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SIR: I have received your two letters of the 15th instant. There are some expressions in those letters, which, ás I wish to forget them, I shall not specify or recal.
You intimate a preference for service in my particular expedition, to remaining in your present position with greatly reduced numbers. I can most truly respond, that to take you with me, as second in command, would contribute greatly to my personal delight, and, I confidently believe, to the success of that expedition. But I could not propose it to you for two reasons, either of which was conclusive with me at the moment: 1st, I thought you would be left in a higher and more responsible position where you are; and 2d, I knew that it was not contemplated by the government to supersede you in, or to take you from that immediate command.
If I had been within easy reach of you, at the time I called for troops from your line of operations, I should, as I had previously assured you, have consulted you fully on all points, and, probably, might have modified my call, both as to the number and description of the forces to be taken from, or to be left with you. As it was, I had to act promptly, and, to a considerable extent, in the dark. All this, I think, will be apparent to you when you shall review my letters.
I hope I have left, or shall leave you, including the new volunteers. who will soon be up, a competent force to defend the head of your line (Monterey) and its communications, with the depots in the neighborhood. To enable you to do this more certainly, I must ask you to abandon Saltillo, and to make no detachments, except for reconnaissances and immediate defence, much beyond Monterey. I know this to be the wish of the government, founded on reasons. in which I concur; among them, that the enemy intends to operate against small detachments and posts.
I fear that I may be delayed here, or at Tampico, in embarking troops, till, perhaps, the 10th of the next month, and again, a few days more, at the general rendezvous behind the island of Lobos, waiting for some of the volunteer regiments for debarkation, ordnance, and ordnance stores.
Finding that Colonel Smith, with two companies of his rifle regiment, are at Tampico, or in its neighborhood, I shall take with me his seven companies, now near the mouth of the Rio Grande, and, perhaps, Colonel Curtis's regiment of Ohio volunteers, detained at Matamoras. My uncertainty in respect to the latter, refers to the number of new regiments of volunteers that may arrive in time, off this bar, for my expedition. I shall not take with me Captain Hunter's company of the 2d dragoons, as it is dismounted. There will, however, be horses for it here, in perhaps a week. I shall leave instructions for him, when mounted, to ascend the river to Camargo, to meet your orders. No guard will be left by me at the
mouth of the Rio Grande. I give you this information that you may place a detachment there at your own discretion.
I remain, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant, WINFIELD SCOTT.
Major Gen. ZACHARY TAYLOR,
P. S. I beg you to make my official acknowledgments to Major General Butler, for the promptitude and zeal displayed by him in your temporary absence, in detaching the troops I called for in my despatch to him of the 3d instant. The greater part, if not the whole, of these troops are now below Matamoros. W. S.
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Brassos San Iago, January 26, 1847.
SIR: The arrrival, day before yesterday, of the steamer Alabama, from New Orleans, brought me a large mail. Among the letters, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours, dated 4th
In respect to Saltillo, &c., you will find, by a copy of my letter of this date, herewith, to Major General Taylor, that I have complied with your suggestion, in which I concur.
The quartermaster general, (brevet Major General Jessup,) at New Orleans, has, I find, taken all proper measures, with judg ment and promptitude, to provide everything depending on his department, for the despatch and success of my expedition. Transports, casks, filled with water, &c., &c., &c., are, accordingly, expected to arrive here and off Tampico, before the 7th of the next month. The embarkation of brevet Brigadier General Worth's division, I hope to commence at the mouth of the Rio Grande and at this place, within three or four days.
Colonel Totten, chief of the corps of engineers, came out in the Alabama. He informs me that it is probable a sufficient quantity of ordnance and ordnance stores, together with the boats for debarkation, will be up with me, at the island of Lobos, by the 10th of the next month. I regret that Lieutenant Totten, of the navy, who was of so much service to me at Washington, in plan ning and sketching those boats, is not likely to be detached, by his department, for service with the expedition.
From the appearance in the offing, I expect to hear, before night, of the arrival of new ships, with Pennsylvania and Louisiana volunteers.
I have not yet received a word from Commodore Connor.
In a few days, I intend to request the United States ship the St. Mary's, off this bar, to run down to the island Lobos, to give information, aid, and protection, to the transports, &c., which may
assemble there; dropping despatches from me, at Tampico, on the way. I shall follow, a little later, in the steamer Massachusetts. I hope the ship of the line the Ohio may be off Vera Cruz in time for the joint attack on the castle.
It is, I think, very doubtful whether the new regiments the House of Representatives has authorized to be added to the army can be filled in time, with the money bounty, without the grant of land. The last section of the bill, as passed by that House, directing that the "said officers" shall be immediately discharged on the close of the war, may prevent many efficient captains and lieutenants of the present regiments from desiring transfers, with promotion, into the new regiments, because the contingency may happen in the recess of Congress, when the executive would have no power to retain them, by selection, as part of the new peace establishment.
I have the honor to remain, sir, with high respect, your most obedient servant,
Hon. W. L. MARCY,
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Brassos San Iago, January 28, 1847.
1 SIR: I beg your attention to the accompanying papers, (numbered 1 to 6,) touching the conduct of Colonel Harney, United States 2d dragoons, who is evidently seeking an issue with me to be tried by the President, and in succession, by Congress and the public.
In the conduct of the important expedition with which I am charged, I think myself reasonably entitled to the selection from the mass of the officers under my command, of the chiefs of the staff, of the dragoons and artillery, and to send away, on any proper military duty, any senior officer of either branch of service, (I speak only of the regular army,) whose presence might interfere with such selection. Such right of selection has always been exercised by commanding generals in the field, who are, in their commissions, their lives and fame, eminently responsible for the results of their expeditions or campaigns. All junior officers, are, at least, in the first instance, only responsible to their commanders in the field.
In my opinion, and on the high responsibility to which I have alluded, Major Sumner, of the 2d dragoons, is a much safer and more efficient commander of the cavalry in question, (companies of the 1st and 2d dragoons,) than Colonel Harney of the 2d of those regiments. That particular command is entirely too important to the success of my expedition, to allow me to leave anything to hazard which it is in my power to control in advance.
I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, your obedient
. P. S. It may be proper to add that I knew nothing of, and had, consequently, nothing to do with, the arrest of Colonel Harney until I received the charge and specifications; although I saw a paper of instructions the day before, from Brevet Brigadier General Worth to an officer directing the arrest of Colonel Harney, if the latter had, as had been rumored, resumed the command of the regular dragoons in question. I am, therefore, in no respect, "the accuser or prosecutor" of Colonel Harney in this instance. See sec. 1, act May 29, 1830. Brevet Brigadier General Worth, Colonel Harney and myself, are many miles apart from each other.
Hon. W. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War.
SIR Major General Scott desires me to say, that upon the receipt of this communication, you will turn over your command to the next senior officer, and proceed yourself, personally, to Major General Taylor's head-quarters, to whom you will report for duty with the dragoons that remain under his command. I am, very respectfully, &c., &c.
HEAD QUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Brassos Santiago, January 22, 1847.
Colonel W. S. HARNEY,
2d Dragoons, &c., Matamoras.
H. L. SCOTT,
HEAD-QUARTERS, 2D DRAGOONS, Matamoras, Mexico, January 23, 1847. SIR: Your letter of the 22d instant, directing me to turn over my command and to report, personally, to the head-quarters of Major General Taylor for duty, with the companies of my regiment there, has just been received.
I cannot disguise my surprise at the unexpected nature of this order, and my extreme regret that it should have been given just at the moment when my feelings were deeply enlisted in the success of an enterprise, in which I had fully hoped to share the dangers and privations of my regiment. It was my ill fortune to be separated from that portion of the regiment which participated in the recent actions with the enemy, and I looked forward with much pleasure and great pride to the time when I should see active service under the orders of Major General Scott. I shall not speak of the injustice which I consider to be done in separating me from seven companies of my regiment, and ordering me on duty with the remaining two. The bare mention of the fact, is the only allusion which I design to make on the present occasion, but it is proper to mention that those two companies, by a letter which I received yes
terday from General Worth, are expected here in seven or ten days, and that I was instructed to unite them with that portion of the regiment now here.
This fact, I must believe, escaped the attention of the commanding general, when your letter was written, and I now hope, that he will take it into full consideration, and reverse the painful order which I have just received.
If other motives, to which I dare not allude, influenced General Scott in this decision, I have but to remark that it is natural that he should select those officers from whom he might expect a hearty cooperation; but that, to accomplish this, I do not believe he would do an act of injustice, and if my recent conduct can be taken as an earnest of my endeavors to further his views to the fullest extent, that I can appeal to it with the greatest confidence.
I have turned over my command, and should it not be deemed expedient to change the order under consideration, I have to request that I may be informed at what point I may find the head-quarters of Major General Taylor.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. S. HARNEY, Colonel 2d Dragoons.
Lieut. H. L. SCOTT,
A. A. A. G., Head-quarters of the Army.
[ 3. ]
SIR: Your communication of the 23d instant, relative to your command, was this morning received, through Brevet Brigadier General Worth, and I am directed by Major General Scott to reply as follows:
HEAD-QUARTERS OF THE ARMY, Brassos Santiago, January 24, 1847.
When he made his arrangements, which now cannot be changed, to give Major Sumner the command of the regular cavalry called for by him (Major General Scott) from the army under the immediate command of Major General Taylor, he (Major General Scott) expected the detachments would be made up, in nearly equal parts, from the 1st and 2d dragoons.
Besides the squadron of the 2d, with Major General Taylor, who, probably, will be back at Monterey to-day or to-morrow, Captain Hunter's company of the same regiment is to be soon mounted, and to return to the orders of Major General Taylor. That general, it is presumed, (though Major General Scott has not given, and does not expect to give any order on the subject,) may, probably, unite the two companies of the 1st, with the three of the 2d, all of which will be under his command, and, also, a sixth company, (2d dragoons,) soon expected out under Lieutenant Sibley. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
To Colonel W. S. HARNEY,
H. L. SCOTT,
A. A. A. G.