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islature of that state he commenced his public career. After serving fourteen years in Congress, he was in 1839 elected governor of Tennessee. From that post he retired to private life, whence he was called by the voice of the nation to become its chief. He had been seated in the presidential chair but about three months, when his esteemed friend and counsellor, Gen. Jackson, died at the advanced age of 78, respected and lamented even by his political opponents. Mr. Polk made James Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, his secretary of state.

564. The success of the democratic party having shown that a majority of the people were in favor of annexing Texas, Congress had passed a bill providing for that measure a few days before the close of Tyler's term. On the 4th of July, 1845, the Texas legislature having approved of the bill, the union was consummated. Shortly afterwards, at the request of this same body, a small force of U. S. troops was despatched to the frontier, under Gen. Zachary Taylor, who had won distinction in the Seminole War. The boundary between Texas and Mexico was still unsettled; the former looked upon the Rio Grande (re'-o grahn'-da), the latter on the Nueces (nwa'-ses), as the separating line (see Map, p. 426], the region between these two rivers being claimed by both. To prevent difficulties, the U. S. government proposed to fix on a line by negotiation, but Mexico scornfully refused all overtures. The annexation of Texas was the signal for her minister to leave Washington with threats of war. Paredes (pah-'-des), a well-known enemy of the United States, was elected president. The hostility of the Mexicans, which had been displayed for years in petty insults and injuries to American citizens, was now openly and fiercely avowed. Strong forces were said to be gathering for the invasion of Texas. Under these circumstances, the U. S. government felt justified in assuming that the boundary claimed by Texas was correct; and Taylor was instructed to take a position as

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What is told of his previous history? Who died three months after his inauguration ? Whom did Polk make secretary of state? 564. Relate the circumstances under which Texas was admitted. What precautionary measure was taken by the United States ? What conflicting claims were put forth by Texas and Mexico respecting their boundary? What proposal was made by the United States ? How

1846]

THE OREGON BOUNDARY SETTLED.

425

near the Rio Grande as prudence would allow. Accordingly, he encamped at Corpus Christi (kor'-pus kris'te), at the mouth of the Nueces, and there remained till the following spring.

565. While these difficulties were pending, a rupture with Great Britain was seriously threatened. A boundary line between the U, S. and the British Possessions on the northwest never having been settled, both laid claim to an extensive region between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific, known as Oregon, which was now becoming gradually settled. The democratic party were for accepting nothing short of parallel 54° 40' as the northern boundary of the U.S. west of the mountains; but in June, 1846, a treaty negotiated in Washington established parallel 49° and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca (sahn whahn foo'-kah] as the separating line. The white population of this region was then about 4,000. Oregon was organized into a territory in 1848. In 1853, it was divided, and the northern part was formed into a new territory named Washington.

566. Mexico still refusing the overtures of the United States for a peaceable settlement, Gen. Taylor, early in 1846, was ordered to advance to the Rio Grande and occupy the disputed territory. This he proceeded to do, in spite of the protest of the Mexican authorities. Near the end of March, he reached the river, and commenced the erection of a fort on its eastern side. About the middle of April, Gen. Ampudia [ahm-poo'-de-ah] arrived at Mat-a-mo'-ras, opposite Taylor's position, and informed the American commander, that, unless he retired beyond the Nueces, Mexico would accept the war thus forced upon her. Taylor, of course, did not retire, and skirmishes with the enemy immediately followed.

567. Gen. Taylor had established a depot of provisions at Point Isabel, 21 miles distant, on the Gulf of Mexico, which was it received ? Give an account of the proceedings of the Mexicans. What instructions did the government issue to Gen. Taylor? Where did he encamp 565. What difficulty now arose with England ? How was it settled? What was then the white population of Oregon? What is said of its subsequent history ? 566. What orders did Gen. Taylor receive early in 1846 ? Give an account of his movements. What passed between Taylor and Ampudia? 567. Where had Gen. Taylor established a depot of provisions ? How was Point Isabel situated ? What did

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he had garrisoned with 450 men.

Perceiving that the enemy were rapidly closing round him, and fearing for this detachment, he set out on the 1st of May for the Point, leaving 300 men under Major Brown to defend the fort he had erected (afterwards called Fort Brown). Point

Hojos Isabel was reached

Victoria in safety; and, hav Charcos

Santander ing assured himself that it was amply provided with means Soledad of defence, Taylor prepared to return to Fort Brown, with a provision-train and Sulani and army of 2,288

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Arriving at Palo Alto (pah-lo ahl-to] (May 8th, 1846), he found a Mexican army 6,000 strong drawn up directly in his road. The engagement, commenced with artillery, lasted five hours, and resulted in the complete discomfiture of the enemy with a loss of about 400 men; while that of the Americans was but 9 killed and 44 wounded.

Among the brave men who fell at Palo Alto was Major Taylor apprehend, and what movement did he consequently execute ? With how large an army did he attempt to return from Point Isabel to Fort Brown? [See Map.-In what direction did he march?] What befell him on the way? Give an account of the battle of Palo Alto. Relate the circumstances of Major Ringgold's

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1846]

BATTLE OF RESACA DE LA PALMA.

427

Ringgold, of the artillery, whose efficient battery, thinning the ranks of the enemy at every discharge, helped not a little to gain the day. Directing the movements of his guns on horseback, this brave officer was struck by a shell, which tore the flesh from his limbs. * Leaye me alone,” said he to the brother officers who gathered round him as he fell; “you are wanted forward.” The shades of night put an end to the battle, and the Americans remained masters of the field.

Resuming their march the following day, the American army at three in the afternoon found the Mexicans in full force at Resaca de la Palma [-sah'-kah da lah pahl-mah], a ravine supposed to have been formerly the bed of a river, about three miles from Fort Brown. Again the action was commenced by artillery; and the Mexican guns, well aimed and rapidly discharged, for a time held the Americans in check. It was necessary to silence them, and the desperate task was intrusted to Capt. May and his bold dragoons. Right upon the batteries, still thundering forth death, rode the fearless band. Half of them fell, but the guns were captured, and with them Gen. La Vega [lah '-gah], in the act of applying a lighted match. The Mexicans were a second time defeated, and so hopelessly that they halted not till they had placed the Rio Grande between themselves and their victors. The American loss was 122 in killed and wounded. Of the Mexicans, 200 were found dead on the field, their total loss being not far from 1,000 men. The next day the American army reached Fort Brown. During their absence, it had sustained an almost incessant bombardment from the enemy. The garrison with much labor and suffering had made good their defence, though their commander, a much valued officer, was mortally wounded by a shell.

No sooner had the news that hostilities with Mexico had actually commenced reached the United States, than it set the whole country in a blaze. Congress declared (May 11th, 1846) that war existed by the act of Mexico. Ten fall. What battle followed, the next day? What was Resaca de la Palma ? an account of the engagement. What was the loss on each side? What had taken place at Fort Brown during Taylor's absence? How was the news of the commencement of hostilities in Mexico received in the U. S. ? What measures were

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millions of dollars were immediately appropriated for its prosecution, and the president was authorized to accept the services of 50,000 volunteers. Public meetings were held in all parts of the country, and within a few weeks 200,000 men volunteered for the war. A magnificent plan of invasion was devised by government, with the aid of Gen. Scott. The Pacific coast of Mexico was to be attacked by a powerful fleet, aided by a land force, to be designated “the Army of the West”, which was to make its way across the Rocky Mountains, reducing in succession the northern provinces of the enemy. Another body, called “the Army of the Centre”, was to march into the heart of Mexico and cooperate with Gen. Taylor's force, which was known as “the Army of Oocupation". Gen. Wool, one of the heroes of Queenstown, was intrusted with the duty of mustering the volunteers. Before the close of July, he inspected and received into the service 12,000 men, 9,000 of whom were despatched to the aid of Gen. Taylor, while the rest were sent to San Antonio, in Texas, to be disciplined and prepared for the field by Gen. Wool himself.

568. On the 18th of May, Gen. Taylor crossed the Rio Grande and took possession of Matamoras, which was abandoned by the enemy's troops. Moving along the south side of the river, he captured several other towns with little or no opposition; but it was not till the end of August that he found himself strong enough to advance against Monterey [mon--rāl], whose massive fortifications were defended by 42 pieces of artillery. This city was prepared for either storm or siege. The houses were fortified, the streets barricaded; and 10,000 Mexicans, most of them regulars, had assembled for its defence. On the 19th of September, 1846, Gen. Taylor with a little over 6,000 Americans encamped within three miles of Monterey.

taken by Congress ? How many men volunteered for the war within a few weeks ! Give the plan of the campaign sketched out by government. What duty was assigned to Gen. Wool, and how did he discharge it? 568. What did Gen. Taylor do on the 18th of May ? Give an account of his next movements. Near the end of August, against what place did he advance? [See Map, p. 426.-How is Monterey situated ? Through what places did Taylor pass to reach it ?] What preparations had been made in Monterey ? With how many men did Taylor appear be

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