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[ 4. ]

MATAMORAS, Mexico, January 25, 1847.

SIR: Your communication of the 24th instant was received last night, and I hasten to return a reply.

In my letter of the 23d I endeavored to explain my position, and to disabuse the mind of Major General Scott, in relation to any preconceived views he may have formed to my prejudice. It was humiliating to do so, but I deemed it my duty, in the present state of affairs, to make any reasonable sacrifice to preserve harmony, and to enable me to accompany this portion of my regiment into the field. Your reply has disappointed me; if not a revocation of your order, I at least expected that some good and sufficient reason would be given for depriving me of my regiment, or that reparation would be made to me for it in another quarter; with this view I relinquished my command. By your letter referred to, you have not only deprived me of my regiment, but you have placed my junior, the major of my own regiment, in command of it; and the imaginary command, to which you have been pleased to allude, I consider as entirely inadequate to the one you would force me to relinquish, even should it ever be brought into existence. If General Scott does not deem me capable of discharging my appropriate duties, he may arrest, but he shall not unresistingly degrade me. It is painful to be driven to this alternative. I have endeavored to avoid the issue; it has been forced on me, and I must abide the judgment of my peers. As long as I am a colonel, I shall claim the command of my regiment: it is a right which I hold by my commission and the laws of the land, and no authority short of the President of the United States can legally deprive me of it. In adopting this course, I feel that I am not only defending my own, but the rights of every officer of the army. It is true another course is open to me, but it is well known by your presence with the army that an important expedition against the enemy is at hand, and my desire to participate in it will not allow me to await redress by an appeal to higher authority. It is in full view of all the consequences in which I may be involved, that I have taken this step. I do it with no desire to show a spirit of insubordination, but because I believe my honor and my character as a soldier involved in the issue. I have no hope that any thing I may say will alter your determination: to discuss the subject further would be useless, and I have only to add, that I have assume the command of my regiment, and will accompany it to the mouth of the river.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Colonel 2d Dragoons.

Commander-in-chief U. S. Army.

[ 5. ]

Charges and specifications preferred against Colonel W. S. Harney, of the 2d regiment of dragoons.


Disobedience of orders and insubordinate conduct.

Specification 1st. In this, that Colonel W. S. Harney, 2d regiment of dragoons, having been instructed by Major General W. Scott, commanding the army, in an official communication bearing date Brassos Santiago, 22d January, 1847, "to relinquish the command of that portion of his, the said Colonel Harney's regiment, which had reached Matamoras, and then to repair to the head-quarters of, and personally to report to, Major General Taylor," did fail to set out as instructed as aforesaid.

Specification 2d. In this, that the said Colonel W. S. Harney, 2d regiment of dragoons, did, after having relinquished the command of the troops aforesaid, as instructed as aforesaid, resume the command of the same; and that, after receiving the reiterated orders of Major General Scott, dated Brassos Santiago, January 24, 1847, and in defiance of such repeated orders.

This, near Matamoras, Mexico, on or about the 25th January, 1847.

Testimony. Written instructions of General Scott, dated 22d and 24th January, 1847. Colonel Harney's letters in acknowledgment and reply, dated January 23d, and January 25th, 1847.

By order of General Worth:

First Lieutenant, A. A. A. General.



Brassos Santiago, January 28, 1847. SIR: Major General Scott has just received a charge, with two specifications against you, signed by order of Brigadier General Worth; a copy of which I herewith enclose.

Considering your well known and long continued personal hostility to Major General Scott, and that it may, however erroneously, be supposed that a reciprocal feeling has been generated on his part; and considering the perfect confidence that all may entertain in the honor and impartiality of our officers generally and almost universally, I am instructed by Major General Scott to say, you may, if done promptly, select yourself, from the officers near at hand, any seven, nine, eleven, or thirteen, to compose the court for your trial on that charge and its specification, and that he, Major General Scott, will immediately order them to assemble accordingly.

As the troops in this neighborhood will be required to commence embarking, on the arrival of the transports, now hourly expected

for them, a list of the officers to compose the court, signed by your hand, is expected by the return of the bearer, and that he will be instructed to wait for such list two hours only.

I enclose, to facilitate your action, a list of the officers for court martial duty at camp Palo Alto, from whom you are at liberty to select, as well as from the officers of the 2d dragoons, regiment of mounted riflemen, and infantry, at the mouth of the Rio Grande. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

A. A. A. General.

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, January 4, 1847.

SIR: Some anxiety is felt here in regard to the position of our troops in Mexico. Every thing indicates that it is the policy of the enemy to strike at our detached posts, or cut our lines of communication. We are not fully advised what lines it is proposed to sustain, or what posts are to be held. The line, should it not extend beyond Monterey, is a long one, and a considerable force will be required to keep it open, and to hold that place. If, in addition to retaining possession of Monterey, an attempt should be made to establish posts at Parras, Saltillo, Linares, Victoria, &c., it is feared that an opportunity will be offered to the enemy to gain some advantage over us, at one or more of these points, or along the chain of connexion necessarily to be kept up with them. You are well acquainted with, the present plans of operation. While engaged in an expedition on the sea coast, it is not proposed to penetrate the country beyond Monterey, with a view to its permanent occupation, though it is desirable to maintain a threatening attitude at that point. Monterey must be held with a sufficient force. Such a force being provided for that object, the remainder will, of course, be at your disposal, to maintain other proper positions, and to operate on the gulf coast, and especially at Vera Cruz. Your position will enable you to determine, better than can be done here, what should be the best disposition for the safety of our troops, and to disappoint the expectations of the enemy, who is undoubtedly watching for opportunities to fall upon them, while in detachments or small bodies, with greatly superior numbers. No positive directions will, therefore, be given touching these matters..

It was expected that General Taylor would have deemed it expedient to order the force under General Wool to join him at Monterey, and not to extend his line to Saltillo, with a view to hold permanent possession of it. At the last advices from Gen. Wool, he had not received orders to unite his forces with those under the immediate command of General Taylor; but it is hoped that before this time, the suggestions in my despatch to General Taylor of the 22d of October have been received, approved, and carried into effect. The detachment which it is proposed to make from the forces at and near Monterey, for the expedition on the coast, will

render it proper, if not indispensable, that they should be reinforced by General Wool's command.

As a considerable part of the forces under General Taylor may be withdrawn for the expedition you are to conduct against Vera Cruz, it is urged that great caution should be observed in regard to the safety of those which may be left on the present line of operations.

If any reliance can be placed on the accounts which have reached us, as to the number and condition of the army under the command of the Mexican general, he could have rendered it difficult and hazardous for our troops to advance to Saltillo, and his retiring beyond that place wears the appearance of a ruse to draw us far into the country in that direction, to the end that he may practice, with better hopes of success, his system of guerrilla warfare. If such be his object, I trust proper measures will be taken to disappoint him. It seems now to be generally understood that he is at Tula, with a large body of cavalry. The object of this movement is not clearly perceived. The withdrawing of the Mexican force from Tampico would seem to indicate a determination on his part to yeld up to Tamaulipas to our arms; but the occupation of Tula, with a strong force, does not appear consistent with such a course of policy, unless he is apprehensive that we may move upon San Luis Potosi, through the passes of the mountains in that vicinity. Should we undertake to hold Victoria with a small force, might he not move from his present position at Tula against that place, and surprise it, or fall upon some of our detachments moving by land to Tampico? Though the Sierre Madra is difficult to pass, and, with wagons or wheel carriages, impassable, yet may not the enemy's cavalry find a way through the gorges of this mountain? It is not unreasonable to expect that some such movement is contemplated. It is, therefore, suggested that this matter should be well considered, and great care taken to guard against any surprise in this quarter.

We have no news from Mexico on which much reliance can be placed; but from such information as we have, it is doubtful whether a Mexican Congress will have assembled at the time fixed for it, the 6th of December; and it is equally doubtful whether, whenever it shall come together, it will be disposed to enter upon negotiations for peace. Mexico is, undoubtedly, in a wretched condition, and without the prospect of improvement. A hope was entertained, and not now wholly abandoned, that the northern departments would see that their interests would be promoted by withdrawing from the central government, and forming an independent republic. Should any such disposition manifest itself, it ought to be encouraged, and those engaged in the movement should have all the protection and support from our forces that can be properly given to them; without any pledge, however, that its separate existence will be made a condition in the treaty of peace which may be entered into between Mexico and the United States.

We have not yet learned that Mexico is making any extraordinary efforts to assemble a large covering army at Vera Cruz, and

it is hoped that you will not find a formidable force to oppose
your landing. Securely on shore in the vicinity of Vera Cruz, I
have but little doubt of your success in getting possession of the
city, and hope the surrender of the castle will follow.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Secretary of War.



Washington, February 15, 1847.

SIR: I have received several communications from you since your arrival in Mexico. They will be placed on file in the office of the adjutant general, and the receipt thereof duly acknowledged by


The several regiments of volunteers, called out before you left Washington, were organized with as much despatch as was expected; nearly all have left for the seat of war, and we are advised of the arrival of several of them off the Brassos.

I am happy to inform you that the bill for raising ten regiments to serve for the war, has at length become a law. Had this authority been given, as I hoped and expected it would, within the first two weeks of the session, I am quite confident that we should now have had several thousands of these troops on the way to Mexico. Appearances warrant the belief that they will be speedily raised. Many persons who are deemed worthy to receive commissions have companies already prepared to enter into the service. They will be sent on at once in companies; the regiments can be organized afterwards. I anticipate that companies will go on before the end of the present month. There is so much doubt whether officers now in the regular army would take commissions of not more than one or two grades above those which they now hold, that it is not probable many will be selected for the new regiments. As these regiments are to be disbanded by express provision of the law which authorizes them, at the conclusion of the war, those officers who may be transferred to them would be in great danger of being thrown out of the army.

The additional majors of the present regiments are already nominated. They have been, as the law requires, taken from the captains, and seniority, in all instances but one (and that for a special reason) has controlled in the selection. Some further legislation for the army is necessary before the adjournment of Congress, and I hope it will take place.

The President sent a special message to Congress on Saturday, in which he specified what was deemed necessary. With this I send you a newspaper copy of it, that you may see what is recommended.

I think it is not reasonable to expect that an additional article of war, giving authority to military tribunals to try and punish certain

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