« AnteriorContinuar »
of the act of Congress to which I have called your attention, to enable you to furnish one to each commandant of a regiment and other officers from whom information can be derived, which will be serviceable to the President in the discharge of the pleasing duty of dispensing rewards to the well deserving. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War. Major General WINFIELD Scott,
Commanding U. S. Army, Mexico.
N. B. A similar letter has been sent to Major General Taylor, with copies of the section of the law above referred to.
WAR DEPARTMENT, May 19, 1847. Sir: I have received your despatch of the 19th ultimo, announcing your signal success over the enemy at Cerro Gordo, and also that of the 23d of the same month, with the accompanying reports of those in subordinate command, giving a detail of the operations of your army at that place.
It is a pleasing duty to be again, and so soon, the medium of making known to you, and to the brave officers and soldiers under your command, the President's high appreciation of the skill and prowess by which so decisive a victory was won, and our arms again crowned with superadded glory. The carrying of positions, so strong by nature and strengthened by art, and defended by far superior numbers, followed, as it was, by an almost total rout of a large army, is an achievement seldom equalled in the records of military operations. It has called forth the praise and excited the admiration of a grateful people, and will stand conspicuous on the pages of our history.
While rejoicing at this signal triumph of our arms, the nation is not unmindful of what is due to the memory of the gallant men who fell at Cerro Gordo. It mourns their fate, sympathises with their afflicted families and friends, and will ever cherish a lively recollection of their devoted service and heroic deeds. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War. Major General WINFIELD Scott,
Commanding U. S. Army, Mexico.
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Jalapa, April 28, 1847. Sir: My present efforts, with very insufficient trains, are to get up to this place, from Vera Cruz, while we may, say in the next two weeks, as many essential supplies as practicable-such as cloihing, ammunition, medicines, salt, &c., &c. Breadstuffs, beef, mutton, sugar, coffee, rice, beans, and forage we may hope to find, though not in convenient places or in great abundance, on our line of operations. For these we must pay, or they will be with held, concealed, or destroyed by the owners, whose national hatred of us remains unabated. I shall continue to do all in my power to conquer that hatred, but cannot as yet promise myself success; and if I cannot eniorce the utmost economy in the use of such supplies, by causing them to be collected and regularly issued by the proper departments of the stafi, we shall further exasperate and ruin the country, and starve ourselves. A rigid discipline, exact obedience to orders, is then the first and great want of this army. Of valor and patriotism there is no deficiency.
The firsi fifty miles this side of Vera Cruz, up to Cerro Gordo, with the exception perhaps of one locality, are as deadly to strangers as any part of the coast, from the beginning to the end of the rainy season. That season may commence in May, but certainly, if not earlier, the first week in June.
Now, independent of the superabundant cautions given me in your letter of March 13th, about the health and lives of the troops, i beg to say, that I am myself too careful of human life, the lives of all the troops of this army, regulars as well as volunteers, to risk garrisons along those fifty miles of road during that season. To be of any service, at least four posts would be necessary, and those would not dispense with the necessity of escorts to trains as at present, to guard them against rancheros and other irregular troops of the enemy, who are well acquainted with the country and natives of the climate. But I did expect, up to yesterday, that detachments of the new regiments would, as you had informed me, begin to arrive in this month and continue to follow, perhaps, into June. Accordingly, I had made arrangements to place a new train at Vera Cruz, under each successive detachment of those troops, to follow me, in addition to the old trains sent back to that depot. Probably the last of these old trains will go down under a strong escort, to-morrow; and yesterday I learned, by your letter of the 22d, and the adjutant general's of the 26th ult., that all the recruits of the regiments—some 3,000, raised or likely to be raised, in time for this army-have been ordered to the Rio Grande. Therefore the last supplies that I may expect from Vera Cruz, I know not in what time, must come up by the train that I am to despatch tomorrow
But I have caused instructions (copy herewith) to be sent to Brigadier General Cadwalader, requesting that at least a part of the new troops, according to the state of the Rio Grande base of operations, might be sent to this army, via Vera Cruz.
The distance is great, and I have no certain intelligence from Major General Taylor, later than his victory at Buena Vista, save that he had cleared his rear of the enemy, and the general belief at this place, which I begin to doubt, that he has reached San Luis de Potosi. I have sent an emissary to communicate with him, wherever he may be; but if not at or on this side of that city, i may not hear from him in many weeks. I may add that it is the universal opinion of well informed persons in this country, that troops may land at Vera Cruz, and, by marching promptly, reach this healthy region, with little or no loss from disease, as late as some time in June; whereas, even Mexicans, of the upper country, would suffer greatly in a week, by a visit to the tierra caliente. Here the weather is uncomfortably cool and requiring winter clothing, at the end of April; twenty-five miles below, the heat, except in the northers, is distressing early in March. Unfortunately, very many of our men, regulars as well as volunteers, have lost both great-coats and blankets, and the volunteers are otherwise badly clad. How
many of the latter will re-engage under the act anproved March 3d, only received two days ago, I know not; probably but few. Hence the greater my disappointment, caused by sending the new troops to the Rio Grande; for, besides their keeping the road in our present rear open for many weeks, by marches, in successive detachments, I had intended, as I advanced, to leave strong garrisons in this place, in Perote and Puebla, and to keep, at the head of the movement, a force equal to any probable opposition. It may now depend on the number of old volunteers who may re-engage, and the number of new troops that may arrive from the Brazos in time, as also, in some degree, upon the advance of Major General Taylor, whether I shall find this army in strength to leave the garrisons and to occupy the capital. In the meantime, Brevet Major General Worth his advanced a brigade some fifteen miles beyond Perote, to enlarge bis sphere of supplies, and I shall put the other two divisions in march in order to be able to occupy Puebla, as soon as the two trains, sent back to Vera Cruz six and seven days ago, shall have returned.
On receiving the news of the disasters at Cerro Gordo, the Mexican Congress immediately passed a series of resolutions, (of which I send an indifferent translation,) breathing defiance and war to the last extremity. It will be seen that General Santa Anna is virtually deprived of the presidency. He is at present at Cordova or Orizaba, endeavoring to create a new army of irregulars; but without arms, magazines, or a military chest. Other generals are also endeavoring io prepare for a guerilla war upon our detachments, trains and stragglers, and they may, without great precautions on our part, do much barm in the aggregate.
Notwithstanding the violence of the congress, I know, by private advices, that there is a large party of moderate men, in the capital and elsewhere, in favor of negotiations and peace. I have also reason to believe that the British min ster has again tendered the mediation of his government, which the congress has taken into consideration. After the first efferyescence of rage shall have ex
pired, and we shall have approached nearer to the capital, perbans the counsels of prudence may prevail with the people and the gov
I send, through the quartermaster's department, the Mexican colors taken by Major General Worth at Perote; in all, standards and guidons, fourteen, which, added to seven taken at Cerro Gordo and at Vera Cruz, may make about twenty-five captured at the several places.
I have the honor to remain, sir, with high respect, your most obedient servant,
WINFIELD SCOTT. Hon. W. L. Marcy,
Secretary of War.
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Jalapa, April 23, 1847. Sir: We already occupy Perote, and shall soon occupy Puebla
. Indeed, we might safely take possession of Mexico, without a loss, perhaps, of one hundred men. Our dangers and difficulties are all in the rear, between this place and Vera Cruz: 1st. The season of the year, heat; and below Cerro Gordo, sand and disease. 2d. An impossibility (almost) of establishing any intermediate post, say at the National Bridge, or any other point, on account of disease, and the want of sufficient supplies within easy reach. 3d. The danger of having our trains cut and destroyed by the exasperated rancheros, whose houses are thinly scattered over a wide surface, and whom it is almost impossible, with our small cavalry force, to pursue and to punish; and 4th. The consequent necessity of escorting trains seventy odd miles up, and the same down, with a meagre ca: valry that must from day to day become, from that intolerable service, more and more meagre.
I have stated the situation of this advanced army, strongly, to show how infinitely important it is that we should, as speedily as possible, while the season may permit us, get up to this healthy region all essential supplies. Those supplies fall within the ordnance, quartermaster's, commissary and medical departments. The chief of each with me has been instructed to write to the proper chief at Vera Cruz accordingly, and I desire you to give a rigid attention to those requisitions, and make yourself sure that, as fast and as far as practicable, they are complied with. I put down myself, in this place, the supplies which I hold to be indispensable
; leaving the amount of each article to the respective chiefs here and at Vera Cruz, viz: medicines and hospital stores, clothing for troops, salt, ammunition, shoes for animals, and coffee; articles only a little inferior in importance are knapsacks, blankets, hard bread, bacon and camp kettles; sugar, flour, rice, fresh meat
, beans and forage, we hope to find in the country. The above lists of indispensable articles, and of articles almost equally so, way
not be complete, but it is nearly so. See the requisitions which will be sent from this place.
The new troops raised for the war, and recruits for old regiments, will arrive after a short time, at Vera Cruz, almost daily. If the city should become sickly, that is, should an epidemic prevail, you will detain on board the transports all detachments, until the means of transportation can be found for each, so that it may pass rapidly through or around the city, and be as little exposed as possible to infection. If the railroad can be put into operation, it will be an immense gain in saving the loaded wagons the necessity of dragging heavily up the sand hills towards Santa Fé.
Give a prompt attention to this saving, and possibly, in the case of the vomito, supplies and troops may be advantageously landed by means of surf boats, north of the city, and thence proceed to join the army.
It is probable that I may establish a small post at Passo de Obejas, some six miles nearer to you than the National Bridge. There are many buildings at this point, said to be the least unhealthy bel jw Cerro Gordo, where there is no shelter and few or no supplies of any kind within a reasonable distance. At the Passo de Obejas are bridges, good water, some grain, and beef cattle. If these be carefully used and not wasted, they will save a great deal of wagoning from Vera Cruz. The post will be within your command and require your strictest instructions. I have sent down, by a train, seven colors and standards, which I desire you to have carefully boxed up and forwarded to the adjutant general. Another train, that will pass Cerro Gordo to-day, will take down six of the forty-three captured guns from that place. Add the twelve pieces selected by Captain Huger, (inquire of Captain Daniels,) from the defences of the city, and send the eighteen to New York, direct, or via New Orleans. On the subject of trophies, give my compliments to Commodore Perry, and beg him to select and ship for home six guns from the Castle of San Juan d'Ulloa. I may send the remaining guns from Cerro Gordo, but wish no more to be taken as trophies from Vera Cruz and its castle.
Lose no opportunity of sending the mails of the army, particularly letters addressed to general head-quarters.
Having not a moment to copy, please send this letter to the adjutant general for the Secretary of War. With great respect, yours, truly,
WINFIELD SCOTT. To Brevet Colonel Wilson,
Commander and Governor of Vera Cruz.
P. S.-The general-in-chief desires me to add that the wagons, eight in number, which Captain Hetzel was desired to appropriate to the transportation of engineers' tools, must not be diverted from that use. Very respectfully,
H. L. SCOTT, A. A. A. G.