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Camp near Monterey Mexico
September 14th 1847
My dear Doctor,
The mail which has just arrived after being without one for 26 or 7 days, brought me your welcome letters of the 8th 14th 15th & 20th ult with the newspapers scraps &c which you were so good as to forward, for all of which I am greatly indebted to you. I was very much pleased as well as gratified to hear you, Ann & the children as well as Mr s Taylor & Betty were all well when you last wrote, & heard from them, & most sincerely do I hope this state of things will continue, alth I feel great anxiety on your own & their acct until there is a frost, which will put an end to the yellow fever, as I am apprehensive it may find its way to the crowded watering places on the Lakes & can hardly fail doing so, to the barracks, before the cold weather sets in. Betty writes me from East Pascagoula on the 2d ult that the place was crowded to overflowing, that many were compelled to sleep on the floors & in the galleries ; that Ann had arrived & found it impossible to get a room, & had to go to West Pascagoula, where she & the girls were quite comfortable, & would join her mother as soon as they could give her a room, which she B. though would be very soon, when they would get together, which I trust is by this time if not before She also stated that Dick had joined them very much improved in health, & after remaining a few days, had gone on to the White Sulpher springs in Virginia, which he had been advised to do; which I rather regret his doing on acct of the lateness of the season, they generally have frost in that region early in Sept'r at any rate by the 20th when all visitors take their departure. I think if John gets on board a good vessel with a proper commander he will do well in taking the contemplated voyage, even if he is absent from the U. States for several years, as it will be in the way of his duty ; he has selected a profession which is a highly honor able one, but in its commencement attended with many privations & severe trials, which I sincerely hope he will cheerfully meet & overcome; a voyage such as is in contemplation I trow if he lives to pass through it, will be the most unpleasant one he will ever have to encounter; I hope let him be where he may, he will not lose sight of his studies, but will devote himself to his book every moment he can spare from his duties ; I hope he will be as ambitious to be a good scholar, as he will to be an able seaman. At any rate he has my constant wishes for his entire success. 1 hope Bob went of his own will or consent to Mr Aliens school, in Kentucky & that he will remain there until he is prepared for college, or some other situation ; the changes of schools so frequently, generally ends in learning but little by those who do so
We have just rec'd a cross the country the gratifying intelligence alth not official, can be relied on, that Gen Scott defeated one division of the Mexican army 5000 strong within a few miles of the capital, killing & capturing nearly the whole which had resulted in an armistice to afford an opportunity to enter into negotiations for peace which I sincerely hope will grow out of it & that it is brought to a close by this time if not before; if so it will enable some of us at least, myself among the number to return to the U. States; should negotiations be broken off as soon as I ascertain the fact, & hear that Gen Scott has taken possession of the City of Mexico, I will apply for permission to return to the United States & hope to be able to join my family by the first of Dec r or soon after Under all the circumstances in which you are placed, I think you have decided correctly to remain where you are for the present, & most truly do I hope you will escape the effects of any contageous disease, even should anything of the kind visit your station. The barracks I consider by no means a desirable station, but it will be vastly more so, than many which will have to be occupied by us in this quarter, Santa Fe, Callifornia & Oregon & on the route to that country. On the subject of resign ing it seems to me you ought not to think of doing so even if your lot is to remain where you are, unless you saw your way clear to do better; for Dr Frankling say in one of his proverbs "he who has an office has an estate, & he who has a trade has a fortune, but the first must be attended to & the latter carried on." There is no doubt with your means & what I could do for Ann, you might in some of the Western states or Western N. York by managing the same judiciously live very comfortably but could be hardly satisfied to do nothing or next to nothing, for it is now too late in life to think of going into private practice; but I would resign rather than be stationed permanently on this frontier, in Callifornia, New Mexico or Oregon; it is unnecessary to take trouble on interest, as we have a plenty without
On the subject of the presidency between ourselves I do not care a fig about the office, I would much rather remain in the army in command of the Southern division or will if necessary retire from public life, rather than go to Washington, so they the editors & others may publish my letters & make as many comments on them as they please. I think my friend Gen Hunt a goo deal visionary, an excellent man, yet I would not commit myself with him ; let politicians determine on who they will elect for vice as well as president, & so they are honest & capable is all I care about
As to Scotts & Worths falling out, unless to mask some dirty work, I do not believe a word of it ; you will see when understood what it all amount to
You will see at the coming session of congress great efforts made or I am mistaken, to bring other individuals than my self before the country for the presidency, Gen S. one of them, but how far he will, or who will reach that office time must determine
I hope Col Davis will enter into no pledges in order to go the Senate, or any where else, & am satisfied he will not if at all improper As to Gen Houston it is a matter of no moment what his opinion is of me, as they can be but of little importance be they what they may I apprehend no outbreak with England, be her cause of grievances what they may; she cannot do without our trade; alth our people might be ready to rush into war with her ; since our unprecedented success in Mexico ; but should we have to measure strength with John Bull, we will find some difference between him & the Mexicans
Col Randall has not got here I have ordered an escort by this mail, to accompany him from Camargo to this place, & shall look for him in about ten days
Wishing you & yours continued health & prosperity as well as my love to Ann when you write her & the girls, I remain truly
SURG N R. C. WOOD
P. S. I hope Jouett has made his escape ere this, & got some where out of reach of the fever Let me hear from you by every opportunity if only a half dozen lines as I shall be very uneasy until frost.
- 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.