and his chiefs — 
probably afraid that he might be overpowered by the Whig 


general — took superabundant pains to brace him. Polk 
urged him to consort with Pillow, whom he represented as a 
Cincinnatus compounded with a Scipio Africanus; and Bu- 
chanan, uprearing his big person impressively, expanding in 
his courtly, diplomatic style, and beaming upon the artless, 
ethereal chief clerk with his uncommunicative blue eyes, in- 
timated that by faithfully carrying out the wishes of the govern- 
ment he might become the next Democratic nominee for the 
Presidency ! ^ 

Trist was equipped with a commission, credentials, letters 
from the secretaries of the war and the navy departments to 
Scott and. Perry, a draft or projet of a treaty, instructions 
directing him to inform our military and naval commanders, 
if Mexico should make and ratify the treaty, and a sealed 
despatch to the minister of relations, in which Buchanan 
pointed out that an evacuation of Mexican territory would 
be a surrender of all our costly gains, but announced that a 
commissioner, ranking second in our state department, would 
attend the army, and be ready at all times to negotiate. Osten- 
sibly a mere bearer of despatches, the chief clerk hastened 
incognito to New Orleans, reached Vera Cruz on May 6, fell 
very sick there, and forwarded to Scott both Marcy's letter 
and Buchanan's despatch, which was to be placed at once in 
the hands of the Mexican commander. He was authorized 
— not ordered, as he should have been — to let the General 
see his own instructions and his copy of the sealed despatch, 
which would have explained the plans of the government; 
but instead of doing this he merely wrote a letter of his own.' • 

What that letter said was never disclosed ; but we kno^ 
that it proceeded from a truly amiable but high-strung, "top- 
lofty" man, who felt expressly Called by Destiny to perform, 
a Great National Act and incidentally to put Winfield ScottJ- 
where he belonged. 

'The General's reply, on the other hand, is extant, and can 
readily be understood. He was already in a state of mind' 
regarding the administration. Friends had warned him 
against it since his departure from the United States, and the 
warnings had seemed to be coming true. After Polk had 
promised him confidence and cooperation, and afl^er he aS* a 
grateful return had assisted Polk with the Whigs, the President 


had immediately branded him before the world as unfit, and 
outraged his natural pride as a military man, by trying to 
have a civilian placed over him. Polk had infringed upon 
his rightful power to discipline unruly subordinates ; his requi- 
sitions for vessels, troops and supplies had not been met ; and 
now, though general-in-chief, he was required to transmit 
a despatch, doubtless bearing seriously upon the war, without 
knowing its contents or using a proper discretion as to its 
opportuneness — a requirement that Marcy did not undertake 
to defend ; and he read in the Secretary's letter these words : 
"Mr. Trist is clothed with such diplomatic powers as will 
authorize him to enter into arrangements with the government 
of Mexico for the suspension of hostilities." This looked 
mysterious and, in view of Polk's course toward him, alarming. 
He believed that in a highly important respect the management 
of the campaign had been taken from him, and he felt that he 
was to be degraded before his army, the Mexicans and the public 
at large by a clerk from the state department, of whom he had 
known at Washington just enough to believe he disliked him.' 

It seemed unjust and insulting ; and being an irascible, over- 
worked, over-worried soldier and master of language, seven 
of whose regiments had just gone home unexpectedly, he 
answered as might have been foreseen. Trist, angry, ill, con- 
scious to his pen's point of every convolution, involution, 
evolution, ramification and complication of his mental processes, 
and unaware of Marcy's blundering phraseology, replied at 
a length and in a tone that were enough to drive Scott wild; 
and when he finally reached headquarters on May 14, though 
Scott provided amply for his dignity and comfort, the two were 
not on speaking terms, and further epistolary exchanges only 
widened the breach. I fear Scott and Trist have got to writing, 
groaned Marcy, who knew them both ; if so, all is over. As" 
for the sealed despatch, on the grounds that it was doubtful 
whether the present circumstances w;arranted its presentation, 
and that anyhow a proper escort for protection against guerilla^/' 
could not then be afforded, it was returned to the commissioner.' 

On the sixth of June, therefore, Trist wrote a letter to Bank- 
head, explaining the character of Buchanan's despatch, asking 
him to make known the existence of the despatch and Trist's 
presence with the army, and inquiring whether at a proper 

VOL. II — K 


time that minister would transmit the paper to the Mexican 
government. Bankbead, as we know, strongly desired peace. 
The interests of the British merchants at Puebla and the capital 
and of consul-general Mackintosh, who not only was in 

~ business but had made large advances to Santa Anna, lay 
in the same direction; and hence Edward Thornton, a mem- 
ber of the British legation, called on Trist at Puebla five days 
later." Trist's verbal explanations of his government's aims 
proved satisfactory, and soon the despatch arrived at its des- 

■ The law of April 20 had forbidden, however, all negotiations 
with the United States. Ibarra, the minister of relations, there- 
fore, replied to Buchanan that his communication would be 
laid before Congress, and Santa Anna promised Bankhead 
that he would use his best efforts to have it considered promptly 
and favorably. Meantime the public disputed fiercely whether 

- an American proposition should be heard. Many of course 
denounced the idea, but others said it would place Mexico in 
a better position to listen, than to reject a proffer of peace with- 
out knowing its terms. The Diario — that is to say, the 
President — advocated this opinion, and the peace feeling, 
represented by the most sober and intelligent citizens, especially 
of the mercantile class, and supported by the sensible arguments 
of El Razonador, showed no little strength.^^ 

June 24 Thornton visited Puebla again, delivered Ibarra's 
reply to Buchanan, stated that Santa Anna had openly declared 
in favor of negotiations, and added that Santa Anna felt — as 
did Bankhead — that an immediate attack upon the capital 

I would be most unfortunate for the cause of peace. Trist, 

i therefore, perhaps having had pains in the head for some time 
that were growing pains, addressed Scott on the subject, and sent 
■ him the official documents that explained his mission. The 
General replied in a friendly and high-minded style. The two 
met. Each discovered thaTSli^Dpression of the other had been 
radically incorrect. When Tris^lfefti^very ill again, as he 
soon did, Scott anxiously went through^his personal stores 

" for guava marmalade ; and they became intimate and mutually 
admiring friends. The commander-in-chief cc^ially proposed 
to disregard for the sake of his country every thought of personal 
glory, and he was ready to assume all needful responsibility.'^ 


In Mexico, however, a lubricant almost always had to be 
applied in government affairs, and that lubricant was gold.- 
Knowing that the United States eagerly desired peace and had 
already appropriated millions to gain it, not a few Mexicans 
would have felt they sinned against nature and custom had 
they been willing to oblige usforjiotbing^, — Santa Anna's greed 
■""N^vertopped the mountains./ Rejon was well understood to be 
corrupt. Valencia, one of the loudest declaimers against peace, 
had a large family, was old and was poor ; and in Santa Anna's 
opinion he desired to be a little more comfortable. Numerous 
minor figures, more or less prominent in Congress, also appre- 
ciated comfort. The British merchants, with whom "arrange- 
ments" were a regular feature of dealings with the government, 
believed the Americans would have to apply the lubricant. 
Such was Bankhead's opinion, and on his second visit Thornton 
intimated as much. Scott, though he would not have attempted 
to corrupt an honest person, considered it no worse to employ 
a "statesman" than a spy, if the statesman desired to serve 
him ; and he believed that without the use of money a year 
of bloodshed would^not force Mexico to sign an acceptable 
treaty. He offered, therefore, to provide the requisite funds 
for carrying out Thornton's idea, and Trist welcomed his 

Santa Anna doubtless felt eager to obtain peace provided - 
he could remain in authority, and that proviso was natural, 
for otherwise he would have lost a position he loved, and exile 
or death would have been his early portion; but it was not 
easy to calculate the chances. Buchanan's despatch seemed 
to many a fresh sign of weakness. Scott had less than half 
the numbers that Marcy had promised, and many inferred 
that no more good troops could be sent. For a nation to > 
succumb before less than 10,000 isolated men, poorly trained 
and poorly supplied, seemed ridiculous and even irrational. 
Trist's lack of prestige was another offence to Mexican pride." 
The charge of collusion, supported by the known fact tbat an '' 
American officer had visited Sajita Anna in Cuba, manacled 
him; his countless enemies^ wctc awake and implacable; and 
he found it nopessary to deny that he thought of treating.^" ■ 
-iThe Coalition opposed all thoughts of peace. Fearful of 
responsibility'and paralyzed by personal and factional intrigues, 


Congress would not assemble. Nobody of influence had the 
courage to advocate what all knew to be necessary. Each 
party held back, hoping the other would make a tactical blunder 
of that sort. The law of April 20 towered squarely in the way. 
A caricature represented Polk amputating Santa Anna's re- 
maining leg, and the ether sponges were labelled " 3,000,000 
pesos." As the President and his friends could see no way 
out of the predicament, he decided — so the Spanish minister 
reported — to smash his army^ against Scott's, hoping that 
a treaty would then be acceptable to the nation. But the loss 
of his troops would have left him powerless ; and he confined 
himself now to advising, as did the British, that Scott should 
alarm the capital by advancing toward it.^^ 

At length, however, an arrangement for a meeting of Congress 
was made by the factions, and on July 13 that august body 
convened ; but it referred Buchanan's letter back to the adminis- 
tration as executive business, declaring at the same time against 
an "ignominious" treaty, and leaving untouched the law of 
April 20 ; and then practically, though not in form, it broke up. 
Santa Anna was now inclined to hold that Congress had 
abandoned him, negotiate a treaty of peace as a military act,' 
and carry it through by means of the American lubricant. 
Three days later, therefore, after discussing the matter with 
Pillow and the commander-in-chief, Trist formally asked the 
cooperation of Scott in providing $10,000 at once and promising 
to hand over a million whenever a treaty should be ratified 
by Mexico ; and Scott not only assented," but paid the smaller 
sum that day, as bread upon the waters, out of his fund for 
secret expenses. ^^ 

The outlook seemed favorable. Pedraza and Baranda, both 
of them in favor of a settlement, were virtually decided upon 
as the Mexican commissioners, and July 27 Santa Anna called 
his generals together — presumably to bring them round. 
But Valencia arrived that day froin San Luis Potosi with his 
army, loudly declaiming for war and closely watching for a 
slip on Santa Anna's part; Scott's delay about advancing* 
weakened the plan ; and so the council of generals did nothing. 
Santa Anna now hesitated more and more. Both he and his 
oSicers became encouraged by the accumulation of troops ^ 
and war material. Finally they concluded that a triumph 


lay within their reach, and the idea of making peace lost its 
attractiveness. Scott for his part allowed the negotiations to 
have no influence on his military plans. He doubtless hoped 
that a white flag and an offer to treat would meet him on the 
way to Mexico; but as they did not come, those plans were 
unflinchingly executed, and our arms triumphed.'^ 

Soon after the battle of Churubusco ended, he returned to 
San Agustfn, and as the initial step toward peace negotiations 
wrote a note summoning Mexico City to surrender. But ' 
Santa Anna did not wait for it. The town was in a dreadful 
state of confusion and panic. Wounded or demoralized soldiers 
could be seen everywhere. Many roamed about the streets, 
crying out at the slightest alarm, "Here come the Yankees!" 
Astounded by the American victories and utterly disheartened 
by the incompetence, cowardice and quarrels of their leaders, 
many felt that God had pronounced the doom of Belshazzar 
against "this accursed Babylon." Hence, though Santa Anna 
rallied troops as well as possible, he felt that an assault could 
not be repulsed, and at about midnight had Pacheco, then 
minister of relations, address a despatch to Buchanan proposing 
the negotiations requested so many times by the American 
government.^' The purpose of the despatch, which Bankhead 
transmitted open to Trist with an appeal from himself to heed 
it, was to prevent the Americans from entering the city ; and 
the Spanish minister, who was consulted with reference to it, 
agreed that in view of Polk's repeated assurances it could not 
fail to have that effect.^* 

Thornton and Mackintosh also brought their influence to 
bear ; and the next morning, while Scott was preparing to take 
up battering or assaulting positions to warrant the summons,") 
General Mora met him at Coyoacan with a proposal for a truce. 
The terms of this proposal were not satisfactory; but Scott 
sent back by him an overture for a short armistice. This was 
accepted by Santa Anna as a gift from heaven. Commissioners 
to arrange the terms were appointed the next day, and on the 
twenty-fourth ratifications of their agreement settled the 
matter. The army, though its entire confidence in Scott 
prevented all trouble, felt profoundly dissatisfied; but with 
a total disregard of personal considerations the General took 
what reasonably seemed to him the wise coiu-se." 


Scott, who was now at Tacubaya with Trist, held his troops 
at command — Worth and the dragoons at Tacubaya, Pillow 
at Mixcoac, Twiggs about four miles farther out, and Quitman 
at San Agustin — in such a manner as to be fairly safe himself, 
and to threaten the western and southern approaches of the 
city. The well men cleaned their clothes and arms, and the 
sick and wounded soon found themselves comfortable and 
cheerful. Several Mexican Congressmen among the prisoners 
were set free. About half a million of needed specie was 
obtained from the city — principally and perhaps entirely 
by cashing drafts on the United States government. A large 
quantity of provisions, contracted for while the Americans lay 
at Puebla, was brought out, and a train of wagons proceeded 
for the same purpose to the valley of Toluca, where Olaguibel, 
ostensibly the implacable enemy of the Americans, helped 
them to obtain supplies. Apples, pears and peaches of an. 
indifferent quality were now ripe, and the soldiers lived fairly 

Santa Anna was even busier than Scott. Measures were 
taken to collect all missing soldiers, reorganize and rearrange 
the corps, maintain a state of defence, and revive morale by 
removing disaffected ofEcers as Well as by punishing conspicuous 
delinquents. All American prisoners in the city were freely 
given up. Gamboa, a politician of Mexico state, caused some 
trouble by critically reviewing Santa Anna's course during the 
war, and formally charging him with treason. Far more ' 
serious was the combination of Valencia — who was still re- ' 
garded by many as a martyr, had gathered a small army, and , 
had pronounced against Santa Anna — with Olaguibel, who/ 
stood on confidential terms with Alvarez ; and to make this/ 
combination still more threatening, it seemed to be supported 
by Paredes, now at the head of a small force, by Almonte and j 
by Canalizo. All possible care was taken to guard against 
the movement. Every ofiicer known to have been associated 
with Valencia was imprisoned or at least cashiered; every 
hint of intrigue excited attention ; and the government heard 
with deep concern that somebody on a sorrel horse had carried 
letters from Toluca to Queretaro. Naturally Santa Anna 
did not fail to assemble the generals, and offer his place ta any 
one who would take it ; and of course none of them had the bad 


taste — not to say imprudence — to come forward. More- 
over behind all the military disaffection, rejoicing over it as 
a threat against Santa Anna, though unwilling to join forces 
with the army in any cause, towered the Coalition, justly ^ 
regarded as even more dangerous.^^ 

But obviously the chief business of the government was the 
negotiation with Trist. Here Santa Anna acted sincerely — 
as sincerely as the drowning man who clutches at a plank, 
no matter how great a rascal he has been. On this point we 
have a superabundant amount of evidence, and in particular the 
full reports of Lozano, charge d'affaires of Spain, with whom 
Santa Anna talked explicitly and at great length. Texas and 
upper California could be given up, the General thought, as 
territory already lost. The region between the Rio Grande 
and the Nueces, it was hastily inferred from a vague remark 
dropped by Trist at Puebla, could be made neutral, perhaps 
under a European guaranty ; and with that barrier established 
against smuggling and the dreaded encroachments of the 
United States, and with millions of shining American dollars 
pouring into the treasury for the benefit of those supporting 
him and the treaty, Santa Anna felt he could meet all 
opponents. In his own mind, though he intended to get 
still better terms if possible, the bargain was as good as 
made. He therefore placed on the commission superior men, 
disposed to effect an amicable settlement, and not mere 
partisans of his own: ex-President Herrera, J. B. Couto, a 
man of the highest integrity and leader of the Mexican bar, 
General Ignacio Mora, chief of the military engineers, and 
Miguel Atristain, a lawyer supposed to represent British 
commercial interests ; and he put forth a manifesto entirely 
satisfactory from the American point of view, in which he 
declared openly for peace, and, holding that Congress on 
being duly consulted had referred the subject back to the 
Executive, brushed aside the law of April 20." 

Trist, for his part, stated promptly the full demands of the 
United States, which required that Mexico should not only 
accept the Rio Grande line but cede New Mexico and upper 
California ; and three or four days later, in the hope of remov- 
ing diflSculties, he decided to inform Santa Anna confidentially 
that he would pay the highest sum authorized by his instruc- 


tions. This course was proper for the representative of a 
country that had always loved frank diplomacy, and felt no 
need of jockeying in the present negotiations ; and it was also 
prudent, for in tedious haggling and crafty special pleading no 
Anglo-Saxon could rival the Mexicans. September 1 and 2 
the terms were fully discussed .^^ Regarding certain minor 
points that might have entered into an agreement a mutual 
disposition to be conciliatory showed itself, but on the essentials 
Trist held firmly. Much to his surprise, the pecuniary con- 
sideration appeared to count for little in comparison with the 
alienating of territory and its population, and the Mexicans' 
proved obdurate. At last, therefore, to save the only hope 
of peace, Trist proposed that the armistice be extended forty * 
or forty-five days, and the decision of Washington be obtained 
as to excluding nationality and population from the Nueces- 
Rio Grande district.^'' 

The proposed extension of time Santa Anna, angry at what 
he thought had been a deception on Trist's part with reference 
to this district, rejected at once as a scheme to get provisions 
and reinforcements, and so he found himself confronted squarely* 
by unexpected and unpalatable terms. Nor were these his only 
difficulties. With light-hearted vanity the people still ignored 
their long series of defeats. An intense fear prevailed that 
Santa Anna, with what military forces remained and the 
money coming from Washington, would sweep away republican 
institutions, establish himself as autocrat for life, and wreak 
vengeance on his enemies. All the standard objections against 
ending the war marshalled themselves anew. Arguments, 
protests and threats, official as well as unofficial, poured in.^' 

Any sale of territory, wrote the governor of Queretaro, would 
authorize a general secession. Negotiations not shared in by >■ 
Congress are treasonable, proclaimed Farias, Otero, Rosa and 
other statesmen in concert. Rejon, who probably wished the 
Americans to capture Mexico, install the Puros in authority 
and make a treaty with them, added his loud voice to the 
chorus. The Coalition and the Valencia-Olaguibel conspiracy 
loomed up darker than before. States and citizens who refused 
to support the war denounced Santa Anna for proposing to 
end it. Many who longed for a treaty would not think of a 
treaty signed by him. The friends of peace lacked organiza- 


tion and the courage necessary to dominate the situation. The 
members of Congress would not gather, and it seemed evident 
that no popular asssembly would ever ratify the "sale" of loyal 
fellow-citizens, which the New Mexicans were believed to be.-''' 

Apparently Santa Anna's one chance was to declare himself 
"dictator immediately, and, if he cared to make so distasteful 
a bargain, ratify it himself ; but there were signs that his army 
— with Valencia and Paredes, long favorites of the military 
caste, bidding against him — would not support his authority 
against such opposition in such a cause. Rascally but keen 
Tornel, who called himself the Rainbow because he shone in 
stormy times, but was likened by others to the bat, poured 
self-interested counsels against peace into his ear; and from 
similar motives Pacheco assisted Tornel. Santa Anna's nerve 
weakened. Besides, an alternative offered itself. Had not 
Scott lost a good part of his little army in the recent fighting, 
and made the armistice in the desperate hope of receiving fresh 
troops? Might not fickle fortune change in the next battle? j 
Whatever its result, could the Americans venture to demand 
more than was now demanded ? Why not have another throw 
of the dice, and then make the treaty, if it could not be 
avoided ? ^^ 

As soon as Trist's persistence in our demands was made 
known to him, therefore, although he still felt some hope they 
would be modified, Santa Anna began to prepare a line of 
retreat. Warlike instead of pacific reasons for agreeing to the 
armistice made their appearance in public. Every thought 
of negotiating a treaty was denied, and papers were drawn up 
representing him as a bold and indignant champion of Mexican 
rights. At first his orders had been to keep the agreement 
with Scott inviolably ; but on finding that no acceptable modi- 
fication of Trist's demands was in sight, he proceeded to 
break it ■ — especially by preventing money and supplies from 
leaving the city, and by having work done on the fortifications 
of Chapultepec — and appeals for troops, funds and materials 
were issued. Scott, on the other hand, there is good reason to 
believe, adhered to his pledges ; but he was alert, and his paid 
agents in the city watched Santa Anna's proceedings. On 
September 2 he relinquished all real expectation of peace, yet 
he still clung to hope.^' 


The Mexican leader also shrank from drawing the sword. 
But on the afternoon of the 6th his commissioners, arriving late 
and agitated at the rendezvous, presented Trist with a counter- 
projet, which they knew he would reject, and an argumentative 
note intended for the Mexican public. No discussion took 
place. Evidently the time for words had passed. Scott then 
sent a letter charging that Santa Anna had violated the armis- 
tice, and announcing that unless complete satisfaction should 
be made before noon the following day, hostilities would be re- 
sumed. Santa Anna's ingenious reply was mainly a counter- 
blast of accusations designed to rouse what he called "the 
first city of the American continent" ; and again it was war.'* 
Yet something had been accomplished. The word "peace" 
had been uttered and seriously considered ; it was Trist's firm 
belief that not only the commissioners but most of the Cabinet 
were for accepting the American terms; in a measure this 
attitude on the part of leading Moderados committed their 
party; and the Mexican plenipotentiaries retired from the 
meetings filled with cordiality and even admiration for Trist.^' 

In the United States great disappointment was felt over the 
issue of these negotiations. The general view of the armistice 
was the easy, superficial one that all Mexicans were rascals, 
and that Santa Anna had shamelessly tricked our good faith. 
Marcy, not seeing that the counter-projet was a political ruse, 
' gravely pronounced it "extravagant and inadmissible." Polk, 
whose knowledge of the Mexicans was revealed by his quaint 
idea that an extension of the American segis over New Mexico 
might be welcomed by them, condemned the armistice as if 
peace had not been his avowed aim; and the administration 
organ, besides representing Scott and Trist as dupes, described 
it as contrary to the intentions of the government, when in fact a 
commissioner had attended the army for the express purpose 
; of negotiating at the earliest possible moment. Mexico rejects 
peace, proclaimed the Union; let us give her war. "Burn 
the olive branch and whet the sword," was the popular cry; 
let her be humbled in dust and ashes ! ^^ 

To the army the respite of a fortnight proved a physical, 
mental and moral blessing. San Agustin, buried in orchards, 
umbrageous Coyoacan, cozy San Angel and lively Mixcoac 
had each its charms; and Tacubaya, where the palace, em- 


bowered in blossoms and fragrance, crowned a hill gently — 
even pensively — shaded by silvery old olives, was lovelier 
yet, and afforded the noblest views. Here the brilliant sunrise, 
first lighting up the distant white volcanoes that propped the 
sky, and then stooping to brighten the near-by villas of the city 
merchants, ushered in gorgeously the perfect day. After 
noon black, jagged clouds could be seen gathering quickly in 
the soft and luminous blue; the edge of one would melt into 
a slender gray shadow, dripping to the earth; and in a few 
moments the grandest artillery of the heavens would be at 
work. Then sometimes a rainbow followed ; the sunset was 
fair; the moon rose clear and full; and the white houses, 
massive towers and brilliant porcelain domes of the city ap- 
peared to be afloat in a magical radiance toned with slumber 
and with dreams. "Heaven help those at home," wrote a 
soldier, "who think they know what moonlight is !" ^' 

Amid experiences like these it seemed hard, almost impossible, 
to contemplate war and bloodshed. But the troops felt 
thoroughly angered by what they looked upon as Mexican 
treachery — first in pretending to negotiate, and then in violat- 
ing the armistice; and they quickly nerved themselves, not 
without satisfaction, for the coming struggle. All realized 
that only triumph could save them now from destruction.^^ 


September, 1847 

Rather more than half a mile west of Chapultepec and still 
farther north of Tacubaya stood a complicated range of low 
stone buildings known as El Molino del Rey (The King's Mill). 
They extended in a rambling fashion approximately north and 
south more than 300 yards, and consisted essentially of a flour 
mill and a foundry for bronze cannon. The heavy walls and 
the parapets of the flat roofs, reinforced with sand-bags, made 
these buildings almost a fort. Nearly half a mile from them 
toward the northwest lay a very solid stone edifice, at one 
time a powder magazine, called the Casa Mata, protected now 
with a small, dry fosse and light, incomplete breastworks. 
Along the west front of El Molino extended a somewhat ir- 
regular drainage ditch, or series of ditches, at this critical time 
free from water, which then made a bend, passed some twenty- 
five yards from the south face of Casa Mata, continued in the 
same direction nearly one fourth of a mile, and finally joined a 
deep, wide ravine, that ran for a long way northeast and south- 
west, and could not easily be crossed except (at X) near this 
junction. For military uses the ditch gained strength from dirt 
thrown up in front of it and a line of maguey growing some 
thirty yards back. From it an easy slope, clear of trees but 
somewhat obstructed with cornfields near the bend, rose toward 
the southwest for about 600 yards and culminated in a ridge, 
which overlooked Tacubaya ; while west of the ravine and a 
mile or so from Casa Mata stood the hacienda buildings of Los 

Inferring from supposed signs of American activity, and also 
from Scott's peremptory letter, that on the afternoon of Sep- 
tember 7 a determined effort would be made to seize Chapul- 





Scale of Yards 


A Qrand Ptaaa 

B OafA«drat 

C /Mace 

D ^Iam«(Ia 

E .SivfiaA Cemetery 

O JUeziean BatteHea 

(aonw of them, not armed) 
Amtriam Batteries 
Q Tai/lor^e Battery 
B Suptoe'a Battery 


tepee and attack the defences of the city, which had not become 
very strong in this quarter, Santa Anna made special efforts 
during the sixth to place his most serviceable troops on the 
terrain just described; and the next day, taking command 
there- in person, he posted and instructed them with particular 
care. Leon's and Rangel's brigades were stationed in El 
Molino ; the best of Perez's brigade garrisoned the Casa Mata ; 
Ramirez's occupied the intermediate space; four guns were 
placed a little in front of the bend ; 3000 or 4000 horse under 
Alvarez — the first division commanded by him and the second 
by Manuel Andrade — proceeded to Los Morales ; reserves 
of infantry and artillery lay in the rear, and the cannon of 
Chapultepec were made ready to sweep the ridge and slope.^ 

At the same time pains were taken to rouse Mexico City. 
Suspicion of Santa Anna persisted, but his credit had been 
improved not a little by Valencia's ' conduct, and the public 
felt inclined to believe in him once more. The image of the 
Virgin of Guadalupe, the Patroness of Mexico, now passed 
through the streets. Under orders from Tornel the clergy 
preached a crusade against the heretical invaders. Tales of 
alleged American atrocities supplemented their exhortations. 
People were ordered to sharpen their daggers, and make ready 
to throw pa,ving-stones from the azoteas. That Scott's hand- 
ful — only some 8000 available men and supposed to number 
even less — could beat 18,000 or 20,000 valiant Mexicans, 
protected by strong defences, and capture a city still occupied 
by perhaps 200,000 persons, appeared incredible. Citizens as 
well as troops grew confident. When the bells began fto ring 
at about half-past nine on the morning of the seventh, all 
welcomed the alarm; and when Santa Anna visited the chosen 
terrain during the afternoon to issue his orders for battle, he 
was received with applause.' 

Scott also prepared. September 7 the engineer company and 
Cadwalader's brigade advanced from Mixcoae to Tacubaya, the 
rest of Pillow's division and one of Twiggs's brigades moved 
toward the city as a feint, and Twiggs's' other brigade and 
Quitman's division were ordered to concentrate at Mixcoae. 
Captain Mason and Lieutenant Foster of the engineers daringly 
reconnoitred the Mexican position, and, although Casa Mata — 
standing on low ground and partially masked by its earthworks 



and the maguey — was not adequately made out, they analyzed 
the situation correctly otherwise. Then, to prevent errors. 
Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Duncan and two engineers did the 
work a second time ; and Scott and Worth also made observa- 
tions. Information that he deemed thoroughly safe led the 
commander-in-chief to believe that guns needed for the defence 
of the city were now under construction at El Molino, and he 
desired Worth to have a party destroy the works and material 
during the coming night — in his opinion an easy task — and 
immediately retire. At Worth's request, however, a daybreak 
attack and, as the natural consequence, a broader plan were 
decided upon.* 

Accordingly, the first gray light of September 8 found the 
Americans waiting to assault the position. One cannon 

guarded the road from Mexico to Tacubaya. Brevet Colonel 
Garland's brigade and Captain Drum of the Fourth Artillery 
with his two Buena Vista 6-pounders were directly south of El 
Molino, at a distance of about 400 yards from it, to ward off 
a flank attack from Chapultepec, threaten the mill, and be ready 
to assist as might be necessary. On the ridge, not far to their 
left, stood Captain Huger with two 24-pound siege guns. Brevet 
Major Wright's party of stormers — twelve officers with five 
companies of 100 men each, drawn during the night from the 


six regiments of Worth's division — and a supporting body com- 
posed of Brevet Lieutenant Colonel C. F.Smith's light battalion. 
Some 500 yards farther to the left and higher up the ridge the 
guns of Duncan, who had charge of all the artillery, bore upon 
the Mexicans near Casa Mata, about 700 yards distant, with 
Colonel Clarke's brigade — now commanded, on account of 
Clarke's illness, by Brevet Colonel Mcintosh — on the left of 
the pieces and General Cadwalader's brigade, acting as a reserve, 
at their right and rear. And finally, near the ravine. Major 
Sumner of the Second Dragoons with some 270 mounted men 
occupied our extreme left under orders to hold the Mexican 
cavalry in check and cooperate wherever he could. In all 
there were 3447 officers and men.^ 

Apparently Worth's dispositions had been wisely planned, 
and a scrutiny of the Mexican position, could it have been 
made, would have confirmed the expectations of a quick victory. 
Deceived by Scott's feint against the southern front of the 
capital, Santa Anna had broken up his army during the night, 
and now, with a considerable part of it and some of the guns, 
he was fully two hours distant. No one officer commanded the 
troops before Worth. Only a sharp, strong thrustwas required.' 

As soon as Huger could make out the low, white walls of 
El Molino, about a third of a mile distant, he opened fire; 
and at the same time Engineers Mason and Foster advanced 
some 350 yards. All was perfectly still in front. Both of them 
believed the position had been abandoned, and Mason sent 
Foster back to have Wright's party — now deployed in line — 
advance. Consequently, instead of waiting, as had been the 
plan, until the 24-pounders had perceptibly shaken the mill, 
the stormers advanced and masked those guns when some ten 
rounds had been fired. The Mexican pieces, which had been 
moved nearer the mill during the night, at once opened furiously 
with canister from an unexpected quarter, and soon a terrific 
fusillade burst from the parapeted azoteas of El Molino. In 
spite of it all, three of the pieces were taken, however.* 

But the American spearhead — Wright's party — was merely . 
glued fragments of steel, not a forged blade. A large part of 
the men were separated from the comrades and officers whom 
they knew and relied upon, and all from the colors they adored. 
Mason, Foster, Wright and eight other oflJcers out of fourteen 


went down. The column broke. Nearly a third of the men, 
whose comrades fought later in the engagement, under their 
proper colors and officers, like heroes, absolutely bolted. The 
enemy saw that only a handful were persisting, and promptly 
rallied. Without orders brave Lieutenant Colonel Echeagaray 
brought from Chapultepec the Third Ligero. "At them!" 
he cried ; and instantly a counter-attack was launched. The 
guns were recaptured. The Americans had to retreat. And 
the pursuing Mexicans butchered and robbed our wounded.* 

Smith's battalion rapidly advanced, however, though possibly 
not quite soon enough. Drum directed a quick, accurate fire 
upon the Mexican battery. Garland moved up by a road 
that sheltered his command until it came within some 200 
yards of the mill. Drum followed him, stopping at intervals 
to deliver canister. Cadwalader sent aid. Tall, swarthy 
Leon crumpled suddenly with a bullet in his side; valiant 
Balderas fell over into the arms of his son; and for these 
ardent leaders the Mexicans had no substitutes. Ramirez 
took flight. The Mexican reserves would i not budge. The 
Americans captured the enemy's guns, penetrated into the 
buildings, and forced their way to the azoteas. Close fighting 
then settled the issue; and before very long, under the fire 
of their own pieces, as well as Drum's and one from Huger, 
the Mexican left wing and the troops coming to its aid from 
Chapultepec were in precipitate retreat.^ 

Casa Mata, still held by the excellent men under Perez but 
wholly destitute of artillery and feebly protected by its earthen 
enclosure, might have been cleared of defenders by a vigorous 
application of artillery. Duncan began work. But Worth 
believed in brilliant operations, and ordered Mcintosh to 
assault the position. With a smile that beautified his rugged 
face, the old warrior set out; and soon, bleeding from two 
wounds, he was lying on the slope. The second and the third 
in command fell. Officer after officer was struck down. The 
men toppled over by the wholesale. Wild with enthusiasm 
some of the Mexicans leaped over the defences and came to 
meet their assailants.^ 

In spite of their well-aimed and murderous volleys, however, 
they were soon punished and driven back. But what more 
could be done ? The walls of Casa Mata had not been breached, 

VOL. II — li 


and there were no ladders. So the Americans lay down behind 
the embankment of the ditch, and coolly picked off Mexicans 
at Casa Mata and behind the maguey. After a time their 
muskets became foul. Their ammunition began to give out. 
Somehow an order to retire got started; and finally the 
shattered remnants of the brigade fell back to the rear, followed 
by miscreants who glutted their fury on our wounded. But 
Duncan, whose guns had been masked by Mcintosh's advance, 
now resumed his work upon Casa Mata, and in a short while 
the Mexicans were in flight, pursued by the unerring missiles 
of the battery.^ 

Yet there were still 3000 or 4000 horse at Los Morales. 
These troops had been expected by Santa Anna to sweep the 
field, and he had personally given their commander his in- 
structions. But a mere partisan fighter like Alvarez did not 
know what to do with two divisions of cavalry, an arm that it 
requires distinctive qualifications and much experience to 
handle well. Besides, his division included no artillery, and 
he probably felt no more anxious than before to help the 
President at his own expense. He followed but carelessly 
Santa Anna's instructions. His orders to Andrade were more 
or less confused and impracticable; and that officer, who 
was at odds with his commander and felt that Santa Anna had 
overlooked his achievements at Buena Vista, concluded to keep 
himself and his men out of danger.^ 

At length, however, while Mcintosh was charging, Alvarez 
advanced in brilliant array with his own division. Sumner at 
once dashed hotly across the ravine and at them, passing the 
Mexican infantry within pistol range and losing forty-four men 
and 104 horses in perhaps ten seconds. Duncan turned his 
now unemployed guns in the same direction. One of Alvarez's 
brigades, made up of untrained guerillas, broke immediately 
under the cannon fire; and the whole division soon retreated 
in disorder upon Andrade's men, fiercely pursued by the 
riderless horses of Sumner's command, as if to get revenge for 
the loss of their masters. Later some of the cavalry undertook, 
or so pretended, to cross the ravine at another point. But 
Sumner dashed at them again, a part of Cadwalader's brigade 
was now in that quarter, and both Duncan and Huger — the 
latter being at present near the American centre with one gun — 


sent their compliments ; the Mexicans retreated ; and at about 
seven o'clock the battle ended.* 

"A sad mistake," said Hitchcock, and he was right. A few 
cannon moulds were found. The partial destruction of EI 
Molino and Casa Mata cancelled the military value of the 
position, and facilitated later American operations; but such 
operations were not contemplated at this time. A few small 
cannon and a quantity of more or less valuable ammunition 
fell into our hands, and a heavy gun at Chapultepec became 
disabled. Probably 2000 Mexicans were killed or wounded, 
and perhaps an equal number deserted. Nearly 700 prisoners 
were taken. The loss of two excellent officers meant still more, 
perhaps. Intrenching implements needed at Chapultepec were 
lost. The want of cooperation among the Mexican generals 
and especially the total failure of the cavalry to meet expecta- 
tions disheartened the capital. But the casualties in the little 
American army amounted to 124 killed and 582 wounded. The 
confidence of the officers, if not the men, in their leaders faltered 
at the evident mistakes of Scott and Worth. Each of those 
generals blamed the other, and the discord between them, 
which reached down to the private soldier, became worse than 
ever. No American could find satisfaction in a barren victory 
gained with such difficulty and at such a cost ; and the Mexicans, 
believing we had aimed to accomplish far more, exulted over 
their imaginary triumph. Scott faced the situat'on with un- 
shaken fortitude, but those who knew him intimately saw that 
he felt anxious.* , 

However, the great problem before them soon occupied the 
minds of all. Mexico, lying on a very slight elevation or 
swell, could be entered on its western side by the garita of 
San Cosme and at the southwest by the garita of Belen, to 
each of which led a causeway from the fortffied hill of Chapul- 
tepec, about a mile and a half southwest of Belen. From this 
garita a second causeway ran south about an equal distance 
to the picturesque chapel of La Piedad, where it was crossed by 
one extending eastwardly from Tacubaya to the San Antonio 
, or Acapulco highway, which — it will be recalled — led south 
to Churubusco and San Agustm. Not far north of the latter 
junction and about a mile from the city proper stood the garita 
of San Antonio ; while, intermediate between the San Antonio 


and the Piedad routes, the Nino Perdido causeway, coming from 
San Angel, connected with Nino Perdido garita, which stood at 
the edge of the city. Finally, a road leading nearly east from 
San Antonio gateway conducted one to La Viga garita and 
La Viga canal, a deep and broad waterway, which, since it 
could not well be bridged in the face of the enemy, practically 
bounded Scott's field of operations. There were thus four 
garitas — Belen, Nino Perdido, San Antonio and La Viga 
in this order from west to east — each guarding an approach 
to the capital from the south.'' 

Scott's expectation was to break the south front, and after 
the armistice ended, his engineers, assisted to some extent by 
himself and a Mexican officer in his pay, reconnoitred it actively 
and boldly except on the forenoon of the eighth. Had it been 
feasible to strike immediately on the resumption of hostilities, 
the enemy's lines would have been found poorly fortified and 
armed. But this could not well be done with Santa Anna's 
principal forces menacing our flank ; the American army was 
not yet in position; and Scott desired first of all to destroy 
El Molino. After the battle of the eighth half of his troops 
imperatively required a breathing space. The wounded had to 
be given attention. The army still needed to be placed. It was 
necessary to protect hospitals, baggage and stores — especially 
since Governor Olagulbel and about 700 militia, supposed by 
Americans to be Alvarez with his two divisions, were approach- 
ing the rear, and according to reports Valencia had 8000 men 
in that vicinity. Moreover Scott's information was not com- 
plete. The eighth of September, following the twentieth of 
August, had proved the danger of rashness ; and the fresh losses 
made extreme caution absolutely necessary. Finally, Scott 
felt a suspicion that the Mexicans expected and wished him to 
attack their apparently unfinished works covering the south 

On the morning of the eleventh he inspected these once more, 
and then had a conference of generals and engineers at La 
Piedad. It was a solemn gathering. Before them lay the 
fortified capital of Mexico, a hopeful army of perhaps 15,000, 
a good equipment of artillery, nearly 700 trained gunners, and 
a large population, somewhat disillusioned, but excited and 
vengeful ; and in view of the American situation it was essential, 


as the commander-in-chief clearly indicated, to strike a vita! 
blow at once.** 

But where? Point by point Scott fully and fairly stated 
the case : at the southwest the mighty porphyritic hill of Chapul- 
tepec to carry, but a clear problem, hard ground, excellent 
places for batteries, Huger's opinion that in one day the for- 
tified college on the top of the hill could be demolished, in the 
event of success a position from which to operate freely, and 
at least a possibility that, after losing what was commonly 
deemed its key, Mexico would listen to terms ; on the southern 
front marshes, inundations, large ditches full of water every- 
where, causeways already cut by the enemy, bridges destroyed, 
a topography that made rear and flank attacks impossible, an 
extensive series of well-planned and well-armed fortifications 
crossing their fires and commanding one another, and an 
enemy apparently eager to have the attack made here. Scott, 
while disclaiming any wish to influence the judgment of others, 
pronounced frankly for Chapultepec.^ 

Then one of the engineers — a tall, handsome young man, 
with a- positive chin, a strong nose, a dark, closely trimmed 
mustache, dark hair clustering above his ears, and a fresh, clear 
color in his face ' — stood up and reported crisply on the work 
of reconnoitring. His name was Robert E. Lee, and he rec- 
ommended approaching by the southern front. Three other 
engineers concurred with him. Four generals, doubtless in- 
fluenced by these experts, took the same view. Twiggs and 
Riley inclined the other way. The fifth engineer present was 
then called upon, and he — Beauregard — in a long, technical 
statement argued for the Chapultepec route. Pierce changed 
his opinion. A silence followed ; and then Scott, drawing up 
his magnificent figure to its full height, announced in his grand 
way: "Gentlemen, we will attack by the western gates. The 
general officers present here will remain for further orders — 
the meeting is dissolved." And so the die was caist.^" 

The preparation of Chapultepec for defence had begun in 
May, and Santa Anna had insisted upon it as of the "highest 
importance"; but want of money hindered and at times 
checked operations. During the armistice a little progress 
was made, and September 9, under the direction of a competent 
engineer and of the President himself, the work began in earnest. 



But alterations in plan, a lack of implements, a shortage of 
materials, the general confusion and the want of time naturally 
made thoroughness impossible. Chapultepec was therefore a 
fort but not really a fortress. It stood alone, too, without the 
supporting positions that a fortress must have ; and shot and 
shell could penetrate the defences of the college on the summit 
of the hill almost everywhere. Even the parapets were not 


Gen. Quitman's troops 
Gen. Pillow's troops 
Gen. Worth's troops 

ready ; and instead of the 2000 men required for an adequate 
garrison of the buildings and works, only a few hundreds 
occupied them. Their elevation merely hindered approach — 
not assault — and artillery could largely offset that advantage. 
To hold the grove was essential, for without it the garrison above 
could not obtain supplies or even water ; and here the want of 
adequate defences had a still worse effect, since large forces 
could not be protected against artillery." 



Yet for 7180 available Americans including those required 
to make a feint against the southern front — an "army" that 
had to contemplate still harder work beyond, and could not 
afford severe losses here — Chapultepec meant a great deal. 
In general the position formed an approximate rectangle about 
three fourths of a mile in length by one fourth of a mile in 
width, bounded at its western end by El Molino and on the 
other sides with high stone walls. In the south wall, at about 
its middle point, there was an opening covered on the outside 
by a sand-bag redan (B), unarmed. From the main gateway 
in the eastern end the causeway of Belen struck off toward the 
city, another road — guarded here by a cut and by two bat- 
teries — ran toward Tacubaya, and a third, after running west- 
wardly into the rectangle and a little way up the slope until it 
arrived at a 4-pounder in a circular redoubt (C), flanked with 
an infantry entrenchment (D), turned sharply toward the 
northeast, and finally climbed to the summit.'^ 

Here on a rectangular level space or terre-plein, supported at 
the eastern end by an almost vertical precipice and on the 
other sides by high, parapeted walls, rose 
the masonry buildings of the military col- 
lege, skilfully though incompletely rein- 
forced with sand-bags and screens of tim- 
ber (blindage), supplemented with parapeted 
azoteas, and surrounded with ten effective 
guns, heavy and light. A deep, broad fosse 
at the base of the western wall, mines below 
that, and finally, half-way down the slope, 
a redan (E) strengthened this end, where the incline was 
gentlest. In swamps at the western foot of the hill stood a large 
of huge cypresses — extending also toward the main 

Blindage at Cha- 


gateway — through which ran an east and west road com- 
manded by this redan (E) and also by the wall of the fort. 
Beyond the grove came a north-and-south ditch, intended for 
drainage, with a redan-breastwork (A) — looking westward 
— at its northern end ; and finally, after traversing level and 
open fields for about a quarter of a mile toward the west, 
one arrived at El Molino. Placed so conspicuously in view, 
150 or 200 feet in height, Chapultepec seemed to deserve its 
popular reputation of impregnability, and the American soldiers 


gazed at the white walls on the summit, transfigured in the 
sunlight, with dread if not with consternation.^^ 

Late in the afternoon, September 11, Quitman's division 
ostentatiously presented itself at La Piedad, but after dark both 
his and Pillow's moved to Tacubaya, leaving Twiggs with 
Brevet Colonel Riley's brigade and Steptoe's and Taylor's field 
pieces behind. During the night two 16's and an eight-inch 
howitzer under Drum were placed behind bushes on the road 
from Tacubaya to Mexico, about 1000 yards from Chapultepec, 
and a similar howitzer with a 24-pounder, masked in the same 
way, south of El Molino under Hagner; and these batteries 
(Nos- 1 and 2) opened fire the next morning (September 12). 
Later in the day a 16-pound siege gun and an eight-inch howitzer 
(Battery No. 3) and a ten-inch mortar (No. 4), planted nearer 
the mill, joined in the work. Chapultepec replied; and, as 
usual, the Mexican artillerymen — of whom there was a full 
complement — did well, occasionally knocking sand-bags from 
the American parapets, while our own gunners, warned by the 
burst of snioke, took shelter at each discharge. Meantime 
Steptoe, in the hope of deceiving the Mexicans as to Scott's 
purpose, made as much noise as possible opposite the San 
Antonio garita.^^ 

During these preparations the Mexicans passed their days 
in a state of fever. Reports that our army had only half- 
rations cheered them, and Scott's deceptive manoeuvres were 
attributed by many to indecision or timidity. On the eleventh 
a review and a valiant proclamation from the President recalled 
his "victory" of 1829 over the Spaniards. But a sense of 
weakness and confusion, the loss of friends, the continual alarms, 
the marchings and countermarchings, and the ominous clang 
of the bells kept them sad and anxious. Santa Anna, for his 
part, displayed as usual a remarkable activity and a remark- 
able want of judgment and method. During the night of 
September 9 he set perhaps 2000 men at work — one hour 
each — on the southern fortifications, and the parapets rose 
as if by enchantment. Not knowing where Scott would strike, 
he broke his army into a number of detachments, and shifted 
troops and guns frequently according to his notion of the proba- 
bilities, while always maintaining a reserve. But he lost 
himself in a maze of details ; and on the eleventh, deceived by 


the rather weak American feint, he unwisely drew men and 
carmon from Chapultepec and Belen." 

Early the next morning, however, the reports of spies and 
the roar of Scott's heavy guns enlightened him. Troops were 
hurried to the real point of danger. With all speed he went 
there himself, ordered his best engineers to work on the forti- 
fications near the main gateway of the Chapultepec enclosure, 
and posted troops close by. But there was little he could do. 
More and more accurately the American batteries fired and kept 
on firing. Two of the best cannon in the fort were disabled. 
The buildings of the college sufi'ered, the garrison suffered more, 
and their morale suffered most of all, for except the engineers 
and gunners the men felt utterly helpless. When Santa Anna 
entered the rectangle unattended to reconnoitre, a shell burst 
near him and covered his red pony with dirt. Toward evening 
General Bravo, the commander of the position, came down, 
reported to him that the garrison were cowed, and demanded 
fresh troops ; but Santa Anna could see no use of sending them 
forward to be destroyed on the way or else demoralized after 
arriving. They should be provided, he said, at the critical 

Scott saw, however, as the day waned, that Huger's expecta- 
tions would not be realized — that an assault would be neces- 
sary. For this last resort preparations had in fact been made. 
The troops and the ladders were now ready. Fearing the 
Mexicans would repair the damages under cover of night he 
thought at first of delivering the blow at once; but he con- 
cluded that it was now too late in the day, that his guns could 
soon dispose of repairs and reinforcements, and that a morning 
attack would give many hours for pursuing the advantages 
gained. Engineers' proceeded to mend and improve our own 
batteries, and the generals met for a conference. Here the 
plans were finally decided upon. Quitman's division and a 
forlorn hope of about 265 selected officers and men from 
Twiggs's division, under Captain Casey of the Second Infantry, 
were to advance by the Tacubaya road ; and Pillow's, preceded 
by a similar party from Worth's division, led by Captain Mc- 
Kenzieof the Second Artillery, was to attack by way of El 
Molino and the grove. Then every one betook himself to his 
post. But Pillow felt discontented. " We shall be defeated," 


said Worth privately ; and even Scott admitted to Hitchcock, 
"I have my misgivings." ^® 

At daybreak — about half-past five — the next morning a 
signal gun broke the stillness, and then our batteries opened. 
For two hours or so they hurled shot and shells at the fort, and 
then for some thirty minutes grape, canister and shells were 
poured into the grove. At about eight o'clock, as if by common 
consent, they stopped — but only to burst forth again with new 

That one momentary pause was the command to attack. 
Colonel Trousdale, with the Eleventh and Fourteenth Infantry 
and a section of Magruder's field battery under the "Stonewall" 
Jackson of our civil war, moved some distance eastward from 
near El Molino by the Anzures causeway along the northern 
side of the rectangle, to prevent reinforcement and embarrass 
escape in that quarter. Lieutenant Colonel Johnston with four 
companies of the gray Voltigeurs advanced outside the south 
wall, drove the Mexicans from the redan (B) and from the 
wall, behind which they had been standing on platforms, passed 
through the opening, captured the circular redoubt (C) and 
the breastwork near it (D), and opened fire on the southern 
parapet of the fort. Reno's howitzers, taken from El Molino 
eastward into the fields, poured shells upon the grove and the 
Mexican entrenchments (A and E). Four other Voltigeur 
companies under Colonel Andrews, after crossing those open 
fields, rushed with loud cheers into the swamp ; and the Ninth 
and the Fifteenth Infantry, deploying into line, followed them 
closely. Decorated with long, hanging moss, the venerable 
cypresses, dear alike to Cortez and to Montezuma, seemed 
like the fit guardians of some mystical and melancholy religion ; 
but now hurrahs and sharp flashes and th"e terrible crash of 
cannon-balls amidst the branches broke their shadowy silence, 
and the Americans, wallowing through the mire, drove the 
Mexican skirmishers from tree to tree, from the grove, and 
at last from the battle.^^ 

Clearly it was time for Santa Anna to support the garrison. 
Attempts had been made to repair the fort during the night, 
but no adequate materials could be found there. A cannon 
had burst. The dead and wounded lay about. There were no 
surgeons, no medical supplies. The expected reinforcements 


did not appear. Most of the students, gallant lads in gray 
uniforms and gaily tasselled blue caps, withdrew by command. 
Bravo — thickset and erect, with deep eyes and a powerful 
chin — though he was cold and unenterprising, had flawless 
courage, and he stood with folded arms or marched calmly from 
post to post. But the infantry of the garrison — hungry, 
exhausted, stunned, hopeless — cowered behind the parapets. 
Many had to be driven to their places, and some had to be 
fired on. Even the engineers and gunners felt despondent." 

But Santa Anna could not see what to do. No doubt the 
hill was to be attacked from the grove, but the enemy seemed 
likely to assault by the Tacubaya causeway also, and Trous- 
dale, he fancied, might come round by a road that skirted the 
eastern end of the rectangle to strike his rear. Besides, the 
officers and men showed no desire to challenge the American 
artillery by marching up the hill, and he understood well 
enough himself how few of them could probably reach the fort. 
At length, however, he strengthened the forces on the Tacubaya 
road, and sent most of the San Bias Activo battalion to Bravo. 
At the circular redoubt this corps met the Americans, and not 
many of them lived to go farther.^^ 

East of the grove, Andrews with his Voltigeurs and Reno 
with his howitzers turned a little to the right and united with 
Johnston. This left the Ninth a clear front. Colonel Ransom 
had promised, the day before, that he and his men would go into 
the fort or die. Proudly erect, sword in hand, the beau-ideal of a 
soldier, he strode in front up the steepest part of the slope, 
while the Fifteenth marched on his left. The breastwork (E) 
was captured ; and then, coming in view of the fort — its 
buildings almost hidden in smoke, its parapets a sheet of flame, 
the air filled with the hiss and shriek and roar of missiles — he 
waved his sword, shouted, "Forward, the Ninth!" and fell 
dead with a bullet in his forehead. A terrible cry rose from 
his men: "Ransom has fallen — the Colonel is shot!" Wild 
for revenge they all charged on, and a part of them reached the 

But there had been some mistake. The ladders had been 
entrusted to raw men, it was said ; perhaps they had not been 
started off in time; apparently some of the bearers had left 
their places and hurried on ; some had been killed and others 


frightened. Anyhow the ladders did not arrive. Like the 
Voltigeurs on their right, the Ninth and the Fifteenth sought 
shelter behind rocks and stumps and fired at the parapet ; and 
the tardy storming party, which was to have passed through 
them, feeling no desire to get between the two lines of fire 
and really unable to do anything without ladders, halted.^'' 

The men were fairly safe. Their muskets taught most of the 
enemy to keep down behind the parapet. The rest of the 
Mexicans fired very badly, and the Americans near the wall 
could not be reached by the cannon. But the attack was making 
no progress. Time passed — five, ten, fifteen dreadful minutes, 
and still no ladders could even be seen. The American batteries, 
which had been firing over the heads of our troops, could no 
longer do it safely. The ardor of battle was cooling. Low 
mounds that looked like graves, but in reality were the mines, 
lay under our men, and a Mexican lieutenant of engineers 
had orders to fire them at the right moment. Santa Anna with 
perhaps 4000 or even 5000 reserves so near — ^ might he not 
come round the hill ? Scott's whole gazing army, back even to 
Lieutenant Mayne Reid at Battery No. 2, was seized with a 
horrible fear. Pillow, lying at the foot of the hill painfully 
hurt in the ankle, sent for the whole of Worth's division, 
which was supporting him as a reserve, and begged Worth to 
make "great haste" or it would be "too late." ^' 

There was, however, a nearer source of help. When the 
signal for attack was given, Quitman's division — preceded by 
forty pioneers under Captain Reynolds of the Marines, Casey's 
forlorn hope, and 120 stormers from the volunteer division led 
by Major Twiggs of the Marines — advanced on the Tacu- 
baya causeway until about 200 yards from the gateway batteries. 
To support it, repel a body of Mexicans on its right, ward off 
any force that might approach from the city, perhaps turn 
those batteries, and if possible gain the Mexican rear. General 
Smith struck off into the meadows and pushed on despite 
the ditches; and Captain Drum and Lieutenant Benjamin, 
each with a single gun, and Lieutenant Hunt with two of 
Duncan's pieces advanced by the road, firing on those batteries 
or at the hill and fort as opportunities offered.'^ 

On each side of the causeway ran a ditch that was almost a 
canal and cramped the troops not a little ; and a terrible fire 


of artillery and musketry from the meadows, the front, the 
wall of the rectangle and the fort on the hill-top greeted them. 
Quitman had reconnoitred here the day before, and thought 
he understood the problem; but the Mexicans had made 
further preparations afterwards, and when he ordered a charge, 
it was checked, and Twiggs and Casey fell. Ahead of him, 
partly enfilading the road, blazed at least five guns, and some 
of the best soldiers in the Mexican army — commanded by 
General Rangel — occupied the stone buildings near them, while 
others fired from behind the wall near the gateway. Under 
this concentrated and awful storm the Americans recoiled, and 
sheltered themselves near a bend in the road by lying down, 
getting into the ditches or occupying some houses. Here, too, 
the offensive was blocked; the attack failed.^^ 

But "the issue of battle lies in the hearts of men," and the 
will of every American heart was Victory. Lieutenant Reid, 
hurrying over from the battery with two companies, dropped 
on the slope, but his men went forward. By Quitman's order 
the New York and the Second Pennsylvania regiments left the 
Tacubaya causeway, under a heavy fire waded the ditches on 
the left and rear to the redan (B), and charged through the 
opening, while the Palmettoes, finding a break in the same wall, 
made a little farther east by an American cannon, enlarged it 
with their bayonets and squeezed through. Shields and the 
commanders of the New York and Pennsylvania regiments were 
wounded, but the troops kept on. Clarke's brigade, sent 
forward by Worth, hastened up the western slope, and when 
Lieutenant Longstreet of the Eighth fell. Lieutenant Pickett 
seized the colors. For some reason the mines failed to explode ; 
and at last the ladders came up.^'^ 

Shouting and yelling, the Voltigeurs, the Ninth and Fifteenth, 
some of McKenzie's and the foremost of Quitman's men, all 
closely intermingled, and brilliant with flags and the sparkle of 
arms, crowded to the fosse. The first ladders, with all the bold 
fellows upon them, were. thrown down, but in a moment so 
many more were placed, side by side, that fifty could go up 
abreast. The blue Voltigeur flag, now full of holes, was planted 
on the parapet. A tide of brave Americans overflowed the fort. 
Resistance was vain. A little before half-past nine Bravo 
gave up his diamond-hilted sword, and the tricolor, that 


had been waving placidly amidst the uproar, came down with 
a jerk.^^ 

Fire was opened then upon the Mexicans at the gateway 
below, and fearless Captain Roberts of Casey's storming party, 
at the head of all the troops on the causeway and supported 
by General Smith's brigade, carried the gateway batteries. 
Many from Quitman's and Smith's commands rushed to the 
summit, dealing with flying enemies as they went. Scott himself 
came up — the hero of Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. The 
men pressed round him. He told them how glad he was, and 
how proud of them ; and how proud their country, their wives, 
their sisters and their sweethearts would be ; and it seemed as 
if such cheering had never been heard, anywhere in the world, 

Exultant but weary, the soldiers now looked about them as 
they took breath. From this eyrie the whole wonderful Valley 
of Mexico could be surveyed. All round the west the great 
wall of rugged mountains closed it in, and two vast, snowy 
peaks guarded its portal on the east. As if reluctantly the 
mountains gradually subsided into verdant hills and a wide 
plain, enamelled in a thousand soft hues. The broad, smooth 
lakes gleamed like molten silver. The gold of ripening grain, 
penciled lines of pale-green maguey, cottages radiant in the 
sun like the sails of distant ships, country-houses and villas 
half hiding in foliage, and many straight, converging avenues, 
lined with trees, delighted the eye. In the midst, clear-cut as 
a medallion, lay the city of Mexico, the capital, its roofs and 
towers black with people; and there, just yonder, stood the 
Halls of the Montezumas, the Jerusalem of these ardent young 
crusaders. Unfortunately breastworks, redoubts, cannon and 
a Mexican army were still to be reckoned with. Santa Anna 
had probably lost not more than 1800 killed, wounded and 
missing this day, and apparently Scott's loss had been about 
one fourth as great.^^ 

But the Americans quickly prepared to advance — first of 
all, Quitman. Naturally a certain discretion had been given 
to the commanding generals, and he intended to make the most 
of it. Looking from the hill along the Belen causeway, he 
saw a wide avenue divided through the middle by a stone 
aqueduct some eight feet wide and fifteen feet high, resting 



on heavy arches and pillars of masonry. Owing to fine weather 
the road was unusually firm. A small number of troops, fleeing 
in the utmost confusion, could be seen upon it, but at only one 
point fortifications. Borrowing all of Pillow's troops except 
the Fifteenth Infantry, which remained to hold Chapultepec 
and guard the prisoners, he quietly gave orders that his men 
should assemble near the main gateway. At once the inspiring 
words began to circulate, "Quitman's division to the city!" 
and as soon as possible the Rifles, in their crimson sashes, were 
leading the march forward. About a mile on, a two-gun bat- 
tery, with a field redan at its right on the marsh, blocked the 
way. For an hour or so Drum used a small gun upon it. 
Then the Rifles, after creeping along the aqueduct from arch to 
arch, took it by assault, and the march continued toward the 
fortifications at the garita.^^ 

As at the other garitas, no gates existed here, but a ditch and a 
parapet blocked one half of the causeway and a zigzag re- 
doubt the other. Just at the north was the 
stone house intended for guards and customs 
officials, beyond which lay the wide Paseo 
(Promenade). South, on the Piedad road, 
were artillery and infantry that could fire 
through the arches. Inside the garita, 
buildings extending toward the east offered 
shelter, and in open ground a little more 
toward the north and about 300 yards dis- 
tant, the extensive edifice called the citadel, 
protected with a wall and a wet ditch, con- 
stituted a serious obstacle. ^^ 

Santa Anna, after acting like a madman 

1 /-.I ^^ ill .. j-u- -4. The Citadel IN 1840. 

when Chapultepec fell, came to this garita. 
General Terres, a brave old Spaniard, commanded here with 
about 180 infantry and some artillerymen. Santa Anna gave 
him three guns of medium power, and stationed General 
Ramirez in the Paseo, Brevet General Arguelles on the opposite 
side, and General Perdigon Garay and Colonel Barrios in the 
rear with substantial reserves.^' 

. On approaching this formidable position, Quitman en- 
countered a withering storm of bullets, grape and sohd shot 
from both sides and the front, and suffered rather severely. 


But Drum and Benjamin, iron men, bringing up as soon as 
possible a long 18-pounder and a 24-pound howitzer on the 
opposite sides of the aqueduct, dampened the ardor of the 
Mexicans not a little, and splinters from the masonry did havoc 
among the sheltered artillerymen at the garita. Some troops 
already beaten at Chapultepec and at the intermediate battery 
soon became demoralized. At about one o'clock rumors crept 
in that Americans from the southern front were turning the 
position. Ramirez, Garay, Argiielles and Barrios retired with- 
out the formality of saying good-by; and Terras, whose 
cannon amniunition had failed, withdrew prudently to the 
citadel with two of the guns and about seventy panicky men, 
the remnant of his garrison. The Rifles now dashed over the 
parapet ; and at exactly twenty minutes past one a tall, slender 
man with short, bristling, grayish hair stood on it, smoking a 
cigar and waving a red handkerchief tied to a rifle. It was 
Quitman, self-possessed but exultant ; and in a few moments the 
Palmetto colors and the green banner of the Rifles, with its 
blazing gold eagle, were flying at the portal of the city.'' 

The advance then continued for some little distance, and, as 
the ammunition of our two heavy guns had been exhausted, 
the captured Mexican 8-pounder was made to do good service. 
But Santa Anna, who had thought the position safe and gone 
on to San Cosme, soon arrived with ordnance and troops. 
The citadel was reinforced, and infantry and cannon were placed 
at other points. Quitman's last artillery cartridges were used, 
and under the enemy's fire no more could be brought up. Solid 
shot cut down both Drum and Benjamin. Our infantry had 
to retire to the vicinity of the garita. Attempts were then 
made to strengthen the position ; but they did not accomplish 
very much. Ammunition gave out entirely, and flring ceased. 
The enemy grew bolder. Again and again they charged, and 
though repulsed they did not appear to be discouraged. By this 
time every member of Quitman's staff, Beauregard, his engineer 
officer, and all his artillery officers had been killed or wounded, 
and he longed anxiously for night.'^ 

Meanwhile, events had occurred on Scott's other wing. 
Trousdale's command, supplemented with Jackson's guns, 
pushed along the road and aqueduct on the north side of the 
rectangle, and the latter distinguished himself by fearlessly 


attacking a one-gun redoubt, which, supported by infantry 
and by fire from the summit of the hill, barred the way. 
To check Mexican reinforcements and threaten the enemy — 
particularly the troops in Quitman's front — Scott now had 
Worth, Garland's brigade, C. F. Smith's battalion, Duncan's 
battery, the rest of Magruder's battery and Sumner's dragoons 
pursue the same route. The one-gun redoubt was flanked and 
occupied ; and Worth's forces arrived at the northeast corner 
of the rectangle in time to annoy the retreat of Rangel and other 
departing Mexicans.^" 

Here began the broad, straight Veronica causeway — -closely 
similar to that of Belen — which extended almost north for 
nearly two miles (3530 yards) to the English cemetery, and 
there joined the San Cosme highway at approximately a right 
angle. Understanding the difficulties of the Belen approach, 
Scott intended to make only a feint in that quarter, and let his 
left wing break into the city. He therefore sent the brigades of 
Clarke and Cadwalader and also Huger with siege guns to 
Worth. To organize the attacking column, replenish the 
ammunition, make other needed preparations, and sweep 
away the resistance encountered at several minor fortifications, 
especially near the cemetery, required time ; but at about four 
o'clock Worth found himself on the straight highway about 
half a mile from the San Cosme garita.^" 

This entrance to the city had been included in the general 
scheme of defence, but on account of its remoteness from press- 
ing danger few workmen had been employed here ; and when 
Chapultepec fell, it lay entirely open except for a small parapet 
without a ditch extending partly across the highway some 
250 yards to the west. General Pena, however, coming this 
way from Chapultepec, stopped at the parapet, and Rangel 
placed at the garita such troops as he could assemble. Santa 
Anna, who displayed on this occasion reckless valor and an 
almost fiendish activity, sent three available cannon and brought 
additional troops. The roofs of buildings in the vicinity were 
occupied. A redoubt with embrasures was hastily erected at 
the garita, the near arches of the aqueduct were stopped up 
with sand-bags, and some guns in the Paseo were prepared to 

On attempting to advance, therefore, Worth found the high- 



way swept with bullets, canister, grape and shells. Garland, 
however, was ordered to creep forward under the protection of 
the arches, and endeavor to reach the south flank of the garita, 
and Clarke to burrow through the continuous line of buildings 
on the other side, and strike the northern flank. Lieutenant 
U. S. Grant, who was reported as acquitting himself at this 
time "most nobly," waded some ditches with a party of men 
and a mountain howitzer, and planted the gun on the roof of 
a church at the right ; and Lieutenant Raphael Semmes of the 
navy performed a similar exploit on the left. Artillery fire com- 
pelled Pena, who — reinforced by Santa Anna with two com- 
panies of the Eleventh Infantry — was fighting gallantly, to leave 
the parapet ; and Hunt, of Duncan's battery, though he lost 
more than half his men in dashing 150 yards at full speed, 
landed a gun at that point, where he could load in safety and 
then fire from the one embrasure.^" 

By five o'clock these preparations were complete. On the 
other hand Range! had been severely wounded, and his principal 
gun, a 24-pound howitzer, had become unserviceable. Sud- 
denly, to his utter astonishment, Americans appeared on the 
top of a three-story house that commanded the interior of his 
redoubt, and with a single volley disposed of almost every 
gunner and artillery mule. Then some of them hurried down 
to the front door of the house, burst it open, and rushed into 
the redoubt, where they met Americans just arrived by a 
flanking movement from the other side of the highway. In a 
panic the Mexicans fled, literally sweeping away Santa Anna 
and a body of troops, who had come at all speed from Belen 
to support the position. Many of them scattered, but with no 
little difficulty others were conducted to the citadel. By six 
o'clock Worth entered Mexico. Near the garita his forces 
were safely housed, and by way of "good-night" and good 
advice, Huger dropped a few shells in the vicinity of the 

The end, however, was not yet in view. Santa Anna had 
some 5000 infantry and fifteen cannon at the citadel, with 
probably about 7000 more troops not far away, and the Amer- 
icans, besides having lost many in the day's fighting, were 
now fearfully divided. Not only Worth but Quitman, who 
p anted three heavy guns in battery during the night, intended 


to advance in the morning, and apparently a day of carnage 
was to ensue .^° 

But Santa Anna probably began to feel the reaction that 
always followed his great efforts. Funds and provisions were 
scanty. The army was demoralized, and the mass of the 
people felt disheartened. Within the town there were no forti- 
fications, and it looked as if another battle under these conditions 
might scatter the troops, and involve the loss of nearly all the 
war material. Besides, leading persons in the city had always 
been strenuously anxious to prevent bombardment and assault ; 
and the President was urged now, as four months previously, to 
spare it. Early in the evening, therefore, he briefly discussed 
the situation with Olaguibel, the minister of war and three 
generals. The Governor was for acting deliberately ; but Santa 
Anna, declaring that honor had been satisfied and the city 
could not be defended successfully, ordered immediate evacua- 
tion; and by one o'clock the troops retired in a somewhat 
orderly fashion to Guadalupe Hidalgo. About three hours later 
a commission of the city council (ayuntamiento) offered terms 
of capitulation at the American headquarters in Tacubaya. 
These were of course rejected, for the town lay at our mercy ; but 
Scott gave informally the usual assurances of good treatment.^' 

So when the first thin streak of dawn glimmered forth 
behind the gray volcanoes, and our cannon at Belen garita 
were on the point of opening fire, a white flag and an invitation 
to enter the capital reached Quitman. First making sure there 
was no deception, he advanced ; and after stopping about 
half an hour at the citadel he moved forward under a splendid 
sun to the grand plaza, which fronted the palace and the 
cathedral, with Smith's brigade, the Marines, the New York 
volunteers and Steptoe's battery. As a triumphal procession 
the command looked rather strange. Quitman and Smith 
marched at its head on foot — the former with only one shoe ; 
and behind them came troops decorated with mud, the red 
stains of battle and rough bandages, carrying arms at quite 
haphazard angles. Not less astonishing looked the city, for 
sidewalks, windows, balconies and housetops were crowded 
with people. Except for the silence, the countless white hand- 
kerchiefs and the foreign flags, it might have been thought a 
holiday. Before the palace, which filled the east side of the 


plaza, the troops formed in line of battle. Officers took their 
places at the front, and when Captain Roberts hoisted a 
battle-scarred American flag on the staff of the palace at seven 
o'clock, arms were presented and the officers saluted .^^ 

Soon loud cheering was heard. A few squares away the 
commander-in-chief, escorted by cavalry with drawn swords, 
had reached Worth's command, which had stopped at six o'clock 
by orders opposite the high ash trees of the Alameda. A 
clatter. of galloping hoofs followed; and in another moment, 
amidst the involuntary applause of the Mexicans, General Scott, 
dressed in full uniform and mounted on a tall, heavy bay 
charger, dashed with his staff and Harney's dragoons into the 
grand plaza — his noble figure, gold epaulets and snowy plumes, 
resplendent under the brilliant sun, fitly typifying the invisible 
glory of his unkempt and limping army. Uncovering, he rode 
slowly along the line of battle to the music of our national airs ; 
the troops, presenting arms again, cheered and hurrahed 
till it seemed as if the earthquake-proof cathedral must be 
shaking, and the cavalry escort waved high their flashing 

In stentorian tones the commander-in-chief appointed 
Quitman governor of the city; and then, dismounting in 
the courtyard, he clanked up the broad stairway of the palace, 
to indite congratulations on the "many glorious victories" of 
his army. Presently cross-belted American Marines were 
calmly patrolling the Halls of the Montezumas as if they 
owned them, while the rest of the troops gazed with profound 
exultation at the long pinkish facade and the endless balconies 
of the upper story, and the people gazed silently at the troops. 
"They are all and each of them heroes," commented a foreigner 
present, and others in the world thought the same. 

''Light up your homes, O fathers. 
For those young hero bands, 
Whose march is still through vanquished towns 
And over conqviered lands, 
Whose valor, wild, impetuous 
' ' In all its fiery glow. 

Pours onward like a lava-tide, 
And sweeps away the foe !" ''' 



January, 1847-April, 1848 

At the north, after the Buena Vista campaign and the em- 
barrassments growing out of it came to a;n end, Taylor probably 
wished, in what an officer called "his easy dog-trot fashion," 
to advance as far as San Luis Potosi, and retained troops 
urgently needed by Scott; but by the middle of June, 1847, 
he doubtless realized that effective operations on so long a 
line, especially through hostile and much of the way through 
barren territory, were impracticable, and advised that Scott's 
column alone should act on the offensive. A month later 
orders of a corresponding tenor were issued at Washington, 
and then some 3000 surplus troops of the northern army pro- 
ceeded toward the capital, though too late, of course, to assist 
in the decisive struggle.^ 

Valencia, during his brief stay at San Luis Potosi in the 
early summer of 1847, not only requested permission to move 
against Saltillo, but planned that General Filisola, aided by 
a brigade under Avalos, then lying at Matehuala, by Reyes, 
the comandante general of Zacatecas, and by Urrea — who still 
commanded the "brigade of observation," and could easily 
pass across the Sierra Madre from Tula — should threaten, 
if not attack, Saltillo and Monterey, and at least keep the 
Americans on the defensive. Some disquieting movements 
of these troops resulted ; but Valencia was soon called to Mex- 
ico, and various difficulties, chiefly a lack of means resulting 
from the American occupation, proved fatal to this ambitious 
enterprise, besides hindering the Mexican preparations to 
receive Taylor at San Luis Potosi.^ 

During the winter of 1846-47 and to some extent later, the 
garrison of Tampico was menaced by plans for an uprising, 



to be assisted by outside forces, and sometimes it was feared 
that a move to capture the city would be launched from Tula 
in the hope of embarrassing Scott's communications ; but the 
Americans, though not strong in numbers there, were vigilant 
and well protected by fortifications. Besides, the authorities 
of Tamaulipas, now living on fairly good terms with the in- 
vaders, had little wish to take part in active hostilities. They 
quarrelled bitterly with Urrea, who naturally attempted to draw 
supplies and money from the region, and in November, 1847, 
with a view to bringing about harmony, that officer was re- 
moved. Scott's victories and especially the fall of Mexico had 
no little effect in this quarter; the prospect of serious opera- 
tions entirely disappeared; and early in November, 1847, 
General Taylor, who had reached the conclusion some time 
before that his country wanted him for President, and had 
laid aside his old brown coat in favor of checked shirt sleeves, 
set out for home on a leave of absence, which actually continued 
until the close of the war. Wool took his place ; but nothing 
occurred in this region except guerilla affairs, of which a due 
account will be given presently.^ 

In the northwest, meantime. Price, who commanded in New 
Mexico and was disturbed by rumors of danger from the south, 
decided on his own responsibility, ignoring instructions to do 
otherwise, that he must assume the aggressive. Early in 
March, 1848, the city of Chihuahua was therefore reoccupied; 
and on the sixteenth of that month, after a little brisk fighting, 
the town of Resales, about sixty niiles to the southeast, which 
Angel Trias held with some 800 men, chiefly National Guards, 
was captured by assault with a trifling loss. But this campaign 
had no general effect on the war — indeed, the treaty of peace 
had already been signed — and Price was ordered by Marcy 
to retire.^ 

In Scott's department the final military operations began 
very promptly. Immediately after the Americans took pos- 
session of the grand plaza at Mexico on the morning of Septem- 
ber 14, a multitude of blanketed leperos crowded closely upon 
them. Already these miscreants had tasted the disorder they 
loved, for the palace had been left unguarded, and they had 
sacked it; and now they showed signs of turbulence. The 
plaza was cleared, however, and no further trouble seemed 


likely. But when our troops began to inarch away to their 
quarters, a shot was heard. A bullet probably intended for 
Worth struck Garland, and almost instantly firing from street 
corners, windows and the tops of houses became general, though 
not systematic. Thousands of convicts from the jail supported 
the populace, and in one way or another not a few of the 
better class cooperated. By Tornel's order paving stones 
had been taken to many of the azoteas with a view to resisting 
the invader step by step, and these, like every other sort of 
weapon, were now used.^ 

Though surprised, the Americans pronlptly accepted the 
challenge. Skirmishers drove back the mobs. Grape and 
canister swept the streets. As a rule, every house from which 
a shot flew became a target for our heavy cannon, which seemed 
to shake the very foundations of the city, and when breached 
was immediately sacked ; and sharpshooters worked effectively 
on towers and roofs. Scott threatened even sterner measures ; 
and the city authorities not only put up notices, embodying 
his threats and imploring the people to desist from a vain and 
imprudent contest, but interceded personally with them in 
the streets. By about noon the Americans held all the points 
of vantage, and as evening approached, the firing died away. 
A fearful night ensued. It was dark and cold. No lights 
relieved the gloom. Wild mobs ran shouting through the 
streets, and the hoof-beats of American patrols resounded from 
square to square.? 

Santa Anna, finding it impossible on the morning of the 
fourteenth to subsist his army at Guadalupe, had ordered the 
infantry and heavy guns to Queretaro under General Herrera, 
and proceeded with four small pieces and the cavalry to San 
Cristobal, a point about fourteen miles northeast of the capital. 
After seeing the people of Mexico view with indifference his 
efforts of the previous day, he expected nothing of them ; but 
on learning of the outbreak he marched back to Guadalupe, 
and at a late hour sent into Mexico a small force of cavalry 
and infantry to investigate and assist. This met Duncan's 
battery and retreated ; - but Santa Anna, assured that on the 
next day there would be a rising en masse, erected a breastwork 
at the Peralvillo garita on the north side of the town, and 


As soon as day broke, gloomy and wet, the shooting was 
in fact resumed, at least in the northern quarters. But he 
soon perceived that no general movement was taking place, 
and again marched away. This disheartened the people still 
more; the ejfforts of the authorities influenced them greatly; 
and by the end of the afternoon, realizing that much was to 
be suffered and nothing gained, they generally abandoned hope. 
During the next day or two scattering shots could be heard, 
but real fighting was over. Extravagant hopes of destroying 
the small American army were still entertained by lightheaded 
men. "You will §oon behold the banner of the haughty in- 
vader trailing in the dust," wrote one of these, and attempts 
were made by military officers to organize a real conspiracy; 
but lack of courage, means, confidence and mutual trust — as 
well as the watchfulness of the Americans — made success 
impossible. Scott repeatedly warned his troops to be vigilant 
and orderly, to keep together, and to refrain from drinking. 
As the danger grew less menacing, however, they became less 
careful, and for probably a month assassinations were frequent. 
From first to last several hundred Americans perished in the 
hostilities, and no doubt far more of the enemy. But by the 
middle of October the city was tranquil.^ 

The concluding field operations in Scott's department re- 
sembled for the most part the fighting just described, for they 
had to do chiefly with guerillas. That style of warfare suited 
the national character. It had figured prominently in the 
Spanish struggle against Napoleon and in the Mexican war of 
independence ; and when the public began to see clearly that 
battles could not stop the Americans, it was invoked — 
even though by universal military practice in Europe those 
who robbed and fought at will, while pretending to be in- 
offensive, were considered brigands and assassins — as the 
one hope.' 

Thoughtful persons like J. F. Ramirez and General Mora 
pointed out serious dangers: the impossibility of discipline, 
the relaxation of morale, the destruction of all standards, and 
the certainty that a spirit of violence and rapine would grow 
by what it fed upon ; and they recognized the improbability 
that such methods could prevail against the strength, equip- 
ment, compactness and skill of the Americans. But the obvious 


advantages of the guerilla system, which it required far less 
intelligence to perceive and appreciate, counted powerfully 
on the other side. How much the Spanish themselves had 
suffered from their irregulars during the hostilities against 
Napoleon was not understood, and patriotic pride in the war 
of independence had tended to draw a veil over its horrors.' 

The dagger, said the official newspaper, was the favorite 
weapon of the people. Unarmed men could burn wagons 
and intercept communications, it was pointed out. Even 
women and children could help. A thorough knowledge of 
the country, its mountains and its by-paths, would evidently 
constitute an enormous advantage. Light corps of the abste- 
mious rancheros, embarrassed with ho baggage, could travel 
quickly day and night, cor>centrate in large numbers against 
an American detachment, strike, vanish, and then, when least 
expected, reappear, making the most of all neglects, all mis- 
takes, nullifying superior strength by avoiding it, and 
nullifying discipline by fighting in a style that had no need of 
discipline. Situated even more favorably than Spain for 
such warfare, the Mexicans were to outdo her example.^ 

This is what will save us, proclaimed in effect the legislature of 
Mexico state. "Let the echo of our mountains repeat the cry 
of War and Liberty," exclaimed the congress of Vera Cruz. 
Santa Anna endorsed the plan. Salas organized the " Guerillas 
of Vengeance," which were to make "war without pity" "in 
every manner imaginable"; and in April, 1847, the govern- 
ment, pinning its faith to the system, set it on foot in earnest. 
Scott, the "cowardly tiger," was to be routed after all.' 

In the north February, 1847, was the golden month of the 
irregulars, for the approach of the Mexican army under Santa 
Anna encouraged the rancheros to lay aside the habits of peace. 
Canales boasted of 161 Americans killed that month, and 
Urrea with his combined force of regulars and guerillas, besides 
engaging in other operations, captured a train of wagons at 
Agua Negra, and horribly slaughtered a large number of guards 
and teamsters. To avenge this butchery a party of Rangers, 
teamsters and other civilians murdered twenty-four men m 
a village not far distant. Upon this Caoales declared what 
he called martial law, announcing that every American, armed 
and unarmed, and every Mexican living peaceably would be 


shot ; and many were led by fear or a lust for plunder to take 
up arms.'* 

The American trains in particular seemed likely to be 
easy prey. As they commonly stretched out for some two 
miles and were guarded only — for so the character of the road 
usually dictated — at the ends, the Mexicans, trained to charge 
at full speed through an ordinary thicket, could readily attack 
them from ambush at about the middle point, create a stampede, 
and do a great deal of mischief. Infantry could not pursue 
the guerillas with success, and the number of our mounted 
men was always comparatively small, for every Mexican 
ranchero had at least one smart pony. In September, 1847, 
a band even attacked Mier. Governor Aguirre of Coahuila 
exerted himself particularly to organize forces of this char- 
acter, and not only alcaldes but priests aided the cause.* 

The American leaders, however, pursuing a course that was 
now conciliatory, now severe, and in many instances technically 
unjust, succeeded in coping with a system that was itself unjust. 
Taylor levied on the people of Nuevo Leon a tax of $96,000, 
the estimated value of the goods destroyed at Agua Negra, 
but suspended it indefinitely, when representative authorities 
proved the substantial innocence of the population and begged 
for mercy. Cavalry patrols and detachments pursuing culprits 
fairly wore out their horses. Villages, if even suspected of 
harboring the "banditti," were burned. Contributions were 
imposed wherever connivance appeared probable. By April, 

1847, Canales was in despair.^ 

Then Wool determined to stamp out the evil, and announced 
in July that any guerillas caught by him would be executed. 
In December, 1847, he issued his famous Order 11, which not 
only made the Mexican authorities and their towns responsible 
for all damages done, but required them to hunt down the 
"brigands." Aguirre attempted to retaliate, but in vain. 
The Americans had power enough to carry out threats, whereas 
he had not; and he admitted his failure. Besides, the mass 
of the population were indolent in mind as well as body, and 
looked upon submission as preferable to danger. In February, 

1848, finding the guilty rancheros were anxious to give up the 
business. Wool enabled them to resume peaceful occupations 
by declaring an amnesty, and in the following May he stated 


that the country had never before been so free from highway 

In the south, Vera Cruz, a state of mountains, gorges, 
thickets and forests threaded with bhnd paths, was the chief 
home of the guerilla, and it looked as if Scott's line of com- 
munication might be virtually destroyed. Not only many 
hardy, hot-blooded and unscrupulous natives, but a great 
many desperadoes hailing from Cuba were ready to enlist. 
After the fall of Vera Cruz, and still more after the battle of 
Cerro Gordo, a large number of regular officers, to say nothing 
of privates, could scarcely find bread, and some men, like the 
ex-divinity student, ex-Carlist, Jarauta — whose small, close 
beard, fierce black eyes, braided jacket, graceful cloak and gold- 
laced sombrero gave him a romantic air — had acquired in 
Spain a taste for this adventurous, reckless life; but a vastly 
greater number were prosaic felons, liberated from prison under 
a pledge to rob and murder. Nominally J. C. Rebolledo, a 
fine looking man of rather humane instincts, was the chief in 
this district, but the 800 or so persons belonging to many 
small bands, while occasionally acting more or less in concert, 
were mainly independent. The decree under which all goods 
coming from points occupied by the Americans were lawful 
booty opened possibilities of large gains, and Rebolledo's 
capture of ten loaded wagons in April, 1847, set the people 
aflame with cupidity.® 

Brevet Colonel Mcintosh and his inexperienced officers, 
who left Vera Cruz for the interior — it will be recalled — 
about the first of June, 1847, with a well-advertised convoy 
including a large amount of specie, dependent on wild mus- 
tangs under raw, half-mutinous drivers largely ignorant of 
English, received the full benefit of this ambitious feeling. 
Near Tolome and at Paso de Ovejas he lost men, wagons and 
pack-mules; and at the national bridge there was a genuine 
skirmish, in which a number of Americans were killed or 
wounded. Out of about 130 wagons twenty-four had to be 
abandoned in the low country ; and a little way above Jalapa, 
though strongly reinforced, the troops had to fight again. 
General Pierce, who left Vera Cruz about six weeks later than 
Mcintosh, had similar experiences. Early in August Major 
Lally set out from the coast with a few more than 1000 soldiers, 


two 6-pounders and sixty-four wagons. He lost no merchandise, 
but his four fights cost him nearly 100 men killed, wounded 
and missing ; and Captain Wells, who followed Lally with some 
200 recruits and additional ammunition, lost forty and had to 
retreat. These and other affairs proved that irregulars, favored 
by the geography of the region, were capable of doing substan- 
tial harm.' 

But in Vera Cruz, as in every other quarter where they 
operated, though perhaps nowhere else in so marked a degree, 
the lack of morale, which enabled the guerilla system to exist, 
proved the cause of its failure. Poor arms, poor ammunition, 
poor marksmanship, and the want of artillery might have been 
remedied, or at least might have been offset by the counter- 
balancing advantages ; but this defect was fatal. The Mexican 
guerillas were very different from what the guerillas of Spain 
had been. They' fought like savages without the excuse of 
savages, for they knew better. Infuriated by their treacheries 
and cruelties, the Americans were persistent and unsparing 
in severity. Patrols who seemed never to sleep hunted out 
their nests in the mountains. On the march, flanking parties 
would force their way through the woods five miles or more 
from the road to catch them between two fires. The torch 
was applied with much liberality on suspicion, and sometimes 
on general principles, to huts and villages; and in the end a 
black swath of devastation, leagues in width, marked the 

Scott ordered that in every case of outrage the nearest alcalde, 
if he failed to deliver up the guilty, should be fined at least 
$300 for a murder or the value of the stolen property for a 
robbery, and that any robber or murderer and any person 
belonging to a known party of such miscreants might, when 
caught, be summarily tried by three officers, and either flogged 
or executed. This plan, however, did not quite satisfy those 
on the ground — especially the Texas troops. Captain 
Walker, on his cream-colored horse, and Colonel Hays, in his 
blue roundabout, black trousers and black leather cap, im- 
pressed themselves on the Mexican imagination as the agents 
of diabolical wrath ; and in general it was a tale of merciless 
atrocities followed by merciless reprisals.* 

At the same time this lack of morale deprived the guerillas 


of Mexican support. By taking bribes for letting merchandise 
pass up to the interior and sometimes even guarding it, they 
violated the laws on which their existence rested. Mostly 
they were brave only where they felt safe. When laden with 
booty they would scatter to their homes, no matter how im- 
portant the business in hand. Rivalries and even hostilities 
between parties operating in the same district arose. Co- 
operation could seldom be reckoned upon, and hardly any 
would face the climate far above Jalapa. Soon learning that 
it was more wholesome to waylay Mexicans than Americans, 
they plundered their fellow-countrymen without ceremony; 
and they would rob even old women or young children of their 
needful clothing. Sheafs of complaints against them piled 
up in the state and national archives. People organized to 
fight them, and sometimes appealed to the Americans against. 
the very men who were to have been their champions. "The 
Mexicans have sown to the storm, they are now reaping the 
whirlwind," said an American officer.' 

In the states of Puebla, Mexico and Oaxaca also guerillas, 
were organized, and in Puebla all these parties could find an 
opportunity. General Rea, a pupil of Morelos and the Mexican 
revolution, had the discredit of the chief command, though 
Bravo, who stood at the summit of the social scale, was mainly 
responsible for their iniquities, since during his brief term as 
comandante general of Puebla he issued a great number of 
patents to unfit leaders. What Rea did particularly in this 
regard was to combine individuals and small groups, and 
place them under some kind of supervision. He loved to 
answer critics by saying that his guerillas were in the field 
because honorable men were not ; and that, had not the govern- 
ment condoned their crimes, they would have served the 
Americans as counter-guerillas. After a time his officers 
adopted a set of rules which aimed to regulate operations, but 
even this measure seems to have accomplished little. The 
guerillas robbed the people, seized funds belonging to the 
state, and pillaged even churches. Some gangs were large 
enough to attack haciendas. One party called themselves 
the "Lancers of the Poisoned Spear." '" 

Soon after Scott left Puebla for Mexico early in August, 
1847, these banditti and every individual ruffian of that vicinity 


hurried to the city. Mexicans and even foreign residents 
were robbed and outraged, and about the first of September, 
in the hope of more booty, the Americans also were attacked. 
Two thousand soldiers were needed for a garrison, and Colonel 
Childs, the civil and military governor, actually had 2193; 
but 1800 of these were in hospitals. His effectives consisted 
of about fifty cavalry, 100 artillery, 250 of the First Pennsyl- 
vania volunteers, and a small spy company of Mexicans." 

Headquarters, Lieutenant Colonel Black of Pennsylvania 
and the main body of troops occupied the "cuartel San Jose," 
a large rectangular building on the eastern side of the town, 
which had a plaza of its own opening toward a public promenade 
called the Tivoli. To this position five howitzers were allotted, 
and within a hundred and fifty yards of it all the sick were 
placed. Half a mile or so from the town on a hill stood Loreto 
fort, a stone affair equipped with two 12-pound field guns and 
a 10-inch mortar, where Major Gwynn of the Sixth Infantry 
commanded ; and not far distant, on a higher point of the same 
hill, was Guadalupe church, now protected with mountain 
howitzers, a ditch and an earthen wall, under Captain More- 
head of the Pennsylvania regiment. But the chief element 
of the defence was the large, robust, finely-featured Childs, 
a skilful and veteran officer, cold in manner, clear in judg- 
ment, and inflexible in courage. September 13 the "siege" 
began in earnest, and from that day on there was a continual 
small-arm attack, particularly at night, upon San Jose, which 
replied with a musket and howitzer fire that kept the assailants 
at a respectful distance. What was more serious than guerilla 
shooting, all supplies were now cut off. Such was the state of 
things at the second city of Mexico when Santa Anna retired 
from the first.^^ 

Santa Anna's real intention was probably to seek an asylum 
in Guatemala. But many of his friends urged that he could 
make himself dictator as the sole hope of the country, and it 
was clear that, if he should recover Puebla and cut off Scott, 
he would still be able to boast of a triumph. His cavalry, 
though greatly reduced by desertion, included some 2000 men 
backed with four light guns. Alvarez, who was ordered to 
Puebla, still had about 600 foot and horse. Rea, Santa Anna 
understood, commanded 600 irregulars ; 2500 National Guards 

i-tliU "SiliJUli;" Oi' PUEBLA 175 

lay near him with two field pieces, it was reported ; and the 
Pueblans were described as eager to fight. Six thousand men 
and six guns appeared quite enough to dispose of " six hundred 
sick Yankees," as Mexicans described the garrison; and he 
therefore presented himself at Puebla on September 21. Two 
days later Alvarez arrived there. But between these two 
events Childs appeared at a second-story balcony, "winking 
and smiling all over his face," as a soldier expressed it, and 
announced that Scott had taken the capital. Evidently, 
therefore, the Mexican President was not greatly to be feared." 

After looking about, Santa Anna concluded that it would 
not be easy to capture the American positions by assault, and 
appealed to the minister of war — wherever that official might 
be — for 1000 infantry, a 16-pounder, a 12-pounder, ammuni- 
tion and supplies. He now had ten cannon, but all of them 
were light; owing to desertion his force included only some 
4000 men ; and the citizens had no arms, he reported. Prob- 
ably, too, the annoyances and outrages inflicted upon them by 
him and his troops, and his appointing the guerilla chief mili- 
tary commandant of the city dampened whatever ardor they 
had possessed. ^^ 

On September 23 and 24 unsuccessful attempts were made 
at Guadalupe, and the next day Santa Anna summoned 
Childs, describing his army as 8000 strong, and graciously an- 
nouncing that "for the sake of humanity" the Americans 
might retire "within a limited time" with the honors of war. 
Childs replied as was proper, and then, riding to the posts, 
gave notice amid cheers that no surrender need be expected. 
To add the touch of humor that soldiers love, an American flag 
was manufactured out of an old Mexican uniform, and raised 
aloft ; and the garrison settled down to severe duty, stern dis- 
cipline, short rations and incessant watchfulness at all hours. 
The Mexicans tried to approach San Jose by throwing up suc- 
cessive breastworks at night in the streets leading that way, 
but shot, shell and rockets from Loreto kept them back. 
September 30 Santa Anna learned that no ammunition could 
be provided for the heavy cannon demanded of the minister, 
and resolved apparently to make a bold effort. With two 
6-pounders he fired all day on the weak, plaza face of San 
Jose. But Childs, anticipating such a manoeuvre, had brought 


a 12-pounder from Loreto the night before ; and this, protected 
with bags of tobacco, made an assault impracticable.*^ 

A new factor now entered the military situation. About the 
middle of September General "Jo" Lane, one of Taylor's chief 
officers at Buena Vista, arrived at Vera Cruz from the Rio 
Grande, and on the nineteenth his brigade set out for the 
interior. Aware of the situation at Puebla but not aware 
what was to be encountered on the route, the General had not 
made adequate preparations, and on meeting guerillas at 
the national bridge he was obliged to send back for ammu- 
nition and supplies. By October 1, however, he managed to 
leave Jalapa.^'' 

It was a hard march that ensued. Torrents of rain deluged 
the troops. Sometimes the road lay deep under water. For 
dinner they had a thin slice of beef, a couple of "crackers" 
and some coffee ; for supper, after darkness fell upon them with 
tropical abruptness, the same without the beef ; and perhaps 
mud for a couch. But Lane, a hearty westerner with a stout 
frame and unbounded vigor, led on unshrinkingly in his black 
hat and old blue overcoat, and the rest followed him eagerly. 
October 5, after incorporating additional troops at Perote, 
he left that place with a force of about 3300 and seven guns, 
and marched on across hot plains, where water sold for five 
dollars a drink, and men died of sheer fatigue.^^ 

Santa Anna, informed by spies that 1000 Americans were 
approaching, and anxious, not only to prevent them from join- 
ing Childs, but still more to win the glory of routing them, 
had set out from Puebla four days earlier with perhaps 3500 
men, leaving Rea to continue the fighting. Desertion played 
havoc with his command, especially when the strength of Lane's 
force was ascertained; but, after sending back a large part 
of the faithful in order to keep control of them, he took possession 
of El Pinal, where the national highway passed between a 
precipitous mountain and a ravine, with about 1000 cavalry 
and six guns, and made preparations to ambush Lane's rear. 
This done, he moved to Huamantla, a sizable town eight miles 
distant, and waited. '^ 

Early on October 9 the drums and bugles awoke Lane's 
troops at the hacienda of San Antonio Tamaris, approximately 
ten miles from Huamantla and twelve from El Pinal ; and the 


men, leaping from the damp grass and buckling their muddy 
belts, found the white walls of the hacienda, the church towers 
of neighboring villages, the dark woods on the hillsides; and 
the distant, snowy peaks all aglow under a splendid sun. Never, 
perhaps, did soldiers feel more like having an adventure. Santa 
Anna had just marched from Huamantla to conceal his force 
,at El Pinal, leaving behind him with no scouts or outposts 
his six guns, a very small guard for them and a party of ir- 
regulars; but a spy reported to the Americans that he was 
at Huamantla, and Lane moved off to attack him. First rode 
four mounted companies, and at their head a rather short, 
slender, spare, slouchy man, with reddish hair, a small reddish 
beard, mUd blue eyes and a quiet, kindly manner, whom no- 
body would have picked out as a fearless, indomitable fighter, 
the scourge of the guerillas, but in fact he was Captain Walker ; 
and then marched Lane with five guns and some 1800 men.'^ 

When about three miles from their destination, Walker and 
his 200 cavalry, seeing a party of Mexican horse approach the 
town, dashed ahead. Entering Huamantla they formed in 
fours, and then with a yell, a flash of sabres and a thunder of 
hoofs they swept through to the plaza. The Mexicans had 
time to get four of the guns away, but the others were captured^ 
and most of the American troopers, concluding their work 
had been finished, scattered to drink, loot or hunt for cannon 
and ammunition. But now Santa Anna, who had observed 
Lane's movement from a church tower near El Pinal, appeared 
with his full command. They were a beautiful sight — gallop- 
ing horses, red and green uniforms, brilliant pennons and a 
billowy sea of flashing lance points; but they were enemies, 
and the Americans accepted their challenge." 

"Take it cool, my boys, but run like the devil !" cried Lane. 
Every nerve was taxed. Blood gushed from nostrils. The 
Mexicans, lashing their steeds into foam, reached the goal 
first, however, and the American troopers found themselves 
attacked on all sides. Walker was shot from a house, and soon 
expired; but he lived long enough to give a final order: 
"Don't surrender boys; the infantry will soon be here." 
And so they were — "with a shout and a bound," said one of 
them. The tide was quickly turned, and giving up the town, 
"Peg-Leg," as the soldiers loved to call Santa Anna, passed 

VOL. U — N 


the night some distance away. So ended the Tale of Hua- 
mantla or The Biter Bitten, which received no little applause 
at the time.^^ 

While these events were taking place, the garrison of Puebla 
continued to be hemmed in, starved and harassed. Their 
casualties numbered in all only fifty-two, but they felt severely 
the effect of so long a strain. Though a number of sorties were 
made, and their persecutors had to retire from several annoying 
positions, the Americans were not strong enough to do more. 
Their day of deliverance was approaching, however. October 
10 Lane moved forward, dogged and somewhat annoyed by 
Santa Anna. Two days later his men saw the spires of Puebla, 
dominated by the sombre towers of the cathedral, and set off 
by white volcanoes veiled with clouds. And now and again 
the numberless bells of the city, great and small, pealed forth 
harmonious tones of many colors, that seemed to blend and 
interweave in rich and varied tapestries of sound, hung out 
in the mediaeval style to honor their triumphal approach.'^ 

At about one o'clock, announced by the bells of Guadalupe, 
they entered the suburbs — not a few of them at a run. One 
column then advanced by the main street, while another flanked 
the town by the left. For two hours there was considerable 
firing from houses, though Rea's guerillas had begun to leave 
their posts the night before ; but at length Lane extended his 
"rough paw" to Childs, with a sunny smile on his rather hard 
features, and the garrison joyously welcomed their deliverers. 
In the main plaza a bugler played " The Star-Spangled Banner, " 
and all sang the chorus : 

"The star-spangled banner, Oh, long may it wave 
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave ! " '* 

Now followed the punishment of Rea. Some twenty- 
five miles from Puebla toward the southwest lay beautiful 
Atlixco, a defensible point that not only reconciled the climates 
of the temperate and the cold zones of Mexico, and controlled 
a region fertile in grains, flocks and herds, but, while fairly 
remote from the Americans, gave convenient access to important 
roads. Here, in the midst of flowers, fruits and snowy moun- 
tains, the government of Puebla had found a refuge, when the 
Americans under Worth approached the state capital ; and to 


this asylum Rea now withdrew. De facto, at least, the guerilla 
chief was the most important person on the ground. The 
authorities did not relish his prominence; they detested his 
men and his methods; and on October 18, tired of spending 
money fruitlessly on the National Guards for Rea to command, 
they dissolved the corps. But many of the irregulars proposed 
to make the best of what appeared to be a good situation, in 
which they could live on plunder, if not paid." 

October 18 Lane, who apparently never slept nor expected his 
followers to sleep, ordered them to be ready in the morning for 
an expedition. Many of the soldiers were barefoot, but they 
borrowed shoes; and at about nine o'clock, cheered by the 
fife and the drum, some 1500 men set out round the base of 
Popocatepetl under a hot sun. At about four in the afternoon, 
after making twenty miles or so, they came in sight of the enemy, 
and a running fight began. Blistered feet and parching tongues 
were now forgotten. The Mexicans, holding some good position 
and protected by chaparral, could make a stand against cavalry, 
but when the infantry came up they always fled. Shortly 
after sunset Lane reached Atlixco, which stood on the slope 
of a lofty hill. As it was unsafe to risk a street fight in an un- 
known town at night, he ordered the artillery to open. The 
moon was full. Marks were easily selected. By their burn- 
ing fuses the shells could be traced until they fell amidst the 
shadows ; and then a burst of red fire, the crash of roofs and 
walls, and the cries of the people told the rest." 

After about an hour of cannonading, the troops advanced 
into the town ^ — which surrendered at once — and there slept 
as best they could. Rea, with two guns and the disordered 
remnants of his force, retreated to Izucar de Matamoros, about 
thirty miles farther down the valley ; but from that point 
he was routed a month later. These and other exploits of Lane's 
discouraged as well as dispersed the chief guerilla forces of the 
plateau, and in February, 1848, Rea asked permission of the 
Mexican authorities to leave the country." 

Neither in these affairs nor in any other military operations 
did Santa Anna figure at this time, and there was a good reason 
for his inactivity. Officially he no longer existed. As General 
Scott had feared, our entering the capital had resulted in the 
destruction of the Mexican government. September 16 Santa 


Anna resigned, explaining that it was advisable to preserve 
the chief magistracy from the hazards of war, and fix it near 
the centre of wealth and population, whereas he proposed to 
continue the hostilities wherever that should be possible. The 
same proclamation or decree assigned the executive power to 
a triumvirate : the president of the supreme court, General 
Herrera and General Alcorta, and Santa Anna then ceased 
actually to exercise any civil authority.^* 

But as Congress was not in session to accept his resignation, 
some doubted whether it became effective; the presidency 
of the supreme court was vacant on account of the incum- 
bent's death ; the appointment of Herrera and Alcorta needed 
to be made, or at least confirmed, by the council of govern- 
ment, a body no longer acting ; and it was denied broadly that 
Santa Anna had the power to issue such a decree. Pena y Pena, 
to be sure, was regarded as a member of the court, and, if he 
was, he could claim by right of seniority to act as the chief 
justice; but the legality of his membership was questioned, 
and the presidency of that body was really an elective office. 
Pena was old, feeble and even timid ; his ill-success as Herrera's 
minister of relations doubtless weighed heavily upon him ; and 
he was now living, almost as a recluse, in the country. Indeed 
there was really no organic law even, for the amended constitu- 
tion of 1824, though formally adopted, had not come into effect. 
In short, chaos reigned, and the states were officially "resum- 
ing" their individual sovereignty.^* 

But a number of good and able men, particularly Cuevas 
and Couto, determined to ward off ruin, and awakened others. 
Pena, drawn from his retirement, consented for patriotic 
reasons to override all the technical difficulties ; and on Septem- 
ber 22 he announced formally that, in order to give the nation 
a head, he would act as the Executive until an interim President 
could somehow be chosen. At the small city of Toluca, capital 
of the state of M6xico, just outside the Valley, this fiction of 
a government pitched its tent; and perhaps it gained some 
feeling of security from the vast bastioned, battlemented ridge 
between it and the Americans, from snowy Mt. Miguel towering 
above the city, and from the peacefully shining lagoons of the 
intervening meadows. What was more important, Herrera, 
Olagufbel and many others of the best men rallied to the sup- 


port of Peiia, the representatives of neutral governments 
recognized him, and the states began to concur. Early in 
October, however, he removed to Quer^taro, a safer yet central 
place, and with Luis de la Rosa as sole minister addressed him- 
self to his task.i' 

The programme that he announced was honorable and straight- 
forward. My tenure of office will be extremely brief, he said 
in effect, for Congress will be assembled as soon as possible; 
I will usurp no powers, but will not be turned from the path 
of duty by insurrections; the closest economy will be 
practised, the necessary taxes laid fairly, and all interests 
respected ; union and harmony will be the watchwords, and the 
national rights will be maintained. His most urgent problem, 
of coiu"se, was to deal with Santa Anna, lyho not only held the 
chief military command, but insisted that he could resume 
the Presidential authority by simply withdrawing his resigna- 
tion ; and in this matter the government showed a decision that 
earned it no little prestige. All Santa Anna's protests against 
political efFacement were disregarded, and on October 7 he 
was instructed both to give up his troops and to submit, as did 
other unsuccessful commanders, to a military trial.^" 

At about the time this order overtook him, the Huamantla 
affair occurred. From a military point of view he was now 
prostrate. He saw it himself, and knew that the country would 
see it. Evidently his countless political enemies would make 
the most of his complete failure, and he was doubtless aware 
that his military reports had offended many officers. His 
chief executive merits — decision, and activity — had led only 
to a useless expenditure of life and money, it was now pointed 
out, and his ostensible patriotism was attributed to passion 
and obstinacy. Even his confidence in himself broke down. 
Unable to understand why failure had attended all his efforts, 
he fell into a sombre depression, and without a struggle he placed 
his troops at the orders of General Reyes, who joined him on 
October 11 with about 1000 men. His part in the war was 
over; and in the following January, realizing that nothing 
could be gained through intrigue or conspiracy and fearing the 
Americans would make him a prisoner, he asked for permission 
to leave the country. Both his own government and our 
authorities consented. And after giving a dinner at El Encero 


to the American officers of that vicinity, who had treated him 
with distinguished consideration, he sailed once more, about 
the first of April, from what he regarded as an ungrateful 

Santa Anna being now eliminated, the government had to 
face its military difficulties without his assistance. In general 
the problem was to make bricks with neither straw nor clay. 
Almost every good cannon had been taken by the Americans, 
and the muskets had nearly all been captured, thrown away 
or sold. Ammunition was almost wholly wanting. The 
engineering material had been lost or destroyed. Vast sums 
of money were needed to provide fortifications as well as re- 
place all this equipment, and the government could hardly 
obtain enough, day by day, to cover its minimum expenses. 
Even officers had to sell their shoes for bread. ^^ 

As for an army, Santa Anna and Alvarez together had some 
2000 troops the first week of October, Reyes had about 1000, 
about 3000 from Mexico City concentrated at Queretaro under 
Herrera, about 1000 from Jalisco were on their way to the 
same point, and small detachments existed at various other 
places. But nearly all of these men were utterly demoralized. 
"Almost useless," they were officially termed; and the army 
as a whole felt the crushing weight of general contempt. He- 
rrera, the commander-in-chief, became so disgusted over the 
uncontrolled excesses of the troops that he resigned. Rincon 
declined on the ground of ill-health to serve. Arista, when 
summoned to Queretaro, declared he would not command a 
soldier until exonerated for his conduct on the Rio Grande. 
No officers of high distinction, indeed, were available except 
the aged, torpid and infirm Bustamante and "the old woman," 
Filisola, as Bancroft described him.^^ 

Attempts were made to lay plans of campaign, but an expert 
summed up one of them by saying it appeared excellent ■ — only 
it was based upon things as they should have been, not as they 
were; and all the others had the same defect. Schemes were 
devised to reform, reorganize and build up the forces, and quotas 
amounting to 16,000 were assigned to the states; but Mexico, 
which had been expected to furnish nearly a quarter of these 
men, promptly answered that she could not, and other states 
did not even reply. In fact, the regular forces decreased instead 


of multiplying, for sometimes a general could not feed his troops, 
and frequently, when soldiers were let out of the barracks on 
service, they vanished ; and the people, instead of helping to 
support the Mexican troops, even dreaded to see them ap- 
proach, for their coming was liable to draw an American 
attack, and more than liable to mean extortion, outrage and 
robbery. Nowhere on the military horizon could a glimmer of 
light be seen.^ 

Over against this pitiful government stood the United States 
— wealth against poverty, strength against weakness; and 
the antithesis was complete, for while the Mexicans could only 
plan, that was the hardest thing for us to do. The idea of 
retiring to a defensive line still persisted. Taylor himself 
adhered to it. But in addition to the other overwhelming 
objections to this project, it seemed improbable that a majority 
in Congress could agree where to draw the line. Even Calhoun, 
though qualified to make a better argument for an untenable 
proposition than any other man in the country, was unable to 
present this policy in such a manner as to satisfy either the 
friends or the opponents of the war. Some advised holding, 
in addition to the territory thus to be cut off, the chief ports 
of Mexico; and some advocated retaining the capital also, 
and the line to Vera Cruz. Others favored the occupation 
of still more cities ; and many were for subjugating and holding 
the entire country.^ 

To this last plan, however, even had it been practicable to 
levy all the costs upon Mexico, there were tremendous objections. 
It would have involved keeping under arms 80,000 or possibly 
100,000 young men, seriously needed at home for the most 
part, in order to be sure of having effectives enough at the front. 
The troops in Mexico would have become corrupted both 
physically and morally; and the commanders would have 
acquired the ideas and vices of proconsuls. It seemed to be 
almost an insoluble problem. No final decision was made. 
But the government determined to occupy the capital, hold the 
line to Vera Cruz, retain the chief ports, and extend our holdings 
according to circumstances.^' 

To Scott, however, the lack of a definitive plan signified 
little. Not one reinforcement entered the capital until after 
the first of November, and even at the end of that month he 


was barely able to garrison Mexico and Chapultepec. Decem- 
ber 4 his army included only about 8000 privates, of whom a 
quarter were sick. During the next three weeks Generals 
Patterson, Butler and Gushing, Colonel Hays, Lieutenant 
Colonel Johnston and Major Lally, each with troops, arrived ; 
and the forces then numbered about 11,000 effectives and 3000 

Scott therefore announced, with no doubt a strategic purpose 
as well as a rhetorical flourish, that our army was " about to 
spread itself over and to occupy the Eepublic of Mexico." 
What he really intended was to take possession successively 
of the principal mining regions — those of Zacatecas and San 
Luis Potosi — and the capitals of such important states as 
lay within easy reach. Even for the former purpose, however, 
two columns of some 5000 effectives each were needed, and 
the men as well as clothing for them could not be provided. 
The only immediate operations, therefore, aside from the 
establishment of new posts on the road to Vera Cruz, were 
the peaceful occupation of Pachuca, a mining town about fifty 
miles northeast of Mexico, Toluca, about thirty-eight miles 
distant in the opposite direction, and Cuernavaca, the key 
to the Acapulco region, a little farther away toward the south- 
west.^* ' 

February 6, 1848, an expedition of more consequence marched, 
by Scott's ordtrs, from Vera Cruz. Most of the guerillas who 
infested the road to the interior lived and found a market 
at or near Cordoba, a city about sixty-five miles to the south- 
west, and Orizaba, sixteen or eighteen miles beyond it in the 
same direction ; and Bankhead was instructed to occupy, those 
towns. Very different from Lane's rough trips on the plateau 
was this march. Near Cordoba flourished such genuine trop- 
ical wonders as the bread tree, the butter tree, the milk tree, 
and a kind of palm called "the traveller's friend," which 
covered the wayfarer's head with a tent, and quenched his 
thirst with abundant sap. Going on, one found enormous 
masses of vegetation — thick, matted, boundlessly prolific 
— moulded into astonishing yet harmonious forms by the 
bays and promontories of the rapidly mounting foothills; 
terraces of luxuriant foliage piled on sheer cliffs, castles 
on the terraces, and cathedrals on the castles; verdure* 


verdure everywhere, dripping, flowing, spurting, tumbling 
in every hue and shade of green, with a dark, velvety mist 
in the gorges that became clear sapphire when the sun touched 
it, and here and there a cascade letting fall its crystal thread 
from a mossy crag.^^ 

Then came the rich Orizaba valley, hemmed in with jungles, 
and winding off between sombre, precipitous mountains until 
lost in the dreamy distance ; and above it the sparkling snows 
of the vast peak sent down a torrent of gray glacier water, that 
leaped into mid-air, and then, gathering itself below, wound on 
through splendid, odorous trees full of parrots, canaries and 
mocking-birds, hurried past fragrant orange groves and still 
more fragrant blossoms, poured through the arches of a noble 
old bridge, and buried itself in the woods. But the Americans 
did not forget their orders. Both cities were occupied without 
resistance, and both were garrisoned; and the guerillas now 
found their proceedings considerably hampered.^ 

The final military operations of Scott seemed thus rather 
tame, as was natural; but Polk executed one that could be 
termed startling, if not exactly brilliant. His principal assist- 
ants were Pillow, Worth and Duncan; and in different ways 
each had excellent qualifications for the work. Pillow was 
not "The Lie Incarnate," as Trist believed, nor even "a perfect 
ass," as many thought ; but vanity, ambition, lack of probity, 
and a gift for dark and cunning methods characterized him. 
His instincts and talents, indeed, were those of the criminal 
lawyer who minds nothing about his case except the verdict. 
When the President's brother shot a man down in the street 
at Nashville, Pillow got him off. With reference to his work 
in helping bring about Polk's nomination at Baltimore he 
wrote, "The fatal blow was given, but it was not seen nor 
known what produced such a result — nor where the blow came 
from." "I feel as boyant as the air," he said in December, 
1846, when great dissatisfaction with Taylor prevailed at 
Washington, because I know "that I ham done the work. . . . 
I have paid him in full" for his treatment of me. And one 
could seldom get a finger on Pillow's back, when he was not 
wriggling actively toward some object of selfish desire.^'' 

Without a particle of real military ability or success to his 
credit, he now stood second in our army, and hence logically 


enough saw no reason why he might not, by some devious 
path, arrive at the first position and even at the Presidency. 
"Modesty," said Burke, "does not long survive innocence." 
To plant such a person, with urgent recommendations, at open, 
big-hearted Scott's right hand, to win his confidence, to spy 
upon, criticise and undermine him, and inevitably to scheme 
for his place, was indecent ; but Polk did it.^* 

Very unlike Pillow was the courtly and fascinating Worth; 
but his mind was intense, narrow and self-centred. After 
the battle of Monterey he exclaimed, "I am satisfied with 
myself. The most vindictive foes crouch at my feet, and my 
friends choke with joy and delight." And there is one sin 
of which even angels are capable, we have been told. All his 
military recognition he owed to Scott, but probably the debt 
weighed heavily on his proud and restive nature; and, while 
apparently reciprocating the genuine affection of his chief, he 
had inwardly rejected Scott's principles and methods nearly 
thirty years before the Mexican war. Regarding his friend, 
fellow New Yorker and brother Democrat, Marcy, an adroit 
politician, he felt very differently. "I would not give an 
ounce" of his wisdom, he wrote in June, 1846, for all Scott's 
glory ; Scott " is determined to sink and draw his friends down 
with him." " 

At Vera Cruz the commander-in-chief, relying on their long 
intimacy, told Worth frankly that he believed the adminis- 
tration intended to ruin him, and the subordinate officer evi- 
dently determined not to be drawn down. At the same place 
a brother officer suggested to Worth a higher position than was 
even the highest in the army. The suggestion appears to have 
struck root. All military men believed the next President 
would be one of them, and what commander had acquired a 
more brilliant reputation ? The New York Sun recommended 
him for the place ; and the idea of his candidacy was favorably 
received by many. This prospect naturally turned him still 
more against his old friend, for either Scott or Taylor seemed al- 
most certain to be the Whig nominee. Through a series of 
clashes, for which little — if any — ^justification can be seen, 
and in spite of Scott's efforts to conciliate him. Worth proceeded 
then to gain emancipation from his burden of gratitude, and 
place himself in open antagonism to his former patron.^' 


Duncan's motives were different again. He was intimate 
with Worth ; and Pillow, who offered to marry the Colonel to 
a rich and handsome widow, doubtless promised him the post 
of inspector general. At any rate he urged Polk to make the 
appointment, hinting at other reasons than mere qualifications, 
and it was made; and we know that Duncan gave himself 
much trouble to assist Pillow as a partisan supporter. The 
power of such a combination, headed by the President himself, 
to gather adherents from the many ambitious officers hardly 
needs to be pointed out; and finally there were, of course, 
jealous and envious men. "Since we cannot attain to great- 
ness, let us revenge ourselves by railing at it," said Montaigne 
for the benefit of such persons ; and many of the officers knew 
that greatness was beyond their powers. None of them could 
monologue as Scott did; none could look in a cocked hat as 
he looked; none had won the Mexican war; and, moreover, 
he was the sole general-in-chief .^^ 

The result was a powerful movement against the prestige 
and authority properly belonging to Scott. Pillow's reports 
on the battles of Cohtreras and Chapultepec tended to repre- 
sent the General as a nonentity ; and Worth not only did 
somewhat the same, but referred to the Commander in terms 
of ridicule and contempt. A letter, doubtless written directly 
or indirectly by Pillow over the signature of "Leonidas," 
extolling Pillow shamelessly and belittling Scott, was trickily 
worked into the New Orleans Delta of September 10, 1847 ; 
and another letter, containing a passage intended to show that 
Worth and Duncan had saved Scott from choosing the wrong 
approach to the capital, appeared in the United States, then 
in a Tampico newspaper and finally at Mexico City. Both 
letters were grossly improper, especially since the army lay 
in the enemy's country; and Scott found it necessary to act. 
As he well said, "The general-in-chief who once submits to an 
outrage from a junior, must lay his account to suffer the like 
from all the vicious under him," and "even the great mass of 
the spirited, intelligent, and well affected, among his brothers 
in arms, would soon reduce such commander to utter imbecility, 
by holding him in just scorn and contempt " for his recreancy 
to himself and the country.^" 

On November 12, therefore, he issued his General Orders 


349, which aimed to stigmatize these offences in such a way as 
to prevent a recurrence of them. Duncan then assumed in 
a plainly defiant manner the paternity of the Tampico letter, 
although in fact the offensive passage had not been written 
by him. His primary object in doing this was evidently to 
give Worth a handle, and the handle was promptly seized. 
One thing led to another ; and in the end formal charges were 
brought by the commander-in-chief against Pillow, Worth 
and Duncan, and by the two generals against him; appeals 
— insulting to Scott — were made by Pillow and Worth to 
the government; and the technical "arrest" of the three 
officers followed.'^ 

The government then stepped in. Scott had no doubt given 
it offence during the campaign, for his letters had plainly 
enough revealed a conviction that Polk had broken faith with 
him, and purposely thrown difficulties and annoyances across 
his path; but the circumstances had appeared to warrant 
his complaints, and Marcy had at least "got even" by ad- 
ministering liberal censures in reply. The balance in fact — 
aside, perhaps, from a mere acerbity of language — was against 
the administration. Besides, having served the country well 
and saved the government from disaster, Scott was entitled 
to some indulgence for irritation caused by the peculiarly trying 
circumstances that surrounded him. He was a large man, 
had done a large work and merited large treatment. But 
there was nothing large about the administration. The confines 
of mediocrity hemmed it in. Pillow and Duncan were there- 
fore by its orders relieved of arrest ; Worth was not only re- 
leased, but assigned to duty according to his highest brevet 
rank ; and " in view of the present state of things in the army," 
chiefly or entirely caused by Polk's agent and Marcy's friend, 
Scott was deposed. He had performed his task, said Robert 
E. Lee, and now was "turned out as an old horse to die." 
April 22, 1848, amidst the lamentations, cheers and blessings 
of the army as a whole — trembling himself with emotion — 
he took his leave, and Major General Butler, who was a Demo- 
crat and looked well on a horse, bore sway at headquarters.^^ 



In January, 1846, the United States had available for naval 
hostilities one ship-of-the-line, seven frigates and razees, fifteen 
sloops-of-war, six brigs, one schooner and three steamers — 
that is to say, thirty-three war craft. As ships-of-the-line 
carried more than seventy guns, frigates about forty-four to 
fifty, sloops twenty, brigs ten and other vessels in proportion, 
this fleet had 1155 cannon. Two of the vessels, under Com- 
modore James Biddle, were on the coast of Asia; several 
occupied the Brazil station ; and five cruised in African waters 
to check the trade in slaves. The Pacific squadron, com- 
manded by Commodore John D. Sloat, comprised on July 
1, 1846, the frigate Savannah, the sloops Portsmouth, Levant, 
Warren and Cyane, the schooner Shark and the storeship Erie, 
to which the frigate Congress, the razee Independence and the 
sloops Dale, Saratoga and Preble were added later in the year, 
while the Levant went home; and substantially all the rest of 
the fleet, known as the Home Squadron, attended to the West 
Indies and Gulf service, under Commodore David Conner.^ 

The appropriation for the year ending with June, 1846, was 
a little less than ten millions, but only about six and a half 
millions were expended. The war bill of May 13 permitted 
the completion of all vessels then building and the purchase 
of others; and by November, 1847, after suffering a number 
of losses, the navy had in commission five ships-of-the-line, 
one razee, four frigates, thirteen sloops, six brigs, eleven 
schooners, four bomb-vessels, twelve steamers and six store- 

The peace establishment created by Congress in 1844 provided 
for 7500 petty officers, seamen, landsmen and boys, and in 



August, 1846, this number was raised to 10,000 for the period 
of the war ; but owing to the remarkable activity of the mer- 
chant marine and the consequently high wages, men could not 
easily be obtained. During the most important year — 
November, 1846, to November, 1847 — not over 8000 were 
in the fleet at any one time. The whole number of seamen 
employed in the course of the war did not exceed 7000; and 
hence plans to strengthen our forces in the Gulf and the Pacific 
had to be curtailed. The service, too, did not enjoy unqualified 
popularity. In the sailor's decalogue appeared this command- 
ment : 

"Six days shalt thou work 
And do all thou art able, 
On the seventh thou shalt holystone 
The deck and scrape the cable" ; 

and the cannon had to be rubbed with fragrant "sea pitch" 
from the bottom of the ocean until they shone like Japanese 
lacquer. Discipline, therefore, not reinforced by the enthu- 
siasm and the necessities of war, fell considerably below its 
reputation, and the crews were eager to be free when their time 
expired. The officers, even, had become lax after thirty years 
of peace, and in too many instances their standards of conduct 
had given way.^ 

In the administration of the navy, also, the effects of a long 
peace could be seen. The control of matters had fallen, though 
not by accident, into the hands of shrewd officers deeply in- 
terested in themselves and their friends. Supernumeraries 
abounded. Those who drew the most pay often rendered 
the least service. The pet ambition was for a safe, quiet and 
easy position. Shore billets were too numerous. No field 
officer of the Marines had cruised since his promotion, and one 
of them had been in the service more than a generation with- 
out going to sea. Secretary Bancroft, eager for distinction, 
undertook to eliminate the abuses, but only succeeded in 
eliminating himself. He had taught Greek, and was ridiculed 
by the naval men as undertaking to play the pedagogue over 
them. Having no dominating force of character nor even a 
commanding presence, he could not stand against the govern- 
ing clique. The requirements of the war, which might have 
assisted an abler administrator to win the day, only increased 


his diflSculties. The Senate refused to confirm some of his 
appointees; and early in September, 1846, he became our 
minister to England.^ 

J. Y. Mason, who succeeded him, was a fat, easy, agreeable 
man, quite innocent of the desire to achieve reforms. Nobody 
disliked him, but nobody felt obliged to obey him; and as 
late as the twentieth of February, 1847, suddenly discovering 
that Scott had mentioned certain designs of the army against 
Vera Cruz, he awoke to the fact that his department had 
failed to give the anticipated assistance. Just what could 
be expected of the navy under all these prejudicial conditions 
was, therefore, in some minds, a little uncertain.' 

One of the most serious duties imposed upon it was to guard 
against privateering, for not only our commerce but the supplies 
required by our troops depended upon free lanes. About 
the middle of 1845 the government issued orders that any 
activity of such a kind on the part of Mexico should be 
considered the signal for war; and as a deterrent it was 
announced by the newspapers, though incorrectly, that pri- 
vateersmen were to be regarded as pirates. Crews not pre- 
dominantly composed of Mexicans, it was often asserted, could 
legally be "strung up to the yard-arm," since we were under- 
stood to have treaties that sanctioned this principle with most 

After the war actually began, a great deal of danger was 
apprehended. Desperate characters were believed to be 
waiting at New Orleans, and "piratical gangs" in the ports 
of Cuba, where Almonte seemed to be at work. News arrived 
early in August, 1846, that privateering regulations had been 
issued by Mexico, and suspicious craft soon appeared off Key 
West. In December the Mexican minister of war openly 
avowed that great hopes of injuring the United States in this 
manner were entertained. Blank certificates and commissions 
reached Washington; information regarding eiforts to set 
vessels at work in various quarters arrived there ; and finally 
the Carmelita of Bangor, Maine, was captured near Gibraltar 
by a felucca named El Unico, fitted out at Oran, Algeria, and 
run by Spanish desperadoes.* 

Mexico had not in reality, after studying the subject with 
deep interest, much expectation of accomplishing any large 


results by issuing letters of marque, and the regulations of July, 
1846, were intended principally or wholly to annoy this country ; 
but in September and October she took the matter up rather 
seriously. A new law provided that any foreigner entering 
her naval service might become a Mexican at once, and blank 
naturalization papers as well as thousands of privateering 
commissions, duly signed but not filled out, were carried by 
agents to the West Indies, Great Britain, France and Spain. 
Almonte did his best at Havana. J. N. Pareda, appointed 
Mexican charge d'affaires at Madrid, appears to have circulated 
the documents actively in the Peninsular ports; and another 
privateer, a Spanish steamer named La Rosita, put out from 

On the other hand, the representatives of the United States 
insisted upon our treaties and the obligations of neutrality. 
Polk's annual Message of December, 1846, denounced the 
Mexican plan as inviting "all the freebooters upon earth," 
who felt like paying for the privilege, to cruise aganist American 
commerce, announced that our own courts would say whether 
such papers could protect them from the pirate's doom, recom- 
mended that Congress provide at once for the trial of Spanish 
subjects caught in such business, and suggested American 
privateers — intended mainly to recapture vessels taken 
under Mexican letters. An American force hastened to the 
Mediterranean, and our squadrons were expected to seize all 
the rovers putting out, as well as intercept all prizes on their 
way to the enemy's ports. These precautions looked rather 
discouraging to enterprising desperadoes.® 

In England there was a feeling, as will appear later, that 
Mexico should be allowed the utmost license against us, and the 
Mexican minister at London received many applications for 
letters ; but Great Britain did not really wish her supplies of 
cotton to be endangered, and all the seas to be filled with 
corsairs preying upon the trade of the world ; and in Octo- 
ber, 1845, her minister to Mexico was instructed to prevent 
that country, if he could, from issuing letters of marque indis- 
criminately. Bankhead protested also, as did the Spanish 
minister, against important features of the regulations. Palm- 
erston himself, though he acted in a languid fashion, and 
gave notice at Washington that British subjects, found on 


Mexican privateers, could not be treated as pirates, announced 
that his government would faithfully do its dutyJ 

France was prompt and active in responding to our demands. 
Spain, placed under stringent obligations by the treaty of 
October, 1795, promised full compliance with its requirements, 
captured El Unico, punished its crew, pursued La Rosita, and 
ordered O'Donnell, the captain general of Cuba, to act as her 
obligations required ; but she accepted Pareda, the colporteur 
of what was piracy under her agreement, as consul of Mexico ; 
and the captain general, while he convinced the American 
representative of his good-will and in fact would not permit 
an open violation of the treaty, suggested to the Mexicans 
ways -^ fortunately impracticable — of evading his own rules. 
But the risks of privateering under so many embarrassments 
and the virtual impossibility of converting a prize into cash, 
prevented all attempts except the feeble ones already mentioned> 
In this field, consequently, our navy, though incessantly watchr 
ful, could acquire no laurels. '' 

Another aspect of the situation concerned it more seriously. 
On the day Congress passed the war bill (May 13, 1846) orders 
were issued to blockade the ports of Mexico. Several definite 
aims prompted this action. Primarily, of course, it was de- 
sired to prevent supplies of all kinds from reaching the enemy, 
and to deprive them of the almost indispensable revenues 
obtained in peace by taxing imports ; but there were also hopes 
that loss of business would induce Great Britain and France, 
which had a profitable trade in that quarter, to urge upon Mex- 
ico the acceptance of our terms. The blockade was therefore 
to be enforced vigorously. At the same time neutrals were 
to be treated with all reasonable indulgence. Theoretically 
only their war vessels had the right of entering closed ports, 
but practically the intention was to broaden that narrow door 
considerably. Toward itself, however, the United States 
determined to be strictly faithful in observing its declared 
principles. Merely those ports where the order could become 
effective were in view. The announcement of blockade was 
to be made as public as it could be; and in particular the 
government required that a full warning should be given to 
neutral ships.* 

For the work thus imposed upon him Conner had ample 


time to prepare. As early as August, 1845, he was directed 
to blockade the Gulf ports in case of war; early in 1846 he 
knew of Mexico's attitude regarding Slidell ; before the end of 
March his vessels occupied convenient positions ; and promptly 
on the outbreak of hostilities a b ockade was announced at 
the chief harbors. By July, with some assistance from the 
revenue service, it extended from the Rio Grande to the 

But the difficulty of making it continuously effective proved 
to be extraordinary. There were not vessels enough of the 
proper kind ; occasionally a more or less complete concentration 
became necessary; and accidents of many sorts occurred. 
Uncharted shoals and rocks, currents of unknown direction 
and force, the frequent haze, and the darkening of the light- 
houses made extreme caution imperative. The suddenness 
and violence of the storms almost surpassed belief. At Vera 
Cruz the Somers was blown over and sunk before Semmes, 
her able commander, could take steps to avert the disaster. 
Even at the anchorages one would suddenly hear on a calm 
afternoon the clarion orders of the speaking trumpet ; the ship 
would quiver and reverberate as the cable of the heaviest 
anchor ran swiftly out ; in a moment the storm would burst ; 
and for days it might be a question almost hourly of going 
ashore. At such times all sailing vessels on patrol duty had 
to make instantly for the open sea, and before they could 
return to their stations a lurking blockade runner could per- 
haps enter the port. Owing to such difficulties Alvarado 
and Frontera, for instance, could not be watched continuously.^ 

Embarrassments also of a minor yet serious character had to 
be encountered. Our vessels, unlike those of England, were 
designed exclusively for war, and long confinement impaired 
the efficiency of the men. The government supplies of eat- 
ables needed to be eked out from New Orleans huckster boats 
and European merchant ships. Water could not be obtained 
readily from a hostile shore. At the Antigua River, in July, 
1846, the boats going up with casks were fired upon, and such 
affairs had to be expected. Vessels were despatched long dis- 
tances occasionally to obtain fresh provisions, but even then 
scurvy of a most serious nature broke out in the summer of 
1846, disabling some of the largest and most efficient ships for 


several months. The i?anton had more than 200 cases. Nearly 
all on the Potomac suffered. The Falmouth had to go as far 
north as Boston to throw it off. Swampy shores and kelp 
rotting under the torrid sun produced myriads of poisonous 
as well as otherwise annoying insects. During a brief stay 
in the river off Tampico nearly all the officers and men con- 
tracted ague, and the yellow fever scourged a number of the 
vessels. More than two thirds of those on the Saratoga had 
the latter disease. In August, 1847, the Mississippi left her 
station with some 200 men suffering from it.^" 

Being strangers and enemies, the Americans labored under 
peculiar disadvantages. The people gladly assisted blockade 
runners in every possible way. Spanish captains in particular, 
having friends on shore and pilots thoroughly familiar with 
the coast, could not be prevented from reaching harbor at 
night or in thick weather by way of the shoals. Sometimes 
it looked, for one or another of these many reasons, as if our 
oflBcers were careless or incompetent. Army observers, not 
well informed regarding the conditions, felt disposed now and 
then to pronounce the blockade a humbug, and naturally 
some foreigners did so. This opinion had neither truth nor 
probability in its favor. But naturally, in view of all the 
circumstances, it proved more satisfactory to occupy the ports, 
and open them to commerce on the basis of a reasonable con- 
tributory tariff.^^ 

Besides cruising to watch for privateers and hovering off 
the chief harbors to maintain a blockade, our fleet was expected 
to share in the general offensive. For one thing Bancroft 
ordered Conner to seize all the Mexican war vessels that he 
could reach. But here a singular difficulty arose : none of 
that sort existed. The navy of Mexico, aside from small 
craft in the Pacific, included nine vessels amounting to about 
3200 1,ons. The most important were the steamers Guadalupe 
and Modezuma, built in England, which made up nearly two 
thirds of this meagre total ; but as these had never been paid 
for, they were easily transferred to a British firm, and in con- 
sequence of a calm succeeded in escaping to Havana. The 
rest of the vessels — a small brig, which changed its name too 
often to have one, and six even smaller craft — r took refuge 
early in the Alvarado River. The commander sank three of 


them to obstruct the channel, and when Hunter took Alvarado 
in April, 1847, the rest were burned. ^^ 

Conner's only chance for offensive work, therefore, aside 
from capturing a merchant vessel occasionally, was to engage: 
in shore operations ; and while the officers and men felt eager 
to get a nearer view of the scenery, as they said, and rival the' 
glories of the army, they found themselves embarrassed by 
the same difficulties that attended blockading and by others 
also. The want of tenders and storeships proved especially 
serious when hostilities were in view. Each vessel had to, 
obtain supplies at the Pensacola navy yard ; the round trip 
cost a month or so ; and tha-t base lacked the needed equipment.'^ 
Once it spent about four weeks in supplying the Potomac with, 
bread for a three-months cruise, and in July, 1846, the yellow 
fever broke out there. A point of capital importance was, 
to reach the small harbors and cut off all trade ; but until the 
last of September, 1846, Conner had not a vessel that could 
cross the bars, tow boatg over, and operate in the rivers ; and 
the first load of coal reached him two weeks later. A shortage 
of officers and men hampered operations ; and Mason, besides 
failing to anticipate such a case, failed to be awake when it 
occurred. By December, 1846, the Home Squadron included 
a substantial flotilla of small craft, mounting from one to four 
guns each ; but the difficulty of obtaining supplies and making 
repairs on a hostile coast in a season of storms almost paralyzed 

Another embarrassment existed. Conner was a brave, able,, 
accomplished, excellent man, but for a generation his business 
had been that of a navigator. His duty had been to go his 
rounds in safety, and he did it well. Nobody could handle a 
frigate better in a storm. He looked carefully after the health 
of his men, too. In thoughtfulness, prudence, judgment and 
fidelity he left nothing to be desired. But his 'constitution 
had never been robust, and the effects of an old wound, thirty 
years of service in a southern climate and the torture of neu- 
ralgia had now made him a confirmed invalid, worn and wasted, 
and subject at intervals to almost maddening pain. His 
powers both of thought and of execution were impaired. Natu- 
rally such a man did not wish to risk either men or ships ; and, 
lacking the vigor for quick decisions and powerful action, he 


could not wisely involve himself in dangerous complications. 
On the outbreak of war he should have retired ; but he knew 
that he stood high in favor at Washington, Bancroft had assured 
him that he could retain the command indefinitely, and no 
doubt he failed to realize the situation. More or less well, 
however, shore operations were carried on, and our next business 
will be to trace them from the beginning.!^ 

Owing to the state of our relations with Mexico the Home 
Squadron concentrated at Vera Cruz in February, 1846, and 
later, in accordance with instructions to cooperate with Taylor, 
Conner presented himself at Point Isabel in time to safeguard 
that position during the battles on the Rio Grande, and assist 
in occupying Burrita. When the war bill passed, his forces 
consisted of the steamer Mississippi, which could tow a number 
of small craft at full speed, the steamer Princeton, a swift 
vessel designed by the celebrated Ericsson, the handsome 
frigate Raritan, which flew the broad blue pennant of the 
Commodore at the main, the frigates Cumberland and Potomac, 
the sloops Falmouth, John Adams and St. Mary's, the: brigs 
Porpoise and Somers and the schooner Flirt, with probably 
some 2700 men. Leaving the Brazos about the twentieth 
of May Conner sailed with a part of the squadron for Pensacola, 
while other vessels did blockade work or scouted along the 
coast as far as Yucatan. In June Captain Saunders of the 
St. Mary's, lying off Tampico bar, opened fire twice on 
the Mexicans, who seemed to be erecting works, and made a 
bold, well-planned effort against three gunboats anchored inside 
the mouth of the Panuco, which only circumstances defeated. 
By August the composition of the squadron and its distribution 
changed somewhat; three small schooner-gunboats had ar- 
rived ; but there was no material difference in strength.^^ 

Meanwhile Conner had in mind the small, handy Mexican 
vessels then lying in Alvarado River, which did nobody any 
good there, and were capable of assisting in his work materially. 
It seemed very proper to seize or at least destroy them. From 
residents of Alvarado, who traded with the Americans, useful 
information was doubtless obtained; and the master of a 
captured launch, well fed and well frightened, gave correct 
details regarding the bar, channel and shipping. A redoubt 
stood near the beach, but it contained no large guns; and, 



although warned by the questioning of the launch's master, 
the Mexicans gathered no forces except some 200 militia in 
the town and about as many more several hours distant up the 
river. The situation invited a bold stroke.'^ 

Accordingly the Mississippi and Princeton, two frigates 
and the schooner-gunboats — each of these mounting one piece 
— dropped anchor in line opposite the fort at eleven o'clock in 
the morning, August 7, 1846, and the steamers opened a fire, 
to which the lightness of the Mexican ordnance permitted no 
reply. The bombardment continued more or less actively for 
about six hours, but without effect. Owing to the swift current 
of the river, swollen by heavy rains, it seemed hardly possible 
to row up to the town, and finally the gunboats were placed 
within musket range of the shore some distance north of the 
fort. Apparently the intention was to land under the pro- 
tection of our artillery. The Mexicans therefore opened a 
small-arms fire from the sand-hills, to which our cannon and 
the muskets on the gunboats replied ; but in about half an 
hour darkness put an end to the operations. Bad weather 
came on immediately; the open roadstead was unsafe; and 
after nightfall, although it had been proposed to resume the 
attack the next day, Conner withdrew with his disgusted men 
to Anton Lizardo.^^ 

The following month one of the bureau chiefs gave him to 
understand that the administration wished something done 
for the newspapers to make a "noise" about, and another 
attempt upon the same position was planned. By this time 
the enemy had improved the defences, and mounted a heavy 

pivot gun on a high knoll; 
and a letter from one of our 
sailors, picked up on the 
beach, gave them ample 
notice of the attack. These 
facts did not signify mate- 
rially, however, for the 
Americans realized they 
must positively win a victory this time, and braced them- 
selves for whatever might occur. A little after sunrise, 
October 15, the Mississippi, the Vixen (a small steamer 
carrying three guns which had recently joined the squadron), 


the McLane (a steamer loaned by the revenue service), the 
three gunboats, the Nonata (a prize schooner mounting four ' 
guns), and a revenue schooner named the Forward arrived off 
the bar. The plan was to have the Mississippi cannonade 
with shells, and the other steamers, towing the gunboats, 
ascend the river.^'' 

Everything went wrong, however. The Mississippi produced 
no effect. Owing to the strength of the current it seemed 
necessary to have wind, and Conner waited in vain until about 
2 o'clock for the usual sea breeze. The bar stood higher than 
it ordinarily did ; and although he, aboard the J'ixen, crossed 
with two gunboats, the McLane grounded, and her section 
— the larger section — of the force was thrown into the utmost 
disorder amidst the breakers. Not only did the Mexican fire 
prove serious, for a shot struck near the wheelhouse of the 
Vixen, but up the river could be seen another fort, and also 
Mexican vessels carrying more metal than Conner now had 
available. He therefore retired across the bar, touching 
twice ; and when at length his other section found itself ready 
to try once more, he deemed the hour too late. Besides, he 
now believed the McLane would be unable to go up the river 
with even one gunboat in tow. Again bad weather came on, 
and again the expedition withdrew. Officers and men were 
angry this time as well as disgusted ; and although the Mexicans 
on the ground realized that accidents had saved them, a shout 
of triumph and encouragement rang through their country .^^ 

The Mississippi now bore the red pennant of Matthew 
C. Perry, who was to have command of the squadron on Con- 
ner's retirement, and meantime, feeling anxious to serve, con- 
tented himself with the dignity of a vice commodore and acted 
as a -captain; and since not only the Vixen but coal to make 
her effective were at last on hand, Conner despatched his 
energetic lieutenant southeastward, on the next day after 
the second Alvarado fiasco, with all the vessels employed in 
that affair except one of the gunboats. After seizing on the way 
an American barque, found in communication with Mexicans, 
Perry entered Tabasco River on the twenty-third, took posses- 
sion of the town (Frontera), and the next day — transferring 
men from his flagship, which drew too much water for the bar, 
to the captured Peinta, a small but swift American-built steamer 


— he proceeded about seventy-five miles up the rapid and 
winding stream through heavy and splendid forests, disabling 
the guns of a small, deserted fort on the way, and reached San 
Juan Bautista, capital of the state of Tabasco, and seat of an 
active commerce in munitions and other goods, that reached 
as far as Mexico City. Here five merchant vessels fell into 
his possession. But now, unfamiliar with Mexican tactics. 
Perry blundered into peremptorily summoning the town, which 
J. B. Traconis, the comandante general, refused to give up.** 
< San Juan Bautista was a small, dull city of broad streets 
and one-story brick houses, lying in a wide plain. In spite 
of scandalous desertion Traconis probably had about 400 men 
supported by two small guns. These forces he broke into a 
number of parties and placed in the outskirts. Perry opened 
fire on the town with cannon, and after a time sent a party 
ashore. A skirmish followed, but nothing decisive could be 
accomplished, and after sunset, fearing the sailors would be 
shot down in the streets during the night, he recalled them.*^ 

On the following day the foreigners protested against the 
bombardment. Negotiations were then tried ; but the Co- 
mandante General, who cared much for his dignity and nothing 
for the people, insisted on playing out his role of the fearless 
patriot. Since it was impracticable to garrison the town. 
Perry decided to retire. But as one of the prizes grounded 
near the shore and a party of the Mexicans — although a white 
flag could be seen on the Vixen and other vessels — fired on 
the Americans wlio were aboard, causing the death of one and 
injuring two more, he resumed the cannonade. Of course 
the enemy gracefully withdrew ; and then Perry did the same, 
leaving Traconis to magnify his triumph. The McLane and 
Fonvard were left at Frontera to blockade the river and protect 
neutrals ; and after burning four vessels and capturing one more 
on the way. Perry rejoined Conner on the last day of the month 
with nine prizes. In its real aim the expedition had succeeded ; 
but the affair at San Juan Bautista had been so indecisive and 
murderous that even American soldiers, eager to claim credit 
and inured to the chances of war, felt humiliated.** 

The fortnight of activity and excitement cheered the men 
of the squadron a great deal, however, and then followed the 
capture of Tampico, which delighted Secretary Mason beyond 


measure, and gave the newspapers genuine material for a 
"noise." When this affair, including the trip up the Panuco, 
ended, Conner despatched his lieutenant southeastward in 
the Vixen, accompanied by two gunboats. December 21, at 
the town of Laguna on El Carmen Island, Yucatan, Perry 
seized a couple of small forts, garrisoned by a few timid soldiers, 
and disabled the guns; and after reinforcing the blockade 
of Tabasco River, looking into the coastal waters, and making 
two prizes on his return voyage, he joined the squadron two 
days after Christmas. A visit of Conner's to the same point 
the following month ended important operations in this quarter 
for some time. The occupation of Laguna checked a thriving 
illicit commerce by the river that entered the Gulf here.*' 

All this while the haughty, outstanding challenge — the 
scalp-lock, so to speak — of Mexico, the fortress of San Juan 
de Ulua in Vera Cruz harbor, remained secure. The capture 
of it, many of our citizens felt, would wrap the Gulf in a blaze 
of American glory; and young Porter, young Farragut and 
other possible Decaturs had plans of attack ready. But older 
men thought the enterprise impracticable for the navy alone. 
At the beginning of the war Bancroft expressly notified Conner 
that his forces were not deemed adequate for such an under- 
taking. Not only had the fortress been strongly and shrewdly 
constructed, but the channel that led to it was narrow and 
winding, so that a mishap would have endangered all of the 
attacking vessels. The French had taken it in 1838, but only 
by good luck and a sort of treachery, and since that year it 
had been greatly strengthened. Conner and Scott agreed 
that it could not be captured by the fleet. But in March, 
1847, misfortune overtook Uliia, for Scott, supported brilliantly 
by the naval forces, laid siege to Vera Cruz.^" 

To the Home Squadron and its commander as well as to the 
"castle" this event signified a great deal. In fact it brought 
Conner both to the climax and to the tragedy of his professional 
career. It enabled him to display in the debarkation his real 
abilities; and then precipitated him on the eve of a triumph 
into oblivion. His regular term as commander had expired 
in November, 1846, and Perry notified him that a successor 
was ready. But Conner held Bancroft's promise of an indefi- 
nite continuance in his position ; he doubtless felt that after 


long withholding needed means, the department owed him a 
chance to do something worth while ; and when he found that 
Scott was to move against Vera Cruz, he saw his opportunity. 
Unfortunately for him the change of secretaries, the complaints 
and bold proposals of young officers, and the clamor of the 
public, ignorant both of what had been possible and of what 
had been accomplished, had undermined his position.^^ 

In January,1847, Slidell informed the government that Con- 
ner had lost not only his physical and mental vigor but the 
confidence of his men. The following month Perry, whose 
ship had gone to Norfolk for repairs, visited Washington fre- 
quently; and how that ambitious, coarse-grained, wilful man 
talked, one can readily imagine. Besides, while Perry's outfit 
of Christian graces was noticeably defective, it could not be 
denied that he possessed energy and a fighting temper. The 
government therefore decided that Conner had not "shown 
himself equal to the crisis." March 3 a change of commanders 
was ordered; and when the denouement of the operations 
at Vera Cruz approached, instead of gracefully permitting 
Conner to finish what he had begun, "Old Bruin," as the sailors 
called Perry, insisted upon his rights. March 21, therefore, 
his broad blue pennant went up on the Mississippi, and in a 
few days his name shone forth in the capitulation of Vera Cruz 
and Ulua. "Poor Commodore Conner," said Marcy.^^ 

Only one important fortified place on the Gulf, Tuxpan, 
now flew the tricolor, and it, was a point of pride to capture 
the town, for guns from the Truxtun — our finest brig, wrecked 
on the bar — had been mounted there, and the strength of the 
position challenged our squadron. The city stood on the left 
bank of a river bearing the same name and about six miles 
from its mouth. On the lower edge of it rose a steep eminence. 
Hospital Hill, with a 9-pounder not far from its base and a 
32-pound carronade pivoted at its top, both of them bearing 
upon the river. Nearly a mile and a half below, at the junction 
of a tributary, stood a water battery of two 18's called Pal- 
masola; and some distance farther down, on a bluff about 
sixty feet high jutting into the stream, two 32-pound carronades 
and a long nine in La Pena redoubt commanded the stream 
for perhaps two miles. In and near these forts were stationed 
some three or four hundred Mexicans under General Cos.^'' 

TUXPAn captured 203 

Early on April 17 a large American force, including the 
"Two Follies," as forecastle wit or experience had christened 
the Spitfire and Vixen, concentrated off the mouth of the river. 
Perry had the channel of the bar sounded and marked with 
buoys, and the small steamers lightened. The next morning 
at high tide — near ten o'clock — in spite of serious misgivings 
the flotilla got through the surf into the placid river. The 
Spitfire, commanded by Tattnall and carrying Perry, the 
Vixen and another small steamer named the Scourge, then took 
in tow three armed schooners and some thirty rowboats, which 
contained four light guns and almost 1600 men ; and this fine 
procession, adorned with brilliant pennants and ensigns, wound 
upward in admirable order between the low and verdant banks.^^ 

Perhaps two miles below La Pena the river, here two or three 
hundred yards in width, straightened, the current became 
swifter, and the banks rose into thickly wooded hills. When 
the flotilla reached this point, a curl of smoke burst from the 
redoubt. "Go ahead fast!" signalled the Commodore. The 
steamers dropped their tows. The sails of the schooners filled, 
and hundreds of oars flashed in the now declining sun.^^ 

It was a race, but more than a race. The shore artillery 
spoke loudly and well. The Spitfire suffered repeatedly. 
Tattnall was wounded. With boom after boom steamers and 
gunboats replied. As the Americans approached it. La Pena's 
fire died out. "Land and storm!" ordered Perry. "Ay, 
ay, Sir," was the response. Amidst the thunder of cheers 
it was done, but the Mexicans did not wait for their visitors. 
Dropping rammers and sponges they ran, and the Stars and 
Stripes flew up. A fire from the woods was quickly silenced. 
No less promptly yielded the other forts; and "at a gallop" 
the town was captured. In all, the casualties numbered only 
fourteen. A few prizes fell into Perry's net above Tuxpan; 
the forts were demolished ; the Truxtun's guns were shipped off, 
and leaving two vessels to blockade the river, he sailed away.^^ 

After this Perry and his oflScers cruised for prizes, and invited 
a number of small ports to raise our flag — an invitation al- 
ways accepted with alacrity if not enthusiasm — but his at- 
tention was chiefly fixed on the southeast. Yucatan and to 
a certain extent her neighbor, Tabasco, endeavored to carry 
water on both shoulders. The former province, which was more 


industrious and prosperous than any other part of Mexico, 
had always demanded and usually been accorded under both 
Spanish and Mexican rule a position of semi-independence. 
In recent years difficulties had arisen between her and the 
government, but her sympathies were entirely against the 
United States. Both from policy and from a sense of humanity, 
our desire was to see her remain neutral and to spare her the 
rigors of war; but Yucatan, without appreciating either our 
wish or our conduct, aimed simply to preserve her export 
commerce, her no less valued business of importing American 
flour, and her trade — especially in foodstuffs and munitions 
— with Mexico, escape all the burdens and losses of the conflict, 
and run no risk of later Mexican vengeance.^ 

To accomplish so difficult a task her cunning and unscrupulous 
politicians veered and turned, put out statements, and organized 
revolutions according to the exigencies of the moment. Her 
two chief cities, Merida and Campeche, now joined hands and 
now seemed or were antagonistic. Local rivalries complicated 
the situation further ; and on our side, owing to the distance 
between Washington and the Home Squadron, there could 
not be perfect cooperation. The blockade was therefore 
imposed and lifted, imposed and lifted by turns. At length, 
in May, 1847, Perry took possession of Laguna and El Carmen' 
Island, appointed a naval officer as governor, and authorized 
commerce under the contributory tariff ; but at the same time 
our efforts to prevent all contraband trade, both there and 
by Tabasco River, continued.^ 

In June Perry decided to attack San Juan Bautista again. 
On the thirteenth he reached the bar at Frontera in the Mis- 
sissippi, and the next day he proceeded up the river, with a 
flotilla of one brig, one schooner, four small steamers, three 
bomb-vessels and a fleet of rowboats. After easily silencing 
the fire of two breastworks on the way, he found obstructions 
in the river opposite a third, and fearing the steamers might 
not be able to pass them without delay, landed quickly with 
ten guns and more than 1100 men, and under an almost insup- 
portable heat routed a hostile party. The steamers, however, 
passed on, driving the enemy from the breastwork, and by 
the sixteenth San Juan Bautista once more became ours. 
The fortifications were destroyed, and the guns put aboard.^^ 



Perry decided to hold the place, and on retiring left there 
nearly two hundred men besides four small vessels and their 
complements. But this proved another mistake. The Mex- 
icans were dri\'en from the vicinity, but when our force went 
back to the town, they immediately returned to blockade it; 
and on July 22, after the 
climate had laid low more 
than a third of the Ameri- 
cans, our garrison abandoned 
the place. From this time 
on, Perry found occupation 
enough in watching Tuxpan 
River, protecting against 
Mexican irregulars the ports 
where American custom- 
houses existed, and patrol- 
ling the coast .^^ 

During these operations of 
the Home Squadron signifi- 
cant events had been taking 
place also on the other coast 
of Mexico. Its enormous 
length made a strict block- 
ade practically impossible ; 
but on the nineteenth of 
August, 1846, the magnifi- 
cent Stockton covered it 
completely — ■ with a procla- 
mation. It was not that he 
intended to declare a paper 
blockade, but only that he 
did not, like finite creatures, 
realize the necessity of ade- 
quate means. About three 

days later Du Pont in the Cyane and Hull in the Warren 
left California for the south. During their cruise fourteen 
or fiiteen prizes were taken — "including the Malek Adel, an 
armed brig — and so all probability that our commerce and 
whalers in the Pacific would be molested happily vanished. 
Guaymas was cannonaded a little (October 6), and Mazatlan 


^ U S steamers 

J'f^firBd into 

From Devil s Bend to S. Juan Bautiata 

Shuivln^ tile Landing: and 

March of Com. Perry's Forces 

June le. 1847 



suffered a rather nominal blockade of about four weeks. That 
period ended on the eighth of November, and for almost three 
months no American vessel appeared there. ^^ 

In February and March, 1847, the Portsmouth watched the 
port for about five weeks, but then it was left wide open again. 
England refused to recognize such a blockade. The United 

States admitted its ille- 
gality; and on the sixth 
of March, 1847, Commo- 
dore Biddle, now com- 
manding the squadron, 
cancelled Stockton's proc- 
lamation. During the 
spring of 1847 Mazatlan, 
which had almost a monopoly of the commerce, was again 
blockaded for a time, and after May the summer hurricanes 
interdicted commerce. Since Mexico had no armed vessel of 
any importance in the Pacific, naval operations then became 

In July, 1847, Shubrick succeeded Biddle. As the blockade 
of Mazatlan had been raised, he issued on August 6 a fresh 
notice, covering that port, Guaymas and San Bias, and about 
the middle of October sailed from Monterey, California, in the 
Independence, accompanied by the Cyane. The rest of his 
active squadron — which had preceded him southward or was 
to join him in that quarter — consisted of the Congress, Ports- 
mouth, Preble, Dale and two storeships. On the twenty-ninth 
near Cape San Lucas he met Lavallette in the Congress, and 
learned that after an hour's cannonading — caused by the 
disobliging refusal of General Campusano to surrender — 
Guaymas had been occupied nine days before. November 
10 mountains lighted by a declining sun and canopied by a 
turquoise sky rose from the Gulf of California before him on 
the east; and soon, approaching a long, curving line of white 
beach, he dropped anchor near the lioness-hill of Creston Is- 
land, which crouched, grandly recumbent, with her fore paws 
extended, watching over two islet cubs that slept in front of 
her. Here, on the mainland, was Mazatlan.^* 

For nearly eighteen months the port, second only to Vera 
Cruz in the value of its commerce, had been controlled by 



U.S. Frigate" Congress" \ f\a 



in tItB old Ihrt 

U.S. F. "Jndependence'l ^^^S'y^'i --C-^;^' 
in the Olaa Attaa J 9 / i\ . i:) /v^^ 



Colonel Rafael T611ez, a happy-go-lucky insurgent of convivial 
tastes, oriental convictions on the subject of seraglios, and 
aboriginal ideas touching honor. In finance he succeeded, for 
it was only necessary to put 
his fist, whenever it felt 
empty, into the till at the 
customhouse; but as a 
warrior he proved hardly 
equal to the crisis. In 
short, he retired promptly 
and contented himself with 
partially blocking the port, 
which our forces occupied 
on the eleventh. Novem- 
ber 20 an attempt of the 
Americans to cut off an 
annoying Mexican party 
some ten miles from the city failed ; but the town was presently 
fortified in such a way that it stood in no danger. Early in 
January, 1848, San Bias was blockaded. Manzanillo's turn 
came on the seventeenth of that month; and numerous ex- 
peditions, which scoured the coast and went short distances 
inland, seized light craft, destroyed fortifications, and captured 

In tracing all these operations in the Pacific one receives 
a certain impression of tardiness and inefficiency. Acapulco, 
a point of slight commercial importance 
but one distinctly in the view of our naval 
commanders, escaped entirely; and other 
ports, especially San Bias, were apparently 
neglected. But the American vessels had 
no base near at hand. Few safe harbors 
could be found. Long voyages were nec- 
essary to obtain provisions and to send or 
pick up despatches. The sailors often found 
themselves compelled to do the work of 
soldiers ashore ; and in particular vexatious 
duties had to be performed by the navy in Lower California.^^ 
January 11, 1847, J. Y. Mason informed Stockton that both 
Californias were to be retained ; and in the course of fifteen 


Cape San LMaas 


days, beginning with March 30, La Paz, San Lucas and San 
Jose, the chief towns of the peninsula, were occupied by our 
squadron. The authorities readily submitted, and the people 
seemed to concur. An intensely hostile spirit showed itself 
before long, however, and, with the aid of leaders and re- 
sources drawn from the mainland, bitter attacks — heroically 
resisted — were made upon our feeble posts at San Jose and 
La Paz during the fall and winter. Some American troops 
from upper California rendered great assistance ; but Shubrick's 
watchful cooperation was constantly requisite, and the spirit 
of resistance could not be exorcised until the end of March, 

The naval operations on both coasts failed to win loud ap- 
plause, but there were obvious reasons. The high expectations 
of the public, based upon the war of 1812, could not possibly 
be satisfied, for our navy met with no enemy on its proper 
element. Its work had to be plodding and monotonous. Due 
preparations for that had not been made, and even the best 
informed landsmen understood but very imperfectly the 
difficulties that were encountered. Under such circumstances 
to conduct the blockade with as much efficiency as was actually 
shown, depriving Mexico of revenues and to a large extent 
of munitions, giving general satisfaction meanwhile to foreign 
interests more than willing to complain, was no slight achieve- 
ment ; and to play at the same time so effective a part on land, 
especially in the conquest of California, merited far higher 
encomiums than were bestowed.^' 

The conduct of naval men in occupied territory crowned 
their services. At Mazatlan, for example, Shubrick announced 
that he would exert himself to benefit, not injure, the people. 
Religious freedom, the protection of person and property, 
firm support of the city authorities, a low tariff and unre- 
stricted commerce — except in munitions and with Mexican 
ports — were granted. Vexatious taxes that burdened the poor 
disappeared, and a wise, economical fiscal system took their 
place. The sale of ardent spirits to men in our service was 
prohibited. The Americans mingled freely with the people 
and, as the local historian admitted, " behaved like gentlemen." 
After six weeks of this regime Shubrick was formally requested 
by the merchants to stay there. At Guaymas a similar policy 


produced similar results, and the people felt anxious to have 
Campusano's forces leave the vicinity. Laguna became 
under our authority more prosperous than ever before. 
The naval balls and parties were extremely popular; and 
even after peace came, the Commodore was "most earnestly" 
requested by the people to let our forces remain for a while.'" 

VOL. II — P 



For a considerable time large parts of Mexico were occupied 
by our troops, and it is quite worth while to know something 
of their life and behavior there. Conquering soldiers in a foreign 
land, especially when the enemy is deemed cowardly, treacherous 
and cruel, are not likely to be angels ; and we may count upon 
meeting here with disagreeable as well as complimentary facts. 
But we must face these as brave and honest men who love the 
truth, believe in our country, and are not foolish enough to 
expect perfection of human nature. It will be some consolation 
to recall Napoleon's maxim, "The conduct of a general in a 
conquered country is beset with difEculties," and to remember 
that no nation, if well acquainted with its history, will think 
of pointing the finger at us. 

The purpose of the Un ited S tates was to treat non-combata nts 
a s friends, and pr oi:ect the m m all their right " "f ppr-af^TT prr>p- 
e rtv ana relig ion.^ i^ivilization prescribed this course, and 
policy emphasized it. Both for immediate military success 
and for the restoration, after the war, of mutually profitable | 
relations, it seemed highly desirable to strike only" at the gov- 
ernment and the army of Mexico, and to avoid angering thej 
great body of the citizens.^ 

Accordingly Taylor was promptly supplied with a proclama- 
tion, to be distributed in both English and Spanish, which threw 
upon Paredes the odium of the conflict, assured the Mexican 
people that a government of "usurpers and tyrants" had in- 
volved them in its losses and miseries, and promised that no 
one behaving as a neutral would be molested ; the General was 
instructed that his "utmost endeavors" must be put forth 
to make good the pledge ; and an active policy of conciliation 



was urged upon him. As will be seen later, the course of the war 
and the attitude of Mexico eventually suggested a programme 
considerably sterner in certain respects; but such was the real 
desire of our government, and it went so far that in order to 
prove we had no intention of at tacking the rel igion of the 
Mexicans, Roman Catholic priests were engaged to accompany 
our army.^ 

Taylor, besides resting under a strict obligation to obey his 
orders, doubtless concurred fully in this view of the matter, 
and for a time good conduct on the part of our troops pre- 
vailed. The authorities of Matamoros were respected; the 
people felt contented, and viewed the war with indifference; 
persons of the upper classes began to show themselves ; and the 
town seemed on the way to being a smart little New Orleans. 
But the arrival of the volunteers in force gave the situation 
a new aspect.' Even men of umblemished reputations appeared 
to feel that becoming soldiers exempted them from every law, 
both civil and moral .^ 

When in camp below New Orleans the troops were guilty of 
some "sky-larking" — that is to say, plundering; and when 
they entered the enemy's country they became, said a regular 
oflBcer, "the living embodiment of a moral pestilence. Crime 
followed in their footsteps, and wherever they trod, they left 
indelible traces of infamy." To meet their wishes, disorderly 
establishments of every kind sprang up,* and the streets were 
constantly filled with drunken, brawling, insolent officers 
and men carrying arms. One of them drew a pistol on the 
British consul because his cane was black ; many depredations 
were committed ; and before the tenth of July at least five or 
six harmless persons were shot down for amusement.* 

Although it would seem as if Taylor, with some 2500 regulars 
at his back, might have enforced order, he declared that he 
could not, and soon gave up the effort. Unwilling to bring 
offenders before a military court, he endeavored to have the 
Mexican judges act in some cases, but of course they dared not ; 
and he shipped a few of the malefactors to New Orleans, where 
they could not be held a moment for crimes perpetrated abroad. 
The result was practical impunity —" perfect impunity," 
wrote the British consul — for the worst of crimes. At the 
beginning of August, however, the General prohibited the 


importation of liquor by the Rio Grande ; and as the army 
was then moving on, Matamoros became comparatively quiet.' 

Later commanders undertook with considerable success to 
keep it so ; but even in January, 1847, robbery and violence 
were not unknown there, and the non-commissioned officers 
as well as the soldiers were forbidden to leave their quarters 
with arms unless on duty. Discharged volunteers on their 
way down the river did great harm,^ and Taylor wrote in June, 
1847, "There is scarcely a form of crime that has not been 
reported to me as committed by them." Above Matamoros 
determined efforts were made with partial success to keep 
liquor from the troops, and the conditions were better. Here 
and there Americans would "muster in" some fruit or fowls. 
"Soldiers who have to fight their enemy in the enemy's 
country will never go hungry as long as there are any 
chickens about," wrote one of them; and in fact, said an 
officer, it was a patriotic duty for Uncle Sam's men to keep 
their souls and their bodies together. But the rule in such 
cases was to compensate the owners, and probably no serious 
resentment lingered.* 

During the battles of Monterey there was enough shooting 
to satisfy any reasonable person, and the quiet beauty of the scene 
should soon have banished thoughts of carnage. The tranquil 
mountains that stood about the town on three sides, receding 
as the clouds enveloped them in shadow or approaching as the 
splendor of the sun brightened every point, the statuesque 
aguacates clothed in foliage like dark green velvet, the fan-like 
palmettoes, the feathery date palms, the delicious oranges and 
pomegranates, the murmuring streams, and the lilies that 
brightened many a pool invited to repose ; yet no sooner was 
battle over than murder began.^" 

The chief criminalsweretheTexans ,* who felt that barbarities 
committed by the iViexican on their" soil during the revolution 
warranted the crudest retaliation. At Matamoros they had 
been the fiercest of the volunteers, and now — stationed for 
a while at the town — they found a still better opportunity.' 
Other volunteers aided them. To say nothing of robberies 

* These men have to be called Texans because they hailed from that 
state, but it should be remembered that nearly all ot them had come 
from other parts of the Union. 


and minor outrages perpetrated "in the broad light of day," 
it was thought, noted a regular officer in his diary, that not 
less than one hundred Mexicans were slain in cold blood, and 
out of about 7000 still in town, 5000, more or less, fled. A 
citizen cannot take his hat off, wrote a Mexican, without some 
American's saying, "That is mine"; and if the owner denies 
it, he gets a bullet. Strict regulations ' were soon framed, 
however, and under Worth's command the volunteer learned 
what they meant.^" 

To a large extent, if we leave the T pvana r,^^t nf tliP account, 
t he. Mexicans themselve s were resp onsible for the worst out- 
. rages of Monterey and the vicin ity. They sold liquor to the 
troops persistently, and retaliated indiscriminately for the 
excesses that resulted. The Americans then took vengeance, 
and in the end some ghastly deeds on rather a large scale oc- 
curred. Singularly enough, too, the punctiliousness of our 
officers contributed to the same end. They would not convict 
a Mexican without legal proof of his guilt, and when soldiers 
saw a man, who was almost certainly the murderer of their 
comrade, let off because a drove of Mexicans testified to an 
alibi, they were likely to steal out after him or make some one 
else pay his forfeit.' Still, the many injunctions to be fair 
and kindly toward the people were not without effect. One 
soldier used to sit cross-legged in the square of Monterey, and 
play his rickety accordion for the benefit of the populace.^" 

At Saltillo strict police regulations were made. As had now 
become the general rule, to provide soldiers with intoxicating 
beverages, except by special permission, was forbidden, and 
fifty lashes were made the penalty for disobedience. The 
troops had to seek their quarters at retreat, and the Mexicans 
go home when the ten o'clock bell rang. But in spite of every 
precaution the "lawless volunteers," as Worth called them, 
were guilty of many offences, and — with the perhaps excessive 
emphasis of a high-minded regular officer — he wrote to his 
daughter, "The innocent blood that has been basely, cowardly 
and barbarously shed in cold blood, aside from other and 
deeper crimes, will appeal to Heaven for, and, I trust, receive, 
just retribution." ^^ 

Here, as at Monterey, Worth made an admirable governor, 
sitting four hours a day to hear complaints, and administering 


substantial justice without reference to legal technicalities; 
and his successors were much like him.'^ A sergeant was 
discharged for treating a Mexican unjustly. An American 
"doctor" was expelled for disorderly conduct. Soldiers were 
not allowed to endanger the people by riding fast in the streets. 
Property stolen or destroyed was paid for by the army, and 
this rule was made to work the other way also. The town 
prospered ; and although some of the soldiers would now and 
then help themselves to fruit or snatch a piece of candy from 
a stand, and cases of outrage on the one hand or assassination 
on the other occurred at intervals, the people — notably 
hostile at first — became friendly, the wiiadows were always 
full of laughing girls, and the women in their rebosas, red 
petticoats and blue cloth slippers went every evening to the 
fountain in the plaza with their tall earthen jars, unmolested 
and unafraid.^^ 

Tampico, to say nothing of the drills and parades, offered 
enough interesting sights and amusements to keep the soldiers 
out of mischief, one might have thought. The many strange 
and beautiful trees; the muUard and sea-trout, schools of 
yellow jackfish, huge, pearly tarpon, and many other denizens 
of the rivers and lagoons; the buzzards coasting on air, the 
grunting ravens, and forty other kinds of birds; the long, 
slender pirogues of red cedar constantly bringing luscious 
fruits to the market; the many vessels coming and going: 
these were only a few of the attractions. But in reality the 
town was a hard problem, for its nearness to the United States 
and its commercial relations made the exclusion of all unde- 
sirable visitors impossible. So-called restaurants bearing 
popular American names flourished, and, in spite of the pro- 
hibition against importing liquor, strong drink was about all 
they offered except hard beef ; while the existence of gambling 
houses was proved by the severe and repeated orders against 
them. Almost every volunteer, said a regular officer, celebrated 
his arrival with a "frolic," ^^ and according to the Mexican 
accounts, threats, insults and small depredations were not 

But in Tampico as elsewhere, the people had much less to 
suffer, in all probability, than from the Mexican troops who 
formerly had garrisoned the town, and the big United States 


flag set up in the plaza near the P^nuco represented substantial 
benefits. Many new kinds of manufactured articles made 
their appearance, and all such things were sold at low prices. 
Business became active. According to tradition the paving 
of the city dates from this time. A theatre was built. Prepa- 
rations were made and presumably carried out for the extension 
of the mole. An American newspaper appeared. Mexican 
visitors had to give an account of themselves, and there were 
no riots and no dirks. Patrols marched up and down the broad 
• streets ; sentries with fixed bayonets were on hand at every 
gathering, even balls; and the very happiest of frolics were 
pretty sure to end before morning with a nap on the guard 
house floor." 

Some of the Mexicans thought our volunteer officers were 
afraid of their men, but Gates, Shields and the other commanders 
do not seem to have been. The assistance of the leading 
Mexicans in maintaining order was invited ; many of the citizens 
fraternized with our men; and in general a high rate of mor- 
tality was probably the only serious consequence of reckless 
tendencies. The residents thought the American volunteers 
careless, badly dressed and poorly drilled ; but some of them 
admitted they had never felt so safe before." 

Clearly our troops improyed in conduct as time went on, 
but none the less their early excesses had serious consequences. 
For a long while there had been a tendency in the northeastern 
parts of Mexico to secede. The primary scheme had been to 
join Texas; and after our absorption of Texas ended it, the 
idea of an independent republic, with American protection 
or annexation to this country in view, gained much support. 
Early in 1846 the authors of this project were in communication 
with Taylor and the American government. Whether such a 
plan could have been executed or not, there were reasons for 
our wishing to have the people cherish it. In such a mood they 
were bound to be our friends instead of enemies, and the paralyz- 
ing influence of their temper would have extended into other 

Accordingly Taylor was instructed to favor the idea. But 
reports of the outrages committed by our volunteers penetrated 
to all quarters; the Mexican authorities, who understood the 
popular tendencies, were doubtless active in spreading the 


reports ; and the disposition to view us with cordiality received 
a shock from which it never recovered. "People near Mata- 
moros, previously inclined to favor the Americans," declared 
the comandante general of Nuevo Leon in a broadside, "have 
written these weighty words : 'The domination of the Grand 
Turk is kinder than that of the Americans. Their motto is 
deceit. Their love is like the robber's. Their goodness is 
usurpation ; and their boasted liberty is the grossest despotism, 
iniquity and insolence, disguised under the most consummate 
hypocrisy.'" As an offset, the bad conduct of Mexican officers 
and troops did not signify. That was a family aflair.^^ 

The blackest shadow in the picture, however, was New 
Mexico. Armijo had compensated the people for his tyranny 
and robbery by. permitting them every sort of license in their 
social relations. Virtue was little known and less valued. 
Even women fought duels with dirks or butcher-knives. 
Dances, at which all classes mingled in the revelry, were the 
chief amusements; the church bells announced them; and 
at mass one heard the same music, played by the same musicians. 
Gambling and cock-fighting stood next in esteem, perhaps; 
and then came other vices that seemed more precisely neces- 
sities than ornaments of existence.^* 

To throw into a small and isola,ted community of that sort, 
without books or society or proper diversions, a large number 
of young and reckless frontiersmen greatly above the average 
in physical vigor, was to make it a seething caldron of gross 
passions. The soldiers were not willing to do what little work 
there was, and they scorned regulations. "The dirtiest, row- 
diest crew I have ever seen collected together," was a responsible 
British traveller's description of the American forces ; and a 
soldier wrote in his diary, "A more drunken and depraved 
set, I am sure, can never be found." To be liked, an officer 
had to be lax, and to be unpopular was liable to mean — as 
good officers learned — a pistol or a sabre in one's face. Half 
the captains, a letter said, could be found every night in bad 
places. The disorder of the governor's Christmas dinner 
party disturbed the whole town. There was probably no 
deliberate oppression. Gross outrages appear to have been 
few. But the drunken, brawling, overbearing volunteers 
despised the men about them and showed it; and the latter, 


flouted at every turn, and in particular robbed of their women, 
scowled and brooded with all the ferocity of an indolent but 
passionate, jealous race, and plied the knife when they dared.^' 

Kearny might perhaps have ridden the tempest, but a local 
politician like Price could only be swept away. A few of the 
better Americans got up a prayer-meeting, but that was just 
a dewdrop in Tartarus. One began to be ashamed of one's 
nation, wrote a good officer. To enhance dissatisfaction, the 
Indians continued their depredations as if no treaties had been 
made. A well-meant code of laws was drawn up, but it con- 
tained certain troublesome provisions about land titles; and 
some taxation had to be imposed. The people took fright. 
"We have come for your good ; yes, for all your goods," began 
to be their interpretation of Kearny's assurances.^* 

Naturally an insurrection occurred. Price now showed 
energy, and the troops courage. In a brief campaign, January 
and February, 1847, the malcontents were put down. But 
the people, though cowed, loved the victors none the better, 
and the victors trusted and respected the people none the more. 
The conditions became perhaps worse than ever.^^ Supplies 
were uncertain. Discipline became lax again, and the Indians 
were now more rapacious than for twenty years. Dissipation 
resulted in much sickness and many deaths. Moreover the 
people felt wronged because political privileges bestowed by 
Kearny in excess of his authority had to be withdrawn. For 
most, if not all, of the time it was impossible to obtain the 
money required for the administration of civil affairs, and the 
civil authorities clashed with the military.^' Undoubtedly 
serious difficulties were inherent in the situation, but nothing 
could excuse our government for permitting such a state of 
things to continue for so long a time.^* 

Very different was the scene in California. Soon after the 
treaty of Cahuenga was made Stockton returned to his naval 
duties, and Fremont, appointed by him under the law of nations, 
assumed the governorship.^' In February, 1847, however, 
orders that had been issued at Washington early in November, 
directing that the chief military officer should take command, 
reached San Francisco, and about the first of March Kearny 
became the executive. In general he was inclined to be less 
indulgent than Fremont or Sloat, but he intended to be fair and 


kind. "The Americans and Californians," he proclaimed with 
the same exaggeration of his authority as at Santa Fe, "are 
now but one people ; let us cherish one wish, one hope, and let 
that be for the peace and quiet of our country. Let us as a 
band of brothers unite and emulate each other in our efforts 
to benefit and improve this our beautiful, and which soon 
must be our happy and prosperous home." ^^ 

At the end of May, 1847, he returned to the east, and Colonel 
R. B. Mason of the First Dragoons, whom the government had 
sent out for the purpose, became governor and commander- 
in-chief. Mason was an excellent executive, able, experienced, 
sensible, strong and faithful. Some thought his character 
hard, but probably all clear-headed persons realized that it 
was just. He believed in firm though kind methods, avoided 
entanglements, and bore sway successfully till the close of the 

The restless faction of the Los Angeles district, free from 
the restraint of a large American element, still existed, and at 
intervals caused considerable anxiety. Indeed it is clear from 
Mexican sources that a hope of troops from the south was 
fondly cherished there for a long time. The approach of the 
Mormon battalion, which — after suffering many hardships 
on the route from Santa Fe — arrived at San Diego under 
Captain Cooke in January, 1847, excited the people, for that 
sect was loathed in California. A great deal of trouble about 
land titles arose, for the surveying had been poorly done, the 
boundaries overlapped in many instances, and few had the 
proper documents. Fremont's volunteers, expecting large 
pay, refused to be mustered into the service under the law of 
May 13, 1846, and were discharged in a very angry frame of 
mind, April, 1847, with no pay at all ; and very little was done 
toward compensating the people for the spoliations committed 
by the volunteers.^' 

The government, though tempered by the maintenance of 
the alcalde system, was necessarily a military one; the old 
alcaldes, familiar with the customs of the land, would not serve ; 
the new ones, though generally good men, could not always 
give satisfaction ; and the growing American element, disgusted 
with so unsystematic a system, demanded self-government 
and written laws. No funds could legally be had for the ex- 


penses of war and civil administration except those derived 
from the customhouses, and the Americans were so deeply 
committed by their promise of low duties that Mason felt 
compelled to reduce the tariff explicitly ordered by the govern- 
ment. There were jealous differences of opinion on many 
points between the Californians and the Americans, between 
the various nationalities of the foreigners, and between the old 
and the new immigrants ; and finally the people were disturbed 
by serious quarrels between the Stockton-Fremont party and 
the Kearny-Mason party, and by the old fear that eventually 
the Americans would sail away, leaving them to settle with 
Mexico as best they could. -^ 

For troops, besides Company C of the First Dragoons, 
Kearny's escort from Santa Fe, there were Company F of the 
Third Artillery, which arrived in February, 1847, the Mormon 
battalion, and a regiment of New York volunteers under 
Colonel J. D. Stevenson, who came in March, 1847, and were 
expected to remain in California as settlers after the close of 
the war.^" Apparently the Mormons were to be a source of 
weakness rather than strength, and the antecedents of the New 
York regiment inspired little confidence. Stevenson's men 
did in fact begin promptly to "sow wild oats." They were 
not disposed to work on the fortifications, and they were in- 
subordinate. But under Mason's control they soon learned 
to do well, and he reported that at the close of the war "one 
common cry of regret arose [from the Californians] at the order 
for their disbandment ; [and] the little petty causes of complaint 
were forgotten in the remembrance of the more substantial 
advantages they had enjoyed under the protection of the 
military." The conduct of the Mormons was always exem- 
plary and they won the esteem of the people. ^^ 

Imported articles became cheap. Real estate and all the 
products of the soil, particularly at the north, increased in 
value. Commerce trebled in a year. All damages caused 
by men recognized as in the service of the United States were 
repaired, and the offenders punished. The return of Jose 
Castro without means or hopes at the beginning of 1848 pro- 
duced an excellent effect. Gold-digging became more at- 
tractive than conspiracies. And although a certain number 
of irreconcilables cherished regrets and grievances, the official 


news of peace and absorption in the United States — which 
came on the evening of August 6, 1848 — greeted a busy and 
hopeful community.^' 

So much for the north, and we pass now to the regime of 
Scott. After learning of the atrocities perpetrated on the Rio 
Grande, that "scientific and visionary" officer drafted and laid 
before the secretary of war a martial-law order, to be enforced 
in Mexico until action should be taken by Congress. But 
the idea of putting constraint on the free American voter 
probably struck Marcy with terror. He started at the title, 
said nothing, and after a while returned the paper without 
comment. Scott then sent it on to Taylor, and was informed 
that the General threw it aside almost instantly, calling it 
" another of Scott's lessons." The crying need of some adequate 
method for punishing American soldiers in foreign parts com- 
pelled Marcy in December to recommend that Congress author- 
ize a military tribunal; but that body also doubtless had an 
eye to votes, and took no action. ^^ 

Scott, however, though an aspirant for the Presidency, did 
not shrink from his duty, and on arriving in Tampico he issued 
General Orders 20, which threw the pale of martial law round 
all United States forces operating in Mexico, and provided for 
the punishment, through "military commissions," of offences 
committed by, in or upon them.^^ Orders 20, republished at 
Vera Cruz, Puebla and the capital and widely circulated in 
Span'sh, were supplemented by issuing safeguards, under 
which one or more soldiers, bearing a proper document signed 
by a corps or division commander, could be quartered at any 
place which it was especially for the interest of the army to 
protect.^^ In occupying towns the rule was to billet no officer 
or man, without consent, upon any inhabitant, and to quarter 
the troops in barracks and other public buildings already used 
for the purpose by the Mexican government.^* These arrange- 
ments, the practice of paying for everything used by the army, 
the principle of treating non-combatant Mexicans as fellow- 
citizens, and a strenuous endeavor to enlist the cooperation 
of all the decent men of the army in the suppression of outrages 
constituted the system of Scott.^'^ 

At Vera Cruz misdeeds were perpetrated, of course, but the 
culprits who could be detected paid a price for their sport that 


put the fear of the Lord — or at least of Scott — into the 
hearts of others. One tipsy fellow, who nearly killed a Mexican 
woman with kicks and blows, was strapped over a wagon, 
given twelve good lashes, and then placed at labor in a fort 
with a ball-and-chain for the rest of the war. A second ruffian, 
for a worse offence against a woman, was promptly and pub- 
licly hanged.^^ On the other hand preventive regulations "''' 
concerning liquor, gambling, roaming about the city and the 
like soon went into force.'" 

But the American measures were not simply negative. 
Worth, who became governor as soon as the town surrendered, 
distributed free rations among the people, and prevented 
extortion by establishing a fair scale of prices for eatables. 
A large force of laborers was employed at liberal wages to clean 
the streets and the Augean castle of Ulua. Assured of protection 
the shops reopened promptly. In ten days the general effects 
of the bombardment appeared hardly noticeable. Freed from 
the exactions of their officials and military chiefs and rapidly 
gaining confidence in our intentions, the people seemed like 
new men. Commerce, favored by the low American duties, 
took on fresh life. Although anti-Catholic sentiment was 
raging in the United States, Scott and some of his principal 
officers attended mass and even marched in the processions; 
and the soldiers were bidden to salute not only the tasselled 
cane of the magistrate but the cassock of the priest.'" 

. Worth soon moved on with Scott's army ; but his successor 
was described by the British consul as deserving "all praise." 
Those who followed him did perhaps equally well ; ^' all 
branches of the public service were maintained ; the good-will 
of the citizens was acquired and held ; and Lerdo de Tejada, 
one of the best statesmen and historians of Mexico, has declared 
that Vera Cruz had to suffer scarcely anything from the Ameri- 
can occupation except the humiliation of foreign rule, while 
profiting substantially in several respects.'" 

These results were achieved, too, under serious and almost 
crippling embarrassments. In some regards the city was 
highly agreeable. Fish more resplendent than gems lay al- 
ways in the market. A long list of delicious fruits and vege- 
tables graced each its proper season. Often a duet of the 
military band and the mocking-birds enchanted the ear. To 


sip a sherbet at noonday — all the curtains drooping over the 
balconies, the blue sky gray with excess of light, the black- 
birds panting with beaks wide open and wings partly spread, 
the lepero drunk with sleep in the shadow of a wall, a hush 
over the docks, a stillness in the market — had an exotic 
fascination; and an evening stroll round the plaza or along 
the beach at Vergara, where the principal camp lay, with the 
soft, languid, lingering breeze of the Gulf on one's face and 
every star asking to be counted, was a delight one could not 
soon forget.'" 

This region, however, was a favorite hunting-ground, not 
only of the yellow fever, but of diseases even more fatal .^' A 
few slices of the fragrant Cordoba pineapple, washed down 
with a glass of the almost irresistible brandy, left one hardly 
time to make a will. Through the long day a huge ball of fire 
called the sun poured down an intense heat, and at night the 
mosquitos were numberless. The story of the invalids was 
long and sad ; and sadder yet the tale of many a gallant soldier- 
boy, full of thoughts of the loved ones, who breathed his last 
sigh in the crowded wards of a hospital — alone?" 

At Cordoba, where the lanes blazed with small red roses, 
the sentiment was intensely Mexican, and the authorities 
ordered that on the approach of the American forces as many 
of the inhabitants as possible should leave town with every- 
th'ng belonging to the state that could be of service. But the 
people were mostly satisfied with shutting themselves up 
during the brief stay of General Bankhe^d, and the merchants 
did not go so far as that. The legitimate rights of the con- 
queror were asserted, but the American commander perhaps 
made full compensation for this by requiring the city council 
to reduce the expenses of administration. Care was taken to 
provide for the punishment of all disorders, and in particular 
for all interference with religious observances. After Bank- 
head left, hearing that some of the garrison were plundering, 
he threatened to send an entire battalion, if necessary, to 
apprehend the culprits.'^ 

On higher ground farther west lay Orizaba, sombre yet 
beautiful amidst its orchards, gardens, palm groves, orange 
trees and rich fields of tobacco and sugar-cane, like a proud 
Span sh dowager surrounded by her grandchildren. Here the 


troops helped themselves occasionally to fruit and cane, injured 
trees and committed some graver offences. The consequence 
was that soldiers were forbidden to leave the town except on 
service and the officers commanding guards in the outskirts 
had to arrest every man guilty of such acts or pay for the 
damages, and in either case were held responsible for diso- 
bedience and neglect of duty.^^ 

Of all the p'aces occupied by American troops in Mexico 
the most delightful was Jalapa. In fact, probably a more 
deFghtful place is nowhere to be found. For natural attrac- 
tiveness it surpasses even Taormina, Kandy and Nikko, 
the beauty-spots of Sicily, Ceylon, Japan. The abundant 
water was excellent, which could rarely be said of Mexican 
towns, and ice from Orizaba Mountain could be had to 
cool the abundant refreshments. The mercury never stood 
high and never low. Spring was almost the only season. 
The foliage always looked new and exuberant, and blossoms 
were constantly opening as if with ever fresh surprise.^* 

From the plaza one gazed into a broad valley tapestried 
with many-hued verdure. Here palms, live-oaks, magnolias, 
tamarinds and aguacates — often enmeshed with beautiful 
and sometimes with aromatic vines — gracefully sheltered 
the azalea, the verbena, the poppy, the jasmine and countless 
varieties of geraniums and roses. Here such exquisite plants 
as the vanilla, heliotrope and tree-lily exhaled with unceasing 
generosity their delightful odors. Here, amid ancient forests, 
gorges ciu'tained with exotic ferns and orchids extended to 
mysterious depths teeming with all manner of strange, fasci- 
nating growths. And when, after long surveying this Eden, 
or descending to wander far in its mazy paths, one's eye rose 
to a broad belt of pines and firs clothing jagged sierras, and at 
last, above their rich green, beheld a slender but enormous 
pyramid of snow, the peak of Orizaba, heaven-high and re- 
splendent against the deep, tropical blue, it seemed as if nature 
had lavished on this chosen spot the whole diapason of her 
beauty. Music hath charms to soothe; and such loveliness, 
grace, perfume and grandeur, combined, were splendidly suited 
to still the passions of war.^^ 

Scott and the first American troops proved worthy of this 
paradise. Nobody was molested. The officers lodged only 


in vacated houses. The soldiers tried to make friends among 
the townsfolk. Our generals attended the funeral of a worthy 
Mexican officer killed at Cerro Gordo. Gold and silver flowed 
in streams — brighter than "Abana and Pharpar, rivers of 
Damascus" — that reached the humblest cottage. Many 
of the people wept when Scott marched away.^^ 

But some later commands, untamed volunteers who stopped 
there for a brief time, left a different impression. Lally's men 
seem to have been a scourge, and Wynkoop's proved so lawless 
that even Lally's were glad to see the last of them. During 
their stay the shops were closed, and all business came to an 
end. Seven officers left their accounts unpaid at the hotels, 
and some of them carried away towels or the shirts of brother 
officers. In a word they were natural thieves. Other mis- 
deeds could be traced to the lack, for some time, of pay. But 
the main cause of trouble was liquor. Against this evil, as 
against gambling and the rest, adequate regulations were issued ; 
but sometimes commissioned officers, anxious to be popular, 
would force hotel keepers to let their men have drink. At the 
bottom of everything lay the selling of liquor by wholly un- 
authorized persons. " Let the municipal authorities unite with 
me to put a stop to that infamous traffic," wrote one American 
governor of the city to the first alcalde," and I will answer for 
it that there will be no disturbances or outrages committed 
by the soldiers." ''' 

Another feature also of the American occupation came out 
with especial clearness at Jalapa. Not only were offences, ex- 
tending to robbery and murder, committed against our troops, 
but it was found on scrupulous investigation that often definite 
stories of misdeeds charged to our men were plausible only till 
the other side came out, and that many claims for damages 
were deliberately invented or grossly exaggerated.'^ 

Against all real offenders the successive governors — par- 
ticularly Colonel George W. Hughes, who remained in office 
a considerable time — were as a rule severe. Stern orders, 
biting rebukes, earnest appeals to represent our country 
worthily, precautions like patrols and frequent roll-calls, and 
at need exemplary punishments were not lacking. One day 
four soldiers received thirty lashes each, had their heads shaved, 
and were drummed out of camp, with the word "Robbek" 



pasted on their backs, for breaking into a house.^^ But at 
the same time careful measures had to be taken for the pro- 
tection of our men and our government. Happily the people 
in general seem to have understood that some pilfering and 
occasionally other misdemeanors were unavoidable, and to 
have appreciated our efforts to defend, conciliate and please 
them, to maintain — in cooperation with the town officials — 
the municipal service, to provide for the charities of the city, 
and to ensure respect for woman, religion and civil authority. 
Vigne, a French traveller, says the Americans were much liked 
at Jalapa, and probably they were nowhere treated more 
pleasantly .^^ 

At Puebla, August 1, 1847, the Robert Anderson of Fort 
Sumter wrote : " We have been now in this large City since 
May 15th, with a soldiery gathered from many Nations, many 
of them undisciplined, and yet, I will venture the assertion, 
without fear of contradiction, that, in no City of the same 
size, either in our own blessed Country or in any other, is 
private property, or are private rights, more secure and better 
guarded than here. . . . Not an instance, I am certain, has 
been elicited, or brought to light, of one of our soldiers killing 
a Mexican. . . . 'Tis truly wonderful, I cannot understand 
it." ^° The people are all contented, said a letter to El 
Republicano, for business is good and taxes are low; and, he 
might have added, an American band plays for us in the park. 
It is "almost incredible," admitted a writer n El Nacional, 
a newspaper of the state, how well the American soldiers treat 
our priests and women. How are they able to wear the mask 
so long? The common people, not seeing through the trick, 
accept their conduct in good faith.^'' 

After the siege ended, some of our men were arrested for 
plundering houses from which they had been fired upon, and 
there was a little pilfering at the fruit stands ; but Furlong, the 
Mexican prefect, urged the people to give the war no further 
thought, and friendly relations very soon returned. Street 
lanterns were still punctured occasionally by tipsy and facetious 
Americans with their bayonets, but they were paid for. When 
Lane's brigade of volunteers arrived, complaints began in 
earnest, and a committee laid the situation before Scott; but 
there was no case of such importance that amends or even 


invest'gaf on was demanded?" The city council stated to the 
prefect that Childs had saved its authority, improved the 
condit on of the town, aided the Mexican officials, and given 
them willing audience in order to concert measures for the 
public good. One measure in particular was the re-establish- 
ment of the chamber of commerce, destroyed by the state 
government; and, as the bishop admitted, Childs did all in 
his power to prevent and remedy abuses.'^ 

At Mexico City there were "some outrages naturally," 
reported Doyle, charge d'affaires of England; and emphasis 
can fairly be placed on his last word, for the troops, entering 
the town excited by desperate fighting and crowned with 
victory, were fired upon by the populace, and found themselves 
hunted at every turn by robbers, assassins and their confeder- 
ates.^^ Doyle added that "even from the beginning a great 
deal of forbearance" was displayed by the Americans; and 
the correspondent of the London Daily News wrote, "On the 
whole I must confess that General Scott and his troops have 
acted with unexpected moderation." Indeed, they "have 
shown an exemplary clemency," admitted a Mexican letter 
printed by a Mexican paper .^^ 

The restaurant-keeper who furnished a meal and got rather 
less than he expected or the janitor who tried to keep soldiers 
out of their assigned quarters and got rather more, had little 
reason to complain. Indeed, both had reason to be content, 
for in a city full of leperos and escaped felons property and life 
depended upon our protection. "We must endure the pres- 
ence of the Americans or suffer worse things," said a Mexican. 
No allowances were made by Scott, however .'' "Revelling 
in the halls of Montezuma" means now, a soldier wrote home, 
that if the patrol finds you in the street after eight o'clock in 
the evening you are taken to the guardhouse, and if noisy, 
you are handcuffed ; and for more serious offences the punish- 
ments were extremely severe. Quitman, the first governor of 
the city,^° and P. F. Smith, who succeeded him, ably seconded 
the commander-in-chief.*^ 

Under such auspices the shops began to open within a week 
after the capital surrendered, and business was soon brisker 
than ever. The clergy were somewhat refractory, and on 
September 19 all the churches were found closed; but Quit- 


man immediately sent word that should they remain closed, 
the United States flags would be removed from their towers 
as a sign that our army had withdrawn its protection. No 
further hint was needed, for millions in gold, silver and gems 
lay within their dark walls; and soon the relations between 
army and church became entirely satisfactory/^ 

The troops then felt at liberty to make themselves at home. 
The American Star, "a neat and saucy little sheet," whose 
proprietors and editors had followed the troops from Vera 
Cruz, and set up their press wherever Scott made a stay, ap- 
peared on September 20, and later was followed by the North 
American^^ The cafes and eating places took on strange 
names: New York Restaurant Eagle Hotel, Old Kentucky 
House and the like. "American Dry Goods," read one sign; 
"Mince Pies for sale Here," another; "Mush and Milk at All 
Hours," a third. Officers formed an association called the 
Aztec Club. An agitation for an American railroad to Vera 
Cruz began. An American sermon was preached at the palace 
in the splendid Ambassadors' Hall, on the text : " Only fear 
the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for 
consider how great things he hath done for you " ; and other 
sermons followed. American citizens, temporarily soldiers, 
made all the shows prosperous, and a complimentary benefit 
was given to Seiiora Canete at the National Theatre by "The 
Chiefs and Officers of the American Army." As cold weather 
came on, stoves, chimneys and smoke made their appearance 
to the intense astonishment of the natives, total strangers 
to such abominations; and finally that proud Spanish insti- 
tution, the bull-fight, succumbed in this manner :^' 

"The Publid are respectfull informed thoh the secind Bull Fihk nill 
take place, this Evening, Wsdnesday, lOte instant, cohen nill bi introduced 
a variez of new performanas, by the Compay of Bull Fighk, and fa which 
occasia has been obtaind. Some of the mest fusian Bulls in the Countri. 
This Wsdnesday. Night 10 Novembre 1847." 

Unfortunately, under such names as "Contreras," "Churu- 
busco" and "Old Chapultepec," American drinks of established 
fame arrived. Music halls and dance houses, familiarly known 
as the Hells of Montezuma, were crowded. Relieved now from 
the anxiety and tension of the campaign, the gallant volunteers 
could not be stil a moment. Generally they were rather 


brusque and rowdyish, and to the polite Mexicans they ap- 
peared even more so than they really were. They loved to 
present themselves at a show with trousers tucked into their 
boots, drape their legs over the backs of the seats, and yell 
for American patriotic airs; and they seemed to be always 
eating except when busy with a glass.*' 

Gambling became a rage, and in its temples were other 
priestesses besides those of Chance. Of La Bella Union, the 
chief resort, it was said. What is unknown "is as well as what 
is known." Eager for popularity and advancement many 
officers would not interfere, and in fact some of them sank 
almost as low as their men. One consequence of such dissi- 
pation was illness,*^ and another was robberies, quarrels and 
fights. The arrival of reinforcements — fresh volunteers 
and recruits — quickened all riotous tendencies. So far as 
personal morals went the conditions of Santa Fe were ap- 
proached by not a few, and to crown all two volunteer officers, 
involved in what seems to have been a gambling-house fracas, 
were convicted of murder. Conqueror as well as conquered 
must pay his penalty .''' 

Most, however, shrank from such a life, and many tried to 
render the American stay a fine experience for themselves 
and for others. It was not in vain. Their nobler tastes 
found congenial soil. The turquoise sky, the pictured fagades 
of the houses, the handsome gray old palaces curiously and 
lavishly sculptured, and embellished with precious tiles in blue 
and white, the Alameda with its grand trees and its fountain, 
the amazing richness of the churches and their wondrous 
gilded carvings, the embroidered gold vestments of the priests, 
the perfume here and there of an ancient garden stealing out 
through a broken wall, the red conflagration of sunrise behind 
snowy mountains, the distant, mellow clang of a convent bell 
as evening shadows gathered, the brilliant round moon turning 
the peaks into gigantic veiled watchmen and setting massive 
domes and spires a-quiver with a mystical sort of life — these 
things helped introduce our finer spirits to the heart of the land, 
and fill them with sympathy and good-will. Mexico has 
never been without strangers to love her, and she found such 
among her conquerors.*' 

Here our survey of the ground ends, but a few vertical 


sections will be instructive. A\'hile always having it understood 
that our authority was paramount, the American local governors 
desired to let the alcaldes and ayuntamientos (city councils) 
look after municipal affairs, and were disposed to cooperate 
in a liberal fashion with them for the good order, the efficient 
and economical administration and even the improvement 
of the towns.'^ 

Naturally enough those officials, exposed to the criticism 
of both sides, found their positions irksome. Usually, though 
not always, thej^ were permitted to resign if they chose to do 
so, and new officials were then elected by the people or appointed 
by the governor. Shields extinguished the ayuntamiento of 
Tampico for incompetence and malfeasance in office, and 
selected their successors. At Mexico a refractory council was 
dissolved by Scott, and a Puro body, friendly to the Americans 
and anxious to make the city government democratic through 
our aid, was chosen in a somewhat irregular way. When 
provisions, mules and other such things were needed, it was 
usual to call upon the town authorities to furnish them at liberal 
prices. A threat that otherwise the needed supplies would be 
taken by force and nothing paid, often accompanied the re- 
quest ; but this was in most cases only designed to justify the 
authorities, in the view of the people, for complying.^^ 

Attention was paid by the governors to the care and lighting 
of^he streets, proper sanitation, the maintenance of schools, 
hospitals, prisons and public works, and especially to the 
police. At Cordoba the city guards were allowed to carry 
only clubs, but such a restriction was not usual. Worth had 
regulars for policemen at one time. At^Puebla after the siege 
a guard of 100 volunteers patrolled the streets all night. Gen- 
eral Smith enlisted at Mexico a picked body of four hundred 
American soldiers. Shields, while governor of Tampico, placed 
an officer of the regulars at the head of this department. The 
police were firmly supported by the governor, if they proved 
reliable ; if not, a change occurred. The Americans held that 
peaceable citizens lost none of their political rights during 
our occupation, and on election days our troops were kept in 
their quarters or marched out of town.*^ So, too, Mexican 
tribunals were entirely free in dealing with Mexican affairs, 
though no one connected with our army could be tried by them ; 


and their decisions were enforced by our commanders.'*^ When 
Mexicans were placed before an American military commission 
they were p ermitted to bring c ounsel, but occasionally some- 
what unusual methods had to be "employed, because men ready 
to make any sort of an oath in defence of a fellow-countryman 
could always be found. Our protection extended, of course, 
to the subjects of foreign powers.** 

Social relations between the Mexicans and our armies were 
hindered by the old impression that Americans were haughty, 
taciturn and insolent, by the fear of receiving actual insults 
and injuries from our soldiery, and, when this fear wore off, 
by a dread that any association with Americans would later 
be punished by fellow-citizens — as proved to be the result 
at Victoria, for example. The relations of Scott and his 
officers with churchmen were generally good, but as a rule 
the educated and wealthy moved away on our approach or shut 
themselves up. i In the case of Tampico,*^ however, officers 
were able to secure the presence of Mexican ladies at a steam- 
boat excursion and a ball.^" 

As a rule, Parras was hospitable throughout the war. At 
Jalapa the two nationalities mixed somewhat freely. Governor 
Hughes became intimate with the leading clergymen, and he 
stated that on account of the general cordiality shown by the 
Franciscans the head of that order was banished from the 
capital. A handsome ball was given there to Childs when he 
left the city. It was at Mexico, however, that social relations 
were best established.*^ Society decided rather promptly to 
appear in public as usual. Even common soldiers were often 
able to make friends of respectable persons, and officers 
became intimate in many families. What was more surprising, 
a figure in public affairs like Alaman opened his door.^" 

The women, usually so ardent in their patriotism, were 
noticeably cordial. The Mexican men were as a rule es- 
sentially feminine, and the downright virility of the northern 
breed made itself deeply and quickly felt. Less than three 
weeks after the capture of Monterey Private Kingsbury naively 
wrote, "The women are very kind. ... I enjoy myself much 
in company with the fair Senoras." Conversation was 
probably somewhat limited ; but a great many soldiers made a 
dash at Spanish, and while some concluded the people did not 


understand their own language, others achieved results that 
were at least interesting.^' Our officers, it hardly need be 
said, never lagged behind their men.^" 

A fandango on hard ground beside a winding river with man- 
dolins and guitars softly singing and moonlight sifting down 
through gently waving palms, was not despised, and to go from 
leaky canvas to a gilded ball-room for a whirl with a black-eyed 
beauty who could waltz with a full glass of water on her head, 
was a strong argument for treating Mexicans kindly. The 
dark senoritas of Jalapa in particular, and still more their 
celestial cousins of the golden hair and blue eyes, loved to 
dance, chat and intrigue, and now their wit and their fans 
had the opportunity of a lifetime ; at Puebla, the full name of 
which meant The City of Angels, "bewitching glances" often 
made our officers feel "aguish," said one of them; and the 
capital stood first in this as in all other respects. Romance 
never had a more brilliant or a deadlier course. Many a brave 
heart was thrilled by a mysterious invitation that meant per- 
haps a kiss and perhaps a stab, and many a fearless gallant 
made a wild ride into the night. That woman's subtle power, 
added to the influence of our gentlemanly and highly educated 
officers in social intercourse, had important effects on public 
sentiment cannot be doubted. Still, fear of their own country- 
men prevented people from associating openly with Americans 
to any great extent.*" 

In short, as this phase of the subject is reviewed, one finds 
much that was deplorable and in the case of a foreign war 
should always be guarded against. But that is not strange. 
War is ugly business ; and since all of us begin conscious ex- 
istence as savages, and many rise little above that stage, we 
should not be surprised if some of our soldiers, deprived to 
such an extent of uplifting influences, reverted more or less 
toward it. Besides, a grain or two of lawlessness is after all 
a normal and useful ingredient in human nature. ^^ 

On the whole there was a vast deal to admire and praise. 
Scott, a man well versed in the history of campaigns, asserted 
that his troops displayed "the highest moral deportment and 
discipline ever known in an invading ' army." Doyle, after 
making careful inquiries all the way from Vera Cruz to the 
capital and viewing the case as a practical man, reported with 


reference to our troops that "Even from the account of the 
Mexicans themselves they seem to have behaved very well." 
Gutierrez de Estrada, a INIexican of high standing, said to his 
people that the Americans occupying their country ensured 
them security of person and possessions and all proper satis- 
factions better than their own governments had ever done.^^ 

And when one considers also the relative fewness of serious 
outrages and the comparatively small number of individuals 
affected, the great sums of money paid for supplies and labor,^' 
the reduced prices of almost all manufactured articles, the 
prevention of brigandage, insurrections, and civil as well as 
military extortions, tyranny and excesses in the territory that 
we held, the promotion of commerce and trade, the good ideas 
of municipal administration frequently exhibited by the govern- 
ors of towns, and the fine examples of subordination to author- 
ity, both military and civil, exhibited by all grades of our troops 
from the private up to General Scott himself — when these 
things are considered, one may well feel that our occupation 
was a blessing to the people. Yet — they would rather have 
had Mexican abuse than American benefits.^^ 



October, 1847-July, 1848 

In the end peace came, for sooner or later it had to come ; 
but nobody could have imagined the extraordinary course of 
events that was to bring it about, and for a long while it seemed 

All the men of sense in Mexico recognized that she had neither 
physical nor moral strength enough to continue the struggle, 
but the majority of the nation were not sensible. The old in- 
fluences operated still. Some could not forgive the outrages 
perpetrated by our volunteers; some wished so lucrative a 
war to continue; some dreaded the demoralizing effect of the 
millions coming from the United States, of which every politi- 
' cian and every military chief were sure to want as much as 
possible. . Incorrigible vanity still ignored failures and offered 
iridescent hopes. Pride revolted against making terms while 
the invader's foot pressed the sacred earth of the fatherland, 
and against the inevitable surrender of territory. At least, 
said not a few, we must wait until we make ourselves look for- 
midable, so as to command respect ; and this meant indefinite 

Our army still appeared insignificant; many of our troops 
were deserting, and some of the generals hated one another. 
Most of the people saw an American soldier or heard a word of 
English seldom, if at all. Almost everything went on as be- 
fore. The people confessed their sins to the same priests, an- 
swered for their misdemeanors in the same courts, bribed the 
same officials, paid taxes to the same embezzlers, and were 
bullied by the same policemen in the same uniform. Evi- 
dently the Americans dared not use their advantage. On the 
other hand they were eager for peace. Doubtless they 
knew the war had few apolc|jsts in the T'nited States, thought 


many, and realized that soon a change of administration would 
end it.i 

A large section of the Puro party — a section which may be 
called for the present purpose Eventualists — felt, even though 
Santa Anna's fall had removed one great objection to peace, 
that it was highly desirable to have the war continue until the 
old army should be virtually exterminated, or desired that at 
least we should hold the country until the military, clerical, 
political and social reforms desired by the Puros could be effected 
and public tranquillity be ensured. A larger number than ever 
craved annexation to the United States as the oijy guaranty of 
order and prosperity ; and still others dared not advocate peace, 
lest they should be charged with lacking patriotism or touching 
" foreign gold." Besides, had not the government, since the 
fall of the capital, announced that all damages resulting from 
hostilities would have to be made good by the United States? 
That did not seem like throwing up the sponge.^ 

In addition to these embarrassments many facts appeared to 
show that sensible, concerted action, even if generally desired, 
would be impossible. Political organization seemed to be dis- 
solving. News of riots and insurrections came on every wind. 
Even the governor of Mexico state was made a prisoner by 
malcontents. Many believed with reason that, like the 
Texas war, the present conflict had been used as a pretext for 
official extortion, and refused to pay taxes. The central govern- 
ment was regarded not infrequently as a common enemy. 
Unruly, vicious, greedy men — especially the unpaid army of- 
ficers — plotted incessantly. Signs pointed to Indian uprisings, 
which the presence of the Americans encouraged. State decrees 
against an ignominious peace, and state governments that 
had not experienced the ills of invasion, barred the. way of 

Secessions looked highly probable. The Coalition of Lagos 
agitated constantly. The legally obliterated state of Aguas 
Calientes threatened to take up arms. Zacatecas made trouble 
about internal affairs. The Eventualists, or a large part of 
them, felt ready to smash the federal union into bits. The 
monarchists labored, not without success, to prove that a 
European king and European troops could save the nation. 
The Santannistas hoped to make the Prince of Spoilers dictator. 


Many of the Puros felt ready to join them in order to regain a 
share of the power, and a dull, subterranean rumbling satisfied 
not a few that Santa Anna would soon be supreme. Almonte, 
the implacable foe of peace, though now regarded by nearly 
every one as a cunning, selfish adventurer, seemed to many a 
useful tool; and his Presidential hopes found strong support.^ 

Among the Americans officers pessimism reigned. In point of 
time, wrote the commanding general, we may not be half through 
the war. Bankhead could observe no sign of peace. "Mexico 
is an ugly enemy. She will not fight — and will not treat," 
said Webster. The venerable Albert Gallatin, scanning the 
horizon from his watchtower, discovered "hardly any hope" 
that peace would be concluded by Polk's administration. With 
the capture of Mexico City the real difficulties of the Americans 
begin, thought Le Correspondant of Paris; and the London 
Times declared that we should have to drop the war or annex a 
country that would cost us more than its value. 

The conditions threatened a long, expensive, demoralizing 
occupation of Mexico, leading almost inevitably to either our 
absorbing millions of undesirable aliens or our becoming in- 
volved in a general state of irritation and hostility liable to end 
in a national outburst of hatred and fury against us. To avoid 
these deplorable alternatives Polk thought of practically setting 
up a government with which to make peace. But such an 
organization — even if really feasible, which Polk himself 
doubted — would have required protection for a length of time 
that no one could forecast, would very likely have ended in the 
same dilemma as undisguised occupation, and, if at all success- 
ful, might have given the world a pretext for saddling Mexico's 
future upon us. How to escape from the predicament Polk 
and his advisers discussed anx'ously but without success.' 

President Pena y Peiia, however, supported by his Cabinet, 
by a group of true, honest patriots and by the Moderado party 
in general, determined to end the war ; and Trist, who under- 
stood their sentiments, reopened the subject on the twentieth 
of October. Within a fortnight he was informed that Mexico 
desired peace, and would appoint commissioners in a few days. 
November 2 Congress met. Letters in favor of concluding the 
hostilities poured in upon the members and had their effect. The 
Puro-Santannista league attacked the government promptly 


on the ground of remissness in conducting the war, but a resolu- 
tion calling upon the ministry to state what military steps it had 
taken failed by more than two to one. Senator Otero offered 
a motion, forbidding the authorities to consider the cession of 
any territory held without question by Mexico before the war ; 
but this was rejected, to the surprise of all, by a vote of 46 to 29. 
Senor del Rio then summoned the administration to state 
whether negotiations with Trist had been resumed, and he also 
went down.^ 

On the eleventh came the election of an interim President, 
and again the peace party triumphed. The opposition — which 
had found Almonte too unpopular, especially among the San- 
tannistas — gave their votes to Cumplido, on the basis of an 
understanding that Santa Anna should neither be reinstated 
nor be put on trial, but Anaya was chosen by 42 against 31. 
About a week later the representatives of seven states met at 
Queretaro by invitation of the government, and after a desul- 
tory but illuminating discussion of nearly ten days agreed, with 
the exception of San Luis Potosi, to support a movement for 
peace. Even the war party felt the strength of the current.'' 

Some action in that sense looked almost sure ; and, as a new 
Congress was expected to assemble at the beginning of the 
year, the present members, partly in consequence of intrigues 
and partly from a fear of responsibility, slipped away in such 
numbers as to conclude the session, leaving the government a 
free field. The opposition then came to a head in an insurrec- 
tion at Queretaro. But Anaya brought out artillery and some 
reliable troops, particularly 200 American deserters, and an- 
nounced that he would not only fight in deadly earnest but make 
examples of the chief rebels. To the insurgents these ideas 
were novel and shocking, and they declined to play the game 
out. The toad to peace then seemed to be open.* 

But the marplot had been at work. Finding he could not 
control Scott's policy with reference to the armistice and prob- 
ably wishing to undermine the general-in-chief. Pillow had writ- 
ten to the President. Exactly what he said cannot be stated, but 
probably he described the armistice as a gross blunder, and ac- 
cused our peace commissioner of acting as a tool of Scott for the 
injury of Polk's friends — especially Pillow ; and on October 4 
Polk ordered the recall of Trist. In his despatch Buchanan in- 


timated that our envoy's presence migtit encourage the Mexi- 
cans to insist upon insulting terms, like those tendered by them 
on September 6, and ^ — probably with a view to hardening our 
conditions — announced that Mexico must sue for peace at 
Washitigton. By the twenty-first came news that Scott had 
entered the capital, and that Trist had fallen short of obedience-' 
by intimating that possibly we might not insist upon the Rio 
Grande line. Polk's feelings grew hot as he reflected, and on the 
twenty-fifth a special messenger set out with a reprimand and 
a repetition of the order to leave iNIexico. Both despatches 
reached their destination on the same day, November 16.* 

On receiving them Trist decided to inform the Mexican au- * 
thorities of his recall and go home at the first opportunity. In- 
deed it seemed to him the best policy to return and lay before his 
government some of the information it lacked. But a special 
escort could not be spared, and, as no train was to go down until 
December 4, he could be deliberate. By Thornton, therefore, 
who was temporarily in charge of the British legation and set out 
for Queretaro the next day, he sent merely an informal notice 
of what had occurred, with a request that some proposal be sent 
on to Polk. By the day Thornton arrived (November 21) Mex- 
ican peace commissioners had been appointed ; and Pena, 
minister of relations under the interim government, listened 
to his news with signs of emotion painful to witness. No 
Mexican felt ready to sue for peace at Washington, and Polk's 
demand signified the failure and political ruin of the peace men.' 

Pena took the ground that Trist's proposal to reopen the 
negotiations bound his government, and implored the charge to 
urge upon him the sincerity and the difficulties of the INIexican 
authorities. He also begged Thornton for an intimation, to 
be used against the war party, that England could not be 
counted upon for assistance ; and the charge complied promptly 
with both requests. Fortified also by the action of Congress 
and the sentiment of the governors, and believing that in view 
of Mexico's present attitude the United States would shortly 
cancel its orders of recall, Pefia then officially notified Trist that 
negotiators had been appointed.' 

Our commissioner now found himself in a most extraordinary 
position. Buchanan's letters of recall proved that peace was 
desired and^ the situation misunderstood hv our Executi^'e, but 


these facts could not obliterate certain others. Trist was not 
merely a private citizen but a discharged official under the frown 
of his government. Dealings with Pena could be described as 
traitorous. A warning against confidence in Mexican pretences 
and a notice that harder terms would now be exacted by the 
United States had been served upon him ; and what those terms 
would be he could only imagine. Yet he fully believed in the 
sincerity of Pena and his associates. Thornton confirmed this 
opinion, and adjured him to improve the opportunity. No one 
on the ground could see any other way to peace. General 
Scott favored negotiating and probably expressed the opinion 
to Trist, as to Mexicans, that, should he make a treaty, it 
would be accepted by the United States. But on him, Nicholas 
P. Trist alone, it depended to say whether two nations were to 
be miserable or happy, to keep on cutting at each other's throats 
or enjoy the blessings of peace ; and on him it rested to assume, 
should he take humanity and patriotism for guides, a most 
arduous task at the gravest personal risk and with no sub- 
stantial profit in view. At noon on December 4 he decided 
aright, and it was a truly noble act.* 

Trist now had it intimated to the Mexican commissioners, 
that if they were disposed to accept a boundary line traced up 
the Rio Grande to thirty-two degrees of latitude and thence 
west, he would meet them privately to make further arrange- 
ments. The outcome was a strong recommendation from the 
Mexican commissioners, presented and urged by Thornton, that 
Pefia consent. Pefia did so ; but he pointed out that it would 
be necessary to defer action until the new Senate should con- 
firm the nomination of the commissioners. Encouraged, how- 
ever, by advices froni Thornton, Trist revoked his official notice 
that Polk had recalled him, and waited, with feelings that can 
be imagined, for the waters to move.^ 

The negotiations stood in fact at a graver crisis than he 
thought. News that leading Whigs talked of settling with 
Mexico on terms far easier than Trist proposed caused hesitation 
at Queretaro, and fresh hopes of English assistance had a still 
greater effect. But fortunately Doyle arrived at this juncture 
to take charge of the British legation, and promptly directed 
Thornton to state that nothing more than^good offices 
could be expected of his government. The su;^l>rt of these 


British diplomats, one at the capital and the other at Queretaro, 
proved most helpful ; but then came Polk's Message, which en- 
couraged the Eventualists by saying that, should Mexico con- 
tinue the war, our protection might be given to any party able 
and willing to set up a republican government and make peace. 
Trist grew more and more anxious, and on the day after Christ- 
mas expressed his desire to proceed. In consequence of Doyle's 
attitude all Mexican scruples about the confirmation of the 
commissioners vanished. On January 1 their full "powers" 
reached the capital; and, beginning on the second, Couto, 
Cuevas and Atristain met there secretly with Trist almost every 
day. Rincon, the other member of the board, did not serve.' 

Trist was prepared to stimulate his colleagues with news that 
a sentiment in favor of pushing the war through without de- 
lay had now become pronounced in the United States. At the 
same time his letter of September 7 provided them with a most 
convenient position, for it maintained that all the districts 
now held by American troops were ours by right of conquest, 
and that by accepting our terms Mexico, instead of selling lands 
and population, would recover a large amount of both. He gave 
them, too, an agreeable surprise by proposing substantially the 
same terms as during the armistice.^" \/ 

They for their part knew California and all of Texas were 
lost; but their instructions were exacting, and they struggled 
for all conceivable advantages. Foreign arbitration and a Eu- 
ropean guaranty of the boundary were promptly demanded, and 
were as promptly refused. It was proposed that on the signing 
of the treaty all American forces in the country should retire to 
within fifty leagues qf the coast ; but this and other unreasonable 
conditions met the same fate. Anticipating sharp and cap- 
tious criticism from opposing lawyers in Congress, the Mexicans 
devoted the most wearisome care to phraseology. Cordiality 
prevailed, however. Trist's good-will, self-sacrifice and cour- 
tesy received full recognition, and he seems to have been rather 
intimate with Couto, the ablest of his colleagues. Doyle and 
Thornton, though always respecting the line of strict neutrality, 
assisted materially in removing difficulties.-'" 

Trist felt intensely anxious to save time, and for good reasons. 
Orders might arrive any day — and eventually did arrive — 
making it absolutely impossible for him to act as an American 


representative. Scott was placed by his orders under a mili- 
tary obligation to dri\e the go\frrinent from Queretar^, and 
though he granted a de facto truce, thinly disguised by occupy- 
ing a few places and intimating a desire for new instructions, a 
positive despatch might at any hour end that state of things." 

Yet day after day passed. The Mexican government and 
commissioners felt obliged to stick at everything and to confer 
often by letter. January 8 Anaya's term expired by limitation ; 
and, as Congress had not assembled, his predecessor became 
once more the provisional executive. Four days later an abor- 
tive insurrection at San Luis Potosi frightened the timid Pefia 
nearly out of his wits, for it seemed like the prologue of 
a revolution, and he demanded that before signing a treaty 
he should have sufficient American funds to provide adequate 
support against malcontents ; but at length his commissioners, 
insisting that such a proposal would be indecorous, eliminated 
this difficulty. Finally the government stopped short at the 
financial consideration. It asked for thirty millions, and our 
commissioner, in view of the expenses already caused by the 
protraction of the war, would give but fifteen. On the twenty- 
ninth of January, therefore, Trist, in very considerate but very 
positive language, officially declared the negotiation ended." 

By arrangement, however, Doyle informed the Mexican com- 
missioners that enough time to communicate once more with 
Queretaro would be given. Through the same channel they 
received a hint from Scott, that he would protect the authori- 
ties against the dreaded revolution, should a treaty be signed, 
but would otherwise have to dislodge the government, and 
thenceforth hunt it like a deer on the mountain. Doyle talked 
with British directness and good sense. The commissioners 
brought all this pressure to bear on their government. It 
yielded ; and, on the second of February, at the suburb of 
Guadalupe Hidalgo, seat of the most venerated shrine in Mex- 
ico, in the profound secrecy that had shrouded all these nego- 
tiations, the treaty was at last signed.^^ 

By its terms INIexico appeared to sacrifice, independently of 
Texas, an immense area ; but she really suffered little, for she 
had no grip — and deserved to have none — upon California 
and New Mexico. Indeed she had found those distant regions 
merely embarrassing. Nor did she really cede any territory. 



AsTrist contended and our Supreme Court has in effect decided, 
the only cession was that made by the United States in surren- 
dering districts then in our hands. Our real title was conquest 
— conquest from those who had taken the country by conquest 
from its conquerors. What Mexico granted us was peace 
and an acknowledgement of our title. In return we gave her 
not only peace, which meant vastly more to Mexico than to us, 
but extensive lands, the renunciation of all American claims 
antedating the treaty, and fifteen million dollars in money — 

southJdakota \ I 




' 1 1 1 

50 100 200 300 400 600 

aULf OF 

a wealth of gold that her treasury had never seen before. On 
both sides the treaty conferred benefits ; on our part it was mag- 
nanimous; and to settle the matter in this way gave the 
United States a feeling of satisfaction worth all it cost.'' 

The wish of the Mexican government had been to open the 
peace negotiations by making an armistice. To the Americans 
this could offer little advantage, for the only enemies they now 
had to fear were guerillas, and these recognized no laws. To 
Pefia, on the other hand, it meant security from hostile expedi- 
tions, larger revenues, diminished expenses, Congressional elec- 


tions in the territory under American control, and hence the 
poHtical support of those who felt the burdens of war. But 
Scott, while ready to grant a virtual immunity from attack 
during the negotiations, was neither authorized nor willing to 
sign an armistice at that stage ; and to have done so, indicating 
that peace was contemplated, would have endangered the plans 
of the Mexican government itself. In order, however, to bring 
about the execution of the treaty our commissioner had to de- 
mand of Scott a pledge that he would send out no more expedi- 
tions until new instructions, issued after the arrival of the treaty 
at Washington, should reach him. In short, he requested 
the General to disregard the orders of a government eager 
to put him in the wrong ; and Scott, placing the public weal 
above all personal considerations, promptly consented.^* 

The second article of the treaty provided expressly for a sus- 
pension ofihostilities, and in view of its previous anxiety to ob- 
tain that concession, the Mexican government was expected to 
act in the matter at once ; but it procrastinated so much as to 
excite suspicions of bad faith at the American headquarters. 
This conduct, however, was merely owing to its constitutional 
apathy ; and on the twenty-second of February, 1848, Generals 
Mora and Quijano opened negotiations with Worth and Smith 
at the capital . True to the Mexican practice, followed on almost 
every occasion since the first of our dealings with Mexico, they 
began with what Doyle fairly characterized as "exorbitant" 
demands. For example, they asked for the evacuation of the 
capital, Puebla, Jalapa and Vera Cruz, and for concessions 
incompatible with the treaty of peace itself." 

But Worth and Smith, assuming promptly a just and firm 
attitude, as our civil officials ought to have done from the be- 
ginning, refused to consider such demands, and the Mexicans 
then withdrew them. Everything within reason, however, was 
granted. Doyle called the armistice, indeed, "very favour- 
able" to the weaker side, and the ratification of it on March 4 
and 5 by the Mexican and American commanders-in-chief sup- 
plemented happily the treaty of peace. Not only that, but it 
stopped for the time being every attempt at revolt, for under 
one of the articles insurgents were to be opposed by the armies 
of both nations. Paredes and Almonte found it wise to be 
quiet, and — as we have observed — Santa Anna sailed away." 


The treaty, conveyed with extraordinary speed, reached the 
White House on February the nineteenth, but whether it did 
well to arrive so soon — or even to arrive at all — appeared 
extremely doubtful. As we have learned, a strong appetite 
for territory had existed in the United States before the war, 
and Mexico had looked inviting. In January, 1846, Baker of 
Illinois suggested in Congress the absorption of that country. 
By the following July a somewhat organized annexation party 
existed at New York, and later Senator Dickinson became its 
champion. The wish to acquire soon became strong. Per- 
haps Moses Y. Beach visited Mexico in this cause. Certainly 
Mrs. Storms, who accompanied him, worked actively for it, 
and his paper ardently recommended annexation as not only 
advantageous for the United States but sure to benefit 

Other papers warmly took up this idea, arguing that Provi- 
dence called upon us to regenerate her decadent population. 
"The Spanish have ceased to rule in Mexico," announced the 
Democratic Review as its watchword in February, 1847. Seces- 
sionists like Simms of South Carolina thought the proposed 
confederacy would need that country to give it bulk; and 
by a different route Senator Hannegan of Indiana, representing 
.the strong expansionist sentiment of the West, arrived at the 
same point of view in regard to annexing Mexico. ^^ 

The recall of Trist, which seemed to give the United States a 
free hand, and also the plan to extend our occupation of her 
territory, which logically pointed that way, strongly pro- 
moted the idea, for besides the obvious tendency of these meas- 
ures they were supposed to mean that Polk had that end in view. 
The attitude of men high in the administration circle produced 
a similar effect. Bancroft held that we should "rescue a large 
part of Mexico from anarchy." Cass used language that sug- 
gested rescuing the whole, and followers of his talked that way 
explicitly. Apparently he thought he could win the next Presi- 
dential election on this issue; and the war party at his back 
offered Mexico as a reward for supporting its views. Bu- 
chanan, at first opposed to the acquisition of any territory, 
trimmed his sails to the rising breeze, and wrote that if Mexico 
did not conclude the war, it would be necessary for us to "fulfill 
the destiny" assigned to us by Providence. Walker, who knew 


more about the far southwest than any other man at Washing- 
ton, favored annexation strongly, and even tried to drag the 
subject into his annual report. Indeed, th*e financial editor of 
the New York Herald saw in him the regenerator of Mexico ; and 
very likely he himself, as head of the treasury, dreamed of 
winning immense economic triumphs in that field.^* 

Soon after 1848 came in, the annexation cause began to put 
on a bold front. Naturally the younger element in the party 
and the country felt inclined to take it up. Crocodile tears 
were shed over the " poor foundling " — though a future heiress 
— placed by Divine Providence at our threshold. The danger 
that England or France might ravish it away from us came to 
the fore. Conquest was pronounced in the Senate a legitimate 
method of expansion. Orators in both Houses pointed more 
plainly toward an extension at the cost of Mexico. Declara- 
tions in the contrary sense indicated the force of the current. 
Senator Niles believed that substantially all of the Democrats 
among his colleagues would fall in with the plan. Enthusiastic 
citizens acclaimed it. Speculators fancied it would help their 
schemes in various ways. Capitalists believed that by stimulat- 
ing enterprise it would enlarge and continue the demand for 
money. Manufacturers and high tariff men argued that it 
would increase the national expenses and therefore the duties. 
Army officers could see a wide field for them ; and the opponents 
of slavery, led by the National Era, felt that Mexican planta- 
tions would draw away the negroes — now understood to be 
unprofitable — of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Public 
meetings became excited on the subject. The country is going 
mad for Mexico, inferred Buchanan; and Walker believed 
that only a systematic newspaper agitation was needed to en- 
sure success.^^ 

Polk moved in the same ditection. In September, 1847, he 
concluded that, should the war continue, he might demand 
Tamaulipas and the line of thirty-one degrees, and reduce the 
compensation to fifteen millions ; and before the end of January, 
1848, he felt inclined to throw aside entirely the terms offered 
through Trist. Besides, he loathed the treaty on account of 
the man who made it and the man who gave assistance. After 
his recall, considering himself a private citizen, Trist reported 
with a free hand, criticising the President's recent Message as 


encouraging the Eventualists, and expressing his opinions on 
the business without much reserve. Naturally Polk the Medi- 
ocre, guided by Pillow the Cunning, totally misconceived the 
spirit of Trist and Scott. In his eyes they had contrived a 
wicked political " conspiracy " against Him, His administration, 
His party and His Pillow. Both had proved " utterly un- 
worthy," and on January 25 the "arrogant, impudent" and 
"very base" Trist was ordered to leave headquarters. To 
accept, approve, endorse, recommend and support the work 
of such a scoundrel seemed impossible.^* 

But Polk had professed to be considerate and forbearing 
toward our erring sister, and to seek only redress, indemnity, 
security and peace. His terms had been officially stated ; and 
while his Message of December, 1847, had suggested that a 
continuance of the war might be expected to modify them, 
no real fighting had occurred since then, and — although Polk 
_had known for about six weeks that negotiations on virtually 
the old basis were afoot — no modification of them had been 
announced. That Message had expressly disclaimed all thought 
of making " a permanent conquest " of Mexico ; and on the fourth 
of this very February Sevier, chairman of the committee on 
foreign relations, had stated in the Senate that Polk was anx- 
ious for peace, desired only indemnity, and wanted to preserve 
Mexican nationality.^' 

Trist had substantially embodied Polk's terms in the treaty, 
and had even anticipated his thought of reducing the 
compensation. Congress had voted men and money on 
the basis of Polk's professions and terms ; and, should he 
now raise his demands, all his enemies would say their charges 
of greed, falsehood, injustice, o'ervaulting ambition and 
bloodthirsty wickedness had been proved. Hostilities might 
continue, the Whigs might carry the election, the war might 
end in disaster and ignominy, and all the gains now embodied 
in the treaty might be lost. Even should these perils be 
avoided, it seemed extremely doubtful whether Mexico would 
ever accept by treaty a more encroaching boundary, and 
quite possible that an endeavor to obtain it would open a long 
vista of expenses, guerilla warfare, foreign complications and 
Heaven only knew what. Extension toward the south was 
liable to kindle the fires of an anti-slaVery agitation and 


perhaps disrupt the Union. The treaty and the victories that it 
consummated meant enough glory for any President. Finally, 
Polk, now moving about with dragging steps, dry, brown face, 
gray hair and sunken eyes, perhaps felt weary of battling both 
abroad and at home ; and at the very least, should he endorse 
this paper and lay it before the Senate, his responsibility 
would cease. ^' 

Buchanan and Walker opposed the treaty ; but the former, 
as well as Polk himself, recognized that any personal miscon- 
duct of Trist, a mere agent of the Executive, had no proper 
bearing on the question. The rest of the Secretaries favored 
placing the document before the Senate. On February 22, 
after full debates in the Cabinet, Polk did this, recommending 
by implication the acceptance of it ; and so a paper which 
had been simply a memorandum drawn up by a private Ameri- 
can citizen and several Mexicans holding official positions, be- 
came a real treaty, merely awaiting confirmation.^" 

Among the Senators the treaty met with jeers and scowls. 
"Great Jehovah!" exclaimed Lieutenant W. T. Sherman on 
learning its terms ; it is "just such a one as Mexico would have 
imposed on us had she been the conqueror"/ and so thought 
a number of the Senators. It is a mere piece of waste paper, 
cried many; the impudent, perhaps traitorous, work of a dis- 
credited agent, whom the President had ordered out of Mexico ; 
and it would be undignified, ridiculous, degrading, to accept such 
a thing. The war party opposed it. The annexationists op- 
posed it. The no-territory men opposed it. The Little Un- 
ionists, who thought the country too big already, opposed it. 
Not a few hated to think of letting Polk elude them so easily .^'^ 
But suddenly the head of John Quincy Adams, as he sat in 
the House, dropped. He was borne to the Speaker's room. 
"This is the last of earth; I am content," murmured the 
venerable statesman. For two days he lingered, unconscious ; 
and then he passed away. This tragic event had a deep 
effect. There fell a hush, as when snow descends upon the 
city pavemen t. The sessions of Congress were suspended. 
Senators were prevented from announcing their positions 
hastily. And when discussion began once more, it was re- 
sumed with a new feeling of seriousness, a new sense of re- 


If the President could put up with Trist and his work, surely 
the Senate could, one began to think ; and in every way Polk's 
virtual endorsement gave the paper enough respectability. 
Politics played a leading role in almost every mind, but after a 
little it seemed like bad strategy to vote against the glory and 
the territory ensured by its terms. The committee on foreign 
relations, which decided to throw the treaty aside and send an 
"imposing" commission to do the work over, dropped the 
scheme when Polk told them bluntly this would be "worse 
than an idle ceremony." Benton, thoroughly angry at the 
administration because Fremont, his son-in-law, had been con- 
demned for insubordination in California ; Berrien, wedded to 
his "no-territory" idea ; Corwin, anxious perhaps to have more 
Americans find hospitable graves in Mexico ; Webster, who 
asserted that California and New Mexico were "not worth a 
dollar" ; and certain other Senators, committed for this or that 
reason, were beyond argument ; but all their hopes failed.^^ 

The deep current set against them. "What better can we 
do?" became an unanswerable argument for the treaty. The 
people wanted peace. They desired no more bloodshed, no 
more costs. One could not be sure of obtaining another treaty 
from chaotic Mexico, or sure that any treaty differing from the 
present one could have as good a chance in the American 
Senate. To reject the work of Trist was understood more 
and more clearly to involve, perhaps, not only interminable 
fighting, but a train of moral, political, industrial, commercial 
and financial ills of which no one could see the end. Already 
enough generals had built up reputations, thought many of the 
politicians. It would be of priceless advantage, urged some of 
the finer men, to supplement our military triumphs with a 
great act of magnanimity. By March 7 ratification, which had 
been for a time extremely doubtful, appeared probable. Hous- 
ton of Texas, a leading opponent, concluded to visit New Hamp- 
shire. And on the tenth by 38 against 14 — a narrow margin, 
since a majority of two-thirds was requisite — the treaty won. 
A transfer of four votes from the affirmative to the negative 
would have defeated it.^^ 

There were a few amendments. Article X, which might 
have revived extinct Mexican claims to lands in Texas now 
occupied by bona fide settlers, went overboard at once. The 


provision of security for the Roman Catholic church in the ac- 
quired territory (Art. IX) fell out as unnecessary, as reflect- 
ing on the good faith of the United States, as suggesting govern- 
ment interference with religious affairs in this country, and as 
tending to confirm the Mexican pretence that we entertained 
hostile feelings toward that communion^ The Senate refused 
to agree that California and New Mexico should be made into 
states "as soon as poss'ble" (Art. IX), regarding that as a step 
to be taken with deliberation, and only when, in the judgment 
of Congress, all the prerequisites of statehood should exist. In- 
stead of allowing Mexico to choose between payment by instal- 
ments and payment in securities convertible at once into' cash 
(Art. XII) it was decided to offer only the former method, as a 
veiled hint that an infraction of the treaty would cause a sus- 
pension of the instalments. Another amendment permitted 
the Indians to have firearms, which, as they lived by the chase, 
had to be done. A further modification, intended to hasten the 
conclusion of peace, authorized the exchange of ratifications at 
Queretaro whenever Mexico should accept the amended treaty ; 
and it was also provided by the Senate that evacuation could 
then begin. Finally a secret article, which permitted Mexico 
to consummate the ratification of the agreement at any time 
within eight months, instead of the four months of Article 
XXIII, was cancelled, because it seemed to encourage pro- 
crastination, and allow her time to escape from the treaty, 
while compelling us to bear great expenses. But none of these 
changes touched the essentials.^^ 

It now became necessary to have some one explain the 
amended treaty to Mexico, bring about her acceptance of it, 
and, should it be confirmed, exchange the ratifications. This 
gave Po'k a chance to prove himself a large man. Scott, though 
not without serious grounds of offence against Hitchcock, 
Harney and Quitman, had forgiven and honored them, because 
they deserved well of the country. Trist, the bringer of peace, 
the negotiator of its terms, high in the favor of the Mexican 
government, and able to exert much influence on the Mexican 
Congress, deserved the appointment. If the treaty represented 
a great national service and had merit enough to be accepted, 
its maker had merit enough to be recognized. But the Presi- 
dent was only Polk the Mediocre after all. His plumage had 


been ruffled ; and instead of giving Trist this high and lucrative 
post, he relegated the peacemaker to a dishonorable obhvion, 
and would not even pay him for the time actually spent in the 
negotiations. To think that a President of the United States 
could be so small ! ^'* 

Aside from this petty meanness and spite, however, Polk 
selected a man worthy, both personally and officially, of the 
position. This was Sevier, chairman of the Senate committee 
of foreign relations and leading champion of the treaty in that 
body. Then, as Sevier became suddenly though temporarily 
ill and no delay could be risked, Clifford, the attorney general, 
was appointed associate commissioner with equal powers ; and 
eventual'y the two — both arriving at Mexico by the fifteenth 
of April — acted in concert.^* 

Mexico now became the scene of action again. February 6 
the government announced what had been done about peace. 
Knowing how loud an outcry had been raised against even con- 
sidering a treaty, one can imagine what occurred, now that a 
treaty had been made. The old objections were reiterated. 
Trist's lack of authority was dwelt upon. Secret, despotic, il- 
legal, treasonable, shameful, ruinous, were a few of the everyday 
epithets that bombarded the government. It had no power to 
alienate Mexican territory. It should have waited for the 
American friends of peace to act. Even " the sepulchral ^pm- 
fort" of temporary subjugation was described as preferable to 
such a peace. "Approval of the treaty, " exclaimed Rejon, "is 
the political death of the Republic." Another insurrection 
broke out at San Luis Potosi, and all the comandantes general 
were notified to expect revolts. ^^ 

The peace men, however, stood firm. Honor has been saved, 
they insisted. The United States has recognized Mexico as an 
independent nation. There has been no suing for terms at 
Washington. Territory has been regained, not sold. To speak 
properly, indeed, this is a "treaty of restitution"; fifteen mil- 
lions are to be paid for injuries done us ; the territory acquired 
by the United States costs her more dearly than Louisiana ; and 
full rights have been secured for all Mexicans adopted by an- 
other government. Whatever harshness can be found in the 
conditions is due to the circumstances, not the government. 
War has no respect for justice. Besides, in case of need a nation, 


like an individual, may find amputation expedient, and be the 
stronger for it. Above all, the administration has merely done 
its duty in treating according to its best judgment. It has de- 
termined nothing, settled nothing. The facts of the case will be 
laid before Congress, and the representatives of the people shall 

Here, then, came the real crisis : would Congress ratify the 
treaty? At Washington, in spite of some encouraging reports, 
the impression gained ground that it would not. The amend- 
ments appeared to cause little excitement, but they were not 
the real issues. Opponents of peace had the speeches of Ameri- 
can statesmen printed, and hawked them about the streets. 
Prudent Mexicans demanded an end of the uncertainty, disorder 
and chaos that was paralyzing the country; but so had they 
always demanded it. The government exhibited little activity, 
while the Puros and the friends of Santa Anna did not sleep. 
The especially important elections in the occupied territory did 
not end until April 23, and by that date one could see that some- 
thing else was to be feared even more than opposition. As on 
every other occasion demanding a patriotic stand, most of the 
decent men felt afraid to assume responsibility. Another diffi- 
culty was that money for their travelling expenses had custom- 
arily been advanced to the members by the government, and 
now it had no money for the purpose. Finally, however, said 
an American who did not precisely understand the affair, mer- 
chants at the capital subscribed a large sum to hunt up the 
Congress and feed it long enough to ratify the treaty ; severer 
measures also were taken to ensiu-e attendance; and early in 
May a quorum of shaking legislators convened.^^ 

In opening Congress Peiia stated the grand question ably. 
Honor, union, independence and the hope of national prosperity 
and felicity have been saved, he pointed out ; the United States 
made the proposals, and Mexico has obtained all the advantages 
possible under the circumstances ; we have given up some terri- 
tory, but the foremost nations of the world have done the same 
at one time or another ; every one sees that we should have ad- 
justed our difficulties in 1845, but it is now possible once more to 
settle them, and the opportunity to do so shou'd not again be 
lost. The ministers of war and finance presented statements 
proving the impossibility of continuing the war successfully, 


and the peace commissioners justified tiie terms of the treaty. 
The prospect of recovering the Mexican customhouses and re- 
ceiving the American millions looked highly attractive. No less 
telling, doubtless, were the preparations of the United States to 
resume hostilities with fresh energy, and to tax Mexico rigor- 
ously. The most efficient American army that had yet been 
seen in the country awaited Butler's orders, and large reinforce- 
ments had been voted by Congress. No responsible men in 
their senses could resist such arguments. The treaty, as 
amended by the American Senate, was promptly ratified, and 
by June 9 Washington had the news. With all speed it ran 
from city to city, from town to town, from vale to vale ; and 
everywhere it was greeted with quiet but heartfelt rejoicings. ^^ 

By an arrangement already made, Sevier and Clifford, after 
learning what had been done by the Mexican Congress, pro- 
ceeded to the seat of government. It was a tiresome journey of 
about 145 miles ; but at last, from the summit of a high ridge, 
they saw domes and spires two miles or so distant, glittering on a 
low eminence in a fine valley, which was enclosed by parallel 
ranges of mountains. The town was Queretaro ; and on May the 
twenty-sixth, in the President's rather plain reception room, 
dignified with crimson curtains and with chairs of state, Clifford 
presented their credentials.^'* 

Peiia, tall and benign though sadly worn, Rosa, the minister 
of relations, rather short and swarthy but with large, thoughtful 
eyes lighting up his countenance, and Anaya, the minister of 
war, tall and gaunt, with high cheek bones and a face of Indian 
stolidity, received them with all due courtesy. " Sister repub- 
lics, may the two countries ever maintain the most friendly 
relations," was the American greeting; and Peha replied, "As 
the head of this nation, I desire nothing more ardently than that 
our treaty may prove the immutable basis of that constant har- 
mony and good understanding which should prevail sincerely 
between the two republics." Conversations and formalities en- 
sued,. and on May 30 an exchange of the ratifications concluded 
this momentous business.^* 

In the execution of the treaty a few misunderstandings arose, 
but none of serious importance ; and the minister of relations 
attested the good faith of the United States .^^ Orders for the 
evacuation of Mexican territory were promptly given to our 


commanders in the various fields of operation, and were promptly 
obeyed.^" Even before the last formalities occurred, in fact, 
Butler called in his outposts, and as the sun rose on the twelfth 
of June it shone upon the arms of his rejoicing troops, drawn 
up — facing the palace — in the grand plaza of the capital. 
Housetops, balconies and the near streets were full, but perfect 
order and stillness prevailed except for the sharp commands of 
our ofEcers. Thirty guns saluted the American banner on the 
palace, and then it was lowered. The Mexican flag took its 
place on the staff and received the same honors. An 
American band struck up gaily. The unconquered ranks 
wheeled, marched and left the city. Herrera, the new President, 
returned to the chair from which Paredes had ejected him, and 
the proud capital rejoiced to be free once more. But it rejoiced 
soberly. "I question," said U. S. Grant, "whether the great 
majority of the Mexican people did not regret our departure as 
much as they had regretted our coming." ^^ 

The plan of evacuation was to let the troops wait near Jalapa 
until transports could be provided and their baggage go aboard, 
and then march to the unhealthy coast and sail away as quickly 
as possible. For some time General Smith had now been mak- 
ing preparations at Vera Cruz with his characteristic eflaciency ; 
and soon the army, the sick, the wounded and the many who 
attended to their needs, took ship rapidly for New Orleans. By 
the twelfth of July more than 25,000 embarked, and on the last 
day of the month all the fortifications of Vera Cruz and frowning 
Ulua, the symbol of Mexican pride, were given up. Stirred by 
feelings deep and strong, the departing soldiers looked round them 
with a farewell gaze — at the low white walls, at the exotic vege- 
tation that had now come to be familiar, and at the gleaming, 
snowy peak of Orizaba, towering above its belt of dark evergreens. 
They had trodden the soil of that wonderful country with the 
stern, proud foot of the conqueror, but they now left it full 
of sympathy and good wishes ; and one of the number put his 
feelings into terse and soldierlike rhymes : 

" The stranger parting from the shore, 
Thy glories to behold no more, 
Bids thee fai-ewell with swelling heart 
As his swift bark leaps o'er the sea. 
And, as the truant tear-drops start. 
Prays God that thou mayst yet be free."'^ 



Mexico, as we have learned, entered upon the contest with 
neither money nor revenues nor credit. From nothing, nothing 
comes; and many supposed she was too poor to fight. But 
she did fight — or at least men fought in her name — and 
one cannot help asking how they contrived to do so. In full 
the question cannot be answered, but some of the facts lie within 
our view, and these are not only valuable in themselves but 
highly suggestive.^ 

Aside from loans, the income of the government in 1844 was 
figured roughly as follows : import duties, seven million dol- 
lars; duties on commerce in the interior, four and a quarter 
millions; profits from the monopolies of the mints, tobacco, 
stamped paper, playing cards, national lottery, post-office, 
etc., two and a quarter millions; miscellaneous taxes and 
revenues, three millions; total, sixteen and a half millions 
net. But the American blockade cut off nearly fifty per cent 
of this income at one stroke; and not only our progressive 
occupation of territory, but the dislike of the people for national 
taxes, their growing dissatisfaction with Santa Anna's regime, 
and their increasing destitution caused a rapid shrinkage of the 
residue.^ ' 

It was proposed to contrive a general plan of taxation for 
the emergency ; but probably the interests principally threat- 
ened put a stop to it, and at all events it mysteriously disap- 
peared. The government was given ample authority, but 
could do nothing. A war tax was laid on house-rents, for 
example ; but it could not be collected everywhere, and prob- 
ably its net proceeds amounted to little. In November, 1846, 
it was decided to issue drafts for two millions, to be accepted 
by the clergy and then purchased by designated citizens ; but 



the scheme, though actually decreed, proved a failure, and the 
famous laws of January 11 and February 4, 1847, were no more 
successful. June 17, 1847, a special tax of one million was 
assessed upon the entire population ; but only a small fraction 
of this appears to have been paid. In November, 1847, the 
government offered to deduct one half of the pending national 
taxes levied before May 1, 1846, if citizens would pay them 
by February 1, 1848 ; and this indicates clearly how the people 
had been acting. A few of the states, besides maintaining 
National Guards, erecting fortifications and manufacturing 
cannon, remitted some cash to the central government; but 
when we find the richest of them all, Mexico, boasting that 
she had sent the insignificant sum of about $160,000, we have 
reason to place a rather slight value upon this kind of assistance. 
Moreover, accepted drafts on that state, payable in one, two and 
three months, could not be sold — even at a discount.' 

The clergy gave nominally a million and a half, but they 
appear to have taken up indirectly, at a discount of forty per 
cent, the drafts of which this donation consisted. Citizens 
provided a large part of the new ordnance, but aside from this 
we hear of few substantial gifts. Just after the battle of Molino 
del Rey, in order to obtain bread for the army, the government 
requested the bakers of the capital to meet, but only a part of 
them came. A "positive supreme order" then brought them 
together, and they promised contributions; yet the promises 
were not kept.'* 

Every possible effort was made to borrow. Once the treasury 
offered a national loan of two and a half millions, but it fell 
flat in the states that might have paid the most. Just before 
the battle of Cerro Gordo there was a door-to-door canvass at 
Mexico ; but only small sums can have been picked up. About 
three months later the government imposed a forced loan, of 
which more than $280,000 were assigned to the capital ; but 
the Mexicans had learned to evade such extortions, and it proved 
hard to collect the allotted amounts. In July, 1847, the British 
consul general, Mackintosh, loaned $600,000 in exchange for 
the ratification of an arrangement negotiated with the British 
bondholders. In four loans the clergy furnished some three 
millions, all told. The President raised money, it was reported, 
on public and private securities, sold bonds freely at very low 


rates, and borrowed in effect by gi\ing contracts on terms favor- 
able enough to make the transactions worth while as. gambling 
propositions. The principal mint, for example, was turned 
over to the British consul general for a period of ten years 
in February, 1847, in exchange for some $200,000 in cash and 
a promise to pay one per cent on the amount coined ; and on 
similar principles arms and other necessaries were sometimes 

All of these financial operations were at least ostensibly 
lawful, but Santa Anna did not pause here. Wherever money 
could be found, he seems to have taken it, holding that the 
exigency outweighed all rights and all pledges. Funds belong- 
ing to the tobacco revenue were illegally seized, for instance; 
and a large sum due the Academy of Fine Arts fell into this 
voracious maw. Not only cash but everything needed for 
the army went the same way. At Jal.apa early in April, 1847, 
for example, all the owners of horses received orders to bring 
them in. Grain, forage, lead, lumber, arms, ammunition, 
tools, cattle, mules and laborers were taken by force; and 
sometimes military officers exhibited the burglar's predilection 
for a midnight hour. Here was a kind of finance that saved 
the expenses of accounting, and without it even the low cost 
of the Mexican soldier would not explain Santa Anna's holding 
out so long.^ 

The United States, happily, stood far above this level, but 
not so far that probably mere good luck did not save us from 
grave trouble ; and it was easy to foresee many dangers — 
all the worse because they naturally made capital timid — 
when the hostilities began. The total receipts of the treasury 
for the fiscal year ending with June 30, 1S45, were nearly thirty 
millions and the ordinary expenditures $22,935,828. It was 
estimated that during the next year the receipts would fall 
about three millions, and "Walker — allowing the munificent 
amounts of something more than two and a half millions for 
the army and something less than fiAC for the navy - — expected 
to reduce the total disbursements a little, anticipating for the 
period ending with June, 1847, a further saving of more than 
four millions. The receipts for July-September, 1S45, 
proved to be more than two millions below those of the corre- 
sponding months of 1844, and the customs income for the fiscal 


year 1845-46 was $815,445 less than for the preceding twelve- 
month. In a word, shrinking revenues and curtailed outlays 
were the prospect.^ 

In th-s condition of things, not only had the unpredictable 
costs and embarrassments of war to be faced, but those of war 
in a distant land. Money was to be sent out of the country, 
never to return, and the bills for supplies to be increased by 
the burdens of marine transportation, insurance and losses; 
while risks from privateers and European complication^ could 
be seen. Before such an outlook business men shrank from 
large enterprises. People with money felt disposed to keep it.' 

Where, then, were funds to come from ? The currency had 
been inflated by the paper issues of many banks. Stocks were 
selling far below the prices of twelve months before. Even the 
business men who did not endorse the tariff of 1842 had adjusted 
their affairs to it, and now everybody understood that a new 
scale of duties, based upon free-trade ideas, lay on the treasury 
anvil. Calls for the government funds held and used by state 
depositories and for the specie of all the banks were feared. 
The banks cannot support a loan, and even in peace our capi- 
talists have never done so, remarked the financial editor of the 
New York Herald, probably the best newspaper authority.' 

The government must look abroad, concluded the editor, 
and in Europe no light could be seen. By 1842 our state debts, 
mostly held there, had amounted to nearly $200,000,000. 
Mississippi, Michigan, Arkansas and Florida sank in the mire 
of repudiation. Pennsylvania, Maryland, Indiana, Illinois 
and Louisiana became delinquent. The bonds of South Caro- 
lina fell below par. Missouri passed a stay law. Sidney 
Smith, when he met a Pennsylvanian at dinner, felt like divid- 
ing the man's raiment among the British guests, most of whom, 
if not all, had probably suffered by the "dishonor" of the 
state. Indeed, the bondholders were disposed to throw off 
half of the interest rate, if our national treasury would assume 
the debts; but a proposition to do this failed in Congress.* 

As early as 1841 even our six per cent national bonds would 
not sell in Europe, though money commanded less than half 
as large a return there. "Who will lend on American securi- 
ties?" asked the London Spectator the very month we began 
war upon Mexico. Our credit then grew worse instead of 


better. The war bill precipitated a panic in Wall Street, and 
soon business in the west and south was described as prostrate. 
Bad as such a financial outlook was in itself, too, it involved 
■ a consequent ill. Evidently the administration would have 
to pinch ; and, as Madame de Sevigne once remarked, " There 
is nothing so expensive as want of money." ^ 

The Democrats, however, were committed against the pro- 
tective tariff of 1842, now in force, and Polk as a party man 
felt that something must be done about it. Walker no doubt 
shared this opinion ; and, having gained immense prestige in 
the south by his brilliant advocacy of the annexation of Texas, 
he very likely hoped that by now carrying into effect the fiscal 
ideas prevalent in that section, he might supplant Calhoun. 
Probably, too, he sincerely believed in these ideas. To him 
the existing scale of duties appeared to be the cause of the 
shrinking revenues ; and he stated boldly that war, which had 
been recognized for some time as a possibility, "would create 
an increased necessity for reducing our present high duties in 
order to obtain sufficient revenue to meet increased expendi- 
tures." « 

Soon after hostilities began, therefore, a tariff bill came 
before Congress. It was bitterly and stubbornly fought. In 
the Senate its defeat appeared sure ; but Crittenden and Clay- 
ton, believing it could only prove a discreditable failure, had 
a Whig support it in order to gain party advantage at the 
expense of the nation, and by this unworthy trick and the 
casting vote of the presiding officer it passed. In company 
with it went a warehouse bill and the restoration of the sub- 
treasury system, which divorced the government from the 
banks, and required the treasury to accept and pay out only 
specie. About the first of August, 1846, this entire system 
became law. "Our administration seems enamoured of ruin, 
and woos calamity for itself," exclaimed the Whig North Amer- 
ican; our credit is threatened by the sub-treasury plan ; our 
industries are deprived of protection; "while an expensive 
war is eating out our vitals, our revenue is to be diminished" ; 
and a direct tax will have to be laid.^ 

The new tariff became effective on the first of December, 
1846. As of course importers waited for it, a lean period pre- 
ceded that event, and the heavy receipts that followed it, 
VOL. ii| — ^[s 


providing Walker with an apt retort, did not prevent the total 
for the year ending with June, 1847, from coming short of his 
estimate by more than four millions. Without waiting to 
acquire this unwelcome fact, however, the government found 
itself compelled in June, 1846, to revise at a sharp angle upward 
its predictions of the expenditures. Over and above their cal- 
culations of the previous December the war and navy depart- 
ments now called for $23,952,904, which Polk informed Con- 
gress was "the largest amount which any state of the service" 
would require up to July 1, 1847. The secretary of the treasury 
had expected to find on July 1, 1847, a surplus (virtually that 
estimated for the previous year minus half a million) of at least 
$4,332,441, and had confidently hoped for a substantial gain 
in revenue; but he admitted that it was now requisite, since 
a working capital of four millions for the treasury and the 
mints had to be kept on hand, to provide $12,586,406 of addi- 
tional income.^" 

The proper method of handling our war finances was, in the 
first place, to increase the existing taxes — not only to obtain 
funds promptly, but as a firm support for the nation's credit 
and a basis for those temporary loans which are a wise expedi- 
ent at the beginning of a war ; and Walker expected the pro- 
posed tariff to answer this purpose. But the question how to 
raise these twelve and a half millions remained. Excise and 
direct taxes, the administration believed, would not be prompt 
enough, and would not seem to the public warranted by the 
circumstances. It was therefore recommended to Congress 
that both treasury notes and a loan should he. resorted to ; and 
on July 22, 1846, without much debate, the issue of ten millions 
in such obligations, to be sold at not less than par, was author- 

Treasury notes could not really serve the government's 
purpose well, for they were soon to be paid, the expense of hand- 
ling them fell upon the treasury, and, as they were receivable 
for duties, they were sure to pour into the customhouses instead 
of real money whenever they should be cheaper than specie. 
The treasury, bound by law to pay out only the latter, would 
then have to buy coin at the market price — presumably, as 
Gallatin said, with depreciated notes. These would then fall 
still more, and so the process appeared certain to continue. 


But notes were the most convenient and readiest, if not the 
only way of quickly anticipating revenue ; they were partic- 
ularly suited to the nature of the government's expenditures ; 
they provided an easy method of transmitting the large sums 
that would be needed in the south on the war account ; and 
financial critics at New York approved of them. Not all 
were of that opinion, however. About the middle of September 
the appearance of notes for half a million was announced by 
one journal under the heading, " Extensive Paper Money Manu- 
factory"; but the government persisted, and by the ninth of 
December, 1846, nearly four millions of them were out. This 
with the balance — more than nine millions — handed over 
by the previous fiscal year, made up for the lean customs re- 
ceipts of this period.i^ 

Meanwhile attention was given to the more substantial 
resource of a loan. At the end of September the secretary 
of the treasury disappeared mysteriously from his accustomed 
haunts, and to Polk's acute distress of mind wandered for 
more than two weeks in the perilous jungle of Wall Street. 
His experiences there were in fact rather hard. The capitalists 
looked with favor on the project of a loan and had plenty of 
money, but — believing the government would require a large 
amount, and therefore that a loan made now would be likely 
to depreciate, as well as actuated by their characteristic spirit 
of thrift — they stood out for six per cent. The New York 
and Boston banks, it was thought at the White House, were 
in league against the administration. Besides, the public 
had little information about the way money was being spent, 
and felt apprehensive of extravagance and a huge debt. Many 
believed the war had cost half a million each day. Not a few 
distrusted Walker. He had engineered Mississippi into bank- 
ruptcy, and had become insolvent personally. In the Senate 
his reputation had been that of a needy adventurer, intensely 
ambitious, clever in^debate and intrigue, but not of solid ability, 
and especially not a financier. At present nobody denied his 
real talents or his extreme devotion to work, but he was charged 
with inaccuracy and with sophistical reasoning.*' 

Apparently five and two fifths per cent was all he felt ready 
to offer, and special reasons could be given for halting there, 
since it was feared that issuing a six per cent loan at par would 


injure the United States sixes, now held at 106, and also the 
credit of the government. But finally, with the approval of 
the President and the Cabinet, he advertised, October 30, 
for bids on a five million loan for ten years at six per cent.' 
November 12 the tenders were opened. For a small fraction' 
of the amount a slight premium was offered, and for the rest 
par. No doubt the rate, in comparison with European stand- 
ards, had to be regarded as high, but on the other hand this 
was our first specie loan, and was said to be the only war loan' 
ever taken without a discount.'' ' " ' 

Plainly, however, more needed to be done. It was already 
extraordinarily difficult to pay the comparatively small ex- 
penses of the war, wrote the British minister at this time. 
Congress had not fully provided for even' the minimum needs 
recognized by the sanguine, if not sophistical. Walker; and 
early in December, 1846, his annual report intimated that on 
July 1, 1848, with a due allowance for the working capital of 
the treasury, there would be a deficit of twenty-three millions. 
Apparently a loan was requisite, and he advised making the 
term twenty years. Then, with no little anxiety, the ad- 
ministration waited. At the end of December Bancroft wrote 
privately, "If we can raise the ways and means," we can sur- 
mount the other difficulties. On the eleventh of January, 
1847, a bill virtually embodying Walker's recommendations' 
was thrown into the House, and a long, acrimonious debate' 
ensued. The treasury "languishes," announced the organ of 
the government; needed volunteers could not be called out; 
but the legislators had irrepressible things to say. At length, 
however, on January 28 the bill providing $2.3,000,000 became 
a law. Though it primarily contemplated treasury notes," 
it permitted the Executive liberty of action; and a large' 
amount of six per cent bonds were sold." '• 

But Polk was by no means out of trouble now. Walker's- 
estimate made no mention of great outstanding purchases,' 
for which the contractors had not yet sent in their accounts.' 
Not only the customs duties but the sales of public lands were 
coming far short of his expectations. No allowance appeared' 
to be made for the effect of bounty land scrip that was likely 
to reduce them still more. The Vera Cruz expedition and a 
possible march to the enemy's capital were in view. Indeed, 


the real war had only begun. Besides, the temper of Congress 
had already threatened trouble and made it. Not only to 
ensure additional revenue in general, but in particular — it 
would seem — to strengthen the credit of the government by 
showing how the interest bn its obligations would be taken care 
of, the Secretary brought up again the suggestion of his annual 
report, that a duty of twenty-five per cent should be placed 
on tea and coffee, which — although the free list had been re- 
stricted in the tariff of 1846 — had been left untaxed. In fact 
it had been intimated by him at New York, even if not actually 
promised, that such a step would be taken; and a few days 
before Christmas, 1846, he notified the committee on ways and 
means that probably without this assistance a satisfactory 
loan could not be made. Yet Congress rejected the proposi- 
tion by a great majority .^^ 

■ A plan of Benton's also — to grade the public lands on the 
basis of their attractiveness, and reduce prices accordingly — 
which would have increased the income of the government, 
failed to pass, though endorsed by Polk, Walker and the gen- 
eral land commissioner. Pessimists were happy. With Polk, 
the war, the weather, the sub-treasuries "and perhaps the 
Devil" to struggle against, wrote a correspondent of Martin 
Van Buren, soon not an' ingot would be "left standing," and 
there was "ilo calculating, no prophesying" what would be- 
come of the nation.^' 

Apparently to offset the failure of the tea and coffee tax, 
Walter's active brain produced another scheme, designed not 
only to bring in revenue and reassure ihe capitalists, but also 
to please the shipping men of the United States and neutral 
countries. This was to open the Mexican ports controlled by 
us, and permit merchandise to enter there under a moderate 
scale of duties. During March, 1847, assisted by Senator 
Benton and the attorney general, Polk satisfied himself that 
under his powers as commander-in-chief he could impose and 
collect the duties as mihtary contributions, for by the right of 
conquest he could either exclude commerce or admit it on his 
own terms, and contributions were legitimate under the laws 
of war. Said Vattel, "A nation [at war] on every opportunity 
lays its hands on the enemy's goods, appropriates them to itself, 
and thereby, besides weakening the adversary, strengthens 


itself, and at least in part, procures an indemnification, an 
equivalent, either for the very cause of the war, or for the 
expences and losses resulting from it" ; and a low scale of duties 
was an extremely mild application of this principle.^^ 

Moreover, it was quite as legitimate under our Constitution 
also, though not expressly mentioned, as to blockade or bom- 
bard Vera Cruz, respecting which the organic law was equally 
silent. Indeed, to have left the ports wide open or allowed the 
high Mexican tariff to remain in force would, in addition to 
being harmful to us, have required as great an exercise of 
authority. Finally, Scott and some of our naval commanders, 
moved by the evident proprieties of the situation, fixed duties 
and used the proceeds at their discretion, and it was mani- 
festly better to arrange the business in a uniform, well-consid- 
ered manner.^* 

It might have been expected that substantially either our 
own or the Mexican tariff would be applied, but neither would 
have answered. Mexican imports were very different from 
ours ; specific, not ad valorem, duties had been customary there ; 
and competent appraisers could not be found. On the other 
hand the unreasonable Mexican duties, besides preventing 
commerce to a large extent, encouraged fraud and smuggling. 
In March, 1847, therefore, a special tariff was prepared by 
Walker, lowering the Mexican duties on imports more than 
one half, and substituting for all port dues and charges a uni- 
form tax of one dollar per ton ; and on March 31 Polk ordered 
the system to be put in force. Mexico retorted that goods 
paying the American duties — especially goods prohibited by 
her laws — would be confiscated, and this attitude caused 
some uneasiness in France ; but it seemed fairly evident that 
the United States would protect neutrals accepting our policy, 
and not only the foreign merchants in Mexico but the neutral 
governments felt highly pleased with our course .^^ 

The authorities at Washington, however, did not rejoice as 
much. The real difficulty lay, not in landing merchandise 
at the ports, but in placing it before Mexican customers, and 
comparatively few of the latter could be reached. Persevering 
efforts were made to solve the problem on both coasts. Some- 
times, for reasons not fully understood, the Mexican govern- 
ment issued licenses for the passage of goods to the interior, 


and for a consideration local authorities in the northeast did 
the same; but even these documents were not always valid 
against ofiBcials and military men whose "patriotism" had not 
been "sweetened." European merchants could see this diffi- 
culty. Up to October 20, 1847, only one small cargo from that 
direction entered the harbor of Vera Cruz, and Walker admitted 
privately that a very small part of the few imports was dis- 
posed of for consumption beyond the coast. In a word, this 
vaunted plan gave no substantial help on the problem of sup- 
porting the war.'^ 

But by this time the good luck which has been supposed to 
keep an eye on the United States of America had intervened. 
In 1846 came the great Irish famine. British provision laws 
were suspended. Faced with starvation people cared little 
what they paid, if they could obtain food. Our agricultural 
products, which had fallen heavily in market value since Octo- 
ber 1, 1845, rose with astonishing buoyancy.^ Western grain 
that had scarcely been worth transporting — frequently not 
worth it — became precious. A ship could earn thirty per 
cent of her cost in one round trip, yet hardly enough vessels 
could be found. So abrupt was the turn that a financial 
editor who Had predicted on December 17, 1846, a speedy 
return to the distress of 1837, declared on January 30, 1847, 
"We are on the high road to an unprecedented prosperity." 
The abolition of the British corn laws ensured our farmers not 
only temporary relief but a permanent market. Cotton, too, 
and even cotton goods were in active demand abroad ; and 
a famine in Germany gave us additional support.^' 

Every vessel from the other side brought more of the specie 
that had been expected to disappear from circulation here. 
Between the first of January and the middle of July, 1847, 
approximately twenty-four millions came in, besides about 
five millions in the pockets of immigrants. Everybody who 
did anything or had anything shared in the general increase 
of wealth. Hoarding went out of fashion. All were spenders. 
In particular, a craze for dress demanded great quantities of 
European fabrics. The warehousing plan also stimulated 
importation. For the quarter ending with September, 1847, 
the customs duties amounted to more than eleven millions — 
almost half the total of the preceding year — and for the week 


ending with October 1 they were nearly double those of the 
corresponding week in 1846. In a word, gold rained upon us; 
the languishing treasury revived ; and the credit of the govern- 
ment revived with it. Later, in the autumn of 1847, to be sure, 
the financial downpour abated, but it had already done its 
work. The ship of state rode now beyond the bar.^' 

Yet Polk still had to cope with difficulties. Early in Decem- 
ber, 1847, when Congress assembled, he found it necessary to 
present large estimates and to admit that a deficit of nearly 
sixteen millions was to be eixpected by July 1, 1848 ; and there 
seemed to be little hope that Congress would provide addi- 
tional revenue. Borrowing was inevitable, and Walker's 
report of December 8 proposed a loan of $18,500,000. Noth- 
ing was done, however. The banks of New York and Boston 
endeavored to force upon the government a fiscal policy more 
acceptable to them, sOfid a strong element in Congress, of which 
more will be heard in the next chapter, not only entertained 
a similar desire, but seemed willing to impair the credit of the 
administration. At length, on the nineteenth of January, 
1848, a bill was intrqduced, and after a further delay another 
long debate opened. "How is the loan bill getting on. Sir?" 
inquired a newspaper correspondent of a Representative of 
the People after it had been on the tapis for about a month. 
"Oh, they are spouting away, spouting away, Sir," was the 
careless reply. But on the last day of March a six per cent, 
loan of $16,000,000 was authorized on substantially the same 
basis as the previous loans. The treaty of peace had been 
signed on February 2, and the new bonds brought a premium 
rising in some instances to $4.05 on a hundred.^" 

In the same report (December, 1847) Walker anriounced, 
though evidently a little chastened in spirit, that relief would 
soon come from Mexico. What he chiefly counted upon at 
this time, however, was not customs duties. As early as the 
nineteenth of September, 1846, Polk, justly offended by the 
enemy's disdainful treatment of our olive branch, decided that 
instead of endeavoring longer to conciliate the Mexicans by 
paying liberally for supplies, we should bring them to terms 
by levying contributions or taking needed articles without 
compensation, and this course was promptly recommended to 
General Taylor ; but he replied, as we have seen, that such a 


policy was impracticable. Shortly after the capture of Vera 
Cruz General Scott received instructions of the same tenor, 
and he made a similar reply. Early in the autumn of 1847, 
however, as Mexico had again rejected the olive branch, this 
change of system was pressed upon Scott with fresh urgency, 
and before long explicit orders to make all the revenues and 
resources of Mexico available, as far as they could be, 

Scott, however, knowing the laws of war and the wishes of 
his government, began operations without waiting for these 
later instructions. Almost immediately after entering the 
capital he laid upon it an assessment of $150,000, and set on 
foot an examination into the general question of drawing 
revenues from the country, which eventually showed that nearly 
twenty-three millions' a year could theoretically be collected, 
should we take possession of the whole territory. November 
25, he directed that no rent should be paid for houses and quar- 
ters except so far as contracts existed. About three weeks 
later, notice was given that in the districts held by the Amer- 
icans all the taxes and dues previously paid to the Mexican 
government would be required of the authorities for the sup- 
port of our army ; and at the end of December an assessment 
equal to four times the direct taxes paid in 1843 was laid upon 
the states. Scott's action was of course taken by Wool, now 
commanding in the northeast, as a pattern.^^ 

But again Walker's hopes were disappointed. The most im- 
portant of the monopolies, tobacco, had to be given up because 
the American product could not be excluded, and for adminis- 
trative reasons the other monopolies also were surrendered. 
Owing to the dangers of waste, corruption, extortion and resent- 
ment, the business of collecting taxes had to be entrusted to 
the state authorities, and they possessed wonderful dexterity 
in the arts of evasion. State assessments were actually made 
on Mexico and Vera Cruz only. The owners of occupied build- 
ings were in many case's friends, and could not well be deprived 
of their rents. Contracts or agreements that stood in the way 
had to be respected. Gold and silver were clandestinely ex- 
ported. Smuggling across the northern border could not be 
stopped. Brigands exacted their toll. The time required 
for investigation and planning, and in certain instances for 


correspondence with our government, militated against prompt 
action. We strongly desired to settle with Mexico and evacuate 
the country, and hence — especially after the peace negotia- 
tions began — it would not have been wise to run the risk of 
exasperating the nation for the sake of a few dollars. In short 
the net proceeds, including $106,928 turned in by naval officers, 
were only $3,935,676.23 

Some of this money went directly to supply needs of the army 
and navy, but by far the greater part of those needs had to be 
met in other ways. During the first nine months of 1847, it 
was figured that the United States exported more than $12,000,000 
in specie to Mexico. Many drafts on the principal American 
cities were sold there, and those on the quartermasters at New 
Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington and New York amounted 
to nearly $8,000,000 before December, 1847. Payments were 
also made in the United States on the certificates of ofiicers 
acting in the field; and about the first of August, 1847, Bel- 
mont, the New York agent of the Rothschilds, arranged with 
our administration to place funds in the hands of any pay- 
master or quartermaster named by Scott. In general the 
large financial operations made necessary by the transfers of 
money were skilfully, honestly and safely conducted. Some 
$24,000,000 were distributed by the pay department through 
its thirty-five ofiicers, for instance, and nothing was lost by 
accident, robbery, theft or capture .^^ 

The total money cost of the war on the American side has 
been given at very low and at very high amounts, and none of 
the estimates inspires much confidence. The excess expendi- 
tures of the army and navy appear to have been $63,605,621 ; 
of which $49,000,000 were raised by selling bonds and treasury 
notes, and were substantially added to the national debt. 
But these figures by no means answer the question. To the 
apparent cost we must add twelve millions paid later to Mexico, 
the American claims of which we relieved her, the war expenses 
of the treasury department, bounty lands, pensions, valid 
claims for damages, and other liabilities of many kinds gradu- 
ally discharged after peace returned ; and from the total must 
be subtracted the bonds and treasury notes then available for 
issue and the actual worth of ships, ordnance and other materials 
required for the war and left over. Evidently it is not feasible 

to reach a satisfactory conclusion, but as a very bold guess 
one may suggest a hundred millions.^^ 

Even were that a close estimate, however, it would mean 
little. On the one hand lives, physical and mental sufferings, 
personal losses of every description, much national obloquy 
and a thousand minor factors would need to be considered, and 
on the other our gain in territory, in recognized power, in mili- 
tary and naval efficiency, in national self-consciousness and in 
particulars not so obvious. One thing, however, is clear. The 
war cost far less money than its opponents had expected. 
Webster solemnly predicted in December, 1846, that should it 
end the following spring, our debt would be a hundred millions, 
but on the first of July, 1848, the debt was less than sixty-six 



In Mexico the war had far more intimate relations with poli- 
tics than it had in our own country. Here invading troops did 
not scatter our civil authorities. Presidents did not rise and 
fall, cabinets did not organize and melt away, revolutions and 
revolts did not hover continually at the door. Every part of 
the country contributed to the result. Supplies were voted, 
and troops assembled according to law. We have there- 
fore studied Mexican politics in connection with events as 
these occurred, and reserved American politics to be surveyed 
more comprehensively; but this does not imply any laCk of 
significance in the second topic' 

At first the war seemed extremely popular. The rush to 
volunteer showed that. A tone of opposition prevailed in New 
England, but it was quiet — hardly perceptible. May 21, 50,000 
people gathered in front of the city hall at New York and called 
for vigorous measures. Hostilities appeared to be regarded by 
all as a just punishment for the long series of Mexican insults, 
barbarities and outrages. The country called; patriotism 
responded, and other considerations helped. Democratic poli- 
ticians believed their party would gain prestige and strength. 
A great and common purpose would bind it firmly together. 
Many ofiices and appointments would follow, and almost every- 
body would gain some profit in a business way. Taylor's " vic- 
tories " on the Rio Grande intensified the enthusiasm. " Upon 
the duties which the present crisis invoked," exclaimed the 
Philadelphia North American, " our country has but one heart," 
and an invasion of the enemy's territory "will meet the appro- 
bation of the entire American public." Accordingly the first 
session of the Twenty-ninth Congress pushed its work far into 
the summer of 1846 — even after Senator Fairfield wrote, "All 



nature [is] hissing" — and embodied the government's policy 
in laws.^ 

But this mood changed surprisingly. When Congress ad- 
journed, it was in bad humor, and the country sympathized 
with it. News of the occupation of California produced little 
enthusiasm, for it had been expected. The fighting at Mon- 
terey excited interest, but it was followed at once by a long 
armistice, and it had no permanent effect on the downward 
course of public sentiment. Instead of glorying in the war, the 
Democrats now defended it feebly, and a great many regarded 
it as a grave political blunder. The fall Congressional elec- 
tions went strongly against them. Every reverse could be ex- 
plained, of course — in Pennsylvania a heavy storm, in New 
York the opposition of "every most pestilential and reckless form 
of law-hating faction," apathy here, lack of organization there — 
but the National Intelligencer, chief organ of the Whigs, brushed 
explanations aside, and coldly remarked, "We presume that our 
President and his Cabinet are by this time convinced that they 
have forfeited the public confidence — the confidence, that is, 
of their own party; that of the other they never possessed"; 
and by mid-winter the political outlook for the war seemed ex- 
tremely dark.^ 

The reasons for this change were complex and interesting. 
The people — Democrats and Whigs alike — knew they did ndt 
want Polk for chief executive. To the millions demanding, 
"Who is James K. Polk?" the answer had been given, "He is 
President of the United States"; but this excellent retort si- 
lenced instead of satisfying. Disagreeable ideas prevailed re- 
garding the methods of his nomination and his election. Many 
viewed him as an Accident, an Unpleasant Surprise, a Surrepti- 
tious Incumbent ; and his unpopularity not only was a disad- 
vantage in itself, but colored the interpretation placed upon 
everything he did or said.^ 

Besides this initial difficulty, he was not considered a 
large enough man for the place, and the Cabinet seemed too 
much of a piece with him in that respect. The public did not 
hear Polk's confidential declaration, "I intend to be myself 
President of the United States." They were not aware that he 
risked a great deal to avoid having Calhoun and Flagg, a New 
York man of unusual ability, in his official family. But they 


felt like the Washington correspondent of the Boston Atlas, who 
said, They are "little fellows," and "were they all thrown in 
a bag together, it would make little difference which came out 
first"; and they suspected that Polk aimed to eliminate all 
possible competitors. Many, indeed, believed it should be so. 
"Who would not regret," asked Senator Mangum, "to see the 
choice of this great and free people thrown into shadow by over- 
topping talent?" The President was inaugurated on a cold, 
rainy, cheerless day, and sentiment, among those who counted, 
resembled the weather.* 

The policy of the administration confirmed these impressions. 
Polk had no great ideas, no inspiring imagination, no kindling 
enthusiasm, no moving eloquence, no contagious humor, no 
winning personality. He was not exactly a "burning bush" 
of patriotism, hallowing the ground about him, and forcing men 
to put off their grimy, everyday shoes of selfish designs. To 
sway the nation or even the Democrats in any grand way lay 
beyond him. He was a partisan, to be sure, but without a party. 
His trumpet note — has shed "American blood upon the Ameri- 
can soil " — came from a newspaper. Almost his only resource, 
therefore, was patronage, and the business of trading offices 
for support is essentially a mean one. It makes intrigue a pro- 
fession, creates many enemies while it creates few friends and 
renders confidence well-nigh impossible. Without calling the 
President "mendacious," one can understand how J. K.Paulding 
came to say, that he possessed no honesty of purpose, no frank- 
ness of heart. Tossing out a plump lie now and then would 
have given less offence than continual secretiveness and evasion 
caused. Polk described the cunning Pillow as "one of the 
shrewdest men you ever knew." That gave Polk's measure, 
and political necessities developed his natural disposition. 
" This little mole," Blair called him. Blair was prejudiced ; but 
for a different bete noire he would have chosen a different 

New York state affairs had an especially bad effect on Polk's 
reputation and influence. Knowing that he had played the part 
of Jacob, the Supplanter, to Van Buren's Esau at the Baltimore 
convention, and not expecting to be forgiven, Polk probably 
felt thoroughly distrustful of the Locofocos from the beginning. 
Silas Wright's declining positively to run for the Vice Presidency 


on his ticket doubtless gave offence. His oad faith in refusing 
to accept Flagg, apparently to save himself from being over- 
shadowed, after virtually agreeing to do it, seemed inexcusable. 
His taking Marcy into the Cabinet at the behest of an active but 
rather unscrupulous remnant of the "irregular" Conservatives 
heightened the dissatisfaction of the substantial elements. The 
defeat of the New York Democrats in the fall elections of 1846, 
which was charged by the regulars to treachery on the part of 
the Conservatives, created still further trouble. Making fac- 
tional appointments, and especially choosing for a high post at 
New York City a "poor, stupid dutchman by the name of 
Bouck," as an extremist called him, seemed to the faithful nothing 
less than party treason. In thus alienating the ablest and best 
Democrats of the state, who were trusted and admired by the 
party as a whole, and supporting a faction that had no national 
standing, the President made a great mistake. He " has proved 
himself to be a poor devil," said one of Van Buren's corre- 
spondents ; even Tyler's name was less execrated than " Jim 
Polk's," wrote one of Judge McLean's ; and for thus weakening 
the Democrats in the Empire State, he was naturally blamed in 
all quarters.^ 

A variety of minor yet serious complaints helped fill up the 
measure. Polk was equally anxious and unable to harmonize 
the party, and as he tried to satisfy clamorous malcontents, it 
came to be said that he was always ready to hang an old friend 
for the sake of gaining two new ones. Ranking low in ability 
to judge of character, enjoying but a limited acquaintance, and 
placing an unreasonable value upon experience in Congress, he 
too often appointed unfit men when he meant well, or put the 
right men into the wrong places. Naturally ofiice-seekers 
dogged his footsteps, and numberless disappointed aspirants 
bore grudges deadlier than stilettos. His wriggling out of em- 
phatic declarations in favor of our broad Oregon claims excited 
profound wrath in the west, and- made a bad impression in other 
sections. Senator Hannegan proclaimed that if the President 
accepted the line of forty-nine degrees, he would be consigned to 
"a damnation so deep that the hand of resurrection" would 
never be able to "drag him forth" ; and he did accept it.'' 

The veto of a river and harbor bill that ofl^ered captivating 
opportunities for looting the treasury brought upon him the 


woes of Tyler. The government, said the aggrieved, " is fast 
degenerating into a mere quadrennial elective despotism"; 
Polk " wants the purse of the nation for his own schemes of presi- 
dential ambition." Finally, the apparent hampering of Taylor 
and Scott, and the playing off of the one against the other seemed 
to a multitude of citizens unworthy of a President, unpatriotic 
and mean; and then partisans accused him of letting Whig 
generals have all the glory, lest a Democratic warrior should'gain 
the Presidential nomination in 1848. Truly, "deep and dismal 
was the ditch," as B. F. Butler said, into which Polk fell.^ 

Moreover a whole sheaf of arrows, not directly aimed at him, 
struck his administration. The annexation of Texas rankled 
still in many bosoms, and the extremists were implacable. 
Lowell did not shrink from recommending secession : 

" Ef I'd my way I would ruther 

We should go to work an' part, — 
They take one way, we take t'other, — 
Guess it wouldn't break my heart. " 

John Quincy Adams contemplated the same extreme remedy, 
and Giddings went so far as to write, " Ohio is now a party to no 
subsisting Union." Those opposed to the measure felt hostile 
to the President who had favored and consummated it; the 
great number whose theory had been that it would not lead to 
war felt obliged to argue now that Polk had brought about a 
conflict unnecessarily; and everything in our relations with 
Mexico was viewed through a fog of prejudices and animosities 
rising from that gory political battlefield. Not a few appoint- 
ments to high military positions had seemed to rest on political 
expediency, and the battles near the Rio Grande had been fol- 
lowed by a long period of inactivity, charged by many to the gov- 
ernment. Volunteers not accepted for the war had remarks to 
make, and troops returning from the front often used expres- 
sions hardly coherent enough to be termed remarks. The six- 
months men called out by Gaines belonged in the latter class ; 
and although Marcy did nothing respecting them save to obey 
the plain requirement of the law, citizens of Louisiana applied 
language to him that might have kindled sympathy for Judas 

The government's fiscal system, though of course accepted by 


many, excited sharp resentment. Overwhelming the country all 
at once with such a combination of new laws — a warehouse act, 
a sub-treasury bill and a "free-trade" tariff — ^was denounced 
as an unspeakable outrage, and each of those measures amounted 
in the opinion of many to a crime. Gideon Welles thought the 
idea of reducing our tariff during the war an " insane project" ; 
and the measure as framed, a compromise between theory and 
expediency, satisfied hardly any one. Real free-traders com- 
plained because their principles had been sacrificed, and the New 
Englanders because those principles had not been sacrificed 
enough. The iron and coal state raged and wept by turns : 
she had been betrayed,' and "her groans were music" to the 
arrogant low-tariff section cherished by the government. Only 
corruption and intimidation could have carried such a monstros- 
ity through Congress; and, worse yet, "Sir Robert Walker" 
had been truckling to England. "British all over," scribbled 
the American Sentinel on the warehousing system ; and the 
tariff was trailed to a British lair packed with British statesmen, 
British capitalists, British manufacturers and British merchants. 
To please them our wheels of production were to stop, our 
banks close, and the industrious North fall in despair at the 
feet of an implacable South. "'To your tents, O Israel!'" 
cried the National Intelligencer.^ 

In countless eyes the war itself soon lost its glamour. Imag- 
ining that our advance to the Rio Grande had been the cause 
of it, many felt bound to denounce it as unauthorized, unconsti- 
tutional, unjust, aggressive ; and not a few, in dense ignorance 
of the history, character and views of the Mexicans, thought, 
like Professor Kent of Harvard University, that it was "de- 
moniacal" to make war upon those poor innocents, as if they 
had not been shooting one another pretty continuously and also 
aching to shoot us. Not reflecting that nations begin to think 
of indemnities as soon, at least, as they begin to fight, and that 
legitimate advantages might accrue from occupying Mexican 
territory, people viewed suspiciously the operations of Taylor, 
Wool, Kearny, Stockton and Stevenson, threw up their hands, 
and exclaimed, "Conquest!" as if the ground they stood upon 
and half the world besides had not been gained by the sword. 
"Cormorants of territory!" hissed a Thersites. "Sages and 
Heroes of the Revolution, lo, the consummation of your labors ! " 

VOL. II — T 


nigh fatal blunder," even though suggested by the "demon," 
who was commonly thought rather shrewd. Letting Santa Anna 
go back to Mexico seemed to different Whigs like treason, 
treachery, folly and idiocy. Polk " takes his ease on some sixty- 
eight dollars -per day," while the soldiers he has driven to the 
field subsist on fare that "his very slaves would loathe," the 
Whig Almanac luckily discovered. Bribery, duplicity, false- 
hood, imbecility, cowardice and infamy were a few of the other 
good things found in the President's conduct; and the chief 
Whig organ undertook tolay him finally at rest on the greensward 
in this elegant fashion : " Why, the very savage of the court- 
yard in other times — that most brutal of mankind, the bully 
of the bailiwick, who chewed up an ear or nose, or scooped out 
with thumb a prostrate adversary's eye — was generous in 
comparison." ^' 

In attempting more serious criticism the Whigs met with em- 
barrassments. The majority of them, whose argument had 
been that immediate annexation of Texas would necessarily 
mean war, could not with inward peace declare that Polk had 
brought on the war by sending Taylor to the Rio Grande ; and 
the great number whose contention had been that Mexico still 
owned Texas could not well deny that annexing her province by 
an Act of Congress, which amounted on their theory to a consti- 
tutional declaration of war, had created a state of things which 
made it entirely proper for Polk to send Taylor there. " Swin- 
dlers of 1844, with your 'peaceable annexation,' do not skulk! 
Here is the fruit of 2/OMr doings! Look it in the face!" exclaimed 
the New York Tribune when the war bill passed, but it soon 
appeared more tactful to ignore this aspect of the matter.** 

Other embarrassments remained, however. It was very 
well for northern Whigs to indulge in what Carlyle might 
have called a "running shriek" against "a pro-slavery war," 
but they were cautioned to let no echoes of it cross the 
Potomac. When a Senator greeted the war Message by saying 
he would later read the documents that accompanied it, and 
for the present would merely observe that Polk's course was 
"utterly unjustifiable," Ritchie paraphrased Master Dogberry 
at him: "By virtue of mine office I do suspect thee to be a 
thief." While some papers denounced the government for 
not settling with Mexico by negotiation, others admitted that 


Mexico had refused to treat. When Delano announced for the 
sake of buncombe that he was " ready to go shoulder to shoulder 
with all those who supported the honor of the country," Thur- 
man replied that it seemed a strange method of supporting one's 
country, to declare like Delano, after war had begun, when it 
existed both in law and in fact, that it was "illegal, unright- 
eous, and damnable." Abraham Lincoln, wishing to distin- 
guish himself before the home folks, did this feat in the House 
by revealing, in a manner suited to his years, that since Mexico 
had exercised jurisdiction on the northern bank of the Rio 
Grande, the first American blood must have been shed on 
Mexican, not American, soil ; but unhappily the fact remained 
that Connecticut had for some time exercised effective juris- 
diction over northeastern Pennsylvania, yet did not own the 
territory. '^^ 

Those who raved against Polk and his " tribe" for driving the 
war bill through Congress had to face Winthrop and a galaxy of 
other Whigs, who admitted that war did already exist. Con- 
gressmen denouncing the Executive for sending Taylor to the 
Rio Grande were unable to deny that notice of his march from 
Corpus Christi had been given on the floor of the House (March 
23) long before the outbreak of hostilities, and nothing had been 
done about it; that on May 12 Whigs of the Senate, led by 
Crittenden, had recognized that American territory extended to 
the Rio Grande ; and that after the army could safely have with- 
drawn from that vicinity no serious attempt had been made to 
bring about its recall . Partisans of the unoffending Mexicans were 
startled to hear the impeccable Boston Atlas confess in a moment 
of candor : " The conduct of that government towards us has 
been such as might have justified the extreme resort to war"; 
and those eager to berate Polk for unconstitutional aggressive- 
ness had to digest a similar lapse on the part of the National 
Intelligencer, which conceded that Congress had thrown round 
him a mantle of indemnity by a vote " implying confidence in the 
rectitude of the President in beginning this war." ^^ 

While Polk was roundly taken to task for appointing so many 
Democratic generals. Whig journals boasted that most of the 
leading officers belonged to their party. The military operations 
afforded numerous opportunities for invectives against the ad- 
ministration, but ere long a number of the invectives came 


home to stay. Taylor, it appeared, had recommended the ad- 
vance to the Rio Grande ; he protested against embarrassing the 
prosecution of the war by discussing its genesis ; and the small- 
ness of his army at the critical time, his waiting so long after the 
occupation of Matamoros, the terms given at Monterey, his 
peril at Buena Vista, Kearny's off-hand annexation of New 
Mexico, Scott's discharging volunteers after the battle of Cerro 
Gordo, and his famous Jalapa proclamation, all brought up 
against the administration, proved in every case chargeable to 
the Whig commanders.'* 

Orators caused as much pain as generals, perhaps. " Black 
Tom" Corwin's brilliant advice that American soldiers in Mex- 
ico should be welcomed to hospitable graves, though it gained 
high rank in the nightmare school of literature, overshot the 
mark. It scandalized the nation. It staggered patriotism. 
It shocked humanity. Most of all it infuriated the troops, 
battling for their country in a foreign land. The speech 
arrived at Buena Vista soon after the struggle with Santa Anna. 
A rude effigy of Corwin was made up of the vilest materials, 
dressed in a Mexican uniform and burned ; and over the ashes 
these lines were posted up : 

" Old Tom Corwin is dead and here he lies ; 
Nobody's sorry and nobody cries; 
Where he's gone and how he fares, 
Nobody knows and nobody cares." 

The soldiers had friends at home, and of course made their sen- 
timents known. The speech sounded the knell of its author's 
great political hopes ; and there is reason to believe that its 
reception frightened into dumbness a number of his colleagues, 
who had arranged to follow his lead." 

But other styles of oratorical attack were still feasible. Just 
before Congress met in December, 1846, the Whigs hung out at 
the Chinese Museum, Philadelphia, their Great Blue Light. In 
other words a powerful orator, a powerful lawyer, a powerful 
statesman — Daniel Webster by name — after studying on the 
problem for half a year, undertook, if one may quote an admirer, 
to "knock the sand" from under the government. Hour after 
hour he talked on, till he mortgaged fourteen columns of the 
United States Gazette, and the reporters fled; but he came far 
short of making out a case. Other efforts of his proved no 

more successful. Before the Whig convention at Springfield he 
argued in a tedious, prosy, court-room style. This is "a war 
of pretexts" — three of them, he asserted: first, that Mexico 
invaded American territory ; secondly, that she would not re- 
ceive Slidell ; and thirdly, that she would not pay our claims. 
Did Webster fail to see that a pasus belli recognized almost 
unanimously by our Executive and Congress was for this country 
at least more than a "pretext" ? Did he fail to see that his 
other "pretexts" had not been offered by Polk as grounds for 
passing the war bill ? And how could he say the pretexts were 
"all unfounded" ? Did he suppose that Mexico had paid our 
claims ? Did he suppose that she had welcomed Slidell ? Of 
course not ; but he was the attorney of New England Whiggism, 
trying to make a good case out of a poor one.^^ 

His really effective contributions to the polemics consisted, 
not of arguments, but of impressive hints : " I am greatly de- 
ceived, Mr. President, if we shall not ere long see facts coming 
to the light, and circumstances found coinciding and con- 
curring, which will fix on the government" its alleged guilt; 
and a President bringing on war in the manner charged against 
Polk, would commit "an impeachable offence," as if Polk might 
have been impeached after Congress had assumed the respon- 
sibility for his acts. But unhappily Father Ritchie offered 
another citation, "Well, well, we know; or there be, and if 
there might ; or if we list to speak." ^^ 

And not only did Webster disappoint, but he mortified Whig 
friends. Texas had been an independent state as early as 1840, 
he said; our annexing it gave Mexico no just ground of com- 
plaint ; she was " entirely unreasonable and senseless" in reject- 
ing our offer to treat ; if she preferred war to peace we could but 
fight ; and now the war must be vigorously prosecuted. He ' 
squarely refused to call the invasion of her territory unjust. 
He seemed to approve of his son's going to the field in the " un- 
holy" cause of his country. He admitted that Whig policy in 
Massachusetts was in some respects "quite narrow." "I am 
tired — and disgusted — as much as you possibly can be, with 
the fanaticism and narrowness of some of our People," he wrote ; 
and no doubt it made him still more tired to hear Lowell's cap- 
tivating but wayward muse advise young fellows, on grounds of 
personal advantage, to keep out of the army, and suggest that. 


should they get seduced by some "strutting" sergeant into 
taking up arms for the country, insubordination and even deser- 
sertion would become them. 

" Thrash away, you'll hev to rattle 
On them kittle-drums o' yo'urn, — 
'Taint a knowin' kind o' cattle 

That is ketehed with mouldy corn." '' 

While such were the troubles of waking hours, the bedchamber, 
too, of many Whigs had its troubled moments. Ghosts walked. 
John Jay, a sincere opponent of our second war against England, 
came back, holding out a scroll that bore these words of his, 
"As the war has been constitutionally declared, the people are 
evidently bound to support it." Came back the Rev. David 
Osgood, D.D., of Medford, Massachusetts, with his sermon of 
June 27, 1812 : "My mind has been in a constant agony, not so 
much at the inevitable loss of our temporal prosperity and hap- 
piness, and the complicated miseries of war, as at its guilt, its 
outrage against heaven, against all truth, honesty, justice, good- 
ness, against all the principles of social happiness. " Came back 
another Federahst, the Rev. Elijah Parish, D.D., with a sermon 
recommending treason as a pious duty : " New England, if in- 
vaded, would be obliged to defend herself. Do you not then 
owe it to your children, and owe it to your God, to make 
peace for yourselves ?" Unlike Jay, these men appeared to be 
unhappy ; and then certain patriots of the Hartford Convention 
filed by with averted eyes, each dragging after him a blasted 

In one thing, however, the opponents of the war succeeded. 
Going far beyond the limits of reasonable criticism and helpful 
suggestions, and indulging in language calculated to dishearten 
and hamper the administration, they encouraged the enemy. 
It is merely Polk's war, announced the Boston Atlas, quoted in 
the Monitor RepuUicano. Mexico would have disgraced -herself 
by receiving Slidell, declared the same journal. Her spirit, 
proclaimed the National Intelligencer, was fitted to "command 
the admiration of all men capable of appreciating the virtue of 
courage and fortitude under the most disastrous circumstances." 
Severance, a member of Congress, openly applauded her resist- 
ance. We cannot beat her without ruining our finances, main- 
tained Waddy Thompson. The destruction of her national in- 


dependence was "the true issue," one sheet falsely assured her, 
as if to whet her sword. It was entirely uncertain, proclaimed 
Calhoun in February, 1847, whether our army could reach Mex- 
ico City or dictate a peace if it should. She cannot be con- 
quered, it was often said.^^ 

Magazines of epithets and arguments, that became gunpowder 
the moment they crossed the Rio Grande, poured from the Whig 
presses. Leading papers invoked foreign intervention. The 
oflBcial journal of the Mexican government offered the thanks 
of the nation to Webster for threatening our President with 
impeachment. " If there is in the United States a heart worthy 
of American liberty, its impulse is to join the Mexicans," ex- 
claimed a Boston journal ; " It would be a sad and woeful joy, 
but a joy nevertheless, to hear that the hordes under Scott and 
Taylor were, every man of them, swept into the" No 
wonder that Polk dropped a hint about aiding and abetting the 
enemy. It was proper. In 1813-14 the National Intelligencer 
had stigmatized those who denounced the country's war after 
its own present fashion as "traitors in thought and purpose." ^^ 

Early in December, 1846, amidst feelings of depression, dis- 
satisfaction with the government and opposition to the war, the 
second session of the Twenty-ninth Congress opened. The 
Democrats of that body found themselves in a general state 
of dissension. At the beginning of the year Marcy had written 
privately, "Our noble party [is] on the brink of ruin," and there 
it still hung.^^ 

Van Buren's implacable followers nursed a grudge against 
Polk for the intrigues that had led to his nomination ; and the 
partisans of Cass nursed one against them for their votes at the 
Baltimore convention. New York Barnburners and Old Hun- 
kers glared at one another. Calhoun's friends were sour be- 
cause of his exclusion from the Cabinet. The old free-traders 
cursed Walker in their hearts for stealing their tariff hobby. 
The westerners had no thought of forgiving the South for 
dropping Oregon, and the South refused to be scared by those 
"Big Braggarts" of the west, who seemed to want all the funds 
in the treasury for their internal improvements. Many wore 
crape and hatchets, one might say, for the river and harbor bill. 
Everybody wished to blame somebody for the recent election 
returns. Some were quite ready to break openly with the 


administration. The partisans of Buchanan and those of 
Dallas marched with daggers drawn. "All around is dis- 
sension and distrust. Gloom overspreads the party," wrote 
G. W. Thompson of Wheeling.^^ 

The best of leadership was needed, and it could not be found. 
If a person did not understand the situation, he wondered ; if he 
did, he wondered more. Nobody credited Polk with possessing 
the rod of Moses. Many disliked the man too much to respect 
the official. He could inspire neither love nor fear. While at 
one end of the avenue sat a party without a President, at the 
other sat a President without a party. With a large Democratic 
margin in each chamber, he admitted that he was practically in 
the minority ; and at first sight this appeared the more surpris- 
ing because Polk, knowing Congress and not knowing the coun- 
try, labored with his eye on the former. But the explanation 
could easily be found. The people were not believed to be 
standing behind him. Within a month he was to be rebuffed 
three times in the House on important matters during as many 
days. One of his favorite measures was to go down amid shouts 
of laughter without a single friendly vote. The Cabinet en- 
joyed no greater respect. Walker seemed to be regarded as its 
leading spirit, but men distrusted his character as much as they 
admired his talents and energy. Moreover, in spite of Polk's 
determination to shut Presidential aspirants from his council, 
both Walker and Buchanan probably felt less interest in the 
war than in personal schemes.^' 

These circumstances left the party to find such leadership as 
it could in Congress, and the leadership it found was a triangular 
fight — Benton, Cass and Calhoun. Benton had remarkable 
powers and seldom failed to be a Democrat, a Senator and a 
patriot, but he was egotistical, moody, overbearing, passionate ; 
he despised Cass, he more than hated Calhoun, and he treated his 
fellow-Democrats in general as minions. Cass, a courtier and 
somewhat a scholar, lacked parliamentary experience, drew 
more timidity than courage from his Presidential hopes, and 
possessed no political convictions to reinforce his talents. Cal- 
houn's high character, rare intellectual strength and frank, 
affable manners made him personally the most influential man 
at the capital ; but his judgment was erratic, and he aimed to 
stand aloof, with a following of about four Senators, as a ba;lance- 


of -power faction. He was intensely narrow, too. For him there 
seemed to be only one region in the world ; only one state in 
the south, and only one public man there. Cass was loyal to 
the administration, Benton helpful but domineering, and Cal- 
houn unfriendly. Not a very firm tripod, this, to support a 
government engaged in war. With almost all the Democrats, 
politics — that is to say, offices — held the stage, and country 
occupied the background. Dissatisfaction with Polk 's appoint- 
ments increased the confusion. Indeed, a "passion" for getting 
jobs invaded the sacred halls of legislation, and the President 
found not less than twenty men voting against his measures to 
avenge personal disappointments.^^ 

Whig harmony and efficiency were happily not impaired by 
these allurements of the fleshpots, for the Executive did not 
belong to their party; but their numberless inconsistencies 
proved most embarrassing, and the necessity of satisfying 
public sentiment, and throwing the responsibility upon the 
administration, by voting supplies for hostilities they de- 
nounced, weakened them. No absurdities, however, were too 
glaring, no contradictions too thorny for what they termed their 
" patriotic sublimity " to ignore or surmount. They denounced 
the war enough to incriminate themselves when they supported 
it, and they supported it enough to stultify themselves when 
they condemned it. Combining the views of several groups, one 
discovered a line of policy truly remarkable : the attack upon 
Mexico was unconstitutional and wicked, but it should be carried 
on ; so let us halt, send an embassy, and proffer again the nego- 
tiations that Mexico has repeatedly and recently spurned.'^ 

The success of the government's military and fiscal policies in 
comparison with what had been predicted, and the freedom of 
our commerce from Mexican and European molestation were 
troublesome facts; but hopes of disaster could still be enter- 
tained, and prophecies of woe still be chanted. Constructive 
statesmanship, they held, was not their afl'air. The country's 
difficulties occasioned them but slight concern. On that score 
their detachment was charming. 

"I beard a lion in the lobby roar; 
Say, Mr. Speaker, shall we shut the door 
And keep him out, or shall we let him in 
And see if we can get him out again?" 


In fact they found it most agreeable to hear savage growls and 
roars, and proclaim that all responsibility belonged to the Demo- 
crats. To heighten the turmoil Taylor and Scott were in poli- 
tics, where they should not have been, and they had active and 
hopeful friends in Congress. Many of the Whigs, indeed, felt 
quite ready to put up " Old Zack " for President and " Old Whitey " 
for Vice President, if only they could injure Polk and whip the 
Democrats thereby; and their opponents, understanding the 
game, fended off with no more scruple.^^ 

The speeches, which ran on almost interminably, were often 
able, sometimes eloquent, almost always prejudiced, and quite 
always deficient in information. Indeed, a multitude of essen- 
tial or important data were wholly unknown. The same facts, 
the same errors, the same arguments, the same epithets, the 
same laudable sentiments and the same ignoble aims presented 
themselves over and over again. Assertions and denials, proofs 
and refutations, accusations and answers, flings and retorts pur- 
sued and were pursued. There was what the Public Ledger called 
"an everlasting begging of the question" — taking premises for 
granted and reaching conclusions that any one could accept, if 
he pleased. "How glad I shall be when I escape from the 
region of speeches — and get into the region of [undisguised] 
pigs and calves," Senator Fairfield had exclaimed a few months 
earlier ; and no doubt many felt in the same way now.^* 

Naturally the genesis of the conflict proved to be a favorite 
object of contemplation, and almost every complaint against 
the administration that wit could invent or stupidity fall into 
was brought forward. The fact that the action of the same 
Congress at its first session had turned the leaf upoii that subject 
made no difference. The fact that Polk's newspaper organ chal- 
lenged in his name "the most rigorous investigation — not at any 
future time, but now " — into the Executive's " whole conduct 
of our Mexican relations" did not signify. No such investiga- 
tion was attempted, but invective continued. The opposition 
merely cocked its eye suspiciously at everything, and found 
everything iniquitous. 

" He must have optica sharp, I ween, 
Who sees what is not to be seen, " 

but the feat was now accomplished.^^ 


For example, Congress had scarcely assembled when attacks 
began on the establishment of civil governments in California 
and New Mexico. With such unusual strength of vision it 
could readily be seen that Polk had been indulging in some vil- 
lainy there. For a week or so excitement raged. But after a 
while several things appeared. Our only aim had been to miti- 
gate the harshness of military rule, about which the kindly 
Whigs had felt much exercised. The action complained of had 
been taken under a military sanction, and was proper legally 
as well as by common sense, for the Executive, as commander-in- 
chief, possessed the fullest military authority in regions occupied 
by our arms. Harrison, a Whig, had proceeded after a similar 
fashion in Canada during the War of 1812 ; and our Supreme 
Court had even endorsed the view of a Whig lawyer, Daniel 
Webster by name, that British occupation of Castine, Maine, 
during the same war gave England rights of sovereignty there 
for the time being. So far as Kearny, a Whig officer, had gone 
wrong, the fault had been his own ; and, finally, the unholy 
word "conquest," which had made the Whigs most unhappy 
when applied by Polk to the occupation of New Mexico, was 
found to have been applied to the British occupation of Castine 
by our own Supreme Court.^^ 

Behind idealistic declamation lay schemes that were distinctly 
practical. It was thought, for example, that if the war could 
be made odious, and the government's measures be hindered in 
Congress, Polk would have to placate the Whigs by restoring 
the protective tariff. This came out beautifully in the treatment 
of the proposal to lay a duty on tea and coffee, which even the 
National Intelligencer endorsed. A Democrat, "Long John" 
Wentworth of Illinois, fully as noted for corporeal as for spiritual 
grandeur, and wrathful over Polk's course in the Oregon and 
river and harbor affairs, moved the rejection of the plan, and 
the Whigs fell into line.^^ 

It was a noble scene. Regard for the poor man filled the 
mouths of the orators. Though his cottons, his sugar and his 
salt had been cheerfully made to pay, this duty would be " in- 
human," a "tax on poverty," a tax "against the fireside and 
against woman," a tax "against the wages of weary labor" to 
support the "extravagance" of the "Tiberius" in the White 
House. But almost in the same breath came the hint, " If the 


administration needs money, let it re-enact the [protective] 
tariff of 1842." "The first condition [of Whig support] is," 
explained the Boston Atlas, "repeal the British Bill. Repeal 
the bantling of the House of Lords. Eepeal the offspring of 
British paternity and precedent." "Should they be in want 
of money," proclaimed Webster, " I would say to them — restore 
what you have destroyed." A fairly definite understanding to 
this effect seems to have existed among the Whigs ; malcontents 
on the other side gave them help ; and the proposed duty was 
rejected in the House by a vote of 115 to 48. Partly for the 
same reason troops were not promptly voted. If the govern- 
ment does not need money, it does not need men, said the opposi- 
sition. Thus the "patriotic sublimity" of the Whigs again 
commanded admiration, and some of the Democrats now had 
a share in it.^' 

Another illustration of sublimity was the "Wilmot Proviso," 
that "firebell in the night," as Alexander H. Stephens called it, 
which no doubt some Congressmen accepted at its face value, 
and a multitude of honest citizens regarded as a New Command- 
ment revealed on a new Sinai. The introduction of this meas- 
sure, which prohibited slavery in territory acquired from Mex- 
ico, was both unnecessary and unwise. It blocked needed war 
legislation, added to the prevailing discord, and weakened the 
government in the face of the enemy.'" 

But reasons of state outweighed all such trifling considerations. 
The northern Whigs, to hurt their opponents and gain recruits, 
had for some time been taunting the northern Democrats with 
subserviency to the slave power, and it seemed to the latter that 
a declaration of independence would help their electioneering. 
Van Buren men, especially in the state of New York, desired to- 
annoy Polk in return for his beating their favorite, and taking an 
Old Hunker instead of a Barnburner into the Cabinet. Wilmot, 
the only Pennsylvania Democrat that had voted for the new 
tarifi', did not feel precisely happy about his action, and was 
anxious to repel the charge of truckling. His great state and 
New England considered the "Southern" tariff an abomination, 
and longed to retaliate. Many felt that Walker and Tyler had 
used sharp practice in the annexation of Texas for the advan- 
tage of their section . The West believed the South had actually 
broken a bargain by getting its help in that matter and then 


dropping the Oregon issue. A general sense that southern 
pohtieians had been overbearing prevailed above the line. 
The fear that southern domination would blight interests dear 
to the North exerted its usual strength ; and as a final merit, the 
Proviso helped to make the war odious by suggesting that it 
aimed to extend slavery.^" 

. So without regard to the logic of the situation, the welfare of 
the country or the needs of our armies it was urged ; and then 
Calhoun made a profit in his turn by bringing in a series of pro- 
slavery dogmas to rally the southerners under his banner. The 
northern Whigs, for reasons just mentioned, and particularly to 
save themselves at home, took up the Proviso, and it fared well ; 
but after a time the party discovered that favoring it might cost 
them several states in the next Presidential contest, and so the 
New Commandment was quietly filed away.'" 

To replace it, however, calm the "Proviso men," and avert, 
a party split by preventing the emergence of a slavery issue, the 
"patriotic sublimity" of the Whigs evolved another idea. This 
was the proposition of Senator Berrien that no territory should 
be taken from Mexico, and that while it would be "desirable" to 
have the Texas boundary settled and our claims paid, we 
should always be ready to make terms that would leave Mexican 
honor "inviolate." Here was truly a remarkable proposition. 
By voting three millions to facilitate a settlement with Mexico, 
in full view of Polk's grounds for proposing that measure. Con- 
gress had already committed itself to the principle of acquiring 

But other objections to Berrien's plan far outweighed the 
point of consistency. If the United States was to decide what 
would satisfy Mexican honor, the plan could only have proved 
futile — even insulting ; and if Mexico herself, it was ludicrous. 
Nothing would have satisfied Mexico's ideas of honor except 
the evacuation of her territory and the surrender of Texas. 
When convinced by the passage of this resolution that she had 
nothing to lose in the end, she would have felt still less anxiety 
to sacrifice her daily golden egg — the money that our armies 
paid out — by ending the war. Implying that she had done 
nothing worthy of stripes, Berrien turned the war Message and 
the war bill into falsehoods, and accused the United States of a 
horrible crime — the crime of warring upon an innocent neighbor 


merely to do havoc. He reduced the minima of our solemn de- 
mands to mere desiderata. He represented our expenditures, 
our dead and our victories as elements of a senseless farce, and 
left us no respectable excuse for having troops in Mexico,' except 
that we sent them down to scatter silver dollars and study the 
fandango. He proposed to make this nation unique in history as 
combining the villain, the ruffian, the simpleton and the come- 
dian. He attempted to revive the unendurable status quo ante, 
leave the United States without indemnity for the past or secur- 
ity for the future, stimulate Mexican vanity and self-confidence, 
and weaken the prestige of our arms in Europe. In order to 
preserve Whig solidarity he aimed to deprive us, not merely 
of California, but of self-respect.^^ 

All this Berrien proposed. Yet Webster, dreaming still 
of the Presidency, endorsed the plan. He was put up as a 
candidate by the Massachusetts Whigs on that basis ; and his 
party, hoping to win spoils in the approaching national election 
by this device, quite generally accepted it. Said a correspond- 
ent of the National Intelligencer, vouched for by the editor 
as a Whig statesman, "No Mexican territory. Let this be the 
issue. Let this be the motto inscribed on the Whig banner, and 
victory is certain." ^^ 

All these manoeuvres of the Whigs, aided by the Democratic 
underworking, resulted, of course, in the protraction of a war 
which they posed as hating. The first seven weeks of the 
session were almost thrown away. The opposition hung back 
from granting needed troops for reasons already suggested, and 
also lest the administration should turn the appointments to 
party account. Democratic dissensions and probably a wish to 
annoy Whig generals had a similar effect. Grudges on account 
of the tarifl' and the river and harbor veto played their part 
against war legislation. Men stooped so low as to argue that 
Polk, the President of the United States, could not be trusted 
with $3,000,000, when customhouse officials had larger sums 
in their keeping. And then his "imbecile" administration 
was charged with permitting the war to drag, " when by a few 
vigorous blows it could have been ended long since." Its 
course exhibited "unsurpassed inefficiency," declared the 
Boston Atlas, as well as "one unrelieved picture of wrong- 
doing, corruption, weakness and blunders." Indeed, the gov- 


ernment, "rolling this war, as a sweet morsel, under its 
tongue," was detected in wilfully doing "everything in its 
power to prevent" the energetic operations upon which, as 
any one could see, its financial, political and personal credit 
vitally depended. ^^ 

In November, 1847, Henry Clay, the plumed leader of the 
national Whig party, celebrated also as the man who elected 
Polk, after taking even a longer time than others to consult 
the omens, gave out a speech and a set of resolutions. These 
were intended as a chart for the party to be guided by under the 
pilotage of that distinguished though unlucky navigator. The 
author forgot having said in 1813, " an honorable peace is attain- 
able only by an efficient war," but he remembered to condole 
with suffering Ireland. He forgot that a country engaged in 
hostilities of uncertain duration and cost cannot wisely bind 
itself to specific terms of peace, but reiterated the favorite Whig 
taunt that it was a blind war, without known aim. Historically 
too, he wandered a little, for he charged the President with or- 
dering Taylor to plant cannon opposite Matamoros " at the very 
time" when Slidell was "bending his way" to Mexico; but 
Polk was unpopular, and few thought it necessary to speak the 
truth about him. We oppose the annexation of Mexico, Clay 
proclaimed, which, on the other hand was perhaps too true to be 
interesting ; and we demand only a proper boundary for Texas, 
which bore him a long distance toward Berrien. ^^ 

But here was the master stroke : We desire to acquire no 
foreign territory "for the purpose" of extending slavery to it. 
This had the threefold merit of completely "dodging" the great 
question of principle, giving the northern Whigs a graven image 
to worship, and conceding to their southern brethren a full priv- 
ilege to do anything possible in the acquired territory, after it 
should be ours. But unfortunately for his party the Navigator 
admitted that Congress had made the conflict a national war, 
that a long series of " glorious " victories had been won, and that 
since Congress had formulated no declaration regarding the 
objects in view, Polk — frequently accused by Whigs of carrying 
on the war for diabolical purposes both abhorrent and fatal to 
the Constitution — had been free to use his judgment. In Mex- 
ico Clay's speech was widely circulated, and a competent ob- 
server thought it might delay peace one or two years. Such 


was the highest Whig leadership in what Webster called a " dark 
and troubled night." ^' 

One idea in the minds of not a few who endorsed the " no 
territory" plan was that its adoption would render the prosecu- 
tion of the war aimless, and so check it abruptly. Others fa- 
vored gaining the same end by stopping supplies. Ex-Senator 
Rives, a leader of prominence, advised Crittenden to concert 
measures for this purpose with Democratic " patriots " ; and in 
fact an understanding on the point seems to have been reached. 
"Be prompt, when you are wrong, to back straight out," urged 
the New York Tribune, demanding the recall of our troops. 
Other Whigs, after doing all they could to make the war aimless, 
argued. We are fighting for nothing, why persist? "Let us call 
home our armies," insisted Corwin. "Stop the war. With- 
draw our forces," cried Sumner ; and Corwin believed, early in 
February, 1847, that only two more votes would commit the 
Senate for this plan of complete national stultification, and for 
bringing back in a keenly aggravated state all our Mexican 
difficulties. Practically nobody dreamed of offering to Mexico 
the reparation that such an idea of dropping the war implied. 
The proposition was therefore hollow and insincere ; little more 
than politics weakly flavored with sentimentality.'* 

The month after Clay's chart appeared, the first session of 
the Thirtieth Congress assembled. About half the Representa- 
tives were new men, a majority belonged to the Whig party, and 
all had been chosen during the gloomy autumn of the previous 
year. By the Navigator and by other party leaders their 
work had been mapped out for them. The objects of the war 
were to be defined as at most a settlement of the Texas boundary 
at the Rio Grande, or a little farther north, and payment of the 
old American claims ; supplies were to be qualified and limited 
accordingly, or entirely cut off ; and in this manner hostilities 
would be ended. '^ 

But politics, not principle, still dominated most of the Whigs. 
They viewed everything with reference to the impending elec- 
tion of a President ; and public sentiment regarding the war had 
now changed. The battle of Buena Vista had aroused extraor- 
dinary enthusiasm; Scott's victories, refuting the charges of 
inefficiency and silencing the prophets of calamity, had been de- 
cisive as well as brilliant ; the expenses of the war were far less 


burdensome than its opponents had prophesied; Mexico had 
proved stubborn and unreasonable ; the sort of opposition that 
had been practised was seen to be aiding the enemy, and hence 
fell somewhat into disfavor; and the people, believing peace 
and a reward for their sacrifices within reach, had made up their 
minds to carry the business through. Besides, many of the 
Whigs themselves were too proud to " back out," and many at 
the north — high-tariff men — wished the war to continue. By 
a rather small vote and a very narrow margin — 85 to 81 — it 
was duly branded as unnecessary and unconstitutional, and 
Webster, now an out-an-out opposition candidate for the Presi- 
dency, approved of this little black "blister-plaster"; but in 
view of national sentiment "patriotic sublimity" of a practical 
sort now looked expensive, and a motion contemplating the 
withdrawal of our troops perished in the House under a vote of 
41 to 137.25 

It was perfectly feasible, however, to snarl, nag, procrastinate 
and work for personal aims; and few opportunities passed 
unheeded. "Tiger hunts" — ambitious members attacking 
rivals — used up much time. Cliques locked horns over press- 
ing military needs. Webster seemed to forget everything ex-i 
cept his ambition. Benton raged over the fate of the Lieuten- 
ant General bill and the censure of Fremont for disobeying 
Kearny. Calhoun, having allowed his hair to grow, resembled a 
porcupine less than before, but felt no less anxious to prove him- 
self the sole hope of the South. Polk, instead of gaining popu- 
larity from the success of his administration, was looked upon 
as intoxicated by its fumes, and a section of his party advised 
throwing him openly to the sharks. Congressional resolutions 
were aimed at him. All the dying embers of controversy were 
solicitously fanned. The causes of the war, the conduct of the I 
war, the instructions to Slidell, the return of Santa Anna, the 
occupation of New Mexico, the tariff in Mexican ports and the 
treatment of Taylor and Scott furnished themes for stale, 
speeches. To chill the growing popularity of the war, direct 
taxes were suggested ; and the chairman of the ways and means 
committee piled up the prospective costs far above the estimates 
of the government. After some two months of it Marcy gave 
up hope. But the Whigs knew they must do nothing serious 
against the war, and before long it happily ended.^" 


I The results of all this personal, designing ^r factious opposi- 
[tion to the government and the war proved most unfortunate, 
I The administration could never be sure what action Congress 
would take, nor when ; and therefore its course was necessarily 
timid, weak and hesitating. Time and strength had to be con- 
sumed in foreseeing and in meeting captious objections, and in 
battling against public prejudices that hampered both military 
and financial efficiency. "We shall have three months of tur- 
moil — ^our errors exposed, our good deeds perverted," wrote 
Marcy to a friend at the beginning of December, 1846 ; and such 
an expectation did not conduce to satisfactory work. Bold, 
rapid strokes could not be ventured ; caution and cheese-paring 
had to be the rule. In the field all this bore fruit in vexation, 
delay, expense and loss of life. "In the name of God," ex- 
claimed a man at the front, " will the politicians of our country 
never cease gambling for the Presidency upon the blood of their 
countrymen?" '^ 

And the uproar had another consequence. When the treaty 
was ratified the government organ referred to the conflict with 
Mexico as " one of the most brilliant wars that ever adorned the 
annals of any nation " ; and the chief Whig journal placed these 
words without criticism in its own editorial column. The 
trial was over, and the fiercelj' contesting lawyers walked 
off, arm in arm, to dine. The inefficient and shameless war was 
now brilliant and most creditable. Indeed, the Whigs chose 
for standard-bearer a man who represented professionally the 
military spirit they had raised pious hands against, who belonged 
to the slaveholding order so plainly viewed askance by the New 
Commandment, who had recommended the advance to the Rio 
Grande, who had aimed the cannon at Matamoros, who had ad- 
vised appropriating Mexican territory by force of arms, and who 
owed in fact all his prominence to playing a leading role in the 
"illegal, unrighteous, and damnable" war. Nobody thought 
of impeaching Polk, or of bringing home to him the guilt that was 
to have sunk him to the bottom of the bottomless pit.^^ 

Yet all the Whig journalism and oratory stood in the record. 
Hosea Biglow became an immortal.^" New Englanders gained 
the ear of reading people. Keen young radicals of the northeast, 
where the muse of history chiefly dwelt, dominated to a great 
extent the public thought. Polk retired from power and from 


life, and nobody cared to defend, or even to hear defended, a 
creature so unpopular and so generally denounced. Declama- 
tion that well-informed men of the day had rated at its true 
value came to be taken seriously. One side of the case faded 
from sight, the other was engraved on bronze. And so the 
patriotic habit of eagerly throwing stones at the Mexican 
War and its backers became traditional.*" 

This has been a mistake. No doubt, as we have seen, 
errors and misdeeds enough must be charged to the admin- 
istration. All the actors were vessels of clay, like the rest of 
us. But in reality the least creditable phase of our proceed- 
ings was the conduct of the opposition. 




At the time our difficulties with Mexico approached their 
climax, the popularity and prestige of the United States abroad 
were not the highest possible. England, our gentle mother, 
showed a particular want of regard for us.^ Herself recently 
weaned from slavery, she viewed with a convert's intolerance 
our adhering to that institution. Having just cured her most 
outrageous electoral abuses, she enjoyed hearing the London 
Times describe our government as " a polity corrupted in all 
its channels with the foulest venality." Ever scrupulous and 
self-denying when a question of gaining territory was con- 
cerned, she felt shocked by American " rapacity" ; and the 
Times, while infinitely proud that England's banner waved 
in every quarter of the globe, ridiculed American "imperial 
pretensions" as echoed and re-echoed "in a nasal jargon, com- 
pounded at once of bad grammar and worse principle." ' 

The disposition of certain states to repudiate bonds held 
in Great Britain, and their tardiness in paying interest, excited 
all the righteous indignation of the creditor. The descrip- 
tions of this country put forth by honored guests like Dickegs 
and Mrs. Trollope, who made themselves merry and popular 
at our expense, furnished excuses for countless jibes; and in 
September, 1845, the Times discovered "great danger" that 
the nightmare of an old English writer would come true in the 
United States : " No arts, no letters, no society, and, what is 
worst of all, continual feare and danger of violent death, and 
the life of man solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short." ' 

If one aspect of our civilization appeared more laughable 
than all the rest, it was the military side. The title of General, 
observed the Times, was "legitimately common to the greater 



part of the respectable male population," and Britannia out- 
did this excellent jest by telling of "majors who serve out 
beer, and colonels who rub down the heels of one's horse." 
Literary men were angered by our failure to amend the copy- 
right law as they desired ; and our pronounced republicanism, 
trumpeted by Polk in his annual Message of 1845, irritated 
almost everybody. The plain intimation of the same Mes- 
sage that European monarchies were not expected to inter- 
fere in America seemed even worse; and the President was 
represented as meaning that we intended to get Mexico into 
a dark alley alone, and rob her. The annexation of Texas, 
which England had exerted all her diplomatic strength to pre- 
vent, could not be forgiven, and the Oregon difEculty threat- 
ened war.' 

Even Englishmen who believed in the rights of the people, 
said the Times, turned from us with "indignant scorn;" and 
in another of its many outbursts, which would have been ter- 
rible had they not been ludicrous, that paper warned us that, 
as we followed the example, we invited the punishment of self- 
willed Corcyra. "The most impudent, bullying, boasting 
nation of mankind," was Britannia's genial description of us; 
and she loved to parade "our national scorn of America and 
her statesmanship." In short, McLane, the American min- 
ister at London, reported privately — with some exaggera- 
tion, one desires to believe — that a deep-seated dislike, 
" amounting almost to hate, of our~people, of our country and 
oi our Institutions," prevailed universally in England.' 
' On the continent these opinions were rnbre or less distinctly 
reflected. In France the heart of the people beat warmly for 
1 us and against their neighbors across the Channel; but the 
court and the government, regarding a close alliance with 
Great Britain as of cardinal importance, and the newspapers 
which, like the Journal des Debats, represented them with more 
or less fidelity, exerted a strong influence the other way. At 
the end of 1845 Polk deepened this, for his Message referred 
in cutting terms to the interference of that country on the side 
of Great Britain^ in our business of absorbing Texas.' 

The French government occupied a weak position in ref- 
erence to that affair, for Guizot, the chief minister, believing 
that Henry Clay would be elected President and shelve it, 


had thought he could safely gratify England. Thiers, ardent 
and eloquent, now attacked his course in Parliament, insist- 
ing that an ally had been sacrificed to an enemy. Guizot, 
pale, scholarly and calculating, said in reply, Thiers has ap- 
pealed to your instincts, I will appeal to your judgment ; and 
pressed his theory of an American balance of power. But 
good-will for the United States and hatred for England were 
too strong for him. "What empty vocahzation! " exclaimed 
Le National; "What unhappy exertions! What reverberat- 
ing accents, like echoes in the desert ! It was poor. It was 
cold. It was null. " Yet no doubt the sting of Polk's rebuke 
lingered, though Guizot intimated in bitterly sweet language 
that it should not be resented, since he knew no better ; and 
/ many Frenchmen who condemned their government's policy, 
condemned the United States for publicly recalling it.' 

Mexico, however, stood in a much worse position abroad 
than we. For many years, it is true, she had been represent- 
ing herself as Andromeda, shivering at the American croco- 
dile or what-not that was approaching to devour her ; and at 
the end of July, 1845, in announcing to foreign governments 
that hostilities were shortly to begin, she repeated that while 
she had done everything honorable to preserve peace, the 
United States had exhibited " no rule of conduct toward Mexico 
except a disloyal and perfidious policy, and no purpose except 
to seize successively every part of her territory that it could 
obtain." * 

By such reiterated protestations considerable sympathy was 
aroused at London and Paris. Englishmen holding Mexican 
bonds naturally had tender feelings on the subject. British 
capitalists involved in Mexican silver mines and other invest- 
ments, and British merchants and manufacturers, who en- 
joyed the lion's pre-eminence in Mexican commerce, felt deeply 
interested. British finances required silver bullion, and Brit- 
ish statesmen dreaded a further extension of our boundary 
toward the southwest. But the politics of Mexico excited 
such contempt, her financial conduct such disgust, her restric- 
tions upon foreign trade such irritation, and her treatment 
of foreign powers such resentment that she could not be viewed 
with cordiality, confidence or even respect.'' 

Disraeli spoke of every government of Mexico as "born in 


a revolution and expiring in a riot." The charg^ d'affaires 
of Spain told Santa Anna that, on account of the instability 
of chiefs and systems, it was impossible to have a settled policy 
toward his country. In twenty years British imports did not 
increase, and the number of British houses engaged in Mexi- 
can business diminished. The treaty made with France after 
the war of 1838 was not carried out by Mexico; and at the 
beginning of 1846, owing to a long-standing quarrel, which 
France would have settled on reasonable terms, that country 
was represented by the Spanish minister. Mexico has "wil- 
fully incurred the odium of foreign Nations," declared the 
British Foreign Office ; and the Mexican correspondent of the 
Times was permitted to say in its columns that an American 
absorption of Mexico would be greatly for the advantage of 
humanity. The London Athenaum expressed the same opin- 
ion. Even Le Journal des Debats, besides complaining that 
every nation in Europe had been treated outrageously by 
Mexico, admitted that she had "sunk to the lowest point 
of weakness and folly." The country "is destitute of intelli- 
gence, of energy, of principle, " said that paper ; " it is a gov- 
ernment of barbarians, but of barbarians enervated by the 
corrupting vices of civilization. " * 

To conciliate public opinion abroad, our state department 
on May 14, 1846, one day after Congress authorized war, is- 
sued a circular to the American ministers and consuls.^ "It 
is our interest, as it has ever been our inclination," said Bu- 
chanan, "that Mexico should be an independent and powerful 
Republic, and that our relations with her should be of the most 
friendly character " ; but " the avaricious and unprincipled 
men who have placed themselves at the head of her Govern- 
ment " have prevented her from acting the part of a stable 
and orderly nation. "For some years, in our intercourse with 
her, we have incurred much of the expense, and suffered many 
of the inconveniences of war whilst nominally at peace. This 
state of things had, at last, become intolerable. We go to war 
with Mexico solely for the purpose of conquering an honorable 
and permanent peace. Whilst we intend to prosecute the 
war with vigor, both by land and by sea, we shall bear the olive 
branch in one hand, and the sword in the other ; and when- 
ever' she will accept the former, we shall sheathe the latter." 


This despatch and the President's recent Message^ were to 
guide our foreign representatives in conversation about the 

By the Spanish-Americans the outbreak of hostilities was 
received with surprising calmness. Mexico endeavored to 
make them feel that a conflict of races had begun, and that 
she was leading the van in a common cause ; but whether dis- 
satisfied with her course in the past — especially with ref- 
erence to preferential trade relations — thankful to the United 
States for the shelter of the "Monroe Doctrine," or simply 
indifferent to outside concerns, they held aloof. Guatemala 
alone displayed a strong sympathy. The official gazette of 
New Granada printed Polk's war Message in full without a 
word of criticism.' 

The mother-country, Spain, would naturally have been ex- 
pected to take a deep interest in the contest ; but Mexico had 
been a rebellious daughter, had treated the Spanish subjects 
within her borders with cruel unfriendliness, and had recently 
shown a fierce aversion to the scheme of subjecting her to a 
Spanish prince. For commercial reasons that power desired 
an early termination of the hostilities, and signified as much to 
our government ; ^ but at the same time she pledged herself 
to "the strictest neutrality," and she refrained from even offer- 
ing mediation. Her minister at Mexico, Bermudez de Castro, 
assisted the authorities there with advice, but before the war 
ended he turned over the legation to a charge, and went home. 
A band of Carlist officers talked of going to the scene of action 
in May, 1847 ; but if their plan was carried out, they success- 
fully avoided publicity. About the same time El Heraldo of 
Madrid asked whether Europe would permit the United States 
to absorb, little by little, all of America; but this was aca- 
demic, and the journal admitted that Mexico was then practi- 
cally beyond relief.' 

Baron von Canitz, the Prussian minister of foreign rela- 
tions, when officially notified of the war, said it must be far 
from easy to live on amicable terms with a country like Mex- 
ico, " where anarchy reigns and where the Supreme power was 
constantly contested by a succession of military chieftains, 
who were compelled to maintain their usurped authority by 
the saine unwortliy means by which they had obtained it." 


Aided by Alexander von Humboldt, who had lived in Mexico, 
King Frederick William followed the operations of the war 
attentively; but, happy enough that we were not his own 
neighbors, he felt no concern about a possible enlargement of 
our territory at the expense of Mexico. Indeed, he looked 
upon our success as in the interest of civilization, and at a dis- 
tinguished public meeting one of the ministers referred to our 
future power on the shores of the Pacific with hope and appro- 
bation. For the rest, as the Zollverein had little direct com- 
mercial business with the region blockaded, Prussia busied 
herself with her own affairs.'" 

At London the announcement of hostilities was both unex- 
pected and unwelcome. Ostensibly they grew out of the an- 
nexation of Texas, and for that reason were a disagreeable re- 
minder. They took place in spite of earnest efforts to pre- 
vent Mexico from challenging the United States, and hence 
recalled another diplomatic failure. They seemed almost cer- 
tain to injure British interests, and increase the territory and 
prestige of the United States. There was a notion, voiced in 
Parliament by Disraeli, that success might be followed by an 
attack upon Canada or the British West Indies. It seemed 
highly probable that had England postponed for a few days 
the offer which finally settled the Oregon dispute, better terms 
might have been extorted from the United States. Her policy 
had been to have our difficulties with Mexico kept alive until 
after an adjustment of that affair, and now it was thought 
possible that we might bring Mexico to terms at once, and use 
in some other unpleasant way our military preparations. The 
war, so much regretted by her, was seen to be largely, if not 
mainly or wholly, due to this policy and that of the British 
newspapers, which had urged Mexico to despise our military 
power, and to rely upon the difficulty of invading her territory 
successfully; and finally an uncomfortable fear prevailed that 
in some way the peace of the world might be imperilled." 

Hence disappointment and irritation were felt at the Brit- 
ish Foreign Office. Aberdeen warned our minister that dangers 
of collision would be involved in a blockade and in any project 
of acquiring territory; and he said frankly that he could not 
be expected to contemplate with any pleasure the disastrous 
injuries the war might very probably inflict upon the Mexi- 


can government and people. Only one cause of satisfaction 
could be seen by the British Cabinet. An apprehension had 
been felt that France might be induced — through her friend- 
ship for the United States or the idea that American control of 
Mexico would be for her diplomatic and commercial advan- 
tage — to join us ; and the French king, confirming an antici- 
patory declaration already made by Guizot, took position at 
once for strict neutrality .^^ 

In the press and the commercial circles of London sympathy 
with Mexico was general, said our minister ; and the news that 
Americans were fighting aroused no sentiment in our favor. 
Of course little could be expected of "that Napoleon of the 
backwoods," as Britannia called our President. The defeat 
of Taylor on the Rio Grande was hoped for and counted upon ; 
and even after his overthrow of Arista the Times, which had 
already predicted that our operations, in the case of hostili- 
ties, would be " utterly uninteresting and inglorious '■' — even 
"disgusting" — concluded that we should probably fail. 
"Bluster does not win battles, though it may begin brawls," 
the editor moralized. All Europe must consider the war "an 
insulting and illegal aggression," said the Chronicle; and the 
Post attributed our course to "the angry passions of the un- 
tamed democracy of the States," Vhich Polk was ready to 
gratify at any cost.^^ 

The press of France, on the other hand, was in general 
friendly. Let the Americans have Mexico, and a prodi- 
gious development of the country will follow, urged Le Na- 
tional; would not that be preferable to seeing the English get 
it? To support the United States is to strengthen an ally 
against Great Britain, it added. Le Correspondant said, "The 
Anglo-Saxon race will flow unchecked over the fair prov- 
inces where the people, descendants of the conquering Span- 
iards, have allowed themselves to slumber in corruption"; 
and it argued that such a change would benefit the Roman 
Catholic church in Mexico by purifying and energizing it. 
Even Le Journal des Debats admitted that our invasion "would 
be something which humanity would have to applaud, in 
spite of the just reprobation attached to a spirit of conquest." 
In view of such public sentiment W. R. King, our minister at 
Paris, had reason to predict, that no trouble was to be appre- 


hended from the government, since the country would restrain 
it.^^ Even Guizot, when bitterest at heart, found it neces- 
sary to profess high respect for that "great nation," the United 
States .^^ 

June 6, 1846 — that is to say, without loss of time — Aber- 
deen, the British minister of foreign affairs, intimated to Mc- 
Lane in a private conversation, unofficially, and upon his per- 
sonal responsibility, that should Polk desire it, "he would be 
happy, in a more formal way, to propose a mediation. " ^* This 
proposal, received by McLane in his private capacity only, 
was duly made known to our government, but it elicited no 
reply. Our silence did not please Palmerston, who succeeded 
Aberdeen about the beginning of July; and that young "fop 
with grey hair," as Le Journal des Debats described him, re- 
solved to propose mediation in such terms as to require an 

Soon after the middle of August, therefore, he instructed 
Pakenham to ascertain whether a formal offer of mediation 
would be acceptable, and if so to make it in "the form which 
might be agreed upon" by Pakenham and Buchanan.^* The 
only result, however, was a memorandum received from our 
government on September 11, which said that it duly appre- 
ciated the friendly spirit of the British Cabinet, that it de- 
sired to make peace upon just and honorable terms and had 
therefore made an overture to Mexico on July 27, and that it 
thought the formal mediation of a foreign power unnecessary 
and inexpedient, but would regard with favor any influence 
used to induce Mexico to accept this overture.'^ Later Paken- 
ham improved every opportunity to remind Buchanan of the 
British government's "anxious desire ... to be useful in bring- 
ing about a reconciliation between the two Republicks, " but 
he found himself unable to accomplish anything in this direc- 

The real question, however, was whether Great Britain 
would forcibly interpose. Such a policy she forbade Mexico 
to count on, saying that she could not be expected to assume 
the chief burden of a war which had resulted from the fail- 
ure of that country to act upon her advice ; ^* but this did not 
bind her own hands, and no doubt the government felt a pres- 
sure, if not a leaning, in the direction of interference. Both 


certain interests and certain passions demanded such a course. 
The Times and other newspapers pointed that way/^ and in the 
House of Commons Disraeli and Bentinck spoke on that side. 
"A pretence only is wanting," wrote McLane. This, however, 
was not precisely correct. Aberdeen told Murphy, the Mexi- 
can minister, that it would be Quixotic to take up arms on the 
simple ground that Mexico had been wronged ; and in view of 
England's own course, it would also have been ridiculous. 
"Scinde is ours," exclaimed Britannia at about this time,. thus 
announcing one more step in the conquest of India, "and we 
pay the penalty of the treachery by which it was acquired in 
the curse of possession." What Great Britain wanted was a 
substantial advantage in prospect.^" 

For a time it looked as if California might provide this. Peel 
himself was rather dazzled by the idea of gaining San Fran- 
cisco, and Aberdeen viewed with "the utmost repugnance," 
wrote Murphy, the likelihood that we should acquire the 
province. During the last three months of 1845 the subject 
was thoroughly discussed by Murphy and Aberdeen, and the 
latter's mind appeared to be "tormented" for a solution of the 
problem. The method of interposition followed in the war 
between Buenos Aires and Montevideo appealed to him, but 
he felt that France could not easily be drawn into it. The 
Mackintosh plan of British colonization received careful atten- 
tion as possibly the means of creating a British interest in Cali- 
fornia; but Aberdeen thought it would be unbecoming, and 
would give the United States a just ground of offence, to put 
the plan in operation at so late a day, evidently for the purpose 
of blocking us (d proposito para las circunstancias) , and he 
feared it would not be effective after all against American im- 
migration. The Mexican decree of April, 1837, which mort- 
gaged a certain quantity of lands (for instance, in California) 
to the bondholders appeared to promise better, and on that 
basis a scheme was actually drawn up at London in October, 
1845, for submission to the government of Mexico. But at this 
juncture Herrera was overthrown, the British Cabinet felt pro- 
foundly disgusted, and Murphy's position became uncertain.^' 

After Aberdeen retired from the Foreign Office in 1846, 
the suggestion of Paredes that Great Britain take military 
possession of California seems to have tempted Palmerston; 


but, aside from other objections, he shrewdly suspected that 
Mexico had by this time lost control of the territory. In 
December, 1847, Dr. Mora, who succeeded Murphy, proposed 
on his own responsibility a sale of California to England, argu- 
ing that by our endeavor to purchase it the United States had 
confessed we had no claim there; but Palmerston, though evi- 
dently tempted again, merely decided that any authorized 
communication on the subject should receive the attention 
justly due to its importance, and soon the treaty of peace put 
an end to the matter. No " substantial advantage " had seemed 
to come within reach.^^ 

Nor had even a satisfactory pretext for intervention been 
found. McLane had urged our government to give none, 
and in particular to avoid all infringement upon the rights of 
neutrals .^^ The policy of our blockade was extremely liberal. 
British mail packets were exempt from its restrictions, and 
they were permitted to embark specie and land quicksilver at 
Vera Cruz and Tampico. During the blockade of Mazatlan 
British subjects were treated with such consideration that 
our courtesy was formally acknowledged, and it was admitted 
that Scott "invariably" guarded their interests in the sphere 
of his operations. Our opening the ports to all nations, es- 
tablishing a low tariff, and endeavoring to protect commercial 
relations with the interior were boons that foreign powers 
had no reason to expect, and British traders appreciated 
our attitude.^ By December, 1847, the merchants of London 
were distinctly opposed to intervention ; and when the Due de 
Broglie demanded in astonishment why England had viewed 
our military operations with such indifference, he was told that 
Mexico in the hands of the United States would be of far more 
value in regard to commerce and investments than ever 
before. At the same time persons of less narrow views hoped 
to see that country regenerated through us.^* 

On the other hand embarrassments of the most serious 
character stood in the way of interposition. As the Globe 
said, the project of annexing Texas had afforded better grounds, 
yet England had looked aghast before the prospect of losses 
and risks involved in a collision with this country. So had 
she done in the case of Oregon ; and the advantages of remain- 
ing at peace with the United States were still obvious. There 


were other considerations also. She wanted time to readjust 
her business under the regime of free trade, and Le National 
thought she desired to develop her India cotton fields before 
severing her relations with us. The political situation in 
Ireland and the Irish famine were grave embarrassments, 
and the generous aid given by the United States to the starv- 
ing population of that island excited gratitude. British mer- 
cantile finances proved to be unsound, and a bad panic oc- 
curred ; and manufacturing interests awoke to the fact that 
many rivals threatened them. The profound unrest which 
precipitated Europe into the revolutionary convulsions of 
1848 could already be felt; ^^ and finally the relations of Eng- 
land to France occasioned a grave sense of uncertainty.^* 

With the support of that power, said Murphy, Aberdeen 
would have been willing to fight.^^ Her military assistance 
did not particularly matter, but he was afraid that popular 
unfriendliness toward the government — already shown by a 
violent opposition in the press and the parliament — and the 
scarcely slumbering hatred of England might drive the country 
into active support of the United States, and bring on a gen- 
eral conflagration.^* Such was the situation when Peel, whom 
Louis Philippe leaned heavily upon, stood at the head of the 
British government ; and after he resigned at the end of June, 
1846, it became far more difficult. For the new administra- 
tion Louis entertained no such regard. The marriage of the 
Due de Montpensier, his son, to a Spanish princess destroyed 
the entente cordiale. Harsh language was exchanged. Guizot 
and Palmerston endeavored to overthrow each other, and the 
British ambassador at Paris had a personal difficulty with 

As for France herself, the premier's loud advocacy of an 
American balance of power compelled him logically to prevent 
the United States, if he could, from acquiring new territory. 
Influential writers — Gabriel Ferry, for example — insisted 
that French interests, principles and prestige in Mexico de- 
manded protection. L'Epoque, which many regarded as 
Guizot's personal organ, took that ground firmly in a long and ' 
studied article, and called for joint intervention. Le Journal 
des Debats, our persistent enemy, suggested the same view. 
But the diplomatic journal. La Portefeuille, was resolute for 

neutrality, and the other leading papers reiterated the familiar 
objections against playing the British game ; and hence, while 
it appeared reasonable to expect that Guizot would aid Eng- 
land more or less in a diplomatic way to limit the extension of 
our boundaries, no other sort of French intervention seemed at 
all probable. '° 

The success of our armies clinched the argument. From the 
first, McLane urged that a vigorous campaign should be waged. 
That, he said, would be the best way to prevent interference, 
and he predicted that victories would overcome sympathy 
with Mexico. Had Taylor been defeated on the Rio Grande, 
as Londoners expected, those ill-disposed toward us in Europe, 
wrote our minister at Paris, "might have been emboldened 
to unfriendly or offensive demonstrations"; but as it was, re- 
ported McLane, the conduct of the American army and the 
magnanimity of the American general served to "inspire a 
respect for our country and our cause which was not felt be- 
fore, and which nothing less could have produced." The fail- 
ure of Ultia to detain Scott until the yellow fever should force 
him to decamp had no slight effect ; and the victories at Vera 
Cruz and Cerro Gordo, reported Bancroft, who succeeded 
McLane at the court of St. James, totally changed the com- 
plexion of sentiment in Europe regarding the United States. 
After the battles of Contreras and Churubusco the same min- 
ister said to a friend, "You should be here to see how our suc- 
cesses have opened the eyes of the Old World to our great 
destinies. " In England racial sympathy, too, could not wholly 
be suppressed. Scott received very handsome compliments 
Irom the commander of the British fleet at Vera Cruz and from 
a son of Sir Robert Peel, who was aboard one of the vessels ; 
and Robert Anderson remarked in his diary : When our arms 
do something glorious, " jealousy, for the moment, is conquered 
by pride. " Indeed Lord Palmerston himself spoke most warmly 
to Bancroft of our victories as illustrating the superiority of 
the Anglo-Saxon .^1 

King believed they "secured a perhaps doubtful neutrality." 
"Let Mexico show the determination and the power to resist," 
remarked Le Journal des Debats significantly, and a way to 
aid her will doubtless be found, but " Europe cannot intervene 
effectively in behalf of a people who throw themselves away." 



It is impossible to help those who will not help themselves, ad- 
mitted the London Times; and Palmerston — disgusted, no 
doubt, like every one else, with Mexico's failure to achieve any- 
thing except fresh revolutions — admitted to Bankhead that 
it would be very imprudent to break with the United States 
for the sake of a country which did nothing effectual to defend 

Some things, however, it was possible to do against us. At 
the beginning of the conflict our minister observed in London a 
systematic endeavor to break down American credit, and so 
embarrass our military operations. Viscount Ranelagh pro- 
posed to bring over enough British officers for some four or 
five thousand men, and it was not their fault nor his that 
Murphy said the Mexicans would not serve under foreigners. 
A captain employed by the highly favored company of English 
mail packets landed Paredes, an avowed enemy of the United 
States, at Vera Cruz. Mexico is "the very country for the 
guerilla," hinted Britannia; it "has ready-made guerillas by 
the ten thousand or the hundred thousand; it has hills and 
hollows where ten men might stop the march of 50,000. " And 
the same journal went still farther. In the case of an invasion, 
it proclaimed, " the soldier is a soldier no more ; he is a burglar, 
a robber, a murderer"; and should foreign troops invade 
England, "No quarter! " ought rightfully to be the cry.'^ 

But the special delight of unfriendly journals was to mis- 
represent our military operations. ^^ Apparently Taylor's bat- 
tles on the Rio Grande surprised the editorial mind so much 
that few comments were ready, but after a while the Times 
remarked, "No hostile army has been really beaten"; and 
it described our success at Monterey as merely occupyirg "a 
town of log-huts." That paper long professed to regard the. 
war as "a border squabble," "ridiculous and contemptible," 
"justified by hypocrisy," "carried on with impotence," ard 
sure to end ",in some compromise more humiliating to the 
United States than to Mexico. " "The Americans who have to 
conduct this most wearisome of wars," it assured its gratifed 
readers, " are least of all nations competent to the task. They 
have no army, and have constitutional objections to raising 
one. They have no money, and are resolutely determined to 
find none. They have no General, and have just agreed 


[by rejecting the plan of a lieutenant general] never to have 


" 34 

"The military tactics of the Americans," remarked the 
Examiner at the same stage, " have displayed an equal want of 
talent and of purpose " ; while its fair colleague, Britannia, 
exclaimed : The hostilities against Mexico are " at once 
wretched and ridiculous. ... So much for the boasting of 
Jonathan I" With unwinking and unsuspecting humor the 
Times commented thus on the fight at Buena Vista: "Be- 
yond the fact that the Americans undoubtedly beat off, though 
from a strong position, a force nearly quadrupling their own, 
they seem to have no great grounds for triumph." In fact 
they were now "worse off than ever"; they had actually lost 
prestige; and all the Mexicans needed to do was "to sit still 
and be sulky. "3* 

Scott fared no better than Taylor. His bombarding Vera 
Cruz was characterized as "revolting," as an "infamy," as 
"one of the most atrocious and barbarous acts committed in 
modern times by the forces of a civilized nation," as "degrad- 
ing to mankind." Somehow the Times was repentant enough 
to publish a reply, which said : " The first broadside of Lord 
Exmouth's guns at Algiers destroyed a greater number of un- 
offending, unarmed people, than the bombardment of Vera 
Cruz," and pointed out that Scott was under some obligation 
to treat with humanity his own troops, whom delay would have 
exposed to the yellow fever. Compassionate John Bull ! ex- 
claimed the American Review; "Is it true that the English 
bombarded Copenhagen? Is Hindostan more than a fiction? 
Had Clive and Hastings any substantial bodily existence ? Is 
not Ireland a mythe?" and of course it might have added that 
an assault would have caused immensely more loss of life at 
Vera Cruz than did the bombardment.^^ 

According to the Times our contemplated advance against 
Mexico City was "the mere dream of an ignorant populace"; 
while the more prudent Morning Chronicle termed it "about 
as visionary as that of Napoleon upon Moscow." "There is 
but one thing we know of, " added the Chronicle, " that is more 
difficult than for the United States army to get to Mexico, 
and that would be to get back again to Vera Cruz." When 
the Americans triumphed at Cerro Gordo over both nature 


and man, the Chronicle itself had to admit that our courage was 
"unquestionable," but it consoled itself by placing the Ameri- 
can and Mexican armies on the same level as partaking "pretty 
considerably of the nature of mobs." The victories of Con- 
treras and Churubusco were viewed by the Times as calculated 
"to raise the confidence" of our enemy, and the editor an- 
nounced that Scott, after these disastrous triumphs, was " much 
more likely to capitulate" than to capture Mexico. Naturally 
Britannia pronounced our invasion of the country "a great 
mistake," and asked in deep concern, How are the Americans 
going to get out of it?^ 

The occupation of the capital was regarded as only one mis- 
fortune more. "The Americans have played out their last 
card," roared the Thunderer, "and are still as far as ever 
from the game." Worse yet, it foresaw, we were now going 
to crown our outrages. The churches would be robbed, and 
"when churches are ransacked will houses be spared? When 
saints are despoiled will citizens be spared?" The war never 
can end, added the same paper, for "the invaders of Mexico . . . 
are not the men to build the temple of peace" ; and retribution 
is inevitable, since the passion for conquest, which has already 
"extinguished" the political morality of the United States, 
will eventually impair their political institutions, and the 
annexed provinces will be an American Ireland.^^ 

The treaty of peace caused no serious trouble. As early 
as January, 1846, Le Journal des Debats said the Americans 
would soon have California, and thus prepared its readers 
for the main feature of our terms. The United States will 
obtain California, for Mexico cannot pay an indemnity, echoed 
Le National. In reply to Aberdeen's hint on the opening of 
hostilities, that it would be imprudent for this country to 
appropriate any Mexican territory, McLane remarked that 
"it was at present not easy to foresee all the consequences of 
a war which Mexico had so wantonly provoked, and in which 
the United States had so much injustice and so many wrongs 
to redress"; and no British statesman could have failed to 
understand what this meant.'^ 

When Polk's Message of December, 1846, clearly showed 
that we expected to retain California, the British newspapers 
set up an incoherent, savage growl ; but the triumphs at Vera 


Cruz and Cerro Gordo made it plain that we had earned — 
or were hkely to earn — the rights of a conqueror, and must 
be taken seriously. Bancroft soon wrote that England was 
"preparing to hear of our negotiating for half, or two thirds, 
or even the whole of Mexico"; and Palmerston himself said 
we might as well take it all. "You are the Lords of Mexico," 
exclaimed Lord Ashburton to our minister. After the occupa- 
tion of the capital even Le Journal des B&hats admitted that 
the only possible indemnity would be a province or two, and 
Britannia remarked, "From this time the whole country must 
be. considered as part of the territory of the United States." 
"It is becoming a fashion, rather, to expect the absorption 
of all Mexico," reported Bancroft.'^ 

When the treaty arrived in Europe, the convulsions of wide- 
spread revolution had begun there, people on the continent 
were too busy to think much about our gains, and the British 
did not wish to think of them; but the general sentiment of 
those who considered the matter appears to have been sur- 
prise at our moderation. Humboldt, though a citizen of 
Mexico, conceded that our terms were proper ; and the critical 
Journal des Debats remarked, "Assuredly this is sparing a 
foe who lies in the dust." Such a characterization of our be- 
havior was for us a legitimate source of pride; and, as the 
respect universally paid to valor and success accompanied it 
all over Europe, we had ample reason to feel gratified .^^ 




The conflict with Mexico came to pass as logically as a 
thunderstorm. At the beginning of her independent existence 
our people felt earnestly and enthusiastically anxious to main- 
tain cordial relations with our sister republic, and many crossed 
the line of absurd sentimentality in that cause. Friction was 
inevitable, however. The Americans were direct, positive, 
brusque, angular and pushing ; and they could not understand 
their neighbors on the south. The Mexicans were equally unable 
to fathom our good-will, sincerity, patriotism, resoluteness and 
courage; and certain features of their character and national 
condition made it far from easy to get on with them.' 

Though generally amiable and often brilliant or charming, 
they lacked common sense, principle, steadiness and knowledge 
of the world. They were passionate, suspicious, over-subtle, 
self-confident and fond of gamblers' risks. They regarded firm- 
ness on our part as arrogance, and kindness as debihty. Their 
policy was defined by the Mexico correspondent of the London 
Times as a compound of Spanish intrigue and Indian cunning, 
dominated — it might have been added — by provincial vanity 
and sensitiveness. They scarcely possessed the character of a 
nation. The whole period from 1822 to 1848 has been classified 
by their National Museum as a period of anarchy. Their inter- 
national duties were not recognized. Unscrupulous factions 
and usurpers used foreign relations as the shuttlecocks of selfish 
schemes. Pride, said their own statesman, J. F. Ramirez, for- 
bade them to treat on the necessary basis of mutual consider- 
ation and concession, and insisted upon either complete victory 
or the consolation of having yielded to irresistible force, while 
procrastination put off the settlement of issues until the proper 
time for adjusting them had passed.^ 



Then between us and this difficult people arose the extraor- 
dinarily complicated question of Texas. It was characteristic 
of Mexico to deny the justice of the Texan revolt on the ground 
that settlers in her territory were bound to accept the political 
will of the country ; but it was futile. " Nobody will be argued 
into slavery," said Burke; and this was peculiarly true when 
the proffered slavery did not in truth represent the will of the 
country, and was more capricious, cruel and injurious than the 
regime against which the Mexicans themselves had rebelled. 
Our recognition of Texas not only was founded on just reasons, 
but was concurred in by the leading powers of Europe. The 
annexation of that republic meant the wise and unforced incor- 
poration of a free people, independent both by right and in fact, 
after Mexico had practically abandoned all expectation of its 
becoming once more a part of that nation, and entertained little 
hope save to gratify a stubborn pride at the expense of Texas 
and the rest of the world .^ 

Her treatment of Texans and Americans violated the laws of 
justice and humanity, and — since there was no tribunal to 
punish it — laid upon the United States, both as her nearest 
neighbor and as an injured community, the duty of retribution. 
In almost every way possible, indeed, she forced us to take a 
stand. She would neither reason nor hearken to reason, would 
not understand, would not negotiate. Compensation for the 
loss of territory, in excess of its value to her, she knew she could 
have. Peace and harmony with this country she knew might 
be hers. But prejudice, vanity, passion and wretched politics 
inclined her toward war; her overrated military advantages, 
her expectations of European aid, the unpreparedness of the 
United States, and in particular the supposed inferiority of 
Taylor and his army encouraged her; and she deliberately 
launched the attack so long threatened. 

As was just and natural, Mexico primarily owed her failure 
in the war to the characteristics that led her into it. From a 
strictly military point of view her case was not precisely hopeless. 
Intrinsically the rank and file of her armies, though not by nature 
warlike, had courage enough, and possessed an extraordi- 
nary degree of that willingness to endure fatigue and hardship, 
which Napoleon deemed still more important. They were more 
frugal and obedient than our men ; and while the lack of moral 


and physical strength, discipline and confidence in one another 
and their officers made them shrink from the American bayonet 
and the fixed American eye behind it, they bore infantry and 
artillery fire as well as we did, if not better. Many engineers 
proved themselves excellent ; many artillery officers were brave 
and efficient ; and hence there was no reason why the infantry 
and cavalry might not have been well handled. 

But the military point of view was by no means the only one 
to be considered. The want of public virtue had filled, the army 
with miserable officers, the legislative halls with dishonest, 
scheming, clashing politicians, and the whole nation with quarrel- 
ing factions and wrathful, disheartened people, secretly thankful 
to find their oppressors, whom they could not punish themselves, 
punished by the Americans. The hungry and beaten conscript 
went into battle sure that if wounded he would starve, if killed 
he would be devoured by the birds, and should neither accident 
occur he would simply drudge on as before ; and the industrious, 
useful citizen understood, that if he should help the leaders of 
the nation by paying contributions, he would then have to fatten; 
them by paying again. "We are saved by hope," wrote the 
great Apostle, and the nation saw no hope. Primarily Mexico was 
defeated because she did not fight ; and she did not fight because; 
she had nothing to fight for. The military class, who had long 
pretended to be the nation, was given a chance to prove its claim, 
and the poor wretches who could be forced into the ranks had to 
support it; but the people in general, holding aloof to a great 
extent, said in effect, "Thou who hast consumed all the rev- 
enues without giving anything in return, thou for whom we have 
sacrificed so much, thou who hast used our own blood to make 
thyself master instead of servant — may the woe thou hast so 
long inflicted on us fall now on thee ! " * 

Santa Anna, the logical hero of such a nation, wasi also its 
logical scourge — a statesman unable to guide, a general unfitted 
to command, a leader qualified only to win revolutions, lose 
battles, and alternate between dictatorship and exile. Some 
observers — even American officers — impressed by. the impos- 
ing front that he reared time after time, felt that he was a great 
man. Unquestionably he gathered troops and resources as no 
other Mexican of the time could have done. No doubt his 
lunge into the north and his defence of the capital were i-emark- 


able ; and one could not complain of him, as did Tacitus of a 
Roman commander, that he was unable to harangue his army. 
He certainly did many things.^ 

But he did few things well. His achievements were the tem- 
porary triumphs of autocratic will-power. He suffered always 
from an essential want of capacity. He did not understand 
the Americans, and fancied that one defeat would cow us. He 
did not even understand his fellow-citizens, and could not realize 
that his long course of misconduct, and finally his negotiations 
with Mackenzie, had cut the root of confidence. A proclama- 
tion that sounded eloquent, he felt must be convincing. The 
impossibility of controlling the factional politics of such a coun- 
try and also managing a war without the support of the nation 
— of riding two such horses at the samel time — lay beyond his 
comprehension. Often his policy was like that of the man who 
ruins his constitution with drugs in order <to cure a local ailment. 
Even his apparently noble decisions grew out of selfishness and 
rang hollow. 

To his mind a collection of men was an army. Personal aims 
and feelings, instead of sound policy and the demands of disci- 
pline, controlled mostly his relations with officers. Because a 
revolutionary band could be held togetherby the hope of plunder, 
he imagined that a campaign could be waged on that basis. 
Because he thought it would be natural for the enemy to attack 
him in a certain way, he concluded positively that no other at- 
tack would be made. Strategy he did not attempt. And when 
it came to the direction of a battle, owing to ignorance and in- 
tellectual disqualifications, he lacked the quickness of. perception, 
and rapidity of combination that were essential to success. For 
the same reasons his total strength was never focused -at the 
vital time and place, and a defeat became a rout.^ 

This is what a final glance at the Mexicans reveals ; and now, 
to conclude the whole investigation, we should take a summary 
view of our own side. 

While the Congress of the United States did not approach that 
of Mexico in badness, there was too much resemblance. One 
should always remember that among the people who really make 
up the world and keep it going perfection is, and is likely to be, 
somewhat rare; but for an elect body our Congress fell be- 
low all reasonable expectations. The comedy of its political 


manoeuvres was only surpassed by the tragedy of them. Amos 
Kendall said, after the hostilities began, "There can be no peace 
with that people [the Mexicans] but through victory or with 
dishonor," and any person of judgment could see this ; yet prej- 
udices, passions and interests prevented many from honestly 
supporting a national war, and turned not a few into virtual 
enemies of their country. Markoe wrote from Vera Cruz with 
reference to Clay, Webster, Gallatin and others of their school, 
"These great men have by their speeches done more to prevent 
peace than though they had each of them severally arrayed 
10,000 Mexicans against Scott"; and when one recalls the ex- 
pense and bloodshed that would almost certainly have been 
spared this country and Mexico had our government felt at 
liberty to spend with decent liberality in meeting Scott's requi- 
sitions promptly, patience itself takes fire.'^ 

To think of giving him so small an army that the Mexicans felt 
positively ashamed to yield ! And then to reflect how politics 
went into the army itself, endangering the lives of men and the 
fortunes of the country through unfit appointments. "How we 
have been gulled and led about," exclaimed a soldier, "by a set 
of political demagogues, who, regardless of the fearful responsi- 
bility, have forced themselves into positions they possess no 
qualifications to fill, with a hope thereby to promote their future 
political aggrandizement ! " We recall, even though we do not 
endorse, the Frenchman who observed, "The more I see of the 
representatives of the people, the more I love my dogs " ; and 
we also recall the opinion of a British king : " Politics are a trade 
for a rascal, not for a gentleman." * 

The President showed himself a small man, but the saying of 
La Rochefoucauld comes to mind: "We may appear great 
in an employment beneath our merit, but we often appear little 
in ones too great for us." The situation in which Polk, 
essentially a local politician from Tennessee, found himself — 
called upon to re-make the fiscal system of the country, to dis- 
pose of long-standing and now critical issues with Great Britain 
and Mexico, to cope with a factious and unscrupulous opposition 
in Congress, and to face a war in a foreign land, almost un- 
known to us, with a handful of regulars commanded by Whigs 
— was extremely difiicult ; but he steered his course firmly to 
the end, set an example of honest, faithful administration, 


established a fiscal system under which the country enjoyed a 
period of great prosperity, effected with England an adjustment 
that in essence had been refused, enjoyed a series of uniform tri- 
umphs in the field, and obtained from our enemy the peace and 
the territory he desired.^ 

Indeed, he achieved a still more surprising triumph, for he 
disproved the favorite American axiom : " Nothing succeeds 
like success." His lack of commanding qualities, his inability 
to win admiration and sympathy, and his resorting to small 
methods because he lacked the power to wield great ones, made 
him seem legitimate prey. He became the dog with a bad 
name, for which any stick or stone was good enough. Other 
men in public life could misrepresent the facts — as many were 
doing all the time — and still be honored ; but if Polk " put the 
best foot forward," if he allowed men to draw inferences from 
their wishes, if — wittingly or not — he colored things, if — 
even by accident — he made an incorrect statement, he was 
promptly denounced as a villain. 

And when he had supported his tremendous burden loyally, 
if not with eclat ; when denunciations had failed, threats crum- 
bled, taunts miscarried, hostile predictions fallen to the ground ; 
when our people had not risen up against the war, our treasury 
had not collapsed, our armies had not withered away ; when our 
sword had been wielded with honor, our territory and commer- 
cial field been extended far to the west, our international status 
been elevated — after all these triumphs the- bitter tongue of 
a partisan spit out on the floor of our national House the famous 
nickname, "Polkthe Mendacious," the President left office un- 
der a leaden cloud of disparagement and contempt, and later 
authors delighted to dip their pens in the gall of his enemies. 
Truly, however little we feel inclined to go into raptures over 
Polk, we can admire his traducers even less. 

Next, in view of the civil as well as military fame gained from 
the war by Taylor, one thinks of him. In reviewing his opera- 
tions we must beware of judging him by mere professional stand- 
ards, for he was more, as well as less, than a technical soldier. 
The most essential qualities for a general, says the Baron de 
Jomini, are physical and moral courage ; and in these respects 
the head of our army of occupation was flawless. Indeed al- 
most all the moral qualifications of an eminent commander were 


his. He was a born fighter and born leader. He could think 
best in danger and excitement. He could inspire confidence and 
win devotion. The fact that one so plain could be a paladih 
made even the ordinary feel capable of heroism. Like all lin-' 
disciplined men of great force he possessed large reserves of 
strength, and when an emergency stimulated these, he dis- 
played a power that compelled those on the ground to imitate 
and those at a distance to admire him.'" 

On the other hand, most of the intfellectual qualifications of 
the commander were largely wanting. To be sure he possessed 
a great deal of practical shrewdness, and he used moral force 
with a broad sort of calculation that enabled him to produce 
effects which a mere educated soldier could scarcely have, ob- 
tained. But he did not understand the aims or the art of war, 
lacked initiative, failed in prevision, neglected preparation, ig- 
nored details, took little care to gather information, misunder- 
stood the intentions of the enemy, and underestimated their 
strength. He preferred swinging an axe at a door to conducting 
the battle sagaciously from a distance. He would chat with 
soldiers about home, and then sacrifice their lives. 

His "victories" made him famous, but the true test of general- 
ship, observes Henderson, is " the number of mistakes " ; and 
every stage of Taylor's progress was marked with grave errors. 
Besides, "however brilliant an action may be," remarks La 
Rochefoucauld, " it ought not to pass for great when it is not the 
result of a great design" ; and not only were none of Taylor's 
exploits deliberately planned, but he never understood the risks 
he was braving. Some ironical but loving god seemed to at- 
tend him. The life he carelessly, improvidently ventured was 
guarded ; and insubordination, both toward the President and 
toward the general-in-chief, made him the successor of the 
first and the superior of the second. "Old Zack is the most 
lucky man alive," said Colonel Campbell." 

Scott, however, was of course the pre-eminent commander. 
In war he felt at home. He " is a Soldier and a General from the 
ground up," wrote Consul Parrott after watching his operations. 
With the possible exception of Molino del Rey, the petulant in- 
discretion that he sometimes exhibited in civil affairs did not 
affect his conduct in the field. To appreciate him, "to know 
him at all," said Trist, one had to see him in the military sphere. 




Karl von Grone, who observed him at work, wrote : " He is 

quiet, reserved, reflective. When, after mature consideration 

of the circumstances, he has formed his decision, he goes with ^ 

strong, sure steps to his goal. He can manage with scanty re- ^ 

sources, is adroit in deceiving the enemy, and where feints are 

not possible, deals a heavy, straight blow. When main force 

must break the way, he demands much from his troops ; but, as 

he possesses their full confidence, and is recognized as a fighter 

of dauntless courage, he can do this." ^^ 

" He sees everything, and calculates the cost of every meas- 
ure," said Robert E. Lee. He could be "quick as guncotton 
when neccessary," wrote Parrott, yet deliberate and cautious 
under the utmost pressure . His initiative and self-reliance never 
failed; yet, as even the prejudiced Semmes admitted, he 
made full use of all the talents, as well as all the valor, of his 
army. Though his plans were laid with extreme care in view 
of all the information that could be obtained, he never permitted 
them to shackle him, and promptly adapted himself, whether in 
campaign or in battle, to a change of circumstances. Both 
great things and little things were given his attention, but with 
due reference to their comparative importance. He knew the 
rules of his art, and also knew when to disregard them. He 
could both rouse troops to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, and 
surpass the calculations of the expert. Says Hamley, it is "im- 
practicable" to "conceive how sustained operations can be con- 
ducted in the face of an enemy without a secure starting-point." 
Scott accomplished this.^^ 

Characteristics of a more personal kind supported his profes- 
sional ability. The General, Trist assured his wife, was " the 
soul of honour and probity, and full of the most sterling quali- 
ties of heart and head ; affectionate, generous, forgiving and a 
lover of justice. " Though few made allowances for his imper- 
fections, he was always ready to do this for others; and his 
magnanimity would have been remarkable, even had he not 
been a natural fighting man. Such traits enabled him to get on 
excellently with reasonable officers, while his ability, prudence, 
vigilance, good cheer, steadiness, courage, sympathy, and trust 
in his army, and his anxiety to avoid wasting the labor and lives 
of the men, gave him the entire confidence of the privates. A 
soldier who loved peace instead of war, a general who valued 


the lives of his troops more than glory, a conqueror who became 
in the hour of triumph a friend, and a citizen who placed his 
country above self-interest, he was the ideal commander of a 
republican army." 

To speak broadly and leaving genius out of the account, he 
possessed all the military qualities of Taylor, and all Taylor 
lacked. Taylor could fight splendidly, Scott could also avail 
himself of the advantages that knowledge and skill were able 
to supply. The soldiers of the one believed their leader was 
going to win, those of the other could give reasons for their faith. 
The army of occupation was ready to follow its commander with 
eyes shut, the army of conquest with eyes open. Both were 
kind at heart, but Scott's humanity was made systematically 
effective. Both faced perils with unwavering courage, but 
Scott did all he could to understand what lay before him. Both 
complained of the government, but Scott had reason to do so. 
Both disregarded instructions; but while Taylor aimed to 
gratify himself, Scott's aim was to benefit his country .^^ 

The advantages were not all on one side, however. Taylor 
had excellent control of his temper and the everyday, personal 
shrewdness that Scott needed. His unsophistication bore the 
winning appearance of ingenuousness, while Scott's reflective 
and studious ways gave him the reputation of a schemer. Each 
needed to be supplemented, but only Taylor had a Bliss. Scott's 
men felt they were serving under a strong leader, Taylor's that 
they were serving with one ; while to Great Demos, always 
undiscriminating, the one represented head, the other heart; 
the one science, the other heroism.^* 

Both were remarkable. Taylor was a distinguished ple- 
beian, Scott a distinguished patrician ; the first a superb cap- 
tain, the second a superb general ; and each a great man. 

The soldiers, of course, did not equal their chief commanders 
in point of interest, but certain facts concerning them 
deserve attention. The total number of regulars in the war 
service down to July 5, 1848, was about 31,000. Of these, to 
use round numbers, 1600 were discharged because their term 
expired, 2550 for disability, and 500 for other causes; 2850 
deserted; 530 were killed and 2100 wounded in battle; 400 
died of their wounds ; and there were 4900 ordinary or acci- 
dental deaths. Of the volunteers 59,000 actually served ; 7200 


were discharged for disability, and 2000 for other reasons be- 
fore the expiration of their term ; 3900 deserted ; 1350 were 
wounded ; 600 were killed or died of their wounds ; and there 
were 6400 ordinary or accidental deaths. So it appears that out 
of some 90,000 ofiBcers and men serving, 6750 deserted, 12,250 
had to be discharged before their term expired, 11,300 met with 
ordinary or accidental deaths, and only 1550 were accounted 
for by the enemy. The difference between the number mustered 
in and the number available at the front, and also between the 
number who lost their lives by fighting and the number who 
dropped out from other causes, was most instructive. The 
Americans captured seem to have numbered less than 1100. 
Of the volunteers, a very disproportionate percentage went 
from the southwest ; the northwest did well, and the northeast 
lagged. ^^ 

From these figures it appears that approximately three out 
of one hundred regulars were killed or died in consequence of 
wounds and eight were discharged for disability, whereas the 
numbers for the volunteers were one and twelve ; and in fact the 
showing of the regulars was still better, since the "new" regulars, 
officered with inferior men chosen largely for political reasons, 
did not equal the record of the old establishment. In many 
other respects also the volunteers ranked low. Not only was 
there a greater percentage of sickness among them, but the 
invalids required attendants. The volunteers wasted clothing, 
provisions and ammunition both heedlessly and through igno- 
rance of administrative business ; and their arms were not 
properly cared for.^* 

They had no intention of submitting to the discipline and 
routine labor of campaigning, and even at the close of the war 
could not be called real troops. The volunteers, wrote one of 
them, "will not be treated as regular soldiers." 

"Sergeant, buck him and gag him, our officers cry. 
For each trifling c fi'ence which they happen to spy. 
Till with bucking and gagging of Dick, Pat and Bill, 
Faith, the Mexican's ranks they have helped to fill," 

so another, an exceptionally good man, testified. "Soldiers 
will take their merry frolics," an officer admitted. The camp 
slogan of a sturdy North Carolina company was : " Soldier, will 


you work ? " " Sell my shirt first." " Soldier, will you fight ? " 
"Twell I die." But even their fighting did not prove entirely 
satisfactory. Individually they were braver than the regulars ; 
but the soldier's business is to fight when the time comes, and 
the volunteers to a considerable extent wanted to fight when 
they pleased. They might do splendidly and they might not, 
their general knew. In a word, they were unreliable ; and they 
even imperilled their own cause by exasperating the people. 
Marcy confessed that he felt disappointed. Yet there were 
offsets. Their patriotism and enthusiasm stimulated their 
officers and the regulars ; and at their best — silent, grim, 
patient, with a look of kingship in their faces — they 
glorified hardships, perils, wounds, disease and death.^^ 

A common idea of the regulars was expressed in the House 
by Tilden of Ohio, who described them as " a set of puppets 
. . . shut up without exercise and in barracks, from year's end 
to year's end " ; and the ' ' sausage democracy ' ' looked with con- 
tempt upon West Pointers as both puppets and aristocrats. 
The regulars, however, were preferable not only in camp and on 
the march, but on the field. In addition to being steady them- 
selves, they helped immensely to steady the volunteers; and 
the regular officers furnished volunteer generals with knowledge, 
skill and sometimes resolution. As for their own commands. 
West Pointers might curse their men, but they took splendid 
care of them; and it was far better that men should fear 
their officers than that officers, like many in the volunteer army, 
should fear their men. General Scott said that without the 
science of the Military Academy his army, multiplied by four, 
could not have set foot in the capital ; and Patterson, like him 
not a graduate of the school, concurred in this opinion.^' 

Our horse was to a large extent little more than mounted in- 
fantry ; and our real cavalry, besides riding like the French and 
therefore badly, showed no mastery in sword practice. On the 
other hand our field artillery was excellent in personnel and 
material ; and the engineers, though not fully trained according 
to the most exacting standards, earned abundant praise. More 
than once they made the very strength of the Mexican position 
help our men while they were preparing to attack ; and the re- 
port of General Smith upon certain officers — " Nothing seemed 
to them too bold to be undertaken, or too difficult to 

be executed" — might have been applied to the corps as a 

In organization our armies were inferior to the best European 
models ; but, said Gabriel Ferry in the Revue des Deux Mondes, 
the soldiers made up for this defect by displaying an energy 
adequate for every need. The infantry were criticised by foreign 
observers for a lack of correctness and snap in their move- 
ments. "What is called the American army," wrote the minis- 
ter p/ Spain, to imply that we had no real troops. But they 
husbanded their strength in this way; .it was therefore ready 
for emerge;ncies ; and they had the initiative, uvgenuity, inde- 
pendence and self-reliance that have . been cultivated of late 
years abroad jn place of conventional precision.'^ ^ 

Despite all technical defects, the faults of, the volunteers 
and the admixture of mere immigrants among the regulars, we, 
had soldiers to remember with pride. So many of the officers 
were superior men that almost all caught the inspiration moi;e, 
or less, and the privates felt ready to obey and follow them. 
The troops as a body acquired a sense of invincibility. "We 
may be killed, but we can't be whipped," was a favorite watch- 
word; and they fully meant it, said Karl von Grone. Dangers 
and hardships were bravely faced, as a rule, and often were faced 
with gayety. "Oh, this is a glorious life of mine," exclaimed 
Lieutenant Hamilton ; " a life in a land of fruits and flowers, 
of dark-eyed maidens and sunny skies, of snow-capped moun- 
tains and of flowering valleys ; a life of adventure, of calm and 
storm, pf bivouac and battle." ^° 

No doubt the political and social conditions of Mexico 
helped our troops greatly, but in addition to routing every time 
an enemy who was by no means intrinsically contemptible, out- 
numbered us and knew the ground, they had to war against 
deserts, war against mountains, war against fearful storms, war 
against a strange climate, war against a devouring pestilence; 
and in spite of every difficulty Scott, after capturing more than 
a thousand officers and more than six hundred cannon, occupied 
the capital of Mexico with less than six thousand men. The 
troops themselves, instead of boasting, pronounced it a 
"miracle"; but the critical and unfriendly Journal des Debats 
declared : " The new conquerors have equalled by their exploits, 
the great Cortez himself, if they have not eclipsed him." ^^ 


Yet after all it was "a war of conquest," we have long been 
told. Popularly "conquest" is in truth an odious word, for 
it has commonly been associated with odious deeds : aggression 
and cruel tyranny; but "circumstances alter cases," and when 
the facts are unobjectionable, so is the term. Legally, the 
idea has prevailed that conquest is robbery ; but this idea seems 
to have grown from the old conception that the government 
owned the country, and such is not our opinion to-day.^^ 

Forcible acquisitions may indeed be commendable. In that 
way Rome civilized Europe, England gave peace, order and 
comparative happiness to India, and our own country came 
into being ; and none of us would undo these results. The wel- 
fare of humanity is the true principle. Life has the right of 
way over death ; enlightenment and energy over ignorance and 
torpor. Possession means use ; power and opportunities mean 
service. The primary law is that all shall move forward and 
cooperate in .achieving the general destiny. Like individuals, 
every nation must run its course to the best of its ability, and 
if it grossly flags, pay the penalty. In the absence of any other 
tribunal, war must enforce this penalty. "Whosoever hath [in 
use], to him shall be given, . . . but whosoever hath not, from 
him shall be taken away even that which he hath." Such is 
eternal right ; not the justice of the law schools, but the justice 
of the Supreme Power .^^ 

Of all conquerors we were perhaps the most excusable, the 
most reasonable, the most beneficent. The Mexicans had come 
far short of their duty to the world. Being what they were, they 
had forfeited a large share of their national rights. Even Hum- 
boldt said that Mexico " ought not to expect to withhold, from 
the uses of civilization and improvement," such neglected ter- 
ritories as New Mexico and California. A philosopher like 
Josiah Royce, a moralist like Francis Lieber and an unsympa- 
thetic historian like Dr. von Hoist agree substantially that our 
duty called upon us to occupy the Golden Gate. Not merely an 
administration or a party, but the nation believed that our 
destiny called us there, and felt ready to assume the high 
responsibility of taking possession. ^^ 

Besides, while ours could perhaps be called a war of con- 
quest, it was not a war for conquest — the really vital point. 
We found it necessary to require territory, for otherwise our 


claims and indemnity could not be paid. The conflict was forced 
upon us ; yet we refused to take advantage of our opportunity. 
"It is almost impossible," says Bryce, "for a feeble State, full 
of natural wealth which her people do not use, not to crumble 
under the impact of a stronger and more enterprising race." 
But we gave back much that we took, and paid for the rest 
more than it was worth to Mexico. "All deserve praise, 
who . . . have been more just than their actual power made it 
necessary to be," said Thucydides ; and we were not only just 
but liberal. Finally, we gave proof, in the prosperity and use- 
fulness of our new territories, that our responsibility was amply 

So the account was fairly adjusted and more. But something 
still remains to say. A closer acquaintance with us and with 
real national life taught Mexico some of her mistakes, confirmed 
the political relations of her states, and helped greatly to liber- 
alize her ideas and institutions. "The sad part of it is that 
our chastisement is merited," preached Ramfrez. "He that 
reflects how useful are the lessons of suffering and misfortune," 
declared the minister of relations, " will admit that no one could 
show more clearly the deformity of our errors than the foreign 
invader [has done], and that there could have been no more 
efficacious means of elevating our reason above the bastard in- 
terests of political passion." ^ 

Still warmer sentiments prevailed. One of the chief obstacles 
in the way of making a treaty was the desire of not a few Mex- 
icans to have the United States annex their country ; and after 
that plan failed, the American general-in-chief was actually 
invited to become dictator for a term of years, backed by Amer- 
ican troops. With reference to Trist, our commissioner, Couto 
and Cuevas remarked on presenting the treaty to Congress, "Of 
him there remain in Mexico none but grateful and honoring 
recollections"; and when bidding Clifford good-by, the Presi- 
dent expressed — in no perfunctory way — a sincere desire for 
the most "sisterly" relations between the two countries, as 
essential to the welfare of Mexico. Indeed, that nation had 
not felt so cordial toward the United States for many years 
as it did immediately after the war.^ 

In Europe, too, fairer views and feelings regarding us began 
to be entertained. "If nothing occur to tarnish what has been 

324 , 1 i ; THE (WAR WIXHV MEiXICa i 

so well begun,", wrotfei our minister at the, court of St. James in 
June, 1846, /'the moral influence produced here and in Europe 
generally will be worth all the expenses of the war." "It was 
a hard lesson for England to learn, but she has learned it," re- 
ported Bancroft,: who, succeeded him ; " that America means to 
go on her own way, and that Europe . . .must give up the 
thought of swaying her destiny." Our triumphs over Mexico, 
remarked C-. J-! IngersoU in the House,, "have been admirable 
lessons ... to. the world, that the [wise], policy of all nations 
is peace with these United States^" , Only on respect and ap- 
preciation can peace and mutual helpfulness be founded, and 
both our victories and the manner in which they were used pro- 
moted harmony between us and the powers of Europe.^ 
■ Humanity and moderation ^ such humanity and modera- 
tion as are practicable amid hostilities — gilded ourarms. "The 
elevated and kindly character of Taylor and Scott," said the 
Mexican historian, RoaBarcena, "lessened as far as waspossible 
the evils' of war." The Americans always treated us during 
the conflict with "the most noble courtesy," wrote Ceballos. 
"We shall certainly consider it as an Unprecedented event if 
this enormous booty [the wealth of the Mexican churches] es- 
capes from pillage," proclaimed the London Times; and it did 
escape. We have beaten the enemy, felt Robert E. Lee, the 
knightly soldier, "in a manner no man might be ashamed of." 
Even Theodore Parker, though opposed to the war, made this 
public acknowledgment : " It has been conducted with as much 
gentleness as a war of invasion can be." And a brave officer of 
rare intelligence uttered on the floor of our Senate these words : 
"We have cause to be proud of the record this war will leave 
behind it — a monument more lasting than brass. We, the, 
actors of to-day, must soon crumble to dust; the institutions 
we now maintain, and hope will be perpetual, may pass away ; ■ 
the Republic may sink in the ocean of time, and -the tide of 
human affairs roll unbroken over its grave ; but the events of 
this war will live in the history of Our country and our race, 
affording in all ages to come, proof of the high state of civiliza- 
tion amongst the people who conducted it."^ 




1. This is a good illustration of Santa Anna's political ability. 

2. Farias appears to have had no share in this quarrel with Salaa 
(MiSxico & travgs, iv, 593). 

3. The course of Mexican politics. Federalista Puro, No. 3, supplmt. ; 
No. 6, supplmt. London Times, Feb. 9, 1847. Apuntes, 71-3, 76, 124-6. 
13Bankhead, Nos. 120, 136, 140, 146, 153, 157, 160, 169, 180, 1846. 5?Con- 
sul Campbell, Nov. 10, 1846. 52Consul Black, Aug. 22, 27; Sept. 17, 
22, 26, 1846. Comunicaci6n Circular de . . . Pena y Peiia. Garcia, 
Revol. de Ayutla, 18, 20, 27. Ultim s Comunioaoiones habidas entre 
. . . Salas y . . . Rej6n. Ler^o de Tejada, Apuntes, ii, 538. Prieto, 
Memorias, ii, 195, 199. ISThornton to Addington, June 29, 1847. 
ISGutitoez de Estrada to Palmerston, Mar. 1, 1847. M6x. en 1847, 
12-4. Ramirez, Mexico, 12, 142-4, 149, 152-4, 156, 165, 172, 176. 83Rej6n 
to Berdusco, Dec. 23. Eco, Nov. 4, 7, 11, 14, 1846. Escudero, Mems., 
8, 13, 14. DubMn, Legisl., v, 171, 238-9. Memoria de . . . Relaciones, 
Dec, 1846. 73Bermudez de Castro, nos. 332, res. ; 343, res. ; 345, res, ; 
346; 368. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 100-1, 118, 120, 124, 126-8. 
SSGov. Quer^taro to Farias, Oct. 20. Roa Bdroena, Recuerdos, 144. 
Rivera, Los Gobernantes, ii, 310. Lara, Resumen, 65, note. Mora, 
Papeles Ineditos, 64-5. ie2Conner, Dec. 31, 1846. 16ild. Jan. 5, 
1847. Bustamante, Campana, 7. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1125 (S. Anna). 
Baz, Judrez, 43. Mexico d, travds, iv, 576-7, 589, 591-2, 600-1, 698. Re- 
publicano, Sept. 28 ; Oct. 20, 28 ; Nov. 17 ; Dec. 24, 1846 ; Jan. 1, 22-3 ; 
Feb. 3, 1847. Monitor Repub., Sept. 25-6, 30; Oct. 19-23, 26; Dec. 
25, 1846. Diario, Sept. 23, 25, 29; Oct. 9, 12, 14, 16, 31 ; Nov. 24; Dec. 
18-9, 22, 28, 29, 1846. And from 76 the following Procl. gov. S. L. P., 
Oct. 22, 1846. J. Alvarez, Oct. 22. Comte. gen. Mex., Oct. 16. Canalizo 
to comte. gen. Mex., Oct. 18. Comte. gen. Oaxaca, Oct. 24. Salaa, 
procl., Oct. 25. Guerra, circulars, Oct. 14, 19, 22 ; Dec. 23. Relaciones 
to gov. Fed. Dist., Dec. 23. Relaciones circular, Oct. 19. Comte. gen. 
Chiapas, Nov. 3. Also others of minor importance. Otero was associated 
with Pedraza in the leadership of the Moderados. 

4. So far as possible, revenue was anticipated, even at a great loss. 
E.O; if a merchant expected a cargo to arrive at Vera Cruz, he sent a 
broker (agiotista) to the minister of the treasury, and by paying a sum in 
advance he obtained drafts on the Vera Cruz customhouse that were 
receivable at par for the duties. Of course the merchant, the broker and 
the minister made profits, and the treasury lost (N. Y. Herald, Jan. 18, 
1845). Another way in which the minister could make money was to 
accept at face value as part of a loan or piyment government paper that 
had cost the one who tendered it only a trifle, and take a share of the net 
proceeds. "Agiotista" became an odious term. It was given out that 
Santa Anna would accept no pay, but the treasury books showed that he 
drew his salary for even the time while he was at Havana (335Worrall 
to Trist, Nov. 28, 1847). They apparently showed also that in 1846 
miUions were distributed among generals, brokers and others. The British 



minister said that Iturbe was the ninth finance minister whom he had 
seen devoting "his peculiar attention to the augmentation, of his private 
means while in office" (ISBankhead, no. 104, 1846). Another great 
evil was that, in spite of express prohibitions, state officials drew upon the 
proceeds of the tobacco rnonopoly. The following table illustrates the 
state of the treasury (1846) : ' ' '■ 

Oct. 12 

Oct. 16 

flee. 26 ■ 

Del 29 

On hand 



' ^— ■■ : 

■ $1148 




$7162' ■ 

' 3700 






A poll tax was thought of by Rej6n, but evidently the government dared 
iiot propose it (TSBermiidez de Castro, nos. 332, res., 346, 1846). ' 

5. Mexican financial history (see also the first part of chap, xxxiii). 
Comunicaci6n Circular de . . . Pena y Pena. Memoria de . . . Rela- 
qiones. Mar., 1845; Dec, 1846. Rivera, Jalapa, iii, 368, 716. Ilus- 
trador Catdlico, no. 239. Hacienda, series of Memorias. Hacienda, Marii- 
fiesto de la Admin, y Progresos. London Times, July 6, 1846. Breve 
Resumen. Casasus, Hist, de la Deuda contraida, etc., passim. Paredes, 
address to Cong., June 6, 1846 (Diario). Alamdn, Liquidaei6ri. Espdsi- 
ci6n del Cong. Gen. llMartin, Apr. 30, 1827; July 4; Aug. 25,' 1828. 
llSeries of M6moires on the Spanish Colonies. Sierra, Evolution, i, 
178, 218. Zamacois, M6x., xii, 254. 52Consul Jones, Aug.' 1, 1839. 
56W. S. Parrott, Oct. 4, 11, 1845. 58Howland & Aspinwall, Mar. 1, 1847. 

■Republicano, Feb. 2, 1847. ISAshburnham, nos. 39, 51, 1837; 3, 97, 
1838. 13Pakenham, nos. 28, 1833 ; 6, 1836 ; 44, 62, 1839. ISBankhead, 
nos. 81, 1844; 6, 38, 70, 106, 1845; 21, 104, 127, 146, 169, 1846. 
52Poinsett, Jan. 4; Aug. 5, 1825; July 16, 1828. 62Butler, July 16, 
1832. Revisia Econ., Dec. 14, 1843; Feb. 5, 1844. Tornel, Resefia, 9, 
171. Maogregor, Progress, i, 674-83. Thompson, Recoils., 12, 27-8, 
87. 52D. Green, Oct. 28; Nov. 12, 29, 1844. N. Y. Herald, Jan. 18, 

1845. Sigh XIX, June 14, 1844 ; Dec. 2, 1845. Patriola Mexicano, 
Dec. 9, 1845. Reforma, Jan. 23, 1846. London Times, Mar. 29; May 
15; Sept. 9; Nov. 11; Dec. 6, 1845; Mar. 2, 1846. Ret)ue Iridep., Apr. 
25, 1845. 52Consul Black, Aug. 23, 1845. 52Consul Dimond, no. 338, 
May 7, 1846. 73Bermudez de Castro, no. 346, 1846. 52Consul McCall, 
no. 65, Sept. 26, 1845. Balbontln, Estado, 66. Wash. Union, Feb: 2, 
1848 (Poinsett). N. Y. Globe, June 3, 1846. Diario, Sept. 18, 1846. 
Monitor Repub._, Nov. 27, 1846; Jan. 9, 1847. Ward, Mexico, i:,' 331-7. 
76To S. Anna, Nov. 25. Vicario Capitular, Contestaci6n. Priestley, 
Jos6 de G^lvez, Chap. x. 

6. The present financial problem. DubUn, Legislaci6n, v., 172, 211-6, 
235-7, 240. 77Relaciones circular, Nov. 27, 1846. ISBankhead, no. 
6, 1845; nos. 21, 127, 153, 167, 169, 1846. 52Consul Black, Dec. 29, 

1846. Apuntes, 76, 124-6. Ramirez, Mexico, 171. 3S5 Worrall to Trisl, 
Nov. 28, 1847. Rivera, Jalapa, iii, 716. Ilustrador Catdlico, i., 281. 
Mex. en 1847, 14-19, 24. Don Simplicio, Feb. 13, 1847. 86Relaciones, 
Oct. 26, 1846. Zempoalteca, Nov. 27, 1846. Escudero, Mems., 8, 
92Gov. Fed. Dist., procl., Jan. 16. 82Gov. Durango to legisl., Nov. 8, 
1846. Columna de la Libertad, Jan. 8, 1847. Sierra, Evolution, i, 178, 
217-8. 52McLane, no. 5, 1845. 56W. S. Parrott, Oct. 4, 11, 1845. 
llMi«moire, 1828. D. Green to Calhoun, Oct. 28 ; Nov. 12 in Jameson, 


Calh. Corresp., 976-80, 991. Sigh XIX, Jan. 14, 1844. London Times, 
Sept. 9; Dec. 6, 1845; Oct. 8, 1846; Jan. 8, 1847. Memoria de . . . 
Relaciones, Dec, 1846 (Lafragua). 73Bermiidez de Castro, nos. 316, res., 
346, 371, res., 445. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 128. 75ReIaciones, 
circulars to govs., Oct. 9; Dec. 17, 1846; circs, nos. 233, 238, 255, 1846. 
75aHacienda, circulars, Oct. 10; Nov. 9; Dec. 5, 31, 1846. seV. Cruz 
state treas. to gov., Jan. 11; Feb. 4, 1847. Constitutionnel, Dec. 18, 1846. 
Wash. Union, Jan. 18, 29 ; May 11, 1847. Monitor, Oct. 12. 166Pom- 
mar^s to Conner, Oct. 7, 1846. Republicano, Oct. 22 ; Nov. 5, 13, 24 ; 
Dec. 8, 1846; Jan. 23, 1847. Monitor Repub., Sept. 25, 30; Oct. 
18; Nov. 19, 30; Dec. 19, 1846. Diario, Sept. 23, 25, 29; Oct. 2, 3; 
Nov. 21, 23; Dec. 4, 13, 15, 21, 29, 30, 1846; Jan. 1, 7-9, 1847. Mexico 
6. trav^s, iv, 589, 600, 628-9. 76S. Anna, Nov. 7, 9, 19 ; Dec. 3, 4, 7, 
30, 1846; Jan. 1, 2, 4, 7, 1847. 76J. Alvarez, Sept. 30, 1846. 76Circ. 
to comtes. gen., Sept. 28, 1846. 

7. The law was a compromise (Apuntes, 124). Rejdn, as he frankly 
told the Spanish minister (note 6), was for nationahzing — i.e., confiscat- 
ing — the property of the Church. Santa Anna preferred to let the clergy 
keep the title to their wealth, and require a loan from them now and then 
— a process termed "milking" (Jameson, Calhoun Corresp., 992). The 
essential basis on which the law passed was the practical necessity of rais- 
ing money for the war ; but many who recognized this necessity and even 
the desirabiUty of reducing the wealth and power of the Church could not 
bring themselves to act. 

8. The law, if fully enforced, would no doubt have done much injury, 
however great its benefits. E.g., a great amount of land had been hypoth- 
ecated to the Church with no expectation on either side that the loan 
which it secured would ever be paid ; but the government, in order to ob- 
tain cash, intended that the loan should be paid or the land sold. Many 
individuals would thus have been ruined and the agricultural interests 
partially crippled, while on account of the small amount of money in cir- 
culation, only very low prices would have been realized for the land 
(ISBankhead, no. 7, 1847). Moreover, land with a Church curse upon 
it was sure to sell slowly, and many believed that titles obtained in this 
way would not hold good very long. As the clergy would give no informa- 
tion about their property, some exempted property was seized, and these 
mistakes caused trouble (Mexico d trav^s, iv, 631). Many objected to the 
law because they presumed that the proceeds of sales would reach private 
pockets. The principal arguments against it were summed up by the 
88ayuntamiento of C6rdoba as follows: "It attacks property, invades 
the rights of the states, contravenes the sovereignty of the Church and is 
anti-rehgious, for there can be no reUgion without worship, no worship 
without priests and no priests without Church property." On the other 
hand the Puro 92ayuntamiento of the capital described the law as "A law 
to save our independence and rehgion, in which nothing is done except 
that one class of society is to loan its property to society as a whole," add- 
ing, "How unfortunate would be our faith, if the religion of the Savior 
could be supported only with money . . . charity and poverty were 
the example of his mission." The metropohtan chapter of Mexico took 
the ground that property once consecrated to God was sacred, and that to 
take it would be an act of sacrilege sure to bring upon the country the 
wrath and punishment of heaven (92Representaci6n) . The bishop of 
Puebla said to his flock: "Far from us is the idea of disturbing public 


order, but we must notify our very dear lambs that the pasturage offered 
thorn is poisonous ; and if for so doing we incur the wrath of men, we will 
strengthen our weakness with the words of the chief of the Apostles at the 
council of the Jews: 'We must obey God rather than men'" (82Mani- 
fiesto). This was a clear and official incitement to insurrection. 

9. The law of Jan. 11 and the struggle over it. Apuntes, 124-32. 13 
Bankhead, nos. 180, 1846; 6, 7, 10,' 14, 17, 1847. Gaxiola, Invasidn, 
118. 52J. Parrott, Feb. 6. 56Beach, report, June 4. London Times, 
Sept. 9; Oct. 7, 1846; Mar. 11; May 12, 1847. Oil portrait of Farias, 
city hall, Mex. 52Consul Black, Feb. 24. Revue Indep., Apr. 25, 1845. 
Rivera, Jalapa, iii, 822, 825-6. Catdlico, iii, 553. Conducta Admin, 
de Berdusco. Ilustrador Catdlico, no. 239. 88C6rdoba ayunt., Feb. 4. 
92Mex. i:.yunt. to chapter, Jan. 14. 92Ayunt., procl., Jan. 14. 92Repre- 
sentaci6n of metrop. chapter to Cong. 92Segunda Protesta; Tercera 
Protesta del Ven. C bildo Metrop. 92Exposici6n que el Sr. Vicario Capit. 
92Expos. del Cabildo Metrop. 92Procl. of gov. Fed. Dist., Jan. 16. 
SSQuer^t. cong., Jan. 12. 95Puebla ayunt. to gov., Jan. 16. 95Sdnchez 
to Puebla ayunt., Feb. 16. 82Bish. Puebla, manif., Jan. 27. 82Gov. 
Puebla, procl., Jan. 27 ; Mar. 5, 15. Lamentos de los Mex. 73Bermudez 
de Castro, nos. 332, res., 346, 445. Dublan, Legislacidn, v., 246, 255, 
261-2. Registro Oficial de Durango, Jan. 26. 80Guanajuato cong., Jan. 
29. L-comotor, Jan. 18. Mora, Papeles, 74-6. Negrete, Invasi6n 
iv, app., 412-4. Ramirez, Mexico, 172, 184, 188, 190, 193, 198. Diario, 
Dec. 21, 1846 ; Jan. 7-9, 11-16, 18, 19, 26, 30; Feb. 4, 1847. Republicano, 
Dec. 9, 12, 1846; Jan. 8, 11, 23-4, 27, 29; Feb. 6, 11, 12; May 14, 1847. 
Mexico & trav^s, iv, 601-8, 628, 630-1, 638. And the following from 76. 
Comte. gen. Quer^t., Jan. 19, 20, 22. Id., procl., Jan. 20. Comte 
gen. Puebla, Jan. 12, 28 ; Feb. 17. Guerra, order, Jan. 24. Min. eccles. 
affairs to metropol. chapter, Jan. 14. Comte. gen. Mex., Jan. 15. Comte. 
gen. Jalisco, Feb. 2. J. Alvarez, Feb. 2. Comte. gen. Oaxaca, Feb. 11, 
15. Comte. gen. Guanaj., Jan. 29 ; Feb. 15, res. To comte. gen. Puebla, 
Feb. 24. Decrees, Jan. 15, 27; Feb. 4, 7, 10. To S. Anna, Jan. 30. 
S. Anna, Jan. 7, 13, 22, 26, 29 ; Feb. 9. 

10. Beach's mission and escape. 66Special Missions, p. 257. 56Beach 
report, Jime 4, 1847. Polk, Diary, Apr. 14, 1847. 108Mrs. Storms to 
Bancroft, July 23, 1846, and Marcy's endorsement. Griffis, Perry, 224. 
62Consul Black, Jan. 28, 1847. N. Y. Sun, Apr. 15; Aug. 16, 24, 1847. 
166Dimond to Conner, Jan. — , 1847. Scribner's Monthly, xvii, 300. 
Appleton, Amer. Biog. (article on M. Y. B.). Kenly, Md. Vol., 269. 
76To comte. gen. V. Cruz, Jan. 14. 76Landero, Jan. 14. 76S. Anna, 
Jan. 22. 

11. Apuntes, 126. ISBankhead, no. 14, 1847. SeBeach, report, 
June 4, 1847. Ramirez, Mexico, 193-4, 198-9. Mexico d trav^s, iv, 608, 
631. 199Anon. MS. of go-between. 

12. The monarchists, who were closely associated with the Church, 
shared in the insurrection (Apuntes, 119), and no doubt many of the 
Moderados took part in it (London Times, May 10, 1847), though Pedraza 
denied positively that he drew up the plan (Apuntes, 131). 

13. The insurrection. 56Beach, report, June 4, 1847. Apuntes, 126, 
128-37. ISBankhead, no. 17, 1847. Consideraciones, 37. M^x. en 
1847, 14, 19. Le6n, Hist. Gen., 475. 52J. Parrott, Feb. 6. Bustamante, 
Campana sin, etc., 5, 8, 10, 11, 13. 52Black, Mar. 6. London Times, 
May 10, 12. Salas, pamphlet, Mar. 3. ISPena y Barrag^n, procl., 


Mar. 8. S6ptimo Disengano. Boletln de la Democracia, Mar. 2, 7, 13. 
Farias, Address. Ramirez, Mexico, 190, 193, 198-9, 201, 204, 209. Mexico 
&. trav6s, iv, 631-5. Rivera, Jalapa, iii, 841-9. Arco Iris, Nov. 24, 1847. 
Escudero, Mems., 14, 19, 20. 82Zacatecas cong., Mar. 6. 82Jalisco 
legisl., Mar. 12. 77Relaciones, circular. Mar. 13. SOMex. state legisl.. 
Mar. 18. Balbontin, Invasi6n, 104. 80Lt. gov. M6x. state procl., 
Mar. 23. 199Aiion. MS. TSFarlas, procl. 83Gov. Quer^t. to Pena 
y Barragdn, Mar. 2, 20. Rivera, Los Gobernantes, ii., 318. N. Y. Sun, 
Apr. 15; Aug. 24. Dlario, Feb. 20, 21. Monitor Bepub., Dec. 27, 1846; 
Feb. 13; Mar. 23. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1125 (S. Anna). Lerdo de Tejada, 
Apuntes, ii, 539. And from 76 the following, besides others of minor 
importance. Comte. gen. Queret., Jan. 20. CanaUzo to Anaya, Feb. 
26. J. Alvarez, Mar. 10. L. Carri6n, Mar. 10. Gov. Puebla, Feb. 17; 
reply, Feb. 24. Plan of Puebla insurgents, Feb. 2?. Govt, bulletins. 
Mar. 2, 5. Morales, Mar. 1. AguascaUentes legisl.. Mar. 4. Gov. 
Zacat. to Relac, Mar. 5. Gov. Queret. to Relac, Mar. 9. Provis. gov. 
Jalisco to Relac, Mar. 3. Comte. gen. Jalisco to garrison. Mar. 7. Gov. 
Puebla to Relac, Mar. 5. Lt. Col. Indep. b. ttal. to mistress. Mar. 15. 
Comte. gen. Oaxaca, Feb. 17. Gov. M^x. state to Relac, Mar. 19. 
Id., procl., Mar. 18. Decrees, Mar. 1, 8, 12, 15. 

On this subject Beach reported in substance as follows : When the 
government resolved to raise money on the Church property, I urged the 
clericals to an organized resistance. They consented, and at the moment 
of General Scott's debarkation at Vera Cruz they made a most important 
diversion in his favor by raising the standard of civil war at the capital, 
at Puebla and in a degree at Michoacdn. This occupied 5000 men and 
all the arms, munitions of war and means of the government in the city 
of Mexico for twenty-three days ; effectually preventing them from aiding 
Vera Cruz, or strengthening Puebla or the strongholds nearer the coast. 
On the tenth day of this rebeUion or pronunciamienio, I was informed that 
$40,000 would be required of the clergy to carry it on another week, and 
that it would be paid if the importance of the crisis justified the outlay. 
As General Scott had but just landed his artillery at Vera Cruz, and might 
be detained there for some time, I deemed that almost any outlay would 
be justified. The rebelHon was therefore kept up, until the sudden appear- 
ance of General Santa Anna closed the affair. [One must remember, in 
passing judgment on the conduct of the clergy, how much they had suf- 
fered at the hands of Santa Anna and how much reason they had to fear 

Beach had arranged to visit Mexico on private business, and he persuaded 
Buchanan that he could, through Almonte and others, bring about peace. 
Hence he was appointed "confidential agent to the Repubhc of Mexico" 
to accomphsh what he could; and, on learning the state of things at 
Mexico, he saw that Scott's operations could be materially assisted by 
inaugurating and continuing the clerical insurrection. His report may 
be found in the state department archives at Washington. 

14. Santa Anna left San Luis Potosi March 15 with more than 5000 
men and ten guns. 

15. Rej6n wrote to Santa Anna, March 7, 1847, urging him to stand 
firmly by his manifesto of August 16, 1846, — i.e. by the Puros, and detail- 
ing a series of Moderado intrigues intended (he said) to annoy and humiliate 
Santa Anna until he shoiild inaugurate a revolution, with a view to then 
having him shot. 


16. Beach was watched for several days before he left the city. He 
escaped by paying for his lodgings for some time to come, leaving a trunk 
there, taking a carriage late at night without baggage, and choosing ah 
unusual route (N. Y. Sun, Aug. 16, 1847). A reward of $1000 was offered 
,for him dead or ahve {ibid., Aug. 24). Notices were put up denouncing 
as a traitor anyone possessing a copy of the New York Sura. He was 
accused of having tried to bring about a clerical revolution and also to 
induce the states of Guanajuato, Quer^taro, San Luis Potos! and Jalisco 
;to secede and declare for the United States. See also N. Y. Sun, May 
,27, 1847; Polk, Diary, May 11, 1847; Kenly, Md. Vol., 269. We shall 
hear again of Beach's operations. 

17. Santa Anna received news of the insurrection near Cedral. 

18. Santa Anna may very possibly have hoped now to combine the 
miUtary class, the' conservatives and the clericals into a solid phalanx 
behind him, and he may have commended the movement against Church 
property for the very purpose of making the clergy feel the need of his 
assistance. See Tributo i, la Verdad, 76. 

19. His overthrow was not really due' to the law of January 11, but 
resulted from his radical ideas and unpractical methods, the odium 6f 
his former administration, his consequent inability to secure the cooper- 
ation of influential men, and the general state of unrest and dissension. 

'20. Outcome of the insurrection. Apuntes, 111, 115-8, 133, ISe-'S. 
ISBankhead, nos. 33, 34, 1847. M6x. en 1847, 14-18. G9S. Anna, order, 
vMar. 14. Anglo-Saxon, Mar. 13. 56Beach, report, June 4, 1847. Bus- 
tamante, Campana, 30. London Times, May 10. Britannia, May IS. 
Mexico & trav6s, iv, 577, 635-40. Ramirez, M6xieo, 184, 198-9, 205, 207, 
209-12, 215-8. 82GOV. Puebla, boletin No. 4 (S. Anna to Farias, Marj 6 ; 
Gil to Ruano, Mar. 6). 77Relaciones, circulars. Mar. 22 ; Apr. 1. Tributo 
i la Verdad, 76. 75Rej6n to S. Anna, Mar. 7. 84Palacios to Gov. S. L. 
P., Mar. 17. Republicano, Mar. 24. 75aHacienda, circular. Mar. 29. 
Puga y Acal, Docs., 62-3. Escudero, Mems., 19. Bustamante, Nuevo 
Bernal, ii, 146-7. Dubld,n, Legisl., v, 262-5. Locomotor, Jan. 18. 
Baz, Judrez, 47. Diario, Mar. 29, 1847 (Baz). The twenty-millions 
law had very httle effect, if any. Le Constiiutionnel, June 17, 1847 (The 
clergy have kept none of the promises by the aid of which they obtained 
the repeal of the confiscation of their property). 


1. "New volunteers," those called out in November. For the ten 
transports see chap, xviii, note 28. Jan. 18 Conner wrote to Scott that 
Santa Anna had moved, about January 1, against Taylor, but that from 
all accounts presumably Taylor had probably retired to Monterey (Ho. 
60; 30, 1, p. 893). It was therefore natural for Scott to feel satisfied that 
Santa Anna, learning of the expedition against Vera Cruz, would retrace 
his steps and reach that place in season. At Scott's instance a spy, selected 
by Consul Campbell with the aid of Consul Dimond (who visited Cuba 
for the purpose), was to have set out from Havana in January for Mexico 
City and San Luis Potosl (166Dimond to Conner, Jan. 15) ; but the author 
found no further trace of him. 

2. Some transports reached Ant6n Lizardo Feb. 27 and notified Conner 
that Scott was coming (162Conner, Feb. 27). Certain troops, leaving 
Tampico March 1, arrived at that rendezvous in advance of Scott (139 


W. B. Campbell to wife, Mar. 6). By sunset on March 5 about seventy 
sail had appeared there. 

3. To Ant&n Lizardo. Macgregor, Progress, i, 677. ITConner, Dec. 1 - 
1846; Feb. 17; Mar. 7, 10, 1847. 159Collins narrative. 298Porter, 
diary. 66Remarks in margin of chart of V. Cruz harbor. Le Clercq, 
Voyage, 401, 418. Robertson, Remins., 214-6. Campos, Recuerdos, 
31. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 238. Grant, Mems., i, 125. Hartman^' 
Journal, 6. Taylor, Broad Pennant, 123. Picayune, Mar. 26. Delta, 
Got. 16. Meade, Letters, i, 187. 65Scott, gen. orders 28, 33, 34, . S7: 
SlsSaxmders to Conner, Mar. 5. Oswandel, Notes, 63. Semmes, Ser- 
vice, 106, 109, 111. Kenly, Md. Volunteer, 266. Lawton, Artillery; 
Gflficer, 65-6, 68. 146Caswell, diary. 322Sinith, diary. Kitchen, Rec- 
ord, 21-2. 270Moore, diary. 327Sutherland, letter. Ballentine, Eng- 
lish Soldier, i, 257, 261. 254McClellah to sister, Feb. 23. Moore, 
Scott's Campaign, 1-4. Parker, Recoils., 49, 82. Washington Union, 
Apr. 6. Monitor Repub., Mar. 16. 164Scott to Conner, Feb. 22, 26. 
162Conner to wife, Aug. 10, 1846 ; Feb. 26, 27, 1847. Ho. 60 ; 30, 1, 
pp. 879, 892 (Conner) ; 896 (Hetzel) ; 893, 896, 899 (Scott) ; 568 (Jesup). 
Nebel and Kendall, 17. Diccionario Univ. {Anton Lizardo). Niles, 
Mar. 13, 1847, p. 21. 332Tennery, diary. Sedgwick, Corresp., i, 65. 
254McClellan, diary. 166Conner to Scott, Jan. 18 ; to Breese and to' 
Aulick, Feb. 28. Hammersly, Naval Encyclop., 94. 139W. B. CampbeU) 
to wife. Mar. 6. Smith, To Mexico, 108-10. 76Garay, Mar. 5. 76Cos,. 
Feb. 19, 21. 76Soto, Mar. 7. 76Watchman at Lliia, Mar. 5. 

4. For additional information regarding San Juan de Uliia the reader 
may consult chapters xviii and xxx. 

5. New York letters received in Cuba and made known at Mexico gave: 
notice that Scott planned to capture Vera Cruz before attacking Ulua 
(76Relaciones, Jan. 26) ; some Mexicans believed he would enter the 
Antigua River (which emptied a short distance to the north) with boats, 
and strike at once into the interior ; some thought he would land at Tux- 
pan, and march south along the coast ; and some ridiculed the idea of an 
attack upon Vera Cruz on the ground that, since the Americans could 
not possibly reach the capital by that route, it would be useless to capture 
the city (Monitor Repub., Mar. 28). Many argued that in any case Uliia 
would protect Vera Cruz. 

6. Besides fine old Spanish guns, there were new and heavy English 
pieces (Nacional, July 12, 1846) and twenty recently cast in the United 
States (Davis, Autobiog., 131). A battery of sixteen bronze long 24- 
pdrs., made in England in 1840, was pronounced by American artillery 
ofBcers "far superior" to anything of the sort they had seen elsewhere 
(213 Hatch to father, Apr. 2). It was in the city. As to the amount of 
ordnance in the city and castle accounts differed. Scott made it 400 
pieces; Hitchcock, upwards of 350; Balbontin, 113 mounted, 46 un- 
mounted at Uliia, 83 and 57 respectively at Vera Cruz ; G. T. M. Davis, 
390 effective pieces. The statement of the Mexican government, Decem- 
ber, 1846 (based of course on earlier reports), was as follows : Vera Cruz, 
mounted, bronze, eleven 24's, twenty 16's, six 12's, four 8's, four 4's, 
four mountain»4's, five 12-inch mortars, seven 8-inch howitzers, and of 
iron, mounted, three 42-lb. mortars, three 24-lb. cannon, five 12's, nine 
8's, six 13-inch mortars, two 9-inch mortars ; Uliia, bronze, mounted, thirty- 
six 24's, four 16's, four 8's, two 14-inch mortars, and of iron, mounted, 
ten 84-lb. mortars, ten 68-lb. mortars, sixteen 42-lb. mortars, fifty-one 


24-lb. cannon, two 16's, — a total of 224 besides a considerable number of 
unmounted pieces in both places, some of which were doubtless mounted 
later (Memoria de . . . Guerra). Still other guns were sent from the 
interior. Possibly some unserviceable ordnance may have been included 
in the highest American figures. BalbontJn gives the number of firearms 
as 7369 — half of the total number belonging to the government. Ripley 
(War with Mex., ii, 19) and Wilcox (Mex. War, 251) state that there 
was no ditch, but the weight of evidence seems to be against them. Perhaps 
the drifting sand filled the ditch before the Americans took the city. 

7. It was not easy to beheve that the factions at Mexico would not 
agree to turn their arms against the Americans on learning they had landed. 
March 9 the state of Vera Cruz issued a strong appeal to them and to the 
nation. Neutrals and valuable neutral property were taken aboard 
foreign war- vessels (12Matson to Giffard, Mar. 5). The American 
blockade had greatly impaired the resources of the state and city. A 
forced loan was imposed by the former, but no large receipts could be 

8. The accepted (not official) Mexican figures were 1030 for Ulda and 
3360 for Vera Cruz, but the authorities did not consider it obligatory to 
publish the correct number. ISMarch 11 the British consul, Giffard, 
reported the garrisons as about 1500 and 4000 respectively, and later 
(according to Mexican accounts that were probably rather flattering) 
more than 1000 threw themselves into the city. Santa Anna stated in 
April that Morales had 5000 in the town (76S. Anna, Apr. 29), but he was 
unfriendly to that officer. Scott's figures were 5000 besides those who 
perished or escaped during the siege; but before the surrender he heard 
the city alone had that number (Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 221). British naval 
officers stated there were about 6000 in city and castle (Meade, Letters, 
i, 188), and Col. Campbell was told there were 5-6000 (139to wife. Mar. 
6). The Mexicans complained of a lack of gunners, but their own figures 
were 680. No doubt the trtops were poorly cared for, but such was the 
custom. Robles counted for not a little. In the autumn of 1846 Landero, 
personally liked but considered wanting in abihty and regarded as a tool 
of Santa Anna, was made comte. gen. because Morales was strenuously 
denounced by Santa Anna as politically unsafe (76S. Anna, Got. 14) ; 
but on the approach of the crisis the people forced a change, and the con- 
fidence inspired by Morales enabled him (Landero admitted in his 76 
report, Apr. 3, 1847) to accompUsh more than the latter could have done. 
Particular resentment was felt against Santa Anna for taking away in 
August, 1846, the best regiment (the Eleventh Infantry). For the names 
of corps at Vera Cruz and UMa see Roa B^rcena, Recuerdos, 158. 

9. The situation at Vera Cruz and Ultla. ISConsul Giffard, Nov. 1 ; 
Dec. 1,- 1846; Feb. 28; Mar. 11, 1847. 52Consul Dimond, no. 336, 
May 2, 1846. Engineer School, U. S. Army, Occasional Papers, no. 16. 
218Henshaw narrative. 280Nunelee, diary. 159Collins, diary. 6Bravo 
to Tola, Apr. 18, 1846. 224Hitchcock, diary, Mar. 13. ISPakenham, 
no. 25, 1842. National, July 12, 1846. Constitutionnel, May 8, 1847. 
W. S. Parrott, Feb. 6, 1847. SOM^xico state legislature to people. 
Memoria de . . . Guerra, Dec, 1846, p. 22. (Cisterns, etc.) Lyon, 
Journal, ii, 221. Orbigny, Voyage, 407-8. Robertson, Visit, i, 232, 239. 
Ruxton, Adventures (London, 1847), 12-15. Robertson, Remins., 225-6, 
235, 237. Lerdo de Tejada, Apuntes, ii, 541-50, 552, 569. Naredo, 
Orizaba, i, 107-8. Scott. Mems., ii, 422. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 248. 


Ballentine, English Soldier, i, 288-9. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 239. Balbontin, 
Estado, 49-65. Tribute d, la Verdad, 17-26, 29, 88. Apuntes, 152-5. 
S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 33. Delta, Oct. 16, 1847. 350Weber, recoils. 12Mat- 
son to Giffard, Mar. 5, 1847 ; to Fischer, Mar. 8 ; to commodore, Mar. 
10, 25. Oswandel, Notes, 102. Semmes, Service, 102, 104^6. 139W. 
B. Campbell to D. C, Mar. 20. Rivera, Jalapa, iii, 56, 865. Otero, 
Comunicaci6n, 11. Diario, Apr. 8. Republicano, Dec. 8, 1846. 86Rela- 
ciones to gov., Jan. 27, 1847 ; reply, Feb. 1. 86State treas. to gov., Jan. 
15. 86Morales to gov., Feb. 8. 90Soto, proclam., Mar. 2. 90/d. to 
state congress, Dec. 1, 1846. lOOV. Cruz ayunt. to prefect, June 4, 

1846. lOOBravo to ayunt., June 9, 1846. lOOAyunt. to jefe of dept , 
Oct. 26, 1846. lOOSoto, proclam., Feb. 6, 1847. 887d., proclam., Feb. 
15, 1847. Regenerad-r Rei:ub. Puebia, Mar. 13 ; Apr. 7, 1847. 82Noti- 
cias de V. Cruz. Kenly, Md. Volunteer, 267. Mexico d trav6s, iv, 600. 
Lawton, Artillery Officer, 67, 105-7. El Estado de Veracruz d Todos. 
Memoria de . . . Guerra, Dec, 1846. 146CasweIl, diary. ZTOMoore, 
diary. 73Bermudez de Castro, nos. 441, 445, Feb. 28; Mar. 2, 1847. 
Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 67. Valois, Mexique, 40-43. 27lMorales 
to commander of Ulua, Oct. 20, 1846. Moore, Scott's Campaign, 12. 
Conner, Castle of S. Juan de UUoa, 13. Parker, Recoils., 79. (Learned) 
Monitor Repub., Nov. 13, 30, 1846; Mar. 28, 1847. Negrete, Invasidn, 
iv, app., 413-4. 166CampbelI to Conner, Jan. 9, 1847. 166Pommares to 
Conner, Oct. 15, 1846. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 911, 1169 (Scott). Meade, 
Letters, i, 188. Diccionario Univ. (Ulua). 47Conner, Oct. 4, 1846. 
1657d. to Scott, Jan. 18; Feb. 5, 1847. lOOSoto to jefe, V. Cr. dept., 
Sept. 17, 1846. lOOJefe to V. Cr. ayunt., Dec. 21, 1846. Bishop, .Journal, 
29. mies, May 9, 1846, p. 160. So. Quart. Rev., July, 1851. 86V. Cruz 
congress, manifiesto. Mar. 9. And from 76 the following. A large amount 
of correspondence between the dept. and successive commanders at Vera 
Cruz, particularly in March, April, Sept. and Oct., 1846, Jan. and Feb., 

1847, relating to the fortifications, garrison, supplies and dangers of the 
city and Uliia. S. Anna, Oct. 12, 14, 20, 1846; Jan. 14, 18; Apr. 29, 
1847. Morales, Jan. 20, 1847. Tampico letter to Garay, Jan. 25. Soto, 
Feb. 7, 15; Mar. 7, etc. Morales, Feb. 9, 15; Mar. 4, 5, etc. Boletin de 
la Democracia, Mar. 2, 1847 (N. Y. letter, Jan. 8). To S. Anna, Oct. 
17, 1846; Jan. 30, 1847. To Morales, Mar. 6, 7. Morales, proclam., 
Mar. 5. Landero, report, Apr. 3. Jalapa letter. Mar. 16. CanaUzo 
to Hacienda, Jan. 11. Landero, Jan. 25, 1847. J. Alvarez, Oct. 21, 
1846. Memo., Feb. 9, 1847. Tampico letter, Dec. 30, 1846. Morales 
to Marin, Mar. 11. 

10. What Scott called his "Uttle cabinet" consisted of Col. Totten 
(chief engineer), Lieut. Col. Hitchcock (acting inspector general), Capt. 
Robert E. Lee ([engineer) and H. L. Scott (acting as miUtary secretary). 
Col. James Bankhead was chief artillery officer, Capt. Huger was acting 
chief of ordnance, and Maj. TurnbuU was the chief topographical engineer 
(Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 239-40). Col. Harney commanded the regular cavalry, 
and Capt. Edson commanded three companies of marines loaned by 
Conner, and temporarily attached to the Third Artillery. At this time 
the engineers, artillery and cavalry were kept by Scott under his immediate 
orders. While at Lobos Islands he laid down the rule (65gen. orders 
33) that every project of siege or bombardment should first be discussed 
between the senior engineer and artillery officers and then reported to him 
for approval or amendment. Hence the detailed plan for the operations 


at Vera Cruz came formally from Totten, and he has been credited with 
originating it. 

11. Simms wrote to Gov. Hammond of South Carolina that Scott's 
operations at Vera Cruz lacked brilliancy. 

12. Conner had reckoned upon the starvation method; but (1) the 
amount of supplies in the town and castle was not certainly known and, 
as we shall find, was too large for this method ; (2) fishing was a resource 
of unmeasured value (even from the mole great quantities of fish were 
caught : Delta, Oct. 16, 1847) ; (3) it was possible that on some night the 
American hne might be temporarily broken, and thousands of cattle be 
run into the city; (4) as British observers agreed, the Mexicans were, 
capable of bearing privations for a long while; (5) Scott rested under 
an imperative obligation to remove his army from the coast in, time to 
save it from the v6mito ; and (6) he had to count on reducing Uliia after 
capturing the city. 

13. ISGiffard, Mar. 11. Scott, Mems., ii, 422-5. Ballentine, English 
Soldier, ii, 3-6. Davis, Autobiog., 140-1. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. .223, 
239. Balbontin, Estado, 53, 55. 65Scott, gen. orders 33. 12Matson 
to commodore. Mar. 11, 25. Steele, Amer. Campaigns, i, 120. N. Y. 
Sun, Aug. 16, 1847 (Scott should have left 5000 to reduce V. Cruz). 
So. Quart. Rev., July, 1851. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 47-9. Oswandel, Notes, 
101. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 892 (Conner). McCall, Letters, 483. Moore, 
Scott's Camp., 12. 

14. This seems like a foolhardy performance ; but other boats had gone 
as near without being fired upon, and the Petrita was supposed to be out 
of range (Mag. Am. Hist., xiv, 567). The engineers intended of course 
to get as near as they could with safety, and it is possible that Scott wished 
to set an example of fearlessness. McCall, who was on board, wrote that 
this occurred on Mar. 6 ; other accounts place it on the seventh. 

15. Just as the fleet was leaving Ant6n Lizardo, 800 Louisiana volun- 
teers arrived. These, with a shipload who came some hours later, gave 
Scott upwards of 11,000 men. His 62return of Mar. 25 included 

16. With some Ught guns, which would probably have been lost, a 
thousand Americans might have been accounted for. It has been sug- 
gested that until the boats moved toward the shore the Mexicans did not 
know where the blow would fall; but their own explanation was that 
they had no suitable troops to spare for the purpose (Tributo & la Verdad, 
28). Morales had, however, what he called an Extra-muros section, 
i.e., miUtia. A lack of intelligence, enterprise or nerve was doubtless the 
real caiuse of his remissness. The one shot mentioned in the text probably 
came from a gun found later among the dunes (69Backus to Brady, Sept. 
22, 1848). A company of sappers and miners and an iron boat loaded 
with entrenching tools and sand-bags accompanied Worth's brigade. 
Less than half the surf-boats ordered by Scott had arrived. 

17. The landing. Bullock, Six Months (1825), i, 10. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, 
pp. 216-8, 220, 222 (Scott); 239^0 (gen. orders 80). Ho. 1; 30, 2. 
pp. 1177-9. Apuntes, 153. Engineer School, U. S. Army, Occasional 
Papers, no. 16. 218Henshaw narrative. 280Nunelee, diary. 216Hei- 
man. First Regt. of Tenn. 159Collins, diary. 298Porter, diary. 69Bac- 
kus to Brady, Sept. 22, 1848. Robertson, Remins., 216-9. Lerdo de 
Tejada, Apuntes, ii, 540, 551. Scott, Mems., ii, 413-4, 418-9, 421. Bal- 
lentine, English Soldier, i, 292-303. Davis, Autobiog., 125. Tributo A 


la Verdad, 28, etc. McCall, Letters, 475. Taylor, Broad Pennant, 125, 
Picayune, Mar. 25. Meade, Letters, 187-8. 65Scott, gen. orders 28, 
33, 34, 42, 45. laMatson to commodore, Mar. 11. Oswandel, Notes, 
()7-70, 83. Semmes, Service, 111, 125-7. Ramirez, M6xico, 234. Law- 
ton, Artillery Officer, 74, 79, 167. 270Moore, diary. Journ. Milit. Sen. 
Instil., V, 37 ; xxiv, 422-8. Moore, Scott's Campaign, 5. Reuue des Deux 
Mondes, Aug. 1, 1847, p. 418. Conner, Home Squadron, 18-20, 60-70. 
Smith, To Mexico, 113-4. Nebel and Kendall, 17. Parker, Recoils., 
49, 83, 85-6. 162Conuer to wife, Jan. 11; Mar. 10, United Service, 
July, 1895, p. 37; Dec, 1896, pp. 492-517. Stevens, I. I. Stevens, i, 
108. Jones, TattnaU, 58. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 847, 1169 (Scott); 892 
(Conner). Sedgwick, Corresp., i, 71-2. 254McClellan, diary. 165Con- 
ner, Mar. 11; order, Mar. 7; to Forrest, Mar. 7. 316Judd to Sherman, 
Feb. 26, 1848. Mag. of Amer. Hist., xiv (Scammon). So. Quart. Rev., 
July, 1851. 139W. B. Campbell to wife, Mar. 13. 76Morales, Mar. 9, 10. 
76Landero, report, Apr. 3. 

18. The consuls were in close touch with one another and with the Mex- 
icans, and hence the charge that Scott gave no warning of a bombardment 
falls to the ground. He could not be expected to state positively and 
precisely what he intended to do. By Mar. 13 Morales reached the con- 
clusion that he would not assault (82M. to gov. Puebla, Mar. 13), and 
by Mar. 20 that a bombardment was to be expected (76M. to Guerra y 
Marina, Mar. 20). Intercourse with neutral vessels was allowed to remain 
open until the morning of Mar. 23 (12Matson to commodore, Mar. 25), 
mainly as a Way of escape for neutrals (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 230) (closed then 
— • except under a flag of truce — because affording moral aid and -comfort 
ibid., p. 228) ; and Matson, the British naval commander, warned the 
British residents with his utmost energy that they would not be safe dur- 
ing "an assault or a Bombardment" (12M. to commodore, Apr. 2). He 
was notified in advance that intercourse with neutral vessels would shortly 
be cut off, and ^o informed Giffard officially on March 18 for the benefit 
of British residents (12M. to commodore, March 25). Scott's warn- 
ing note to the Spanish consul (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 219) referred to the city, 
not to UWa, for the consuls resided in the city; yet Matson and Giffard 
had the face to assert that on the authority of Conner they understood 
that only Ultia would be bombarded. Matson admitted that he did this 
for effect on Perry (12to commodore, Apr. 2) ; and he did not question 
Scott's right to act as he did (12to Perry, Mar. 27). Again, Scott's sum- 
mons stated that batteries adequate to reduce the city were in readiness, 
and this was further notice of a bombardment. Everything compatible 
with the military necessities of the United States was thus done for neu- 
trals and non-combatants. Moreover Morales replied that Scott might 
attack in the way he thought most advantageous (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 227). 
The truth is that the people were full of fighting spirit, did not know what 
real war meant, and felt not a little confidence. Giffard certainly (12Mat- 
son to commodore, Mar. 25) and (as Perry reported, 470ct. 22) the other 
consuls probably took under their protection large quantities of property 
belonging to Mexicans. By means of kites the Mexicans distributed 
addresses to the "honest" Americans, defying their prowess but inviting 
them to accept lands, as friends and brethren, in the country of perpetual 

19. The Americans admitted the skill of the Mexican gunners. Twenty- 
eight balls were put through a wall five feet high and 150 feet long, more 
VOL. ir — 7 


than a mile distant. Americans were supposed to be lying behind the 
wall (Kenly, Md. Volunteer, 267). 

20. Scott still supposed Uliia would have to be reduced after the cap- 
ture of Vera Cruz, and felt greatly troubled by the non-arrival of the 
larger part of the heavy ordnance, etc., that had been duly called for (Sen. 
1; 30, 1, p. 222). He was annoyed also by his lack of enough cavalry 
for thorough reconnoitring, and by the passing and repassing of small 
boats between the city and the north shore. Owing to the treacherous 
weather none of the American vessels could he close enough to the coast 
to stop this intercourse entirely. A sortie against the batteries was to 
be anticipated, but access to them was made so easy and secure that such 
an attack could have been repulsed. The squadron endeavored to divert 
the attention of the enemy while the mortars were being placed. 

21. Scott's preliminary operations. ISGiffard, Feb. 28, 1847. Engi- 
neer School, U. S. A., Occas. Papers, no. 16. 218Henshaw narrative. 
Charleston Mercury, Apr. 6, 1847. 280Nunelee, diary. Trans. Ills. 
State Hist. Soc, 1906, p. 179. ISSCoUins, diary. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 
216-25, 244-9 (reports of Scott and his officers). Ho. 1; 30, 2, p. 1177 
(Conner). 298Porter, diary. eiBankhead to Scott, Mar. 26. eOPickett 

to ^ , Mar. 10. Robertson, Remins., 220-27. Lerdo de Tejada, 

Apuntes, ii, 552. Scott, Mems., ii, 426. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 240-5. 
Grant, Mems., i, 127. Ballentine, English Soldier, i, 304r-6; ii, 18-9. 
Davis, Autobiog., 126. Tributo d la Verdad, 29. McCall, Letters, 477. 
Hartman, Journal, 7-8. Picayune, Mar. 26, 30, 31 ; Apr. 2, 4. Meade, 
Letters, i, 191. 350Weber, recoils. 65Scott, gen. orders, nos. 33, 53. 
McCabe, Lee, 17. 12Matson to commodore, Mar. 11. Oswandel, 
Notes, 71-85. Semmes, Service, 129. 139W. B. Campbell to D. C, Mar. 
20. 210Simms to Hammond, May 1. Lawton, Artillery Officer, 73, 
78, 81, 84, 89. 124Blocklenger, letter. 270Moore, diary. Steele, Amer. 
Campaigns, i, 106. Nebel and Kendall, 18-9. :W Scott to Conner, Mar. 
16. Griffis, Perry, 216. Conner, Home Squadron, 68. Monitor Repub., 
Mar. 16. lG4Scott to Conner, Mar. 17, 18, 19, 20. Spirit of the Times, 
Apr. 17. 166Dimond to Conner, Jan. 15. 166Campbell to Conner, 
Jan. 9. United Service, July, 1895, p. 37. Jones, Tattnall, 57. Ho. 
60; 30, 1, p. 1169 (Scott). 254McClellan, diary. 165Conner to Scott, 
Mar. 19. Bishop, Journal, 29. So. Quart. Rev., July, 1851. 76Morales, 
Mar. 10, 16. TSCano, Mar. 26. Mag. of Amer. Hist., xiv, 567. 

22. The mosquito fleet consisted of the steamers Spitfire and Vixen. 
under Commanders J. Tattnall and J. R. Sands, and the gunboats Bonita, 
Reefer, Petrel, Falcon and Tampico under Lieuts. Commanding F. G. 
Benham, J. S. Sterett, T. D. Shaw, J. J. Glasson and W. P. Grifiin (Ho. 
1 ; 30, 2, p. 1182). Each had a 32-pounder or 8-inch Paixhan. Addi- 
tional information may be found in chap. xxx. 

23. The parapet of the naval battery (known as No. 5) was of sand- 
bags. Each of the guns weighed 6300 pounds, and was mounted on a 
ship-carriage, so that transportation on land was extremely laborious. 
They were taken ashore March 23, and some 1500 men were employed 
in dragging them nearly two and a half miles through the sand. Scott 
did not value the shell guns highly. They were 8-irch Paixhans. Cap- 
tains Auliok and Mayo commanded the battery alternately. According 
to Robert Anderson the orders for the battery were issued by Conner 
(Lawton, Artill. Officer, 101) who had repeatedly offered it before Scott 
gave up the hope of receiving adequate army ordnance in time (Conner, 


Home Squad., 47, note 3). Early on the morning of March 23 Perry (who 
had withdrawn the mosquito fleet the previous evening) had Tattnall 
launch a sharp though brief attack, presumably to divert attention from 
the naval battery, then under construction. An officer who gained fame 
later as Commodore Porter was Tattnall's pilot. The opening of Battery 
No. 4 (24-pounders, etc.) was delayed by a norther, and one of the howitzers 
was not ready as soon as the other pieces. Only about half of the siege- 
train and ordnance stores called for in November arrived before Vera 
Cruz surrendered (see chap, xvui, note 11). 

24. Summons and bombardment. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 222-44 (reports 
of Scott and his officers ; summons and reply ; etc.) ; 230 (Scott to con- 
suls. Mar. 25). Ho. 1 ; 30, 2, pp. 1175-83 (naval reports). ISMorales, 
circular, Apr. 4. ISGiffard, nos. 7, 8, Mar. 22, 29. 12Matson to commo- 
dore. Mar. 25, 28; Apr. 2; to Perry, Mar. 27. 47Perry, Mar. 26; Oct. 
22. Henshaw narrative. Nunelee, diary. 216Heiman, First Regt. 
Trans. 111. State Hist. Soc, 1906, pp. 179-80. Collins, diary. 224Hitch- 
cock to Lizzie, Mar. 27. 60Perry to Mason, Mar. 25. eoScott to Perry 

and reply, Mar. 25. SlBankhead to Scott, Mar. 26. eoPickett to , 

Mar. 10. Robertson, Remins., 227-32, 278. Lerdo de Tejada, Apuntes, 
ii, 555. Scott, Mems., ii, 426-7. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 244^7. Ba^- 
lentine, English Soldier, ii, 24. Davis, Autobiog., 127. A Soldier's 
Honor, 24. Apuntes, 155-8. Tributo d, la Verdad, 30-1, 109. McCaU, 
Letters, 480. Nebel and Kendall, 19-21. Hartman, Journal, 9-10. 
Picayune, Api. A. Meade, Letters, i, 192. F. Lee, Lee, 36-7. McClay, 
Navy, ii, 180-1, 183. Oswandel, Notes, 90-5. Semmes, Service, 130- 
42. 139W. B. Campbell to D. C, Mar. 28. Diario, Mar. 29 ; Apr. 10. 
Regenerador Repub., Apr. 7. Kenly, Md. Volunteer, 267. Lawton, 
Artillery Off., 91-7, 101, 104. Caswell, diary. 322Smith, diary. Moore, 
diary. 358Williams to father, Mar. 25, 28. Judah, diary. Moore, 
Scott's Campaign, 15. Arnold, Jackson, 84. Conner, Home Squadron, 
47, note 3. Wash. Union, Sept. 11. N. Y. Sun, Apr. 16. 162Conner 
to wife, Mar. 31. Soley, Porter, 67-9. Jones, TattnaU, 57. Ho. 60; 
30, 1, pp. 913, 1220 (Scott). ISOScott to Stribling, Mar. 25. Ramsey, 
Other Side, 190, note. Bishop, Journal. So. Quart. Rev., July, 1851. 
Weekly Courier and N. Y. Enquirer, Mar. 2, 1848 (letter probably by Hitch- 
cock). Griffis, Perry, 221-3. Furber, Twelve Months Vol., 519-40 
76G.G6mez, Mar. 25. 76Soto, Mar. 28. 76Morales, Mar. 24. 76Vega 
Mar. 25. 

25. March 24 the consuls requested Scott to grant a truce and allow the 
women and children to leave town (12Matson to commodore, Apr. 2). 
With perfect propriety he declined to do so (Scott, Mems., ii, 427), unless 
Morales should ask for a truce with a view to surrender (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, 
p. 226), pointing out that due warnings had been given (note 18). He 
could not afford to suspend his operations or let the number of mouths 
be diminished ; and doubtless he was counting on the moral effect of the 
presence of women and children. Time pressed ; there were well-founded 
reports that a Mexican army was approaching ; and cases of yellow fever 
had occurred (Scott, Mems., ii, 427, and see Davis, Autobiog., 141). 
Scott's action looks hard, but it was humane to force an immediate s\ir- 
render. Roa Bdrcena (Recuerdos, 178) fully' admits that the American 
policy was just. This move of the consuls tended to shake the confidence 
of the Mexicans, and led to dissensions among the oflacers. 

March 25 Harney was sent against a force posted at a bridge near Medel- 


lin, about ten miles from Vera Cruz (Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 250-2). Includ- 
ing reinforcements, his detachment consisted of about 500 men with artil- 
lery. The independent reports of the two principal Mexican officers give 
their number as 140-50 with scarcely any ammunition. Harney thought 
there were 2000 of them, and claimed great credit for carrying the day. 
His orders were to reconnoitre only. There were other insignificant 
affairs (Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 249-55; Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 915; Reavis, Har- 
ney, 186). 

26. On the Mexican side. ISGiffard, Mar. 11, 29. IZMatson to com- 
modore, Mar. 25 ; Apr. 2. Papeles Varios, no. 10. Henshaw narrative. 
Nunelee, diary. Colhns, diary. Robertson, Remins., 222. Lerdo de 
Tejada, Apuntes, ii, 552-3, etc. Ballentine, EngUsh Soldier, ii, 32-3. 
Davis, Autobiog., 138. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 220-38 (reports, etc.). Tribute 
k la Verdad, 29,' 30, 109 (Ult. Boletin). Apuntes, 157-60. Picayune, 
Apr. 9. (Fish) Delta, Oct. 16. 312Morales, Apr. 3. Revue de Pans, 
Dec, 1844. Semmes, Service, 149. 82Noticiaa de Veracruz. 86Relar 
clones to gov., Jan. 27. 86 Treasurer to gov., Jan. 15. 86Many letters 
regarding inability to pay the tax. lOOMorales to ayunt.. Mar. 12, 17, 
20; reply, Mar. 14. 95lbarra, proclam.. Mar. 23. Regenerador Repub., 
Apr. 7. 82Gov. f,o legislatiu-e of Puebla, Mar. 9. 82lbarra, proclam.. 
Mar. 17. 82Morales to gov. Puebla, Mar. 13. 86/d. to Soto, Mar. 8. 
Lawton, Artillery Off., 106-7. Caswell, diary. Moore, diary. 375 
Morales to Soto, Mar. 14. Monitor Repub., Apr. 4. Spirit of the Times, 
Apr. 17. SOLegislature of M6x. state, address. IGSConner to Scott, 
Mar. 19. Bishop, Journal. And from 76 the following. Comte. gen. 
Puebla, proclam.. Mar. 16. Arrieta, Mar. 15. Cano, Mar. 26. S. 
Anna, Apr. 29. Memo., Feb. 9. F. Vdzquez, Mar. 26. Soto, Jan. 23, 
26; Mar. 7, 9, 19, 24, 25 (two). G. G6mez, Mar. 18, 19, 20 (two). Vega, 
Mar. 24, 25 (two). CanaUzo, Apr. 1. Morales, Mar. 5, 10, 16, 20, 24. 
Landero, Jan. 30, Apr. 3. Hacienda, Mar. 15. To G. G6mez, Mar. 
16. To Soto, Mai-. 28. And many documents of minor importance. 

27. Morales, probably in view of Santa Anna's enmity, would not 
surrender though he believed he ought to do so (76Landero, Apr. 3), but 
he turned the command over to Landero when capitulation was seen to be 
inevitable, and left the city in a boat during the night of March 25-6. 
He induced Gen. Jos6 Durdn, who commanded at Uliia, to regard himself 
as under Landero's orders, it was stated by Santa Anna (76Apr. 29), 
and so brought about the surrender of the castle. This apparently sin- 
gular move was doubtless made to save Vera Cruz from being bombarded 
by UWa. (Recognizing this danger to the city, Scott intimated, when 
summoning the town, that no batteries would be established in it against 
Ulua, imless UWa should open fire upon it.) There was considerable 
dissatisfaction among the Americans because the prisoners were set free, 
for their parole was justly deemed of slight value ; but it would have been 
costly, and perhaps not easy, to hold them at Vera Cruz or send them to 
the United States, and they did good service by spreading tales of American 
prowess. Mar. 26 the consuls went to Scott's camp under a white flag, 
but he would not see them (12Matson to commodore, Apr. 2). On the 
morning of March 27 two boat-loads of neutrals under the French flag 
attempted to reach- the neutral vessels at Sacrificios, but Perry would 
not allow them to proceed (12Matson to commodore, Apr. 2). (Roa 
Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 178, admits that Perry's course was proper.) At 
about the same time the consuls and the second alcalde threatened that 


unless the military chiefs would promptly bring hostilities to an end, they 
would lead the non-combatants toward the American lines at the risk of 
being fired upon. This was said to have had great effect in town, but the 
chiefs had already decided to give up. Owing to bad weather the navy 
was not represented at all the deliberations. Some of the American mili- 
tary men felt that the share of the navy did not entitle its representative 
to sign the capitulation. It was stated by Sedgwick that, aside from the 
investment, only about 600 Americans took part in the operations. 

28. Next to Matson's figures our best evidence regarding the casualties 
is the statement of Giffard, that hundreds of women and children, harbored 
at the consulates, escaped from harm though the buildings suffered (13 
Mar. 29). Many other buildings were no doubt equally solid and equally 
distant from the principal scene of destruction. Vera Cruz was a great 
importing city, where large stocks of goods needed to be secm-ely housed. 
Mercantile estabhshments had strong vaults, in which families now took 
refuge. Many found safety on the long mole. Scott asserted that motet 
of the people were sheltered in the basements. Consequently one can 
hardly beheve that more than 500 persons out of a civihan population prob- 
ably not exceeding 3000 were injured. Lieut. Mackall beheved that 
perhaps thirty or forty soldiers were killed or wounded (252Apr. 30). 
Kendall, editor of the New Orleans Picayune, who was on the ground, 
represented 150 as a mean estimate of the total number that perished 
(Picayune, Apr. 9). Landero reported 750 killed and 200 wounded (76 
Apr. 3), evidently an absurd statement, for a greater number must have 
been hurt than kOled. Other Mexican estimates rose as high as 600 civil- 
ians killed, which would imply on a reasonable calculation that almost 
every civihan was hit. One of the best Mexican authorities {Apuntes, 
165) states that 600 or more soldiers were wounded, and 400 of these 
lost their lives. This is far too large a percentage of fatalities. How 
accurate this authority is may be judged also from the fact that the 
Americans are said to have thrown 6700 projectiles into the town, whereas 
(Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 244) the number was actually about 2500 (possibly 
besides those from the naval battery, which iriay have thrown 800). 
It is worth while to add that Scott was persistently represented (partly 
to exalt the Mexicans and partly to injure the Americans) as having de- 
stroyed a great number of non-combatants, but Morales wrote on March 
24 that most of the killed and wounded had been soldiers. 

Next let us inquire as to the provisions. Giffard stated (ISMar. 29) 
that when the Mexicans surrendered, the city had food enough for three 
days and the castle for ten; but probably he had reference only to the 
provisions belonging to the authorities, and perhaps, as he had objected 
strongly to the destruction of property and tried to stop the bombardment 
by sending word to Scott that hunger would force the Mexicans to yield 
in a few days, he felt compelled to support that representation. March 
10 Conner thought the enemy had subsistence enough for about four or 
five weeks (Ho. 1; 30, 2, p. 1179). 76April 29, after having talked with 
officers from Vera Cruz, Santa Anna assured the minister of war that 
Morales could have held out until he (Santa Anna) could have arrived 
with regular forces. Gov. Soto, who went down to the coast, where he was 
in communication with the city by means of boats and doubtless knew 
whether stocks of foodstuffs (belonging perhaps to neutrals) existed there, 
placed drafts for 130,000, payable at Vera Cruz, in the hands of Morales 
on March 24 (76Soto, Mdrch 25). This moiiey must have been intended 


Solely or principally for provisions, for on the fourteenth Morales had 
written to Soto that nothing else was needed. On the same day $2000 
from Oaxaca were delivered. These sums would have purchased enough 
food to last beyond April 15. About March 17 a French barque ran in 
during a norther, which shows that supphes from the outside could be hoped 
for. The property loss due to the bombardment was estimated at five 
to six milhon dollars (Monitor Repub., Apr. 4). The southwest quarter 
of the town was demolished. It was ordered that not only Morales, but 
Landero and Durdn should be tried. Besides disliking Morales, Santa 
Anna felt resentment against Vera Cruz for receiving him so coldly in 
August, 1846. 

29. The surrender; losses (note 28). Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 224^6 (Scott); 
228 (consuls) ; 229-38 (Scott, etc.); 239 (gen. orders 80). Apuntes, 159- 
66. McCall, Letters, 483-*4. Picayune, Apr. 9. 252Maokall to father, 
Mar. 30. 312Morales, Apr. 3. 12Matson to commodore. Mar. 25; 
Apr. 2; to Perry, Mar. 27; reply. Mar. 27. Semmes, Service, 141. 
Diario, Mar. 27; Apr. 4, 8. Begenerador Repub., Apr. 7. Lawton, 
Artillery Off., 98, 100, 106. Hiney, diary. 358Wilhams to father. Mar. 
28. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 160. 375Morales to Soto, Mar. 14. 
Monitor Repub., Apr. 4, 5. N. Y. Sun, Aug.' 16. 166Kirby to Conner, 
Mar. 27. Ho. 1 ; 30, 2, p. 1186. Mag. of Amer. Hist., xiv, 570. Bishop, 
Journal. ISGiffard, nos. 7, 8, Mar. 22, 29. Henshaw narrative. Collins, 
diary. 95Puebla ayunt., address, Apr. 7 (V. Cruz yielded because of "the 
lameiitations of innocent famiUes expecting every instant to die ")■ Roa 
Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 177-9. Tributo & la Verdad, 109 (Ult. Bol.). Nebel 
and Kendall, 21. Robertson, Remins., 232. Lerdo de Tejada, Apuntes, 
ii, 558-69. Scott, Mems., ii, 427-9. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 243-8. 
76Landero, Apr. 3. 76/d. to Canalizo, Mar. 31. 76Canalizo, Apr. 1. 
76S. Anna, Apr. 4, 29. 76To S. Anna, May 4. 76Terms of capitula- 
tion. The date of the capitulation was Mar. 27. 

Had Vera Cruz held out until April 15, perhaps 5000 regulars would 
have been in Scott's rear (chap, xxiii, note 12). With this backing, 
3-4000 irregulars could probably have been embodied. By means of 
signals and boat communication operations in concert with the garrison 
of Vera Cruz could have been arranged for, and the prospect would have 
encouraged the city to hold out to the uttermost. Very likely Scott's 
hne could have been broken, and provisions introduced. He could not, 
then, before the advent of the yellow fever, have reduced Uliia and Vera 
Cruz, and have made the preparations necessary for advancing into a 
hostile region in the face of a numerous enemy. When the fever became 
active, Santa Anna's upper country troops could have retired quickly, 
leaving the Americans to be annoyed by the coast forces. Other diseases 
quite as fatal as the v6mito prevailed in that district (Thompson, Recoils., ' 
4). Lieut. Hatch (to father, Apr. 2) wrote that all attributed the sur- 
render to the effect of Scott's artillery upon the civilians, and the circum- 
stances prove as much. . 

30. The northers, though in themselves a scourge, drove the mosquitoes 
away, and so prevented the yellow fever. They subsided about the middle 
of April, and then the fever was due. 

31. Hardships and consolations. (Losses) Ho. 24; 31, 1; Sen. 1; 
30, 1, pp. 253-5; Ho. 1; 30, 2, p. 1185 (naval). Henshaw narrative.' 
Charleston Mercury, Apr. 6. Nunelee, diary. Collins, diary. American 
Eagle, V. Cruz, Apr. 8. GOPickett to , Mar. 10. Vigne, Travels, i, 


8. Robertson, Remins., 223, 226-7. Campos, Recuerdos, 31. Scott. 
Mems., ii, 430. Ballentine, English Soldier, ii, 8, 15. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 
221 (gen. orders 54); 224^6 (Scott, Mar. 23). Picayune, Apr. 4. 360 
Weber, recoils. Maury, RecoUs., 34. 12Matson to commodore. Mar. 
11, 25. Oswandel, Notes, 71-4, 79-81. Semmes, Service, 107-8. Law- 
ton, Artillery 0£f., 79, 88, 96. Gilliam, Travels, 40. 36lWoods, recoils. 
Caswell, diary. 327Sutherland to father, July 15. Moore, diary. 136 
Butterfield, recoUs. Spirit of the Times, Apr. 17. Stevens, I. I. Stevens, 
i, 115. Tennery, diary. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 879 (Conner). Brucll, Sea 
Memories, 57. Lancaster Co. Hist. Soc. Mag., Mar. 6, 1908 (Nauman). 
Our army loss was nine liilled and fifty-one wounded (Ho. 24; 31, 1). 
32. Occupation of city and "castle." American Eagle, V. Cruz, Apr. 

6. Nunelee, diary. Collins, diary. Polk, Diary, May 15. Robertson, 
Remins., 232. Lerdo de Tejada, Apuntes, ii, 567-8. Naredo, Orizaba, 
108. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 247. Davis, Autobiog., 129-30. Sen. 
1; 30, 1, pp. 229, 235 (Scott); 237-8. Ho. 1; 30, 2, p. 1185 (Perry). 
Apuntes, 166-7. Picayune, Apr. 9, 10, 14. Lawton, Artillery Off., 110., 
252MackaU to father. Mar. 30. 12Matson to commodore, Apr. 2. Os- 
wandel, Notes, 98. Semmes, Service, 145-6. Regenerador Bepub., Apr. 

7. Lawton, Artillery Off., 102-3. 222Hiney, diary. 146Caswell, diary 
322Smith, diary. 270Moore, diary. Id., Scott's Campaign, 23. Ho.. 
60; 30, 1, p. 907 (Marcy) ; 911 (Scott). Tennery, diary. Sedgwipk, 
Corresp., i, 79-80. Bishop, Journal. Littell, no. 157, p. 326 (Hine)., 
139W. B. Campbell to wife. Mar. 31. Britannia, May 15 (V. Cruz letter, 
Apr. 1). 76Landero, gen. orders. Mar. 29-30. 76S. Anna, Apr. 29. Nebel 
and Kendall, 21. 

Some of the National Guards brpke up and took flight in order to avoid 
surrendering. As fast as the arms were stacked American sentries mounted 
guard over them. When the Mexican soldiers found the victors offering 
to divide rations with them, their sentiments became friendly, and most of 
those belonging at Vera Cruz went back to town that day. 


1. According to a memo, furnished by the adjutant general to the 
ordnance bureau, Mar. 24, Scott's forces were as follows. I. REGULARS. 
1 Dragoons, Co. F. 2 Dragoons, Cos. A, B, C, F, I, K. *Mounted Rifle- 
men (on foot). 1 Art., Co. K. 2 Art., Co. A. 3 Art., Co. H. (These 
three companies had field batteries.) Artillery serving as infantry: *1 
Art., Cos. B, F, G, H, I; S Art., Cos. B, C, D, F, G, H, I, K; 3 Art., Cos. 
A, B, D, G, K; *4 Art., Cos. A, D, E, F, G, H. 1 Inf., Cos. C, E, F, G, H, 
K. *2 Inf., Cos. A, B, D, E, F, G, H, I, K. *3 Inf., Cos. C, D, F, G, 
H, I, K. 4 Inf., Cos. A, B, C, D, E, I. 5 Inf., Cos. E, F, G, H, I, K. 6 
Inf., Cos. A, C, D, E, F, H. *7 Inf., Cos. C, D, E, F, I, K. S Inf., Cos. 
A, B, D, E, H, I, K. (Itahcs indicate the division of Bvt. Maj. Gen. 
Worth; asterisks that of Brig. Gen. Twiggs.) II. VOLUNTEERS. 
(Maj. Gen. Patterson.) Tenn. Mounted regt. Infantry: Baltimore and 
Wash, battal.; Ga. regt.; Ala. regt.; two Tenn. regts. ; two 111. regts. ; 
Ky. CO. ; La. co. ; La. regt. ; two Pa. regts. ; N. Y. regt. ; S. C. regt. This 
list includes troops not mentioned by Scott (Mems., ii, 460-5). As 
Worth was now serving with his brevet rank his command was called a 
division. The same change was made in Twiggs's case. A letter of 
Mar. 13 from Marcy, due to a suggestion from Polk of the day before^ 


urged Scott to make the protection of the troops against yellow fever his 
prime consideration (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 904; Polk, Diary, Mar. 12, 20). 
At the same time it gave a slanting assent to the movement against the 
capital by discussing the question of roads. This was Scott's first authori- 
zation to proceed (So. Quart. Rev., Apr., 1852), and the Cabinet had not 
decided to have him do so, though he had assumed that Benton's plan, 
endorsed by himself, was the basis of his expedition (Ho. 60 ; 30, 1, p. 
913). The hesitation of the government is illustrated by the fact that 
Marcy first wrote merely, "If you should occupy an interior position," 
which he changed to, "If you should move into the interior" (Marcy 

2. This proclamation has been censured on the ground that it exasper- 
ated the Mexicans by mentioning their domestic dissensions and bad 
government. If so, the blame rested primarily on the American govern- 
ment, which had ordered Taylor to circulate a proclamation embodying 
such ideas (p. 1 of chap. xxxi). The word "unnatural" has been thought 
unfortunate as suggesting (since ordinary war seemed to Mexico perfectly 
normal, and Scott could not be supposed to be reflecting upon himself and 
his government) that the Mexicans were acting in an inhuman and inde- 
cent way ; but the author does not recall seeing any such point made by 
^ 3. Many wagons were lost in wrecked vessels. It had been supposed 
\ that about two thirds of the animals would be obtained locally; but it was 
r found by April 5 that not one tenth of them could be reckoned upon. 
» 4. Harney proceeded to La Antigua on April 2 with two squadrons 
of dragoons, a section of artillery and two infantry conipanies, drove 
lancers from the village, captured about thirty-five horses and obtained 
Mexican promises of assistance from the people (Ho. 60 ; 30, 1, pp. 915-6). 
He returned the next day. The Alvarado expedition set out on March 
30. It was a joint affair designed not only (Uke Harney's) to obtain draft 
animals and beef cattle and open up permanent markets for these^ desid- 
erata, but to impress and "neutralize" the people of that section, acquire 
a harbor for Perry's small vessels, provide a regular supply of water for the 
squadron, and perhaps capture the Mexican vessels lying there. Perry 
himself commanded the naval contingent, and Quitman commanded the 
land force, which consisted of three volunteer regiments (Ga., Ala. and 
S. Car.), a squadron of dragoons and a section of artillery (Ho. 60; 30, 
1, pp. 917-8). The march of about fifty miles (about 44 by the present 
railroad) was at times difficult and always hot. Late oh April 1 Perry 
and Quitman reached Alvarado, a fishing town of 1200-1500 persons ; 
and the land forces arrived the next day. They found it occupied by an 
American midshipman and five sailors. Lieut. Hunter, commanding 
a one-gun propeller, the Scourge, sent down to assist in blockading the 
town, had violated his orders (probably to show what the naval men were 
capable of doing, if given a chance to act) by opening fire, upon which the 
town (though it endeavored later to rescind its action) had offered to sur- 
render. Learning that pubhc property had been taken up the Alvarado 
River, here a wide, clear, deep stream, he pursued it and, to take advantage 
of the panic resulting from the fall of Vera Cruz, captm-ed the industrious 
town of Tlacotdlpam. Quitman accepted this turn of events genially, 
but Perry was furious, and to the disgust of many naval officers and the 
general pubhc Hunter was tried and cashiered. 
To Scott the. results of Hunter's error were serious (Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 


547). The intention had been to grant capitulations to the towns on terms 
that would have provided the Americans with a large number of the needed 
animals (Wash. Union, Sept. 11) or to obtain the same result in some other 
way ; but Hunter's action, though only one day in advance, gave time for 
the removal of the livestock. Quitman did, however, arrange with the 
authorities of Tlacotdlpam for at least 500 horses, and opened negotiations 
for more and for beef cattle. How fruitful these arrangements proved 
cannot be stated. April 8 about 300 of the Fifth Infantry sailed from 
Vera Cruz for the same district (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 928), and about April 
14 they brought back some wild mustangs. 

On retiring from Alvarado the Mexicans burned the few small vessels 
that constituted the national navy, and spiked or buried the ordnance of 
the forts. The buried guns were, however, discovered. In all they num- 
bered about sixty, but a large part were valueless carronades. For Quit- 
man's troops the expedition was unfortunate. A number ^died and almost 
all were prostrated. He was back at Vera Cruz April 6. The affair 
amused the American public hugely. One evidence of this is afforded by 
the following lines (N. Y. Sun, May 7, 1847) : 

"On came each gay and gallant ship. 
On came the troops like mad, oh ! 
But not a soul was there to whip, 
Unless they fought a shadow ; 

■'T'ive sailors sat within a fort, 
In leading of a lad, oh ! 
And thus was spoiled the pretty sport 
Of taking Alvarado." 

5. Scott's preparations for advancing {including the Alvarado expedition). 
Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 903 (Marcy) ; 908, 912-3, 920, 928, 937, 1221, 1271 
(Scott); 915 (Harney); 917 (Quitman) ; 918 (Mason); 939 (gen. orders). 
SOScott to Marcy, Apr. 5. Courrier Frangais, Apr. 17. 6lHarney, 
report, Apr. 4. Negrete, Invasion, iii, app., 435. Scott, Mems., ii, 431. 
Robertson, Remins., 238. Velasco, Geograffa, iii, 203. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, 
pp. 230 (Scott) ; 547 (Jesup). Davis, Autobiog., 140. Delta, May 19. 
Diccionario Universal (Alvarado). 164Scott to Conner, Mar. 20. 60 
Mason to J. L. Smith, Apr. 9. Semmes, Service, 148, 211. 73Berm\idez 
de Castro, no. 445, Mar. 2, 1847. Nebel and Kendall, 23. Ho. 1 ; 30, 
2, p. 1190. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 121. 270Moore, diary. Id., Scott's 
Camp., 44-9, 52. Griffis, Perry, 239. Parker, RecoUs., 103-4. 12Cap- 
tain of Alarm to commodore, Apr. 13. Bennett, Steam Navy, 94, 97. 
Maclay, Navy, ii, 185. 358Williams to father, Apr. 5. 62Adj. gen. to 
ordnance dept.. Mar. 24. GSScott, gen. orders 87, 91, 105. 65ld., proclam., 
Apr. 11. ISGiffard, no. 12, Apr. 13. Polk, Diary, Mar. 12-14. 13Pak- 
enham, no. 7, Jan. 28. Metropol. Mag., Jan., 1908, p. 441. Soley, 
Porter, 71. Wash. Union, Sept. 11. N. Y. Sun, May 7, 21. Niles, 
May 1, pp. 131, 141; 22, p. 189. Southwest. Hist. Qtrly., xviii, 216. 
Steele, Am. Campaigns, i, 120. 76Marln, Jan. 2; Apr. 26. 76L6pez, 
Jan. 15. SOPlan of Alvarado. Ho. 1 ; 30, 2, p. 1200 (Mackenzie). 

Worth, although he had been given the most prominent place in the 
operations against Vera Cruz, demanded the leading position in the ad- 
vance, and felt deeply offended when Scott, mindful of the rights of the 
Second Division, rephed that he would not, even to please his best friend, 


do an injustice {Mag. Am. Hist., xiv, 573-4). There was a route to the 
interior via Orizaba, but it was not available for artillery. In reply to 
Marcy's despatch of March 13, which suggested that the advance be made 
from Tuxpd,n, Scott pointed out the impracticability of that plan (Ho. 
60; 30, 1, p. 909). 

6. In January Gen. R. D. de La Vega was made chief of the Division 
of the East and provided with an army — mostly of paper. The same 
month Alonzo Wenghieri offered to furnish 50,000 muskets, 25,000 ter- 
cerolas (carbines of a certain kind) and 50,000 swords at reasonable prices, 
but it is not certain that his offer, though endorsed by the war department, 
was accepted (76to Hacienda, Jan. 14). By March 12, four 16-pounders 
from Vera Cruz arrived at the national bridge. March 18 orders proper 
for the situation were despatched to La Vega, but they sound as if issued 
mainly for form's sake. In February the government attempted to take 
control of 25,000 National Guards for the purposes of the war (76circular 
Feb. 3) ; but it soon rescinded that unpalatable assumption of authority, 
and confined itself to asking state governors for them (76ciroular, Apr. 8). 

7. March 24 the northern brigades were at Quer^taro on their way 
south (76acuerdo,' Mar. 24). Rangel's brigade and some artillery left 
the capital March 28. March 30, 1400 National Guards, who had been 
turned over to the national government by the governor of the state 
(SZGuerra to gov., Apr. 1), left Puebla to join 700 of the same class already 
at Jalapa, and some 12-pounders were despatched from the former city. 
These forces were primarily designed to aid in the defence of Vera Cruz 
by attacking Scott's rear. There was great need of money, especially 
as the attitude of the clergy was now so dubious that even drafts accepted 
by them were distrusted (Diario, June 8). 

8. One method of rousing the public was to excite religious fanaticism. 
A pamphlet, Clamor de las Ooejas, declared that some of the Vera Cruz 
churches were to be sold to Protestants, others to Mohammedans, others 
to pigs, others to worshippers of Venus. 

9. Mexican preparations before Santa Anna arrived on the ground. Cour- 
rier Fran^ais, Apr. 3, 10, 17. 52Consul Black, Apr. 25. Davis, Autobiog., 
142. ISBankhead, no. 34, 1847. Apuntes, 120-2, 168. Revue Indep., 
Apr. 25, 1845. Memoria de . . . Guerra, Dec, 1846. Lerdo de Tejada, 
Apuntes, ii, 574. Diario, Mar. 29; June 8. Monitor Repuh., Mar. 31. 
Rivera, Jalapa, iii, 888. Balbontfn, Invasi6n, 105. 94Canahzo, proclams., 
Apr. 2, 4. 94Soto, proclams., Jan. 22; Feb. 5. Regenerador Repuh., 
Mar. 31, 84Guerra, decree, Feb. 13. 84Relaciones, circular, Feb. 16. 
Republicano, Mar. 31. Ramsey, Other Side, 221, note. And from 76 the 
following (out of a great number). To Rinc6n, Oct. 10, 11, 1846. To La 
Vega, Jan. 25 ; Mar. 18, 20, 27, 1847. Acuerdos, Mar. 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31 ; 
Apr. 1. To Gaona, Apr. 1. To Canalizo, Mar. 28, 31 ; Apr. 1. Gaona, 
Mar. 18; Apr. 1. Soto, Mar. 7, 22, 26; Apr. 3. G. G6mez, Mar. 
18, 19, 25, 26. La Vega, Mar. 22, 24. Canalizo, Mar. 30; Apr. 1, 3. 
To Soto, Apr. 1. Soto to V. Cruz cong., Dec. 1, 1846. Morales, Oct. 
15, 1846; Feb. 2, 6, 1847. Canahzo to his troops. Mar. 29. Guerra, 
circulars, Feb. 3, 13 ; Mar. 31 ; Apr. 8. To comte. gen. Mex., Mar. 25. 
Canalizo, proclam.. Mar. 29. To gov. Puebla, Apr. 1. Gov. Puebla, 

' " Acuerdo," frequently to be mentioned hereafter in the Mexican citations, 
meant the decision of an executive conference, and was applied also to the 
memorandum embodying the decision. The conferences referred to will usually 
be those in which the President or at least the Cabinet was concerned. 


Mar. 28. A little later Santa Anna had the spiked cannon drawn to Cerro 
Gordo by cattle. 

10. The northern wall of the canon is much more nearly vertical than 
the southern. The author went down one side and up the other by rough 
mule paths. 

1 1 . Accounts differ as to the number of men and guns on each tongue but 
agree that B was much more strongly guarded than A and C. It had 
supporting works. After the battle R. E. Lee wrote that the highway 
was commanded by thirty-five Mexican guns (F. Lee, Gen. Lee, 38). 
Allowing four for El Tel^grafo, five for the battery at the camp, and seven 
for D, we should have nineteen left for the tongues. In all, according to 
the chief Mexican artillery officer, there were forty-one pieces, so that 
Santa Anna was able to send additional guns to his left. There seems to 
have been a 12-pounder at A, but most of the guns were light. The four 
16-pounders were at D, and commanded the highway. 

12. After the battle Santa Anna reduced his numbers to about 6000 
infantry (only about half of them permanent) and 1500 or 2000 cavalry 
(76May 7; Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 112); but on March 20 (vetq 
La Vega) he had placed the troops from La Angostura at 6000 (Roal 
Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 194, says 5650) to which must be added at least 
2000 from the capital (ibid.), 2000 (besides a brigade that arrived just 
before the battle) from Puebla (note 7), and contingents from Jalapa, 
Coatepec and other places. Mexican accounts run from Santa Anna's 
figures up to 15,000 (Republicano, June 1, correspondent). Canalizo, 
April 3, proclaimed that more than 12,000 were coming, and the troops 
to whom he referred did not include all who were present. ISBankhead 
placed the number from Mexico at 2500. Roi Bdrcena (Recuerdos, 195) 
specifies 3, 4, 5, 6 and 11 Line regiments, 1, 2, 3, 4 Ligero regiments, 5 and 
9 cavalry, and 12 smaller corps of foot and horse. Canalizo's demand 
that all citizens rally to the colors does not seem to have been very effective ; 
but many who had given their parole at Vera Cruz were forced to take up 
arms (Roa Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 189). It appears safe to estimate that 
Santa Anna had at least 10,000, probably 11,000, and quite possibly 12,000 
men besides the Puebla brigade under Arteaga, which arrived after the' 
fight had begun. The brigade from Mexico arrived April 11, and the three 
brigades from the north April 12. After the battle Santa Anna and others 
attempted to represent the troops as of wretched quality. But cer- 
tainly he had picked the corps brought from the north, and there is no 
reason to suppose that the other troops were below the average. Santa 
Anna pretended that he lacked ammunition, but great quantities were 
found in the camp after the battle (Oswandel, Notes, 139). The distri- 
bution of it was very likely defective, however. It was asserted also that 
some of the cannon cartridges contained no powder. They should have 
been inspected. Twenty-nine Irishmen served in the hospital force (76 
acuerdo. Mar. 30). The army was fairly well supplied with money. 
April 10 38,000 pesos went from the capital, and the bishop of Puebla 
sent 10,000. 

13. Santa Anna had water brought from El Encero by a ditch, but it 
only began to run just as the battle opened. 

14. Mexicanpreparations,Apr.4-lS. Delta, May 1. Picayune, May 2. 
312Anaya to S. Anna, Apr. 9. 312Guerra to gov. Puebla, Apr. 9. 312Pablo 
to S. Anna, Apr. 8. 312Guerra to S. Anna, Apr. 9. 312Baranda to S. Anna, 
Apr. 8. Courrier Frangais, Apr. 17. Repub., Apr. 22; June 1, 9. Sen. 1 ; 


30, 1, p-261. Negrete,Invasi6n,m, app.,49. Grant, Mems., i, 134. Apun- 
tes, 121, 169-75. Tribute lila Verdad, 41. S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 33-7. 
Su^rez y Navarro, Causas, 68. Steele, Amer. Campaigns, i, 121. Diario, 
Mar. 29 ; Apr. 3, 9, 30 ; June 10. Gamboa, Impug., 29-32. Ramfreii, 
Mexico, 214, 229. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 157, 189. Lerdo de 
Tejada, Apuntes, ii, 574. Dubldn, Legislaoidn, v, 264-5. Monitor Repiib., 
Apr. 24, 27, 28; May 3; Oct. 24. ISBankhead, no. 34, Apr. 1. Os- 
wandel. Notes, 139. 82Pav6n, Apr. 29. Sedgwick, Corres., i, 86. 76 
Gaona, Apr. 8. 76To Canalizo, Apr. 2. 76To S. Anna, Apr. 9. 76 
Canalize, Mar. 29; Apr. 3, 24. 76S. Anna, Apr. 6, 7, 11, 13, 17, 29; 
May 7. 76Uraga, May 1. 76Memorias by heads of war dept., Nov., 
1847. 76Decrees, Apr. 8, 10. 76A great number of less important papers. 
No doubt, as Willisen (" Higher Theory of War ") and others have 
said, combining strategical defensive vi'ith tactical defensive is as a rule to 
be condemned ; but here the circumstances were pecuhar. The Americans 
were pursued lay the yellow fever, and only a decisive victory could save 
them from ruin. Hence Santa Anna's poUcy cannot be censured uncere- 
moniously. Ripley (War with Mexico) gives the name El Tel^grafo 
to La Atalaya, an error that of course leads to much confusion. Robles 
had a series of objections to the Cerro Gordo position. It could be turned ; 
the rough and woody country made it possible for the enemy to get near ; 
cavalry could not be used; the line was too long; a threatened point 
could not be easily reinforced; water was lacking; retreat, especially 
with artillery, would be difficult (Roa Barcena, Recuerdos, 197-8). 

15. One of the field batteries was Taylor's ; the other was Talcott's 
howitzer and rocket battery (R. Jones to ordnance dept., Dec. 3, 1846). 
Steptoe's field battery and a squadron of dragoons accompanied Patter- 
son later. The statement regarding the artillery outfit is from Lieut. 
Hatch (213to father, Apr. 7), who went with Twiggs. 

16. Scott has been called rash for sending his army forward and expos- 
ing it to attack piecemeal. But (1) had it all formed one column it would 
have been no safer against a raid from some crossroad ; (2) had it been 
attacked in front, numbers would not have signified, and the individual 
superiority of the Americans as weU as their superior artillery would have 
given them the advantage ; and (3) Santa Anna, having possession of such 
fine defensive positions, was not likely to make a venturesome attack, 
especially as the battle of Buena Vista had shown how tenaciously the 
Americans could defend themselves. The two last point's bear also upon 
the criticism that Santa Anna ought to have attacked Twiggs before the 
arrival of Pillow and Shields (see remark at the end of note 14) . The volun- 
teer division left Vera Cruz April 9 under Patterson. It consisted of 
two brigades, for Quitman's men had not sufficient transportation, and 
probably needed time to recover from the effects of the Alvarado expedi- 
tion. Capt. Loch, a British naval officer off Vera Cruz, was as much 
surprised as Scott when it was found that Santa Anna, had a large force at 
Cerro Gordo (12to commodore, Apr. 9). 

17. From the national bridge to Cerro Gordo the pavement was not in 
very good condition. Above the latter point stone blocks took the place 
of cement. In places, where these had never been laid, or had been taken 
up by revolutionists, or had been overlaid with stones by floods, the high- 
way was extremely bad. 

18. The position looked impregnable but was not, for a besieging force 
ould easily deprive the garrison of provisions and water. 


19. The march from Vera Cruz to Plan del Rio. Ho. 60 ; 30, t, pp. 920- 
2, 928 (Scott); 921 (gen. orders 94). Hartman, Journal, 10. Picayune, 
Dec. 9. Delta, May 15. 312Guti&rez to gov. Puebla, Apr. 9. Sen. 
1; 30, 1, p. 274 (Twiggs). 217Henshaw papers. Stapp, Prisoners of 
Perote, 159-60. Raleigli Star, May 5. 280Nunelee, diary. 159Narra- 
tive based on papers of F. Collins. 220Higgins to Clutter, Apr. 1, 1851. 
Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, ii, 36-48. Davis, Autobiog., 142-4. Apuntes, 
169. Ward, Mexico, i, 12 ; ii, 177-88. Robertson, Visit, i, 269. Ruxton, 
Adventures (1849), 22-5. Tudor, Tour, ii, 171-5. Bullock, Six Months 
(1825), i, 32-42. Orbigny, Voyage, 409-10. Robertson, Remins., 238-40, 
242. Latrobe, Rambler, 297. Velasco, Geografia, iii, 28, 37, 54, 64. 
Lawton, Artillery Officer, 123, 132. Engineer School, U. S. Army, Occas. 
Papers, no. 16. 29lPierce, diary. Journal Milit. Service Instil., v, 38 
(Copp(5e). Bishop, Journal. 60G. W. Smith to Stevens, Apr. 23. Haw- 
thorne, Pierce, ,78-85. Steele, Amer. Campaigns, i, 121. ISSMemo. 
on the route. 356Whitcomb, diary. Carleton, address. ..Lowenstern, 
Le Mexique, 32. 236judah, diary. Wash. Union, May 1. Vedette, 
viii, no. 5. 322Smith, diary. Norton, Life. 270Moore, diary. 358 
Williams to father, Apr. 21. 152Claiborne, memoirs. 136Butterfield, 
recoUs. Revue de Paris, Dec, 1844. 66Stevens to J. L. Smith, May 7. 
66G. W. Smith to Stevens, May 1. 65Scott, gen. orders 91. Thompson, 
recoils., 11-12. Poinsett, Notes, 25-9. 335Calendario de Ontiveros. 
12Loch to Lambert, Apr. 9. Oswandel, Notes, 108-10, 119. Semmes, Ser- 
vice, 162-75. 256J. Parrott to Marcy, Apr. 19. 254McClellan, diary. Mag. 
Amer. Hist., xiv, 575. Littell, no. 162, p. 546. 139W. B. Campbell to wife, 
Apr. 8. Moore, Scott's Camp. TlDiccionario Universal (Puente Nacional) . 

20. Twiggs and his operations, Apr. 11-13. Maury, Recoils., 29. 
Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 274 (Twiggs). 217Henshaw papers. Trans. Ills. State 
Hist. Soc, 1906, p. 181. ISSNarrative based on the papers of Francis 
Collins. Polk, Diary, Apr. 30. 66Tower to Twiggs, Apr. 16. eoSoott 
(on Twiggs), remarks on a letter from Worth. Id., Mems., ii, 432. Hitch- 
cock, Fifty Years, 250. Grant, Mems., i, 131. Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, 
ii, 25-6, 51-4. Brackett, U. S. Cavalry, 141. Davis, Autobiog., 143-6. 
Apuntes, 173-5. Robertson, Remins., 240. 270Moore, diary. Lan- 
caster Co. Hist. Soc. Mag., Mar. 6, 1908 (Nauman). Bishop, Journal. 
210Bragg to Hammond, Dec. 20, 1847; May 4, 1848. 327Sutherland to 
father, Aug. — ; Nov. 28, 1847. 358WilIiams to father, Apr. 21. 152 
Claiborne, mems. 112Beauregard to Patterson, Apr. 20. 204Gouverneur, 
diary. 66Tower to Maj. Smith, undated. 273Mullan, diary. Lee, 
Lee, 38. 139W. B. to D. Campbell, Apr. 13. Hist. Teacher's Mag., 
Apr., 1912, p. 75. Ho. 60; 30, 1; pp. 921 (gen. orders 94); 928 (Scott). 
So. Qtrly. Rev., Jan., 1852. 170Crooker to father, Apr. 27. Henry, 
Camp. Sketches, 268. Furber, Twelve Months Vol., 331. Some may 
ask why Scott put a general like Twiggs forward. Twiggs had a rank and 
a position that had to be recognized, and his officers and men had their 
right to see honorable service and win distinction. 

21. Major J. L. Smith commanded the engineer company of fifty-one 
rrien. Lee had ten of the men, and under his direction Lieut. Foster with 
eight had charge of building the road "located" by Lee. Lieut. Mason 
also worked on the road. McCIellan with ten was assigned to Pillow's 
command, and G. W. Smith with ten to Harney's (66G. W. Smith to I. 
I. Stevens, Apr. 23). Tower had charge of the reconnoitring on the 
Mexican right. 


22. I. I. Stevens, one of the engineer officers, 66reporting on May 7, 
stated in the most distinct manner that according to this plan El Tel^grafo 
was not to be attacked before the highway in its rear should have been 
occupied in strength, and that insistence upon this point constituted the 
essential difference between this plan and the operations previously sug- 
gested by Beauregard. Scott wrote to Marcy (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 261) 
that he had intended to turn the Mexican position and attack in the rear. 
He clearly indicated as much in his Memoirs (ii, 432), and his orders for 
th3 battla were that Twiggs's division, supposed to be already near the 
highway, should move before daybreak to occupy it, while the orders only 
contemplated an attack in front as likely to be made before 10 o'clock. 
It was well understood in the army that his plan was to bag Santa Anna's 
army, and this implied — since some of the Mexicans were likely to retire 
early — that the way of escape must be cut off before a frontal attack 
should be launched. Stevens tried to reach the highway via the Mexican 
fight, but was taken ill and had to return (Stevens, Stevens, i, 124). 
, 23. /Scott's operations, Apr. 12-16. Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 261 (Scott). 
Picayune, May 1, 2. 217Henshaw papers. A Soldier's Honor, 24. 
Trans. Ills. State Hist. Soc, 1906, p. 181. 159Narrative based on the 
papers of F. CoUins. Scott, Mems., ii, 432. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 
250. Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, ii, 56-8. Davis, Autobiog., 144^8. Bishop, 
Journal. 322Smith, diary. 112Beauregard to Patterson, Apr. 20. lllSte- 
vens to J. L. Smith, May 7. lllG. W. Smith to Stevens, Apr. 23. 
lllTower to J. L. Smith, undated. lllMason to J. L. Smith, Apr. 24. 
65Scott, gen. ordfers 105, 111. 332Tennery, diary. McCabe, Lee, 19, 
note. 12Loch to Lambert, Apr. 9. Oswandel, Notes, 113-5. Stevens, 
I. I. Stevens, i, 122-4. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 929 (Scott); 939 (Twiggs); 
940 (Pillow). 

24. The range had to be estimated (322W. B. Smith, diary), and per- 
haps it was not easy to rectify the estimate by seeing where the shot struck. 
Many of them flew much too high. 

, 25. Scott's orders for the battle gave no directions for such a charge. 
His plan was to place Twiggs's division and Shields's brigade, supported 
by Worth's command, on the highway in Santa Anna's rear and attack 
from that quarter. From one of his reports it appears that he made some 
suggestion to Twiggs about the possibiUty of a frontal attack on El Tel^ 
graf o — presumably in the case of some unlooked-for turn of events ; but 
he did not expect that officer to create the turn. The charge seems to have 
been ordered by Scott during the night (213Hatch to father, Apr. 21). 
To be sure, Scott's orders spoke of a frontal attack, but evidently the 
reference was to Pillow's movement. 

The officers of the Rifles were taken by Polk from civil life. Scott offset 
this by having Major Sumner of the Second Dragoons, a veteran and able 
soldier, command the corps ; but as Sumner had been disabled on Satur- 
day, Major Loring was now at its head. When moving from shelter he 
exposed his men to being enfiladed by the enemy's cannon, and the other 
troops actually cried out, "That's the way to murder men" (218Henshaw). 
This illustrates how pohtical appointments are likely to work on the firing 
line. The Rifles were expected to join in the attack on El Tel^grafo 
after repulsing the enemy on the left, but a part of them were unable to 
do so (p. 352). 

■ 26. Events of Apr. 17-18 {except Pillow's operations). Sen. 1; 30, 1, 
pp. 255-95, 298 (Scott's orders; reports of himself and officers). Maury, 


Recoils., 37, 44. Hartman, Journal, 11. M'Sherry, El Puehero, 221-3. 
Picayune, May 1, 6, 9, 19. Delia, May 1, 15 ; June 18. 252Maokall to 
father, Apr. 18. 335Trist, May 7, 25. 217Henshaw papers. Trans. 
Ills. State Hist. Soe., 1905, p. 213 ; 1906, pp. 182-3. 159Narrative based 
on F. Collins papers. Blliley court of inquiry. 60Plympton to Scott, 
July 27. 60E. K. Smith to Plympton, July 23. 60j. R. Smith to Polk, 
Nov. 30, 1848. eoTwiggs to J. R. Smith, Nov. 9, 1848. eoMorris to 
J. R. Smith, Nov. 15, 1848. 66Russell court of inquiry : orders 155. 223 
Hirschorn, recoils. Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 46-52, 98-114. Hitch- 
cock, Fifty Years, 251-2. Grant, Mems., i, 132. Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, 
ii, 59-84, 88, 90-1. Davis, Autobiog., 148-52, 155-8. Apuntes, 175-83. 
Tributo A la Verdad, 42, 49, 62, 136. S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 34-41. Id., 
Manifiesto, 1847, 7. Eye witness, Complete History, 79-80. Robert- 
son, Remins., 248-52. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 137-40, 267. Engineer 
School, U. S. Army, Occas. Papers, no. 16. N. Y. Times, July 16, 1916 
(Worth). Bishop, Journal. Nebel and Kendall, 24^-5. S. Anna, Mi 
Historia, 67-8. 66G. W. Smith to Stevens, Apr. 23. Mansfield, Mex. 
War, 195. 210Bragg to Hammond, May 4, 1848. 254McClellan, diary ; 
to sister, Apr. 22. Diario, Apr. 28, 30 ; May 20 ; June 10, 23, 30. Re- 
publicano, Apr. 21, 23, 27 ; June 9 ; July 10. 84Ampudia to gov. S. L. 
Potosi, Oct. 10. Gamboa, Impug., 30. Kenly, Md. Vol., 337. Ramirez, 
Mexico, 227-9, 231, 261. 298Porter, diary. London Times, June 15. 
Wash. Union, May 10, 11 ; Oct. 23. Monitor Repub., Apr. 20, 23, 24, 27 ; 
May 3, 6; Nov. 1, 30. Spirit of the Times, May 2Q ; June 5. 124Block- 
lenger, recoUs. 327Sutherland to father, Aug. — . Vedette, ii, no. 2. 
322Smith, diary. 307Roberts to wife, Apr. 21. ITSDavis, diary. 270 
Moore, diary. 358Williams to father, Apr. 21. 152Claiborne, memoirs. 
112Beauregard to Patterson, Apr. 20. 66Stevens to J. L. Smith, May 
7. 66Tower to J. L. Smith, undated. 66Mason to J. L. Smith, Apr. 
24. Arnold, Jackson, 87. 66G. W. Smith to Lee, Apr. 20. 66Lee to 
Twiggs, undated. 65Scott, gen. orders 249. GORiley to Westcott, Nov. 
30. 332Tennery, diary. Gimgnez, Apologia. Ho. 85; 30, 1. Journal 
U. S. Artill. , 1892, pp. 419-20. Lee, Gen. Lee, 38. Oswandel, Notes, 
116, 122-8. Semmes, Service, 178-81, 183. Rivera, Jalapa, iii, 887-94. 
82Soto to gov. Puebla, Apr. 18. 82Pav6n to Puebla sec. state, Apr. 29. 
Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1089 (Hitchcock). Miles, May 22, pp. 183, 188. 148 
Chamberlain, recoils. Elderkin, Biog. Sketches, 66. Journ. Mil. Serv. 
7nsJi<., xlii, 128. Henderson, Science of War, 215. Stevens, I. I. Stevens, 
i, 126. Smithwick, Evolution, 286. 76S. Anna, Apr. 17, 21; May 7. 
76Canalizo, Apr, 18, 21. 76Carrera, May 1. 76Circular, Apr. 20. 76 
Ampudia, Apr. 25. 76To Brito, May 25. 76Alvarez, Oct. 28. 76Canalizo 
to Villaba & Co., Apr. 24; to son, Apr. 24. 76Memorias by heads of 
depts., Nov., 1847. 

Remarks on the battle (April 18). The perfect confidence displayed 
in Scott's orders for the battle is noteworthy. No doubt it had a great 
effect on the troops. The orders to Worth were rather vague. Probably 
this was because the course of the battle was expected to indicate how 
hia division could be used to the best advantage, but possibly on account 
of his intense jealousy of Twiggs it was not deemed wise to say clearly that 
he was to support Twiggs. In fact he followed Twiggs, ascended El 
Tel^grafo, saw the white flag at the tongues, and sent Harney and Childs 
(Ripley, War with Mexico, ii, 74) to accept the surrender of the Mexican 
right wing. The movement assigned to Twiggs was hazardous, but the 


military quality of Santa Anna and the Mexican troops was now well 

General Shields was struck by a grape shot that passed through the 
upper part of his body ; and his recovery, due to high surgical skill and the 
most devoted nursing, seemed almost miraculous. When Shields fell, 
Col. E. D. Baker took command. Canahzo was ordered to charge Shields's 
brigade ; but the ground was only partly cleared, and Santa Anna reported 
that a charge was not practicable. Canahzo was, however, accused by 
many of causing the Mexican defeat by letting the Americans reach 
the highway. He could have dismounted all his cavalry, as he did his 
cuirassiers, and 2000 fresh troops — especially if aided by those at the 
tongues — might have done a good deal ; but probably he believed that 
the battle had already been lost. When Shields's men approached the 
highway they came upon a party of Mexican surgeons, and on learning 
their business became instantly, according to the surgeons, their friends 
and protectors (Diario, Apr. 30). The chief Mexican surgeon stated that 
the Americans made no distinction between the two nationahties in 
bringing wounded men to the hospitals (Courrier Fran^ais, May 5) . Worth's 
command, deprived of its expected share in the battle through Twiggs's 
departure from Scott's plan, played the part of a reserve. Harney's 
charge may have been launched just when it was because a thinning 
out of the summit of El Tel6grafo (probably due to sending troops against 
Riley) led to the beUef that the La Atalaya guns were doing great execu- 
tion (BaUentine, Eng. Sold., ii, 81). Harney placed the Seventh Infantry 
on his right, deploying some of the men as skirmishers to guard that flank, 
and the Third on his left, protected by the Rifles. (In consequence of 
Loring's incompetence (ZlSHatch to father, Apr. 21) the Rifles did not 
charge in a body or effectively.) This Une was supported by the First 
Artillery. Some of Harney's men joined with Riley's in capturing the 
minor crest. The La Atalaya battery fired over the heads of the charging 
Americans as long as this appeared to be safe. Vdzquez died bravely 
at his post, whereas a number of high Mexican officers proved recreant. 
After the fighting began near the summit of El Tel^grafo the Mexican 
cannon placed there could not be used, for they would have injured Mexi- 
cans as well as Americans. Santa Anna appears to have done all in his 
power to stem the tide of defeat. About 1000 Puebla men under Gen. 
Arteaga arrived during the battle. They were placed at the headquarters 
battery, but took flight early. S. Anna's line was about a mile and a 
half long. 

27. It has been argued that Pillow's attack should have been a "mere 
feint," i.e. threat. But (1) Scott had reason to fear that the purpose of 
a "mere feint" would be detected as soon as the grand battle should begin, 
and that the feint would fail of its purpose (see Donaldson and Becke, 387) ; 
and (2) Pillow had troops of superior mettle, who probably would not 
have been satisfied to make a mere threat (Nebel and Kendall, 25, note) . 
In ordering this attack Scott violated Napoleon's principle, which was to 
turn the enemy's flank without dividing his own army (Johnston, Founda- 
tions, 180), but the circumstances warranted doing so. In particular 
Santa Anna had shown that he did not wish to be aggressive, and Scott 
Intended to keep him busy (see Hamley, Operations, 160). 

28. Pillow had also a few Tennessee horse and (attached to Haskell's 
regiment) a Kentucky company — in all about 2000 men (Robertson, 
Remins., 244). 


29. The text is based primarily on the full and minute account given 
in the diary of George B. McClellan (who accompanied Pillow and whose 
ntegrity and technical ability will not be questioned) and the following 
locuments : reports of Engineers Stevens (66May 7) and Tower (66un- 
iated); Haskell and sixteen officers {Picayune, May 29); Haskell (*., 
June 28) ; Pillow, reply {ib., June 9) ; Id., eisubstitute report. May 29 
(to take the place of his published report, which he admitted was not cor- 
-ect) ; 139letters of Col. Campbell, an able and fair man (who said pri- 
irately the affair was most badly managed ; also that Pillow was no general, 
md on the field had no judgment or decision) ; 224Williams to Hitchcock, 
June 4, 1849; Wynkoop, July 16, in Picayune, Sept. 19; Stevens, I. I. 
Stevens, i, 125 (Stevens says, e.g., that Pillow's attack failed because 
' made prematurely, with great precipitation, without order in the assault- 
ing columns, and before the supporting columns were in position, and at 
the wrong point," and that it, "both as to time and as to direction, was 
;arnestly remonstrated against by the engineer officer directing the attack, 
oy the personal staff of the general, and by Col. Campbell, second in com- 
mand"). Of course Ripley, who wrote his history of the war in consul- 
tation with Pillow, gives a misleading account of this affair as of others. 

The author used also the following sources : Sen. 51 ; 32, 1. Sen. 1 ; 30, 

I, pp. 257 (Scott); 258 (orders HI); 294 (Patterson); 296 (PiUow). 
IlTHenshaw papers. Taylor, Letters (Bixby), 109. 69Pillow to adj. 
^en., June 25, 1848. 69Ripley to adj. gen., June 25, 1848. 66Tower to 
Twiggs, Apr. 16. Negrete, Invasion, iii, app., 50. Hitchcock, Fifty 
Years, 251. Furber, Twelve Months Vol., 593. Grant, Mems., i, 133. 
Davis, Autobiog., 146. Apuntes, 173, 181. Weekly Courier and N. Y. 
Enquirer, Mar. 2, 1848. Robertson, Remins., 244-8. Lawton, Artill. 
Officer, 139. 293Pillow to wife, June 9. 293Rains to Mrs. Pillow, Apr. 
18. Repvblicano, June 9, 24. Picayune, May 9; Sept. 11. M6xico d 
travfe, iv, 654. Hillard, McClellan, 18, 19. Nat. Intelligencer, June 

II. Monitor Repub., June 24. 358Williams to father, Apr. 21. Vedette, 
viii, no. 5. Oswandel, Notes, 110-1, 122-35. Semmes, Service, 182-3. 
Bitchcock in semi-weekly Courier and Enquirer, Mar. 1, 1848. lOOMata, 18. 82Pav6n to Puebla sec. state, Apr. 29. 288Tapper to wife. 
May 3. Niles, June 5, p. 219; Oct. 2, p. 75. Boston Atlas, Dec. 13. 
Qriepenkerl, AppUed Tactics, 116. 316Judd to Sherman, Feb. 26, 1848. 
Johnstone, Foundations, 180. So. Qlrly. Rev., Jan., 1852. ISlArmstrong 
to Donelson, July 4. 139Cummings to Campbell, May 12 ; June 13. 
reCarrera, May 1. 76S. Anna, May 7. The reason why reversing the 
regiments caused trouble seems to have been that infantry were accustomed 
to manoeuvre and fight in a certain formation, and felt awkward if the 
right was unexpectedly brought out on the left. As Wynkoop had farther 
to march than Haskell and did not wish to attack before his support was 
in position, placing Campbell third in the line of march involved a delay. 
Dne derives a lesson on the value of official reports from Patterson's 
representation that Pillow was wounded while gallantly leading his bri- 
gade (Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 295). 

30. The American soldiers were not pleased with this policy. The 
American government expressed itself against it and, placing an undeserved 
vaXnQ on Mexican officers, ordered that no more of them should be paroled 
3xcept for special reasons. It is probably enough to say that Scott was 
in the best position to judge; but one may remark that Santa Anna's 
lifficulty was not so much to obtain men as to obtain arms. Further 

vol. 11 — 2 a 


grounds for releasing them are mentioned in Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 257. Ac- 
cording to Gen. Pav6n, Gen. La Vega and twenty-four other officers were 
not paroled. Some six declined to give their paroles. Among the spoils 
were a large amount of ammunition, $11,791.19 in cash (Sen. 34; 34, 
3, p. 24), and a wooden leg (supposed to have belonged to Santa Anna) 
now preserved in the capitol at Springfield, 111. 

31. Pursuit, losses, prisoners, spoils. Ho. 60; 30, 1, 948, 1012, 1221 
(Scott); 1089 (Hitchcock); 1233 (Marcy). Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 268 
(gen. orders 111) ; 262 (Scott) ; 276, 278, 283, etc. Scott, Mems., ii, 443. 
Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 253. BaUentine, Eng. Soldier, 86-7, 106-7. 
Tributo 6, la Verdad, 62. Bustamante, N. Berna), ii, 189. S. Anna, 
Apelacidn, 40. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 140, 179. Ho. 24; 31, 1. Sen. 
34; 31, 3, p. 37. RepuUicano, Apr. 27; June 9. Sen. 52; 30, 1, pp. 
122, 136. Courrier Frangai--, May 5. Mexico & traves, iv, 655. Monitor 
Bepub., Apr. 24:-, May 6. 322Smith, diary. Williams to father, Apr. 21. 
152Claiborne, mems. 332Tennery, diary. 82Pav6n to Puebla sec. 
state, Apr. 29. N. Y. Sun, Aug. 16. Niles, May 15, p. 164; May 29' 
p. 201. McClellan, diary. Nebel and Kendall, 25. Robertson, Eemins., 
249, 253. 76Carrera, Apr. 27 ; May 1. 76Ampudia, Apr. 25. 76Cana, 
lizo, Apr. 18. 76/d., undated. 7GS. Anna, May 7. 76Junta directiva- 
May 3. 76G. G6mez to Gaona, Apr. 18. The cavalry appear to have 
been late in beginning the pursuit. Ripley (War, etc., ii, 75) says Scott 
was so busy that he forgot to send for the cavalry, but Scott's orders 
for the battle put the responsibility on the commander of that corps, 
which was placed in reserve on the highway with a field battery (Sen. 
1 ; 30, 1, p. 259). In places, too, they found the highway cut or blocked. 

32. A deputation of the ayuntamiento met Patterson (Sen. 1 ; 30, 
1, p. 296), and were promised protection on condition that no liquor 
should be sold to the troops. The term "nondescript costumes" appUes 
primarily to the volunteers, but probably some of the regulars had lost 
parts of their outfits. 

33. Scott's report was a model in concealing facts ; and Worth, writing 
to a msmber of his family, called it "a lie from beginning to end." Gen. 
U. S. Grant, doubtless recording without investigation his early impres- 
sions, wrote in his Personal Memoirs (i, 132) : "Perhaps there was not a 
battle of the Mexican war, or of any other, where orders issued before 
an engagement were nearer being a correct report of what afterwards 
took place," and such has been the accepted opinion, though a thought- 
ful comparison of the orders with Scott's own report (Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 
258, 261) is enough to disprove this view. For example, Scott in his 
orders, intending to attack from the enemy's rear, assigned no troops to 
the frontal attack on El Tel^grafo, which was the main feature of the 
actual battle. Unpublished documents of a wholly unbiassed character 
disprove it still further. As two more illustrations, the artillery, for 
which infinite trouble was taken to make a passable road, did not figure 
at all in the battle (though a section of Taylor's battery went that way in 
season to join in the pursuit), and a court of inquiry declared that Riley's 
brigade, which played a most important role, was diverted from its orig- 
inal destination — a finding approved by Scott (65gen. orders 249). 
Robert Anderson said that if Scott's orders had been carried out, not a 
Mexican would have escaped (Lawton, Artillery Officer, 137) ; and Davis, 
Shields's aide, stated that Twiggs failed to execute Scott's orders and dis- 
appointed Scott's expectations (Autobiography, 148). See also notes 


22 and 25. It is possible that one reason why Scott in his report com- 
mended Twiggs's course was that, even if satisfied as to the practicability 
of his own plan, he did not care to raise an issue on that question. Obvi- 
ously it would have been impossible to prove now that the plan was prac- 
ticable, and a bitter, harmful controversy would have resulted. That on 
general principles such an exposure of the American flank was very hazard- 
ous could not be denied. 

34. Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 296 (Patterson). 217Henshaw papers. 159 
Narrative based on F. ColKns papers. Robertson, Remins., 253-7. 
Ruxton, Adventures (1847), 16. (King Death) Griffis, Perry, 217. 298 
Porter, diary. Monitor Repub., Apr. 24, 27. 322Smith, diary. 68G. 
W. Smith to Stevens, May 1. Oswandel, Notes, 140. 2 56 J. Parrott 
to Marcy, Apr. 19. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 948 (Scott). 254McClellan, diary. 
Ramirez, Mexico, 260. 


1. Worth's advance. Henshaw narrative. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 
255. BaUentine, Eng. Soldier, ii, 154. Davis, Autobiog., 173. Dslta, 
July 8. Picayune, May 19. IsgCoDins papers, Apr. 21 ; June 19. Mex- 
ico & trav6s, iv, 655. Tornel, Breve Resena, 345. Robertson, Visit, 
i, 303. Orbigny, Voyage, 411. Lyon, Journal, ii, 181. Balbontin, 
Estado, 22. Velasoo, Geograffa, iii, 97, 99. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 141- 
4. Robertson, Remins., 276. 68Scott to Worth, May 6. Colecei6n 
de Itinerarios. Revue de Paris, Dec, 1844. Oswandel, Notes, 162. 
Semmes, Service, 217-22. 139W. B. to D. Campbell, Apr. 25. 185 
Memo. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 261 (Scott) ; 300 (Worth). Ramirez, Mexico, 
228-9. Roa Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 236-9. 254McClellan to sister, Apr. 
22. 236Judah, diary. Moore, Scott's Campaign, 10-2. Norton, Life. 
Diccionario Universal {Las Vigas and Perote). 327Sutherland to 
father, imdated. Ward, Mexico, ii, 193-5. Green, Journal, 238. Ho. 
60; 30, 1, pp. 944r-6, 948 (Scott). 364 Worth to daughter, Apr. 30. Ne- 
grete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 58, 60, 110. Tributo d, la Verdad, 43-6. 76 
Gaona, Mar. 4, 8, 15 ; Apr. 8, 19. 76To Id., Apr. 17. 76Canahzo, Apr. 
21, 24, etc. 76Baneneli, Apr. 24. 76Bravo, Apr. 23. 768. Anna, Apr. 
27. The distance from Jalapa to Perote was called about thirty miles. 

2. "Convoy" will be used to signify a line of wagons or pack-mules 
or both transporting merchandise or supplies under escort. Among the 
difficulties in getting articles from the coast were the sandy road, the 
heat, the weakness and insufficient number of animals, the shortage of 
wagons, and above all the want of good drivers and conductors (Sen. 52 ; 
30, 1, p. 127). Scott had supposed that successive bodies of new troops 
would escort the convoys up, but the diversion of these to the Rio Grande 
for some time (in consequence of S. Anna's advance against Tajlor) made 
it necessary to weaken his forces by sending escorts from Jalapa (6lScott 
to Wilson, Apr. 26). The policy of treating the Mexicans kindly required 
more self-support and therefore larger trains than would otherwise have 
been necessary. Moreover, in order to avoid a reverse, which would 
have had consequences of pecuhar gravity in Mexico, Scott had to avoid 

3. It has been argued {e.g. by Semmes) that Scott was in fact able to 
obtain subsistence from the country all the spring and summer, and there- 
fore the matter involved no difficulties (Service, 208) ; but Scott had to 


ascertain beforehand through agents (Delta, May 18) both that subsistence 
existed and that it could be obtained; And to make the success of his 
precautions a basis for asserting that he should not have waited to take 
them, is unreasonable. Scott said later that he might have rushed ahead 
by depanding upon the provisions near at hand, but that within a week 
the army would have had tO; scatter and fight for supplies (Mems., ii, 
553). The resources of the country were found to be mostly at a distance 
from the line of march (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 949). Time was required to 
select intelligent, reliable agents, and they needed time to go and come. 
A particular reason for : deliberation lay in the fact that the new crops 
would not be ready before about the middle of June. It should be added 
that some statements of Semmes and others regarding material elements 
of the situation ^are contradicted by. Scott's reports written at the time. 
Semmes was probably influenced by Worth, whose aide he was. 

4. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 904. Marcy forgot this when he severely censured 
Scott for dismissing the men before their time was out (ibid., 1245). 

5. By the eifield return of May 7 Scott had : Engineer Co. (Smith), 
43; Ordnance Co. (Huger), 60; First Div. (Worth), 2331; Second Div. 
(Twiggs), 2216; Dragoons (Harney), 433; volunteers (Quitman), 2030. 
The disparity between Scott's numbers as figured at Washington and his 
numbers as counted at the front is suggested by the fact that on April 
26 his volunteers (aside from those now discharged) were estimated by 
the aldjutaint generalas 4994 (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 928). The regiments 
that went home were the Georgia, the Alabama, the Third and Fourth 
Illinois, and the First, Second and Third Tennessee. 

. 6, Scott at Jalapa (except his proclamation, etc. : Note 8. Ho. 60; 30, 
1, pp. 910, 944-8, 954-8, 1221 (Scott); 983-92; 950 (H. L. Scott); 904, 
953, 12:41 (Marcy); 967 (Worth). eiScott to Wilson, Apr. 26. 68Worth 
court of inquiry, proceedings. Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, i, 278; ii, 118- • 
23,: 126-7, 129-30, 143-4. 66Beauregard to Smith, May 10. 52Trist 
to Buchanan, May 7. Davis, Autobiog., 164^6. Hartman, Journal, 
13.; . 330Scott to Cadwalader, Apr. 25. 304Patterson, orders 10, May ). 
(The district) Robertson, Visit, i, 278; Ruxton, Adventures (1915), 56; 
K^ndajl, Narrative (N. Y., 1844), ii, 398; Orbigny, Voyage, 410; Lyon,> 
Journal, ii, 186 ; Velaseo, GeografJa, iii, 99. 362G. A. Worth to Van 
Buren, May 20. Robertson, Remins, 261, 275. Revue de Paris, Dec, 
1844. 218Henshaw narrative. Lowenstern, Le Mexique, 26. SSScott 
to Worth, May 6. 65Scott, gen. orders 128, 129, 135-6, Apr. 30, 30; May 
4; 5. 332Tennery, diary. 'Thompson, Recoils., 13. Oswandel, Notes, 
142, 149, 152. Sen. 14; 30, 1, p. 6 (Scott). Semmes Service, 189-90, 
207-10. Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 528 (Hitchcock). 139W. B. to D. Campbell, 
Nov. 2, 1846. Sen. 52; 30, 1, pp. 124, 129 (Scott). Picayune, May 4, 7, 
11; Nov. 14. Steele, Amer. Campaigns, i, 110. 335Scott to Trist, 
July 21, 1848. BlField report, May 7, 1847. eiScott to Wilson, May 2. 
Moore, Scott's Camp., 68. Roa Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 236. 322Smith, 
diary. 270Moore, diary. TSBermiidez de Castro, no. 517, June 29. 
Polk, Message, Feb. 13 (Richardson, iv, 515). Scott, Mems., ii, 452, 466, 
553. London Times, Aug. 6. Diario, Aug. 5. N. Y. Sun, Aug. 16. 
Stevens, I. I. Stevens, i, 133, 135. (Bounty) U. S. Statutes at Large, 
ix, 184. Upton, Mil. Policy, 215. So. Qtrly. Review, Apr., 1852, 376- 
85. eiScott, memo., Nov. 29, 1846 (12 new regts.). Sen. 1; 30, 1, 
pp. 45-6. 364Worth to diughter, Apr. 30. Bishop, Journal. 112Beaure- 
gard to Smith, May 2. Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 60. 60Scott to Marcy, 


Apr. 5. Stevens, Campaigns, 16. 139Five colonels to Scott, May 1. 
62A(|j. gen. to Brooke, May 29. (Govt, will move) 76To S. Anna, 
Apr. 21. : 

The Spanish minister reported that if Scott had been prepared to 
attack the capital immediately after April 18, he could have taken, it 
without a shot (no. 517, June 29). Patterson left the army at this time 
because the return of so many volunteers destroyed his comrQand, and 
Pillow left because he had been appointed a major general and wished 
to bring on his division. Ripley (War with Mexico, ii, 514) says Sco|t 
could have estabhshed a garrison of 4000 at Mexico and held the city. 
But assassinations and sickness would soon have reduced his numbers. 
Parties sent out for provisions and forage would have been cut off. The 
Mexicans, not yet thoroughly beaten, would have been encouraged by 
the isolation of so weak a force, as they had been by the size of Taylor s 
army. They might have been able to starve out the garrison. The 
result would probably have been at best that a rescue-army would have 
had to fight its way to the capital without the assistance of Scott, his 
regular officers and his veteran troops. He had no right to take such a 
risk, especially when it seemed very doubtful whether success in holding 
the capital would signify much. 

7. This agent, whose name has been given as Campos and (probably 
correctly) as Campomanes, appears to have been the parish priest of 
Jalapa (Baz, Judrez, 47, note). The paper, which was printed first in 
Spanish and then in English (76Hitohcock to Worth, May 12), may be 
summarized as follows : It is my duty, Mexicans, to make known certain 
facts that are purposely concealed from you. For the sake not only of 
ourselves but of the whole American continent and of republican institu- 
tions, we of the United States made every effort consistent with honor- to 
adjust our difiiculties with Mexico, but the patriotic Herrera was thrown 
from power, and the new government, ignoring your interests in order to 
further its monarchical designs, compelled my nation to take up arms. 
Like you, we hoped that good would result from the overthrow of Paredes, 
and therefore we permitted Santa Anna to return; but, again like you 
perhaps, we were mistaken as to his intentions. What has followed, you 
know. Your troops, whose devotion and valor we admire, have been 
badly led, and even betrayed or deceived ; and he has not only rewarded 
those who waged civil war at Mexico, but insulted the brave defenders 
of Vera Cruz. Recently the battle at Cerro Gordo showed what you 
may expect from him. Everjrwhere generals long supported in idleness 
by the nation have exhibited a lack of honor or skill, while the dead or 
wounded soldiers, abandoned on the field, have not been given by their 
leaders even the poor recompense of a grave. The clergy and all other 
peaceable and useful citizens have been, and still are, taxed, menaced 
and sacrificed, whereas criminals go unpunished. Can this be called 
hberty? The Mexicans, I am sure, have the courage to admit mistakes 
that involve no dishonor, and to adopt for the future a policy of peace, 
of hberty and of harmony with their brethren of the United States. My 
troops, as your bishops and priests wiU testify, have not committed the 
outrages alleged against us for the purpose of exciting your anger. We 
adore the same God as you, and many of our people and of our army are 
Roman Cathohcs. We punish crime and reward merit ; we respect prop- 
erty — especially that of the Church — and we seek your friendship . 
Abandon prejudice, then ; cease to be victims of the ambitious ; act as u 


great American nation. If, however, the war must go on, my country 
will send — should they be needed — 100,000 men, and settle the pending 
difficulties in a decisive manner. Guerilla warfare, should it be persisted 
in, would lead to reprisals, and you could not blame us for your sufferings. 
I have set out for Puebia and Mexico, and shall certainly reach those 
places ; but my desire is peace, friendship, union. It is for you to choose 
between these and war (Tributo d la Verdad, doc. 18). 

It has been said that this proclamation, by opening old political sores 
and insulting the Mexicans, did more harm than good {Southern Quarterly 
Review, April, 1852, p. 394) ; but (1) even the formal reply made to it 
admitted its truth, and the facts outlasted any temporary resentment 
that may have been produced in some minds ; (2) it was intended for the 
common people, with whom plain, solid interests had more influence than 
high-flown sentiments of pride ; (3) the clericals, who suggested the con- 
tents of the proclamation, were shrewd men ; (4) the fury of Santa Anna 
against it (76May 18) is sufficient evidence that he saw it would injure 
him ; and (5) we have direct proof that it was received eagerly by the 
Mexicans. See, for example, Roa Bdrcena, Eecuerdos, 240-1. 

Closely allied with the clerical party were the monarchists, who, though 
comparatively few, wielded much influence on account of their wealth 
and social position. They had good reason to fear the United States 
but they hated Santa Anna ; and it was suspected that they wished the 
people to realize that without European aid they were helpless. 

Among minor matters attended to by Scott at Jalapa were the establish- 
ment of a battery commanding the city, and the creation of the mflitary 
department of Jalapa (Plan del Rio to La Hoya, inclusive). 

8. The understanding with the clericals, etc. (Beach) 56Report, June 
4; N. Y. Sun, May 19, 22. (Agent) Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 255-6; 
687d. to Worth, May 10; Baz, Juarez, 47, note; Apuntes, 192; 
Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 125 (Scott). Tributo & la Verdad, 49, 54, 56 
and doc. no. 18 (proclam. of May 11). S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 41-3. Clai- 
borne, Quitman, i, 311. Consideraciones, 3, 7, 22-3. (Priests tolerant) 
Kendall, Narrative (N. Y., 1844), ii, 341-3; Consideraciones, 32, 37; 
Lawton, Artill. Officer, 160-1, 175. (True) ISBankhead, no. 57, May 
29; Impug. del Manif. London Times, July 15. Apuntes, 193. Sen. 
52; 30, 1, p. 127 (Marcy). Ramirez, Mexico, 239, 256-7, 263, 272. 
Mexico & trav^s, iv, 661. 236Judah, diary,May 2, 6, 17, 26. 95Protest, 
Apr. 12. Monitor del Pueblo, Apr. 29. 95Sdnchez, proclam., Apr. 29. 
950rders, May 8. 95Ayunt., proceedings. Picayune, June 30. 820tero, 
proclam., Apr. 26. 82Baranda to gov., Apr. 24 and reply (draft). 82 
Isunza, proclam.. May 13. (Crowning) Scott, Mems., ii, 549. (Proclam. 
of May 11) Wash. Union, June 12. Courrier des Etats Unis, May 22. 
Mata, Reflecciones. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 967, 995 (Worth); 968 (pro- 
clam.) Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 190. 76Winette, statement. May 
2. 7GTo S. Anna, May 14. 76S. Anna, May 18. 76Hitchcock to 
Worth, May 12 (intercepted). 76Furlong, May 17. 

9. His intellectual plane is suggested by the fact that after the battle 
he promptly sent instructions to his mistress but not to his second in com- 
mand (76Canahzo, Apr. 24). 

10. At this juncture appeals were again made to the Roman Catholics, 
particularly the Irish, of the American army, and apparently 2-300 
deserted while at Jalapa (Ballentine, English Soldier, ii, 144). One appeal 
said, "Are Catholic Irishmen to be the destroyers of Cathohc temples. 


the murderers of Catholic priests, and the founders of heretical rites in 
this pious country?" A large amount of money seems to have been col- 
lected by Santa Anna at this time. The Manifiesto of Vera Cruz State 
{Monitor Republicano, Dec. 19, 1847) asserted that in fifteea days he 
obtained 120,000 pesos, though he said (May 9) he had received less than 
25,000 (Gamboa, Impug., 35). 

11. Santa Anna's flank position was even more favorable than Wash- 
ington's at Morristown. While he Ungered near Vera Cruz, Scott could 
not feel safe, and his trains were in imminent danger. Had he remained 
there, Scott, whose small numbers would not have permitted him to send 
an adequate detachment to Orizaba, might have felt compelled to go there 
with his whole army, and much embarrassment might have resulted 
(Steele, American Campaigns, i, 125-6. W. B. Lane, The United Ssrvice, 
June, 1896, p. 485. Stevens, I. I. Stevens, 146). 

12. Santa Annans operations till he reached Puebla. Only the principal 
documents can be cited here. Tributo d, la Verdad, 48-9, 54, 136. 
Picayune, May 6. Diario Sept. 10. 312Guerra to S. Anna, Apr. 8. 
Roa Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 265-7, 570, 634. S. Anna, Apelaci6n, app., 
72-3, 76. 366/d., Address to Amer. soldiers, Apr. — . Id., Detail, 8. 
Defensa de . . . Estrada. S. Anna, Manifiesto, Mar. 24, 1848. 12Loch 
to admiralty, Apr. 20, 1847. Apuntes, 183-91. Gamboa, Impug., 36. 
Negrete, Invasidn, iv, app., 274. ISBankhead, no. 42, 1847. Courrier 
Fran^ais, May 5. Ramirez, Mexico, 261. Mexico d, trav^s, iv, 660-1. 88 
Cdrdoba ayunt., proceedings, Apr. 2o-9. 820fEcial docs., Apr. 20-30. 
82Prefect of Matamoros, Apr. 28. (Indians) 82Prefect Tlapa, May 13. 
Republicano, May 4. 73Bermudez de Castro, no. 517, June 29. Nat. 
Intelligenceir, June 2. Monitor Repub., May 4, 23. (Tlacot^lpam) Sen. 
1 ; 30, 1, p. 547. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 190. S. Anna, Comunic. 
Oficial. Carreno, Jefes, cclxx. Lerdo de Tejida, Apuntes, ii, 2o0. 76 
Carrera, Apr. 27. (Chiquihuite.) 76Acuerd3, Mar. 29; 76Soto, Apr. 
3 ; 76to Soto, Apr. 1. 76Canahzo, Apr. 21, 24, 28. 76To S. Anna, Apr. 21. 
76To CanaHzo, Apr. 21. 76To Bravo, Apr. 21. 76Furlong, May 9. 
76Gov. to comte, gen. Oaxaca, May 4. 7eS. Anna, Apr. 27. 76/d. to 
Rosa, Feb. 5, 1848. 

13. Santa Anna's operations after he reached Puebla (except the Amozoc 
fight). Negrete, Invasion, iv. app., 250-2, 255, Tributo d la Verdad, 
49-53, 56-7. S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 41-3. Id., Detail, 8. 166Pommares 
to Conner, Aug. 29, 1846, confid. Donnavan, Adventures, 99. Dos 
Palabraa. London Times, July 9. Apuntes, 192-3. Gamboa, Impug., 
33-5. Ramirez, Mexico, 280, 282. Mexico d traves, iv, 661. 95Protest, 
Apr. 12. Monitor del Pueblo, Apr. 29. 82Comte. gen. to gov.. May 10. 
82Letter to secy., May 11. 95Puebla ayunt., proceedings. May 10-15. 
82Isunza, proclam.. May 12. 199S. Anna to Gim^nez, May 15. Diario, 
May 10. Monitor Repub., May 13, 23; Deo. 12. Baz, Judrez, 47, note. 
Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 190. 312Bishop Puebla to S. Anna, 
Apr. 8. 76S. Anna, Apr. 27, 29; May 11, 15. 76To S. Anna, Apr. 20, 
30. 76To Bravo, Apr. 21. 76To Gaona, Apr. 21. 76Carrera, Apr. 
23. 76Fdrlong, May 9. 76S. Anna to Rea, May 12. 

14. The American advance to Puebla [inclvding the Amozoc fight). Ho. 
60; 30, 1, pp. 941-8, 957 (Scott) ; 987, 991 (iVorth). GlScott to Wilson, 
Apr. 23. 218Henshaw namtive. Tributo &, la Verdad, 50. Scott, 
Mems., ii, 430. Grant, Mems., i, 135. BiUentine, Eng. Soldi ;r, ii, 
159, 161, 175-6. S. Anna, Apelaoi6n, 41-2. 303Worth tp Quitman, 


May 10. 159Collins papers, May 20; July 3-8. Robertson, Visit, i, 
312. Orbigny, Voyage, 412. Lawton, Artillery Officer, 145, 166, 162, 
170-4, 207-8. Journal Milit. Serv. Instil., xvii (Van Deusen). Lowen- 
atern, Le M6xique, 31. Smith, To Mexico, 153, 163, 165 (nothing in U. 
S. equal to Puebla), 166. Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, p. 527. Brackett, Lane's Brigade, 
191, 276. 213Hatch to father, June 3. 68Scott to Worth, May 6. Colec- 
ci6n de Itinerarios. Revue de Paris, Dec, 1844. Semmes, Service, 225-6, 
230-7. Apuntes, 193-6. Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 125 (Scott). Gamboa, 
Impug., 36. Mexico d, traviSs, iv, 662. 236Judah, diary. Moore, Scott's 
Camp., 84-96. Rosa, Impresiones, passim. 270Moore, diary. Steele, 
Amer. Camps., i, 107, 110. Diario, May 16. Ward, Mexico, ii, 201. 
Stevens, I. I. Stevens, i, 140, 142. 364Worth to daughter, Apr. 30. 76 
Prefect of S. J. de los Llanos, May 11. 76Comte. milit. Huamantla, 
Apr. 29. 76To Bravo, Apr. 26. 76Furlong, May 5. 76Bravo, Apr. 
23. 76S. Anna, May 13, 15. 76To S. Anna, May 14. 76S. Anna to 
Ilea, May 12. And others. 

Santa Anna, to justify his course, said he felt compelled to leave Puebla 
on account of the unfavorable local conditions and the approach of the 
Americans (Detail, 8). Worth did not have outposts and scouts on the 
alert, as he should have had, at Amozoc, and knew nothing about the roads 
(Stevens, Stevens, i, 142). Scott's delay showed that he did not feel strong 
enough to advance to the capital. That city was therefore in no danger 
from his army. If Santa Anna, instead of going there, had now gathered 
all the Mexican strength between Puebla and Vera Cruz and prevented 
reinforcements from reaching Scott, the latter would have been in a hard 

15. The Puebla ayuntamiento archives contain the agreement signed 
at Chachapa by Worth. Later he sought to modify this (68orders 31), 
calling it merely a memorandum (68to H. L. Scott, June 16), and on May 
20 he signed a new 95version. Naturally the Pueblans held to the former 
(esDordn to Scott, June 17). For general orders 20 see p. 455. 

16. Semmes represents Worth's regime as entirely satisfactory to the 
civil authorities (Service, 275). This illustrates the fact that caution is 
necessary in reading what he says when Worth is concerned, for the rec- 
ords of the ayuntamiento give a different impression. For Worth's charac- 
teristics see chap, xii, note 8. The Southern Quarterly Review, April, 
1852, 406, note, said Worth "was quite superficial, had no solid or pro- 
found attainments, nor was he gifted with grasp of mind requisite to high 
combinations and extended operations." Robert Anderson remarked once 
that he hoped Worth would not, "from a fit of passion, alter his opinions" 
(Anderson Artill. Officer, 32). Hitchcock in N. Y. Courier and Enquire/- 
(semi-weekly), Mar. 1, 1848 : Worth has striking manners and great 
felicity in conversation, but is utt(>rly destitute of stability and judgment. 

17. Worth's operations at Puebla. 68Worth court of inquiry, proceed- 
ings, documents. Weekly Courier and Enquirer, Mar. 2, 1848. Tribute 
il la Verdad, 12, 48, 51-2. 224H. L. Scott to Worth, June 20. 6lScott 
to Wilson, Apr. 26. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 257. (Alarms) Grant, 
Mems., i, 136; Oe/fa, JulyS; 2 ISHenshaw narrative ; 307Roberts, diary; 
Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, pp. 527-8. 303Gen. orders 128. Collins papers. Robert- 
son, Visit, i, 314. Ruxton, Adventures (1847), 30. Bullock, Six Months 
(1825), i, 83. Leon, Hist. Gen., 477. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 169, 174-6, 
226, Journal des Debals, July 6, 1847. Semmes, Service, 210, 254, 
264, 275, Rivera, .Jalapa, iii, 912. Apuntes, 193-5, Sen. .52; 30, 1, 


p. 125 (Scott). Gamboa, Impug., 33-4. Ramirez, M6xico, 261, 267-8, 
272. Mexico & travfe, iv, 662. 236Judah, diary. Monitor del Pueblo, 
Apr. 29. 95Ayunt., orders. May 8. 95Ayunt., proceedings and corresp. 
with Worth. 95W. to first alcalde, May 18. 82Bravo, proclam., Apr. 
28. 82lsunza, proclam.. May 13. 270Moore, diary. Davis, Autobiog., 
274. Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 61, 86-7. Monitor Repub., May 2, 
21 ; June 5. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 994 (Worth). Niles Jan. 15, 1848, p. 311. 
364Worth to Sprague, July 29, 1847. 76S. Anna, May 13, 16. 76FurIong, 
May 13. 76Worth, May 12. 76Bravo, Apr. 30. 76Worth to Furlong, 
May 17. 76To Furlong, May 20. 

Ripley (War with Mexico, ii, 115) points out very pertinently that 
Worth placed his troops injudiciously at Puebla. Worth's errors bore most 
unfortunate fruit. Scott, before knowing or suspecting what had been 
conceded to Mexican laws, made sharp comments on the attitude of the 
Puebla authorities. Naturally he felt seriously troubled. Worth even 
allowed them to try citizens who had killed American soldiers, and of 
course the culprits were acquitted (Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 527; 95ayunt. 
to Worth, May 22). Scott thought seriously of evacuating the city and 
recapturing it in order to wipe out that concession ; but, concluding that 
such a course would be rather farcical, he simply overrode the concession 
by repubMshing general orders 20 (chap, xxxi, note 22). This action and 
the comments angered Worth. Scott angered him further by requesting 
him to withdraw the 68circular of June 16, which was impoMtic, implied 
that Worth held an independent command, and if entitled to credence 
(Lawton, Artill. Officer, 227) should have been given to headquarters, 
so that all the troops could be warned (224H. L. Scott to Worth, June 20). 
Worth therefore demanded a court of inquiry (65gen. orders 196). Quit- 
man, Twiggs and P. F. Smith formed the court and sat on June 30. Their 
68conclusions strongly condemned the circular, the terms granted to 
Puebla and Worth's complaints against Scott ; and they pronounced 
him worthy of a severe rebuke, as certainly he was. Scott could not 
avoid approving the verdict and pubhshing it in orders (65no. 196), but 
these orders were made known only to chiefs of the general staff and com- 
manders of divisions and brigades. From this time Worth was no doubt 
in his heart a mortal enemy of Scott. Unhappily, more will be heard of 
this matter. As for criticising Scott, Worth wrote on July 29 (364to S.) 
that Scott might have entered Mexico city by May 20, in which case (it 
was Worth's "firm beUef") "peace would have immediately resulted" 
— a' very superficial judgment. Worth added: "We gain victories and 
halt until all the moral advantages are lost." Hitchcock well said that 
Worth looked only at his ability to march troops to a certain place, while 
Scott had to see also how the advance could be supported and supplied 
(Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 528). (Other references for this note. esSoott to 
Worth, June 16. 68Worth to Scott, June 20. 68/^., order 61, June 20. 
Lawton, Artill. Ofiicer, 226-8. 68Worth to H. L. Scott, June 16. 68 
Scott to Worth, May 6. Nacional (Atlixco), May 16. Davis, Autobiog., 
270-1, 274.) 

18. At Jalapa he left Brev. Col. Childs with the First Artillery (five 
companies), the Second Pennsylvania and three companies of the First 
Pennsylvania; at Perote seven companies of the First Pennsylvania 
with some artillerists ; and at each place a troop of dragoons (Sen. 52 ; 
30, 1, p. 125). The stock of ammunition was still inadequate, and the 
paymaster had only half of his estimate for January-April {ibid,, 124-5). 


19. Dominguez, leader of the Spy Company, had been an honest weaver, 
it was said, but on being robbed by a Mexican officer, took to the road and 
became a brigand chief. When the Americans reached Puebla he was 
living there quietly with his family; but, knowing the insecurity of his 
position, he accepted Hitchcock's offer to become a scout. His band con- 
sisted at first of five men but rose to about 100, and probably might have 
been increased to 2000 (Lawton, Artill. Officer, 266). He and men of his 
even entered the capital in disguise. While he was at the head of the com- 
pany, the actual captain was a Virginian named Spooner, who had been 
a member of his band ; and the two lieutenants also were foreigners. The 
men seem to have served and obeyed orders faithfully, and their leader 
refused very advantageous terms offered by Santa Anna. (For the Spy 
Co. see Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 259, 263-4, 330, 335-41, 344-5. Brackett, 
Lane's Brigade, 187. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 266. Henshaw narrative, 
Aug. 8. 69Dominguez to Polk [Sept., 1848].) 

20. Hargous, an American merchant of Vera Cruz, was Scott's financial 
agent {Picayune, June 30) . Without him one hardly sees what the Amer- 
icans could have done. An intercepted letter from the wife of Brev. Col. 
Childs, abusing Polk roundly, gave considerable comfort to the enemy. 
Another letter imparted much information about military matters. One 
is again surprised that our war department did not use a cipher. 

21. Scott instructed the commander at Vera Cruz what to do in case 
of attack, and gave the commander at Jalapa full directions with refer- 
ence to the sick and wounded (about 1000) lying there (Ho. 60; 30, 1, 
p. 997). There were also about 1000 sick at Vera Cruz and 200 at Perote 
(Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 129). The people at home did not understand Scott's 
situation. Regiments nominally 800-1000 strong had actually less than 
300 (185 — to Duncan, July 20). 

Owing to the state of public sentiment in Mexico, cutting loose from 
Vera Cruz was much less hazardous than it seemed. Besides, the small- 
ness of the American army made the problem of subsistence and forage 
comparatively simple. Marcy was candid enough to admit that Scott 
understood the advantages of holding Jalapa, and was the best judge as 
to the advisability of giving it up (Ho. 60 ; 30, 1, pp. 1003-4). The Br.tish 
consul at Vera Cruz reported it as the unanimous opinion of the merchants 
of that place that with five times his actual force Scott could not have kept 
the line to the interior open (13no. 19). 

22. Scott at PueUa. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 954, 957, 993, 997, 1012-3 
(Scott) ; 967 (Worth) ; 998, 1002-4 (Marcy) ; 1021-7 (Scott and Quit- 
man). Sen. 52; 30, 1, pp. 124, 129, 135 (Scott); 242 (Trist). Rivera, 
Jalapa, iii, 912, 925. Henshaw narrative. Haynes, Scott's Guide. 
Tributo i, la Verdad, 56. Scott, Mems., ii, 453-4, 460, 466. Hitchcock, 
Fifty Years, 256-9, 261, 266, 270, 341-4. Grant, Mems., i, 138. Bal- 
lentine, Eng. Soldier, ii, 135-6. Davis, Autobiog., 169. Picayune, 
May 19 ; June 30 ; Aug. 20 ; Nov. 14. Delta, June 12 ; July 9. Repuh- 
licano, June 6, 7, 14. (Sickness) 223Hirschorn, recoils.; Delta, July 9; 
Lawton, Artill. Officer, 145, 154, 242 ; 29lPierce, diary ; Scott, June 4 
(Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 129); Moore, Scott's Camp., 119; 73Bermudez de 
Castro, no. 517, June 29; 316Judd to Sherman, Feb. 26, 1848. Polk, 
Diary, Apr. 2, 10, 12; July 9, 13, 15. 159Collins papers, May 22. Le6n, 
Hist. Gen., 477-8. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 153, 177-8, 189, 203, 206, 
211-6, 228, 233-4, 242-6, 256, 265, 272, 274. 68Worth court of inquiry, 
docs. esScott to Worth, May 6. 65Gen. orders 206, 211, 238; July 9 


12, 28. (4000 available) Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 257. Simples Obser- 
vaciones (written by Hitchcock). eoWilson to Marcy, Aug. 1. 335 
Trist to wife, Aug. 6. Oswandel, Notes, 223, 2iO. Semmes, Service, 
210, 239, 247, 263, 27S-6, 278-81. Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 521. 224L. V. to 
M. O., Aug. 21 (intercepted Mex. letter). 185[Dunoan] to Lewis, July 
20. 307Roberts, diary. 236judah, diary. 95Ayunt. to Bravo, Apr. 
29. 95Amable to prefect, Aug. 18. 270Moore, diary. 327Sutherland 
to father, Aug. — . 73Bermudez de Castro, no. 517, June 29. Kennebec 
Journal, May 21. Repuh. Banner, May 19. Nat. Intelligencer, June 1. 
Monitor Repuh., May 2; June 5, 8. Sedgwick, Corres., i, 101. 132 
Atocha to Buchanan, Aug. 1. Baz, Juarez, 47, note. Negrete, Inva- 
sion, iii, app., 87-9. seiWorth to S., July 29 ; to daughter, Apr. 30. Ohio 
Arch, and Hist. Qtrly., Apr.-July, 1912, p. 292. eiScott to Wilson, May 2. 
Steele, Amer. Camps., i, 122. And from 76 the following and others. 
R. Rueda, statement [June 18]. Acuerdo, July 13. Soto, .July 3. Sol- 
dier from Puebla, statement, July 17. Alvarez, June 16 ; July 28. Isunza 
to CanaKzo, July 20. Bravo, proolam., Apr. 28. Furlong, May 17. 
To Furlong, May 20. " Ein Deuttcher," circular to Germans. To Alvarez, 
June 19. Worth to first alcalde. May 17 ; to ayunt.. May 18. 

Alvarez stated that he had an organized party at Puebla preparing for 
an insurrection, and meanwhile was systematically promoting desertion. 

The alarm caused by Santa Anna's advance against Taylor led to the 
temporary diversion of troops (intended for Scott) to the Rio Grande, 
but on April 30 Marcy sent Scott statements showing that about 3500 
new regulars were expected to land at Vera Cruz before June 1 and that 
some 5500 volunteers also had been ordered to him. Unfortunately the 
despatch was captured by the enemy, and Scott did not receive another 
copy of it until June 6 (Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 922-5, 1012). (Expected) 
Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 994. The oflBcial counting of the votes was deferred 
until Jan., 1848. 

23. Richardson, Messages, iv, 508. Benton wanted full powers to 
negotiate (Polk, Diary, Mar. 8, 1847), and was wilhng to take the position 
mainly with a view to its diplomatic functions (Cong. Olobe, 29, 2, pp. 

24. The new regiments (which brought the regular army up to 1356 
oflScers and 29,534 men) were to serve during the war and then be dis- 
banded. One of them was the Third Dragoons. Another consisted of 
"voltigeurs," theoretically an equal number of infantry and of mounted 
men (the former to be taken up on the horses of the latter, when celerity 
of movement should be desired) with a battery of small guns that could 
be taken apart and transported on mules (Niles, May 15, 1847, p. 161) ; 
but practically the Voltigeurs were foot-riflemen (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 924). 
The regiments destined for Scott were the following : (Brig. Gen. Pierce's 
brig.) 9 Inf. from N. Eng. under Col. Ransom, 12 Inf. from N. and S. Car., 
Mo., Ark. and Texas under Lieut. Col. Bonham in the absence of Col. 
Wilson, and 15 Inf. from Ohio, Mich., Wis. and Iowa under Lt. Col. How- 
ard in the absence of Col. Morgan; (Brig. Gen. Cadwalader's brig.) 
11 Inf. from Pa., Del. and Md., under Col. Ramsey, 14 Inf. from 111., 
Tenn. and La. under Col. Trousdale, Voltigeurs from Pa., Md., Va., 
Ga., Ky. and Miss, under Col. Andrews (Ho. 60; 30, \, p. 924). Each 
regiment was theoretically to consist of 851 men including 47 officers 
{ibid.), but the two brigades going to Scott were not expected to muster 
quite 3500. Scott was authorized to change the organization should the 


exigencies of the campaign require (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 922). Each private 
serving a year or more was to receive 100 acres of government land 6r 
$100 in treasury scrip as a bounty. The law of March 3 provided also 
that (in view of the deficiency in field oflBcers caused by the lack of a retire- 
ment law) an additional major might be appointed in each regiment, 
that individuals might be accepted to fill vacancies in volunteer corps, 
that non-commissioned officers might be brevetted to the lowest commis- 
sioned rank, that distinguished privates might be given certificates of 
merit and $2.00 extra per month, that two companies might! be added to 
each artillery regiment, that one more company in each artillery regi- 
ment might be equipped as field artillery, that unfilled regular or volun- 
teer regiments should be consoMdated and the supernumerary officers 
discharged, etc. (These laws were quite elaborate and cannot be given 
in full here; see U. S. Statutes at Large, ix, 123, 184.) After receiving 
Scott's report on the battle of Cerro Gordo, Polk ordered five companies 
of the Third Dragoons to him. 

25. Reinforcements provided. Upton, Milit. Policy, 206-7. 62Ad]. 
gen. to Scott, May 10. 657d., gen. orders 57, Dec. 22; 2, Jan. 8; 8, Mar. 
4; 17, Apr. 15. Semmes, Service, 314r-5. ssiWeUes papers. Polk, 
Messages, Deo. 29 (Jan. 4, 1847), 1846; Feb. 13, 1847 (Richardson, 
Messages, iv, 508, 513. lOSPolk to Bancroft, Jan. 30. Wash. Union, 
Jan. 4, 7, 11, 12, 14, 21, etc. Nat. Intelligencer, May 26. Cong. Globe, 
Sen. and Ho., Dec. 28 to Mar. 3 (One needs to examine the proceedings 
and speeches considerably in detail). (Voltigeurs) Niles, May 15, p. 161. 
Amer. Review, Sept., 1847, p. 223. Statutes at Large, ix, 117, 123, 184. 
Boston Atlas, Jan. 14. 316Bragg to Sherman, Mar. 1, 1848. 6lRansom, 
Apr. 12 ; May 9, 21 ; June 26. eiScott to Wilson, Apr. 26. 330H. L. 
Scott to Cadwalader, Apr. 25. BlAdj. gen. to Scott, Dec. 17, 1846; 
Jan. 23; Mar. 20; May 6, 10, 22, 1847; to Cadwalader, Apr. 28; to 
qtr. mr. gen., Apr. 21. Ho. 42; 29, 2: adj. gen., Jan. 13. 256Marcy to 
Wetmore, Jan. 6, 10; July 16. Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 121 (Marcy). Senex, 
Myth. Ho. 48; 29, 2 (adj. gen.). Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 45, 50. 62Marcy 
to Brooke, Mar. 22 ; to Pierce, Mar. 22 ; to govs. Ala., Miss., La., Mar. 
22. eiAdj. gen. to Cadwalader, Mar. 26. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 866, 944, 
948, 1221 (Scott) ; 873, 905-6, 922, 953, 1241 (Marcy) ; 924, 926 (state- 
ments). 69Scott, mems. for adj. gen., Nov. 29, 1846. Polk, Diary. 

The principal references for the attempt to give Benton the chief com- 
mand are the following. 345Benton to Polk, Mar. 6; to Van Buren, 
Jan. 26. Polk, Diary, Nov. 10, 11, 18; Dec. 3, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18-21, 
24, 25, 1846; Jan. 2, 4, 16, 19,22-3; Feb. 4-Mar. 12; Mar. 19-20, 
,22; Apr. 6, 14, 28; May 10-4; July 17, 1847. 210Simms to Hammond, 
May 1. 354Welles papers. 345Blair to Van Buren, Dec. 26, 1846; 
Mar. 13, 1847. Jameson, Calhoun Corres., 727. Dix, Speeches, i, 166. 
.London Times, Feb. 18; Mar. 17; Apr. 17. Meigs, Benton, 364-7. 
Benton, View, ii, 698. Id., speech : Niles, June 5, 1847, p. 223. Scott, 
Mems., ii, 401. Public Ledger, Jan. 8, 27; Mar. 1. Cong. Globe, 29, 2, 
Senate, Jan. 11, 14, 15 (Badger's speech the most important one made on 
the subject), 25 (Benton); House, passim. Blaine, Twenty Years, i, 
76. Buchanan, Works, viii, 365, 367. Mag. of Amer. Hist., xiv, 575. 
Wash. Union, Mar. 11. eiBenton to adj. gen.. Mar. 9. 

This call of Apr. 19 included (infantry) a regiment, each, from Ills., 
Oh., Ind. ; a battahon (5 cos.), each, from N. J., Mo., Ga., Ala., La.; 
three cos. from the Di,st. of Columbia; two cos., each, from Pa., Md., 


Va. ; and one co. from Fla. ; also (horse) two cos. from La. and one 
CO., each, from Oh., Ills., Ga., Ala., Ark. A regt. consisted of ten cos. 
Each CO. included a capt., a first lieut., two second lieuts., four sergts., 
four corps., two musicians and eighty privates. A co. of horse had also 
one farrier and blacksmith (62memo., Apr. 21). Of vols. Scott was now 
to have two brigades : I, *one N. Y. and *two Pa. regts. and two Pa. cos. ; 
II, *one S. Car. and *one La. regt., one La. and one Ga. battal., two cos. 
La. horse and one co. G^. horse (asterisks mean, "already in Mexico")- 
There were certain e.xceptions as to the dates of calls which it seems un- 
necessary to specify. 

After the lieutenant general plan failed, Benton was nominated as a 
major general, and was promptly confirmed by the Senate, and a bill au- 
thorizing Polk to place him in supreme command was urged upon Congress 
(Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1219); but as it appeared doubtful whether the chief 
authority could be conferred upon him, Benton declined the position 
abruptly (345letters dated Mar. 9). This episode caused no material 
delay in war legislation. 

26. One unfortunate result of giving up the line of communication was 
that new troops had to wait at Vera Cruz until assembled in sufficient 
force to defy the enemy, and some of them fell sick in consequence ; but 
this was not fairly chargeable to the evacuation of Jalapa, for the irregu- 
lars did their worst below that city. It was the intention of the govern- 
ment that Quitman should go to Taylor, but Scott retained him because 
his services were valued and he could not be sent away without a heavy 
detachment (Sen. 52; .30, 1, p. 137). Having only two full regiments, 
though a major general, Quitman naturally felt aggrieved (Ho. 60; 30, 
1, p. 1024). To illustrate once more the difference between paper figures 
and real ones, the Washington U?don stated on July 20 that more than 
15,000 reinforcements had marched from Vera Cruz. The text shows 
how many did go. July 19 Marcy wrote that ■ 1900 men were en route 
to Vera Cruz (Ho. 60;. 30, 1, p. 1003). The fact was that on August 2 
or 3 about 850 men left that place for the interior under Col. L. D. Wilson 
of the Twelfth Infantry (60Wilson, July 31). 

27. Reinforcements arrive. (Other references will be given when the 
guerillas are studied: chap, xxix.) Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 1002, 1241 (Marcy) ; 
1012, 1221 (Scott). Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, app., 4, 13, 16, 18, 20-25 (Mcintosh 
el al.). Scott, Mems., ii, 453, etc. 657d., gen. orders 250, 1847. Hitch- 
cock, Fifty Years, 265, 269. Davis, Autobiog., 174-5. 69Marcy to 
Pillow and Quitman, Apr. 14. Hartman, Journal, 15. Picayune, Aug. 
20. Delia, Oct. 1. Upton, Milit. Policy, 213-4. Polk, Diary, May 10. 
159Colhns papers. 29lPierce, diary. 6lCadwalader to Wilson, June 
13. 62Adj. gen. to Scott, May 10, 22. 287Parrish, diary. 60H. Wilson 
to Marcy, Aug. 1. 60L. D. Wilson to Marcy, July 31. Mansfield, Mex. 
War, 224. Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 136. 236judah, diary. Monilor del Pueblo, 
Apr. 29. iTSDavis, diary. 335Dimond to Trist, July 14. Semmes, Ser- 
vice, 314. Wash. Union, July 20. ISOPillow to wife, June 14. 61 
H. Wilson to adj. gen., June 7, 14. SlPillow to adj. gen. [June 19]. Hen- 
shaw narrative. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 215, 238-41, 272-4. eijones 
to Wilson, Apr. 29. 76Soto, July 17, 21, 23, 25, 31 ; Aug. 3, 11. 76 
CanaUzo, July 8. 76Alvarez, July 5. 76Hitchcock to Worth, May 12. 
76Many other documents. 

28. Under general orders 218, July 16, 1847, the following artillery 
'•ompanies were ordered to be equipped (i.e., were recognized) as light 


(field) artillery in accordance with the law of March 3, 1847 : First Regi- 
ment, Co. I, Capt. J. B. Magruder; Second, Co. M, J. F. Roland; Third, 
Co. E, T. W. Sherman; Fourth, Co. G, S. H. Drum. Co. M was not 
organized in time to serve during the war ; the others were already in the 

29. Scott, Mems., ii, 460-5. Grone, Briefe, 84. eoMarcy to Quit^ 
man, Apr. 14. Upton, Milit. Policy, 214. 159Collins papers, June 18. 
236Juda,h, diary, Apr. 26. Lawton, Artill. Officer,' 274. Aldrich, Marine 
Corps, 104. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1002 (Marcy) ; 1012 (Scott). 62Adj. 
gen. to Scott, May 22. Journ. Milit. Serv. Insiit., iii, 415. 

The general staff (as given by Scott in his Mems., ii, 460-3) included 
at this time : Lt. Col. Hitchcock, asst. inspect, gen. ; Capt. H. L. Scott 
(not relited to the General) actg. adj. gen.; First Lt. T. Williams, Bvt. 
First Lieut. G. W. Lay and Second Lieut. Schuyler Hamilton, aides; Maj. 
J. P. Gaines (one of the Encarnacion prisoners, who had escaped) vol. 
aide; Maj. J. L. Smith, Capt. R. E. Lee, and Lieuts. P. G. T. Beauregard, 
I. I. Stevens, Z. B. Tower, G. W. Smith, G. B. MeClellan and J. G. Foster, 
engineer officers; Maj. Wm. TurnbuU, Capt. J. MeClellan, Second Lieut. 
George Thom and Bvt. Second Lieut. E. L. F. Hardcastle, topog. engs. ; 
Capt. Benjamin Huger, First Lieut. P. V. Hagner and Second Lieut. C. 
P. Stone, ordnance officers ; Capt. J. R. Irwin, chief quartermaster ; Capt. 
J. B. Grayson, chief of subsistence dept. ; Maj. E. Kirby, chief paymaster; 
Surgeon Gen., Thomas Lawson. The Marine Corps, which had no regi- 
mental organization, included, Mar. 2, 1847, 1283 privates. On that day 
Congress raised the number to 2293,i and added twelve "commanding 
officers" (Sen. 66; 30, 1). In May, 1847, the secretary of the navy, in 
order to help strengthen Scott, offered a part of this corps (Sen. 1 ; 30, 

I, p. 957). Perry did not think it wise to detach all of the men whom 
the department proposed to contribute (47 July 4), but a battaUon under 
Lieut. Col. Watson and Maj. Twiggs marched to Puebla with Pierce. 

30. Picayune, Aug. 20; Nov. 14. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 244, 246, 
274-5. Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 135 (Scott). 65Scott, gen. orders 246, Aug. 
5. Colhns Papers. Smith, To Mexico, 178. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 


1. This chapter is amply supported. About 1400 documents were 
used in writing it. As, however, any investigitor consulting on this 
subject the 76archives would easily find the pertinent papers, only the 
most important ones belonging to that collection will be cited. 

2. Affairsat Mexico to Apr. eo. Sen. 19; 30, 2 (M.L. Smith). 34lBlack, 
memorial, Dec. 20. 312Anaya to S. Anna, Apr. 9. 312Baranda to S. 
Anna, Apr. 9. Monitor Repub., Apr. 11. Picayune, May 12. Semmes, 
Service, 328. 92Gov. Federal Dist. to Mex ayunt., Apr. 10. 92Mex. 
ayunt., proclam., Apr. 27. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1088. Niles, May 15, p. 
168 (Gamboa). Kenly, Md. Vol., 338. N. Y. Sun, May 19. Apuntes, 
198-9. Otero, Comunicaci6n. Negrete, Invasidn, iii, app., 483. From 
76 the following. Memo., Apr. 10. Salas, Apr. 12. Ords. to generals, 
Apr. 2. Ords. to Liceaga, Apr. 10 Relaciones to gov. Fed. Dist., Apr. 

II. Almonte, May 14. To comte. gen. Guanajuato, Apr. 16. To J. P. 
Gdlvez, Apr. 9. Measures recommended, Apr. 6, 14. Relaciones, Apr. 
12. Berrospe to Monterede, Jan. 20, 1846. 


3. This specimen may be quoted: "The cunning dissimulator, Ibarra 
[a member of the Cabinet], venomous as a serpent, crawls forth obscurely 
from his lurking-place to-day in order that he may set his mahgnant teeth 
to-morrow in the vitals of the republic. . . . Off with the heads of the 
vile traitors ! " One ingenious writer said : If Santa Anna will not sacrifice 
his vanity by admittmg he is incompetent, why should we sacrifice 
our lives and property? Apiil 21 a general amnesty for pohtical offences 
was declared in the vain hope of producing harmony (76to Bustamante, Apr. 

4. This important law provided (Mexico d trav^s, iv, 656) : 1, The gov- 
ernment is authorized to take all steps necessary to carry on the war and 
preserve the republican system ; 2, but it must not make peace with the 
United States, cede territory, conclude negotiations [particularly with 
reference to a monarchical regime] with foreign powers ; 3, make coloni- 
zation contracts, impose punishments or confer civil or miUtary appoint- 
ments except those placed within its authority by the Constitution; 4, 
any arrangement between the United States and authorities superseding 
the present government shall be void ; 5, any person, whatever his status, 
who treats with the United States is hereby declared a traitor ; 6, should 
Congress be unable to meet, its place shall be taken by a council of govern- 
ment, consisting of the senior member present of each state delegation. 

5. Affairs at Mexico, Apr. W to May IS. S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 44-5 ; 
app., 76. Id., Detail, 8. Dublin, Legislaci6n, v, 267 (Apr. 20). Gim^nez, 
Mems., 107-9. M6x. en 1847, 20. Picayune, May 6, 20. Defensa de 
. . . Estrada. 312Basadre to S. Anna, Apr. 9, very private. 73Ber- 
miidez de Castro, no. 517, June 29. Manifiesto del Supr. Tribunal. 
Molina, El Asalto. Memoria de . . . Relaciones, Jan., 1849. Boletin 
de Noticias, May 14. Republicano, May 10, 22. Courrier Frangais, May 
5. London Times, June 15 ; July 9. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 
196-8. Encarnacion Prisoners, 67. 52Trist, no. 7, June 13. 92Dona- 
tions, Mex., May 1-6. 92Bravo, proclam., May 6. Roa Bdrcena, 
Recuerdos, 570. 92Ayunt., call for volunteers, May 20. Consideraciones. 
Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 967 (Worth). SOOlaguibel to Relac, Aug. 15. Lara, 
Resumen, 66, note. Mexico d, travds, iv, 655-6, 661, 704. Prieto, Memorias, 
ii, 210-2. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 255. Ramirez, Mexico, 229, 233-4, 
239, 241, 246-7, 250-1, 256, 272-7, 284. SSMetropol. dean, May 8. 
Monitor Repub., Apr. 22; May 3, 8, 10-11. S. Anna, manifiesto, Mar. 
24, 1848. Apuntes, 199, 200-1, 203-4. SOGuerra to gov.. Mar. 11; Apr. 
22. SOGov. to Bravo, May 5. Diario, Apr. 25, 28 ; May 3, 4, 6, 12, 15. 
From 7€ the following. Decrees, Apr. 26; May 1. Junta direotiva. May 
1, 3. Acuerdo, Apr. 20, 25. Circular, Apr. 30. Garrison, estado, May 
13. ' To generals, Apr. 25. To Brito, May 25. J. J. Min^n, Apr. 24. 
Deserters, May 15. Circular, May 4. Basadre, May 16, res. To 
Alvarez, Apr. 26. To Monterde, May 18. To S. Anna, Apr. 20-2. 
To Bravo, Apr. 24. To Bustamante, Apr. 21. Almonte, Apr. 28, 30; 
May 8, 12, 15, 18. Monterde, May 9. Bravo, May 11, 16. Rinc6n, 
May 17. S. Anna, May 16. 

6. Affairs at Mexico, May 18 to June S. Negrete, Invasion, iii, app., 
61-72, 81-3; iv, app., 261-8, 273-4. Tributo & la Verdad, 56, 74-6. 
Gimenez, Memorias, 109-11. S. Anna to Congress, May 28 (BibUoteca 
Nac). Id., Apelaci6n, app., 83-8. Id., Detail, 8. Defensa de . . . 
Estrada. Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 177-8. Portrait of Anaya : city hall, Mex. 
Picayune, July 15 ; Aug. 7, 8. Monitor Repub., May 20 ; June 3, 4, 14 ; 


Dec. 12 (S. Anna, Nov. 19). Republicano, May 10; June 5, 10, 15, 26. 
Mexico & travgs, iv, 662, 664^7. Ramirez, Mexico, 229-30, 233, 284-6. 
ISBankhead, nos. 59, 60, May 29. London Times, July 9, 16; Aug. 6. 
73Bermudez de Castro, no. 517, June 29. Roa Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 
290-3. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 157, 196-204. Encarnacion 
Prisoners, 67. SOGuerra to gov. M6x., May 20. Diario, May 19, 21, 
23-4; June 8. Boletin de la Democracia, May 25. Hitchcock, Fifty 
Years, 260. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 967. Apuntes, 201, 204. Otero, Replica. 
DubMn,'Legislaci6n, v, 264. 76Bravo, May 15, 16, 24, 30. 768. Anna to 
Rosa, Feb. 5, 1848. 76Valenoia, June 7, 1847. 76Mora, June 5. 76To 
Brito, May 25. SOBravo, proclam.. May 6. 76S. Anna, May 21. 

The statesmen who met S. Anna were Manuel Baranda, Ignacio 
Trigueros and J. F. Ramirez. 

7. A signal illustration ot the incompetence of the Mexican government, 
particularly Congress, was afforded by its treatment of Great Britain. 
At the end of August, 1846, Bankhead, under the instructions of the Foreign 
Office (13to Bankhead, no. 20), proposed mediation to Mexico, but the offer 
was not welcomed. Santa Anna and Rej6n beHeved that it proceeded 
wholly from self-interest, and that, in order to prevent her commerce from 
suffering longer from the war and other interests from becoming im- 
perilled, England was ready to sacrifice the honor and welfare of their 
country (73Bermddez de Castro, nos. 332, res., 343, res., Sept. 24, 27, 
1846) ; and, moreover, the Mexicans still felt quite able to cope with the 
United States (ISBankhead, no. 130, Sept. 7, 1846). In October, under 
renewed instructions (ISno. 11), Bankhead again submitted the proposal 
(13nos. 162, 180), and later he returned to the charge (Apuntes, 202). 
The subject was unwisely referred by the Mexican Executive to Congress, 
but nothing was done (ibid). After the battle of Cerro Gordo, however, 
the administration thought negotiations might be used to delay the 
American advance (ibid. ; Ramirez, Mexico, 246) and the Puros hoped the 
subject might be made embarrassing to the government (Ramirez, M6xico, 
224). Violent, acrimonious and dangerous debates followed in Congress 
and, in order to embarrass the Executive (13Bankhead, no. 45, 1847), 
enough Puros remained away (at the time set for voting) to destroy the 
quorum (ibid.). The matter was then dropped (Ramirez, Mexico, 246, 274). 
The general feeling was that British mediation would signify British control 
and a dishonorable, disadvantageous peace (London Times, June 15 ; 
Monitor Re-pub., May 18). But, even if this view contained some elements 
of justice, trifling with a great power and throwing the vital interests of 
Mexico into the cockpit of party politics could not be excused. 

8. The political situation after June S. S. Anna, Apelaci6n, app., pp. 3, 6, 
8, 10, etc. Id., Detail, 8. 87Coalition junta, July 7 ; Aug. 8 ; etc. Repub- 
licano, June 4, 5, 9, 15, 16, 20, 22, 26. 312Baranda to S. Anna, Apr. 8. 
Mexico d travds, iv, 667, 704. Iniciativa que el Hon. Cong, del Estado de 
Zacat. Otero, RepHca. 13Bankhead, nos. 60, May 29 ; 64, 65, 70, June 
29. Id., no. 125, Deo. 30, 1845 (Tornel has no reputation for honesty). 
London Times, Aug. 6. 77Gov. S. Luis Potosi, June 19. 13Thornton to 
Bankhead, June 14. 52Consul Black, no. 389, Sept. 12, 1846. Encarna- 
cion Prisoners, 68, 77-8, 86. 73Bermiidez de Castro, no. 517, June 29. 
77Letter from Coatepec, June 26. 82Treas. to sec. state of Puebla, June 
14; reply, June 15. 82Guerra to gov. Puebla, Aug. 2; reply, Aug. 7. 
SOLegisl. of M6x. state. Mar. 26 ; June 12. sold., address, Apr. 26. 
SOCoalition, address, Aug. 4. Verdadero Liberal, Aug. 12. SOCoal. 

JSIUTiJ^S ON UMAFTii^K AJ*.V , FAUii;S 87-91 HOy 

junta to gov. M&x., June 17. 807d., dictamen, July 4. EoOaxaca state, 
exposioi6n, June 26. 83Gov. Querfitaro to gov. S. Luis Potosl, Apr. 9. 
Diario, June 7, 8, 11, 24, 30; July 3, 9, 18. Monitor Re-pub., May 3, 4, 
26-7; June 3, 7, 11, 13, 14-16, 18, 19, 24, 30; July 6, 7, 9; Dec. 12 (S. 
Anna, Nov. 19). Niles, Oct. 30, p. 141. 83Gov. Quergtaro to Farias, 
Oct. 20, 1846 ; to Anaya, May 4 ; to all govs.. May 7. 82Gov. Jalisco 
to gov. Puebla, Apr. 13. 82Gov. M6x. to gov. Puebla, Apr. 12. Ramirez, 
Mexico, 237, 244-6, 254, 263, 272, 288-90. 80Gov. M6x. to Bravo, May 5. 
76To Alvarez, June 29. 76Extraoto re Guanajuato. 76J. J. de Eche- 
verrla, June 6. 76Arellano, July 9. 7601aguibel to Relac, Apr. 19. 
76Hacienda to Basadre, Aug. 9. 76Reyes, June 1, 22. 76Basadre, 
Aug. 9. 76Ydfiez, June 15. 76Mora, Apr. 28. 

In February, 1847, a revolutionary government satisfactory to the 
people was set up in Oaxaca state, and this supported the national cause to 
the full extent of its ability. A factional combination made up in Congress, 
however, took the side (May 8) of the deposed authorities. This action 
naturally caused great dissatisfaction in Oaxaca (76exposici6n de la cong. 
de Oaxaca, June 26), and it was particularly imprudent because Gen. 
Antonio de Le6n and his officers were partisans of the revolutionary party 
(Ramirez, Mexico, 255). 

9. July 9 the Mexican Army of the East included, according to a 
document published by Santa Anna, 17,548 officers and men. A. L6pez 
(D4cimo Calendario, 57) placed the army, including the National Guards, 
at 30,000 on Aug. 9. The only official Mexican accounts of the forces 
present in and near the capital early in August was made up during the 
following November, and are far from complete ; but they were stated 
to have been five times as large as those existing in November, which were 
8109 total, 6785 available (75report at meeting of govs. ; Mexico fi trav^s, 
iv, 701). The unofficial statements cannot be harmonized with these 
accounts nor (except when drawn from the same source) with one another. 
It does not help lis to know what corps were present (see Roa Barcena), 
for we have not the number of men in each of them. The com- 
manders of brigades in the Army of the East were Generals Terras, 
Martinez, Rangel, Perez, Le6n and Anaya and Col. Zerecero. The three 
sections of Valencia's army were commanded respectively by Mejia, 
Parrodi and Salas. A portion of Alvarez's force consisted of semi-savage 
"pintos" — men from the hot region, who were marked with spots 
(llM^moire). They lay flat when charged upon, and hewed the enemy 
down with heavy knives {machetes), and they were expected to fill the 
Americans with terror. 

10. The hiU (El Pen6n Viejo) was about 1000 yards in length at the 
base, and the higher of its two summits reached an elevation of about 
400-450 feet (GSreports of Lee, Stevens and Mason, Aug. 12, 26). The 
work of fortifying it was skilfully as well as thoroughly done. Engineer 
I. I. Stevens made out nearly forty guns. Topog. Engineer M. L. Smith 
thought there were about sixty (Sen. 19; 30, 2, p. 4). A large stock of 
rations was placed here (76acuerdo, Aug. 5). 

11. Santa Anna's preparations (see note 1). 66Stevens to J. L. Smith, 
Aug. 12, 26. 66R. E. Lee, J. L. Mason to J. L. Smith, Aug. 12. S. Anna, 
Apelaci6n, 44-7. Id., Detail, 8-11. eoPatterson to Marcy, Oct. 26. 
Picayun", June 30; Aug. 8. Donnavan, Adventures, 29. Pacheco, 
Exposfci6n. Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 91-4, 123-5. Scott, Mems., ii, 
466. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 274. 224lntercepted Letters (ed. by Hitch- 

VOL. II — 2 b 


cock). (Embezzlementj Consideraciones, 25; Apuntes, 207. Sen. 19; 
30, 2 (M. L. Smith, E. L. F. Hardcastle). Apuntes, 205-10, 223-8. 
Molina, El Asalto. Raleigh Star, Sept. 1. ISThornton, June 29. 
ITSDavis, diary. Portrait of Lombardini : city hall, Mexico. 350Weber, 
recoils. N. Orl. Delta, July 18. Verdadero Liberal, May 20. (San Patricio 
COS.) Dubldn, Legislaci6n, V, 290; Dtario, July 15. Mexico d travfe, iv, 
668-71. 70"Guerra," no. 1120. London Times, May 10; Sept. 6. 
Semmes, Service, 348-9. Dubliin, Legislaoi6n, v, 280, 284, 289, 294. 
73Bermiidez de Castro, nos. 517, June 29 ; 534, res., July 28. 73Lozano, 
No. 2, Aug. 24. Gamboa, Impug., 51. Bustamante, Nuevo Bernal, ii, 
205-6. assThornton to N. P. Trist, July 29. Encarnaoion Prisoners, 
69. eoWilson to Marcy, Aug. 1. N. Y. Sun, Aug. 23. Diario, May 24; 
June 5-10, 14^6, 18, 20, etc. Monitor Repub., May 31 (Eleventh Inf.) ; 
June 13-5, 18, etc. ; Dec. 12 (S. Anna, Nov. 19). Niles, June 19, p. 251. 
13Bankhead, no. 74, 1846. (Honduras) SOPatterson to Marcy, Oct. 

26, 1847. (Powder from N. Orl.) 166Consul McFaul to , Nov. 12, 

1846. Ramirez, Mexico, 268. ■ The following from 76 are cited for p irticu- 
lar reasons. Valencia, proclam., May 14. Estado of garrison, Mxy 13. 
Ayunt., Mexico, June 3. Recommended measures, Apr. 6, 14. Circulars, 
June 12; July 24. S. Anna to Alcorta, June 12; Aug. 3. Valencia, 
July 19. Statement, lines of defence, June 29. J. Terras, report on 
ca-^alry [Nov.]. J. de D. Peza, report on infantry, Nov. 29. Acuerdos, 
May 21, 23-4 ; June 5, 6, 8, 19, 25 ; July 17, 18, 19, 28, 30 ; Aug. 2, 3, 5, 
6. To Alvarez, June 3, 30, etc. To Mora, June 26 ; July 2, 20, 23, etc. 
To Lombardini, June 26; July 2, 5, 7, 11, 22, 31, etc. Alyarez. May 29; 
June 9, 16; July 5, etc. Mora, July 9, 19, 20, 22, etc. Lombardini, 
July 6, 7, 10, 12, 14, 16, etc. Olagulbel, Aug. 20. Decrees, June 5, 8; 
July 10, 12 ; Aug. 8, etc. 

Among other preparations were the following : information about the 
defence not to be pubhshed, and no communication to be had with points 
occupied by the Americans ; the troops to be trained in firing (June 6) ; 
the state of siege to be rigorous (June 28) ; as much wheat as possible to be 
groimd and stored in the city, and the rest to be removed from the Valley ; 
all Americans, even if naturaUzed, to leave the city (July 12) ; the American 
prisoners {e.g., from La Encarnaci6n) to go to Toluca ; prices of provisions 
fixed ; no persons to be tried for acts not injurious to a third party. Nat- 
urally there was much evasion of these edicts. A Council of Defence 
composed of the heads of the executive departments most concerned in 
the work began to meet on July 2 (76acuerdo, June 29 ; Lomb rdini, 
July 6). After the near approach of the enemy the shops (excepting those 
selling provisions and those of the Plaza del Mercado) were to close, 
civihan horses and carriages to keep off the streets, and no civilian to 
leave the city [without a pass] except those who had brought in coal 
and provisions [but on August 13 permission was given old men, women 
and children to go out]. By August 24 nearly all civilians [of any 
importance] left the city (73Lozano, no. 2). After the Americans came 
within easy reach the usual efforts to cause desertion among them were 
made by the Mexican government. The Paixhan guns cast by the 
Mexicans were beheved by them to equal the American ordnance 
(Apuntes, 207). 

12. Diario, Aug. 10-13. 77Relaciones, circular, Aug. 9. 73Lozano, 
no. 2, Aug. 24. Apuntes, 206-8, 210-20. Mexico d, travfe, iv, 671-2. 
Ramirez, M(5xico, 296. 76To Basadre, Aug. 10. 76To Alvarez, Aug. 12. 


76Relaciones to gov. Zacat., Aug. 11, 7601agulbel, Aug. 11. 76Decree, 
Aug. 8. 

13. April 30 Marcy had promised that by the end of June, Scott should 
have about 20,000 men (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 922). Scott felt he needed that 
number in addition to the garrison of Puebla (Sedgwick, Corres., i, 141). 
He has been criticised for having his small army march in four divisions 
a day apart. Twiggs and Quitman together had only about 4000 men 
and it has been represented that, even had they and the cavalry com- 
bined, Santa Anna could have crushed them before Worth could have 
reached the scene (Semmes, Service, 326) ; but, as a day's march was only 
12-15 miles (Hardcastle in Sen. 19 ; 30, 2, p. 10), Worth was but five hours 
(in case of emergency much less) behind Quitman, and an attack strong 
enough to crush Harney, Twiggs and Quitman, provided as they were 
with heavy ordnance, could not have taken place in a moment nor with- 
out warning. Scott expected to be attacked on the march (Scott, Mems., 
ii, 466). He might have avoided the high mountains by taking the route 
iria Tlaxcala and Apam ; but this route was long and unsuitable for his 
trains. There were nearly 1000 wagons (335Trist to Buchanan, Aug. 22) . 

14. These works were abandoned because not in keeping with Santa 
Anna's plan. Very likely the fact that it would not have been easy to 
subsist a large force here coimted also. Many of the Americans believed 
Santa Anna had built the works in the expectation of using them to cut 
Scott off after defeating him in the Valley, and set their teeth the harder. 
All felt that they must conquer or die. 

15. Scott's march to Ayoila. Scott, Mems., ii, 465-7. Hitchcock, 
Fifty Years, 266, 271. Grant, Mems., i, 164-5. Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, 
ii, 190-3. Davis, Autobiog., 192. Missouri Republican, Nov. 3, 1857 
fffitchcock). 217Henshaw papers. 218Henshaw narrative. Haynea, 
Gen. Scott's Guide. 183Drum, recoUs. 376NichoIson, recoUs. Donna- 
van, Adventures, 98. ISSCoUins papers. (Route) Lyon, Journal, ii, 
106; Thompson, RecoUs., 33; Velasco, Geograffa, i, 25; Cardona, M£x. 
y sus Capitales, 129 ; Robertson, Visit, i, 321 ; Ruxton, Adventures 
(1847), 33-4; Tudor, Tour, ii, 211; LeClercq, Voyage, 178-9; Mason, 
Pictures, ii, 6; Bullock, Across Mex., 67-8. Lawton, Artillery Officer, 
274, 281-7. 65Gen. orders 246, Aug. 5. 29lPierce papers. Sen. 11; 
31, 1 (map). Sen. 19; 30, 2 (M. L. Smith, E. L. F. Hardcastle). G. W. 
Smith, Co. A. Carleton, Address. 178Davis, diary. Sen. 52; 30, 1, 
pp. 124 (Scott) ; 186-8. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 303 (Scott), app., 37. Kenly, 
Md. Vol., 344. Rosa, Impresiones Nebel and Kendall, 27. Brackett, 
Lane's Brigade, 280-1. Coleccidn de Itinerarios. Oswandel, Notes, 
242, 245. Semmes, Service, 235, 286-9, 325-8, 452-3. 73BermTidez de 
Castro, nos. 534, res., July 28; 550, Aug. 21. 73Lozano, no. 2, Aug. 24. 
335Trist, statement, July 25, 1849. 236Judah, diary. Diario, July 2. 
Sedgwick, Corres., i, 108, 141. Smith, To Mexico, 188-93. Wilson, 
Mexico, 168. Niles, Oct. 30, p. 138. Sen. 1; 30, 1, app., 37. Ho. 60; 
30, 1, p. 1032 (Scott). 132Atocha to Buchanan, Aug. 1. Ripley, War 
with Mexico, ii, 187. Michigan Pioneer Soc. Colls., vii (Toll). So. 
Qlrly. Rev., Apr., 1852, pp. 406-7. 316Judd to Sherman, Feb. 26, 1848. 
Ramirez, Mexico, 239. Monitor Repub., Oct. 1 (Gamboa). Manifiesto 
que dirige . . . Alvarez. 

16. S. Anna, Apelaoi6n, 44; app., 146-50, 157-61. Sen. 52; 30, 1, 
pp. 186-7. 73Bermtidez de Castro, no. 534, res., July 28. Monitor Repub., 
Dec. 12 (S. Anna, Nov. 19). And from 76 the following. To Canalize 


June 30. To Alvarez, June 29, 30; July 13, 28; Aug. 6, 9, 12, 14, 21. 
To Valencia, Aug. 9, 11, 13, 14, 15. Canalizo, June 23; July 19; Aug. 9, 
10, 11. Alvarez, July 5, 8 ; Aug. 6, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10, 11, 12, 12, 25. Valen- 
cia, Aug. 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14. Expediente against Valencia. Acuerdo, Aug. 

17. The choice of approaches. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 272-4. Grant, 
Mems., 164-5. Mo. Republican, Nov. 3, 1857 (Hitchcock). Weekly 
Courier and N. Y. Enquirer, Mar. 2, 1848 (letter from Hitchcock). 217Hen- 
shaw to wife, Aug. 21. Hayues, Gen. Scott's Guide. eiHamilton to 
Scott, Oct. 17, 1850. 66R. E. Lee, I. I. Stevens, J. L. Mason to J. L. 
Smith, Aug. 12, 26. Chase, Polk Admin., 225. Claiborne, Quitman, i, 
333-7. 22lHill, diary. 159Collins papers. Lawton, ArtiU. Officer, 
289. Sen. 11; 31, 1 (M. L. Smith). Sen. 19; 30, 2 (M. L. Smith, E. 
L. P. Hardcastle). ITSDavis, diary. 136ButterfieId, recoils. S. Anna, 
Detail, 11. saTrist nos. 11, 12, Aug. 14, 22. ISSLetters from Worth, 
Duncan and others. 335H. L. Scott to Worth, Aug. 13. Picayune, Oct. 
8. Nebel and Kendall, 27. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 303, app., 27. Apuntes, 
208, 225. Semmes, Service, 348-52, 355-8. Ramirez, Mexico, 293. Sen. 
65; 30, 1, pp. 461-2 (Lee); 522-7 (Hitchcock). esCharges against 
Duncan (Scott). 236Judah, diary. Wash. Union, Nov. 3. Nat. In- 
telligencer, 'Nov. 12. Diario, Aug. 18. 377Capt. Willing (paper published 
by Engineer School, Washington). Stevens, I. I. Stevens, i, 148-9,. 190. 
So. Qtrly. Rev., Apr., 1852, p. 412. 760rder to Lombardini, June 19. 76To 
Mora, July 2. TSAcuerdos, Aug. 5, 8. 76Mora, Aug. 2. 76Gugerson to 
Alvarez, Aug. 10. 76(Spies) Alvarez, Aug. 12; Valencia, Aug. 13, 14; 
Becerril, Aug. 13; spy, Aug. 12; etc. 76Bravo, Aug. 13. 76To Bravo, 
Aug. 13. 

• The Mexicaltzingo plan was said to be, that while the rest of the troops 
should force their way between Lakes Chalco and Xochimilco by a broken 
causeway commanded by five batteries on a hill, Worth should pass 
round or across the latter lake and cooperate with them wherever he could 
do so to the best advantage (Davis, Autobiog., 193; etc.). Under orders 
from Scott (Hitchcock in Mo. Republican, Nov. 3, 1857; 377paper; 
335H. L. Scott to Worth, Aug. 13 ; 68charges against Duncan) to examine 
the Chalco route. Worth (at Duncan's suggestion) had Duncan, supported 
by strong detachments, reconnoitre that route on August 14 under the 
pretence of obtaining provisions. Duncan, who reported (305Aug. 14) 
favorably, was sent to Scott late that day to give an account of the re- 
connaissance and deliver a 305letter from Worth, which argued against 
dividing the army. Not receiving credit in Scott's report Duncan pub- 
lished (Picayune, Oct. 8; Dec. 18) a letter claiming in effect to have 
caused the change of plan (chap, xxix, p. 187). But the letter proved that 
he knew less about the matter than he supposed (68charges) ; it did not 
prove that the change of orders resulted from his report ; and there is no 
proof that Scott intended to divide the army — though he collected boats 
enough for about 2000 men with a view to crossing or to making the Mexi- 
cans believe (Claiborne, Quitman, i, 335) he intended to cross the lake 
and it was thought that as many more could be obtained — or definitely 
decided to attack Mexicaltzingo. On the other hand Scott stated (68 

charges) that he was himself investigating (305Mackall to , May 10, 

1848) the Chalco route while Duncan was doing so, and that a spy sent 
from headquarters reported favorably upon it (68charges) ; and he denied 
squarely that he gave up the Mexicaltzingo for the Chalco route in conse- 


quence of Duncan's report (68charges). Extreme secrecy and all possible 
mystification of the enemy were necessary, and on account of Worth's 
unfriendliness Scott had special reasons for not opening his mind fully to 
him. Other generals have purposely kept their subordinates in the dark 
(see Henderson, Jackson, i, 421, 441 ; Id., Science of War, 42). Instead of 
proving that Worth was the better general. Worth and Duncan proved 
the opposite, for they showed that Worth committed himself to the Chalco 
route on very incomplete data, whereas Scott studied three routes and 
reserved his decision until, as far as was possible, he had full information 
before him. As usual, when Worth's relations with Scott were concerned, 
we find Semmes inaccurate and biassed here. Ripley uses the incident 
against Scott at ^reat length and very unfairly. Facts regarding the 
Mexicaltzingo route are brought forward, though not known to the Amer- 
icans at the time (Ripley, War with Mexico, 194). We are told (p. 191) 
that Scott ordered Duncan to study the Chalco route after Duncan had 
proposed to do so, as if Scott had not previously ordered Worth, Duncan's 
commander, to investigate the route. It is alleged that the case did not 
warrant "a departure from the rules of the [military] art to so great a 
degree" [as was proposed by the Mexicaltzingo plan]; yet Ripley shows 
that the Texcoco route was impracticable (pp. 179, 186), that El Pen6n 
was virtually "impregnable" (p. 188), and that the Chalco route was con- 
sidered out of the question (p. 190). This was a situation clearly war- 
ranting extraordinary measures. On p. 202 Ripley seems to argue that 
the orders to attack Mexicaltzingo cannot have been given to conceal the 
movement that Scott actually made, since any movement against that 
point would have caused Santa Anna to place troops in that vicinity, 
detect promptly Scott's real intention, and defend the southern line, and 
so the ruse would have defeated itself. But (1) the question concerns 
orders, not — as Ripley assumes — an actual movement toward Mexi- 
caltzingo ; (2) Santa Anna had troops in the vicinity of Mexicaltzingo, but 
the results anticipated by Ripley did not follow ; (3) indeed, though Ripley 
was not aware of the fact, Santa Anna concluded Aug. 14 (76to Valencia) 
that Scott was going to S. Agustln, and merely had the reserves at S. 
Antonio garita go with five 4-pounders to S. Antonio hacienda (76to 
Valencia, Aug. 14), for he was relying on his fortified points ; and (4) since 
the same troops could not defend at the same time the works near Mexi- 
caltzingo and also the road to S. Agustln, orders involving a threat against 
the former would have tended, without costing Scott anything, to keep 
the latter clear. 

The vulnerable point of El Peii6n Viejo was that owing to its steep- 
ness the cannon could have httle action on the slopes (6GStevens to Smith, 
Aug. 26). A particular disadvantage in attacking Mexicaltzingo would 
have been that (Santa Anna said) such a movement could have been 
detected in good season, and reinforcements could have been placed there 
promptly (76to Bravo, Aug. 13). As the American generals needed in- 
formation that could only be obtained from Mexicans, they were pecul- 
iarly exposed to the artifices of spies, and some of these gained a confiden- 
tial footing with Worth and even with Scott. 

18. To S. Agustln. 218Henshaw narrative. S. Anna, Apelacidn, 47, 
50; app., 146-51. Id., Detail, 12. Ballentine, Eng. Soldier, ii, 195. 
Davis, Autobiog., 192-5. 217Henshaw to wife, Aug. 21. 22111111, diary. 
159Collins papers. Latrobe, Rambler, 121. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 
290, 293. Sen. 34; 34, 3, p. 37. Sen. 11; 31, 1 (map). Sen. 19; 30, 2 


(M.L. Smith, E.L.F.Hardcastle). G. W. Smith, Co. A. 204Gouverneur, 
diary. 178Davis, diary. Gamboa, Impug., 38-9. Mexico d trav^s, iv, 
672. Apuutes, 220, 229. Arr6iiiz, Manual, i, 243. Semmes, Service, 
352-5, 370-5. Nebel and Kendall, 28. 12Caryton to Lambert, Sept. 1. 
Steele, Campaigns, i, 123. 236Judah, diary. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 
275. ■ Moore, Scott's Camp., 129. Wash. Union, Nov. 3. Stevens, I. I. 
Stevens, 168. Niles, Oct. 30, p. 139. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 303 (Scott); 
app., 28 (Twiggs) ; 37 (Sumner) ; 39 (McKinstry). 76To Alvarez, Aug. 
11, 21. 76To Valencia, Aug. 14, 15. 76To Lombardini, Aug. 14. 76 
Acuerdos, Aug. 15, 16. 76To Herrera, Aug. 15. 76Becerril, Aug. 15. 
76Valencia, Aug. 14, 15. 76Alvarez, Aug. 16, 17, 19, 22, 25. 76To 
Alvarez, Aug. 14, 15. Ripley, War with Mexico, ii, 647 (Lee to Mason). 

Santa Anna's policy seems to have been wise. Any detachments that 
he could have thrown hastily in front of Worth must have consisted of 
inferior troops, and would no doubt have been routed. The last portion 
of the Chaloo route was over ground which, though in part hilly, was firm 
(T. F. Davis, diary). The brush with Twiggs was greatly exaggerated 
by the Americans, some of whom estimated the enemy as 12,000 strong, 
and felt that a victory was gained, whereas Alvarez had no intention 
of fighting, and did not come within musket range. It has been said 
(Ripley, War with Mexico, ii, 289) that Scott should have had the cavalry. 
Worth and Pillow advance without heavy baggage, and reach S. Agustin 
in twelve hours. But (1) there was a distinct advantage in keeping Worth's 
division intact, (2) Scott's van was less hkely to be attacked than his rear, 
(3) Scott probably understood that Santa Anna intended to rely on his 
fortified positions, for he was well posted about affairs at the capital 
(ISThornton to Bankhead, June 14), nothing could be kept secret there, 
and Santa Anna's Plan was known to many, (4) Scott's judgment on the 
point was likely, especially in view of his fuller knowledge of the facts, 
to be better than Ripley's, and (5) it was justified by the event. The 
Chalco route was the one taken by Cortez (Gamboa, Impug., 38). In 
leaving Pen6n Viejo Santa Anna had money and provisions remain there 
for a prospective "distant march" (76to Herrera, Aug. 15). Whether 
this referred to a pursuit of the Americans or his own flight can only be 
guessed, but as the order was addressed to Herrera, one inclines to the 
former view. 

19. 52Trist, no. 11, Aug. 14. Mexico d trav^s, iv, 672-3. Apuntes, 
220-2, 230. S. Anna, Detail, 11-2. 95Notice to first alcalde, Aug. 19. 
So. Qlrly. Rev., Apr., 1852. Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 446. 73Ber- 
mudez de Castro, no. 445, Mar. 2. 76To Valencia, Aug. 14, 15, 16. 76To 
Lombardini, Aug. 14. 76Valencia, Aug. 15, 16. 76To Alvarez, Aug. 16. 
76Acuerdo, Aug. 16. 


1. The basis for distances is Smith and Hardcastle's map of the Valley 
(Sen. 11 ; 31, 1). A garita had to be a somewhat formal place, for mu- 
nicipal duties were levied and collected there, and some accommodations 
for the officials and the guards were necessary. The last word of "S. 
Antonio Abad" was commonly omitted. For the sake of distinction the 
Acapulco road will be called the "highway" and the road via Tacubaya, 
San Angel and Ansaldo the "turnpike" (Trist's word for it). The name 
Contreras was applied by Americans to three places, to none of which it 


belonged. Contreras was a village on the turnpike some distance south 
of Padierna. San Agustin was also known as Tliilpam. 

2. August 14 Valencia's 76return (eslado) included 486 officers, 5078 rank 
and file, 1447 horses, one siege 16-pounder, three siege 12-pounders, fiye 
8-inch (68-pound) howitzers and fifteen smaller guns. One of the guns 
was assigned to Torrej6n and he saved it. Another small one disappeared. 
The name of the rounded hill where Valencia took post was Peloncoahu- 

3. Valencia had one excuse, for very possibly he beheved (in view of 
Santa Anna's delay at San Luis Potosi, abandonment of Tampico, ap- 
parent neglect of Vera Cruz, etc.) that the President traitorously intended 
to leave open a door by which Scott could reach the capital ; but none the 
less he was a conscienceless conspirator and the mortal foe of Santa Anna, 
disgusted with subordination, and eager to overthrow his chief. His past 
conduct had been thoroughly suspicious, and his manifiesto of August 22 
does not bear analysis well. To remove him would have seemed an act 
of jealousy, if not treason, and very likely have caused a mutiny. Santa 
Anna hoped that the national crisis would hold him in line for the time 
being. Besides, Santa Anna did not know precisely where Valencia pro- 
posed to make a stand {Diario, Sept. 1). When he learned, he sent General 
Mora to reconnoitre the position (76to Valencia, August 19). Again, he 
could not afford to raise an issue with Valencia now, for the latter (doubt- 
less with the help of his engineers) had divined Scott's plans better than 
the former, and undertaken to guard a quarter left open by the President. 
Finally it was quite possible that Santa Anna thought Valencia would be 
taught a lesson by the Americans. It is unnecessary to discuss the merits 
and disadvantages of Valencia's position, for they will appear plainly in 
the narrative (see Balbontin, Invasi6n, 110-11). Had the Americans been 
wiUing to do as he wished, the hill would have been entirely satisfactory. 
Of Valencia's intellectual quaUty the following specimen is suggestive : 
"Soldiers of Liberty, anarchy put out its head, but your arms drowned 
it in a moment." 

4. Mexican preliminaries. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 304, 306 (Scott) ; 348-9 
(Smith); app., 80 (Alexander). Collins papers. 66Lee to Smith, Aug. 21. 
Semmes, Service, 393. Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, pp. 276 (Longstreet) ; 570. 224ln- 
tercepted Letters (14, L.V. to M. O. ; 26, to Old Gentleman). Apuntes, 
221,230-6. Balbontin, Invasion, HI. Gamboa, Impug., 41. 70"Guerra," 
no. 30 (F. Perez). Mexico A trav^s, iv, 672-3, 677. Long, Memoirs, 
54. So. Qlrly. Rev., Apr., 1852, pp. 408-9. Latrobe, Rambler, 90. Sen. 
19; 30, 2 (Hardcastle to Smith; Smith to Abert). Valencia, Manifiesto. 
Calder6n, Life, i, 314. ITSDavis, diary. Prieto, Mems., ii, 213. 73Ber- 
miidez de Castro, no. 534, res., July 28. S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 51-2; app., 
140-54, 157-60. Id., Detail, 12. Monitor Repub., Dec. 17, 1847. Hitch- 
coc'c, Fifty Years, 276. Negrete, Invasi6n, iv, app., 279-83. 76Acuerdo, 
Aug. 16. 76To Lombardini, July 22. 76To Alvarez, Aug. 21. 76Zere- 
cero, Aug. 25. 76To Valencia, Aug. 16. 76Expediente contra Valencia. 

The defences of Valencia's camp were somewhat extended later, but not 
enough to render them formidable. 

5. According to a topographical officer (Washington Union, Nov. 3, 
1847) the only route from San Agustin to Mexico of which the Americans 
knew when they reached the ground was the highway. This surprises 
one at first. But the turnpike beyond San Angel was a local road serving 
only a few farms, the small villages of San Gerdnimo and Contreras, and 


a manufacturing establishment near Contreras. It seemed to be of no 
strategic signifioanoe, and was not likely to be heard of at a distance. The 
fortifications along the highway were largely developed after Scott turned 
toward San Agustln. Valencia's movements were impromptu. Scott 
had an EngUshman residing at Mexico in his pay, and we know that two 
persons brought data on Aug. 19 (Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 162). Apparently 
Scott did his duty as to seeking information. 

6. American preliminaries. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 304, 307, 315, 348-50 
(reports of Scott, Worth and Smith) ; app., 41 (Mason) ; 66 (Smith) ; 
101 (Magruder) ; 118 (Cadwalader). Wilhelm, Eighth Inf., ii, 307. Pica- 
yune, Si^pt. 8 ; Oct. 21. 66Lee to Smith, Aug. 21. Semmes, Service, 380, 
393. 2 2 intercepted Letters (26, To Old Gentleman). Hitchcock, Fifty 
Years, 275. Grant, Mems., i, 142. Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 188 (Trist, no. 12). 
76Expediente contra Valencia. 236Judah, diary. Sen. 19 ; 30, 2 (Hard- 
castle to Smith). Monitor Repub., Dec. 17. Diario, Aug. 19. 

7. Quitman had only the Second Pennsylvania, the Marines, Steptoe's 
battery and a troop or two of dragoons (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 341) ; but Worth's 
division was available in case of need. See Claiborne, Quitman, i, 347. 

8. Pillow, as was decided by a court of inquiry (Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, pp. 332- 
45) on the testimony of such men as Lee (p. 78), Smith (p. 102), Riley 
(p. 147) and Shields (p. 268), did not devise the plan on which this victory 
was gained ; and when Lee brought word to Scott of Smith's plan he 
washed his hands of it (335Trist, draft of address ; Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, p. 333) ; 
but he had the audacity to claim that Smith merely executed the precise 
plans and views laid down by Pillow for his guidance (Ho. 60; 30, l,p. 1018). 
Pillow could claim the credit only on the ground that he was the senior 
officer on the field, and that Smith's operations were a logical consequence 
of the events ; but Scott was the senior of Pillow, and all that occurred was 
— as Smith pointed out (Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, p. 104) — the logical consequence 
of Scott's order to gain possession of the San Angel road. The consensus 
of opinion was expressed by Twiggs : "General Smith deserves the whole 
credit" (Stevens, Stevens, i, 196). Moreover the famous letter signed 
"Leonidas" — prepared at Pillow's quarters doubtless with his conni- 
vance (Hitchcock in Mo. Republican, Oct. 2, 1857 ; Republican Banner, 
Feb. 23, 1858), conveyed by his agency (Davis, Autobiog., 285) to the New 
Orleans Delta, which published it Sept. 10 (chap, xxix, note 31), and 
fathered (when exposed) by an untruthful subordinate of his — "puffed" 
Pillow in the most extravagant manner for this " unparallelled victory," 
and represented Scott not only as leaving everything to Pillow but as 
blundering sadly. E.g. it said, "The army had been marching through 
marshes and almost impassable roads, nearly half around the city, to find 
some points upon the enemy's works that could be successfully assailed," 
the provisions had been nearly exhausted, and the mountains prevented 
going farther; Pillow's "plan of battle [at Contreras], and the disposition 
of his forces were most judicious," and he "achieved this signal and brilliant 
victory." (For the letter signed "Leonidas" see Sen. 65 ; 30, 1 (pp. 385-9, 
and the testimony of Pillow, Burns, Freaner, Trist) ; SSSPillow to Trist, 
Aug. 31, private ; St. Louis Evening Neirs, Oct. 2, 1857 ; chap, xxix, 
pp. 435-7.) 

Pillow's design in having such a statement prepared and placed before 
the people in advance of the official reports was probably to influence public 
opinion in the United States so as to make him an available candidate for 
the Presidency or enable Polk to put him in Scott's place. As Pillow was 


known to have great influence with the President, and was an active, 
affable, plausible man, he naturally had a following ; but the sentiment of 
the able and honest officers towards him was one of contempt. "The 
ass Pillow," "that consummate fool," said the future General D. H. Hill 
(diarjO of Pillow as he showed himseK on Aug. 19. A sensible Pennsyl- 
vanian wrote in his diary, Aug. 10, that Pillow was without question 
"the poorest and most unpopular" of the generals (Oswandel, Notes, 
249). Col. W. B. Campbell characterized him as light, impetuous, of 
little military judgment and no skill (139to D. Campbell, Mar. 20, 28; 
Apr. 18, 25) ; and a correspondent of the future Gen. W. T. Sherman 
described him as "a mass of vanity, conceit, ignorance, ambition and 
want of truth" (316judd, Feb. 26, 1848). The doings of the Pillow court 
of inquiry (Sen. 65 ; 30, 1) were carefully digested and analyzed by the 
author; but as the subject concerns only incidentally the history of the 
war, space cannot be taken to present this analysis! 

9. Valencia could see that retreat meant his personal ruin, and he pre- 
ferred to argue that honor required him to hold his ground. 

10. Persifor F. Smith, a graduate from Princeton, was admitted to the 
bar at Philadelphia, practised law at New Orleans, and had considerable 
miUtary experience in the Florida, war. He was a simple, scholarly, un- 
assuming man; but all ranks appreciated his abihty, attainments, clear 
perception, valor, promptness and steadiness. 

11. The battle of Conlreras. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 303, etc. ; app., pp. 66, 
etc. (reports of Scott and his officers). S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 52-5; app., 
154-6, 160. Id., DetaU, 12-4. Picayune, Sept. 8; Oct. 21. 22lHill, 
diary. 6lTwiggs to Marcy, Feb. 7, 1848. 66Lee to Smith, Aug. 21, 
1847. eoRiley to Westcott, Nov. 30. Semmes, Service, 381, 385, 392. 
224lnteroepted letters (14, L. V. to M. O. ; 25, note by E. A. H. ; 28). 
Apuntes, 237-43. McSherry, El Puchero, 73, 76. Murphy, Hungerford, 
99. Delta, Sept. Q ; Nov. 12; Dec. 1. Monitor Repub., Sept. 27 (Salas); 
Dec. 12 (S. Anna). Porvenir, Aug. 26, supplem. (Valencia). 65Scott, 
gen. orders 258. Balbontfn, Invasi6n, 111-8. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 
276-8, 281. Ballentine, English Soldier, ii, 207, 218-20, 223-6, 228-9. 
Davis, Autobiog., 196-8. 66Foster to Smith, Aug. 23. 66McClellan 
to Smith, Aug. 23. 66Beauregard to Smith, Aug. 25. 66Tower to Smith, 
Aug. 25. G6Mason to Smith, Aug. 24. Prieto, Mems., ii, 222-7. L6pez, 
D^oimo Calendario, 58. SOOlagufbel, Aug. 20-1. 199Anon. MS. written 
by a person of importance. 307Roberts, diary. Gamboa, Impug., 
42-3. SSOWeber, recoils. 70"Guerra," no. 30 (F. P6rez). Ramfrez, 
Mexico, 298. Mexico &. trav^s, iv, 677. 217Henshaw to wife, Aug. 21. 
327Sutherland to father, Nov. 28. Jackson, Memoirs of Jackson, 41. 
Sen. 52 ; 30, 1, p. 188. Long, Memoirs, 54-9. Wash. Union, Sept. 20. 
Diario, Aug. 24; Sept. 1. So. Mag., July, 1874, p. 75. 204Gouverneur, 
diary. 277Burnett, statement. United Service, June, 1896 (Lane). 
Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, pp. 62 (H. L. Scott) ; 68-9 (Williams) ; 72-4, 298, 300 
(Gen. Scott) ; 75-9, 463 (Lee) ; 81-6 (Cadwalader) ; 97 (Deas) ; 99-106 
(Smith) ; 137-8 (Canby) ; 147-51 (Riley) ; 162 (Hooker) ; 180 (Hodge) ; 
182-4, 188 (Ripley) ; 208-9 (Rains) ; 230-1 (Beauregard) ; 232-3 (Hitch- 
cock) ; 246 (Morgan) ; 267 (Shields) ; 270 (Howard) ; 283, 286-7 (Twiggs) ; 
334-5 (verdict); 570. Stevens, I. I. Stevens, i, 174^9, 196. Carreno, 
Jefes, ccxc (P6rez), ccxciv (Torrej6n). Niles, Oct. 30, pp. 138-9. Cong. 
Globe, 34, 1, p. 105 (Foote). Lancaster Co. Hist. Soc. Mag., Mar. 6, 
1908. Gim6nez, Mems., 266. 29lPieroe to Appleton, Aug. 27. 29lGard- 


ner to Canby, Aug. 30. 291 Pierce to Hooker, Aug. 22. Engineer School, 
U. S. A., Oceas. Papers, No. 16. Valencia, Manifiesto. ITSDavis, diary. 
Stevens, Vindication, 4-7. Negrete, Invasi6n, iv, app., 281-3. 76Tornel, 
Aug. 19. 760rders to Valencia, Aug. 26. Kenly, Md. Vol., 421. 
73Lozano, No. 2., Aug. 24. 210Bragg to Hammond, Dec. 20. 125Bon- 
ham to wife, Aug. 24; to adj. gen., Feb. 26, 1849. So. Qtrly. Rev., Apr., 
1852, pp. 415-26. Calder6n, Rectificaciones, 41. S. Anna, Mi Historia, 
72-3. 112Beauregard to Smith, Aug. 25. 76Valencia, Aug. 19. 76J. B. 
Arguelles, Aug. 22. 76Alcorta to Alvarez, Aug. 21. 76Alvarez, Aug. 

Remarks. This engagement was called by the Mexicans the battle of 
Padierna. At first Valencia had a reserve under Salas at Ansaldo, but he 
drew this in at about the time when the battle began. He then placed 
Torrej6n's cavalry between Ansaldo and his main position. A turn in 
the road near his position enabled him to command the turnpike for some 
distance. For further details regarding his dispositions see Apuntes, 236. 
During the afternoon of Aug. 19 the Ninth Infantry (Ransom) and a 
battalion of the Twelfth under Lieut. Col. Bonham crossed the ravine and 
remained about 200 yards from Valpncia's camp until 9 or 10 o'clock, 
partly occupying usefully Valencia's attention. When these troops re- 
tired, Mexicans attacked the guard at Padierna, but American reinforce- 
ments defeated them. R. E. Lee and G. B. McClellan helped set up 
Magruder's battery, and T. J. ("Stonewall") Jackson commanded one 
section of it a part of the time. These officers distinguished themselves 
highly. Riley understood he was "sent across the pedregal to cut off the 
retreat of the enemy and check reinforcements" (Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 148). 
When Smith moved to the right, he had Magruder resume firing to divert 
attention from that movement. Magruder's men tried to save themselves 
by falling flat at each Mexican discharge, and the ground sheltered them 
somewhat, yet fifteen were killed or wounded. His guns were withdrawn 
over the rocks after nightfall. 

It has been said with force that it would have been better had Scott 
been on the ground from the first. But he did not wish or expect to fight ; 
no doubt he had much administrative work on hand ; he was not far away ; 
aid he beheved that his instructions to Pillow provided for all probable 
contingencies. It seems to be true that Pillow, a most plausible and 
insinuating talker, had gained a certain ascendency over him. Probably 
for this reason, as well as owing to his general wish to gratify his ofiicers, 
Scott permitted Pillow to make statements in his report on the battle, 
which, as the trial of Pillow showed, ought not to have been there 
(210Bragg). Pillow later urged the point that Scott approved of his 
dispositions ; but it was Scott's practice to accept what his officers did, 
and make the best of it. Scott was slightly wounded in the leg during 
the afternoon of August 19 but did not mention the incident at the time. 
Later the wound made him trouble. 

The Fifteenth Infantry (Morgan) did not act with the rest of Pierce's 
brigade on Aug. 19, for Pillow had detached it as a reserve. Pierce was 
injured by falling from his horse, and hence Col. Ransom took command 
of the brigade. Late in the afternoon Valencia placed a 4-pounder and 
two battahons of infantry on the turnpike toward Ansaldo to prevent 
more Americans from reaching San Ger6nimo (Balbontin, Invasi6n, 114), 
but this force accomplished nothing. At first he had thought the Ameri- 
cans crossing the pedregal in groups, partly concealed by the ground and 


trees, were mere scouting parties. It was found impossible at t-he Pillow 
trial to decide at just what time Scott arrived on the lookout hill (the 
lower summit of Zacatepec). The variation of careful witnesses was an 
hour and twenty-five minutes. Watches appear to have been out of 
order, and therefore one cannot be positive regarding the precise time of 
any event. 

Smith's plan to attack Santa Anna on Aug. 19 has been criticised as 
unsound (Claiborne, Quitman, i, 339, note). But he believed a repulse 
of Santa Anna would ensure the, defeat of Valencia ; he wanted to dispose 
of Santa Anna before his forces could become stronger ; he did not wish 
(having no artillery) to let him cannonade at his leisure ; and probably 
the situation of the American right appeared to require unusual boldness. 
Lee (66to J. L. Smith, Aug. 21) attached less importance to this opera- 
tion. Tower (66to J. L. Smith, Aug. 25) said the inexperience of the new 
troops, particularly Cadwalader's, had something to do with leading Smith 
to give up the plan. Doubtless Pillow's fiasco, Aug. 19, tended to inflate 
Valencia's confidence and so to ensure his destruction. Valencia's artillery 
accomplished nothing against the Americans at San Ger6nimo, partly 
because the trees and rough ground hid and protected them, and partly 
because the guns he used were not very powerful. Smith supposed he 
was Shields's senior, and retained the command after the la tier's arrival 
at San Ger6nimo. Shields refrained from claiming it, knowing that Smith 
had made preparations to attack and understood the situation best. 
Cadwalader, as well as Shields, outranked Smith ; but doubtless he felt 
unequal to the situation, and he did not assert his rights. During the 
night the few houses at San Ger6nimo were required for the wounded. 

Santa Anna has been too much criticised for his course. Valencia did 
not see the Americans in force, Aug. 19, until after one o'clock, and we do 
not know how promptly he reported the fact. Santa Anna stated that 
at about two o'clock he received word from Valencia that cannon fire 
had begun. He was then at San Antonio, yet in about four hours he had 
a considerable force near San Gerfinimo. He reasonably hesitated about 
attacking an unknown number of Americans in an admirable defensive 
position. His cavalry could have done nothing in the ravines, lanes and 
woods which composed it, and his artillery little. Had he attacked, as he 
threatened to do, late on Aug. 19, he would have been beaten. After 
Riley joined him. Smith had about 3600 men (Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 105). 
Had Santa Anna advanced by the turnpike he would have exposed his 
flank to Smith. Valencia had got himself into a hopeless impasse, and 
the best thing he could have done was to tear himself out of it, as Santa 
Anna ordered. Santa Anna sent orders to P6rez in the afternoon to help 
Valencia, but overtaking that brigade (which had set out for the purpose) 
took charge of it. Shields brought about 600 men (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 344). 

Smith's plan of attack against Valencia was not perfectly safe, for, as 
Napoleon said, the ground of a night attack should be thoroughly known ; 
but the circumstances warranted the risk. Friday morning Tower, who 
had discovered the ravine (66Tower to J. L. Smith, Aug. 25), led Riley's 
brigade, and Beauregard led Smith's. As soon as Valencia was routed, 
orders were given to complete the road begun Aug. 19, but this was soon 
found to be unnecessary. The Fifteenth regiment, on account of its 
distance from Riley, reached Valencia's camp too late to take part in the 
battle. It should be remembered that Smith's troops did not know of the 
demoralization of the Mexicans, and expected to find them elated and 


confident. Apparently Shields made a mistake in leaving San Ger6nimo 
to go to the road on Friday morning, but the mistake was natural. Valen- 
cia went to Toluca with a few troops. He was notified to present himself 
for trial, which would have meant death. Some irregulars made a trivial 
attack upon Quitman (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 347), but Alvarez's troops did not 
come near San Agustin. Twiggs had a lame foot at this time, and he 
was not under fire Aug. 19. Brookes (Brooks) was on his staff 

Ripley (War with Mexico ii, 291) intimates that Scott sent Pillow 
and Twiggs forward, Aug. 19, without taking much into aceoimt Valencia's 
army and cannon, and permitted the Mexicans to open the battle when 
they pleased. This seems careless on Scott's part ; but, as the text shows, 
Scott did not know Valencia had marched to Padierna, and had no reason 
to suppose (particularly in view of the threat against S. Antonio) that large 
Mexican forces would be there. Ripley suggests (p. 292) that it was 
improper to let Valencia see the road-building, learn the Americans were 
moving that way, and prepare to receive them ; but road-building ceased 
when the Americans came in view of Valencia, and after that time he had 
little opportunity for preparations. Ripley complains (p. 293) that it 
was confusing to have Twiggs open the battle. Pillow take charge of it, 
and Scott supersede Pillow; but it is not customary for the general-in- 
chief to ride at the head of his forces on a road-building expedition, and 
under the circumstances the above arrangement was natural. He re- 
marks (p. 297) that Riley's reconnoitring with a view to assaulting 
Valencia's rear proves that he understood his mission was more than 
to occupy S. Ger6nimo and await orders [i.e. understood that Pillow sent 
him to do what Smith did] ; but Riley testified that he had no such under- 
standing, and reconnoitred on his own responsibility to obtain informa- 
tion that might prove useful (Sen. 65; 30, 1, pp. 147-8). Ripley, in his 
efforts to sustain Pillow's claims, says (p. 297) that Riley fell back be- 
cause of his "believing himself unsupported,"yet says that Riley "relied" 
on being supported. He explains (p. 298) Pillow's not informing RUey 
of the despatch of Cadwalader by saying that a single mounted officer could 
not cross the pedregal ; but an officer could cross on foot, and all or most 
of the officers were afoot (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 304). Rives (U. S. and Mexico, 
ii, 488) observes that placing four brigades successively between superior 
forces of the enemy involved a great risk ; but it should be remembered 
not only that it was worth while to take the risk and that the American 
troops were of superior quality, but that Santa Anna was not present when 
Riley went to S. Ger6nimo, Valencia could not see what was taking place 
in that quarter, he was expecting a frontal attack all the afternoon, S. 
Ger6nimo was a splendid defensive position, and the Mexicans could not 
see how large forces occupied it. 

Had Santa Anna and Valencia cooperated with judgment and good-will, 
Scott's army would perhaps have been crushed ; but had the Mexicans 
been sensible and patriotic, we should have had no war. How much Scott 
knew about the mutual relations of Santa Anna and Valencia one cannot 
say, but in all probability he was well informed regarding them. As 
scarcely needs to be pointed out, this battle and that of Churubusco had a 
great effect in discouraging, not merely the Mexicans in the vicinity but 
those at a distance. Men intending to fight or to provide money drew 
back at once {e.g. 76lsunza, Aug. 24). 

12. Santa Anna's course after the battle of Contreras. Sen. 19; 30, 2 
(Smith to Abert). 224lntercepted letters (14, L. V. to M. O. ; 22, diary ; 


23, narrative ; 26, to Old Gentleman). Apuntes, 209-10, 241, 244, 250-4. 
Semmes, Service, 396-7. Picayune, Oct. 8. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 306, 315, 
325; app., 69 (reports of Scott and others). S. Anna, Apelaci6n, 53 
Id., Detail, 14-5. Balbontin, lnvasi6n, 120-1. 217Henshaw to wife, 
Aug. 21. eiHuger, Aug. 22. 70"Guerra," no. 30 (F. P6rez, Rangel, 
Argiielles, Zeuea). Mexico & trav6s, iv, 678. Wash. Union, Nov. 3. 
Diario, Sept. 1, 2. Monitor Repub., Oct. 24; Dec. 13, 17. Carreno, 
Jefes, ccxc (P^rez), ccciv, cccvi. Negrete, lnvasi6n, iii, app., 446; iv, 
app., 283-4. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 295. Remarks on Mason and 
Hardcastle's Plan of Worth's operations (Sen. 1; 30, 1). 76Report of 
losses, Churubusco, Aug. 21. 76Rinc6n, Aug. 20. 76 Argiielles, Aug. 22. 
76Rinc6n to S. Anna, Aug. 26. 

13. To guard against contingencies Scott had ordered Worth with 
Garland's brigade and Quitman with his troops to proceed toward San 
Gerdnimo on Friday morning, leaving San Agustin guarded by Harney 
(Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 306-7). This has been thought risky. But Scott had 
no doubt learned from 'Lee that Santa Anna was operating in the vicinity 
of San Ger6nimo, where was evidently the critical field, and hence prob- 
ably he felt that there was little danger of an attack upon San Agustin 
that Harney aided, if necessary, by Clarke's brigade (not far distant) 
could not meet. 

14. Scott's course after the battle of Conireras. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 306-9, 
338, 344; app., 36 (reports of Scott, Pillow, Shields, Kearny). Hitchcock, 
Fifty Years, 278, 281-2. Davis, Autobiog., 199. Picayune, Sept. 8. 
66Lee to Smith, Aug. 21. 335Trist, draft of address. Wash. Union, Sept. 
15. Sen. 65; 30, 1, pp. 74, 632 (Scott) ; 77 (Lee). So. Qtrly. Review, 
July, 1852, pp. 81-2. Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 1018 (Scott). Smith, To Mexico, 

15. WorlKs operations at Churubusco. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 306, 315, 333 ; 
app., 36, 41-2, 44-65 (reports of Scott and officers). 22lHill, diary. esBonne- 
ville court-martial (testimony of Hoffman, Nelson, Pemberton, Worth, 
Armistead, Ruggles, etc.). 335Trist, draft of address. Semmes, Service, 
394-400. Sen. 19 ; 30, 2 (Smith to Abert). Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, p. 464 (Lee). 
224lnteroepted letters (14, L. V. to M. O. ; 23, narrative; 26, to Old 
Gentleman). Apuntes, 244^6. Picayune, Sept. 22; Oct 8. Delta, 
Sept. 26. 76Zerecero to Guerra, Aug. 25. 76Rinc6n to S. Anna, Aug. 26. 
Balbontin, Invasi6n, 120-2. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 278, 282. 2G(Hen- 
shaw, comments on map. Stevens, Stevens, i, 198. BlHuger, report, 
Aug. 22. esScott, gen. orders 327, Oct. 28. Gamboa, Impug., 47. 
70"Guerra," no. 30 (P^rez, Perdig6n Garay). Ramirez, Mexico, 299-301. 
73Lozano, no. 2, Aug. 24. 23Gjudah, diary. Ho. 60; 30, 1, pp. 1018 
(Scott); 1076 (Hoffman). Carreno, Jefes, cccvi (Perez). So. Qtrly. 
Review, July, 1852, pp. 82-4, 90-1. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 294-5, 298. 
Smith, To Mexico, 199-202. Negrete, Invasi6n, iv, app., 284. S. Anna, 
Detail, 15. Monitor Repub., Dec. 17. 

16. Twiggs's operations. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 306, 315, 322, 325, 348, 
etc. ; app., 69-82, 85-8, 96-7, etc. (reports of Scott and officers). 221Hill, 
diary. 12Caryton to Lambert, Sept. 1. Apuntes, 246, 250-3. Ballen- 
tine, Eng. Sold., ii, 230. 66Stevens to Smith, Aug. 24. Sen. 65; 30, 1, 
p. 98 (H. L. Scott). Stevens, Stevens, i, 180-4, 199. Stevens, Vindic, 
4-7. Carreno, Jefes, 29. Michigan Pioneer Soc. Colls., ii, 173; vii, 117. 
So. Qtrly. Review, July, 1852, pp. 87-90. Engineer School, U. S. A., 
Occas. Papers, no. 16. Journ. Milit. Serv. Insiit., xvii (Van Deusen). 


76Arguelles, Aug. 22. 76Rinc6n to S. Anna, Aug. 26. Davis, Autobiog., 
199. 70"Guerra," no. 30 (G. PiSrez). Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 447. 
Calder6n, Rectifioaciones, 43. S. Anna, Mi Historia, 73-4. Hitchcock, 
Fifty Years, 278-9, 282. 

17. Shields' s operations. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 303, 306, 315, 325, 333, 342; 
app., 76, 106, 113, 118, 128, 130-4 (reports of Scott and officers). eeLee 
to Smith, Aug. 21. Claiborne, Quitman, i, 342-3. City of Charleston, 
Year Book, 1883, p. 523. 303Shields to Quitman, Aug. 21. 22lHill, 
diary. 335Trist, draft of address. Semmes, Service, 402. 224lntercepted 
letters (22, diary; 25, to E.). Hawthorne, Pierce, 100. Apuntes, 246-7. 
Murphy, Hungerford, 102. 76Zerecero to Guerra, Aug. 25. Balbontin, 
Invasion, 121-2. Davis, Autobiog., 200-1, 286. 70" Guerra," no. 30 
(F. P^rez). Stevens, Stevens, i, 198. Ramirez, Mexico, 300. Carreno, 
Jefes, ccxciv (Torrej6n), cccvii (P6rez). 170Crooker to mother, Sept. 1. 
So. Qlrly. Review, July, 1852, pp. 93-9. Oil painting of Butler : sen. cham- 
ber, Columbia, S. C. Sen. 19; 30, 2 (Smith to Abert). 29lPierce to 
Appleton, Aug. 27. Monitor Repub., Dec. 17. 125Bonham to adj. gen., 
June 15, 1848. Nat. Intelligencer, Jan. 3, 1848. Stevens, Vindication, 
4^7. Negrete, Invasi6n, iv, app., 285. 277Burnett, statement. Hitch- 
cock, Fifty Years, 279. Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, p. 464. S. Anna, Detail, 15. 

18. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1. pp. 306, 315, 325, etc. ; app., 35, 42, 46, 49, 64, 77, 
127, etc. (reports of Scott and officers). Semmes, Service, 397, 401-2. 
224lntercepted letters (17, J. U. to J. P. F.). Apuntes, 254-8. 76Ar- 
guelles, Aug. 22. 76Rinc6n to S. Anna, Aug. 26. Balbontin, Invasi6n, 
122. Ballentine, Eng. Sold., ii, 233. Carreno, Jefes, cccvii (P^rez). 
Niles, Jan. 22, 1848, p. 323. 

19. S. Anna, Detail, 15-6. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 313, 318, 340, 347; app., 
p. 36 (reports of Scott and officers). Picayune, Oct. 21. Apuntes, 247. 
Charleston Courier, Oct. 2. Balbontin, Invasion, 123. Fate of F. D. 
Mills. Grant, Mems., i, 146. Davis, Autobiog., 202. 223Hirschorn , 
recoils. De Peyster, Kearny, 140, 142-5. Journ. U. S. Cavalry Assoc, 
Mar., 1911, p. 841. Ramsey, Other Side, 287, note. Negrete, Invasion, 
iv, app., 285-6. 

Remarks on the battle of CHURtrBusco. The active fortifying of 
the convent did not begin until the afternoon of Aug. 18 (76Rinc6n to 
S. Anna, Aug. 26) ; one gun arrived there on the morning of the twentieth 
and the rest were left by Santa Anna later that day (Apuntes, 252) ; and 
hence Scott could not well have learned from spies what the situation was 
in that quarter. It is bootless to say (Calder6n, Rectificaciones, 43) that 
Santa Anna should have prevented Scott from reaching Coyoacdn. Neither 
he nor his army was in a condition to fight without fortifications, and they 
could not have stopped the Americans anywhere if not at Churubusco. 
On the Mexican right at the convent were two 8-pounders and a 4-pounder ; 
in embrasures at the front, an 8-pounder and a 4-pounder ; en barbette at 
the left an 8-poimder; and in an embrasure defending the left flank a 
6-pounder. A detachment of the Independencia battahon under Penuiiuri 
occupied Coyoacdn when the Americans approached, and retired with 
some loss. The fight at Churubusco convent was actually begun by the 
Mounted Rifles, but their orders were merely to escort the reconnoitring 
party, and the First Artillery was expected to clear the way by turning 
the supposed one-gun battery (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 330). Riley had only the 
Second and Seventh Infantry at Churubusco. The Fourth Artillery was 
on guard at Valencia's camp. Scott ordered that Worth should attack 


and turn San Antonio afti^r finding the Americans were in its rear, but 
when he sent Lee to give the signal to Worth, Lee found Worth had al- 
ready done this. 

Ripley (War with Mexico, ii, 250-1) says that Scott ordered Pillow 
to do what Twiggs did and vice versa. But (1) nothing of this is found 
in Scott's or Pillow's report ; (2) Scott would not have been likely to order 
two bitter enemies (Worth and Twiggs) to cooperate in an indefinite 
manner, and (3) H. L. Scott testified at the Pillow trial that he carried 
from Gen. Scott to Twiggs the order to attack the convent (Sen. 65; 30, 
1, p. 98). Davis, Shields's aide, says on the other hand (Autobiog., 199) 
that Scott knew by reconnaissances of a remarkably strong fortification 
at Churubusco, and ordered Twiggs to take the route actually taken by 
Shields. But (1) Davis's first statement is not correct ; (2) Scott was at 
CoyoacAn, where the roads forked, and would have recalled Twiggs, had 
he seen that oflBcer take the wrong road ; (3) Scott felt in haste to strike 
the retreating Mexicans, and the quickest way to do that was apparently 
by the road to Churubusco ; and (4) H. L. Scott's testimony, supported 
by the reports of Gens. Scott and Twiggs, seems to be decisive. Davis's 
account contains other errors, and appears to have been written long 
afterwards from memory. 

What Scott intended to do after concentrating we do not know. Prob- 
ably, as was his custom, he held several plans in suspense, awaiting develop- 
ments and fuller information regarding the enemy, which the delay ex- 
pecte 1 in Worth's operations would have given him time to acquire. But 
his promptness in sending off Pierce and Shields, and his attempt to hold 
back one of Smith's and one of Pierce's brigades, suggest that he aimed to 
get behind Santa Anna himself and force a decisive battle. Gen. U. S. 
Grant endorsed Scott's strategy at Churubusco as faultless and said the 
engineers served him perfectly (Mems., i, 145) ; but Stevens's confession 
is decisive on both points (Stevens, Stevens, i, 180, 184, 196, 199). Stevens 
states expressly that Scott had intended to reconnoitre before attacking 
at Churubusco. 

Worth's attacking the bridge without reconnoitring was mainly due to 
over-confidence and eagerness; but the intense ambition and rivalry of 
Worth and Twiggs probably had something to do with the undue haste of 
both. Of course Semmes (Service, 398, 446) asserts that Worth advanced 
with deUberation and reconnoitred the bridgehead, but the evidence, 
especially that given at the trial of Major Bonneville, is decisively against 
him. Ripley, on the other hand, states that a reconnaissance was not 
practicable (War with Mexico, ii, 267) ; but while a complete reconnais- 
sance could not be made, the cornfields on the right would have enabled 
an officer to advance unseen, and at a glance learn something regarding 
the obstacle in front. This would have been to save, not lose, time. 

Scott was accused of having no plan and leaving his generals to attack 
as they saw fit, and was criticized especially for fighting to gain a road 
neither needed nor used by him, from which the enemy could easily have 
been manoeuvred, had they cared to hold it (Roa Bdrcena, Recuerdos, 
378) ; but the text explains these apparent errors. The battle was, how- 
ever, in effect a blunder, even though not chargeable to Scott as such. 
Still, the ardor of the army was something not be thrown away by delay- 
ing, and the promptness of the Americans prevented Santa Anna from 
completing his preparations. (Greene, Russian Army, 433 : Excessive 
prudence has a bad efTect on the morale of the men.) Perhaps Scott 


gained as much as he lost in this way. Moreover, had he manoeuvred 
the Mexicans out of Chumbusco, it would have been necessary to fight 
them elsewhere, when they would probably have been more ready to 
fight ; the moral effect of this victory on both armies would not have been 
gained; and our military annals would not have contained this page. 
The moral effect on the Mexicans, however, was largely offset by pride in 
the stubborn resistance they had offered, and by the armistice that Scott 
immediately offered. One could not always determine just where firing, 
heard from a distance, was taking place. Probably for this reason we have 
inconsistent reports that make it impossible to determine precisely where 
and when the battle began. The Sixth Infantry, moving toward the bridge 
a considerable distance in advance of Worth himself, were said to have 
received the first fire from the convent (Hoffman : Ho. 60 ; 30, 1, p. 1076), 
but Scott reported that the attack upon the convent began some time 
before that upon the bridgehead. Stevens (I. I. Stevens, 198) supports 
him. The writer in "Apuntes" says that Worth was checked by am- 
munition wagons in the road, and that Santa Anna, seeing this, recalled 
P6rez to defend the bridge ; but the wagons appear to have caused no such 
delay as this writer assumed. The rest of Santa Anna's force (which this 
writer says kept on towards Mexico) was mainly cavalry, and presumably 
this cavalry assisted in flanking Shields. Brev. Lieut. Col. C. F. Smith's 
battalion consisted of two companies from the Second Artillery, one from 
the Fifth Infantry and one from the Eighth Infantry (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 316). 

The Fifteenth, but only one battalion (commanded by Capt. Wood) of 
the Twelfth Infantry was with Pierce, and a battery of mountain howitzers. 
Pierce, who had been thrown from his horse the day before, fainted and 
fell out before coming into action, so Shields commanded both brigades. 
Lee was the engineer officer with Shields. Seeing the need of more troops, 
he went back to Scott and obtained the Mounted Rifles and a troop of 
the Second Dragoons, but these men did not reach the spot in time to 
fight. Scott has been criticized for not sending a stronger force in this 
direction ; but in fact he did not even retain an escort, and the Rifles were 
Twiggs's reserve (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, p. 309). The South Carolina regiment, 
commonly known as the "Palmettoes," was made vip of superior material. 
Men fit to be officers were in the ranks. Shields's movement was partly 
based on a misapprehension, for the Mexicans could retreat from Churu- 
busco via Mexicaltzingo ; but anyhow it was wise to aid the frontal attack 
on the bridge by applying pressure on the flank. Shields seems to have 
marched too far north to cooperate effectively with the attack upon the 
bridgehead. Presumably he did so in order to reach Santa Anna's rear. 
The combined effect of this movement and the outflanking of the Mexican 
left was to extend the American line enormously, and expose it to a (happily 
very improbible) counter-attack. At about three o'clock the Americans 
were in three sections, badly separated by distance or by the enemy, 
while the Mexicans, besides fighting behind strong defences, were all 
actually or virtually in touch one with another, and able to give mutual 

Shields naturally overestimated the numbers opposed to him. Perhaps 
the Victoria and Hidalgo battalions from San Antonio passed along the 
highway to Mexico at this time. They would not fight. They thought 
hunger, sunburn and blistered feet bad enough. The Americans be- 
lieved that they fought at least 32,000 men on Aug. 20 (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, 
p. 313) ; but this was a great exaggeration. Rangel's brigade was in 


town ; Alvarez's was far away ; and there must have been a large number 
of soldiers guarding the fortifications, and attending to the general require- 
ments of the service. The number fighting that day on the Mexican side 
seems to have been about 16,000, though Mexican authors have tried to 
reduce it to 12,000 or 13,000 (e.g. Roa BArcena, Recuerdos, 375). 

Scott's dragoons were divided and assigned to special duties at this time 
(Sen. 1; 30, 1, app., 38). Pillow and a part of his troops joined Worth, 
but figured very little in reports of the fighting. The Eleventh and 
Fourteenth Infantry attempted to cut the Mexican Une from the bridge 
to the convent, but on account of the heavy fire were ordered to lie down. 
Col. Andrews explained that his regiment (Voltigeurs) came up later than 
Worth's division, and could not fire without endangering troops ahead of 
him (Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, app., 122) ; but this is not convincing, for he must 
have left CoyoacAn at about noon, and there was room enough at the 

It was stated at Puebla in October, 1847, that 260 Americans fought with 
the Mexicans at Churubusco (Flag of Freedom, i, no. 1). Some of these 
men cut their way through (70"Guerra," no. 30, Perdigdn Garay), and 
reached Mexico {ibid., Rangel) . Some eighty appear to have been captured. 
They were fairly tried. A number were found not guilty of deserting, and 
were released. About fifteen (Hartman, Journal, 18), who had deserted 
before the declaration of war, were merely branded with a "D," and 
fifty of those taken at Churubusco were executed (65Soott, gen. orders 
296). There was bitter complaint because any were spared, but Scott 
declared he would rather be put to the sword with his whole army than do 
an injustice in the matter (Davis, Autobiog., 226), and urged the courts 
to find grounds for reducing the number of executions (335notes on letter 
to Ho. of Repres.). It was said that more than once the American de- 
serters killed Mexicans who tried to raise a white flag at the convent. 
For the deserters and their fate consult : 12Caryton to Lambert, Sept. 1 ; 
Picayune, Sept. 8; Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 319, 344; Ballentine, Eng. Sold., ii, 
230; 70"Guerra," no. 30 (Rangel, Perdig6n Garay); Judah, diary; 
Amer. Star, Mexico, Sept. 20 ; Diario, Sept. 2 ; Flag of Freedom, Puebla, i, 
no. 1; ITSDavis, diary; Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 452; Hartman, 
Journal, 17-8; Scott, 65gen. orders 281-3; Davis, Autobiog., 224^7). 
Hancock and Longstreet, destined to be on opposite sides at Gettysburg, 
here fought together. Twiggs was at this time under fire (Stevens, Stevens, 
i, 199). Rives (U. S. and Mexico, ii, 493) explains the stiff defence of the 
convent as due to the presence of "men of Spanish (not Indian) descent" ; 
but (1) the Victoria and Hidalgo battalions, which would not fight (supra) 
were stiU more truly "Spanish" (vol. ii, p. 3), and (2) the nearly worth- 
less officers were always of such descent. 

20. Sen. 65; 30, 1, pp. 465, 478. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 313-4, 348, 384. 
Ho. 24; 31, 1. 76Rinc<5n to S. Anna, Aug. 26. 76Quijano, Sept. 3. 
7601aguibel, Aug. 27. Ramirez, Mexico, 299. Monitor Repub., Dec. 17 
(S.Anna). 76Alcorta, Aug. 30. 12Caryton to Lambert, Sept. 1. Semmes, 
Service, 408. 76Report, Aug. 21. 224lnteroepted letters, passim. 
76Cuerpo Medico, report, Aug. 24. 

21. Mich. Pioneer Soc. Colls., ii, 173. Stevens, Stevens, i, 199. En- 
carnacion Prisoners, 55. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 278-80. Sen. 1 ; 30, 
1, p. 331. Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 464 (Lee). Apuntes, 247. Roa B^rcena, 
Recuerdos, 377. 

VOL. u — 2 c 



1. The American situation after the battles of Aug. SO. 260Henshaw, 
comments on map. eiTrousdale, Aug. 22. 217Henshaw to wife, Aug. 
21, etc. 218Henshaw narrative. Vedette, vii, no. 9 (Toll). St. Louis 
Republican, Sept. 27. Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 314 (Scott). Hitchcock, Fifty 
Years, 284-5, 294. MoSherry, El Puchero, 88, 100. 364Worth to 
daughter, Sept. 2. 6lN. C. to Elizabeth Miller, Nov. 30. Semmes, 
Service, 413. London Chronicle, Nov. 12. N. Y. Herald, Feb. 5, 1848 
(Pierce). 236Judah, diary. Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 129 (Scott). Semi- 
weekly N. Y. Courier and Enquirer, Mar. 1, 1848. SSSWiUiams to father, 
Oct. 1. 29lPierce to wife, Aug. 23. Davis, Autobiog'-aphv, 189. 350 
Weber, recoils. 303Shields to Quitman, Aug. 21. 22lHill, diary. 68 
Scott's statement to court of inquiry, Apr. 17, 1848. Gamboa, Impug., 
49. Picaj/une, Sept. 9. Sen. 65; 30, 1, p. 460 (TurnbuU). 

Semmes (Service, 413) says that eventually Scott had to disperse the 
elements of peace, and incorrectly adds that they seemed to reassemble 
all the more rapidly. But Scott had reason to believe that what it required 
months to do later could be done now in only a few weeks. He reported 
that understanding his nation's desire for peace and "Willing to leave 
something to this republic — of no immediate value to us — on which to 
rest her pride, and to recover temper — I halted our victorious corps at 
the gates of the city" (Sen. 1; 30, l,_p. 314). Even the fiery Worth 
deemed it best not to enter Mexico at this time (364to daughter, Sept. 2). 

2. lOSMarcy to Bancroft, Apr. 28. Polk, Messages, May 11 ; June 
16, 1846; Feb. 10, 1847 (Richardson, iv, 437, 451, 511). Ho. 60; 30, 

1, pp. 328 (Scott); 334 (Marcy). 297Benton MS. (with Polk's notes) 
received by Polk, July 4, 1846. 69Worth to Bliss, Nov. 29; Dec. 14, 

3. Bankhead reported, Oct. 10, 1846, that he was weary of arguing in 
favor of treating with the United States; that the dominant faction, 
positively refusing to negotiate, were crying, "A levy of 40,000 and make 
terms only on the other side of the Nueces !" 

4. The overture of July, 1846. Sen. 107 ; 29, 2, pp. 1-3. Sen. 1 ; 29, 

2, pp. 43-4. 13Pakenham, nos. 93, July 13; 107, Aug. 13; 119, Sept. 
28 ; 130, Nov. 12, 1846. 13Bankhead to Pakenham, Oct. 10. 25eMarcy 
to Wetmore, June 13. Locomotor, June 27. ISSCobb to wife, June 4. 
National, June 22. Pregonero, June 11. Monit'ir Repub., June 22. 162 
Buchanan to Conner, Oct. 1. 162Conner, July 19. 13Bankhead, nos. 
92, 104, 10.5, June 29; July 30; 125, Aug. 31; 128-30, Sept. 7,1846. 
Rej6n to Buchanan, Aug. 31 (in Memoria de . . . Relaciones, 1846). 
Polk, Diary, Sept. 19, 20, 26. Buchanan, Works (Moore), vii, 40, 82, 87. 
Indicador, Aug. 27. Nat. Intelligencer, Sept. 28. Diario, Dec. 6, 13, 25. 
52Black, May 21 ; June 9; July 4. 166ld. to Conner, July 9; Aug. 1. 
166Pommares to Gregory, July 2. 166ld. to Conner, July 4, 21 ; Aug. 
12. Reeves, Amer. Diplomacy, 298. Polk, Message, Dec. 8 (Richard- 
son, iv, 494). 297Mackenzie, July 7. 76Comandante, V. Cruz, Aug. 
26. See vol. i, pp. 217, 502, 504. 

Sept. 26 Buchanan rephed to Rejdn that the United States did not 
wish to ignore in the peace negotiations the causes of the war, since to do 
that would be to abandon the just claims of the United States (Polk, 
Diary, Sept. 26; Sen. 1; 29, 2, p. 44). The necessity of explaining hia 


previous despatch illustrated once more the Mexican superiority in diplo- 
matic fencing. Buchanan added that delay would make it the harder 
to end the conflict. Polk regarded the Mexican reply as a refusal to treat 
(Diary, Sept. 19). In consequence he proposed aggressive operations in 
Tamaulipas (chap, xiii, p. 263) and the imposition of contributions in Ueu 
of paying for needed supplies (chap, xxxiii, p. 264). Buchanan, however, 
directed Conner to notify Shdell, who was still on waiting orders at New 
Orleans, whenever the Mexican government should announce that it was 
"disposed" to treat (1620ct. 1). 

5. Polk, Diary, July 26, 30, 31 ; Aug. 1, 4, 7, 8, 10, 1846. Id. to Senate, 
Aug. 4, 8 (Richardson, Messages, iv, 456, 466). Id., Message, Dec. 8j 
1846 (lb., 494-5). Benton, View, ii, 681-2. Cong. Globe, 29, 1, pp. 
1211-21. See also the long debates on the subject in Senate and House, 
Jan. and Feb., 1847 (Cong. Globe). Von Hoist, United States, iii, 293. 
Benton, Abr. Debates, xvi, 40, note, 45 (Sevier), 60 (Cass). Boston 
Atlas, Feb. 17, 1847. 13Mora to Pahnerston, May 26, 1847. Diario, 
May 24; June 8, 1847. Republicano, June 11, 1847. ISThomton to 
Bankhead, June 14, 1847. (Consul Black notified) ISPakenham, no. 40, 
Mar. 29, 1847. Wash. Union, Aug. 12, 1846. lOSPolk to Bancroft, 
Jan. 30, 1847. Daily Telegraph, Oct. 16, 1852. 

The request for two millions apparently grew out of the negotiation with 
Santa Anna; see chap, ix, note 38. Polk's object was probably to be 
able to supply funds promptly to the Mexican administration making a 
treaty, and to satisfy it that it would be able to gain the needful military 
support. The three milUons could not be used until after Mexico should 
have ratified the treaty (Benton, Abr. Deb., xvi, 46 (Berrien), 60 (Cass) ; 
Washington Telegraph, Oct. 18, 1852), and the government was required 
to account for the expenditure of the money (U. S. Stat, at Large, ix, 174 ; 
Benton, Abr. Deb., xvi, 45). An improper use of it was therefore im- 

6. The overture of January, 184-7. Ho. 85; 29, 2. Washington 
Union, Oct. 9, 1846 (N. Y.) ; Apr. 22; June 11, 1847. 162Matson to 
Conner, Feb. 20, 1847. Sen. 1; 30, 1, pp. 36-7. 162Conner to wife, 
Feb. 17. 132Benton to Buchanan, Jan. 14. 132Atocha to Buchanan, 
July 3. Is^Buchanan to Atocha, Jan. 18; to Scott and Perry, Apr. 23. 
Niles, May 1, p. 129; May 15, p. 162. Von Hoist, United States, iii, 
332. Courrier des Etats Unis, Aug. 15, 1846. Buchanan, Works (Moore), 
vii, 198, 211. ISBankhead, nos. 141, Sept. 29, 1846 ; 16, Mar. 2, 1847. 
TSBermiidez de Castro, no." 444, res.. Mar. 1. Tributo d, la Verdad, 26. 
68Dobson, Feb. 14. Epoca, Feb. 23. 86Gefe V. C. dept. to gov., Feb. 9. 
Don Simplicio, Feb. 17. Diario, Aug. 18. Webster, Writings, ix, 158. 
52Black, Feb. 24. ISPakenham, nos. 107, Aug. 13, 1846; 40, Mar. 29; 
56, Apr. 28, 1847. Nat. Intelligencer, June 10, 1845 ; May 3, 1847. 53 
Shannon to Cuevas, Mar. 1, 1845. 69A clipping from Republicano. 
Polk, Diary, Nov. 7, 1846; Jan. 12-19; Mar. 20, 1847. Picayune, 
May 6, 1847. Delta, Mar. 13. 76Morales, Feb. 9. 

At Atocha's suggestion the American commissioners were to have 
power to suspend hostilities after actually meeting Mexican commission- 
ers. Such was Webster's idea (Writings, ix, 158). The plan would have 
given Mexico a fine opportunity to protract the negotiations, let our war 
expenses accumulate, and cause our war spirit to languish. The Mexi- 
can reply said that the Texas affair [besides being atrocious in itself] was 
"a cover to ulterior designs, which now stand disclosed" (Sen. 1 ; 30, 


1, p. 37). The failure of the overture naturally angered Polk, and he de- 
clared for a most energetic military movement against the capital (Diary, 
Mar. 20). In April Atocha, who loved to represent himself as "sole agent 
for Santa Anna's gamecocks and all, and his particular friend in every 
respect" (l62Conner, Feb. 17), returned to Mexico ostensibly on private 
business, but with 132letters of introduction from the government to Scott, 
Shields and Perry. "O God", exclaimed El Republicano, "send unto us 
shells, rifles, shot and every kind of projectiles and misfortunes; bum 
and destroy us, reduce us to ashes, annihilate us, but . . . permit not 
that Atocha be the broker of a treaty of peace ! " 

7. The Mexican attitude. Sen. 52 ; 30, 1, pp. 190, 205-12 (Trist), 174. 
Picayune, May 12 ; July 8 ; Oct. 15, 17. Apuntes, 264. ISBankhead, 
nos. 42-3, Apr. 30; 58, May 29; 83, Aug. 29. Polk, Diary, Apr. 16. 
Ramirez, Mexico, 224, 234, 239, 248, 263, 271, 275. Meade, Letters, i, 
180. Sen. 1; 29, 2, p. 44. Mexico en 1847, 34. 77Undated cUpping 
from N. Y. Sun describing a Mexican society to promote annexation to 
U. S. 47Mexican letter, Orizaba, [Sept., 1847). ISPakenham, no. 40, 
Mar. 29. ISBankhead to Pak., Oct. 10, 1846. Semmes; Service, 426. 
335Belton to Hitchcock, Aug. 23. Ocampo, Obras, 263. Republicano, 
Oct. 24, 1846; May 8, 11; June 9, 11, 1847. Esperanza, Aug. 8, 1846. 
Eco de Tampico, Nov. 11, 1846. Zempoalteca, July 15, 1847. SOSpeaker 
in Mexico legislature, Apr. 21. London Times, July 15; Oct. 27; Nov. 
6, 16, 1846; Jan. 8, 13; Feb. 9; Mar. 15; May 10, 1847. Tributo d, la 
Verdad, 27. M'Sherry, El Puchero, 189. 73Bermi5dez de Castro, no. 
332, res., Sept. 24, 1846. Encarnacion Prisoners, 83. Opinion del Ejercito, 
Nov. 13, 1846. Cong. Globe, 29, 2, app., 211 (Corwin) ; 323 (Calhoun). 
335Eayres to S. Anna, Oct. 10, 1846; reply, Oct. 21. 52Black, Sept. 22, 
28, 1846. 92Mex. ayunt. to gov. Fed. District, Sept. 3, 1847. Sen. 1; 
30, 1, p. 36. Wash. Union, Sept. 28 ; Oct. 6, 27, 1846 ; Apr. 22 ; May 22 ; 
July 10; Aug. 5; Oct. 5, 1847. Nat. Intelligencer, Nov. 7, 1846; Feb. 
5, 1847. N. Y. Express, Nov. 12, 1846. Iris Espanol, Oct. 30, 1846. 
Regenerador Repub., Dec. 23, 1846. Benton, Abr. Debates, xvi, 58-9 
(Calhoun). 132Cushing to Buchanan, Oct. 31, 1847. Constitulionnel, 
Nov. 10; Dec. 5, 1846; Aug. 17, 1847. Correspondant, Sept. 15, 1846. 
London Globe, Nov. 16, 1846. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 270. Lawton, 
Artill. Officer, 144. Monitor Repub., Sept. 2 ; Nov. 14, 18, 1846 ; Apr. 
21, 29; May 15, 17, 27, 1847. Diario, Oct. 8 ; Nov. 21; Dec. 20, 23, 
1843; Feb. 13, 14; Mar. 31; Apr. 11; May 5, 21, 23, 25; June 10, 18; 
July 8; Aug. 29, 1847. 76Mora, Apr. 23, 1847. See also chap, xxxiv, 
note 21, and the corresponding text. 

8. Appointment of Trist. Polk, Diary, Dec. 3, 4, 9, 1846; Jan. 18; 
Apr. 10, 14, 16, 21-2, 1847. 335Buchanan to Trist, July 13, 1847. Mans- 
field, Mexican War, 275. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 310. 52Trist to 
Buchanan, July 31, private. Ho. 69; 30, 1, p. 43 (Buchanan). 57Trist, 
reports. Polk, Message, Dec. 7, 1847 (Richardson, iv, 536). Benton, 
View, ii, 704. Chase, Polk Administration, 215-6. 335Mrs. Trist to 
T., July 13. 345Blair to Van Buren, Dec. 26, 1846 ; July 7, 1847. Delta, 
May 1, 1848. 335Trist to Mann, Dec. — , 1853 (draft). 335Document 
by Trist re his wife. 335Trist, draft of letter to the Times. Amer. Hist. 
Review, x, 312-4 (Reeves). 335Trist to Felton, June 14, 18 — . 336 
Id., memorial (draft). 335Buchanan, Aug. 28, 1845 (appointing Trist 
chief clerk). For Buchanan: 354Welles papers; Moniiir Repub., Mar. 
10, 1848 (Landa) ; Poore, Perley's Remins., i, 332. 


9. Trist's early relations with IScott in- Mexico. 335Trist's credentials, 
etc. 335Walker to Trist Apr. 15. 335Buchanan to Relaciones, Apr. 
15. Pennsyluanian, Apr. 18. Boston Post, Apr. 15. 335Trist to wife, 
Apr. 18, 25, 28 ; May 4, 8, 15, 21, etc. ; to Buchanan, May 21. 336Trist's 
sister to T., May 22. 335Trist, drafts and memoranda. Scott, Mems., 
ii, 399-401, 576, 579. Sen. 52; 30, 1, pp. 150, 153, 159, 181 (Trist); 
126, 135, 157, 172 (Scott) ; 123, 128, 131 (Marcy) ; 108-9. 336Buchanan 
to Trist, July 13, private. Ho. 69; 30, 1, pp. 43, 47, etc. 52Trist to 
Scott, May 9. Ho. 60 ; 30, 1, pp. 940 (Marcy) ; 993, 1218 (Scott). Kenly, 
Md. Vol., 336. Mansfield, Scott, 364. Polk, Diary, Apr. 15, 16; June 
12-15 ; July 9, 13, 15, 17 ; Aug. 24. 52Buchanan to Trist, July 13. Lon- 
don Times, July 15; Aug. 16 (Genevese traveller: Scott warned). 
Sen. 1; 30, 1, p. 38. Polk, Message, Dec. 7, 1847 (Richardson, iv, 535) . 
47Scott to Semmes, May 9. ISMason to Perry, Apr. 15, confid. 335 
Trist to Scott, Sept. 30 (draft). Oswandel, Notes, 155-6. Semmes, 
Service, 197-201. 345Blair to Van Buren, Mar. 3, 1848. 335Trist to Ho. 
Repres., Feb. 12, 1848 (draft). Sen. 107; 29, 2, p. 3 (Buchanan to 
Conner, July 27, 1846). 132Mason to Buchanan, June 28. N. Y. Courier 
and Enquirer in Niles, July 10. Buchanan, Works (Moore), vii, 270-9. 
So. Qtrly. Review, Apr., 1852, pp. 386-93. (Semmes episode) Ho. 
60; 30, 1, pp. 976-92. 335Trist to Felton, June 14, 18—. 

The government desired to keep the despatch of the peace commis- 
sioner secret, lest Whigs should defeat the plan (Polk, Diary, Apr. 16), 
but a member of the Cabinet betrayed the fact (335Trist to Mann, Dec. 
— , 1853). Scott had been given some reason to expect that he would be 
(as he naturally desired to be) one of a peace commission (Mems., ii, 576), 
as would have been very proper, and no doubt he was not pleased to find 
he had been ignored. He was further exasperated at this time by the 
arrival of Lieut. Semmes, as a representative of the navy, to see about 
the case of a naval prisoner (Rogers : chap, xxx, p. 444), as if Scott had 
not been able and wilhng to attend to the business, and in fact had not 
already attended to it (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 989), and by Semmes's demand 
(which had to be refused) for an escort (Semmes, Service, 198, etc. ; Ho. 
60; 30, 1, pp. 977-92). It would not have been proper to detach one 
soldier unnecessarily. May 31 Marcy wrote to Scott that Trist was 
"directed" to show the General his instructions (Sen. 52 ; 30, 1, p. 123) ; 
but Buchanan used the word "authorised" (52to Trist, July 13). So did 
Polk (Message, December 7, 1847) and Marcy to Scott on July 12 (Sen. 
52; 30, 1, p. 133). Polk and the Cabinet were greatly disturbed by the 
quarrel between Scott and Trist, blaming both but of course blaming 
Scott most. Polk proposed to recall them, but Marcy said Scott could 
not be spared at that time, and the rest of the Cabinet agreed with him 
(Polk, Diary, June 12, 14; July 9). Polk said Scott had thrown away 
"the golden moment" to make peace. But, as Scott knew (Sen. 52; 30, 
1, p. 120), the Mexican Congress by its law of April 20 (vol. ii, p. 81) 
had made peace negotiations practically impossible. A military officer 
is not expected to execute an order if the condition of things when he 
receives it is essentially different from that known or assumed by his 
superior at the time of issuing it. Trist admitted later that he had been 
misinformed about the Mexican situation, and was not sorry Scott did 
not promptly forward the despatch (Ho. 60 ; 30, 1, pp. 819, 825). As for 
the power to grant an armistice, Scott held that the army, cut off without 
supplies in the heart of a hostile country, must be free to take mihtary 


security for its own safety (Sen. 52; 30, 1, p. 121). Trist was given 
authority to draw any part of the three millions appropriated to facilitate 
making a treaty. Buchanan to excuse himself wrote (52to Trist, June 
14) that Scott would not have repUed to Trist as he did, had he waited to 
see Trist's instructions. This amounted to saying that, since Scott knew 
nothing about those instructions, his letter was natural. Marcy admitted 
(May 31 : Sen. 52 ; 30, 1, p. 122) that Scott ought to have seen the in- 
structions, the projet and Buchanan's despatch, of which Trist had a copy. 
Dec. 28 256Scott had written privately to Marcy that he had heard from 
Congressmen of a plan to place Benton over him, but did not believe a 
word of it ; and Jan. 16 he again had expressed his gratitude and loyalty 
to the President. But it should not be forgotten that while the adminis- 
tration was entitled to full credit for its meanness and blundering, the 
trouble arose primarily from Scott's having gone deeply into politics. 
He was not pohtically active now. Jan. 16 he 256wrote privately to 
Marcy, "On setting out, on my present mission, I laid down whiggism, 
without taking up democracy," but the poHticians were not fitted to believe 
this manly and truthful declaration. The Whigs insisted that Trist had 
been sent to embarrass and perhaps to ruin Scott. 

10. Thornton, later Sir Edward Thornton, British minister to the 
United States, saw Scott also, who gave him to understand that he should 
advance against Mexico July 1 or 2 unless a reply to Buchanan's despatch 
should seem probable (13T. to Addington, June 29). Thornton believed 
that Rejdn was intriguing with Scott to have the Americans come to 
Mexico, install the Puros and make peace with them, and that Rej6n's 
party were insisting upon war for this reason (ibid.). Baranda had tried 
to catch Scott in some entanglement by means of secret negotiations 
through the British legation, but had failed (ISBankhead, nos. 47, 54, 
1847). Bankhead exerted all his influence with the government in favor 
of negotiations. June 22 the minister of relations replied politely to Buch- 
anan that his despatch had been referred to Congress, with which the settle- 
ment of the matter rested {Diario, June 26). 

11. Scott 335wrote to Trist, July 17, to the following effect: I concur 
with you, several of my generals and many foreigners of high standing 
here and at Mexico in believing that our occupation of twenty principal 
towns, besides those we already hold, probably would not within a year 
or more force the Mexicans to accept a peace on terms honorable to the 
United States without the pledge in advance or the payment of money to 
some of the principal authorities. This is expected as a preliminary to 
any negotiation. We must pay $10,000 down to one high official, and 
S1,000,000, probably to be divided among many, on the ratification of 
a treaty. With your concurrence I sent $10,000 to Mexico yesterday, 
and at the proper time I will unite with you in pledging $1,000,000. I have 
no question as to the morality of this course, nor have you. We have 
tempted the integrity of no one. The overture, if corrupt, came from 
parties already corrupted. We merely avail ourselves of that corruption 
to obtain an end highly advantageous to both countries. Such transac- 
tions have always been considered allowable in war. We do not know 
that this money would not go into the same channels as that which our 
government is willing to pay publicly for territory would go into. 

June 4 Poinsett said he should be "surprised" if the Mexicans could be 
made to accept the terms of the United States (345to Van Buren). June 
11 Buchanan said privately he should not be "much disappointed" should 


the war continue for years (132to Fremont). July 16 Marcy could see 
no hopes of terminating it (256to Wetmore). Hence the fears of Trist 
and Scott do not seem unreasonable. The $1,000,L00 was to have been 
deducted frojn the sum to De paid by the United States government (a24 
Hitchcock, memo.) Who the intended go-between was cannot be stated, 
though on settling his accounts Scott told confidentially who received 
the $10,000 (Scott in N. Y. Herald, Nov. 3, 1857) ; but there is reason 
to beUeve that it was Miguel Arroyo, who will presently appear as secre- 
tary to the Mexican peace commissioners. It has been said (Rives, U. 
S. and Mexico, ii, 501) that Scott acted as he d d with reference to peace 
because anxious to get back to the United States for personal political 
reasons. Had this been true, Scott would have resigned under the cloud 
of glory rising from his capture of Mexico City. We have political letters 
written by Taylor at this period, but Scott seems to have shown no such 
activity. On the other hand he wrote to Marcy (noe 9), "On setting 
out, on my present mission, I laid down whiggism." 

July 16 Scott mentioned the subject of paying for a treaty to a num- 
ber of his principal officers at what came to be called improperly a council, 
stating (f/. supra) that he felt no scruples about it (Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 
267). PUIow, who had already assented heartily to the plan (Claiborne, 
Quitman, i, 317), supported that view of it strongly (68Shields to Marcy, 
Mar. 11, 1848). Quitman, Shields and Cadwalader opposed it. Prob- 
ably their opinions had no practical effect, for Scott had already com- 
mitted himself, and the Mexicans soon ceased to desire peace. July 7 
Trist sent to Buchanan a copy of a note written by him (52to Thornton) 
which could hardly fail to suggest to a politician that something peculiar 
was afoot, and early in August "Gomez," an army correspondent of the 
St. Louis Republican, gave some account of the negotiations (published 
Nov. 22, republished by the Baltimore Sun, Dec. 6) . Polk and the Cabinet 
made no sign, however. But on Oct. 28 and January 18 PiUow, now a 
bitter enemy of Scott, wrote to Polk about the affair (Polk Diary, Dec. 
11, 18, 20, 28, 1847 ; Feb. 16, 19, 1848), pretending (224Hitchcock, memo.) 
that Scott had beguiled him into supporting the plan, and that his better 
nature had almost immediately reacted against it. Pillow and Polk 
doubtless thought that here lay an opportunity to do Scott a great icjury, 
and took the matter up with much apparent indignation ; and in March, 
1848, Marcy confidentially ordered the officers sitting in the Pillow court 
of inquiry to make an investigation (Polk, Diary, Mar. 14, 16 ; 68Marcy, 
Mar. 17). They did what they could, but the investigation came to noth- 
ing, for Trist and Scott would not impUcate the British legation. See 
68proceedings of the court and statements of generals ; Daily Democrat, 
Chicago, Sept. 15, 1857; 256Marcy to Towson, Mar. 17, 1848; esScott 
to Marcy, Jan. 28, 1848, and Shields to Marcy, Feb. 12, 1848; Davis, 
Autobiography, 177 ; 224Hitchcock, memo. ; Claiborne, Quitman, i, 
326; 258memo. Scott overlooked the facts that such a bargain could 
not be kept secret indefinitely, and that, even if ethically justifiable and 
in accordance with the practice of giving presents to Indian chiefs and 
Barbary pirate?, it would give great offence to American pride. The 
latter point was urged forcibly by Shields. To buy peace of a vanquished 
enemy s"emed to him and Quitman humihating and degrading. 

12. The Puebla negotiations. 52Trist to Buchanan, nos. 7, June 13; 
9, July 23 (and P. S., July 25) ; 12, Aug. 22. 52Thornton to Trist, July 
29. 13Thomton to Bankhead, June 14; to Addington, June 29. 13 


Pakenham, no. 116, Sept. 13, 1846. 335Trist to Scott, June 25, confi- 
dential; July 16, confidential. 335Worth to Trist, July 2, 22. 132 
Atooha to Buchanan, July 3. 335[Thomton] to Hargous, undated. 336 
Trist to Thornton, July 3. 335Scott to Trist, July 17 ; to P. P. Smith, 

July 6. 335Trist to Buchanan, no. 8, July 7. 335 to Trist, July 8. 

St. Louis Republican, Nov. 22. Baltimore Sun, Dec. 6. Diario, May 

21, 23-5 ; June 8, 26, 27 ; July 2, 18, 24^6 ; Aug. 18. Monitor Repub., 

May 13 ; June 18, 25, 27-8. 335 to , July 21. 3350tero to 

Pesado, July 13. Picayune, June 30 ; Aug. 8 ; Oct. 1, 15. Republicano, 
June 24^5. Scott, Mems., ii, 579. 47Semmes to Perry, July 28. Clai- 
borne, Quitman, i, 314r-21, 326. Polk, Diary (see note 11). 68Quit- 
man to Marcy, Mar. 9, 1848. 68Pillow to Marcy, Jan. 18, 1848. 52 
Buchanan to Trist, no. 7, Dec. 21, 1847. 68Shields to Marcy, Mar. 9, 
1848. Raleigh Star, Aug. 25, 1847. eoWilson to Marcy, July 31 ; Aug. 
1. London Times, May 10; Aug. 6; Sept. 6. Ramirez, Mexico, 239, 
255-6, 263, 271. Davis, Autobiography, 177-8, 207-9. 224Hitchcock, 
Memorandum. N. Y. Courier and Enquirer, Mar. 1, 2, 1848. Missouri 
Republican, Sept. 16, 1857. 68Scott to Marcy, Jan. 28, 1848. 68Shields 
to Marcy, Feb. 12, 1848. Sen. 1 ; 30, 1, pp. 38, 40. Sen. 1 ; 29, 2, p. 44. 
Sen. 34 ; 34, 3, pp. 21, 37-9. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 144, 150, 229, 232, 
235, 238, 240, 259-61, 269-70. 335Trist to Thornton, July 30. 335E. E. 
Smith to Trist, Aug. 31. 335Trist to Scott, Sept. 30 (draft). 256Marcy 
to Wetmore, July 16; Oct. 21. Otero, Comunicaci6n. Dictamen 
de la Comisi6n, etc., 29, 30. Republicano, May 8, 21 ; June 9, 28. 82 
J. J. Otero, proclam., Apr. 25. Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 115-20. 
62J. A. Jones to Polk, May 2. Delta, July 15. Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 
260-1, 26^9, 326. eoScott to Marcy, Apr. 5. ISBankhead, nos. 184, 
Dec. 30, 1846; 6, Jan. 29; 34, Apr. 1; 42, 46, Apr. 30; 47, May 6; 54, 
58-60, May 29; 61, June 26; 67, June 29; 75, July 29, 1847. 68Scott 
to Towson et al., Apr. 17, 1848. 335H. L. Scott to Trist, May 29, 1852. 
Wash. Telegraph, Oct. 13, 22, 1852. London Chronicle, Aug. 6. 335 
Trist to Scott, Sept. 1, 1861. Sen. 65; 30, 1, pp. 524-5. 56M. Y. Beach, 
June 4. Wash. Union, June 2 ; July 10 ; Aug. 5, 20. N. Y. Sun, May 

22, Ho. 60 ; 30, 1, p. 830 (Trist) ; 945, 1011, 1085 (Scott) ; 922 (Marcy). 
132Atocha to Buchanan, July 3; Aug. 1; Sept. 4, 21. 132Dimond to 
Buchanan, Aug. 2. Klein, Treaty, 255. Buchanan, Works (Moore), 
vii, 484. N. Y. Herald, Nov. 3, 1857 (Scott). Furse, Organization, 
143. Replica &. la Defensa. Semmes, Service, 310, 413. 73Bermtjdez 

de Castro, no. 517, June 29. Apuntes, 199. 185 to Lewis, July 20. 

335Trist, marginal notes on Sen. 52; 30, 1. Sen. 52; 30, 1, pp. 135, 
172 (Scott); 181-6, 231-46, 306 (Trist); 194 (S. Anna). 760rders for 
Guzmd,n and Avila. 76Alvarez, July 16. 

Ripley (War with Mexico, ii, 149) represents Scott as desiring a recon- 
ciliation with Trist in order to play a brilliant part in bringing about peace 
and so increase his political popularity. This view, which befits a pupil 
and friend of Pillow and furthers the purpose of both to injure Scott, is 
disproved by a number of circumstances and particularly by the fact that, 
after the reconciliation took place, Scott, while ready to do all in his 
power for peace — even at the sacrifice of military glory — kept himself 
entirely in the background so far as that business was concerned. July 

23, 1847, Trist wrote to Buchanan : Scott's whole conduct with reference 
to the duties with which I am charged "has been characterized by the 
purest public spirit, and a fidelity and devotion which could not be sur- 


passed, to the views of the government, in regard to the restoration of 
peace" (Ho. 60; 30, 1, p. 831). Aiming to further the negotiations with 
Santa Anna, Scott sent from Puebla to Mexico a 335Memorandum that 
he would advance and would either defeat the Mexicans in view of the 
capital (if they would offer battle) or capture a strong position, and then, 
if able to restrain his troops, would halt and give the Mexicans an oppor- 
tunity to save the capital by making peace (Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, p. 524). Rip- 
ley (War with Mexico, ii, 167-9) endeavors to relate this honorable inci- 
dent in a way to represent Scott as the dupe of Santa Anna and to compli- 
ment Pillow. But the fact that for good and purely American reasons the 
general-in-chief pursued this very course after the negotiations had ended, 
refutes Ripley; and it also proves that in offering to make that agree- 
ment Scott did not allow his military plans to be influenced by the enemy, 
as was charged, for by the morning of Aug. 20, as no sign of a disposition 
to treat had met Scott, he regarded the Memorandum and every other 
vestige of an understanding as no longer binding upon him "in any degree" 
(esScott to court, Apr. 17, 1848, confid.). Scott was ready, in the 
interest of his country and humanity, to do anything, compatible with 
his duty, to obtain peace. 

Rives (op. cit., ii, 445) states that in consequence of a letter of July 16 
from Pacheco, minister of relations, to Congress a committee of Congress 
reported that the restrictions placed by the law of Apr. 20 on the preroga- 
tives of the.Executive had been removed by the recent "Act of Reforms" 
of the Constitution. This would have been an important point ; but the 
facts are that the committee's report, now lying before the author, was 
dated July 13 and did not mention the law of Apr. 20, and that Congress 
was not in session to receive Pacheco's reply of July 16 to its report (52 
Trist, no. 9, July 23). 

13. Pacheco asked Bankhead to use his good offices with Scott to save 
the city from sack ; but as neither the United States nor Mexico had 
shown favor to the offer of British mediation, he would not act. It is 
hard to see how, with due regard to Polk's declarations and the real desire 
of the United States for peace, Scott could have taken the risk of scatter- 
ing the Mexican government and the elements of peace by refusing to 
remain outside the city for a time ; and remaining outside involved an 
armistice, because — for one thing — the only large stock of provisions 
on which he could coxmt lay in town. Hence censure of Scott for making 
the armistice came from Polk with a very bad grace (52Trist, no. 22 ; 221 
HiU, diary). 

14. The making of the armistice. Sen. 52 ; 30, 1, pp. 186, 190, 231-2 
(Trist) ; 189 (Pacheco), 192 (Scott). 52Trist to Buchanan, no. 12, 
Aug. 22. 52Bankhead to Trist, Aug. 20, 21. Contestaciones Habidas, 
3-7,11-19. Picayune, Sept. 9. Apuntes, 260-3, 268-9. Sen. 1 ; 30,1, 
p. 314 (Scott) ; 356-9. Kenly, Md. Vol., 350. 68Scott, statement to 
court, Apr. 17, 1848, confid. ISBankhead, nos. 76, Aug. 21; 82, Aug. 
29. Raleigh Star, Sept. 22. 22lHill, diary. Mexico d, trav^s, iv, 681. 
Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 279-80, 284-6. Davis, Autobiog., 189, 207, 
215-6. 224lntercepted letters (Hitchcock, ed.). 259lntercepted letter. 
Chicago Democrat, Sept. 15, 1857. BlGates to adj. gen., Aug. 31. Hen- 
shaw narrative. S. Anna, ^Apelaci6n, 61-2. 29lPierce to wife, Aug. 
23; to Appleton, Aug. 27. 335Trist, memo., July 29. Semmes, Service, 
412, 415-9, 427, 446. N. Y. Courier and Enquirer, Mar. 1, 1848. Sen. 
05; 30, 1, pp. 170, 178, 191, 196-8, 204, 281, 288, 460, 465, 543. SORela- 


clones, circulars, Aug. 23, 30. SORelaciones to Olagulbel, Aug. 31, res. 
73Lozano, no. 5, res., Aug. 28. Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 447-8; iv, 
app., 286. 335Trist, notes on a letter to Ho. of Repres., Feb. 12, 1848. 
Wash. Telegraph, Oct. 13, 1852. 236Judah, diary. Sedgwick, Corresp., 
i, 114. So. Qtrly. Review, July, 1852, pp. 112-6. S. Anna, Detail, 16. 
Monitor Repub., Dec. 12 (S.Anna, report, Nov. 19). 70"Guerra,"no. 30 
(F. P^rez, statement, June 17, 1853). Ramirez, Mdxico, 301. Wash. 
Union, Nov. 3. 76To Lombardini, Aug. 21. 76Tornel to Lombardini, 
Aug. 24. 76Circulars, Aug. 26; Sept. 1, 6, 7. 76Many others. Mora 
was accompanied by Arrang6iz, lately Mexican consul at New Orleans. 

Quitman and Pierce, who had not been able to distinguish themselves 
in the recent battles, and P. F. Smith were armistice commissioners for 
the Americans and Generals Mora and Quijano for the Mexicans. They 
met at Mackintosh's house. In brief the terms, as drawn up, were as 
follows : 1, cessation of hostilities ; 2, to continue while the peace com- 
missioners are negotiating or forty-eight hours after one of the commanders- 
in-chief gives formal notice of its termination; 3, during the armistice 
no military work, offensive or defensive, shall be begun, enlarged or rein- 
forced ; 4, neither army shall be reinforced ; troops and munitions en 
route shall stop twenty-eight leagues [about seventy-five miles] frbm Mex- 
ico ; 5, no troops of either side shall advance "beyond the line now actually 
occupied"; 6, the intermediate ground shall not be trespassed upon by 
miUtary men except when acting as messengers or engaged imder a white 
flag on other business ; 7, neither side shall prevent the other from receiv- 
ing provisions ; the Americans may obtain supplies from city or country ; 
8, prisoners shall be exchanged; 9, Americans residing at Mexico and 
banished thence may return ; 10, either army may send messengers to or 
from Vera Cruz; 11, the Americans will not interfere with the adminis- 
tration of justice when Mexicans are the parties; 12, they will respect 
private property, personal rights and trade ; 13, wounded prisoners shall 
be free to move for treatment and cure ; 14, Mexican army health oflBcers 
may attend on such Mexicans; 15, commissioners shall superintend the 
fulfilment of this agreement; 16, the agreement is to be approved by 
the commanders-in-chief within twenty-four hours (Sen. 52 ; 30, 1, p. 310). 
Santa Anna struck out article 9, but through passports the same end was 
reached (52Trist, no. 13) ; and it was agreed that "supplies" (recursos) 
in article 7 should cover everything needed by the army except arms and 
munitions. For Scott's draft see Sen. 65 ; 30, 1, p. 543. 

It is beUeved that enough has been said in the text to show the wisdom 
of making the armistice, and more space cannot be given to the subject. 
Any one interested in it should read Trist's 52no. 22 (most of it in Sen. 
62; 30, 1, pp. 231-66). It should be borne in mind that the Mexicans 
believed the armistice was greatly for the advantage of the Americans. 
Alcorta, minister of war, said that Scott's purpose in proposing it was 
solely to give his troops a needed rest, collect his wounded, 'obtain pro- 
visions and prepare batteries (Negrete, Invasi6n, iii, app., 448). It was 
believed that his losses had been severe (eiundated Mexican letter). 
The reasons avowed by Santa Anna for accepting the armistice were 
to let the troops rest and recover morale, to gather the wounded and the 
dispersed, and in general to undo the effects of the recent battles ; also to 
show the world that Mexico was willing to discuss peace, and to convince 
all that the American demands were unreasonable. The weakest point 
about the armistice was Scott's not requiring that Chapultepec should 


be surrendered or evacuated, as at one time he intended to do (Hitchcock, 
Fifty Years, 285). The reason tor his poMey was, in brief, that he beheved 
Santa Anna fully intended to make peace, and, understanding the immense 
difficulties that Santa Anna would have to meet, he did not wish to increase 
them (62Trist, no. 13). Besides, magnanimity — which is a strong qual- 
ity, not a weak one — to a beaten foe often produces good results. Per- 
haps Scott erred on this point ; but if so, it was a noble error and not has- 
tily to be censured. Apparently by oversight, neither Scott nor Trist had 
been instructed what to do should the Mexicans ask for an armistice with 
a view to peace. Hence Scott was left to take the course that seemed to 
him best, and that he did. Pillow claimed great glory for opposing the 
unsuccessful armistice. Rives says (U. S. and Mexico, ii, 501) that 
Scott was too eager for a return to the United States to be "critical" of 
Santa Anna's honesty. This is to say that Scott was unfit to be a corporal. 
Everybody was suspicious of Santa Anna. See Sen. 62 ; 30, 1, pp. 248-52. 
Rives further says (p. 507) that Scott should have seen that Santa Anna, 
situated as he was, would have accepted any conditions ; but Santa Anna 
certainly would not. He did not accept our peace terms. Rives also al- 
ludes to Scott's "amiable weakness" in the matter (p. 508) — very errone- 
ously, the present author thinks. 

15. Picayune, Sept. 9 ; Oct. 16, 17. Gamboa, Impug., 49, 50. Apun- 
tes, 270-1, 286. ISBankhead, nos. 77, Aug. 27; 83, Aug. 29. 22lHill, 
diary. Ramirez, Mexico, 275, 303. Mexico & trav^s, iv, 686. Hitch- 
cock, Fifty Years, 280, 287-92, 294. Grant, Mems., i, 148. Davis, 
Autobiog:, 211. 224lntercepted letters (Hitchcock, ed). Henshaw 
narrative. Haynes, Gen. Scott's Guide. 259lntercepted letter. Sen. 
19; 30, 2 (M. L. Smith, Nov. 30, 1848). 29lPierce to Appleton, Aug. 
27. Lawton, Artill. Officer, 297, 301, 303, 306. 178Davis, diary. Diario, 
Sept. 2, 4, 8. 335Belton to Hitchcock, Aug. 23. 335E. E. Smith to 
Trist, Aug. 31. 335Memo. ia Spanish, Aug. — . RoaBdrcena, Eecuerdos, 
415. Semmes, Service, 424. Sen. 11; 31, 1 (Hardcastle). SOEelaciones, 
circular, Aug. 23. SOAlcalde S. Fe to Olagulbel, Aug. 29. SOOlagufbel 
to legislature, Aug. 30; reply, Sept. 1. SOValencia to O., Aug. 21, 23. 
800. to Guerra, Aug. 22. SOGuerra to 0.', Aug. 24; reply, Aug. 29. 
199MS. written by leading citizen. 73Lozano, nos. 5, res., Aug. 28 ; 8, 
res., Sept. 17. Encamacion Prisoners, 81, 83-4. Monit-r Bepub., Nov. 
16 (Alvarez). Carreno, Jefes, cccxv, note. 260 Henshaw, comments 
on map. Wash. Union, Nov. 3. Apuntes, 271-2. And from 76 the 
following (and many others). Alvarez, Aug. 22, 23, 24, 26, 29. To 
comandante Toluca, Aug. 24. Acuerdos, Aug. 23, 25, 26, 28, 31 ; Sept. 
1, 4. To Alvarez, Aug. 21, 25, 28. Tomel, Aug. 27, 27, very res., 29. 
To Ugarte and comtes. gen. Guanajuato, S. Luis Potosf and Quer^taro, 
Aug. 29. Cosio, Sept. 6. J. Y. Gutierrez, S^pt. 2, res. To Lombardini, 
Aug. 9, 22, 24, 25. Alcorta, Aug. 22. Quijano to Lombardini, Aug. 23, 
24. To comte. gen. Mexico, Aug. 27 29, 30. Bravo, Aug. 28. To 
Herrera, Aug. 25. To Relaciones, Aug 27. Tornel to comte. gen., 
Sept. 4. Pacheco to Tomel, Aug. 23 C'roulars, Aug. 26 ; Sept. 1, 6, 
7. Alvarez to Olaguibel, Oct. 30. Olagufbel, Aug. 27. 

Paredes, who had been banished, landed at Vera Cruz on Aug. 14 
(Paredes, Breve Exposici6n). 

On August 26 a long train of army wasons went to the capital for 
provisions and was turned back ; but an explanation came promptly from 
Santa Anna. The next day a similar train, while waiting in the main 


plaza of the city (76Tornel, Aug. 27), was attacked by the populace be- 
cause the teamsters appeared to gaze with indifference, if not insultingly, 
at a religious procession (Carreno, Jefes, cccxv; Henshaw narrative). 
Immediately the prevailing hostility against the Americans and a sus- 
picion that Santa Anna was planning to introduce Americans in this way 
and betray the capital (Arco Iris, Nov. 29, 1847) led to a riot, in which 
six or seven of the Americans were injured and two killed. Tornel, now 
governor of the Federal District, tried without effect to quell the mob; 
but Herrera, comandante general, succeeded (Apuntes, 271). Mexican 
troops defended the wagons (Davis, Autobiog., 211). Santa Anna felt 
and expressed deep regret for the incident (76to Relaciones, Aug. 27), 
and some Mexican officers were punished for imprudence (76to comte. 
gen. Mex., Aug. 27). Scott viewed the affair philosophically. After 
this Herrera and Tornel took precautions (76Tornel, Aug. 29), the busi- 
ness was done at a very early time in the morning, the wagons did not 
actually go into the city (76to comte. gen. Mex., Aug. 29), and an officer 
of the American commissary department, disguised as a peasant, had 
charge of them. Minor riots occurred later, however, and after a time 
the place where the supplies intended for Scott were kept was discovered 
and sacked (Hitchcock, Fifty Years, 291). Owing to the non-success 
of the negotiations, about $300,000 of American cash had to be left in the 
town. Both cash and provisions had been arranged for by the indefati- 
gable Hargous (ibid.) During the armistice the American equipments, 
artillery, etc. were put into the best possible order. 

16. Santa Anna had much difficulty in persuading good men to serve 
as commissioners. Trist met the Mexican commissioners first on Aug. 
27 at Atzcapuzalco, about eight miles from Tacubaya (Sen. 62 ; 30, 1, 
pp. 191, 195), but at the second session (Aug. 28) it was agreed to meet 
at the house of Alfaro [Casa Colorado) near Tacubaya and within the 
Mexican lines. The instructions drafted for the Mexican commissioners, 
Aug. 24 and 29, were avowedly drawn as if Mexico had "triumphed," 
and represented merely a basis for bargaining (Sen. 52 ; 30, 1, pp. 313-5, 
369-71). The commissioners were authorized at first only to receive and 
transmit the American propositions ; but, believing they would be given 
(as they were on Aug. 31 : ibid., 335) full powers, like his own, to negotiate, 
Trist laid his projet {ibid., 326-30) before them on Aug. 27 (see Roa 
Bd,rcena, Recuerdos, 389, note 1). Aug. 29 Santa Anna and his Cabinet 
discussed this (Sen. 52; 30, 1, 330). Aug. 30 he discussed it with his 
generals (Diario, Aug. 31). Sept. 1 the Mexicans presented to Trist 
their full powers, and the discussion of his terms began. Sept. 2 they were 
discussed further, and, as agreement was found to be impossible, Trist 
proposed that the armistice be extended. A large gathering at the palace 
then discussed the situation (Apuntes, 278) . Sept. 3 Santa Anna ordered 
that no more provisions and other articles that could be useful to the 
Americans should leave the city (76to comte. gen. Mex.). Sept. 4 Pacheco, 
the minister of relations, issued a 77circular intimating that unless Trist 
should moderate his terms, negotiations would be broken off. Cabinet 
consultations followed, however (Sen. 52 ; 30, 1, p. 202). Sept. 5 Pacheco 
notified the Mexican conimissioners that the Nueces-Rio Grande district 
and New Mexico would not be surrendered (ibid., 373-5). Sept. 6 the 
final meeting was held and the Mexican counter-projet presented (ibid., 
375-80). The Spanish chargd had thought that, owing to Santa Anna's 
disposition to jockey, the negotiations would last a long time. This was 


prevented by Trist's fra