Imagens das páginas

In y last despatch I advised you that, on the receipt of General Ampudia's summons to fall back from my position, I ordered a blockade of the mouth of the Rio Grande, deeming this a measure perfectly proper under the circumstances, and, at the same time, the most efficient means of letting the Mexican commander understand that this state of quasi war was not to be interpreted to his advantage only, while we reaped the inconveniences attending it. On the 17th instant, pursuant to my instructions, Lieutenant Renshaw, of the navy, warned off two American schooners about to enter the river with provisions. Yesterday, I received from General Ampudia a communication on the subject, a translation of which, and my reply, are herewith transmitted. I trust that my course in this matter will meet the approval of the department. It will, at any rate, compel the Mexicans either to withdraw their army from Matamoras, where it cannot be subsisted, or to assume the offensive on this side of the river.

You will perceive from my "orders,” No. 50, that the fate of Colonel Croșs has been ascertained. His body was discovered in the forest, about four miles from this camp, and with marks of violence, leaving no doubt that he was robbed, and cruelly murdered. I deem it best not to detail the various rumors which hare been current in regard to the particulars of his death, as nothing conclusive can be gathered from them. I am willing, for the present, to believe that it was the act of robbers-not authorised by the Mexican general.

I enclose a translation of the answer of General Ampudia to my inquiry concerning Colonel Cross.

With a view to check the depredations of small parties of Mexicans on this side of the river, Lieutenants Dobbins, 3d infantry, and Porter, 4th infantry, were authorised by me a few days since, to scour the country for some miles, with a select party of men, and capture or destroy any such parties that they might meet. pears that they separated, and that Lieutenant Porter, at the head of his own detachment, surprised a Mexican camp, drove away the men and took possession of their horses. Soon afterwards, there fell a heavy rain, and, at a moment when the party seem to have been quite unprepared for an attack, they were fired upon from the thicket.

In attempting to return it, the muskets missed fire, and the party dispersed in the thicket. The men have gradually found their way back to camp, with the exception of one, who, with Lieutenant Porter, is still missing. From the statements of the men who have returned, there can be little doubt but that both were killed.

A party is now out in search of them, and I hope, on its return, to be able to communicate something more definite.

I have also to report, that Lieutenant Deas, 4th artillery, crossed the river on the night of the 13th instant, and was immediately taken up by the Mexican guard. He is now a prisoner of war at Matamoras. It is supposed that he was laboring under mental alienation at the time he committed this unfortunate act. Be this as it may, as he voluntarily placed himself in the hands of the enemy,

It ap

I shall make no effort to reclaim him at present. It is understood that he is well treated, though under restraint.

The field work is now in a condition of defence, and is approaching rapidly to completion.

The recruits under Lieutenant Paul arrived on the 21st instant. Of the 56 for the general service, 41. have been assigned to the batteries of field artillery, filling up those companies; the remaining 15, to the 4th infantry. The descriptive roll will be completed and forwarded as soon as the prescribed inspections are made. i am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR, Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. A., commanding. The ADJUTANT GENERAL

Of the Army, Washington, D. C.



Division of the North,
Second General-in-Chief.

From various sources, worthy of confidence, I have learned that some vessels, bound for the mouth of the river, have not been able to effect an entrance into that port, in consequence of your orders that they should be conducted to Brazos Santiago. The cargo of one of them is composed in great part, and of the other entirely, of provisions, which the contractors charged with providing for the army under my orders had procured, to fulfil the obligations of their contracts. You have taken possession of these provisions by force, and against the will of the proprietors, one of whom is vice consul of her Catholic Majesty, and the other of her Britannic Majesty; and whose rights, in place of being religiously respected, as was proffered, and as was to be hoped from the observance of the principles which govern among civilized nations, have, on the contrary, been violated in the most extraordinary manner, opposed to the guarantee and respect due to private property. Nothing can have, authorized you in such a course.

The commerce of nations is not suspended or interrupted, except in consequence of a solemn declaration of blockade, communicated and established in the form prescribed by international law. Nevertheless, you have infringed these rules; and, by an act which can never be viewed favorably to the United States government, have hindered the entrance to a Mexican port of vessels bound to it, under the confidence that commerce would not be interrupted. My duties do not allow me to consent to this new species of hos tility, and they constrain me to require of you, not only that the vessels taken by force to Brazos Santiago shall be at liberty to return to the mouth of the river, but the restoration of all the provisions which, besides belo#ging to private contractors, were destined for the troops on this frontier. I consider it useless to inculcate the justice of this demand, and the results which may follow ab unlooked for refasal.

I have also understood that two Mexicans, carried down in a boat by the current of the river near one of the advanced posts of your camp, were detained, after being fired upon, and that they are still kept and treated as prisoners. The individuais in question do not belong to the army, and this circumstance exempts them from the laws of war. I therefore hope that you will place them absolutely at liberty, as I cannot be persuaded that you pretend to extend to persons not military the consequences of an invasion, which, without employing this means of rigor against unarmed citizens, is marked in itself with the seal of universal reprobation.

I avail myself of this opportunity to assure you of my distinguished consideration. God and Liberty! MATAMORAS, April 22, 1846.



Camp near Matamoras, (Texas,) April 22, 1846. SIR: I have had the honor to receive your communication of this date, in which you complain of certain measures adopted by my order to close the mouth of the Rio Bravo against vessels bound to Matamoras, and in which you also advert to the case of two Mexicans supposed to be detained as prisoners in this camp.

After all that has passed since the American army first approached the Rio Bravo, I am certainly surprised that you should complain of a measure which is no other than a natural result of the state of war so much insisted upon by the Mexican authorities as actually existing

at this time. You will excuse me for recalling a few circumstances, to show that this state of war has not been scught by the American army, but has been forced upon it, and that the exercise of the rights incident to such a state cannot be made a subject of complaint.

On breaking up my camp at Corpus Christi, and moving forward with the army under my orders, to occupy the left bank of the Rio Bravo, it was my earnest desire to execute my instructions in a pacific manner; to observe the utmost regard for the personal rights of all citizens residing on the left bank of the river, and to take care that the religion and customs of the people should suffer no violation. With this view, and to quiet the minds of the inhabitants, I issued orders to the army, enjoining a strict observance of the rights and interests of all Mexicans residing on the river, and caused said orders to be translated into Spanish, and circulated in the several towns on the Bravo. These orders announced the spirit in which we proposed to occupy the country, and I am proud to say, that up to this moment the same spirit has controlled the operations of the army. On reaching the Arroyo Colorado I was informed by a Mexican officer, that the order in question had been received in Metamoras, but was told at the same time that if I attempted to cross the river it would be regarded as a declaration of war. Again, on my march to Frontone I was met by a deputation of the civil authorities of Matamoras, protesting against my occupation of a portion of the department of Tamaulipas, and declaring that if the army was not at once withdrawn, war would result. While this communication was in my hands, it was discovered that the village of Frontone had been set on fire and abandoned. I viewed this as a direct act of war, and informed the deputation that their communication would be answered by me when opposite Matamoras, which was done in respectful terms. On reaching the river I despatched an officer, high in rank, to convey to the commanding general in Matamoras the expression of my desire for amicable relations, and my willingness to leave open to the use of the citizens of Matamoras the port of Brazos Santiago, until the question of boundary should be definitively settled. This ‘officer received for reply, from the officer selected to confer with him, that my advance to the Rio Bravo was considered as a veritable act of war, and he was absolutely refused an interview with the American consul, in itself an act incompatible with a state of peace. Notwithstanding these repeated assurances on the part of the Mexican authorities, and notwithstanding the most obviously hostile preparations on the right bank of the river, accompanied by a rigid non-intercourse, I carefully abstained from any act of hostility-determined that the onus of producing an actual state of hostilities should not rest with me. Our relations remained in this state until I had the honor to receive your note of the 12th instant, in which you denounce war as the alternative of my remaining in this position. As I could not, under my instructions, recede · from my position, I accepted the alternative you offered, and made

all my dispositions to meet it suitably. But, still willing to adopt milder measures before proceeding to others, I contented myself in the first instance with ordering a blockade of the mouth of the Rio Bravo, by the naval forces under my orders-a proceeding perfectly consonant with the state of war so often declared to exist, and which you acknowledge in your note of the 16th instant, relative to the late Colonel Cross. If this measure seem oppressive, I wish it borne in mind, that it has been forced upon me by the course you have seen fit to adopt. I have reported this blockade to my government, and shall not remove it until I receive instructions to that effect, unless indeed you desire an armistice pending the final settlement of the question between the governments, or until war shall be formally declared by either, in which case I vill cheerfully open the river. In regard to the consequences you Dention as resulting from a refusal to remove the blockade, I beg you to understand that I am prepared for them, be they what they lay.

În regard to the particular vessels referred to in your communiation, I have the honor to advise you that, in pursuance of my rders, two American schooners, bound for Matamoras, were warned off on the 17th instant, when near the mouth of the river, and put to sea, returning probably to New Orleans. They were not seized, or their cargoes disturbed in any way, nor have they been in the harbor of Brazos Santiago to my knowledge. A Mexican schooner, understood to be the “ Juanita," was in or off that harbor when my instructions to block the river were issued, but was driven to sea in a gale, since which time I have had no report concerning her. Since the receipt of your communication, I have learned that two persons, sent to the mouth of the river to procure information respecting this vessel, proceeded thence to Brazos Santiago, when they were taken up and detained by the officer in command until my orders could be received. I shall order their immediate release. A letter from one of them to the Spanish vice-consul is respectfully transmitted herewith.

In relation to the two Mexicans said to have drifted down the river in a boat, and to be prisoners at this time in my camp, I have the pleasure to inform you that no such persons have been taken prisoners, or are now detained by my authority: 'The boat in question was carried down empty by the current of the river, and drifted ashore near one of our pickets, and was secured by the guard. Some time afterwards an attempt was made to recover the boat under cover of the darkness; the individuals concerned were hailed by the guard, and, failing to answer, were fired upon as a matter of course. What became of them is not known, as no trace of them could be discovered on the following morning. The officer of the Mexican guard directly opposite was informed the next day that the boat would be returned on proper application to me, and I have now only to repeat that assurance.

In conclusion, I take leave to state that I consider the tone of your communication highly exceptionable, where you stigmatize the movement of the army under my orders as “marked with the seal of universal reprobation." You must be aware that such language is not respectful in itself, either to me or to my government; and while I observe in my own correspondence the courtesy due to your high position, and to the magnitude of the interests with which we are respectively charged, I shall expect the same in return. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR, Brevet Brig. Gen. U. S. Army, Commanding. Señor Gen. D. PEDRO DE AMPUDJA,

Commanding in Matamoras.

Division OF THE NORTH-2d General-in-Chief. In reply to your note which I received yesterday, I have the honor to state that if Colonel Cross, quartermaster general of the forces under your command, had been found at any of the military posts under my orders, his lot would have been that of a prisoner of war, treated with the consideration due to his rank, and accord

« AnteriorContinuar »