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by no means easy; on the contrary, they were obtained only at the cost of no little bloody fighting and of great loss of men. And, as is not unusual in like emergencies, there was much complaint of the extravagance and inefficiency of the quartermaster's department.1
The attack on Mexico began with the advance of Taylor's army. Two battles, Palo Alto, on May 8, 1846, and Resaca de la Palma, on the following day, were required to drive the Mexicans across the Rio Grande. Taylor then advanced from Matamoras through Tamaulipas into Nuevo Le6n, and after defeating the Mexicans in a three days' battle, September 21-23, at Monterey, the capital of Nuevo Leon, he captured that city. Saltillo, the capital of Coahuila, was occupied by the United States troops on November 16; and Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas, December 29.
It had long before this become a most important question whether the campaign should be confined to the occupation and cutting-off of northern Mexico, or whether the army should be pushed on towards the city of Mexico. Taylor recommended the first of these two plans; but when asked his advice as to what should be done further, and especially whether an expedition should be aimed at the city of Mexico from near Vera Cruz, he had been hesitating and non-committal in his answer.1 Orders issued direct from Washington September 22, 1846, in connection with the scheme before it was fully developed, to General Patterson, one of Taylor's subordinates, drew from Taylor himself a resentful protest.8 Finally the plan of capturing Vera Cruz and marching thence upon the city of Mexico was adopted by Polk and his cabinet, with a little objection from Buchanan as to advancing beyond Vera Cruz,s and Scott was elected to lead the expedition. Soon after his appointment he left Washington, and about the end of December he reached Matamoras and began to make preparations for the attack on Vera Cruz. Part of Taylor's men were drawn away for the southern campaign, and renewed complaints from him were added to the general chorus of discord and dissatisfaction.4
1 Niles' Register, LXX., 310; Cong. Globe, 29 Cong., 2 Sess., 298; Polk, MS. Diary, August 18 and 19, 1847.
Information of the shifting of the attack to the south reached Santa Anna through intercepted despatches, and he at once conceived the project of a counter - stroke. Advancing northward with an army of more than twenty thousand men, he came upon Taylor February 23, 1847, with only about onefourth that number at Buena Vista, a few miles south of Saltillo. The American troops gained a brilliant victory,1 and with this the serious work of the " army of occupation" was at an end.
1 House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII., No. 60, pp. 324, 353, especially Taylor to adjutant-general, July 2, 1846, ibid., pp. 329-332; cf. Polk, MS. Diary, September 15, 1846.
'Taylor to adjutant-general, October 15, 1846, in House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII., No. 60, pp. 351-354.
•Polk, MS. Diary, November 14, 1846.
* Taylor to adjutant-general, January 27, 1847, in House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII., No. 60, pp. 1100-1103.
Attention was now centred on the southern campaign. During the month of February, 1847, Scott's troops were conveyed by sea from Brazos Santiago and concentrated on the island of Lobos, about sixty miles south of Tampico. On March 9 a landing was made without opposition near Vera Cruz. With the co-operation of the naval forces under Commodore Conner the city was invested, and, after a brief siege culminating in a sharp bombardment, was captured March 29, 1847.2
Next in order was the advance upon the city of Mexico, which began April 8. The first resistance was met at Cerro Gordo, where, on April 17 and 18, Scott's army of not more than nine thousand drove thirteen thousand Mexicans, in disastrous defeat, from a naturally strong and well-fortified position. Finally there was a series of battles near the city of Mexico, which culminated in its capture, and which will be referred to further on,3
Meanwhile another effort was made by Polk to negotiate, an idea which even after the failure of the Slidell mission had been kept steadily in view. This was the main consideration that influenced the government in promoting Santa Anna's return, and as soon as he was back in Mexico an offer to renew negotiations was made at once, but it was declined.1 The offer was renewed on the eve of the southern campaign, but was again practically declined by making it a condition that the invading armies should be withdrawn.2 When Vera Oruz had fallen, however, at the outset of Scott's march on the city of Mexico, Polk and his cabinet agreed that it would be well to send along with the army a commissioner who should be ready to offer terms of peace to Mexico without delay as soon as she had been driven to the proper stage of submission. For this office N. P. Trist, then chief clerk of the department of state, was finally selected, and he received his instructions April 15, 1847. The next day he left Washington, and May 6 he reached Vera Cruz. The terms he was authorized to offer were substantially the same as those contained in the instructions to Slidell, except that Trist was to pay five millions less for the same boundary; while he was to negotiate for the possession not only of Upper California and New Mexico, but of Lower California and also for the right of way across the isthmus of Tehuantepec, two objects not included in the instructions to Slidell.3
1 Taylor to adjutant-general, March 6, 1847, *& Senate Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., I., No. i, pp. 132-141. 'Scott to Marcy, March 29, 1847, ibid., 229. 'See p. 250, below.
1 Buchanan to Mexican minister of foreign relations, July 27, 1846, in Cong. Globe, 29 Cong., 2 Sess., App., 27.
1 Monasterio to Buchanan, February 22, 1847, *n Senate Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., I., No. i, p. 36.
'See ibid., VII., No. 52, pp. 85-89.
On Trist's arrival at the camp of Scott's army there followed an unseemly quarrel between the two as to the powers of the commissioner. Scott, who was angry at being made the instrument rather than the agent of the negotiations, had been directed to refer to Trist the question of continuing or discontinuing hostilities; but he refused to do so unless Trist were given superior military rank to his own, and he declined to transmit the letter from Buchanan to the Mexican minister of foreign relations which Trist had brought.1 Trist secured its delivery through the good services of Bankhead, the British minister in Mexico, and Thornton, his secretary of legation. The quarrel between Scott and Trist was at length terminated by a reconciliation, which took place near the end of June, and thenceforth they were hand in glove.2
In answer to the proposition to negotiate which came through Trist, Santa Anna contrived to intimate that, if he were paid ten thousand dollars down and one million on the conclusion of peace, negotiations should begin at once. After consulting with several of his officers, in a conference held late in July or early in August, Scott paid the ten
1 Senate Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII., No. 52, pp. 120, 121; cf. Reeves, "Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo," in Am. Hist. Review, X., 309-324.
1 House Exec. Docs., 30 Cong., 1 Sess., VII., No. 60, p. ion; cf. Ripley, War with Mexico, II., 147-151.