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June 30th 1846 My dear Doctor,
Your highly esteemed & interesting letters of the 24th & 26th ins inclosing one in part froMrob & dear Ann, were duly rec d & alth the latter appears to write somewhat despondingly, yet it may be & I hope her nervousness is in a great measure if not entirely owing to her anxiety about those she is so deeply interested in, in this quarter, & as that cause has in a great measure passed away, she will find herself much better, & when she next writes you, it will be in a much more cheerful strain The greatest difficulty seems to be in her case, is the manage ment of the boys, which no doubt is attended with much anxiety & trouble to her ; and the expenses of the place, as well as that of dressing & educating the children, which no doubt added to other expenditures must be very heavy, & perhaps may become more so ; but they must be met as far as your means will permit, & if they are not sufficient, the expenses must be brought down to them. The next inquiry will or ought to be will your means be increased or diminished by quitting the service, as you must still live, educate, dress & feed your children in or out of the army ; I think you have acted wisely in referring the subject of laving or remaining in the army to Ann ; if she decides in favor of the first, and you adopt it, of cours she will have to be contented after wards come what may. The greatest difficulty seems to me is the boys, they require the advice as well as the direction of a father, at the same time you could only place them in situation to prepare them to sustain themselves hereafter ; it can hardly be expected you could be constantly near them, until they arrive at years of discression. Robs letter is very well written, but I am affraid he is attempting too many branches at the same time ; he is no doubt talented & with proper instruction & education will make quite a talented or at any rate a distinguished person, should he take the proper turn.
I very much regret to hear you was and had been unwell for several days ; I hope however it will not prove a serious attack & with a little care in addition to some simple remedies you will, if it is not already the case, very soon be restored to your usual health The weather here has been dreadful for many days, raining & blowing a gale for some time which with bad tents & wet & mudy ground to pitch them on, has made us all quite miserable, as well as added to the sick list I have felt very much for the poor fellows who were wounded & are at Fort Polk, as well as the sick every where, the first would have been badly off any where, in the best quarter, but exposed as they must have been to the wet & wind of the late tedious bad weather, must have added greatly to their suffer ings. The sun made however its appearance yesterday & is likely to do so to-day, which I hope if it has no other effect will impart cheerfulness to us all. The Rio Grande is now very high, up to the top of its banks in many places, & might now be navigated with boats of the largest size as high as we wished to go, but unfortunately we have none here up to this time of any description, nor are we likely to have ; this campaign must be a failure owing to the ignorance of some in regard to some matters, & the imbecility of others, for all of which I shall be made the scape goat. The 12 months volunteers it appears are arriving at Brazos Santiago in thousands, faster than they can be landed, what are to be done with them when they all arrive which must be several thousand, or become of or done with them, I am unable to say. The last mail by the Alabama brought me an app 11 of Majr Gen by brevet, as well as a communication from the Secretary of War that I had been selected to command the army on the Rio Grande, & to conduct & direct the war against Mexico ; the first I was not anxious for, nor made no efforts to obtain it directly or indirectly, & consider the honor greatly overbalanced by the accompanyment, the duties which have been assigned me, which I neither wished or expected, & which I would have avoided had I been consulted in the matter ; but I now see no other alternative & will go throug with it with zeal & energy if not with ability. Gen Scott should have at once come out & taken the com d here, as soon as the President intimated his wishes that he should do so ; by hesitating & throwing obstacles in the way in regard to doing so whether real or imaginary, he disgusted the Secretary of War as well as Mr Polk, 1 as well as many others, some of whom were his friends, without meeting with or gaining the approbation of any body ; so much so, that he was at once relieved from the com d which has I again say to you, been assigned to me contrary to my wishes, & permitted to remain in Washington, which will in all probability have the effect if not to break him down, as this com d will assuredly me, will have the effect it seems to me to blight all his prospects for the presidency.
As regards your dep c there is no doubt many abuses exist in it, but not more so than in every other at Washington, and alth your lot has been a hard one in many respects, yet I do not consider it more so than many others who have held themselves above asking favors from those in power. We are all of us too apt to consider our lots or cares the hardest ; I really consider few if any individual in the army has done more, or that more, or as much has been required of them as myself; but it may be said I have high rank, if so, I have earned it, by toil, danger & privations without complaining or troubling those in higher places, but putting them at defiance on all & every occasion, & if Ann & the children were pleasantly located where there were proper schools, it is pretty much all that should concern you ; you must expect to tak your share of duty in this country, which all in the corps should participate in, & as you have commencd others in a great while will if from no other cause be compelled by public opinion to take their turn. Should I be so fortunate as to get through this war without loss of reputation I may go to Wash ington, in which cas I may have an opportunity of remarking on some of the abuses there, & those in the medical dept among others, whether you are in or out of the corps. I expect Col Taylor will be at Fort Polk in a week or two as I have rec d the copy of an order sending him here. I truly regret Ann should permit her feelings to be operated on in the slightest manner, in regard to Dr T his staying or leaving Detroit out to be a matter of perfect indifference to her ; as much so, as if he was not in existance ; I thought she was more of a Christian, as well as posessed too much dignity to indulge in or give way to such feelings in such or similar cases ; when I see her I shall admonish her for the same
I have not read or seen all the correspondence between Genl s Gaines, Scott & Mr Marcy ; & if Gen S. has charged Gen. G. with being crazy, he can with great propriety return the compliment ; the first has been ordered to Washington to explain his conduct while in N. Orleans, & report says if he can justify himself, he will be assigned to duty in the north or east, perhaps in the city of N. York
The passage of & altering the bill by the lower house of the the one which originated & passed in the senate on the subject of increasing the number of genl s was no doubt in part aimed at Gen S. & should it pass, which I do not expect, may have the effect of getting him out of the service I have no aspirations to reach the head of the army, & if this war can be once closed, I wish to have as little to do with public matter as possible ; at the same time have no objections to be laid on the shelf. I apprehend Dick is on board the Alabama & feel great uneasi ness about him as well as others on board of her but at the same time hope for the best ; if safe she will doubtless be in, in the course of today.
Since I commenced writing your note of the 2y th was rec d which was a few hours since, & I had hoped to have heard you were on the mend, but it seems you were still confined to your bed; but I hope as soon as your medicine has operated that you will be able to get on your feet as well as to resume your duties. You may say to my friend Gen Hunt that I shall not interfere with the election referred to in any way or shape, nor shall I ever be a candidate for the presidency, or would I have it, if tendered me without opposition.
In regard to your letter of the 24th in regard to the outrages com mitted by the Texas volunteers on the Mexicans & others, I have not the power to remedy it or apply the corrective, I fear they are a lawless set I regret I have not a n. paper to send you ; all that have reached me, have been loaned out, & none returned & I had as well look for a needle in a hay stack as to recover them. I hope the Alabama is in & has brought you an abundant supply. I thank Gen Swift 1 & family for their kind congratulations & wish you to say so to young S. when you write him. My love to Ann & the children when you write them.
Yours truly & sincerely
- Zachary Taylor