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and grave topics embraced in those communications, to which I deem it my right and my duty to reply direct.

The amount of force to be drawn from this frontier, and the manner in which it is proposed to withdraw it, had never fully come to my knowledge until yesterday, though hinted at in your note of November 25. Had you, general, relieved me at once in the whole command, and assigned me to duty under your order, or allowed me to retire from the field, be assured that no complaint would have been heard from me; but while almost every man of my regular force and half the volunteers, (now in respectable discipline) are withdrawn for distant service, it seems that I am expected, with less than a thousand regulars and a volunteer force, partly of new levies, to hold a defensive line, while a large army of more than twenty thousand men is in my front.

I speak only of a defensive line; for the idea of assuming offensive operations in the direction of San Luis by March, or even May, with such troops as can then be at my disposition, is quite too preposterous to be entertained for a moment. After all that I have written to the department, on the subject of such operations, I find it difficult to believe that I am seriously expected to undertake them, with the extraordinarily limited means at my disposal.

I cannot misunderstand the object of the arrangements indicated in your letters. I feel that I have lost the confidence of the government, or it would not have suffered me to remain, up to this time, ignorant of its intentions, with so vitally affecting interests committed to my charge. But, however much I may feel personally mortified and outraged by the course pursued, unprecedented, at least, in our own history, I will carry out in good faith, while Í remain in Mexico, the views of the government, though I may be sacrificed in the effort.

I deeply regret to find in your letters, of January 3d, to Major General Butler and myself, an allusion to my position here, which I can but consider an insinuation that I have put myself, willingly, out of the reach of your communications. I beg leave to remark, that the movement of the troops in this direction, and my own march hither, were undertaken for public reasons, freely set forth in my reports to the adjutant general, one of them being my desire to place in position for embarkation to Vera Cruz, should the government order an expedition to that point, the force (two thousand regulars and two thousand volunteers) which I reported might be spared for that service. I have the honor to be, general, your obedient servant,

Z. TAYLOR, Major Gen. United States Army, commanding. Major Gen. WINFIELD Scott,

Commanding United States Army, Brazos Island, Texas.

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my letters.


Brazos San Iago, January 26, 1847. Sir: I have received your two letters of the 15th instant. There are some expressions in those letters, which, as I wish to forget them, I shall not specify or recal.

You intimate a preference for service in my particular expedition, to remaining in your present position with greatly reduced numbers. I can most truly respond, that to take you with me, as second in command, would contribute greatly to my personal delight, and, I confidently believe, to the success of that expedition. But I could not propose it to you for two reasons, either of which was conclusive with me at the mơment: 1st, I thought you would be left in a higher and more responsible position where you are; and 2d, I knew that it was not contemplated by the government to supersede you in, or to take you from that immediate command.

If I had been within easy reach of you, at the time I called for troops from your line of operations, I should, as I had previously assured you, have consulted you fully on all points, and, probably, might have modified my call, both as to the number and description of the forces to be taken from, or to be left with you. As it was, I had to act promptly, and, to a considerable extent, in the dark. All this, I think, will be apparent to you when you shall review

'I hope I have left, or shall leave you, including the new volunteers who will soon be up, a competent force to defend the head of your line (Monterey) and its communications, with the depots in the neighborhood." To enable you to do this more certainly, I must ask you to abandon Saltillo, and to make no detachments, except for reconnoissances and immediate defence, much beyond Monterey. I know this to be the wish of the government, founded on reasons in which I concur; among them, that the enemy intends to operate against small detachments and posts.

I fear that I may be delayed here, or at Tampico, in embarking troops, till, perhaps, the 10th of the next month, and again, a few days more, at the general rendezvous behind the island of Lobos, waiting for some of the volunteer regiments for debarkation, ordnance, and ordnance stores. Finding that Colonel Smith, with two companies of his rifle regi

: ment, are at Tampico, or in its neighborhood, I shall take with me his seven companies, now near the mouth of the Rio Grande, and, perhaps, Colonel Curtis's regiment of Ohio volunteers, detained at Matamoros. My uncertainty in respect to the latter, refers to the number of new regiments of volunteers that may arrive in time, off this bar, for my expedition. I shall not take with me Captain Hunter's company of the 2d dragoons, as it is dismounted. There will, however, bé horses for it here, in perhaps a week. I shall leave instructions for him, when mounted, to ascend the river to Camargo, to meet your orders. No guard will be left by me at the

mouth of the Rio Grande. I give you this information that you may place a detachment there at your own discretion. I remain, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,


Commanding, &C., &C., Monterey. P. S.-I beg you to make my official acknowledgments to Major General Butler, for the promptitude and zeal displayed by him in your temporary absence, in detaching the troops I called for in my despatch to him of the 3d instant. The greater part, if not the whole, of these troops are now below Matainoras.

W. S.

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Brazos San Iago, January 26, 1847. Sir: The arrival, day before yesterday, of the steamer Alabama, from New Orleans, brought me a large mail. Among the letters I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours, dated 4th instant.

In respect to Saltillo, &c., you will find by a copy of my letter of this date, herewith, to Major General Taylor, that I have complied with your suggestion, in which I concur.

The quartermaster general, (brevet Major General Jesup,) at New Orleans, has, I find, taken all proper measures, with judg. ment and promptitude, to provide everything depending on his department for the despatch and success of my expedition. Transports, casks filled with water, &c., &c., &c, are, accordinglý, expected to arrive here and off Tampico before the 7th of the next month. The embarkation of Brevet Brigadier General Worth's division I hope to commence at the mouth of the Rio Grande and at this place within three or four days.

Colonel Totten, chief of the corps of engineers, came out in the Alabama. He informs me that it is probable a sufficient quantity of ordnance and ordnance stores, together with the boats for debarkation, will be up with me, at the island of Lobos, by the 10th of the next month. I regret that Lieutenant Totten, of the navy, who was of so much service to me at Washington in planning and sketching those boats, is not likely to be detached by his department for service with the expedition.

From the appearance in the offing, I expect to hear before night of the arrival of new ships, with Pennsylvania and Louisiana rol

I have not yet received a word from Commodore Connor.

In a few days I intend to request the United States ship, the St. Mary's, off this bar, to run down to the island Lobos to give information, aid, and protection to transports, &c., which may assemble there; dropping despatches from me at Tampico on the


way. I shall follow, a little later, in the steamer Massachusetts. I hope the ship of the line the Ohio may be off Vera Cruz in time for the joint attack on the castle.

It is, I think, very doubtful whether the new regiments the House of Representatives has authorized to be added to the army can be filled in time, with the money bounty, without the grant of land. The last section of the bill, as passed by that House, directing that the said officers” shall be immediately discharged on the close of the war, may prevent many efficient captains and lieutenants of the present regiments from desiring transfers, with promotion, into the new regiments, because the contingency may happen in the recess of Congress, when the Executive would have no power to retain them, by selection, as part of the new peace establishment.

I have the honor to remain, sir, with high respect, your most obedient servant,


Seeretary of War.

No. 8.


Brazos San Iago, January 28, 1847. Sir: I beg your attention to the accompanying papers, (nun; bered 1 to 6,) touching the conduct of Colonel Harney,

United States 2d dragoons, who is evidently seeking an issue with me to be tried by the President, and in succession, by Congress and the public.

In the conduct of the important expedition with which I am charged, I'think myself reasonably entitled to the selection, from the mass of the officers under my command, of the chiefs of the staff, of the dragoons and artillery, and to send away, on any proper military duty, any senior officer of either branch of service, il speak only of the regular army,) whose presence might interfere with such selection. Such right of selection has always been es ercised by commanding generals in the field, who are, in their com missions, their lives and fame, eminently responsible for the results of their expeditions or campaigns. All junior officers are, at least, in the first instance, only responsible to their commanders in the field.

In my opinion, and on the high responsibility to which I have alluded, Major Sumner, of the 2d dragoons, is a much safer and more efficient commander of the cavaliy in question (companies of the 1st and 2d dragoons) than Colonel Harney, of the 2d of thoso regiments. That particular command is entirely too important to the success of my expedition to allow me to leave anything to hazard which it is in my power to control in advance.

I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, your servant,



P.S.-It may be proper to add that I knew nothing of, and had, consequently, nothing to do with, the arrest of Colonel Harney until I received the charge and specifications; although I saw a paper of instructions the day before, from Brevet Brigadier General Worth to an officer directing the arrest of Colonel Harney, if the latter had, as had been rumored, resumed the command of the regular dragoons in question. I am, therefore, in no respect," the accuser or prosecutor of Colonel Harney in this instance. See sec. 1, act May 29, 1830. Brevet Brigadier General Worth, Colonel Harney and myself, are many miles apart from each other.

W. S. Hon. W. L. Marcy,

Secretary of War.



Brazos Santiago, January 22, 1847. Sir: Major General Scott desires me to say, that upon the receipt of this communication, you will turn over your command to the next senior officer, and proceed yourself, personally, to Major General Taylor's head-quarters, to whom you will report for duty with the dragoons that remain under his command. I am, very respectfully, &c., &c.,


A. A. A. General. Colonel W. S. HARNEY, 2d Dragoons, &c., Matamoras.




Matamoras, Mexico, January 23, 1847. Sir: Your letter of the 22d instant, directing me to turn over my command and to report, personally, to the head-quarters of Major General Taylor for duty, with the companies of my regiment there, has just been received.

I cannot disguise my surprise at the unexpected nature of this order, and my extreme regret that it should have been given just at the moment when my feelings were deeply enlisted in the success of an enterprise, in which I had fully hoped to share the dangers and privations of my regiment. It was my ill fortune to be separated from that portion of the regiment which participated in the recent actions with the enemy, and I looked forward with much pleasure and great pride to the time when I should see active service under the orders of Major General Scott. I shall not sprak of the injustice which I consider to be done in separating me from seven companies of my regiment, and ordering me on duty with the remaining two. The bare mention of the fact is the only allusion which I design to make on the present occasion, but it is proper to mention that those two companies, by a letter which I received

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