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July 25th 1846 My dear Doctor
Your highly esteemed & interesting letter of the 2O th inst. was duly reed. Col Taylor bring but little news of interest other than he left all well in Detroit, he says Ann was looking very well, better than usual. He says also that he had a conversation with Lawson on the subject of your being sent here instead of Tripler, who admitted the detail was an improper one, & that it should have been left to you, or that you should have been consulted whether you preferred coming or otherwise ; but this is all wind, the remidy has not been applied, & the outrage remedied ; but it had now perhaps better be suffered to pass without further com ment or notice
A flying report has reached here which I do not credit, that the 2 d Infy. had been ordered to California, if so I presume T. will accompany it ; it is evident our gov 1 is determined to take & keep possession if possible of that country, & of course they will at a proper time send more troops than one compy to garrison the country. As to my age from recollection I was 60 years old last Nov r being born in Orange State of Virginia, but I may be mistaken & my sister correct Alth we have a number of boats we are getting on very slowly in getting supplies to Comargo ; it appears they meet with much greater obstacles in navigating the river than was anticipated ; the current is very strong, no pilots who understand the channel, nor wood proper for rais ing steam, what little there is being green, & not adapted to that object ; how it will all end time alone must determine. I hope to leave here for Comargo in six or eight days. I have ordered Col Wood s Rg f Texas Volunteers to this place as soon as the Q r M. at Fort Polk can furnish them with waggons to bring up their sick who I have directed to be placed in hospitals as soon as they arrive. Fortunately there is but little sickness here all things considered among either Regulars or Volunteers, most of the latter are about returning to their homes ; the authorities at Washington having determined that they could not under the laws then existing be legally brought into service any of them, for more than three months, & those raised by authority of Gen Gaines was illegally done. The first would be disbanded & sent home at the end of the three months instead of six, the time they agreed to serve, & the latter Peytons & Fetherstons of Louisiana, Rafords & one or two cornp 8 of Alabamies brought in by authority of Gen Gaines to be at once discharged, unless they would change their engagements to 12 months according to the late act of congress on that subject, which I imagine but few of them will do, as I think the larger portion of them have had enough of volunteering. They will be sent to Brazos Island as fast as possible, & from there to New Orleans as rapidly as vessels can be had to accommodate them
I recently rec d two letters from Betty at Baton Rouge all well, in which they send their kind regards to you ; I regret that Ann does not hear more frequently from them. I shall not forget your wishes in regard to them when I next write I think you acted correctly in the course you took as regards the loan asked for by young Taylor, I am fearful he is doing badly ; he has been here for several days, but left yesterday to join his reg I furnished him with the am he wanted, & presume it will be returned if he ever gets home, where I wish he was at this time
The weather here has been quite unfavorable for military operations, the country generally covered with water, & the roads almost if not quite impassible for cannon or loaded waggons. Most of the first Briggade with Gen Worth has left for Comargo they went up by water. The balance two comp s with Duncans 1 battery will leave for the same place by land on Saturday. The 5th & y th Infy are already there, & the I st at Reynosa, so you see I am going ahead as fast as I can possibly do so. I consider the mail arrangements between Fort Polk & N. Orleans very defective, but Col Whiting says he will try & apply the corrective. As to papers I can only read a few of the latest, as well as a portion of the most interesting articles in them, which are occasionally brought to my notice by others.
It would not have been to me at all mortifying had Gen Housten been selected to fill the office of Majr Gen instead of myself, incumbered as it is, with the operations of this army under present circumstances, I consider it anything but enviable. I consider it quite likely there will be a reaction in favor of Gen Scott, from the character of our people, I should not be at all surprised to see him the most popular man in the country ; we often go from one extreme to another I can truly say since the promotions of T. & K. I feel very much for Worth he look completely broken down. I do not believe the court ordered in Gen Gaines case will result to his injury, at any rate I hope not, at the same time I do not approve his course.
I have given orders in regard to the Hospital required at Fort Polk, nd the capture of the City of Mexico, receiving brevets up to colonel.
as well as in relation to other maters, & hope the corrective will be applied ; neither expense or anything else as far as my authority will go, will be spared to afford ample accomodation to the sick Dr Craig has been instructed to require & the Q r Master to provide every accomodation for them including quarters &c in Matamoros ; & until the new hos pital at Fort Polk is completed ; those that are very sick & require to be sent to a Hospital had better come here; I have directed Dr Craig to require everything necessary as regards Hospital stores, medicines &c for 2000 sick.
As to Majr Brown s position, I will do what I can to give him a command in accordance with his bv r rank, but I will make no promis on that head. Most persons consider their cases if not gratified in accord ance with their wishes as being hard ones, but it is impossible for one in my position to gratify every one, & I may be under the painful necessity of doing things that may be consider not altogether right & proper, from the circumstances in which I may be placed in, at the time ; I will on all occasions so far as as I know & believe act for the public good alone
I was glad to hear your excellent mother enjoyed such robust health & retained her faculties at so advanced an age ; say to her when you write I thank her most sincerely for her kind remembrances, & wish her the enjoyment of both for many years to come ; at the same time let me assure you & her that I have no aspirations other than to bring this war to a speedy & honorable close, I would not be a candidate for the presidency if certain of reaching it
I have seen but little of Col Taylor since he arrived, he has taken up his quarters in town, which I advised him to do, on account of bad weather & his health, which is improving ; I very seldom leave my tent to go into town, or in fact any where else
I rec d the paper containing Dr Wood s letter referred to by you & have read it with much interest
I imagine the volunteers do not complain without cause in many instances
Say to my friend Col Johnson I will order him here as soon as the Q r Master can furnish him with transportation.
If you can make out what I have written you will be fortunate, as you have no idea of the interruptions I am subjected to while attempting
to write even a short letter.
Z. T. SURG R. C. WOOD, U. S. A.
- Zachary Taylor