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upon the necessity of giving direct instructions, of a very important character, to your next in command. Please see herewith a copy of my letter to Major General Butler, of this date. Should you be back at Monterey in time, you will consider it addressed to yourself. A part of it I beg you to carry into execution, at Victoria, or wherever else you may be; I allude to the concentration, at Tampico, of the troops which marched with Major General Patterson from Matamoras, those under Brigadier General Quitman from Monterey, as well as Brigadier General Twigg's brigade, which marched with you-all, as I understand, upon Victoria. Should you deem a garrison at the latter place indispensable, you will please leave one, and also reserve a sufficient escort for your return to Monterey, or other point, in this direction. I will, on my_arrival there, determine the strength of the garrison to be left at Tampico; but shall be glad to receive your suggestions on this point, as well as all others.
My letter to Major General Butler, herewith, is so full that I have but little to add, even if time permitted. You will consider yourself as continued in the command you have so long and so honorably held. I shall not, beyond the necessities of the service, interfere with you. Your reports will be addressed to me at the Brassos or Tampico, until I shall be farther down the coast of Mexico; I mean special, not ordinary reports. They will, when necessary, be forwarded by me to Washington. After I may be supposed south of Tampico, you will resume your general correspondence with the adjutant general of the army at the seat of government, and report to me specially such matters as may be of common interest to our two lines of operations, and I shall reciprocate. Our correspondence with each other ought, however, to be full, and as rapid as circumstances may permit.
Should I succeed in taking Vera Cruz, and through it its castle, the new line of operations upon the capitol of Mexico will be opened. By that time, say towards April, we may both I hope be sufficiently reinforced to advance, equally, and to meet somewhere near that goal; which junction, I think, cannot fail to enable us to dictate an armistice that will insure a satisfactory treaty of peace.
While engaged in attacking the harbor of Vera Cruz, I regret, no less on your account than my own, that you will not be in strength to manœuvre offensively upon San Luis de Potosi, and points beyond. It would greatly favor my enterprize, and your own inclinations; but I cannot, on account of the near approach of the vomito, wait for the new troops (regulars I hope) which Congress may give us. Hence, I am compelled, by diminishing your forces, to reduce you for a time to the strict defensive. As I have heretofore said, you can afford, and the common service requires it.
If the troops arrive in time-and I will not anticipate a failureI shall leave the Brassos about the beginning of the next month, and Tampico for Vera Cruz, some five days later. All the vessels with troops, ordnance and ordn nce stores and other supplies, as they arrive off or depart from the Brassos and Tampico, will be or
dered to the general rendezvous behind the islands of Blanquilla and Lobos, some fifty miles beyond Tampico-said to be an excellent harbor. There I shall join them.
I believe my arrangements of every sort to be complete; except that everything depends on my drawing from your command about 5,000 regulars, and thousand volunteers. With those forces, and adding three or five regiments of new volunteers,(foot,) Providence may defeat me, but I do not believe the Mexicans can. With the greatest respect, I remain, truly yours,
Major General Z. TAYLOR,
U. S. Army, commanding, &c., &c., &c.
H. L. SCOTT, Aid-de-camp, &c.
SIR: I am informed, through a source entitled to consideration, that a force of Mexican cavalry, about two thousand, headed by General Urrea, has assembled at Lanares, and some two thousand infantry, which is to be reinforced soon by a like number, under General Canalesio; that the design is to attack Matamoras within six or fifteen days. The informant also states that Canales is at De Los Posos, (a rancho,) on the road from Monterey towards Reynosa; about 25 or 30 leagues from the latter place, and that he seen men going to join Canales. He declares, with apparent sincerity, that he believes the other facts, to be as true as if he had been eye-witness of them himself.
It seems to me that no time ought to be lost in re-occupying Reynosa, and reinforcing this position; especially if it be true, as generally believed, that General Taylor has turned back, towards Monterey and Saltillo, from his expedition to Victoria.
I shall transmit copies of this letter to General Scott, who is understood to be at Brassos, and to General Taylor.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major GEORGE A. MCCALL,
N. S. CLARKE, Colonel, 6th infantry, commanding.
Assistant Adjutant General,
Head-quarters of Major General Patterson.
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
SIR: We are in sight of the above place, and I begin this communication to save time.
Ascending the Rio Grande, I have learned that Major General Taylor has, a second time, marched for Victoria from Monterey. It is probable that he is now near that place.
The copy of my letter to him, of the 20th ultimo, herewith enclosed, will explain to you my mission, and the necessity I am under of giving to you, direct, the instructions you will find below.
That letter, I learn here, has been criminally delayed by the officer to whom I entrusted it at New Orleans, and hence may not reach its address this side of Victoria. A previous letter of mine, to the same commander, dated November 25, a copy of which I also enclose, has, as I have learned, had even a more tedious transmission. After a detention of some days at New Orleans, it was twelve more (on board a steamer) in getting to the Brassos, and only passed Matamoras the 19th or 20th ultimo. Hence, I may find no communication from Major General Taylor at Camargo, and hence, probably, his present absence from Monterey.
I give these details as an indirect apology to him for my necessary interference with his general command, which, otherwise, would only be done through him. The apology will, on the first occasion, be made to him direct.
To capture the city of Vera Cruz, and, through it, the castle of San Juan de Ulloa, I deem it indispensable, in order to anticipate the usual return of the black vomit, in March or April, that the whole expedition that I am to conduct should be afloat off the Brassos and off Tampico in the first week of the next month. Some three or five of the new regiments of volunteers (not the Texan regiment of horse) will, probably, be up 'at the former point, in time to be included; but my principal force must be drawn from the troops now under Major General Taylor. Those already at Tampico, and the greater part assembled at Victoria, may be embarked at Tampico, leaving a small garrison at Tampico and an escort to Major General Taylor; and I shall send instructions for the movement from Victoria upon Tampico. The remaining numbers, needed from the same command, will move to the mouth of the Rio Grande, or Point Isabel, in order to embark off the Brassos. Tampico I suppose to be the better point for embarkations; but the Brassos may be the sooner reached, and time is an element in the expedition, as important, perhaps, as the number of the troops to be employed.
Of the number of troops at Tampico, and assembled at or in march for Victoria-regulars and volunteers-I can form only a very imperfect estimate, having seen no returns of a late date. My information as to the forces at Saltillo, Monterey, &c., &c., is not much better. I estimate, however, the whole force now under Major General Taylor's orders to be about 17,000; seven of regulars,
and ten of volunteers. Two thousand regulars, and five of volunteers, I suppose-the whole standing on the defensive-to be necessary to hold Monterey, Seralvo, Camargo, Reynosa, Matamoras, Point Isabel, the Brassos, the mouth of the Rio Grande and Tampico. I do not enumerate Saltillo and Victoria, because I suppose they may be abandoned or held, without hurting or improving the line of defence I have indicated. I wish to give no definite opin· ion as to either, or as to the other smaller points mentioned above; but to leave them open to the consideration of Major General Taylor, or, in the first instance (in his absence) to yourself, as you are, no doubt, in possession of his more recent views.
[Here, (Camargo,) a little while after reaching the landing, I received Major General Taylor's letter of the 26th ult., acknowledging mine of November 25. As he says he intends to proceed to Victoria-the point in the whole theatre of his operations the most inaccessible to me, both from this place and Matamoras-I shall proceed with my instructions to you, taking care to send him a copy, with such additions as I may deem necessary.]
You will, therefore, without waiting to hear from Major General Taylor, and without the least unnecessary delay-in order that they may be in time, as above- put in movement, for the mouth of the Rio Grande, the following troops:
About five hundred regular cavalry, of the 1st and 2d regiments of dragoons, including Lieutenant Kearny's troop;
About five hundred volunteer cavalry; I rely upon you to select the best;
Two field batteries of regular light artillery, (say) Duncan's and Taylor's; and
Four thousand regulars, on foot, including artillery, acting as infantry; the whole under Brevet Brigadier General Worth; about this time, no doubt, a Major General by brevet, and assigned to duty according to the latter rank.
In addition, put in movement for the same point of embarkation, (the Brassos,) and to be there, as above, 4,000 volunteer infantry. Deduct from the above numbers, of regulars and volunteers, as follows:
The troops at Victoria and at Tampico, less the garrison (say 500) for the latter place, and the escort that Major General Taylor may need back to Monterey; and
Also, one of the volunteer regiments at Matamoras, I having ordered Colonel Curtis's regiment to remain there, notwithstanding the arrival of Colonel Drake's to relieve him. Make no other deductions, unless pressed by the immediate presence of the enemy in great force.
Some of those deductions I am myself unable to make, from the want of returns and other information alluded to above.
Of the volunteers, Major General Patterson, Brigadier Generals Pillow and Quitman are at, or in march for, Victoria, which I suppose to be within easy reach of Tampico, in time for my expedition; and Brigadier General Shields is at the latter place. The President of the United States may appoint other general officers to the new
regiments of volunteers, many of which regiments, I hope, will be up in time. In the latter case, I may take four or five, and leave the remainder to join Major General Taylor. Should another major general of volunteers be required, I shall be most happy to avail myself of your services with me, if Major General Taylor can spare you, and he be back at Monterey in time; and, perhaps, if no new appointments to the rank be made, I may require another volunteer brigadier general from your present immediate command.
I hope to learn, promptly, at the Brassos, whither I shall immediately go, (stopping one day, perhaps, at Matamoras,) that the above instructions are in a train of rapid execution. The troops should all move with light trains, as they will move upon ample supplies. I shall, in the first instance, take from Major General Taylor's theatre of operations but a small part of his means of land transportation.
Relying upon your known energy and good faith, I remain, sir, with high respect, your most obedient servant,
P. S. I expect to be, personally, at Tampico, to superintend that part of my expedition that is to embark there, towards the end of this month.
The whole of the eight regiments of new foot volunteers will be up with the Brassos, I hope, by that time. Major General Taylor may rely upon three, if not four of them, for his immediate command, and make your calculations for him, now, accordingly.
I have supposed, above, that Brigadier General Wool, and Brevet Brigadier General Worth, with their troops, to be under your immediate orders. If not already so, you will assume command over them, in order to carry out the above instructions.
To Major General W. O. BUTLER,
U. S. Vols., commanding, Monterey.
H. L. SCOTT, Aid-de-camp, &c.
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Mouth of the Rio Grande, January 8, 1847.
SIR: I returned here to-day, and shall remain in this neighborhood, perhaps, till towards the end of this month, when I hope to be ready to proceed to Tampico and further south. Even after my departure in that direction, it will be best, probably, that letters from Monterey and its vicinity, should follow me via the Brassos and the ocean; that is, when no safe opportunity presents itself to write via Tampico.
I addressed a second letter to you from Matamoras, of which a duplicate will go with this, and one of the letters despatched to Major General Taylor, direct, of the same date-January, 1847.