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Your several letters of the i i th 15th & iy th ins 1 have all been rec d the contract in the case of the Surg n employed, has been signed by Dr Craig & app d by me, & will be forwarded by the Dr An order was given before I left Matamoros to provide large accommodation for the sick, & an order was given some days since to leave all the sick volunteers at Matamoros which orders & arrangements I had hoped, in addition to what accommodations you could furnish at Fort Polk, would have met the wants of the sick, which as a matter of course must be very numerous ; & humanity as well as duty ought to prompt us to do all in our power to alleviate their sufferings as much as possible. As I learn the yellow fever has made its appearance in N. Orleans, through which it would not be proper to send the volunteers while such was the case who might leave the army on ace of feeble or broken dow health, such ought to remain here or in the country until there is no danger from that contageous disease, as most of them have to pass through that place on their way to their homes. I hope an abundant supply of every thing in the way of medicine, hospital &c have & will be sent out, so as there will be no just complaints on that ground ; so far as my authority would go in the way of orders, ample provisions have been made for the sick. Dr Craig has not been cramped in regard to hiring houses, physicians or any thing els to make the sick comfortable at Matamoros ; I have done all I could in the matter.
We have had a large accession of Militia Genl s recently in addition to Pillow & Quitman, Majr Gen Butler & B rs Hamer 1 & Shields have just arrived, the latter returns immediately to his camp, the Illinois volunteers, near the mouth of the river, & B r Gen Marshall 1 is expected by the first boat from below ; so there will be no lack of Genl 8 I could have myself wished they had not been quite so numerous ; the Volunteers are with the exception of one Reg are all here or below & there is doubts whether that Reg will come or not.
It seems to me had Ann been satisfied with her position Detroit, it would have been well for her to have continued there until you could have joined her, as breaking up & removing is generally attended with considerable expense ; but you done right in leaving it entirely to her to leave or remain as she thought best. I regretted to learn that she had changed her mind on the subject of your going out for a short time, & then returning as I considered the conclusions she arrived at in the instance, were very judicious. At Buffalo no doubt you had every thing very comfortable, as much so as could have been desired, but I see no reason why that should not again be case ; I consider it a great misfor tune to be always looking at the dark side of the picture of life or to be anticipating evils or misfortunes
It is unnecessary to animadvert on the Q r Masters dep 1 the system is certainly a bad one, & a large portion of its officers feeble, & would be so in any relations of life, but which is more apparent in their present positions, which requires so much energy & decision than in many other profession or pursuit. Should I ever get away from here which I hope to do about the fifth of next month I shall be very deficient in transportation to what it should have been ; but I must attempt something ; we have been idle too long & we must move on Monterey be the consequences what they may
I fear the enemy will not fight us for Monterey, or in force any where else unless we penetrate far beyond there or Saltillo ; I believe a Gen battle if we beat them which I will not permit myself to doubt, would do more to bring about a peace, than any thing else ; my greatest apprehensions are that they will avoid us in force, attempt to harrass us in small parties, attack our trains, attempting to cut off our suplies at favorable positions, destroy the corn, & drive away the stock ; in which cas we would have to fall back on our supplies near to our depots on the water ; all of which cannot be ascertained without marching into the their country. A report has reached here, & generally believed that a recent revolution had taken place in Mexico, which had resulted in the overthrow of the gov f of Perades by what are termed the Federal party, that his army had revolted, made him prisoner, & delivered him into the hands of his opponents. Even if the report be true it is doubtful whether or not the change will be a favorable one to us, in the way of setling the difficulties between the two countries ; the party coming into power may be, & probaly are more hostile towards us than the one just put down & may carry on their operation towards us with more energy & ability than their predecessors; but time will develop most if not all things
No one can desire peace more than I do, or can be more anxious for quiet, & the enjoyment of domestic life, & notwithstanding the honors which have been conferred on me, which are very great, they do not compensate for the privations, which I am subjected to, & I would willingly forego them all, could peace be restored to our country. It is principal alone keeps me here, & alth peace between the two countries appears to be as distant as ever, yet I feel bound to forego under the circumstances in which I have been placed, every other consideration & to carry on the war until brought to a close, or the gov may think proper to have me relieved
Gen T. is quite uncertain in his friendships, he is a man that one should never place himself in the power of; alth all things considered I was gratified at his promotion.
The case of Graham needs no further notice even if actuated by enmity or unfriendly feelings, which I have no right to believe is the case. I have just rec d a letter from Dick from B. Rouge dated the 5th ms c he says his own health was not improved, mother & Betty well. Mr Reeder had no despatches for me, other than a letter of introduction from Gov r Johnson ; he brought out several medals voted by a committee in N. Orleans to certain non comm d officers for their gallant conduct in the battles of the 8th & 9th
Your views & opinions in regard to Saunders 1 coincide pretty much with my own. He is a complete party politician & belongs to the most unscrupulous sect, that every existed, who are entirely actuated by personal & selfish considerations, in which he goes the whole length, & his views and statements so far as prominent political men, or aspirents to the presidency are concerned, should be treated with due allowances, & with great caution & circumspection. I regret between ourselves he returned to the army.
Gen Scott is a man of strong impulses, both writes & speaks with great flipancy & frequently without due reflection as regards both, which has gotten him into many serious scrapes ; but he means well on all occasions & is entirely mistaken if he supposes I am unfriendly to him, in the slightest manner possible, the reverse being the case. I very much regret to hear Col Croghan had come out as I fear he will expect me to take care of him & there are people enough of that description already here ; at any rate to embarrass me not a little ; I learn he has been in a tremendous frolic but will get sober before he gets here & will, expect, keep so, while he remains with me. I have not had time to read a paper but learn Mr McCoysS or Walkers tariff bill has become a law ; this I regret as I am satisfied they will need every cent they can raise in that way as long as this war lasts. I presume its effects without being beneficial, will hardly be injurious to the cotton planters ; this consideration had no importance or influence as regards my opinion in the matter. I am pleased to find you are keeping up a friendly correspondence with D r Mower from whose position & intelligence much information may be derived from an epistolary correspondence ; & I think the Dr s remarks in relation to leaving in part at least judicious. Nor ought such to be alluded to unless to a very particular friend. Whenever an officer was fully prepared to quit, let him do so, but it is perhaps as well not to speak of doing so unless it was to those who would not repeat them until such time arrived ; I am sure nothing but kindness was intended in any of his remarks. I hope the supplies referred to by him will arrive in due season, & that they will be abundant for all concerned. The four medical officers coming out with the 2 d Infrwill add very considerably to the strength of the corps in the country. Riley 1 I learn has arrived at Brasos ; with two or three comp s this however is not official, if true he will be here in a few days
As regards the Callifornia affair, I must entirely disapprove the course of the administration, & consider no act of the brittis govt as regards the acquirement of territory in the East, or any where else more outrageous than our attempt or intention of taking permanent possession of that country. I am gratified to know you had recently heard from Ann as well as from Puss & thank them for their kind remembrance, & hope all is well as nothing is said to the contrary ; give my love to them all when you write. I have rec d Gs. communication on the subject of rank, he has as well not written it, alth no objection can be made to it, yet no action will be had on it ; you are right in giving no advice in the matter. The heat here during the greater part of the day could not be much greater than it has been, but I had not supposed it could have been so very great in Detroit ; but it will not continue so there but for a short time.
I have always understood that the females of Gen Bradies family were rather cold & repulsive, for which they were mainly indebted to an old fanitic aunt. Thompson must be very miserable. I regret to hear Bob had quit the school his mother placed him at in the country, & fear he will give her much trouble.
Col Taylor when last heard from, was in Matamoros his health improved, I presume he is on his way here by this time if not before. I do not expect to write you so Ion an an epistle again for some time Since my last I have been someweat indisposed but am now much better if not entirely well. Wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity I remain with sincere respect & esteem
SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR
U. S. A.
Fort Polk Texas.
- Letters of Zachary Taylor from the Battle-Fields of the Mexican War - Book by William K.Bixby, Zachary Taylor, 1908, Rochester, NY The Genesee Press, digitized by the Internet Archive.