(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Letters of Zachary Taylor, from the battle-fields of the Mexican War;"

/ 




/ 

/ 

<- (Ty^C^A^W 










LETTERS 



OF 



ZACHARY TAYLOR 



FROM THE 



BATTLE-FIELDS OF THE 
MEXICAN WAR 



REPRINTED FROM THE ORIGINALS IN THE COLLECTION OF 
MR. WILLIAM K. BIXBT, OF ST. LOUIS, MO. 



WITH INTRODUCTION, BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES, AN 

APPENDIX, AND ILLUSTRATIONS 

FROM PRIVATE PLATES 



Of TNr -**" 



UNIVERSITY 

OF 



ROCHESTER, N. Y. 
1908 



> 

A I/ 



COPYRIGHT 1908 

By WILLIAM K. BIXBY 

PUBLISHED 1908 
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



THB GENESEE PRESS 

THE POST EXPRESS PRINTING CO. 

ROCHESTER, N. Y. 



W K. B IX BY, 

SO8 CENTURY BUILDING. 
ST LOU IS. MO. 



January 3rd, 1910 

J. C. R owe 11, Libr. , 

University of California, 

Berkeley, California. 
My dear Sir:- 

As per your request of December 29th, 
I take pleasure in sending the University a copy 
of the Letters of Zachary Taylor, No. 146. 
The MS. came into my possession several years ago, 
but publication was deferred until everjrthing ob 
tainable in regard to the family could be ascertained. 

Yours very truly, 







INTRODUCTION 

ACHARY TAYLOR, twelfth president of the United States and one of the 
country s great soldiers, rendered such valuable services that he deserves 
to be held in grateful remembrance by the American people. In this volume an 
attempt is made to sketch his life, and to throw valuable light upon his sterling 
character by publishing, for the first time, and from the original manuscripts, a 
remarkable series of letters which he wrote from the battle-fields of the Mexican 
war. The letters, which are among the most interesting ever written by an Ameri 
can president, will also illuminate the history of that struggle, explain the sensa 
tional quarrel with General Scott, and make clear many doubtful points in the 
presidential contest that followed, in which old " Rough and Ready " not only 
triumphed over his jealous and revengeful antagonist in the army but over some 
of the greatest, most adroit, and most popular of American statesmen, reaching the 
highest office within the gift of his fellow-citizens. 

The readers of this privately printed volume may be interested in a sketch of 
General Taylor s family and of his descendants, particularly as nothing accurate 
and comprehensive has hitherto been printed ; indeed, a sketch may be regarded as 
necessary to a correct understanding of the many interesting allusions in these 
Letters to the members of his family, to whom he was passionately devoted. 

GENERAL TAYLOR S ANCESTRY. 

James Taylor came from Carlisle, England, about 1640 and settled on the 
Mattapony river in what is now Caroline county, Virginia. His son James suc 
ceeded to his property, married Martha Thompson (1679-1762) on February 23, 
1699, and about 1720 bought 15,000 acres of land in what is now Orange county, 
Virginia, and settled there. Their son Zachary (1707-1768) married Elizabeth 
Lee, daughter of Hancock Lee of " Ditchley ;" she was first cousin of Henry 
Lee, the great grandfather of General Robert E. Lee, and was a descendant 
through the Allertons of Elder William Brewster (1560-1644). They had four 
children, Zachary, Hancock, Richard, and Elizabeth. Richard was born on the 
family estate in Orange county, Virginia, April 3, 1744, and died near Louisville, 
Kentucky, January 19, 1829. In 1769 with his brother Hancock he made the 
first recorded trading voyage down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, 
returning to Virginia by sea. In the Revolution he was lieutenant-colonel of the 
Ninth Virginia regiment and for many years thereafter served in the state legisla 
ture. He was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati. In Virginia 
in 1779 Colonel Richard Taylor married Sarah Strother, a daughter of William 
Strother of Stafford county, Virginia. She was born in that county in 1760 and 



INTRODUCTION 

died in Kentucky. They had nine children, as follows : Hancock, William Dab- 
ney Strother, Zachary (the President), George, Richard, Joseph Pannel, Elizabeth 
Lee, Sarah Bailey, and Emily. 

Zachary Taylor, destined to be the most famous of the family, was born at 
Hare Forest, Orange county, Virginia, November 24, 1784. This date, which 
differs from that given in several books of reference familiar to American readers, 
is conclusively established by the family records, now in the possession of his 
descendants, which have been consulted in the preparation of this sketch. He was 
related to two very prominent families of the South, and was a descendant of the 
chief of the New England Pilgrims, as the following condensed genealogies will show: 

Richard Lee, founder of the Lee family in the Old Dominion, came from 
England, settled in Virginia in 1641, and died there in 1663. His second son 
Richard married Letitia Corbin ; they had a son Henry who married Mary Bland ; 
they had a son Henry who married Lucy Grymes, " the Lowland beauty " for 
whom Washington in early youth is said to have had an unrequited passion ; they 
had a son Henry ("Light Horse Harry" of Revolutionary fame, 1756-1818) 
who married as his second wife Anne Carter, and their son was General Robert E. 
Lee (1807-1870). Richard Lee also had a son Hancock who married Sarah 
Allerton ; they had a daughter Elizabeth who married Zachary Taylor ; they had a 
son Richard who married Sarah Strother; they had a son Zachary (the President) 
who married Mary Mackall Smith and had a son Richard (1826-1879), who was 
thus a fourth cousin of General Lee, the latter s father being a third cousin of 
President Taylor. 

The second James Taylor married Martha Thompson (1679-1762) on Feb 
ruary 23, 1699. They had a son Zachary (1707-1768) who married Elizabeth 
Lee; they had a son Richard (1744-1829) who married Sarah Strother (born in 
1760) and had a son Zachary, (the President, 1784-1850). The second James 
Taylor also had a daughter Frances (1700-1761) who married Ambrose Madison 
on August 24, 1721 ; they had a son James (born in 1723) who on September 15, 
1749, married Nelly Conway, and they had a son James (1751-1836) who was 
secretary of state for eight years under Jefferson and president for eight years as 
Jefferson s successor. Thus President Madison and President Taylor were second 
cousins. 

Elder William Brewster (1560-1644), who came over in the Mayflower in 
1620, had a daughter Fear who married Governor Isaac Allerton (1583-1659); 
they had a son Colonel Isaac Allerton (1630-1702) who married Elizabeth Wil- 
loughby and emigrated to Virginia in 1654 ; they had a daughter Sarah (1671-1731) 
who became the second wife of Hancock Lee (1653-1709), the fifth child of 
Richard Lee; they had a daughter Elizabeth; she married Zachary Taylor (1707- 
1768), the grandfather of President Taylor, who could thus trace back his ances 
try to the founder of the Plymouth colony. 



TAYLOR LETTERS 



NUMBER 
OF THREE HUNDRED 
COPIES PRINTED FOR PRIVATE 
DISTRIBUTION ONLY 






UWiVl.- " 

\ 
X>U;F 




ZACHARY TAYLOR 



PR I VAT E P L AT El 



INTRODUCTION 



GENERAL TAYLOR S WIFE. 



On June 18, 1810, Zachary Taylor (the President) married Margaret Mackall 
Smith, who was born at St. Leonard s, Calvert county, Maryland, in 1787. She 
belonged to an important Maryland family and was fifth in descent from Richard 
Smith who emigrated from England in 1649, settled on a large tract of land in 
Calvert county, and was appointed attorney-general of the province of Maryland 
by Cromwell. Her father was Captain Walter Smith (1747-1804), a prosperous 
planter who had married Anne Mackall. Mrs. Taylor was a woman of strong 
character and great piety, and was intensely devoted to the education of her chil 
dren and the happiness and welfare of her family. She was with her husband con 
stantly till the Mexican war, when a constitution broken by the hardships and 
privations of life at the frontier army posts compelled her to remain at home. She 
strongly opposed the entrance of her husband upon a career in civil life j she felt 
that as he had rendered distinguished service in the army he ought not to be called 
upon for further sacrifices, but should be permitted to pass the closing years of an 
arduous life free from care and responsibility ; she disliked politics and politicians 
and declared that the advocacy of her husband s nomination was a plot to deprive 
her of his society and to shorten his life by unnecessary care. During the presi 
dential campaign of 1848 she lived at Baton Rogue, Louisiana, surrounded by 
members of her family and by friends who respected her for her character, sacri 
fices, and love of domestic life ; and it may be that she secretly hoped for her hus 
band s defeat. But when the news of his election came and the removal of the 
family to Washington was a necessity, Mrs. Taylor turned to her new duties with 
her customary courage and devotion. Her strength, however, had failed rapidly 
and at the White House she could not sit through the long state dinners, walk up 
and down stairs at receptions, or stand to receive the polite greetings of casual 
visitors. Accordingly the active duties of the mistress of the White House 
devolved upon her youngest daughter, Mary Elizabeth (often affectionately called 
" Miss Betty "), then the wife of Colonel William Wallace Smith Bliss, the Presi 
dent s private secretary. She was a handsome young woman of many accomplish 
ments and unusual grace and refinement, and was exceedingly popular in the high 
social circles of the national capital. Mrs. Jefferson Davis once said : ct I always 
found the most pleasant part of my visit to the White House to be passed in Mrs. 
Taylor s bright pretty room where the invalid, full of interest in the passing show 
in which she had not strength to take her part, talked most agreeably and kindly to 
the many friends who were admitted to her presence. She always appeared at the 
family dinners to which a few friends were unceremoniously bidden, of which many 
charming ones were given during General Taylor s administration, and ably bore 
her share in the conversation at the table. The President at one of these dinners 
at which I was present, after telling an anecdote of his army life in which his wife 



INTRODUCTION 

had taken part, turned to Senator Jefferson Davis and said, l You know my wife 
was as much of a soldier as I was. His every look and tone spoke respect, 
esteem, and love. When General Taylor died I was with the family and saw her 
endure all the torture incident to a state funeral. Mrs. Taylor was worn to a 
shadow, and lay without uttering a sound, but trembled silently from head to foot 
as one band after another blared the funeral music of the different organizations, 
and the heavy guns boomed in quick succession to announce the final parting of 
her brave, true husband." The state funeral being over, Mrs. Taylor went to the 
home of Major and Mrs. Bliss at East Pascagoula, Mississippi, and there the 
broken-hearted woman died on August 14, 1852, at the age of 65. Her remains 
were taken to Kentucky and laid beside those of her husband. During the past 
fifty years many absurd and cruel stories about Mrs. Taylor s character, habits, and 
daily life have been printed in sensational American magazines and newspapers ; 
these have been passed by with silent contempt by her descendants and perhaps for 
that reason have been accepted as true, in part, at least, by the public ; but the tes 
timony of Mrs. Jefferson Davis must be accepted as conclusive, and in these lines 
we have given a correct portrayal of the modest, unostentatious, self-sacrificing life 
of a noble American woman, with high ideals and the graces and virtues of an 
exalted Christian character. 

GENERAL TAYLOR S DESCENDANTS. 

Mr. and Mrs. Zachary Taylor had six children, Ann Mackall, Sarah Knox, 
Agnes, Margaret, Mary Elizabeth, and Richard, of whom two, Agnes and Mar 
garet, died in early childhood. 

(i). Ann Mackall was born April 9, 1811, near Louisville, Ky., and was 
married about 1829, at Fort Crawford, now Prairie du Chien, Wis., on the upper 
Mississippi river, where her father was stationed, to Dr. Robert Crooke Wood, a 
surgeon in the army, to whom most of the remarkable letters in this volume were 
addressed. Immediately after her marriage she went with her husband to Fort 
Snelling, further up the Mississippi. This fort was founded in 1820 at the junc 
tion of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers and is the oldest settlement in Minne 
sota. She died in Germany in December, 1875. Dr. Wood was born in New 
port, R. L, about 1800, entered the army May 25, 1825, as an assistant surgeon, 
became major surgeon July 4, 1836, was assistant surgeon-general with the rank 
of colonel, and on March 13, 1865, received the brevet of brigadier-general for 
gallant and meritorious service during the Civil war. After a long, useful, and 
honorable career he died in New York city, March 28, 1869. Dr. Wood had 
four children, to whom many references are made in these letters, John Taylor 
Wood, Robert Crooke Wood, Blandina Dudley Wood, and Sarah Knox Wood. 
The oldest, John Taylor Wood, born at Fort Snelling, August 13, 1830, was the 
first white child born in Minnesota. He entered the navy as a midshipman April 



INTRODUCTION 

7, 1847, was advanced to lieutenant in 1855, left the service in 1861 to join the 
Confederacy, and commanded the after division of the Merrimac in the famous 
fight with the Monitor in Hampton Roads. After sensational service as a blockade 
runner he was appointed a colonel on the staff of President Jefferson Davis. 
After the war he removed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he died July 19, 1904. 
In 1856 he married Lola Mackubin of Annapolis, by whom he had ten children, 
of whom several are still living. His oldest son, Zachary Taylor Wood, born at 
Annapolis November 1 1, 1860, is now a major commanding the Canadian Mounted 
Police in the Yukon, and his youngest, Charles Carroll Wood, became a lieutenant 
in the British army and was killed in action on the Orange river, South Africa, in 
November, 1899. The oldest surviving daughter, Miss Lola Mackubin Wood, 
resides at Windsor, Nova Scotia. Robert Crooke Wood, the second child of Dr. 
Wood, was born April 4, 1832, at St. Paul, Minn., and was a cadet at the Military 
Academy at West Point from July I, 1850, to August 15, 1853. He resigned 
from the army in 1858, became a sugar planter in Louisiana, joined the Con 
federacy on the outbreak of the Civil war, became a colonel, and died in New 
Orleans December 4, 1900. He had married Marie Wilhelmina Trist of that 
city on May 20, 1864, and had four children. The third child of Surgeon Wood 
was Blandina Dudley Wood, who was born at Prairie du Chien, Wis., January 9, 
1834. She married Edward Boyce of Georgetown, D. C., on January 20, 1859. 
He died in 1862 and four years later she married Baron Guido von Grabow. She 
died in Berlin, Germany, September 7, 1892. The fourth child, Sarah Knox 
Wood, was born at Tampa Bay, Florida. For many years she lived with her sister 
in Germany, and for the past ten years has been a resident of Winchester, Va. 

(2). Sarah Knox Taylor, the second child of Zachary Taylor, was born at 
Fort Knox, Ind. When her father was colonel of the First Infantry and in 1832 
was stationed at Fort Crawford, now Prairie du Chien, she met Jefferson Davis, 
then a first lieutenant in the regiment. They soon became lovers, but their 
marriage was strongly opposed by Colonel Taylor for two reasons : First, he was 
slightly prejudiced against Lieutenant Davis on account of a trifling incident in 
military life, and, second, he did not want his daughter to marry a military man, 
being well aware of the hardships of soldiers wives at frontier posts. From time 
to time during the last fifty years sensational articles about the " elopement " of 
Jefferson Davis with the daughter of Zachary Taylor have appeared in the Ameri 
can press, and as these eminent men and their descendants never deigned to discuss 
these articles the " elopement " story, with its many embellishments, has now 
come to be accepted as true. But there was no elopement ; this may be stated 
upon the personal authority of the lady s sister, who is still living, at the age of 84, 
who has assured the writer of the accuracy of her recollections. Sarah Knox 
Taylor had her father s strong determination and told him that while she would not 
disobey him she would never marry any other than Lieutenant Davis, and said, 



INTRODUCTION 

what proved to be true years afterward on the battle-fields of the Mexican war, 
that " the time will come when you will see as I do his rare qualities." For a 
time Lieutenant Davis was not allowed to visit the Taylor household, but with her 
mother s consent and her father s knowledge, the young lady met him occasionally 
elsewhere. After an engagement of two years the father s opposition became less 
decided ; with her mother s help the daughter prepared her trousseau, and she then 
journeyed to the home of her Aunt Elizabeth at Beechland, near Louisville, Ky. 
Lieutenant Davis followed, and there in the presence of her aunt, her sister, her 
brother-in-law, Surgeon Wood, and other relatives, she was married in June, 1835. 
The young couple went to visit Lieutenant Davis s brother, Joseph E. Davis, on 
his plantation, the Hurricane, in Mississippi, and it was arranged that Lieutenant 
Davis (who had resigned from the army) should take Brierfield, part of the Hurri 
cane tract, as his share in his father s estate ; and there the young couple settled. 
Late in the summer, as the sickly season approached, they went to visit Lieutenant 
Davis s sister, Mrs. Luther Smith, at Locust Grove plantation near Bayou Sara, 
Louisiana. Soon after their arrival they were taken sick with malarial fever. 
They were nursed in separate rooms, and he was too ill to be told of her peril and 
delirium saved her from anxiety about him. Hearing her voice singing loud and 
clear a favorite song, " Fairy Bells," Mr. Davis struggled to his feet and went to 
her bed-side, only to find her delirious and dying. She passed away on September 
15, 1835, only three months after marriage, and was buried in the family burying- 
ground on the plantation. For nearly a month Mr. Davis s life was despaired of, 
and when he rallied he went to Cuba for the winter. In the following spring he 
returned to Brierfield and for eight years led a life of sorrow and seclusion. Mrs. 
Davis was a young woman of unusual beauty, with great vivacity and charm of 
manner. 

(5). Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the fifth of Zachary Taylor s daughters and the 
third to survive the perils of childhood, was born near Louisville, Ky., April 20, 
1824, and now, in a beautiful old age, resides at Winchester, Va. She is the one 
who, as " Miss Betty," was the mistress of the White House sixty years ago and 
charmed Washington society with her grace, beauty, and intelligence. She was 
educated in Philadelphia and on December 5, 1848, soon after her father s election 
to the presidency, was married to Major William Wallace Smith Bliss, who had 
greatly distinguished himself in the Mexican war, particularly at Palo Alto, Resaca 
de la Palma, Monterey, and Buena Vista. He was born in Whitehall, N. Y., in 
August, 1815, and on September I, 1829, was appointed to the Military Academy 
at West Point, from which he was graduated in 1833, twenty-two years after the 
graduation of his father, John Bliss, from the same institution. Both his charac 
ter and his popularity may be inferred from his nickname, " Perfect Bliss." He 
served against the Cherokees in 1834, was a professor at the Academy for six 
years, was chief of staff in the Florida war, served against the Western Indians, 



xn 



INTRODUCTION 

was chief of staff to General Taylor in Texas and Mexico, and was repeatedly 
brevetted for gallantry. His brevet of lieutenant-colonel was for gallant and 
meritorious conduct at Buena Vista. In 1848 Dartmouth college conferred the 
degree of A. M., and in 1849 a g^ rnedal was presented by the legislature of his 
native state. He was a remarkable linguist, being the master of six languages. 
When General Taylor was inaugurated president Colonel Bliss became his private 
secretary, and after the president s death, July 9, 1850, became adjutant-general 
of the Western division of the army, with headquarters at New Orleans. In 1853 
he went with his wife to their summer home at East Pascagoula, Miss., and there 
he died on August 5th of yellow fever. On February n, 1858, Mrs. Bliss was 
married to Philip Pendleton Dandridge, of Winchester, whom she survives. 

(6). Richard Taylor, the only son of Zachary Taylor, was born on the 
family estate at Springfields, near Louisville, Ky., on January 27, 1826. After 
studying abroad for four years he returned, entered Yale, and was graduated in 
1845. From college he went to his father s camp on the Rio Grande, but his 
health became impaired and he retired to a cotton plantation in Jefferson county, 
Miss., where he resided until 1849, when he removed to a sugar-estate in 
Louisiana. He was a member of the state senate from 1856 to 1860, was a dele 
gate to the Charleston Democratic convention of 1860, and attended the secession 
convention of Louisiana. In June, 1861, he took the field as colonel of the 
Ninth Louisiana Volunteers. He was soon made a brigadier-general and early in 
1862 led his brigade in the Valley campaign under Jackson. He distinguished 
himself in several battles and being promoted to major-general on Jackson s recom 
mendation, was assigned to the command of Louisiana. On April 8, 1864, with 
8,000 men he attacked General Banks and routed the advance of the Northern 
army, capturing twenty-two guns and many prisoners. Banks fell back and Taylor 
followed him and attacked again the next day, only to lose the fruits of the first 
victory. In the summer Taylor was made a lieutenant-general and assigned to the 
command of the department of Alabama and Mississippi. After Lee and John 
ston surrendered there was nothing else for him to do, and on May 8, 1865, he 
yielded to General Canby. After a brief visit to Europe General Taylor returned 
and became a confidential adviser of Northern democratic leaders, notably Samuel 
J. Tilden, who had a high opinion of his ability and sagacity. General Taylor s 
book, " Destruction and Reconstruction : Personal Experiences in the Late War 
in the United States," was published in 1879. He died on April I2th of that 
year in New York City. 

GENERAL TAYLOR S CAREER. 

Zachary Taylor s youth was passed on the Kentucky frontier, among those 
who were exposed to the dangers and hardships of pioneer life and were required 
to be constantly on the alert against the Indians and the wild beasts of the forests. 



INTRODUCTION 

He was a strong, hardy, brave, enterprising boy, of good principles and adventur 
ous spirit, who delighted in the tales of border adventure and was eager to partici 
pate in the conflict between the forces of barbarism and civilization. Colonel 
Taylor destined his son William for the Army, while Zachary was to be a farmer. 
The former died soon after entering the service and Zachary, earnestly desiring a 
military career, received from President Jefferson a commission as first lieutenant 
in the Seventh Infantry. This commission was dated May 3, 1808, a few months 
before Zachary Taylor s relative, James Madison, was elected president of the 
United States. The young officer reported to General Wilkinson at New Orleans, 
but was soon stricken with yellow fever and forced to return home to be nursed 
back to health. His marriage occurred about a year later and on November 30, 
1810, he was promoted and became a captain. In 1811 his regiment, the Seventh, 
marched northward with the Fourth Infantry to serve under General Harrison, then 
governor of the Northwest territory, who was endeavoring to subdue the Indians. 
The battle of Tippecanoe was fought November 7, 1811. The second war with 
Great Britain began in less than a year the act declaring war was dated June 18, 
1812 and in September the young captain had his first real baptism of fire. In 
command of a single company of the Seventh, he was defending Fort Harrison 
when, on September 10, 1812, it was attacked by the Indians, who greatly out 
numbered the little garrison, and there he displayed such bravery, skill, and resource 
fulness in defence that he was warmly praised by his superior officers and was 
brevetted major by the President. His service against the Indians of the North 
west continued until the close of the war, and on May 15, 1814, he received the 
full rank of major and was assigned to the Twenty-sixth Infantry. He then led 
an expedition against the Indians and their British allies on Rock river and further 
distinguished himself. 

The treaty of peace with Great Britain was signed December 24, 1814, and 
an immediate reduction of the army to a peace footing became necessary. Major 
Taylor was put back to a captain in his former regiment, the Seventh. This 
involved no reflection on him, but as he preferred to resign rather than serve in the 
lower grade, he was honorably discharged June 15, 1815, and went home, as he 
expressed it, " to make a crop of corn." But his military abilities were so well 
known to President Madison and his services were so greatly needed in the army 
that on May 17, 1816, he was restored with the rank of major and assigned to the 
Third Infantry, which was stationed at Green Bay, Wis. Taylor joined it there 
and for two years commanded at Winnebago. On April 20, 1819, he was pro 
moted and became lieutenant-colonel of the Fourth, reporting to its colonel at New 
Orleans. On August 13, 1819, he was transferred to the Eighth; on June i, 
1821, to the First ; on August 16, 1821, to the Seventh, and on January I, 1822, 
to the First, in which he remained lieutenant-colonel for ten years. From 1819 to 
April 4, 1832, when he became colonel of the First, he had various duties to per- 



INTRODUCTION 

form. He built Fort Jesup in Louisiana, near the Texas line, was on recruiting 
duty at Louisville, served on a large board of officers in Washington, was superin 
tendent of Indian affairs in the Northwest, and all this time was a hard student of 
military science and history. When he became colonel he was sent to Fort Craw 
ford and fought in the Black Hawk war under General Atkinson, who spoke in 
high praise of his ability. When the troubles broke out in Florida and the Indians 
under Osceola rose against the whites and slew whole families of settlers, the gov 
ernment, in the words of President Van Buren, had " no alternative but to con 
tinue the military operations against them until they are totally expelled." For this 
dangerous, difficult, and important service Colonel Taylor was selected, as being 
the bravest and most experienced Indian fighter in the army. Accordingly in the 
summer of 1837 the First Infantry proceeded down the Mississippi. Major- 
General Thomas S. Jesup, in command of the department, had a hard fight with 
the Indians at Jupiter Inlet, on June 24, 1838, was severely wounded, and was so 
strongly impressed with the strength, resources, and natural advantages of the foe 
that he strongly recommended that the government compromise, leaving a large por 
tion of Florida to the occupation of the Indians and their negro allies. This rec 
ommendation was disapproved at Washington, General Jesup was relieved, and the 
command was given to Colonel Taylor. In the meantime, the latter invaded the 
Everglades with a force of 1,032 men, exclusive of officers, and on December 25, 
1837, fought and won the desperate battle of Okeechobee. In a modest report of 
his operations he said : " This column in six weeks penetrated one hundred and 
fifty miles into the enemy s country, opened roads and constructed bridges and 
causeways, when necessary, on the greater portion of the route, established two 
depots and the necessary defences for the same, and finally overtook and beat the 
enemy in his strongest position ; the results of which movement and battle have 
been the capture of thirty of the hostiles, the coming in and surrendering of more 
than one hundred and fifty Indians and negroes, mostly the former, including the 
chiefs Ou-la-too-gee, Tus-ta-nug-gee, and other principal men, the capturing and 
driving out of the country six hundred head of cattle, upwards of one hundred 
head of horses, besides obtaining a thorough knowledge of the country through which 
we operated, a greater portion of which was entirely unknown except to the enemy." 
In this campaign Taylor exhibited military qualities of a very high order and 
was " promoted to the rank of brigadier-general by brevet for distinguished ser 
vices." His victory was a severe blow to the Indians, but it did not crush them, 
and from their impenetrable fastnesses they emerged in small bands from time to 
time to commit depredations upon the whites. After two years of hard service, 
during which it was impossible to bring the Indians into battle and subdue them, 
General Taylor took command of the Southwestern department on April 21, 1840, 
establishing his family on a plantation near Baton Rouge. In 1841 the gallant 
First Infantry was sent back to the Northwest; and on July 7, 1843, General 



INTRODUCTION 

Taylor was transferred to the Sixth Infantry and established his headquarters at 
New Orleans, from which he could move as occasion demanded to either of the various 
garrisons in his department. His duty was simply to preserve peace with the Indians 
in the United States and with the adventurous Americans who had invaded Texas. 

This invasion had been going on for several years and the American emigrants 
became so strong in numbers and so confident of their capacity for self-government 
that they formally seceded from Mexico March 2, 1836, and declared their inde 
pendence. After the defeat of Santa Anna by General Houston at San Jacinto, 
April 21, 1836, the republic of Texas was recognized by England, France, Belgium, 
and the United States. The question of annexation, or, as the Democrats phrased 
it, the " re-annexation," of Texas to the United States was frequently discussed ; 
it became a vital one in 1844 and the statesmen of that period were face to face 
with a very serious and difficult problem. Annexation would certainly affront 
Mexico, and in all probability lead to war ; for the Mexican republic, which had 
suspended but had not formally abandoned its efforts to subdue Texas, and which 
might be prevailed upon to allow it to remain free and independent as a buffer state 
between Mexico and the United States, could not consent to its forcible annexation 
to this country. But on the other hand, a refusal on our part to annex Texas 
would almost certainly lead to interference by some strong European power ; for 
Texas, repelled by us and angry thereat, would think itself forced to seek allies 
elsewhere ; and as we would be compelled, in defence of the highest national 
interests, to resist foreign intervention or domination, war with somebody was 
inevitable and the weaker adversary was chosen. This country was at fault to 
begin with in permitting if not actually encouraging its citizens to invade the prov 
ince of a neighbor with whom it was at peace and with whom it had no cause of 
quarrel ; and no doubt the statesmen of the times were at fault in not seeking more 
generally annexation by purchase instead of war, for if confronted with the certain 
loss of Texas, one way or the other, Mexico might have accepted money as com 
pensation for territory which she was doomed to lose and which had virtually been 
wrested from her already ; so that in the cold light of impartial history, and at a 
time when the chief participants in the great struggle have passed away, it may be 
said that while the possession of Texas ultimately became a national necessity, the 
United States dealt harshly and hastily with a weak nation, when justice and gener 
osity might have accomplished the desired result without staining the national honor. 

In 1840 the Whigs won their first victory when General William Henry 
Harrison was elected to the presidency and John Tyler to the vice-presidency ; 
and though no declaration of principles had been made by the Whig convention 



I Andrew Jackson strongly urged the annexation of Texas as a military measure. In support of his proposition he sup 
posed the case of Great Britain forming an alliance with Texas and designing war against the United States, and said: "Pre 
paratory to such a movement she sends her io,ooo or 30,000 men to Texas, organizes them on the Sabine, where her supplies 
and arms can be concentrated before we have even notice of her intentions; makes a lodgment on the Mississippi; excites the 
negroes to insurrection ; the lower country falls, and with it New Orleans ; and a servile war rages through the whole South and 
West. In the meantime she is also moving an army along our Western frontier from Canada, which, in co-operation with the 
army from Texas, spreads ruin and havoc from the lakes to the gulf of Mexico." 



INTRODUCTION 

which had nominated them, they were supposed to be strongly opposed to the 
annexation of Texas. President Harrison died on April 4, 1841, a month after 
taking the oath of office, and Tyler, who succeeded to the presidency, turned his 
back so completely on the principles of those who had supported him that he was 
denounced by a formal caucus of Whig members of Congress as false to his trust. 
On April 22, 1844, he created a sensation by sending to the Senate a treaty for the 
annexation of Texas. This was rejected, 18 to 25, on the ground, as set forth by 
Senator Thomas H. Benton of Missouri, that the treaty made war on Mexico 
" unconstitutionally, perfidiously, clandestinely, and piratically," while Benton s 
plan contemplated a fair and open negotiation with Mexico and the peaceful acqui 
sition of the desired territory. President Tyler appealed from the Senate to the 
House, but too late for action at that session. The presidential election of 1844 
followed, in which the Democrats carried the country, electing James K. Polk over 
Henry Clay, the annexation of Texas being the principal issue, and at the begin 
ning of the second session of the twenty-eighth Congress, December 2, 1844, 
President Tyler announced in his annual message that Mexico had threatened to 
renew the war against Texas, being impelled to vigorous action " by the negotia 
tion of the late treaty of annexation," and he thought steps should be taken by the 
United States at once to preserve its own peace and tranquillity. Bills and resolu 
tions on this subject were immediately introduced in Senate and House, and one of 
the greatest debates in our history followed, lasting for three months, at the end of 
which a resolution of annexation 1 was adopted by both houses and received the 
approval of the President two days before the expiration of his term of office. 

I JOINT RESOLUTION declaring the terms on which Congress will admit Texas into the Union as a State : 

Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Con 
gress doth consent that the territory properly included within, and rightfully belonging to the republic of Texas, may be erected 
into a new State, to be called the State of Texas, with a republican form of Government, to be adopted by the people of said repub 
lic, by deputies in convention assembled, with the consent of the existing Government, in order that the same may be admitted as 
one of the States of this Union. 

Sec. 2. And be it further resolved, That the foregoing consent of Congress is given upon the following conditions, and with 
the following guarantees, to-wit: 

First. Said State to be formed, subject to the adjustment by this Government of all questions of boundary that may arise with 
other Governments; and the constitution thereof, with the proper evidence of its adoption by the people of said republic of Texas, 
shall be transmitted to the President of the United States, to be laid before Congress for its final action, on or before the first day 
of January, one thousand eight hundred and forty-six. 

Second. Said State, when admitted into the Union, after ceding to the United States all public edifices, fortifications, barracks, 
ports and harbors, navy and navy yards, docks, magazines, arms, armaments, and all other property and means pertaining to the 
public defence, belonging to said republic of Texas, shall retain all the public funds, debts, taxes and dues of every kind, which 
may belong to or be due or owing said republic; and shall also retain all the vacant and unappropriated lands lying within its 
limits, to be applied to the payment of the debts and liabilities of said republic of Texas ; and the residue of said lands, after dis 
charging said debts and liabilities, to be disposed of as said State may direct ; but in no event are said debts and liabilities to become 
a charge upon the Government of the United States. 

Third. New States, of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition to said state of Texas, and having sufficient 
population, may hereafter, by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission 
under the provisions of the Federal Constitution. And such States as may be formed out of that portion of said territory lying 
south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly known as the Missouri compromise line, shall be admitted into 
the Union, with or without slavery, as the people of each State asking admission may desire. And in such State or States as shall 
be formed out of said territory north of the Missouri compromise line, slavery or involuntary servitude (except for crimes) shall be 
prohibited. 

Sec. 3. And be it further resolved, That if the President of the United States shall, in his judgment and discretion, deem it 
advisable, instead of proceeding to submit the foregoing resolution to the republic of Texas, as an overture on the part of the 
United States for admission, to negotiate with that republic, then 

Be it resolved, That a State, to be formed out of the present republic of Texas, with suitable extent and boundaries, and with 
two representatives in Congress until the next apportionment of representatives, shall be admitted into the Union by virtue of this 
act, on an equal footing with the existing States, as soon as the terms and conditions of such admission and the cession of the re 
maining Texan territory to the United States shall be agreed upon by the Governments of Texas and the United States; and the 
sum of $100,000 is hereby appropriated to defray the expenses of missions and negotiations, to agree upon the terms of said admis 
sion and cession, either by treaty to be submitted to the Senate, or by articles to be submitted to the two Houses of Congress, as 
the President may direct. [Approved and signed by President Tyler, March i, 1845.] 

xvii 



INTRODUCTION 

It was the duty of General Taylor to refrain from participation in the contro 
versies of the Whigs and the Democrats ; they contended for the political mastery 
of a country of which he, no matter what the result between them, was always the 
obedient servant. In a letter to a Mexican officer he said : " Charged as I am, in 
only a military capacity, with the performance of specific duties, I can not enter 
into a discussion of the international question involved." This was the principle 
on which he and other Whig soldiers Scott, for example acted throughout the 
struggle. In 1844 General Taylor would have been gratified if Clay, the Whig 
leader, had been elected to the presidency ; no doubt he condemned the desertion 
of Tyler, and after the triumph of Polk he sympathized with the Whigs in their 
opposition to annexation and war, but his duty, as he conceived it, was to carry out 
the orders of the President and the Secretary of War, regardless of his personal 
opinions, and certainly no man in our history ever served with greater zeal, loyalty, 
and devotion ; though at times he was sorely tried by the hostility of those who 
were jealous of his growing fame. 

The joint resolution of Congress was transmitted to the President of Texas ; 
and the Congress of Texas, and subsequently a popular convention, ratified it in 
the summer of 1845. Information of this action was communicated to the Congress 
of the United States by President Polk on December 9, 1845, and a resolution 1 
admitting Texas to the Union was passed in the House by a vote of 141 to 56 and 
in the Senate by 31 to 14, and was approved by President Polk on December 2Qth. 

This resolution meant war, and both sides began to prepare for it in earnest. 
But William L. Marcy, the efficient Secretary of War, had sent confidential 
instructions to General Taylor as early as May 28, 1845. Anticipating the annexa 
tion of Texas, he determined to guard against all contingencies, and he directed 
General Taylor to open correspondence with the authorities of Texas, and should 
the territory of Texas be invaded to "expel the invaders." On June 15, 1845, 
Secretary Marcy directed him to advance forthwith to the mouth of the Sabine, 
which divided Louisiana from Texas, or to such other point on the gulf as would 
be most convenient " for an embarkation at the proper time for the western fron 
tier of Texas," his ultimate destination to be a site on the Rio Grande which 
" will be best adapted to repel invasion ; " and he was to limit himself to the 

I JOINT RESOLUTION for the admission of the State of Texas into the Union. Whereas the Congress of the United States, 
by a joint resolution approved March the 1st, 184$, did consent that the territory properly included within, and rightfully belong 
ing to, the Republic of Texas, might be erected into a new State, to be called the State of Texas, with a republican form of 
Government to be adopted by the people of said republic by deputies in convention assembled, with the consent of the existing 
Government, in order that the same might be admitted as one of the States of the Union ; which consent of Congress was given 
upon certain conditions specified in the first and second sections of said joint resolution : And whereas the people of the said 
Republic of Texas, by deputies in convention assembled, with the consent of the existing Government, did adopt a constitution, 
and erect a new State, with a republican form of Government, and in the name of the people of Texas, and by their authority, 
did ordain and declare that they assented to and accepted the proposals, conditions, and guarantees contained in said first and sec 
ond sections of said resolution : And whereas the said constitution, with the proper evidence of its adoption by the people of the 
Republic of Texas, has been transmitted to the President of the United States, and laid before Congress, in conformity to the 
provisions of said joint resolution : Therefore, 

Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the 
State of Texas shall be one, and is hereby declared to be one, of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on 
an equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever. 

Be it further resolved, That until the representatives in Congress shall be apportioned according to the actual enumeration of 
the inhabitants of the United States, the State of Texas shall be entitled to choose two representatives. 

xviii 



INTRODUCTION 

defence of the territory of Texas, " unless Mexico should declare war against the 
United States." The river Nueces had been set by Mexico as the western bound 
ary of Texas, while Texas claimed to the Rio Grande. The territory between 
these rivers was, therefore, in dispute. When American troops crossed the Nueces 
Mexico was certain to regard her territory as invaded, and if Mexican troops 
crossed the Rio Grande the United States was to regard that as an invasion, and, 
in the language of Secretary Marcy, as " the commencement of hostilities." This, 
then, was the situation when General Taylor with eight companies of the Third 
Infantry left New Orleans on July 25th and proceeded to Corpus Christi, at the 
mouth of the Nueces. Other troops were hurried forward, the Fourth, the Fifth, 
and the Eighth Infantry, some artillery, and the Louisiana Volunteers, until there 
was an army of 3,000 men. The commander gave unremitting attention to dis 
cipline, drill, and organization, while awaiting advices from his superior officers. 
Writing from Washington January 13, 1846, Secretary Marcy gave the critical 
order : "Advance and occupy with the troops under your command, positions on 
or near the east bank of the Rio del Norte [Rio Grande] as soon as can be con 
veniently done." This order was obeyed as soon as received. Early in March 
General Taylor sent part of his force by water and the remainder by land to Point 
Isabel, near the mouth of the Rio Grande, where a supply depot was established. 
Then he moved southward and on March 28th came in sight of the great river. 
Opposite the Mexican town of Matamoros he threw up entrenchments, subse 
quently called Fort Brown, in honor of the officer who defended it so gallantly. 
General Ampudia reached Matamoros and took command of the Mexican forces on 
April iith and on the following day sent a formal protest to General Taylor and a 
peremptory demand that he retire within twenty-four hours to the left bank of the 
Nueces. The American officer replied : " The instructions under which I am 
acting will not permit me to retrograde from the position I now occupy," and he 
would leave the responsibility on " those who rashly commence hostilities." A 
few days later General Arista arrived and superseded Ampudia. There were 6,000 
well equipped soldiers under his command and his plan was to feign a crossing of 
the Rio Grande above Taylor s camp, but to make the principal crossing below it, 
throw his main force upon Taylor s line of supplies, capture Point Isabel, break 
the river blockade, and then destroy the American army at his leisure. But Gen 
eral Taylor was not to be deceived. He strengthened Fort Brown and then moved 
back, not only to protect his base but to get the Mexican army between himself 
and the fort. This strategy succeeded and as expected the Mexican army was 
divided, a portion attacking Fort Brown and the remainder following Taylor, who 
was supposed to be in full retreat before " the invincible army of Mexico." After 
strengthening his base of supplies Taylor started forward on May jth to meet the 
enemy, his force consisting of 177 officers and 2,1 n men. On May 8, 1846, he 
met the Mexicans and fought and won the battle of Palo Alto the first conflict 



XIX 



INTRODUCTION 

of the Mexican war. His loss was only nine killed, forty-four wounded, and two 
missing. The Mexican force was nearly three times as large as Taylor s and lost 
at least 2OO killed and 400 wounded. The American General said : " Exposed 
for hours to the severest trial cannonade of artillery our troops displayed a cool 
ness and constancy which gave me throughout the assurance of victory." 

We now leave these remarkable letters to tell the remainder of the thrilling 
story the battle of Resaca de la Palma on May gth ; the crossing of the Rio 
Grande ; the occupation of Matamoros ; the storming and capture of Monterey 
on September 24th, which electrified the whole country and made Taylor a national 
hero ; the heartless impoverishment of his command by Scott, who, jealous of his 
fame, wanted the military glory himself, and the marvelous battle of Buena Vista, 
February 22 and 23, 1847, fought mainly by volunteers, which saved the situation 
and formed a fitting climax to Taylor s glorious career as a soldier. He was made 
a major-general by brevet May 28, 1846, "for gallant conduct and distinguished 
service " at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and reached the full rank on June 
29th. On July 16, 1846, he received the thanks of Congress " for the fortitude, 
skill, enterprise, and courage which have distinguished the recent operations on the 
Rio Grande," and a gold medal was presented " in the name of the Republic as a 
tribute to his good conduct, valor, and generosity to the vanquished." He was 
further honored by Congress as follows: By resolution of March 2, 1847, " f r 
the fortitude, skill, enterprise, and courage which distinguished the late brilliant 
military operations at Monterey," and with the presentation of a gold medal, 
" emblematical of this splendid achievement, as a testimony of the high sense 
entertained by Congress of his judicious and distinguished conduct on that memor 
able occasion," and by the resolution of May 9, 1848, " for himself and the 
troops under his command for their valor, skill, and gallant conduct conspicuously 
displayed on the 22nd and 23rd of February last, in the battle of Buena Vista, in 
defeating a Mexican army of more than four times their number, consisting of 
chosen troops under their favorite commander, General Santa Anna," the resolu 
tion directing " the presentation of a gold medal emblematical of this splendid 
achievement, as a testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of his judi 
cious and distinguished conduct on that memorable occasion." It may be added, 
to complete the record, that General Taylor resigned from the army January 
31, 1849. 

The Letters will be read with absorbing interest. As a revelation of character 
they are wonderful. They show Taylor s patience, loyalty, and devotion; his ten 
der regard for his soldiers; his obedience to orders without murmur or question; 
his earnest striving amid great discouragements to accomplish glorious results for his 
country, and his solicitude for the members of his family. His wife, his children, 
and his grandchildren were constantly in his thoughts ; when the roar and carnage 
of battle were over and his military duties relaxed for a moment, he sat down by 



INTRODUCTION 

candlelight to write to those he loved and who were alarmed for his safety. And 
because these letters are such a revelation of a noble character they are printed pre 
cisely as he wrote them without the omission of a single word, without a change 
in spelling or punctuation. The reader will remember under what unfavorable con 
ditions they were written and be lenient in criticism of the language in which the old 
soldier clothed his thoughts and revealed the strength and simplicity of a noble char 
acter. That General Taylor could write with clearness, vigor, and accuracy is shown 
by the extraordinary letter, to be found in the Appendix, which he addressed to Sec 
retary Buchanan a letter which, as Prescott, the historian, said, "will form the 
nucleus for a full history of the Mexican war, and the events connected with it," 
and in which General Taylor exposes the jealousy and narrowness of Scott, who 
stripped him of his veteran soldiers and left him in jeopardy on the Rio Grande, as 
the scene of decisive battle was deliberately shifted. Even the honor of accompany 
ing his brave troops and sharing in their privations and their triumphs was denied to 
the hero of Monterey. 

But he was destined to win a glorious victory over those who intrigued against 
him, by reaching the most exalted station within the gift of his fellow citizens, who 
understood the value of his services, had learned to love him for his courage and 
devotion, strongly resented the intrigue against him, and were determined to bestow 
the highest reward. 

General Taylor was not a candidate for the presidency, but longed for rest 
on that pleasant Southern plantation, surrounded by the members of his family ; he 
had been a military man all his life, had been on the frontier most of the time, 
and was worn in his country s service ; moreover, he had paid little attention to 
political questions, and recognized the fact that his inexperience might prove fatal 
in civil life. But after the battle of Buena Vista he was urged to allow his friends 
to bring him forward as a candidate, and at length the appeals were so strong and 
so insistent that he yielded so far as to say that if he were called by the united 
voice of his country he would not decline to serve in the presidency ; but he would 
not appear as a contestant for that office, or allow himself to be used as a partisan. 
This, of course, was a position that demonstrated his unfamiliarity with political 
conditions, for there were two strong contending parties divided by sharp differ 
ences of opinion as to the war itself, and on the treasury, tariff, slavery, and 
Oregon questions, so that it was folly to expect that they would unite upon a single 
candidate, no matter how able or popular he might be. General Taylor s friends 
recognized this and continued to urge him to step forth as a Whig and seek the 
nomination of that party. At length he consented, and it is probable that the 
natural desire to thwart the political ambition of Scott was an incentive. The 
administration that had carried on the war was Democratic ; the leading generals 
who had won the victories were Whigs, and it is likely that if Taylor had not been 
a candidate for the Whig nomination Scott would have secured it and been elected. 



INTRODUCTION 

So it may be said that Scott s failure to win the high office which had long been 
the object of his ambition was due largely to his harsh, not to say brutal, treatment 
of Zachary Taylor in taking away his troops and leaving him, as he thought, to a 
life of inactivity and obscurity on the banks of the Rio Grande. 

The Democratic convention of 1848 met at Baltimore on May 22d and 
nominated Lewis Cass of Michigan for President and General William O. Butler 
of Kentucky for Vice-President, the former a Northern statesman with Southern 
principles and the latter an able soldier who had fought with great credit in the 
Mexican war under both Taylor and Scott. There was little hope of success at 
the polls, owing to the irreconcilable differences between the two factions of the 
party in New York the anti-slavery wing called " Barn-burners " in allusion to 
the story of the man who burned his barn to drive out the rats, and the " Hunkers," 
so called because their opponents said they u hunkered " for the offices. The 
Whig convention, therefore, which assembled at Philadelphia on June 7th was the 
scene of great excitement, for apparently its nominees were certain to carry the 
country. Zachary Taylor led on every ballot and was nominated for president on 
the fourth, receiving 171 votes, as against 63 for General Scott, 32 for Henry Clay, 
and 14 for Daniel Webster. His support came from every section of the country, 
but was weakest from New England, where Webster and Clay were the favorites. 
On the second ballot Millard Fillmore of New York was nominated for Vice- 
President and amid great enthusiasm the convention adjourned without making any 
declaration of principles whatever. The most exciting incident of the convention 
was the effort of certain Whigs to pass a resolution demanding from General 
Taylor a promise to adhere to Whig principles in the event of his election, for 
"no man ought to receive the nomination of a Whig convention who will not be 
an exponent of Whig doctrines." Their failure led to the nomination of Martin 
Van Buren by conventions that met at Buffalo, N. Y., and Utica, N. Y. ; and 
candidates who received no support whatever at the polls were nominated by other 
dissatisfied factions and groups elsewhere. The popular vote at the election was 
divided as follows : Taylor, 1,360,099 ; Cass, 1,220,544, and Van Buren, 
291,263. General Taylor carried the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode 
Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, 
North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and Kentucky fifteen 
states in all, with 163 electoral votes, and Cass carried Maine, New Hampshire, 
Virginia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, 
Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa fifteen states with 127 electoral 
votes. 

In a short but admirable Inaugural Address President Taylor expressed the 
hope that with " an honest purpose to do whatever is right " and with the assist 
ance of men of talents, integrity, and purity he would be able to " execute dili 
gently, impartially, and for the best interests of the country " the manifold duties 



INTRODUCTION 

of his office. The Constitution, he said, would be his guide and for the interpre 
tation of it he would look to the decisions of the courts and " the practice of the 
government under the earlier Presidents, who had so large a share in its formation." 
He proclaimed his fixed determination to maintain the government in its original 
purity and to adopt as the basis of his public policy " those great republican doc 
trines which constitute the strength of our national existence." Following the 
example of Washington, he would avoid entangling alliances with foreign nations ; 
in their disputes he would be neutral ; he would cultivate friendly relations with all 
the powers, and if differences arose he would hope to adjust them by wise negotia 
tion. After remarking that the appointing power vested in the President imposes 
delicate and onerous duties, he declared his belief in the principles of what we 
call civil service reform, by saying : " So far as it is possible to be informed, I 
shall make honesty, capacity, and fidelity indispensable prerequisites to the bestowal 
of office, and the absence of either of these qualities shall be deemed sufficient 
cause for removal." The Inaugural was concluded as follows : " I congratulate 
you, my fellow-citizens, upon the high state of prosperity to which the goodness 
of Divine Providence has conducted our common country. Let us invoke a con 
tinuance of the same protecting care which has led us from small beginnings to the 
eminence we this day occupy, and let us seek to deserve that continuance by pru 
dence and moderation in our councils, by well-directed attempts to assuage the 
bitterness which too often marks unavoidable differences of opinion, by the promul 
gation and practice of just and liberal principles, and by an enlarged patriotism, 
which shall acknowledge no limits but those of our own wide-spread Republic." 

The favorable impression made by this address was strengthened when Presi 
dent Taylor announced his cabinet, as follows : John M. Clayton of Delaware, 
Secretary of State ; William M. Meredith of Pennsylvania, Secretary of the Treas 
ury ; George W. Crawford of Georgia, Secretary of War j Thomas Ewing of 
Ohio, Secretary of the Interior ; William B. Preston of Virginia, Secretary of the 
Navy ; Jacob Collamer of Vermont, Postmaster-General, and Reverdy Johnson of 
Maryland, Attorney-General all of whom were Whig lawyers known to the 
country to be men of character and ability. All but Mr. Meredith had served in 
Congress. 

In his first annual message, December 4, 1849, President Taylor congratu 
lated Congress that the United States " presents to the world the most stable and 
permanent government on earth." He discussed our foreign relations and rejoiced 
that his country was at peace with all the world. He urged legislation to sup 
press the African slave trade ; he discussed the construction of an interoceanic 
canal through Nicaragua and expressed the opinion that it should not be under the 
exclusive control of a single power ; he recommended a revision of the tariff to 
augment the revenue and did not doubt the right and duty of Congress to encour 
age domestic industry and manufactures ; agriculture should be encouraged also, 



INTRODUCTION 

and he suggested that a bureau of agriculture should be created ; he hoped mem 
bers of Congress would abstain from the introduction of exciting topics of a sec 
tional character and repeated the solemn warning of Washington against furnishing 
" any ground for characterizing parties by geographical discriminations ; " he fore 
saw that in a few years large and prosperous communities would arise on the 
Western coast, and after discussing the construction of a trans-continental railroad 
urged a careful investigation of route and cost by a scientific corps ; liberal appro 
priations should be made for rivers and harbors ; old and faithful army officers 
should be cared for at public expense ; he strongly recommended reduction of 
letter postage to 5 cents ; he expressed great confidence in Congress and regarded 
the Presidential veto as " an extreme measure, to be resorted to only in extraordi 
nary cases ; " attachment to the Union should be habitually fostered ; the patriots 
who formed it had long since descended to their graves, yet it still remained the 
proudest monument to their memory, and as its dissolution would be the greatest 
of calamities, the study of every true American should be to avert it. " Upon its 
preservation must depend our own happiness and that of countless generations to 
come. Whatever dangers may threaten it, I shall stand by it and maintain it in its 
integrity to the full extent of the obligations imposed and the powers conferred 
upon me by the Constitution." 

The acquisition of new territory and the pressing question of slavery brought 
great dangers upon the country by increasing the bitterness of sectional feeling. It 
is clear from his Inaugural and from the solemn warnings of his Message that 
President Taylor looked to the future with grave apprehension ; and no doubt his 
friends were justified in regarding him as peculiarly fitted for the delicate and diffi 
cult duties of the presidential office at this critical time, and as competent to 
smooth over difficulties, decrease the violence of faction, and avert a national cal 
amity by a reconciliation of individual and sectional differences. He was not only 
popular at the North because he was a Whig and a military hero, but he had the 
confidence of the South, for he was a slave-owner and a Southerner by birth. If 
there could be union upon anybody, President Taylor seemed to be the man. It 
is, however, idle to speculate upon what he might have accomplished ; in a little 
more than a year after his inauguration the hand of Death was laid upon him and 
his career, full of achievement and fairly won fame, and distinguished throughout by 
unselfish devotion to the honor and glory of the American people, came to a sudden 
close and clouded the country with mourning. On July 4, 1850, the corner-stone 
of the monument to Washington was laid at the national capital and President 
Taylor took an important part in the ceremonies. It was an exceedingly hot day 
the heat was more oppressive than he had found it in Florida or Mexico the 
exercises were long and tiresome, and even before he left his carriage at the monu 
ment he complained of giddiness and headache ; but he refused to abandon what 
he conceived to be his duty. He experienced unusual thirst which was not allayed 



xxiv 



INTRODUCTION 

by large draughts of cold water, and finally when the ceremonies closed and he 
reached the White House he drank freely of iced milk and ate heartily of cherries ; 
an hour after dinner he was taken seriously ill ; painful cramps were followed by 
cholera morbus, the attack did not yield to treatment, his strong constitution weak 
ened, and an intermittent fever developed. He sank rapidly, and died at half-past 
ten o clock on the evening of July 9, 1850, surrounded by members of his family 
and a few intimate friends. His beloved wife, his favorite daughter Mrs. Bliss and 
her husband, his brother Colonel Taylor, his friend Jefferson Davis, Vice-Presi- 
dent Fillmore, and all the members of the cabinet were with him. These were 
the last words of the great soldier : " I am about to die. I expect the summons 
very soon. I have endeavored to discharge all my official duties faithfully. I 
regret nothing, but am sorry that I am about to leave my friends." 

The Vice-President immediately entered upon the duties of the presidential 
office and on the following day issued a proclamation in which, after announcing 
the death of President Taylor, he said : " His last public appearance was while 
participating in the ceremonies of our national anniversary, at the base of the 
monument now rearing to the memory of Washington. His last official act was 
to affix his signature to the convention recently concluded between the United 
States and Great Britain. The vigor of a constitution strong by nature, and con 
firmed by active and temperate habits, had in later years become impaired by the 
arduous toils and exposures of the military life. Solely engrossed in maintaining 
the honor and advancing the glory of his country, in a career of forty years in the 
army of the United States he rendered himself signal and illustrious. An unbroken 
current of success and victory, terminated by an achievement unsurpassed in our 
annals, left nothing to be accomplished for his military fame. His conduct and 
courage gave him this career of unexampled fortune, and, with the crowning virtues 
of moderation and humanity under all circumstances, and especially in the moment 
of victory, revealed to his countrymen those great and good qualities which induced 
them, unsolicited, to call him from his high military command to the highest civil 
office of honor and trust in the republic ; not that he desired to be first, but that he 
was felt to be worthiest. The simplicity of his character, the singleness of his 
purpose, the elevation and patriotism of his principles, his moral courage, his 
justice, magnanimity, and benevolence, his wisdom, moderation, and power of com 
mand, while they have endeared him to the heart of the nation, add to the deep 
sense of the national calamity in the loss of a Chief Magistrate whom death itself 
could not appall in the consciousness of having always done his duty." 

The funeral was held on July I3th; and, as a nation mourned, the remains 
were deposited in the cemetery at Capitol Hill, from which they were removed, a 
few months later, to the old homestead at Louisville, Kentucky. " His death," 
said Thomas H. Benton, Missouri s great senator, and one of his political oppo 
nents, " was a public calamity. No man could have been more devoted to the 



INTRODUCTION 

Union or more opposed to slavery agitation ; and his position as a Southern man 
and a slave-holder, his military reputation, and his election by a majority of the 
people and of the States, would have given him a power in the settlement of these 
questions which no president without these qualifications could have possessed. In 
his political division he classed with the Whig party, but his administration, as far 
as it went, was applauded by the Democracy, and promised to be so to the end of 
his official term." Let us conclude this sketch with an extract from the tribute 
of Daniel Webster : " I believe he was especially regarded as a firm and a mild 
man in the exercise of authority ; and I have observed more than once, in this and 
other popular governments, that the prevalent motive of the masses of mankind for 
conferring high honors upon individuals is a confidence in their mildness, their 
paternal, protecting, prudent, and safe character. I suppose that no case ever hap 
pened, in the very best days of the Roman republic, when a man found himself 
clothed with the highest authority in the state, under circumstances more repelling 
all suspicion of personal application, of pursuing any crooked path in politics, or 
of having been actuated by sinister views and purposes, than in the case of this 
worthy and eminent and distinguished and good man." 

WILLIAM H. SAMSON. 



-,.>- 

0,- TH- 






3 RIVATE PLATE 



LETTERS OF Z AC HART TATLOR 




Camp three miles from Matamoros on the 
field of battle 10 o clock at night 
May 9 th 1 846 

IT dear D r 

After a severe affair of yesterday, 1 principally with 
artillery, with six thousand of the best Mexican troops 
we succeeded after a continued contest of five hours in 
driving the enemy from his position & occupying the 
same laying on our arms ; at day light he was still in 
sight, apparently disposed to renew the contest, but on our making the 
arrangements for doing so he retired on the Matamoros road & took a 
strong position at this place, & awaited the attack which we commenced 
at about four o clock P. M. & after a severe contest of two hours a close 
quarters we succeeded in gaining a complete victory, 2 dispersing them in 
every direction taking their artillery, baggage or means of transportation, a 
number of standards &c, with a great loss of killed, wounded & prisoners, 
one of the first is a Gen 1 of artillery, & among the latter is Gen 1 Lavega 
one of the most accomplished officers of their army ; the war I have no 
doubt is completely brought to a close on this side the Rio Grande ; the 
enemy who escaped having recrossed said river So brilliant an achieve 
ment could not be expected without heavy loss on our side, we have 
many killed & wounded among the former is M r Inge3 of the dragoons, 
Cockran* of the fourth Infy. & ChadbournS of the 8 th among the latter 

I Battle of Palo Alto, the first of the Mexican war. 

z Battle of Resaca de la Palma, which closed the purely defensive operations. Thereafter General Taylor operated entirely 
in the enemy s country. 

3 Zebulon M. P. Inge was born in Alabama, was graduated from the Military Academy in 1838, was appointed second 
lieutenant of the Second Dragoons, and became lieutenant in 1841. He was killed while charging with the Dragoons under 
Captain Charles Augustus May. It was this charge that decided the battle. 

4 Richard E. Cochrane was born in Delaware, was appointed second lieutenant of the Fourth Infantry in 1838, and became 
first lieutenant in 1841. 

5 Theodore L. Chadbourne was born in Maine, was graduated from the Military Academy in 1843, and became second 
lieutenant of the Eighth Infantry in 1845. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

is Co 1 Mclntosh 1 Pain 2 Capt Hooe3 L< Gates* Jordon5 Selden 6 & Bur- 
bank? & some others besides many n c d officers 8 & privates My 
orders was to make free use of the bayonet, which was done as far as it 
be, or as the enemy would permit I have escaped alth I was as much 
exposed as any one on the ground The fort was safe, but Maj r 
Brown9 died to-day from a severe injury he rec d from a shell ; which has 
thrown a gloom over the whole affair My respects to D r Wells, 10 
Munroe, 11 & Saunders, & I may say any other inquiring friends 

Yours Truly 

& Sincerely 

Z. TAYLOR 
D R R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 



1 James S. Mclntosh was born in Liberty county, Ga., June 19, 1787, and entered the army as a second lieutenant in 1812. 
He was severely wounded at Black Rock in 1814 and became captain in 1817, major in 1836, and lieutenant-colonel in 1839. 
After recovering from severe wounds received in the battle of Resaca de la Palma he commanded a brigade in the valley of Mexico 
and was mortally wounded at the head of his column in the assault on Molino del Rey, dying in the City of Mexico September 
26, 1847. 

2 Matthew M. Payne was born in Virginia and in 1812 pined the army as first lieutenant of the Twentieth Infantry. He 
became captain in 1814, major in 1836, and lieutenant-colonel in 1843. In 1846 he received the brevet of colonel for gallant and 
distinguished service at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He resigned irom the army in 1861 and died August I, 1862. 

j Alexander S. Hooe was born in Virginia, was graduated from the Military Academy in 1827 and by 1838 was a captain. 
He received the brevet of major for gallantry under General Taylor and died December 9, 1847. 

4 Collinson R. Gates, grandson of Lemuel Gates, an officer in the Revolution, was born in New York in 1816, was gradu 
ated from the Military Academy in 1836, and became first lieutenant in 1838. He saw almost constant service and received the 
brevet of captain May 9, 1846, for gallantry at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He was advanced to the full rank of captain 
within a month, received the brevet of major for gallant conduct at Molino del Rey, and died in Fredericksburg, Texas, June 28, 
1849. 

5 Charles D. Jordan was born in Massachusetts, was graduated from the Military Academy in 1842, became second lieuten 
ant in 1844, and received the brevet of first lieutenant for gallantry at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He reached his major 
ity in 1862, retired in 1863, and died January 5, 1876. 

6 Joseph Selden was born in Virginia and became second lieutenant of the Eighth Infantry in 1838 and first lieutenant in 
1841. He distinguished himself at Resaca de la Palma, Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec, and received the brevets of 
captain and major. He resigned from the army in 1861. 

7 John G. Burbank was born in Massachusetts, was graduated from the Military Academy in 1841, became first lieutenant 
December 31, 1845, and died September 10, 1847, of wounds received in the battle of Molino del Rey. 

8 For non-commissioned officers. 

9 Jacob Brown was born in Massachusetts in 1788 and in 1812 joined the army as a private. He slowly advanced through 
all the grades till he became major of the Seventh Infantry on February 27, 1843. General Taylor and his troops reached Point 
Isabel from Corpus Christ! March 24, 1846, and immediately marched up the left bank of the Rio Grande, camping opposite Mata- 
moros, one of the largest cities of Northern Mexico, named for Mariano Matamoros, a Mexican patriot who died in 1814. Here a 
fort was constructed by General Taylor s order large enough to receive his entire army. The Mexicans began crossing the river 
and it was necessary for Taylor to fall back to protect his base of supplies at Point Isabel on the coast. About five hundred men, 
including inetfectives, were left in the fort under command of Major Brown. The armament was of four eighteen pounders, and 
a field bauery of four light sixes. The Mexicans bombarded the fort for four days and nights but the Americans held bravely on. 
After strengthening his base of supplies and leaving a garrison there, Taylor returned and on May 8th and gth fought the battles 
of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, driving the Mexicans across the river and relieving the fort. Major Brown died on May gth 
from wounds received on the 6th and the fort was named in his honor. 

10 John B. Wells was born in Maryland and was appointed from Georgia an assistant surgeon February I, 1834. He became 
major surgeon October 24, 1846, and died July 24, 1853. 

11 Probably meaning John Munroe. He was born in Scotland about 1796 and died in New Brunswick, N. J., April 26, 1861. 
He was graduated from the Military Academy in 1814 and advanced steadily from third lieutenant to major of the Second Artillery, 
August 18, 1846. In July of that year he was chief of artillery to General Taylor. He was brevetted lieutenant-colonel for 
gallantry at Monterey and colonel for Buena Vista. He was military and civil governor of New Mexico, 1849-1850. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



Matamoros Mexico May 19 th 1846 
My dear Dr, 

Your highly esteemed letter of the iy th & 1 8 th ins 1 came to hand 
last night, & truly thank you for the information & good wishes therein 
contained, the latter I know being sincere & disinterested & of course 
was duly appreciated I left Point Isabel on my return on the morn 
ing of the 13 th & reached here, on the other side, on the same evening 
but was during the night quite unwell, with considerable fever, which 
compelled me to keep my tent the 14 th . On the 15 th my fever having 
left me, I at once commenced making preparation for crossing, 1 both 
armies having remained quiet up to that time. On the morning of the 
1 7 th , returning from examining the several places for crossing the river 
recommended by the Engineers, I rec d by a flag a communication from 
Gen 1 Arista 2 by a gen 1 officer, proposals for an armistice ; & if that was 
not acceded to, that said officer was authorized to enter into any arrange 
ments we might agree on to put a stop to hostilities ; I at once informed 
him that the war must be carried on, that they had commenced it, & I 
could not put a stop to it, without orders from my gov , but that, if he 
would deliver up all all the public property here he might withdraw with 
out interruption their troops from Matamoros including his sick and 
wounded, he then made some proposition for me not to occupy Mata 
moros or to cross the Rio Grande, that many of their wounded could 
not be removed ; I stated that we never made war on the sick, wounded, 
or woman or children, but that I would cross the river the next day, & 
if the town made any resistance would destroy it, which I was then pre 
pared to do, as our morters had that moment arrived ; he then said he 
would report my wishes to Gen 1 Arrista, & let me know his determina 
tion before sun down ; at the same time my preparations were actively 
going on for crossing ; not having heard from Arista, we commenced 
crossing at day light, but soon learned that Arista with his whole force 
consisting of some four thousand men, had abandoned the town during 



I The Rio Grande. 



2 Mariano Arista, a Mexican general, commanded at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, May 8th and 9th, 
1846, having succeeded General Pedro de Ampudia at Matamoros in the previous April. He was born in the state of San Luis 
Potosi, July 2,6, 1802, and died on the English steamer Tagus on his way from Lisbon to France, August 7, 1855. He was elected 
president of Mexico in 1850 but resigned in 1853 and was soon banished. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

the night leaving the sick & wounded to our mercy, having previously 
sent off his baggage & most of his artillery beyond our reach, throwing 
the balance in the river, with a large quantity of ammunition ; soon after 
which a deputation from the civil authorities waited on me to offer terms, 
or to know intentions I informed them that I would not hear any 
terms on their part, that I would take possession of their city which I 
did the same day, but would respect persons & private property, & 
permit their civil laws to go on as usual, at any rate for the present ; so 
that we are all now encamped on the enemies soil without firing a gun 
We lost however a fine young officer L l Stephens 1 of the Dragoons who 
was unfortunately drowned in crossing the river 

I much fear so many volunteers will come we will hardly find any 
thing for them to do ; the enemies principal posissions are so far off, with 
deserts intervening that it will be I fear impossible to reach them for want 
of transportation. I truly regret to see they are organizing a compy of 
Taylor guards &c in N. Orleans as I have a great horor of being made a 
lion of I was pleased to hear of the arrival of Gen 1 Smith 2 as he will 
afford me efficient aid, should we have anything to do Whether we 
shall be ordered to carry the war into the heart of the country, or confine 
our operation to the banks of the Rio Grande, time must determine- 
As to myself I heartily wish the war was at an end Cap f Taylors case 
will be favorably considered if he has left in the Alabama, or should do 
so in any other vessel. I think you done right in drawing your pay & 
investing it in Ohio stock which is I make no doubt a safe investment 
I rec d Cassess speech on the Oregon question & am glad you opened 
it ; it is no doubt a very able production or view of the question, but I 
shall hardly read it I also rec d Senator Ashley^- speech on the same 
subject but shall hardly read it likewise ; I have no opinion of the 

1 George Stevens was born in Vermont and was graduated from the Military Academy in 1843. At the time of his death he 
was second lieutenant of the Second Dragoons. 

2 Persifor Frazer Smith was born in Philadelphia in November, 1798, and died in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., May 17, 1858. 
He was graduated from Princeton in 1815 and settled in New Orleans. He served in the Florida war and in May, 1846, became 
colonel of a rifle regiment. He was appointed brigadier-general of Louisiana volunteers in the same month. He received the 
brevets of brigadier-general and major-general for gallant and meritorious services in the war with Mexico. 

3 Lewis Cass was born at Exeter, N. H., October 9, 1782, and died at Detroit, Mich., June 17, 1866. He was governor of 
Michigan territory from 1813 to 831 ; he was secretary of war from 1831 to 1836, minister to France from 1836 to 1841, and sena 
tor from Michigan from December 1, 1845, to May 29, 1848, when he resigned to run for the presidency on the democratic ticket. 
He was defeated by General Taylor, the whig candidate, and was re-elected to the senate, serving till March 3, 1857, when he 
became secretary of state in the cabinet of President Buchanan. 

4 Chester Ashley was born at Westfield, Mass., June I, 1790, and died in the city of Washington April 29, 1848. He was a 
lawyer by profession, removed to Arkansas in 1819, and in 1844 and again in 1846 was elected as a democrat to the senate of the 
United States. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

honesty or patriotism of either My health if not entirely restored is 
in a fair way to become so, being much better to-day than it has been for 
several days past ; I only need a few days rest & quiet for it to be per 
fectly re-established My regards to Major Munroe & the gentlemen 
of your profession, as well as other inquiring friends I regretted to 
hear your own, as well as the health of D r Russell 1 was not good, but 
truly hope this will find you both on the mend, if not entirely restored. 

Yours Truly & Sincerely 

Z. TAYLOR 
D" R. C. WOOD, 

U. S. Army 
Fort Polk 



Matamoros Mexico 

June 3 d 1846 
D r Doctor, 

Your acceptable letters of the 29 th ult & first ins were duly rec d . I 
was satisfied from the late hour you fairly got under way for Point Isabell 
the day you left here for that place, in addition to the heat of the weather 
that you would be late in getting down, & as a matter of course would 
have an unpleasant and fatiguing trip ; but it appears you all got down 
safe, & a few days rest and quiet I trust will make all right or as it 
should be 

The trip to Detroit I apprehend would be too great an undertaking 
for M rs Taylor in her feeble state of health, or at any rate I am confi 
dent she would think so, I will however in my next letter mention the 
matter to her so as to enable her to make up her mind on the same 

I felt satisfied Gen 1 Brady 1 would decidedly disapprove Cap 1 Thomp- 



1 James W. Russell was born in New York and was appointed an assistant surgeon in the army June 12, 1839, and resigned 
March i, 185}. 

2 Hugh Brady was born in Northumberland county, Pa., in July, 1768, and died in Detroit, Mich., April 15, 1851. He 
entered the army as an ensign in 1792 and served in the Western expedition under General Wayne. He was advanced slowly to 
colonel and at the battle of Chippewa, July 6, 1812, led the Twenty-second Infantry and displayed the greatest bravery. He 
also distinguished himself at the battles of Lundy s Lane and Niagara and was wounded in each of these engagements. For these 
services he received the brevet of brigadier-general and on May 30, 1848, received that of major-general for long and faithful 
service. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

son s 1 resigning at the time he did, & I regretted it on the Genl 8 ace 1 . As 
Worth 2 was a particular favorite with the old Gen 1 I make no doubt he 
was mortified at his course & did not hesitate to condemn it in strong 

terms I regret on his W own ace 1 his course at the Point which 

was caused I have no doubt by excitement from the effects of wine ; it 
seems to me under the circumstances in which he was placed, & that by 
his own willfulness, his course and bearing should have been on all occa 
sions marked by great modesty ; and which has been the case since he 
got here ; but the fact is between ourselves, he has been pampered and 
bloated for things he never done, or acts he never performed, but from 
assumption, & getting others to state occurrencies the truth of which may 
be very well called in question, if stronger language could not be properly 
applied, and his flourish among the wounded was in keeping with many 
other of his acts, all for effect ; his situation at the time causing him to 
forget or overlook other important considerations. There are few if any 
officer or officers in service, who require more to make from the private 
soldier to make himself comfortable, or who would put himself to less 
inconvenience for their benefit in sickness or health, wounded or other 
wise than Gen 1 W flies or no flies yet you ought not to have taken 
any notice of the matter, unless he had called your official conduct 
directly in question He has not alluded to the subject directly or indi 
rectly since his return to this place ; at any rate so as to come to my 
knowledge 

The report as regards any contemplated movement on the part of 
Gen 1 Smith, is entirely without foundation I contemplate sending the 
four comp s in a few days of the first Infy. to Rinoso fifty miles in advance, 
or higher up the river Transportation is very scarce rendered more so 



1 James L. Thompson was born in Tennessee, was graduated from the Military Academy in i8z8, and was advanced 
to captain March I, 1840. He resigned from the army May 18, 1846, and was drowned June 21, 1851. 

2 William Jenkins Worth was born in Hudson, N. Y., March I, 1794, and died in San Antonio, Texas, May 7, 1849. At 
the outbreak of the War of 1812 he was a clerk at Albany and applying for a position in the army was appointed first lieutenant 
in the Twenty -third Infantry. He served as aide to General Scott, was promoted to captain in 1814, and distinguished himself so 
greatly at the battle of Niagara as to receive the thanks of congress and promotion to the rank of major. In 1838 he became 
colonel and was active in the Florida war. He was second in command to General Taylor at the outbreak of the Mexican war, 
leading the van of his army, and was the first to plant with his own hand the flag of the United States on the Rio Grande. Under 
Taylor he conducted the negotiations for the surrender of Matamoros, and by him was entrusted with the assault on the Bishop s 
palace at Monterey, during which he conducted himself with great bravery. He was subsequently ordered to the Gulf coast to 
join General Scott and took part in all the battles from Vera Cruz to Mexico. He was the first to enter the City of Mexico and 
with his own hand cut down the Mexican flag that waved over the National palace. After the war he was placed in command of 
the Department of Texas and died of cholera. He was said to be the handsomest man and the best horseman in the army. He 
received swords from congress, the states of New York and Louisiana, and his native county, Columbia, and a monument was 
erected to his memory in the city of New York. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

by the destruction of so many vessels by the late storm I truly regret 
the inconvenience & sufferings the sick and wounded were subjected to 
by the late storm I will direct the Long to be fitted up for a 
Hospital 

I did not get the scrape of a pen by the Alabama from Washington 
or any where else which induces me to believe that Gen. Scott 1 is on his 
way here, which I sincerely hope may be the case Mr. Crittends 2 
course in the Senate was truly gratifying, and more so as I fulfilled his 
high expectations to the letter 

I was delighted to learn all was as well as usual at Detroit, give my 
love to them all when you write I rec d letters from B. Rouge dated 
the 1 8 th they had heard of the affairs of the 8 th & 9 th , all were well. 
Nothing of interest here. The volunteers are getting quite impatient ; 



1 Winfield Scott was born in Dinwiddie county, near Petersburg, Va., June 13, 1786, and died at West Point, N. Y., May 
2g, 1866. He was admitted to the bar in 1806 and in 1808 joined the army as a captain of light artillery. In July, 1812, he was 
made lieutenant-colonel and ordered to the Canada frontier, where he greatly distinguished himself. In 1813 he was made a 
colonel and in 1814 a brigadier-general. In July, 1814, he crossed the Niagara river, captured Fort Erie, and fought the battles of 
Chippewa and Lundy s Lane. In the latter battle two horses were shot under him and he was twice severely wounded. He 
received the brevet of major-general and congress gave him a vote of thanks and a gold medal for his services. After the War of 
1812 General Scott served on the Western frontier and in Florida. He was promoted major-general June 25, 1841, and on July 
5th, upon the death of Major-General Alexander Macomb, succeeded to the command of the army. After General Taylor had 
won his great victories along the Rio Grande, General Scott decided to take the field in person. He was very ambitious politi 
cally, and no doubt was intensely jealous of Taylor s growing popularity. He took a large part of Taylor s army away from him, 
thus compelling him to act on the defensive during the rest of the war, for if there was any more glory to be won Scott wanted it 
for himself. With part of Taylor s army and fresh troops from the United States, mostly regulars, General Scott assembled his 
forces at Lobos Island, planning his campaign against the capital of Mexico from Vera Cruz, up the steppes and against strong 
fortifications built to resist invasion, instead of adopting the route that Taylor would have followed, making the attack from Saltillo 
across the plains, where practically no defences had been constructed. On March 9, 1847, General Scott invested Vera Cruz with 
an army of io,oco. It was deemed impregnable by the Mexicans but it was heavily bombarded and the city of Vera Cruz and the 
castle of San Juan d Ulloa fell on March 19,1847. Subsequently congress passed a resolution of thanks and ordered a gold medal 
commemorating this and other victories and General Scott was brevetted a lieutenant-general. Proceeding inland General Scott 
met the army of Santa-Anna on April i7th. The Mexican general had a force of iz,ooo, his army occupying the strong mountain 
pass of Cerro-Gordo. On the following morning the Americans attacked and won a brilliant victory. The capture of Jalapa, 
Perote, and Puebla quickly followed. Delayed because his fresh troops were undisciplined and uninstructed, Scott did not resume 
his march on the national capital till August. He attacked and carried Contreras and Churubusco on August igth and 2Oth and 
could have captured the capital then, but an armistice was agreed on to allow negotiations for peace. When these were broken 
off military operations were resumed and Molino del Key was captured on September 8th. On the nth and I3th Chapultepec 
was stormed and captured, and on the morning of the I4th the American army, now reduced from lo,coo men to 6,500, marched 
into the City of Mexico and occupied the National palace. The treaty of peace was signed February 2, 1848, and soon thereafter 
Mexico was evacuated by our troops. In the following June Scott was a candidate for the whig nomination for president of the 
United States, at the convention in Philadelphia, but was defeated on the fourth ballot by General Taylor, who triumphed also 
over Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, and was elected over Lewis Cass, the democratic candidate. In 1852 General Scott was 
nominated by the whigs and was defeated at the polls by the democratic candidate, Franklin Pierce, General Scott carrying only 
the states of Vermont, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Age and infirmity prevented him from taking an active part 
in the Civil war and on November I, 1861, he retired from the army, retaining his rank, pay and allowances. He was buried at 
West Point, where he had passed the last five years of his life. 

2 John J. Crittenden was born in Woodford county, Ky., September 10, 1787, and died at Frankfort, Ky., July 26, 1863. He 
served in the war of 1812, was admitted to the bar, was elected to the state legislature, and served in the senate of the United 
States from 1817 to 1819, from 1835 to 1841, from 1842 to 1848, and from 1855 to 1861. In the meantime he had served twice as 
attorney-general of the United States and one term as governor of his native state. News of the clash of arms on the Rio Grande 
reached Washington May 9, 1846, and on the I2th an act " providing for the prosecution of the existing war between the United 
States and the Republic of Mexico " was passed by the senate. During the debate Senator Crittenden said that he " had great 
confidence in the officer commanding the forces on the Rio Grande, and was pretty confident that, in eight and forty hours after the 
date of last advices, it would be found that the general commanding had whipped the Mexicans, driven them across the river, and 
was in the town of Matamoros." It is to this expression of confidence that General Taylor refers with gratitude. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

they want either to be led against the enemy or to go home. I have no 
time to write more. 

Your Friend 

Truly & sincerely, 

Z. TAYLOR 
D K R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

Point Isabel Texas 

Cap c Bloss rec d his box of clothing by the last train brought out I 
believe by the Alabama. 



Head Q rs Army of Occupation or Invasion 
Matamoros Mexico June 12 th 1846 
Dear Doctor, 

Your communication of the io th ins f on the subject of D r Hawkin s 1 
course in regard to the sick & wounded sent to & left at S c Josephs 
Island was rec d & has been duly considered ; I need not say the course 
pursued by D r H. highly objectionable and improper, and orders will be 
given to prevent its occurrence I trust for the time to come 

Your esteemed letter of the 8 th was duly rec d and I was very much 
gratified to hear those brave fellows in whom I take the most lively & I 
may say deepest interest were generally on the mend 

I observe you complain of the annoyance of the Volunteers, they 
are trifling to what I have to undergo & submit to, but which I will try 
& get through in the best way I can & with at least all the good feelings 
& temper I can command even should they drive me out of my tent ; 
but I hope all those who arrived some time since have got over to the 
Boreta 2 & will be sent there from the Brasos^ depot as fast as they arrive 
there, without coming to Fort Polk You know my opinion of sutlers 
& therefore hardly need expatiate on their merits or demerits ; their 



I Hamilton S. Hawkins was born in Maryland and was appointed an assistant surgeon in the army November zz, 1824. He 
became a major surgeon July 4, 1836, and died August 7, 1847. 

l For Barita, a village twenty miles below Matamoros on the right bank of the Rio Grande. 
3 For Brazos Santiago, 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

object is to make money regardless of consequences I truly and sin 
cerely thank you for your congratulation on the flattering manner the 
country has approbated my late conduct as connected with the recent suc 
cess of our arms, far beyond what I expected, and no doubt in the 
opinion of many very far beyond what it deserved ; at any rate I can 
truly say I feel not only truly gratified but greatly honored by the same ; 
I would feel doubly so could I have any surety it would have the effect in 
the remotest degree to prompt my descendants to tread the path of honor 
by pursuing a bold, manly, and honest course in all the relations and 
situatis of life, which I sincerely hope will be the case ; Dick 1 was to have 
come out in the Galveston & I wrote home that he had reached Point 
Isabel, having been so informed ; but afterwards learned he had or would 
come out in the N. York, by which vessel I rec d a letter from Judge 
Butler that when those vessels left N. Orleans where he the Judge then 
was, that he was quite unwell, so much so, that he had advised him to 
consult D r McGormick whether situated as he was, he had not better 
return to Baton Rouge ; since when I have understood he would come 
out in the Allabama, & D r M c would come out with him, as a looker on ; 
so I do not now know whether to expect him or not ; but hope if his health 
is at all precarious or doubtful, he will not attempt to come, as it is no 
place for any one in poor health, much less one who is quite sick 

I rec d a letter from Gen 1 Scott saying he had been assigned to the 
command of the troops to invade Mexico, but that he did not expect to 
join immediately, in the meantime I would go on with my operations as 
I thought most to the interest of the public service ; that no gen 1 plan of 
opperations had been determined, &c It is strange passing strange 
that I have heard nothing from Washing 2 since my official report of the 
battles of the 8 th & 9 th reached there, which I have seen published in 
in the National Intelligencer & Union, the receipt of them have not 
been acknowledged Something is going on at gen 1 h d quarters in 
regard to this matter that we are not aware of A report has reached 
here that after my reports reached Washington, the Southern & Western 
members waited on the President & protested against my being super- 



1 Richard Taylor, the General s son. 

2 For Washington. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

seded in my present command by any one which he assured them should 
not be done ; if so I very much regret it, as I consider this command 
properly his, & I have no wish to prevent his exercising it, but much 
rather he would do so than otherwis 

A committee reached here app d by the Louisiana legislature to ten 
der to me & the officers & soldiers of the army under my command the 
thanks of that body for the manner we had discharged our duty & sus 
tained the honor & character of the American armies in the two recent 
engagements with the enemy ; they are a high set of gentlemen some of 
them have been on a frolic pretty much ever since they have been here ; 
I understand they will leave tomorrow, or perhaps a portion of them 
to-day 

I found one letter from Detroit in the postoffice for you, with several 
n. papers 1 which I sent down by Capt. May 2 yesterday evening to his 
camp, & who has promised to forward them to Fort Polk in the 
morning 

We have nothing new or of interest here, things going on about as 
usual ; the steamboat Cincinnati is in sight I suppose loaded with pro 
visions, but we shall not be able to move from here until two or three of 
the steamboats sent for to N. Orleans arrive, when that will be god only 
knows My respects Munroe & the gentlemen of the medical Staff 

With great respect and esteem 

Your Friend 

Truly 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD, 

U. S. A Fort Polk Texas 



1 Newspapers. 

2 Charles Augustus May was one of the greatest fighters in the army. He was born in the city of Washington August 9, 
1817, and died in the city of New York December 24, 1864. He entered the army in 1836 as second lieutenant in the Second 
Dragoons and did efficient service in the Seminole war, and captured and brought into camp as a prisoner, King Philip, the principal 
chief of that nation. He was promoted captain in 1846 and served under General Taylor as his chief of cavalry throughout the 
Mexican war, commanding the cavalry at the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey and Buena Vista, receiving in 
recognition of his services brevets of major, lieutenant-colonel, and colonel. At the battle of Resaca de la Palma he turned the 
fortunes of the day by charging a battery that was intrenched and protected by an earthen breastwork that commanded the only 
road through the almost impenetrable chaparral on either side, and captured General La Vega, who commanded the battery. May 
resigned from the army April io, 1861, and went into business in New York city. 

10 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



Metamoros Mexico 

June 2i st 1846 
My Dear Doctor, 

Your highly acceptable & interesting letter of the i8 th ins* was duly 
rec d for which I tender you my best thanks. I was pleased to learn the 
wounded officers were on the mend & hope they will not only be able, but 
will very soon leave for their homes or friends in the North or elsewhere. 
At the same time I deeply regretted to hear the other wounded, the n. 
com d officers & privates were not doing so well, & that some of them 
had died, no doubt owing in part to the effects of the dreadful storm you 
had soon after you returned, which prostrated your tents, and perhaps 
other covering which must have exposed them all to its violence, at any 
rate must have wet them through through as far as it could be done, 
besides doing them other serious injury ; but I trust you have since 
been able to make them as comfortable as circumstances would admit of, 
& I feel satis you will do all in your power to restore them to health, as 
soon as it can be done ; I am sorry for want of hands that nothing has 
been done towards fitting up the Long for a hospital, as I had supposed 
she was far on the way towards completion; but in this I fear I have 
been mistaken I regretted to hear that you & Russell were both 
complaining ; alth not dangerous as far as you were concerned, yet your 
disease or complaint must have been painful as well as inconvenient ; but 
it is to be hoped you both if not entirely recovered are in a fair way to 
become so On the subject of your family I fully agree with you, that 
you ought to join them in time to remove & locate them at some 
more eligible place than Detroit before the navigation closes in the fall, 
let the consequences be what they might, if your life was spared, & 
what is of more consequence than their removal is the situation of the 
boys who as Ann says very correctly, require your personal attention at 
any rate so far as to have them, particularly John placed at once or sent 
to college, or put to some kind of business which would enable him if 
prudent, industrious & persevering to make his way through life ; to 
raise children in idleness, is one of the greatest blunders ever committed 
by parents. As to your little means they are highly important to you, 
but not so much so, as the inculcating proper principles in all the mem- 

1 1 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

bers of your family, as well as business habits in the boys, so that they 
can & must rely on their own exertions for their standing & position in 
life. As to your pecuniary affairs, your brother could attend to them as 
well at a distance, as he could with you present ; and I entertain the 
opinion that your papers deposited in the Detroit bank are perfectly 
safe ; but the great consideration is the unpleasant situation as regards 
residence in winter, your family are placed in & one great consideration 
is to fix on some plan to educate them, which would combine health, 
good society, cheapness of living & good schools for all the children ; of 
this you must agree on after you & Ann meet I shall if continued 
in command & nothing happens more than common to prevent it will give 
you a leave for 60 days in time to enable you to carry out the objects 
under discussion, which is the removal of your family, before the lakes or 
rivers are covered with ice, which ought to be put off as long as could be 
done to be certain of that object, as peace with Mexico may be brought 
about even before that time, otherwise your going may have the effect of 
driving you from the service, but even that should not prevent you from 
going, & if so you must try & do the best you can in private practice. 
You need expect no favors from the head of your dep 1 or those who con 
trol it ; they have committed an outrage toward you, which will be fol 
lowed up by others with the hope of driving you from the service if you 
if you give them the slightest cause or grounds for them to do so. To 
take advantage of such is human nature. They are as well aware of 
your length of service as well as the few indulgencies you have had, as 
you or myself are, but that has no effect in the atmospher of Washing 
ton. The more one does the more they expect of him, and his services 
or standing is estimated by political consideration. There are sinecures 
in every branch of the service & in none more than yours ; Hammond s 1 
position at S l Louis is not dissimilary to many others, & if you could 
have had the prospect of getting into a tolerable decent private practice, 
of which you ought to be the best judge, I can see no objection to your 
quitting. It is now considered almost disreputable to speak or allude to 
one s services. I must say that I deeply regret the disponding way in 



I William Hammond was born in Maryland and was appointed an assistant surgeon in the army June I, 1834, became a 
major surgeon August 7, 1847, and died February IJ, 1851. 

12 



LETTERS OF Z A C H A R Y TAYLOR 

which you write & speak as well as feel in regard to your situation, & 
consider resignation preferable to giving way to such or anything of the 
kind, what we cant remedy should be met & borne with resignation, forti 
tude & cheerfulness, sighing and giving way to grievances or misfortunes 
never alleviated or corrected them, & those who enter the public service 
out to expect to perform all such duties as are required of them, so far as 
are connected with their profession or engagements, without contrasting 
them with what they require of others 

In my last letters I mentioned to my family Anns 1 wishes for her 
mother & Betty 2 to go to Detroit & make her a visit, as well as to spend 
a few months there, which they have my sanction to do & that they could 
go all the way by water through the Ohio canal & by the lakes ; but I 
apprehend the undertaking will be too great for M rs T. to attempt it in 
her weak health. We have rec d no mail for more than two weeks, the 
last by the Alabama which vessel I do not expect will return ; something 
must have happened to prevent crafts of some description or other reach 
ing Fort Polk. Storms or orders to detain them at N. Orleans to bring 
out Gen 1 Scott or Co 1 Whiting* or some other dignitary, must have 
occurred to prevent. I am perfectly disgusted with the way they are 
going on, I consider there is an entire breakdown in the Q r M. depart 
ment every where ; there are now 10,000 men here & in its vicinity, 
waiting & a portion of them a month for a few small steam boats & wag 
gons to carry their provisions &c toward the enemy, which have been 
required more than a month, time enough to have sent to Liverpool for 
them, wiout having heard a word of or from them, up to the present 
time. Was I a prominent or ambitious aspirent for civil distinction or 
honors, I might very readily suppose there was an intention somewhere 
among the high functionaries to break me down, which am now satisfied 
will be done ; whether intended or not ; as the large force now under my 
command will from design or incompetency of others, have to return 
to their homes without accomplishing anything commensurate with their 

1 Meaning his daughter Ann, wife of Surgeon Wood to whom these letters are addressed. 

2 Meaning his daughter Elizabeth. 

5 Henry Whiting was born in Lancaster, Mass., about 1790, and died in St. Louis, Mo., September 16, 1851. He entered the 
army as a cornet of light dragoons in 1808 and was steadily advanced. After 1835 he served exclusively in the quartermaster s 
department. On July 6, 1846, he joined Taylor s army as chief quartermaster. He received the brevet of brigadier-general in 
1847 fr> r gallantry at Buena Vista. In 1848 he was elected a regent of the University of Michigan. General Whiting was a poet 
and a writer of biography and history. 

3 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

numbers, the responsibility of which will be thrown on me ; the question 
will be asked why did the troops lay idle, & why did they not march 
against the enemy no matter where he was, find, fight & beat him. No 
matter how much I may be annoyed & vexed at the unpleasant situation 
in which I find myself placed by the conduct of others, which is not a 
little vexatious I am determined not to let it throw me off my balance, & 
as long as I am satisfied with my own course so far as remaining at my 
post &c is concerned I shall be content. I want nothing more than to 
see this campaign finished & the war brought to a speedy and honorable 
close, & then to be permitted to be quiet the balance of my days. 

I hope Dick returned to B. Rouge, & if indisposed remained with 
his mother until entirely recovered when he can join me or not, as he 
may think best ; this is no place for him if he was unwell, much less if 
seriously indisposed. The best way to manage the sutlers is to be posi 
tive & determined with them ; mild or half-way measures with such 
people will have no effect ; they are perfect sharks. 

I am entirely satisfied the days of the Gen 1 are numbered as regards 
efficiency, & that dep 1 is now in the hands of the wicked and designing, 
who are irresponsible, so we go 

There is a foolish story here, that Gen 1 Scott, & the President has 
had a serious misunderstanding, growing out of the Genl s declining to 
come here, as it would interfere with his prospects & necessary steps to 
enable him to succeed in being elected president in 1848. That a misun 
derstanding may have taken place between those high functionaries is 
quite likely but the cause assigned is too ridiculous to be entertained for a 
moment. They need have no apprehensions of being interfered with by 
me for that high office, which I would decline if proffered & I could 
reach it without opposition. 

I have observed with some regret the great excitability of our people 
on subject of war growing out of recent events as well their running with 
individuals for achievements against the enemy in battle, which are some 
times carried too far, in the way of rewards, but more frequently after 
being too highly lauded, the same individual who was but yester more 
than a hero, is to-morrow the variest poltroon & wretch imaginable. 

It does not become me to speak of the affairs of the 8 th & 9 th of 



LETTERS OF Z A C H A R T TAYLOR 

May 1 in comparison with other important battles of our country, but 
except in its consequences which was the saving of N. Orleans I do not 
consider that of the 8 th of Janr? 2 surpassed if it equalled them & that of 
the Thames3 was trifling when compared to them ; but I must leave it to 
others to draw such comparisons Judging from an order recently pub 
lished for Gen 1 Wool* & others to muster into service the 12 months 
volunteers, I feel satisfied I am to be superseded by Gen 1 Scott, or some 
one else but be it by whom it may, I shall not have the slightest objec 
tion, & will cheerfully cooperate & take the orders of who ever it may 
be, until early in November, when I must return home if possible, as my 
private affairs imperiously require my attention at that time I 
neglected in my last letters to say the money you sent by L l Reynolds5 
was duly rec d & I much fear you sent too large an am & did not pay 
for the several articles you procured for me out of the same 

M r Eaton & Maj r Craig 6 returned last night, by them learn that all 
the wounded officers with the exception of Co 1 Mclntosh had left, which 
must be a great relief to the medical officers. M r . E. or the mail brought 



1 The battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. 

2 Referring to the battle of New Orleans fought January 8, 1815, by General Jackson for the Americans and Sir Edward 
Packenham for the British. The American force numbered 5,800 and was inditferently armed and disciplined. The British 
force of 10,000 was composed of some of the finest soldiers in the world, most of them being veterans of the Continental cam 
paigns of Wellington. The Americans were intrenched and the British were compelled to march across an open plain. In the 
conflict 2,600 were lost to the British, of whom 700 were killed, 1,400 wounded, and 500 taken prisoners. The American loss was 
only eight killed and thirteen wounded. No such disparity of loss is to be found in any other battle. 

3 After Perry s victory over the British fleet on Lake Erie, September 10, 1813, when for the first time in her naval history 
Great Britain lost an entire squadron, preparations were made by General William Henry Harrison for an invasion of Canada. 
Perry s transports took his men to Amherstburg, where it was found that Proctor s army, consisting of 800 regulars and 1,200 
Indians, had fled inland. Harrison started in hot pursuit and on October 5th 3,000 men under his command fought a short but 
decisive battle eight miles north of the river Thames, the British and Indians being completely routed while Chief Tecumseh was 
killed. The precise number of casualties is not known. The American loss was probably fifteen killed and thirty wounded, 
while the British loss was eighteen killed, twenty-six wounded, and 600 taken prisoners, of whom twenty-five were officers. 
Proctor made his escape. 

4 John Ellis Wool was born in Newburg, N. Y., February 20, 1784, and died in Troy, N.Y., November 10, 1869. A monu 
ment seventy-five feet in height was erected to his memory in Troy, with an inscription by William Cullen Bryant : " This stone 
is erected to Major-General John Ellis Wool, the gallant soldier, the able commander, and the patriotic citizen, distinguished in 
many battles." Wool was a law student at Troy when the War of 1812 broke out. He raised a company and went to the front 
as a captain of volunteers, and greatly distinguished himself at the battle of Queenstown Heights, where he was severely wounded. 
He became a major in 1813 and was brevetted lieutenant-colonel in 1814. In 1816 he became inspector-general of the army with 
the rank of colonel. After varied services he became a brigadier-general June 25, 1841. At the beginning of the Mexican war 
he was active in preparing volunteers and in less than six weeks despatched to the seat of war 12,000 men, fully armed and equipped. 
He bore a very conspicuous part in the battle of Buena Vista and selected the ground on which it was fought, receiving the brevet 
of major-general. He received a sword and a vote of thanks from congress and a sword from the state of New York. After sev 
eral years of service in the West, General Wool took charge of the Department of the East in 1860, and at the opening of the 
Civil war saved Fortress Monroe by timely re-enforcements, afterward commanding there at the head of the Department of 
Virginia. He was promoted a major-general May 16, 1862, and retired from the service in the following year. He was a rigid 
disciplinarian and had no superior in the organization of troops. 

5 John F. Reynolds was born in Pennsylvania and was graduated from the Military Academy in 1841. He reached the 
rank of first lieutenant in 1846, and became captain in 1855, lieutenant-colonel in 1861, colonel in 1863, brigadier-general of volun 
teers in 1861 and major-general of volunteers in 1862. He was killed at the battle of Gettysburg, July I, 1863. He received the 
brevets of captain and major for gallant and meritorious service at Monterey and Buena Vista. 

6 Henry Knox Craig was born in Fort Pitt, Pittsburg, Pa., March 7, 1791, and died in the city of Washington December 7, 
1869. He entered the army in 1812 as a second lieutenant and became captain in 1813 and major in 1832. He was chief of 
ordnance in Taylor s army in Mexico, distinguished himself at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and was brevetted lieutenant- 
colonel for bravery at Monterey. He became lieutenant-colonel in 1848 and colonel in 1851. After having charge of the ordnance 
bureau for ten years he was retired in 1863 but in March, 1865, received the brevet of brigadier-general. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

up your certificate for sick leave for D r Russell, whose services can be badly 
spared at this time My nephew who came up here is name Joseph a 
younger brother of Lewis I regretted to see him as I presume he is 
necessary with his mother & family who must stand very much in need 
of his services at home 

Co 1 Garland 1 informed me he saw a statement in a Detroit paper, 
that Co 1 Taylor 1 had been ordered to hold himself in readiness to join 
the army of occupation ; if so it is strange Ann does not mention it 

My love to dear Ann & the children when you write them, as well 
as regards to all friends at the Point, and begging you will keep up your 
spirits & look more on the bright side of things, I remain 

Your friend 

Truly 

Z. TAYLOR 

It is with the greatest difficulty I can write a letter in consequence of 

interruptions &c. 

Z. T. 

SURG N R. C. WOOD 

Fort Polk 
Texas 



Matamoros Mexico 

June 24 th 1846 
My Dear Doctor, 

Your letter of yesterday came to hand this morning & I can truly 
say no one does or can possibly take a deeper interest in all that concerns 
yourself & family than I do, & am therefore concerned at the way you 

1 John Garland was born in Virginia in 1792 and died in New York city June 5, 1861. He entered the army in 1813, 
served through the war with Great Britain, became a captain in 1817, major in 1836, and lieutenant-colonel in 1839. He dis 
tinguished himself in the Florida warunder General Worth and served throughout the Mexican war, taking part in six battles, in 
each of which he distinguished himself. He commanded a brigade at Monterey under Taylor, and under Scott in the valley of 
Mexico. He was brevetted colonel for Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and brigadier-genera! for Contreras and Churubusco. He 
became colonel May 9, 1861. 

2 Joseph Pannell Taylor was Zachary Taylor s brother and was born near Louisville, Ky., May 4, 1796, and died in the city 
of Washington June 29, 1864. He served in the ranks at the beginning of the War of 1812, became a lieutenant in 1813, and was 

t J . 7^ IS , . _ . . , . . 



ng tne war witn Mexico, during 
made colonel and commissarv-general, and on February 9, 1863, was promoted brigadier-general. 



16 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

seem to look on matters & events which you cannot control, & which if 
indulged in, must result so injuriously to you & yours ; it is a long very 
long road that has no turn in it ; & I am pretty well satisfied that patience 
& perseverance will enable most of us to accomplish what we determine 
on be it what it may 

The leave of absence asked for for Russell was promptly given & 
the order for the same sent to Fort Polk on the 2i st ins c under cover to 
Maj r Munroe & I am only surprised it was not rec d but presume it has 
been done ere this ; if however it has been mislaid, the D r can leave the 
first good opportunity, & a duplicate of the order shall be sent him to 
any place he designates. A few papers was sent up to me night before 
last from Fort Polk, but nothing beyond N. Orleans, & not even a scrape 
of a pen from there in the way of letters from any quarter. The princi 
pal matter of interest contained in the papers is the ordering Gen 1 Gaines 1 
to Washington, the correspontence between the Secretary of War & 
Gen 1 Scott in relation to the latter taking com d of this army, which cor 
respondence the president thought proper to lay before congress in a 
message ; all of which I presume you have seen ; Gen 1 S. it appears 
threw some objections in the way of coming here as he did, not liked to 
be fired on at the same time by the Mexicans in his front, & by persons 
in high places in his rear ; a most unfortunate letter, which induced the 
president to relieve him from the com d to which he had been assigned, & 

r o 

from the danger of being fired on from the front, or in the rear ; this 
indiscreet letter of the Gen 1 will have the effect to prostrate him most 
effectually, & will have or I am very much mistaken to blight his pros 
pects most effectually for the presidency, which he has been looking for 
ward to with a longing eye for many years. At any rate I deeply regret 
his course on several acct s first it has had the effect to place me, or rather 
to keep me in my present command, which I by no means desires as my 
private affairs require my presence & attention, which ought not to be 
neglected, longer than towards the close of the present year ; besides I 



i Edmund Pendleton Gaines was born in Culpeper county, Va., March zo, 1777, and died in New Orleans June 6, 1849. His 
father served in the Revolutionary war and took part in the convention that ratified the Federal constitution. The son became an 
ensign in the army January 10, 1799, and was slowly advanced to brigadier-general March 9, 1814. He received the brevet of 
major-general in that year for defeating the enemy at Fort Erie and received the thanks of congress and a gold medal; he repelled 
with great slaughter the British veteran army superior in numbers. When the Mexican war began he made himself trouble with 
the government by assuming the liberty of calling out a number of Southern militia without orders, and was tried by court-martial, 
but was not censured. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

want quiet, & should have it at my time of life Besides I greatly fear 
the campaign will be a failure which will break down the individual who 
conducts it The Q r M dep t or those who compose it 1 are not ade 
quate to furnish the necessary transportation, provisions, ammunition &c ; 
and I begin to doubt their willing in some quarters to do so ; but let my 
sacrifices be what they may as well as the course of others be ever so 
reprehensible, if the go 1 think proper to entrust me with this command 
for the purpose of carrying the war into the enemies country I do not 
feel authorized to decline the same, but will without faltering on the way, 
do all in my power to meet the views & expectations of those who con 
fided in me, as well as the expectations of my friends 

Your Friend 

Truly 

Z. TAYLOR 
D" R. C. WOOD 

U. S. A Fort Polk 



Matamoros Mexico 

June 30 th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your highly esteemed & interesting letters of the 24 th & 26 th ins 
inclosing one in part from Rob & dear Ann, were duly rec d & alth the 
latter appears to write somewhat despondingly, yet it may be & I 
hope her nervousness is in a great measure if not entirely owing to her 
anxiety about those she is so deeply interested in, in this quarter, & as 
that cause has in a great measure passed away, she will find herself much 
better, & when she next writes you, it will be in a much more cheerful 
strain The greatest difficulty seems to be in her case, is the manage 
ment of the boys, which no doubt is attended with much anxiety & 
trouble to her ; and the expenses of the place, as well as that of dressing 
& educating the children, which no doubt added to other expenditures 
must be very heavy, & perhaps may become more so ; but they must be 



I General Taylor had frequent cause to complain of the inefficiency of the quarter-master s department. 

18 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

met as far as your means will permit, & if they are not sufficient, the 
expenses must be brought down to them. The next inquiry will or 
ought to be will your means be increased or diminished by quitting the 
service, as you must still live, educate, dress & feed your children in or 
out of the army ; I think you have acted wisely in referring the subject 
of laving or remaining in the army to Ann ; if she decides in favor of 
the first, and you adopt it, of cours she will have to be contented after 
wards come what may. The greatest difficulty seems to me is the boys, 
they require the advice as well as the direction of a father, at the same 
time you could only place them in situation to prepare them to sustain 
themselves hereafter ; it can hardly be expected you could be constantly 
near them, until they arrive at years of discression. Robs letter is very 
well written, but I am affraid he is attempting too many branches at the 
same time ; he is no doubt talented & with proper instruction & educa 
tion will make quite a talented or at any rate a distinguished person, 
should he take the proper turn. 

I very much regret to hear you was and had been unwell for several 
days ; I hope however it will not prove a serious attack & with a little 
care in addition to some simple remedies you will, if it is not already the 
case, very soon be restored to your usual health The weather here 
has been dreadful for many days, raining & blowing a gale for some time 
which with bad tents & wet & mudy ground to pitch them on, has made 
us all quite miserable, as well as added to the sick list I have felt very 
much for the poor fellows who were wounded & are at Fort Polk, as well 
as the sick every where, the first would have been badly off any where, 
in the best quarter, but exposed as they must have been to the wet & wind 
of the late tedious bad weather, must have added greatly to their suffer 
ings. The sun made however its appearance yesterday & is likely to do 
so to-day, which I hope if it has no other effect will impart cheerfulness 
to us all. The Rio Grande is now very high, up to the top of its banks 
in many places, & might now be navigated with boats of the largest size 
as high as we wished to go, but unfortunately we have none here up to this 
time of any description, nor are we likely to have ; this campaign must 
be a failure owing to the ignorance of some in regard to some matters, & 
the imbecility of others, for all of which I shall be made the scape goat. 
The 12 months volunteers it appears are arriving at Brazos Santiago in 

9 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

thousands, faster than they can be landed, what are to be done with them 
when they all arrive which must be several thousand, or become of or 
done with them, I am unable to say. The last mail by the Alabama 
brought me an app 11 of Maj r Gen 1 by brevet, as well as a communication 
from the Secretary of War that I had been selected to command the army 
on the Rio Grande, & to conduct & direct the war against Mexico ; the 
first I was not anxious for, nor made no efforts to obtain it directly or 
indirectly, & consider the honor greatly overbalanced by the accompany- 
ment, the duties which have been assigned me, which I neither wished or 
expected, & which I would have avoided had I been consulted in the 
matter ; but I now see no other alternative & will go throug with it with 
zeal & energy if not with ability. Gen 1 Scott should have at once come 
out & taken the com d here, as soon as the president intimated his wishes 
that he should do so ; by hesitating & throwing obstacles in the way in 
regard to doing so whether real or imaginary, he disgusted the Secretary 
of War as well as M r Polk, 1 as well as many others, some of whom were 
his friends, without meeting with or gaining the approbation of any body ; 
so much so, that he was at once relieved from the com d which has I again 
say to you, been assigned to me contrary to my wishes, & permitted to 
remain in Washington, which will in all probability have the effect if not 
to break him down, as this com d will assuredly me, will have the effect it 
seems to me to blight all his prospects for the presidency. 

As regards your dep c there is no doubt many abuses exist in it, but 
not more so than in every other at Washington, and alth your lot has 
been a hard one in many respects, yet I do not consider it more so than 
many others who have held themselves above asking favors from those 
in power. We are all of us too apt to consider our lots or cares the 
hardest ; I really consider few if any individual in the army has done 
more, or that more, or as much has been required of them as myself; but 
it may be said I have high rank, if so, I have earned it, by toil, danger 
& privations without complaining or troubling those in higher places, but 
putting them at defiance on all & every occasion, & if Ann & the children 
were pleasantly located where there were proper schools, it is pretty much 
all that should concern you ; you must expect to tak your share of duty 



I Meaning President James K. Polk. 

20 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

in this country, which all in the corps should participate in, & as you 
have commencd others in a great while will if from no other cause be 
compelled by public opinion to take their turn. Should I be so fortunate 
as to get through this war without loss of reputation I may go to Wash 
ington, in which cas I may have an opportunity of remarking on some 
of the abuses there, & those in the medical dep* among others, whether 
you are in or out of the corps. I expect Co 1 Taylor will be at Fort Polk 
in a week or two as I have rec d the copy of an order sending him here. 
I truly regret Ann should permit her feelings to be operated on in the 

slightest manner, in regard to D r T his staying or leaving Detroit 

out to be a matter of perfect indifference to her ; as much so, as if he 
was not in existance ; I thought she was more of a Christian, as well as 
posessed too much dignity to indulge in or give way to such feelings in 
such or similar cases ; when I see her I shall admonish her for the same 

I have not read or seen all the correspondence between Genl s Gaines, 
Scott & M r Marcy ; & if Gen 1 S. has charged Gen. G. with being crazy, 
he can with great propriety return the compliment ; the first has been 
ordered to Washington to explain his conduct while in N. Orleans, & 
report says if he can justify himself, he will be assigned to duty in the 
north or east, perhaps in the city of N. York 

The passage of & altering the bill by the lower house of the the 
one which originated & passed in the senate on the subject of increasing 
the number of genl s was no doubt in part aimed at Gen 1 S. & should it 
pass, which I do not expect, may have the effect of getting him out of 
the service I have no aspirations to reach the head of the army, & if 
this war can be once closed, I wish to have as little to do with public 
matter as possible ; at the same time have no objections to be laid on the 
shelf. I apprehend Dick is on board the Alabama & feel great uneasi 
ness about him as well as others on board of her but at the same time 
hope for the best ; if safe she will doubtless be in, in the course of today. 

Since I commenced writing your note of the 2y th was rec d which 
was a few hours since, & I had hoped to have heard you were on the 
mend, but it seems you were still confined to your bed; but I hope as 
soon as your medicine has operated that you will be able to get on your 
feet as well as to resume your duties. You may say to my friend Gen 1 
Hunt that I shall not interfere with the election referred to in any way 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

or shape, nor shall I ever be a candidate for the presidency, or would I 
have it, if tendered me without opposition. 

In regard to your letter of the 24 th in regard to the outrages com 
mitted by the Texas volunteers on the Mexicans & others, I have not 
the power to remedy it or apply the corrective, I fear they are a lawless 
set I regret I have not a n. paper to send you ; all that have reached 
me, have been loaned out, & none returned & I had as well look for a 
needle in a hay stack as to recover them. I hope the Alabama is in & 
has brought you an abundant supply. I thank Gen 1 Swift 1 & family for 
their kind congratulations & wish you to say so to young S. when you 
write him. My love to Ann & the children when you write them. 

Yours truly & sincerely 

Z. TAYLOR 



Metamoros Mexico July 7 th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your welcome & interesting letter of the 2 d ins was duly rec d for 
which you have my sincere thanks. I was very much gratified to hear 
that you had been restored to your usual health, which I trust you will 
continue to enjoy, & that you had recently heard from dear Ann, & that 
she & the children were all well ; if at a proper establishment I think 
Ann did right in sending Bob to the country, as it must have the effect 
of seperating him from those who not only set him bad examples, but 
lead him into many irregularities ; I agree with you that Ann had better 
remain quiet for the present, or until the fall, by which time many import 
ant changes may take place. No one can possibly take a deeper interest 
in all that concerns the wellfare of yourself & family than myself, & 
therefore when I offer you or them my advice, alth it may sometimes 
appear somewhat unpalatable, and may not even be for the best, yet it is 
intended it should be so, & at any rate is honestly given ; dispondency 
should never be given way to under any circumstances 

I Joseph Gardner Swift was born in Nantucket, Mass., December 51, 1783, and died in Geneva, N. Y., July 23, 1865. He 
was the first graduate of West Point (October iz, 1801). He was advanced in military rank to brigadier-general and from 1829 to 
1845 was superintendent of harbor improvements on the lakes. 

22 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

In a climate like this & under the circumstances we are placed in, 
there must be a great deal of disease, which as a matter of course must 
result in some deaths, & we will be fortunate indeed if no contagion gets 
among us that does not carry off hundreds ; I trust both the Gov r & 
Co 1 C. are on the mend I truly regret to hear of the death of any 
one & especially of the wounded, the weather has been dreadful, & it is 
fortunate that more have not died. 

Should you determine on sending Bob to W. Point I wis your 
application may prove successful, I will give all the aid I can, which is 
very little As to D r T. he never crosses my mind unless brought to 
my notice by some one so that I will dismiss him for the present. When 
one has the means to meet their real wants any where I cannot see the 
propriety or necessity of making themselves unhappy about matters & 
things of no real concern, there might be some reason for their doing so, 
was there a probability of their coming to want, which there is not the 
remotest posibility of in her case Economy I consider a virtue & 
should be practiced by all ; there is certainly no way in which money can 
be laid out than in the education of children. I think you should keep 
up your correspondence with Mower ; J besides much information may be 
gleaned by an interchang of opinions with such a man, he may be & at 
no distant day at the head of your dep 1 if so he will I hope do what is 
right & proper so far as you are concerned, as well as in all other cases 
I observe by the latest paper which reached here from N. Orleans, the 
Tropic of the 29 th that England would offer her mediation to settle the 
difficulty between us and Mexico, if so I sincerely hope there will soon 
be peace between the two countries, in which case that the president will 
make no app ts of Gen 1 & Staff officers under the late law, as it would 
have the effect of disbanding some of us, & I for one have no wish to 
be dropped, nor have I any to be promoted & retained at the expense of 
Gen 1 Scott or Gaines ; notwithstanding it may be the case, and I will not 
suffer myself to believe that any obstacles will be thrown my way in the 
war, to prevent my prosecuting the war with energy, at least I hope not ; 
yet it would seem so from the way things have been managed ; boats 



I Thomas G. Mower was born in Massachusetts, was appointed to the army in 1812 as a surgeon s mate, became a major 
surgeon in 1814, and died December 7, 1853. 

23 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TATLOR 

appear to be now rapidly getting here at this time & I hope soon to have 
supplies to enable me to move at at any rate Camargo ; : & nothing but 
peace will arrest my progress into the enemies country after I am fully 
ready to move, which I hope will be towards the last of the present 
month Co 1 Whiting is now here, & I am satisfied will do all he can 
to forward my views ; I shall speak to Co 1 W. about having the Long 
fitted up at once, or as soon as it can be done. Co 1 Taylor will no doubt 
be here very shortly, & may bring something of interest from Washing 
ton, as well as of interest to you from Detroit. Neither Genl 8 Gaines or 
Scott has added to their reputation by publishing their corresponcence, & 
I think they will live to regreat their course. Gen 1 S. 2 will never hear 
the last of a fire from his rear, or a hasty plate of soup If Leonidas 
Waker is in the country he must be with the Mississippi people ; I hope 
however he has thought better of it & remained at home. I agree with 
you in doubting the reorganization of the Texans, I feel but little interest 
in the matter ; alth I expect if they could be made subordinate they 
would be the best, at any rate as good as any volunteer corps in ser 
vice ; but I fear they are & will continue too licentious to do much good. 
I hope you will give them all the medical aid in your power as well as to 
supply them with medicines and hospital stores as long as they can be 



1 A small village on the Rio Grande above Matamoros, which was used as a depot pending the operations on Monterey. 

2 General Taylor was called " Rough and Ready " and General Scott " Fuss and Feathers." U. S. Grant served under 
both and left this interesting comparison : " The contrast between the two was very marked. General Taylor never wore 
uniform, but dressed himself entirely for comfort. He moved about the field in which he was operating to see through his own 
eyes the situation. Often he would be without staff officers, and when he was accompanied by them there was no prescribed order 
in which they followed. He was very much given to sit his horse side-ways with both feet on one side particularly on the battle 
field. General Scott was the reverse in all these particulars. He always wore all the uniform prescribed or allowed by law when 
he inspected his lines ; word would be sent to all division and brigade commanders in advance, notifying them of the hour when 
the commanding general might be expected. This was done so that all the army might be under arms to salute their chief as he 
passed. On these occasions he wore his dress uniform, cocked hat, aiguillettes, sabre, and spurs. His staff proper, besides all 
officers constructively on his staff engineers, inspectors, quartermasters, etc., that could be spared followed, also in uniform and 
in prescribed order. Orders were prepared with great care and evidently with the view that they should be a history of what 
followed. In their modes of expressing thought, these two generals contrasted quite as strongly as in their other characteristics. 
General Scott was precise in language, cultivated a style peculiarly his own ; was proud of his rhetoric ; not averse to speaking of 
himself, often in the third person, and he could bestow praise upon the person he was talking about without the least embarrass 
ment. Taylor was not a conversationalist, but on paper he could put his meaning so plainly that there could be no mistaking it. 
He knew how to express what he wanted to say in the fewest well-chosen words, but would not sacrifice meaning to the construc 
tion of high-sounding sentences. But with their opposite characteristics both were great and successful soldiers ; both were true, 
patriotic, and upright in all their dealings. Both were pleasant to serve under Taylor was pleasant to serve with. Scott saw 
more through the eyes of his staff officers than through his own. His plans were deliberately prepared, and fully expressed in 
orders. Taylor saw for himself, and gave orders to meet the emergency without reference to how they would read in history." 
(" Memoirs," Vol. I, 138-159.) 

The incident to which General Taylor refers in the text may thus be explained : The first reports received in Washington in 
the spring of 1846 from the Rio Grande were to the effect that Taylor s little army was hard pressed. Accordingly Scott, as the 
commanding general, began to make elaborate plans for relief; he was to go to Mexico at the head of a grand army and conquer 
a glorious peace. But the politicians in power, differing with him in politics, interfered with him, and he soon learned that the 
Secretary of War, William L. Marcy, was laboring craftily with the senate committee on military affairs to amend a bill so as to 
add new major-generals to the regular establishment. Scott denounced the trick of raising others to his rank, and in return 
Marcy attempted to read him a lecture. Scott was thoroughly exasperated and wrote an indiscreet letter to Marcy, which, after 
some ridiculous mention of his having stepped out to take " a hasty plate of soup," referred significantly to the " fire upon the 
rear" which he had to endure from " persons in high places." The opposition politicians and newspapers took up these phrases 
and made much of them Scott, indeed, never heard the last of them, as General Taylor predicted though the incident was 
closed when news came of Taylor s great victories on the Rio Grande. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

spared ; I hope the tents have arrived ere now & that those people have 
been supplied with enough to protect them from the weather ; I am 
pleased to learn the Gov rl is satisfied that all that could be was done for 
them 

Alth Mrs. Page has had a hard time of it, yet I hear she has ere 
now joined the Cap 1 & without further accidents 

It seems to be a very difficult matter to get pay masters in the 
country or keep them here after their arrival ; Denny is now the only 
one in the country, there are for the number fully as many abuses in that 
dep c as there are in the medical or any other if not more 

I hope we will be soon able to put the volunteers in motion & keep 
them moveing so far as it is necesssry for the benefit of their health. If 
Hay will come up & let me know the number & strength of his comp s 
I will assign them transportation & soon put them in motion I have 
been looking for Gov r Henderson or for some one from him for several 
days 

I am very much pleased to find the Oregon question has been 
settled, & I think on correct principles & hope those with Mexico will 
very soon follow 

I send you down by Maj r Craig a check on N. York for four hun 
dred dollars as I have no use for it you can send it to your brother to 
have invested or anything else as you may think best My respects to 
Maj r M., Capt. Ramsey & Dr. Wells & best regards to all inquiring 
friends. 

Yours truly 

Z. TAYLOR 

Dick got here day before yesterday ; if he has learned nothing else 
he has learned to chew, to use tobacco We have no news from the 
interior. 

D R R. C. WOOD, U. S. A. 



I Referring to Governor Henderson of Texas. James Pinckney Henderson was born in Lincoln county, N. C., March 31, 
1808, and died in Washington, D. C., June 4, 1858. He was admitted to the bar in 1809, removed to Texas in 183; and in the 
following year was appointed a brigadier-general in the Texan army. He served as attorney-general of the republic of Texas, 
then as secretary of state, and in 1839 went abroad in the hope of securing foreign recognition. He was a special minister to the 
United States in 1844 to negotiate annexation. He was elected governor of Texas in 1846, after annexation, and in response to 
the call for volunteers took command of the Texas corps. He distinguished himself at Monterey and received the thanks of con 
gress and a sword. In 1857 he was appointed a senator of the United States to fill a vacancy but served only a few months. 

25 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



Matamoros July 14 th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your several letters of the 9 th & 12 th ins r were duly rec d the men 
referred to as necessary for Hospital purpose have been detailed & 
announced in orders. The case of Kelly was promptly attended to on 
the receipt of your first communication on the subject ; being referred to 
the Adj t Gen 1 of the army, with an urgent request that if nothing could 
be done for him without, that the matter be brought before congress 
L { Eaton forwarded Miller a letter of recommendation to the Adj c Gen 1 
on the subject of Bealls leaving, I consider it was improper he should 
have done so under the circumstances, at any rate until another pay 
master relieved him ; he however is of but little account ; I look on him 
as pretty much broken down, at any rate whenever seperated from his 
family or rather wife ; I am fully aware of the difficulties you have to 
contend with, in the way of giving or withholding where officers are con 
cerned, sick certificates 

I truly regret to hear that the Gov r Continues so seriously indis 
posed ; it is quite likely a trip from Fort Polk by water to this place, in 
addition to change of diet, may prove beneficial to him, at any rate I 
hope so The irregularity as well as the long intervals between the 
mails from N. Orleans have become a serious evil, if not an abuse ; \ve 
have had but one mail for the last 36 days ; I know of but one way to 
correct the same, which is to remove Q r Masters not from one station to 
another, but to civil life. I was pleased to hear that Co 1 Mclntosh had 
taken his departure for N. Orleans, and his doing so must be a great 
relief to the Medical dep 1 

I am thankful to Cap c Ramsey for his kind remembrance which is 
fully reciprocated ; if the report be true, that a compy of artillery had 
been sent by water to Callifornia, we may abandon all expectation of a 
peace with Mexico in any reasonable time ; & we will be fortunate if the 
result is not a war with some of the great European powers. Alth there 
appears to be a fatality attending every thing connected with the Q r M. 
department from Matamoros to N. Orleans, yet I trust the steamer 
reported to have left N. Orleans with a mail is safe, at any rate the wag 
gons throw over board will never be recovered, & must be replaced if at 

26 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

all, by others which will have to be made ; so that I have abandoned all 
hopes of getting supplies to Cormargo which will enable me to make a 
forward movement in any reasonable time, so that the campaign in ques 
tion must prove a failure in part, if not entirely ; the result will be, that I 
must be sacrificed, by the folly & imbecility of others I presume 
Co 1 Taylor will be out in the Alabama, & will I make no doubt give you 
some pleasant news in regard to your family, a well as matters of interest 
going on about Washington The Rio Grande is rapidly falling & I 
presume the road between this & Point Isabel will be passable in a few 
days, if it is not very good 

Co 1 Whiting did not visit Fort Polk as I expected he would have 
done when he went to the mouth of the river a short time since, but pre 
sume he will attend to all the suggestions made by you in regard to wood 
& every thing else connected with the Hospital ; if not very energetic he 
appears to be a very gentlemanly person, & I have no doubt disposed to 
do what is right & proper. Maj r Brown 1 who I learn is a man of 
energy, will be left in command of Fort Polk with his strong company ; 
removing all the militia from there. Cap 1 Vinton s 2 company got here 
last evening I hope the country will be in such a situation as to enable 
me to move foot & mounted troops in any direction in 6 or 8 days ; with 
loaded waggons it is doubtful when I can do so As to Ann s change 
of location, that of course must be left to future events, at any rate in a 
great measure ; I hope you will be able to attend to her removal to some 
more desirable position in person in October. At any rate if in com 
mand here I calculate on giving you a leave for that object in October 

There is so many applicants for situations in the staff, I feel no wish 
for Dick to take any situation of the kind, & prefer his continuing with 
me, even if unemployed rather than to be the subject of remarks by any 
one, alth idleness is here & everywhere else a growing evil ; I have not 
as yet made up my mind as to the occupation in life it would be best 
for him to adopt or pursue. I sincerely hope there will be no necessity 



1 Harvey Brown (1795-1874) was graduated from West Point in 1818, joined the artillery, became famous as an Indian fighter 
and was major of a battalion of artillery in the Army of Occupation under Taylor. He distinguished himself, received successive 
brevets, and became full major January 9, 1851. 

2 John R.Vinton was born in Providence, Rhode Island, June 16, 1801, was graduated from West Point in 1817, and became cap 
tain of the Third Artillery in l8}J. He distinguished himself at Monterey, where he was with Worth s division, and received the 
brevet of major. He was killed near Vera Cniz, March 22, 1847, by the windage of a cannon ball. 

27 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

for the app 1 of any additional gen 1 officers by the president under the 
recent law for that object, nor even if done, would I regret or feel out 
raged if the appt was given to an other, I am too far advanced in life to 
be able much longer to discharge the duties appertaining to that station 
Gen 1 Jesup 1 may receive the app 1 in question, but I hardly think not, 
but should he not do so, he will hardly throw away his bread and butter, 
by resigning I feel confident that our ambitious views of conquest & 
agrandisement at the expense of a weak power will only be restrained & 
circumscribed by our inability to carry out our view, & in six or eight 
months if the Mexicans hold out that long, we will be fully as anxious 
to make peace as they are ; for by that time we will have expended with 
very little effect or purpose all the money in the treasury, when our gov c 
will have to resort to loans & taxation to carry on the war ; a course 
never palatable to our people We have nothing of interest here I 
send you down a map of Mexico no very correct one, but the best we 
have I was gratified to learn your health was tolerable, & hope it 
will get no worse if it does not improve, but hope the latter will be the 
case. I hope the next mail will bring you good news from Detroit 
Give my love to Ann & the children when you write them My 
respects to Ramsey & Dr. Wells & wishing you continued health I 
remain with respect & esteem 

Your Friend 

Truly 

Z. TAYLOR 
DR R. G. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

Fort Polk Texas. 

Your pay accts with your note was turned over to Denny who 
promised the matter should be attended to the mail is just in but brings 
nothing of importance, I have rec d my com" as Maj r Gen 1 so that I may 
dispense for the future with my Brevt. in signing my name officially 

Z. T. 



I Thomas S. Jesup was born in Virginia in 1788 and died in Washington, D. C., June 10, 1860. He entered the army in 
1808, distinguished himself during the War of 1812, was severely wounded at the battle of Niagara, was slowly advanced, became 
major-general by brevet in 1828, succeeded General Richard K. Call in command of the army in Florida in 1836, and was wounded 
in an action with the Seminoles on January 24, 1838, after which he was relieved by Colonel Zachary Taylor. 

28 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

I had nearly finished my letter to you when the mail man left with 
out my knowing it ; the fact is the only time I have to write or in fact to 
attend to any private business, is from day light to breakfast, the balance 
of my time is completely occupied with public & other matters. My 
eyes will not admit or permit my writing by candle light. 

The mail man come in the morning & brought a good many letters, 
but nothing of importance Nothing from the Alabama I feel very 
uneasy about ner, but hope she has run back to Galveston, or got into 
some other safe harbor, we shall know all about her in a day or two. 

Yours truly 

Z. T. 
D R R. C. WOOD 

U. S. A Fort Polk 

Tex 
Matamoros Mexico 

July 15 th 1846 



Matamoros Mexico 

July 25 th 1846 
My dear Doctor 

Your highly esteemed & interesting letter of the 2O th inst. was duly 
reed. Co 1 Taylor bring but little news of interest other than he left all 
well in Detroit, he says Ann was looking very well, better than usual. 
He says also that he had a conversation with Lawson on the subject of 
your being sent here instead of Tripler, who admitted the detail was an 
improper one, & that it should have been left to you, or that you should 
have been consulted whether you preferred coming or otherwise ; but 
this is all wind, the remidy has not been applied, & the outrage remedied ; 
but it had now perhaps better be suffered to pass without further com 
ment or notice 

A flying report has reached here which I do not credit, that the 
2 d Infy. had been ordered to California, if so I presume T. will accom 
pany it ; it is evident our gov 1 is determined to take & keep possession 
if possible of that country, & of course they will at a proper time send 

29 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TATLOR 

more troops than one compy to garrison the country. As to my age 1 
from recollection I was 60 years old last Nov r being born in Orange 

O O 

O State of Virginia, but I may be mistaken & my sister correct 

Alth we have a number of boats we are getting on very slowly in 
getting supplies to Comargo ; it appears they meet with much greater 
obstacles in navigating the river than was anticipated ; the current is very 
strong, no pilots who understand the channel, nor wood proper for rais 
ing steam, what little there is being green, & not adapted to that object ; 
how it will all end time alone must determine. I hope to leave here for 
Comargo in six or eight days. I have ordered Co 1 Wood s Rg f Texas 
Volunteers to this place as soon as the Q r M. at Fort Polk can furnish 
them with waggons to bring up their sick who I have directed to be 
placed in hospitals as soon as they arrive. Fortunately there is but little 
sickness here all things considered among either Regulars or Volunteers, 
most of the latter are about returning to their homes ; the authorities at 
Washington having determined that they could not under the laws then 
existing be legally brought into service any of them, for more than three 
months, & those raised by authority of Gen 1 Gaines was illegally done. 
The first would be disbanded & sent home at the end of the three 
months instead of six, the time they agreed to serve, & the latter Peytons 
& Fetherstons of Louisiana, Rafords & one or two cornp 8 of Alabamies 
brought in by authority of Gen 1 Gaines to be at once discharged, unless 
they would change their engagements to 12 months according to the late 
act of congress on that subject, which I imagine but few of them will do, 
as I think the larger portion of them have had enough of volunteering. 
They will be sent to Brazos Island as fast as possible, & from there to 
New Orleans as rapidly as vessels can be had to accommodate them 

I recently rec d two letters from Betty at Baton Rouge all well, in 
which they send their kind regards to you ; I regret that Ann does not 
hear more frequently from them. I shall not forget your wishes in 
regard to them when I next write I think you acted correctly in the 
course you took as regards the loan asked for by young Taylor, I am 
fearful he is doing badly ; he has been here for several days, but left 
yesterday to join his reg I furnished him with the am he wanted, & 



I See Introduction. 



3 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

presume it will be returned if he ever gets home, where I wish he was 
at this time 

The weather here has been quite unfavorable for military operations, 
the country generally covered with water, & the roads almost if not quite 
impassible for cannon or loaded waggons. Most of the first Briggade 
with Gen 1 Worth has left for Comargo they went up by water. The 
balance two comp s with Duncans 1 battery will leave for the same place by 
land on Saturday. The 5 th & y th Infy are already there, & the I st at 
Reynosa, so you see I am going ahead as fast as I can possibly do so. 
I consider the mail arrangements between Fort Polk & N. Orleans very 
defective, but Co 1 Whiting says he will try & apply the corrective. As 
to papers I can only read a few of the latest, as well as a portion of the 
most interesting articles in them, which are occasionally brought to my 
notice by others. 

It would not have been to me at all mortifying had Gen 1 Housten 2 
been selected to fill the office of Maj r Gen 1 instead of myself, incumbered 
as it is, with the operations of this army under present circumstances, I 
consider it anything but enviable. I consider it quite likely there will be 
a reaction in favor of Gen 1 Scott, from the character of our people, I 
should not be at all surprised to see him the most popular man in the 
country ; we often go from one extreme to another I can truly say 
since the promotions of T. & K. I feel very much for Worth he look 
completely broken down. I do not believe the court ordered in Gen 1 
Gaines case will result to his injury, at any rate I hope not, at the same 
time I do not approve his course. 

I have given orders in regard to the Hospital required at Fort Polk, 



I James Duncan (1810-1849) was graduated from the Military Academy in 1854, became captain in 1846 and took part in the 
ittles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, Cerro Gordo, Cburubusco, and Molino del Rey, the assault on Chapultepec, 
id the capture of the City of Mexico, receivine brevets UD to colonel. 



nd the capture of the City of Mexico, receiving brevets up to colonel. 



lency, immediately repaired tne blunders of His predecessor, Mirabeau B. Lamar, and began negotiations for annexation to 
the United States. This was completed December 29, 1845, and in the following March Houston was elected to the senate of the 
United States, where he served till 1859, when he was elected governor of Texas. He was a pronounced friend of the Union of 
States and refused to take the oath to the Confederacy when Texas seceded; accordingly he was deposed from office as governor, 
and thereafter tnnk nn narr in niihlir airViire 



and thereafter took no part in public affair 




LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

as well as in relation to other maters, & hope the corrective will be 
applied ; neither expense or anything else as far as my authority will go, 
will be spared to afford ample accomodation to the sick D r Craig has 
been instructed to require & the Q r Master to provide every accomoda 
tion for them including quarters &c in Matamoros ; & until the new hos 
pital at Fort Polk is completed ; those that are very sick & require to be 
sent to a Hospital had better come here; I have directed D r Craig to 
require everything necessary as regards Hospital stores, medicines &c for 
2000 sick. 

As to Maj r Brown s position, I will do what I can to give him a 
command in accordance with his bv r rank, but I will make no promis on 
that head. Most persons consider their cases if not gratified in accord 
ance with their wishes as being hard ones, but it is impossible for one in 
my position to gratify every one, & I may be under the painful necessity 
of doing things that may be consider not altogether right & proper, from 
the circumstances in which I may be placed in, at the time ; I will on all 
occasions so far as as I know & believe act for the public good alone 

I was glad to hear your excellent mother enjoyed such robust health 
& retained her faculties at so advanced an age ; say to her when you write 
I thank her most sincerely for her kind remembrances, & wish her the 
enjoyment of both for many years to come ; at the same time let me 
assure you & her that I have no aspirations other than to bring this war 
to a speedy & honorable close, I would not be a candidate for the presi 
dency if certain of reaching it 

I have seen but little of Co 1 Taylor since he arrived, he has taken up 
his quarters in town, which I advised him to do, on account of bad 
weather & his health, which is improving ; I very seldom leave my tent 
to go into town, or in fact any where else 

I rec d the paper containing D r Wood s letter referred to by you & 
have read it with much interest 

I imagine the volunteers do not complain without cause in many 
instances 

Say to my friend Co 1 Johnson I will order him here as soon as the 
Q r Master can furnish him with transportation. 

Yours truly 

Z. TAYLOR 

32 



LETTERS OF Z A C H A R T TAYLOR 

If you can make out what I have written you will be fortunate, as 
you have no idea of the interruptions I am subjected to while attempting 

to write even a short letter. 

Z. T. 
SURG* R. C. WOOD, U. S. A. 



Matamoros Mexico 

Aug< 4 th 1 846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your esteemed & welcome letter of the I st was duly rec d & I again 
must say I sincerely hope that something will yet occur to bring this war 
to a speedy & favorable termination, & I can but look on the last acct s 
from Vera Cruz as rather favorable to such expectation, as it is pretty 
certain that Parades 1 was in the City of Mexico on the i6 th ult & could 
not quit there for fear a revolution taking place should he do so ; I 
consider it therefore doubtful if a Mexican army should meet us at or 
near Monterey he will hardly be at the head of it 

It is only natural I should take the deepest interest in John s well- 
fare, as well as in that of all your children, & truly hope they may all be 
prosperous & happy. The boys I trust whether in the public service or 
in private life will act well their parts what ever may be assigned them ; 
& in such a way not only to sustain themselves by their own merit & 
exertions, but to deserve the esteem of those with whom they may be 
associated ; I will state to Co 1 Taylor your wishes as regards Judge 
McLean as well as to present him your regards It seems to me that 
nothing more as regards your seperation from your family has occurred 
but what you ought to have expected in time of war, & therefore should 
not complain or consider it a hardship ; if others have been exempted 
thus far from such privations they have been fortunate, at the same time 



I Mariano Paredes y Arrillaga was born in the City of Mexico in 1797 and died there in September, 1849. He went into the 
army when a boy, was steadily advanced, and in 1841 was a major-general and military governor of Jalisco. With Bravo and 
Santa-Anna, he conspired against the government and when a military dictatorship had been established under the latter, Parades 
conspired against him and overthrew him, but failed to secure the presidency. In 1846, however, he was more successful, becom 
ing provisional president at the beginning of that year. He took no measures to repel the American forces, even after the defeats 
of May 8th and gth ; discontent followed, his troops revolted, and he was imprisoned and afterward banished. He returned in 
1847, was constantly engaged in political intrigue, was in hiding for several months, and narrowly escaped with his life. He was 
included in the amnesty of April, 1849, and died five months later. 

33 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

I would not envy them, as in all probability their time will come; & 
that before a great while. The greatest difficulty to be encountered in 
all this business is the proper location of families if this could be done, 
& they were easy in their circumstances other difficulties might be gotten 
over without those who are seperated for a few years being entitled to 
any great commiseration The greatest difficulty with regard to Ann is 
to know where it would be best for her to locate, the education of the 
children to be considered, as you have means sufficient to make her com 
fortable, which is not the case with a great many others. If she should 
come to Cincinnati or New Port, the greatest difficulty she will, I appre 
hend have to encounter will be breaking up disposing of or removing 
her little furniture, & hiring a house suited to the comfortable accommo 
dation of herself & family in addition to getting what was necessary to 
commence with ; the removing from Detroit to either of the above places 
would be matter of but little moment, as it would be all the way by 
water, & of course would be attended with but little trouble or fatigue. 
But under all the circumstances of the case it seems to me that it would 
be most advisable for her to remain in Detroit until you can join her, & 
attend in person to the removeal of her & the family to some more desir 
able position, & see them well established. If they go to Cincinnati or 
N. Port it might be advis for them to board until you could join them, 
when you could determine if it was best to do otherwise &act accordingly. 

D r Foot 1 will be with Gen 1 Wool who I presume is now at San 
Antonio & of course will be the head of his Medical staff; the charge 
of the Gen 1 Hospital is as independent position as you can be placed in, 
considering the organization of the corps here as regards rank. The 
arrangement of sending D r Wells to Camargo was that of the Medical 
director where I considered the supplies ought to be sent, or the greater 
portion of them, I therefore made no objection to the same. There is 
no intention that I am aware of to make you purveyor. 

It will be desirable as soon as it can be done, to have a medical 
officer stationed permanently at Brazos Island. I consider an ass 1 neces 
sary at Fort Polk, & one must be employed, if no army surg n is dis 
posable I am aware that great abuses exist in your dep t & that several 

I Lyman Foot was born in Connecticut and was appointed a surgeon mate in the Second Infantry August 10, 1818. He 
became post surgeon in 1829, assistant surgeon in 1810, major surgeon in 1851, and died October 24, 1846. 

34 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

of the individuals referred to by you ought to be here ; but as we cannot 
correct said abuses, the best plan is to say but little about them. The 
letter you say you inclosed me from Cap 1 Graham 1 remarking " What 
does it mean " was not rec d you failed to inclose it, as you intended, or 
you on reflection declined sending it Maj r Gardner 2 had better remain 
quiet, all cannot be gratified. Rogers I much fear is throwing himself 
away, he will very soon unless he desists altogether from drink, not only 
destroy his property if he has any, but will end his mortal career, & the 
sooner the better. 

I rec d the slip sent by D r Mower taken from the N. York Courier 
& Enquirer & thank him for it, alth I had previously seen it. 

As to who is retained in service as Maj r Gen 1 much depends on how 
& when this war is brought to a close. I think any administration will 
find it difficult to get clear of Gen 1 Scott. And must again remark that 
I hope the Gen 1 will be selected as the Whig candidate for the next 
presidential term ; so far as I am concerned I wish to have nothing to 
do with that high office ; & even if I had this is not a proper time to 
discuss the subject ; let this war at any rate be first brought to a close ; I 
shall under no circumstances commit myself as regards the policy of this 
or that party to gratify politicians. 

The papers are contrary to my expectations, the English I mean, 
are highly complimentary as regards the battles of the 8 th & 9 th of May, 
for which the editors are entitled to the thanks of our little Army. I 
am pleased to learn that D r W. is satisfied with the arrangement of send 
ing him to Comargo, present my regards to him. 

Rileys com d will be too large for one medical officer, & I hardly 
suppose that Murray can be taken from it ; you must look to hiring. It 
was very well to sent Witherspoon to the field. 

As an accession of carpanters have been engaged by the Q r Master 
at Fort Polk, I hope ample accommodations for the sick will very soon 

1 William M. Graham (1798-1847) was graduated from the Military Academy in 1817 as a lieutenant of artillery. He became 
lieutenant-colonel of the Eleventh Infantry in April, 1847. He took part in the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and 
Monterey under Taylor and then joined Scott s army, participating in the battles of Contreras, Churubusco, and Molino del Rey, 
where he was killed while leading a charge. 

2 John Lane Gardner was born in Boston August I, 1793, and died in Wilmington, Del., February 19, 1869. He entered 
the army in 1812, fought during the War of 1812, saw service on the frontier and in Florida, and was reported to the war department 
as having shown " the utmost activity, skill, and intrepidity " at the battle of Wahoo Swamp, November 21, i8j2. He became 
major in 1845 and commanded his regiment throughout the Mexican war, receiving the brevets of lieutenant-colonel and colonel 
for Cerro Gordo and Contreras. He continued in the army, distinguished himself at the outbreak of the Civil war, was promoted 
colonel, and went on the retired list in 1862. In 1865 he was brevetted brigadier-general " for long and faithful service." He 
was in every respect a fine officer. 

35 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

be in readiness at that place for a large number as well as any other 
accommodations for their benefit & comfort. 

I very much regret to hear of Hardees 1 sickness, & as he was 
mending when you wrote hope he will very soon be able to keep in the 
saddle. Governor Henderson is very much better, being able to ride 
about a little, but is still very weak. It was absolutely necessary for 
Dick to return, as I did not believe he could have recovered in this 
climate ; I would have been much pleased could he have remained with 
or near me to the end of the campaign. I have seen L c Raines 2 but 
have not learned the nature of the business which brought him here. 

I agree with you that the breaking up the 2 d Infr will be the cause 
of great distress as regards several families, who must be left quite desti 
tute ; but this is unavoidable, & is the fate of war, & the beauties and 
comforts of a married life in the army ; your family is very differently 
situated being perfectly independent as regards all the necessaries of life 
& most of the luxuries ; for which you ought to be thankful as well as 
reconciled to the situation in which you are placed. 

I was pleased to find you had made the acquaintance of Co 1 Davis^ 

1 William Joseph Hardee was born in Savannah, Ga., about 1817 and died in Wytheville, Va., November 6, 1873. He was 
graduated from the Military Academy in 1838, served in Florida, became a captain of dragoons and accompanied Taylor across the 
Rio Grande. His company was the first to engage the enemy at Curricitos, where he was overwhelmed and captured. Later he 
was exchanged, fought at Monterey, and was promoted major for gallantry March 25, 1847. At the end of the war he was 
brevetted lieutenant-colonel, and a little later was appointed major of the Second cavalry, of which Albert Sidney Johnston was 
colonel and Robert E. Lee lieutenant-colonel. For several years he was engaged in the preparation of Hardee s Tactics, or the 
" United States Rifle and Light Infantry Tactics," which was published in 1856. With the exception of one year, he commanded 
the cadets at the Military Academy from 1856 to 1861, when he joined the Confederacy as a colonel. He was soon made brigadier- 
general. His corps made the first attack at Shiloh, and he was promoted major-general for skill and bravery in this action. At 
Perryville he commanded the left wing and took a conspicuous part in all the movements at Murfreesboro, and was promoted 
lieutenant-general, ranking after Longstreet. Hardee finally surrendered at Durham Station, N. C., April 26, 1865, and retired to 
his plantation in Alabama. 

2 Gabriel James Rains (1803-1881) was graduated from the Military Academy in 1817, served on the frontiers and against the 
Indians, distinguished himself in Florida, where he was severely wounded, and accompanied General Taylor to Mexico. He was 
one of the defenders of Fort Brown, and it is said that when General Ampudia demanded its surrender he cast the deciding vote in 
favor of holding on. After the battle of Resaca de la Palma Captain Rains was sent to the North on recruiting duty and organized 
a large part of the recruits for Scott s campaign. After service on the Pacific coast he resigned and joined the Confederacy. He 
led a division at Wilson s Creek, distinguished himself at Shiloh and Perrysville, and after the battle of Seven Pines, where he was 
wounded, was highly commended by General Hill for a rapid and successful flank movement that turned the tide of battle. Rains 
was then placed in charge of the conscript and torpedo bureaus at Richmond. The death of Brigadier-General Rains in 1881 
resulted from wounds received in Florida in 1840. 

3 Jefferson Davis was born in that part of Kentucky which now forms Todd county, June 3, 1808, was graduated from the 
Military Academy in 1828, served on the frontier, was advanced to first lieutenant, resigned June 30, 1835, and having married 
Sarah Knox Taylor, a daughter of Zachary Taylor, then a colonel in the army, settled near Vicksburg and became a cotton planter. 
His wife died a year after marriage. In 1843 Mr. Davis went into politics and soon made a reputation as a vigorous and popular 
speaker. He was elected to congress in 1844 and took a prominent part in debate. In June, 1846, he resigned his seat and became 
colonel of the first regiment of Mississippi Rifles and joined Taylor on the Rio Grande. At Monterey he charged on Fort Lene- 
ria without bayonets, led his command through the streets nearly to the Grand Plaza through a storm of shot, and afterwards 
served on the commission that arranged the surrender of the place. At Buena Vista his regiment was charged by a Mexican brig 
ade of lancers, greatly superior in numbers, in a last desperate effort to break the American lines. Colonel Davis formed his men 
in the shape of the letter V, open toward the enemy, and thus by exposing his foes to a covering fire, utterly routed them, though 
he was unsupported. He was severely wounded and was complimented for his coolness and gallantry. In August, 1847, he was 
appointed to the senate of the United States to fill a vacancy and was subsequently elected by the legislature. He was appointed 
chairman of the committee on military affairs and was active in the discussion of public questions. He resigned from the senate in 
1851 to run for governor of Mississippi as a state-rights candidate, and was defeated. After the election of Franklin Pierce in 1852 
he became secretary of war, serving for four years and then going back to the senate, from which he retired January 24, 1861, the 
legislature of his state having passed a resolution of secession. On February gth he was elected provisional president of the Con 
federacy. It is unnecessary to sketch his career through the Civil war and the days of reconstruction. He died in New Orleans 
December 6, 1889. 

36 



LETTERS OF Z A C H A R T TAYLOR 

who I presume fully understood the views of the president in relation to 
Mexican affairs & I hope negotiations will be opened before a great 
while for bringing about a peace between the two countries ; at the same 
time I apprehend our gov t will require vast amt of territo to indemnify 
us on ace 1 of the expenditures of the war, as well as for spoliations for real 
& pretended roberies committed on our commerce ; which will no doubt 
be double & treble awarded to certain claimants over & above what they 
ever lost by the commissioners who will be appointed for that purpose. 

Shriver 1 has been ordered to Washington & not to join his com 
pany ; he has been or is to be relieved by Prentis ; 2 it is understood he 
and Wool did not agree very well. 

I think congress has been long enough in session, & I will be grati 
fied to learn they have adjourned ; I apprehend there is no danger of 
W.3 being superseded by Butler* who I understand is to join me with 
Maj r Gen 1 Patterson.5 

Whenever the war terminates I must remain in the West. I did 
not suppose Thompson would have desired to have returned to the 
Army after leaving as he did. I am glad you turned over the ten dol 
lars to Cummings. I am constantly interrupted while writing & hardly 
know what I have written. 

Your Friend Truly 
SURG N R. C. WOOD. Z. TAYLOR 



I Edmund Schriver (1811-1899) was graduated from the Military Academy in 1833, served in the Florida war, and became 
captain in the Second Artillery August 17, 1842. He went to the Rio Grande but vacated his commission June 18, 1846, and 
resigned from the army July jist. He re-entered the service in 1861 and distinguished himself in the campaigns of the Shenandoah 
and Northern Virginia, becoming colonel and inspector-general in 1863. He received the brevets of brigadier-general and major- 
general in 1864 and 1865 and served in various capacities till his retirement for age in 1881. 

z James H. Prentiss who succeeded Schriver as captain was graduated from the Military Academy in 1830. He died Sep 
tember 22, 1848. 

3 Meaning General Wool. 

4 William Orlando Butler, a grandson of Richard Butler who was a distinguished officer of the Revolution, was born in 
Jessimine county, Ky., in 1791 and died in Carrollton, Ky., August 6, 1880. He was a law-student in 1812, but dropped his books, 
enlisted in the army as a private and distinguished himself in many engagements, particularly at New Orleans. He resigned in 
1817, took up the practice of law, served three terms in the state legislature, was elected to congress as a democrat in 1839 and again 
in 1841, and in 1844 ran for governor of Kentucky, cutting down the whig majority from 28,000 to 5,000. At the beginning of the 
Mexican war he returned to the army, was made a major-general of volunteers, and joined General Taylor, taking a prominent 
part in the battles along the Rio Grande. He charged a battery at Monterey, was severely wounded, and was sent home. In 
1847 he joined the army of General Scott and was at the capture of the City of Mexico. For his bravery at Monterey he received 
a sword of honor from congress and one from his own state. In 1848 the democratic national convention nominated him for vice- 
president on the ticket with Lewis Cass. The whig candidates, General Taylor and Millard Fillmore, were elected. After this 
defeat General Butler remained in private life. His last appearance in public was as a member of the peace congress which met at 
Washington in 1861. 

5 Robert Patterson was born in Ireland in 1792 and died in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1881. His father was engaged in the Irish 
rebellion of 1798 and escaped to this country with his son. The boy was educated in the common schools, became a clerk in Phila 
delphia, enlisted as a first lieutenant in the War of 1812, served throughout the contest, returned to mercantile life, was one of the 
five Colonel Pattersons in the Pennsylvania convention that nominated Jackson for president, and became a major-general of vol 
unteers at the beginning of the Mexican war. He commanded his division at Cerro Gordo and led it brilliantly. After the war 
he resumed business. At the beginning of the Civil war he was the oldest major-general by commission in the United States. On 
the president s first call for troops he was mustered in as a major-general, but his service was brief. He was a popular speaker, 
one of the largest mill-owners in the United States, and at the time of his death was president of the board of trustees of Lafayette 
college. 

37 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 



Camargo Mexico Aug 1 II th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your acceptable & interesting letter of the 6 th ins 1 was this moment 
rec d & I regret to hear the weather has been so wet & stormy at Point 
Isabel, which had the effect of making the sick & wounded much more 
uncomfortable, already enough so, than would have been had the weather 
been more favorable ; but I hope the rainy season has pretty much 
passed away, & if the buildings for the Hospital at Fort Polk can be 
once roofed, it is to be hoped they will get on much better than has here 
tofore been the case ; it will only be necessary to protect them from the 
effects of driving rains for several months. A medical officer should be 
stationed at Brasos Island, & besides attending to the sick of Cap 1 Por 
ter s Com d & others entitled to medical aid, might act as health officer so 
far as to prohibit any contageous disease from spreading among the 
troops & laborers there. I consider it is passed the time for the arrival 
of Texan volunteers, & the sooner Captain Wood & his Com d return 
the better. There are yet several Regt s of Volunteers twelve months 
men to arrive at Brasos, two from Illinois & one from Missouri, if they 
should not be sent to some other, which I hope will be the case, as we 
have already as many troops of that description as we can get transpor 
tation for, & perhaps more. I flatter myself all the Louisiana six or 
three months volunteers have gotten off, & the twelve months men have 
been all removed from Brasos to the Rio Grande, if so it will be a great 
relief to the Q r M. dept. who will in that case be able to give more 
attention to having the necessary supplies sent here to enable us to move 
against Monterey, which are very much behind hand. 

On the subject of Grahams letter of the Louisiana Volunteers, it is 
matter of no moment let the motive or intention be what it may ; if 
intended to injure me in any way, I can only view it as a squib or cracker, 
which makes a momentary noise, but passes away afterwards without 
inflicting injury on any one, unless on he who fires it, & is immediately 
forgotten as if it had never occurred 

I again must say I am satisfied England & perhaps France particu 
larly the first, will offer her mediation very soon if she has not already 
done so, to bring about a settlement of the difficulties now existing 

38 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

between this country & Mexico, but whether such will be acceded to by 
either party time must determine ; I apprehend our demands as regards 
acquisition of territory will be pretty exorbitant, at least I fear so, which 
may prevent an early settlement of the quarrel ; but I hope for the 
best As regards the Medical Corps I must repeat what I have already 
said, that it is best to bear without complaining many things as regards 
management, or mismanagement which we cannot remedy Hawkins 
requires since the removal of Roberst 1 some ass c Surg n to aid him at 
S l Josephs, saying he has over 90 sick at that place ; if so, none can 
have rec d 

Craig is certainly pretty well broken down, & not at all calculated to 
be at the head of the dep r in the field, alth possessing many good points 
particularly as regards bearing truth honor & honesty ; few of which are 
known to, or are appreciated by Foot, but we must take people as they 
are, & not as we would make them Co 1 Taylor will visit Fort Polk 
or Brasos before he comes up, & I hope will be able to take the field 
with us but I think it very doubtful if his health will permit I shall 
feel quite uneasy as regards Anns movements until I hear whether she 
will continue in Detroit or will go to Cincinnati or New Port, & if to 
either of the latter until she is comfortably located ; I agree with you 
that it would be most advisable for her to board for a time at least, or at 
any rate until you can join her with the prospect of remain for a time at 
least at some desirable station. Good boarding at some highly respect 
able establishment on moderate or fair terms particularly in Cincinnati 
where the children could be put to proper litirary establishments 

I left Matamoros on the eving of the 4 th ins t & arrived here on the 
night of the 7 th by steam boat, without accident other than breaking our 
rudder which took a day & a half to repair. I found the troops in toler 
able health who had preced me, who where encamped along the bank of 
the river San Juan near the town of Camargo which had been nearly 
destroyed by a most extraordinary freshet which occurred the latter of 
June ; here we are collecting & have succeeded in getting in depot a 
large supply of provisions but there is a great deficiency of forage tools 
& many other articles belonging to Q r M. dep r as well as a great defici- 



i For William Roberts, who was born in Georgia, became an assistant surgeon in the army December ji, 1845, and died 
October 13,1847, of wounds received at the battle of Molino del Rey. 

39 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

ency in the ordnance dep both of which I hope will be remedied in a 
very short time by sending forward ample supplies of both as there is 
now no want of transportation on the Rio Grande at this time ; some of 
the most common material I absolutely want was in the Q r M. dep 
which I have been urging the officers to have put in depo for the last two 
months without success such as horse shoes & horse shoe nails, which are 
absolutely necessary to enable us to move As soon as they, with the 
ordnance & ordnance expected here with Maj r Craig get up I shall at 
once prepare to take the field, & hope to have about 6000 men by the 
first of Sepf for Monterey if not disappointed by the officers of the two 
dept s refferred to, but have great apprehensions as regards the energies & 
arrangements as regards the officers attached to both in those respects 
L McNest of the ordnance dep reached Matamoros a day or two before 
I left there but did not come by the way of Fort Polk, as I am disposed 
to believe he was rather affraid he would be detained ; I directed him to 
go to the Point & report to Maj r Craig who was there, which he did not 
seem very much to relish ; & I presume he will very much dislike to 
relieve Ramsey, which I presume he will be directed to do The troops 
are concentrating here pretty fast, I expect the whole of the regulars with 
the exception of Websters & Taylors Comp s will be here by the 2O th & 
they as soon after as the horses for their batteries arrive to enable them 
commence their march for this, which I hope is the case by this time if 
not before I presume there will be at least by the last of the month 
three or four thousand of the twelve months volunteers here Co 1 
Johnstons 1 Texas Volunteers, a part of which got here day before yester 
day, I apprehend will most of them disband themselves in a few days, 
very much to his mortification ; & it is possible the mounted men from 



i Albert Sidney Johnston, a soldier of remarkable ability, was born in Washington, Mason county, Ky., February 3, 1803, 
and died on the field of Shiloh, near Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., April 6, l86z. He was graduated from the Military Academy in 
1816, was assigned to the infantry, and served till 1834, when he resigned. He served with great credit in the Black Hawk war, 
and for a short time after leaving the army was a farmer near St. Louis. But in August, 1836, he joined the Texas patriots, entering 
the army as a private. His great ability caused his rapid promotion and he was soon at the head of the army. In 1838 President 
Lamar of the republic of Texas made him secretary of war and he conducted a remarkable campaign against the Indians. When 
the Mexican war began he joined the army under General Taylor as colonel of the First Texas Rifles. This regiment was soon 
disbanded, but he continued in service, was inspector-general of Butler s division at the battle of Monterey, and was recommended 
for promotion to brigadier-general but was set aside for political reasons. General Taylor said he was the best soldier he ever 
commanded. After the war Johnston went to his farm, where he remained in poverty and neglect till 1849, when President Tay 
lor appointed him a paymaster in the army. He served as such for five years. In 1855 he was appointed colonel of the Second 
(now Fifth) cavalry, a new regiment, which he organized. Robert E. Lee was lieutenant-colonel and George H. Thomas and 
William J. Hardee were the majors. General Scott called Johnston s appointment " a god-send to the army and the country." 
In i8;y Johnston conducted a remarkable campaign against the Mormons and received the brevet of brigadier-general. He was a 
Union man from both principle and interest ; he thought the South had a grievance but that secession was not the remedy ; never 
theless he went with his state, resigned from the Union army, journeyed from California to Virginia, and was put in command by 
the Confederate authorities of all the territory west of the Atlantic states and north of the Gulf states. The battle of Shiloh, in 
which he lost his life, soon followed. 

4 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

the same state will do so likewise ; this will not prevent me from march 
ing on Monterey as soon as the Q r M. & Ordnance dept s can give me 
the means to enable me to do so with the slightest prospect of success. 
The country expects this army to attempt something & there shall be no 
disappointment so far as I am concerned There has been much rain 
here for some time past, but the weather is now fine with the exception 
of being very hot & has been for several days, & the roads pretty good, 
so much so was all ready we could take up the line of march for the 
interior tomorrow We have no news of interest from any quarter ; 
the boat is wating to go below & I do not wish to detain her ; I write in 
great haste, & hardly know what I have written & doubt your being able 
to make it out but you must take it for what it is worth 

Your Friend 
SURG N R. C. WOOD U. S. A. Z. TAYLOR 



Camargo Mexico Aug t 19 th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your acceptable letter of the 9 th ins 1 was duly rec d for which you 
have my sincere thanks. The mail by the N. York referred to by you, 
was duly rec d here, but brought nothing of interest ; the paper mail 
brought by her arrived here day before yesterday from which I have 
gleaned but little of moment. Two of the gen 1 officers referred to by 
you, who came over in the New York, reached here several days since, to 
wit, Mess" Pillow 1 & Quitman, 2 the latter a gentleman of intelligence, 
of large fortune long a Gen 1 Officer of militia from the state of Missis- 

1 Gideon Johnson Pillow was born in Williamson county, Tenn., June 8, 1806, and died in Lee county, Ark., October 6, 
1878. He was graduated from the University of" Nashville in 1827, became prominent at the bar and in politics, aided in the nomi 
nation and election of his neighbor, James K. Polk, to the presidency, and was appointed brigadier-general in command of the 
Tennessee volunteers in the Mexican war. He served for a time with Taylor on the Rio Grande and then joined Scott, taking an 
active part in the various battles that preceded the fall of the City of Mexico, and was twice severely wounded. After the peace he 
resumed the practice of law in Tennessee and in 1861 was appointed a major-general in the provisional army of the state of Ten 
nessee. A little later he became a brigadier-general in the Confederacy. He was second in command under Floyd at Fort Donel- 
son, declined to assume the chief command and surrender the forces, and successfully made his escape. He was then relieved from 
command and did not take a prominent part in the subsequent fighting. 

2 John Anthony Quitman was born in Rhinebeck, N. Y., September I, 1799, and died in Natchez, Miss., July 17, 1858. He 
received a classical education, went to Mississippi in 1821, became prominent in politics and educational work, served as chancel 
lor of the state, as president of the senate, and as acting governor, and in 1836 raised a body of troops to aid the Texans. After 
the capture of Santa-Anna he returned to Mississippi and was appointed major-general of the state militia. In 1846 he was made 
a brigadier-general in the army of the United States and was ordered to join General Taylor at Camargo. He distinguished him 
self in the battle of Monterey and then joined General Scott. For his services in the capture of Puebla he was brevetted major- 
general and received a sword from congress. He stormed the formidable works at Chapultepee, carried the Belen gate by assault, 
and was appointed governor of the City of Mexico by General Scott. His administration was moderate and wise and on General 



.ight 

extreme Southern party. 

41 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

sippi ; the former a lawyer with much to learn as regards his new pro 
fession ; when they all arrive there will be too much rank I apprehend to 
get along with, very pleasantly. The wounded who have & may get 
pension certificates, I will direct the Q r Master at Fort Polk or Brasos 
Island, to give them every facility which can be done by the dep c to 
enable them to reach their homes, which I presume he would do without 
any direction or orders in regard to the same. 

I was glad to hear that Dick had reached N. Orleans in safety ; 
Gen 1 Quitman informed me he left or saw him there, & that his health 
was much improved ; he also informed me that Gen 1 Butler called at 
Baton Rouge to see M rs Taylor, & that Betty was too unwell to leave 
her room, so that he did not see her. I got no letter from B. Rouge by 
the N. York. Beatties 1 sickness accounts for it. This has given me 
much uneasiness ; & I shall be miserable until I hear from her. The 
Alabama I hope is in by this time, if so I trust I shall receive something 
by her to allay my apprehensions in regard to her situation. The 
recruits brought on by L l Blair 2 with the exception of the sick were 
brought to Matamoros & distributed among the cop s of artillery for the 
the most part left at that place ; I flatter myself the sick will be taken 
care of some where. I hope you have accommodations sufficient by this 
time to accommodate all the sick which has or may be sent to Fort Polk, 
& will have them taken care of as far as it is possible to do so. The whole 
country will be filled with sick volunteers & in many instances without 
suitable accommodations, & I greatly fear many of them will suffer for 
want of many of the necessaries of life, as well as for medical advice 
all things considered there are a great scarcity of medical officers, in pro 
portion to the number of raw troops, when we take into consideration 
the climate &c ; besides which, many of the Medical Officers recently 
appointed & attached to the Volunteers to say the least of them are 
entirely without experience as regards their duties in the field ; but I 
hope those of the regular army will do all in their power to alleviate the 
sufferings of that portion they may have to do with, or can administer to, 
who may fall in their way, no matter where they belong. It is reported 



1 Meaning his daughter Mary Elizabeth, always referred to in these letters as Betty. 

2 William B. Blair was born in Virginia, was graduated from the Military Academy in 1838, became first lieutenant in 1840, 
received the brevet of captain in 1847 for gallant conduct at Cerro Gordo, and resigned from the army in 1861. 

4 2 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

here that a part of the 2 d InfV had reached Brasos Island ; but how such 
a report originated or on what foundation made, I am unable to say ; but 
I hope it may be true. 

Perhaps Anns views on the subject of your remaining here under 
the contingencies named, may be correct. If she was pleasantly located 
& satisfied with the same her views would be certainly correct, & may be 
so under existing circumstances. 

I was never sanguine as to Johns rec& the app c in question, my 
experien in such matters has satisfied me that favors of that kind are only 
given to the faithful ; & if departed from, it is but seldom, & then under 
very peculiar circumstances. If the app f is not given John must turn 
his attention to something else ; at any rate after graduating at some of 
our respectable literary institutions ; he should not despond, but on the 
contrary redouble his exertions in such a way as to enable him to get 
through the world without the patronage of public or private individuals. 
I presume the party in power is indebted to D. J. Pearce 1 for some dis 
reputable transaction which M r P. intends liquidating by giving his grand 
son an app at West point ; so we go. If seperated from your family, 
as you correctly say, were they satisfied with their position, it would be 
somewhat of a matter of indifference as to your position so it was healthy. 

The go paper denies that the object of assembling twenty post 
Capt s at Washington was to consult & decide on the propriety of attack 
ing the castle of San Juan, near Very Cruz ; but that paper is doubtful 
authority, as I understand its Se r Editor says that England has never 
offered her mediations or good offices to bring about a reconciliation 
between the U. States & Mexico, while Sir R. Peel states distinctly in his 
able speech in parliament on retiring from office that she had done so. 
I fear there will be no end to this war in any reasonable time, & that it 
will be carried on with a view to conquest, with the expection if success 
ful it will secure M r Polks reeliction, which in my mind will be the case 
in that event, so that I think it is now & will be carried on for that object 
& not so much to conquer a peace 

I have commenced to-day throwing in advance toward Monterey an 
other depot at a point 60 miles from here ; Gen 1 Worth leaves today with 

I Dutee Jerauld Pearce (1789-1849) was a native of Rhode Island and an eminent member of the Newport bar. He served 
many years in the state legislature, was attorney-general from 1819 to 1825, and was a member of the Federal house of representa 
tives from i8zgtoi849. He was a democrat in politics. 

43 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

about 1000 pack mules & some waggons with 160,000 rations for Sur- 
ralvo to be escorted & protected until I can join him with eight Comp 3 
of artillery, the 8 th Infy & Duncans battery of artillery, as soon as the train 
returns which I expect will be in ten days, I hope to be ready to leave 
with what force I shall carry to Monterey, say about six thousand men, 
& if I meet no resistance at that place shall pass on to Saltillo, about 
seventy miles further in the interior which if I can reach & take possession 
of, I intend throwing up a strong field work, & if there is flour or Indian 
corn in the country will establish a large depot & bring forward as large 
a number of volunteers as can be supported there, & then act as in my 
judgement the best interest of the country may warrant. I apprehend 
great dissatisfaction on the part of the volunteers when I leave here as to 
those who are to remain behind, as they are all, the officers, anxious to 
go to lead as it were the advance, or the forlorn hope, at least so they 
say. But I may be disappointed by the Q r M. Dep the ordnance or 
medical dept* as regards my leaving ; none of which are over efficient or 
rather their heads For the last three months I have be trying to get 
a supply of horse shoes & nails, & up to this moment not one has been 
furnished, nor can we possibly move without them as the road over 
which we have to march beyond this is covered with sharp rocks or stone 
and the day we commenced Fort Brown, the chief of the ordnance dep 
was directed to require a number of 12 pounders on traveling carriages, 
not one of which has reached their place of destination or even so far as 
I know have they been heard from. 

The numerous Steam Boats on the river are doing but very little ; 
they are about twice as long in making their trips from the mouth of the 
river to this place as they should be, & when they get here have very 
little in them. It will be a long time before the volunteers get here the 
way they are going on. My love to dear Ann & the children when you 
write, as well as best respects to all inquiring friends & accept my sincere 
wishes for the continued health & prosperity of you & yours through life. 

Your Friend 

Truly 

SURG N R. C. WOOD, Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. Army 

Fort Polk Texas. 

44 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



Comargo Mexico Aug f 23 d 1846. 
My dear D r 

Your several letters of the i i th 15 th & iy th ins 1 have all been rec d the 
contract in the case of the Surg n employed, has been signed by D r Craig 
& app d by me, & will be forwarded by the Dr An order was given 
before I left Matamoros to provide large accommodation for the sick, & 
an order was given some days since to leave all the sick volunteers at 
Metamoros which orders & arrangements I had hoped, in addition to 
what accommodations you could furnish at Fort Polk, would have met 
the wants of the sick, which as a matter of course must be very numer 
ous ; & humanity as well as duty ought to prompt us to do all in our 
power to alleviate their sufferings as much as possible. As I learn the 
yellow fever has made its appearance in N. Orleans, through which it 
would not be proper to send the volunteers while such was the case who 
might leave the army on ace of feeble or broken dow health, such ought 
to remain here or in the country until there is no danger from that con- 
tageous disease, as most of them have to pass through that place on their 
way to their homes. I hope an abundant supply of every thing in the 
way of medicine, hospital &c have & will be sent out, so as there will be 
no just complaints on that ground ; so far as my authority would go in 
the way of orders, ample provisions have been made for the sick. D r 
Craig has not been cramped in regard to hiring houses, physicians or any 
thing els to make the sick comfortable at Matamoros ; I have done all I 
could in the matter. 

We have had a large accession of Militia Genl s recently in addition 
to Pillow & Quitman, Maj r Gen 1 Butler & B rs Hamer 1 & Shields 2 have 

1 Thomas L. Hamer was a native of Pennsylvania, was admitted to the bar, took up his residence in Ohio, served in the state 
legislature, and was elected to the Federal house of representatives in 1832, 1834, an d 1836. While a member of congress he 
appointed U. S. Grant to be a cadet at the Military Academy. Mr. Hamer served in the Mexican war, volunteering as a private, 
but soon receiving the commission of a brigadier-general. In his "Memoirs" General Grant says: "Among the troops that 
joined us at Matamoros was an Ohio regiment of which Thomas L. Hamer, the member of congress who had given me my appoint 
ment to West Point, was major. He told me then that he could have had the colonelcy, but that as he knew he was to be appointed 
a brigadier-general he preferred at first to take the lower grade. I have said before that Hamer was one of the ablest men Ohio 
ever produced. Ai that time he was in the prime of life, being less than 50 years of age, and possessed an admirable physique, 
promising long life. But he was taken sick before Monterey, and died within a few days. I have always believed that had his 
life been spared, he would have been president of the United States during the term filled by President Pierce. Had Hamer filled 
that office his partiality for me was such, there is but little doubt I should have been appointed to one of the staff corps of the army 
the pay department, probably and would therefore now be preparing to retire. Neither of these speculations is unreasonable, and 
they are mentioned to show how little men control their own destiny. 

2 James Shields was born in Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland, in 1810 and died in Ottumwa, Iowa, June I, 1879. He 
came to the United States in 1826, studied law, began practice in Illinois in 1832, was sent to the legislature in 1836, elected state 
auditor in 1839, appointed a judge of the state Supreme court in 1843, and was made commissioner of the general land office in 1845. 
On the outbreak of the Mexican war he was appointed a brigadier-general and served under General Taylor on the Rio Grande, 
under General Wool in Chihuahua, and under General Scott in the valley of Mexico and showed himself a fine soldier. He is the 
only man in the history of the United States who has represented three different states in the Federal senate. He was elected in 
Illinois in 1849, in Minnesota in 1858, and in Missouri in 1879. At the outbreak of the Civil war General Shields was appointed 
a brigadier-general of volunteers and served as such for two years. 

45 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

just arrived, the latter returns immediately to his camp, the Illinois vol 
unteers, near the mouth of the river, & B r Gen 1 Marshall 1 is expected by 
the first boat from below ; so there will be no lack of Genl 8 I could 
have myself wished they had not been quite so numerous ; the Volun 
teers are with the exception of one Reg are all here or below & there is 
doubts whether that Reg will come or not. 

It seems to me had Ann been satisfied with her position Detroit, it 
would have been well for her to have continued there until you could 
have joined her, as breaking up & removing is generally attended with 
considerable expense ; but you done right in leaving it entirely to her to 
leave or remain as she thought best. I regretted to learn that she had 
changed her mind on the subject of your going out for a short time, & 
then returning as I considered the conclusions she arrived at in the 
instance, were very judicious. At Buffalo no doubt you had every thing 
very comfortable, as much so as could have been desired, but I see no 
reason why that should not again be case ; I consider it a great misfor 
tune to be always looking at the dark side of the picture of life or to be 
anticipating evils or misfortunes 

It is unnecessary to animadvert on the Q r Masters dep 1 the system 
is certainly a bad one, & a large portion of its officers feeble, & would 
be so in any relations of life, but which is more apparent in their present 
positions, which requires so much energy & decision than in many other 
profession or pursuit. Should I ever get away from here which I hope 
to do about the fifth of next month I shall be very deficient in transpor 
tation to what it should have been ; but I must attempt something ; we 
have been idle too long & we must move on Monterey be the conse 
quences what they may 

I fear the enemy will not fight us for Monterey, or in force any 
where else unless we penetrate far beyond there or Saltillo ; I believe a 
gen 1 battle if we beat them which I will not permit myself to doubt, 
would do more to bring about a peace, than any thing else ; my greatest 
apprehensions are that they will avoid us in force, attempt to harrass us 
in small parties, attack our trains, attempting to cut off our suplies at 



I Thomas Marshall was born in Mason county, Ky., April IJ, 1793, and died in Lewis county, Ky., March 28, 1835. He 
received the appointment of brigadier-general of volunteers from President Polk at the beginning of the Mexican war and com 
manded the Kentucky volunteers under General Wool. After his return to Kentucky he was murdered by a tenant at his home 
in Lewis county. 



4 6 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TATLOR 

favorable positions, destroy the corn, & drive away the stock ; in which 
cas we would have to fall back on our supplies near to our depots on the 
water ; all of which cannot be ascertained without marching into the 
their country. A report has reached here, & generally believed that a 
recent revolution had taken place in Mexico, which had resulted in the 
overthrow of the gov f of Perades by what are termed the Federal party, 
that his army had revolted, made him prisoner, & delivered him into the 
hands of his opponents. Even if the report be true it is doubtful 
whether or not the change will be a favorable one to us, in the way of 
setling the difficulties between the two countries ; the party coming into 
power may be, & probaly are more hostile towards us than the one just 
put down & may carry on their operation towards us with more energy & 
ability than their predecessors; but time will develop most if not all things 

No one can desire peace more than I do, or can be more anxious 
for quiet, & the enjoyment of domestic life, & notwithstanding the 
honors which have been conferred on me, which are very great, they do 
not compensate for the privations, which I am subjected to, & I would 
willingly forego them all, could peace be restored to our country. It is 
principal alone keeps me here, & alth peace between the two countries 
appears to be as distant as ever, yet I feel bound to forego under the 
circumstances in which I have been placed, every other consideration & 
to carry on the war until brought to a close, or the gov 1 may think 
proper to have me relieved 

Gen 1 T. 1 is quite uncertain in his friendships, he is a man that one 
should never place himself in the power of; alth all things considered I 
was gratified at his promotion. 

The case of Graham needs no further notice even if actuated by 
enmity or unfriendly feelings, which I have no right to believe is the 
case. I have just rec d a letter from Dick from B. Rouge dated the 5 th 
ms c he says his own health was not improved, mother & Betty well. 
M r Reeder had no despatches for me, other than a letter of introduction 
from Gov r Johnson ; 2 he brought out several medals voted by a commit- 



i Probably General Twiggs. 

z Henry Johnson was born in Tennessee in 1783 and died in Louisiana in 1864. He was a lawyer, became judge of a par 
ish court in Louisiana, served in the senate of the United States from 1818 to 1824, was governor of Louisiana from 1814 to 1828, 
served in the Federal house of representatives from 1834 to 1839, and was in the senate from 1844 till 1849. 

47 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

tee in N. Orleans to certain non comm d officers for their gallant conduct 
in the battles of the 8 th & 9 th 

Your views & opinions in regard to Saunders 1 coincide pretty much 
with my own. He is a complete party politician & belongs to the most 
unscrupulous sect, that every existed, who are entirely actuated by per 
sonal & selfish considerations, in which he goes the whole length, & his 
views and statements so far as prominent political men, or aspirents to 
the presidency are concerned, should be treated with due allowances, & 
with great caution & circumspection. I regret between ourselves he 
returned to the army. 

Gen 1 Scott is a man of strong impulses, both writes & speaks with 
great flipancy & frequently without due reflection as regards both, which 
has gotten him into many serious scrapes ; but he means well on all occa 
sions & is entirely mistaken if he supposes I am unfriendly to him, in 
the slightest manner possible, the reverse being the case. I very much 
regret to hear Co 1 Croghan 2 had come out as I fear he will expect me to 
take care of him & there are people enough of that description already 
here ; at any rate to embarrass me not a little ; I learn he has been in a 
tremendous frolic but will get sober before he gets here & will, 1 expect, 
keep so, while he remains with me. I have not had time to read a paper 
but learn M r McCoysS or Walkers* tariff bill has become a law ; this I 
regret as I am satisfied they will need every cent they can raise in that 
way as long as this war lasts. I presume its effects without being bene 
ficial, will hardly be injurious to the cotton planters ; this consideration 
had no importance or influence as regards my opinion in the matter. I 
am pleased to find you are keeping up a friendly correspondence with 
D r Mower from whose position & intelligence much information may be 
derived from an epistolary correspondence ; & I think the Dr s remarks 



I Probably Franklin Saunders, who was born in North Carolina, was graduated from the Military Academy in 1837 and 
resigned from the army in the following year. He became captain of the First Kentucky volunteers May 30, 1846, and was 
mustered out a year later. 

z George Croghan (1791-1849) entered the army in 1811 and distinguished himself for his bravery and vigilance, particularly 
when he conducted the memorable defence of Fort Stephenson at Lower Sandusky. He was advanced to lieutenant-colonel and 
received a gold medal from congress. He resigned in 1817, became postmaster of New Orleans in 1824 and was appointed inspec 
tor-general with the rank of colonel in 1825. In 1846 he joined Taylor s army and served with credit in the battle of Monterey. 

3 James J. McKay (1793-1853) served as United States attorney and in the legislature of North Carolina, and was then 
elected to the Federal house of representatives, in which he was prominent from 1831 to 1849. As chairman of the committee on 
ways and means in the first session of the twenty-ninth congress (April 14, 1846) he introduced a bill revising the tariff. 

4 Robert J. Walker was born in Northumberland, Pa., July 23, 1801, was admitted to the bar, removed to Mississippi, and 
represented that state in the Federal senate from 1836 to 1845, when he resigned to become secretary of the treasury in the cabinet 
of President Polk. He served as such throughout Polk s administration, and he took a leading part in framing the tariff act of 
1846, a democratic measure which superseded the whig tariff of 1842 and established a much lower rate of duty on manufactured 
articles. It remained in force for eleven years and the system it established was continued to the time of the Civil war. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

in relation to leaving in part at least judicious. Nor ought such to be 
alluded to unless to a very particular friend. Whenever an officer was 
fully prepared to quit, let him do so, but it is perhaps as well not to 
speak of doing so unless it was to those who would not repeat them 
until such time arrived ; I am sure nothing but kindness was intended in 
any of his remarks. I hope the supplies referred to by him will arrive 
in due season, & that they will be abundant for all concerned. The four 
medical officers coming out with the 2 d Infrwill add very considerably to 
the strength of the corps in the country. Riley 1 I learn has arrived at 
Brasos ; with two or three comp s this however is not official, if true he 
will be here in a few days 

As regards the Callifornia affair, I must entirely disapprove the 
course of the administration, & consider no act of the brittis 2 gov* as 
regards the acquirement of territory in the East, or any where else more 
outrageous than our attempt or intention of taking permanent possession 
of that country. I am gratified to know you had recently heard from 
Ann as well as from Puss & thank them for their kind remembrance, & 
hope all is well as nothing is said to the contrary ; give my love to them 
all when you write. I have rec d Gs. communication on the subject of 
rank, he has as well not written it, alth no objection can be made to it, 
yet no action will be had on it ; you are right in giving no advice in the 
matter. The heat here during the greater part of the day could not be 
much greater than it has been, but I had not supposed it could have been 
so very great in Detroit ; but it will not continue so there but for a short 
time. 

I have always understood that the females of Gen 1 Bradies family 
were rather cold & repulsive, for which they were mainly indebted to an 
old fanitic aunt. Thompson must be very miserable. I regret to hear 
Bob had quit the school his mother placed him at in the country, & fear 
he will give her much trouble. 



i Bennett Riley (1787-1853) entered the army as an ensign in 1815 and continued therein till his death. He made a good 
record during the troubles with the Indians and had important commands during the Mexican war, leading the Second Infantry 
under Scott and the second brigade of Twiggs s division in the valley of Mexico. He received the brevets of brigadier-general for 
bravery at Cerro Gordo and major-general for gallant service at Contreras. After one of his successful engagements Scott assured 
him that his bravery had secured a victory for the American army. After the war he was appointed military governor of California 
and served as such till the admission to statehood. 

z For British. 

3 Meaning General Hugh Brady, then in command at Detroit. 



49 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Co 1 Taylor when last heard from, was in Matamoros his health 
improved, I presume he is on his way here by this time if not before. 
I do not expect to write you so Ion an an epistle again for some time 
Since my last I have been someweat indisposed but am now much better 
if not entirely well. Wishing you & yours continued health & pros 
perity I remain with sincere respect & esteem 

Your Friend 

Truly, 

SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. A. 

Fort Polk Texas. 



Camargo Mexico 

Sept r 3 d 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your welcome and interesting letter of the 25 th ult was duly rec d for 
which you have my sincere thanks. I have commenced the movement 
at last on Monteray & Saltillo nearly all the regular troops are now 
under march for the interior, with a few of the Volunteers ; the whole I 
expect will be so by Monday ; I shall leave for Surralvo myself on Sat 
urday the 6 th to join the advance at that place, near half way between 
this & Monterey. The whole force I shall take with me, will be near 
six thousand men, half regulars the balance volunteers. We are in some 
respects indifferently supplied, but I became doubtful if I depended on 
the Q r Masters dep to complete the necessary arrangements so far as the 
same was concerned, not only the time of the twelve months would 
expire before they were completed, but the regulars likewise, so I thought 
it best to leave at once & get to Monterey & Saltillo as soon as our legs 
could carry us there unless stopped by the enemy or some causes on the 
way which I do not expect will be the case ; whether the enemy will fight 
us time must determine ; opinions on that subject are much at variance ; 
should they fight we must beat them, or find honorable graves. Wells 
has not yet arrived, we are very much in want here of medicines & sup- 

50 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

plies of various kinds ; it is probable we will have to wait a few days for 
them ; or they will have to follow us ; as they were very particularly 
needed the Q r Master shipped them on the slowest boat on the river, 
whether by design or accident I am unable to say 

I am gratified in believing the sick both regulars & volunteers who 
have fallen under your care have been taken good care of, & I know it 
will continue to be so I direct an order to be issued, that you would 
have such of the sick brought over from the Rio Grande to Fort Polk, 
as you might think advisable, or as you could accommodate them ; the 
volunteers have a very large sick report at this place, & a good many 
deaths ; poor fellows they have a very hard time of it no hospitals, & I 
greatly fear, very poor medical advisers ; I can but feel very sensibly for 
them. I have directed competent medical aid to be employed whenever 
it can be met with also that Maj r Gardner & Co 1 Clark 1 should dis 
charge such volunteers who were able & wished to return to their homes 
I regret I cannot send a proper officer to S c Joseph s discharge all there 
unfit for service, break up the establishment & order Hawkins in the 
field, but things must remain as they are for the present 

I am satisfied the volunteer officers who are left behind, will express 
great dissatisfaction, but this I cannot help, the country expects us to do 
or attempt something, & they shall not be disappointed ; even if it 
should turn out to be a disaster. The whole system of volunteers at best 
is defective but mae 2 much worse than it might be, by the mismanage 
ment of the same, by those who control it for political effect, which is the 
case in the present instance. Volunteers were never intended to invad or 
carry on war out of the limits of their own country, but should be used, 
as the constitution intended they should be for enforcing the execution 
of the laws ; & repelling invasion, for which they are admirably suited. 
There is but little doubt in my mind, if this war continues for any length 
of time, it will completely break down the administration. The two 
million plan which failed in the senate, induces me to believe judging 
from the message connected with it, that the executive has some plan or 
expectation of closing the war by negotiation I therefor regret the money 



I Newman S. Clarke was born in Connecticut and died in San Francisco, Cal., October 17, 1860. He served throughout the 
War of 1812, was brevetted captain for bravery at Niagara and slowly advanced to colonel in 1846. He commanded a brigade in 
Mexico in 1847 and received the brevet of brigadier-general for gallant conduct at the siege of Vera Cruz. 

1 For made. 

5 1 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

was not placed at his disposal 1 The last mail brought me a letter of the 
12 th ult from Betty she was then quite well ; Dick who had returned was 
much better ; but her mother was not well, from the effects of a bad 
cold. There were still at B. Rouge but would leave there in a few days 
for some of the watering places on the lake back of N. Orleans, where 
they would spend a few weeks, & then return to B. Rouge. I was truly 
gratified to learn you had heard from Ann as late as the 2 d of Aug r & 
that her & the children were all well ; the heat appears to be very oppress 
ive throughout the country, but it must be trifling there in comparison 
to what it is here ; but at any rate it lasts there but a few weeks, & I 
think the winters in that quarter are much more to be dreaded than the 
summers even warm as they are ; I am more than obliged to her for her 
kind remembrance. 

The war must end some time or other, & that I trust before a very 
great while, when should you continue to its close you will be certainly 
entitled to a good station whether you get it or not ; as I have remarked 
before the only consideration in the whole matter is that Ann & the 
children were located at some eligible position where they were satisfied 
during your absence; seperation with army & navy officers & their 
families are inevitable, & should be calculated on, & should at all times be 
prepared to meet such occurrences without complaining however much 
they may be inconvenienced by the same, particularly if they cannot 
remedy it. I much fear Anns dislike to Detroit is more imaginary than 
real, yet I truly wish she was comfortably located somewhere else, par 
ticularly if she was better satisfied, & I think you have done right in 
leaving her free to go any other place, as she may think best. The boys 
no doubt give her much trouble, as well as great anxiety, but would either 
be less anywhere else. We should do the best for our children in our 
power ; instilling into their minds at an early age the necessity of good 
principles as regards honesty and truth, as well as good morals, encourage 
them in the propriety of employment of some kind or other, & give 
them a taste for reading, after which they must take their chances, & we 
must try & be satisfied let matters as regards them eventuate as they may. 



I In August, 1846, President Polk sent a message to congress suggesting the appropriation of $2,000,000 to be expended by 
him in arranging a peace with Mexico, and particularly for the purpose of paying for such territory as Mexico might be willing to 
cede as was done in 1803 to pay for the cession of Louisiana and in 1806 to pay for the cession of Florida. The appropriation was 
not made then, but in March, 1847, a bill setting aside $3,000,000 for this purpose became a law. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

If they turn out well it will be a source of the greatest possible gratifica 
tion to their parents, should they do badly the reverse will be the case in 
like proportion. Let us do our duty to them & others, to the best of 
our ability & bear up against what may afterward occur even if unfavor 
able, at least with propriety & resignation in the best way we can As 
I stated to you in my last I regretted to hear that Rob had quit school & 
returned home as I fear his doing so will cause his mother much uneasi 
ness. I do not know how John can be well sparred from home until 
you return ; if he could have a proper instructor it seem to me he would 
be as well for him to be with his mother as any where else for the pres 
ent It is perhaps as well if not better not to make too favorable calcu 
lations in favor of our children in early life for should they fail to meet or 
come up to them the disappointment will be felt with double the effect it 
would be under different circumstances 

Mays promotion to the rank of L Co 1 by brevet as well as that of 
some others who I learn have rec d two grades at once for the same affair, 
an extraordinary proceeding to say the least of it, & shows they had good 
friends at court ; but I shall take no acception to the matter, nor attempt 
to animadvert on the same, farther than to say they were in luck 

I make no calculations on appointments for the boys at West Point 
or in the navy ; if they apply, or applicates is made for them & they suc 
ceed very well, if not I hope they will be able to get on without them ; 
success in those matters are extremely doubtful, with exception of some 
families, the whole of whom must be provided for in this as well as other 
countries Unless the application referred to was made direct to the 
president it is doubtful if he ever saw it 

The last mail brought us a com" from gen 1 h d quarters that it was 
the wish of the dep or the gen 1 in chief that D r Wells who has this 
moment arrived with the supplies, should be permitted to leave the 
country as soon as the officers of the Medical dep now on their way 
here or are to come arrive ; this I informed the dep I should not do, 
unless the war was brought to a close Wishing you continued health 
& prosperity I remain 

Your Friend Truly 

SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. Army 

53 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

You must not expect long letters from me for the time to come ; 
they will be quite brief until I get to Saltillo My love to Ann & the 
children when you write 

Yours truly 

Z. T. 



Camp at Surralvo 75 miles from Monterey 

September io th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your very acceptable & interesting letter of the I st ins 1 reached me 
on the evening of the 5 th the day after we left Comargo for this place, 
where I arrived yesterday & joined the advance under Gen 1 Worth, find 
ing all well ; without meeting with any occurrence on the way worthy of 
notice. All the regular troops are now here, & I look for one Briggade 
of Volunteers today, & the other tomorrow, which will be all the troops 
here that are to move on this route ; two Rgt s of Texas mounted men 
are or have been ordered on a road running parallel to the one we are on 
to our left, under Gov r Henderson to unite with us some fifty miles in 
advance of this place, should they not disband, of which there was some 
apprehension when we left Comargo, & it is quite likely a portion of 
them will do so ; in which case I cannot say the am 1 of force we shall 
have when the whole are concentrated, but not far short of six thousand, 
about 3200 of which will be regulars. Whether the enemy will fight for 
Monterey is quite uncertain, it can only be ascertained by going there ; 
my impressions are we shall meet with no resistance out of the city, they 
may attempt to defend it, which I hope will be the case, as they have 
thrown up some slight defences for its protection ; as I hope to be able 
to reduce it, in which case I hope to capture their army, as well as take 
their artillery & military stores if they have any ; we shall however see 
all about it when we get there There is no doubt but what Santa 

54 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Anna 1 has returned to Mexico, & been installed as dictator for four 
months ; how all this is to eventuate as to the relations between the two 
countries time must determine ; report says he is moving rapidly towards 
this frontier at the head of a large force ; if this be true there is but little 
prospect of anything like an amicable accommodation of existing difficul 
ties between the two countries. It is stated in the papers, also in letters 
to & from officers of the army, that the 2 d Infy or the nine comp s at N. 
York & New Port Kentucky, had been halted by directions from Wash 
ington until further orders ; the reason for which is not stated, so I need 
not expect their aid at any rate for a time at least. 

I shall be detained here principally to have the horses & mules shod, 
as it is impossible for either that are worked in harness or under the 
saddle to get along without, the greater part of the road being over sharp 
stones at best difficult to travel over. I expect to leave with the first 
division on Sunday morning the 13 th to be followed by the other two the 
next two days, & after concentrating twenty-five miles this side Mon 
terey, to reach there about the 2O th or 22 d As regards Rob, there is no 
doubt he has natural capacity enough for any situation, but there is more 
in application in reaching the prominent stations in our country than in 
anything else ; I have experienced enough as well in my own family as in 
others that it was as well if not better to make no very great calculations 



I Antonio Lopez de Santa-Anna was born in Jalapa, Mexico, February 21, 1795, and died in the City of Mexico June 20, 
1876. He entered the Spanish army as a cadet on July 6, 1810, rose rapidly, and in 1821 was brigadier-general and governor of 
Vera Cruz. He engaged in various intrigues during the next ten years and after defeating President Bustamante on November 
12, 1832, was elected president of the republic. But he persisted in leaving the executive authority to another whom he could con 
trol and in 1835 General Barragan was elected provisional president. Santa-Anna then allied himself with the reactionary party 
and the Federal system was abolished ; the former states were made provinces and the governors were made dependent upon the 
central authority. This gave the pretext for the separation of Texas, which declared its independence. Santa-Anna immediately 
took the field at the head of an army of 6,000 men, crossed the Rio Grande, and on April 6th stormed the Alamo fort at San Anto 
nio, killed its defenders, and then massacred the garrison of Goliad. On April 2lst, however, he was totally routed by the Texan 
army under Houston and was captured three days later. He gave a written order to his second in command to retire across the 
Rio Grande and on May 141(1 signed a treaty with the provisional president of Texas, David G. Burnett, recognizing the independ 
ence of that state. He was not released till February, 1837. On his return to Mexico he continued his intrigues and was appointed 
provisional president October 10, 1841. From that time till December 6, 1844, he was virtually a military dictator. Early in 
December his troops abandoned him, he was deposed, and after a brief period of imprisonment made his way to Havana. When 
war with the United States began and the Mexicans had been defeated along the Rio Grande by General Taylor, a mutiny under 
General Mariano Salas deposed President Paredes and recalled Santa-Anna, who returned August 16, 1846, and became commander- 
in-chief and president. He immediately set about the organization of an army to repel the invader and after a march full of hard 
ships through the desert of Potosi fought the battle of Buena Vista, February 22 and 23, 1847, being defeated with heavy loss by a 
force greatly inferior in numbers but strongly entrenched. When Vera Cruz was attacked by Scott, Santa-Anna took command of 



president for life with the title of Most Serene Highness, but his rule was so despotic that revolutions broke out everywhere and 
in August, 1855, he was again compelled to flee the country. He was back in 1864, again engaged in political intrigue, and in i86j 
was forced for the third time to leave. He then engaged in filibustering expeditions, was captured and sentenced to death, but was 
pardoned on condition that he would leave Mexico and never return. After the death of Benito Pablo Juarez, president of Mexico, 
July 18, 1872, he took advantage of a proclamation of amnesty, returned to Mexico and applied for restoration to the army list and 
for back-pay. This was refused and he died amid general public indifference. 



id ge 

55 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

as regards the prominent positions our children are to occupy, as there 
are so many contingencies connected with the same, they are but rarely 
realized. Appointments in our army & navy are given now to particular 
families or to the friends of active politicians ; so that you ought to 
make no calculations on anything of the kind for your boys with any 
thing like a certainty of success. Let the application for a midshipman s 
warrant or an appointment at West Point be made at the proper time, 
backed by the best influence that can be brought to bear on the case, & 
if it is not successful they must try some other pursuit, which may be 
made as respectable & more lucrative as any the gov can give. Finlay, 
McLaren & Turner 1 have been ordered here. Should they come Craig 
who is completly broken down will go out or home if he has any, as 
soon as Finlay arrives who ranks him, on sick leave if able to do so ; his 
position as medical director being the only thing I presume which keeps 
him here ; when they all get here, Wells I presume will as a matter of 
course expect to go out. The individuals in question will I presume all 
come out with great reluctance. It is stated here, I do not know on 
what authority, that Finlay will protest against the order, which I appre 
hend will do him but little good particularly as I do not know what right 
he has to claim an exemption from this or any other service 

Co 1 Taylor is still absent, when he left us at Comargo he expected to 
join before we got to Monterey, this I think doubtful The country 
we are now in alth for the most part poor is decidedly of more interest 
than any we have heretofore passed over ; we are now in sight of high 
mountains, amidst large brooks of clear cool water running in torrents 
from them, as well as among springs of running water as pure as it can 
well be ; my tent is near several which affords water enough to supply 
the city of New York 

I rec d a letter from Betty who with her mother & Dick was at East 
Pascagoula where they would pass a few weeks, as they were pleasantly 
situated with fine sea bathing with pleasant company &c & then return 
to their homes or to B. Rouge ; Betty & her mother were as well as 
usual, & Dick alth much better was suffering with rheumatism which it 



I Clement A. Finley, Alden N. McLaren, and George F. Turner were surgeons in the army. 

56 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

was hoped he would be relieved from by sea bathing.- My love to Ann 
& the children when you write & accept my best wishes for the con 
tinued health & prosperity of you & yours through life. 

Your Friend Truly 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD, 

U. S. A. Fort Polk Texas 



Camp at Marin 25 Miles from Monterey 

Sep< 1 6 th 1846 
My dear D r 

I wrote you from Surralvo which place we left on the 13 th & reached 
here yesterday with Gen 1 Twiggs command, Gen 1 Worths will be here 
to-day & Gen 1 Butlers I hope tomorrow, as well as the Texan Mounted 
Volunteers under Gov r Henderson should they not disband, a portion 
of them I apprehend at least will do so The Gov r as I informed you 
had been ordered to move up the San Juan to China to cross that river 
there, & unite with me at this place ; he informed me by the return of 
an individual who I sent said communication with, that he would leave 
China on the 14 th if so, he ought to be here tomorrow at furtherest ; but 
whether he does so or not I shall move day after to-morrow towards 
Monterey & reach there the next day say the the 2o th it being only two 
days easy march, unless something which I do not calculate on should 
occur to prevent it Whether we shall meet with any opposition on 
our arrival at Monterey, or between here & that place is quite uncertain, 
but it would appear somewhat strange if they do not risk a battle for so 
important a place as Monterey, which they have been fortifying for sev 
eral months, and where report says, they have six or seven thousand 
men, half of them regulars. For the last two days several hundred vari 
ously reported by the inhabitants, from two hundred to a thousand have 
kept in our front, but have uniformly fallen back before our advance or 
spies consisting of fifty men ; they were only near enough on one occa 
sion to exchange shots, & that almost out of reach of their balls taking 

57 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

effect, wounding slightly on our side one horse, & perhaps one or two 
individuals on theirs, as one of them dropped his gun and lance, which 
was picked up by our people But let matters terminate as they may, 
the story will be told in a few days 

A man with the mail got here last night from Camargo, by which I 
rec d your esteemed favor of the y th ins 1 for which you have my sincere 
thanks, & I regret you did not hear from Detroit, but truly hope all are 
well there. I am also very much concerned to learn there is so much 
indisposition or sickness which has in so many instances resulted fatally 
among the volunteers where ever they are located ; but had hoped those 
encamped at or near the mouth of the Rio Grande where they could get 
good water, or the best in the country, as well as plenty of wood & 
shade in addition to plenty of sea air as well as the regulars at Fort Polk, 
would have proved comparitively healthy ; but in this it seems I have 
been mistaken 

I rec d by the mail in question several letters public & private, but 
the information they contained was but of little importance ; the private 
ones I may say nothing. I did not hear from my family or from my 
manager I did not get the proceedings alth rec d in camp, by others 
of the court in case of Gen 1 Gaines, judging from which & the presi 
dents remarks thereon I consider his conduct has been tolerated, but not 
approved, nor can it be said it amounts to an acquital, but barely toler 
ates his conduct 

I stated in my last letter to you, that that portion of the 2 d Inf ? 
which had reached New York & New Port Kentucky, had by an order 
from Washington been halted at those places until further orders, this 
report must have originated in some mistake, or if true it was only for a 
very brief period, as I rec d by the last nights mail an order from the 
Adj c Genl 8 office dated Washington the 24* ult ordering Cap 1 Masons 
Company of the new Rifles which had been completed to the establish 
ment to join me, & to accompany the 2 d Infy or if it had left for Fort 
Polk, to follow it without delay, so that you may expect Riley daily if he 
has not already arrived 

I regret to hear of Ogdens & Dawsons indisposition but as they 
were on the mend, I trust they will be very soon restored to their usual 

58 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

health. I was quite pleased to learn that Co 1 Baker 1 of the Illinois vol 
unteers was in a fair way to recover from the injury he rec d at the hands 
of the Georgia Volunteers, & am sorry you did not carry out your 
intention of visiting him 

Wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity I remain truly 

your 

Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

Fort Polk Texas 

P. S. I got no n. papers nor have I heard of one being rec d in 

camp. 

Z. T. 



Monterey Mexico Sepf 28 th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

We reached here on the 19 th & after receiving a few cannon shot 
from the enemies Forts & batteries the same day, fell back & encamped 
at the first convenient position out of the range of their shot. On the 
2O th having reconnoitered the enemies position & defences, & finding 
alth greatly superior to us in numbers that he would not leave the tnow 2 
which was naturally very strong & completely fortified, supplied with a 
large amount of artillery, I at once made dispositions for carrying their 
out works which were very extensive, & detached Gen 1 Worth with a 



1 Edward Dickenson Baker had a remarkable career. He was born in London, England, February Z4, 1811, came to this 
country at the age of 5, supported himself as a weaver, studied in his leisure hours, and went to Springfield, 111., where he studied 
law and was admitted to the bar, and acquired distinction as an orator. He was elected to the lower house of the state legislature 
in 1837, to the upper house in 1840, and to the Federal house of representatives in 1844. When the war with Mexico broke out he 
raised a regiment of volunteers and joined General Taylor on the Rio Grande. Being transferred to Scott s command he partici 
pated in every battle from Vera Cruz to the City of Mexico and greatly distinguished himself. Returning home he was again 
elected to congress, serving from 1849 till 1851. Going to California he became the leader of the bar of that state and the most 
eloquent speaker on the Pacific coast. Removing to Oregon he was elected to the senate of the United St.ates in 1860. The firing 
on Fort Sumter led him to make a passionate address in Union square, New York, in which he pledged His life to the cause of the 
Union. He raised a California regiment in New York and Philadelphia, commanded a brigade in the disastrous assault 
at Ball s Bluff, and exposing himself to the hottest fire fell mortally wounded while leading a charge. His death occurred October 
M, 1861. 

2 For town. 

59 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

strong force to the west end of the town to take possession of the Sal- 
tillo Road, & if practicable carry two or three sail 1 works commanding 
said road, & the approaches to the upper part of the city, all of which 
were situated on high portions of the mountains 

On the morning of the 2i st Gen 1 Worth informed me he was in 
position & wished a diversion could be made to aid him in his opera 
tions, the balance of the troops was soon in readiness for that or any 
other operation, & after being formed a portion of them consisting of the 
first, third & fourth Infr were ordered to threaten the east end of the 
town, & if it could be done to carry one of their out or advanced works ; 
they passed rapidly a very strong Fort driving the enemy from an 
unfinished one, & entered the twown with the fugitives, which enabled 
the volunteers to take possession of the strong Fort referred to ; on get 
ting into the town Cap 1 Mansfield 2 of the engineers who led the advance, 
thought in the first instance it could be held if reinforcements were sent, 
which was immediately done, but it was soon found from the strong 
manner the streets were barracaded the Houses which were themselves 
each a fortification all built of stone with very thick walls with loop 
holes for small arms, as well as other defenses, & the streets raked by 
artillery in every direction it was impossible to accomplish any thing in 
comparison to the loss which we were sustaining I therefore drew off the 
troops in good order, holding on to the strong fort which had been taken 
with four pieces of artillery In this affair our losses were very great 
among both regulars & volunteers, an acc t of which was communicated 
to you by Maj r Bliss^ The attack or investment was continued on 
the 22 d on the eve of which day an important work was taken possess 
of by Gen 1 Worths command on the west end of the town ; the same 
night several strong works on the east end of the city were abandoned by 
the enemy within musket shot of the works we had previously taken, & 



1 For small. 

2 Joseph King Fenno Mansfield, a very able army engineer, was born in New Haven, Conn., December 22, 1803, and died 
near Sharpsburg, Md., September 18, 1862. He was graduated from the Military Academy in 1819 and assigned to the Engineers, 
becoming captain in 1838. He served in the Mexican war as chief engineer under General Taylor, built Fort Brown (see Note 8 
on page 2), and received the brevet of major for his part in the defence of it. He fought at Monterey and Buena Vista, receiving 
the brevets of lieutenant-colonel and colonel, and in 1853 was appointed inspector-general of the army. He was commissioned 
brigadier-general of volunteers in 1861 and was promoted major-general in 1862. He fell mortally wounded at the battle of Antie- 
tam, while cheering his troops in a charge. 

3 William Wallace Smith Bliss, a gallant soldier and one of the ablest men among General Taylor s immediate subordinates, 
was born in Whitehall, N. Y., in August, 1815, and died in East Pascagoula, Miss., August 5, 1853. He was graduated from the 
Military Academy in 1833, was chief of staff to General Taylor during the war with Mexico, distinguished himself in the battles of 
Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, and Buena Vista, married Mary Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of General Taylor, 
on April 20, 1824, and served as President Taylor s private secretary. 

60 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

were at once occupied by the volunteers on duty near them, which 
opened the city to us, & which was entered at both ends during that day, 
& the enemy driven from house to house into the principal open square 
near the Cathedral, where they had collected the greater portion of their 
forces with the intention of making their last stand ; at night the troops 
were recalled in good order on the east end of the city to the Forts 
which commanded the entrance into it, while those in the opposite end 
occupied the ground they had taken During this day the 23 d the 
Gov r of the province addressed me a communication requesting that the 
women & children might be withdrawn from the city, which request I 
declined granting ; that night I directed all operations to be suspended 
untill I could make the proper arrangements for a united attack ; early 
on the morning of the 24 th while those arrangements were going on, I 
rec d by the hands of a staff officer with a flag a communication from 
Gen 1 Ampudia the commander of the Mexican force proposals for sur 
rendering the city provided he was permitted to leave it with his army, 
arms & baggage of every description ; this I declined when he requested 
a personal interview which ended after a protracted conversation in fixing 
on three individuals to settle the terms of the capitulation which were 
that the Infantry, cavalry & artillery should be permitted to retire to the 
interior of Mexico the officers to march out with their side arms & pri 
vate property, the Infr & cavelry with their muskets, side arms &c & 
the artillery with six field guns ; the balance of the public property to be 
turned over to the U. States These terms were liberal but not con 
sidered too much so by all reflecting men belonging to the army here 
especially considering our situation ; besides it was thought it would be 
judicious to act with magniminity towards a prostrate foe, particularly as 
the president of the U. States had offered to settle all differences between 
the two countries by negotiation, & the Mexican commander stating that 
said propositions he had no doubt would be favorably met by his go t as 
their was a gen 1 wish for peace on the part of the nation We took 
ten, & there was turned over to us, twenty two or three pieces of brass 
cannon, & an immense quantity of amunition enough if suited to our 
guns to carry on the war for 1 2 months Their regular force was rated 
at 7200, irregulars at 2000 besides the citizens of the town who must 
have amounted to several thousand who were capable & no doubt bore 

61 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

arms. How we were permitted to take & occupy so large a place, one 
of the strongest naturally in the country, strongly fortified with 41 or 2 
pieces of artillery, abundantly supplied with ammunition is wonderful to 
say, even at the loss we sustained which is near 500 killed & wounded 

I trust this will have some effect to bring about a peace, if not we 
will have to carry the war father into their country, as soon as we can 
get the means of doing so Co 1 Taylor has not yet joined but I learn 
he is now on his way from Camargo to this place with funds for his dep c 
escorted by a detachment from the 2 d Infy so that a portion of that Rg 
must have reached the Rio Grande 

My love to Ann & the children when you write, who I trust you 
have recently heard from & were all well at last dates & will long con 
tinue so My regards to all inquiring friends at the Point & accept 
my sincere wishes for the continued health & prosperity of you & yours 
through life. 

Your Friend Truly 

& Sincerely 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD, 

U. S. A Fort Polk Texas 

An armistice has been entered into for 8 weeks, or until our respec 
tive eovts could be heard from ; this was or is a mater of no moment as it 

D 

regards us, as we would be hardly again ready to take the field short of 
six weeks, unless the enemy should compel us to do so, which they can 
do in 20 days without violating the terms of the capitulation, as they can 
hear from Mexico short of that time ; the authorities there having the 
power to disclaim what has been done ; so that I must make every 

arrangement in my power to meet every contingency 

Z. T 



62 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 



Monterey Mexico 

October 12 th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your several & interesting letters of the 19 th 26 th 28 th & 24 th were 
duly rec d for all of which you have my sincere thanks, & I need hardly 
assure you that I was very much gratified to hear the health of the com 
mand at Fort Polk was improving, & trust your own health which I 
conclude as a matter of course was good, as you say nothing to the con 
trary, & I truly hope it will continue so. I regret to hear the hospital 
had not been completed, as I expected there would be a large number of 
patients who would wish & ought to find accommodation in it from the 
regulars, & particularly from the passing volunteers & those stationed on 
the Rio Grande near its mouth, where they had but limited accomodation, 
& I feared ignorant medical officers, & bad attention & arrangements, & 
I was gratified to know you had done all in your power for them ; & 
alth the Q r Masters dep is on crutches, yet I trust the hospital so long 
in contemplation at the Point, will be made comfortable for the sick, 
before the approach or arrival of very cold weather ; I think you done 
well to order at once stoves for the same. Garland informed me a few 
days since that he had a letter from his wife in Detroit saying among 
other things, that Ann was preparing to leave Detroit, & Co 1 Taylor who 
goes down to Brasos immediately & who will hand you this, informs me 
that he had just rec d a letter from his wife that she would come to Cin 
cinnati where she would stop a short time & after putting the boys to 
school or college, would proceed to B. Rouge where she would pass the 
winter with her mother, which under all the circumstances of the case, 
was about as good a move as could have been made, if not the very best. 
I have informed M rs Taylor of this arrangement, who will be delighted 
with it, & will be prepared to receive her & any of the children she may 
bring with her, & I hope they will get down if the Ohio is navigable by 
the last of the present month, or early in the next. I was quite pleased 
to hear Ann had been able to offer M rs Long a shelter for a short time, 
as she is really an object of charity ; I hope her husbands relations will 
find it convenient to give her a comfortable home. I regret if anything 
unpleasant has taken place between M rs Co 1 T. which I think likely, & 

63 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

her step mother, & believe with you it was rather running too great a 
risk in M rs T. locating herself as she did for any length of time where 
there was several sets of children, which is almost inevitable to produce 
unpleasant feelings between some of the establishment ; M rs Taylor is 
now going to housekeeping, at least I suppose is the case from some 
of the remarks of the Co 1 which it would perhaps have been better for 
her to have done in the first instance 

The constant excitement common to such operations as will be con 
stantly going on under Gen 1 Wool, may have the effect of saving 
Wharton, 1 if it does not change his habits, he must very soon blow out. 
I am surprised the new batch of medical officers have not have arrived, 
particularly McLaren who is not very distant, & who I presume would 
have acted very promptly. I thank you for the various extracts taken 
from different papers in relation to the battles of Palialto & Resacka, in 
addition to Mexican affairs in gen 1 the first may be considered too flatter 
ing or at any rate enough so, to satisfy the wishes or vanity of an one, 
much less so far as I am concerned, they are read with indifference 
L* Armsted 2 reached here last night with despatches from Washington, 
but by no means bringing any of importance ; the principal information 
communicated was that Gen 1 Salas? the acts president of Mexico had 
declined to entertain M r Buchanans* proposals to enter into engagements 
for settling the difficulties between the two countries by negotiation ; 
stating that the same must be submitted to their congress, which meets 
early in Dec r next ; directing the war to be prosecuted with vigor, which 
cannot be done by me without further instructions from Washington, 
until the cessasion of arms entered into between Gen 1 Ampudia & my 
self terminates, which will be about the 20 th of November, unless his 



j William L. Wharton of Washington, D. C., ioined the army as an assistant surgeon September I, 1818, became a major- 
surgeon July Zi, 1837, and died October 4, 1846 eight days before General Taylor wrote this letter. 

2 Lewis Addison Armistead was born in Newbern, N. C., February 18, 1817, attended the Military Academy two years, 
became first lieutenant in 1844, took a gallant part in the battles in the valley of Mexico, became a captain in 1855, resigned at 
the outbreak of the Civil war, and entered the Confederate army as a brigadier-general. He was severely wounded at the battle 
of Antietam in 1861. At Gettysburg he was one of the few in Pickett s division who nearly reached the Federal lines in the des 
perate charge on the third day, was mortally wounded, and died a prisoner July J, 1863. 

3 Mariano Salas (1797-1867) entered the Mexican army in 1813, was rapidly promoted, and was for many years a devoted 
follower of Santa-Anna. After the fall of President Herrera in January, 1846, Salas was reappointed commander of the district of 
Mexico but in July headed a revolution in favor of Santa-Anna and became provisional president. When Monterey capitulated to 
General Taylor, September 24, 1846, Salas was active in preparing troops and supplies for the army that was to march to the north 
under Santa-Anna. In May, 1847, he was appointed second in command of the Army of the North in San Luis and participated 
under Valencia in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, where he was taken prisoner. In 1853 Santa-Anna made him com- 
mander-in-chief of the Department of Mexico. He was prominent in the intrigues of the next ten years. 

4 At this time James Buchanan (subsequently the fifteenth president of the United States) was secretary of state in the cabi 
net of President Polk. 

6 4 





PRIVA.TE PLATE 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

gov r decides otherwise ; if so we must try & be prepared for any event. 
At any rate I see but little prospect of peace. I have not heard from 
my family for some time. Van Horn wrote to some one here that he 
had seen them at Pascagoula on his way to Mobile to muster out some 
volunteers, that they were well ; at the time he wrote Dick was in N. 
Orleans on his way to the Warm Springs in Arkansas where he hoped 
to get relief from Rheumatism, from the effects of which he was suffer 
ing severely. The last N. Orleans paper you sent me, I think dated 
the 22 d of Sept r among the arrival in it mentioned at the S c Charles, was 
that of M rs Taylor M rs W m Taylor of Point Coupee & servants ; but no 
mention was made of Betty, which I presume was a mistake or omission ; 
so there is no doubt Mrs. T. & Betty are both in B. Rouge, so that you 
must write to Ann to meet them at any time with the girls as soon as the 
Ohio is fully navigable I wrote you a short time since giving an 
ace of our operations here, & now must refer to Co 1 Taylor for many 
particulars ; the Co 1 is quite reserved about matters & things at Cincin 
nati in regard to family matters My love to Ann & the children 
when you write, as well as regards to inquiring friends at Brasos or Fort 
Polk & wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity I remain 

Truly Your Friend 

SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. A. Fort Polk Texas 

P. S. Since writing the mail from Camargo has arrived an hour or 
two since, by which I rec d your interesting favor of the 2 d ins 1 with 
the several accompanyments ; all of which were very acceptable ; and 
alth dearly won, I thank you for your congratulations for our success in 
the attack on Monterey. I apprehended as soon as my name was con 
nected with the next presidency that the various aspirants for that high 
office some of whom are in high places, would open their batteries 
through the papers on me, this however I disregard, further than some 
of their plans may possibly serve to embarrass my operations in carrying 
on this war successfully I regret to hear the steamer Florid is off the 
harbor without being able to get in, as she is reported to have a large 
mail ; most of which I presume is private letters The purchase of the 
Neptune must have been a political operation instead of a military one 

Z. T. 

65 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



Monterey Mexico 

Nov r io th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your letter of the 2y th ult was this moment rec d communicating 
the distressing intelligence of the death of your brother, on which sad 
occasion most truly & sincerely do I feel for, & sympathize with you all, 
particularly with his wife, & children, & your aged & excellent mother 
on this trying occasion, which I greatly fear the latter will hardly be able 
to bear up under; had he died with his family & friends around him, 
however sad it would have been to those near & dear to him, yet it 
would have been a source no doubt of great consolation to them all, to 
have been around him in his last moments, to have closed his eyes, 
rec d his parting blessings & long farewell ; as you correctly say there are 
other places where death revels among the brave & good besides the 
battle field ; but we should all find consolation that it is a debt we all 
have to pay, that a few years will again bring us all together in an other 
& better world ; & it is well for us to believe that he who controls all 
things, does nothing without motive, & we ought to hope it was for the 
best, which I trust is the case in the present instance ; notwithstanding 
the sorrow & I may say deep affliction it has occasioned ; also that the 
winds will be tempered to the shorn lamb in reality in this instance. I 
very much regret your absence from the North at this time, so that you 
could have at once visited your mother & the other members of your 
family, & besides offering them every consolation, aided in getting them 
comfortably located before leaving them. On hearing from them again 
it should be deemed necessary for their comfort & interest that you 
should make them a visit, as well as for your own, you ought not to hesi 
tate in doing so, even if you have to return. I will not hesitate to give 
you a short leave of absence for that object, whenever you think proper 
to apply. I hope if the Ohio is navigable Ann & the children have 
reached B. Rouge in safety by this time, as I hope her stay will be very 
limited in Cincinnati or any where else after she leaves Detroit Maj r 
James Graham of the Topographical corps, reached here on the second 
at night being the bearer of despatches growing out of mine carried by 
Cap Eaton to Washington announcing the taking of Monterey The 

66 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

principal matter contained in the same, was to put an end to the cessation 
of arms entered into with the Mexican Gen 1 in chief, by the orders of the 
president it would cease on the 13 th instead of the 19* when it would 
have expired as a matter of course by limitation in a few days ; my conduct 
is in the main approved with complimentary notice of my self & the com 
mand, yet it is evident a very cold one, which would have been avoided 
if it could have been done with safety ; their orders for me to put an end 
to the cessation of arms, & to carry on my operations with renewed 
vigor against the enemy is evidence enough of their feeling towards me 
at Washington, which they only want a decent pretext to show openly ; 
there is I hear from high authority an intrigue going on against me ; the 
object of which is to deprive me of the command ; my only sin for this 
is the want of discression on the part of certain politicians, in connecting 
my name as a proper candidate for the next presidential election ; which 
I very much regretted, for even admitting I aspired to that high office for 
which I have not the most distant intention of doing, this is no time for 
agitating that question, it will be time enough to do so in 1 848 A 
mail has this moment arrived with a train & brought me your letter of 
the 22 d inclosing one from Betty, & accompanied by several n. papers 
with interesting extracts taken or cut from other papers, for which I sin 
cerely thank you & it is truly gratifying to me to know that Ann & the 
children will spend the winter with her mother at B. Rouge, where I am 
in hopes they now are as it will be equally so to M rs T. Betty writes 
me Oct r 1 2 th in which she says " We rec d yesterday a letter from Sister 
Ann dated the 22 d of the last month in which she says she would leave 
Detroit in about two weeks for this place, but would stop some days at 
Louisville, so that we calculate on her reaching here between the 2o th & 
the last of the month, she said she would bring John, whose health was 
not very good, & the girls with her, Bob she speaks of having at school 
in Kentucky, but I expect he will cut up so at the idea of being left, 
that she will be forced to bring him. We can manage to accommodate 
them all comfortable. Dick had returned home from the plantation 
where he had been some days, & alth much improved in health, was still 
complaining, & thought he had not recovered sufficiently to join you." 
I hope Ann will bring all the children with her, as I do not want any 
thing to mar in the slightest degree her sojourn with her mother & sister. 

6? 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Betty says there is a tolerable school at B. Rouge for boys of Bobs age 
sufficient good I hope to keep him up to what he has already acquired. 
As to the course to be pursued by the boys as to their professions, which 
depends on so many contingencies that nothing at the present time can 
be determined on with anything like a certainty ; it will be well if possi 
ble to give them good & substantial educations, after which to be gov 
erned by circumstances as they may occur ; if John desires it I should 
very much like to see him in the navy ; but the first consideration is for 
his health to fully restored. It will depend on Bobs habits & turn of 
mind whether I would wish to see him or not enter any branch of the 
public service, for if his temper, habits &c were such as to make it prob 
able he would have to quit the same, I certainly would prefer his not 
making the attempt 

Your several letters accompanied by the " dirty sheet " printed in 
Matamoros containing communication from an officer here to one in that 
place, filled with misrepresentations, & I may say falsehoods, as the writer 
knew they were untrue, it being a puppy belonging to one of the Regts. 
of Artillery by the name of Curd 1 who was in a great hurry to leave the 
country, was duly rec d as well as yours containing an acc t of Hamiltons 
letter as well as the Buffalo paper containing the same ; such things are 
beneath my notice, & do not give me the least concern, & I expect to see 
& hear of many such squibs being fired at me, by the envious, depraved 

& wicked ; M r H is also very anxious to to leave the country & get 

on the recruiting service. I have declined granting his application in 
regard to the same Curd took good care to be well on his way out 
of the country before giving to the community through his brother officer 
his budget of falsehoods & misrepresentations ; but so we go 

I presume Co 1 Taylor made a visit to Fort Polk before leaving for 
Carmargo, or this place, he has not yet returned but I look for him in a 
few days. The attack referred to on the courage or want of it, as regards 
a certain individual referred to by you, is entirely without foundation & 
gotten up for the basest & most contemptable purposes ; being a base 
slander 



I Thomas J. Curd was born in Kentucky and was graduated from the Military Academy in 1844, a brevet second lieutenant. 
He became first lieutenant of the Fourth Artillery March 3, 1847, resigned from the army December 4, 1847, and died February 
12, 1850. 

68 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

I expect to leave here with a portion of the comm d in three or four 
days for Saltillo, to take possession of that place, the enemy having fallen 
back to San Luis Potosi 300 miles beyond there ; as soon as I establish 
the command that will be left there, I shall return here & then act as 
circumstances may in my judgment warrant or justify 

I hope when you hear from Ann again she & the children will have 
reached Baton Rouge without accident, if not that they will very soon do 
so Wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity I remain 
truly your 

Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army Fort Polk 

P. S. I was highly gratified to hear the health of the troops at 
Fort Polk were improving, & hope the hospital is nearly if not quite 
completed ; the course pursued by you as regards discharging volunteers 
was quite right, also as regards your correspondence with Heiskill one 
should never commit himself in any way even so far as to place himself 
in a position which could be carped at, much less in one which could be 
taken advantage of. I was pleased to hear you were keeping up your 
correspondence with D r Mower, he is an able physician & surgeon, as 
well as an accomplished gentleman & scholar. When you next write 
present my respects to him 

Surgeon Wharton I presume you have heard died at Wools com 
mand ; Foot we hear left that command, or the comand him, quite ill, so 
much so, it was presumed he could not recover. Surg n Harney has been 
ordered to take his place 

Z. T. 



Monterey Mexico Nov r 26 th 1846 
My dear D r 

Your two letters of the same date the 1 5 th ins was this moment 
rec d one informing me of dear Anns safe arrival with the children at 

69 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

B. Rouge, except Bob who was left at school in Kentucky which informa 
tion was a source of the greatest gratification to me, & where I hope she 
as well as the children will not only continue to enjoy good health, but 
will pass their time as pleasantly as could be expected until you are able 
to join them ; I know it will afford her mother the greatest gratification 
possible to have them with her at any time & more especially during my 
absence 

I deeply regret to hear of the illness of Co 1 Taylors children, ot 
which he has been apprized, & which he is hardly in a situation to bear 
up against as he might otherwise do, as his health is very feeble, he is 
just recovering from a severe attack of sickness. It was a matter also 
of deep concern to learn the indisposition of my sister, she has been the 
child of misfortune, but a purer spirit never tenanted the bust of any 
one, & I hope her lot in another world will be as free from sorrow & 
care, as it has been subjected to the same in this life. I feel gratified for 
the attentions shown Ann on her way from Detroit to Baton Rouge, par 
ticularly in Kentucky ; the offer of M r Tibbets 1 to get an appointment 
in the navy for John, I make no doubt was sincere, but how far he has 
the ability to do so is quite doubtful, as I understand he has left the 
democratic ranks, otherwise he would only been under the necessity of 
making his wishes known in regard to the same to have secured it ; & it 
may still be the case, & as he has proffered his good offices in the matter 
I consider it would be as well to make use of them as far as they would 
go, writing at a proper time calling his attention to his promises. As 
Judge McLean will very soon be in Washington & may call the presi 
dents attention to the subject ; however everything of the kind is now 
done through or by political influence. I hope the school Rob has been 
placed at will prove a good one & that he will be greatly benefitted by 
the same 

I deeply feel for your good & aged mother at the severe trial she 
must undergo whenever the death of your brother is made known to her, 
which cannot always be concealed from her, & much fear the announce 
ment of it will be more than she can bear up against & that she will sink 
under the same, should & no doubt will be broken to her with the 

I John W. Tibbatts (i8oz-i85z) was a resident of Kentucky and was elected to the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth con 
gresses as a democrat. He served in the Mexican war as a colonel. 

70 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

utmost caution & the greatest delicacy Had he died as I stated before 
with his family around him, his loss alth it would have been severely 
felt by them all, could have been borne up against by all accept your 
mother & perhaps her, but under the circumstances it will be doubly dis 
tressing, & I greatly fear will have the most unhappy effects on the neves 
of his surviving parent ; yet I sincerely hope for the best, & that he who 
watches over & directs all things, will enable her to bear up at least with 
resignation & composure against this severest of trials & afflictions ; 
keeping in mind the expectation & hope of meeting him in that world 
in which the precepts of our holy religion teaches us to believe where 
sorrow ceases, & the weary are at rest 

It must be under all the afflictions of those who he has left to 
mourn his untimely end a great consolation for them to know he died a 
good Christian & an honest man ; that the affairs of others entrusted to 
him, were found as they should have been, as well as that he left his wife 
& children in easy circumstances 

I left here on the 13 th ins with part of the com d for Saltillo to take 
possession & occupy the same, where we arrived on the 16 th & after 
remaining there four days making certain arrangements I returned here 
without meeting with any opposition from the enemy, or any occurrence 
taking place worthy of notice ; I got back on the 2j d & the day after 
rec d the package of papers you were so good as to send me, for which 
you have my sincere thanks, as well as for the extracts cut out of various 
newspapers Gen 1 Worth was left in command at Saltillo, with 9 cop s 
of artillery, the 5 th & 8 th Infy & two comp 3 of 2 d Dragoons ; besides 
which I shall order forward some reenforcements to join him 

Gen 1 Wools column has turned out an entire failure, which, I ex 
pected from the first would be the case, he found after he crossed the Rio 
Grande & reached to Monclova, which was about the last of Oct r that 
his reaching Chihuahua was pretty much an impossibility, & even if he 
succeeded in doing so, it would be of but little avail if any, he therefore 
proposed to join my column, & about which time I rec d orders from 
Washington to order him to do so ; from all I can learn there appears to 
be much dissatisfaction in his com d some of which I think he is disposed 
for want of a better excuse, to attribute to me ; but in this I may be mis 
taken If I had his transportation which with him has turned out 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

entirely useless, I might have accomplished some what more than I have 
done 

I have ordered him to take a position at Parras, a town about 100 
miles to the west of Saltillo in the best grain country in Northern 
Mexico where he can procure abundant supply of flour, corn & beef, & 
where he can unite with Worths com d should Santa Anna attempt to 
make a move on the latter at Saltillo from his present position San Luis 
Potosi 

The dep c has determined to hold on to what we have got in the 
West, & not to risk its loss by pushing farther into the enemies country, 
which I consider a wise determination ; we shall therefore act only on the 
diffinsive in this quarter ; in fact we have advanced as far from our base 
in this quarter as we ought to venture The dep 1 however seems 
anxious to take Vera Cruz, & I have been instructed if I approve the 
same, to detach a force of 4,000 men one half regulars, the balance vol 
unteers from the lower Rio Grande, under Maj r Gen 1 Patterson on that 
service or for that object, which I have declined doing, informing the 
hon. Secretary of War, that I did not consider less than 10,000 men 
4000 of whom should be regulars, should be sent on that duty ; that if 
they would organize in the States 6,000 efficient men, send them to Vera 
Cruz with all the necessary tools, battering train, as well as everything 
else necessary for carrying on the most active operations on landing, & 
would let me know in season, I would try & detach 4000 to join them, 
under Gen 1 P. or any one else they might designate 

It appears that Tampico has been taken possession of by the navy, 
which they speak of as having been done as by force on their part, say 
ing it was an unconditional surrender ; the fact is the place was evacuated 
some time before they went there ; brought about by the defeat of the 
enemy here, who removed their cannon & other military & public stores 
long before the navy went there 

1 calculate on sending down a com d which I may accompany should 
nothing occur to prevent my doing so, as far as Victoria, the capital of 
Tamaulipas, & perhaps to Tampico which is now or will be very soon 
garrisoned by 8 cornp 8 of artillery, & will be strengthened as soon as pos 
sible by a Reg 1 of volunteers Among other objects I have in view in 
going down is to ascertain the practicability or otherwise of sending 

72 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

wheel carriages through any of the passes of the mountains between this 
point & the gulf 

The congress of both nations will be in session in a few days, & 
alth prospects are unfavorable for doing so at present, yet I truly hope 
before they seperate something will be done to bring about a settlement 
of all existing difficulties between the two countries. At any rate I am 
very desirous to know what our congress will do in the matter ; whether 
or not they will vote the men & money necessary for prosecuting the 
war with vigor ; some say it has already cost two hundred millions ; but 
I presume that is greatly beyond the facts in the case 

Wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity 

I remain Truly 

& Sincerely your Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG" R. C. WOOD 

Fort Polk Texas 

P. S. This will be taken down by Co 1 T. who alth barely conval 
escent leave to-morrow for Matamoros, & will perhaps go to Brasos & 
Point Isabell, his health permitting 

I inclose agreeable to your request the handsome & gratifying 
notices on the subject of your brothers disappearance &c which must be 
gratifying to his family & friends 

Yours of the iy th was rec d a few hours since 



Monterey Mexico 

Dec r io th 1846 
My dear Doctor, 

Your very welcome & interesting letter of the 2i st ult was duly 
rec d as well as a number of extracts from various newspapers in relation 
to the Mexican War, our operations against Monterey as well as some 
other matters of interest, for all of which you have my sincere thanks. 
Cap 1 Eaton my aid got back here on or about the 30 th ult but brought 
not a particle of intelligence with him of interest on any subject ; from 

73 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

what he could learn while at Washington, I am satisfied the authorities 
there were at a loss what to do, whether to push our operations farther in 
this direction which cannot be very well done, to hold on to what we have 
got, or to operate against Vera Cruz ; I am however of opinion but little 
will be done until the president has time to consult congress in regard to 
the farther prosecution of the war, conforming to the views of a majority 
of his party in regard to the same. The next three months will in all 
probability bring about important results as regards this War, the great 
national councils it is supposed of both countries being now in session, 
I hope they will not seperate or break up, without bringing about a peace 
between us, or laying the foundation of one ; for if it is not done & that 
in a few month it may continue for several years, far beyond what any 
of us calculate on. I regret to hear that D r Russell has returned in bad 
health as I had hoped & expected that his visit to the North would have 
completely set him up again. Surg n Finlay has not mentioned the sub 
ject of a transfer with him or any one else 

I rec d a letter about a week since from Betty at B. Rouge of the 
9 th ult informing me that Ann & all the children had reached there in 
good health & without accident. I concluded as a matter of course that 
there had been some outbreak with Bob, for had he been left behind, 
Betty would have mentioned it. I must say I regret his leaving, as his 
doing so must distress his mother, besides evincing a disposition not to 
be controled which may greatly injure if not prevent his succeeding in 
any of the various pursuits through life, but this nor any thing els should 
prevent us from doing the best we could for him, leaving the results to 
providence. Betty says there was respectable schools at Baton Rouge for 
all of them, & they had all been entered at them, & commenced attend 
ance the morning she wrote ; & I hope they will at any rate not lose any 
portion of what they have already acquired ; if John continues in deli 
cate health it might be advantageous for him to make a visit to Fort Polk 
& spend a few days with you ; but I hope there will be no necessity for 
him to do so, & that a winter at B. Rouge will fully reestablish his 
health 

The state in which your brother left the business intrusted to him 
ought to be & no doubt is a source of great gratification to his family & 
friends, & it is highly creditable to his memory, at the same time I am 

74 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

not a little surprised at the small am c you state he has accumilated ; but 
the high character he has left his children will be a better legacy to them, 
& ought to be more highly prized by them than thousands under other 
circumstances It is a pitty your good mother should ever be made 
acquainted or undeceived in regard to his fate ; I presume there cannot be 
doubt of his having accidentally fallen overboard. 

If this war is to continue congress will have to double the army, 
increase the pay of the rank & file so as to induce enlistments as it will 
be found out of the question to carry it on much longer with volunteers ; 
those now here are beginning to look many of them to their homes with 
much anxiety, & will leave the moment if not before their time expires, 
& of course will have to be replaced before leaving, so that we must have 
a double set or double the number of that descript of troops needed to 
carry on the war, under pay at the same time ; which in addition to 
rations, transportation of every kind & their waste of public property, 
would in a few years break down any treasury in the world ; but this I 
will leave to the wise legislators & other dignitaries of the land, to find 
out & apply the corrective in this as well as other matters. That the 
war is an unpopular one, as regards a majority of the people of the 
country there cannot be a doubt, & the result of the recent elections in 
some of the large states proves conclusively that owing to the war, tarif, 
vetoing the appropriations for improving rivers & harbors, M r Polk & 
his immediate advisers are completely broken down for the present ; 
there must be a majority in the lower branch of the national legisla 
ture against them after the 4 th of March next so as to embarrass all their 
operations ; how it will all end time must determine, & I must say I 
look forward with great anxiety as to the cors of things in our present 
congress as well as in that of Mexico connected with this war I am 
fully sensible as well as duly grateful that the people or a majority of 
them have & and are ready to award me an ample share of credid for my 
sacrifices in this war notwithstanding the open & covert attacks & insinua 
tions of numerous letterwriters & other, envious & sycophantic who 
envy acts they cannot emulate or are not inclined to accomplish ; but are 
anxious to reduce their superiors to a level with themselves by detraction 
of the basest kind, & description, in a way which they cannot be detected ; 
however so far as I am concerned their insinuations or attacks give me 

75 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

no concern ; as to the attack, movement &c on Monterey they origin 
ated with me, as well as finding the means of transportation, which the 
agents of the gov* was not able to supply after trying four or five months, 
is as M r Vanburen 1 would say, " glory enough for me," & to spare a 
considerable quantity to others who deserve but little, which they are dis 
posed to make a great deal of, for themselves and their employers at the 
expense of truth, &c. There is now but little reliance to be placed on 
most of those filling prominent places, or those who are overrly anxious 
to do so. The late elections or rather their results I think will prevent 
many of those of the present party in power, who are looking forward to 
the White House from assailing me, as their hopes in regard to the same 
must be at an end for some years to come ; & the whigs I trust as their 
prospects are brightening will fix on some able politician to fill that high 
station without connecting my name with the same ; for could I reach 
the presidency by announcing publicly my wishes to that effect, I cer 
tainly would never arrive at the same ; at the same time I will not say I 
would not serve if the good people were to be inprudent enough as to 
elect me ; but I would much prefer at the close of the present war, in a 
great measure to retire from the bustle of public life, & to pass the few 
days or years which may be alotted me in quietness if not in retirement 

I shall leave here in a few days for Victoria & some other towns 
situated at the foot of the Sierra Madre, & may go as far as Tampico 
with a portion of my com d for the purpose of taking possession of & 
occupying some two or said towns, as well as to make myself acquainted 
with the several passes through the mountains referred to, in the direction 
of San Luis Potosi, how far they can be used for wheel carriages &c 
should it be found necessary to push our operations in that direction 

The arrangement you suggested as regards D r Russell was this 
moment laid before me by Surg n Finlay & the same complied with 

I do not expect to return to Monterey from my trip above referred 
to short of six weeks unless some movement of the enemy should render 



I Martin Van Buren was born in Kinderhook, Columbia county, N. Y., December 5, 1782, and died there July 24, 1862. 
For many years he was active in New York state politics. He was elected a senator of the United States in 1821 and was 
re-elected in 1827 but resigned to accept the governorship of the state, to which he was elected in 1828. In 1832 he was elected 
vice-president of the United States on the ticket with Andrew Jackson and in 1836 was elected to the presidency, defeating Wil 
liam Henry Harrison and other whigs. In 1840 he was defeated by General Harrison. In 1848 he was nominated by the free 
soil democrats, and his candidacy, which split the democratic vote, enabled General Taylor, the whig candidate, to triumph over 
Lewis Cass. Thereafter Mr. Van Buren was only a spectator in the arena of politics. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

it necessary for me to do so ; so you need hardly expect to hear from 
me before that time ; I now write under constant interruption & am 
doubtful of your being able to read what I have written 

Wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity I remain truly 

& sincerely 

Your Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

Fort Polk Texas 



H d Q 9 Ay of Occupation or Invasion 

Monterey Mexico Dec r 13 th 1846 
Dear Doctor, 

I wrote you a day or two ago which letter I intended to send by the 
mail, which leaves to-day, & will do so, so that this will accompany it ; 
since closing it, the express got here from Camargo bringing me your 
interesting letters of the 26 th 28 th & 30 th ult but nothing beyond the 
Brasos 

As regards the taking possession of Tampico, I had rec d a report 
from Co 1 Gates 1 after his arrival there in regard to the same stating that 
he had relieved the sailors & marines, left there to garrison it, which was 
all very well ; alth he communicates but little information of interest 
derived from the heroine of the Navy, or from any other source 

A copy of a letter from Commodore Perry 2 to Maj r Gardner, about 
the necessity of sending more troops parading before the eyes of no 
doubt the astonished Maj r the great names of Governor Johnson, of 



1 William Gates (1788-1868) was graduated from the Military Academy in 1806 and served fifty-seven years in the army, 
retiring in 1863 as a brigadier-general by brevet. He took an important part in the War of 1812, served on the frontier, and was 
then sent to Florida, where he personally captured Osceola. During the war with Mexico he was colonel of the Third Artillery, 
and from 1846 to 1848 acted as governor of Tampico. Collinson Reed Gates, previously mentioned (note 4, page 2), was his son. 

2 Christopher Raymond Perry (1761-1818) was made post-captain in the navy in 1798. He had five sons, all of whom became 
naval officers Oliver Hazard, Raymond H. J., Matthew Calbraith, James Alexander, and Nathanael Hazard. General Taylor 
refers in the text to Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858), who entered the navy in 1809. He saw considerable service in various 
parts of the world and was such a scholarly man that in after years he was spoken of as "a chief educator of the United States navy." 
He was made a captain in 1837. In the Mexican war he had oversight of the steam navy and captured and occupied many of the 
landing places along the Mexican coast. When it was found that General Scott s light artillery was unable to breach the walls at 
Vera Cruz, Perry landed six of the heaviest guns of his fleet, sent crews of his best gunners ashore and in two days the sailors tired 
1,300 rounds, reduced the walls to rubbish and made a breach fifty feet wide, thus enabling the army to capture the city and begin 
the march into the interior. He organized and commanded the memorable expedition to Japan in 1853. 

77 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Louisiana, & Gen ls Jesup & Brook, 1 to back his judgment in regard to 
this matter of such vital importance, which has given me a contemptable 
opinion of the Comm e as it was all to gloryfy himself in connection with 
his trip to N. Orleans, for taking possession of a fortified place which he 
must have known was abandoned by the enemy some time before he 
went there, as the Mexican commander in chief, gave the order for 
doing so, which was published in the n. papers in the City of Mexico & 
rec d here near or quite a month since, but the " lord deliver me " from 
all locofocoes 2 may I ever pray ;" but entertain a more contempable 
opinion of Brook & Jesup, the former however ought to be excused as 
being a mess of wax in the hands of the later, if they in any way advised, 
that the destination of the troops ordered here, or any portion of them, 
should be changed to Tampico, particularly the seven comp s of mounted 
Rifles under Maj r Burbridge, or any portion of the recruits sent out for 
the Reg te here & in my advance, much less if either of those gentlemen 
took the responsibility of giving any orders to that effect, which I can 
hardly suppose was the case ; as to Gov r Johnson as a matter of course 
he would acquiesce in any suggestions as regarded the subject in ques 
tion, which the individuals referred to would make, not understanding 
anything about it. It is impossible operations of a successful character 
can be carried on against the enemy if orders are given by irresponsible 
individuals in my rear & the destination of troops changed ordered out 
to reenforce me without my knowledge or authority. This Tampico 
affair seems to have turned the heads of most of those in authority in 
my rear between this & N. Orleans, including Gen 1 Patterson ; Mr. 
Marcy s having been in that state for some time past. Well might 
Gen 1 Scott dread a fire in his rear, with such people to do with. I con 
sider Gates com d was fully sufficient for the safety of Tampico, yet I 
ordered him to be reenforced by two additional comp s of artillery Nor 
mans & Vannesses, & a Reg { of Volunteers ; I look on that place as of 
no consequence unless there is a road from it for wheel carriages to San 

I George Mercer Brooke was born in Virginia and died in San Antonio, Texas, March 9, 1851. He entered the army in 
1808, served gallantly during the War of 1811, became brevet brigadier-general in 1824, fought during the Mexican war, and in 
1848 received the brevet of major-general. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Luis Potisi, or to the City of Mexico over which an army could operate, 
which from all the information I have been able to collect, I am inclined 
to believe is not the case, notwithstanding I intend to have that matter 
fully ascertained by our Topographical engineers ; if found to be im 
practicable the best thing which could be done with Tampico, would be 
to destroy the fortifications & abandon it, leaving one of our small armed 
vessels to prevent any intercourse with it by Sea. On the contrary, if a 
practicable ro?.d should be found from it to either of the named places it 
will be of great importance both as a dep & base to operate from. 
Otherwise the services of every man left there would be pretty much 
thrown away whether we march against San Louis, or go to Vera Cruz, 
for if the first should be taken Tampico would have fallen as a matter 
of course. 

I wish those authorised to do so, to inform me so far as my com 
mand is concerned, or those placed under my orders as to what they wish 
done, after which let there be no improper interference at Washington or 
between there & my h d Qu s 

On the subject of the request of the artillery Compy of Newport 
Road Island, I would very gladly comply with their wishes if I felt 
authorized to do so ; but as that was not the case, I have refferred the 
matter to the dep recommending in strong terms that the application 
should be favorably acted on, which I hope will be the case 

I make no doubt Jesup come out to N. Orleans to be ready to 
take advantage of any thing which might occur to give him a com d here, 
or any thing else that he could make capital out of; he has been angling 
all his life for popularity, in more ways than one ; the idia attempted to 
be played off on the community, that he come out to attend to the duties 
of his dept will do for some who do not understand him ; but those that 
know him are aware that was a mere pretext ; But be all this as it may, I 
have not the slightest objection to his or any one else being assigned to a 
command here, if they should supersede me 

I have no doubt many of Webs 1 statements as communicated to 
him by Cass, are entirely correct, particularly as to the course of the 
administration in regard to appointments, both civil & military, they must 



I Possibly he means James Watson Webb of New York, whose newspaper, the "Courier and Enquirer," was the chief organ 
of the whig party. 

79 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

& will all be made from the dominant party. If John succeeds in get 
ting into the Navy, it must be through political influence, & Ann must 
hold Co 1 Tibbatts to his promise, who is a good locofoco or was, & no 
doubt can have him appointed if he will make an application to that 
effect which I make no doubt he will do if reminded of the same. I 
have been detained here several days longer than I calculated on, but will 
leave early to-morrow morning for Linares Victoria &c, part of the 
command having left yesterday for those places, & the balance this morn 
ing. Nothing new from our front or in fact from any other quarter 

In commencing my letter after writing over the first side of the 
sheet, by a mistake being very much interrupted I skipped by mistake 
the other side which is left blank, but continued on the next which is 
numbered, so that you will find no difficulty in making it out 

Co 1 Taylor left here about two weeks since in quite feeble health, I 
feel very uneasy about him. Wishing you & yours continued health & 
prosperity I remain truly & sincerely 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. A Fort Polk 
Texas. 



Monterey Mexico Janr? 26 th 1847 
My dear D r 

I wrote you from Victoria about the 15 th ins* informing you of 
occurrences as regarded the unpleasant position in regard to military 
matters in which I had been placed in up to that time ; that I had been 
stripped of nearly the whole of the regular force & more than one half 
of the Volunteers, & ordered here to act on the defensive ; I left the 
next day for this place, & reached here without accident on the 23 d & 
was disappointed in not finding letters on my arrival from Baton Rouge, 
not having rec d a letter from there for some time, but was gratified to 
hear when Bob left there & you last heard, all were in the enjoyment 
of good health, which I truly & sincerely hope will continue to be the 
case 

80 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TATLOR 

On my way back I rec d several letters from you, with several in- 
closures of extracts from various papers, & one or two late papers, but 
which contain but little of importance ; the proceedings of congress 
which have reached us, being only a few days after the meeting of that 
body, but for all of which I sincerely that you. I do not recollect the 
exact dates of your several interesting letters but was particularly gratified 
at the extract from Johns letter contained in one of yours, both as to 
stile & the sentiments therein contained, & alth I most heartily wish him 
success as his heart appears to be fixed on a life of that description, but I 
greatly fear he is doomed to disappointment, & deeply regret I have not 
the power to aid him, as I feel satisfied from his disposition capacity &c 
he would succeed in the profession, & if his life was spared he would 
reach an enviable position in that branch of the public service ; my only 
expectation or hope for him is that M r Mason 1 may have magnanimity 
enough to appoint him, disregarding party considerations ; I have not 
the slightest respect for any other member of the cabinet ; alth not per 
sonally acquainted with him, I learn he is a gentleman of integrity & 
firmness, & if he does not receive the same on the letters you wrote on 
the subject to different individuals, he may at once abandon all hopes, & 
turn his attention to some other pursuit or profession ; his going to sea 
except in the public service, I consider a bad business, as there are no 
lack of other pursuits in our country, more desirable, & it is yet time 
enough for him to determine on some other ; at the same time let him 
pursue his studies with zeal & persevrance as heretofore, & all I hope 
will yet go well with him 

Before this reaches you I presume the whole of the troops destined 
for Vera Cruz, will have embarked for that place, who were assembled at 
Brasos for that object, & have proceed on their way to their place of des 
tination ; I cannot know what force will be left behind, until Gen 1 S. 
completes his command, either regulars or volunteers ; whether any of 
the new Regt s have arrived of Volunteers, I have not learned but pre 
sume it is the case ; if so, what disposition is to be made of them, I have 
not yet been made acquainted as to the same ; it seems to me the great 
object so far as I am concerned or connected with conducting or the 



i John W. Mason of Virginia (1799-1859) was the fifth man who held the office of secretary of the navy under President 
Tyler. He served also for three years under President Polk and was minister to England from 1854 to 859. 

81 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

management of the war in this quarter, is to keep me as much in the 
dark in regard to the same as it was possible to do ; particularly as far as 
the authorities at Washington are concerned. I feel some anxiety to 
know whether or not Co 1 Taylor accompanied the expidition to Vera 
Cruz ; you as a matter of course I presume was left behind 

About the 1 5 th ins a young officer who was sent by Gen 1 Butler, 
L c Richey 1 of the 5 th Infr with copies of Gen 1 Scotts orders to him Gen 1 
B. to detach all the regular troops to Brasos, imprudently halted for the 
night at a small village between this & Victoria, left or got a short dis 
tance from his escort after dark, & was murdered & his despatches taken, 
& are no doubt ere this in possession of Gen 1 Santa Anna 

I stated in my last letter from Victoria to you my impression & 
feelings at the way in which I had been treated by those who happened 
to have the power to do so at Washington & elsewhere & deem it un 
necessary to allude particularly to it at this time 

I found matters & things here rather in a gloomy state, but it is 
possible I may look on the dark side of the picture, & trust I do ; 
hoping after a short time everything will become bright & cheerful at 
any rate in appearances. Gen 1 Lane 2 of the Indianna Volunteers sta 
tioned at Saltillo 60 or 70 miles in advance of this place where there is a 
considerable force stationed, writes to Gen 1 Butler, which communication 
was rec d last night, that a Maj r Boland^ of the Arkensas mounted men 
who had been sent out with one comp^ of his Reg 1 on the San Luis 
Potosi road to watch the movements of the enemy, & gain intelligence 
had been surprised & the whole captured ; as no official report has been 
made of this affair by Gen 1 Wool who is in command of the troops sta- 



1 John A. Richy was born in Ohio and was graduated from the Military Academy in 1845. He became second lieutenant of 
the Fifth Infantry June 29, 1846, and was murdered by Mexicans January 13, 1847, while the bearer of despatches. 

2 James Henry Lane was born in Lawrenceburg, Ind., June 22, 1814, and died by his own hand, while his mind was unbal 
anced, near Leavcnworth, Kan., July I, 1866. In May, 1846, he enlisted as a private in the Third Indiana regiment of volunteers, 
was chosen colonel, and commanded a brigade at Buena Vista. He became colonel of the Fifth Indiana in 1847, was elected 
lieutenant-general of the state in 1848, served in congress from 1853 to 1855, and then removed to Kansas, where he took a very 
active part in the political and military movements of ante-bellum days. He was elected a senator from Kansas in 1861 on the 
admission of the territory to statehood and was re-elected in 1865. For a short time after the outbreak of the Civil war he was a 
brigadier-general of volunteers. 

3 For Solon Borland, who was born in Virginia and died in Texas, January 31, 1864. He was educated in North Carolina, 
removed to Arkansas, served in the Mexican war as major in Yell s cavalry, and was taken prisoner with Major Gaines in January, 
1847. He was discharged when his troop was disbanded in June of that year, but continued in the service as a volunteer aide-de 
camp to General Worth to the close of the war. After his return to Arkansas he was appointed to the senate of the United States. 
After a service of five years he was appointed minister to the Central American states. He was there a year and when at the vil 
lage of San Juan de Nicaragua, on his way to the United States, he was attacked by a mob. This insult was the chief ground for 
the bombardment and destruction of the village (Greytown) by the sloop of war Cyane, July 13, 1854, under instructions from the 
government of the United States. When Arkansas passed a resolution of secession, Mr. Borland went with his state and was 
advanced to the rank of brigadier-general in the military service of the Confederacy. 

82 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

tioned at Saltillo & vicinity, I trust there is some mistake in the matter 
& that it will turn out to be incorrect ; if true, I shall proceed to that 
place immediately where I shall establish my H d Q rs & put things in the 
condition to meet the enemy. If however the information proves erroni- 
ous, I shall defer going until the 6 th or y th of Febr? when I expect to 
remain there until I am relieved by an order from Washington, which I 
hope will be given in a great while accompanied by permission for me to 
leave the country 

I hope you took Bob up to see Matamoros & that he was quite 
pleased with his visit there ; remember me most affectionately to him, & 
say to him I hope he will very soon return to B. Rouge, & commence 
his school operations with renewed application so as to make up for the 
time he had lost in making you a visit. Also my kindest regards to 
Co 1 T. should you meet with him, & wishing you continued health & 

prosperity I remain truly & sincerely 

Your Friend 

SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. A. Fort Polk Texas 



Monterey Mexico Jan? 30* 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

I wrote you a few days since immediately on my return here from 
Victoria, where I had intend to have remained a short time to have 
recruited a little after being I may [say] constantly in the saddle for six 
weeks ; & until Gen 1 Scott left the Brasos taking with him what portion 
of the force in my rear, he might think proper, after striping me in front 
& on my flanks, so that I might make the best disposition I might deem 
most advisable for the defence of the enemies country we have taken 
possession of; but information from the advance at Saltillo 60 or 70 
miles in front of this place, which is that Maj r Gaines 1 accompanied by 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Cap c C. M. Clay 1 & his company, & Maj r Borland with Cap* Donally & 
comfy the first K^ mounted men, the latter Arkensas reg* in all 80 or 90 
men who were sent out on the San Luis Potosi road, to gain intelligence 
of the movements & position of the enemy, had been surprised, killed 
or made prisoners, not one escaping to tell the news ; this is official ; & 
an other report has this moment reached me, that an other corny of the 
same reg f had the day after been captured, alth coming from high 
authority, it is a report only, & I sincerely hope is untrue ; be this as 
it may, I shall leave at day light to-morrow, for that portion of the army 
left me with a reenforcement of 700 men, & hope if it has been lost, to 
restore confidence among them if possible. It is reported also that, the 
enemy are in force principally cavalry, in the vicinity of Saltillo with large 
reenforcements on the way to join them from San Luis Potosi. Be this 
as it may, should they offer us battle I shall indulge them, be the con 
sequences what they may. We now begin to see the fruits of the arrange 
ments recently made at Washington, by an intrigue of Marcey, Scott & 
Worth to take from me nearly the whole of the regular forces under my 
command, while in the immediate front of the enemy if not in their 
presance 

By a mail which reached here last night, by which I rec d nothing 
public or private, bringing papers from the East, Washington dates up 
to the first ins 1 it seems that great changes are contemplated in the army, 
not on by adding a number of additional regular troops, but that the 
office of L l Gen 1 will be recommended by the president, which will be 
confirred on Thos H. Benton should a law to the effect be passed by 



I Cassius M. Clay, whose career was most extraordinary. He was born in Madison county, Ky., October 19, 1810, was 
graduated from Yale in 1832, and became a violent abolitionist, under the teachings of William Lloyd Garrison. On his return 
to Kentucky he was elected several times to the legislature, but being defeated on account of his anti-slavery views he established 
at Lexington, June 3, 1845, an anti-slavery paper, "The True American." Mob violence was threatened. In his memoirs he said : 
" 1 selected for my office a brick building, and lined the outside doors with sheet-iron, to prevent them being burned. I purchased 
two brass four-pounder cannon at Cincinnati, and placed them, loaded with shot and nails, on a table, breast high ; had folding- 
doors secured with a chain, which could open on the mob and give play to the cannon. I furnished my office with Mexican lances 
and a limited number of guns. There were six or eight persons who stood ready to defend me. If defeated, they were to escape 
by a trap-door in the roof; and I had placed a keg of powder with a match, which I could set off and blow up the office and all 
my invaders; and this I should most certainly have done in case of the last extremity." In August, 1845, while he was sick his 
press was seized and he was threatened with assassination ; but he continued to publish his paper, printing it in Ohio and circu 
lating it in Kentucky. He was continually involved in quarrels, had several bloody personal encounters, and habitually went heavily- 
armed. At the beginning of the war with Mexico, to which he was opposed as likely to lead to an extension of slavery, he entered 
the service as captain of a volunteer company, deeming a military title " necessary to political advancement in a state like Ken 
tucky." After he and his companions were captured while in advance of General Taylor s army they were marched to the City 
of Mexico. When exchanged he returned to Kentucky and plunged into politics. He worked for General Taylor s nomination 
to the presidency in 1848 and did more than any other man to carry the state of Kentucky for him. He labored energetically for 
Fremont s election in 1856 and for Lincoln s in 1860. In 1861 he was appointed minister to Russia, served two years, resigned, 
and was again appointed to this position, serving till 1869. On his return he was a violent opponent of Grant s administration ; 
in 1872 he supported Greeley for the presidency ; in 1876 he was for Tilden, and in 1884 for Elaine. In his old age Clay married 
a child and his last days were embittered by domestic strife. He died of general debility at White Hall, Ky., July 22, 1903. 

8 4 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

congress ; if all this is done I for one will not complain, after the manner 
I have been treated. But enough on this subject, & I have at any rate 
not time to say more 

Inclosed you will find five hund dollars in treasury notes which 
please hold on to for one year as they bear an interest of five per cent, or 
if you think best invest the same in any other way for the benefit of Ann 
& the children or rather the latter 

If Co 1 Taylor & Bob are still with you remember me to them most 

kindly 

With respect & esteem 

Your Friend Truly 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. A. Fort Polk Texas 
I send this by Cap f Waggaman 



Camp at Agua Nueava 

Mexico Feby 9 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your several letters of the 8 th i8 th 24 th & 25 th with extracts from 
various newspapers in relation to various matters, particularly in regard 
to subjects connected with the manner of conducting the war, was rec d a 
few days since, for which I sincerely thank you. As to the course which 
has been pursued toward me by the authorities at Washington, in which 
I am satisfied Gen 1 Scott took a conspicuous part notwithstanding his 
professions I shall say but little having expressed my views pretty freely 
to you in my last communication from Monterey. One of the expecta 
tions of those who perpetrated the outrage against me was, that I would 
at once leave the country, in disgust & return to the U. States which if I 
had done so, would have been freely used by them to my disadvantage, 
as far as they could have done so, but in this I shall disappoint them, as 
I have determined to remain & do my duty no matter under what cir 
cumstances until I am withdrawn, or entirely superseded by the orders 

85 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

of those who placed me in command here. At the same time I have 
addressed a communication to the adj* Gen 1 of the army, to be submitted 
to the Secy of War, & by him to be laid before the President of the U. 
States, complaining in strong but respectful terms as to the manner I 
have been treated, pointing out the injurious effects which has resulted to 
the public service growing out of the same ; which communication may 
have the effect of an order from the War dep 1 for me to return at once 
to the Un. States, if nothing worse ; but I shall [not] flinch from 
any cours the Sec? may think proper toward me 

As I informed you I was about to do, I left Monterey on the 31" 
ult & reached Saltillo on the second ins 1 where there had been owing to 
the capture of two detachments of mounted Volunteers belonging to the 
Kentucky & Arkansas Rgt s consisting of 2 Majr s 3 Capt s 2 or 3 Lt s & 
about 100 picked men & horses, of which I believe I informed you in my 
last letter, by the enemy, in addition to a report that they were advancing 
in great force to drive us from Saltillo, produced such a panic that I 
deemed it necessary at once to join this portion of the army, to restore 
confidence if possible, as well as to be present should the enemy attempt 
to carry his threats, or reported threats into execution. I found most of 
the troops in & near the City of Saltillo, which I considered a very inju 
dicious position, & at once removed them about 2 miles in advance, on 
the San Luis road, where I have established a camp of between 4 & 5 
thousand men, as well as located myself, & where I shall fight the enemy 
should he be disposed to give me battle ; & alth nearly the whole of my 
command are volunteers, I have no doubt we will give a satisfactory 
acc of him, in such an event, as confidence seems to be not only re 
stored, but the greatest enthusiasm appears to pervade the whole of the 
forces, & all express themselves desirous to come in collision with the 
enemy. 

I have ordered to be thrown forward here, by the first of April, 50 
days rations forage transportation &c for 10,000 men when if peace is 
not brought about by that time & Gen 1 S. does not filch from me too 
large a portion of the troops, which he will do as far as he has the means 
of transportation, whether they are necessary or otherwise to the success 
of his expedition, I will if not otherwise instructed from Washington, 
move against the enemy in some quarter or other ; particularly if a land- 

86 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

ing is effected & Vera Cruz taken, & a move made on the City of Mexico 
by our people 

By the last mail which reached here three days since, I rec d an 
answer from Gen 1 Scott to a communication I wrote him from Victoria, 
in which I did not disguise my feelings ; he is somewhat tart in his reply, 
& among other matters advises me to fall back to Monterey ; which I 
informed him I could not think of doing without peremptory orders to 
that effect from proper authority ; he & myself now understand each 
other perfectly, & there can for the future be none other than official 
intercourse between us. As regards the application for Johns app 1 in 
the navy, I do not calculate on its being successful alth from their let 
ters to you, on that subject I am satisfied that M r Cranston and M r Hunt 
as well as some others will do all they can to promote it ; but unfortu 
nately they are on the wrong side of politicks, & I am satisfied that 
nothing I could say or do in the matter would aid him, as you must be 
aware from Wells letter, that I am rather in bad odor at the white 
House ; as I stated before, my only hope as regards this matter is from 
the high character of the Sec? of the navy, who knowing and appreciating 
my position, services &c as they should be, & understanding or knowing 
John s relationship to me, may disregard party considerations & give him 
the app t in question ; if he does not, he John must turn his attention to 
some other business ; at the same time you ought to be satisfied having 
done all in your power to accomplish his wishes. As Rob is with you 
I hope you will be able to keep him constantly employed at his book or 
pen ; it is very important to give him a taste for reading, the greatest 
difficulty will be I apprehend to procure such books as would be proper 
for him to read at his age ; history he might study to great advantage. 
As I understand his mother cannot manage him, it may be best for him 
to be with you, until you leave the country, when you can locate him at 
some literary institution with a prospect of his continuing at it 

I got by last mail a letter from Betty dated at Point Coupee where 
she then was with Puss, the 13 th ult saying they were all well at Baton 
Rouge, where they would go in a day or two, that Dick whose health 
had improved, had just come up for them ; that she had been invited to 
go to N. Orleans with M r & M rs Taylor, but had not made up her mind 
whether or not she would do so 

87 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Congress or the lower House, & I make no doubt the Senate will 
concur has passed a bill to raise ten additional Regt s for the war, the 
whole to be disbanded at its close ; but I cannot see the propriety of the 
measure unless it be to frighten the enemy into making a peace, which I 
still entertain the hope will be the case or that the first steps will be taken 
to bring about the same with the certainty of its succeeding between this 
& the last of March, as they cannot fill the old corps or Regt s 

I presume there will be a great accession to the medical staff, some 
of whom as a matter of course as in the present case of those now in 
service, will do no duty, being appointed from political considerations. 
I observe your remarks in regard to McCormac ; he is among those 
who are to be exempt from field or unpleasant duty of any kind ; it is 
unquestionably much more pleasant to be stationed at the S c Charles with 
fuel & quarters, than to be in the field in flimsy tents in cold & frosty 
weather in a country where there is neither wood or any substitute for 
fuel without in some places going 20 miles in the mountains for it ; the 
wood the army used in Saltillo was brought 20 miles, & procured in the 
mountains. But matters & things must run their course, let them termi 
nate as they may 

I regret to hear of Lanyons illness which arrested him at Louisville 
Kentucky, but truly hope he is so far recovered as to be now on his way 
to N. Orleans if not already there ; & in sufficient health to continue on 
his route to Mexico ; Gen 1 Scotts h d quarters being I presume his place 
of destination. He is however well stricken in years & feeble in health 
& constitution, & it would take but little to carry him off, in which case 
there is now no telling who would succeed him ; I fear as " evil men 
bear sway" it would not be Surg n Mower 

I am truly sorry to hear Gen 1 Jesup intends having the post office 
removed from Point Isabel to Brasos, where it has worked very well ; 
but I presume it will be done for his own convenience & accommodation 
& that of a few of his satalights. I have looked on the Gen 1 as partially 
deranged ever since he wrote the Blair letter ; & I regretted when I 
heard he was coming South to meddle in army operations going on in 
Mexico under my direction, or that of any other person. I think you 
mentioned in one of your letters that he had informed you, that he had 
written me on some subject or other, if so the same has miscarried, as it 

88 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

has never reached me. There has been for the success of our arms, too 
many persons tinkering in my rear with the view of breaking me down, 
or to make a little capital for themself disregarding the interest of the 
country. I deeply regret to hear of the sufferings of your good mother 
& was satisfied at her advanced age, that as soon as she fully understood 
her bereavement there was no hope of comforting her, & would, do all 
her devoted family could to prevent it, soon would carry her to an other 
& to her, no doubt a better world ; which those she leaves behind should 
bear up against with as much resignation as they can summon to their 
aid, & bear in mind that we should never give up the living for the 
dead ; & that it is a debt we must all pay sooner or later 

Finlay after inspecting the Texas Volunteers has permission to leave 
the country on ace 1 of bad health ; I think it would have been better had 
he remained a short time as he will fall under the ban of the powers that 
be at Washington. I am truly sorry to find you write so despondingly ; 
whenever your affairs make it necessary for you to atten to them per 
sonally, I will give you a leave of absence for that object, if left in 
com d But I wish you to put it off as long or as late in the spring as 
possible. If Craig does not return you will be the sen r medical officer 
in the country, & if so & you wish it I will order you to join me as 
medical director. But in this consult your own wishes & convenience. 
I am pained to hear of D r Russells situation & think he had better at 
once leave the country on surgeons certificate which I will approve 
My regards to him & love to Bob. 

Your Friend Truly 

& Sincerely 

Z. TAYLOR. 
SURG* R. C. WOOD. U. S. Army- 



Monterey Mexico March 20 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your two lengthy & interesting letters of the 2o th & 24 th ult ac 
companied by a number of extracts cut from various n. papers on the 
subject of my letter to Maj r Gen 1 Gaines, written last fall which alth not 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

intended for publication, he though proper to turn it over to some one 
who had it published, in the N. York Express, without my consent, 
which would not have been given had I been consulted, but as it has 
been done there is now no recalling it, & of course I will leave the pro 
priety to be discussed as regards my agency in the matter, as well as my 
culpability or otherwise in the transaction ; as well as the attacks made on 
me by order, in congress about the capitulation of Monterey, for all of 
which you have my sincere thanks. The various assaults give me but 
little concern, alth it has brought on me a reprimand from the president, 
in addition to a sharpt one from the Secretary of War, about the impro 
priety of writing the letter in question, blowing me as he supposed up 
with impunity, which he would hardly have ventured to have done to the 
extent he carried it, had he not supposed that by striping me of the 
greater portion of my com d that I was powerless & therefore dare not 
defend myself against his attacks which have been carried on under cover 
against me for the last five months or more ; but he will find himself 
somewhat mistaken, & I have no doubt when he gets my reply to his 
abusive & contemptable letter, he will regret the course he has pursued. 
I observe great hopes are entertained by the party in power, that my 
correspondence about transportation &c will not bear the light, & when 
ever published will break me down ; but I say let them give it to the 
public without garbling, & I shall have nothing to fear or regret. 

I am satisfied that Scott, Marcy & Co. have been more anxious to 
break me down, than they have been to break down Santa Anna, & the 
Mexicans, for never was an officer left so completely bound hand & foot 
under all the circumstances of the case, at the mercy of the enemy, after 
the most uncourteous, & I may say insulting course having been pursued 
toward me, by the party referred to ; but through the blessings of divine 
providence I have disappointed their expectations if not defeated their 
nefarious schemes ; & feel proud however in knowing that by pursuing 
the course I did, that I saved the honor of the country, & our glorious 
flag from trailing in the dust ; had I left the country as many of my 
warmest friends advised me to have at once done on the rec 1 of Scotts 
outrageous order at Victoria, there would not at this moment have been 
any portion of the country on this side the Rio Grande in our posses 
sion, except Matamoros. This & every other place above that, must 

90 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

have been abandoned or the garrison have fallen into the hands of the 
enemy ;~had I left at the time referred to the battle of Buena Vista never 
would have been fought ; & had that not been fought & won, Santa 
Anna would have swept the whole country we had conquered in this por 
tion of Mexico. If Scott had left me five hundred or one thousand 
regular Infr the Mexican army would have been completely broken 
down, & the whole of their artillery & baggage taken or destroyed ; as it 
was we were barely able to maintain ourselves. The volunteers behaved 
nobly which the number of their killed & wounded will bear witness to. 
How the country will act on the occasion time must determine, but it 
seems to me that the friends of those who fell on that occasion should 
hold meetings in the several states & call on the president to remove 
Marcy from his present position as being entirely incompetent to the 
situation ; as well as to send Scott back to Washington but it is possible 
things may be so artfully managed as to bring popular opinion to bear 
on me for not killing or capturing Santa Anna & the whole of his army. 
I think Finlay was overly anxious to get back to his family, & it 
seems to me it would have been much more creditable to him had he 
remained & gone on duty at some post where he could have been sta 
tionary for a time at least ; but he was constantly complaining of ill 
health so much so as to incapacitate him for duty ; so I thought it as 
well to permit him at once to leave. I understand that Jarvis & Turner 
have both so managed matters with or through Co 1 Curtis then in com d at 
Camargo to get sent out of the country with despatches the first to 
Washington to let the dep t know the perilous situation the army under 
my com d was in & the latter to apprise them of the repulse of the enemy 
at Buena Vista. So it seems that the medical dep c appear to be peculiarly 
fitted for carrying expresses. As I learn the Surg n Gen 1 come out in the 
steamer N. York I hope you had an interview with him, & arranged 
matters to your satisfaction ; if not that you are prepared to leave, on 
the leave of absence which you must have rec d from my h d quarters, ere 
now. As Jarvis & Turner have left the country the only alternative 
will be for you to hire a citizen surgeon to relieve you. I left Saltillo 
on the 8 th & arrived here on the 9 th & found the communications be 
tween this & Camargo entirely cut off which is not yet entirely restored 
as the enemy are carrying on an active war against our wagon trains & 

9 1 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

expresses some of which have been cut off & destroyed, so many as to 
have caused a great panic among the volunteers or many of them, so that 
large escorts must accompany every train & even then they have not suc 
ceeded in getting through in safety ; but I hope as soon as some two or 
three of the new regt 8 arrive security as well as confidence will be given 
& restored to persons & property passing the Rio Grande & this place. 

The remarks of Scott to Waggaman that he supposed I had a 
larger force of regulars, than was the case, & that he did not intend to 
have so completely striped me of that description of force, is untrue, as 
he had the monthly returns before him, which were regularly made out, 
& transmitted for his as well as for the information of others to the 
adj 1 gen 1 of the army. I rec d a letter from Betty who with Dick was in 
N. Orleans, dated the 2O th ult in which she says all were well in Baton 
Rouge a few days before she wrote ; also that she would return home in 
a day or two. 

Unless you are fortunate enough to see Lawson at Brasos, you can 
hardly expect to do so in Washington even admitting you have to go 
East, as I presume he will hardly leave the army he is now with before 
the close of the campaign ; Betty speaks of meeting him in N. Orleans. 
I have no idea that John will succeed in getting an appointment ; his 
relationship to me forbids any such expectation. I regret to hear of Co 1 
Taylors bad spirits, & have written him but once since the battle of 
Buena Vista, & then very briefly merely informing him of my safety, & 
the result, for two reasons, one that I looked for him here as he stated 
he would leave Matamoros for this place as soon as Gen 1 Scott left 
Brasos Island, and secondly I can hard find time to write a sintence for 
morning to night without interruption from some one, so much so as 
frequently almost to come to the determination to give up except to my 
family all private correspondence ; for I frequently am at a loss to know, 
where I left off, or where to commence a sentence. I yet hope from the 
feelings which are now manifested toward me by the authorities in Wash 
ington, in conjunction with some letters I have addressed to the Secy of 
War, that I would be recalled or superseded in the com d in a few weeks 
which will afford me the opportunity to return to Louisean, which by no 
means will be an unacceptable arrangement ; & I truly hope my expecta 
tions may be realized. The attacks in the papers give me no concern 

92 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

nor shall I notice any of them, but continue to pursue the " even tenor 
of my way " without turning to the right or left to pleas any one. It 
would afford me much real pleasure to learn that you had been assigned 
to a desirable station somewhere ; but should you fail in this & find 
affairs to take such a course as in your opinion to make it necessary for 
you to leave the service, look well to it before doing so, so that you may 
not hereafter have cause to regret it. My love to dear Ann & the 
children when you see or write them, as it is possible you may leave 
before this reaches Fort Polk if so I presume as a matter of course, you 
will leave directions for your letters to be forwarded ; also my love to 
Bob, & wishing you & yours continued health happiness & prosperity 
I remain truly your 

Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

Fort Polk Texas 



Monterey Mexico 

April 4 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your welcome letter of the 3 d ult was duly rec d I was very much 
pleased to learn you had met the Surg n Gen 1 who had made arrange 
ments with Gen 1 Brooke, to assign you to duty at the N. Orleans Bar 
racks on your arrival in that city ; which during the greater portion of 
the year is in some respects a desirable position ; besides being some 
what expensive, the greatest objection to it, is its unhealthiness during a 
few months of almost every year, when it has to be abandoned during 
that time to avoid the yellow fever, or some other epidemic prevails ; 
however all considered the arrangement may be looked on as a fortu 
nate one, as it will at least enable you to have your family with you, 
which is a matter of great importance. You will I presume during the 
summer, if not the balance of the year, besides Maj r Jouett & family, 
have Co 1 Whistler & his people there ; but it will be well to make the 

93 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

best out of what cannot be avoided ; & to get along with such people the 
best plan is to adopt I have found is to be very polite, without being too 
intimate. Your leave of absence was forwarded some time since, but 
may have been delayed in consequence of our communications having 
been cut off between this & Camargo, by the enemy for several weeks, 
but if you left before the order reached, it is all very well, & hope by this 
time if not before, if your trip across the gulf was a favorable one, you 
have reached your place of destination & without accident 

Since my return here, our communications with the Rio Grande 
have been pretty well reestablished, & our trains are passing between 
here & Camargo without interruption, with moderate escorts ; there is 
now nothing to apprehend in that direction but small bands of robbers, 
who infest the greater portion of the inhabited parts of this unfortunate 
country 

I observe my letter to Maj r Gaines published in the N. York 
Express has made a wonderful sensation among politicians, editors & 
others throughout the country ; all of which I really look upon as 
" much ado about nothing " & it is a pity there was not something of 
more importance to agitate or to amuse to keep up an excitement among 
the masses 

What effect the battle of Buena Vista will have on the Mexican 
nation, as regards opening the way for negotiations, as to bringing about 
a peace between the the two countries time must determine ; but I truly 
hope it will have the happyest results ; the best informed portion of the 
Mexicans in this part of the country, say there will be peace in a few 
months, to which I say amen with all my heart. Whether my despatch 
to the Secretary of War, announcing the result of said battle, will be 
replied to or its receipt acknowledged by that high functionary, time 
must also determine ; as he has not for the last five months condescended 
to acknowledge a single communication from me, some of which I con 
ceive was of much importance as regards the service in this quarter, much 
less to reply to them ; but if he still persists in pursuing such a con- 
temptable, pitiful & ungentlemanly a course for the purpose of insulting 
or outraging me, which is quite likely he will do, but which is a matter 
of no importance, as the people will compell him to lay before the 
country in some one of the public journals said despatch, no matter how 

94 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

unwilling he may be to do so There has been constantly carried on 
against me, ever since the battle of Monterey by the high functionaries 
at Washington covertly attacks against me ; see the attacks of Ficklin 
Thompson & others in the House of Representatives, & Cass Bagby 1 
&c in the Senate, all of which no doubt was made by order, which how 
ever gives me no concern; but I do not believe the War Secretary 
would have unmasked his batteries which he made the publication of my 
letter to Ge i 1 Gaines the pretext for doing, had he not supposed the 
arrangement entered into by him Scott & Co. would prostrate me ; that 
by withdrawing the greater part of the troops from me, & leaving me 
exposed to the enemy, which course they thought would be safer than to 
recall or relieve me, that I would either leave the country at once, or it 
was possible I might be laid on the shelf here, by barely acting on the 
defensive, or if the enemy advanced in force on the line I was left to 
defend with a greatly inadequate force, I would either be beaten, or 
would have fallen back on or beyond the Rio Grande, & in either con 
tingency I would have been darned as a military man ; but thanks to a 
kind providence their nefarious schemes have been all defeated & the 
battle of Buena Vista I trust is the best reply I can make to them or 
their slanderous attacks 

It is matter of some little gratification that I pursued the identical 
course I did, for without one particle of vanity entering into the whole 
matter I am satisfied I saved the honor of the country, & our glorious 
stars & stripes from being trailed in the dust ; for had I left on the 
receipt of of Gen 1 Scotts unmilitary & outrageous order for the U. States 
which many of my friends advised me to do we would not now have 
occupied a post other than Matamoros, if that save on the sea coast this 
side the Rio Grande, for as it was our communications between here 
& that river, was entirely cut off It is possible however that the 
dominant party may out, as well as in congress charge me with neglect 
of duty, in not capturing Santa Anna & the whole of his army, & that 
a vote of censure to that effect at the next session may be gotten up, & 
even pass that body ; the White House has set the whole pack of aspir 
ants to the occupancy of the same, to barking & snapping at my heels, 



I Meaning Orlando B. Ficklin, a representative from Kentucky, James Thompson, a representative from Pennsylvania, Lewis 
Cass, a senator from Michigan, and Arthur P. Bagby, a senator from Alabama. All were democrats. 

95 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

including Jesup, Scott & others ; I obseve in a speech of Casses in the 
Senate, he takes the opportunity to eulogis in high terms the Q r Master 
Gen 1 to shield the dep 1 from the attacks I had made on it; by referring to 
& quoting from a letter written by Jesup to the War dep f in which Cass 
is made to say, that Jesup stated to the War dep* that the army had 
double the am t of transportation they needed at Fort Polk & Brown 
before the arrival of the Volunteers; as long as the army in question 
remained stationary, this might be so; but said statement was made to 
mislead & deceive the public & therefore was nothing more, nor less than 
a cool & premeditated falsehood ; as to Jesup, I have not looked on him 
as entirely sane since he wrote that more than rediculous Blair letter; but 
it is worse than rediculous that a U. States Senitor should endorse his 
absurd & erroneous statements; I dare him Cass & the whole concern to 
show before a proper tribunal that there is one word which is untrue in 
the letter to Gen 1 Gaines, or that I have written to any one else in regard 
to transportations or any thing else, I have written since I have been in 
Mexico, or that is even highly coloured, M r Jesup & M r Casses state 
ment to the contrary notwithstanding 

It is quite likely there will be no more fighting in this section other 
than with small detachments who may perhaps attempt to rifle the trains, 
or rob smal parties in the road between this & Camargo; Gen 1 Santa 
Anna has gone to the City of Mexico where there is a revolution going 
on against the gov where it is stated there was considerable fighting 

o o o o 

between the parties the 6 th y th & 8 th ult ; he Santa Anna taking with him 
about six thousand troops from San Louis, in his proclimation issued just 
before leaving he will to save the beautiful City of Mexico & put down 
anarchy & strife, which is destroying the best interest of the country, he 
intends taking matters into his own hands ; so that it seems to me if we 
have another serious fight in this direction, or with this column, it will not 
be this side San Louis Potosi, or Zucatecas 

Inclosed I you will find a check for five hundred on Co 1 Hunt 
depty Q r Gen 1 which please dispose of as you may think most advisable 
for the benefit of your family 

You could certainly do me no good by remaining at Point Isabel or 
Brazos, alth I do not consider the reports as regards our situation even 
at all exagerated, we might say with truth we were left at the mercy of the 

96 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

enemy, & nothing short of a miracle, saved us; our situation was a much 
more dangerous & desperate one than we were placed in at Forts Polk & 
Brown before the battles of the 8 th & 9 th of May last ; why we were left 
as a forlorn hope to be destroyed by the enemy without there being any 
necessity for it, is a mystery to me, which can only be solved or explained 
by Marcy & Scott, which I hope some of the friends of those who fell on 
the plains of Buena Vista who was worth a hundred of them, will compell 
them to do 

If this reaches you at Baton Rouge or if at N. Orleans Barracks, & 
they are with you my love to Ann & the children; or if you are at the 
latter place & they are at Baton Rouge, do so when you write; & wishing 
you & yours continued health health & prosperity I remain truly your 

Friend 

SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. Army 

N. Orleans Barracks. 

P. S. Lawsons regards are duly appreciated. 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

May 9 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your several letters of the 4 th 12 th & 18 th with several enclosures & 
accompanied by a number of late newspapers & extracts cut from others, 
reach me on the 5 th ins t all at the same moment, with innumerable papers 
& letters congratulating me on the result of the battle of Buena Vista, 
many of which I fear I shall never be able to reply to ; but will do all I 
can in that way 

Let me assure you I am truly thankful for your letters which are 
read with deep interest alth it will not be in my power to reply to them 
at length, or even so much so as I could wish, but you must take the will 
for the deed, for be assured the wellfare of you & yours forms among the 
most important considerations in which I am interested ; you also have 

97 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

my thanks, for the papers & slips cut from others, which in addition to 
your letters I have read with pleasure, as well as with deep interest 

I was truly delighted to hear you had made a visit to Baton Rouge, 
where you found all in the enjoyment of good health, especially dear Anns 
so much improved, & truly hope she may have with her family the pleas 
ure of enjoying many years of health, happiness & prosperity. I was 
gratified to hear she Ann had come down with you before bringing the 
children & made the necessary arrangements for housekeeping in the first 
instance, & then returned for them ; & flatter myself they will all join you 
at the proper time in good health, & without accident ; nor do I wish 
them to be in the least hurry in leaving Baton Rouge, hoping it has 
proved a pleasant residence to them. I had hoped that proper schools 
would have been found at B. Rouge adapted to the age & the state of 
acquirements of the children, in which case, most of the children if they 
had been willing to have done so, would have remained with their grand 
mother, at any rate till autumn; at which time it may be well to look out 
for a more healthy position. I have noticed with much interest, M r 
Hunts from which I am satisfied he M r Crittenden & Co 1 Tibbatts done 
all in their power to procure Johns appointment but am & have been 
satisfied it will be without avail at present; he must therefore turn his 
attention to some other pursuit; in the first place completing his educa 
tion; by which time something may be determined on. I deeply regret 
to hear of Dicks continued indisposition, & fear his long residence in N. 
Orleans where there are so many temptations, was not at all favorable to 
his recovery; if I was sure the water of the hot springs of Arkensas was 
adapted or would be beneficial to him, I would wish him to go there with 
as little delay as practicable, but without understanding in some way or 
other how the water there would suit his disease, I would not like to 
advise him to take that course. I deeply regretted to hear that the Mis 
sissippi was so very high & that my plantation with I suppose hundreds 
of others had been flooded & of course our crops destroyed; my purchase 
of said plantation has proved truly an unfortunate one, but it is useless 
now to complain or despond, but to do the best we can, in whatever 
position we may be placed in. Had my levee succeeded in protecting 
the land from inundation, I would have been contented with the same, & 
would have been contented as soon as this war was at an end, or before, to 

98 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

have retired to it, & devoted my self to superintending the same. For 
let matters eventuate as they may, I must leave & return to the U. States 
in this fall ; even if I have to retire from the service 

As regards Gen 1 Worths professions I pay no confidence in them, or 
in those of his friend Sanders, while one should be polite & courteous to 
all, at the same time he ought to commit himself with few; W. I consider 
entirely unprincipled; & his friend S. a perfect demagouge. As to the 
presidency I have no wish to reach that position ; & if I could do so 
there are a number of distinguished statesmen in our country I would 
advance to that position, in preference to myself. At the same time I 
will not say I would not serve if the good people of the country should 
think proper to elect me; but I can truly say I have no wish to fill said 
office, & if I do so at all, it must be by the spontaneous will of a majority 
of the people, & not by any party; for could I be the chief magistrate 
of the republic by announcing myself as a candidate for the office, I 
would never reach it. At any rate I consider the time inauspicious for 
my coming or rather being brought out; & truly regret that any paper 
friendly to my election, has thought proper to bring my name before the 
country as connected with that position, or as a candidate for the same at 
this early day. I imagine Co 1 Lyon was only feeling your pulse, to ascer 
tain my views through you; I do not consider him a very safe person; 
& no doubt you will meet with many such who you will fully understand. 
I am pleased to hear Gen 1 Brooke takes my notice of him in the way he 
does in the correspondence between the Secretary of War & myself; for 
I have none but the kindest feelings toward the Gen 1 & consider him a 
high minded honorable & gallant soldier, with a heart always in the right 
place 

[As you are] fully located at the Barracks near N. Orleans, I hope 
unless you wish a change you will not be removed by D r Barton or any 
one else. We are all quiet here nor do I expect to move forward into the 
heart of the enemies country for some time ; at any rate until prepared to 
meet with success. A portion of the n. Regt 8 have commenced arriving at 
Brazos, where they are to be organized by Gen 1 Cadwalader, 1 & of course it 



I George Cadwalader (1806-1879) was a lawyer In Philadelphia. He became brigadier-general of volunteers on the outbreak 
of the Mexican war and distinguished himself at Molino del Rey and Chapultepec 

99 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

will take some time to prepare them for the movement nor can I well 
move forward until this is done 

I observe your friend Judge Hunt, alludes to my being from a slave 
state as being a principal bar to my reaching the presidency; I would not 
do so if I could by advocating either the propriety of slavery, or abolition ; 
let this vexed question remain where the constitution placed it 

My health was never better than at present ; I was somewhat indis 
posed for some weeks after the battle of Buena Vista, & was confined to 
my camp with a sore leg for some two weeks from the bite of some 
poisonous insect, or a slight wound in the first instance from a thorn, but 
which is now perfectly well. Please remember me most affectionately to 
dear Ann & the children, or all of them that may be with you, as well as 
kindest regards to Maj r & Mr 3 Jouett & the two you ladies Miss Virginia 
& Josephine should they still be at the Barracks ; as well as to say to them 
I wish them to visit Baton Rouge & spend some time with their aunt 
before they return to Kentucky, or when on their way up the river. 

Wishing you & yours continued health, happiness & prosperity I 
remain 

Truly Your 
Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

N. Orleans 

P. S. Since finishing my letter we have this moment rec d the Mexi 
can official account of the battle of Cerro Gordo, fought on the 17 th ult 
between Santa Anna & Gen 1 Scott, about 50 miles from Vera Cruz near 
Julappa, in which the former was entirely routed, with the loss of his 
artillery baggage &c. All of which you will have heard before this gets 
to N. Orleans. 



100 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

May 30 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your letters of the I st & 13 th ins f with two notes one by Maj r Sparks 
accompanied by several interesting slips cut from different newspapers & 
the official organ have all reached me, the one of the I st last evening in 
consequence of some irregularity in our mails, & that of the 13 th some 
five or six days previously; both have been read with deep interest & 
great satisfaction, for which in addition to the Union, which I have not 
yet read for want of time, & the slips &c I tender you my most cordial 
thanks. I have no doubt the mistake about the draft in question origi 
nated with myself, I got two from the Q r Master Cap 1 Sibley at the same 
time, one for 400 hundred dollars intended for Mr s Taylor, the other five 
hundred intended for you ; they were enclosed in a great hurry in the 
night, the one for five was sent by mistake to Mr s T. & in like manner 
the one for four was sent to you. This will be all rectified the moment I 
hear of the arrival of the letter containing the same at Baton Rouge ; 
your letters or in fact any others do not reach here with anything like 
regularity, but when they do, they are read with interest & are a source 
of pleasure to me, so that you need make no apology as to number or 
length ; all that I ask of you is not to expect me to answer the whole of 
them, or to write very long as well, for really I have not the time to 
do so 

I think it was better to have Rob at B. Rouge than to have sent him 
contrary to his wishes to Kentucky, & hope he will attend closely to his 
studies & will prepare himself for college should you determine on send 
ing him to finish his education at one or to prepare him for any other 
pursuit. John I hope will get on to his place of destination without acci 
dent. I have no doubt he will pass his examination with credit, & I hope 
to live to see him occupying respecticable rank, & an ornament to the pro 
fession, & an honor to his country; which cannot fail to be the case, if he 
is sober, prudent & studious, which I am truly in hopes will be the case. 
I hope you will succeed in getting a good teacher for the girls, & that you 
will be able to have them well educated, substantially so, if not showy. 
At any rate they ought to be able to read & write & speak their own 



101 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TATLOR 

language correctly, in addition to fluency & ease. As Dick will leave for 
some of the watering places, I doubt if Betty will be able to make you the 
visit contemplated, as in that case her mother would be left alone. 

I was aware there was many serious objections to your present 
position & pointed them out to you soon after you was assigned to the 
same, among the rest that a proper school for the children was referred 
to, in addition to the trouble & expense of removing Ann & the children 
to some healthy place should any contagious disease make its appearance 
at the Barracks during a part of the summer & autum, which I consider 
the greatest objection to the place, but it was "Hopsons choice," that or 
Mexico, the latter of course involving the separation with your family, to 
avoid the course you pursued I considered the most you could have 
pursued 

It seems to me as regards Mr 8 Dudley, while you or your family 
should make no advances for a reconciliation, yet if she thought proper 
to do so, I see no reason why it should not be met ; as I know nothing 
which she has done to bar the exchange of common courticies of life, 
even if there should be no intimacy among the parties; she Mr s Dudley 
done no more than most ambitious women would have done, under simi 
lar circumstances, & I was satisfied if she outlived her husband she would 
control his property, & leave it to her relatives; this should be no cause 
of quarrel or heart burning among you all, particularly so far as you was 
individually concerned, as you are not dependent on her, which let her 
see, by treating her on ace 1 of what had passed with marked but dignified 
politeness should you ever meet her. There is no telling at what moment 
we may be called to another scene of action from which none return, & it 
is the part of wisdom to be always prepared for such an event, & the rear 
ing up our children & establishing them in life so that they can sustain 
themselves is in my opinion the most important of our duties 

I have read the copies of the enclosed letters referred to & feel greatly 
indebted both to M r S. & M r H. for the complimentary manner they 
have been pleased to notice my services, & their wishes on the subject of 
the presidency, & their views as to my course touching the same; as well 
as my obligations to Gen 1 B. for communicating the views of the former, 
& to yourself for the way in which you replied to the latter. But I should 
regret any one spending a cent to secure my election, for if I enter the 

102 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

White House to occupy it, it must be by the spontaneous move of the 
people, & not by any agency of mine in the matter, as I am not at all 
anxious for the office under any circumstances, & will be the president of 
the people if at all, & not of a party; at the same time I regret the sub 
ject has been agitated so long before the election, as there will be many 
"Richmonds in the field" by the time or before the coming election, & 
of course much slang & abuse will be indulged in by the aspirants & their 
creatures to break down the most prominent for said office, much 
of which would have been avoided, had the cavas been put off until this 
time next year. I consider the wish of D r B. to relieve you at your pres 
ent position without consultin your wishes was rather assuming too much 
& I certainly must thank Gen 1 B. for his manly & soldierly course in this 
matter in sustaining you ; also for his good wishes as regards my reaching 
the first civil office in the country, all of which I wish you to present to 
him. I shall write nothing which if published will give me any concern ; 
courtesy will make it proper for me to reply to many of the numerous 
letters addressed me in relation to the office in question ; but my answers 
will be guarded, & in very gen 1 terms ; & those who do not like them 
may vote for who ever they please 

Was the election to come off this fall instead of the I make no doubt 
was the election at hand I would be elected to the highest of office in the 
gift of the people, which would be the most signal rebuke ever ministered 
to a party under similar circumstance ; but many changes may take place 
between now and Nov r 1 848 which may entirely change the tide of public 
opinion in favor of some other individual, as nothing is more uncertain 
than popular favor. I wish Co 1 Nicholas had deferred the nomination 
referred to until the next session of their legislature 

I think I understand both Worth & Scott pretty well, they both 
operate considerably through their creatures, particularly the former; but 
it may be best to meet such people in accordance with their professions 

Gen 1 Scott in my opinion will be a candidate for the succession, &; 
may prove a very formidable one ; if the present party in power find them 
selves in a desperate situation they may take him up, which I think quite 
likely he giving certain pledges, which he will not hesitate to do; he will 
it seems to me carry with him a considerable portion of the Whig party, 
but whether enough to elect him time must determine You may be satis- 

103 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TATLOR 

fied of one thing that if an other individual who is honest capable & faith 
ful to the constitution should be elevated to that office, than myself, it 
will give me not a moments concern, much less a moments pain ; on the 
contrary I shall rejoice that the republic possess a more capable & worthy 
citizen for that station than myself The Louisville Journal is an ably 
conducted paper, & devoted or will be to my interest for the presidency, 
if you have subscribed for it, I would be glad you would forward it to 
me, after reading it. The Union is regularly sent to us, so you need give 
yourself no trouble in sending it The city is & no doubt will be filled 
with officers & no doubt will continue so until the close of this war. 

I deeply regret to hear of Cap* Swift s death, which will prove a 
dreadful blow to his parents & family 

Should this war continue I do not expect to be given a proper force 
to justify my marching into the heart of Mexico, the twelve months 
Volunteers will all in the course of five or six days, be on their way to 
their homes, which will leave me very weak on this line ; in fact it is so 
at present. I had calculated that the new regt s ordered to Point Isabel, 
would have formed a part of my com d but the last mail brought me an 
order from Washington directing Gen 1 Cadwallader to proceed with the 
greater portion to Vera Cruz, & report to, or join Gen 1 Scott, the latter 
had also ordered the same com d to join him, which order reached Brazos 
a few days before the one from Washington. Those arrangements leave 
me, with three of the new regt s of foot one of which I understand very 
little has been done toward filling its ranks ; Tibbats is one of them, & 
perhaps the 3 d dragoons to be mounted, so say the ad f gen 1 of the army. 
Co 1 Taylor has been ordered out & I presume will be in N. Orleans soon 
after this gets there. Jarvis has not yet arrived 

P. S. Just as I closed my note to you, the mail arrived a moment 
since & brought me your very acceptable letter of the i6 th & 2o th ins 1 
accompanied by papers & scraps for which as usual you have my most 
cordial thanks 

I can but feel gratified as to the complimentary terms your old 
acquaintance & friend M r Shelton has thought proper to allude to my 
services &c for which I sincerely thank him. 

The brilliant illuminations in New Orleans & elsewhere on ace 1 of 
the success of our armies shows that our citizens duly appreciate the labors, 

104 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

privations & dangers encountered in the public servants by those 
employed by them, which demonstration of respect & gratitude must be 
consoling in some degree to those who have lost relatives, health & 
friends during this contest ; but the marked distinction which has been 
shewn me in these illuminations, as in many other ways throughout the 
country, particularly as many of them has been connected with the presi 
dency, will only have the effect of bringing on me the hatred, envy & 
abuse of all the aspirants & their creatures tools &c which is now making 
their appearance in some of the public journals & which will be doubtless 
greatly increased in number by the Scott party & partisans 

I notice your remarks about the advantages & disadvantages as a 
station so far as you & yours was concerned, & with one exception the 
first objection, which may be bourn with of your present station which 
I pointed out more than once to you 

Kendalls article was no doubt written by the direction or under the 
supervision of Scott, to laud him S. & the administration ; of which 
both are complete sycophants 

I have just rec d by special express from Washington several com 
munications from the Secretary of War & the Adj* Gen 1 of the army, 
replying to comt s addressed to the dep t sometime since, which alth re 
spectful enough, are not at all satisfactory ; as they contain promises 
which cannot be fulfilled, for the purpose of creating expectations on the 
part of the people of the country in regard to myself, which can never 
be realized. If my friends had not connected my name with the office 
of the presidency which I very much regret, I would at once retire from 
the service, & devote myself to the management of my private affairs, 
but I do not wish to take any steps or adopt any course which would 
meet with their disapprobation ; but however much I may dislike to dis 
appoint them, I may & very probably to this course ; among other 
matters brought by the bearer of the despatches from Washington, is 
instructions placing me under the orders of Gen 1 Scott, which is in 
effect superseding me, & which seem to me ought to incline me to ask to 
be recalled, & to resign if not acceded to 

I was pleased to hear that Dick was on his way to the Arkensas 
Springs, & hope he will not missapply his time on the way there, but will 
get there without delay & give the water a fair trial Alth feeling 

105 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

great anxiety about him I was glad to learn that John was on his way 
to Annapolis, he carries with him my best wishes for his health & 
prosperity 

It was gratifying to me to know that the water had receded from the 
plantation as it may enable me to raise plenty of corn for the coming 
year. 

Z. T. 

SURGEON R. C. WOOD 
U. S. Army 

New Orleans Barracks 

New Orleans 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

June 23 d 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your very interesting & acceptable letters of the 2 5 th ult & 2 d of 
June with one from Rob & M r Caldwell, with several newspapers & 
interesting scraps cut from others, have just reached here & for which I 
am truly thankful ; affording me much real gratification as they commu 
nicated the pleasing intelligence of the health of your family & those of 
mine at Baton Rouge, & let me assure you again no matter what ever 
may be my occupation it will on all occasions be a source of gratification 
to me to receive letters from you, & particularly if they contain the 
gratifying information that you & your family are all well, happy & 
prosperous 

I greatly fear from a letter from Betty dated Baton Rouge 28 th 
ult that Dick was misapplying his time about Bayou Sarah, in which 
she says " Dick passed up from N. Orleans some ten days since on his 
way to the hot springs in Arkensas, wrote a few lines to us saying that 
he had made arrangements for the boat to call for him at Bayou Sara on 
a certain day, as he had promised to call for Charles Mathews who was to 
accompany him ; the boat I heard yesterday was a day behind her time, 

& as they were three miles out in the country at Mr s M s the boat 

would not wait until they could get in ; the consequence was they were 

1 06 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

left ; I heard yesterday from a gentle who had just seen Dick, that he 
had abandoned the trip " so that all hopes of his benefitting from that 
quarter or I greatly fear from any other is at an end ; if he is not restored 
to health by the opperation of nature, there is but little hope that he will 
be so, by any exertion on his part, but things must take their course as 
he has arrived at that age when he must act for himself; if gentle advise 
will not have the proper effect, nothing else ought to be thought of in 
regard to controlling him 

I think the arrangements made with Rob, a much better one than 
sending him to Kentucky or any where else against his will ; I hope the 
school he is at will prove at at least a good preparatory one, so that he 
may at once enter college on leaving it ; should it be deemed desirable to 
have him go through one. I am pleased to hear he is content to live 
with his grand mother. I have read his letter & that of M r C. with 
much interest ; he Rob no doubt has sufficient capacity for any calling in 
or common to our country, if the same be properly directed, & he 
should take proper advantage of the opportunities which I hope will be 
offered him if so he can not fail to be distinguished in whatever pursuit 
he may determine on with industry & perseverance. I regret there is no 
suitable school for the girls near the Barracks, or that you have not been 
able to get a proper teacher for them in your family ; but you will I pre 
sume have to send them to some boarding school in the fall if not 
before ; but it seems to me the better & most economical plan would be 
if it could be done to get a competent teacher, male or female in the 
family, as the girls would then be at all times under the eye of their 
parents, & particularly their mother, which is so very important ; but if 
we cannot do the best we wish in such matters, we must be content to do 
the best we can in the circumstances in which we are placed. I feel much 
solicitude about Ann & the children during the latter part of the summer 
& the first months of autumn ; sometimes it is as healthy at the Barracks, 
& even in the city during the whole season as it is any where else, in our 
country, it was so the last & may prove so the present ; but should the 
yellow fever make its appearance, or any other contageous disease in the 
city or at the Barracks, you must at once remove your family across the 
lakes, or to some other position. What is most to be feared at the Bar 
racks is the depositing of their sick there, but the various detachments 

107 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

of troops going to & returning from Mexico, which can hardly fail to 
produce contageon of some kind, or description I hope you have 
heard from John & that he had reached his place of destination in safety 
& without accident on the way, & found on his arrival there matters & 
things as favorable as he could have expected 

I rec d a letter from Gen 1 Patterson before leaving N. Orleans recom 
mending his son to my notice, I have not yet heard of him, but pre 
sume I shall find him out when the volunteers get here from the Rio 
Grande 

I have no doubt that Gen 1 Scott whose professions & sincerity I 
have not the slightest confidence in, after striping me of the greater por 
tion of my available force will give the necessary orders to those about 
him to write to certain individuals drawing the most outrageous compari 
sons in favor of the column under his command, & to the disadvantage 
of this, which gives me but little concern ; & I am now pretty well satis 
fied that the dep will continue to do as it has heretofore done, if not to 
break me down, at any rate not to place under my orders a force that will 
enable me to accomplish any thing further of importance. The great 
object is to bring Gen 1 S. before the country as the prominent candidate 
for the presidency, as they can make terms with him, in the event of his 
election as they are aware they cannot elect one of their own fraternity. 
The Gen 1 will make any pleges requested of him ; he will be a candidate 
for the office in question, & may succeed in being elected as he will carry 
with him a large section of the Whigs as well as that of the locofoco 
party. If the election was to take place now or in a short time it is 
more than probable that he would have but little chance ; but a great 
many changes may be brought about in his favor, & nothing will be left 
undone to do so by those in power, as well as many out of office, as well 
as to injure my standing with the country between this & Nov r 1848. I 
have for some time entertained the opinion that it would be a rare occur 
rence if there was again a slave holder elevated to the presidency, & 
which will be brought up & made great use of against me by the wire- 
workers between this & the time of holding the election particularly just 
before it takes place. I can only wish that my friends who have brought 
my name so prominently before the country for said office, had not fixed 
on some other individual ; for the more I reflect on the matter, the less 

108 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

inclination I feel of entering on the duties connected with the office ; & 
if some good honest man can be elected I will acquiesce in such an 
arrangement with great pleasure 

I must say that I feel much gratification at the two app ts conferred 
on Gen 1 Davis as he richly merits them & will do justice to either, no 
matter which position he may select to occupy, civil or military; I think 
it quite likely they gave him the app* of B r Gen 1 under the expectation of 
keeping him out of the Senate 

I regret to see Gen 1 Camerons 1 letter published, notwithstanding I 
am & always have been a democrat of the Jeffersonian school, which 
embodies very many of the principles of the whigs of present day ; 1 do 
not however wish to convey or that they should be for me any opinions 
I do not entertain even should my election be defeated by such a course. 
I observe that Co 1 May is or was still in N. Orleans quite a lion, but pre 
sume he has lef some time since for Washington City as a furlough has 
been given him for three months. Gen 1 Pillow I suppose has ere now 
left for Tenesee; as the volunteers from that state who were in the battle 
of Cerro Gordo striped the lions hide from his shoulders since their return 
to N. Orleans 

I rec d by the last mail a letter from M r Ringgold of the 22 d ult in 
which he says the water in the river rapidly receded after it commenced, 
which had enable him to plant several hundred acres of cotton, which he 
had no doubt would do very well & make a part of a crop if not attacks 
by caterpillar in the fall, & corn enough for the use of the plantation if 
the season should prove a favorable one; this is better than I had expected 
some time since 

I presume you would have but little society at the Barracks as most 
of the persons residing in its vicinity are Creole French, some quite gen 
teel families, but generally not disposed to associate with Americans or 
rather our country people, even when they speak our language. I thought 
it not unlikely you might be called on by some of them in a professional 
way who spoke English, which might open an intercourse so far as the 
children or girls were concerned which might prove a source of pleasure 
to them The great objection to it as a station is the continued appre- 

I Probably Simon Cameron (1799-1889) who was adjutant-general of Pennsylvania for a time and was elected to the Federal 
tenate in 1845. 

IO9 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

hension of disease, & those of a contageous character. I very much 
regretted to find your health had not been entirely restored, & on that 
acc f deeply regret you could not at once have been assigned to a Northern 
or Eastern station at any rate until the same was perfectly restored ; but 
if the worst comes to the worst, you will I presume have to quit the ser 
vice as your means well managed in a plentiful country would give your 
family a comfortable support; but as you say it will be best to look before 
leap, or not to act in a hurry or without proper considerations in 
so important a matter 

I hope my family take as little interest in the presidency as I do, & 
will on all occasions avoid as much as it can be well done conversing at 
all on the subject, except in a jocular way among themselves. I am 
gratified to find that Dick acts with prudence in regard to this matter 
I will have to answer many very many letters letters as to my politics, as well 
as my views on many subjects of political matters, but have & shall con 
tinue to do so in very general terms; the inquiry as to whether I am a 
whig or democrat is frequently propounded to me, by people who ought 
& know better, for if they had only taken the trouble to look into the 
speeches of & votes of a majority of the members of congress they would 
have at once solved the question at the same time I have never meddled 
in politicks, or been mixed up with them in any way nor do I intend to do 
or become so, for if I ever occupy the White House it must be in a way 
that I can be the president of a nation & not of a party 

We have heard nothing from Gen 1 Scotts column directly for about 
two months ; indirectly we learn that Puebla was taken possession of on the 
1 5 th ult & no doubt our people ere this are in possession of the City of 
Mexico, as it was supposed they would not meet with any opposition in 
doing so where it was reported every thing was in the greatest state of 
confusion & disorganization ; near all the officers of the gov 1 had resigned 
their appointments & retired from the city, Santa Anna among the rest, 
nor was it known where he had gone to; such is the reports which have 
reached us ; but you in New Orleans are much better informed in regard 
to such matters than we are here. Whether peace will be the immediate 
result of these occurrencies time must determine 

Reenforcements arrive very slowly from the states & I very very 
much doubt if a proper force is placed under my orders to justify my 

no 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

moving into the enemies country farther than I am at present ; at the 
same time Marcy & Richie 1 will keep up the idea with the people that a 
sufficient force was ordered to join me to have enabled me had I been dis 
posed to have done so, to have acted on the offensive, taking care not to 
let it be known, that by their management they had never reached me, 
nor was it intended they should do so Some time since several regi 
ments of the new corps were ordered to Brazos to report to me, & soon 
after I was informed I was to have the third Dragoons; soon after the 
regt s referred to were ordered to Vera Cruz, soon after & an other order 
was given to send five comp 8 of the third dragoons to the same place 
About the first of the present or the last of the past month, a special 
messenger arrived here with despatches from Washington, whose principal 
business so far as I could understand it, was to bring me a statement of 
the troops from the adj Gen 1 at Washington, that had been ordered to 
join me; & which I presumed would be the case; but the mail which has 
just reached here has brought a communication saying the troops which 
had been promised me from Illinois, one reg c of Infr had been sent to 
Santa Fe, so you see I have no reliance on any promises from that quar 
ter ; every thing possible will be done if not to break me down, will be 
to keep me in the background But it is a long lane that has no end 
or turn in it. I still contemplate returning & joining my family in the 
fall if my life is spared My love to Ann & the children as well as 
kindest regards to Maj r & Mr s Jouett & accept my sincere wishes for the 
continued health & prosperity of you & yours through a long life. 

Your Friend 

Truly 

D R R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. A. N. Orleans Barracks 

My kindest regards to Gen 1 Brooke. I was pleased to hear that 
Kitty & her children had got to the Barracks 



Meaning William L. Marcy, secretary of war, and Thomas Ritchie. The latter (1778-1854) edited the " Enquirer" in 

ssed by 
in 1845 
:d in iS 
ability 

I I I 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

July ij th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your several welcome & interesting letters of the 9 th 12 th 19 th & 2o th 
ult accompanied by a number of slips cut from various papers which go 
very far to show the state of the public mind at the present moment as 
regards the election for the next president, in addition to several news 
papers, the Louisville Journal among the number were duly rec d some by 
yesterdays mail, & others several days previous, for all of which you have 
my sincere thanks. It was a source of much real pleasure to me, to 
learn from your several letters up to your last, that all was well including 
yourself & family at Baton Rouge when last heard from there ; also that 
you had heard from John, who had reached his place of destination with 
out accident, & I truly hope ere this has passed his examination with 
credit, & entered on the duties of his profession ; which he will find of a 
very rough character for several years to come, which industry, persever 
ance & resolution will overcome. 1 I was likewise much gratified to find 
that Dick had at last gone to the Arkensas springs & sincerely hope he 
will be greatly improved in health by bathing & drinking the waters there, 
if he is not entirely restored 

I deeply regret to learn from you that Co 1 Davis wound is likely to 
prove so tedious in getting well, I had hoped it would have healed or 
nearly so by the time he reached the city; but from what you say I much 
fear it will give him much trouble as well as subject him to great incon 
venience, before he gets the perfect use of the limb. I have not heard 
whether he will accept or not the app* recently conferred on him of Brg r 
Gen 1 or turn his attention to political matters; I have written him to con 
sult his interest & inclination before he committed himself in respect to 
either. From Graysons letter, as well as other signs of the times, I think 
it not unlikely we will have peace by or during the month of August; if 
we do not there is no telling when this war will terminate ; but I hope for 
the best. I am glad you conversations with Gen 1 Pillow were of a gen 1 
character, he is I consider a very small man in every respect, but I appre- 



I John Taylor Wood, grandson of Zacbary Taylor, passed his examination and entered the Naval Academy, April 7, 1847. 
See Introduction. 

112 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

hend has the ear of the President, as well as that of some of his advisers; 
& he carried on a confidential correspondence with those dignitaries ; it is 
no doubt most advisable to treat him & others of similar character with 
courtesy & politeness without committing oneself with them, in any way 
The letters & packages forwarded by D r Abadie were duly rec d the 
D r reached the Brazos in safety, & will be assigned to duty perhaps at 
Camargo 

I presume Mr s Taylor & Betty have left before this for their respect 
ive homes, I hope you were able to make their time pass pleasantly while 
they remained. 

Without being decided fine, I imagine the likenesses painted of me 
by M r Alwood are tolerable; the one which has been just finished by a 
M r Brown from Richmond is said by those who understand or are judges 
of such matters to be a much better painting; M r B. has nearly completed 
a group of officers, myself & staff in addition to several others, which I 
imagine will be considered a good painting by connoisseurs ; he is now 
engaged in making a painting describing the battle ground of Buena Vista; 
it is uncertain when he will complete them, but I suppose for the most 
part will do so in 8 or ten days, when he will return from whence he came, 
stopping a short time in N. Orleans, where they may be exhibited, if so 
you no doubt will examine them with Ann & can then judge as to the 
merits of both 

On the subject of the presidency I do not feel my inclination for that 
high office in the least to increase ; on the contrary as the election 
approaches I find my repugnance to meddling in the matter to be on the 
increase, & alth I suppose I must serve if elected, I would have preferred 
some other individuals I could name for said office who I would prefer 
seeing there to myself, could it be so; & I consider much more credit due 
an individual who declines an office created for the benefit of others, when 
he doubts his qualifications to fill it which is my case than to court it in 
any way ; I shall very soon become the target at which all the aspirants 
will open their fire on, through or from countless newspapers, with the 
Union among them but this gives me but little concern, as I do not intend 
to be driven from the position I have taken at any rate for the present, 
which is to enter into no explanations as to my political creed, nor give 
any pledges to what I will do in certain contingencies, other than to sup- 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

port the constitution as near as practicable, as was construed by our first 
chief magistrates, who had so large a share in creating & putting it in 
motion. I am now satisfied was the election to come off tomorrow or 
even next Nov r I would be elected by an overwhelming majority; but 
things may greatly change between now & Nov r 1848, nothing being more 
uncertain & fluctuating than popular favor; but I am, & intend to keep 
in that position that it will not produce the slightest mortification should 
some one else be selected at the time of holding the election for the 
office 

We have no positive news from Gen 1 Scott since about the time 
Grayson wrote, or perhaps a few days after which stated that his column 
would leave Puebla for the City of Mexico about the 14 th ult but 
whether or not it done so, we have nothing certain in regard to it ; we 
are looking for news from that quarter with the greatest anxiety, & 
hope that ere now some arrangements have taken so far at least as to pre 
pare the way for opening negotiations, which will lead to the amicable 
adjustment of all difficulties between the two countries. I had but little 
doubt the placing me under the orders of Gen 1 Scott was done with the 
hope & expectation of mortifying me, but I shall remain passive as re 
gards such contemplated assaults if intended as such or in fact of any 
kind as long as it can be done ; even if the war continues I hope to go 
out the first of Nov r which will be soon at hand. Let matters eventuate 
as they may I hardly expect to have a force sufficient placed under my 
orders to authorize my making a forward movement ; my command will 
be on paper, or a considerable of it. By referring to Gen 1 Scotts sugared 
letter from N. York & which was marked unofficial, but which by acci 
dent or design found its way into the Union when it was supposed I 
had been annihilated by Santa Anna which was done to reconcile my 
friends to having my throat cut or to relieve the Secretary of War & 
his friend the Gen 1 from anything like censure for withdrawing from me 
so large a portion of my force ; in which he the Gen 1 stated that I had 
already done enough ; this was before the battle of Buena Vista, after 
said battle there cannot be a doubt but those two individuals in addition 
to some others, conceived I had not only done enough but quite too 
much ; & I hardly think I will be placed in a situation to accomplish 
anything of importance ; among the troops now on this line there is 

114 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

much sickness & some deaths in several of the regt s while others are 
comparatively healthy. A considerable portion of the new Volunteers on 
paper, who are to compose a part of my command, appear to be very 
slow in reaching the Brazos ; & letters have been rec d here stating in 
some of the states men to serve on foot in Mexico could not be raised. 
I shall however be constantly on my guard, as regards making my 
opinions known either by letter or in any other way in which they can 
be misrepresf.nted, & I hope my friends will do the same 

I am heartily tired of inaction, in which state I have been kept for 
the last three months & more & if the war is to be continued I would 
like to do somewhat if ever so little to aid in bringing it to a close. 
Had I been permitted to have done so, I would very much liked to 
have led one of the columns against the City of Mexico, but the powers 
that be determined otherwise, & I must submit in the best way I can ; 
but if I have not done so it is no fault of mine which I hope will be 
understood by the community at large ; but those who control my move 
ments think I have done enough I feel some anxiety about Ann & 
the children remaining at the Barracks during the summer & autumn ; 
but should it become unhealthy or any contageous disease should make 
its appearance, you could in one day send your family to some healthy 
place on the lakes where they would be completely out of danger 

I was pleased to hear that Puss was about to return to B. Rouge to 
go to school, as she ought to lose no time in getting through with her 
education which I hope when completed will be a substantial one. I 
trust she will go up with Betty Bety writes that Bob is with his 
grandmother & goes to school which he does very regular. We have 
nothing of interest in this quarter My love to Ann & the children 
& regards to Cap 1 & Mr s Juett if the latter is with him & accept my best 
wishes for the continued health & prosperity of you & yours through life. 

Your Friend Truly 

& Sincerely 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD, N. Orleans Barracks. 

I was gratified to find the blunder I committed in relation to the 
drafts had been arranged without difficulty 

IT 5 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

July 20 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your truly welcome & interesting letters of the 25 th ult & I st in 
stant inclosing one from John with several newspapers & a number of 
scraps cut from others, have been received, for which I feel truly grate 
ful It was & always is a source of much real pleasure to hear that 
you were all well at the Barracks, & at Baton Rouge which I truly hope 
will long continue. I truly pleased to hear from John & particularly so 
that he had passed passed his examination with credit, & most truly do I 
hope his course will be marked by industry & prudence in connection 
with perseverance, if so & his life is spared, his cours will I have no 
doubt if not brilliant one, will be highly creditable to himself, his country 
& all deeply interested in him ; his prospects are certainly as flattering as 
they could be expected at this time 

I also rec d a letter from Betty since her return to Baton Rouge 
stating that all was well, her letter was dated on the 3<D th ult. M rs W m 
Taylor did not stop but continued on home ; she expects to make a visit 
to Virginia the present season, I suppose they have left by this time ; I 
was quite pleas to learn that Puss had gone up with Betty to be put to 
school there, & trust she will beneffit by the arrangement. I expect her 
mother with dumple will soon follow, & where should it prove healthy 
they had all better pass the latter part of the summer & the first of 
autumn, or until it is healthy at the Barracks & there is no danger of 
contageous diseases breaking out there. Mr s Taylor will not leave B. 
Rouge unless it becomes sickly there, in which case she will go to the 
watering places back of N. Orleans on the lakes ; perhaps to Pasca- 
goula It was fortunate you did not find the scrape Bob had got into, 
so serious as to make it necessary to remove him to any other school as 
it would not have done to have sent him back to the institution he had 
left in Kentucky ; what to do with him, or where to send him to an insti 
tution suited to his age & temper is rather difficult to say ; but you will 
no doubt do what you can to promote his interest & let matters & things 
take their course afterwards 

I am a little surprised that none of the family have heard from Dick 

116 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

since he went to the Arkensas Springs, as they as well as myself must 
feel great anxiety respecting him, but hope if he has used the waters 
properly, that he has received great benefit from them, if not that he has 
returned to B. Rouge by this, & will at once make trial of the mineral 
springs in Virginia ; for unless his disease is removed very soon, in all 
probability he will be afflicted for life. I observe Finlay has been or 
dered to Jalapa, he has as well remain, or perhaps better where he was 
in the country. Wells has been fortunate in getting to the N. Port 
Barracks, it would have suited you very well, but I imagine it will be 
rather a temporary station for an Army Surgeon ; as soon as this war is 
brought to a close, it will be a place for a hired physician, at least I pre 
sume that will be the case. You must be satisfied with your position at 
any rate for the present, you will find it pretty much as I stated it to be 
when you first went there but as the danger from sickness is the greatest 
objection to it. While this war lasts you may always calculate on having 
an overflowing hospital, made up from the sick going & returning to & 
from Mexico ; if they do not bring or leave with you some contageous 
disease it will be the less matter ; but you must get on the best way you 
can hoping for better times & things 

Co 1 Taylor was truly fortunate in getting out in pretty good health, 
& at the time he did, I presume he joined his family some time since. 
Jouett, I fear since his family has left him, will soon get the blues & I 
should not be surprised if he very soon applies for a sick leave if he has 
not already done so 

I had observed a short time since from one of the newspapers which 
reached here an acc c of the flumery played off in devotion real or pre 
tended as regards the forms & ceremonies appertaining to the Catholic 
religion at Puebla & other places which I thought were in bad taste & 
expected they would be animadverted on through the press in stringent 
terms. While I would respect & have it done as far as it was right & 
proper to do so, every religious denomination, Catholic as well as 
Protestant, yet I have a great contempt for hypocricy & deceit of any 
kind, more particular in regard to religious matters ; but the parties con 
cerned have done much in bolstering themselves up & putting others 
down by the aid of deceipt, & misrepresentation. But it seem to me the 
country has been so mislead & mistified in regard to this Mexican war, 

117 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

that they hardly know how to act in relation to any transaction which 
may take place in relation or connection with it, no matter how absurd 
or outrageous it may be 

On the subject of the presidency as I stated to you on a former 
occasion I am satisfied if the election was to come off now or during the 
present year, that nothing could prevent my election to that high office ; 
but great changes may & in all probability will take place between now 
& the time for holding the election ; all the influence & power of the 
administration will be brought to bear on me ; & the greatest efforts will 
be made to extol Gen 1 Scotts achievements beyond anything that has 
occurred in this, or any other age or country ; as I am satisfied he gave 
in his adhesion to the powers that be to pull me down, or himself up 
before he got the authority to strip me of my command, or so large a 
portion of it ; I look on him as hartless & insincere an individual as 
exists. I believe the Union & perhaps a large portion of those filling 
high places at Washington, would prefer seeing M r Clay elected or in 
fact almost any one else than myself to the office in question ; but it 
seems to that pary will advocate the pretensions of Gen 1 Scott, who by 
very adroit management they may succeed in electing, as very many of 
the Whigs no doubt will vote for him, he having a strong party in 
the great state of New York ; the greatest stumbling block in his way, 
will be the bringing Wright forward as the democratic candidate. If I 
was certain that M r Clay, Judge McLean, J. J. Crittenden, Judge Clay 
ton of Delaware & many others I could name could be elected I would 
at once between ourselves, retire retire from the contest ; but I would 
undergo political martyrdom rather than see Gen 1 Scott or Cass elected ; 
I would greatly prefer Wright or Vanburen to either of them I have 
not seen the articles referred to by you in the Baltimore paper ; I have 
many ardent friends in that city ; I rec d a letter from M r Crittenden the 
other day, among other matter saying he had just rec d a letter from the 
honb le R. Johnson of Baltimore one of the senator from Maryland, 
stating that if the election was to take place at this time he believed I 
would get every state in the Union 

I think it very doubtful even if the war continues I will have such 
a force as I ought to justify my making a forward movement, for we 
have on the Rio Grande, & at Saltillo & tremendious sick report, larger 

118 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

I apprehend in proportion than it was the last year at this time ; it seems 
to me where ever volunteers go & recruits to unless mixed up or incor 
porated with old soldiers or are embodied, there every disease will be 
known to the human family. Besides I understand from private letters 
rec d here that a battalion called out from Alabama could not be raised 
which was to form part of my com d nor have I heard any thing from the 
Jersey & Maryland Battalions which were to form a portion of my 
forces also ; nor do we know here what progress has or is making to fill 
the ranks of one of the new regt s the 13 which has been assigned to me. 
1 am however making every arrangement for a forward movement, & 
shall advance on San Luis Potosi as soon as all the reenforcement ex 
pected reach the country, unless otherwise directed 

I feel much solicitude as regards M rs Taylors health, Betties, Anns 
& the children during what is called the sickly season, but if it becomes un 
healthy at the Barracks the girls & Ann must go to B. Rouge, if unhealthy 
there they must go to Pascagoula or some other healthy place on the lake 

I rec d a letter from Co 1 Davis since his arrival at home, he appears 
undetermined what course to pursue as regards accepting the app of 
Bris Gen 1 or not; if the war continues I think he is inclined to accept ; I 
have written advising him to consult his interest & inclination, & to pur 
sue that course which he thinks will be most conductive to his future fame, 
prosperity & happiness. The Co 1 speaks of Gen 1 Scott in harsh terms ; 
his duplicity to ward me has been rarely equalled ; but let it all pass 

From newspapers rec d here printed in the City of Mexico, there is 
but little doubt that some communications have taken place between 
Gen 1 Scott, then at Puebla, & the Mexican authorities, on the subject of 
negotiations but how far the same was entered into or what will be the 
result is not developed ; but it is something to get the subject before the 
Mexican people & their rulers, & I can but hope for the best Remem 
ber me most affectionately to Ann & the children if any of them are with 
you, if not when you write to them, as well as my regards to Gen 1 Brooke 
& Jouett, & wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity 

I remain Truly 
SURG N R. C. WOOD, and Sincerely your Friend 

U. S. Army Z. TAYLOR 

New Orleans Barracks 

119 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



[Camp near Monterey, Mexico, August 5 th 1847.] 

My dear Doctor, 

Your two very acceptable & interesting letters of the iy th & 24 th 
ins 1 with one from D r Foltz have this moment reached me, for which you 
have my sincere thanks. In addition to the information which you com 
municated in regard to Dicks health, I am pleased to say I rec d a letter 
by the last mail from an acquaintance in Little Rock, informing me he 
had been at the Springs with Dick, who he thought had very decidedly 
improved in health, & that if he would remain some 7 or 8 weeks, he 
had but little doubt with prudence, & a proper use of the water he would 
be entirely restored which I truly hope will be the case ; 1 hope he has 
left by this time & will join his mother & remain with her until I can join 
her. It is always the source of the highest gratification to learn you & 
the children in addition to Mr s T. & Betty were all well & particularly 
surprised to learn the later had changed their minds, & of course Ann 
would be gov d by their movements, as to where they would spend the 
summer, as I had supposed from previous letters they would by this all 
been located at the Harrods Springs ; Betty says the reason for giving up 
that place, was the fear of not being able to get up the Ohio on ace 1 of 
low water, which was all sufficient ; alth I think they would have met 
with light boats enough to have overcome that difficulty had there been 
no doubts as to their reaching Louisville without difficulty I would I 
believe on many acct s have preferred the first to the latter plan ; it would 
have been much more invigorating to them all including Ann & the girls, 
as well as much less expensive ; the first would have been better if Mr s 
Taylor had deferred her trip to Pascagoula until about the middle or 
2O th of August, & remained across the Lake until the first or middle of 
Nov r by going over so early in the season she may be weary of the place, 
& wish to return before it is prudent to do so, if the fall should be a sickly 
one. It seems to me your determination of keeping your family with you 
as long as it was healthy, & remove them to where Mr s Taylor & Betty 
was as soon as it became otherwise, was a judicious one, as they can leave 
any time in the course of an hour or two, whenever necessary. I regret 
you thought it advisable to bring Rob down, I had hoped you would have 
found it to his advantage to have left him with M r Burk, as I regret to 

120 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

hear of his losing any time from the prosecution of his studies ; I do not 
believe it would be advisable to send him back to M r Aliens School as he 
having once left there, it is hardly likely he would remain if sent back 
again ; but you must do the best you can with him. The making of a 
Hospital of the barracks at B. Rouge would of itself made it desirable for 
families who could do so should leave there until it was ascertained 
whether the sick sent there from Vera Cruz would bring with them, or 
disseminate anything like a contagious disease around the place. I think 
you acted right in remaining where you are, particularly as Harney has a 
fee simple right in the station, alth I tremble at the prospect of your 
continuing where you are through the autumn, as you can hardly fail to 
have yellow fever there at some time during the season. I was very much 
pleased to hear the city continued to be healthy, & that the few cases of 
fever which had made its appearance there had not spread beyond the 
Hospital 

I am much obliged to D r Foltz s flattering notice as regards my pros 
pects for the presidency, the realizing of which I am by no means anxious 
to see take place. I notice his remarks in relation to John which was 
very gratifying to me, I hope he John will spend his vacation pleasantly 
among his relatives should he visit them, after which to return to his 
studies with renewed zeal. I mentioned in my last the cours matters 
were taking as regards my Cincinnati letter published in the Signal, it 
will be only a seven days wonder, when it will be forgotten, & amounts 
to nothing more than I do not wish to be the candidate at all, & I hope 
yet to avoid being so ; my family are perfectly right in not desiring that I 
should meddle in it in any way, which I consider shows their good sense. 
I fear neither Judge McGuire nor Co 1 White saw my crop, & spoke from 
hear say, or from the gen 1 appearance of those they had seen, as my last 
letter from my manager represented my crop as most unpromising, which 
must be correct ; I make no doubt the situation of the place referred to 
by Judge McGuire is as bad as it can be, & shows the necessity of my 
attend to my private affairs in person. Co 1 Taylor has not written to any 
one here or in the country so far as I know, since he left it. I wrote you 
a long letter by the last mail, & have & shall continue to keep you 
advised of every thing of importance in this quarter. My correspond 
ence however is becoming too voluminous, so much so that I may not be 

121 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

able to write as often as I wish, or would do under other circumstances, 
this you must not be surprised at, nor must it prevent your continuing to 
write me as often as heretofore, as it allway affords me pleasure to hear 
from you, & of the health & wellfare of yourself and family ; the oftener 
the better. It is out of the question to preserve copies of my letters 
If Dick was or could be with me I would give him charge of all my pri 
vate correspondence ; but in my present position it is out of the question 
to devote much time to political matters without neglecting my public 
duties. I should not be surprised if there was some unkind feelings on 
the part of Gen 1 Scott towards the administration on ace of M r Trist s 1 
powers to conclude a peace, with are full & complete as far as they go, or 
can be made by the executive ; which no doubt the Gen 1 thinks ought to 
have been conferred on him, as I have no doubt he would like to have 
had the handling of the money appropriated by congress for defraying the 
expenses of said negotiation but let them quarrel & fight as they may 
among themselves it will give me no concern ; I can but entertain the 

O O ? 

opinion that Scott & a portion of the administration united to break me 
down, & as they suppose they got me pretty much out of the way, they 
may get on the best or worst way they can ; they are all of a piece 

The ultra whigs talk of no compromise you say, nor do I wish them 
to make any, my own cours has been determined on which I shall 
not depart from be the consequences what they may, which is that I have 
no wish to be an exclusive candidate of the whig party alth nomenally 
belonging to it & have no hesitation in saying had I voted at the last elec 
tion for a chief magistrate it would have been for M r Clay ; this will make 
the ultra Democrats flare up & will furnis M r Richey & other kindred 
spirits to open an other fire on me, but I will not disguise my opinions 
let the consequences be what they may nor have I any concealments on 
that head 

I delivered your letter myself to Jarvis ; who said he had just 
rec d a letter from you D r Craig leaves in a day or two for the states, 
which make Jarvis medical director A M r Brown an artis from Rich 
mond has just completed a number of portraits mine among the number, 

i Nicholas T. Trist (1800-1874) studied law under Thomas Jefferson, was private secretary to President Jackson, served as 
consul at Havana, and became assistant secretary of state in 1845. He was sent to Mexico and assisted in framing the treaty of 
peace in 1848. 

122 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

that of the officers of my staf as well as a group of myself & staff; he 
leaves in a few days for N. Orleans ; if Ann & the children are at the 
Barracks when he gets to the city, I wish you to take to take them to see 
them Betty in her letter stated she expected M r Conrad 1 & his two 
daughters would go to Pascagoula with her & her mother ; if so it will 
obviate the necessity of your going over with them, as they could not have 
a better escort, or better protection while he remains with them 

I regret to say the prospects for peace are not as flattering as when 
I last wrote you ; last acct s from Mexico say that negotiation had been 
broken off, & it is supposed Gen 1 Scott is now in the City of Mexico ; so 
ends peaceful calculations ; this line is to be barely a defensive one, & all 
the troops that can be spared from it, are to be sent to Vera Cruz to 
reenforce Gen 1 S. My love to Ann & the children & wishing you & 
yours continued health & prosperity I remain truly 

Your Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

N. Orleans Barracks 

My love to John when you write him, as well as regards to 
Maj r Jouett. 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

Aug 25 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your several letters of the 29 th ult & 4 th ins have just reached me 
with your correspondence with Maj r J. which agreeable to your wishes 
was destroyed as soon as read ; the Louisville Journals &c came to hand 
at the same time for all of which accept my best thanks 

It was truly gratifying to me to learn that you Ann & the children, 
as well as Mr 3 Taylor & Betty continued to enjoy good health, which I 



I Meaning Frederick Conrad of Louisiana, a brother of Charles M. Conrad who was a prominent Louisiana politician and 
served in both the Federal and Confederate congresses and was secretary of war from 1850 to 1853. 

123 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

sincerely hope will continue to be the case ; as they have I suppose ere 
now all reached Pascagoula, I feel pretty easy as regards their health, & 
other matters. I hope they will get on without difficulty, accidents or 
misfortunes of any kind or description. My greatest fears are for you, 
being apprehensive that yellow fever in a malignant form may be brought 
to the Barracks from Vera Cruz, as there must now be a great deal of 
intercours between the two places or it may originate in New Orleans, & 
extend to the Barracks, or even at the latter place ; all that I can say on 
the subject is, that I hope you will by great caution escape that & all other 
diseases 

I truly regretted to hear of the difficulty between you and the Maj r 
of the 3 d Infy as I conceive it was unnecessary on your part to have any 
with him ; I look on him more as a child or an old woman than in any 
other light & while I would from self respect as well as respect for the 
service treat the Maj r with the courtesy due to his rank, but nothing more, 
byond which my course towards him would be as th there was no such 
being in existance & those who were so weak & contempt as as to be 
governed & influenced by him ; nothing short of his pulling my hair, or 
putting his fingers in my eyes would induce me to notice him. I do not 
feel dishonored by any airs his good lady may put on however ill they 
may become her, or can me or mine be honored by any attention from 
him or his The proper course is to let such people pass as if they 
were not in existance, or never would be 

I was truly gratified to hear that Dick had so much improved in health, 
& with proper care hope he will very soon be entirely well. I am how 
ever very much vexed he should have passed through N. Orleans without 
calling at the Barracks to see you his sister & the children, & offered his 
services to conduct them to Pascagoula, or any where else, Ann or the 
girls might have wished to have gone. In my last I mentioned that 
M r Conrad had proposed accompaning Mr 8 T. & Betty across the Lake, 
& was pleased to learn from you that he had done so, as they could not 
have had a better escort & would save^you the trouble of going over with 

them. I think it would have done better if Mr 8 T deferred her visit 

to about the middle of the present month, & remained to the middle of 
Nov r her return to B. Rouge ought to be regulated by the health at that 
place 

124 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

Finlay is in an unfortunate predicament & I do not regret his not 
coming here 

I feel much indebted to Gen 1 Broke for his kindness to you and par 
ticularly so for his very kind offer to accompany Mr s Taylor & Betty 
across the Lake and beg you to offer him my thanks for the same ; at the 
same time I am gratified there was no necessity for his doing so 

Since I wrote you nothing has occurred here worth mentioning ; the 
last official information we had here from the other column was by the 
way of N. Orleans, which was contained in the Picayune of the y th ins 1 
I have put or ordered between two & three thousand troops to that line; 
unless negotiations are going on & even pretty well advanced, Gen 1 Scott 
must be ere this in the City of Mexico, which if he can hold onto & keep 
his communications open with Vera Cruz, & peace does not grow out of 
it, there is no telling when this unfortunate war will end ; should it not do 
so before the next meeting of Congress I hope the active operations will 
stopped, & we will take a line that we would accept by a treaty, occupy 
it, & withdraw our forces beyond it, acting entirely on the defensive with 
the exception of blocking their ports, if it is not deemed expedient to 
keep possession of them. I am glad you hear frequently from John & 
most truly & sincerely do I hope he may do well. Rob & the girls ought 
to be at school some where, but as to the proper place, I am unable to 
determine on 

I presume I may be considered pretty fairly committed for the presi 
dency ; but will rejoice should some one else be taken up for said office, 
between now & holding the election for that office, as I would quit the 
field as candidate for the same, with as much pleasure as I would leave 
Mexico So far as I can judge I do not believe my Signal letter is cal 
culated to do me much injury, & will like my letter to Gen 1 Gaines, be a 
seven days wonder when it will be forgotten 

Please remember me most affectionately to Ann & the chidren when 
you write & wishing you all continued health happiness & prosperity I 
remain your Friend 

Truly 
SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

N. Orleans Barracks 
N. Orleans 

125 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Camp near Monterey 

Mexico Aug l 3i st 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

M r Kilbourn of the Artillery having determined to leave for a short 
time on sick leave, & will pass through N. Orleans on his way up the 
Mississippi, I have advised him to call at Barracks & advise with you as 
to the best mode of his getting through the city & on board of a steam 
boat as I very much regret to hear the yellow fever is in the city & prov 
ing fatal in a great many instances I need not ask you to give him 
such advice on this subject as may aid him avoiding the contageon if prac 
ticable, as he is a most excellent young officer. I wrote you at length by 
the last mail ; since nothing of importance has taken place in our front ; 
nothing official from Gen 1 Scotts collumn, a report has reached here said 
to have been brought by a letter from an Englishman in the City of 
Mexico, to a friend in San Luis Potosi & by him to his friend in Saltillo, 
stating that on the 14* of the present month Gen 1 Scotts advance was 
then in sight of the capital, where the greatest confusion prevailed, & 
that negotiations were going on which he thought would result in a peace ; 

o o o o A 

that Santa Anna was running about the city apparently out of his wits, & 
that he thought 500 resolute men could take the city 

I hope sincerely the yellow fever will not make its appearance at the 
Barracks, & that it will not do so ; at any rate that you will be very care 
ful of keeping out of the infected part of the city, as well as every as 
every where else as far as it was possible to do so ; as well as to take every 
other precaution, to keep from taking it as far as it was possible to do 

I rec d a letter by the mail which reached here a day or two since from 
Betty, dated the 2 d ins 1 saying they had reached Pascagoula & were com 
fortably fixed ; that the company was numerous & pleasant, but the yel 
low fever had broken out in Mobile, as well as in N. Orleans ; that Ann 
of course, & the children nor Dick had reached there ; but hope they 
have done so before this, & are comfortably located 

I presume Jouett has taken his departure ere this 

My love to Ann & the children when you write, & wishing you & 
yours continued health & prosperity I remain 

Your Friend 
Truly 

Z. TAYLOR 
126 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

I rec d nothing from you by the last arrival our date from N. Orleans 
are up to the 9 th two days later than were rec d by the mail which here 1 1 
days previously 

SURG N R. C. WOOD 
U. S. Army 

N. Orleans 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

September 8 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

I wrote you a short note a few days since by L< Kilbour who left for 
S Louis on a short sick leave, & a long letter by the mail which left a 
few days before, in answer to your two last, one dated the latter part of 
July, the other the 6 th ult as near as I can recollect, not being able to 
refer to them, as I make it a rule to destroy all private letters as soon as I 
reply to them 

We have this moment rec d information which is thought can be relied 
on from the City of Mexico, across the country by the way of San Luis 
Potosi which is, that Gen 1 Scott on the 22 d ult defeated a division of the 
Mexican army, a short distance from the city near 6,000 strong under the 
command of Gen 1 Valencia, killing & capturing nearly the whole, among 
the former was Gen 1 Salas ; if so no doubt he is in possession of the capi 
tal ere this ; if not prevented doing so by negotiations for peace ; as soon 
as I learn officially he is in the capital, or negotiating for peace, I shall 
apply to leave for the U. States, & hope to be in N. Orleans by the first 
of December, if the indulgence is granted 

It is now 22 days since we had a mail from N. Orleans, a stray Delta 
reached here a few days since of the 12 th ult brought to the Brazos by some 
sailing vesel, from which I regretted to see the yellow fever was making 
considerable ravages in N. Orleans ; I sincerely hope it will not find its 
way to the Barracks ; but I hope Ann & the children are now comforta 
bly located at Pascagoula ; where I truly hope there will be nothing con- 
tageon or disease of any kin or description I must say I feel great 

127 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

uneasiness on your acc f & hope you will use every precaution to keep out 
of all infected places, & if you have to come in contact with that dreaded 
disease you will take every precaution against taking it, as well as to keep 
the system prepared to encounter it should it come. I have written to 
Betty which is herewith inclosed to you, stating should the yellow fever 
make its appearance at Pascagoula, & they can do no better, they had 
better all go to Fort Pike, where there are good quarters & health, & 
where by getting a few mosquitoe bars, mattrasses & something to eat they 
might make out to spend a short time, until it was safe for them to return 
to Baton Rouge & the Barracks; at the same I hope no such contingency 
will arise 

When you write remember me most affectionately to Ann & the 
children as well as to John & wishing you all continued health & pros 
perity I remain truly your 

Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

N. Orleans Barracks 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

September 14 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

The mail which has just arrived after being without one for 26 or 7 
days, brought me your welcome letters of the 8 th 14 th 15 th & 2o th ult with 
the newspapers scraps &c which you were so good as to forward, for all 
of which I am greatly indebted to you. I was very much pleased as well 
as gratified to hear you, Ann & the children as well as Mr s Taylor & 
Betty were all well when you last wrote, & heard from them, & most sin 
cerely do I hope this state of things will continue, alth I feel great anxiety 
on your own & their ace 1 until there is a frost, which will put an end to 
the yellow fever, as I am apprehensive it may find its way to the crowded 
watering places on the Lakes & can hardly fail doing so, to the barracks, 
before the cold weather sets in. Betty writes me from East Pascagoula on 

128 




Z^L^^^X^ 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

the 2 d ult that the place was crowded to overflowing, that many were 
compelled to sleep on the floors & in the galleries ; that Ann had arrived 
& found it impossible to get a room, & had to go to West Pascagoula, 
wher she & the girls were quite comfortable, & would join her mother as 
soon as they could give her a room, which she B. though would be very 
soon, when they would get together, which I trust is by this time if not 
before She also stated that Dick hadjoined them very much improved 
in health, & after remaining a few days, had gone on to the White Sul- 
pher springs in Virginia, which he had been advised to do; which I rather 
regret his doing on ace 1 of the lateness of the season, they generally have 
frost in that region early in Sept r at any rate by the 2o th when all visitors 
take their departure. I think if John gets on board a good vessel with 
a proper commander he will do well in taking the contemplated voyage, 
even if he is absent from the U. States for several years, as it will be in 
the way of his duty ; he has selected a profession which is a highly honor 
able one, but in its commencement attended with many privations & 
severe trials, which I sincerely hope he will cheerfully meet & overcome; 
a voyage such as is in contemplation I trow if he lives to pass through it, 
will be the most unpleasant one he will ever have to encounter; I hope 
let him be where he may, he will not lose sight of his studies, but will 
devote himself to his book every moment he can spare from his duties ; 
I hope he will be as ambitious to be a good scholar, as he will to be an 
able seaman. At any rate he has my constant wishes for his entire suc 
cess. 1 hope Bob went of his own will or consent to M r Aliens school, in 
Kentucky & that he will remain there until he is prepared for college, or 
some other situation ; the changes of schools so frequently, generally ends 
in learning but little by those who do so 

We have just rec d a cross the country the gratifying intelligence alth 
not official, can be relied on, that Gen 1 Scott defeated one division of the 
Mexican army 5000 strong within a few miles of the capital, killing & 
capturing nearly the whole which had resulted in an armistice to afford an 
opportunity to enter into negotiations for peace which I sincerely hope 
will grow out of it & that it is brought to a close by this time if not 
before; if so it will enable some of us at least, myself among the number 
to return to the U. States; should negotiations be broken off as soon as I 
ascertain the fact, & hear that Gen 1 Scott has taken possession of the City 

129 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

of Mexico, I will apply for permission to return to the United States & 
hope to be able to join my family by the first of Dec r or soon after 
Under all the circumstances in which you are placed, I think you have 
decided correctly to remain where you are for the present, & most truly 
do I hope you will escape the effects of any contageous disease, even 
should anything of the kind visit your station. The barracks I consider 
by no means a desirable station, but it will be vastly more so, than many 
which will have to be occupied by us in this quarter, Santa Fe, Callifor- 
nia & Oregon & on the route to that country. On the subject of resign 
ing it seems to me you ought not to think of doing so even if your lot is 
to remain where you are, unless you saw your way clear to do better; for 
D r Frankling say in one of his proverbs "he who has an office has an 
estate, & he who has a trade has a fortune, but the first must be attended 
to & the latter carried on." There is no doubt with your means & what 
I could do for Ann, you might in some of the Western states or Western 
N. York by managing the same judiciously live very comfortably but 
could be hardly satisfied to do nothing or next to nothing, for it is now 
too late in life to think of going into private practice; but I would resign 
rather than be stationed permanently on this frontier, in Callifornia, New 
Mexico or Oregon; it is unnecessary to take trouble on interest, as we 
have a plenty without 

On the subject of the presidency between ourselves I do not care a 
fig about the office, I would much rather remain in the army in command 
of the Southern division or will if necessary retire from public life, rather 
than go to Washington, so they the editors & others may publish my let 
ters & make as many comments on them as they please. I think my 
friend Gen 1 Hunt a goo deal visionary, an excellent man, yet I would not 
commit myself with him ; let politicians determine on who they will elect for 
vice as well as president, & so they are honest & capable is all I care about 

As to Scotts & Worths falling out, unless to mask some dirty work, 
I do not believe a word of it ; you will see when understood what it all 
amount to 

You will see at the coming session of congress great efforts made or I 
am mistaken, to bring other individuals than my self before the country 
for the presidency, Gen 1 S. one of them, but how far he will, or who will 
reach that office time must determine 

130 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

I hope Co 1 Davis will enter into no pledges in order to go the Senate, 
or any where else, & am satisfied he will not if at all improper As to 
Gen 1 Houston it is a matter of no moment what his opinion is of me, as 
they can be but of little importance be they what they may I appre 
hend no outbreak with England, be her cause of grievances what they 
may; she cannot do without our trade; alth our people might be ready 
to rush into war with her ; since our unprecedented success in Mexico ; 
but should we have to measure strength with John Bull, we will find some 
difference between him & the Mexicans 

Co 1 Randall has not got here I have ordered an escort by this mail, 
to accompany him from Camargo to this place, & shall look for him in 
about ten days 

Wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity as well as my 
love to Ann when you write her & the girls, I remain truly 

Your Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

P. S. I hope Jouett has made his escape ere this, & got some where 
out of reach of the fever Let me hear from you by every opportunity 
if only a half dozen lines as I shall be very uneasy until frost. 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

Sept r 27 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your very welcome & interesting letters of the 27 th ult & 5 th & 
8 th ins 1 with copies of one to you from Co 1 Davis & one from a M r Eaton 
of N. York, accompanied by several papers & scraps cut from various 
other, having just reached me, all of which have been read with deep inter 
est & for which you have my sincere thanks. It was to me a source of 
real gratification to hear you were all in good health when you last heard 
from Pascagoula which I sincerely hope they will long continue to enjoy ; 
alth I am under constant apprehension & shall continue so particularly 
on your acc until I know the contageon which is now so fatal in the city & 
I fear has reached the Barracks, has subsided ; as you must be constantly 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

breathing & infected atmosphere, & you will be more than fortunate if 
escape it ; but you will should it come have the system well prepared by 
diet, so as to pass through its baneful effects without any serious results 
growing out of it. I got a letter from Betty saying they were all well, 
dated the 24 th that Ann & the two girls had joined them ; & that the 
crowd had very much diminished ; all of which I was pleased to hear, 
as the danger of any contagion will diminish in breaking out there, or 
spreading should it be brought, as the visitors diminish. I hope you will 
have heard from Rob before this that he reached his place of destination 
in good health without accident, & entered on his studies with zeal & per 
severance. I am pleased that John is likely to have a long voyage in the 
Pacific, as it is in the way of his profession, & I wish to see him a dis 
tinguished member of it, & to do so he must unite both practice & 
theory ; I sincerely hope he will not for a moment neglect his books & 
studies 

On the subject of the family going to Kentucky your included, I 
preferred their doing so to going to the Lakes, as I thought it would have 
been more beneficial to their health, & would have avoided the danger 
from fever at the watering places on the lakes which I have known to be 
very fatal at those places, & avoid the danger from its effects should they 
have to pass through N. Orleans while it is liable to be taken ; & if they 
have to remain at Pascagoula until frost, which in all probability will be 
some time in Nov r they will become heartily tired of the place before it 
will be prudent for them to leave it, particularly should it be healthy at 
B. Rouge ; but I trust all will end well 

If Ann Bob & the girls had any one to look after & attend to their 
wants, I do not consider your plan of locating Ann if it met her wishes, 
at New Haven or Geneva, until the children were educated, which would 
take perhaps some four years ; it would perhaps be less expensive than 
sending them to boarding schools, & it seems to me that it is very desir 
able to have children especially girls educated under the eye of their 
mothers ; this would have been better than resigning unless you could go 
at once into private practice, which is difficult to do. Should this war 
continue which there is every prospect of its doing for some time, officers 
both line & staff must expect to be separated from their families, to a very 
great extent, & fortunate will he be, after it is over, who can obtain a 

132 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

tolerably pleasant station, as the whole country from the gulf along the 
boundary which seperates the U. States & Mexico to the Pacific, will have 
to be garrisoned 

About the 9 th ins 1 we rec d across the country alth not official, news 
which could be relied on, that Gen 1 Scott had defeated the Mexican army 
after two days fighting which terminated on the 20 th ult near the City of 
Mexico, which had resulted in an armistice to afford M r Trist & commis 
sioners on :he part of the Mexican gov an opportunity to settle the 
differences between the two countries by negotiation ; we are therefore 
calculating here, that the war would soon be brought to a close & that we 
would be able to return once more to the U. States to mingle with our 
families & friends ; but how great the disappointment ; three days since 
information reached us as before across the country, which can be relied 
on, that negotiations & of course the armistice had been broken off, & 
that hostilities commenced; which was on the 9 th ins c the result of which 
has not reached us ; but I presume Gen 1 Scott is now in the city ; as soon 
as I hear that is the case, & he is in full & peaceable possession, I shall 
apply for permission to return to the U. States & hope I shall be able to 
join my family early in December, if not by the first ; but most things 
are uncertain, but I shall do so, as soon as I can leave with propriety ; & 
my family & friends must not expect me before 

The deaths by yellow fever in the city are truly distressing particu 
larly in Aug f much more than they had been for many years during the 
same period, & I much fear the same will continue to be the case during 
the present & following months or Sept r & October or until there is a 
frost to check it in the latter ; the only thing that will prevent this being 
the case, will be the decrease of unacclimated persons for it to operate 
on I am astonished that all who could do so, did not at once leave 
the city as soon as that disease made its appearance Denny could have 
sent his family somewhere out of its influence. It was a source of real 
gratification to learn the cases you had at the Barracks were of a mild 
form, & that most of those attacked had recovered, & truly do I hope 
that this favorable state of things may continue ; the number of sick at 
the Barracks are too numerous for one physician, & there out to be some 
one to aid you ; if there is no Army D r a citizen should be hired I 
think Gen 1 B. acted wisely in going out of the city, & I suppose he is 

33 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

located at Pascagoula until the sickly season is at end. The troops on this 
line particularly at Saltillo, have greatly improved in health during the last 
six weeks 

It is impossible to say what course Congress will pursue even should 
the Whigs have a small majority in the next House of Representatives, 
in regard to this war, which I think is becoming more unpopular every 
day judging from the facility of raising volunteers, particularly in the 
West, as well as in obtaining recruits for the regular army, that the whigs 
will hardly withhold the necessary supplies for carrying it on while we had 
so large an army in the field ; which the Union says will be 30 thousand 
with Gen 1 Scott in a very short time ; which I should not be surprised at, 
judging from the number of the new regt s of volunteers which are called 
out, & now on their way to Vera Cruz to act on that line ; the adminis 
tration seems just to have waked up as from a dream & it is not improba 
ble, this wonderful act of energy has been brought about under the 
expectation that it would have a bearing on a whig congress in many 
ways, especially in the way of supplies &c I have read M r Eaton s 
letter or the copy you were so good as to enclose ; nor would I go into 
the presidential chair by subscribing the doctrines he has laid down ; nor 
will I accept a nomination exclusively from either of the great parties 
which divide the country, the moment I done so, I would become the 
slave of a party instead of the chief magistrate of the nation should I be 
elected ; without meddling with politics, or mixing myself up with politi 
cal men in any way I have for many years considered the policy advocated 
by the whigs for the most part, more nearly assimelated to those of M r 
Jefferson than those of the opponents which induced me to range myself 
on that side, & with these views I would have voted for M r Clay at the 
last election, had I voted at all, which I have never done for any one of 
our chief magistrates since I entered the army or before, which is near 
forty years ; & could the present state of our national affairs have been 
forseen, I believe that every man who loved his country more than party 
or office, would have done the same. I would not be chief magistrate on 
any other terms than those which I have avowed ; & have written to 
several political men to that effect. All who are writing me about a U. 
States Bank which is dead, & will not be revived in my time, the tariff 
which will be increased only for revenue ; internal improvement, which 

134 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

will go on in spite of presidential vetoes ; & the Wilmot proviso, which 
was brought into congress to array the South against the [North] must, or 
ought to be left to congress, the president has nothing to do with making 
laws, he must approve or veto them ; when approved or passed by a 
majority of two thirds, his business is to see them proper executed. My 
opinion on those subjects are in too many instances used to my injury ; 
1 have already said enough which has been published & shall refer all such 
writers to what has been already written & published 

No one can possibly respect the opinions of an other more than I do 
those of Co 1 Davis & I know he is my most devoted & ardent friend, 
but I think he is mistaken in supposing the whigs as a body are haling 
off from me; but even if they should do so, it is no reason I should 
change my opinion in political matters ; I shall pursue a straight forward 
course deviating neither to the right or left so that comes what may I hope 
my real friends will never have to blush for me, so far as truth, honesty & 
fair dealings are concerned. If the whigs think proper to play a double part 
with the purpose of deceiving, it will result to their disadvantage & not to 
mine ; nor shall I complain if they drop me altogather, & take up some 
one else, as I most truly say I do not want the office ; & sincerely regret I 
was thought of for the same. I have just concluded long letter to a per 
sonal friend a moderate whig in answer to one from him, in which he says 
some of the strong Democrats in K? who were ready to unite with the 
whigs in the Lexington district, to nominate me for the presidency with 
out regard to party, & that arrangements had been made for such a meet 
ing when the whigs backed out of it, as was supposed through the 
influence of M r Clay, & thought I would aid in bringing M r C. before 
the country for the office in question; in reply I informed him that alth 
I would much prefer seeing M r Clay in the chair of state than myself, & 
would not be in his way if I knew he could be elected, yet I would not 
loan myself to elevate M r C. or any one els to that position ; alth 1 had 
rec d several letters urging me to decline in favor of that individual & to 
urge his election ; these letters I have paid no attention to, nor do I intend 
to do so ; believing the people are capable of attending to such matters, & 
if I was to presume to attempt to dictate to them who they ought to place 
at the head of the gov 1 it would have the effect to make him M r C. more 
unpopular, & me ridiculous. As a matter of course there are many both 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

whigs & democrats that will be opposed to me, or any other individual 
who will not go the whole length of the party- 
Co 1 Davis is correct in supposing the abolitionists will oppose my 
election, or that of any Southern man ; & I have doubts if we have for 
many years another president from a slave holding state, & particularly a 
slave holder. The Co 1 is also correct in believing that the Secretary of 
War was not disposed to give me such a force as would have justified me 
in making a forward movement into the heart of the enemies country ; I 
am satisfied it was long since determined by M r Marcy & others after due 
consultation & deliberation, that I should not have an opportunity of 
accomplishing any thing more than I had already done ; which determi 
nation has been carried out to the very letter up to the present moment ; 
but I hope the Co 1 will let this pass, when he takes his seat in the senate 
or if he notices it at all, it will only be in an incidental way 

Among others I regret to hear of the very unpleasant state of the 
weather, from unusual long cold rains, which must have a very serious 
influence on the prevailing disease unavoidably so, besides the gloom it 
must cast over those who are under the necessity of witnessing the rava 
ges it makes ; but ere this I sincerely hope the weather has become as 
pleasant as could be expected at the present season, & that it has had the 
effect of arresting the contagion to some extent, as well as to impart more 
cheerfulness to those who are mixed up with it. There is no probability 
of my returning to the city until long after the contageon passes away 
There will be no doubt a great blow out between Kearney, Fremont, 
Benton & the Secretary of War, how it will all terminate time must deter 
mine ; it is possible as they are all togather at Washington it may all be 
arranged without proceeding to extremeties by mutual explanations, & 
concessions as they are all politicians ; Benton will be most difficult to 
satisfy 

Between ourselves Gen 1 Scott would stoop to any thing however low 
& contemptable as any man in the nation, to obtain power or place, & be 
as arbitrary in using it when in possession; between him, Trist & the 
powers that be, old Harry may take the hindmost, they are all of a 
piece 

The plan of leaving the troops on their way to Vera Cruz above is a 
very judicious one, until transportation be provided to send them to their 

136 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

place of destination as it would not do to stop them in the city or in the 
influence of the infected atmosphere 

The anxiety about the safety of your family is quite natural but it 
ought not to absorb every other consideration ; we should do the best 
we could for them, after which to submit to the decrees of an all wise 
providence in the best way we could 

I regret my position before the country as a candidate for the chief 
magistracy should give you one moments concern, for I can truly say I 
will be fully as well satisfied if dropped as a candidate, or left out as I 
would be in reaching that high station ; for admitting I should do so, it 
will neither lengthen my days, nor add to my happiness, why then should 
I wish it 

I thank you for the way you replied to M r Eaton. As every thing 
is very wet, I fear you will have great difficulty in making out what I have 
written 

We have this moment rec d information here that Gen 1 Scott had 
fought a battle on the 1 2 th ins 1 had defeated the Mexicans & entered the 
City of Mexico, Santa Anna having abandoned it, which I presume is the 
case, we have no particulars ; & presume you will receive all the import 
ant events connected with it by the way of Vera Cruz before this reaches 
you 

My love to Ann & the children when you write, & wishing you & 
yours continued health & prosperity, I remain truly your 

Friend 

Z. TAYLOR. 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army N. Orleans Barracks 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

October 5 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your several letters of the io th 12 th 15 th & i8 th ult with several 
newspapers, & a number of slips cut from others, containing a number of 
interesting articles has just reached me ; but the most gratifying was to 

137 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

hear all at Pascagoula as well as yourself continued in the enjoyment of 
good health, which I sincerely hope will long continue to be the case. I 
have great apprehensions on your acc from the effects of the contageon, 
alth I observe from the papers printed in the city as well as from your 
letters that the deaths p r day had greatly diminished, but it may be owing 
to the decrease of unacclimated persons for it to lay hold of; be this as it 
may I hope you will avoid as far as possible placing yourself in a position 
which would in any way promote your taking it, as well as to keep the 
system constantly prepared to meet it should it come, so that there would 
be no danger of an unfavorable result. It was a source of much pleasure 
to me to learn that Rob had arrived safe at Louisville ; as it must have 
relieved both you & his mother from the deepest anxiety on acc r of his 
safety, & most sincerely do I hope he is now established safely at the 
school at which it was intended he should go, & that he will remain there, 
as well as profit by the instruction he will receive, until you may think 
proper to remove him to some other institution, or to get him in business 
of some kind or profession, whenever he is prepared for it 

I was very much gratified at the receipt of the extract of John letter 
which is quite an interesting one, & does him much credit ; & is the best 
evidence that he could offer of his determination to succeed in the pro 
fession he has adopted ; there is in it nothing like complaining as to the 
restraints he is placed under, or the hardships of the duties assigned him ; 
I hope he will not neglect his studies, but will devote every spare moment 
from his official duties to the acquiring scientific information, as well as the 
knowledge of some of the languages which will be beneficial to him in 
the way of his profession. There is nothing more important to insure a 
young man a high standing either in the army or navy than literary 
attainments, & a taste for study if he has books &c will be a source of 
amusement as well as occupation which will prevent his time by resorting 
to them from hanging heavy on his hands, & from resorting to certain 
means to kill time which so frequently results in the- destruction of so 
many young men in both arms of the public service. I have been thus 
tedious in dwelling on Johns letter as I take the deepest interest in all 
that concerns him. I consider his outfit rather a costly affair, & think 
he should try to live on his means or pay ; economy is a virtue so far as 
it respects ones living on their means or income 

138 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Anns time must have passed & will continue to do so at Pascagoula 
anything but pleasantly, on ace of your position & the absence of the 
boys, especially so until she has heard of Robs safe arrival at Louisville. 
I hope she will be able to join you by the last of the present month with 
out running any risk from disease of any kind ; or if healthy at B. Rouge 
they might all return there by the 2O th ins 1 by embarking at Carrilton ; I 
know they will be heartily tired of the pass by that time & anxious to 
get away 

On the subject of my letters in reply to those of a few of those I 
receive by every mail I have been pretty guard in my reply to them, 
alth I did not expect they would have been published, as no permission 
was given to that effect written or implied but in one instance, had I have 
known they would have been made matter of newspaper discussion, I 
should have been more circumspect in my language ; however as I before 
stated I do not care a flint whether I am elected or not, & expect accord 
ing to custom in like cases, to be assailed with great bitterness up to the 
time for holding the election if kept before the country as a candidate, 
whether I write letters or not. I will however be more guarded in what 
I write for the time to come, & whenever I deem it necessary & proper 
to reply to letters, I intend to make as little allusion as possible to politi 
cal matters, as well as to mark the same private, which must prevent any 
evil consequences arising from the same 

The death of S. Wright 1 will very possible make some changes 
among the democratic party; had he lived I think it quite likely he would 
have been their candidate for the presidency at the coming election ; & 
think him the best man among them ; who will occupy his position it is 
impossible to say, I imagine it will be Cass or Buchanan. 

As to your remarks about Dicks going through New Orleans with 
out calling at the Barracks, do not understand me as supposing that you 
were in the least put out by his failing to do what he ought to have done ; 
but it is to me matter of vexation to me he should have evinced such 
marked indifference towards those so nearly connected with him, but from 




ras admitted 
ir years. He served on< 
holding the position ti 

: was elected to tne Federal senate. In 1845 and 1846 he was governor of New York. He 

is an able and honest man and an ardent advocate of the principles of the democratic party. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

whom he had received so many acts of kindness. I rec d a letter from 
Betty dated the io th of Sep r saying they were all quite well, & that M r 
Conrad left with his two daughters for B. Rouge, & had invited them all 
to return with him, & remain at his house until all apprehension was over 
in the town & in the Barracks which they all declined as a matter of of 
cors alth I duly appreciate his kind invitation 

We have just received or rather receved a few days since across the 
country information that after the commissioners had failed to settle the 
difficulties existing between the two countries who were appointed by 
Gen 1 Santa Anna to M r Trist by negotiation, the armistice was broken off, 
on the 6 th ult & hostilities immediately commenced, & after some more 
hard fighting Gen 1 Scott entered the City of Mexico on the 14 th Santa 
Anna having fled with the remnant of his army; but what place he 
retreated to we have not heard ; nor have we learned any particulars 
touching the same. I was pleased to hear that Gen 1 Smith & Co 1 Riley 
distinguished themselves in the battles of the 19 th 2o th of Aug c & no 
doubt done so likewise in the attack, which resulted in taking the city. I 
think Maj r Sewel ought to be perfectly satisfied as well as Maj r Raines, & 
all others who volunteered to leave the field, as those two gentlemen 
retired. I do not recollect that Maj r Hawkins ever made any report ; 
if he did it was done such a way that no one could make anything out of 
it ; since the receipt of your letter I mentioned the subject to Maj r Bliss, 
who recollects nothing about Hawkins report nor does he believe he ever 
made one ; & I well recollect I was very much at a loss for want of some 
data to base my recommendations on for Brevets for services at fort Brown ; 
Hawkins was not recommended by me for promotion of that kind ; S. & 
Jouett may console each other for their disappointments in that way ; they 
both have got as much as they were entitled to ; at any rate I shall give 
myself no concern in the matter 

Before this you must have all the particulars connected with the 
taking the City of Mexico, as we get all our official news from that quar 
ter by the way of N. Orleans In consequence of taking the capital, 
which from all we can learn here, is not likely to bring about a peace, I 
have applies by the mail which leaves with this, for permission to leave 
the country ; & under the expectation of its being granted, shall transfer 
my head quarters to Matamoros early next month, & yet hope to join 

140 



LETTERS OF Z A C H A R T TAYLOR 

my family by the first of Dec r or soon after I regret your letters to 
John by being sent to Lock Port will fail to reach him before he sails for 
the Pacific as it will be a long time before he will here from home. It is 
possible yet something may turn up to prevent my returning to the U. 
States at the time calculated on, but hope not ; but I will do so the 
moment I can leave with propriety 

Jouett you say is engineering to go up to Louisville with the Q^ M. 
dep to bring down his family on a public steam Boat ; I hope the Q r M. 
there will not give into any such silly arrangement ; I could wish he & 
his family could be assigned to some other pleasant station while you & 
your family are at the city. But I hope you will as well as Ann act with 
great circumspection towards him, & his while you have to be associated 
with them, so far as to be at all times polite without being intimate. We 
can however talk those matters over as well as many others should we ever 
have the opportunity of again meeting which I hope will be the case 
before a great while, at our leisure. My love to Ann & the girls when 
you write them & wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity I 
remain 

Truly Your 
Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURG N R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

N. Orleans 

Barracks 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

October 19 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Since I wrote you on the 12 th or 13 th ins 1 in reply to yours of the 
1 8 th & 25 th ult we have had no arrivals from N. Orleans, the 28 th of last 
month being our latest dates from that place, & II th 12 th since any arrival 
from the city, which seems to me quite a long time, more particularly 
during the prevailing epidemic as I have so much to apprehend on your 

141 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

account who is constantly in contact with it, as well as that of Mr s Taylor, 
Ann, Betty & girls who may come over before it is entirely safe to do so ; 
but I hope they will not attempt it while there is the remotest danger to 
be apprehended from contageon or disease of any kind at the Barracks, in 
the city or at B. Rouge ; should they come over, & the epidemic should 
make its appearance contrary to expectation & it is healthy at B. Rouge I 
hope Ann & the girls will go up with Mr s T. & Betty & remain with them 
until you have two or three white frosts, sufficient to destroy every vestag 
of the epidemic, which has prevailed during the sumer & autumn ; which 
I presume has pretty much subsided by this time, as it was very much on 
the decline when you last wrote; & I presume the city is beginning once 
more to fill up by the returning inhabitants as well as strangers ; especially 
if you have had any thing like frost which is usually the case about this 
time or a little before. If so I hope Mr 8 Taylor will soon be safely 
located at B. Rouge & Ann & the two girls with her, or with you, & out 
of danger at the Barracks 

I have not heard any of the particulars as regards Gen 1 Scotts taking 
possession of the City of Mexico, all we have heard relative to that affair, 
is that he was in quiet possession of that place, & the Mexican army had 
dispersed ; & I presume there will hardly be any other battle ; that Santa 
Anna had gone no one knew wher, in the direction the Pacific, & it was 
supposed he would leave the country ; this is Mexican news, & Mexican 
conjecture. I make no doubt however you have ere this, had all the par 
ticulars, connected with that affair, as we get everything of importance 
from that portion of the army which can be relied on, by the way of N. 
Orleans ; I presume a treaty of some kind or other will grow out of our 
taking the city, & laying it under contribution, which the Mexicans say 
has been done ; & should we acquire any considerable quantity of terri 
tory, it will produce great strife in the Senate, whenever such a treaty is 
laid before that body for their action ; the Wilmot proviso will shake that 
body to its center, & how it is all to end, time must determine ; but I 
hope some compromise will be entered into between the two parties 
slavery & anti slavery which will have the effect of allaying violent pas 
sions on both sides which will have the effect of perpetuating instead of 
wrecking or shortening the Union 

Judging from some of the newspapers received here by the last mail, 

142 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

in addition to a private letter addressed to me by a prominent whig, evi 
dently to prepare me for such an event & intimating that it would be 
expected that I would acquiesce in the same should it be done, to bring 
M r Clay again before the country as a candidat for the presidency; in 
which I observe some of his bitterest defamers at the last election, was 
lending their aid to bring about such an event ; their object being to 
divide & sow dissentions among the whig party, which if they can succeed 
in doing, will insure the election of one of their own way of thinking ; 
how far M r Clay has or will countenance such a movement, I am unable 
to say, & am not so certain but what he has given it his countenance, if 
not his sanction ; for contrary to his usual bold & frank action in all such 
matters, he has been unusually reserved on this subject, which satisfies me 
he is holding or keeping aloof so as to be able to take advantage of cir 
cumstances ; evidently still desiring the office ; & it seems to me more 
anxious for office than for the interest of the country, or the success of 
the whig party ; I have not answered letter referred to, or others I have 
received from various individuals in regard to this matter, nor shall I do 
so ; for while it is to me a matter of perfect indifference whether I am 
even elected or not, I do not intend any party shall use me as a conve 
nience ; if dropped I intend to stand a loof, & let whigs & Democrats 
manage this matter in their own way I understand the editors of the 
National Intelligencers have thrown out feelers in one of their late num 
bers in regard to the movement in favor of M r Clay. Depend on it there 
will be great changes in the complexion of political affairs between now 
& the end of the next session of congress ; the whigs as a party between 
ourselves, I look upon as doomed ; the democrats greatly out maneuver 
ing them I am gratified I took the position I did, which was not to 
be the exclusive candidate of any party; & if I am elected at all, it will 
be by a union of a portion of whigs, Democrats & native votes At 
any rate I occupy a position & shall continue to do so I hope, that if not 
elected, I shall neither be mortified or disappointed My love to Ann 
& the children if with you, or when you write or see them, as well as best 
wishes to the boys for their success & prosperity when you write them, 
& wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity I remain truly & 
sincerely your friend 

Z. TAYLOR 

H3 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

P. S. I still contemplate leaving leaving here on the 8 th of the com 
ing month for Matamoros to await there the action of the dep c on my 
application for a leave ; which I hope to hear from by the 2O th 

SURG N R. C. WOOD 

N Orleans Barracks 

N Orleans 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

October 2y th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your highly esteemed letter of the 2 d ins accompanied by several 
newspapers and many slips cut from others, all containing matters of deep 
interest, has just reached me, alth it is at long intervals between their 
doing so, I presume most of your letters have found their way to me, as 
I recollect acknowledging the receipt of several referred to ; I have at any 
rate acknowledge the receipt of all which have reached me, alth some of 
them may not have found their way to the Barracks 

M r Kilbourn had a very long passage I understand by the news 
papers which noticed his arrival in N. Orleans, between the Brazos & the 
city, & very likely left immediately as you suppose, for S 1 Louis if he 
found a boat ready to start for that place, which I suppose prevented his 
calling as he had no time to lose, only having a leave for sity days 

I was truly gratified to learn through Maj r or Cap 1 Monroe, that they 
were all well at Pascagoula a few days before you saw him, which I trust 
will continue to be the case ; & presume they have left the Lake by or 
before this time, & hope have arrived in safety at N. Orleans & B. 
Rouge ; I was likewis greatly pleased to know your own health continued 
good, & if it has continued so up to the present time, which I flatter 
myself is the case, & the weather has been as cold there at the barracks, 
as it has been here for the last few days, it must have put an end to every 
thing like contageon there & in the city, if so you will have as much 
health where you are until the latter part of the next summer & autumn 
as in any portion of the Union. I was also much pleased to know you 

144 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

had heard from the boys, who were both well ; Joh ere this must be well 
on his way to Rio; it will be some time before you again get a letter from 
him, or he one from home; he has my best wishes for his health, success 
& prosperity whereever the winds may carry him ; if he succeeds in 
returning in health & without accident of any kind, in good repute with 
his officers, & untainted in morals, he may be consider on the high road 
to distinction ; let him avoid dissipation of every kind, & lose no oppor 
tunity of improving his mind by study, as well as keeping clear of forming 
a matrimonial connection, until he gets some rank, & he cannot fail to do 
well ; a midshipman with a wife is rather a bar to his advancement, & is 
too great weight for him to get on with comfortably ; he should keep out 
of debt & try to live on his pay. Rob I hope has settled down to his 
books with M r Allen & I trust he is getting on as well as could be 
expected. Dick I hope will join his mother next month nearly if not 
quite restored to health ; & will I hope be ready & anxious to commence 
the study of a profession or enter into business of some kind ; he has 
already been idle too long 

I have this moment rec d a letter from Co 1 Davis saying he had just, 
or was fast recovering from a severe attack of sickness, which had very 
much effected his eyes, which I deeply regretted to hear ; but he said 
nothing about his wounded foot ; he has accepted the appointment of 
Senator, which is only temporary ; the election comes on for four years 
to complete the late Senator Spraights term in March next, in Jackson the 
capitol of the state; I think there is but little doubt as to his election ; he 
appears however to be indifferent about it 

I have fixed on the 8 th of Nov r for leaving here for Matamoros, & 
expect to reach there by the i8 th where I intend to await the action of the 
dep 1 on my application for permission to leave the country ; & if acted on 
immediately I expect to hear the result from the 2o th to the 25 th & if 
favorable I will sail on the first good vessel that leaves the Brazos for N. 
Orleans, & hope to reach that place early in December, if not by the firs, 
so that you need not write me after the io th of the next month ; yet the 
leave may not be given, & we should be prepared for the worst ; at any 
rate I will be so 

I mentioned in my last letter that we had heard across the country 
from Mexicans, in a way that could be relied on, that the army under 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

Gen 1 Scott had taken, & was in quiet possession of the City of Mexico, 
after considerable loss; but without giving particulars ; the last mail 
brought us an acc c of the killed from the 9 th to the 1 8 th of Sept r when the 
righting ceased, from several sources, but nothing official ; from which it 
appears there was considerable loss on our side; the 5 th Infy seems to 
have suffered more than any other corps, especially in officers; whether 
the taking the capital will result in peace, time must determine ; I inter 
into no speculations on the subject ; but shall be somewhat disappointed 
if there is not considerable discussion about Gen 1 Scotts armistice, entered 
into with Santa Anna, which has resulted on our side in the loss of many 
valuable lives ; the papers favorable to Gen 1 S. say the propositions for 
said armistice came from the enemy, but unfortunately the written docu 
ments proves the contrary ; it may be saddled on M r Trist ; some body 
must take the responsibility, or rather it will be thrown on the Gen 1 or 
the minister will have to shoulder it, or to divide it between them ; Santa 
Anna will have I am satisfied nothing to do with it 

There is no danger on this line the force here is sufficient to sustain 
itself while acting on the defensive, in fact I do not believe there will be 
any more righting except with small parties ; from what I can learn from 
well informed Mexicans, their army has pretty much disbanded 

Gen 1 Pierces 1 letter is a very contemptable afair, not worth the time 
or trouble it takes to read it, it is worthy of the author, but unworthy of 
an ex Senator of the U. States ; I expect to see many such effusions from 
that army, & I should not be surprised if the Gen 1 in chief was to base 
his claims to the presidency on ace* of his achievements in taking the City 
of Mexico ; he & his creatures will think it presumption for any one to 
dare to oppose him Had not the battle of Buena been fought & won 
there is great doubts whether he Gen 1 Pierce would have performed such 



I Meaning Franklin Pierce, subsequently the fourteenth president of the United States. He was born in Hillsborough, N. 
H., November 2j, 1804, and died at Concord, in that state, October 8, 1869. He was admitted to the bar in 1827, was an ardent 
democrat, took an active part in politics, served in the legislature of his state and in the lower house of congress, and in 1837 was 
elected to the senate of the United States, of which he was the youngest member. He resigned in 1842 with the intention of 
withdrawing permanently from public life. In 1845 he declined an appointment to the senate, a nomination to the governorship, 
and an appointment to the office of attorney-general of the United States. His military ardor was kindled by the outbreak of the 
war with Mexico and on February 16, 1847, he became a colonel of infantry. On the jd of the following March he received 
from President Polk the commission of a brigadier-general of volunteers. He started at once for the seat of war, arriving at Vera 
Cruz in June, and participated in several battles that preceded the capture of the City of Mexico, displaying a personal bravery 
that won him high credit. He was not, however, a trained and educated soldier. In 1848 General Taylor was elected to the 
presidency as a whig. In 1852 Franklin Pierce was elected as a democrat. His administration was a stormy one, owing to the 
constant agitation of the slavery question, and he failed to secure a renomination in the national democratic convention of 1856. 
After the expiration of his presidential term Mr. Pierce traveled abroad for three years, then returned to Concord and passed the 
remainder of his life in retirement. 



146 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

prodigies of valor, which he has shadowed forth on the occasioned alluded 
to. I regret to hear more on his wifes acc c than his own, that M r C. had 
got in the predicament you state, between ourselves it is all wrong, & if 
some members of congress get hold of it, it will hardly redound to his or 
the credit of the army ; but it is none but it is no concern of ours, & let 
him settle it the best way he can ; prudence is a great virtue ; the lucre of 
gain is a terable business, & has caused the downfall of millions. He 
ought to be removed from N. Orleans I was quite pleased to hear 
you had been so successful the cases of those attacked with the prevail 
ing epidemic ; & thank you for the description in treating it ; & hope the 
change of weather from hot to cold has produced no considerable change 
for the worse 

Some of the papers seem to think that the excitement in my favor 
as regards the presidency, is on the decline, which may be so, & if so 
gives me no concern; the great arrangements or preparation for that bat 
tle will be fought in my opinion between now & the end of the next 
session of congress ; I will not be surprised if M r Calhoun & his friends take 
such a course as will enduce the non slave holding states to unite on from 
said states for the presidency, if. so, it settles the question, they having the 
majority ; I have for some time doubted whether we would again have a 
chief magistrate for many years to come from a slave state much less a 
slave holder 

Nothing of interest has taken place on this line since I last wrote 
you 

My love to Ann & the girls & wishing you & yours continued 
health & prosperity, I remain truly & 

Sincerely 

Your Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
D" R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

P. S. I have not written to Mr 8 Taylor [or] Betty by this mail 
I write in the night, you must therefore overlook blunders. 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



Camp near Monterey Mexico 

November 2 d 1847 
My dear D r 

I wrote you by the last mail which left here a week since, in reply to 
your several letters of the j d & 6 th ult as well as I recollect the dates 
which I hope will reach you in safety & in due season since when we have 
had no mail from the U. States, their arrival having been quite uncertain 
& far between for some time past. I am now busily preparing to leave 
for Matamoros & expect to do so on the 8 th ins 1 which place I hope to 
reach should nothing occur to prevent it, by the i8 th or 2O th where I 
intend remaining until I hear the result of my application made some four 
weeks since to the proper department in Washington for permission to 
leave the country, which if acted on promtly I ought at any to receive an 
answer by the 25 th & if favorable, I will turn over the command of this 
line to Gen 1 Wool, who is now here, & will accompany me to Camargo, 
& perhaps to Brazos, & after doing so will leave there in the first good 
vessel for N. Orleans, where I hope to be by the first of December or 
soon after A report has reached here that President Polk was dead, 
which, I do not credit, while I regret to hear of the death of any one, I 
would as soon have heard of his death if true, as that of any other indi 
vidual in the whole Union, evun should it have the effect of producing 
great changes in measures as well as men, so far as the management of 
national affairs are concerned ; as they may be bettered & cannot possibly 
be worsted ; but it may have the effect of producing some chang & con 
fusion at Washington, which may have the effect of causing my application 
to be laid over for a short time ; but whether he is dead or alive, I appre 
hend there will be no difficulty about said leave, other than delay for want 
of attention, as those in power of said party be they whom they may, will 
be very much pleased to get me out of Mexico, if not out of the world 

We have heard nothing as yet directly from Gen 1 Scott since he took 
possession of the City of Mexico ; we learn indirectly from Mexicans, he 
is in quiet possession of the same, & that Santa Anna had been removed 
from the command of the Mexican army, which had been dispersed, or 
as they express it, had been thrown out of the combat ; whether there is 
anything like a peace even in prospect, I am unable to say ; the best 

148 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

informed Mexicans in this section of the country, with whom I have con 
versed, say there will be no peace ; that eleven of the states of Mexico 
had united to carry on the war in the best way they could; if so & M r 
Trist negotiates a treaty it will be on the Schemerhorn plan, with an irre 
sponsible faction or party 

I sincerely hope the dreadful fever has passed away & that the city & 
vicinity has become once more healthy, & has left you in the enjoyment of 
the same health as when you last wrote ; when I can know this is the case, 
I will be greatly relieved on your account 

I also flatter myself that Mr s Taylor Ann &c have been able to return 
home without experiencing any inconvenience from doing, as they must by 
the time they left Pascagoula been heartily tired of the place if not before 

The robbers are still infesting the road between this & Rio Grande ; 
L r Campbell coming here from Cerralvo with 20 men of the 2 d Dragoons 
& a few Texan Rangers was attacked this morning about fifteen miles 
from here by about 150 of that description of people, & after a very sharp 
contest he was barely able to force his way through them, with the loss of 
four men killed & several wounded; & alth a large command was on the 
ground in a few hours after the attack was made there was a reenforce- 
ment on the ground of 100 Dragoons yet dispersing through a country 
unknown to us and were able to effect their escape, or to keep out of our 
way This is the description of warfare which will be carried on for the 
time to come in Mexico 

My love to Ann & the girls as well as kindest regards to the boys 
when you write them, & wishing you & yours continued health & pros 
perity I remain 

Truly & Sincerely 

Your Friend 
SURGEON R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. A. N. Orleans 
Barracks 

N. Orleans 

I had but a few moments to write you, as I waited till the last moment 
hoping a mail would arrive, but have done so to no purpose. 

Z. T. 

149 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



On board the Steam Boat Co 1 Cross 

On the Rio Grande Nov r 17 th 1847 
My dear Doctor, 

Your very welcome & highly interesting letters of the 14 th 24 th & 
28 th ult were received with several newspapers & slips cut from others on 
my [way] from Monterey to Camargo, by the hands of M r Van Allen, 
who was so good as to call at the Barracks where he saw you Mr s Taylor, 
Ann Betty & the girls who had just returned from Pascagoula, all looking 
to be in excellent health 

I was more than gratified on your account to learn that the dreadful 
scourge which had carried off so many persons in N. Orleans & vicinity, 
had ceased to be contageous, & I hope as the weather was quite cool when 
Co 1 V. left, that the whole country has been restored to its usual state of 
health 

I was very much pleased to learn that Mr 8 T. & family had got 
back to the Barracks all well, & without meeting with accident of any kind 
while at the Pass, or in going or returning, & hope the same good fortune 
will attend them until they reach their place of residence. Betty writes 
it had been quite sickly at B. Rouge & that Mr 5 Cross had lost one of 
her daughters but as I observe from one of the N. Orleans papers there 
had been a frost at that place, I hope they Mr s & Betty as well as Ann & 
the girls can return without running any risk. Should there be the slight 
est danger in Anns remaining at the Barracks, I hope she & the girls will 
go up with Mr 3 Taylor & Betty to B. Rouge & remain with them, until 
they can join you in perfect safety; & should there be a good school at 
B. Rouge, I hope the girls will remain with their grand mother & be put 
to the same. Betty says they had received a very pressing invitation from 
M r & Mr 8 Taylor to make them a visit at Point Coupee & spend some 
time with them before they went to house keeping ; but this I expect 
Mr 8 Taylor will hardly do, as she must be very anxious to return, partic 
ularly as Maj r Hooe had taken the liberty of occupying the quarters she 
had been living in, & where was left the whole of her furniture, as I am 
satisfied she will find everything in great confusion, if she finds many 
things at all ; I consider such a procedure on the part of the Maj r highly 
reprehensible 

150 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TATLOR 

I left my encampment near Monterey on the 8 th ins & on the 
evening of the same day met Maj r Van Allen with despatches from 
Washington ; which were copies of instructions to Gen 1 Scott, to sustain 
his army as far as he could do so, by levying contributions on the enemy, 
& that I was to do the same on this line ; recalling M r Trist, & directing 
that there should be no more attempts at negotiation ; that if the Mexi 
can government was disposed to negotiate they must make their terms 
known to Gen 1 Scott or their wishes, who would communicate the same to 
the president of the U. States ; but was not to stay in the least his oper 
ations against them ; I reached Camargo on the 13 th & left on there on 
the 15 th for Matamoros, which place I expect to reach this evening or 
to-morrow morning, & where I shall await the result of my application to 
leave the country, which I hope to do by the 2o th or 25 th at farthest; I 
shall not therefore write you again, until I hear from Washington on the 
subject of my leave, & not then if favorable, as I will in that case leave 
Brasos in the first good vessel for N. Orleans, when we will on my arrival 
discuss many subjects of interest which I will defer until then, particularly 
as regards political matters 

I observe there has been most extraordinary failures in the great com 
mercial houses in England which has had the effect greatly to reduce the 
price of cotton in New Orleans, as well as bread stuffs, & will no doubt 
extend to many other products, & may lead to mercantile embarrassments 
to some extent ; at any rate the country can hardly expect to be as pros 
perous the coming year, as it was the last, cotton I observe has fallen some 
three cents since the opening of the market, which is a great falling off, 
leaving little or no profit to the grower, particularly to those who like 
myself will only make but half a crop 

I was somewhat surprised that Maj r J. could have continued alive 
at the Barracks during the summer, with the yellow fever so near him, I am 
quite surprised he was not carried off from fright. Betty writes me he 
had not called to see her or mother ; his not doing so gives me not the 
slightest concern & I hope he will not attempt to do so, for the time to 
come ; I presume his family has joined ere this even if he could not get 
charge of a Steam Boat to bring them down from Louisville, as I observe 
the Ohio has been in fine order for navigation ; the arrival of the madam 
will add nothing to the society of the Barracks as far as you & yours are 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

concerned ; but I truly hope you, Ann & the girls will give him & his 
family a wide berth, & besides having as little to do with them as possi 
ble, never to speak of them, & act as if there was no such people in 
existance 

Maj r & Mr 3 Hunter is with me on their way to Matamoros, where 
the Maj r will be stationed 

I sincerely hope Dick will join his mother in the course of the pres 
ent month if he has not already done so, & if his health is not entirely 
restored, it is in a fair way to become so, at any rate sufficiently so as to 
enable him to commence the study of some profession, or to enter into 
business of some kind ; he has been idle too long for his own good, or 
reputation ; if we can do no better I want him to go to the plantation & 
have a general supervision of the establishment, until he understands the 
operation or principles of planting, when I will set him up in that way 
on his own ace 1 

Should a leave be refused I will write you immediately on hearing 
Give my love to Ann & the girls if with you, or if absent when you write 
them, as well as to the boys & wishing you & yours continued health & 
prosperity I remain truly & sincerely 

Your Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURGEON R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army N. Orleans 
Barracks 

P. S. The Boat shakes so much I write with great difficulty, so 
much so, I fear you will be hardly able to read it 



Baton Rouge 

February i8 th 1848 
My dear Doctor, 

Your esteemed letter of the 15 th ins 1 accompanied by a copy of one 
from the Honb 1 Washington Hunt 1 member of congress from N. York, 

I Washington Hunt (1811-1867) served in the twenty-eighth, twenty-ninth, and thirtieth congresses as a whig, and was comp 
troller of New York state in 1849 and 1850 and governor in 1851 and 1852. 



N 










(^$fal&w$fi^^ 
" ffaaUto*idw>t 







LGtM^&fa&dlffcVl 

fajfawa.&*d^^ 

3ij^A4afaty3L*M J 

ckofei 




*cukd*ilLo&fa^ (*/ 

fiUfutftfok, ^^^i^(^^ f ^i^^ 

$f*&#Mfafa&^^ 

_Z. y J.A. f id f * /r > rf - / ~4 y ^^ 

T^w x 






, ^^W^/^k^^U^^ 

f^toU4t;t</fafo^^ 

^^^^^.. -A^. .-X. .- ./ -Wl^frtyfrf^ 

^ftAMti^^MA^^^ 

$* t^tft^^^f^i^J^^ sfaioC 
\^uMjt*A^k^ 

1tfrtbA,d*fifc*j 

wfR*yfa+ylefit*i+ 




LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

have this moment reached me, for which you have my best thanks 

While no one can possibly hold in higher estimation than I do the 
talents & character both public & private of M r Hunt, as well as many 
other Whigs in & out of Congress, particularly the honb 1 Truman Smith 1 , 
& however I may dislike to differ with them as regards defining my position 
as a candidate for the presidency, which 1 shall regret to do, I must again 
say I have no wish to occupy that high station ; nor am I a candidate 
farther than the people have or may think proper to make me so ; nor 
can I change the position I have taken, which is, not to be the exclusive 
candidate of any party ; for if I occupy the White House, I must be 
untrammelled & unpledged, so as to be the president of the nation, & 
not of a party ; making the interest of the whole country my only object, 
within the prescribed limits of the constitution; not as I might see fit to 
construe that instrument, but as it was done & acted on by our first presi 
dents ; whose opinions in regard to the same I would adopt, & carry out 
as far as it was possible to do so ; following in their footsteps, as we know 
they were wise, prudent & patriotic 

If those who are not willing to trust me after what I have stated, as 
to what would be my course if elected, which have been published over & 
over again in so many of the newspapers of the day, they must look out 
for one who will give such pledges as they may require & if elected I will 
not complain 

I believe the course the Whigs are pursuing in regard to the election 
in question, will have the effect of fixing on the country the present party 
in power, until there is nothing left of the constitution but the name. A 
Whig national convention to select candidates to fill the two highest offices 
known to our laws, will result in no good, but will aid if it is not the 
cause of bringing about a strict party vote between them, & their oppo 
nents ; & as they are in the minority, when we take into consideration the 
immense influx of foreigners into our country, who are carried to the polls 
& are permitted to vote immediately on their arrival, naturalized or not, 
nineteen out of twenty if not more, vote the democratic ticket, the result 
cannot be doubtful ; besides we ought to know whenever the community 
becomes excited on such matters, the love of party with many without 



I Truman Smith (1791-1884) was a representative in congress from Connecticut in the twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh, twenty- 
ninth, and thirtieth congresses and served in the senate of the United States from 1849 to 1854. He was a whig in politics. 

53 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

there being aware of it, is stronger than the love of country; whereas had 
the Whigs gone on quietly & nominated their candidates by primary 
assemblies & state legislatures, without imposing restrictions on them, & 
invited all to join them irrespective of party, who were for saving or sus 
taining the constitution in its purity, they must have succeed in overturn 
ing the present dynasty; & I hope the downward tenden of our national 
affairs would at any rate for a time at least, have been arrested 

Should I be nominated by a Whig or Democratic convention, State 
or National, exclusively on party grounds, I would feel bound to decline 
the same ; but should either or both think proper to do so, leaving me 
free to act on the grounds I have taken, I should have no hesitation in 

O 

accepting; this however I do not expect 

I now consider myself in the hands of the people who can dispose of me 
as they may think best; let them & those who brought me forward for the 
presidency drop me, or cast their votes for some one else at the proper 
time ; which they ought to do, if a more available candidate can be 
selected, & one better qualified to serve the country ; & if he should be 
elected, I shall be neither disappointed or mortified at the result ; on the 
contrary if he is honest, truthful & patriotic, qualities unfortunately for 
the country, not always to be met with in those filling high places, I shall 
be more than satisfied 

I am hoping the boy Westley will subject you to no inconvenience 
and that his disease, palpitation of the heart, will not be found to 
be incurable 

I regret there was any difficulty about the horses, at the same time I 
am satisfied Maj r Tompkins or the Q r Master who attended to this mat 
ter acted correctly ; & I am pleased with the course you have pursued in 
the matter ; the difficulty lay or grew out of my instructions not being 
attended to at the plantation 

I have been confined to the house for the last four weeks with some 
thing like rheumatism, or a severe pain in the leg, confined exclusively to 
the muscles ; the pain not being always accute, but occasionally so much so 
as to prevent me from putting my foot to the floor, & barely enough so, 
to keep me awake during the greater part of the night ; I am much bet 
ter but far from being entirely recovered ; I shall however leave to-morrow 
for Woodville, & expect to be absent from here about a week, & imme- 

154 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

diately on my return will go to the plantation ; if well enough to do so 
M r Garnett the aid of Gen 1 Brook got here day before yesterday, & 
will leave by the first Boat for N. Orleans ; he seperated from the Gen 1 
at Cumberland ; he the Gen 1 going by Pittsburg, he continue on the direct 
route by Wheeling ; the Gen 1 he says may be looked for daily 

M rs Taylor is improving in health, Betty is quite well well, Dick is at 
the plantation, & was in good health when last heard from 

M" Taylor & Betty join me in love to Ann & the girls, & accept 
our best wishes for the continued health & prosperity of you & yours 
through a long life Your 

Sincere Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
D* R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army- 

I have no objection to your copying so much of my letter in rela 
tion to the presidency in reply to M r Hunts as regards the same, & for 
ward it to him, which he is authorized to submit to any of his, or my 
friends, but not for publication in any of the newspapers ; as I do not 
wish to have any concealments on this subject 

I hope you hear from the boys & that they are getting on very well, 
or as much so as you ought to calculate on 

Z. T. 



Baton Rouge 

Febx 28 th 1848 
My dear Doctor, 

Your esteemed & interesting letter of the 25 th ins* has just reached 
me & I hardly need say how much gratification it afforded us to hear you, 
Ann & the girls were all well, & when last heard from the boys were in 
good health, & getting on as well as could be expected 

I returned last night from a trip to Woodville to which place I had 
determined on going for some time past but was prevented from doing so 
for several weeks by an attack of neuralgic affection in my leg, which I 

155 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

mentioned to you in my last communication ; alth not entirely recoverd 
I left home last Sunday was a week, & alth the weather was quite unfa 
vorable, I succeeded in getting through with the undertaking with but 
little inconvenience, & got back if not entirely recovered in greatly 
improved health ; at any rate able to get about without the aid of a 
crutch or a cane I have but little doubt the change from a very active, 
to an inactive life, may in some measure have aided in bringing on the 
attack from which I experienced so much inconvenience; but I do not 
believe that too high living at Baton Rouge, or indulging too freely in 
the plain diet which every one here are from necessity of confining them 
selves to, had much to do in bringing on the same; however I trust I will 
escape from a return of the same, or any similar disease, at any rate for 
some time to come 

The communication referred to by M r Hunt addressed to me & 
signed by several members of Congress wishing me to define more clearly 
my position than I have heretofore done, I have just rec d by Co 1 Van Allen 
the gentleman who carried despatches to me from the war dep* just as I 
was leaving Mexico; he was also the bearer of an invitation from the 
Senate & House of Representatives of N. York through Governor Young 
to visit that state, which as a matter of course I must decline ; & I must 
in a great measure if not alltogather decline going father in explaining my 
views on political matters than I have already done ; I now feel perfectly 
satisfied the contest for the presidency will sittle down so far as the office 
seekers & trading politicians are concerned of both the great parties to a 
strict party vote ; in which I do not wish to be concerned ; the contest, 
should an independent or third party spring up between now & the first 
Monday of Nov r next will be between them & the politicians ; but 
whether the former will be able to contend successfully with the latter the 
result must determine ; I much fear the devotion of a portion of the Whigs 
would rather be defeated with M r Clay as their candidate than to succeed 
with any one else, such is devotion to a party which absorbs every other 
consideration; but if the present party in power is saddled on the country 
the responsibility will be with M r Clay & his Whig friends 

I was gratified to know the convention which met on the 22 d to 
nominate Taylor Electors for the presidency passed off with so much 
unanimity & good feeling & without drawing strict party lines; had my 

156 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

friends in other states done likewise the result I think would not be 
doubtful. Maj r Eaton & lady are here; he brings no news of importance. 
I am indebted to Maj r Sumner 1 for his kind regards. Jarvis no doubt 
gives you a faithful picture of Gen 1 Wool, & his proceedings, it may be 
truly said of him, he is a "little great man" 

I am pleased to hear you have put Wesley under medical treatment, 
& flatter myself his case is not beyond the reach of medicine, & that he 
will soon be so far recovered as to return to the plantation On the 
subject of the horses, I would prefer if an other course has not been 
adopted, the receipts to be made out in Dicks name, but if they have been 
in mine, I will will sign them on their reaching me, & immediately return 
them I deeply regret to hear of the fate of poor Conrad, as well as 
the violent death of D r Glen, but you do not say how or by whom the 
latter came to his end 

All things considered you did wisely in declining the charge of the 
U. S. Gen 1 Hospital to be established in or near N. Orleans on ace* of 
the unhealthiness of the position, but even that would be preferable to 
going to Mexico, & be seperated from your family ; if you can get 
a pleasant Northern or Eastern station it will be more desirable, particu 
larly on account of educating the girls ; but if you have to remain in the 
South I still entertain the opinion if it can be possibly done, it it would 
be better to keep a teacher or governess in the house as being more eco 
nomical as well as the most judicious course which could be pursued ; 
however we must do the best we can as regards such matters. Either of 
the stations named by you would be most desirable 

While at Woodville I met with an old brother officer who I served 
with soon after entering the army Co 1 W m S. Hamilton* who informed me 
a young son of his about 18 years of age, Franklin Hamilton who he 
sent to Ohio had joined one of the Volunteer Regt s from that state & went 
with it to Mexico by the way of Vera Cruz, that he had not heard from 
him for some time which caused him great uneasiness ; & as volun 
teers were sent out of the country to N. Orleans very frequently sick, he 



1 Edwin V. Sumner went into the army in 1819 as a second lieutenant and was slowly promoted till he reached the rank of 
major-general of volunteers in 1862. He distinguished himself at Cerro Gordo and Molino del Key, Mexico, and at Fair Oak, 
Va., and died March 21, 1863. 

2 William S. Hamilton was born in North Carolina and joined the army as a first lieutenant in 1808. He became major in 
1813, lieutenant-colonel in 1814, and resigned in 1817. 

157 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

might chance to be among the number ; & wished me to make som 
inquiries about him which I promised to do ; I have therefore to request 
you to examine & see if he is among the sick who have been sent to 
the Hospital under your charge, or may reach there hereafter, in either 
case I hope you will pay him every attention in your power to bestow 
until he is able to join his family 

I intend going to my plantation in 5 or six days where I expect to 
remain until the latter part of March 

M rs Taylors health is improving Betty is not very well, but is about, 
they join me in love to Ann & the girls & wishing you & yours continued 
health & prosperity remain your 

Friend Truly 

Z. TAYLOR 
SURGEON R. C. WOOD 

U. S. Army 

N. Orleans Barracks 



Baton Rouge Louisiana 

June 22 d 1848 
My dear Doctor, 

Your very acceptable letters of the 4 th & 8 th ins* the first from N. 
York the latter from the City of Washington, were duly rec d for which 
you have my best thanks ; & hardly need say the pleasure it afforded us 
to learn you, Ann & the girls had succeeded in reaching your place of 
destination Baltimore, after so long a trip, without accident & in good 
health, which we sincerely hope you will long continue to enjoy 

I was pleased to know that a school had been fixed on at which the 
girls were to be placed, as it is important they should lose no time in 
prosecuting such branches of education as is important for them to acquire 
as they will be soon women, at any rate in size; I hope therefore the 
institution they will be placed at will prove such a one, as will afford all 
necessary advantages to enable them to complete their education without 
changing them to an other for that object, which is always attended with 
more or less disadvantages, at any rate with to persons of their age It 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

appears I have rec d the nomination as the candidate of the N 1 Whig Con 
vention which recently met in Philadelphia, & alth I have not been offici 
ally notified of the same, yet I shall not hesitate to accept said nomination, 
as I understand it was made on the grounds I have occupied from the 
commencement ; without requiring of me pledges of any kind ; many 
pretended friends will throw or attempt to do so, as many obstacles in the 
way of my success as possible ; they have already commenced caveling or 
have taken acceptions in the Union to the course pursued by the deliga- 
tion in Philadelphia particularly at the remarks of Judge Saunder in con 
vention ; even without exactly knowing what they were, I am satisfied there 
was nothing improper or even inconsistent in them ; the Judge is a man 
of as high character for truth, honor, honesty &c as any in the nation ; 
as well as possing a high order of talent ; I do not intend to go into the 
discussion of this matter, I have not changed in the slightest degree my 
position before the country as regards the presidency since I first assumed 
it ; & even if others have done so for me, or even it is so only in imagi 
nation, I shall not attempt to undeceive them, & if they themselves can 
not unravel the mistery to their satisfaction, why let them in the name of 
Heaven let them vote for some one else : which will give me no concern: 

O 

for I can say in all sincerity the nomination was to me a matter of no 
exultation however much I may be gratified at the honor done me which 
is of no ordinary character coming from so distinguished a body for tal 
ents, patriotism & above all for purity of purpose &c as composed said 
convention ; yet it might have been better for the country had they desig 
nated could he have been elected some one of the prominent civilians of 
whom there are so many in the country ; & even should I be the success 
ful candidate I shall not rejoice, or mourn if defeated ; I am now fairly 
before the country & shall calmly abide the result be it what it my I 
was very much pleased to know you had determined to keep as much as 
possible out of the arena of this canvass, which I hope all those who are 
nearly connected to me, will do. I have just returned from the plantation 
where I remained two weeks ; while there we had quite a tornado which 
prostrated several House & a great deal of fencing & many trees, besides 
very much injuring the crop of both corn & cotton, particularly the for 
mer which appears to bear very heavily on Dick, who I left at the estab 
lishment, & where he will remain a few weeks 

1 59 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

Co 1 Bliss has just heard of the [death?] of his mother which will he 
informs me compel him to go to New Hampshire in the course of a 
month or two 

The treaty is ratified, & the troops are leaving Mexico & returning 
home as rapidly as possible. I do not know what duty they will assign 
me to if to any, or whether I will be disbanded with the masses, which is 
quite probable, as I do not intend to quit the army voluntarily until after 
the result of presidential election is known, nor even then if unsuccessful 

Bob I learn you left at school in Kentucky where I hope he is doing 
well. Also that you have heard from John since you went North & that 
his health was not only good, but that he was getting on as well as could 
be expected, which I sincerely hope will continue to be the case 

I hope the Co 1 & family are in the enjoyment of good health & 
pleased with their location. M rs Taylor & Betty join me in wishing to 
be most kindly remembered to them ; as well as love to Ann & the girls 
when you see them & wishing you & them continued health & prosperity 
through a long life I remain truly 

Your Friend 

SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR 

U. S. Army 

Baltimore 

P. S. I see your friend Tripler found his way out of Mexico with 
his friend Gen 1 Scott 

You must not expect me to write you very often, or to write very long 
letters. 



Baton Rouge Louisiana 

June 25 th 1848 
My dear Richard, 

Your highly esteemed letter of the I I th ins 1 on the subject of my 
nomination as a candidate for the presidency at the coming election in 
Nov r next, by the Whig Nat 1 Convention which recently met in Philadel 
phia, as well as in relation to other grave matters connected with & grow 
ing out of said nomination, has this moment reached me, for the 

1 60 






^ C#A*c6jel# 






*^^ 




* * 

!+**& 



u lM^Mc^StAifoU^ 

& * X> -Xlj^*^ Am * .- 3^X. . . X- - . V -X. *J.fl* 




^dc^oc^^/itcx/t 

^u^ 

^ -^ 



U**tC.i4ftA<.tv. 
*ff- * s i*- 
^****^^<S<^ 

^***7i 





^ f"~^m ^r ^^^^ ^^ 

J^i^^i^^^^ 

A. ^y ^yr T^-> >- - ^,^x /*r ^ yx rr- <^^^^^^ 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

information therein contained as well as for your prudent suggestions, you 
have my sincere thanks 

I am free to say I feel no little gratification at the marked distinction 
which has been done me, on the occasion referred to, more particularly so, 
coming as it does from one of the purest, most talented & patriotic body 
of men for their number, ever met togather in this or any country for a 
similar object, to disignate who was to rule over them 

By nominating me as a suitable candidate for the first office in the 
gift of a great & free people, & I may with great propriety say the first in 
the world, during a state of high political excitement of a party character, 
without asking pledges of any kind, is an evidence of their confidence in 
my honesty, truthfulness integrity has but few parallels anywhere, at any 
rate none since the days of the Father of his Country, under all the cir 
cumstances attending said nomination it is an honor of which I may be 
justly proud, & one for which I am duly grateful, & which I will endeavor 
to continue to merit; & am satisfied I feel more elated on acc t of this 
flattering compliment, than I shall do at any time should the good people 
think proper to elevate me to the presidential chair 

I have not yet officially been notified of my nomination but expect it 
will be the case in a few days, as I observe from the proceedings of the 
convention, that Gov r Morehead 1 their president was designated to com 
municate to me the result of their labors ; as soon as he does so, I pre 
sume I shall accept said nomination without making objections or taking 
exceptions to any portions of it, indorsing the whole including the course 
of the Louisiana delegation & that of Judge Saunders; & would have 
accepted the Democratic nomination had it been tendered me in like man 
ner, leaving me untrammeled & unpledged to carry out their particular 
views as regards this or that measure My answer to the governors 
letter informing me of my nomination will be brief, & after due consider 
ation, barely accepting with due thanks &c &c for the honor done me ; 
unless there is something more contained in the letter referred to than I 
calculate on, or expect ; which of course I must be governed by, & hope 
under any contingency my reply will be such as my friends will approve, 
what my enemies may think of it gives me no concern 



I John Motley Morehead (1796-1866) was governor of North Carolina from 1841 to 1845. 

161 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

When Judges Saunders & Winchester two old personal & political 
friends, were on their way to the Eastward as delegates to attend the Whig 
Nat 1 Convention, they addressed me a joint communication requesting to 
know what course I wished them to pursue at the organization of said 
convention & during its proceedings, & that I would inclose my answer 
under cover to a friend in Washington in time for them to receive it, 
before the meeting of said convention, which was done, & in which I 
stated, that as circumstances might occur after their arrival at Philadelphia 
connected with the proceedings of the convention which I could not 
forese, & as I felt my cause as well as my honor safe in their keeping, 
they must assume the necessary responsibility to act for me in certain 
contingencies which could not be foreseen, in which I would acquiesce ; 
that if my friends went into the convention which I presumed they would 
do, if things were conducted on fair & correct principles, which I had no 
right to doubt would be the cas, as their constituents had sent there for 
that object, they would be bound to support the nominees of the conven 
tion, be whom he might & which they ought to do heart & soul, leaving 
me out of the question, if I failed to get the nomination ; that I was not 
a candidate further than my friends had made me so, without any agency 
of mine directly, or indirectly in the matter, in whose hands I was, & who 
were at liberty to withdraw or drop me, which I could not do on my own 
accord, & which they ought to do, provided they could take up a more 
available candidate & particularly one better qualified to serve the country, 
& should they succeed in electing him, it would neither disappoint or 
mortify me, on the contrary if he was honest, truthful & patriotic I will 
rejoice at the result ; under said instructions my friends from Louisiana 
were fully justified in taking the course they did, at any rate I approve it ; 
& in doing so, I do not conceive I have departed from the position I 
assumed ever since my humble name was brought before the country for 
the high office in question, or that it involves any inconsistency on my 
part, others however may think so, in which case I will not attempt to 
change their opinions, even if I had the vanity to believe I could do so ; 
and however I may regret losing the support of, I have no doubt of many 
high minded & honorable men in consequence of the course things have 
taken, yet it is gratifying to me to know there has been no concealments 
in the matter & that there is ample time between now & the y th Nov r for 

162 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

all who have been disappointed in relation to this or any other matter, or 
even desire to change their positions, to select another candidate for the 
presidency, for whom they can vote, without doing violence to their 
feelings 

As to the course pursued by the Louisiana deligation 1 I observe it 
has been made a prominent element of attack on them to bring about a 
colision between them & myself on the score of varacity, with a hope of 
sowing distrust among the whig ranks, which seems to have been done 
about the same time from N. York to N. Orleans ; at the latter place the 
most contemptable meas possible was resorted to, to bring about the result 
referred to ; individuals under the disguise of gentlemen posted up here 
from the city who after calling on me, in the character of friends, & being 
kindly treated, returned to the city & give I am credibly informed circu 
lation to the most palpable falsehod touching this matter ; which was im 
mediately sized on by the several papers hostile to me, & published among 
other matters that there was a letter in the city from me which would make 
its appearance the next day, in which I had denounced the course of the 
Louisiana delegation, and would not accept the nomination of the 
whig convention, & that the whigs would have to call another con 
vention to select an other candidate &c &c, all of which was gotten up 
for effect without the slightest authority, by men who professed great 
frankness & independence, & who have professed to be my warmest 
friends, & most devoted advocates for the presidency ; all of which has 



I The whig national convention of 1848 met in Philadelphia June yth. On the evening of June 8th Judge Saunders of 
Louisiana was on motion allowed to define General Taylor s position. He then read a paper, drawn up by the Louisiana delega 
tion as follows: 

" The position occupied by General Taylor in relation to the presidency does not seem to be correctly understood by many 
persons, and for that reason it is deemed proper by the delegation of Louisiana to make such explanation and statements in rela 
tion thereto as may effectually remove all doubts which may have arisen from the effects of misrepresentation and misapprehen 
sion. General Taylor has taken no part in bringing his name before the American people in connection with the presidency, nor 
does he present his name to the convention as a candidate ; his friends throughout the country, rather discouraged than encouraged 
by him, have placed him prominently before the nation as worthy of filling the place once occupied by the illustrious father of his 
country, and General Taylor consents to the nomination. He considers himself in the hands of his friends who have honored 
him with the choice, he has publicly and repeatedly stated that they might withdraw him whenever they thought the interest of 
the country required it ; he does not consider that, under the circumstances on which his name has been brought forward, it would 
be proper in him to withdraw himself. Such has been his position since he consented to the use of his name subsequent to the 
capture of Monterey, and such is his position now. 

" On behalf of the delegation from Louisiana, I will farther state that General Taylor desires it to be understood that in his 
opinion his friends who came into this convention are bound to abide by its decisions, and to sustain the nominee, heart and soul ; 
that General Taylor recognized in his friends in this convention the right to withdraw his name, and he will cheerfully acquiesce 
in such withdrawal. General Taylor, we are also authorized to say, will hail with entire satisfaction, any nomination beside 
himself, being persuaded that the welfare of our country requires a change of men and measures in order to arrest the downward 
tendency of our national affairs. 

" On making the announcement the delegates from Louisiana wish it to be distinctly understood that it involves no inconsist 
ency on the part of General Taylor. In case the choice of this convention should fall on another than General Taylor, and his 
friends in this convention withdraw him, it will be their act and not his, but in which he will cheerfully acquiesce; and by the 
act of uniting with this convention his friends withdraw his name from the canvats, unless he be the nominee of this convention. 
And we deem it proper to assure the whigs of the Union that we desire the nomination and election of General Taylor to the 
presidency on no other than broad national grounds." 

163 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

somewhat the appearance of a concerted attack ; I see I am railed at in 
advance by the loco press to prevent my accepting the whig nomination, 
but they may rail on I will not consult as to the proper course for me 
to pursue in this or any other matter 

I never had any aspirations for civil office of any kind, & even if I 
had in former days age & more than 40 years spent in the military service 
of the Republic, many of which have been in the field under canvas from 
the heads of the Mississippi to the burning sands of Florida & the inhos 
pitable climate of Mexico, which has had the effect to allay the same, so 
much so, should I reach the presidency by the too great partiality of my 
countrymen I would go into the office more from a sense of duty than 
from inclination 

Your Aunt whose health is only tolerable is the only member of the 
family with me ; Betty is on a short visit to a friend some 40 miles dis 
tant, & Dick is on the plantation Your Aunt joins me in wishing to 
be most kindly remembered to your uncle & family, & wishing you con 
tinued health & prosperity through a long life 

I remain your 

Devoted Uncle 

R. T. ALLISON Esg r Z. TAYLOR 

Baltimore, M d 

P. S. Since writing, the mail has arrived bringing your letter of the 
12 th also the one referred to from the committee in Baltimore 

Z. T. 



Baton Rouge Louisiana 

August 8 th 1848 
My dear Richard, 

Your acceptable & interesting letter of 2y th ult has this moment 
reached me, communicating the proceedings of the independent conven 
tion of Maryland, which had recently met in Baltimore & adjourned for 
the purpose of taking into consideration my course in regard to the one 
pursued by the delegates from Louisiana in the Whig National Conven 
tion which assembled in June last ; that they should or a majority of them 

164 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

have on " sober second thoughts," been dissatisfied with my letter of 
explanation submitted to that body, by the committee who was author 
ised to address me touching the subject in question, is a matter to me of 
some regret as there are among them men whose good opinion I should 
like to possess ; but as to their supporting me for the highest office in the 
gift of the people, or not, it gives me but little concern ; I am satisfied 
with the course I have pursued since my name was first brought before 
the country as a candidate for the presidency, except in one instance which 
is, that I had not objected most positively to my name being at all con 
nected with the same; for in truth I never had any aspiration for the 
office; nor have I any wishes for it now, further than my friends are 
anxious for me to reach it & trust those who are not satisfied with the 
course as regards the action of the Louisiana Delegation in the matter in 
question as well as the course I have pursued in the matter of consistency 
or the position I have taken & now occupy since my nomination by the 
convention at Philadelphia will not hesitate to cast their votes for some 
one else, & it is a matter of gratification for me to know there is plenty 
of time between now & the 7 th of Nov r for them to select a candidate 
more suitable to their taste or views, & should they succeed in electing 
him, I shall experience no mortification at the result 

On the subject of the letter referred to which has been placed in the 
hands of a friend subject to my order or any friend authorized by me ; I 
have written to the Honb 1 R. Johnson of the U. S. Senate from Mary 
land authorizing him to have it published ; he having written me advising 
that I would do so ; the only objection I had to this course in the first 
instance, was my dislike to my name appearing in the newspapers so fre 
quently ; not that if done it it would have the effect to injure me in the 
opinion of any real friend, no matter how much it might be misrepre 
sented, criticised & commented on by pretended friends or open enemies 

I must now since my accceptance of the nomination by the Whig 
convention expect to be assailed from every quarter of the Union in the 
most outrageous manner without regard to truth, decency or anything 
else, by pensioned editors of n. papers, hired scriblers, as well as many 
others, which I have determined shall not be the cause of any thing like 
mortification, but will continue to pursue the " even tenor of my way " 
without turning to the right or left to notice them 

165 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

The facts in the case I consider very plain, so much so that I deem 
the statement of Judge Sander referred to unimportant at the present 
time & would do no good if made public, particularly as I have indorsed 
his course & that of his colliegues, which from the course things had 
taken I considered I was bound to do, no matter who approved or disap 
proved it 

I have seen the comments in the Buena Vista on my severy letters 
which have been published heretofore in various news papers, all of which 
have given me but little concern ; nor do I know that I should have again 
thought of that mighty effort at vituperation had you not brought it to 
my notice, as I can assure you it had passed by without making the slight 
est impression 

I thought it best to authorise the Hon 1 R. Johnson to have my let 
ter published, preferring from certain reasons that he should do so than 
any one else; at the same time I should have been quite pleased had you 
taken the responsibility of doing so 

We were very much pleased to learn that D r Wood & Ann were in 
good health, as well as your uncle & family which I flatter myself will 
long continue to be the case Your aunt & Betty are only in tolerable 
health, they desire to be kindly remembered to you as well as best regards 
to your uncle & family should they have returned to the city ; as well as 
the D r & Ann. 

I expect to leave here in about a week with your aunt & Betty for 
Pascagoula, a watering place on the gulf back of New Orleans, where we 
will spend some three or four weeks & then return here 

I sincerely hope your affairs are as prosperous as you could expect. 

Wishing you continued health & prosperity 

I remain truly & sincerely 

Your affectionate 
Uncle 

Z. TAYLOR 
R. T. ALLISON ESQ R 
Baltimore 



166 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 



Baton Rouge Louisiana 
December io th i 
My dear Doctor, 

On my return here a day or two since from a short visit to N. 
Orleans I found your highly esteemed & interesting letter of the 12 th ult 
Some one or two were rec d from you previously which were not replied 
to, as Betty vas about writing to Ann when they came to hand, & as I 
was overburdened with my correspondence, I requested her to state to you 
through Ann, that I had received them, besides which she communicated 
all that was of any interest here as regarded family matters & local affairs, 
which was worthy of notice 

Alth I can truly say that I felt neither exultation or gratification so 
far as I was individually concerned at the result of the late presidential 
contest, yet I sincerely thank you & dear Ann for your kind congratula 
tions on ace 1 of my success in reaching the office in question, which I look 
upon more as a bed of thorns than one of roses & however strang it may 
appear I would greatly prefer could the mantle have fallen on some one 
of the distinguished Whigs I could name instead of myself 

My election has no dout astonished those in power, who resorted to 
every measure to break me down as far as they could do so, when in a 
foreign country in front of the enemy, & to destroy me by the vilest 
slanders of the most unprincipled demagouges this or any other nation 
ever was cursed with, who have pursued me like blood-hounds up to the 
present moment, & who will continue to do so, as long as their employers 
or masters will it, notwithstanding the signal rebuke they have met with 
from a majority of the free & independent voters of the country ; the 
maxim is a correct one that the sovrign people when left to thems rarely err, 
& the recent election proves that even when every effort is resorted to on the 
part of their rulars to mislead & deceive them, they are capable of judg 
ing for themselves & shewing their servants who they placed in high 
places that they are capable of judging for themselves & deciding who 
shall rule over them 

I was aware you would as well as Ann be highly gratified to hear 
from John, & hope you have received from him an other letter ere this, 
& that he is getting on as well as could be expected ; I am anxious to 

167 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

know he is getting on with his new commander, of which he appeared to 
have some doubts as regarding doing so, as well as he had done, with 
those he had previously sailed with ; but I hope for the best 

We are truly pleased to learn Rob & the youg ladies were all well at 
Emmitsburg, & that they are making as rapid progress in the several 
branches of education they are pursuing as could be expected ; & that the 
girls can remain there to advantage until their education is for the most 
part completed I was quite pleased to hear that the Co 1 & family were 
all well, which I hope continues to be the case ; R. Allison I learn is 
threatened with consumption, & been advised to go to Cuba, & suppose 
he has left for that Island ere this 

Genl 1 & M rs Gaines I learn are expected in N. Orleans very soon, & 
that he is to command this division when I leave it D r Jarvis got here 
day before yesterday on his way to the Rio Grande, & spent the day with 
us & then continued on to the city ; he stated he saw you in Baltimore 
when on his way out from N. York, but not Ann, who was suffering with 
a swollen face, since when a letter has reached here from her of the 
26 th ult to Betty in which she says she was suffering with a cold & soar 
throat ; I truly hope she will be relieved from both, & restored to health 
before this reaches you Jarvis complains a little at the arrangements 
made at Washington by the head of the medical dep but appears to 
doubt whether it could be avoided, & acts the part of a philosopher ; 
McLaren he say was very much dissatisfied at having to go to F l Snell- 
ing ; there are much wore posts than that ; he also says that Cuyler has 
been ordered to relieve Wright at West Point, & the latter order to 
Texas, or to some place in the newly acquired Territory, if this is so, I 
shall regret it The vote of Virginia was given to Cass & Butler 
W. relieves T he is a great humbug let him go when & where he may, 
he will suit such men as Houston, Henderson & the other representa 
tives of like qualities in said state I have no doubt that many demo 
crats particularly the bone & sinew in Pennsylvania voted for me, 
otherwise I could not have been elected the fact is the wireworkers could 
not controul them, they were determined to, & did take the matter into 
their own hands & managed it as they thought best 

My troubles & trials have commenced ; every mail which reaches 
here are rilled with applications for office & those connected with me, are 

168 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

particularly anxious R. T. Allison wants to be consul at Havana ; Fred 
Edwards wants to be post master at Louisville, to enable Die Hancock, 
& John Gibson to be taken care of, an other distant relative wants the 
post office at St. Louis & others want offices because they are connected 
with some member of my family ; I cannot entertain such applications, 
or in fact any, for was I to do so, I would break myself down in less than 
6 months. I am not going into office for the purpose of proscribing 
people for opinion sake, but to be the president of the country There 
will be no doubt many who will have to go, for good & sufficient causes, 
which I very much regret, & wish there was no necessity for removing 
any one 

I expect to leave for Washington about the first of Feb? by the way 
of the Mississippi & Ohio, M" Taylor on ace of feeble health will not 
accompany me, she will remain with Dick who will accompany her to 
Washington, or to Cumberland in May or June, where I will join her, 
when he will return to the South ; I do not wish him to locate at or about 
Washington, or to fill any office Betty was married last week to Co 1 
Bliss ; they are now absent on a visit to M r & M rs Taylor at Point 
Coupee, but will return in a few days ; I expect they will go North during 
next month by sea, in one of the steam packets Betty I presume will 
keep Ann advised as to her movements Dick is on the plantation 
M rs T. whose health is not good joins me in love to An & the young 
ladies & Rob, as well as kindest regards to to the Co 1 & all his family, as 
well as to R. T. Allison if still in Baltimore, & wishing you & yours con 
tinued health & prosperity I remain truly 

Your Friend 

Z. TAYLOR 
D R R. C. WOOD 

U. S. A. Baltimore 



169 



APPENDIX 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

APPENDIX 

GENERAL TAYLOR IN HIS OWN DEFENCE. 

A REMARKABLE LETTER NOW PUBLISHED FOR THE FIRST TIME. 




& Ob Serv* 

ABBOTT LAWRENCE. 
To GENERAL Z. TAYLOR, 

Washington. 
Boston, Sept. 7, 1849. 



Private. 

Headquarters, Army of Occupation, 
Camp near Monterey, August 29, 1847. 
My Dear Sir : 

Your highly esteemed and interesting letter of the iQth ultimo, which reached 
me a short time since, was as gratifying as it was unexpected, for although our 
mutual friend, Major Butler, and myself had several conversations as regards the 
course pursued toward me by some of the authorities at Washington since the taking 
of Monterey in September last, in which your name was casually mentioned, but 
always with great respect and kindness ; and on one occasion he, the Major, per 
mitted me to read a letter from you to him, in reply to one he had addressed you in 
whole, or in part, on this subject, the contents of which were highly approved ; and 
although I had not expected a letter from you in relation to this matter, yet the same 
is duly appreciated, and for which you will be pleased to accept my most cordial 
thanks. 

I consider I would be acting the hypocrite if I hesitated to say on all proper 
occasions that I considered I had been most harshly if not cruelly treated during the 
last nine or ten months ; whether intentionally so by the head of the War Depart 
ment, through the agency of the General in Chief of the Army, aided by the in 
trigues and misrepresentations of certain subordinates, or from the force of circum 
stances, I will not pretend to say, but am willing to hope it is attributable to 
the latter. In order that you may understand the circumstances which have caused 

173 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

me to believe the Secretary of War and some other high functionaries have been, 
if not now, anything but friendly disposed towards me, and to place my course and 
conduct in their proper light so that you, whose good opinion I not only desire to 
possess but to deserve, may comprehend the whole matter, it will not, I trust, be 
considered presuming or improper in me to enter into somewhat of a detailed nar 
rative of the events connected with this subject from the time I took command of 
the army and conducted it from the United States to Mexico until it was taken from 
me ; or in fact up to the battle of Buena Vista ; in doing which I must be more 
lengthy than I could have wished, leaving you, however, at liberty to read it or not 
should you have a leisure moment, if not to throw it aside, or in the fire, as you may 
think best. 

While stationed and on duty on the frontier of the state of Arkansas in 1844 
I was ordered to Fort Jesup, La., to take command of the Army of Observation, 
assembled at that place, consisting of two regiments of infantry and one of dragoons, 
and hold them in readiness to repel any outrages that might be attempted by any 
Indian tribes residing within the limits of the United States, or the citizens of Texas ; 
and to open a correspondence with the President of that Republic, and our diplo 
matic agent, Major Donaldson, residing near that Government, in relation to this 
and other matters. 

I reached Fort Jesup in June and at once entered on the duties assigned me, 
where I remained until July 4th or 5th, when the annexation of Texas to the United 
States having been completed, I was directed by Mr. Bancroft, then in charge of 
the War Department, to move with the troops under my orders to, or near, the 
southern boundary of the newly acquired territory and take a position in the vicinity 
of the Gulf, best calculated to protect the people of the same from Mexican invasion 
and depredations, which I was particularly directed to prevent ; going on to say, 
as the Department had no knowledge of the localities of that portion of the country, 
much was left to my discretion in carrying out the views of the Government. 
After collecting all the information I could, which was very little, in regard to that 
part of the Gulf coast as regarded its harbors, rivers, &c I determined on going to 
St. Josephs Island and make the proper examinations before locating the command. 

Having ordered the Dragoons to march by land across Texas and report to me 
at or near St. Joseph s, I proceeded to that pass with the 3d and 4th Infantry by the 
way of New Orleans, where I was joined by one company of artillery, and reached 
my place of destination the latter part of July, and after looking around for some 
days, fixed on Corpus Christi, a small trader s establishment belonging to and occu 
pied by a few of our citizens, on a large bay of the same name, west of the Nueces ; 
here the command was permanently encamped early in August, where I was soon 
after joined by the Dragoons, and during the autumn by the larger portion of the 

174 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

regular Army, where we remained undergoing a system of instruction, observing the 
movements of the Mexicans, locating troops on the northern and western frontiers 
of the new state to restrain the Indians, exploring the country in every direction, 
and preparing transportation either by land or water for a prompt movement, until 
the latter part of the winter, when I was ordered to move forward, take a position 
on the left bank of the Rio Grande, near Matamoras, and maintain it, but to act on 
the defensive, unless the Mexicans made it necessary to do otherwise. In obedience 
to which I left Corpus Christi on the nth of March, 1846, and after passing over 
a deep sandy desert, covered with salt marshes 150 miles, we reached Point Isabel 
on the 23d, where I was joined the next day by our heavy baggage, guns, &c., sent 
around from Corpus Christi by water. 

After selecting a proper position for a depot, and leaving an engineer officer to 
lay out a suitable work for its security, and lose no time in commencing it, as well 
as leaving a small guard for its defence, I continued my march to the Rio Grande, 
opposite to Matamoras, distant thirty miles, reaching it on the 28th, and took posi 
tion on the bank of the river opposite the city, and within short cannon range of it 
and the works thrown up to defend it, and at once had heavy field work laid out and 
commenced by and under the superintendence of the Engineers, which was pushed 
forward with great zeal and perseverance by, I may say, the whole command, until 
the last day of April, when being nearly completed, and the Mexican commander, 
Gen 1 Arista having a few days previously commenced crossing his army from the 
right to the left bank of the Rio Grande, and having succeeded in surprising and 
capturing a squadron of Dragoons, after leaving a strong garrison in the new work 
with orders to the commander to defend it to the last extremity, I fell back, reaching 
Point Isabel on the 2d of May ; after strengthening the works of that important 
place and increasing its garrison, on the evening of the Jth I commenced retracing 
my steps with something less than 2,300 men with a large wagon train to relieve 
the garrison of the new work which had been invested on the morning of the 3d. 
As expected, I found the Mexican army on the 8th about 12 o clock m. greatly 
outnumbering us in every arm, drawn up in a position to dispute our march ; I did 
not hesitate to give him battle which continued until dark, when he was driven from 
his position, we occupying the same for the night. The battle of the gth with 
greater odds against us followed, the result of which you are aware of, and the new 
work relieved after a bombardment of five days with the loss of their gallant com 
mander after which, as soon as I could obtain boats to enable me to cross the Rio 
Grande with my artillery, I took possession of Matamoras, the enemy having 
abandoned it, and fled beyond our reach. 

While waiting here instructions in regard to future operations from Washington, 
I received the appointment of Major-General by brevet which was soon followed 

175 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

by a similar appointment, Congress having added another officer of that grade to 
the Army, which appointments I did not expect, nor had I sought them further than 
by the faithful discharge of my duty ; yet they were not the less gratifying, and no 
one could feel more elated, or highly flattered at the approval of my conduct, as 
well as the confidence reposed in me by the Chief Magistrate of the Republic, 
which I had hoped to have continued to retain, as well as to merit. On the 26th 
of June I received a communication from the Secretary of War of which the fol 
lowing is an extract : "You will have received before this will reach you a brevet 
commission of Major-General, and the President s order assigning you to the com 
mand of the Army of the Rio Grande according to your brevet rank. It is the 
President s intention to continue you in that command and to commit to you the 
conduct of it in the ensuing campaign." 

I at the same time received the plan of said campaign drawn up by the General 
in Chief of the Army, giving the number of troops &c to be employed. Although 
I did not approve the plan of said campaign, nor was I consulted in regard to it, 
yet I hazard nothing when I say that no one ever entered on the performance of any 
duty than I did in this, with greater zeal, better spirit and determination to carry it 
out to the very letter, to the best of my abilities and energies ; nor did I, as long as 
supported falter for one moment, believing in doing so I was carrying out the best 
interests of the country, by sustaining its executive. 

In the meantime, some 18,000 volunteers had or soon after arrived at Brazos 
Island, without bringing with or preceding them, the means of transporting a barrel 
of flour, or anything else, one mile from where they landed ; and in some instances 
without bringing with them camp equipage of any kind, nor was there any in the 
country to supply them with, and for several weeks it was nearly as much as the 
officers of the Quarter Master s Department could do, with all the means at their 
disposal, to remove said volunteers, and their baggage, as they arrived at the Brazos, 
to where they could procure wood and fresh water, there being neither of these 
where they landed, nor were there the necessary subsistence stores. About 4,000 
of the six months volunteers referred to, mostly from Louisiana, had volunteered 
under peculiar circumstances ; the news of the defeat and capture of the Dragoons, 
in addition to the reported perilous situation of our little army on the Rio Grande, 
from which it was supposed it could not extricate itself, reached New Orleans at 
the same time that a call was made on the patriotic governor of that state for four 
regiments of Volunteers, who without a moment s delay made a requisition for the 
same on the chivalrous people of his state, which was promptly responded to ; and 
instead of four, six regiments flocked to her standard, rich and poor, men of large 
families, and of every class and calling, without distinction of party were found in 
the ranks, who had left their affairs unsettled, and, it may be said, had left their 

176 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

ploughs unharnessed in their fields to rush to the rescue, so much so, that the next 
consideration was, instead of urging them forward, to restrain them with such 
feelings they reached the Rio Grande where they hoped and expected to have found 
and encountered the enemy ; you can therefore well imagine their feelings of dis 
appointment and mortification to find the Mexican army had been defeated, dis 
persed, and fled to or beyond the mountains of the Sierra Madre, and that to find 
an enemy a march over an arid country of nearly 300 miles in extent, with very 
limited supplies to be had on the way for men or horses and without the necessary 
means of transportation had to be encountered. A camp life was unsuited to them, 
and disease, the inheritance of all armies, and particularly so among troops fresh 
from civil life, had begun to show itself among them, when those gallant men, whose 
term of service would soon be drawing to a close, requested to be led against the 
enemy or permitted to return to their homes ; the first was impossible, the latter was 
complied with, as I was satisfied the interests of the country would be promoted 
instead of injured by such an arrangement. None but those present on such oc 
casions can understand the feelings, or appreciate the trials, mortifications, and 
harassments incident to them, yet they were all borne with, with all the equanimity 
I could command ; nor were the necessary preparations for the campaign for one 
moment lost sight of; the Quarter Master at the head of the Department with me, 
and at New Orleans were urged over and over again to use every exertion to pro 
cure the necessary transportation, both for land and water, to enable me to make a 
forward movement into the enemy s country even with a portion of the command, 
where there was a prospect of coming in collision with the enemy, which I am sat 
isfied they did as far as possible. Finding, however, there was great delay in pro 
curing steamboats of the proper description at New Orleans, to facilitate the same, 
and aid the Quarter Master s Department in getting them, I despatched an Engineer 
officer to that place with proper instructions to aid in procuring the proper descrip 
tion of boats, and if they could not be had in New Orleans to continue on up the 
Mississippi and Ohio rivers until they could be met with, and either purchased or 
chartered, as we could not get on without them, some of which could not be ob 
tained short of Pittsburg. At the same time, every boat that could be had either 
by purchase or charter of those which had reached the Rio Grande was employed 
in transporting troops and supplies up the Rio Grande, as rapidly as possible, where, 
after taking possession of the towns along it on the right bank, I located a depot at 
Camargo, 400 miles from its entrance into the Gulf (by water). 

Having collected here a supply of provisions, forage, and ordnance stores, and 
judging from the newspapers that the people of the country were becoming impatient 
that the army under my orders should do something, I determined to move forward, 
and if practicable to take possession of Monterey, the capital of New Leon, and 

I 77 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

the most important city east of the Sierra Madre, commanding on this side the first 
and only road between the Gulf and that place for wheeled carriages, by which the 
table lands of Mexico can be reached, a distance of near 400 miles. After raking 
and scraping the whole country for every pack mule, and collecting some 1,500 and 
their attendants ( my principal means of transportation ) I left Camargo on the 5th 
of September to join my advance at Serralvo, where I had thrown forward a small 
supply of provisions, forage, etc., and where I remained a few days for the arrival 
of some of the troops in the rear ; on their joining I continued on and reached 
Monterey, distant from Serralvo about sixty-five miles, on the morning of the igth 
with a little upwards of 6,OOO men, about equal numbers of regulars and volunteers, 
with a small train of light artillery and one heavy mortar. I found the city naturally 
very strong, and well fortified, and occupied by a numerous garrison, between 7 and 
8,000 regulars as admitted by Gen 1 Ampudia, besides the citizens capable of bearing 
arms amounting to several thousand more, with forty-two pieces of artillery and an 
abundant supply of ammunition. 

Finding the Mexican commander was determined not to hazard a general 
action in the field, but to confine himself to his strong works in and around the 
city, and having devoted the igth and 2Oth to reconnoitering their works, and ap 
proaches, I determined to carry the place pretty much with the bayonet, commenc 
ing with the out works. The attack was made early on the 2ist and after a severe 
contest particularly on that day, and which was maintained at intervals through the 
two days following, a flag was sent in early on the morning of the 24th by Gen 1 
Ampudia, proposing to evacuate the city provided he was permitted to leave it, 
withdrawing his troops unmolested, and taking away all the public property, private 
to be respected, to which I declined acceding, when a personal interview was re 
quested, granted, and resulted in a capitulation, of which I need mention but one 
article, the armistice for eight weeks, which was as necessary to us as it was to our 
adversaries. 

In the meantime the Secretary of War commenced a correspondence with one 
at least of my subordinates on the subject of operations within the limits of my 
command ( which is generally attended with unfortunate results ), no doubt drawn 
into it by the suggestions of those who wished to be actively employed, and who 
embarked in the campaign, some at least, I regret to say, more with the view of ad 
vancing their own personal ends than the interests of the country. In the meantime 
the friends, or creatures, of Gen 1 Scott in my camp and elsewhere had become very 
much alarmed at the prospect of his being lost sight of as an aspirant for the presi 
dency, and, to bring about a change in his favor, filled the ears of the Secretary of 
War with statements which originated in my camp of the great necessity there was 
that General Scott should be placed at the head of the army in Mexico, that all de- 

I 7 8 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

sired that such should be the case, that the public good required it, and in addition, 
many other incorrect and ridiculous statements. When it was known that the capi 
tulation entered into with the Mexican commander at Monterey was disapproved, it 
added an additional stimulant to the zeal of my defamers, or those who wished to 
" take from me my good name " in order to supplant me. A gentleman who hap 
pened to be in Washington wrote me, saying " perhaps you are not aware of the 
fact but I regret to say your camp is one mass of intrigue to get you out of the 
way." Another who possessed the confidence of the President and Secretary in 
formed me that great exertions were made by the friends of Gen 1 Scott for him to 
supersede or relieve me, which the President declined doing; they then proposed, 
their object being to get me out of the way, that an arrangement should be made to 
give Gen 1 Worth the command ( all, too, for my particular accommodation, as I was 
anxious to retire to the United States); this the President also declined doing. But 
by perseverance which overcomes most obstacles, my enemies ultimately succeeded, 
not in having me superseded or recalled, but by pursuing a much more objectionable, 
dishonorable, and disgraceful course, which was to strip me of the greater portion 
of my command in the most discourteous manner that could be devised, no doubt 
from the expectation that it would have the effect of breaking me down or driving 
me from the country, if not from the army, or leaving me at the mercy of the 
enemy. 

On the 2d of October I received by special express a communication from the 
Secretary of War of the I3th of the preceding month, directing me to put an end 
to the armistice referred to, and commence offensive operations against the enemy. 
I lost no time in communicating this to General Santa Anna, then at San Luis 
Potosi, at the head of the Mexican army, and made the necessary arrangement for 
a forward movement, the order for the same having been given, when I received by 
a courier from Matamoras a note from Major McLane, stating he had arrived at 
that place with important despatches for me from the Government and would reach 
my headquarters in a few days, or as soon as he could procure passage up the Rio 
Grande. He reached here two days after, on the 1 2th of November, and handed 
me a communication from the War Department of the 22d October, which in some 
measure modified the instructions of the I3th of the same month, referred to as 
brought by Major Graham of the Topo. Engineers. 

I moved on Saltillo on the I3th November and reached there the 1 6th, where 
after leaving Gen 1 Worth with a brigade, mostly of regulars, I returned to this 
place. 

In the Secretary s despatch of the 1 3th I think, he stated that an expedition 
against Vera Cruz was under consideration, and wished to know if I did not con 
sider 4,000 men sufficient to carry that place ; if so, and I approved the same, I 

179 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

was authorized to detach Gen 1 Patterson on that duty, presuming that I could spare 
or draw that amount of force from the lower Rio Grande ; in reply, I stated that 
I considered the number specified was too small for the object, that I thought that 
not less than 10,000 should be sent on that service, as disaster should not be risked 
so far from reinforcements, and if the Government would organize in the states 
6,000 men and send them to Vera Cruz with proper engineers and ordnance officers, 
and the material necessary to carry on the most vigorous siege immediately on their 
arrival and would touch at Tampico, about the loth of January, I would hold 4,000 
men in the vicinity of that place, 2,000 regulars and a like number of volunteers, 
ready to cooperate with them and would turn over to General Patterson, or any 
other officer the Department might charge with the management of said expedition ; 
that I wished to make an examination of the country and the several passes through 
the mountains between this and the Gulf to ascertain how far and in what way they 
could be used for military purposes, and would take that occasion to do so and that 
4,000 men were as many as could be drawn from this line with safety. 

Having made the necessary dispositions for the defence of the country of which 
I had taken possession by leaving Gen 1 Worth at Saltillo, locating Gen 1 Wool at 
Patos and Parras, and Gen 1 Butler at Monterey commanding the whole, with re 
spectable commands to be concentrated at Saltillo should Santa Anna make a move 
on that place, having ordered Gen 1 Shields with a regiment of Volunteers to proceed 
to Tampico by water to reinforce and take command of that place, and Major 
Gen 1 Patterson to march across the country from Matamoras and join me at Vic 
toria, the capital of Tamaulipas, with three regiments of Volunteers, I left here on 
the I4th December with General Twigg s division and reached Victoria on the 4th 
of January, where I found Gen 1 Quitman with his brigade, and where I was joined 
the same day by Gen 1 Patterson with his command. On my way to Victoria I re 
ceived by express General Scott s sugared letter of November 25th from New York, 
which has been published in the " Union " informing me he was on his way to 
Mexico, not to relieve or supersede me, but only to take from me the greater portion 
of my command, in order that he might do something for himself, that I had done 
enough ( perhaps too much ) and could afford to remain on the defensive until con 
gress could raise an army for me to command ; a more contemptible and insidious 
communication was never written. This was the first and I may say the only in 
timation I had that I was to be outraged ; but I then knew the poisoned shafts which 
had been sent to Washington ( as mentioned by my friends ) had done their work 
but too effectually ; but as the Major Gen 1 had stated in his letter he did not expect 
to see me (or rather did not wish to do so) as well as intimating his object was to 
attack Vera Cruz, I replied to him that I would continue on to Victoria, and await 
his order or instructions at that place. 

1 80 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

I remained at Victoria ten days, at the end of which I received an order from 
Gen 1 Scott, then at Camargo, after detailing a proper escort to accompany me back 
to this place where I would return after putting in march for Tampico the balance 
of troops with me, which was immediately done, numbering 4,733. I received also 
at the same time a copy of an order sent from Camargo to Gen 1 Butler who was 
then at Saltillo, commencing by premising that I had 7,500 regulars (when he must 
have known there was not and never had been anything like that amount of regular 
troops under my command at any one time, as monthly returns had been regularly 
furnished the Adjutant General s office at Washington, which was open to his in 
spection, and which it was his duty to have examined ) to order to the mouth of the 
Rio Grande a specific number of regulars, to proceed without delay under the orders 
of Gen 1 Worth, which took, with the exception of a few weak companies of artillery 
and dragoons, the whole of the regular force, not leaving me a single company of 
infantry, as well as taking from me most of the volunteers which I had disciplined. 
I replied to the same with considerable warmth, stating that I considered the whole 
proceeding as one of the greatest outrages which had ever been perpetrated, that 
without my being consulted I was stripped of the greater part of my command, 
leaving me in front of and within striking distance of Santa Anna with a very inad 
equate force to oppose him, and that I could not misunderstand the object. Many 
of the officers were as indignant at the course pursued towards me as I could possibly 
be, some of high rank, and my devoted friends urged me to return at once to the 
United States, that I owed it to myself and friends to do so, which I declined doing, 
stating that if Santa Anna advanced our country needed the services of every man 
who could be brought to oppose him, nor was it a time to think of private griefs 
nor was it alone those with me who felt indignant, for as soon as the position I had 
been placed in was known, thousands throughout the land cried out shame on such 
treatment ; and if the statements in the papers can be depended on, it excited the 
astonishment of distinguished persons in other countries. 

After putting the troops in march for Tampico, I left Victoria as directed on 
the 1 6th with an escort to a large wagon train which had to return to Monterey, 
and with a heavy heart, where I arrived on the 24th after a useless march of near 
500 miles over a rough country at the cost of the lives of a few men, the loss of a 
considerable portion of what few artillery and dragoon horses accompanied me, and 
the breaking down or greatly reducing the balance, as well as causing a considerable 
expenditure of money by the Quarter Master s Department, all of which might 
have been avoided had I been notified, or ordered, when it was determined to de 
grade me, to have remained stationary until it was accomplished. This was deter 
mined on fully the i8th November at Washington, and no doubt was under con 
sideration for some time previous, when if a special express had been sent from 

181 



LETTERS OF Z A C H A R T TAYLOR 

Washington directing me not to make any movement until further orders, if it was 
deemed unsafe to entrust me with the views of the Department, said instructions 
would have reached me before I marched, which was on the I5th of December j this 
would have prevented others, as well as myself, much unnecessary fatigue, as well 
as the results referred to ; but this would have been treating me with too much con 
sideration. 

Some four or five days after my return to this place I was informed that great 
alarm prevailed among the troops at and near Saltillo which composed the greater 
portion of those left me, in consequence of a report that Santa Anna was advancing 
on that place with all his forces, which alarm had been greatly augmented by the 
surprise and capture of two mounted reconnoitering parties, about fifty miles in ad 
vance of Saltillo towards San Luis Potosi, consisting of about 100 picked men and 
horses belonging to the Kentucky and Arkansas mounted Volunteers, only one man 
making his escape and that by the fleetness of his horse, after being in the hands of 
the enemy ; by him was brought back the most fearful intelligence, as regards the 
strength and numbers of the enemy s Lancers and Dragoons who had surrounded 
them, supposed to be the advance of the enemy s army, so much so that the officer 
in command, after communicating all the information in regard to those matters, 
urged me to join him with as little delay as possible with all the spare troops I could 
bring with me ; in consequence of which I left here on the 3Oth and reached Saltillo 
on the morning of the 1st of February with about 700 men. A few days after my 
arrival there, I received a communication from Gen 1 Scott, then at Brazos Island, 
advising me to fall back and concentrate my command at Monterey ; this I declined 
doing, having determined after the most mature reflection to fight the Mexican 
General as my best chance of safety should he offer me battle, immediately on his 
getting across what is termed the " desert " between Saltillo and San Luis Potosi, 
150 miles in extent, before he had time to refresh and reorganize his troops, whom 
I knew must be much exhausted by their march across the same. I continued to 
examine the localities of the country in front of Saltillo and prepare the troops for 
battle until the 22d, on which day I was attacked by General Santa Anna with 
20,000 men well trained, with a due proportion of every arm completely equipped 
and supplied with every material to secure success, on the plain of Buena Vista, 
where with 334 officers and 4,425 rank and file on our side, making in all 4,759, 
only 453 regulars and a part of them recruits, he was repulsed with great loss and 
his army dispersed, and nearly disorganized after a severe and bloody contest of one 
whole day and part of another ; the result is so well known it is not necessary to go 
into particulars, further than to say, that if I had not been so weakened by the fire 
in my rear ( not being able to improve the victory after gaining it ) the greater portion 
of the Mexican army would have been captured or destroyed, the whole of his 

182 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

artillery and baggage taken and their president made prisoner, had he not been re 
markably fortunate. 

I have no hesitation in saying had I left the army when advised to do so by 
my friends at Victoria, at the time already referred to, the Battle of Buena Vista 
would never have been fought ; and had it not been, the consequences to the country 
would have been truly deplorable in a pecuniary view, but what would have been of 
much more importance, it would have fixed a stain on the national character which 
would have taken years on years to have wiped out ; or had I fallen back, as ad 
vised by Gen 1 Scott, to Monterey, the consequences which would have followed 
would have been scarcely less disastrous than a total rout at or near Saltillo, for as 
soon as the Mexican General had invested Monterey, which he was prepared to do, 
it would have been the signal for the rising of the whole country ; every depot on 
the Rio Grande would have been at once abandoned, taken, or destroyed, all the 
artillery and cavalry horses and every animal belonging to the trains would have been 
destroyed or starved, as there was no depot of forage at Monterey, where our vol 
unteer army shut up and disheartened must have either surrendered or been cut to 
pieces. No army could have been raised in the United States and brought here in 
time to have relieved it, and the only way it could have been done would have been 
by the army under Gen 1 Scott, who, I am induced to believe from what has taken 
place, would have seen it sacrificed with perfect indifference rather than it should 
have interfered with his operations against Vera Cruz ; besides, instead of the tri 
umphant march of Col. Doniphan, reports of which are now going the rounds of 
the papers, it would have been Colonel D. s disastrous retreat, if not something 
worse, had the battle of Buena Vista been lost, or had I fallen back to Monterey. 
The only way in which the said army could have been rescued would have been by 
a peremptory order from Washington to Gen 1 Scott to have retraced his steps to the 
Rio Grande. Nor do I hesitate in saying that the battles of the 8th and 9th May, 
1846, created a feeling of enthusiasm and gave a confidence to our army that nothing 
in Mexico could resist ; and although I was denied the privilege of travelling it, 
that the battle of Buena Vista opened the road to the city of Mexico, and the doors 
of the halls of Montezumas, that others might revel in them. I do not refer to 
these matters with anything like exultation, or from any feelings of vanity, but more 
from a feeling of sorrow than of anger, for most gladly, if I had the power to do it, 
would I recall the past and cheerfully retire to the walks of private life unnoticed and 
unknown, could those who I can but look on as having in a great measure been 
sacrificed on the field of Buena Vista that I might be broken down, or another made 
more conspicuous, be restored to their families, friends, and country. It is to me, 
however, a source of gratification to know that since I took command of the Army 
of Observation I have pursued but one straightforward course, which was to serve 

183 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TATLOR 

the country honestly and faithfully, without turning to the right or left, notwith 
standing the fire, both in front and rear, by carrying out the orders, and, so far as 
I knew them, the wishes of the Executive, assailing none but the enemies of the 
country ; and however much I may have been misrepresented ( which I am induced 
to believe was to a very great extent ) to the Chief Magistrate, or however his feel 
ings may have been embittered towards me by the stream of poison which was con 
stantly infused into his mind to prejudice him against me, yet I have not for a 
moment lost sight of what was due to him as a gentleman, or to the distinguished 
position he occupied. As regards the Secretary of War, 1 up to the taking of Mon 
terey, I entertained no other feelings towards him but those of respect and even 
kindness ; he was the only member of the Cabinet, including the President, with 
whom I had the honor of a personal acquaintance and only a slight one with him, 
and after the election of Mr. Polk, when the subject of the formation of his Cabi 
net was discussed in my presence, I uniformly expressed the hope that he might be 
placed in his present position. I could, therefore, have no other wish than to see 
the Department so managed as would redound to his credit and the interest of the 
nation, and if those feelings have been changed it was by no act of mine, and I may 
say, contrary to my wishes. Not a communication I addressed to the Secretary of 
War was ever acknowledged much less replied to for five months ; and but one re 
ceived from him during the same period, which was calling my attention to a private 
letter written by me to Major Gen 1 Gaines, never intended for publication ; of this 
it bore ample testimony on its face, but which found its way into the newspapers, 
printed in the city of New York, administering by the direction of the President 
(by implication) a very hard rebuke, which, however undeserved, I was bound to 
submit to, coming from the source it did. 

On the subject of my being a candidate for the Presidency alluded to in your 
letter to Major Butler, I can only say that if I am so, or to be made one at the 
coming election, it will be by the acts of others, without any agency of mine in the 
matter, directly or indirectly. I have not now and never have had any aspirations 
for that situation, nor have I encouraged any one directly or indirectly to bring my 
humble name before the country for that high office ; the fact is my course has been 
a contrary one, for I apprehended at the time what would be the result, which has 
been but too well realized, viz., to destroy that confidence which should exist be 
tween a commanding officer in the field and his Government so necessary to the 
success of military operations, and which I humbly conceive has been gradually 
withdrawn from me, as well as a disposition evinced to drive me from the service, 
or to lay me on the shelf, ever since the capitulation of Monterey ; or why was the 



I William L. Marcy of New York. 

184 



LETTERS OF ZACHART TAYLOR 

army which I had commanded for near three years, which I had conducted from the 
frontier of Louisiana to the tablelands of the Sierra Madre, which had won three 
important battles (at least so thought a large portion of the good people of the 
country) so unceremoniously taken from me without the slightest regard to the 
courtesy usual on such occasions, as if intended to add insult to injury ? Or if it 
was thought necessary to supplant me by another in the most cruel manner which 
could be devised, one who had declined or hesitated in taking it, when he thought 
it would interfere with his prospects for reaching the Presidency, why was I not 
offered a command in that army with which I had been so long associated, and per 
mitted to share its toils, its dangers, and its triumphs ? These are matters which 
can only be explained by those better versed in court intrigues than I pretend or 
wish to be. 

As regards the letter referred to in connection with the Honble. Mr. Walker 1 
in relation to the capitulation of Monterey it was brought to my notice by a friend 
who stated he thought it was written by Mr. Walker, as it was his style ; as it an 
imadverted severely on my conduct and without regard to the actual state of the 
case, or appearing to understand it, it is probable I might have remarked in presence 
of Col. Davis, who I knew was the friend of the Secretary as well as my own, that 
if it was the production of his pen, it was to be regretted he had not made himself 
in the first instance acquainted with the exact state of the case before attempting to 
assail me in that way ; that the whole matter was so filled with misstatements that 
it would injure the writer, whoever it might be, more than it would me ; and really 
the transaction had passed entirely from my mind and I doubted whether I should 
have thought of it again had I not been reminded of it. I certainly have not done 
Mr. Walker any injustice or injury in regard to the same, and would regret it if I 
had done so. 

On the subject of transportation, which has made some noise at Washington, 
and notwithstanding the ridiculous and incorrect statements made by the Honble. 
Mr. Cass z in the Senate of the United States, done with the view of calling in 
question the correctness of my official statements on that subject, yet I defy him or 
his prompters to produce one word but what is true, or one that is even highly 
colored in regard to that or any other matter. 

I left Camargo in September last for Monterey with a command of over 6,000 
men with 180 or 185 wagons, forty-eight of which were turned over to the Ord 
nance, while with a column of 2,500 men which left San Antonio, Texas, under the 
command of General Wool, it had been furnished with upwards of 400 ; and, strange 



I Robert J. Walker of Mississippi, Secretary of the Treasury, 
z Lewis Cass, a Senator from Michigan. 



LETTERS OF ZACHARY TAYLOR 

to say, the first additional wheel carriage which reached my Head Quarters after 
congress had recognized the existence of a war between the United States and 
Mexico, was on the 2d of November, a period of near six months. 

I have the honor to remain 
with great respect 

Your Most Obd< Serv 
Z. TAYLOR, 

Major Gen 1 U. S. Army. 
Honble. 

JAMES BUCHANAN, 

Secretary of State, 

Washington, D. C. 



A true copy from the original which had been returned by Mr. Buchanan at Washington. One copy is in the hands of Mr. 
W. H. Prescott, of Mass., and one copy in the hands of Honble. Abbott Lawrence, Mass, (both sealed). 

B. H. WOOD. 
Washington, Sept. ijd, 1849. 



186 



INDEX 



Abadie, Eugene H., 113. 

Alamo, 31, 55. 

Allerton, Isaac, viii. 

Allerton, Sarah, viii. 

Allison, R. T., 164, 166, 169. 

Alwood, Mr., artist, 113. 

Ampudia, Pedro de, xix, 3, 36, 64. 

Arista, Mariano, xix, 3, 175. 

Armistead, Lewis Addison, 64. 

Ashley, Chester, 4. 

Atkinson, Henry, xv. 

Bagby, Arthur P., 95. 

Baker, Edward Dickenson, 59. 

Bancroft, George, 174. 

Banks, Nathaniel P., xiii. 

Barita, 8. 

" Barn-burners," xxii. 

Barton, Edward H., 99. 

Benton, Thomas H., xvii, xxv, 84, 136. 

Blair, William B., 42. 

Bland, Mary, viii. 

Bliss, William Wallace Smith, ix, x, 60, 
140, 1 60, 169 ; sketch, xii. 

Bloss, Captain, 8. 

Borland, Solon, 82, 84. 

Bowie, James, 31. 

Boyce, Edward, xi. 

Brady, Hugh, 6, 49 ; sketch, 5. 

Brazos Santiago, 8. 

Brewster, Fear, viii. 

Brewster, William, vii, viii. 

Brooke, George Mercer, 78, 93, 99, 125. 

Brown, Mr., artist, 113, 122. 

Brown, Harvey, 27, 32. 

Brown, Jacob, 2. 

Buchanan, James, xxi, 64, 173, 186. 

Buena Vista, battle of, xx, 10, 55 ; import 
ance of, 91, 94, 95, 182, 183. 

Burbank, John G., 2. 

Burbridge, George S., 78. 

Butler, John r B., 173. 

Butler, Judge, 9. 

Butler, William Orlando, xxii, 82, 180, 
181 ; sketch, 37. 



Cabinet, President Taylor s, xxiii. 

Cadwalader, George, 99, 104. 

Caldwell, Mr., 1 06. 

Calhoun, John C., 147. 

Call, Richard K., 28. 

Camargo, 24, 27, 30, 3 1, 94, 181 ; Tay 
lor reaches, 39, 177; Taylor leaves, 185. 

Cameron, Simon, 109. 

Campbell, Reuben P., 149. 

Canby, Edward R. S., xiii. 

Carter, Anne, viii. 

Cass, Lewis, xxii, 7, 37, 76, 79, 95, 96, 
1 1 8, 185 ; sketch, 4. 

Cerralvo, 50, 149 ; Taylor reaches, 54 ; 
Taylor leaves, 57. 

Cerro-Gordo, 7, 100. 

Chadbourne, Theodore L., I. 

Chapultepec, 7, 55. 

Churubusco, 7, 55. 

City of Mexico captured, 7, 146, 148. 

Clarke, Newman S., 51. 

Clay, Cassius M., 84. 

Clay, Henry, xvii, xviii, xxii, 7, 118, 122, 
134, 135, 143, 156. 

Clayton, John M., xxiii, 118. 

Cochrane, Richard E., i. 

Collamer, Jacob, xxiii. 

Congress thanks General Taylor, xx. 

Conrad, Charles M., 123. 

Conrad, Frederick, 123, 124. 

Conrad, Mr., 157. 

Contreras, 7, 55. 

Conway, Nelly, viii. 

Corbin, Letitia, viii. 

Corpus Christi, xix, 174, 175. 

Craig, Henry Knox, 25, 39, 40, 56, 89, 
122 ; sketch, 15. 

Cranston, Henry Y., 87. 

Crawford, George W., xxiii. 

Crittenden, John J., 98, 118 ; sketch, 7. 

Crockett, David, 3 1 . 

Croghan, George, 48. 

Curd, Thomas J., 68. 

Curtis, Colonel, 91. 



189 



INDEX 



Davis, Jefferson, x, 109, 112, 119, 131, 
1 35> I 3^> H5> x ^5 ; married Sarah 
Knox Taylor, xi ; opposition of General 
Taylor, xi ; sketch, 36. 

Davis, Mrs. Jefferson, the first, xi ; the sec 
ond, ix, x. 

Davis, Joseph E., xii. 

Denny, St. Clair, 25, 133. 

Donaldson, James L., 174. 

Donally, Captain, 84. 

Doniphan, Alexander W., 183. 

Duncan, James, 3 i . 

Eaton, Mr., 15, 131, 137. 
Eaton, Joseph H., 66, 73, 157. 
Edwards, Fred, 169. 
Ewing, Thomas, xxiii. 

Ficklin, Orlando B., 95. 

Fillmore, Millard, xxii, 37; tribute to Presi 
dent Taylor, xxv. 

Finley, Clement A., 56, 74, 89, 91, 117, 
125. 

Florida, Taylor s service in, xv. 

Foltz, Dr., 10, 121. 

Foot, Lyman, 34. 

" Fire upon the rear," 24. 

Fort Brown, xix, 2, 36. 

Fort Harrison, xiv. 

Fort Jesup, xv. 

Fremont, John C., 136. 

" Fuss and Feathers," 24. 

Gaines, Edmund Pendleton, 21, 23, 30, 
31, 58, 89, 94, 96, 125, 168, 184; 
sketch, 17. 

Gaines, John P., 83. 

Gardner, John Lane, 77 ; sketch, 35. 

Garnett, Richard B., 155. 

Garland, John, 16. 

Gates, Collinson R., 2. 

Gates, William, 77, 78. 

Gibson, John, 169. 

Goliad, 31, 55. 

Grabow, Baron Guido von, xi. 

Graham, James, 66, 179. 

Graham, William M., 35. 



Grant, Ulysses, compares Taylor and Scott, 

24. 

Grayson, John B., 112, 114. 
Grymes, Lucy, viii. 

Hamer, Thomas L., 45. 

Hamilton, Franklin, 157. 

Hamilton, William S., 157. 

Hammond, William, 12. 

Hancock, Die, 169. 

Hardee, William Joseph, 36. 

Harney, Benjamin F., 121. 

Harrison, William Henry, xiv, xvi, xvii, 

15, 76. 

"Hasty plate of soup," 24. 
Hawkins, Hamilton S., 8, 140. 
Heiskell, Henry L., 69. 
Henderson, James Pinckney, 36, 54, 57, 

1 68 ; sketch, 25. 
Hooe, Alexander S., 2, 150. 
Houston, Samuel, xvi, 55, 131, 168; 

sketch, 3 1 . 
"Hunkers," xxii. 
Hunt, Franklin E., 96. 
Hunt, Judge and General, 21, 100, 130. 
Hunt, Washington, 87, 152, 153, 155, 

156. 
Hunter, John F., 152. 

Inge, Zebulon M. P., i. 

Jackson, Andrew, xvi, 15, 76. 

Jackson, Thomas J., xiii. 

Jalapa, 7. 

Jarvis, Nathan S., 91, 104, 122, 157, 168. 

Jefferson, Thomas, xiv, 134. 

Jesup, Thomas S., xv, 78, 79, 88, 96 ; 

sketch, 28. 

Johnson, Henry, 47, 77, 78. 
Johnson, Reverdy, xxiii, 118, 165, 166. 
Johnston, Albert Sidney, 40. 
Johnston, Joseph E., xiii. 
Jordan, Charles D., 2. 
Jouett, William R., 93, 117, 140, 141. 
Juarez, Benito Pablo, 55. 

Kearney, Philip, 136. 

Kilburn, Charles L., 126, 127, 144. 

King Philip, 10. 



190 



INDEX 



Lamar, Mirabeau B., 31. 

Lane, James Henry, 82. 

La Vega, General, I, 10. 

Lawrence, Abbott, 186, 173. 

Lawson, Thomas, 29, 92. 

Lee, Elizabeth, vii, viii. 

Lee, Hancock, vii, viii. 

Lee, Henry, vii, viii. 

Lee, Richard, viii. 

Lee, Robert E., vii, viii, xiii. 

Louisiana delegation, 161-163, J ^5- 

Louisiana Volunteers, see Volunteers. 

Lyon, Colonel, 99. 

McCormick, Charles, 9, 88. 

McGuire, Judge, 121. 

Mclntosh, James S., 2, 15, 26. 

McKay, James J., 48. 

McLane, Major, 179. 

McLaren, Alden N., 56, 64, 168. 

McLean, John, 33, 70, 118. 

McNest, Lieutenant, 40. 

Mackall, Anne, ix. 

Mackubin, Lola, xi. 

Madison, Ambrose, viii. 

Madison, James, viii, xiv. 

Mansfield, Joseph King Fenno, 60. 

Marcy, William L., xviii, 24, 78, 84, 90, 

94, 97, in, 114, 136, 174, 179, 184, 

185; issues the order which brings on 

war with Mexico, xix. 
Marin, 57. 

Marshall, Thomas, 46. 
Mason, John W., 81. 
Matamoros, xx, I, 3, 175. 
Matamoros, Mariano, 2. 
Mathews, Charles, 106. 
May, Charles Augustus, I, 53, 109 ; sketch, 

IG. 
Medical department, 12, 21, 25, 34, 42, 

50. 

Meredith, William M., xxiii. 
Merrimac, xi. 
Mexico, action of congress, 7, 52, 84, 88; 

and Texas, xvi ; beginning of war, xix ; 

defeated, 7 ; treaty with, 7, 160. 
Minnesota, first white child, x. 
Molino del Rey, 7, 55. 



Monitor, xi. 

Monterey, xx, 10, 50, 59, 183 ; capture 

of, 60, 66, 67, 178 ; terms agreed to, 

61, 62, 67, 179. 
Morehead, John Motley, 161. 
Mower, Thomas G., 48, 69, 88 ; sketch, 

2 3- 
Munroe, John, 5, 144; sketch, 2. 

New Orleans, battle of, 15. 
Nicaragua canal, xxiii. 
Nicholas, Colonel, 103. 
Nueces river as boundary, xix. 

Ohio stock, 4. 
Okeechobee, battle of, xv. 
Ordnance department, 44. 
Oregon question, 4, 25. 
Osceola, xv. 

Packenham, Sir Edward, 15. 

Palo Alto, battle of, xix, I, 10, 15, 175,183. 

Paredes y Arrillaga, Mariano, 47, 55 ; 

sketch, 33. 
Parras, 72. 
Patterson, Robert, 72, 78, 108, 1 80 ; 

sketch, 37. 

Paymaster s department, 25. 
Payne, Matthew M., 2. 
Pearce, Dutee Jerauld, 43. 
Peel, Sir Robert, 43. 
Perote, 7. 

Perry, Matthew Calbraith, 77. 
Perry, Oliver Hazard, 15. 
Pierce, Franklin, 7, 146. 
Pillow, Gideon Johnson, 45, 109, 112; 

sketch, 4 1 . 

Point Isabel, 3, 5, 175. 
Polk, James K., xvii, xviii, 20, 43, 52, 75, 

ill, 148, 184. 
Prentiss, James H., 37. 
Prescott, William H., xxi, 173, 186. 
Preston, William B., xxiii. 
Puebla, 7. 

Quartermaster s department, 13, 18, 26, 

39, 44, 46, 50. 
Quitman, John Anthony, 45, 180; sketch, 

40. 



INDEX 



Rains, Gabriel James, 36. 

Rains, George Washington, 140. 

Ramsey, Captain, 26. 

Randall, Colonel, 131. 

Reinosa, 6, 3 I . 

Resaca de la Palma, battle of, i, 10, 15, 

73> ^3. 

Reynolds, John F., 15. 
Richy, John A., 82. 
Riley, Bennett, 49, 140. 
Ringgold, Mr., 109. 
Rio Grande as the boundary, xix ; crossed 

by Taylor, 3, 175. 
Ritchie, Thomas, ill, 122. 
Roberts, William, 39. 
" Rough and Ready," 24. 
Russell, James W., 5, 11, 16, 17, 74, 89. 

Salas, Mariano, 55, 127 ; sketch, 64. 

Saltillo, 44, 50, 69, 70, 71, 82, 86. 

San Jacinto, xv. 

San Luis Potosi, 69, 119, 182. 

Santa Anna, Antonio Lopez de, xvi, xx, 3 i , 
64, 82, 91, 96, 100, 110, 126, 137, 
140, 142, 148, 179, 180-183; sketch, 

55- 

Saunders, Franklin, 48, 99. 

Saunders, Judge, 161, 162, 163, 166, 179, 
180, 182, 183. 

Schriver, Edmund, 37. 

Scott, Winfield S., and Trist, 122; cap 
tures City of Mexico, 7, 146, 148; 
compared with Taylor by Grant, 24 ; 
" hasty plate of soup " and " fire upon 
the rear," 24 ; jealous of Taylor, 7, 15, 
24, 48 ; presidential candidacy, xxi, xxii, 
14, 17, 35, 103, 108, 118; takes Tay 
lor s troops, 7, 72, 80, 82, 83, 87, 
176; and is criticised, xx-xxii, 14, 15, 
17, 20, 24, 35, 67, 82, 84, 85, 86, 
90, 91, 92, 95, 96, 97, 103, 105, 108, 
114, 118, 119, 122, 136, 173, 178- 
184; miscellaneous, 9, 13, 14, 15, 20, 
2i> 23, 31, 37, 40, 55, 77, 78, 82, 
100, 105, 110, 119, 123, 125, 127, 

129, 130, 133, 137, 140, 142, 182, 

183 ; sketch, 7, 24. 
Selden, Joseph, 2. 



Serralvo, see Cerralvo. 

Sewel, Major, 140. 

Shelton, Mr., 104. 

Shields, James, 45, 1 80. 

Sibley, Ebenezer S., 101. 

Slavery question, xxiv. 

Smith, Mary Mackall, viii, ix. 

Smith, Mrs. Luther, xii. 

Smith, Persifor Frazer, 4, 140. 

Smith, Richard, ix. 

Smith, Truman, 153. 

Smith, Walter, ix. 

Sparks, Major, 101 . 

Speight, Jesse, 145. 

Stevens, George, 4. 

Strother, Sarah, vii, viii. 

Strother, William, vii. 

Sumner, Edwin V., 157. 

Sutlers, Taylor s opinion of, 8, 14. 

Swift, Alexander J., 104. 

Swift, John Gardner, 22. 

Tampico, 72, 76-79, 180, 181. 

Taylor, Agnes, x. 

Taylor, Ann Mackall, x. 

Taylor, Elizabeth Lee, vii, viii. 

Taylor, Emily, viii. 

Taylor, Frances, viii. 

Taylor Guards, 4. 

Taylor, George, viii. 

Taylor, Hancock, vii, viii. 

Taylor, James, vii, viii. 

Taylor, Joseph Pannel, viii, xxv, 29, 50, 

117; sketch, 1 6. 
Taylor, Margaret, x. 
Taylor, Mary Elizabeth (" Miss Betty "), 

ix, x, 13, 42, 56, 67, 169 ; sketch, xii. 
Taylor, Mary Mackall, ix. 
Taylor, Richard (the President s father), 

vii, viii. 
Taylor, Richard (the President s son), viii, 

9, 14, 25, 27, 36, 42, 56, 98, 105- 

107, 112, 117, 120, 122, 129, 139, 

145, 152, 169 ; sketch, xii. 
Taylor, Sarah Bailey, viii. 
Taylor, Sarah Knox, x-xii. 
Taylor, William Dabney Strother, viii, xiv. 



192 



INDEX 



Taylor, Zachary, age, viii, xxv, 30 ; ambi 
tion, 14, 21, 28, 47 ; ancestry, vii ; 
annual message, xxiii ; birth, viii ; Buena 
Vista, xx, 10, 55, 91, 94, 95, 182, 
183 ; cabinet of, xxiii ; character of, xx, 
xxv, xxvi ; commended by Crittenden, 
7 ; compared with Scott by Grant, 24 ; 
congratulations gratefully received, 9 ; 
congress, thanks of, xx ; Curd attacks, 
68 ; death of, x, xxv ; defends his con 
duct in letter to Buchanan, 173; descend 
ants, x ; elected to presidency, xxii ; 
Fillmore s tribute, xxv; funeral of, x, xxv; 
in Florida, xv ; inaugural address, xxii ; 
last illness, xxiv, xxv ; letter-writing dif 
ficult, xxi, 16, 29, 33, 37, 92, 147; 
marriage, ix, xiv ; Mexico, wanted to 
leave, 83 ; Monterey, capture of, xx, 60, 

66, 67, 178; major-general by brevet, 
xx, 20, 175, 176; major-general, xx, 
28 ; nominated for president, xxii, 7, 
159 ; opinion of General Wool, 157 ; 
opposes marriage of his daughter to Jef 
ferson Davis, xi ; political principles (see 
also presidency, post), xviii, xxi-xxiv ; 
presidency, references to, xxi, xxii, 13, 
14, 17, 22, 35, 65, 76, 99, 100, 103, 

IO5, IO8-IIO, 113, Il8, 121, 122, 
130, 134, 136, I 39 , 143, I 4 7, 153, 
154, 156, 159-165, 167-169, 184, 

185 ; Palo Alto, xix, i, 10, 15, 175, 

183 ; portrait painted, 113 ; Polk, 
opinion of, 148 ; Resaca de la Palma, 
xx, i, 10, 15, 175, 183 ; religious 
views, 117; resigned from army, xiv, 
xx ; restored to army, xiv ; Scott criti 
cised by, 7, 14, 15, 17, 20, 24, 35, 

67, 82, 86, 87, 90, 91, 103, 105, 
108, 114, 119, 122, 136, 173, 178- 

184 ; slavery, views on, 100, 136, 142 ; 
sutlers, opinion of, 8, 14 ; sympathy for 
wounded, 8, II, 19, 38, 42, 45, 51 ; 
thanked by legislature of Louisiana, 10 ; 
troubles with authorities at Washington, 
9, 13, 67, 72, 80, 90, 91, 94, 95, 
ill, 114, 148, 173-186, (see also 
Marcy and Scott, supra) ; war with 



Mexico, views on, 28, 37, 39, 51, 74, 
75, 117, 134; wife, ix, 5, 13, 56, 
169 ; youth, xii ; sketch, xiii. 

Taylor, Zachary (the President s grand 
father), vii, viii. 

Taylor, Zachary (the President s uncle), 
vii. 

Taylor, Mrs. Zachary, ix, 5, 13, 56, 169; 
sketch, ix. 

Texas, admission of, xviii ; and Mexico, 
xvi ; annexation of, xvi ; history of, 31; 
republic of, xvi ; resolution declaring the 
terms of admission to the Union, xvii ; 
resolution of admission, xviii ; volunteers 
from, 24. 

Thames, battle of the, 15. 

Thompson, James, 95. 

Thompson, James L., 6, 37, 49. 

Thompson, Martha, vii, viii. 

Tibbatts, John W., 70, 80, 98. 

Tilden, Samuel J., xiii. 

Tippecanoe, battle of, xiv. 

Tompkins, Daniel D., 154. 

Travis, William B., 31. 

Treaty of peace signed, 7. 

Tripler, Charles S., 29, 160. 

Trist, Marie Wilhelmina, xi. 

Trist, Nicholas T., 122, 133, 136, 140, 
146, 149, 151. 

Turner, George F., 56, 91. 

Twiggs, David E., 47, 57, 180. 

Tyler, John, xvi-xviii. 

United States and Mexico, xvi. 

Valencia, General, 127. 

Van Allen, Charles, 150, 151, 156. 

Van Buren, Martin, xv, xxii, 1 1 8 ; sketch, 
76. 

Vera Cruz, j , 55, 72. 

Veto power, xxiv. 

Victoria, 80, 180, 181. 

Vinton, John R., 27. 

Volunteers, impatience of, 7, 177 ; Louisi 
ana, xix ; not wanted, 4 ; outrages by, 
22 ; trouble with, 8, 20, 24, 30, 32, 
38, 44, 51. 




INDEX 



Waggaman, George G., 92. 

Walker, Robert J., 185 ; sketch, 48. 

Washington, George, viii. 

Washington monument, xxiv. 

Webb, James Watson, 79. 

Webster, Daniel, xxii, xxvi, 7. 

Wells, John B., 2, 34, 53. 

Wharton, William L., 64. 

Whistler, William, 93. 

White, Colonel, 121. 

Whiting, Henry, 24, 27, 31 ; sketch, 13. 

Wilkinson, James, xiv. 

Willoughby, Elizabeth, viii. 

Winchester, Judge, 162. 

Wood, Ann Mackall, n, 18, 21, 34, 39, 

67, 69 ; sketch, x. 
Wood, B. H., 1 86. 
Wood, Blandina Dudley, x, xi. 
Wood, Charles Carroll, x. 
Wood, Lola Mackubin, x. 
Wood, Dr. Robert C., death of his brother, 

70, 74 ; marriage, x ; transferred to New 



Orleans, 93 ; miscellaneous, xii, 12, 18, 

20, 52, 63, 66 ; sketch, x. 
Wood, Robert C., jr., x, 18, 22, 23, 49, 

55, 68, 70, 74, 83, 87, 107, 138 ; 

sketch, xi. 

Wood, Sarah Knox, x, xi. 
Wood, John T., u, 43, 68, 70, 74, 81, 

87, 98, 101, 106, 112, 116, 129, 132, 

1 36, 145 ; sketch, x. 
Wood, Zachary Taylor, x. 
Wool, John Ellis, 34, 37, 64, 71, 72, 82, 

148, 157, 180, 185 ; sketch, 15. 
Worth, William Jenkins, 31, 57, 59, 71, 

72, 84, 179-181 ; accused of intrigue, 

84, 99, 103, 130 ; at capture of Mon 
terey, 60 ; sketch, 6. 
Wright, Silas, 118 ; sketch, 139. 

Yellow fever, 93, 121, 126-128, 131, 

!33> H 2 - 
Young, John, 156. 



194 



14 DAY USE 

RETURN TO DESK FROM WHICH BORROWED 

LOAN DEPT. 

This book is due on the last date stamped below, 
or on the date to which renewed. Renewals only: 






RETURN CIRCULATION DEPARTMENT 

202 Main Library 



LOAN PERIOD 1 
HOME USE 


2 


3 


4 


5 


6 



ALL BOOKS MAY BE RECALLED AFTER 7 DAYS 

1 -month loans may be renewed by calling 642-3405 

6-month loans may be recharged by bringing books to Circulation Desk 

Renewals and recharges may be made 4 days prior to due date 



DUE AS STAMPED BELOW 









MAR 5 1980 






REC.ClR.rtfl 1*80 

Mfl) 






1 JAN 1 4 1984 






* Z? ^^^ 

ocr pin nn* 1 _? ^ 






REG. Cm. UU, 4 99 






001^1994 












npr n Q IPOA 












i 













FORM NO DD 6 40m 10 77 UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY 

BERKELEY, CA 94720