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.
Camp near Monterey Mexico
June 23 d 1847 My dear Doctor,
Your very interesting & acceptable letters of the 2 5th ult & 2 d of June with one froMrob & Mr Caldwell, with several newspapers & interesting scraps cut from others, have just reached here & for which I am truly thankful ; affording me much real gratification as they communicated the pleasing intelligence of the health of your family & those of mine at Baton Rouge, & let me assure you again no matter what ever may be my occupation it will on all occasions be a source of gratification to me to receive letters from you, & particularly if they contain the gratifying information that you & your family are all well, happy & prosperous
I greatly fear from a letter from Betty dated Baton Rouge 28th ult that Dick was misapplying his time about Bayou Sarah, in which she says " Dick passed up from N. Orleans some ten days since on his way to the hot springs in Arkensas, wrote a few lines to us saying that he had made arrangements for the boat to call for him at Bayou Sara on a certain day, as he had promised to call for Charles Mathews who was to accompany him ; the boat I heard yesterday was a day behind her time, & as they were three miles out in the country at Mr s M s the boat would not wait until they could get in ; the consequence was they were left ; I heard yesterday from a gentle who had just seen Dick, that he had abandoned the trip " so that all hopes of his benefitting from that quarter or I greatly fear from any other is at an end ; if he is not restored to health by the opperation of nature, there is but little hope that he will be so, by any exertion on his part, but things must take their course as he has arrived at that age when he must act for himself; if gentle advise will not have the proper effect, nothing else ought to be thought of in regard to controlling him
I think the arrangements made with Rob, a much better one than sending him to Kentucky or any where else against his will ; I hope the school he is at will prove at at least a good preparatory one, so that he may at once enter college on leaving it ; should it be deemed desirable to have him go through one. I am pleased to hear he is content to live with his grand mother. I have read his letter & that of Mr C. with much interest ; he Rob no doubt has sufficient capacity for any calling in or common to our country, if the same be properly directed, & he should take proper advantage of the opportunities which I hope will be offered him if so he can not fail to be distinguished in whatever pursuit he may determine on with industry & perseverance. I regret there is no suitable school for the girls near the Barracks, or that you have not been able to get a proper teacher for them in your family ; but you will I presume have to send them to some boarding school in the fall if not before ; but it seems to me the better & most economical plan would be if it could be done to get a competent teacher, male or female in the family, as the girls would then be at all times under the eye of their parents, & particularly their mother, which is so very important ; but if we cannot do the best we wish in such matters, we must be content to do the best we can in the circumstances in which we are placed. I feel much solicitude about Ann & the children during the latter part of the summer & the first months of autumn ; sometimes it is as healthy at the Barracks, & even in the city during the whole season as it is any where else, in our country, it was so the last & may prove so the present ; but should the yellow fever make its appearance, or any other contageous disease in the city or at the Barracks, you must at once remove your family across the lakes, or to some other position. What is most to be feared at the Bar racks is the depositing of their sick there, but the various detachments of troops going to & returning from Mexico, which can hardly fail to produce contageon of some kind, or description I hope you have heard from John & that he had reached his place of destination in safety & without accident on the way, & found on his arrival there matters & things as favorable as he could have expected
I rec d a letter from Gen Patterson before leaving N. Orleans recommending his son to my notice, I have not yet heard of him, but pre sume I shall find him out when the volunteers get here from the Rio Grande
I have no doubt that Gen Scott whose professions & sincerity I have not the slightest confidence in, after striping me of the greater portion of my available force will give the necessary orders to those about him to write to certain individuals drawing the most outrageous comparisons in favor of the column under his command, & to the disadvantage of this, which gives me but little concern ; & I am now pretty well satisfied that the dep will continue to do as it has heretofore done, if not to break me down, at any rate not to place under my orders a force that will enable me to accomplish any thing further of importance. The great object is to bring Gen S. before the country as the prominent candidate for the presidency, as they can make terms with him, in the event of his election as they are aware they cannot elect one of their own fraternity. The Gen will make any pleges requested of him ; he will be a candidate for the office in question, & may succeed in being elected as he will carry with him a large section of the Whigs as well as that of the locofoco party. If the election was to take place now or in a short time it is more than probable that he would have but little chance ; but a great many changes may be brought about in his favor, & nothing will be left undone to do so by those in power, as well as many out of office, as well as to injure my standing with the country between this & Nov r 1848. I have for some time entertained the opinion that it would be a rare occurrence if there was again a slave holder elevated to the presidency, & which will be brought up & made great use of against me by the wire- workers between this & the time of holding the election particularly just before it takes place. I can only wish that my friends who have brought my name so prominently before the country for said office, had not fixed on some other individual ; for the more I reflect on the matter, the less inclination I feel of entering on the duties connected with the office ; & if some good honest man can be elected I will acquiesce in such an arrangement with great pleasure
I must say that I feel much gratification at the two app ts conferred on Gen Davis as he richly merits them & will do justice to either, no matter which position he may select to occupy, civil or military; I think it quite likely they gave him the appt of B r Gen under the expectation of keeping him out of the Senate
I regret to see Gen Camerons 1 letter published, notwithstanding I am & always have been a democrat of the Jeffersonian school, which embodies very many of the principles of the whigs of present day ; I do not however wish to convey or that they should be for me any opinions I do not entertain even should my election be defeated by such a course. I observe that Col May is or was still in N. Orleans quite a lion, but presume he has lef some time since for Washington City as a furlough has been given him for three months. Gen Pillow I suppose has ere now left for Tenesee; as the volunteers from that state who were in the battle of Cerro Gordo striped the lions hide from his shoulders since their return to N. Orleans
I rec d by the last mail a letter from Mr Ringgold of the 22 d ult in which he says the water in the river rapidly receded after it commenced, which had enable him to plant several hundred acres of cotton, which he had no doubt would do very well & make a part of a crop if not attacks by caterpillar in the fall, & corn enough for the use of the plantation if the season should prove a favorable one; this is better than I had expected some time since
I presume you would have but little society at the Barracks as most of the persons residing in its vicinity are Creole French, some quite gen teel families, but generally not disposed to associate with Americans or rather our country people, even when they speak our language. I thought it not unlikely you might be called on by some of them in a professional way who spoke English, which might open an intercourse so far as the children or girls were concerned which might prove a source of pleasure to them The great objection to it as a station is the continued apprehension of disease, & those of a contageous character. I very much regretted to find your health had not been entirely restored, & on that acc f deeply regret you could not at once have been assigned to a Northern or Eastern station at any rate until the same was perfectly restored ; but if the worst comes to the worst, you will I presume have to quit the service as your means well managed in a plentiful country would give your family a comfortable support; but as you say it will be best to look before leap, or not to act in a hurry or without proper considerations in so important a matter
I hope my family take as little interest in the presidency as I do, & will on all occasions avoid as much as it can be well done conversing at all on the subject, except in a jocular way among themselves. I am gratified to find that Dick acts with prudence in regard to this matter I will have to answer many very many letters letters as to my politics, as well as my views on many subjects of political matters, but have & shall con tinue to do so in very general terms; the inquiry as to whether I am a whig or democrat is frequently propounded to me, by people who ought & know better, for if they had only taken the trouble to look into the speeches of & votes of a majority of the members of congress they would have at once solved the question at the same time I have never meddled in politicks, or been mixed up with them in any way nor do I intend to do or become so, for if I ever occupy the White House it must be in a way that I can be the President of a nation & not of a party
We have heard nothing from Gen Scotts column directly for about two months ; indirectly we learn that Puebla was taken possession of on the 15th ult & no doubt our people ere this are in possession of the City of Mexico, as it was supposed they would not meet with any opposition in doing so where it was reported every thing was in the greatest state of confusion & disorganization ; near all the officers of the gov had resigned their appointments & retired from the city, Santa Anna among the rest, nor was it known where he had gone to; such is the reports which have reached us ; but you in New Orleans are much better informed in regard to such matters than we are here. Whether peace will be the immediate result of these occurrencies time must determine
Reenforcements arrive very slowly from the states & I very very much doubt if a proper force is placed under my orders to justify my moving into the enemies country farther than I am at present ; at the same time Marcy & Richie 1 will keep up the idea with the people that a sufficient force was ordered to join me to have enabled me had I been disposed to have done so, to have acted on the offensive, taking care not to let it be known, that by their management they had never reached me, nor was it intended they should do so Some time since several regiments of the new corps were ordered to Brazos to report to me, & soon after I was informed I was to have the third Dragoons; soon after the regt s referred to were ordered to Vera Cruz, soon after & an other order was given to send five comp 8 of the third dragoons to the same place About the first of the present or the last of the past month, a special messenger arrived here with despatches from Washington, whose principal business so far as I could understand it, was to bring me a statement of the troops from the adj Gen at Washington, that had been ordered to join me; & which I presumed would be the case; but the mail which has just reached here has brought a communication saying the troops which had been promised me from Illinois, one reg c of Infr had been sent to Santa Fe, so you see I have no reliance on any promises from that quarter ; every thing possible will be done if not to break me down, will be to keep me in the background But it is a long lane that has no end or turn in it. I still contemplate returning & joining my family in the fall if my life is spared My love to Ann & the children as well as kindest regards to Majr & Mr s Jouett & accept my sincere wishes for the continued health & prosperity of you & yours through a long life.
D R R. C. WOOD Z. TAYLOR
U. S. A. N. Orleans Barracks
My kindest regards to Gen Brooke. I was pleased to hear that Kitty & her children had got to the Barracks
- 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.