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Washington, September 14, 1846. Sir: I have received your letter of the 12th instant, and submitted it to the President. He requests me to inform you that it is not within the arrangements for conducting the campaign in Mexico to supersede General Taylor in his present command, by assigning you to it. I am, with great respect, your obedient servant,

W. L. MARCY, Major General W. Scott.


[Private and confidential.] New YORK, November 25, 1846.

My DEAR GENERAL: I left Washington late in the day yesterday, and expect to embark for New Orleans the 30th instant. By the 12th of December I may be in that city, at Point Isabel the 17th, and Camargo, say, the 23d, in order to be within easy corresponding distance from you. It is not probable that I may be able to visit Monterey, and circumstances may prevent your coming to

I shall much regret not having an early opportunity of felicitating you in person upon your many brilliant achievements; but we may meet somewhere in the interior of Mexico.

I am not coming, my dear general, to supersede you in the immediate command on the line of operations rendered illustrious by you and your gallant army. My proposed theatre is different. You may imagine it, and I wish very much that it were prudent at this distance to tell you all that I expect to attempt or hope to execute. I have been admonished that despatches have been lost, and I have no special messenger at hand. Your imagination will be aided by the letters of the Secretary of War, conveyed by Mr. Armistead, Major Graham, and Mr. McLane.

But, my dear general, I shall be obliged to take from you most of the gallant officers and men (regulars and volunteers) whom you have so long and so nobly commanded. I am afraid that I shall, by imperious necessity—the approach of yellow fever on the gulf coast-reduce you, for a time, to stand on the defensive. This will be infinitely painful to you, and for that reason distressing to me. But I rely upon your patriotism to submit to the temporary sacrifice with cheerfulness. No man can better afford to do so. Recent victories place you on that high eminence, and I even flatter myself that any benefit that may result to me personally from the unequal division of troops alluded to will lessen the pain of your consequent inactivity.

You will be aware of the recent call for nine regiments of new volunteers, including one of Texas horse. The President may soon ask for many more, and we are not without hope that Congress may add ten or twelve to the regular establishment. These, by the spring-say April-may, by the aid of large bounties, be in the field, should Mexico not earlier propose terms of accommodation; and long before the spring (March) it is probable you will be again in force to resume offensive operations.

I am writing at a late hour of the night, and more than half sick of a cold. I may despatch another note before I embark; but from New Orleans, Point Isabel, &c., you shall hear from me officially and fully.

It was not possible for me to find time to write from Washington, as I much desired. I only received an intimation to hold myself in preparation for Mexico on the 18th instant. Much has been done towards that end, and more remains to be executed.

Your detailed report of the operations at Monterey, and reply to the Secretary's despatch, by Lieutenant Armistead, were both received two days after I was instructed to proceed south. In haste, I remain, my dear general, yours faithfully,

WINFIELD SCOTT. Major General Z. Taylor,

United States Army, commanding, &c.


November 25, 1846. SIR: A letter, of which the enclosed is a copy, was sent to Commodore Connor, commander of the United States squadron off Vera Cruz, and by him has been transmitted to the Secretary of the Navy, with the remark that it is from a reliable source, and is corroborated by similar information obtained through other channels.

It is deemed important that you should be in possession of the statements contained in that paper, to the end that means may be taken to ascertain whether they are well founded; and if there be any reason to believe them true, that you may act with reference to the movements of the enemy therein indicated.

A copy of the enclosed paper has been sent to Major General Scott and to General Patterson. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Secretary of War. Major General Z. TAYLOR.

[No. 110.)


Camp near Monterey, November 12, 1846. Sir: The communication of the Secretary of War, of October 22, with its enclosures, by the hands of Major McLane, was received this morning. You will have seen by my orders, and my despatch of the 9th, what measures have been taken to conclude the armistice and to occupy Saltillo. Being advised, by special express from Matamoras, of Major McLane's approach, I had postponed my intended departure this day for Saltillo until his arrival.

As I deem it still important to occupy that position, for reasons to be explained below, I shall march thither to-morrow, according to my first intention. On my return, say by the 20th instant, I shall probably be able to inform the department more fully on certain important points connected with our operations; but I now avail myself of the return of Major McLane to Washington to state briefly my views on some of the topics embraced in the Secretary's communication.

Without active operations towards San Luis Potosi from this quarter, I still deem the occupation of Saltillo important, for three


First. As a necessary outpost of the main force at Monterey, covering, as it does, the important defile which leads from the low country to the table land; and also the route to Monclova.

Secondly. As controlling a region from which we may expect considerable supplies of breadstuffs and cattle, viz: the fertile country around Parras; and

Thirdly. As the capital of Coahuila, which renders it very important in a political point of view.

I have already represented to the department the difficulties to be encountered in a forward movement upon San Luis, and the amount of force which would be necessary to insure success. Those reasons only apply to the country beyond Saltillo. I consider the occupation of that point as a necessary complement to our operations and to the policy of holding a defensive line, as the Sierra Madre, and trust the department will concur with me in this view,

As already reported, Brigadier General Wool is now at Monclova, having found no practicable route to Chihuahua, save the well-known but very circuitous one by Parras. I fully agree with the department that no commensurate benefit is likely to result from the march on Chihuahua of General Wool's column, and shall accordingly direct him to suspend his movement in that direction. The occupation of Saltillo in force renders it still less necessary that Chihuahua should be occupied. I cannot yet determine specifically what disposition to make of General Wool's column. Meanwhile I have directed him to remain in his present position until further orders.

In regard to the expedition against Vera Cruz, after a good deal of reflection upon the subject, I feel bound to express my conviction that four thousand men will be a force quite too small for the purpose contemplated. In my despatch of October 15 I stated twenty-five thousand troops, of which ten thousand to be regulars, as the least force that should make a descent in that quarter, with a view of marching on the capital. I now consider that simply to invest and take Vera Cruz, and of course hold the position, we should have ten thousand troops, of which four thousand, if possible, should be regulars. It is quite probable that a smaller force, even four thousand, might effect a landing and carry the town; but could they sustain themselves until the castle of San Juan'd'Ulloa should be reduced by famine? The country lying between Vera Cruz and the city of Mexico is populous, and at least one portion (Puebla) understood to be very loyal. Would not a force be brought against us before the castle could be reduced, sufficiently strong to endanger our safety, cut off, as we should be, from succor? When to these considerations we add the uncertainty of weather during the winter season, rendering our communication with the fleet liable to interruption, I think it will be seen that the force should be large enough not only to land and invest the town, but also to hold itself secure against any attack from the interior, and for such purpose I consider ten thousand men quite as small a force as should be ventured.

A force of ten thousand men cannot be spared from the occupation of the line of the Sierra Madre. Four thousand may be diverted from that object; and if to these, six thousand fresh troops from the United States were added at the proper time, the expedition might be undertaken with a promise of success. I propose, therefore, to proceed with the preparation for a movement on Tampico; and after accomplishing every thing that is to be done in that quarter, I will, if the department approve, hold four thousand men, of which perhaps three thousand regulars, ready to embark at some point on the coast, and effect a junction with the additional force from the Siates. The movement towards Tampico will not produce any delay if my views are adopted; and I consider it quite important to occupy Victoria and the lower portion of Tamaulipas, after securing properly the line to be held in this quarter.

I conceive it all-important, having in view the Mexican character, that as 'little should be left to accident as possible, and that we should be careful, as far as human foresight can provide, to avoid the smallest liability to disaster. A descent upon a hostile coast, notoriously dangerous, and in an inclement season of the year, is an operation requiring the most careful preparations and exact management, and possessing, under the most favorable cir'cumstances, more or less elements of failure. It seems the part of prudence, therefore, to take a sufficient force to meet any contingency that may arise.

Being pressed for time, I have given my views briefly, and perhaps somewhat crudely, on the most inportant points presented in the despatch of the secretary. There are other topics which will probably claim my attention, but which must now be passed over. I would only suggest that, in the event of an expedition to Vera Cruz, the heavy ordnance, engineers' stores, &c., should be shipped direct from the north. The additional force from the Atlantic seaboard might embark, say, by the 10th of January. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major General U. S. A., commanding. The ADJUTANT GENERAL of the Army,

Washington, D. C.

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[No. 113.]


Camp near Monterey, November 24, 1816. Sır: I reported briefly from Saltillo, on the 16th instant, the occupation of that city by our troops. A duplicate of that report is transmitted herewith. I seize the first opportunity after my return from that place to report more in detail the circumstances of its occupation, and also to refer to the position of Brigadier General Wool, and the orders which I have given to that officer.

While in route to Saltillo on the 14th instant, I was met by a white flag conveying a despatch from General Santa Anna, in reply to the notice given him of the cessation of the armistice. Copies of these letters and of my final reply are forwarded by this mail.

On approaching the city of Saltillo a messenger placed in my hands a document, herewith enclosed, protesting, in the name of the State of Coahuila, against the occupation of the city. The individual signing the protest had been elected governor the day previous, and left the city in the morning of the day on which we took possession. The troops of General Worth's division were immediately quartered in the town, and arrangements were made before I left for procuring a supply of breadstuffs and forage at reasonable rates.

A reconnoissance was also made of the country some 25 miles in front, and one projected, to be executed after my departure, of the Parras route as far as Patos, a .rich hacienda about 35 miles from Saltillo. I left a squadron of the 2d dragoons to serve under General Worth's orders until relieved by other cavalry, proposing to assign Lieutenant Kearny's company 1st dragoons and a squadron or two of the Kentucky horse to his division as soon as they can be brought forward. I shall also reinforce him by a volunteer forceprobably a brigade.

The division at Saltillo covers the direct route from San Luis Potosi. The other route would be covered by a force at Parras, which would at the same time control the abundant supplies to be drawn from the neighboring country, the richest of the north of Mexico. Brigadier General Wool being in position at Monclova, and it being now fully ascertained that he cannot march thence on Chihuahua, even were it desired, I have ordered him to move on Parras. The State of Coahuila will then be completely occupied and covered; and in case active operations towards the interior should hereafter be determined on, we shall be in position to march on San Luis, Zacatecas or Durango. Brigadier General Wool will at once abandon his communications by San Antonio and Lavaca, and adopt that by the Rio Grande and Monterey. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major General U. S. A., commanding. The ADJUTANT GENERAL

of the army, Washington, D. C.

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