Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
April 4th 1847 My dear Doctor,
Your welcome letter of the 3 d ult was duly rec d I was very much pleased to learn you had met the Surg n Gen who had made arrange ments with Gen Brooke, to assign you to duty at the N. Orleans Bar racks on your arrival in that city ; which during the greater portion of the year is in some respects a desirable position ; besides being some what expensive, the greatest objection to it, is its unhealthiness during a few months of almost every year, when it has to be abandoned during that time to avoid the yellow fever, or some other epidemic prevails ; however all considered the arrangement may be looked on as a fortunate one, as it will at least enable you to have your family with you, which is a matter of great importance. You will I presume during the summer, if not the balance of the year, besides Majr Jouett & family, have Col Whistler & his people there ; but it will be well to make the best out of what cannot be avoided ; & to get along with such people the best plan is to adopt I have found is to be very polite, without being too intimate. Your leave of absence was forwarded some time since, but may have been delayed in consequence of our communications having been cut off between this & Camargo, by the enemy for several weeks, but if you left before the order reached, it is all very well, & hope by this time if not before, if your trip across the gulf was a favorable one, you have reached your place of destination & without accident
Since my return here, our communications with the Rio Grande have been pretty well reestablished, & our trains are passing between here & Camargo without interruption, with moderate escorts ; there is now nothing to apprehend in that direction but small bands of robbers, who infest the greater portion of the inhabited parts of this unfortunate country
I observe my letter to Majr Gaines published in the N. York Express has made a wonderful sensation among politicians, editors & others throughout the country ; all of which I really look upon as " much ado about nothing " & it is a pity there was not something of more importance to agitate or to amuse to keep up an excitement among the masses
What effect the battle of Buena Vista will have on the Mexican nation, as regards opening the way for negotiations, as to bringing about a peace between the the two countries time must determine ; but I truly hope it will have the happyest results ; the best informed portion of the Mexicans in this part of the country, say there will be peace in a few months, to which I say amen with all my heart. Whether my despatch to the Secretary of War, announcing the result of said battle, will be replied to or its receipt acknowledged by that high functionary, time must also determine ; as he has not for the last five months condescended to acknowledge a single communication from me, some of which I conceive was of much importance as regards the service in this quarter, much less to reply to them ; but if he still persists in pursuing such a contemptable, pitiful & ungentlemanly a course for the purpose of insulting or outraging me, which is quite likely he will do, but which is a matter of no importance, as the people will compell him to lay before the country in some one of the public journals said despatch, no matter how unwilling he may be to do so There has been constantly carried on against me, ever since the battle of Monterey by the high functionaries at Washington covertly attacks against me ; see the attacks of Ficklin Thompson & others in the House of Representatives, & Cass Bagby &c in the Senate, all of which no doubt was made by order, which how ever gives me no concern; but I do not believe the War Secretary would have unmasked his batteries which he made the publication of my letter to Ge i 1 Gaines the pretext for doing, had he not supposed the arrangement entered into by him Scott & Co. would prostrate me ; that by withdrawing the greater part of the troops from me, & leaving me exposed to the enemy, which course they thought would be safer than to recall or relieve me, that I would either leave the country at once, or it was possible I might be laid on the shelf here, by barely acting on the defensive, or if the enemy advanced in force on the line I was left to defend with a greatly inadequate force, I would either be beaten, or would have fallen back on or beyond the Rio Grande, & in either contingency I would have been darned as a military man ; but thanks to a kind providence their nefarious schemes have been all defeated & the battle of Buena Vista I trust is the best reply I can make to them or their slanderous attacks
It is matter of some little gratification that I pursued the identical course I did, for without one particle of vanity entering into the whole matter I am satisfied I saved the honor of the country, & our glorious stars & stripes from being trailed in the dust ; for had I left on the receipt of of Gen Scotts unmilitary & outrageous order for the U. States which many of my friends advised me to do we would not now have occupied a post other than Matamoros, if that save on the sea coast this side the Rio Grande, for as it was our communications between here & that river, was entirely cut off It is possible however that the dominant party may out, as well as in congress charge me with neglect of duty, in not capturing Santa Anna & the whole of his army, & that a vote of censure to that effect at the next session may be gotten up, & even pass that body ; the White House has set the whole pack of aspir ants to the occupancy of the same, to barking & snapping at my heels, including Jesup, Scott & others ; I obseve in a speech of Casses in the Senate, he takes the opportunity to eulogis in high terms the Q r Master Gen to shield the dep 1 from the attacks I had made on it; by referring to & quoting from a letter written by Jesup to the War dep f in which Cass is made to say, that Jesup stated to the War dept that the army had double the am t of transportation they needed at Fort Polk & Brown before the arrival of the Volunteers; as long as the army in question remained stationary, this might be so; but said statement was made to mislead & deceive the public & therefore was nothing more, nor less than a cool & premeditated falsehood ; as to Jesup, I have not looked on him as entirely sane since he wrote that more than rediculous Blair letter; but it is worse than rediculous that a U. States Senitor should endorse his absurd & erroneous statements; I dare him Cass & the whole concern to show before a proper tribunal that there is one word which is untrue in the letter to Gen Gaines, or that I have written to any one else in regard to transportations or any thing else, I have written since I have been in Mexico, or that is even highly coloured, Mr Jesup & Mr Casses state ment to the contrary notwithstanding
It is quite likely there will be no more fighting in this section other than with small detachments who may perhaps attempt to rifle the trains, or rob smal parties in the road between this & Camargo; Gen Santa Anna has gone to the City of Mexico where there is a revolution going on against the gov where it is stated there was considerable fighting between the parties the 6 th y th & 8th ult ; he Santa Anna taking with him about six thousand troops from San Louis, in his proclimation issued just before leaving he will to save the beautiful City of Mexico & put down anarchy & strife, which is destroying the best interest of the country, he intends taking matters into his own hands ; so that it seems to me if we have another serious fight in this direction, or with this column, it will not be this side San Louis Potosi, or Zucatecas
Inclosed I you will find a check for five hundred on Col Hunt depty Q r Gen which please dispose of as you may think most advisable for the benefit of your family
You could certainly do me no good by remaining at Point Isabel or Brazos, alth I do not consider the reports as regards our situation even at all exagerated, we might say with truth we were left at the mercy of the enemy, & nothing short of a miracle, saved us; our situation was a much more dangerous & desperate one than we were placed in at Forts Polk & Brown before the battles of the 8th & 9th of May last ; why we were left as a forlorn hope to be destroyed by the enemy without there being any necessity for it, is a mystery to me, which can only be solved or explained by Marcy & Scott, which I hope some of the friends of those who fell on the plains of Buena Vista who was worth a hundred of them, will compell them to do
If this reaches you at Baton Rouge or if at N. Orleans Barracks, & they are with you my love to Ann & the children; or if you are at the latter place & they are at Baton Rouge, do so when you write; & wishing you & yours continued health health & prosperity I remain truly your
SURG N R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR
U. S. Army
N. Orleans Barracks.
P. S. Lawsons regards are duly appreciated.
- 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.