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Report No. 41.HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, MEXICO, December 26, 1847 SIR: As I had apprehended (in Report No. 37), Lieutenant-Colonel Johnston's train has returned without one blanket, coat, jacket, or pair of pantaloons, the small depot at VERA CRUZ having been exhausted by the troops under Generals Patterson, Butler, and Marshall, respectively, all fresh from home or the Brazos, and, as in the case of other arrivals, since June, with out clothing ! The regiments that came with me must, therefore, remain naked, or be supplied with very in ferior garments, of every color and at high prices, as we may possibly be able to find the poor materials, and cause them to be made up here. This disappointment may delay any distant expedition for many weeks; for some of the new volunteers are already calling for essential articles of clothing. Referring again to former letters on the subject, I beg leave to add that every old regiment forwarded, more than a twelvemonth ago, its usual annual requisition for clothing, which has never arrived, or it has been issued as above. With excessive labor I had brought the old regiments volunteers as well as regulars favored by our long and necessary halts at Yera Cruz, Jalapa, and Puebla, to respectable degrees of discipline, instruction, conduct, and economy. The same intolerable work, at general headquarters, is to be perpetually renewed, or all the credit heretofore acquired by this army for moral conduct, as well as skill and prowess in the field, will be utterly lost by new arrivals, and there is now no hope of bringing up to the proper standard distant posts and detachments. These cannot be governed by any written code of orders or instructions, sent from a distance. I do not mean to accuse the reinforcements, generally, of deficiency in valor, patriotism, or moral character. Far from it; but among all new levies, of whatever denomination, there are always a few miscreants in every hundred, enough, without discipline, to disgrace the entire mass, and what is infinitely worse the country that employs them. My daily distresses under this head weigh me to the earth. I am about to send a detachment, the 9th Infantry, under Colonel "Withers, to Pachuca, near the great mines of Eeal del Monte, some fifty miles to the north east. There is an assay office at Pachuca, to which a large amount of silver bullion is soon to be brought, and if we have not troops present, the Federal officers of Mexico will seize the assay duties to our loss. I shall send another detachment in a few days to occupy Toluca, the capital of this State, with the general object of securing the contribution claimed for our mili tary chest. See General Orders, No. 376, paragraph 5. I am nearly ready to publish the details promised in the tenth paragraph of that order. I have found them very difficult to obtain and to methodize. There will, I apprehend, be no difficulty in collect ing at the assay offices and mints within our reach the ordinary internal dues on the precious metals. As to other internal dues and taxes (not abolished by my order, JSTo. 376), I propose to find the net amount paid, to the Federal Government, for example, by the State of VERA CRUZ, for 1843, and to assess that sum, in mass, upon the State, to be paid into our military chest, a twelfth at the end of every month, by the State Government, and so of the other States which are or may be occupied by our troops. Each State will be required to collect the amount claimed, according to the Federal assessment for the year 1843, under certain penalties, which may be the seizure, without payment, of the supplies needed for the support of the occupation, and particularly the property of the State functionaries, Legislative and Executive, with the imprisonment of their persons, etc., etc., etc. The fear is, those functionaries may abdicate, and leave the States without Governments. In such event, the like penalties will be, so far as practicable, enforced. The success of the system on the details of which I am now, with ample materials, employed depends on our powers of conciliation. With steady troops I should not doubt *the result; but the great danger lies in the want of that quality on the part of the new reinforcements, including the recruits of the old regiments. The average number of disorders and crimes, always committed by undisciplined men, with inexperienced officers, may destroy the best-concerted plans, by exasperating the inhabitants, and rendering the war, on their part, national, interminable, and desperate. It will be perceived that I do not propose to seize the ordinary State or city revenues ; as that would, in my humble judgment, be to make war on civilization ; as no community can escape absolute anarchy without civil government, and all government must have some revenue for its support. I shall take care, however, to see that the means collected within any particular State or city for that purpose are moderate and reasonable. It cannot be doubted that there is a considerable party in this country in favor of annexing it entire to the United States. How far that desire may be reciprocated at home, I know not, and it would be imperti nent in a soldier to inquire. I am here (whilst I remain) to execute the military orders of my Government. But, as a soldier, I suppose it to be my duty to offer a suggestion on the subject, founded on professional and local knowledge, that may not occur to the minds of statesmen generally. Annexation and military occupation would be, if we maintain the annexation, one and the same thing, as to the amount of force to be employed by us ; for if, after the formal act, by treaty or otherwise, we should withdraw our troops, it cannot be doubted that all Mexico, or rather the active part thereof, would again relapse into a permanent state of revolution, beginning with one against annexation. The great mass of this people have always been passive under every form of government that has prevailed in the country, and the turbulent minority, divided into ins and outs, particularly the military demagogues, are equally incapable of self-government, and delight in nothing but getting power by revolution, and abusing that power when obtained. I still entertain the belief that propositions, looking to a peace, will be submitted by the incoming Government here, in all the next month ; but that any conces sion of boundaries, satisfactory to the United States, would, on the withdrawment of our forces, create a revolt, or the overthrow of that Government, with a nullification of the treaty, I hold to be events more than probable. In the mean time it would be highly advantageous to me, officially, to have an early intimation of the views of our Government as to the terms of a treaty that would now be satisfactory, only to prevent a wrong distribution of the troops in respect to those unknown views. I have received no acknowledged communication from the Department. The letter of the 17th ultimo, published, as I have heretofore mentioned, in a VERA CRUZ newspaper, has not come to hand, but I am daily expecting a mail up from that city. I have the honor to be, etc., etc., WINFIELD SCOTT. HON. WM. L. MARCY, SECRETARY OF WAR.
- Autobiography of Lieut.-Gen. Winfield Scott in Two Volumes - Book by Winfield Scott, 1864