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Camp near Monterey Mexico
May 9th 1847 My dear Doctor,
Your several letters of the 4th 12th & 18 th with several enclosures & accompanied by a number of late newspapers & extracts cut from others, reach me on the 5th ins t all at the same moment, with innumerable papers & letters congratulating me on the result of the battle of Buena Vista, many of which I fear I shall never be able to reply to ; but will do all I can in that way
Let me assure you I am truly thankful for your letters which are read with deep interest alth it will not be in my power to reply to them at length, or even so much so as I could wish, but you must take the will for the deed, for be assured the wellfare of you & yours forms among the most important considerations in which I am interested ; you also have my thanks, for the papers & slips cut from others, which in addition to your letters I have read with pleasure, as well as with deep interest
I was truly delighted to hear you had made a visit to Baton Rouge, where you found all in the enjoyment of good health, especially dear Anns so much improved, & truly hope she may have with her family the pleasure of enjoying many years of health, happiness & prosperity. I was gratified to hear she Ann had come down with you before bringing the children & made the necessary arrangements for housekeeping in the first instance, & then returned for them ; & flatter myself they will all join you at the proper time in good health, & without accident ; nor do I wish them to be in the least hurry in leaving Baton Rouge, hoping it has proved a pleasant residence to them. I had hoped that proper schools would have been found at B. Rouge adapted to the age & the state of acquirements of the children, in which case, most of the children if they had been willing to have done so, would have remained with their grand mother, at any rate till autumn; at which time it may be well to look out for a more healthy position. I have noticed with much interest, Mr Hunts from which I am satisfied he Mr Crittenden & Col Tibbatts done all in their power to procure Johns appointment but am & have been satisfied it will be without avail at present; he must therefore turn his attention to some other pursuit; in the first place completing his education; by which time something may be determined on. I deeply regret to hear of Dicks continued indisposition, & fear his long residence in N. Orleans where there are so many temptations, was not at all favorable to his recovery; if I was sure the water of the hot springs of Arkensas was adapted or would be beneficial to him, I would wish him to go there with as little delay as practicable, but without understanding in some way or other how the water there would suit his disease, I would not like to advise him to take that course. I deeply regretted to hear that the Mississippi was so very high & that my plantation with I suppose hundreds of others had been flooded & of course our crops destroyed; my purchase of said plantation has proved truly an unfortunate one, but it is useless now to complain or despond, but to do the best we can, in whatever position we may be placed in. Had my levee succeeded in protecting the land from inundation, I would have been contented with the same, & would have been contented as soon as this war was at an end, or before, to have retired to it, & devoted my self to superintending the same. For let matters eventuate as they may, I must leave & return to the U. States in this fall ; even if I have to retire from the service
As regards Gen Worths professions I pay no confidence in them, or in those of his friend Sanders, while one should be polite & courteous to all, at the same time he ought to commit himself with few; W. I consider entirely unprincipled; & his friend S. a perfect demagouge. As to the presidency I have no wish to reach that position ; & if I could do so there are a number of distinguished statesmen in our country I would advance to that position, in preference to myself. At the same time I will not say I would not serve if the good people of the country should think proper to elect me; but I can truly say I have no wish to fill said office, & if I do so at all, it must be by the spontaneous will of a majority of the people, & not by any party; for could I be the chief magistrate of the republic by announcing myself as a candidate for the office, I would never reach it. At any rate I consider the time inauspicious for my coming or rather being brought out; & truly regret that any paper friendly to my election, has thought proper to bring my name before the country as connected with that position, or as a candidate for the same at this early day. I imagine Col Lyon was only feeling your pulse, to ascer tain my views through you; I do not consider him a very safe person; & no doubt you will meet with many such who you will fully understand. I am pleased to hear Gen Brooke takes my notice of him in the way he does in the correspondence between the Secretary of War & myself; for I have none but the kindest feelings toward the Gen & consider him a high minded honorable & gallant soldier, with a heart always in the right place
[As you are] fully located at the Barracks near N. Orleans, I hope unless you wish a change you will not be removed by Dr Barton or any one else. We are all quiet here nor do I expect to move forward into the heart of the enemies country for some time ; at any rate until prepared to meet with success. A portion of the n. Regt 8 have commenced arriving at Brazos, where they are to be organized by Gen Cadwalader, 1 & of course it will take some time to prepare them for the movement nor can I well move forward until this is done
I observe your friend Judge Hunt, alludes to my being from a slave state as being a principal bar to my reaching the presidency; I would not do so if I could by advocating either the propriety of slavery, or abolition ; let this vexed question remain where the constitution placed it
My health was never better than at present ; I was somewhat indisposed for some weeks after the battle of Buena Vista, & was confined to my camp with a sore leg for some two weeks from the bite of some poisonous insect, or a slight wound in the first instance from a thorn, but which is now perfectly well. Please remember me most affectionately to dear Ann & the children, or all of them that may be with you, as well as kindest regards to Majr & Mr Jouett & the two you ladies Miss Virginia & Josephine should they still be at the Barracks ; as well as to say to them I wish them to visit Baton Rouge & spend some time with their aunt before they return to Kentucky, or when on their way up the river.
Wishing you & yours continued health, happiness & prosperity I remain
Truly Your Friend
Z. TAYLOR SURG N R. C. WOOD
U. S. Army
P. S. Since finishing my letter we have this moment rec d the Mexican official account of the battle of Cerro Gordo, fought on the 17th ult between Santa Anna & Gen Scott, about 50 miles from Vera Cruz near Julappa, in which the former was entirely routed, with the loss of his artillery baggage &c. All of which you will have heard before this gets to N. Orleans.
- 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.