History of the War with Mexico - H. O. Ladd

National Histories:

The United States and Mexico

Extent of the United States—Prosperity and power—The Republic of Mexico—Its people, army, and Congress.

During the period of 1840 to 1850 within which the war with Mexico occurred, the United States had a population of twenty millions. The Union contained twenty-seven States, extending from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, and from the Atlantic sea-board to the present tier of States just beyond the west bank of the Mississippi as far northward as Wisconsin. The most western State was Missouri. Louisiana was on the south-western border. One half of the States, as far as the Ohio River and including Missouri, was slave territory, of which the raising of cotton and corn was the chief industry.

A remarkable degree of prosperity prevailed at this period in the whole country. The wonderful agricultural resources of the prairie States were being largely developed. The wheels of industry were humming all over the Eastern States, which were also extensively engaged in shipping., Their mercantile navy competed with that of Great Britain for the commerce of the seas. The United States possessed wealth, an exhaustless soil, mines of coal, iron, copper, and lead already opened, and a brave, intelligent, and vigorous population, a mixture of the best blood of the most energetic nations of Europe, having at once enterprise, inventive skill, and patriotic zeal. This Republic was able to fight successfully with any power on the earth.

Mexico had within only a few years wheeled into line with the few republics of the world. Her population was composed of the native Indian, descended from the Aztec people of the middle centuries, mixed with the Spanish and other Southern races. The Spaniards having first conquered the inhabitants of this rich and beautiful country, by a steady stream of emigration and an oppressive military rule had held them in subjection for two centuries and a half, without developing the resources of the land for the benefit of its original owners. At the time of this foreign war, the passionate and luxurious Spanish caballero, the sluggish Indian, and the preponderating Mestizos, or half-breeds, made up its population, over which the Roman Catholic priests held an enervating sway, not only in matters of religion, but as one of the ruling political powers of the land.

There were six States in the Mexican Confederation. They occupied a country rich with mines of gold and silver, a tropical climate, and fertile soil. They had an indolent population, largely given to the work on plantations, and unaccustomed to the demands of self-government, by reason of centuries of subjection to a foreign power. The sentiment of the people was divided between monarchy and republicanism. The majority were incapable of the self-denials to which an exalted patriotism would submit for the sake of national honor and growth.

The Mexican army lacked the discipline which permanent officers and a strong and well-ordered government creates but the National Congress, in their pride of self-government, had a sense of importance equal to that of the parliaments of the oldest nations extant.

The invasion of a country will arouse and unite for a time any civilized people. The passion of the hour and the instinct of self-defence will lead them to bold and courageous fighting. But for a long and persistent contest with a commanding government like that of the United States, they were unfitted, and the ventures of such an unequal war were almost inevitably full of disaster to the young republic. Had the burning zeal and unhesitating bravery of the thousands who sacrificed their lives on its battle-fields been preserved for safeguards to the Mexican Constitution and Government against internal dissensions, how much brighter would have been the future of Mexico! The blood of such heroes and veterans was too precious to be wasted in vain conflict with the sons of freedom in a sister republic.

Mexico and Texas

Straggles for freedom—The Mexican Declaration of Independence—Sympathy of the United States—Bonds of patriotism—Territory of Texas—Despotism and revolution—Invasion of Texas—"Remember the Alamo"—Independence of Texas.

Mexico acquired her independence of Spain in the year 1821. Miguel Hidalgo y Costillo, an Indian curate, and one of the purest patriots who ever roused a nation to shake off the chains of despotism, in 1810 led the first insurrection against the foreign power that for three centuries had crushed and enfeebled the people. For eleven years they struggled for freedom and life. Early in this revolution they avowed their purpose to establish a republic, the principles and conduct of which should accord with the Government of the United States. The first Mexican Congress in 1812 made declarations, by which the following principles were established:

The Mexican nation resumed its sovereignty, and exercised it by its representatives.

  • Slavery was abolished.
  • All privileges of birth and color were annulled.
  • Torture should no longer be inflicted.
  • The rights of property should be protected.
  • Foreign commerce should be permitted under moderate duties.

The laws should require patriotism and loyalty, limit alike the excesses of opulence and poverty, tend to increase the wages of the poor, and diminish popular ignorance, vice, and crime.

The people of the United States were in sympathy with such ideas of popular government, and with the people who espoused and fought for them. It was a new protest against the tyranny of European monarchies, from which they had not long escaped themselves. The citizens of the United States, therefore, long extended toward the Mexican the forbearance which the necessities and struggles of a neighboring nation required of the Great Republic whose example they were imitating.

But events soon proved that a people must be fitted by nature and intelligence for self-government on such exalted principles as were avowed in the Constitution and laws of Mexico. In framing these, the founders of the new government overestimated the character and stability of purpose of the Mexican race. Constantly embroiled by contending factions, petty jealousies, and personal ambitions of hot-headed leader's, the Government became the prey of military usurpers, made presidents by pronunciamientos, or proclamations without authority. With amazing disregard of justice and laid in these frequent changes, government at home became a terror to the people. In fact, there was no true constitutional government. These military usurpers seized public and private property to maintain the army, till superseded by others. It was difficult to unite the different sections of the Mexican Confederation upon laws for the national welfare. Conflicting interests asserted themselves where the bonds of patriotism were still weak. The territory held by this distracted nation was immense. Much of it was desert or uncultivated land, intersected by rugged mountain-ranges, from which stretched vast mesas, or plateaus, uncultivated, and to a great extent uninhabited. It had no communications by railroads, canals, or telegraphs, and but few post-roads and highways of travel between the secluded cities to foster common interests and opinions among the people, who had been alienated from all respect for governments by centuries of the misrule and selfish exactions of Spain.

The States of Mexico were rather provinces than States. Some of them were rich and populous, others settled by few people, but having a fertile soil, and the resources and territory for future empires. Of the latter was Texas on the south-east, reaching from the Rio Grande to the Mississippi, and from the Gulf of Mexico to the latitude of Missouri. The population was composed of a mixture of American, French, and Spanish blood with the native race, and was more fully in sympathy with the United States, from which many of the citizens had emigrated, than with the traditions and customs of Mexico.

In the year 1834, Santa Anna, President of the Confederation, with the support of the priesthood, dissolved by force the Mexican Congress, and with large bodies of troops overawed in his own favor the elections which were held for the next Congress. This usurper, who had in 1823 proclaimed himself the protector of the Federal Republic, now sought to establish a central government armed with dictatorial power. Aided again by the Roman Catholic clergy, he compelled Congress, in 1835, to abolish the Constitution of 1824, and with this also the State constitutions and officers. He thus took away from the States the power to regulate their own affairs by legislatures. Then a military despotism was established through governors appointed for the new provinces, the name of States having been annihilated. The people of the former States of Mexico, Oaxaca, Puebla, Jalisco, and Zacatecas opposed this overthrow of the Federal Government. There was an uprising in Zacatecas, but the inhabitants were crushed by Santa Anna, with a powerful army. With combined treachery and cruelty he butchered the citizens and spread terror through the land.

The citizens of Texas, however, still desiring the federal system of government, called a Congress to consult for their own province, to meet in October, 1835. General Cos, the military governor, before it assembled, brought on a conflict by attempting to disarm the people, who bravely resisted. The governor was defeated at Gonzales, Goliad, Conception, and Fort Lepanticlan on the west bank of the Nueces, and at San Antonio. He then capitulated, and the Texan Congress having assembled, declared Texas no longer bound morally or legally by the compact of the Union or the authority of the usurper. They also offered assistance to such members of the Mexican Confederacy as would take up arms against military despotism. Though the federal system was disorganized, they declared their purpose to continue faithful to the Mexican Government, so long as the nation should be ruled by the Constitution and laws that had been framed for the Union of States. A provisional government was organized in November of the same year, to continue in force till the following March, in order to wait the cooperation of the other States of the Confederacy. Henry Smith was chosen provisional governor, James W. Robinson, lieutenant-governor, and General Samuel Houston, commander-in-chief.

Fillibusters in Texas.


While a convention was in session at Washington, Texas, March 2nd, to provide for the new government after the expiration of the provisional one, intelligence reached them that Santa Anna, with an army of ten thousand of his choicest troops, had already invaded Texas, with the purpose of slaughtering all the inhabitants who offered resistance, and of ravaging the country. A declaration of independence was adopted immediately, and a constitution agreed upon by the convention, to be submitted to the people. General Houston issued a stirring appeal to arms. The invading force entered Texas in two divisions, the right led by General Urea, the left commanded by Santa Anna. The latter first besieged San Antonio de Bexar, which was heroically defended by Colonel Travis, who, with two hundred and fifty men, shut himself up in the Alamo. They fought till only one man was left. Santa Anna, enraged at the loss of one thousand troops in the assault, ordered the single prisoner to be shot and the bodies of the garrison to be burned. At Goliad, General Urea received the surrender of Colonel Fannin and hundred soldiers, under solemn assurances that their lives and property should be safe. Santa Anna, with inhuman cruelty, ordered them to be slaughtered. But at San Jacinto, General Houston, on April 21st, with eight hundred patriots, met the treacherous usurper, and signally defeated him. The Texans fought with the energy of despair and the ferocity of lions, aroused by the terrible war-cry, "Remember the Alamo!" Santa Anna had over sixteen hundred Mexican soldier. He lost six hundred and thirty killed, two hundred and eighty wounded, and seven hundred and thirty prisoners of war. Santa Anna and General Cos were both captured. As President of Mexico, he made a treaty with General Houston, in which he recognized the full independence of Texas, and engaged to withdraw his remaining troops, four thousand in number. Thus he escaped the punishment due to his cruelties and despotic acts.

Though the Mexican Congress refused to recognize the authority of Santa Anna in making this treaty, and ordered a new invasion, it was never attempted. The border skirmishes, which followed for several years, only fostered hatred between the citizens of each Government, without affecting their political relations. It was evident that Mexico would never recover this territory. Texas remained an independent State under a republican constitution and government for ten years. She was not formally acknowledged by Mexico as independent, but in a few months obtained the recognition of Great Britain, France, and a few other European Governments, and lastly that of the United States. Population flowed in from the United States, and with the development of her great agricultural resources and other industries, there was an increasing desire among her citizens to unite the destinies of Texas to those of the Great Republic.

Causes of the War

Texas and Europe—Desire for annexation—Debates in Congress—The needs and demands of the slave power—Political excitements—The country aroused—The extension of slavery.

A distinguished statesman has called the war with Mexico "a war of pretexts." For thirty years the United States had been at peace with all foreign nations. Indian wars had occasionally occupied the attention of the Government, but the country had increased with wonderful rapidity in population, commerce, and the development of its resources and industries. The virgin soil of the Western States was supplying the nations of Europe with bread, and receiving multitudes who were fleeing from despotism to comfortable homes in this free land. England and France were jealous of the Republic, so dangerous in its unexampled prosperity to monarchical institutions, arching rapidly to the front of the world's nations. These powers seemed to be specially interested in the independence of Texas as a barrier to the territorial increase of the United States. But the bonds of sympathy between Texas and the United States had been strengthened by the aid rendered in the struggle for the freedom achieved at San Jacinto. Their interests were identical. A large portion of the territory of Texas lay la the valley of the Mississippi. Its acquisition had been the subject of negotiation for twenty years. It was considered essential to the safety and welfare of the Union.

After ten years of independence Texas applied for admission to the 'United States. The resolutions providing for her annexation awakened hot debate in Congress and violent discussion all over the country. The measure excited as much opposition as it did favor. Into the debates entered the great question of African slavery in the Union. To annex Texas was sure to involve the United States in a war with Mexico. To advocate war for the sake of extending slavery and increasing the slave power of the Union was enough to excite the most bitter opposition from the Whig and the Free Soil parties in the Union. The strife for power between the advocates of freedom and of slavery was not yet, as it afterward became, a contest between the North and the South. The great and dominant Democratic Party of the whole Union upheld the slave institution of the South. The rapid extension of free territory in the new States of the West required a corresponding increase in the number of slaveholding States, to preserve the balance of power in Congress. Every State entered the Union with a Constitution excluding or adopting slavery.

Texas contained two hundred thousand square miles of undisputed territory, out of which, Senator Benton, of Missouri, said in Congress, nine slave States could be made, each equal to the State of Kentucky. This would give, he argued, a pre-dominant slave representation in the Government.

Here, then, we find great underlying cause of this war. It was the theme of discussions in public and private circles, in caucuses, conventions, legislatures, and Congress, and in the newspapers all over the land, and it "mixed politics with religion" in a manner most exasperating to the advocates of slavery. To accomplish the annexation of Texas, with its regal domain, its rich cotton and corn producing soil, its boundless cattle ranges and semi-tropical climate and fruits, was to add a new dominion—equal to the Old Roman Empire in Europe under the Caesars—to the South and its institutions, enlarge the area of slavery and perpetuate this distinctive feature of Southern life, which was the basis of Southern aristocracy, and should be the corner-stone of the future Southern Empire.

The rising anti-slavery sentiment of the North fanned the flames of sectional jealousy in discussion of this measure. This grand scheme for increase of the slave power united the Whig and Free Soil elements in the country in opposition to it. Daniel Webster, then in the prime of his power, led the Whig party in resistance to it. With great boldness and plainness it was argued in Congress as a pro-slavery measure. Mr. Holmes, of South Carolina, said in the House of Representatives, "The Southerner would be either a knave or a fool who would consent to divide Texas, if annexed, into two States, one slaveholding and one not." Mr. Merrick, of Maryland, said of the annexation, "The balance of power once restored, abolitionists would then let us alone, and the blighting agitation would die its natural death." Mr. Calhoun, in the Senate at the close of the war, maintained the right of slaveholders to carry and hold their slaves in all the free territory acquired by conquest from Mexico. Mr. Webster, in opposition, said, "I shall do nothing to interfere with the domestic institutions of the South, and the Government of the United States has no right to interfere therewith. But that is a very different thing from not interfering to prevent the extension of slavery by adding a large slave country to this. Texas is likely to be a slaveholding country, and I frankly avow my unwillingness to do anything that shall extend the slavery of the African race on this continent, or add another slave-holding State to the Union."

The newspapers everywhere stated clearly the issues of the measure. "The issue," said the New York Evening Post, in 1844, "is, whether this Government shall devote its whole energies to the perpetuation of slavery; whether all sister republics on this continent, which desire to abolish slavery, are to be dragooned by us into the support of this institution." "Slavery and the defence of slavery," said the New Hampshire Patriot, a Democratic journal, form the controlling considerations urged in favor of the treaty by those who have been engaged in its negotiations."

The potent cause and ruling motive, therefore, of the war with Mexico was the purpose to extend human slavery into free territory. This purpose gained strength with every success of the war. When, in arranging the preliminaries of a convention for the settlement of war claims, the Mexican commissioner entreated that the United States should be committed not to permit slavery in any part of the ceded territory, Commissioner Trish replied that be old not accept the terry on condition that slavery should be excluded, "not if its value were increased tenfold, and in addition to that covered a foot thick all over with pure gold,"

The Immediate Causes of the War

Political necessity—International quarrels—Claims for damages—Conventions—Reparation delayed—Appeal for admission of Texas to the Union—Act of Congress—Boundary disputes—Appointment of Slidell—The Nueces and Rio Grande—Provocations to war—General Taylor's dispatches—Haste of the Administration—Declarations of war.

Wars carried on by Christian nations must have some justification to the world for all the losses and barbarities which they produce. The immediate causes of the war with Mexico were urged by the supporters of the administration of President Polk as sufficient vindication from blame for the evils involved in it to both countries.

The war was claimed to be a political necessity. It was asserted to be the only way to settle the claims for damages held by American citizens against the Mexican Government, and to vindicate the honor of the American flag. Frequent quarrels had arisen between citizens of Mexico and of the United States, which led to repeated acts of violence and robbery, and insults to the flag of the Union. For these acts the United States Government, with great forbearance, sought reparation. Notwithstanding the most earnest remonstrances these depredations did not cease. American merchants were imprisoned, their vessels seized, and their cargoes confiscated. The frequent changes of rulers in Mexico gave opportunity for new outrages and seemed to remit the responsibility of the Mexican Government for old ones. Though a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation was made as early as 1831, the injuries and insults complained of were increased rather than diminished. President Jackson, in his message to Congress in the year 1837, declared that they would justify, in the eyes of all nations, immediate war. At length Congress required that a final demand should be made for redress, and the fairest promises were extorted from the Mexican Government. Through a period of eight years, however, decisions upon damages, or their payment, were delayed, till three conventions and many conferences had resulted in the settlement of less that one fifth of the small number of claims that had received any consideration before the annexation of Texas.

President Polk and his Cabinet took advantage of the excitement and indignation prevalent in the United States on account of these outrages and claims. The grievances of American citizens, the hot debates of the Mexican Congress, and the arbitrary and insulting conduct of the Mexican officials toward the representatives of the United States, were used successfully to cover the aggressive designs of the Administration against the weak, miserable and distracted Republic on the western border.

There appears to have been no real justification for the enforcement of these claims by war. It was taking a cowardly advantage of a weak nation to drive its Government to acts of violence by actual invasion of its territory. The United States had never been able to settle similar claims with any other power in the time to which it limited Mexico. Great Britain waited twenty years for the payment of claims on the United States secured by treaty of 1783. The United States had waited eleven years for settlement of claims against Great Britain, and over twenty years for reparation for depredations committed by France.

Before the annexation of Texas full provision had been made by a convention, concluded at Mexico, November 10th, 1843, for ascertaining and paying all claims on which no final decision had been made; and this convention was ratified by the Senate of the United States in January, 1844. The proceedings for the annexation of Texas changed the relations of the two countries, arrested negotiations for a settlement, and were the chief cause of the failure of Mexico to meet her engagements in those conventions.

The number and magnitude of these offences were, moreover, much exaggerated. Fifteen outrages by Mexicans on American citizens and property were placed on the lists of the State Department at Washington as occurring between the years 1831 and 1836. Most of these were the detention of vessels and the imprisonment of crews. The cruelties of Texan border warfare and such tragedies as those of Goliad and the Alamo gave to Mexican character a most hateful reputation in the United States for perfidy and treachery. But there was little difference in this respect between the rough border Texans of those days and their Mexican neighbors. In the wild life of herders, rancheros, and gamblers, a strong type of violence and lawlessness prevailed.

The annexation of Texas gave its citizens just claims upon the United States for protection of life and property. The resolutions providing for annexation passed the Senate March 1st, 1845. The Texan Congress, with great unanimity, accepted the offer June 18th, 1845, and a convention, previously summoned at Austin, Texas, for July 4th, ratified their action.

The annexation was regarded by Mexico as an act of war in itself. The boundary disputes between Mexico and Texas were now transferred to the United States as one of the parties. Texas claimed the territory on her south-eastern boundary, as far as the Rio Grande. Mexico allowed the claim only as far as the river Nueces. Mexico began to form an army on the banks of the Rio Grande at Matamoras, and to collect forces on her northern frontier. Though there had been threats of the invasion of Texas, and Mexico had withdrawn her minister, Alamonte, from Washington, there were no overt acts of violence yet committed against Texas or the United States.

The Government of the United States now pursued a double policy: carrying on war and peace measures at one and the same time, to meet the divided sentiment of the country. On the 15th of September it made proposals to the Mexican Government to adjust all the questions in dispute. Mexico acceded, with the request that the American naval force be withdrawn during the negotiations. Mr. John Slidell was appointed minister plenipotentiary to represent the United States, with ample powers to settle all differences and restore harmony between the two nations. Having received his appointment on the loth of November, Mr. Slidell proceeded immediately to Mexico. He arrived at Vera Cruz on the 30th, but on presenting his credentials at the City of Mexico on the 6th and 21st of December, he was refused a recognition in his official capacity, on the ground that his credentials were those of a resident minister. He remained in Mexico till March 1st, 1846.

But these efforts at a peaceful settlement of difficulties were only palliations of the aggressive acts which had preceded them. Provocations of war had been offered which inflamed the Mexican people and Congress, and prevented any patient consideration of proposals such as those with which Mr. Slidell was intrusted.

Under date of June 15th, General Zachary Taylor was ordered to embark at New Orleans with his troops for a point on or near the Rio Grande del Norte in Texas, to protect what in event of annexation would be the western border of the United States. The order was immediately obeyed, and on the 2nd and 4th of July a portion of the force was embarked on steamers. These orders were given before the annexation of Texas was ratified. Under order of July 8th, 1845, General Taylor was informed that Mexico had some military establishments on the east side of the Rio Grande, "which," he was instructed, "are and for some time have been in the actual occupation of her troops. The Mexican forces at the posts in their possession and which have been so will not be disturbed as long as the relations of peace between the United States and Mexico continue."

It should be noticed that Texas did not exercise jurisdiction over this territory between the Rio Grande and the Nueces. Up to the time of the annexation there was only a claim to it. The United States had, therefore, no ascertained title to it. That of Mexico had not even been examined. It was the object of Mr. Polk's administration to extinguish the title by force of arms before the annexation was ratified.

General Taylor's later instructions, of date August 23rd, were as follows: "Should Mexico assemble a large body of troops on the Rio Grande, and cross it with a considerable force, such a movement must be regarded as an invasion of the United States and the commencement of hostilities." According to the same order, after such hostile act he was not to confine his action within the territory of Texas.

The Administration now called for the support of the south-western States in these war measures. General Taylor, in his instructions of August 23rd, was authorized by Secretary Marcy to accept volunteers from the States of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky, and by circular letters to the Governors of these States they were informed that General Taylor, appointed to the command of the Army of Occupation then at Corpus Christi to repel the invasion of Texas by Mexico, was thus authorized to draw aid from them. At the same time one thousand regular United States troops were sent from New York to General Taylor, and naval vessels were ordered to co-operate with him.

Still more vigorous orders by the war-loving Government at Washington were issued October 16th. By these General Taylor was instructed to drive all Mexican troops beyond the Rio Grande, and to select and hold Point Isabel on the banks of the river. Still later, January 13th, 1846, he was directed peremptorily to march to the Rio Grande opposite Matamoras, maintain the use of the river for navigation, and if attacked or threatened by the Mexican forces to cross the river, disperse them, and capture Matamoras and other places in the country west of the Rio Grande.

The responsibility of these orders rested wholly on the Administration. There was no pressing danger to require them. Secretary Marcy's instructions of October 16th declare that the United States had no reason to apprehend the immediate invasion of Texas. General Taylor's last communication to the Government, received before the issue of the orders of January 13th, reported "the pacific disposition of the border people on both sides of the river;" and so late as February 16th he again declares the exaggerated statements of preparations for invasion made by Mexicans as without foundation.

The object of the Administration in these orders appears in a letter from Mr. Buchanan, Secretary of State, to Mr. Slidell, under date of January 10th, 1846. "In the mean time the President, in anticipation of the final refusal of the Mexican Government to receive you, has ordered General Taylor to advance and take position on the left bank of the Rio Grande, and has directed that a strong fleet shall be assembled immediately in the Gulf of Mexico. He will thus be "prepared to act with vigor and promptitude the moment that Congress shall give him the authority. "

But Mr. Slidell expressed to the Government in reply, February 19th, that he was still confident of being received by the Mexican Government, though these movements might have a salutary effect on negotiations.

These were not such measures as the circumstances required for self-defence. They were plainly designed to be provocative of war.

Mr. Slidell failed in his mission. The warlike Mexican, General Paredes, had become President, instead of the more peaceably disposed General Herrera. General Taylor finally left Corpus Christi March 21st, and marched to the Rio Grande, heedless of the warning of a Mexican officer that the crossing of a small stream, the river Colorado, would be considered an act of war. The Government of Mexico now declared that war was the only settlement of the existing disputes, and Mr. Slidell, who up to the first of March expected recognition, immediately demanded his passports.

The Mexican Government sent orders April 4th, to General Arista, in command of the Mexican forces on the Rio Grande, to attack the troops under General Taylor by every means at his disposal which war permits. President Paredes wrote the same general at about the same time, "It is indispensable that hostilities be commenced, yourself taking the initiative against the enemy."

The Government of the United States was the first to begin the war, and Mexico was the first to declare it.

There seems to have been no sincerity on the part of the United States Government in efforts to avert collision. They provoked the outbreak of the war by compelling Mexico either to relinquish her claims and forfeit her self-respect, or take up arms in a hopeless contest with a nation of commanding resources and power.

The Army of Occupation

March from the Nueces—Point Isabel—Matamoras—The Mexican army—Bloodshed—Capture of American cavalry—Walker's adventure—Opening communication—Bombardment of Fort Brown—Wounding of Captain Brown—General Taylor's march to relieve the fort.

The Army of Occupation was now become an invading force, whose encroachments upon Mexican territory in its forward movements toward the Rio Grande were likely to provoke hostility and bloodshed at any moment. General Taylor, under orders from Washington, left Corpus Christi on the 11th of March, and arrived at Matamoros on the 28th of the same month. The distance thus travelled by the troops between the Nueces and Rio Grande was one hundred and nineteen miles over a low and marshy country. When near Matamoros, General Taylor with the cavalry went forward to Point Isabel to meet the transports which were expected to arrive with troops and stores at that port. Finding these already in the harbor, he immediately established Point Isabel as a depot of supplies. He was here met by a deputation of fifty Mexican, who protested in vain against his occupation of the country. His arrival on the east bank of the Rio Grande Caused much commotion among the Mexican authorities and troops stationed opposite in the town. General Taylor at once unfurled the American flag, which the Mexicans regarded as a national insult, and dispatched a messenger to request that it be immediately hauled down. This was of course refused, with the statement that the flag was flying there by the orders of the United States Government, which still further exasperated the Mexican commander.

Matamoras had been fortified by a battery and breastwork at each end of the town, with a hexagonal fort mounting six guns in the centre of the line of fortifications. General Taylor at once erected Fort Brown, opposite the lower battery, and awaited the hostile action of the enemy. In about two weeks, General Ampudia, the Mexican commander-in-chief, having arrived with a strong reinforcement, summoned the American general to break up his camp within twenty-four hours, and retire to the other bank of the Nueces River while the Governments of the United States and of Mexico were deciding the question of the Texan boundary. The alternative was war, but this General Ampudia declared should be conducted, on the part of Mexico, conformably to the principles established by the most civilized nations. At the same time with this demand, the American consul and all American citizens were ordered immediately to leave Matamoras.

General Taylor, in reply, affirmed his own peaceful intentions; he declared that his Government had sought a settlement of the boundary question by negotiation and a special envoy, and that he had, in carrying out their instructions to occupy the left bank of the Rio Grande, carefully abstained from all acts of hostility. In the interests of justice and humanity and individual suffering, he regretted the alternative of war, the responsibilities of which would rest upon those who should rashly commence hostilities.

The presence of two opposing forces armed for war within sight and sound of each other, must inevitably lead to bloodshed and to acts exciting human passions. Two American officers, Colonel Cross and Lieutenant Porter, straying beyond the lines, were waylaid and killed. The Rio Grande was blockaded by the orders of the United States Government. General Arista, who had superseded General Ampudia in command of the Mexican army, introduced papers into the American camp offering the strongest inducements to the United States troops, especially those of foreign birth, to desert. Three hundred and twenty acres of land were promised to each private, and proportionately larger amounts to officers, if they would leave their ranks, even in the time of battle, and throw themselves into the arms of the Mexicans, who would gladly welcome them to their side. These appeals were not without effect.

Open hostilities soon began. General Arista sent twenty-five hundred men across the Rio Grande above and below the American camp to cut off communications with Point Isabel. General Taylor ordered two squadrons of dragoons to reconnoitre their positions. One of these under Captain Thornton, with about twenty-five men, proceeded twenty miles up the river, until he reached a farm-house and plantation surrounded by a high chaparral fence. Here he was surrounded by several hundred Mexican cavalry and infantry under General Torrejon. Charging upon them, Captain Thornton tried to effect a retreat by the narrow entrance into the enclosure, but was assailed by a sharp firing of musketry from the chaparral fence, and driven back. Dashing forward against this fence with his gallant charter he cleared the enclosure, but his men were un able to follow, and Captain Hardee taking the command was soon obliged to surrender, with the rights reserved to prisoners of war. Captain Thornton was also captured within five miles of the American lines, and was taken with the others to Matamoras. The Mexicans, greatly elated by the result of this first encounter, imagined that their superiority in arms was established, and General Arista's glowing dispatches to the Mexican Government were used everywhere in the country to awaken the zeal of the deluded people in support of the perilous venture of war with the Great Republic.

A day or two after this reconnaissance, dispatches reached General Taylor from Point Isabel announcing the danger of that post. A company of Texas rangers, part of the force which had opportunely arrived from Texas and Louisiana, had by forced marches reached Point Isabel just at the time when the movement of the Mexicans had cut off Taylor's communications with that point Captain S. H. Walker, then commander, attempted the bold adventure of cutting his way through the Mexican force with only seventy-five men. Attacked by an overwhelming force of the enemy, most of Walker's men returned to Point Isabel. Walker, however, followed by only six men, with indomitable perseverance and many narrow escapes pushed through to Fort Brown, and reported the danger threatening General Taylor's depot of supplies.

His little army was in a desperate situation, with a hostile force every day increasing in front and rear, his own troops divided and his supplies cut off. He determined, therefore, to meet the enemy, and fight him at any cost, Fort Brown could be easily defended. Placing it in command of Major Jacob gown, with five hundred men, consisting of a regiment of infantry and two companies of artillery under Captain Loud and Lieutenant Bragg respectively, General Taylor marched with the rest of his force toward the threatened post. He accomplished the march without meeting the enemy.

General Arista at first mistook General Taylor's movement as a retreat from his position, and so reported it to the Mexican Government, with great exultation proclaiming the retreat as an act of cowardice on the part of the Americans. He attempted at once to make what he supposed would be an easy capture of the garrison of Fort Brown, and opened fire on the 3rd of May upon the fort from a battery of seven guns. Major Brown returned this fire with great vigor. His guns were eighteen-pounders, and their effect was soon visible on the Mexican battery of eight-pounders, which slackened but continued its firing for five hours.

General Taylor, hearing the guns from Fort Isabel, twenty-two miles distant, dispatched Captains May and Walker, with their dragoons, to ascertain the condition of the fort. They reported it as able to maintain the assault of any Mexican forces that might be brought against it. During the bombardment the Americans, for a while, directed their firing upon Matamoras with some effect upon the low buildings, but the garrison mainly resorted to their bomb-proofs during the latter part of the day, reserving their ammunition. The first day's bombardment was, therefore, heralded by the Mexicans as a great victory to their arms, supposing that the effectiveness of their own guns had caused a great loss of life among the Americans, who were, in fact, quite unharmed. During the night of May 4th the Mexicans crossed the river in large force and erected a battery in the rear of Fort Brown. At dawn the fort was hotly bombarded from this new fortification, and returned the firing with great spirit. The next day the enemy was less vigorous in his attack, but on the 6th of May such a storm of balls and shells was hurled upon the, garrison, that only the large space occupied by Fort Brown saved them from great loss. The men remained unflinchingly at their posts, maintaining for several hours a defensive fire from the fort. Major Brown had been instructed not to hazard his position by any sally upon the enemy's works, but to send for aid to Point Isabel when needed. While on one of his frequent rounds to inspect the conduct of his men at the guns this gallant officer was struck by a piece of an exploding shell, losing a leg and being otherwise so injured that amputation did not save his life. He died in three days, sincerely lamented by his men, who held his soldierly character in high esteem. While lingering in agony in the close air of the bomb-proof, he cheered his devoted troops in their arduous duty, and urged them not to surrender.

The condition of the garrison was now very serious under the prolonged bombardment of the Mexicans, and they fired at intervals signal guns for assistance. As soon as these were heard, the enemy redoubled their firing, hoping to capture the fort before relief could arrive. Believing that they had made great slaughter in the garrison, General Arista humanely summoned Captain Hawkins, now in command, to surrender. The summons was refused, and a tempest of deadly missiles from the enemy's batteries followed. Being nearly out of powder, the Americans were obliged to maintain the mortifying attitude of silence. The 7th of May dawned, with no cessation of bombardment. The Mexicans approaching the fort gained shelter of some houses near it, but did not venture any assault, hoping first to exhaust the powder of the Americans by drawing their fire.

At noon of the 8th, the men were showing great weariness from the long-continued bombardment from the enemy's batteries in four different directions, and watching for assault by the confident foe. They had become indifferent to the peril which surrounded them, and discouraged by the hopeless condition of their commander. Suddenly they were aroused by the sound of cannon in the direction of Point Isabel. The stirring peal of battle rolled in heavy volleys over the plain. The meson flew to their guns with new zeal, and a shout that carried disappointment to the hearts of the enemy. General Taylor was marching to their succor. He had met the foe, and the battle of Palo Alto was begun: Wherever the fighting was, they believed their General would win a victory.

The Battle of Palo Alto

Palo Alto—Sight of the enemy—Preparations for battle—Artillery practice—Charge of the Mexicans—Their repulse and heroism—Cavalry movements—Attempt to capture the wagons—The American line of battle advanced—Night ends the battle—The Mexicans retreat.

On the evening of the 7th of May, general Taylor left Point Isabel with twenty-one hundred men and a train of two hundred and fifty wagons, with the full intention of giving battle to the Mexicans and then relieving the beleaguered fort, whose signals from the heavy eighteen-pound guns had been heard that day. He marched eight miles that evening, and encamped. While on the march next day at noon, the Mexican army was reported in front. Pressing on with the wagon train, the columns kept the road, on the right and left of which were ponds of fresh water, and beyond these a thick underbrush. Farther on was a plain on which they advanced and deployed as they came in sight of the Mexican army drawn up in an imposing line of battle. It extended a mile upon the open ground, a division of cavalry occupying the right wing, with artillery in the centre and infantry on the left. Their bright uniforms of green and red, their glittering lances and fluttering banners, were a beautiful and stirring sight for the brave troops who, with but one third the number of their foes, were challenged to an open conflict on that plain. There were few, however, who were not eager for the battle.

The wagons were immediately formed into a square, and the columns deployed in front. General Taylor now ordered Lieutenant Blake alone to reconnoitre the enemy's force, and report the number and disposition of Mexican troops in line. The order was gallantly obeyed. Riding at full speed to within one hundred and fifty yards, and dismounting, he coolly surveyed the enemy with his glass. Perceiving a few Mexican horsemen riding out to meet him, he galloped the whole length of the line of battle, out-riding his pursuers, and returned to report to General Taylor an accurate description of the arrangement of the enemy's forces.

General Taylor now completed his plan of battle, and stationed his troops according to this, giving to the artillery, his most reliable and strongest arm, the most prominent part in the engagement. In ominous silence the two armies now approached each other. The tall prairie grass muffled the sounds of the artillery wheels and the tramp of thousands of men, and only the rattle of harness and gun trappings and the jingling of arms disturbed the air under the cloudless Mexican sky. It was an imposing and brilliant scene. Eight or nine thousand men were advancing for deadly conflict on an open plain, as in battles of old, with scarcely a sod up-turned for intrenchment, without fence or wall for shelter. The Mexicans held higher ground for their batteries than their opponents, who also had but one third their number of combatants. On the Mexican left there was a marsh of difficult passage, and girding the plain at a considerable distance behind them were the low trees and chaparral from which the battle took its name.

When within seven hundred yards, the Mexican batteries on their right opened fire from the rising ground, and their guns along the whole line were soon engaged. Their balls flew over the American troops, who were still advancing and opened to right and left upon the plain to give room for Lieutenant Churchill's eighteen-pounder battery to send their heavy balls in defiant answer crashing through the Mexican ranks. The Third Brigade of infantry, including also Ringgold's battery and Churchill's two eighteen-pounders, and a small cavalry force under Captains Ker and May, all commanded by Colonel Twiggs, had now taken place on the right of General Taylor's line. His left was composed of the Third Brigade under Lieutenant-Colonel Belknap. This was made up of an infantry regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Child's battalion of artillery, and Captain Duncan's artillery.

Ringgold's and Duncan's batteries quickly joined their sharp peals with the thunder of at least thirty guns engaged on both sides. The skill of the American gunners was visible in the tremendous gaps that their shots made in the Mexican ranks. The infantry and dragoons, held back from the battle, watched with eager eyes and triumphant shouts their deadly effect. General Arista, perceiving how much his infantry and horsemen were suffering from the precise aim of the American gunners, ordered a regiment of lancers to advance upon the wagon train on the right of the American line. Now began the maneuvers of battle. Two regiments of infantry and part of Ringgold's battery were dispatched far to the right to flank the enemy's left and check his advance upon the train. The Mexicans with great bravery advanced, unchecked by the galling fire of grape-shot, till they came upon the Fifth Regiment of infantry formed into a square that hurled such a deadly volley upon them as to break their ranks. With splendid discipline the cavalry reformed under this fire, and still pushed on with heroic determination toward the wagons. Colonel Twiggs now ordered the Third Regiment of infantry far to the right to cut off their victorious progress. Unable to withstand this new movement they retreated by squadrons in good order, till scattered by the fire of another batters' which opened upon them.

Our men were now engaged all along the line. For two hours the artillery fire kept up a savage slaughter of the Mexicans. It was mainly directed against their cavalry, blowing horses and riders into the air, and hiding in the dust-clouds rising from the prairie the ranks of the veterans that composed this gallant army. Still the Mexicans held a heroic front to their foes, closing up their lines and pressing forward only to be hurled back again upon their position. The prairie-grass,, dried by the heat and flames of the guns, took fire, and the conflagration filled the air with blinding smoke, which rolled in sulphurous clouds over the battle-field. In the midst of this smoke the American guns were advanced till they held the position of the Mexicans at the opening of the battle.

After an hour's interval the fighting was renewed. The enemy was slowly taking a more protected position with the chaparral behind them, when Captain May, with his dragoons, made an ineffectual attack on their left, but was vigorously repulsed. Ringgold's battery was, however, doing terrible execution, and the Mexicans massed their fire upon it. In the midst of a tempest of balls, Captain Page fell, mortally wounded. Ringgold, who had done such gallant deeds, was cut down by a cannon-ball that took off both legs. With the loss of these two officers the artillery fire wavered; when Child's battery was ordered up with a battalion of troops to support the guns. General Arista then brought his Mexican cavalry in a dashing charge upon this part of the field to capture the batteries. The battalion awaited their approach, formed in a hollow square, but were soon thrown into confusion by the balls and musketry shot hurled upon them. They were only saved from retreating by the effective shot from Child's battery, which checked the Mexican cavalry and silenced their guns on their left.

Baffled in this movement to cripple the strongest arm of his opponent, General Arista now made another attempt to gain possession of the wagons. This was resisted by Duncan's battery, the Eighth Infantry and Captain Ker's command of cavalry. The Mexican cavalry intrepidly advanced, though fearful havoc was visible in their ranks. They could not, however, reach their merciless foes. Thrown into confusion, they were at last driven back to the shelter of the woods, as the darkness gathered upon the bloody field of Palo Alto, which had been contested for five hours with unquestioned bravery and skill on both sides. The men dropped upon the ground to sleep, with the expectation of another battle in the morning.

All the horrors of war had now been summoned to decide questions which might have had a peaceful solution. The bravery of the regular troops of both Republics had been tested and proved. The superiority of American soldiers, with numbers so small in comparison with their opponents, was justly claimed on this battle-field. Would their endurance be equal to another fierce struggle? The issues of this day's battle had rested upon the superior weight of the guns and skill of the artillerists. The decisions of the next contest would be, perhaps, in the hands and hearts of the infantry. With such thoughts the victorious Americans closed their eyes to rest in the midst of the agonizing and gory scenes and sounds of a battle-field where scores of brave men lay dead and dying in the night.

The losses of the two armies at Palo Alto were very unequal. The American general reported four killed and thirty-seven wounded. Two hundred Mexicans were killed, and twice that number wounded; though no accurate report of this day's casualties was probably ever made by General Arista. His official report places his entire loss at two hundred and fifty-two; but he was joined on the battle-field by General Ampudla with forces drawn from Matamoras, which suffered heavily, though the tragic events of the next day concealed the extent of the damage done to the Mexican army at Palo Alto.

The Battle of Resaca de la Palma

Seeking intrenchments—Resaca de la Palma—Reconnaissance of General Taylor—The opening of the battle—Charge of Captain May—Friendship in the midst of battle—Capture of General La Vega—Breaking the Mexican line—The enemy routed—The Mexican headquarters—Flight of the defeated army—Panic at the river—Scenes in Matamoras—Captures—Joy in Fort Brown—Exchange of prisoners.

The Mexican general had met his opponent on the open field of battle, where every movement was as unobstructed as the maneuvers on a chess-board. Though possessing the advantage of numbers, he had been defeated by General Taylor mainly through the superior force and effectiveness of the American artillery. General Arista determined to meet his toe the next day in a strongly intrenched position.

Resaca de la Palma, on the road to Fort Brown, had been already fortified to resist the movement to relieve the beleaguered garrison. To this position the Mexican army retreated early in the morning of the 9th. The road here passed at right angles a ravine four or five rods wide, with water at the lower end so deep as to be almost impassable. The farther bank was covered with thick underbrush. The intrenchments were so constructed as to post the Mexicans on both sides of this chaparral. They were seven thousand strong, and their batteries commanded the narrow strip of road which afforded the only approach to Fort Brown. Beyond the intrenchments were the headquarters of General Arista, filled with a great amount of baggage, ammunition, and other valuable supplies for the army, and surrounded by the tents of the Mexican officers and soldiers, where great preparations were in progress for a feast in honor of the victory that was awaiting the approach of the Americans.

At the woods which sheltered the ravine, General Taylor halted his command, and ordered a reconnaissance, which exposed a masked battery, by the fire of which one man was killed and several wounded. Lieutenant Ridgeley, who had so much distinguished himself the day before at Palo Alto, was immediately ordered to the front, supported by the Third, Fourth and Fifth infantry regiments, with orders to bring on an engagement. Ridgeley charged at full speed on the enemy's batteries, followed by a portion of the infantry, the rest, under Captain McCall, advancing on the ravine to the left. The Eighth also entered the fight on the double quick. Ridgeley at once drew the fire of the Mexican battery and infantry, but replied so briskly with grape and canister that the Mexicans could not correct their range, and their balls passed over the heads of the rapidly advancing troops. Holding his ground, he fought with tremendous energy the Mexican veterans, who stubbornly contested every foot hard pressed by the gallant American soldiers, who formed in the ravine, and again and again charged through the chaparral, and mounting the opposite bank, drove the Mexicans from their intrenchments.

Lower down the ravine a company of the Fourth Infantry waded waist deep through the water under a sharp fire, and captured a gun which had been very effectively served by the Mexican gunners upon the American troops, and finally dislodged the Mexicans and carried their first line of intrenchments, though they made repeated efforts to recover their lost piece. The enemy still held the strongest ground, and the most gallant fighting remained to be done. To take their batteries was the most difficult. General Taylor personally ordered Captain May to the task.

"I will do it, sir," was the reply.

Riding up to his dragoons waiting impatiently to enter the battle, he gave the ringing order to charge.

"Men, follow me," he shouted, and dashed forward at headlong speed, with clattering hoofs and ringing sabres. In the full career of this brilliant charge, he was hailed by comrade Ridgeley, "Stop, Charley, and let first draw their fire," His guns flashed out their defiance to the enemy's battery, which almost instantly replied. Before the Mexican guns could be reloaded, Captain May and his followers were close at hand. Turning his horse upon the breastwork in front of the guns, May leaped over them with a few others, knocked the gunner from their pieces, and riding up to the commanding officer, who was in the act of reloading a gun with his own hand, summoned him to surrender. General La Vega yielded his sword, and was at once taken back to the American limes. But the brave Mexicans a second and third time rallied their forces, and recaptured the guns, turning them upon their foes, till the Fifth Infantry came to the support of the horsemen, and finally drove the heroic defenders of the battery from their strong position. The Americans now charged upon the Mexicans farther up the ravine, and overcame, by their unfaltering discipline, an equally dauntless foe. Finding it impossible longer to withstand their assailants, the defeated troops fled past General Arista's headquarters, pursued by the Fourth Infantry, who were surprised to find themselves In possession of the baggage and Military wealth of the Mexican army. The temptation to examine their booty was too great to continue the pursuit of the flying enemy—for a portion of these troops. Breaking Open General Arista's military chest, they found valuable maps minutely describing the topography of the country, which were afterward of great service In scouting expeditions. The camp-kettles were boiling over the fires, and a savory supper was soon prepared in them for the tired soldiers. Half-skinned bullocks were hanging on the trees, and other indications of a hasty departure were evident in the camp.

The battle was won, but of the many instances of personal bravery on both sides, some yet occurred worthy of mention.. While a few Americans were holding possession of these headquarters a Mexican officer came riding toward them. He was saluted with a volley of musketry, but still coolly rode nearer, receiving a second volley unharmed. Approaching still nearer, he escaped injury from a third discharge of musket balls. Then, his intrepid reconnaissance ended, he dashed off, and in a few moments returned with a squadron of lancers and drove the Americans into the chaparral. An American lieutenant, Cochrane, however, remained alone to receive the charge. Defending himself with his sword till he was crushed down by the horsemen, he fell, with seven lance wounds in his breast.

The issues of battle on either side often depend on the self-forgetful spirit of brave men, which in the moment of peril scorns both danger and pain. When the batteries were ordered to cross the lagoon, Lieutenant Duncan, being ahead, came to where the Fifth Infantry were engaged, and asked Colonel McIntosh if he would support him. He turned full upon Duncan, his face covered with clotted blood from many wounds, and said, "Yes, I will give you the support you need." Greatly moved at the sight and at the unflinching spirit of the wounded colonel, Duncan asked if he could be of any service to him.

"Yes," he replied, "give me some water and show me my regiment."

The flag of the Tampico Veterans, who had fought heroically at Palo Alto, was the last to disappear from the field. The Mexican color-sergeant bore the standard on the field till his regiment was totally destroyed by our guns. Then, tearing the tattered banner from the staff and trying to conceal it about his person, he fled toward the Rio Grande. Overtaken and captured by our horsemen, his flag became afterward a trophy in the National Capitol at Washington; but its history perpetuates the fidelity of veteran soldiers of another race, who counted their country's honor dearer than life.

The battle of Resaca de la Palma was one of the most celebrated victories of this war. The aggregate of General Taylor's forces was two thousand two hundred and twenty-two officers and men, and the number actually engaged was but seventeen hundred. The Mexicans fought with great advantage of position, under cover of woods and thick under-brush, with the natural defence of a ravine, and strong intrenchments. The American loss was thirty-nine killed and eighty-three wounded. Fifteen officers were included in this loss, showing their constant presence at posts of danger.

The enemy had a force moderately estimated by General Taylor at six thousand men. Nearly two hundred of his dead were buried by the Americans on the field. In killed and wounded the Mexican loss in the engagements of the 8th and 9th was one thousand. This disparity of losses, and of numbers of the two armies, was a cause of wonder and of most favorable comment wherever the fame of these battles extended.

General Arista was regarded as an accomplished officer, and he had the best part of the Mexican army in his command, the veterans of many a battle-field in the brief history of their Republic. They fought with the bravery and persistency of highly disciplined troops, and their deeds of valor excited the admiration of their victors. The superior quality of the American troops was, however, apparent even to their foes. Not a battalion faltered to give them encouragement. The daring courage and coolness of the officers who led their men to the charge, worked the guns, or, sword in hand, cut down the foe, contributed largely to these splendid victories.

Enthusiasm for the military genius of General Taylor was kindled among his countrymen, who, since the war of 1812 with Great Britain, had lacked a military hero, and he received the most flattering testimonials from military critics of Europe. Whether it were genius or indomitable courage which won these battles, General Taylor overcame four times the number of his own men engaged; though the enemy, so superior in numbers, did not retire till one seventh of their force was placed hors du combat, and they were driven at the point of the bayonet, "throwing their muskets at our men in the spirit of desperation, swearing that they were devils incarnate." When the Mexicans saw the charge of May's dragoons, many of them left their ranks and fled. It was one of the most brilliant deeds of modem warfare.

Eight pieces of artillery, a large number of prisoners, including fourteen officers, and a great amount of baggage, fell into the victor's hands.

The after scenes of pillage, murder, and flight were added to the horror of the battle. Rancheros, who had waited to plunder the American trains, now robbed the camps of their countrymen and hastened away. Many, however, like fiends, hovered over the battle-field that night, barbarously murdering with their daggers the wounded of both armies and plundering them of every valuable. The Mexicans, in their retreat, fled from the woods toward the river, which was about four miles distant. Beyond the battle-field of Resaca de la Palma, two roads led to the upper and lower ferries. Along these rushed in confusion, about six o'clock in the evening, squads of cavalry and infantry struggling to reach a place of safety. The infantry threw away their cloaks, muskets, and cartridge-boxes to speed their flight. The horsemen urged on their wounded or jaded steeds, regardless of the fallen, till they fell themselves exhausted on the road. Hundreds of Mexicans hid themselves in the dense woods that lay between the battle-field and the river, hoping to escape from these under the cover of the night. Pursued by the Americans, in despair they crowded down upon the ferries, where only one flatboat remained. Here the cavalry charged upon those on foot, and the wretches were driven into the river, where, cursing their countrymen who had thus forced them to death, and clutching at one another in their agony or calling on God to help them, they sank to a watery grave. A shower of grape-shot from Fort Brown, hurled at the fugitives on the upper ferry, added to the consternation and panic.

As the American troops in pursuit emerged from the woods near the river and saw the flag flying from the fort, they raised exultant cheers for their comrades who had unfalteringly endured one hundred and forty hours of bombardment, and the valley rang with the hearty response of the garrison.

General Taylor's cavalry were too few to cut off the enemy's retreat, and having no boats with which to cross the river, his troops returned, after five hours' fighting, to partake of the captured viands in the Mexican camp and bivouac upon the battle-ground.

When the news reached Matamoros that the day was lost, consternation and chagrin seized upon the inhabitants. For two or three hours they had busied themselves in caring for the wounded who had been brought into the city in sacks, hung over the backs of mules, burros, or horses, the only ambulances provided for the sufferers. The arrival of fugitives turned their hopes of victory to rage. Ampudia was among the first who arrived in the town and announced General Arista's defeat. Hundreds of soldiers ere the day closed were wandering about the streets demoralized by defeat. Groups of officers discussed the causes of their disaster. Women furiously tore down and stamped upon the wreaths with which they had decked their houses for victory, rent their gay apparel in frenzy of grief, and joined their lamentations with the shrieks of wounded soldiers still brought bleeding in sacks across the river. Other citizens gathered their effects and fled, only to be plundered by lawless soldiers on the country roads. Social order and decency was for a time lost.

The Mexicans left their dead to be buried and their wounded to be cared for by their victors on the battle-field. General Taylor treated them with the humanity and respect due to the fallen. An exchange of prisoners was proposed by General Arista, which was agreed to by General Taylor, and effected on the 11th of May. Among the American officers exchanged were Captains Thornton and Hardee and Lieutenant Lane.

Results of Victory

Surrender of Matamoras—Pursuit of Arista's army—Reinforcements—Enthusiasm in the United States—Drill and discipline—Delays of transportation.

Having fought and defeated the strongest army the Mexicans were able at this stage of the war to bring against him, General Taylor immediately set out for Fort Isabel to open communications with Commodore Conner of the United States fleet. He there arranged with him for an attack upon Barita, a small town at the mouth of the Rio Grande, which was easily captured, and the approach to Matamoras thus secured for expected reinforcements. Returning to Fort Brown on the 14th of May, he prepared to attack Matamoras without further delay. On the t 7th, General Twiggs was ordered to cross the river with his command, when General Arista proposed an armistice till the pending difficulties between the two governments were settled. Perceiving that this was only an expedient to secure time to remove the large stores of food and munitions of war collected at Matamoras, the armistice was refused, and the surrender of the town demanded before three o'clock of the same day, with the permission granted to General Arista to withdraw only his troops, leaving public property of every description within the city. The allotted time expired, and the army was put in motion to assault the town. To Adjutant-General Bliss, bearing a flag of truce dispatched by General Taylor to the prefect of Matamoras, again demanding its surrender, the civil authorities sent their submission. A small force of American troops accordingly took possession of the town, and raised the American flag above Fort Paredes, on the west bank of the Rio Grande. Arista's troops, having partially destroyed the public stores, had fled.

The next day all the cavalry, about two hundred and fifty in number, started in pursuit of Arista's army to capture prisoners and baggage. Lieutenant Garland in command followed them for sixty miles, but was obliged to return on account of a scarcity of food and water. A few prisoners and a small quantity of ammunition was taken. The Mexican army was but twenty-four hours ahead of our cavalry, who stopped at the same ranches occupied the previous night by the Mexicans. The proprietor of one of these asked an American officer where he was going with the cavalry. He replied, "To pursue the retreating army of Arista." "Retreating army," he exclaimed in surprise, "why, General Ampudia told me last night that his troops had conquered the Americans, and that he was now on his way to Mexico to take the news." It seemed incredible to the astonished Mexican that a few American dragoons should be driving before them three thousand Mexican troops.

The battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma had, in fact, given possession of this part of Mexico to the American Army of Occupation. The Mexican Army of the North was utterly routed, and flying to the interior with the loss of most of their munitions of war and artillery, and their vaunting assurance of destroying the invader's army at a single blow quite dispelled.

The exciting events on the Rio Grande, in which so much American blood had been shed, and the dangerous position of General Taylor's army in the midst of a hostile country, had roused the States to the greatest enthusiasm. "The war has begun!" was the stirring cry taken up and carried by all the slow methods of communication of those days to every part of the land. It inflamed the long-cherished rancor against Mexico in thousands of hearts, and roused patriotism to a pitch that made men oblivious of the right and wrong of the war, when the honor of the Stars and Stripes was in peril. The President had now the opportunity to bring the necessities of the country effectively before Congress. He was authorized to accept the services of fifty thousand volunteers, for which an appropriation from the Treasury of the United States was made by Act of Congress. So great was the zeal manifested, especially in some of the Southern States, that requisitions on their Governors, made by General Gaines in command at New Orleans, for reinforcements to General Taylor, were answered by ten times the number called for. Six months' volunteers, when mustered into service, did not hesitate to change their term of service to twelve months, and were only eager to be transported to the famed land conquered by Cortez, to perform deeds which should reflect far greater honor upon the flag of the Union.

Reinforcements began to arrive at Matamoras, and volunteers were flocking to the standard of the victorious general. He at once began a systematic course of discipline and drill. The commands of Colonel Twiggs, General Worth, and Lieutenant-Colonel Belknap were encamped in the suburbs of Matamoras. General Taylor's head-quarters were near Fort Brown, and the camps of the volunteer regiments stretched far away along the hills on the eastern bank of the Rio Grande. Here the army, sadly deficient in supplies and means of transportation, was delayed three months, and General Taylor, while waiting for these, lost the precious opportunity of following up the effects of his victories by marching upon Monterey before that stronghold could be strengthened and defended by another Mexican army. Some small towns were captured by short raids toward Monterey. Among these were Camargo, Mier and Reynoso. Camargo, occupied by a party of Texan Rangers under Colonel McCulloch on the 14th of July, was soon made a point of rendezvous for all supplies and reinforcements, while preparations were being made for an attack on Monterey. Stores were transported thither by steamboats up the Rio Grande, and the soldiers from Point Isabel and Matamoras marched over the hot, dusty roads traversed by Arista's army in their retreat, during the months of June, July, and August. Meanwhile the interesting events of another campaign of this war were transpiring on the plains of New Mexico.

The Army of the West

The march to Santa Fe—The Santa Fe trail—Hardships and sufferings in the desert—Reports of the enemy—Raton Pass—Ruins of the Temple of Montezuma at Pecos—Traditions—Gallisteo canyon—Flight of the Mexicans—Entrance to the capital—Address by General Kearney—Submission of the Mexicans to the United States.

In accordance with the plan of the Administration at Washington, the fifty thousand troops authorized by Act of Congress in April, 1846, were assigned to three divisions, the Army of Occupation, under command of Major-General Taylor, the Army of the Centre, under Brigadier-General Wool, and the Army of the West, of which Colonel Stephen W. Kearney, of the United States Army, soon made brigadier-general, was in chief command. This division was ordered to march to Santa Fe, seize upon the territory of New Mexico, and then push on westward to occupy California. The most important results of the war were, therefore, committed to General Kearney, for the eye of the Government was upon this part of the Mexican possessions as the most desirable spoils of victory.

The troops of the Army of the West were required to rendezvous at Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri River, twenty-two miles above the mouth of the Kansas River. They were all Missouri companies, and with the exception of one battalion of infantry, mounted volunteers who had organized within twenty days after the Governor's requisition. The effective force numbered one thousand six hundred and fifty-eight men, and sixteen pieces of artillery. Colonel Alexander W. Doniphan, who had served in the Missouri war of 1838, was second in command, and the most popular, efficient, and prominent officer of this expedition.

The State of Missouri shared the war excitement with other parts of the Union. The Missouri River steamboats daily bore great crowds of friends and relatives to Fort Leavenworth to witness the departure of this little army on their adventurous march of two thousand miles to the Pacific, one half of which were to be through a hostile country. For a thousand miles the green prairies stretched like a sea between them and Mexican soil. Then billowy plains and alpine ranges must be overcome, hot, treeless deserts and wintry snows passed through, and the perils bravely endured of savage tribes and enraged peoples of unknown numbers resisting the invasion of their native land. It seemed like the long, last parting to friends, and each man of the expedition was exalted to the place of hero in the hearts of his countrymen.

A provision train of a hundred wagons and two mounted companies having been sent forward over the plains, the main body began their march on the 26th of June, 1846. Three days afterward, Colonel Kearney followed with the rear of his command. The column winding over these plains was a strange sight, inspiring the ardor and admiration of this venturesome frontier people. Over the Santa Fe trail for years had hung the horrors of scenes of bloodshed, famine, Indian cruelty and sufferings, from which a few would escape to tell the sad stories. It was tracked with the bones of men and beasts. For the first time, an army under the Stars and Stripes, with glittering guns and swords and all the trappings of war, and with the gayety of reckless men, was moving across these prairies, to invade the homes of an ancient people, foreign in speech, habits, and religion.

A merchant train in advance, consisting of four hundred white-capped wagons, was already dotting the undulating plains. Ere these could be over-taken, sixty-five miles of roadway west of Independence, had to be made partly through a thick timber growth, over ravines, high-banked creeks, tall grass or soft prairie mud, into which the heavy wagon wheels sank to the axle. Sometimes a hundred men were needed to draw a heavy wagon up the precipitous ridges of the table-lands. The heat was often very oppressive. The untrained cavalry horses, unused to military trappings or discipline, frequently broke loose and scampered over the wide prairies. From the 2nd of July, when the whole column was fairly entered upon the great Santa Fe trail, they traversed six hundred miles over a monotonous road without sight of habitations in the whole dreary expanse, till Fort Bent, on the Arkansas, was reached. Then the rolling, flower-clad prairie was for a few days a luxurious roadway for the march of an army. Springs, brooks, clumps of timber and occasional rivers, where they could bathe and refresh themselves, made convenient halting-places for the troops, and provision trains still kept them supplied with food. Soon, however, it became more difficult to overtake the wagon trains scattered along the route, and the soldiers were sometimes overcome by hunger and fatigue under the hot July sun. As they still moved westward fuel failed, and only dried buffalo chips, worthless in wet weather, could be found to warm their scanty food. By the loth of July drenching rains began, succeeded by excessively hot weather. When the animals and men, who had frequently been deceived by the mirages of the desert, at last reached the Arkansas River again, they rushed into it to slake their burning thirst in its muddy waters.

Their march in a few days brought them to herds of buffalo roaming the plains, who afforded the hungry men sumptuous fare. Three or four hundred of these wild beasts would break through the long extended column winding over the plain, and in their confusion many fell beneath the ready rifles of the soldiers and teamsters. Again the flowery prairie with its pink and blue lilies, and poppies and sunflowers, which had cheered the solitudes with their colors, changed to an arid plain. The route now led through a heated desert incrusted with alkaline earth like fine ashes, or hard with rain-washed pebbles, polished like glass by the winds and blistering hot to the feet, occasionally intersected by striped ridges of blue, red, and yellow sandstone. On this great desert for many months of the year neither dew nor rain fell, and the ground was whitened by the bones of thousands of men and beasts that had perished by starvation.

The main column reached Fort Bent the 30th of July. Here the troops rested till the 2nd of August, and the sick, who numbered about sixty, were left.

News previously received of the hostile preparations of the Mexicans under Governor Armijo was confirmed by the arrival of messengers from Santa Fe. The Comanche Indians were now seen hovering over the plains, and they even visited the camps, curiously examining the artillery. A detachment was sent northward to the Taos valley to offer peace to the inhabitants, and report their reception to Colonel Kearney, and on the 2nd of August the march was resumed through a still more inhospitable desert southwardly toward the Raton Mountains. There was neither grass nor shrubs for the famishing animals; the water was scarce, muddy, and bitter; the wheels sank to their felloes in the pulverized earth, and the wind drove the sand into the faces of men and beasts, so that with eyes, nostril, and mouth filled, they were wellnigh suffocated. Thus the panting column advanced for three days, till on the 5th of August they encamped on the banks of the Purgatoire, a cool mountain stream, having passed out of the desert and come in sight of the lofty Cimmaron and Spanish peaks rising thirteen thousand feet above the Gulf of Mexico in snowy grandeur before them. Cheered by these boundaries of the desolate plains, the men entered with new energy and spirit upon the rough roads and abrupt hills which were to be passed as they ascended the Raton Pass and came out upon a grand amphitheatre girt with steep hills of granite and basalt, where they enjoyed the first Sabbath's rest allowed them since they left Missouri.

The troops were now placed upon an allowance of rations not one third the usual quantity They had good reason to regret the comforts they had left behind, but cheerfully submitted to the privations of irregular and scanty supplies, to which unhappily they were destined ever afterward in this campaign. But the little army made rapid progress over the plains and through the mountain gorges. They accomplished from seventeen to twenty-five miles per day. Colonel Kearney, with about five hundred men, was in advance of Colonel Doniphan. Though the troops had met no enemy, there were among them quite frequent deaths by exhaustion and sickness. Not only provisions but ammunition was so diminished that the soldiers were restrained from wasting the latter on game, when an engagement with the Mexicans was so soon expected.

On the 14th of August the expedition arrived in the vicinity of the Mexican settlements, where they found a country covered with groves of cedars and pines, and the Mexican ranchos or farms in the vale leys surrounded with corn-fields and gardens.

The next day two items of news reached the army which greatly elated the troops. Colonel Kearney received his appointment from the President as Brigadier-General, and from the west it was announced that two thousand Mexicans were encamped in the canyon six miles from Las Vegas to oppose their march. The spirit of volunteer soldiers, depressed by the fatigues and hardships of the longest march ever made by an army on this continent, was now aroused. The line of battle was formed and ammunition distributed. The trumpet sounded the advance. Banners were flying and high hopes were entertained of a fight with the long-sought enemy. As the column in battle array passed Las Vegas, the Alcalde and prominent citizens of Las Vegas took the oath of allegiance to the laws and government of the United States from Colonel Kearney. But when, hurrying on to the canyon, the column prepared for the clash of arms, the disappointed troops discovered that the Mexicans had fled.

Pursuing their march, they halted at the villages of San Miguel and Pecos to administer the oath of allegiance. Here was an abundance of fresh spring water, of grass and provisions, of vegetables, bread, milk, eggs, fruits, and chickens, which were freely furnished by the inhabitants, glad to accept the money of the soldiers for their produce. Strict orders had been given to the various divisions of the United States army to purchase their food and forage of the peaceable inhabitants of Mexico. These orders were generally obeyed in the early part of the war, and were strictly enforced in the expedition to New Mexico, where there was comparatively little opposition raised to the invasion and subjugation of the territory.

At Pecos the expedition came upon the interesting ruins of the village which was the traditional birthplace of the great Montezuma, and which had been the capital of the tribe descended from him. Here was the temple built of adobe bricks more than three hundred years old, in which for ages was kept alive the sacred fire that Montezuma is said to have kindled and commanded to be kept burning till he should return to deliver his people from oppression. The tradition still lingered that by accident the fire was at last extinguished and the village and temple abandoned. The troops found the temple within the stone walls eight feet high and four feet thick which entirely surrounded the village of Pecos. Its measurements were one hundred and ninety-one feet long, thirty-five feet broad and fifty feet high, with walls six feet thick. The interior was divided into compartments, having cells, stone cisterns, and tanks, while the outside turrets were tumbled to the ground. The Pueblo Indians during this war could not be induced to fight the American troops, though at first enlisted in it by the urgent pleas of the Mexicans. They had a tradition that help would come to them from the East to deliver them from Spanish rule, the prophecy of which seemed to them already fulfilled.

Don Manuel Armijo, the Spanish Governor of New Mexico, had by this time gathered a force of seven thousand men to oppose their invaders. Two thousand were well armed, and they had partially fortified the Gallisteo canyon fifteen miles from Santa Fe, in order to give battle there to Kearney's command. Armijo had sent a message to General Kearney, saying ambiguously that he would meet him on that or the following day. Hoping still for a peaceful interview, Kearney hastened forward, and arrived at Gallisteo Pass on the 18th of August. His men were in order of battle, but again he found no enemy. Dissension had broken out among the officers of the Mexican army, and the private soldiers, being peaceably disposed toward the Americans, had on this pretext abandoned the officers. Left without soldiers, Governor Armijo escaped with a few dragoons southward toward Chihuahua, and General Kearney, with less than two thousand soldiers, passed through a defile so narrow that but three or four men could walk abreast, and where seven thousand Mexicans with six pieces of cannon could have successfully resisted five times their number.

On the same day the American troops entered Santa Fe, took peaceable possession of the capital and the whole country in the name of the United States, after a march of nine hundred miles, accomplished in less than fifty days. Without the loss of a single man in battle, he planted the American flag in the plaza in front of the Palacio Grande, the residence of Governor Armijo and of the successive Spanish governors since the conquest.

As the flag was raised in the public square, a national salute of twenty-eight guns was fired from the Loma, a hill east of the town, where the camp ground had been selected, and the American cavalry rode with waving banners through the streets of the city. Not a moment had the army halted that day. Many of the animals exhausted sank down to die. The baggage wagons came through the night over the muddy and rough road, and the men lay down on the bare hill, where neither wood nor grass could be found, without food or drink, to find even there a welcome rest.

The next day, with the aid of an interpreter, General Kearney addressed the citizens assembled in front of the Palace, which had been taken as head quarters of the American army. He declared the peaceable intentions of the invasion by the United States troops, who had no thought of robbing them of property, domestic security, or religion. They were no longer Mexican but American citizens, and subject only to the laws of the United States, under which all men were equal. He counselled them to resort to no violence, but to take the oath of allegiance, and announced that all their officers would remain unchanged, except the governor, who had fled. He then administered to these officers the oath of allegiance to the United States, and amid the tears and shouts of the people, who had been made to believe that they would be robbed and outraged, General Kearney was received as their deliverer rather than conqueror. In the same way he received the allegiance of the delegates from the neighboring Pueblos, who came to offer submission.

By the orders of General Kearney, a flag-staff one hundred feet high was raised for the American flag in the plaza. The Mexicans in and around Santa Fe, notwithstanding the efforts of their priests and former rulers, were soon won to goodwill and apparent contentment under the new regime, by the fact that their property was not molested, their flocks were left undisturbed, their fruits, grain, and provisions scrupulously paid for in full value by their American conquerors, and their homes made secure from all violence.

New Mexico and Santa Fe

Proclamation of Kearney—The destiny of a State—Reforms—The Mexican Stamp Act—Santa Fe and its history—The expedition to Albuquerque—The valley of the Rio Grande—Governor Bent.

As the civil and military governor of New Mexico, General Kearney, on the 22nd of August, issued the following important proclamation. It indicated the intentions of the United States Government and the course which would be pursued to provide for New Mexico and other conquered provinces a free government as a territory whose citizens should hereafter enjoy all the privileges of the American Union:

"As by the act of the Republic of Mexico, a state of war exists between that Government and the United States, and as the undersigned, at the head of his troops, on the 18th instant took possession of Santa Fe, the capital of the department of New Mexico, he now announces his intention to hold the department with its original boundaries (on both sides of the Del Norte) as a part of the United States, and under the name of the Territory of New Mexico.

"The undersigned has come to New Mexico with a strong military force, and an equally strong one is following close in his rear. He has more troops than necessary to put down any opposition that can possibly be brought against him, and therefore it would be folly and madness for any dissatisfied or discontented persons to think of resisting him.

"The undersigned has instructions from his Government to respect the religious institutions of New Mexico, to protect the property of the church, to cause the worship of those belonging to it to be undisturbed, and their religious rights in the amplest preserved to them. Also to protect the person and property of all quiet and peaceable inhabitants within its boundaries, against their enemies, the Eutaws, Navajos, and others. And while he assures all that it will be his pleasure as well as his duty to comply with those instructions, he calls upon them to exert themselves in preserving order, in promoting concord, and in maintaining the authority and efficiency of the laws; and to require of those who have left their homes and taken up arms against the troops of the United States to return forthwith to them, or else they will be considered as enemies and traitors, subjecting their persons to punishment and their property to seizure and confiscation, for the benefit of the public treasury. It is the wish and intention of the United States to provide for New Mexico a free government, with the least possible delay, similar to that in the United States, and the people of New Mexico will then be called on to exercise the rights of freemen in electing their own representatives to the Territorial Legislature; but until this can be done, the laws hitherto in existence will be continued until changed or modified by competent authority, and those persons holding office will continue in the same for the present, provided they will consider themselves good citizens and willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States.

The undersigned hereby absolves all persons residing within the boundary of New Mexico from further allegiance to the republic of Mexico, and hereby claims them as citizens of the United States. Those who remain quiet and peaceable will be considered as good citizens and receive protection. Those who are found in arms or instigating others against the United States will be considered as traitors and treated accordingly. Don Manuel Armijo, the late governor of this department, has fled from it. The undersigned has taken possession of it without firing a gun or shedding a drop of blood, in which he most truly rejoices, and for the present will be considered as governor of this territory.

"Given at Santa Fe, the capital of the territory of New Mexico, this 22nd day of August, 1846, and in the 71st year of the independence of the United States. By the Governor:

"S. W. KEARNEY, Brig.-Gen."

Thus a territory embracing two hundred thousand square miles, with a magnificent climate, stately mountain ranges containing inexhaustible resources of mineral wealth, vast plains for pasturage and grazing, and fertile valleys, where by irrigation the most valuable grains and delicious fruits in the world can be cultivated with ease and in abundance, passed forever from the dominion of the race that had held its inhabitants in oppression for three hundred years, to freedom and prosperity in the future that can only belong to an integral part of the grandest republic and most populous nation of the world.

The population of New Mexico was at this time about one hundred and sixty thousand. One third of these were Pueblo Indians, who, though they had submitted to their conquerors the Spaniards, and were outwardly conformed to the Roman Catholic religion and the laws of the State, lived apart in villages or pueblos, refusing to marry with the Mexicans, and maintaining their ancient social customs. During the disturbances and changes in the central government, New Mexico had been exposed to the incursions of savage tribes and rent by feuds, so that there was left but a weak sentiment of loyalty to the Mexican Government in the people, with which they could be aroused against the American invaders, while the native Indians were quite indifferent to the fate of the territory.

Santa Fe, at the time of its occupation, contained about six thousand people. It was the site of an Indian pueblo, when the country was first occupied by the Spaniards, who found it then a populous village, and made it their capital and military head-quarters. They gave it the name La Villa Real del Santa Fe—the Royal City of the Holy Faith. Its age is unknown. Traditions discover it before its Spanish occupation, in the earliest history of the country. To the little American army, its last invaders, who had now taken possession of it, this city was a place of romantic interest. Its brown adobe walls and low houses had an indescribable strangeness about them. Its churches, built three centuries ago by Spaniards, were of the rudest architecture, hung with old battered Spanish bells, but ornamented within by oak and cedar beams roughly but curiously carved. Its plazas, its fort-like houses with inner courts and portals, and windowless walls three or four feet thick; its narrow and crooked streets; the numerous vestiges of Indian habitations, cooking implements, weapons of stone and volcanic glass, broken crockery with strange paintings, and human bones of an ancient people, all mingled with the mud of which the walls were constructed, gave a singular charm to the surroundings of the soldiers. Tales of merchant adventure and Indian warfare had for years been associated with Santa Fe. It was the point where ended the long journeys of the slow-moving wagon trains. Here the goods thus transported from the Missouri River were distributed farther west and south among the Indians and Mexicans by the merchants from Central Mexico who obtained from them their annual supplies.

The location of Santa Fe was indeed inviting and restful to the exhausted soldiers. A clear mountain stream issued from the canyon in the Santa Fe range, three miles away, and flowed through the centre of the town. In the season of rain its bed was filled with a roaring flood. Rising behind the town to the north were the Santa Fe Mountains, capped. with the white summit of Old Baldy, one of the Rocky Mountain range, thirteen thousand feet high. To the west rose the distant Jemez Mountains, beyond the fertile plain irrigated by the river which stretched southward between the foot-hills sixteen miles, hemmed across by the Los Cerrillos, Placitas and Sandia ranges. A more beautiful situation could not have been chosen for a large city. The troops were comfortably encamped on the south bank of the stream, in the reservation above the plaza, now Fort Marcy, and on the Loma north-east of the town, and freely mingled with the citizens in their amusements and social life.

General Kearney, occupied by the delegations who came from all parts of the territory to offer allegiance, sent dispatches to Washington, announcing the bloodless conquest of New Mexico, and asking for further instructions. The change of government was a relief to the common people, who had long been subjected to extortion and slavery, from which a nobler race would have freed themselves, as did the inhabitants of the American colonies.

One day General Kearney was told by the Alcalde of Santa Fe that he could not make a legal document of the simplest kind, which he had occasion to do, without using stamped government paper, sold at eight dollars per sheet. General Kearney immediately took a slip of paper and wrote a short proclamation, declaring that the use of stamped paper by the Government of New Mexico was henceforth abolished. It was such an infliction of the Stamp Act by a foreign government which so roused the indignation and resistance of the New England colonists against their mother country. But this people had meekly suffered much extortion for years, and were glad of a deliverance which Providence had brought to them. So much consideration was shown by the American governor to the Mexicans, that it was commonly remarked by the volunteers that their general treated the people of New Mexico better than he did his own soldiers.

On the 2nd of September, General Kearney, with a force of seven hundred and seventy-five mounted men, made an expedition southward to Albuquerque on the Rio Grande, to put down an insurrection which was reported to have been raised there at the instigation of Armijo, the late governor. Following the Chihuahua road over a dry and barren plain to the Gallisteo River, they proceeded to the pueblos of San Domingo and San Felipe, where the Indians cordially received them with a dashing cavalcade and entertained them by a sham fight on horseback. Entering the valley of the Rio Grande they followed the river by the towns of Algodones, Bernalillo, and Sandia, numbering from three hundred to one thousand inhabitants, until they reached Albuquerque. A hospitable salute of twenty guns from the top of the Catholic church dispelled all expectations of an engagement with Armijo's followers, and they peaceably marched into the town which had been his birthplace and residence. The troops during this march had experienced something of the famed luxuries of a tropical climate. For sixty miles they had passed through vineyards laden with the most luscious grapes, along well-stocked ranches and comfortable adobe houses. They had found apricots; pears, peaches, and melons in great abundance, while wild ducks, geese, cranes, swans, and pelicans were swarming in the Rio Grande.

This expedition proceeded as far south as St. Tome, one hundred miles from Santa Fe. Instead of meeting with resistance they were often hospitably entertained by the inhabitants, who invited them to their feasts, religious celebrations, dances, races, and theatrical exhibitions, to which this season was usually devoted. And after an absence of twelve days, they returned to Santa Fe again without blood having been shed.

During the expedition to St. Tome, the troops who had been left behind under Colonel Doniphan began the erection of Fort Marcy, on the hill north of the city. It was built of adobes of sufficient size to hold a garrison of one thousand men, and remains well preserved, completely commanding the city at the present time.

Civil government was now established. A constitution and laws for the territory of New Mexico were drafted, translated into Spanish by one of the American officers, Captain David Waldo, and published on an old government printing-press found in the capital. Charles Bent, of Taos, was appointed by General Kearney as the governor of the territory, and Francis P. Blair, Jr., district-attorney. Some of the other officers were Mexicans.

Among the Indians who continued to come in great numbers to Santa Fe was the chief of the tribes of the savage Apaches, who desired to hold a council with the governor-general. He was assured that if his tribe would abstain from violence, robbery, and crime, and live peaceably toward their white brethren, they should be protected and defended the same as the New Mexicans. They departed with presents of blankets, knives, beads, mirrors, and other things acceptable to the squaws, promising that they would be good and faithful citizens of the United States.

Doniphan's Expedition to the Navajos

Reinforcements at Santa Fe—Price in command—Kearney's departure—A winter campaign—Crossing the Sierra Madre—Excelsior—Indian council—Speech of Sarcilla Largo—Indian logic—The treaty—Zuni and its buildings—The ancient city—Tokens of wealth.

The Army of the West was now to be divided. The plan of the campaign was formed in accordance with original instructions. Colonel Doniphan, in command of all the forces in New Mexico, was to proceed southward into Chihuahua and Mexico, General Kearney with an inadequate force was to march westward to the shores of the Pacific and occupy California, while Colonel Price, with troops not yet arrived, was to hold the capital and keep in subjection the neighboring pueblos.

The forces in command of Colonel Sterling Price, who had recently resigned his seat in Congress as a member from Missouri to enter the war, was made up of one Missouri regiment of cavalry, one mounted extra battalion, and one battalion of Mormon infantry. He had about twelve hundred men besides several pieces of artillery, and, like General Kearney's division, they had marched in detachments over the plains. The Mormon battalion, five hundred strong, were collected at Fort Leavenworth and entered the service of the United States, with the condition that they should march to the Pacific, two thousand miles distant, and after a service of one year should then be paid, discharged, and allowed to settle in the country after being joined by their families. No incidents worthy of note befell this second army which crossed the plains in Kearney's route. Colonel Price arrived in Santa Fe, after a march of fifty-three days, on the 28th of September, and his troops continued to arrive in detachments for several days. Kearney had set out on his expedition to the Pacific on the 25th of September. The Mormon detachment, therefore, passed south of Santa Fe to join Kearney's column.

These reinforcements swelled the number of troops in New Mexico to thirty-five hundred men. Santa Fe was crowded with a motley throng of soldiers, visitors, traders, mountaineers, Mexicans, and Indians. Its population at this time was estimated at fourteen thousand people. The troops were encamped on the bare ground, the weather was rainy and cold, and great discomfort and sickness prevailed. Several companies were sent to a grazing encampment on the mountains which divided the Pecos and the Del Norte, fifty miles from Santa Fe, beside a beautiful lake, where the rich grama grass and abundance of water soon recruited the animals. Other detachments were sent southward to Abiquiu and Ceboletta, and the Santa Clara springs.

On the 11th of October a dispatch from General Kearney, one hundred and fifty miles west of Santa Fe, reported that information had reached him by the noted Kit Carson, one of General Fremont's men, that Commander Stockton, with five men-of-war of the Pacific Squadron, had taken possession of California, and that General Fremont had occupied Monterey, the capital of California, of which territory he had been appointed temporary governor.

Preparations for Colonel Doniphan's march to Chihuahua were in active progress, when he was ordered by General Kearney to invade forthwith the rich country of the Navajo Indians on the western and northern borders of New Mexico, and punish them for recent depredations on the frontier settlements of the territory, where they had driven away ten thousand cattle, killed seven or eight men, and taken many women and children as captives. This command was immediately obeyed, for winter was approaching, and the Navajo region was mountainous. Summoning the companies at Abiquiu and Ceboletta to proceed at once into this country by different routes, Colonel Doniphan, with the troops at the grazing encampment on the Pecos, set out from Santa Fe October 26th, leaving Colonel Price in command at the capital.

The service now demanded of these troops was exceedingly arduous. They had received neither pay nor needful clothing. The route was unapproachable for artillery. It was rocky and mountainous. The country at this season was hard to forage on account of snow, and they were obliged to pursue powerful Indian tribes among gorges and fastnesses of the towering peaks of the Sierra Madre range, to which the Indians were accustomed as to their native hills. Added to these hardships and perils in store for these hardy troops was the disappointment of their long-anticipated march to warmer regions, where they expected the honor and excitements of a campaign with General Wool, and of the subjugation of the rich country of Chihuahua in conjunction with the Army of the Centre.

The route chosen for the Navajo expedition led through the valley of the Rio Grande, by the villages of Albuquerque and Socorro. The weather was severe. There was but little forage and scarcely any fuel. The soldiers were obliged to ford rivers, dragging their teams through the icy water, and had only the scanty fuel of tufts of coarse grass with which to dry themselves after such exposures. Many were overcome by such hardships, fell sick, lost the use of their limbs, and died. Some were sent back to the towns, while the hardier ones, led on by their undaunted colonel, pushed forward to new perils from the rigors of the mountains.

Doniphan's March.


It was an expedition as arduous and exacting of courage and persistency as Hannibal's crossing the Apennines. It was now the 2nd of November, which is often the coldest month of the year in New Mexico. Colonel Doniphan had arrived at Cervarro, having detached from his command three hundred men to protect a train of merchants and baggage wagons from a body of seven hundred Mexicans near Valverde, who were falsely reported as advancing to attack them. Valverde had been chosen for the headquarters of the commissary and quarter-master departments of Colonel Doniphan's troops for their march into Chihuahua. Doniphan had pushed on to Cervarro near the river Puerco with a part of his staff to meet the command of Colonel Jackson, which left Santa Fe on the 18th of September. In four days they had marched over one hundred miles to the rich pueblo of Laguna, containing two thousand inhabitants, where they were kindly received and fed, and arrived at Ceboletta on the 3oth of September.

Having been instructed to make a triple league of peace between the Navajos, Mexicans, and Pueblos, Colonel Jackson endeavored to accomplish this through Sandoval, a noted chief of one of the Navajo cantons. He acted as guide to Captain Reid, who was sent with only thirty men and three pack-mules carrying provisions, into the heart of the Navajo country. In a march of five days they passed over a route of appalling difficulties, through mountain gorges and fissures, up precipitous spurs, over ridges, and along paths threading precipitous ledges, where a single misstep would cause a fall of hundreds of feet below, and deliberately throwing themselves into the power of a marauding tribe of Indians, they at length came to an assemblage of five hundred of these savages. Instead of appearing suspicious, they entered with great zest into their dances and games, mingling and feasting with them in the most friendly way. One day's march from here into the heart of the mountains brought them to the chief, Narbona, seventy years old, and other elders of the tribe. These seemed anxious to obtain peace for their nation, and promised to send men to Santa Fe to make the desired treaty of friendship. After an absence of twenty days on their perilous adventure, they safely returned to Ceboletta on the loth of November.

Another detachment of troops had also been ordered into the Navajo country under Major Gilpin. These pursuing a different route started on the 22nd of October. They followed the river Chama to its sources, and crossed the mountains which separated the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Incredible difficulties were surmounted by these men, whose achievements in passing the Cordilleras, as they were then called, which were higher than the Alps and covered with winters' snows, are worthy of the fame of Bonaparte's veterans. Having arrived at the San Juan, and travelled down its banks for forty miles, they found plenty of forage and Indians with numerous herds of horses, sheep, and other animals. They then traversed plains covered with gypsum, destitute of wood and water that could be used for drink. From these they ascended the Tunicha Mountains, so high that their summits could be seen at a distance of seventy-five miles from the San Juan. In climbing these, the men toiled over huge blocks of granite, waded into deep snows, drove their animals along precipices from which they sometimes fell and were lost, or perished on the trail from excessive cold.

"The fierce winds," says one of these veterans, "whistled along the ragged granite hills and peaks. The prospect was horrid. Half of the animals had given out and were abandoned. Thus were these men situated, half of them on foot, carrying their arms, stinted in provisions, destitute of shoes and clothing, and their way barricaded by eternal rocks and snow. Sometimes after lying down at night, wrapped in their blankets and the skins of wild beasts, before morning they would be completely enveloped in a new fall of snow, and would rise at day-dawn with benumbed limbs and bristling icicles frozen to their hair and long whiskers. They persevered. This night's encampment was on the bare summit of the Tunicha Mountains, where there was neither comfort for the men nor food nor water for the horses. The desolateness of the place was dreadful. The descent on the 16th was even more terrible than the ascent had been on the previous day."

On the 19th of November, Major Gilpin, leaving Captain Waldo with a part of his command, effected a junction with Colonel Doniphan at Bear Spring, where he had arrived by a similar passage of the colossal peaks of the Sierra Madre with Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson's command of one hundred and fifty men.

A council of five hundred Navajos and one hundred and eighty Americans now began on the 21st of November, at Bear Spring. Colonel Doniphan explained, through an interpreter, the intentions and wishes of his government. A young but bold chief, Sarcilla Largo, spoke for the Navajos. Captain Waldo arrived on the 22nd to increase the assemblage. Colonel Doniphan, again in the council, promised the protection of the United States to the Navajos, his government claiming now the whole country by right of conquest. He demanded of them a lasting peace between themselves, the Americans, and the New Mexicans. If this was refused, he was instructed to prosecute war against them.

The same young chief replied again as follows:

"Americans, you have a strange cause of war against the Navajos. We have waged war against the New Mexicans for several years. We have plundered their villages and killed many of their people, and made many prisoners. We had just cause for all this.

"You have lately commenced a war against the same people. You are powerful. You have great guns and many brave soldiers. You have therefore conquered them, the very thing we have been attempting to do for many years. You now turn upon us for attempting to do what you have done yourselves. We cannot see why you have cause of quarrel with us for fighting the New Mexicans on the West, while you do the same thing in the East. Look how matters stand. This is our war. We have more right to complain of you for interfering in our war than you have to quarrel with us for continuing a war we had begun long before you got here. If you will act justly, you will allow us to settle our own differences."

To this piece of truthful Indian logic Colonel Doniphan replied that as New Mexico was now in full possession of his Government, and the people of New Mexico desired peace, the Indians were now making war upon the United States when they attacked their long-standing foes. This could not be suffered longer, but they might enjoy the privileges of trade with the Americans, and of education in the arts of civilized life, if they would become peaceable citizens.

The Indian chief at last assented to the terms of the treaty, and promised to refrain from future wars upon the people of New Mexico. The treaty was duly signed by Colonels Doniphan and Jackson and Captain Gilpin, and by fourteen Navajo chiefs.

Presents were now given to the chiefs by Colonel Doniphan, in return for which they presented him with a number of the famous Navajo blankets made by this tribe, in token of mutual friendship. Thus those who had been inveterate enemies for an unknown number of years were reconciled, and the powerful Navajos began to cultivate the arts of peace, to which they have been more and more inclined since that time, until now they have so increased in flocks and herds and population as to become the most powerful Indian tribe of the South.

The American troops returned in detachments to the Rio Grande.

The route of Major Gilpin's command, which accompanied Colonel Doniphan and the Navajo chiefs from the council, led to the old town of Zuni, where they arrived in two days' march from Ojo Oso. Zuni was a populous city in the time of Coronado's invasion of New Mexico in 1540, and still preserved the Aztec structures and plans of buildings. It had a population of six thousand, clothed in woollen blankets of their own manufacture, and supporting themselves by agriculture. They found this tribe honest, hospitable, and intelligent. They supplied the soldiers with various provisions and fruits, and showed much favor to the Americans. Their hatred to the Navajos manifested itself so strongly that Colonel Doniphan insisted on a treaty of peace with them, which after a long debate over their grievances was entered into, and thus two more tribes were reconciled.

The appearance of Zuni is thus described by Colonel Doniphan:

"It is divided into four solid squares, having but two streets, crossing its centre at right angles. AZ! the buildings are two stories high, composed of sun-dried brick. The first story presents a solid wall to the street, and is so constructed that each house joins, until one fourth of the city may be said to be one building. The second stories rise from the vast, solid structure, so as to designate each house, leaving room to walk upon the roof of the first story between each building. The inhabitants of Zuni enter the second story of their building by ladders, which they draw up at night as a defence against any enemy that might be prowling about. No doubt we have here a race living as did that people when Cortez entered Mexico. The country around the city of Zuni is cultivated with a great deal of care, and affords food, not only for the inhabitants, but for large flocks of cattle and sheep."

After leaving Zuni on the 27th of November, Colonel Doniphan, in his march to Laguna near the head-waters of the Piscao, found the ruins of another ancient city more curious than the inhabited town of Zuni. It was built entirely of stone, and was from Indian account two hundred years old. It had been deserted more than one hundred years. The marks of earthquakes and the products of volcanic eruptions surrounded the ruins.

"The figure of the city," says the narrator of Doniphan's expedition, "was that of an exact square, set north and south, so that its four sides corresponded with the four cardinal points, being encircled with a double wall of stone fourteen feet apart. These walls were three stories high; two entire stories being above ground, and the other partly above and partly below the surface. The space between these walls was divided into rooms of convenient size (about fourteen feet square), all opening into the interior. The remainder of the city, though much in ruins, appeared to have been built on streets running parallel to these walls. In the centre was a large square or plaza, which from its appearance might have been used for military parade grounds, and for corralling stock in the night-time. In these rooms large quantities of red cedar, which had been cut of convenient length for fire-places, were discovered in a state of entire preservation, having been stored up for use more than a century. Colonel Doniphan and suite cooked their suppers and made their camp-fires with some of it and then travelled on."

To accomplish this expedition into the heart of this strange country was one of the greatest achievements of American soldiers. The cavalry, under command of Major Gilpin, from the time of leaving Santa Fe till they reached the rendezvous of Colonel Doniphan's command at Valverde, marched seven hundred and fifty miles in midwinter, over the highest mountain-ranges on the continent and into the country of the strongest Indian tribe west of the Rocky Mountains, who claimed a territory equal to that of Missouri, and could raise at any time fifteen hundred warriors from their population of ten thousand. Only two men died on the march from the hardships to which they were exposed, though one hundred and fifty horses and mules were lost.

All along their march the soldiers perceived the indications of the vast mineral wealth of New Mexico and Arizona. Gold, silver, lead, and copper ores were constantly cropping out on the mountain-sides, giving evidence of the future wealth of this territory when the white man should have possession.

The Occupation of California

Across the continental divide—Kearney and Kit Carson—Apache Indians—The Pinos—Conflict with Californians—The first bloodshed—Care for the wounded—Events in California—Insurrection—Conflict of authority—Battle near Los Angeles—Fremont relieved—The homeward route.

General kearney left Santa Fe on the 25th of September on his march to California. To reduce this great province he took with him a force of three hundred dragoons, with baggage and provision wagons containing supplies for sixty-five days. A formidable journey of eleven hundred miles was before him ere he could reach the Pacific coast. It would lead him over the highest mountains in the country, and on trails known only to the guides he might enlist in his service from the Indian tribes through whose country he should pass.

For ten days his route led through the valley of the Rio Grande del Norte. He met no opposition from the inhabitants, who viewed with astonishment an armed force passing quietly through a hostile country, not only without committing depredations, but paying in full for all provisions and forage.

On the 6th of October General Kearney happily met a party of fifteen men led by Kit Carson, who was the bearer of dispatches to Washington announcing the quiet occupation of California by the Americans.

Such tidings could but disappoint and dampen the spirits of Kearney's command. The great object of their adventure was already attained by others. There was, however, much more to be accomplished, and they pushed on to the Pacific. Kit Carson was urged to return as a guide to the expedition over the route he had just traversed. The faithful scout turned his back upon the expected meeting with his family in the eastern settlements after many years of separation, and entered anew upon the arduous journey.

The force was now reduced to one hundred men. The rest of the command, giving up the best part of their outfit to their companions, returned under Major Sumner to winter at Albuquerque. Pack-mules and sumpter-horses were substituted for wagons, and the artillery reduced to a few howitzers.

On the 13th of October the United States mail was brought in to the company for the last time, and all communications were dosed with the East. The next day's march brought them to a celebrated copper-mine in Chihuahua, rich with gold-bearing ore, where the remains of forts and furnaces were in a good state of preservation. As they passed the Gila River they met several Apache chiefs, who sought in vain an alliance with the Americans for the capture of Chihuahua and Sonora. As they entered upon the valley of the San Francisco River, the scenery became wild and rugged, but from the mountains near the Sierra del Buso much rich pasturage was discerned among the valleys and on the highlands. The numerous canyons made the passage with howitzers and pack-mules exceedingly difficult. Sometimes the artillery was precipitated into the deep defiles, and the plains were gullied with numerous arroyos and channels of mountain-torrents.

The Apaches grew more shy of the advancing column as it penetrated farther into the western wilds, watching its progress from distant peaks, but holding no communication with the troops. On the loth of November they passed an extensive ruin, called the Hall of Montezuma, surrounded by lands once irrigated and cultivated. It was bounded on the north by a terrace one hundred yards long and seventy yards wide, from the top of which rose a watch tower in the form of a pyramid eight feet high and twenty-five yards square at the top. Near this ruin were the Pino Indian villages.

The Pino tribe were found to be a peaceable, virtuous, and honest race, sustaining themselves wholly by agriculture, and clothed in woollen and cotton material manufactured by themselves. Their hospitality would not allow them to take compensation for bread and provisions which they freely furnished to the soldiers. They lived in thatched and mud-covered lodges in winter and in temporary arbors in summer, and claimed to be descended from the numerous population of whose habitations there were many relics in the ruins and pieces of pottery which were scattered over the extensive plains where they dwelt.

A ten days' march from these villages brought the expedition to the confluence of the Gila and Colorado rivers. Here the column fell in with a few Californians who reported a body of inhabitants of the province, hostile to the Americans, at Los Angeles. At San Diego was another battalion, numbering two hundred, who were friendly to the new government. A march through a desert for several days now occasioned the troops much suffering and the loss of many animals. While camping at a ranch about sixty miles from San Diego. General Kearney learned that Commodore Stockton with the great part of his naval force was at San Diego. Kearney therefore sent forward a dispatch to Commodore Stockton announcing his approach, and on the 5th of December an escort of thirty-five men, with Captain Gillespie and Lieutenant Beall, of the United States Navy, met General Kearney, and reported in full the operations of the United States forces on the Pacific coast.

Still pursuing his march, General Kearney encountered the next day the first hostile movements of the people he had come to subjugate. One hundred and sixty armed Californians, led by a brother of the late Governor Pico, engaged his troops in a cavalry fight on an open plain. The parties in this conflict were about equal in strength and bravery; but under their skilful leader the Americans, after a sharp conflict with these bold horsemen, who were finely mounted, checked their furious charge and drove them from their position. They had, however, inflicted 'a serious loss upon Kearney's command. The general himself was wounded, and three of his best officers, Captains Johnston and Moore and Lieutenant Hammond, were killed, with fifteen non-commissioned officers and privates. General Kearney, during the long march, had greatly endeared himself to his troops. He walked with his men on foot, giving his own horse to the sick, whose feet were blistered, or who from exhaustion were unable to proceed farther. After this fight he showed the same unselfish regard for his fallen comrades. He was bleeding at three wounds when the surgeon offered to relieve him. "First go and dress the wounds of the soldiers, who require attention more than I do, "he replied, "and when you have done, then come to me." Not long afterward the surgeon saw him fall backward exhausted by the loss of blood, and hastened to restore him and dress his wounds.

Without any further opposition to their march, the column arrived at San Diego on the 12th of December. The Mormon battalion, who with various adventures accomplished the same march under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Cooke, did not reach San Diego till the close of January, 1847.

A junction had now been made at San Diego on the 12th of December between the naval forces under Commodore Stockton and those which were ordered to enter California by the overland route. This was in accordance with Secretary Marcy's instructions under date of June, 1846. The design of the Administration was that the naval forces dispatched to the Pacific should take possession of the ports and towns along the coast before the arrival of Kearney, and convey the arms, ordnance, and provisions needed by him in the subjugation of the province. But California had been reduced to submission more easily than had been expected.

The town of Monterey had been captured without bloodshed by Commodore John D. Sloat, in command of the Pacific squadron, who had without special instructions occupied this place as soon as he heard of the war between his country and Mexico. Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont, then stationed on San Francisco Bay near Sonoma with the topographical corps who had accompanied him on the overland route from Missouri early in 1846, had raised the flag of the Union, and aided by a few Californians had taken a few settlements and towns in his vicinity in the name of his government. A volunteer corps of American emigrants, commanded by General Ide and Captain Grigsby, had also begun a revolution under an independent flag at Sacramento, with the intention of co-operating with the United States in capturing the whole country.

Commodore Sloat was succeeded by Commodore Stockton, who had established, by orders from Washington, a temporary civil government in California, and continued the blockade of the bays and ports of San Francisco, Monterey, and San Diego.

Thus the Mexican Government of the province of California had been overturned, the governor himself driven with a part of his forces to the mountains, and the Mexican commander, General Castro, had escaped to Sonora, leaving a proclamation to the inhabitants, promising to return and free the province from its invaders. California was, apparently, in the hands of the Americans, but, at the date of Kearney's arrival in San Diego, December nth, insurrections were in progress in several parts of the province. Los Angeles, the new capital under the American regime, had just been recaptured by six hundred Californians under Don Manana Flores and Don Andres Pico. The Americans had been driven from the interior to the seaboard, and the insurgents were trying to re-establish the former government.

In this condition of affairs, it was determined to march the marine force under Commodore Stockton together with General Kearney's command from Diego against Los Angeles, a distance of one hundred and forty-five miles. This march was begun December 29th, under the joint command of Stockton and Kearney. The force consisted of a detachment of the United States dragoons, a battery of artillery, and sixty volunteer mounted riflemen under Captain Gillespie.

On the 8th of January the insurgents, to the number of six hundred, with four pieces of artillery, disputed the passage of the river San Gabriel. After an action of an hour and a half, the American troops waded through the water without firing a shot till they could charge up the bank, when the insurgents were driven from their position and fled. The next day the Californians concealed themselves in a ravine until the Americans were within gunshot, and then furiously charged upon them, but were again repulsed and defeated. The loss of the United States forces in both engagements was two killed and fifteen wounded. The Californians numbered about eighty in their casualties. On the 10th of January, Los Angeles was again in the possession of the Americans, and the insurgents were driven to the surrounding hills.

Meanwhile Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont, with a hundred men, had been making a forced march from Santa Barbara to San Fernandino, in the hope of co-operating with General Kearney. He met Pico with a few insurgents, and, not knowing what had transpired, received him in surrender on terms which secured him from the consequences of his broken parole. As military commander of California, on the 12th of January he proclaimed a cessation of hostilities, and commissioners of peace, appointed by Fremont and Pico, made a treaty which promised tranquillity to California and ended the revolution under Flores.

General Kearney and Commodore Stockton now returned with their forces to San Diego. To accomplish this march of one hundred and fifty miles and leave none of his command behind, Kearney walked the whole distance on the hot, dusty road with his common soldiers, while an exhausted private rode his horse. On the 25th of January he sent Captain Emory to Washington via the Isthmus, as bearer of dispatches relating to the subjugation of California.

About this time the Mormon battalion arrived. Taking a route through Sonora they intersected Kearney's trail at the Pino Indian settlement. Here the chief of this honest tribe delivered to Lieutenant-Colonel Cooke, in command of this detachment, twenty-two mules which General Kearney had abandoned at different places, and also a letter and a bale of Indian goods which Kearney had left for Cooke when he should arrive. "The Sonorans," said the chief, "have endeavored several times to prevail on me, both by promises and threats, to deliver this property up to them, but I would let none of them have it, except my friend General Kearney or some of his people." In commendation for this, the chief and his tribe were promised the friendship and good opinion of the Americans.

This chief told their visitors that their first parents were caught up to heaven, and from that time God lost sight of them, and they wandered to the West; that they came from the rising sun. He assured General Kearney "that God had placed him over his people, and he endeavored to do his best for them. He gave them good advice, and they had fathers and grandfathers who gave them good advice also. They were told to take nothing but what belonged to them, and ever to speak the truth, desiring to be at peace with every one."

On the arrival of the Mormon detachment, General Kearney proceeded to Monterey to settle important questions in the government of California and harmonize conflicting authority. Commodore Shubrick had now succeeded Commodore Stockton in the naval command. Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont, in command of the California battalion, under appointment of Stockton, was acting as temporary governor at Los Angeles, while Kearney's command of the newly arrived Mormon troops was at San Diego.

At Monterey the naval officers recognized the authority of General Kearney as given by his instructions from Washington. On the 1st of March he therefore assumed the governorship, and issued a proclamation to the inhabitants of California, promising to them protection for their religious institutions, their persons and property, reparation of losses to individuals incurred by the enforced occupation of California by the United States, and freeing them from all further allegiance to Mexico, whose rule had involved them in great domestic convulsions. He assured them of a speedy territorial government under which they should enjoy the rights of American citizens, and closed this appeal with these auspicious words:

"Americans and Californians! from henceforth one people! Let us then indulge one desire, one hope; let that be for the peace and tranquillity of our country. Let us unite like brothers, and mutually strive for the improvement and advancement of this one beautiful country, which within a short period cannot fail to be not only beautiful, but also prosperous and happy."

Governor Fremont was now summoned to yield up the state papers and muster his California troops into the United States service. This they refused to enter, and Colonel Fremont was relieved from command by Lieutenant-Colonel Cooke, by orders of General Kearney, who had proceeded to Los Angeles on the 12th of May. United States troops were now stationed at San Diego, San Luis Rey, Los Angeles, and Monterey. The ports of Guyamas and Mazatlan were blockaded by the naval squadron under Commodore Biddle. Then, leaving California in the control of Colonel R. B. Mason, commander-in-chief of the United States forces and temporary governor, General Kearney set out on the 31st of May to return overland to the United States by the way of the Southern Pass and Fort Leavenworth. In his party of forty men were Colonel Fremont and his topographical corps. They arrived at Leavenworth on the 22nd of August. Thence General Kearney proceeded to Washington, and soon joined General Scott's division of the army in southern Mexico.

The Invasion of Chihuahua

Recapitulation—Preparations for the expedition—The march begun—Scenes in the desert—Christmas festivities—A new shuffle of cards—Meeting the Mexicans in arms—The first battle—Victory of Brazito—Results—Capture of El Paso.

We have followed the Army of the West from its rendezvous at Fort Leavenworth to the end of its overland march to the Pacific coast. It has seized the northern half of Mexico, to gain which was the motive of the war. New Mexico has been captured. The Indian tribes of this territory and of Arizona have been subjugated with the Mexican inhabitants. The destinies of the rich province of Upper California have been forever linked with those of the American Union, to whose wealth and prosperity it will speedily contribute in fabulous measure.

The work assigned to the Army of the West is not yet fully accomplished. It must, in conjunction with General Wool, who is supposed to be approaching from the south, invade and reduce the important Mexican province of Chihuahua. This difficult task was intrusted to Colonel Doniphan. His men were impatient to undertake this service. After his return from the Navajo country, while the events already recorded were transpiring under Kearney's direction in California, Colonel Doniphan gathered his forces for the southward march. Leaving only enough properly to protect and garrison the capital of New Mexico and other points in the territory, he ordered ten pieces of artillery and one hundred and twenty-five men from Santa Fe. Two companies of light artillery under Captain Weightman and Major Clark also joined the invading force. The quartermaster and commissary departments were well provided with supplies.

On the 14th of December the march was begun by Major Gilpin with two hundred men in advance, followed by Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson with the same number on the 16th, and three days after Colonel Doniphan brought up the rear with provision and baggage trains. Again with an absurdly weak force did the American army attempt to enter populous provinces which, in the belief of the Mexican population, would speedily take up and destroy them.

The great desert, called Jornada del Muerto, extending from Fray Christobel to Robedo, a distance of ninety miles, lay in the line of their march. The ordinary terrors of this wilderness of sand, where there is not a particle of grass, and which is well named The Journey of the Dead, were increased by the extremely cold weather which now prevailed. With neither wood nor water, in the face of piercing cold winds, by day and night the columns struggled along the gravelly trail for three days. The men were allowed scarcely any repose, and had no warm food. Lighting up the road by setting fire to bunches of amole, or soap-weed, a kind of stunted palm, the teamsters urged forward their animals by the flashes of light thus produced. The soldiers, who had halted for a little rest, were roused at dawn to pursue their exhausting march, hungry and cold. It was well that man and beast entered upon this conflict with the desert, and with hunger, thirst, and cold, at the beginning of their march, when fortified by long recruiting from their Indian service. Many would otherwise have perished.

At Dona Ana, a small Mexican town beyond the desert, the three divisions were again united, and finding here abundant grain, forage, and provisions, they were soon in good heart for the march. They had now entered the boundaries of Chihuahua, and apprehended speedily a hostile attack. Mexican spies were hovering about them, two of whom were shot by some of the advance guard as they were trying to escape.

Christmas day found the men in high spirits and eager for a meeting with the enemy. They had arrived at Brazito on the march to El Paso, and had halted on the east bank of the river on an open plain, bordered next the mountain and river by a mesquite and willow thicket or chaparral. The trains were straggling in the rear, and the officers of the guard were engaged in card-playing, when a cloud of dust in front suddenly indicated that the enemy were approaching. The group watched for a few moments the dust, but continued their game. Suddenly plumes and banners flashed through the cloud. There was now no doubt as to who were approaching, and dashing down their cards, Colonel Doniphan, officers, and men flew to their positions, as the loud assembly call rang out to the scattered men and straggling groups in the rear. Dropping wood, water-buckets, and every other incumbrance, the men fell into line under the nearest standards, and the Missouri regiment was marshaled in quick time for their first view of the enemy.

The Mexicans were now drawn up in fine array on the right and left of Colonel Doniphan's force. Five hundred regular dragoons from Vera Cruz, in bright uniforms of blue and green with red trimmings, held the Mexican right wing; eight hundred Chihuahua volunteers were on their left with four pieces of artillery. Their brass helmets, plumes of horse-hair, and bright swords and lances glittered threateningly in the sunlight.

While the contending forces paused for a moment before the clash of battle, Colonel Doniphan in a few calm but assuring words incited his men to win the victory. A Mexican aid now dashed forward to within sixty yards of the American line, bearing a black flag from General Ponce de Leon, to summon the American commander to appear before him. The interpreter sent forward by Colonel Doniphan replied, "If your general desires peace, let him come here." "Then we will break your ranks and take him," was the Mexican's answer. "Curses be upon you, prepare for a charge. We neither ask nor give quarter." And wheeling his horse he rode back to the Mexican lines, waving his black flag.

The Mexican dragoons, at the trumpet's signal, charged boldly upon the American left, and were received by a deadly fire at short range, while sixteen mounted cavalrymen dashed upon the Mexicans, broke their ranks, and cut them down with their sabres. In the same manner a charge upon the commissary and baggage trains was repelled by the armed wagoners with a well-directed fire.

The Chihuahua infantry had now attacked the American right, and reached the chaparral from which they fired three rounds upon the Americans before advancing farther. Doniphan's troops received this fire with remarkable steadiness, throwing themselves to the ground at each discharge, till the impetuous Mexicans, confident of the effect of their bullets, had approached within sixty paces, crying out, Bueno! Bueno! Then suddenly rising from their faces, the Missourians poured such a volley upon them that they staggered, turned, and fled in great disorder.

Meanwhile the artillery was engaged upon the centre. The Mexicans advancing their line lost a brass six-pounder with ammunition, which was captured by the Howard Artillery battalion, the sergeant of which with a few men cut loose the dead horses and turned it upon its former masters. But one Mexican gun had been brought into action, when the Mexicans, repulsed at the same time on their right and left, broke their line and fled in a rout along the mountain-side, where they were pursued for a mile by a few mounted troops under Captains Reid and Walton.

This battle of Brazito was begun at three o'clock on the afternoon of Christmas. Within sixty minutes the enemy had fled, and the scattered Americans had returned to their position with a loss of a few horses, eight men wounded, and none killed. Five hundred American troops at the first onset fought with great steadiness fifteen hundred well-armed Mexicans, repelled their attack at every point, and inflicted with the aid of their comrades, who soon joined them, a loss upon the enemy of seventy-five killed and one hundred and fifty wounded. One piece of artillery, with a quantity of baggage, ammunition, and provisions, was captured, with which the victors completed their celebration of Christmas day.

Among the wounded Mexicans was their brave commander, Ponce de Leon. The thicket was stained with blood, and many died in the night before they were removed. The survivors were next day provided with a conveyance, and Doniphan's troops proceeded on their march to El Paso, twenty-five miles distant. They encamped near 'a small lake ten miles from the town, and during the night many Mexicans fled from their hiding-places in the mountains to El Paso. Here great confusion prevailed in anticipation of another attack. On the 27th, as Doniphan was drawing near, he was met, within six miles of the place, by a delegation of citizens. They bore a white flag, and sued for peace and protection, offering the surrender of the town. That night the American troops entered the city without opposition. El Paso was an important point. It was the key to New Mexico, and had been guarded by a force of two thousand seven hundred and forty Mexican troops and armed citizens. Colonel Doniphan found, confined in dungeons there, three American merchants who had been betrayed by a guide and delivered over as spies to the Mexican authorities.

El Paso and the Desert March

Captures in El Paso—Reconciliation of citizens—Diversions of soldiers—The carnival of wolves—Act of clemency—Ordered to Chihuahua—Privations of the desert—Hunger, thirst, add flames—Night scouting—The Governor's hacienda—The enemy in sight.

The victory of Brazito was a heavy blow to the government of Chihuahua. The invaders had met a well-organized force of the best troops that could be brought into the field, and had completely defeated them, though nearly twice their number. Mexican courage was weakened, and the constant boasting and high-sounding proclamations of their leaders hurling wordy contempt and slander§ on, the Americans now failed to arouse any enthusiasm. The fate of El Paso rested on the battle of Brazito. It was an opportune capture for the army of the invaders. They found here in store several hundred thousand fenegas of corn and wheat, and a great amount of hay and other fodder. A search for arms and ammunition resulted in the collection, of twenty thousand pounds of powder, lead, cartridges, and shot, five hundred stand of small arms, four hundred lances, four pieces of cannon, and several banners. At a point twenty-two miles below El Paso, where a strong body of Mexicans had been posted, several wagon-loads of ammunition and one field-piece were also captured.

The provisions, on which the soldiers now began to recruit after their privations included every variety of fruit, wine, and sweetmeats. All these and forage for the horses were, by orders of Colonel Doniphan, scrupulously paid for. Instead of bringing robbery and pillage upon their city, the inhabitants found that the American troops maintained great respect for their property, and the citizens vied with one another in bestowing kindnesses and social attentions upon their captors. Those who had been wounded at Brazito were on the best of terms with their recent enemies on the streets of El Paso, though they had fought under a black flag. Thus the hostility of the inhabitants was quelled by restraint from violence and crime, and the military government of the Americans was apparently preferred to that of the Mexican Republic.

The strong system of defences constructed near the city might have availed for some delay in the capture of El Paso, had not the commander of the Mexican forces been ill. General Leon, who had taken command, was declared to have led his men rashly to defeat at Brazito. In a few days there were signs of discontent at the situation among some of the people. On the loth of January evidences were found of the existence of a conspiracy to bring about an insurrection, in conjunction with one attempted at Santa Fe. The conspiracy was defeated, but the army were put on a closer guard, and the discipline in preparation for their march upon Chihuahua was made much more strict.

Among the diversions of the soldiers was the corralling one night of a pack of wolves that had come down from the mountains, attracted by the scent of cattle which had been slaughtered for the troops in a high inclosure. Leaping over the walls, they gorged themselves with blood and offal, but when inside found the walls too high to allow an escape. The soldiers the next day sprang in among them with their swords, and on the bloody arena, much to the amusement of their comrades, fought their victims, who turned upon them in a vain struggle for life.

Colonel Doniphan was a popular and kind-hearted commander. An instance of clemency occurred at El Paso which, under other circumstances, could not have been expected or allowed. Two soldiers on guard had fallen asleep during the night, and their guns had been taken from them by the officer of the guard. Arrested and brought before Colonel Doniphan, they were sternly charged with the high offence, which had imperilled the safety and lives of all their fellow-soldiers, and the honor of their country.

"We are sensible," they pleaded, "of the enormity of our offence. But, tired and exhausted, we could not preserve our wakefulness. We will endeavor not to commit a similar offence in the future."

"Then go," said the commander, "and hereafter be good soldiers and faithful sentinels. I will excuse you for the present." They departed, and were never at fault again.

El Paso was situated in one of the most beautiful and fertile spots in the whole province. Shut in by mountains on the east and west, which draw together to the river, it was isolated from other Mexican settlements. But its rich valley was filled with every luxury of fruit and vegetation. In this city of eight thousand inhabitants the troops were delayed for forty-two days waiting for increased artillery forces, which were ordered to follow Doniphan ere he left Santa Fe.

Major Clark, with one hundred and seventeen men and six field-pieces, arrived on the 1st of February, and on the 8th the little army of one thousand men, with merchant and commissary trains. were on their march to the city of Chihuahua. No tidings could be learned of General Wool, to whom Colonel Doniphan had orders to report. The States of Chihuahua and Durango were in arms to oppose this little army. Deserts which must yet be crossed would prevent a successful retreat. A cruel enemy, fighting under a black flag, would not spare any captives. It was a question of victory or death. But neither these soldiers nor their commander were daunted by such perils. It appeared far greater to their friends in Missouri, who knew that General Wool was not in Chihuahua to meet them, than to the troops themselves. Apprehensions of the fatal result of this venturesome march were saddening all hearts at home.

With cheerful obedience to orders, eager to accomplish the grand object of their march from the Missouri River across the plains, they destroyed all the powder and munitions of war which had been captured by Doniphan in El Paso, and which could not be used by his own troops. Five influential citizens of El Paso were taken as hostages for the protection of citizens of the United States left behind. Colonel Doniphan also organized on the march an effective corps of traders and teamsters, numbering one hundred and fifty men, well armed, and having valuable possessions at stake in the trains.

On the 12th of February, following the river, the army halted fifty miles below El Paso, on the borders of the great desert, sixty-five miles broad, where the road, running through deep sand-drifts, was not supplied with one drop of water. Halting for one day to fill their haversacks and canteens, they left the Rio Grande on the 14th of February, and struck into the waste of sand that lay before them. The mules and wagons sank deep into the drifts. A dozen men tugged with tired mules at a single wagon, but twenty miles were passed before the first camp was made. At sunset of the next day the column passed through a canyon of volcanic mountains traversing the desert from north to south. A scouting party was sent forward to Carrisal, a small town on the other side of the desert, where a few Mexican troops had been stationed, but it had been abandoned by the garrison, and was surrendered by the Alcalde.

The march of the little army still in the desert did not cease till midnight of this day. Though they had made twenty-four miles, it was still twenty-one miles to a lake, and the mules and horses were nearly perishing, and helplessly crying for it. They were started again at the first streaks of light, but many sank down exhausted, and were abandoned.

The column had come within five miles of the Laguna de los Patos, when the men, burning with thirst, broke into a run to reach the lake. The teamsters finding it impossible to bring up their wagons, unhitched their animals ten miles away, and turned them loose, intending to leave their wagons sunk in the drifts, and thousands of pounds of flour and salt cast away in the desert. Just as all the wagons were about to be abandoned, a shower came providentially to their relief. A cloud burst upon the mountains toward the right of the trail, and the torrents rushing down their sides spread out upon the plains to revive man and beast.

Halting here all night, the next 'morning they came to the lake, where already most of the men had gathered, and slaked their intense thirst. Their terrible sufferings were relieved for a little while, and the country became more inviting. Passing Carrisal eighteen miles distant, the force arrived at Ojo Caliente, or Warm Spring. Here the water, springing from the base of a ledge of rocky hills, forms a basin one hundred and twenty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and four feet deep. The water in the basin, whose bottom was covered with white sand, was warm and perfectly transparent, and officers and men were wonderfully revived by the luxurious baths which were thus afforded.

But another desert was now to be passed, and in this another range of craggy mountains two thousand feet high, whose tops were covered with snow. There the men encamped on plains where neither wood, water, nor grass were to be seen, and where they had to endure an extremely cold night. But the next day they came to the Guyagas Springs, which sent out cool, refreshing streams upon the plain.

On the 25th of February they were pursuing their course along the borders of a lake twenty miles long, whose margin was incrusted with efflorescent soda that was used by the troops as a substitute for saleratus. But a new danger met them here. The tall grass had caught from the camp fires, and, fanned by a strong wind, the flames were sweeping rapidly over the plain. The fire spread from their last encampment at Guyagas Springs in the same way, and rushing over the mountains, descended into the valley like an army of demons. There it spread, till it became a roaring sea of flame twenty feet high, and advanced upon the train, skirting the lake shore. The ammunition wagons were in great danger. The fire gained upon the train, and it was necessary to run a part of it with the artillery into the lake. The road ran parallel to the lake. The men tried to trample the grass between the lake and the road and cut it down with their sabres, throwing it to the side of the opened space distant from the fire. Then setting a counter fire in the grass standing next to the wind, a space was burned toward the conflagration, which finally checked its progress on the lake side of the road. But it swept over the plain and over the mountain-sides, till all that could feed it was consumed, and men and animals camped another night without food or forage on the black and dreary plain.

On the south-western side of this lake was the extensive hacienda of the governor of Chihuahua, heavily stocked with immense herds of cattle and flocks of sheep. On the morning of the 25th seven hundred Mexican soldiers were seen guarding this property, and a scouting party was sent out that night to ascertain more fully the strength of their position and numbers. This party consisted of twenty-five Horse-guards under Captain Reid. To avoid the sentinels that they would be likely to meet in the roads, these men ventured to ford the lake itself in the night, though it was three miles wide and had been considered impassable. This daring feat was accomplished, and they cautiously approached the walls of the hacienda. Hindered by these walls from ascertaining what was within, they suddenly made a bold dash into the enclosure, and took possession of the place. They found several hundred inhabitants, but no soldiers. They had started but an hour before for Sacramento, where the enemy had a strongly fortified position, and were awaiting the approach of the Americans.

Being lavishly entertained by the superintendent of the hacienda, they remained here during the night, and rejoined the main column the next day.

As the Mexicans were now so near, another scouting party of six or eight officers was sent forward nine or ten miles, to ascertain their strength. From a high peak within five miles of the Mexican encampment, they had a full view with field-glasses of their position, so that their batteries could be counted and their force estimated. Colonel Doniphan then made a plan for the conduct of the march the next day, and on Sunday, the 28th of February, the whole force arrived in sight of the enemy, four miles distant.

The Battle of Sacramento

The line of march—Position of the enemy—Opening of the battle—Storming the intrenchments—Rout of the Mexican cavalry—Flight of the troops—Spirit of the troops—Spoils of the victors.

The little invading army was soon to confront the strongest force which the proud province of Chihuahua could raise for the defence of its beautiful capital. One thousand one hundred and sixty-four men, all Missouri volunteers, were marching between and in front of the four parallel lines of wagons thirty feet apart, which constituted the train of this Spartan band that dared to assail a great province. The horsemen rode in front. In this order they approached the Mexican forces occupying the brow of a rocky hill between the river Sacramento and a deep, dry arroyo. Their position was fortified by twenty-eight strong redoubts and intrenchments. Within these, according to the Mexican adjutant-general's report, which was captured after the battle, were four thousand two hundred and twenty men, commanded by Major-General Jose A. Heredia, aided by Generals Conde, Ugarte of the Mexican cavalry, Justimane of the infantry, and Angel Trias of the artillery, who was also governor and leading the Chihuahua troops.

The Mexicans were so confident, as they might well be, in the superiority of their numbers over the American troops, and in the strength of their position, that they had provided strings and handcuffs with which to drive them as prisoners to the City of Mexico. They moreover regarded these earth-works as the real defences of Chihuahua, which was but eighteen miles distant.

Colonel Doniphan, fully aware of the immense disadvantage he must overcome, boldly advanced his troops along the main road upon the enemy's front, till within a mile and a half of his works. Then turning to the right to avoid the range of the Mexican batteries, he crossed the arroyo and approached his position from the west, where the ascent of the hill was most narrow. As the baggage trains closely followed the column in its passage of the rocky arroyo, the general in command of the Mexican cavalry, with twelve hundred men, galloped down from the fortified hill to commence the battle. They were received by a raking fire of canister shot from the guns of Major Clark and Captain Weightman. Their ranks were thrown into disorder, and they fell back. A Mexican battery which had been hidden by their movement now vigorously replied to the American artillery, which was rapidly discharging twenty-five rounds to the minute. A terrific artillery fight continued for fifty minutes, in which all available cannon in the earthworks joined. It was strange that so few men were injured by the enemy's shot, which did fearful execution among the wagons and animals in the train. Many of the latter were killed, though their drivers escaped harm.

General Conde was obliged to retire his cavalry within their entrenchments, and Colonel Doniphan improved the opportunity to make a vigorous attack upon the redoubts in his front. Discovering a body of three hundred lancers advancing upon his rear, he first dispatched the battalion of teamsters to check their approach, and then having already ordered a charge upon the fortifications, his lines moved rapidly up the rising ground under the fire of sixteen guns in the redoubts and the fort on Sacramento hill on the opposite side of the river. The American troops were within five hundred yards of the works, when the three cavalry companies on the left, led by Captains Reid, Parsons, and Hudson, were ordered to carry the centre battery, which was sending the most effective shots into the American ranks.

By a misapprehension of the order, these companies were halted midway to the battery. It was a critical moment. If those gallant squadrons were faltering the day was lost. About twenty of Captain Reid's company, led by their intrepid officer, would not heed the order to halt, and leaping forward over the intervening ground, threw themselves upon the battery and captured it. The enemy rushed forward and succeeded in beating them back. The remainder of Captain Reid's company brought up a section of howitzers to the help of their comrades. Captain Weightman unlimbered his guns within fifty yards of the enemy, and poured in upon them a tremendous fire of grape and canister.

The Mexicans could not withstand this fire combined with the onset of the cavalry, and soon retreated, leaving the battery again in possession of the Missouri horsemen, who held it while the two other companies simultaneously carried the intrenchments on the left of Captain Reid and stubbornly held the ground.

The right wing of the American battle line now vied with the left in assailing the intrenchments. These were bravely defended by the Mexicans: Lieutenant-Colonels Jackson and Mitchell ordered their men to dismount, and, supported by their subordinate officers, they led them in a determined assault up to the cannon's mouth. These guns were enveloped in sheets of flame and smoke, so rapidly were they served. But the Americans, forgetful of everything but the intense desire for victory, climbed the ramparts and furiously attacked their enemies, who, amazed at such daring, fled from their works.

The fort on the Sacramento Hill was also carried by a part of this right wing, and its destructive cross fire silenced.

The left wing had now dismounted, and, led by Major Gilpin, they were clambering up the steeper heights, where the Mexicans had posted three brass four-pounders, protected by embankments and by ditches that were lined with troops. For a while they held their ground bravely against the assaulting party, but they could not endure the demoniacal shouts and rush of the Americans in the charge. Pouring over the intrenchments, these furious troops snatched the matches from the hands of the Mexican artillerists, as they were in the act of discharging their pieces, and made them prisoners. Relentlessly pursuing those who escaped, they drove them from one rampart to another, till General Heredia, having rallied his men several times in vain, was obliged to retreat. Cond6's cavalry formed their lines again and again to resist the Missouri squadrons, but were finally driven in confusion down the hill. Then, when the Mexicans were routed along their whole line, the Americans began a pursuit, fighting and slaughtering their foes till the darkness of night fell upon the scene.

For three hours and a half these volunteer soldiers, who had met their enemy but once before in battle, engaged four times their number behind well-constructed and heavily-armed intrenchments. They completely routed the army of Central Mexico, which lost three hundred and twenty men killed, five hundred and sixty wounded, and seventy-two made prisoners. Colonel Doniphan officially reported a loss of only one officer killed and eleven men wounded. The discrepancy can be accounted for only by the utter inaccuracy of the Mexican aim.

The Mexicans retreated mainly toward Durayer, but without sufficient discipline to hold them together; they were so dispersed among the ranches and villages that they could never again be rallied. The captures of spoil by this victory were enormous. The specie, provisions, and ammunition gathered for such a large force fell into the hands of the Americans, who were wellnigh overwhelmed with the amount of plunder. Among these captures were six thousand dollars in money, fifty thousand sheep, eleven hundred head of cattle, one hundred mules, twenty-five thousand pounds of ammunition, and ten cannon.

There could not have been a more complete surprise to the Mexican people than this American victory. On the hills in the vicinity a thousand non-combatants had gathered to witness the stirring scenes of a battle, and rejoice in the defeat of the foolhardy Americans. The Mexican priest Ortiz, who had accompanied Colonel Doniphan from E1 Paso as an hostage, said to Colonel Doniphan before the battle, "Your force is too weak to contend against such a force as the Mexican army, and in so strong a position. You will all be inevitably destroyed or captured and put into chains. The Mexicans will whip you without ' a doubt. I beg that you will permit me to remain out of danger. "

The colonel assured him of safety in either issue of the battle. After it was over, he said good-humoredly:

"Well, Ortiz, what do you think now about the Mexicans whipping my boys?"

"Ah, sir, they would have defeated you if you had fought like men, but you fought like devils."

The spirit of battle was incarnate in every one of these Missourians. A volunteer who had the care of seven horses, while their riders, having dismounted, were preparing to charge, called to Colonel Doniphan as he was galloping by:

"See here, Colonel, am I compelled to stand here in this tempest of cannon and musket-balls and hold horses?"

"Yes," he replied, "if you are detailed for the purpose."

The volunteer tied the bridles together, saying with an oath, as he picked up his gun and sabre and started in the charge, "I didn't come here to hold horses. I can do that at home."

A sergeant who was one of the first to leap into the entrenchments on the right found himself alone. Unable to reload his carbine and pistols, he threw them aside, and defended himself by hurling rocks at the foe, till he was rejoined by his comrades.

As Colonel Doniphan rode from rank to rank before the action began, he said of his men: "I could see nothing but the stern resolve to conquer or die. There was no trepidation and no pale faces."

Yet these men had been in the service nine months, marched two thousand miles, and had not had one dollar of pay.

"They have had half rations, hard marches and no clothes," said their leader; "'they curse and praise their country, but fight for her all the time!"

After such heroic fighting and the exhausting pursuit of the panic-stricken Mexicans, the victors returned to the deserted camps within the intrenchments to feast upon the luxurious fare which the citizens of Chihuahua had provided for their friends.


Scenes at the Capital—Triumphal entry—The city and its buildings—Scouting through Mexico—Doniphan ordered to Monterey—Mustered out—Return to Missouri—The welcome of friends and countrymen.

Chihuahua was now virtually in possession of the invaders. Colonel Doniphan without delay pushed forward to complete the triumph of his great victory. A detachment of one hundred and fifty men, commanded by Captains Reid and Weightman with a section of artillery, was sent forward next day to take formal possession of the capital city of the province. They met no resistance.

The excitement in Chihuahua during the battle had been intense. The cannonading could be distinctly heard, and in the first lull of battle it was announced that the Mexicans were victorious. The American merchants in the city, who had been previously exposed to taunts and threats of every kind of violence, were now sought for by the excited rabble, who carried knives, stones, and staffs, with murderous intent upon their lives. Soon, however, the noise of the guns arose above the excitement in the streets, and fears of the result began to take possession of the inhabitants. Toward night the firing grew nearer, and their terror increased. Amid the darkness a courier rode frantically into the city. "Perdemos! Perdemos!" he cried—"We are lost, we are lost!"

He was soon followed by the governor, the generals and the fleeing soldiers, who pushed on to Parral and Durango in full retreat, leaving the frightened citizens to despair, in anticipation of the tortures which the "presumptuous invaders" would inflict upon them.

As the American cavalry, but a handful of men, rode triumphantly into the city, led by Lieutenant-Colonel Mitchell, they waited tremblingly their fate, but without an act of violence peaceable possession was taken. The Americans camped in the Alameda or park during the night.

Chihuahua when captured contained about twenty-five thousand inhabitants. Built in the times of the Spanish rule, and by capitalists who were attracted thither by the fabulous riches of the mines in the surrounding mountains, it had many splendid buildings of stone and marble. Its streets were neatly paved and curbed with white porphyry, and on the elegant promenade were seats carved from the same material, A marble fountain and stone octagonal basin were in the centre of the promenade. An aqueduct with tall white columns conducted water from the Chihuahua River to an eminence near the city, and thence to a reservoir in the centre of the town. It had a magnificent cathedral, built at a cost of a million dollars, from the tribute paid during thirty years by the mines of St. Eulalia, fifteen miles from the city. Its two steeples, rising one hundred feet above the azotea, are composed of columns finely carved, with statuary. The ruins of a still larger church were seen. They had long been used as a political prison. Within its square a monument of white hewn stone stood to the memory of Don Manuel Hidalgo, the illustrious patriot, who was here imprisoned three months and shot after his defeat at Guadalavara.

On the morning of the 2nd of March, Colonel Doniphan entered the city with fluttering banners and long trains of merchant wagons, and the captured spoils. On the 8th he sent a resident of the city to offer to Governor Trias conditions of peace, which were, however, refused. Ten days after this the news of the battle of Buena Vista was received in Chihuahua, and though reported as a Mexican victory, it was heartily celebrated by Colonel Doniphan as another triumph of American arms.

Seeking still to obey his instructions to report to General Wool, though the arduous task and abundant glory of the campaign in Chihuahua had fallen to himself instead of General Wool, Colonel Doniphan chose fourteen trusty men and at imminent peril sent them forward with dispatches through the country. They rode six hundred and twenty-five miles, at the rate of about fifty miles each night, not being able to travel by day. In twelve days they arrived at Saltillo, and delivered the dispatches to General Wool. After reading them, Wool exclaimed with hearty commendation, "Missouri has acquitted herself most gloriously. Colonel Doniphan has fought the most fortunate battle and gained the most brilliant victory during the war."

The party, increased to forty-two men, returned to Colonel Doniphan, arriving at Chihuahua about the 23rd of April. They bore orders from General Taylor to march his column forthwith from Chihuahua to Saltillo, and return to the United States by way of Matamoras and the Gulf. The news was received with acclamations of joy by the troops.

On the 25th of April the battalion of artillery began this long march homeward. They were followed three days after by the merchant and baggage trains and the remainder of the troops. As he was departing from the city, Colonel Doniphan delivered to the Mexican authorities, who had ruled the city before its capture, all the prisoners of war, and then evacuated Chihuahua, leaving no vestige of its occupation for fifty-nine days by a foreign invader.

The route of the southward march was by Bachimbo, Santa Cruz, and Santa Rosalia at the junction of the Conchos and Florida rivers. Here they found strong but deserted fortifications surrounding the city. A reconnoitring party of one hundred cavalry were sent forward to Parras, five hundred miles distant, to obtain information of hostile forces awaiting their approach.

Their sufferings were not yet finished. They had a most enchanting march through the blooming valley of the Rio Florida, but when they reached the hacienda Dolores, seventy-five miles of travel through another desert awaited them. Amid the gloom of distant thunder storms sweeping over the mountains, in dense clouds of dust, without water and through the darkness of night, the march was continued till the soldiers sank down on the sandy plain, without supper or water, for two or three hours of sleep, amid the lizards and scorpions that everywhere abounded. As they resumed their way at daylight, their hardships are thus described by one of the number:

"The dust was absolutely intolerable. The soldiers could not march in lines. They were now already become thirsty, and it was yet forty miles to water. The dust filled their mouths, and nostrils, and eyes, and covered them completely. They were much distressed during the whole day. Many of them became faint and their tongues were swollen. The horses and often the refractory mules would fall in the sand, and neither the spur nor the point of the sabre was sufficient to stimulate them. After suffering every privation and distress by marching which men must necessarily experience in such a desert, they arrived at the springs of Santa Bernada at sunset. Here in groves of willows with abundant waters they rested."

On the 8th of May, at Cadenas, the troops received the joyful news of General Scott's victory at Cerro Gordo. They found at Parma, the citizens most kindly disposed by reason of the gallant services of the detachment sent in advance under Captain Reid, who had rescued from the Comanche Indians captives and spoils made by a recent raid upon Parras by these savages. The whole force arrived in a five days' march from Parma, at Encantada, near the battle-field of Buena Vista, and on the 22nd of May, passing under review of General Wool, the command received from him the highest praise in a complimentary order recounting their services at Brazito, the Sacramento, and in their arduous marches. At Walnut Springs they were again reviewed by General Taylor, from whom they received orders to return to Missouri and be mustered out of service.

The Mexican cannon captured at Sacramento were given to the troops as trophies to be conveyed to the State of Missouri and turned over to the governor, subject to the final disposition of the War Department. Leaving their sick at Monterey, sending forward their horses through Texas to Missouri, Colonel Doniphan, with seven hundred men, embarked on the 9th of June in the ship Great Republic, and arrived safely in New Orleans on the 15th.

In a service of twelve months, poorly clad and fed and mounted, they had traversed the plains of Kansas, Colorado, and New Mexico; climbed their towering mountain ranges; marched through five great deserts of Mexico, and fought several battles, which were among the most brilliant of the war.

As they passed up the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Louis, these returning warriors, whose deeds had been heralded before them, received many expressions of sympathy and praise. Arrived at St. Louis, these rough, disheveled, threadbare men had such honor and welcome from assembled thousands as is seldom the good fortune of soldiers to meet. Amid the caresses of friends, public and private receptions, and the praises of their heroism and battles, such as Senator Thomas Benton and other Western orators could pour upon their heads, they at last returned to the quiet life of citizens of the Union, whose greatness and glory they had been permitted to increase by their own sacrifices and worthy deeds.

The Storming of Monterey

Advance to Monterey—Its defences—Encampment at Walnut Springs—Worth's movement—Cavalry skirmish—Anticipations of battle—Night scenes—Preparations of the morning—Garland's assault—Capture of a fort—Quitman's charge—Mexican courage—Rain in the night—Fort Diabolo abandoned—Entering Monterey—The Texan rangers.

About the last of August, 1847, General Worth led the advance of General Taylor's forces toward Monterey, and occupied with his division a point near this stronghold of the Mexicans. He was followed on September 5th by General Twiggs with the centre division, and on the 17th General Quitman's brigade set out with the rear of General Taylor's army from the Rio San Juan. The route of the army lay from Camargo to Monterey, a distance of one hundred and eighty miles, through a dreary desert region, and was traversed under the oppressive rays of a tropical sun, while no pleasant landscape cheered the tired soldiers on the march, except the lofty peaks of the Sierra Madre Mountains in the dim distance. Resting two or three days at Ceralvo, a pretty town at the base of the mountain range and watered by a cool stream, the army crossed a vast plain dotted with many empty farm-houses, betokening the gathering of the population for the defence of Monterey. They passed through a gap of the mountains to encamp again upon the banks of the San Juan beyond Marin. Thence they marched to San Francisco, ten miles from the city, and on the morning of the 19th of September, leaving San Francisco, the advance soon had a greeting from the Mexican guns, to which the eager soldiers responded with shouts that made the mountains ring. General Taylor had repeatedly declared that the enemy would make no resistance to his march. As he reached the edge of the plain overlooking the city, escorted by a company of rangers, a twelve-pounder ball struck within a few feet of him. Assured of a determined resistance by this unexpected message from the Mexican works, he ordered the guard to withdraw from the reconnaissance to Walnut Springs. Here, in a sequestered and lovely spot, three miles from Monterey, the pleasure resort of the gay inhabitants, the army encamped, and the sounds of drum and trumpet with the tramp of soldiers soon to engage in the bloody scenes of battle filled the peaceful recesses of the grove.

Monterey was the capital of the State of Nueva Leon, and had at the beginning of the war a population of about ten thousand citizens. General Ampudia, who had succeeded General Arista in command, anticipating the attack of this city, had collected here more than ten thousand troops for its defence. With the caution taught them in the battles already fought, they were awaiting behind their fortifications the assault of the Americans.

The strongest defence of Monterey lay in its well-chosen site. It was surrounded with rugged and craggy mountains, which rose four thousand feet above it. Some of the lower eminences hung directly over the city. It lay in a beautiful valley made by the river San Juan, which flowed out from a steep gorge on the west. Through this gorge ran the road to Saltillo. The river flowed toward the east along the southern side of the city, which was regularly laid out for about two miles along its bank. This valley was lower than the plain, which extended to the north and east of the city. A dry ravine, several hundred yards in length, intersected this plain on the north. The mountain ranges ran mouth of the city beyond the river, with high hills reaching to its banks, and commanding the city. The plain gradually sloped down on the north and east toward the city. On the north-east was the approach to Monterey from Ceralvo across this plain. The upper part of the city was situated on the crest commanded by high hills one mile distant and beyond the Saltillo road. On one of these was the Bishop's Palace.

The American army approached Monterey over the plain from the north. It was here and there planted with fields of corn. The natural defences of the city had been made apparently impregnable by fortifications constructed with great skill, and garrisoned by well-armed troops. They would test to the utmost the intrepidity and strength of any attacking force.

Near the Ceralvo road on the north was the citadel which lay outside of the city. It was built of a soft volcanic stone, had four sides, and was two hundred feet square. At the angles were projections, each pierced for seven guns. The upper portion of the wall or parapet was twelve feet thick, resting on a heavier stone wall, with a ditch twelve feet wide surrounding the whole fort. This defence was situated on a slight elevation so that it commanded the country for two miles, and also the forts at the lower end of the city. In its centre were the ruins of an old cathedral, which gave the "Old Black Fort," as it was called by the Americans, under the thick clouds of smoke hanging over it during the battle, an impregnable look.

On the eastern or lower side of the city was a fort of four guns, behind which were two redoubts named Fort Tannerio and Fort Diabolo, each mounting three guns. This line of fortifications was continued by two breastworks and a barricade on the south, and commanded all the approaches to the city from the east.

On the north-west of the city beyond the cultivated fields and above the Saltillo road rose a rugged height called Independence Hill. It had two forts, one of which, the Bishop's Palace, thoroughly equipped for defence, was the strongest position held by the enemy outside of the city. Opposite to this, on the other side of the road, was Federation Hill, beyond the San Juan River, having fortifications of less strength, mounting but one or two guns, to protect the rear of the city.

In addition to these cleverly constructed defences, which included with their light batteries forty-two pieces of artillery, were strong stone barricades at the entrances of each of the streets pierced for musketry, while the stone houses, with their parapets, were each minor forts to aid in the stubborn resistance which the defenders of Monterey were prepared to make. A large force of cavalry was also waiting in the plaza to cut off the expected retreat of the Americans, after their attempt to capture the city.

On the 19th of September General Taylor ordered several reconnaissances to be made by the engineer corps and Texas rangers to obtain accurate information of the enemy's works. The American army was without heavy artillery. Rather than submit to the delays of its transportation from Camargo and Matamoras, it was decided to attempt the capture of Monterey by assault, and carry the works at the point of the bayonet.

On Sunday, the loth of September, General Worth, with his division numbering seventeen hundred men and one hundred Texas rangers, was ordered to take position at the extreme right on the Saltillo road, which he was to reach by a long detour. He was directed to cut off the supplies and retreat of the enemy, and, if possible, capture the defences in that quarter. The afternoon and following night were spent in cutting a road through the fields of corn and sugar-cane, and building bridges over the ditches for the passage of Duncan's artillery. To conceal this movement the other two divisions were marched to the front of the town, but withdrawn at night. A ten-inch mortar and two four-pounder howitzers were posted in the dry ravine on the north of the city within fourteen hundred yards of the Old Black Fort, and protected all night by the Fourth Regiment of regular infantry.

General Worth's division marched for seven miles through the fields and came out upon a road at the base of a high mountain on the north-west, which led into the Saltillo road a mile and a half from the city. They encamped in the night not far from the height surmounted by the Bishop's Palace. As soon as their camp-fires were lighted, their position was disclosed and showers of grape-shot were hurled upon them. Quickly extinguishing the fires, they were obliged to lie down in the rain without supper and without blankets. They left their camp at day-break, and following the winding road entered the Saltillo road, when they discovered a large body of Mexican cavalry waiting to give battle. Part of the Texan rangers dismounted and moved forward to concealed positions in underbrush and behind a fence on the right and left of the road. Here they attacked four regiments of Mexican lancers riding proudly down the road, and checked the advance of the first regiment by a sharp fire of musketry. The Mexican commander pressing on fell pierced by many balls. The rest of the Texans came up and drove the Mexicans into the chaparral and up the hill. They left nearly one hundred killed and wounded on and near the road. Only two men were killed on the American side.

After this short engagement with the enemy's cavalry, General Worth moved on the Saltillo road out of range from the fortifications on the hill, encamped beside the stream, and prepared to storm the height on the morrow.

The night of the loth was passed by the now separated American troops around Monterey with such feelings as only those who are on the eve of a fierce and bloody strife can adequately describe. Laughter and jest among veterans and volunteers soon died away, to give place to silent thoughts of the issues of the morrow, and then to the sleep of brave men preparing for the terrible scenes of battle.

The long roll sounded at dawn of the 21st of September, and the columns moved forward over the plain to the assault. Clouds of mist were hanging over the city, pierced only by the church-steeples. Soon, however, the rays of the rising sun dispelled the fog, and the breeze swept it away rolled in masses up the mountain-sides.

The troops took their appointed positions on the south of the city. General Twigg's division under Colonel Garland's command, with Captain Bragg's artillery, were on the left of the Black Fort. The cavalry commands of May and Woods, with the mounted rangers under General Henderson, moved to the right to support General Worth, who was expected to attack the upper part of the city, while a diversion was made by the troops in front and on the eastern defences. General Quitman's force, comprising the Mississippi and Tennessee volunteer regiments, and the dragoons under General Butler, occupied ground fronting the Black Fort, and farther to the right were stationed the Kentucky and Ohio volunteer regiments.

General Garland began the assault by entering the town on the north-east, and attempting, by turning to the right through the suburbs, to gain the rear of Fort Tannerio. The Mexicans repulsed them in half an hour by an effective fire from the forts and houses in the vicinity. The Tennessee and Mississippi regiments were ordered to support Colonel Garland's advance. The Tennesseans marched to the left, passed the Mississippi regiment, and started on a brisk run toward the firing, which was nearly a mile distant. As they crossed the open plain, led by General Quitman, the Black Fort opened a terrible fire upon them from twenty guns. They pressed on without faltering through the low tangled brush and thickly flying grape-shot, at heavy loss, till they came within five hundred yards of the fort, from the attack of which Colonel Garland's men were returning. An unfortunate order from some subaltern to halt and fire stopped the column, which began to fire upon the fort while exposed to the deadly range of two of the fortifications that poured grape and canister shot upon them, till the gallant band leading the assault quite melted away. The officers again and again gave orders to their men to charge, but the commands were not heard amid the shrieks of the wounded and the terrific roar of the battle. At length the firing lulled, and the orders given again were heard and quickly obeyed. The Tennesseans rushed up to the very cannon's mouth, while grape-shot, thick as hail, was hurled upon them from the forts. Leaping the ditch and climbing the rampart with Lieutenant Nixon, one of their brave officers at their head, the assailants saw the enemy flying, and turned a gun just loaded with canister shot upon them. Rushing on to the outermost fort, about forty yards distant, they entered it just as the Mississippi troops had taken possession, and captured thirty prisoners and five cannon which Lieutenant Ridgeley immediately turned upon the enemy's works. A movement to assault Fort Diabolo, five hundred yards in the rear, was now partially executed in the face of a vigorous firing maintained by its garrison, but the order was countermanded, and the men gained shelter from the deadly, missiles to which they had been so long exposed.

While General Quitman's brigade was thus engaged, General Butler, with the Ohio volunteer regiment and Fourth United States Infantry, had penetrated the city on the north, but could not long endure the storm of musket and artillery shot which was poured upon them from the houses and breast-works. He withdrew his men, but after the first fort was carried by General Quitman's troops, General Butler was again ordered to advance. He attempted to storm Fort Diabolo, but he himself and Colonel Mitchell were both wounded, and his command again fell back.

Many of the assailants had now lost their regiments, and fought for several hours without orders from behind houses, walls, and fences. The Mexican lancers swept down over the ground along the front of the town, where the American troops had marched under fire, and without mercy pierced the wounded with their lances, till they were checked with heavy loss by a steady firing from a body of Ohio and Mississippi troops.

The Mexicans everywhere fought with determination and bravery against their gallant foes. Twenty-five hundred of their best troops covered with their guns the approach to Fort Diabolo. Grape and canister shot swept like a murderous flame over the open ground around it, and it seemed impossible that day to take Fort Diabolo. A fruitless attempt was made by Colonel Garland and a section of Ridgeley's battery to take the Mexican guns posted at the bridge, but the deep stream prevented approach to it. The day was drawing to a close, and the recall was sounded to our scattered troops. The Mexican cavalry charged upon them as they retired from the field, but they were driven back by Ridgeley's guns at heavy loss. A garrison of troops who had been less exposed was posted in the captured forts, and what was left of the gallant regiments which had heroically won them withdrew to the camping ground at Walnut Springs. The Tennessee regiment lost one hundred out of three hundred men who entered battle that morning. It gained the name from that day of "The Bloody First."

A cold and dreary rain fell in the darkness of that September night upon the field where hundreds of wounded lay. The scenes after battle, when its excitement is over, are indeed heartrending. Then the bravest recoil at the horrors of war. There was but little sleep that night. The soldiers in the fort had not the shelter of a blanket, and the camp was disturbed by the cries of the wounded brought in from the field.. On the cold and muddy ground the weary soldiers waited, without even supper, for the morning's fighting, but the dead and wounded lay in ghastly heaps upon the field the next day, unburied and uncared for, a truce for the purpose having been refused by the Mexican generals.

The 22nd of September began with rain, and the attack was not renewed that day on this side of the city. On the 23rd, early in the morning, the men in the fort were relieved by General Quitman's shattered brigade; Lieutenant Ridgeley, one of the most enthusiastic spirits on the field, was still there with his battery. General Quitman discovered that Fort Diabolo had been abandoned during the night, and took possession of it. Then dispatching four companies of troops to enter the town, he again brought on the engagement. These soldiers fought from house to house, and had pushed far into the town, when they were reinforced by the Texan rangers, who rushed through the streets like tigers with the battle cry, "Goliad and Alamo!" They broke through the walls of the houses, climbed to their flat roofs, bringing down with their unerring rifles every Mexican visible, till they had forced their way to within one hundred and fifty yards of the Plaza, where the enemy were posted in great force. Bravely supported by the Mississippians and Texan troops, the men in front were just about reaching with their avenging fire the masses of the Mexicans, when General Taylor, unaware of their advantageous position, sent orders to them to retire. At that moment General Worth's troops were about equally distant from the Plaza, advancing from the other side of the city.

The Storming of Monterey (Conclude)

Worth's operations—Taking Fort Federation—Capture of Fort Independence—The Bishop's Palace stormed—Fighting in the city—Reaching the Plaza—Ampudia surrenders—Evacuation of the city—Incidents of the battle-field.

After the reconnaissance made toward the city on the 21st by a part of General Worth's command, he had determined to prepare for a vigorous attack of the Bishop's Palace and Fort Independence on the spur of Mount Mitria, at whose base he had repulsed the Mexican lancers. The fort was on the summit of the ridge seven or eight hundred feet above the river. The Bishop's Palace was situated a few hundred yards below the ridge at the head of the slope to the city.

General Worth decided first to take the two fortifications on Federation Hill across the river, which greatly harassed his position. He ordered Captain Smith of the artillery battalion with four companies to move directly across the stream about noon of the 21st and carry the height. He was supported by Captain Miles with the United States infantry, who, taking a shorter route, reached the base of the mountain before him. The enemy deployed along the slopes of the mountain, and the action began with skirmishers who were thrown forward in detachments from the American lines. Then the troops, as if it were a holiday climb, began to clamber and leap from rock to rock up the mountain-side, swinging themselves forward by the shrubs and bushes and winding the hill with circlets of flame and smoke, as for half an hour they were driving the enemy up to their fortifications. The Mexicans were reinforced by five hundred troops, and General Worth in like manner strengthened his own lines considerably. But this bold fighting up the mountain-side had filled the Mexicans with fear of the struggle when it should take place on even ground. The summit was at last reached by the American troops, and they rushed furiously on the fort, but saw the enemy flying headlong down the other side of the ridge. In a few moments the Stars and Stripes were flying in the breeze above the fort in place of the Mexican tricolor. The nine-pounder guns captured in Fort Federation were now run down the slope and turned upon the other fort, Soldardo, six hundred yards distant, toward which the troops sent as reinforcements were hastening. Captain Smith and his command, eager for more honors, joined in the impetuous charge, and reached the second fort at the same time with the supporting force under Colonel Hays. The enemy, in a complete rout, were dashing down the hill into the city. Another gun was captured here. Only fifteen Americans were killed in this brilliant assault. The victors threw themselves upon the ground to sleep as well as they could in the dark, stormy night which quickly closed upon them.

General Worth had planned to take Fort Independence under cover of the night, and had organized an attacking force of four companies of regulars with two hundred Texans under Hays and Walker. Lieutenant-Colonel Childs had command of this party, which was to follow up the advantages already gained during the afternoon. At three o'clock in the morning of the 22nd, in a wild storm of rain and wind, they toiled up the ascent to within one hundred yards of the summit. Just at daybreak they were perceived by the Mexican pickets, who discharged their muskets at the forms dimly seen in the mist, and hurried back to the shelter of the fort. But they were followed by a volley from their assailants, who with the Texans in front charged immediately upon the fortification, cleared it of its defenders, and sent a triumphant shout to their comrades below.

A twelve-pounder gun was now dispatched from the camp and hoisted up the ascent to be mounted and used in the attack upon the Bishop's Palace. Troops also arrived from Federation Hill opposite and were drawn up for the assault. Taking advantage of a sally of the Mexicans from the palace, these troops rushed down the slope like an overwhelming wave and carried the works in a few minutes. Lieutenant Ayers was the first to mount the walls and unfurl the banner of the Union over the palace, to the dismay of those in the city below. The guns of the palace were now quickly turned upon its garrison fleeing down the hill into the city.

These rapid and successful captures of the enemy's strong positions had prepared the way for the assault of the city from the west. General Worth had received no orders or communications from General Taylor since the 19th. On the morning of the 23rd the sounds of battle in the eastern part of the city were again heard, and General Worth ordered his troops to the attack. They advanced by the two main streets into the city. Duncan's and McCall's batteries followed in the rear of the infantry. As they advanced reserves were posted at the head of every cross street to avoid flank movements by the Mexican cavalry.

The Americans were all that day pushing on from street to street beyond the cemetery, behind the walls of which the Mexicans made a vigorous stand, and forcing their way through the walls of houses or from roof to roof, as were their comrades on the eastern side. They reached a street toward evening within a square of the plaza. Darkness at length gathered over the terrible scenes of slaughter and the ruin of dwellings before the eyes of their owners, who had valiantly resisted the foe that was laying waste their beautiful city and slaying its inhabitants. There was a partial cessation of firing during the night. A mortar was, however, posted in the cemetery, and its shells fell all night upon the enemy's troops massed in the plaza to the number of eight thousand. Two twelve-pounder howitzers and one six-pounder gun were pushed through the streets and raised upon the flat roof of a house within point-blank range of the plaza, which was prepared to make terrible havoc of the Mexicans at daybreak.

General Ampudia now saw that the city was lost, and that a few hours only would accomplish the destruction of his whole force. On the night of the 23rd he sent General Moreno to ask of General Worth terms of surrender. At dawn he proceeded to General Taylor's, and after much difficulty a commission of officers from both armies agreed upon terms of capitulation so favorable to the Mexicans that they were ever afterward a cause of indignation and animadversion against the American officers of the commission, one of whom was Colonel Jefferson Davis, so famous in the subsequent history of the United States as the first and only President of the Southern Confederacy in the great rebellion. General Worth and General Henderson of the Texan volunteers were the other two American commissioners. Those representing the Mexican army were Generals Requena and Ortego and Senor Llano, Governor of Nuevo Leon. The motives which prevailed with the American commissioners were as follows: The citadel was still in the possession of the Mexicans and a way of escape for the Mexican troops, should they finally be overcome at the plaza. There had been already great loss of life among the Americans. Humanity demanded the sparing of lives on both sides instead of increased slaughter in the prolonged conflicts of a siege, while the moral effect of a surrender would be greater than would be the retreat of the Mexican army.

By the terms of the convention the citadel was evacuated, and also the city within seven days. The Mexican forces retained the most of their arms except the larger part of the artillery; the public property was turned over to the Americans, and a cessation of hostilities between the two armies for six weeks was agreed upon. The Mexican troops retired to the city of Saltillo and thence to San Luis Potosi, three hundred miles distant from Monterey, where the headquarters of the Northern army of Mexico were established. Shortly after General Ampudia was made a prisoner in the Castle of Perote by the order of Santa Anna, who returned from exile and took command of the army; but many of the troops who had been allowed to withdraw from Monterey with their arms soon fought General Taylor again in the bloody battle of Buena Vista, at great risk to his little army. The American loss was five hundred in killed and wounded, being nearly one tenth of all the troops engaged. The Mexicans suffered a loss of over one thousand.

After the imposing ceremony of the surrender had been performed, and the Stars and Stripes had taken the places of the Mexican tricolor on every fortification and above the citadel itself, General Worth entered upon his duties as military governor of Monterey.

Among the tragedies of the terrible scenes at Monterey, which combined all the horrors of a battle, a siege, and an assault, the following incident was related by one engaged in the conflict:

"While I was stationed with our left wing in one of the forts, on the evening of the 21st, I saw a Mexican woman busily engaged in carrying bread and water to the wounded men of both armies. I saw the ministering angel raise the head of a wounded man, give him water and food, and then bind up his ghastly wound with a handkerchief she took from her own head. After having exhausted her supplies she went back to her house to get more bread and water for others. As she was returning on her mission of mercy to comfort other wounded persons, I heard the report of a gun, and saw the innocent creature fall dead! I think it was an accidental shot that struck her—I would not be willing to believe otherwise. It made me sick at heart, and turning from the scene, I involuntarily raised my eyes toward heaven, and thought, 'Great God! is this war!'  Passing the spot the next day, I saw her body still lying there, with the bread by her side, and the broken gourd, with a few drops of water still in it—emblems of her errand. We buried her, and while we were digging her grave cannon-balls flew around us like hail."

Operations of the Army of the Centre

Bank of Buena Vista

Affairs in Mexico—Return of Santa Anna—Failure of the plan of the Army of the Centre—Dividing General Taylor's force—General Scott Commander-in-Chief—Position of the army—Agua Nueva—Withdrawal of the army to Buena Vista—The chosen battle-ground—Approach of the Mexican army—Disposition of Santa Anna's forces—Angostura—Washington's Birthday—Summons to surrender from Santa Anna—Refusal—Attack of the American left—Repulse—Address of Santa Anna to his troops.

There had been another change of administration in Mexico during the summer of 1847. The violent and oppressive government of Paredes had been overthrown, and a revolution in favor of Santa Anna and other political exiles led to the return of the former president from Cuba on the 16th of August. He landed at Vera Cruz by express permission of the United States Government, in the expectation that his influence would be favorable to negotiations for peace. He, however, made a triumphal entry into the City of Mexico on the 15th of September, and departing for San Luis de Potosi on the 8th of October, with great energy and success began to levy and equip a new army. He devoted much of his private fortune to this purpose.

Having notified General Taylor that he would entertain no propositions of peace, he was informed that the armistice was ended November 13th by orders from Washington. General Taylor still holding Monterey pushed forward his army to occupy Saltillo, the capital of the State of Coahuila, which commanded the mountain-pass to the vast table-land in the north of Mexico, and was also the centre of a fertile country. He also took possession of Monclova, Linares, Victoria, and Tampico.

The government at Washington was now planning to strike a decisive blow. General Taylor advised that an army of twenty-five thousand men, ten thousand of whom should be regulars, should be landed at Vera Cruz or Alvarado, which should be Made the base of operations against the capital of the distracted Republic.

The "Army of the Centre" now began its operations in Mexico. Its destination was the province and city of Chihuahua. During the month of August, 1847, the various regiments and detachments composed of volunteer troops from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, and Texas, with an artillery company and battery and a company of dragoons of the regular army, rendezvoused at San Antonio de Bexar, where they went into a camp of instruction. On the 26th of September the advance of this army left San Antonio. The force amounted to two thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine men. Taking a route by Presidio they crossed the Rio Grande and proceeded as far as Santa Rosa. The impassable range of the Sierra Gorda prevented any farther approach to the city of Chihuahua. General Wool, in command of this army, therefore turned aside, and occupied Monclova, the ancient capital of Chihuahua, and reported to General Taylor at Monterey. He was directed to move forward to Parras, where he remained during the operations against the province and towns of Tamaulipas, among which was Victoria the capital, occupied January 4th, 1848.

While at Victoria, General Taylor on the 14th of January received despatches from General Winfield Scott, announcing his arrival in Mexico to take command of the expedition against the City of Mexico. As commander-in-chief, General Scott made a demand for the greater part of General Taylor's army, including nearly all the regular troops, the volunteer divisions of Generals Worth and Patterson, and the commands of Generals Quitman and Twiggs, which were already at Victoria. These were despatched at once. Worth's division marched from Saltillo to Carmago and Matamoras, and joined General Scott at the Brazos. The organization of the Army of the Centre was broken up, some of the troops going south to General Scott, but most of them were merged in the command left to General Taylor.

It was with great reluctance that General Taylor parted with his brave soldiers. Many of them had won with him brilliant victories, and shared great perils in the midst of the enemy's country. He issued the following order to his departing comrades:

"It is with deep sensibility that the commanding general finds himself separated from the troops he so long commanded. To those corps, regular and volunteer, who have shared with him the active services of the field, he feels the attachment due to such associations, while to those who are making their first campaign he must express his regret that he cannot participate with them in its eventful scenes.

"To all, both officers and men, he extends his heartfelt wishes for their continued success and happiness, confident that their achievements on another theatre will redound to the credit of their country and its arms."

General Taylor still held Saltillo, and advanced the main force to a plain called Agua Nueva, eighteen miles south, where he could command the road to San Luis de Potosi and several passes in the vicinity. On the 22nd of January, seventy of his cavalry were captured at the hacienda of Encarnacion, forty-eight miles from Saltillo, by the Mexican cavalry officer, General Miņon.

General Taylor joined General Wool at Agua Nueva on the 31st of January. Twenty days later, seeing unmistakable indications that General Santa Anna was intending to attack him with an overwhelming army of twenty thousand men, largely composed of cavalry and artillery, he fell back about twelve miles to Angostura, near the village of Buena Vista. The position was one of great natural advantages for defence, and had been previously selected by General Wool as the best location in all the country for a battle of few against a superior force.

The road from San Luis de Potosi here becomes a narrow defile, breaking through the mountain range separating the valley north of Saltillo from the more elevated valley of La Encantada. On the right was a plain cut up with impassable gullies. On the left of the road a series of arroyos and ridges ran back to a plateau at the base of the mountains, making the ground on each side almost impassable for artillery and cavalry.

Angostura was held by the Illinois First, under Colonel Hardin. General Wool's division encamped a mile and a half in the rear, and General Taylor with the batteries of Sherman and Bragg and the Mississippi Rifles under Colonel Davis went on to Saltillo to prepare it for the expected attack. Colonel Yell, of the Arkansas mounted volunteers, was left at Agua Nueva to superintend the removal of stores.

Santa Anna's fully equipped army of over twenty thousand men left Encarnacion at noon of the 21st of February. Toward evening, Colonel Yell's pickets, five miles south of Agua Nueva, were driven in. The trains were therefore hastened off toward Buena Vista, and the remaining stores and buildings burned. The Mexican army emerged from the gorge near Agua Nueva. The Americans, who had been warned of their approach by a deserter, had escaped a night attack and surprise. The Mexicans pushed on, after a short halt, in pursuit, and on the morning of the 22nd came within sight of the Americans. Deploying to the right and left, they filled the whole space from the road to the mountains with a splendid array of banners and armor glittering in the morning sun.

It was an auspicious day to cheer that little army of American soldiers, the 22nd of February. Early in the morning they had moved to their stations, with banners unfurled to the breeze, amid the strains of "Hail Columbia," which passed, with the words, "To the memory of Washington," from regiment to regiment. Many a heart was stirred to deepest fervor by the example of that purest and noblest of patriots.

The American infantry were most advantageously posted on ridges, extending from Angostura to mountains on the left. They also held the plateau, with reserves of cavalry and infantry on the ridges in the rear. General Taylor rode along the lines accompanied by General Wool, and cheered the troops to the unequal conflict with speeches that were enthusiastically received. During the forenoon a white flag was seen approaching from the enemy's lines. Its bearer brought this summons:

February 22, 1847.

You are surrounded by twenty thousand men, and cannot in any human probability avoid suffering a rout, and being cut to pieces with your troops; but as you deserve consideration and particular esteem, I wish to save you from a catastrophe, and for that purpose give you this notice, in order that you may surrender at discretion, under the assurance that you will be treated with the consideration belonging to the Mexican character, to which end you will be granted an hour's time to make up your mind, to commence from the moment when my flag of truce arrives in your camp.

With this view, I assure you of my particular consideration.


To GENERAL Z. TAYLOR, Commanding the forces of the United States

General Taylor's reply was very brief. With the usual formalities of address, it said: "I decline acceding to your request."

The Mexicans had two lines of infantry in front of the ridge occupied by the Americans. On their right and left were batteries of heavy guns, and a large howitzer near the road. Their cavalry were" in the rear of the two wings, and behind the centre were the headquarters of Santa Anna and his body-guard. A brigade still farther in the rear protected his trains.

The Mexicans brought on the battle by attempting to flank the American left, moving up the slope of the plateau, on the ridge which approached and finally formed the one held by Americans. This movement was met by a counter one on the Mexican left near La Angostura. A shell from the Mexican howitzer opened the fight, and General Ampudia's light infantry were soon hotly engaged with the American riflemen, whose firing was deliberate and who took shelter behind the crest of the ridge. The Mexican cannon were also directed at the Americans on the plateau, but a signal shell stopped the fighting of that day. Three hundred Mexicans had fallen under the deadly aim of the American riflemen, whose entire loss was only four wounded.

At sunset, General Taylor returned to Saltillo, strengthening its defences by increased troops and artillery. The Americans also threw up earthworks at Angostura. The two armies sank to rest in the gloom of night, as the sweet strains of martial bands floated down the hillsides from the Mexican lines. Occasional gusts of rain swept through the cold night air, so that the chilled and shivering soldiers on the mountains built fires of the stalks and dwarf trees which grew on their sterile slopes.

Ere the evening closed Santa Anna prepared his soldiers for the conflict on the morrow. He inflamed their patriotism and passions by recounting the wrongs that Mexico had suffered from the United States, and pictured to them their country desolated by the invader, who, for the sake of acquiring territory, set every principle of right at defiance. He promised that the blood of their countrymen should be avenged and their own sufferings compensated by victory on the morrow. The loud cries of the troops in response, "Viva Santa Anna!" "Viva la Republic!" "Libertad a Muerto!"  were distinctly heard in the American lines.

The Battle of Buena Vista (Concluded)

Fighting for the plateau—The three columns of the enemy—Heroism of Lieutenant O'Brien—Junction of Lombardini and Pachecho—Attack on Angostura—Cowardice of troops—Critical moments—Arrival of General Taylor—Retrieving defeat—Cavalry movements—Desperate charges—Following up advantages—Night approaches—Carnage of war—Sufferings of the wounded—Flight of the Mexicans—Ruin of their army—Joy and triumph of the Americans—Movements of Santa Anna—Consequences of this victory—Departure of General Taylor.

At two o'clock in the morning of the 23rd, General Ampudia's division was reinforced by two thousand men, and began to force the American left. The pickets were driven in and a lively action began at daybreak. Lieutenant O'Brien, stationed at the upper edge of the plateau, near the mountain, came to the aid of the riflemen with a twelve-pounder howitzer and two guns. With great precision, he threw six or eight shells among Ampudia's troops pouring down the mountain slope upon the Americans. Still they came on, notwithstanding the terrible slaughter of their men. From the ridge between the two armies a Mexican battery hurled a plunging fire on O'Brien's guns and the soldiers on the plateau.

The battle now became general all along the line. The movements of the enemy had developed into three columns of attack. General Moray Villamil, with two regiments and two battalions of artillery, was attempting to carry the pass of Angostura. The two divisions of Generals Lombardini and Pachecho, moving one across the ridge and the other up the ravine toward the mountain, were to take the plateau. The extreme left of the American position was being assailed by Ampudia, acting in conjunction with the centre attack. General Ortega held the Mexican reserve on the ground first occupied by the enemy.

General Ampudia maintained a vigorous onset, while Lombardini led his column along the ridge toward the plateau, in a brilliant array of shining uniforms, gay equipments, and fluttering banners in full sight of the American army. Behind the ridge and hidden from sight was Pachecho's division coming up the ravine to join Lombardini on the plateau near the head of the third principal gorge cutting its edge.

General Wool was at this time at Angostura. General Lane, the next in command, ordered Lieutenant O'Brien to take position with his artillery and the Second Indiana regiment at the head of this gorge and hold the enemy in check. For twenty-five minutes O'Brien maintained the contest against a force ten times as great as his own. His guns mowed down whole platoons of the enemy. Their advance corps was completely destroyed. The Mexican guns on the ridge were severely retaliating upon these Americans, when O'Brien was ordered to move forward fifty yards to the edge of the gorge. The Second Indiana volunteers now hesitated to come up to his support under the galling fire to which he was exposed. General Lane hoped to drive Pachecho's division down the ravine. He was amazed to see the Indiana troops moving off in companies to the right instead of marching forward. Colonel Bowles, their commanding officer, had without authority given the rash order, "Cease firing and retreat." They were soon in a confused flight. General Lane, wounded and bleeding, with some of his staff officers, made heroic efforts to rally them. It was in this service that some of the bravest of his staff lost their lives. Riding in among the fleeing troops, Major Dix seized the standard of the regiment, and declared that he would carry it back alone into the battle and save Indiana from disgrace. Touched by this last appeal, some of the panic-stricken soldiers gathered around their flag, and under sound of drum and fife were led back to the conflict, where they joined the Mississippi regiment. The rest fled to Buena Vista, and announced that all was lost, when indeed their comrades were just entering the hottest of the battle from which they had ignominiously fled. Their cowardice had well-nigh lost the battle. The line was broken and several companies of Arkansas and Mississippi volunteers were forced to retreat toward Buena Vista.

Lieutenant O'Brien unflinchingly maintained his position, though cut off from his supporters. Loading his guns with double charges of canister shot he created terrible havoc in the Mexican ranks. At length, overwhelmed with the reckless troops who poured upon him like a flood, he retreated, leaving one four-pounder gun in their hands, since it had not a man or horse left to save it.

Lombardini and Pachecho were now able to unite their divisions on the plateau. They were met by the Second Illinois, Sherman's battery, and a squadron of dragoons, hurrying up as the Indiana regiment gave way. Artillery and musket shots were fiercely mingled in the death-dealing storm that now raged over this part of the plateau. The cavalry fell back into the ravine. The Mexicans, fighting with terrible earnestness and unsurpassed bravery, succeeded in turning the American left. The Illinois troops and the artillery were now between a fire in front and rear. They fell back and the enemy marched past their line, winning the coveted position.

Villamil's column had meanwhile attempted to take La Angostura. The conflict was sharp and brief. Washington's battery was served with irresistible effect upon these troops. They were badly routed and sought shelter in the third gorge and the large ravine near it.

This success on the American right relieved troops there which were despatched to the centre. Three regiments of Kentucky and Illinois troops and one section each of Bragg and Sherman's batteries were thus added to the combatants on the plateau.

But the enemy were in nearly entire possession of the plateau, and the critical moment of the battle had arrived. Victory had been almost won by the gallant Mexicans, when General Taylor arrived upon the field from Saltillo and took command of his sorely pressed troops. He found the battle line to be now two miles in length and parallel to the mountain, being also one mile wide from the plateau to the road. The enemy's cavalry and a small part of their infantry were nearly opposite to Buena Vista, while the American line of defence was very irregular and facing the mountain. The key to the position was the pass of Angostura. That was still held by the Americans. The enemy did not attempt to take it, and this was a fatal mistake for their cause. Their artillery in front remained comparatively inactive.

General Taylor first sought to strengthen his left and retrieve what had been lost. It was now noon, when the sturdy Mississippi riflemen were led into action and General Wool brought up the Third Indiana regiment from the right. Colonel May's dragoons were ordered back from the left to the plateau. The head of Ampudia's column marching by our troops was checked by a tremendous fire from the Mississippi rifles, moving at right angles upon them from the head of a ravine. The Mexicans soon wavered and turned back to their main line, forced by the onset of the Mississippians.

Then they turned upon the enemy's cavalry and drove them back with the help of some Indiana troops. The day was brightening on the left. Moreover on the plateau the artillery were gaining some advantage, when Santa Anna brought up with immense exertion a heavy battery and some companies of American-Irish deserters, called the San Patricio Battalion. It enfiladed the Americans on the plateau with a very destructive fire, but the American batteries still maintained their advantage and finally broke the attacking column, part of which fell back to Santa Anna's reserves, the rest joining Ampudia, fighting vigorously on the left. Sherman and Bragg were ordered thither and their bloody work was again renewed.

"Down the hills of Angostura still the storm of battle rolls,

Blood is flowing, men are dying: God have mercy on their souls!

Who is losing? who is winning? over hill and over plain

I see but smoke of cannon clouding through the mountain rain."

The tide of battle was shifted now to the Mexican right and the vicinity of Buena Vista. The Mexican general had two objects to accomplish in this part of the field, to capture the American wagon train, now near Buena Vista, and to gain possession of the hacienda itself. Ampudia's cavalry in fine array moved down upon the commands of Colonels Yell and Marshall, who with the aid of May's dragoons and two guns under Lieutenant Reynolds drove them back to the base of the mountain.

General Torrejon with his cavalry, having with difficulty crossed the ravines in the rear of the original American line, now bore down upon the wagon and supply train. Met by the Arkansas and Kentucky mounted troops, for a while mingled in wild confusion, they fought hand to hand. A part of the Mexicans dashed through the street of Buena Vista, where they were assailed by a murderous fire from the housetops. A part turned back toward the mountain, hastening out of the range of Reynolds' canister shots.

Another brigade of Mexican horsemen now attempted to cut their way across the plateau through to the road. They were received by Mississippi and Indiana troops in two close lines, forming an angular front of deadly rifles and muskets. A quick succession of volleys met the horsemen dashing forward. Thrown into confusion, rank after rank strewed the earth, and finally they turned and fled to the mountains.

"Down they go, the brave young riders, horse and foot together fall,

Like a ploughshare in the fallow, through them ploughs the Northern ball."

General Taylor now following up the favorable turn in the battle, sent May's dragoons, with three sections of artillery, to drive the Mexicans back along the mountain. They retreated into range of guns on the plateau. Nine pieces of artillery were crushing their lines down, when Santa Anna sent a flag of truce to General Taylor "to know what he wanted." It was an artifice to gain time. During the suspension of the firing these troops, numbering five thousand or six thousand, escaped from their perilous situation.

But now coming up the third gorge are seen the Mexican reserves composed of their best troops; joined with those retreating front their right they made a column of twelve thousand men. Before these the Illinois and Kentucky troops fell back and took shelter in the second gorge. The Mexicans, driving O'Brien and his guns before them, reaching this narrow ravine, poured a tremendous fire upon the Americans massed there. They endeavored to retreat by its mouth to the road, covering their rout with their dead and wounded. But the mouth of the gorge was closed by Mexican lancers. Dashing upon these in vain, they fell under their horses' feet pierced and dying. But help came unexpectedly when all seemed doomed. Washington's battery, hurling spherical case-shot among the enemy, drove them in confusion from the gorge, from which the Americans now escaped with heavy loss, including several of their bravest officers.

The other part of the Mexican reserves had meanwhile been advancing in the face of a terrible fire upon O'Brien's guns, from which he was finally obliged to retreat when nearly all his horses and gunners were killed or wounded. But Bragg and Lane and Davis, who had been ordered from the left to support him with their commands, as they came up in front of the fresh troops of Santa Anna, fought them with unsurpassed fury. Line upon line fell beneath that fiery tempest of death-dealing missiles, till the enemy, again repulsed, fled to the ravine, leaving the ground covered with their fallen comrades. The batteries soon after silenced the sharp firing of the battalion of San Patricio, and Colonel May was sent to the left to guard against any other flank movement that might be attempted.

The firing slackened at sunset and ceased with nightfall.

"Sink, O Night, among thy mountains! let thy cool gray shadows fall

Dying brothers, fighting demons! drop thy curtain over all!

Through the thickening winter twilight wide apart the battle rolled;

In its sheath the sabre rested, and the cannon's lips grew cold."

Darkness closed over the field. Thousands of Mexicans were still in front, and preparations were made for another day's fighting. But when the first streaks of light broke upon the fields, a faint cry was heard, that soon increased into glad shouts on every side. No enemy was in sight. They had retreated to Agua Nueva, leaving to the Americans the field covered with their dead and wounded. "Victory! Victory! The army has fled! The field is ours!" The mountains echoed the glad shouts of heroes that had fought and won the greatest battle of the war.

General Taylor's troops on the battle of Buena Vista numbered four thousand six hundred and ninety-one. Santa Anna had over twenty-one thousand, besides General Miņon's brigade of two thousand cavalry. The Americans lost two hundred and sixty-four killed and four hundred and fifty wounded. The Mexicans lost two thousand five hundred in killed and wounded, and four thousand missing soldiers, who deserted on the night of the 23rd, fleeing to the east and west toward their homes.

The route to Agua Nueva was strewn with the bodies of dead and dying Mexicans, and with everything that would be left in a forced and hurried flight.

The scenes on that bloody field, on plateau, mountain slope, in the narrow gorges and ravines, are indescribable. With unfeigned sorrow the Americans buried the dead and gathered the wounded, who were removed to Saltillo. The Mexican in his wounds and death was no longer a foe. Canteens and knapsacks were emptied to supply the needs of these brave men now deserted by their comrades, and their hands were warmly pressed in dying agonies.

General Taylor having taken in the fight three hundred Mexicans, arranged with Santa Anna for an exchange of prisoners, and thus recovered his cavalrymen captured before the battle. Santa Anna fell back from Agua Nueva to Encarnacion. He sent to the capital of Mexico false tidings of a great victory, which was everywhere celebrated. But his shattered army in its march, filling houses and towns with wounded and dying soldiers, and the disorganized bands returning to their homes, soon told another story, and from that time the people of the Republic despaired of success.

Had General Taylor been defeated and his little army destroyed at Buena Vista, the war would have been prolonged, and the enthusiasm of the Mexicans roused to new confidence and outlay of life and treasure. Doniphan's expedition from New Mexico into Chihuahua would have ended in final disaster, and subsequent victories by the United States in Mexico would have required far greater forces. This victory virtually ended operations in Northern Mexico. Buena Vista was a brilliant close to the achievements of General Taylor's campaigns. Leaving General Wool in command of his troops, a large part of whom were soon sent to General Scott, he returned to Louisiana on leave of absence, where he received ovations of grateful praise and honor that prepared for his subsequent elevation to the Presidency of the United States.

The Bombardment and Capture of Vera Cruz

Naval operations—Arrival and landing of troops—Intrenchments and batteries—Investment of Vera Cruz—Return of the enemy's fire—The progress of the bombardment—Remonstrances of foreigners—Request for armistice—Its refusal—Effects of the shot—Offer of surrender—Terms of capitulation—Amount of captures.

The navy of the United States during the operations of the war already described had been engaged in important but far less exciting and eventful services than the army. The fleet under command of Commodore Conner had blockaded all the eastern parts of Mexico, while Commodore Sloat had closed the ports on the Pacific, and taken possession of towns in Upper California. The ships of war on the eastern coast were now to share in the perils of the bombardment and capture of Vera Cruz.

General Scott arrived off Vera Cruz, with most of the forces assigned to this campaign, on the 9th of March, 1847. Twelve thousand troops, including the divisions of Generals Worth, Twiggs, Quitman, and Pillow, which had joined the expedition at the mouth of the Rio Grande, were on board the frigates and transports that dropped anchor at Sacrificios. This was a small island about one mile from the city, on which the Spanish invader Cortez landed in 1520 for the conquest of Mexico. Each ship and vessel had its appointed station. Sixty-five surf-boats, filled with nearly one hundred men, waited in line for the signal for landing. Then dashing forward simultaneously, with the strains of martial bands sweeping over the smooth waters of the bay, they neared the shore. As the boats touched the beach the foremost men leaped into the water and ran up the sandy shore in sight of the walls of Vera Cruz. In one hour General Worth's division, numbering four thousand five hundred men, were disembarked, and by the same precise arrangements of the commodore the whole army was landed in six hours without confusion or accident. The Mexicans offered no resistance except the harmless firing of round shot and shells from the distant guns of the fortress.

The City of Vera Cruz


The city of Vera Cruz contained a thousand houses and five thousand inhabitants. It had a population three times larger at the beginning of the century. Its houses were built of stone, two stories high, with flat roofs and parapets. It was situated on a dry plain, behind which rose low sand-hills much cut up with arroyos and ravines, and covered with clusters of thick chaparral. The city was entirely surrounded with a heavy stone wall, two miles in circumference. This was armed by nine bastions, mounting one hundred guns. As many more guns and mortars were in the city and defences outside of the wall. Within these walls were five thousand troops beside the citizens, who were well armed. On an island about one mile in front of the city was the famous stone castle of San Juan d'Ulloa, built by the Spaniards in A. D. 1582 at a cost of forty millions of dollars. This was protected by two hundred guns and a garrison of one thousand troops. The foundations of its walls were laid in the sea, and it had withstood the storms and waves of three centuries.

General Scott carefully marked out the line of investment of Vera Cruz. It extended from the edge of the bay on the north-west around the valleys and hills to the right. With the United States ships of war in the roadstead below and in the shallow harbor, the city and fortress were completely invested, and cut off from all communication, except with such ships of war in the bay as represented France, England, and Spain.

The line of investment was completed by the 12th of March. Each division and regiment was assigned its place. Their camps were hidden behind the hills, and the men occupying the trenches were so concealed that a distant view from the summit of the highest sand-hills gave few indications of the numbers of men investing the city.

On the morning of the loth of March heavy firing began from both the city and castle, which was maintained for several days without intermission. Consequently the besieging operations were carried on with many difficulties and dangers. The supplies and munitions and armaments for the camps and fortifications had to be transported in the night, and the moving of heavy ordnance among these sand-hills and arroyos was greatly impeded. The chaparral had to be cut down for roads and the monstrous mortars pulled up and over ridges, in the darkness. The landing of the guns and stores from the fleet was also much delayed by "northers," which blew for two or three days at a time, while on land the Mexicans engaged in several brisk skirmishes with the Americans in localities occupied by them outside of the city.

By the 22nd of March a heavy battery mounting seven ten-inch mortars was in position not farther than eight hundred yards from the city, though concealed from the enemy by the chaparral in front of it. Other preparations were so far completed on that day that the batteries could return the fire of the city and castle. General Worth held position on the right of the line facing the city, General Pillow held the centre in the rear, and General Twiggs the left, extending to the water's edge. The island of Sacrificios and the fleet below it were on the right of General Worth. General Scott now sent a summons to General Morales, the Governor and Commander-in-chief of the city of Vera Cruz, to surrender, announcing that the batteries were established for the speedy reduction of the city and that its investment by the American army and navy was complete. He offered to save its gallant defenders and its peaceful inhabitants, including women and children, from the inevitable horrors of a triumphant assault. He did not propose the surrender of the castle, not yet having armament sufficient to reduce it. General Morales returned a decided refusal to give up either the castle or city, and before the flag of truce had reached the American lines the cannon of the city fortifications were hurling defiance at the forces of the United States.

It was but a few minutes afterward that the heavy mortar battery, the guns above the trenches, and the light draft vessels of Commodore Perry's squadron that had come up near the city, were ploughing the air in every direction with fiery shells and shrieking missiles of destruction, that fell like an iron storm upon the devoted city. With terrific thunders the guns of city and castle returned the firing with a sweeping cloud of shot that would have annihilated the assailants had they not been covered by the intrenchments and sand-hills. From the 22nd to the 23rd the cannonading on both sides was incessant. A combatant thus describes the scenes of the first night and the next morning:

"Observe the bright flashes there as they for the instant light up the battlements of the castle, and render the heavy volumes of smoke above it luminous against the surrounding darkness. See the same from the vessels; one instant, by the light you perceive the whole outline of the vessel, her masts, and spars, and smoke, and then all is dark, but again illumined; above the whole, describing long arcs of circles high in the air, see the bomb-shells rising over and falling, shown in their courses by the fuses, which twinkle like bright red stars. Observe that flash; notice the shell thus rising; it takes its long sweep—it has fallen. How heavily must that iron mask of a hundred pounds have fallen from such a height as that. But look, the flash of the explosion brings out in view, for an instant, the domes and spires among which it descended. The report you cannot distinguish from the mingled roar of the whole. Several shells from both sides are in air at the same moment; and in their high sweeps they cross each other in their lines of light. After gazing at the scene you may turn from it; yet you will be drawn to look again. But the night wears away, and on the cold beach around you, the soldiers, spreading their blankets, and wrapping themselves in them, seek repose, careless of the morrow's fate.

"The cannonade and bombardment have kept up their continual thunder for the whole night, until about an hour since. The landing of shot, shells, powder, cannon, and stores has not ceased; fatigued men have been replaced by fresh ones, and all is yet going on. Another vessel has arrived, during the time, with thirteen additional mortars, and quantities of shells, which are landing. Now there is a quiet in the storm of war; the scene around is beautiful and grand. . . . The sun rises from his ocean bed, and his rays brighten up the magnificent stone buildings of the city and the imposing battlements of the castle; the Mexican flag, of green, red, and yellow, floats in the morning air from the lofty staffs above them; while from every mast in the crowded fleet the Stars and Stripes flow out in the light breeze. The signal flags are run up on the commodore's ship. These are responded to by the seven small vessels, which immediately move out and fall in a line opposite the castle, and about a mile from it. It is a dangerous position. There goes the smoke, the loud reports reverberate along the sand-hills in the still morning air. Their shells burst in and about the castle, but that seems to notice them not. But look, all along the battlements of the castle dart out sheets of flame and clouds of smoke; around the vessels the water is thrown high, in perpendicular columns of dashing spray; but the vessels are so small that, at the distance, they are hard to hit; amid the terrific hail of iron that is pouring upon them, they still keep up their fire. The batteries open on the land, and throw their shells into the city. The three mortars that went out last night are added to those in operation before. The peals of all are continual; the tenfold number of cannon along the city walls reply in their thunders; and in the immense volumes of smoke that rise from all, and hang over and among the domes, the destructive scene closes in.

During the 23rd, the firing on the American side slackened in the midst of a heavy storm. The next day a naval battery with very heavy guns was uncovered, having been erected and mounted behind a growth of chaparral, only seven hundred yards from the walls of the city. Two thousand men had labored for several nights on this battery undiscovered by the enemy, who were greatly astonished when in their sight a few daring volunteers felled the trees that concealed it. The guns of the city were all concentrated upon it in vain, and when it opened upon the city its effect was terrible, breaching the walls, dismounting guns, and silencing whole batteries of the Mexicans. The same evening the consuls of Great Britain, France, Spain, and Prussia within Vera Cruz sent a memorial to General Scott asking for a truce, in which to withdraw neutrals and Mexican women and children from their perilous situation. The request was refused, on the ground that till the 22nd the neutrals had been warned to leave the city under the protection of safeguards offered them by General Scott, and to seek safety in, the vessels of their own governments in the harbor; immunity had been also offered to the helpless women and children, but refused. Now, only with the proposal of surrender from General Morales could a truce be granted.

On the 25th five batteries on land were hurling a terrible fire upon the city, and yet the Mexicans maintained a spirited and brave defence. When their flag-staff was shot away their soldiers, regard less of shot and shell, leaped from the battlements to the ground to rescue their flag, and then climbed back, holding their colors aloft amid the cheers of their foes. But their beautiful city was crumbling to ruins, their walls and houses were falling from their foundations. Massive stones, and corpses of men, and carcasses of animals blocked the streets in confused heaps.

The stone roofs were insufficient protection from the ponderous shells which came crashing through them. In one place where a meeting of the citizens was being held a single shell had pierced the thick stone wall and exploded, in a single moment killing and wounding scores of persons. Whole families were thus destroyed and buried under the ruins of their shattered mansions. Frightened women and children praying at the altars of the churches had been mangled by the shells and balls piercing the roofs. The very sepulchres had been torn open by cannon-balls and their dead bodies exposed to view. The troops too were falling fast.

At last the citizens could no longer endure these incessant terrors of impending death, and all united in entreating General Morales to surrender.

A flag of truce was sent at last, asking of the Americans six hours to bury their dead. The request was granted and the firing ceased. On the 26th, new guns and mortars were in position, and General Scott was about to organize parties to carry the city by assault, when he received overtures of surrender from General Landero, acting in the place of General Morales. On the 27th the commissioners having arranged articles of capitulation, they were ratified by the commanders-in-chief on both sides. The garrison was by the terms of capitulation to be surrendered as prisoners of war, to lay down their arms, and then to be released on parole not to serve again in the war till exchanged. The Mexican officers were allowed their arms and private property and were paroled. All public property, including the forts and castle of San Juan d'Ulloa with their armaments, was surrendered to the United States, while absolute protection to the property and persons of the citizens, and their religious freedom, were guaranteed by the United States. On the 29th of March the ceremony of surrender was performed on a plain in the rear of the city. General Worth received the submission of the conquered army. The Mexican troops marched into the interior, having stacked their arms, colors, and equipments. At the same time the American forces entered the city, and General Scott sent from the palace of Vera Cruz to Washington the announcement, "The flag of the United States of America floats triumphantly over the walls of this city and the castle of San Juan d' Ulloa. "

There is a sad undertone in the shouts for such a victory and in the after scenes of sorrow and desolation which long abide in human hearts and homes. Monterey under the shadow of the mountains and Vera Cruz by the sea already bore pitiful witness to the ruthless ravages of war, while the fairest fields of Mexico were drenched with the best blood of her gallant sons.

The March to the Capital City of Mexico

Consternation of the Mexican people—Arrival of Santa Anna at the Capital—Reconciliation of factions—He assumes command—Cerro Gordo—Its defences—General Scott's plan of attack—Turning the left Storming the hill by regulars—Wounding of General Shields—Assault by Pillow—Mexican losses.

The fall of Vera Cruz carried consternation to the capital city of Mexico and throughout the Republic. But the people with heroic spirit rallied again to the defence of their country under the leadership of Santa Anna. His journey from the north after the disaster of Buena Vista, which had been falsely proclaimed by himself as a victory, had called forth ovations. Deputations came out from the principal cities and states to greet and acknowledge him as their deliverer from the ruin threatened by the armies of the invaders. They blindly clung to his fortunes. He had more of the prestige springing from success in governing than any other man in Mexico, and after every defeat had arisen to some new and more extended exercise of power.

Mexico, the capital, was, however, the scene of another revolution. The acting President, Gomez Farias, had incurred the bitter hostility of the clergy by attempting to levy a war tax of five millions of dollars on church property. The citizens were divided in their support of the existing government. For days the streets had been barricaded, and convents and public buildings had been seized, while the people were engaged in shooting at one another, without much loss on either side.

Santa Anna, having waited his time for action, now approached the capital as mediator. He reconciled the factions, and at the same time, by the arts of political intrigue in which he was such an adept, secured his own installation on the 23rd of March, 1847, as President of the Republic.

In the joy and acclamations of the people over this event, money was freely subscribed, citizens were enrolled in the army, and fortifications prepared for defence in and around the city. As Santa, Anna was leaving the capital to take command of the army, he issued an address, in words of exalted patriotism and self-sacrifice, to the people of Mexico, whom he implored to be ready to die with himself, fighting for their country and its independence, now in such imminent peril from the American hosts advancing to attack the imperial capital.

The route of Santa Anna toward Vera Cruz led through Puebla, Perote, and Jalapa. Gathering troops at each of these places and borrowing money to pay them, his army was increased to thirteen thousand men and forty-two pieces of artillery by the time he reached Cerro Gordo, a pass in the mountains, sixty miles from Vera Cruz and twenty-seven from Jalapa. This pass was on a part of his own private estate, which included the whole slope of the mountains for ninety miles from Jalapa to Vera Cruz, and gave him at once the climate and products of both the torrid and temperate zones. The ground he had chosen on which to resist the march of General Scott's army had been the scene of many conflicts. It was almost impregnable to attack from the direction of Vera Cruz. The heights overhanging the road were strongly fortified and bristling with guns. His right rested on a ravine with perpendicular sides several hundred feet high; his left was on the hill of Cerro Gordo, nine hundred and fifty feet above the river on its southern side. His whole line faced hills along which extended for miles the road that at last passed directly through its centre. The road from Vera Cruz as it approaches the pass first crosses a creek and then a narrow plain lying under the shadow of the mountains and crags. Through this Plan de Rio, extending into a deep ravine toward the west, flowed the creek. The groups of massive hills and steep ravines, among which the winding road was hidden, made a most difficult battle-ground. It was the scene of one of the fiercest conflicts of the war. From the ravine of the river to the height of Cerro Gordo, a distance of two or three miles, a series of forts threatened the most desperate assaults with defeat. The road, turning sharply to the right from the bridge, passed up among the hills over a ridge which was completely enfiladed by these forts, before the defile itself could be reached by an army climbing to this mountainous region toward the capital of Mexico.

The advance of the American army, under command of General Twiggs, arrived at Plan de Rio, April 11th. General Scott himself with the other divisions of his army joined him on the 14th, and a reconnaissance showed such difficulties of attack in front, that it was determined to turn the position of the enemy by cutting a new road along mountain slopes and through ravines out of sight of the enemy till it should meet the Jalapa road in the rear of the Mexican army.

The construction of this road was unknown to the enemy until the 17th of April, when the working parties were fired upon from the Mexican lines. The Jalapa road was however almost reached, and the division of General Twiggs, supported by Shields division of volunteers, was ordered to take a position by this road, in the rear of the Mexicans, and occupy heights near to Cerro Gordo. Two or, three regiments of infantry and artillery, under the leadership of Colonel Harney, Majors Sumner and Childs, drove three thousand Mexicans before them, charged to the summit of one of these hills, and then forced the Mexicans over two other heights, till they sought shelter in the Tower of Cerro Gordo itself, completely routed by the impetuous onsets of the Americans, who halted at last within one hundred and fifty yards of the Tower. On the highest hill thus captured, commanding all others except Cerro Gordo, a thousand men were employed during the night in raising a battery of three twenty-four-pounder guns and howitzers, lifting them up the steep, rugged sides of the height with immense difficulty.

All arrangements had now been made successfully for the stern and bloody conflict of the morrow, and General Scott issued detailed orders for each division and brigade with the confidence of a victor.

The morning of the 18th was transparently clear. A cloudless blue sky hung over the hills, and a cool breeze fanned the combatants. Eight thousand Mexicans were awaiting attack behind fortifications, and six thousand reserves, on the plain in the rear of Cerro Gordo close to the Jalapa road, were ready to march to the most exposed part of their line of defence. General Scott's command did not number more than eight thousand.

General Twiggs' division was in motion at sunrise. To the regulars of the First Brigade was committed the storming of Cerro Gordo. Many were veterans of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and Monterey. Colonel Harney was to lead them. Seeing the enemy advancing to support the Mexicans on Cerro Gordo, he detached a regiment to hold them in check. Then rushing down the hill into the ravine, his men began to climb the steep rocks in the face of a deadly fire from the Tower and the barricades nearer to the assailants. It was a fearful struggle to surmount those rocks and precipices, carry one barricade after another under a pitiless hail of bullets, and at last sweep over the ramparts of the Tower and drive its defenders, beaten in this terrific fight with every advantage in their favor, down the mountain-side. But so they fought and won the key to the whole position of the enemy. Their general-in-chief was with intense eagerness watching their unfaltering progress, and their chivalrous leader ever cheering them by his presence at their head and his clear voice of command. Their comrades in the ravine below were no less steady and efficient in their determined resistance to the enemy's reinforcement.

The remainder of Twiggs' division were not less successful farther to the enemy's left. The Second Brigade, under Colonel Riley, climbed the height of Cerro Gordo in the rear and reached the summit at about the same time with those who had assailed it in front. Still farther to the enemy's left Shields' volunteers engaged the Mexicans discovered to be holding position, with a battery of five guns and a large force of infantry and cavalry, on the Jalapa road. General Shields here fell dangerously wounded. His men, under command of Colonel Baker, charged the Mexicans. A sharp conflict for a few minutes decided the issue of this part of the battle. Seeing the American flag waving over Cerro Gordo the Mexicans fled, leaving guns, camp equipage, and provisions to the Americans.

To General Pillow had been assigned the assault on the fortifications on the enemy's right. These could be approached only by a difficult path through chaparral over the rocky hills. The river batteries enfiladed his first position, from which he retreated. Organizing a storming column under Colonel Haskell, it was almost obliterated by a galling fire of grape and musketry, and ere his third column of attack was engaged, Cerro Gordo had fallen, and the Mexican general, La Vega, cut off from all support, surrendered to him, with three thousand men, the forts which he had with great skill and bravery commanded as the post of greatest peril that day. Before mid-day the battle was ended, and the remnants of the Mexican army numbering eight thousand men, with Santa Anna and his generals at their head, were in full retreat, pursued with relentless fury by Harney's dragoons and the commands of Worth and Twiggs, till darkness fell. The Americans halted not more than ten miles from Jalapa.

The storming of Cerro Gordo was another brilliant exploit of American arms. The spoils of battle were great. Forty-three pieces of bronze artillery, with a large amount of ammunition and three thousand prisoners, including five generals, fell to the victors. Their loss in killed and wounded was four hundred and thirty-one. The casualties of the Mexicans were nearly twelve hundred. Generals Shields and Pillow were both wounded, and a large number of gallant officers disabled or killed.

The prisoners of war were released on parole, and the army again set forward to the capture of Jalapa, and of the town and castle of Perote, which offered no resistance. But General Worth received at the latter place, from the hands of the Mexican commissioner, fifty-four guns and mortars, eleven thousand and sixty-five cannon-balls, fourteen thousand bombs and hand grenades, and five hundred muskets.

Within two weeks General Worth's command and Quitman's brigade of volunteers marched toward the city of Puebla. After a slight skirmish with three thousand of Santa Anna's cavalry about twelve miles from the city, on the 15th of May, Worth's whole division, numbering four thousand men, encamped in the Grand Plaza of Puebla, where they were delayed for many weeks. Into this city of eighty thousand inhabitants this little army marched, with such plainness of uniform and equipments and such quietness of demeanor, that the astonished Pueblans could not restrain their reproaches of their own countrymen, whose proud armies had gone forth to conquer, as they supposed, physical giants in splendid armor, but had returned broken, disorganized, and routed by such ordinary troops.

General Scott's Successful Progress Toward Mexico

Mexican patriotism—Address to the Mexicans by General Scott—Changes in the army, and reinforcements—The march resumed—The Valley of Mexico—Fortifications of the Capital—Its approaches—Reconnoissances—Attacks on Contreras—Capture of cannon—Assault of San Antonio and Churubusco—Knocking at the gates of the Capital.

The Mexican army was discouraged by its overwhelming defeat at Cerro Gordo. The Mexican people under their repeated disasters were roused to seek vengeance. The papers of the country and the capital were filled with appeals to the citizens everywhere to arise and exterminate their hated foes. The Congress of Mexico passed resolutions declaring the necessity of strengthening the central government, adopting measures to carry on the war and preserve the Republic, and denouncing as traitor any officer or private citizen who should treat with the United States Government for peace or alienation of any part of the territory of the Republic. It distrusted both Santa Anna and the priesthood, and sought thus to intimidate them. The States of San Luis, Mexico, Zacatecas, Jalisco, and Queretaro bound themselves by a solemn league to preserve the unity of the Republic, and protested that they would never consent to any convention or treaty of peace with the North American enemy so long as he should threaten or occupy the capital or any part of the Mexican Republic, and that they would moreover aid the national government by their private resources, and sustain the national credit and honor.

In accordance with these, resolutions, on the 1st of May the city of Mexico was declared in a state of siege, and a decree was issued by General Bravo, the commander-in-chief of the Army of the Centre, calling upon all Mexicans between the ages of sixteen and sixty to enroll themselves for the defence of the capital, unless, they would be considered and treated as traitors. A guerilla war was also proclaimed, whose motto was, "War without pity unto death."

On the 17th of May General Scott issued a proclamation to the Mexican nation, skilfully showing them the oppressive acts of their government and their misfortunes in war; declaring the honorable intentions and conduct of the American army, the desire of the United States Government for peace and friendship, and a termination of the war that should preserve to the Mexican people their religious and civil liberty, their homes and families inviolate, and their national honor. Warning them of the evils of retaliation for guerilla warfare, should it be allowed, he promised to address them from their capital, to which he was marching.

But such appeals to a nation whose hatred had been intensified by defeat in every encounter with American troops was in vain. Wounded pride led the Mexicans to more desperate efforts to retrieve their fortunes and honor in battle, and they were more adverse to negotiations of peace than before their disasters. And though the Administration sent a commissioner, Mr. N. P. Trist, to Mexico with full powers to conclude a definitive treaty of peace with the Mexican Government, his overtures were rejected by the Mexican Congress.

General Scott's army by the 1st of June was greatly reduced by sickness, and by the expiration of the term of service of seven regiments of volunteers. It numbered less than six thousand men. Early in July reinforcements arrived, numbering about two thousand more. A month later Brigadier-General Franklin Pierce, afterward President of the United States, joined General Scott at Pueblo with about twenty-four hundred men. On August 7th the commander-in-chief resumed his march for the capital with ten thousand seven hundred and thirty eight men, nearly one half of whom were new and untried soldiers, fresh from the pursuits of civil life, except for the discipline to which they had for a few months been subjected in Pueblo.

Leaving only five hundred men to garrison Pueblo, and protect eighteen hundred sick soldiers in the hospital, General Scott went forth inspired, as were his men, with the belief that nothing could prevent their capture of Mexico. His army consisted of a cavalry brigade under Colonel Harney, and the divisions of Generals Worth, Twiggs, Pillow, and Quitman. General Twiggs was in advance, led by Harney's dragoons, and Pillow brought up the rear, the divisions marching not more than five hours apart. Their route was for the first day through a richly cultivated country, and the estates of wealthy proprietors, who had surrounded themselves with every luxury. The towering peaks of Popocatepetl, over three miles high, and its snow-crowned neighboring summit Iztaccihuatl, were in full view, as were also the ruins of the Aztec pyramid of Cholula, where Cortez found a city of two hundred thousand inhabitants. On the second day the army entered a mountainous region, till Rio Frio was reached. It was fifty miles from Pueblo, and at an elevation of ten thousand one hundred and twenty-two feet above the sea.

A few miles beyond Rio Frio they came suddenly upon an enchanting vision of the valley of Mexico. It was a dazzling picture of earthly beauty. The rich spring verdure of the plains dotted with the white walls of villages and haciendas, the silvery lines of mountain streams, the blue surfaces of lakes whose shores, winding about the base of mountains, stretched far into the green valleys and the hills rising to lofty ranges white with snow and glistening beneath the soft blue sky, all presented a scene that made the romance of Spanish conquests in the days of Montezuma appear like the truths of sober history.

Descending these lofty heights, General Twiggs' division halted on the 11th of May at Ayotla, fifteen miles from the capital. Worth on the next day arrived at Chalco, five miles distant across the lake of Chalco, but ten miles around its shore, on which were halting, between the positions of Twiggs and Worth, the divisions of Pillow and Quitman. The headquarters of the commander-in-chief were at Ayotla.

The United States troops were now in the midst of a populous country, surrounded by enemies that might have arisen en masse and crushed them. The Mexicans were indeed in a state of great activity, fortifying their city and manufacturing cannon, powder, and other munitions of war for its defence. The plan of operations adopted was for Santa Anna to await in his intrenchments the attack of the Americans, and for General Valencia, with the Northern army, composed of the best troops of Mexico, to assail them in their rear.

Seven miles beyond Lake Chalco toward the north was Lake Tezeuco, near the western shore of which the capital city is situated. The national road between the two lakes is for much of the distance a narrow causeway running over marshy ground. The long, narrow lake of Xochimilco, separated on the west from Lake Chalco by a strip of land, extends along the foot of the hills and mountains northward toward the capital, and nearly reaching the Acapulco road. The approaches to Mexico on both these roads had fortifications of immense strength. On the first was the formidable position of El Penon, a lofty hill commanding the thoroughfare, absolutely inaccessible on one side, and on its other sides armed with three tiers of batteries mounting fifty guns, and surrounded by marshes and a ditch twenty-four feet wide, filled with water ten feet deep. On the southern and south-western sides of the city were the fortifications which guarded the Acapulco road at San Antonio and Contreras, the convent, and the bridge of Churubusco, with the fortress of Chapultepec.

A bold reconnaissance within five miles of the city and near El Penon led General Scott to abandon the plan of storming that position, and aided by information acquired by Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan in another successful reconnaissance to the south, he determined to approach the capital along the southern shores of Lake Chalco and west of Xochimilco, by the Acapulco road carrying the fortifications in that direction instead of those strong eastern defences on the national road, where the enemy expected the principal assault of their works.

General Worth's division now took the lead, followed by Generals Pillow and Quitman. General Twiggs remained in the rear at Ayotla for one day, still threatening the fortifications of El Penon and Mexicalcingo, which were to be avoided by this movement. By a slow and painful march over a circuitous route of twenty-seven miles, where the road was filled with rocks, or made difficult by marshes along the shores of Lake Chalco, the divisions were again united May 18th, near San Augustine and the Acapulco road.

The hill of Contreras was about four miles from the village of San Augustine. Besides its fortifications, mounting twenty-two cannon, it was occupied by General Valencia with seven thousand of the bravest soldiers in the Mexican army. General Santa Anna with twelve thousand men held a position in front of the village of Contreras, and between the hill and Churubusco. Three thousand troops under General Bravo were at San Antonio, and General Ruicon held from seven to nine thousand at the head of the bridge of Churubusco. Still farther north and west of the capital was a third approach to it over the road to Toluca. Molino del Rey and the fortress of Chapultepec were the defences on this road.

It will be seen that only by a series of sanguinary engagements could these different fortifications be reduced and the thoroughfares to the capital city on which they stood be cleared for the march of the American troops into its streets.

General Scott's headquarters had now been moved to San Augustine. On the 19th a reconnaissance revealed a route through the villages of San Angel and Cuyoacan to Churubusco, by which San Antonio might be avoided and the hill of Contreras taken by assault. The divisions of Generals Pillow and Twiggs were ordered to make a road through chaparral and over ravines on this route for artillery. At two o'clock P.m. Smith's brigade reached the summit of a hill with Magruder's battery, and found themselves within two hundred yards of Valencia's entrenchments and the masses of infantry defending his camp, and a deep ravine between the road and the enemy's works to the front and left. Pushing forward his batteries to a better position, Smith, supported by General Pierce's brigade, engaged for two hours in an unequal contest of five guns with twenty-two, when he withdrew with a loss of fifteen artillerists and thirteen horses. Riley's brigade meanwhile, in trying to force a position on the San Angel road in the rear of the enemy, though supported by Cadwalader, had been hard pressed by two or three thousand infantry from the Mexican camp, and as many cavalry from Santa Anna's reserves. Though hemmed in, he skilfully extricated himself and joined Smith's brigade at the village of Contreras late in the evening, where Cadwalader had also taken position, and later still the brigade of Shields. Without having gained any advantage over the Mexicans by such hard fighting, they were now surrounded by eighteen thousand Mexicans, and within range of the batteries on the hill of Contreras. Their situation was indeed desperate. It rained heavily, torrents of water choked the streams running near them, and they stood in the darkness drenched and dispirited, when a route through a ravine to the rear of Valencia's fortifications was discovered. General Smith formed a plan to storm the hill and surprise that Mexican general, quite off his guard and confidently awaiting the morrow.

At three o'clock A. M. the troops began their difficult ascent through the ravine, and obtained a position screened from the batteries by a bill, within five hundred yards of the enemy's works. Cadwalader was coming up the ravine to support Riley's command, thus waiting the order to dash forward, while Smith's brigade, under Major Dominick, turned to the left to meet a body of Mexican cavalry, and a division was made in front of the hill by troops sent from San Augustine. At sunrise General Smith gave the word of command. With a volley from the rifles to aid the storming party, the men rushed forward, climbed the parapet with tremendous cheers and engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict, clashing swords and clubbing muskets with the enemy, who, completely surprised and thrown into confusion by assaults in front and rear, were slaughtered in masses. Overcome by the onset of the Americans, they threw down their arms and sought flight in all directions. Five hundred forced into a narrow pass surrendered to thirty men as prisoners of war; Smith's brigade having charged the Mexican cavalry, turned back upon the enemy fleeing from Riley's attack in the rear. The action on the hill lasted but seventeen minutes. The pursuit was continued as far as San Angel, and great numbers fell dead and wounded in the road. The spoils of this brilliant assault were very great. It was the happy lot of Captain Drum to discover in two of the captured guns the pieces that had been lost by him, after heroic service, at Buena Vista. The men at sight of these guns, wild with delight, raised tremendous cheers, and rushed forward to embrace them like lost children. Nothing could have inspired them more in the heat of the charge than the unexpected restoration of these strange pets, in the defence of which they had repeatedly imperilled their lives.

The captures included thousands of small arms, and eight hundred and thirteen prisoners, including eighty-eight officers and four generals. Forty-five hundred American troops were engaged in this fight, with over seven thousand Mexicans, who were posted behind strong intrenchments. One road to the capital was opened should the others remain closed. The Mexican reserve, which had been unable to enter the conflict, was obliged to fall back upon Contreras. It seems incredible that while the American loss was only about fifty, seven hundred of the enemy were killed.

To open a short road for the siege train to the capital and another approach from the front to Churubusco by the causeway leading through San Antonio, General Scott now ordered General Worth to capture the enemy's works at San Antonio. In this attack he was to be supported by Cadwalader's brigade of Pillow's division, and if successful, these two divisions were to unite and hasten forward to Churubusco, two miles distant by the causeway. At the same time General Twiggs was ordered to move upon Churubusco by a road from Cuyocan, only one mile distant, Shields was to cross the Churubusco River, seize the causeway between Churubusco and the capital, and cut off the retreat of its garrison to the city.

General Twiggs, with Smith's and Riley's brigades in advance, found at San Pablo de Churubusco very formidable works. The fortification was the thick high wall of a hacienda, forming a square with a stone building higher than the wall, and a stone church with a tower. Both these buildings were pierced with loopholes for musketry. Outside the wall were two field-works mounting ten cannon, and guarding the causeway, and having a garrison of over two thousand men; while the surrounding corn-fields were filled with skirmishers, whose range covered the causeway for a mile.

It was necessary to attack the enemy at once. Taylor's battery and a regiment of infantry took a position fronting the church or convent, which they held under a tremendous fire of grape, canister, musketry, and round shot, and for two hours inflicted by their admirable and precise firing a heavy loss upon the enemy. Shields' movement meeting too strong an opposition, he managed to get in front of the enemy and joined in the battle, which now at mid-day was fought with unflinching perseverance and gallantry on both sides.

An hour before noon, General Worth had begun his attack of San Antonio. A brigade had succeeded in nearly gaining the causeway between Antonio and Churubusco, while another portion of his division was attacking in front. The garrison, fearful of their position, and hoping to retreat upon Churubusco, evacuated their works. The two American brigades now joined in the pursuit, one hurrying through the deserted fortifications, while the other broke the column of Mexicans on the causeway. Still pursuing, the Americans came up to San Pablo and the other field-work beyond, both which fortifications were swarming with Mexicans. This field-work at the head of the bridge was captured by a charge of the infantry regiment, and its guns turned upon the church and hacienda. The artillery was now hotly engaged till the Mexicans were driven from the work outside of San Pablo. After half an hour of concentrated firing upon San Pablo, its ramparts were carried by a charge of the Third Infantry, when the garrison surrendered. The enemy now began to give way further to the left, and retreated, pursued by the troops of Worth's division up the road from Churubusco.

In the mean time General Shields was engaging the Mexican reserve, consisting of four thousand infantry and three thousand cavalry. Deploying his command to right and left, he moved steadily forward upon them till he saw them waver. Then ordering a charge with bayonet the line of the enemy was broken, and he put them to rout at the same time that those fleeing from Churubusco were crowding the road. In terrible confusion, cavalry and infantry intermingled in one wild, panic-stricken mass, the Mexican troops were cut down, sabred by pursuing dragoons, or, driven by terror, were scattered in every direction. The Americans rode up to the very gates of the capital and leaped into their intrenchments, but were punished for their rashness by a severe fire of grape, in which several officers and men were killed or severely wounded.

On that 10th of August, the American troops, numbering but nine thousand, and contending with at least twenty-seven thousand Mexicans defending their own capital, captured three formidable positions and won three victories. They killed and wounded three thousand two hundred and fifty of the enemy, took two thousand six hundred and twenty-seven prisoners, and over two hundred officers, including eight generals. Their own loss was sixteen officers and one hundred and twenty men killed, and sixty officers, eight hundred and sixteen wounded. This was indeed a stubbornly contended battle. The Mexicans poured out their blood like water in the defence of their country's honor. The courage and perseverance of the Americans were more than equal for their desperation and patriotism.

Capture of the Outworks of Mexico

The armistice—Negotiations for peace—Molino del Rey—Casa de Mata

The city of Mexico was within the grasp of the American army, who had most valiantly won it. The Mexican troops were demoralized by their signal defeats. They could not justly claim a single victory in all the war. The citizens in the capital were filled with consternation as they saw the victorious enemy riding up to their very gates. The next morning they should have entered the streets and completed the capture of the city. That would indeed have conquered a peace. But the triumphant march of the heroic little army was checked at the moment when it should have been grandly finished. Diplomacy and dissimulation gained another advantage. General Scott had won the highest praise for fearless, prompt, and skilful leadership in this brilliant campaign. He suddenly became magnanimous, over-prudent, and humane in dealing with a wily foe, whose spirit was not broken, when he should have pushed him hard till he yielded the peace for which the war had been fought. Thus he would have saved many precious and honored lives.

On the morning of the 21st of August commissioners were sent from the city asking for a truce, which was refused. General Scott, being admonished by friends of peace and neutral residents not to drive the Mexican Government to a spirit of desperation, sent a proposal of an armistice to Santa Anna for the purpose of arranging and signing a treaty of peace. That negotiations to that effect would be very acceptable had already been intimated by the commissioners seeking a truce.

By the armistice agreed upon, on the 23rd day of August hostilities were to cease within thirty leagues of the capital; no reinforcements should be allowed to either army, nor intrenchments made, nor either army moved; nor the administration of justice or commerce among the Mexicans interfered with, pending the negotiations for peace.

Every argument for the cessation of hostilities at this opportune time to strike a last and decisive blow was refuted by subsequent events. It was impolitic; it endangered the American army; it made the last act of war more difficult and bloody. All the negotiations between Mr. Trist and the Mexican commissioners failed. The Mexican Government was not yet humbled enough to accept the terms of the treaty which the United States demanded. These terms are of little consequence, therefore, to this history of events. The cession of New Mexico was the point in discussion upon which the negotiations finally fell through. On the 7th of September the armistice was ended. On the 10th and 13th of September, fifty American deserters captured in the battle of Churubusco fighting against their countrymen, having been previously tried by court-martial, were publicly hung for the crime to which they had been tempted by the Mexican generals.

During the armistice the American troops had been quartered at Tacubaya, General Scott's head-quarters, and in the surrounding villages. The city of Mexico could be entered by eight causeways raised about six feet above the surrounding marshes, and terminating the five main roads leading to the capital. General Scott chose to approach the city by the causeways of Belen and San Cosine, which were defended by the formidable works of Molino del Rey, Casa de Mata, and the castle of Chapultepec.

Chapultepec is an isolated rocky hill, surmounted by a stone building of imposing size. It was originally the bishop's palace, but converted into a strong fortress, heavily armed and garrisoned, it was now the most difficult defence to overcome in all the fortifications of the capital. Its western side, though the most accessible, showed a steep, rocky, and broken face above a grove of cypress rising from the base.

Casa de Mata was a citadel a quarter of a mile west of Chapultepec. It was circled with intrenchments and with deep, wide ditches, so that its garrison, who were among the choicest troops in the Mexican service, occupied two lines of defence. The Americans could have no just estimate of its well-concealed strength till they attempted its capture. It was used as a magazine. El Molino del Rey was situated at the foot of a slope adjoining the grove already mentioned. It contained a number of stone buildings, some of which were used as a foundry. It guarded the only approach to Chapultepec, and had been made as strong as possible to protect that fortress.

Generals Scott and Worth together made an inspection of these works, and General Worth was directed to capture them, destroy the cannon, machinery, and powder supposed to be there, and then withdraw to Tacubaya for future operations on Chapultepec. Worth's division, reinforced by Cadwalader's brigade, three companies of dragoons under Major Sumner, and a battery and siege guns under Captains Huger and Drum, numbered three thousand one hundred men. General Leon commanded the left wing of the Mexican forces at Molino del Rey, General Perez the right wing at Casa de Mata, Santa Anna the centre, which was occupied by ten thousand infantry and a field battery. The Mexican forces exceeded fourteen thousand men.

On the afternoon of the 7th of September it was discovered by a reconnaissance that the enemy was most weak in the centre of his line. The American troops at three o'clock the next morning took their appointed stations along a ridge sloping from Tacubaya, opposite the enemy's line, a brigade and part of *a battery having been sent forward to the enemy's left to isolate Chapultepec from Molino del Rey.

A storming party under Major Wright was posted so as to carry the centre of the Mexican line. The batteries were supported by brigades of infantry, Huger's being opposite El Molino, and Duncan's facing Casa de Mata. The cavalry were on the extreme left of the American line.

The engagement opened at dawn by a severe cannonading of Molino del Rey by Huger's twenty-four pounders. Seizing a favorable moment when the effect of this firing was visible, the storming party of five hundred men dashed forward to their task, unterrified by the withering fire poured upon them by artillery and infantry in their front. They captured the battery in a bayonet charge, and turned the guns upon those who had just been defending them. It required but a few moments to reveal the strength of the assaulting party, and the Mexicans returned. From every direction, from the walls and tops of houses, and from the columns in the field, and behind intrenchments, their greatly superior numbers hurled a shower of balls upon the Americans. Eleven out of fourteen commissioned officers in the band were struck down. The men staggered under this fire. Supports were quickly sent to them, and joining anew in the terrible onset upon the rallying foe, they drove them in a final rout from their guns, which mowed them down in their retreat.

Garland's brigade, with part of Duncan's battery, which had been sent forward toward Chapultepec, had also, after stubborn fighting and an assault, driven the Mexicans from their position under the guns of Chapultepec, thus forcing their left. It remained for Colonel McIntosh, with his brigade and the remainder of Duncan's battery, to complete this victory by driving the Mexicans from their still stronger position at Casa de Mata on their extreme right. Fifteen hundred men held these works, beside the reinforcements which were being rapidly sent to them. The veteran brigade marched steadily upon the fortification. A sheet of flame and deadly musketry balls greeted them at short range. Another volley, and another, under which these fearless troops melted away with terrible rapidity. Still they pressed on to the very slope of the parapet of the battery around the citadel, and attempted to cross the ditch; but nearly every officer had fallen, and the men fell back in confusion, only to rally again on the left of Duncan's guns. Sumner's dragoons now attempted to gain a better position, and passing within pistol range of Casa Mata, lost a great many men and officers, but were enabled to render most important service a few moments afterward, for the enemy's cavalry were now moving rapidly to reinforce their right. Duncan's battery dashed forward to hold them in check, and poured such a hail of canister-shot upon them as to throw them in a few moments into confusion and retreat. Then turning back upon the works of Casa Mata, these guns having unobstructed range, began such precise and rapid discharges upon the fortification that its defenders could not endure the deadly storm, and in a short time abandoned it, fleeing toward Chapultepec. The terrible duty of that day was done, but the sharp conflict of that morning in two hours had wrought a fearful carnage among those veteran troops. Seven hundred and twenty-nine men and fifty-eight officers were killed and wounded. The enemy's total loss in killed and wounded and prisoners was three thousand. Two of their officers, Generals Valdarez and Leon, next in command to Santa Anna, were killed. There were no adequate results for such a loss or such a victory. The foundry at Molino del. Rey was dismantled, Casa de Mata was blown up, and both positions evacuated by the 'peremptory orders of General Scott, who would allow no assault upon Chapultepec, which could now, with the aid of reinforcements, have been easily taken from the broken and dispirited enemy.

The Storming of Chapultepec

Fall of the Capital

The causeway of San Cosme—Chapultepec assailed and taken—Daring assaults—Seizing the approaches to the city—Stubborn resistance—The Belen Gate—Quitman's advance—Entering the city—Fearful slaughter—Nightfall—Surrender—Forces engaged—Santa Anna resigns—The endurance of the Americans at Puebla—Battle of Huamantla—Death of Captain Walker—Exile of Santa Anna—General Scott relieved of his command.

It was the rainy season in Mexico, and the great canal surrounding the capital, as well as the lesser ones within its circle, were filled with water. The difficulties of bridging these canals under fire were very great. The southern approaches were heavily guarded with four times the number of troops in General Scott's command. After several careful reconnaissances it was determined to attack the city from the west over the causeways of San Cosine or Tacubaya. To give the enemy the contrary impression, General Scott on the 11th of September ordered Quitman's division from Coyoacan to join Pillow by daylight before the southern gates. These two divisions were directed by night to join General Scott at Tacubaya, where Worth's command was stationed, leaving Twiggs' division and Riley's brigade with two batteries to threaten with great activity the southern entrances. It was imperative to capture Chapultepec. On the night of the 11th, four batteries were posted at easy ranges to reduce the castle. During the whole of the 12th, their fire was directed upon it, driving most of its defenders outside the walls, and crippling the works. The next morning two assaulting columns, each of two hundred and fifty picked men from Worth's and Twiggs' divisions, furnished with scaling-ladders, at a concerted signal advanced, from different directions, while the batteries threw shot and shells over their heads to prevent reinforcement of the works. Major-General Pillow was leading his division through the grove on the west side, when he was struck down by a dangerous wound, and Brigadier-General Cadwalader succeeded him. Worth had just sent Clark's brigade to reinforce Pillow, when he fell. Major-General Quitman was approaching the same works on the south-east over a causeway, without shelter and hindered by deep ditches, which were intersected by others on the meadows. Smith's brigade by a wide sweep to the right was coming up to face the enemy's line outside the work and capture two batteries at the foot of Chapultepec.

These simultaneous movements were watched with intense eagerness as the forces drew closer around the enemy and brought near the moments of fierce struggle for possession of the fortress.

On Pillow's side a broken rocky ascent was to be climbed, and a redoubt midway of the steep carried by our troops. Their officers led them, as they climbed the rocks and drove the enemy from the redoubt. And now the scaling-ladders were raised against the castle walls. The first to mount are shot down, the boldest men pressing on give their lives to the attempt, but thus inspire those behind. Hurrying over the ground before the wall could be reached, while yet the Mexicans were disputing it, the Americans escaped the danger of the mines underneath, which could not be fired by the enemy without destroying their own men. Soon the ranks of the storming party filled up and they poured over the wall with ringing shouts, swept down the garrison, that still opposed, and planted the American colors on the ramparts with long-continued cheers.

On the south-east the assaulting column of Quitman's division had been making equal progress. Smith's brigade had taken the two batteries in the road with numerous prisoners. Shields' brigade of New York, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania volunteers had crossed the meadows, which were swept with a murderous fire from the enemy's ranks and guns. Entering the outer inclosure of the castle as their comrades on the west were making their last assault, they joined in the triumph of those moments which filled with terror the hearts of the Mexicans within the city gates.

The ancient cypresses that had sheltered the Aztec emperors in their luxurious residences on the hillside of Chapultepec had bowed again beneath the storms of another invasion that swept above and around the base of this historic mound like a thundering tempest over the tumultuous waves of an angry sea.

General Worth's division had been turning some minor works north of Chapultepec and was now advancing along the San Cosme causeway. This formed a double roadway on each side of a massive aqueduct of masonry with open arches and pillars. Quitman was pursuing the enemy along the similar causeway of Belen.

As Shields was charging along this causeway with his volunteers, who, flushed with victory at Chapultepec, could not be satisfied with any less honor than the capture of the city, he was overtaken by an aide sent by General Scott to detain him till Worth had forced an entrance through the San Cosme gate. Riding up, the aide saluted the impetuous general: "General Scott presents his compliments"—Shields comprehended at once his message, and interrupted him:

"I have no time for compliments just now," and spurred on out of reach of the orders of the commander-in-chief.

Despatching infantry and heavy guns to support both generals in their movements, Scott now joined Worth's column, which was within the suburb of the city and had passed the junction of the aqueduct with a broad highway from the west, where was found a strongly built but deserted fortification without guns. But the houses, gardens, and windows along the street were alive with Mexican skirmishers, with whom Worth was contending. He had ordered up two howitzers, which were slowly moving forward preceded by soldiers forcing their way with bars and pickaxes through doors and walls. At eight o'clock in the evening his men had suitable shelter for the night and his guns were in position to break down the San Cosine gate, which was the only barrier between himself and the great square in front of the cathedral and palace in the centre of the city. His men had carried two batteries and the works at the garita, the Mexicans contending stubbornly and bravely for every foot of ground and every intrenchment, and slaying many by their incessant firing from their protected positions?

The force under General Quitman had been directed toward the Belen gate rather as a diversion from the main attack by Worth. But in the face of enfilading firing, led by Smith's brigade and gallantly supported by Shields' command and Captain Drum's howitzer, they wound around the pillars of the arches of the aqueduct, assailed by direct firing from the garita and cross-firing from the Paseo and Piedad causeways. At noon they had nearly reached the gate, when they sprang from the arches and charged upon this defence. It was captured, and the whole column by half-past one o'clock was within the inclosure and the city. But only three hundred yards beyond this was the citadel mounting fifteen guns, which began a most destructive fire upon them. Their situation was full of peril. Ammunition for their heavier guns had failed. Officers and men were falling fast. Captain Drum was killed, one of the most valiant and efficient officers of artillery in the service. Others shared his fate. The enemy, seeing that the ammunition of the Americans had failed, tried to recover their position, but were repulsed in each attempt, till darkness covered the men who were left to General Quitman, and ammunition could be obtained over the cause way. Then placing some heavy guns in position they waited for the morning. A few defenders of the citadel surrendered, however, to General Quitman at daybreak.

But before light on the morning of September 14th, a deputation of the city council waited upon General Scott, announcing the evacuation of the capital by the Mexican army and the flight of the officers of government. They asked for terms of capitulation in favor of the municipal government and the church. These were stoutly refused by General Scott, who ordered Quitman and Worth to advance cautiously to the Grand Plaza. Worth was, however, halted at the Alameda or Green Park, while to Quitman was given the honor of unfurling the United States flag in the great plaza and over the National Palace containing the halls of Congress, where the commanding general soon after was received with triumphant cheers.

But a severe contest continued for twenty-four hours longer between two thousand liberated convicts and about two thousand Mexicans soldiers, who in desperation and fury fought the victorious army from housetops and every available shelter, till many more of the American troops and officers had fallen beneath their murderous attacks. They were finally conquered, and the army of the United States, on the morning of the 16th of September, had undisputed possession of the Mexican capital.

The city of Mexico was taken by an actual fighting force that, after leaving Chapultepec, did not number more than six thousand men. The total losses of the American army in the valley of Mexico were two thousand seven hundred and three, including three hundred and eighty-three officers. The Mexican losses were seven thousand in killed and wounded and three thousand seven hundred and thirty prisoners, equaling the whole number of Americans that marched into the valley. Among the spoils of these victories were twenty standards, seventy-five pieces of artillery, fifty-seven mounted cannon, and twenty thousand stand of arms.

In these battles the volunteer troops of the United States had emulated the victories of the regulars in General Taylor's first engagements with the Mexican soldiers. The achievements of American arms in Mexico will ever be conspicuous for uninterrupted successes, for the endurance, skill, courage, patience, moderation, and individual heroism of the men who fought and died in these astonishing campaigns, which shattered and destroyed three finely equipped and disciplined armies, numbering over sixty thousand men. For three hundred and thirty years the descendants of the Spanish conquerors had maintained undisturbed their possession of the capital and valley of Mexico. Another foreign army, burning with enthusiasm, fearless of danger, steady in battle, but impetuous in the hour of desperate contest with vastly superior numbers, had now fairly won the coveted prizes of victory.

Santa Anna resigned his presidency. Holding together about two thousand five hundred men, he determined to make one successful effort against the Americans, to cut off their communication with the sea, and to revive, if possible, the spirit of the Mexican soldiers. He marched to Puebla, where the American garrison of five hundred men, guarding eighteen hundred sick and disabled troops, had been attacked by the Mexican general Rea on the 18th of September. Surrounded by seventy thousand Mexican inhabitants, these troops under Colonel Childs heroically defended themselves, and having collected thirty cattle and four hundred sheep at the beginning of the attack, they would not yield their ground. They intrenched themselves in the plaza and also in part took shelter in a convent. Colonel Childs had six companies of infantry, two companies of artillery, and one of cavalry. For thirty days they were under a constant musketry fire, till the 12th of October. Santa Anna arrived with his command on September 22nd, and at his approach the bells of Puebla rang a joyful peal. His troops, combined with those of General Rea, made a force of eight thousand men.

Santa Anna sent a summons to Colonel Childs to surrender, which was curtly refused. The streets of the city were then barricaded with cotton bales and stone. The Mexicans opened an artillery fire upon the Americans in the plaza. From the surrounding houses a terrible hail of musketry was hurled against them. But with great spirit the besieged soldiers assailed their foes in front and rear, charging upon them with the bayonet and burning their defences and the buildings from which they experienced the most annoyance.

At length General Lane's approach with reinforcements from Vera Cruz induced Santa Anna to withdraw with four thousand men to meet him. General Rea having ineffectively maintained this unequal attack till October nth, left the sturdy Americans in possession of this great city and retreated to Atlixco; for Santa Anna had been again defeated with a loss of one hundred and fifty men at Huamantla, by General Lane, who was now coming to the relief of the garrison of Puebla. This was quickly accomplished, and General Lane on the 19th started in pursuit of General Rea. A sharp engagement occurred in the vicinity of Atlixco, the same afternoon. The Mexicans were driven from a position five and a half miles from the city, by the American cavalry, who pushed them to within a mile and a half of Atlixco, when, the infantry and batteries of artillery joining them, they took possession of a height above the city, which was cannonaded by moonlight for less than an hour and then was surrendered. The Mexicans in this battle lost over five hundred men, two fifths of whom were killed.

Santa Anna did not again attempt to fight the Americans in person. His army was demoralized, and there was equal demoralization in the administration of the government. He had made great sacrifice for the cause of his country. He was bitterly assailed for its misfortunes. His resignation of office left the nation without any worthy leader. Paredes and others were intriguing for the control of affairs. Santa Anna made an attempt to regain the presidency, but failed, and having narrowly escaped capture at Tehuacan by General Lane's cavalry, despairing of the Republic and his own safety, he obtained permission to leave his country and became a voluntary exile in the West Indies.

The chief cities of Mexico were now in the hands of small garrisons of the United States troops, and General Quitman was quietly governing the capital, where order and commercial prosperity were re stored. After its capture, General Scott made a levy of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars upon the municipal government, which was largely expended in caring for the wounded, providing for the famishing, and relieving the distress and suffering which the destructive and merciless hand of war had wrought in this beautiful city.

General Scott's army now began to receive reinforcements from Vera Cruz, till the number of troops in his department amounted to twenty thousand men. A murderous guerilla warfare was sustained by the scattered Mexican soldiers and bands of desperate wretches over the country, who assailed supply trains and detachments of reinforcements and small garrisons. Gradually these guerrilleros were driven from their strongholds in the larger towns, and under the dashing raids of the chivalric Captain S. H. Walker, who was killed at the battle of Huamantla, and by the energetic and rapid movements of General Lane over the infested country, even these outbreaks of patriotic rage and hatred and lawlessness were largely suppressed.

The death of Captain Walker and the battle of Huamantla gives a fitting illustration of the heroic spirit which still at the very close of the war animated the hearts of both the Mexican and American troops. General Lane had approached within five miles of Huamantla, when he sent Captain Walker forward with his company of seventy-five mounted riflemen, and three other companies, to engage the enemy before he should flee and to secure the artillery at all hazards. He found the Mexicans in force in the plaza and adjacent streets, apparently about to retreat. The trumpet was ordered to sound a charge. Only Walker's own company obeyed the order. These dashed forward into the plaza, seized the cannon, and then attacked four hundred lancers stationed near them.

Foremost in the charge was Captain Walker, riding with a cool, steady movement and firing his revolvers, each time bringing down a man, and ploughing his way through the enemy wherever they attempted to make a stand. The whole body was soon routed and pursued for a mile out of town. Then riding back, the artillery was secured and his men dismounted their horses, protected behind a convent wall, while the company took positions at the windows of a house adjoining the convent.

The Mexican lancers now rallied and returned at a gallop into the plaza. Every man in their front rank fell dead. Another fire from the house threw the rest into confusion, and they immediately retreated out of range of the deadly rifles. Their officers endeavored in vain to lead them again to the charge. At last one hero among them rode furiously into the plaza toward the convent, waving his sword and entreating his men to follow. But still in vain was such an example of devotion. Reaching a spot half way across the open space alone, he fell, riddled with rifle-balls.

Then the lancers scattered and blocked the entrance to every street so as to cut off Captain Walker's men, straggling back, from joining their companions in the house. Perceiving the object of this movement, Walker taking a part of his troop sallied out into the plaza and feigned a retreat. The Mexicans, deceived by this stratagem, rode after him, concentrating from the different streets. Thus most of the stragglers were able to dash in and join their company. Then wheeling upon his pursuers in most gallant style, Captain Walker and his little band fought their way with indescribable bravery toward the house. Like ancient knights they hewed a path with their swords, instead of battle-axes, through the Mexican lancers thronging around them, and pressing them hard on every side. Swayed back and forth, leaping forward a few paces and then forced back, they had nearly reached the convent gate, with only seven out of twenty left, when farther progress was impossible. No longer attacking, but feebly parrying the lance thrusts, they could wield but a few strokes more with their dripping swords, when a few of the garrison turned upon the massed Mexican troops the captured gun, which was standing at the gate, and a lieutenant attempted to fire it with his pistol. A panic seized the lancers, seeing certain death before them, and they quickly scattered. Walker and his men made a leap for the gate, which they entered with a loss of thirteen of their heroic companions. Then firing from the windows, the little garrison drove the enemy out of the plaza, and all was silent where a few moments before had been the din of a terrible strife.

Captain Walker now directed his men to bring the captured gun nearer to the gate, and superintended them in changing its position. Suddenly from a neighboring house a sharp report was heard, and a puff of smoke rose above a white flag that had been hanging from the window during the fight. Walker fell mortally wounded in the back. With a cry of grief his men bore him into the house, and in half an hour he died, entreating his followers to the last, "Never surrender."

No man in all the war died more regretted. None fell who combined so many qualities of the prompt, daring, energetic, yet cool and self-contained soldier in the hour of greatest peril. The commanding general in his report said of Huamantla: "This victory is saddened by the loss of one of the most chivalric, noble-hearted men that graced the profession of arms, Captain Samuel H. Walker, of the mounted riflemen. Foremost in the advance, he had routed the enemy when he fell mortally wounded."

The Mexicans, having made one more attempt upon the convent, abandoned the town, leaving behind them two pieces of artillery.

The commander-in-chief of the American army, whose leadership in this brilliant campaign will ever make illustrious his name, was now recalled by the government at Washington. His grand success had won for Major-General Scott both unstinted praise and envy. The necessities of partisan politics required that he should be superseded. Major-General Butler, by orders of the government, now took the chief command, and General Scott, having won glory enough for a lifetime, returned home, before the war was entirely ended by the treaty of peace.

The Conspiracy and Revolt in New Mexico

Mexican treachery—The plot revealed—Treasonable plottings renewed—Court records—Assassination of Governor Bent and His party—Fighting at Canada—The siege of the Pueblo of Taos—The surrender of the insurgents—Devastation of Moro Valley—Death of Captain Hendley—Sentence of Trujillo.

The departure of General Kearney on his westward expedition to California gave to the unwilling subjects of the United States in New Mexico the hope of a successful rebellion. The peaceful demeanor of the Mexicans well concealed the conspiracy that was forming for the overthrow of the new government at Santa Fe. The different departments of the territorial government were being organized under Mr. Charles Bent, of San Fernando de Taos, as governor, while Colonel Sterling Price held command of the American troops at Santa Fe. The hatred and envy of many Mexican citizens was he natural consequence of the changes which were made. They, however, feigned a cordial assent to the new order of things, and with treacherous purpose encouraged the apparently kind intercourse of the people with the officers and soldiers.

Colonel Price had in his command nearly two thousand troops stationed at different points in the territory. They were mostly volunteers, and unaccustomed to the restraints of a severe military regime. Those who were left in Santa Fe soon lost nearly all the discipline they manifested at first by the dissipation which their surroundings in Santa Fe greatly favored. Amid gayety and excesses they were jealously watched. The old officials under Armijo plotted, in nightly gatherings within thick adobe walls, for the reinstatement of the Mexican authorities. On the 19th of December, 1846; while Colonel Doniphan was triumphantly marching through Central Mexico, they had matured their plans for revolt so far as to nominate from among themselves Don Tomas Ortiz for governor, and Don Diego Archuleta as commander of their forces. The ringing of the church bells at Santa Fe on Christmas eve was the appointed signal of instant revolt all over the province, as soon as their signal fires and swift runners could communicate the tidings of successful uprising at the capital.

A Mexican woman revealed the plot to Colonel Price; the leaders and many others were arrested, and the conspiracy was apparently crushed. Governor Bent by a proclamation sought to dissuade the people from being again misled by crafty leaders and the priests who were in sympathy with the rebellion; but these still continued to plot against the government.

According to the court record in an old territorial document in the library of Santa Fe, the following appeal was sent out to the officials under the Mexican authority by Don Antonio Maria Trujillo, a native of Santa Fe and inspector of arms, who was afterward condemned to death and received his sentence from Judge Houghton:

"To the Defenders of their Country:

"With the end to shake off the yoke imposed upon us by a foreign government, and as you are inspector-general, appointed by the legitimate commander for the supreme government of Mexico, which we proclaim in favor of, the moment that you receive this communication you will place in readiness all the companies under your command, keeping them ready for the 22nd day of the present month, so that the forces may be on the day mentioned at that point. Take the precaution to observe if the forces of the enemy advance any toward those points, and if it should so happen, appoint a courier and despatch him immediately, so that exertions may be doubled. Understand that there must not be resistance or delay in giving the answer to the bearer of this official document.

January 20th, 1847.

Trujillo immediately carried out these orders, and acted with great energy in executing the plans of the conspirators. He issued a document, of which the following translation is given, upon the strength of which he was subsequently arrested and tried for treason to the United States:

"By the order of the Inspector of Arms, Don Antonio Maria Trujillo, I hereunto send you this order, that the moment this comes to hand you will raise all of the forces, together with all the inhabitants that are able to bear arms, connecting them also with persons in San Juan Caballeros, by the morning of the 22nd day of the present month, and not later than eight o'clock in the morning. We have declared war with the Americans, and it is now time that we take our arms in our hands in defence of our prostrate country, that we may try if possible to regain the liberty of our unhappy country. You will be held responsible if you fail in the execution of the above order.


This official order was sent with the previous one from Tafolla to the persons to whom it was addressed.

On the 14th of January, 1847, Governor Bent and six other officials of the territorial government in company with him were murdered by Mexicans and Pueblo Indians while on their way to Taos. On the same day seven Americans were cruelly slain at Arroyo Hondo, four others at Moro, and two at Rio Colorado. Letters were also intercepted calling upon the inhabitants of northern New Mexico to exterminate all Americans and those Mexicans who had joined friendship with them. The leaders of this movement, Tafolla, Chavez, and Montoya, designed to attack Santa Fe with forces which should be gathered as they approached the city.

By the 23rd of January they had increased to two thousand, and were discovered by the American troops, who had been led out to meet them, occupying high grounds near Canada, a small town on a little stream emptying into the Rio Grande. Colonel Price had but three hundred and fifty-three men and four howitzers. From two o'clock in the afternoon till sunset he fought the Mexicans, driving them from the hills above the stream and routing them at all points.

The enemy fled in the direction of Taos. Colonel Price pursued them on the 27th of January, and again encountered them strongly posted near Embudo. Six or seven hundred Mexicans held the mountain slopes overhanging each side of the road, where a narrow gorge, protected by brushwood and detached rocks, made the passage thus defended impassable. With four hundred and seventy-nine men, Colonel Price again boldly attacked them in this formidable position, his men climbing the precipitous hills and driving the enemy before them, up the slope, and over the top, hotly pursuing them for two hours. The town of Embudo surrendered to the Americans, who resumed march over the Taos mountain, where they trampled down snow two feet deep to make a road for the artillery and supply wagons. The enemy were not found again till they reached the Indian village Pueblo de Taos. Here they had occupied the large church, two large structures, seven or eight stories high, and projecting buildings flanking these, all constructed with thick adobe walls and held by six or seven hundred Mexicans and Indians.

The Americans, with their two howitzers and one six-pounder gun, battered these walls for two hours and a half on the evening of February 3rd, and for the same time the next morning, without effecting any breach. The troops were then ordered to storm the church, the walls of which, under a brisk fire from the defenders inside, were attacked with axes and the roof set on fire. A small hole was at last made through these walls, the six-pounder gun pushed to within ten feet of this breach, and shell and three rounds of grape-shot hurled with terrible effect on the helpless wretches within the church. Then the assailants leaped through the broken walls, and also charging upon it in front, had the Mexicans and Indians entirely in their power. As soon as possible the slaughter was stayed, the troops were quartered in the abandoned house, and early the next morning the old men and women came, with a priest, bringing their children and altar images to the victorious Americans, and implored of them mercy. They were promised safety and peace, if they would deliver up Tomas, the leader, who had been engaged in the murder of Governor Bent and his party.

One hundred and fifty Mexicans and Indians were killed in this attack upon Pueblo de Taos. They had lost fifty-six killed and one hundred and five wounded in the two previous engagements at Canada and Embudo. Sixty-three Americans were killed and wounded in this first expedition to subdue the rebellion. The insurrection was also subdued in the Moro valley by the prompt and vigorous action of Captain Hendley, who was in command of a grazing detachment of troops on the Pecos. He collected the forces in his vicinity, and on the loth of January took possession of Las Vegas, where insurgents were assembling. Having dispersed these and strongly garrisoned the place, he marched to Moro, where they had a force of two hundred men, protected by adobe houses and an old fort, to which they fled after a short skirmish, on the 24th. Here for a while they offered successful resistance to the Americans, firing upon them from the windows and loopholes of their buildings. They were vigorously attacked, however, and pursued into the houses, where the Americans pierced the insurgents with bayonets and shot them down in close combat, till they had killed twenty-five Mexicans and taken seventeen prisoners. Captain Hendley was fatally shot while forcing his way, with a few men, into one of the houses near the fort. Having no artillery to reduce this fort, the Americans retired, but on the 1st of February Hendley's death was avenged by the destruction of the village of Moro by troops under Captain Merwin.

Thus the revolt in New Mexico was effectually subdued. Of its leaders, Montoya and Chavez were killed at Canada and Taos, Trujillo was hung as a traitor, and Tomas shot in a private quarrel with his guard, while imprisoned at Taos.

The sentence of the court against Trujillo, written in Judge Houghton's handwriting, was filed in the court record March 16th, 1847, attested by James Giddings, clerk, and by John R. Sulles, deputy clerk. Part of it reads as follows:

"Your age and gray hairs have excited the sympathy of both the court and the jury. Yet while each and all were not only willing, but anxious that you should have every advantage placed at your disposal that their highly responsible duty under the law to their country would permit, yet have you been found guilty of the crime alleged to your charge. It would appear that old age has not brought you wisdom, nor purity, nor honesty of heart; while holding out the hand of friendship to those whom circumstances have brought to rule over you, you have nourished bitterness and hatred in your soul. You have been found guilty of seconding the acts of a band of the most traitorous murderers that ever blackened with the recital of their deeds the annals of history.

"Not content with the peace and security in which you lived under the present government, secure in all your personal rights as a citizen, in property, in person, and in your religion, you gave your name and influence to measures intended to effect a universal murder and pillage, the overthrow of the government, and one widespread scene of bloodshed in the land. For such foul crimes an enlightened and liberal jury have been compelled, from the evidence brought before them and by a sense of their stern but unmistakable duty, to find you guilty of treason against the government under which you are a citizen, and there only now remains to the court the painful duty of passing upon you the sentence of the law."

Thirty days were allowed the prisoner before the execution of this sentence on the 115th of April.

Incidents of the War

Mcculloch's Raids

The Texas Rangers—The first scout to Linares—The surprise of a fandango party—Raid to Carrisito—Fight with Mexican cavalry—Gallantry at Monterey—The storming of Federation Hill—Engagement at Encarnacion—The scouting party and adventures—Peril and escape from Santa Anna's troops—Return to Agua Nueva.

Captain Benjamin McCulloch commanded a noted company of Texas Rangers, who performed in battle and in scouting service many daring and brilliant deeds. They were rough soldiers and a terror to the Mexicans. Without tents, camp equipage, or cooking utensils, but possessing excellent horses, they arrived at Matamoras, after the battle of Resaca de la Palma, and became a most useful and trustworthy attachment of General Taylor's little army. One of the company, Lieutenant Samuel C. Reid, wrote an interesting narrative of their various raids and skirmishes, a few of which will be briefly sketched in this chapter.

On the 12th of June, 1846, the Rangers were sent on a scout in the direction of Linares to discover a suitable route for a large force to Monterey. They took the direction of General Arista's army in their flight from Matamoras. Guided by an excellent map discovered in Arista's captured military chest, they found it an excellent picture of the face of the country between the Rio Grande and the Sierra del Madre. Ranches and villages, roads, mountain-paths, and insignificant streamlets, were all truthfully represented. Often under the vertical sun-rays, without a cloud in the sky or a breath of air, and without water for themselves or their beasts, they pursued their way. At midnight they were aroused by heavy tropical showers, drenching their blankets and clothes and adding every discomfort possible to shelterless troops.

One night a soldier waked his companion, beside whom he had been sleeping, with the announcement that they were half covered with water, and would soon be washed away if they did not seek some drier place.

"Bless me!" said the major, showing his head from under cover of his blanket. "Why, it is raining. The ground is getting damp. But lie down, Jim, and go to sleep. Don't you see that we have got this puddle of water warm now by the heat of our bodies, and if we move we shall only get into another and take cold. So lie down, Jim, and go to sleep; it's nothing when you get used to it."

The soldier thus addressed, however, preferred to take his wet blanket and sit down at the foot of a tree than to sleep on in a warm puddle.

The Rangers were in search of the Mexican robber Canales, who with a band of three or four hundred had made depredations upon the country in the vicinity of Reynosa. They were stationed at this place for several weeks during the rainy season, comfortably quartered in a gin shed, which the demands of the Rangers for some kind of shelter became too violent for the commanding officer of the Americans to deny. While at Reynosa they took justice in their own hands and killed some of the Mexican villains who had participated in one of the Texan border massacres, and whom they found living here in peace and security. Their bodies were found shot or hung in the chaparral.

One evening about sundown, an order came for twenty men to saddle their horses. Riding in silence out of Reynosa they were informed that Canales was reported to be at a fandango on a neighboring ranch, which they were to surround. Guided by a Mexican boy, they hastened in single file to the place of merry-making. The Mexican fandango was a novel sight to these scouts, one of whom thus described it: "The dance was held in the open air; and the bright fires kindled at different points, the candles and torches moving to and fro, the animated groups of revellers clustered on every side, the white robes of the girls prettily contrasting in the firelight with the dusky apparel of their partners, while gay forms replete, with life and motion bounded in the lovely dance or floated in the graceful waltz in sweet accord with the spirit-stirring strains of music which the night breeze wafted to our ears—all made a scene that was, at the distance we reviewed it, beautiful indeed."

The men were commanded to halt, dismount, and creep up cautiously and surround the house, ready to come up quickly at the charge.

The lieutenant in command as he gave this order walked leisurely into the midst of the surprised and affrighted dancers. A ring of Texan rifles encircled them, and the women rushed shrieking back and forth, trying in vain to escape. They quieted down, however, and the house was carefully searched, but the wily Canales was missing. Then half the soldiers, laying aside their guns, joined in the dance with the utmost hilarity, astonishing and delighting the women with the negro dances of the South, in which their grotesque figures and movements excited the applause of the whole company.

Thus till midnight they turned their expected bloody encounter into a delightful revel, and having taken a parting glass of brandy, they returned to camp.

The American soldiers when encamped in towns or in the country often participated in the most friendly manner in these national dances of the Mexicans.

While Captain McCulloch's company were at Seralvo, in August, 1846, they were ordered to make another raid toward Carrisito and ascertain the position of the enemy. Two companies of Rangers made the force which was to penetrate far into the Mexican country. Eighty well-mounted men, with provisions for two days in their knapsacks, left camp at about four o'clock in the afternoon. From a Mexican whom they captured that evening, they ascertained that Canales with five hundred rancheros, and Colonel Carison with between two and three hundred regular cavalry, were at Papagayo, about thirty-five miles distant.

Sending back word to General Worth of the situation and force of the enemy, they took supper at Carrisito, and rode all night through the mountains. Crossing ridge after ridge, the mountains loomed up in the darkness on every side, with a grandeur which was heightened by the increasing peril of the expedition. They approached the ranch Papagayo within two miles of the Mexican encampment. The people in the ranch were routed up from their sleep. The information obtained with great difficulty from these people satisfied them that a fight was at hand. Two Mexican couriers, riding at full speed, had carried the report of the American advance to their countrymen.

In about an hour the American advance-guard drove in the Mexican pickets nearly to their own camp. The force was well posted, and it was determined to fall back for three miles to a naturally strong position and await the expected attack at daybreak. The men lay down, ready at a moment's warning, their horses saddled. They were awakened by a summons to begin a return march, in which they fell in with a large detachment of three hundred men under Colonel Childs, dispatched by General Worth for their relief.

On the 14th of September, scouting was ordered toward Ramos. Forty men were detailed for this purpose, fifteen of whom rode in advance with McCulloch, now promoted. They proceeded about four miles and found themselves within long rifle-shot of a body of Mexican troops, and firing began on both sides. Soon McCulloch, waving his sword as if followed by a large force, galloped toward the enemy and drove him from his position to another hill. The main body of the Americans was now deployed around a hill to the right, keeping out of sight in the chaparral. The enemy's scouts were driven back to their main force by McCulloch. While on a high hill he discovered twenty, or more of the Mexican troops lying in an ambuscade in the ravine below. Rushing into this ambush in the pursuit of a Mexican officer was a gallant young soldier, Lieutenant Thomas. Colonel McCulloch saw that in a few moments more he would be slain, and waving his sword again, as if followed by a large troop, he dashed down the hill frightening the Mexicans, who fled before Thomas reached them.

A courier was then dispatched to bring up the Rangers, who, having deployed around the hill, came forward with a loud shout and pursued the Mexicans to within a quarter of a mile of Ramos. Here they made a stand and opened fire with their carbines, but were soon thrown into confusion by the impetuous advance and firing of the Rangers. They fled through the town, driven in hot haste by the Americans, nor did they stop till they reached a high hill beyond the town. Then McCulloch, fearing to be cut off by the Mexicans, returned slowly through Ramos, having with forty men driven before him over two hundred of Torrejon's cavalry commanded by Colonel Carisco.

No troops did more soldier-like and heroic deeds than McCulloch's Texas Rangers at Monterey and Buena Vista. At Monterey they displayed signal bravery. It was about noon, when General Worth rode up to those gallant troops, three hundred in number, one half of whom were Rangers, and pointing to Federation Hill, said: "Men, you are to take that hill, and I know you will do it." It was a rugged height of three hundred and eighty feet, whose sides were covered with thorny chaparral. Mexicans swarmed above and its cannon looked defiantly down on the men. With death almost certain before them they answered their general: "We will." Marching at double-quick and in single file through fields of corn and sugar-cane, which concealed their movements, they reached the river-bank, and a Mexican battery opened a fierce, plunging fire upon them, enveloping the hill in flame and smoke. With a storm of shot and grape falling upon them, they dashed into the sweeping current waist-deep, while the water boiled with the iron hail hurled upon them. But, strangely, they reached the opposite bank without the loss of a man. Halting now in the thicket, secure from the artillery fire, they took breath and drained the water from their shoes and clothes. Reinforced by masses of sharpshooters, the Mexicans came down to take positions on the slope of the hill. The musketry roar increased, and the men were ordered forward. The hillside was reached, and the Texans began to clamber its face, driving the Mexicans back toward the crest by the dreaded fire of their rifles. They were now pushing up in line with the Seventh Regular Infantry, and vieing with them in gaining the top, their cheers and shouts rang along the hill-side with the murderous volleys of their rifles, carrying terror to the foe above. The rifle flashes, deadly balls, and terrific yells were too much for the Mexicans; they broke their lines and fled over the crest, and the Texan cheers announced their victory to their comrades below.

On the 15th of February, 1847, McCulloch with twenty-seven men reported to General Taylor for additional service of six months. He was ordered to make a scout toward Encarnacion to obtain information of Santa Anna's movements. He had with him sixteen of his picked men and three officers of the Kentucky infantry. At eleven o'clock P.M. on a very dark night, they came upon the Mexican picket, who fled after firing a gun. Proceeding cautiously in the darkness, their progress was impeded by what was apparently a brush fence. Approaching within thirty paces, they discovered it to consist of twenty Mexican cavalry, who, challenging them, at the same time fired a whole volley at the Texans. In a moment came an order from McCulloch to charge. The Mexicans wheeled to the right and left and retreated with all baste, closely pursued by the Texans, till the strength of the enemy at Encarnacion could be estimated at fifteen hundred cavalry. Possessed of this important information, he turned back at once toward Agua Nueva. His bold charge had delivered from great peril.

On the 18th of February, McCulloch was ordered again to proceed to Santa Anna's camp for information. He took only five men and two officers. They left camp about four o'clock in the afternoon. Having gone about six miles, they met with a Mexican deserter, who reported Santa Anna's arrival at Encarnacion with twenty thousand men. Placing little confidence in this statement, the deserter was sent under guard to General Taylor, and the squad of seven men went on their way, concealing themselves by day in the woods and avoiding the main road.

At midnight they discovered the Mexicans encamped in force at Encarnacion. The moon had set, and they passed within the enemy's picket-line as far as the Mexican camp guard, and having made a careful reconnaissance, they retired half a mile to feed their horses. Major McCulloch now concluded to send back all the party but one man, William Phillips, to make a full report to General Taylor of the probable strength of the enemy, while he remained with this single companion until day-light for further information. Approaching the camp by another fork of the road, these fearless scouts came suddenly upon the enemy's pickets, who gave them chase. To escape, they boldly galloped down toward the Mexican camp, and the pickets thus deceived took them for their own men trying to pass out of their lines. McCulloch and his companion, after this narrow escape, retired to a hill, where they concealed themselves till daylight. But the drums and trumpets of the Mexican army sounding the reveille, frightened their horses, and they narrowly escaped capture and the death of spies.

As the Mexican camp-fires of green wood threw out a heavy smoke which concealed the troops from view, McCulloch and the Ranger started to return. Before riding a hundred yards they discovered two picket guards of twenty men each in front of them. The American scouts were between the two roads and would have to pass the picket guards on each side of them. Their only hope was to escape by leisurely riding by. So holding their guns close to their horses, and thus concealing them, they rode slowly along, and were again mistaken by the Mexicans, who were warming themselves by their fires, for some of their own cavalrymen.

Ascending a high hill, McCulloch had a fine view of the Mexican army with his glass, but was again near a picket, who after long waiting did not move from his station. Avoiding him by keeping close to the foot of the mountain, they escaped at last through a pass, and again free from danger they galloped with light hearts toward the camp at Agua Nueva. The army was on its march from that point, having been moved in consequence of the information brought the previous night by the rest of McCulloch's party.

General Taylor was anxiously awaiting Major McCulloch. Having received from him particulars as to the Mexican army and Santa Anna's forward movements, the general quietly replied:

"Very well, major, that's all I wanted to know. I am glad they did not catch you," and he set out at once with his staff toward Buena Vista.

The American Navy in the War

The Gulf squadron—The blockade—Yucatan—Capture of Tampico—Expedition against Tuspan—Ascent of the river—Storming the forts—Capture of the city—Preparations to attack Tabasco—The flotilla—Attacked by Mexicans—Engagement with forts—The landing party—Firing upon the Spitfire—The fortifications captured—Fort Iturbide reduced and destroyed—Surrender of the city—Prizes—The Pacific squadron—Instructions to Commodore Sloat—Capture of Monterey and San Francisco—Subjugation of California.

It is impossible to estimate the value of the service rendered by the navy of the United States in the conquest of Mexico. It was not distinguished by many engagements upon the sea, or by any brilliant victories such as were won upon the battle-fields of Mexico. There was no hostile fleet to contend with; there were scarcely any fortified ports to reduce and capture; but there were many to blockade and cut off from foreign intercourse. Had it not been for the important part the navy played in this respect in the war, it might have been long protracted by the supply of food, munitions of war, and even of skilled soldiers which other nations would have willingly sent into Mexico, had her ports been open.

The Pacific squadron, under command of commodore Sloat, consisted of three frigates and six other war vessels, carrying in all two hundred and seventy-five guns. The Gulf squadron, under Commodore Perry, numbered seven ships of war, four steamers, and one brig. Within two weeks after the battle of Resaca de la Palma, the Gulf squadron established a blockade of all the Eastern coast of Mexico. Yucatan was at first exempted, being in revolt against the Mexican Government; but as its ports were made the place of traffic in war material for Mexico, it was soon included in the blockade. It was not easy to guard so large an extent of coast, but a few vessels were captured in their effort to escape the vigilance of the fleet. Save the bombardment of Vera Cruz there were no very exciting events in the service of the fleet on the Gulf coast, though the task assigned to the squadron required much vigilance, and, to add to the difficulties of the blockade, sickness prevailed on board the ships from the effects of the tropical climate.

On the 14th of November the fleet took possession of Tampico. It had, however been abandoned by the Mexican forces which had garrisoned this important city. The same month two noteworthy actions were performed by the squadron at Tuspan and Tabasco. Both these cities were well defended by Mexican troops and fortifications.

Tuspan was situated near the mouth of the river called by the same name, which was so shoal that the larger vessels could not ascend to take part in the capture of the town. A detachment of gun-boats and barges was towed up the river by the steamers, lightened as much as possible for crossing the bar. These boats carried twelve hundred men and two pieces of artillery. Having entered the river, Commodore Perry, with pennant flying on board the Spitfire, led the rest of the fleet. They had not proceeded far up the stream when two forts opened fire from the right bank upon the vessels, which immediately replied, while the boats manned with storming parties swept swiftly to the shore. The marines rushed up to the fortifications, but the Mexicans did not wait for the conflict at close quarters, and fled toward the town.

The Americans pressed forward in pursuit of the retreating garrison, receiving a fire from the chaparral and from another fort which they approached in their charge after the Mexicans. Turning upon this battery they soon put its defenders to flight in every direction, leaving the town in possession of the marines. The forts were immediately dismantled and destroyed, a garrison was posted in the town, a sloop of war and a gun-boat anchored in the river, and the expedition returned to its former station.

Tabasco was not so easily captured. It was a city second in commercial importance to Vera Cruz, and Commodore Perry with twelve vessels anchored off the bar on the 13th of June determined to reduce it. It was seventy-five miles from the mouth of the river on which it was situated, and only vessels of the lightest draft could be brought into requisition. Four steam vessels and four brigs, with three divisions of surf-boats, launches, and cutters, carrying seven field-pieces and filled with officers and men detached from the vessels left behind, composed the flotilla which started on the 14th and sailed all night.

The river became so narrow as the vessels pursued their way in the darkness that a musketry fire from the chaparral on the shore could easily command the opposite bank. From a fort at a bend of the river, on the 15th, a strong body of Mexicans suddenly opened a plunging fire on the flag-ship Spitfire. The Americans quickly replied with grape and canister, and with musketry stationed in the vessel's top and the boats alongside. It was not long before this attack was effectually repelled. Two leagues below the city the enemy were again found occupying the woods on the river-bank, just as night was settling upon the flotilla. The decks, rigging, and boats were protected during the night by sand-bags, cots, and hammocks strung up so as to hide the marines, and some other preparations were made for a land attack upon the morrow.

The flotilla in three divisions, armed with marines and one division carrying artillery, and protected by schooners, moved forward in the morning, when a concealed breastwork poured upon them a sharp musketry fire. This was briskly returned from the whole fleet, and Commodore Perry, standing in full view of his men on a barge at the head of the division, gave the spirited order, "Three cheers and land." With loud hurrahs the boatmen rowed to the shore, and soon nine hundred seamen and two hundred marines landed and climbed up the steep bank, dragging their cannon to the top.

The enemy abandoned the fort and took position behind a breastwork nearer the city at Acachapau. Here were stationed a battery of two guns and a force of cavalry and infantry under the Mexican colonel, Hidalgo. The route to this position, seven miles distant, led the Americans through thick woods, canebrakes, and marshy ground. They were, however, unmolested till they came in sight of the breastwork, which greeted them with shot from the guns at long range.

The field-pieces were immediately brought into action, and soon threw the Mexicans into confusion and flight, before the seamen dashing forward with ringing shouts could reach the work. They here halted to rest. The steam vessels, meanwhile, had passed up the river and engaged Fort Iturbide, which commanded the river for a long distance. The Mexican flag was soon hauled down from its ramparts, and the Scorpion, sailing farther up the stream, received an offer of the surrender of the city from the alcalde. As the Spitfire went by the fort, the Mexicans again opened fire upon her, and a detachment of seamen was sent to storm the fortification. It was soon done, two brass field-pieces were, captured, three twenty-eight pounders, and a quantity of small arms and ammunition. The city was occupied by a garrison of artillery and marines, and the next day Fort Iturbide was mined and destroyed. The flotilla returned immediately to rejoin the squadron, having accomplished, with the loss of a very few killed and wounded, the whole object of the expedition. The city of Tabasco was greatly injured by the bombardment. Fifteen Mexican vessels, including a brig, two steamers, and four schooners, were captured here and taken away as prizes, with the exception of one schooner which was burned.

Commodore Perry's fleet was also actively engaged in the bombardment of Vera Cruz.

The Pacific squadron made under Commodore Sloat an eventful movement early in the war. Its commander was beyond communication with the government at Washington, and in entire ignorance of the relations of the Mexican Government to the United States. At length rumors of actual hostilities reached Commodore Sloat from Mexican sources. Without doubt the Washington government had in anticipation given him special instructions as to his course of action, since the Administration were fully determined to bring on the war. Commodore Sloat was at Mazatlan with his fleet when he heard these rumors on the 7th of June.

Orders were issued at once to the squadron, and the next morning sails were hoisted and the fleet was on its way to the coast of Upper California. On the 7th of July Monterey, the capital of California, and San Francisco, the best harbor on the coast, were both in full possession of the navy of the United States, and the inhabitants were informed by proclamation that henceforth California would be a part of the United States; that they should enjoy all the rights and privileges of citizens, and be protected as would those of any other State of the Union. Official instructions of date the 5th of May, two days after war was declared, were afterward received by Commodore Sloat, in which he was told to consider the most important object to be to take and hold possession of San Francisco. Again, under the date of the 12th of July, the official directions received by him were that "the object of the United States is, under its rights as a belligerent nation, to possess itself entirely of Upper California. This will bring with it the necessity of a civil administration. Such a government should be established under your protection." As afterward proclaimed by General Kearney, when his expedition arrived in California, the people of these provinces had no alternative but to accept the new citizenship, which in the pre-meditated purpose of the Administration had been given them before they knew or hardly thought of a conflict between the two republics. Commodore Sloat having returned to Mazatlan, and about the 15th of August having received orders to do all that he had with great promptness and energy already accomplished, relinquished the command of the Pacific fleet to Commodore Stockton, and returned to the United States. Thus, whatever praise the capture of California merited belonged chiefly to the navy, though its full subjugation and civil reorganization could not have been wrought without the efficient co-operation of the army under General Kearney, whose rapid occupation and quelling of the insurrection in that province has been already described in a previous chapter. The fleet remained through the war, holding the Mexican Pacific coast below California in full blockade.

Episodes of the War

Personal traits of General Taylor—The soldiers blunder—An officer's pique—Camp discipline good for officers as well as soldiers—The sentinel's wrath—The general's mistake—Mexican chivalry—The fatal ambuscade.

Incidents that exhibited the influence of democratic institutions in every station of American life were continually recurring in this war.

The rugged simplicity of General Taylor was in nothing more conspicuous than in his habits of dress and in his intercourse with his soldiers. He was seldom in uniform, but rode about his camp dressed in citizen's clothing of brown color.

Riding one day along the road through an encampment, he was accosted by one of the cavalry-men, who did not imagine his rank, but had taken a fancy to his horse.

"Hallo, stranger, how will you swap that pony for this horse?" giving his own horse a slap.

"Old Zach," as he was familiarly called by his men, stopped, and in the most matter-of-fact way said that he "did not care about swapping, for the pony was a favorite of his."

The orderly in attendance now rode up in full uniform, and took his proper position behind the general. The private's suspicions were aroused. He blushed and stammered as he realized his mistake, and asked pardon of the general. Taylor smiled and assured him that he had done no harm, and inquiring of his regiment's long march from Tennessee, complimented his State and its soldiers, and rode on.

Another general was addressed in a similar way by a soldier who knew him and admired his horse.

"Good-morning, general. A fine horse, that black you ride."

No reply was given by the lofty-minded officer. "How would you swap him for this one, general?" he continued.

This officer was apparently made of different stuff from General Taylor, for turning away from the soldier he ordered the guard in an angry voice to "arrest that man."

The soldier was innocent of any intention to offend, but saw his unhappy position. As they were taking him off he said in the hearing of the officer: "Why, the general is a fool; he did not know but that I would have given fifty dollars to boot." It was but a few minutes after the arrest that the general, recovering himself from his surprise and petulance, ordered the release of the soldier.

The innumerable instances of the laughable traits and conduct of soldiers under difficulties beguiled many a lonely night and wearisome days in camp or on the march. The men were ever ready to enjoy the ridiculous but sometimes trying experiences of their comrades.

One dark night a Tennessean was on guard. The surface of Mexico is cut up with arroyos or gullies, and the tall grass of the prairie hid these from sight as the sentinel paced his beat of sixty yards. He fell into these gullies two or three times, and was hardly able to repress his own vexation, till he listened to the soliloquy of the guard next to him, who had a still more broken ground to pace. He had picked himself out of the arroyos two or three times without comment, but at last began to swear to himself, as his floundering experiences increased. But into a gully he would go as he finished each round of oaths. "This is a pretty place to put a fellow this time of night," he was heard to say. "I shall break my neck sure before we are relieved. Ah, here is another! Didn't catch me that time: if I had a candle I should come it. No need of a guard along here anyhow. If any of the Comanches, Lipans, Mexicans, or any other of the cursed red skins, should come here they could not get into camp; for they would break every one of their necks in these gullies. Down he went again, as he finished his sentence, his gun striking heavily on the ground. As he got out, he growled, "Curse the gullies, what's the use of walking back and forward any way? I won't do it. I'll stay right here. "And in that spot he did stay.

Under the severest showers of cannon or musket balls the American soldiers were remarkable for their coolness and firmness of bearing. At Monterey, a regular officer observed one of his men halting beside the body of a volunteer whose brains had been dashed against a wall while standing near him. "What do you stop there for?" asked the officer. "Are you afraid?"

"Afraid! no!" he replied. "I was only thinking how a man that had so many brains could be fool enough to volunteer to come to such a place as this. "

A Tennesseean at Monterey had a spent ball take away his front teeth and lodge between his double teeth. "There now," he said, as he dropped the ball from his mouth into his hand, "I'll bet a month's pay there ain't another man in the army that can let the Mexicans shoot at him and catch the ball in his teeth in that way. "

This was equaled by the sangfroid of an adjutant who said to a brother officer, under a tornado of balls which they were facing in the thickest of the fight, "This is a hard shower to be in without an umbrella."

The following story related in detail by the author of "Twelve Months' Volunteers," is an amusing instance of literal obedience to orders:

The colonel in command of a cavalry regiment stationed outside of Matamoras had impressed upon the picket guards the great importance of vigilance, and one day charged them to allow even an officer who was known to them to pass without the countersign, only in the daytime, but after nightfall they were to know no one, not even himself as an officer, not even if his face or voice could be distinctly recognized.

One day the colonel himself had gone into town and was delayed till night. Two lieutenants had also dashed away to town after parade, to attend a Mexican fandango or dance. All of them had neglected to take the countersign. They returned together after their business and enjoyment. A sentinel heard them coming as they approached the picket line, the two lieutenants in front. They were challenged and told to give the countersign.

"We have not got it," was the reply. "You know us—"

"Halt! and remain where you are, "quickly replied the sentinel, levelling his gun as they still approached.

"But we must go in," said all, advancing toward the guard, "there will be no harm. "But they were met again with the muzzle pointed at them and the soldier's hand on the trigger. "Stop! you are near enough," he said in warning, and they heeded his command in time to save a shot. They turned angrily away for consultation.

The colonel, now very much amused, came nearer to see the discomfiture of the officers. One of them was an adjutant, and he tried in vain to pass the guard. At last the colonel himself drew up to the sentinel, and commended him for the soldier-like fidelity of his act. "Now," he said, "I am pleased to see you so prompt and decided in your discharge of duty; and I trust the lesson will not be lost on these officers, for officers should set an example of military discipline to the soldiers. Let these gentlemen in; and depend upon it we think much more of you for your firmness."

The colonel was clearly recognized by the soldier in the bright moonlight, but he turned to his commanding officer in reply.

"Have you the countersign?"

"The countersign—no! it is not necessary for me to have it—you know me. I am your colonel."

"You can't go in, "said the sentinel, standing erect before them.

"Look at me," said the colonel, standing with shining epaulets and sword in the bright light away from the shadow of some bushes, where he had been partially hidden. "Don't you know me now?"

"I might know you in the daytime," said the soldier coolly, "but now I do not know you; you cannot go in; remain where you are. "

"Where is the officer of the guard?" at length the colonel inquired.

"He is gone into camp."

The sentinel was told to call him.

"Should like to accommodate you, gentlemen, but can't leave my post."

They sat upon the ground and held their horses for two hours in the cold night air, till the officer of the guard came up to relieve the sentinel, and found the officers chilled and shivering, without even a blanket for protection. They were quickly let into the camp, and the night's repose in their tents and blankets quieted their indignation.

The next day the colonel specially complimented the sentinel who reminded him of his own order, that "no one, not even himself, should pass at night without the countersign."

There was a genuine enthusiasm in the heart of General Taylor which endeared him to the rough soldiers, who were ready to follow his commands to the death in the most desperate moments of a battle.

At a critical time in the engagement at Buena Vista, he sent Mr. Crittenden to order the Second Kentucky Regiment to sustain one of the columns staggering under a tremendous charge of the Mexicans. Led by Colonels McKee and Clay, they marched into the fight with a steady front. They had to cross ravines and very rough ground to gain their position, and only their heads were visible to General Taylor and his staff watching their progress. They seemed to be broken and dismayed by the fire of the Mexicans as they crossed this ground, and were often individually out of sight in the march.

General Taylor, knowing how much depended on their gallantry, and believing, from the irregular appearance of their heads above the uneven ground, that they were faltering, turned to Mr. Crittenden, who, like himself, was a Kentuckian, with mingled mortification and fierceness in his countenance, and said:

"Mr. Crittenden, this will not do; this is not the way for Kentuckians to behave themselves when called upon to make good a battle; it will not answer, sir." With brow knit and clenched fist, and lips compressed in anger, he still watched them, receiving no reply, from his aide, who, like himself, was overcome with shame.

But erelong the Kentuckians began to ascend the slope out of the ravine with the firm step and even lines of veterans. They came to the crest of the hill, meeting the Mexicans in the flush of a victory already within their grasp. Now delivering their volleys by companies with deadly aim, the general saw the Mexicans fall in terrible slaughter, till their ranks were broken and they retreated in confusion. His stern face had relaxed, and pride and joy now animated his eyes as he saw them approaching the heavy battalions of the enemy, and as the sheets of flame rolled out from their columns, he shouted in a loud huzza, rising in his saddle:

"Hurrah for old Kentuck! That's the way to do it: give it to 'em!" he cried, with tears of exultation now moistening his hardy cheeks. Then turning to other parts of the field he gathered up other columns to hurl them upon the foe, and complete the victory.

With the same generous spirit toward an enemy, General Taylor, when introduced to the brave Mexican general, La Vega, on the battle-field, took him by the hand, and warmly shaking it, said:

"General, I do assure you I deeply regret that this misfortune has fallen upon you. I regret it exceedingly, and I take pleasure in returning you the sword which you have this day worn with so much gallantry. "

The character of the Mexican generals was often as chivalric and high-minded as that of the American officers. The capture of nearly one hundred Arkansas and Kentucky cavalry at the hacienda of Encarnacion, some days before the battle of Buena Vista, was effected by General Miņon in a manner most creditable to his soldier-like qualities and humanity. He had made a forced march of one hundred miles to surprise them, and toward night had surrounded the two American scouting parties in the hacienda without their knowledge, the night being very dark and a high wind prevailing. In the morning, the Mexican cavalry force, three thousand in number, and in splendid array, were revealed to the astonished Americans resplendent, with the stirring strains of three fine bands rolling upon the air in exulting tones.

But these sturdy Americans were not intimidated. The bugle notes of the Americans rung out defiantly as they were marshaled in line for the desperate struggle for their lives.. General Miņon wished to save them a useless and certain death, and sent a flag of truce summoning them to surrender, and stating the force which surrounded them at every point. He offered them honorable terms as prisoners of war. The men were unwilling to yield and did not credit his statement of the strength of his force. General Miņon now sent an officer of equal rank as hostage, while Major Gaines went into their ranks and assured himself of their force. He reported that resistance would be only to throw away life, and the Americans accordingly surrendered. Thus the cool and humane judgment of this accomplished Mexican cavalry officer, when he had his foes in his power, spared the bloodshed of his own men and secured the capture of the Americans.

General Taylor, apprised by one of these American prisoners who escaped, of the presence of the advance-guard of Santa Anna's army, marched at once to Agua Nueva to meet him before the battle of Buena Vista.

The conflicts with the guerillas, especially after the fall of the city of Mexico, were some of the severest tests of bravery which tried the American soldier, though they had nothing of the glory or incentive to heroism which hung over a battle-field, where thousands fought in the presence of their generals. When Scott left Puebla on his march to the capital, he appointed Colonel Childs as governor of that city. He had as a garrison less than four hundred men ready for duty, with which the city and two forts a mile distant were to be guarded. His situation was a critical one, for it was threatened by General Rea, of the Mexican army. On the morning of the 26th of August, Colonel Childs received information, that a stock-yard near Fort Loretto had been attacked by guerillas and seven hundred and fifty mules driven away. He could not detach either his infantry or cavalry in pursuit, so weak were his numbers, and an irregular force of mounted men thirty-three in number, under the command of Captain Blanchard, of the quarter-master's department, were sent in pursuit. They followed the tracks of the animals into a ravine. Crossing the ravine and ascending a hill beyond, the advance-guard were fired upon by a few guerillas, who immediately fled to a stone house in sight of the crest of the hill.

Captain Blanchard gave orders to charge upon them. When half way down the hill, a large body 'of men darted out of the willows which had concealed them. He found himself drawn into an ambuscade, with guerillas, lancers, and infantry to the number of eight hundred men, appearing on all sides. He ordered a retreat toward the city, but this was the signal for hundreds more to swoop out with cries and screams upon their prey, successfully entrapped. As they approached the ravine, where only one man could cross at a time, the opposite bank was lined with lancers, and Captain Blanchard, seeing all hope lost of successful resistance, reluctantly gave the desperate order for every man to save himself, or sell life at the utmost cost to the enemy.

His men scattered in a moment. Some rode into the ravine and hurled themselves on the lances of the Mexicans. Others rode along the bank to find some other crossing, or galloped into a neighboring corn-field, which they found was filled with infantry. Back and forth they dashed in the narrowing circle, smiting their merciless foes till, with their leader Captain Blanchard, they were cut to pieces. Of the thirty-three men, eleven escaped, by hewing their way through the enemy's lines, or flying before them as they were pursued, and saving themselves by the speed of their horses.

Closing Events of the War

Desire for peace—Political changes in Mexico—Proposals for treaty of peace—Appointment of commissioners—Ratification of the treaty—Its terms—Evacuation of the capital and the country—Return of the soldiers to their homes—Conclusion.

The Mexican people had now succumbed to the victorious armies of the "barbarians of the North." The Mexican Government was favorable to the settlement of the questions which had caused this unhappy war. A new administration was in power. General Anaya on the 11th of November was elected President of the Mexican Republic until the 8th of January, 1848, when the constitutional term of office would expire. This election indicated the prevailing sentiment among the people. The increase of American garrisons in the chief cities; the occupation of the capital itself; the orders of General Scott requiring all taxes hitherto paid to the Mexican Government to be paid henceforth to the United States, and the actual enforcement of these orders in the capital and in some of the silver-mines, had subdued the warlike spirit of the citizens. The continuance of the war involved the final subjugation of Mexico and its annexation to the United States. The territory now held by American troops for which compensation had been offered would be retained by right of conquest, if Mexico persisted in the war. National pride therefore bowed to the necessities of the republic, and the deputies assembled in the Mexican Congress favored the organization of a commission for the purpose of reopening negotiations with Mr. Trist, who still remained in Mexico, and was determined to assume the responsibility of acting still as agent of the United States. The lack of cooperation by the adherents of Santa Anna prevented immediate action on the part of these commissioners.

On the 8th of January, 1848, General Herrera was elected Constitutional President of the Mexican Republic by the people, who had fully awakened to the peril of their national independence. Yielding whatever portion of their country they were too weak to defend, they resolved to save, by an honorable treaty, what yet remained. Mr. Trist's rash act did not result in any of the possible evils which this assumption of authority might have brought upon himself and others. Under the new administration negotiations were easily opened with a spirit of harmony and concession which indicated a happy issue. Mexico gave up her claim to the Nueces as the boundary-line of her territory, and the United States did not longer insist upon the cession of Lower California and the right of way across the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. The previous offer of money by the United States for the cession of New Mexico and Upper California was also continued, and also the method of settlement of claims for damages agreed upon in the conventions of 1839 and 1843.

On the 2nd of February, a treaty of peace was unanimously adopted and signed by the commissioners at the city of Guadaloupe Hidalgo.

The governors of the Mexican States were urged by the Mexican Minister of Foreign Affairs to induce the deputies soon to assemble to take immediate action. There was but little delay in obtaining their signatures, and the treaty having received the sanction of the Senate of the United States, March 9th, 1848, with a few amendments, the ratifications of the Mexican Congress and of the United States Senate were exchanged May 3oth, 1848.

The United States, by the terms of this treaty, paid to Mexico fifteen millions of dollars for the territory added to its boundaries. They moreover freed the Mexican Republic, from all claims of citizens of the United States against Mexico for damages, which the United States agreed to pay to the amount of three and one quarter millions of dollars. The boundary-line was also fixed between the two republics. It began in the Gulf of Mexico three miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande del Norte, running up the centre of that river to the point where it strikes the southern boundary of New Mexico; then westward along that southern boundary which runs north of El Paso, to its western termination; thence northward along the western line of New Mexico until it intersects the first branch of the river Gila, thence down the middle of the Gila until it empties into the Rio Colorado, following the division line between Upper and Lower California to the Pacific Ocean, one marine league south of the port of San Diego.

On the 12th of June, the last of the United States troops left the capital of Mexico, complimentary salutes having been given to the flags of both republics. The American soldiers returned to their homes in triumph, to receive memorials of praise for their patriotism and bravery from State Legislatures, the ovations of multitudes of citizens, and the happy greetings of friends and kindred, the echoes of which were heard for many months fir every part of the Union.

Never has a nation in modern times fought a more successful war of such brief duration. With her territory enormously increased, with the valor and skill of her army proved in hardly fought battles, and their endurance tested to the utmost, any nation could be at once proud and joyful in such sons, elated by such glory in war and by such a country of magnificent extent and untold resources of soil and climate, lakes and seas.

The curse of human slavery, for the maintenance of which the war with Mexico had its chief support and motive, yet stained this majestic domain. Ere it should be removed this nation would be baptized in blood. Then it would come forth with its free institutions and government, its vast wealth, its commercial greatness, and its Christian religion, to hold its glorious place in the mighty march of the nations toward the everlasting reign of the Prince of Peace.

The Results of the War

To the United States and Mexico

The avowed purpose of the war—Area of the conquered territory—The cost in human life and treasure—Value of the acquisition—Discovery of gold in California—Effects on population and commerce—Value of products—Development by railroads—Perils to the Union—Grandeur of the nation.

The partisan supporters of President Polk's administration did not hesitate to avow that the war with Mexico was waged for conquest of territory. The cession of no less than New Mexico and Upper California was thought of. "I take it for granted," said Mr. Giles in Congress, "that we shall gain territory, and must gain territory, before we shut the gates of the temple of Janus. We must have it. Every consideration of national policy calls upon us to secure it. We must march out from ocean to ocean. We must fulfil what the American poet has said of us, from one end of this confederacy to the other:

"The broad Pacific chafes our strand,

We hear the wide Atlantic roar."

"We must march from Texas straight to the Pacific Ocean, and be bounded only by its roaring wave."

Resolutions declaring that "the war is not urged with a view to conquest" were repeatedly rejected by Congress.

The demands of indemnity from Mexico first made by the United States were equal, exclusive of Texas, to half of the domain of Mexico, embracing a territory upward of eight hundred thousand square miles. The Territories of the United States, independent of the thirty States, at this time contained an area of one million three hundred and thirty-five thousand three hundred and ninety-eight square miles. But the advocates of slavery sought this new territory of New Mexico and California, in the words of the Charleston Courier, "to widen the field of Southern enterprise and power for the future." Mr. Polk, in his message to Congress, declared that "the boundary of the Rio Grande, and the cession of the States of New Mexico and Upper California, constituted an ultimatum which our commissioner was under no circumstances to yield."

The area of New Mexico, as actually ceded by treaty to the United States, was five hundred and twenty-six thousand and seventy-eight square miles. The disputed ground of Texas which rightfully belonged to Mexico, and which was also yielded in the treaty of peace, contained no less than one hundred and twenty-five thousand five hundred and twenty square miles. The acquisition of the total amount of six hundred and fifty-one thousand five hundred and ninety-one square miles of territory was one of the direct results of this war, in which President Polk was ever pretending "to conquer a peace". To this must be added the undisputed region of Texas, which was three hundred and twenty-five thousand five hundred and twenty square miles more, in order adequately to represent the acquisition of territory to the United States, amounting to eight hundred and fifty-one thousand five hundred and ninety square miles. This has been computed to be seventeen times the extent of the State of New York, which has but fifty thousand square miles.

To accomplish this immense enlargement of territory, the number of volunteers accepted and engaged in the war in the service of the United States was fifty-six thousand nine hundred and twenty-six. The number of regular troops of the United States army was twenty-six thousand six hundred and ninety. The number of recruits, naval forces, and teamsters was thirteen thousand; so that over one hundred thousand men were mustered into the army and navy to prosecute the war.

The mortality of the American troops in battle was comparatively small on account of their physical superiority and skill to that of the Mexicans. It did not exceed five thousand. But the deaths from wounds, and sickness from chills, fevers, diarrhea, and vomito, which was very prevalent in the hot region and on the table-lands, and fatal to the Americans, made the total loss of life exceed twenty thousand men. General Scott had at one time, out of a force of ten thousand seven hundred and thirty-eight men in Puebla, nineteen hundred sick in hospital. General Taylor said that the proportion of those cut down by disease to those who fell in battle was about five to one. At Perote there were two thousand six hundred American victims of disease. The deaths of the soldiers in the city of Mexico were the at rate of one thousand each month. The men who were diseased and crippled, ruined in body if not in character, and unfitted for the maintenance of homes and families, are to be added to this destruction of human life and efficiency for citizenship.

The material cost of this war to the United States was in direct outlay of money about one hundred million dollars. Additional to this was the cost of return of troops, extra pay, and bounties, amounting to twelve million five hundred thousand dollars. The payment of claims assumed by the United States Government required two million five hundred dollars more, and the price paid for the ceded territory was fifteen million dollars. So that this new territory was purchased at a cost, in money, of one hundred and thirty million dollars, beside the human suffering and loss of life it caused to both nations. This was an enormous sum in that period of United States history. Twenty-five millions was once offered by Mr. Polk's administration for the peaceful purchase of the same territory.

But far greater was the loss of treasure and the sacrifice of life and property to the people of Mexico. They were left by this war distracted, overwhelmed with woes, and discouraged by their protracted struggles to establish and maintain self-government on the democratic principles avowed by the great republic which inflicted the awful evils of war upon them.

The territory thus acquired included ten degrees of latitude on the Pacific coast, and extended east to the Rio Grande, a distance of a thousand miles. Three great harbors, Monterey, Santiago, and San Francisco were embraced in this cession One was on the Gulf of Mexico, another on the Atlantic, and the third on the Pacific Ocean. Five thousand miles of sea-coast were added to the possessions of the United States. The Bay of San Francisco affords a fine harbor, unsurpassed in the world, where the navies of all nations could be sheltered at once. It

is easily approached, and as easily defended from its rocky shores. China and Japan with six hundred millions of inhabitants can here find commercial intercourse with the food-producing peoples of America, and an unlimited demand for teas, silks, and foreign wares, in exchange for the products of Western inventive skill, and the commodities of a Christian civilization.

The discovery by Americans of gold in California, in the early part of 1848, though it had been previously known to the Jesuits, sent vast tides of immigration from the United States and foreign lands toward that coast. In the eight months ending March, 1850, nine million dollars' worth of gold was brought to the United States. The changes thus wrought in California were really marvellous. The population of California rapidly increased. The overland route was thronged with gold-seekers from the Atlantic States and the Mississippi valley. Multitudes swept across the plains. Fleets of vessels loaded with gold-hunters and merchandise made the long cruise around Cape Horn. Many steamship lines to the Isthmus of Panama sprung up, thronged to their utmost capacity with passengers, who often waited months on the Pacific coast of the isthmus for passage. From Australia, Great Britain, Germany, and France, ships poured foreign immigrants into the port of San Francisco. Towns and cities sprung up along the coast and the rivers. San Francisco leaped into the front ranks of commercial importance and population among the cities of the Union.

California after a few years settled down to mining as a legitimate industry, and it has become even more celebrated for the wheat and fruit-growing qualities of its soil and climate, and its great products of wool. On these her wealth and property now more largely depend than upon her gold.

The mineral resources of the conquered territory, including California, New Mexico, Arizona, Western Colorado; Utah, and Nevada, have been developed to such an extent that their value is beyond computation. Their mountains are veined with silver and gold, copper, lead, iron, and coal. The report of the product of the precious metals in the States and territories west of the Missouri River in 1882 was eighty-nine million two hundred and seven thousand five hundred and forty-nine dollars. Of this twenty-nine million eleven thousand three hundred and eighteen dollars was in gold; forty-eight million one hundred and thirty-three thousand and thirty-nine dollars in silver, and the balance was in copper and lead. The yield of gold for 1882 was smaller than in any year since gold-mining became prominent in California. By far the largest portion of this yield was in the territory obtained by conquest and purchase from Mexico. An immense volume of wealth in thirty-two years has been added to the country's resources from this acquisition. Probably it has nearly equaled the debt incurred to preserve the Union in the Civil War, when, in the words of the immortal President Abraham Lincoln, "the wealth piled up by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil was sunk, and every drop of blood drawn with the lash was paid with another drawn with the sword."

With the construction of the great trans-continental railroad system, a new development of this wide stretch of country began. It has already four great through trunk lines uniting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The Mexican Republic has by a national system of railways opened communication with these American roads, bringing its products of a tropical climate and its nine millions of population into close connection with the commerce and the civilizing influences of the American Union.

An all-wise Providence has brought this vast region into the possession of the Anglo-Saxon race, to be planted with free institutions, and governed by the equal laws of the American Republic. A development of wealth and an increase of population amazing to contemplate awaits this territory in the future. Perils to the Union lie in the ignorance of the population and in the institutions of Mormonism, that enormous crime against morality and society, which has found security and expansion in those regions. Unless the hundreds of millions of people who shall yet occupy this belt of territories shall become like the citizens of the Eastern States in education, religion, laws, and customs of society, there will be a fissure in the Union along the borders of the great plains.

On the other hand, the grandeur of a Christian republic, that in a hundred years may hold three hundred millions in its borders, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific shores over such a magnificent domain, will ever, over the graves of the heroes of the Mexican war, inspire patriot hearts to the severest toils and largest sacrifices for their country.