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We reached here on the 19th & after receiving a few cannon shot from the enemies Forts & batteries the same day, fell back & encamped at the first convenient position out of the range of their shot. On the 2O th having reconnoitered the enemies position & defences, & finding alth greatly superior to us in numbers that he would not leave the tnow which was naturally very strong & completely fortified, supplied with a large amount of artillery, I at once made dispositions for carrying their out works which were very extensive, & detached Gen Worth with a strong force to the west end of the town to take possession of the Saltillo Road, & if practicable carry two or three sail 1 works commanding said road, & the approaches to the upper part of the city, all of which were situated on high portions of the mountains
On the morning of the 21st Gen Worth informed me he was in position & wished a diversion could be made to aid him in his opera tions, the balance of the troops was soon in readiness for that or any other operation, & after being formed a portion of them consisting of the first, third & fourth Infr were ordered to threaten the east end of the town, & if it could be done to carry one of their out or advanced works ; they passed rapidly a very strong Fort driving the enemy from an unfinished one, & entered the twown with the fugitives, which enabled the volunteers to take possession of the strong Fort referred to ; on get ting into the town Cap 1 Mansfield of the engineers who led the advance, thought in the first instance it could be held if reinforcements were sent, which was immediately done, but it was soon found from the strong manner the streets were barracaded the Houses which were themselves each a fortification all built of stone with very thick walls with loop holes for small arms, as well as other defenses, & the streets raked by artillery in every direction it was impossible to accomplish any thing in comparison to the loss which we were sustaining I therefore drew off the troops in good order, holding on to the strong fort which had been taken with four pieces of artillery In this affair our losses were very great among both regulars & volunteers, an acc t of which was communicated to you by Majr Bliss The attack or investment was continued on the 22 d on the eve of which day an important work was taken possess of by Gen Worths command on the west end of the town ; the same night several strong works on the east end of the city were abandoned by the enemy within musket shot of the works we had previously taken, & were at once occupied by the volunteers on duty near them, which opened the city to us, & which was entered at both ends during that day, & the enemy driven from house to house into the principal open square near the Cathedral, where they had collected the greater portion of their forces with the intention of making their last stand ; at night the troops were recalled in good order on the east end of the city to the Forts which commanded the entrance into it, while those in the opposite end occupied the ground they had taken During this day the 23 d the Gov r of the province addressed me a communication requesting that the women & children might be withdrawn from the city, which request I declined granting ; that night I directed all operations to be suspended untill I could make the proper arrangements for a united attack ; early on the morning of the 24th while those arrangements were going on, I rec d by the hands of a staff officer with a flag a communication from Gen Ampudia the commander of the Mexican force proposals for surrendering the city provided he was permitted to leave it with his army, arms & baggage of every description ; this I declined when he requested a personal interview which ended after a protracted conversation in fixing on three individuals to settle the terms of the capitulation which were that the Infantry, cavalry & artillery should be permitted to retire to the interior of Mexico the officers to march out with their side arms & private property, the Infr & cavelry with their muskets, side arms &c & the artillery with six field guns ; the balance of the public property to be turned over to the U. States These terms were liberal but not con sidered too much so by all reflecting men belonging to the army here especially considering our situation ; besides it was thought it would be judicious to act with magniminity towards a prostrate foe, particularly as the president of the U. States had offered to settle all differences between the two countries by negotiation, & the Mexican commander stating that said propositions he had no doubt would be favorably met by his go t as their was a Gen wish for peace on the part of the nation We took ten, & there was turned over to us, twenty two or three pieces of brass cannon, & an immense quantity of amunition enough if suited to our guns to carry on the war for 1 2 months Their regular force was rated at 7200, irregulars at 2000 besides the citizens of the town who must have amounted to several thousand who were capable & no doubt bore arms. How we were permitted to take & occupy so large a place, one of the strongest naturally in the country, strongly fortified with 41 or 2 pieces of artillery, abundantly supplied with ammunition is wonderful to say, even at the loss we sustained which is near 500 killed & wounded
I trust this will have some effect to bring about a peace, if not we will have to carry the war father into their country, as soon as we can get the means of doing so Col Taylor has not yet joined but I learn he is now on his way from Camargo to this place with funds for his dep c escorted by a detachment from the 2 d Infy so that a portion of that Rg must have reached the Rio Grande
My love to Ann & the children when you write, who I trust you have recently heard from & were all well at last dates & will long continue so My regards to all inquiring friends at the Point & accept my sincere wishes for the continued health & prosperity of you & yours through life.
Your Friend Truly
Z. TAYLOR SURG N R. C. WOOD,
U. S. A Fort Polk Texas
An armistice has been entered into for 8 weeks, or until our respective eovts could be heard from ; this was or is a mater of no moment as it regards us, as we would be hardly again ready to take the field short of six weeks, unless the enemy should compel us to do so, which they can do in 20 days without violating the terms of the capitulation, as they can hear from Mexico short of that time ; the authorities there having the power to disclaim what has been done ; so that I must make every arrangement in my power to meet every contingency
- Zachary Taylor