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yesterday from General Worth, are expected here in seven or ten days, and that I was instructed to unite them with that portion of the regiment now here.
This fact, I must believe, escaped the attention of the commanding general, when your letter was written, and I now hope that he will take it into full consideration, and reverse the painful order which I have just received.
If other motives, to which I dare not allude, influenced General Scott in this decision, I have but to remark that it is natural that he should select those officers from whom he might expect a hearty cooperation; but that, to accomplish this, I do not believe he would do an act of injustice; and if my recent conduct can be taken as an earnest of my endeavors to further his views to the fullest extent, that I can appeal to it with the greatest confidence.
I have turned over my command, and should it not be deemed expedient to change the order under consideration, I have to request that I may be informed at what point I may find the head-quarters of Major General Taylor. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. S. HARNEY,
Colonel 2d Dragoons. Lieutenant H. L. Scott,
A. A. A. G., Head-quarters of the Army.
[ 3. ]
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Brazos Santiago, January 24, 1847. SIR: Your communication of the 231 instant, relative to your command, was this morning received, through Brevet Brigadier General Worth, and I am directed by Major General Scott to reply as follows:
When he made his arrangements, which now cannot be changed, to give Major Sumner the command of the regular cavalry called for by him (Major General Scott) from the army under the immediates command of Major General Taylor, he (Major General Scott) expected the detachments would be made up, in nearly equal parts, from the 1st and 2d dragoons.
Besides the squadron of the 2d, with Major General Taylor, who, probably, will be back at Monterey to-day or to-morrow, Captain Hunter's company of the same regiment is to be soon mounted, and to return to the orders of Major General Taylor. That general, it is presumed, (though Major General Scott has not given, and does not expect to give any order on the subject,) may, probably, unite the two companies of the 1st, with the three of the 2d, all of which will be under his command, and, also, a sixth company, (2d dragoons,) soon expected out under Lieutenant Sibley. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. SCOTT,
A. A. A. G. To Colonel W. S. HARNEY,
| 4. ]
MATAMORAS, Mexico, January 25, 1847. SIR: Your communication of the 24th instaat was received last night, and I hasten to return a reply.
In my letter of the 23d I endeavored to explain my position, and to disabuse the mind of Major General Scott in relation to any preconceived views he may have formed to my prejudice. It was humiliating to do so, but I deemed it my duty, in the present state of affairs, to make any reasonable sacrifice to preserve harmony, and to enable me to accompany this portion of my regiment into the field. Your reply has disappointed me; if not a revocation of your order, I at least expected that some good and sufficient reason would be given for depriving me of my regiment, or that reparation would be made to me for it in another quarter; with this view I relinquished my command. By your letter referred to, you have not only deprived me of my regiment, but you have placed my junior, the major of my own regiment, in command of it; and the imaginary command to which you have been pleased to allude, I consider as entirely inadequate to the one you would force me to relinquish, even should it ever be brought into existence. If General Scott does not deem me capable of discharging my appropriate duties, he may arrest, but he shall not unresistingly degrade pe. It is painful to be driven to this alternative. I have endeavored to avoid the issue; it has been forced on me, and I must abide the judgment of my peers.
As long as I am a colonel, I shall claim the command of my regiment; it is a right which I hold by my commission and the laws of the land, and no authority short of the President of the United States 'can legally, deprive me of it. In adopting this course, I feel that I am not only defending my own, but the rights of every officer of the army. , It is true anolber course is open to me, but it is well known by your presence with the army that an important expedition against the enemy is at hand, and my desire to participate in it will not allow me to await redress by an appeal to higher authority. It is in full view of all the consequences in which I may be involved that I have taken this step. I do it with no desire to show a spirit of insubordination, but because I believe my honor and my character as a soldier involved in the issue. I have no hope that anything I may say will alter your determination; to discuss the subject further would be useless; and I have only to add, that I have assumed the command of my regiment, and will accompany it to the mouth of the river. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. S. HARNEY,
Colonel 2d dragoons. Major General WINFIELD Scott,
Commander-in-chief, U. S. Army.
[5.] Charges and specifications preferred against Colonel W. S. Harney,
of the 2d regiment of dragoons.
Disobedience of orders and insubordinate conduct. Specification 1st. In this, that Colonel W. S. Harney, 2d regiment of dragoons, having been instructed by Major General W. Scott, commanding the army, in an official communication bearing date Brazos Santiago, 22d January, 1847, "to relinquish the command of that portion of his, the said Colonel Harney's regiment, which had reached Matamoras, and then to repair to the headquarters of, and personally to report to, Major General Taylor," did fail to set out as instructed as aforesaid.
Specification 2d. In this, that the said Colonel W. S. Harney, 2d regiment of dragoons, did, after having relinquished the command of the troops aforesaid, as instructed as aforesaid, resume the command of the same; and that, after receiving the reiterated orders of Major General Scott, dated Brazos Santiago, January 24, 1847, and in defiance of such repeated orders.
This, near Matamoras, Mexico, on or about the 25th January, 1847.
Testimony.—Written instructions of General Scott, dated 22d and 24th January, 1847. Colonel Harney's letters in acknowledgment and reply, dated January 23d and January 25th, 1847, By order of General Worth:
J. C. PEMBERTON, First Lieutenant, A. A. A. General.
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Brazos Santiago, January 28, 1847. Sir: Major General Scott has just received a charge, with two specifications against you, signed by order of Brigadier General Worth; a copy of which I herewith enclose.
Considering your well known and long continued personal hostility to Major General Scott, and that it may, however erroneously, be supposed that a reciprocal feeling has been generated on his part; and considering the perfect confidence that all may entertain in the honor and impartiality of our officers generally and almost universally, I am instructed by Major General Scott to say, you may, if done promptly, select yourself, from the officers near at hand, any seven, nine, eleven, or thirteen, to compose the court for your trial on that charge and its specification, and that he, Major General Scott, will immediately order them to assemble accordingly.
As the troops in this neighborhood will be required to commence embarking, on the arrival of the transports, now hourly expected
for them, a list of the officers to compose the court, signed by your hand, is expected by the return of the bearer, and that he will be instructed to wait for such list two hours only.
I enclose, to facilitate your action, a list of the officers for court martial duty at ca.np Palo Alto, from whom you are at liberty to select, as well as from the officers of the 2d dragoons, regiment of mounted riflemen, and infantry, at the mouth of the Rio Grande. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. SCOTT,
A. A. A. General.
Washington, January 4, 1817. Sir: Some anxiety is felt here in regard to the position of our troops in Mexico: Everything indicates that it is the policy of the enemy to strike at our detached posts, or cut our lines of communication. We are not fully advised what lines it is proposed to sustain, or what posts are to be held. The line, should it not extend beyond Monterey, is a long one, and a considerable force will be required to keep it open, and to hold that place. If, in addition to retaining possession of Monterey, an attempt should be made to establish posts at Parras, Saltillo, Linares, Victoria, &c., it is feared that an opportunity will be offered to the enemy to gain some advantage over us at one or more of these points, or along the chain of connexion necessarily to be kept up with them. You are well acquainted with the present plaus of operation. While engaged in an expedition on the seacoast, it is not proposed to penetrate the country beyond Monterey, with a view to its permanent occupation, though it is desirable to maintain a threatening attitude at that point. Monterey must be held with a sufficient force. Such a force being provided for that object, the remainder will of course be at your disposal to maintain other proper positions, and to operate on the gulf coast, and especially at Vera Cruz. Your position will enable you to determine, better than can be done here, what should be the best disposition for the safety of our troops, and to disappoint the expectations of the enemy, who is undoubtedly watching for opportunities to fall upon them while in detachments of small bodies, with greatly superior numbers. No positive directions will, therefore, be given touching these matters.
It was expected that General Taylor would have deemed it expedient to order the force under General Wool to join him at Monterey, and not to extend his line to Saltillo, with a view to hold permanent possession of it. At the last advices from Gen. Wool he had not received orders to unite his forces with those under the immediate command of General Taylor, but it is hoped that before this time the suggestions in my despatch to General Taylor of the 22d of October have been received, approved, and carried into effect. The detachment which it is proposed to make from the forces at and near Monterey, for the expedition on the coast, will
render it proper, if not indispensable, that they should be reinforced by General Wool's command.
As a considerable part of the forces under General Taylor may be withdrawn for the expedition you are to conduct against Vera Cruz, it is urged that great caution should be observed in regard to the safety of those which may be left on the present line of operations.
If any reliance can be placed on the accounts which have Teached us as to the number and condition of the army under the command of the Mexican general, he could have rendered it difficult and hazardous for our troops to advance to Saltillo, and his retiring beyond that place wears the appearance of a ruse to draw us far into the country in that direction, to the end that he may practise, with better hopes of success, his system of guerrilla warfare. If such be his object, I trust proper measures will be taken to disappoint him. It seems now to be generally understood that he is at Tula with a large body of cavalry. The object of this movement is not clearly perceived. The withdrawing of the Mexican force from Tampico would seem to indicate a determination on his part to yield up Tamaulipas to our arms; but the occupation of Tula with a strong force does not appear consistent with such a course of policy, unless he is apprehensive that we may move upon San Luis Potosi through the passes of the mountains in that vicinity. Should we undertake to hold Victoria with a small force, might he not move from his present position at Tula against that place, and surprise it; or fall upon some of our detachments moring by land to Tampico? Though the Sierra Madre is difficult to pass, and with wagons or wheel-carriages impassable, yet may not the enemy's cavalry find a way through the gorges of this moun. tain? It is not unreasonable to expect that some such movement is contemplated. It is therefore suggested that this matter should be well considered, and great care taken to guard against any surprise in this quarter.
We have no news from Mexico on which much reliance can be placed; but from such information as
we have, it is doubtful whether a Mexican Congress will have assembled at the time fixed for it—the 6th of December; and it is equally doubtful whether
, whenever it shall come together, it will be disposed to enter upor negotiations for peace. Mexico is undoubtedly in a wretched condition, and without the prospect of improvement. A hope was en tertained, and not now wholly abandoned, that the northern departments would see that their interest would be promoted by with: drawing from the central government and forming an independent republic. Should any such disposition manifest itself, it ought to be encouraged, and those engaged in the movement should have all the protection and support from our forces that can be properly given to them; without any pledge, however, that its separate ex: istence will be made a condition in the treaty of
peace be entered into between Mexico and the United States.
We have not yet learned that Mexico is making any extraordinary efforts to assemble a large covering army at Vera Cruz, and it