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I wrote you from Victoria about the 15th inst informing you of occurrences as regarded the unpleasant position in regard to military matters in which I had been placed in up to that time ; that I had been stripped of nearly the whole of the regular force & more than one half of the Volunteers, & ordered here to act on the defensive ; I left the next day for this place, & reached here without accident on the 23 d & was disappointed in not finding letters on my arrival from Baton Rouge, not having rec d a letter from there for some time, but was gratified to hear when Bob left there & you last heard, all were in the enjoyment of good health, which I truly & sincerely hope will continue to be the case
On my way back I rec d several letters from you, with several inclosures of extracts from various papers, & one or two late papers, but which contain but little of importance ; the proceedings of congress which have reached us, being only a few days after the meeting of that body, but for all of which I sincerely that you. I do not recollect the exact dates of your several interesting letters but was particularly gratified at the extract from Johns letter contained in one of yours, both as to stile & the sentiments therein contained, & alth I most heartily wish him success as his heart appears to be fixed on a life of that description, but I greatly fear he is doomed to disappointment, & deeply regret I have not the power to aid him, as I feel satisfied from his disposition capacity &c he would succeed in the profession, & if his life was spared he would reach an enviable position in that branch of the public service ; my only expectation or hope for him is that Mr Mason 1 may have magnanimity enough to appoint him, disregarding party considerations ; I have not the slightest respect for any other member of the cabinet ; alth not per sonally acquainted with him, I learn he is a gentleman of integrity & firmness, & if he does not receive the same on the letters you wrote on the subject to different individuals, he may at once abandon all hopes, & turn his attention to some other pursuit or profession ; his going to sea except in the public service, I consider a bad business, as there are no lack of other pursuits in our country, more desirable, & it is yet time enough for him to determine on some other ; at the same time let him pursue his studies with zeal & persevrance as heretofore, & all I hope will yet go well with him
Before this reaches you I presume the whole of the troops destined for Vera Cruz, will have embarked for that place, who were assembled at Brasos for that object, & have proceed on their way to their place of destination ; I cannot know what force will be left behind, until Gen S. completes his command, either regulars or volunteers ; whether any of the new Regt s have arrived of Volunteers, I have not learned but presume it is the case ; if so, what disposition is to be made of them, I have not yet been made acquainted as to the same ; it seems to me the great object so far as I am concerned or connected with conducting or the management of the war in this quarter, is to keep me as much in the dark in regard to the same as it was possible to do ; particularly as far as the authorities at Washington are concerned. I feel some anxiety to know whether or not Col Taylor accompanied the expidition to Vera Cruz ; you as a matter of course I presume was left behind
About the 1 5th ins a young officer who was sent by Gen Butler, L c Richey 1 of the 5th Infr with copies of Gen Scotts orders to him Gen B. to detach all the regular troops to Brasos, imprudently halted for the night at a small village between this & Victoria, left or got a short distance from his escort after dark, & was murdered & his despatches taken, & are no doubt ere this in possession of Gen Santa Anna
I stated in my last letter from Victoria to you my impression & feelings at the way in which I had been treated by those who happened to have the power to do so at Washington & elsewhere & deem it unnecessary to allude particularly to it at this time
I found matters & things here rather in a gloomy state, but it is possible I may look on the dark side of the picture, & trust I do ; hoping after a short time everything will become bright & cheerful at any rate in appearances. Gen Lane of the Indianna Volunteers stationed at Saltillo 60 or 70 miles in advance of this place where there is a considerable force stationed, writes to Gen Butler, which communication was rec d last night, that a Majr Boland of the Arkensas mounted men who had been sent out with one comp of his Reg 1 on the San Luis Potosi road to watch the movements of the enemy, & gain intelligence had been surprised & the whole captured ; as no official report has been made of this affair by Gen Wool who is in command of the troops stationed at Saltillo & vicinity, I trust there is some mistake in the matter & that it will turn out to be incorrect ; if true, I shall proceed to that place immediately where I shall establish my H d Q rs & put things in the condition to meet the enemy. If however the information proves erronious, I shall defer going until the 6 th or y th of Febr? when I expect to remain there until I aMrelieved by an order from Washington, which I hope will be given in a great while accompanied by permission for me to leave the country
I hope you took Bob up to see Matamoros & that he was quite pleased with his visit there ; remember me most affectionately to him, & say to him I hope he will very soon return to B. Rouge, & commence his school operations with renewed application so as to make up for the time he had lost in making you a visit. Also my kindest regards to Col T. should you meet with him, & wishing you continued health &
prosperity I remain truly & sincerely
SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR
U. S. A. Fort Polk Texas
- Zachary Taylor