Re-enforcements of militia were soon added to the army. The great disadvantages under which Scott labored necessarily delayed his movements until a late period. He found the quartermaster's department very deficient, and had the greatest difficulty in transporting supplies to Fort Drane. His supplies of ordnance were very limited, and the greater part of those on hand were unfit for use. To penetrate a country like Florida, filled with swamps, morasses, and almost impenetrable hammocks, required much preparation and labor. There was no chain of posts or settlements through the country, and the army was compelled to carry a heavy load of provisions and ordnance. To increase the difficulties, heavy rains had fallen which made the roads almost impassable. General Scott arrived at Fort Drane on March 13, 1836, with a very small force. Believing the enemy to be concentrated at or near the forks of Ouithlacoochee River, he adopted the following plan of operations:
The Florida army to constitute three divisions, to be known as the right, center, and left wings; the center being composed of Alabama volunteers, three companies of Louisiana volunteers, and two companies of United States artillery, amounting to twelve hundred and fifty men, to be commanded by Colonel William Lindsay. To move from Fort Brooke and take position at or near Chicuchatty, on March 25th. Signal guns to be fired each day thereafter at 9 A.M. to announce position. The right wing, composed of a battalion of Augusta volunteers under Acting Major Robertson; a battalion of Georgia volunteers under Major Mark A. Cooper; Major John M. Douglass, Georgia Cavalry; eleven companies of Louisiana volunteers, under Colonel Persifor F. Smith; Florida Rangers, under Major McLemore; the regulars, under Colonel James Bankhead; and Captain Clifton Wharton's company of Dragoons—in all amounting to about two thousand men, to be commanded by General Clinch. This wing to move from Fort Drane and be in position near Camp Izard, on the Ouithlacoochee River, between March 26th and 28th. Signal guns to be fired at 11 A.M. The left wing, composed of the South Carolina volunteers, under Colonel Abbott H. Brisbane; mounted volunteers, under Colonels Goodwyn and Butler—amounting to about fourteen hundred men—to be commanded by General Abram Eustis. This wing to move from Volusia and take position at or near Pilaklakaha on March 27th. Signal guns to be fired at ten o'clock each day.
Each wing to be composed of three columns, a center protected by a strong van and rear guard. The baggage train to be placed in the rear of the main column. The center and left wings, on assuming their respective positions, will fire signal guns, which will be responded to by the right wing. The right wing will then move up the cove or great swamp of the Ouithlacoochee in a southeast direction and drive the Indians south, while the center will advance to the north and the left to the west, by which united movement the Indians will be surrounded and left no avenue of escape. The operations of the army will be supported by the naval forces under Commodore Alfred J. Dallas, protecting the western coast of the peninsula, to cut off retreat and supplies.
Colonel Lindsay, commanding the center wing, arrived at Fort Brooke with eight companies of Alabama volunteers on March 6th, where he found a battalion of Florida troops, commanded by Major Read, and on the 10th was joined by one company of Louisiana volunteers, under command of Captain George H. Marks.
On the 12th he discovered fires to the southeast, and it was soon reported that a large body of Indians was encamped a few miles distant. Colonel Lindsay directed Major Leigh Read with his battalion to make a reconnoissance in the direction of the Indians. Major Read moved during the night, and coming upon the Indians at daylight, surprised them and put them to flight with a loss of three killed and six taken prisoners. He also secured a quantity of camp equipage and some beef cattle.
Colonel Lindsay, not hearing from headquarters, determined to proceed as far as Hillsboro River and erect a stockade so as to place his supplies nearer to the scene of operations. This object having been effected, he left Major Read in charge of the fort, which he had named Fort Alabama, and returned to Fort Brooke on the 21st. During his absence dispatches were received from General Scott announcing the plan of campaign, and requesting Colonel Lindsay to be in position at Chicuchatty on March 25th. Major Read having been relieved, the line of march was taken up. The column being fired on by the Indians and several soldiers killed and wounded, Colonel Lindsay ordered a charge, which was executed by Captains Benham and Blount, commanding Alabama volunteers, and the Indians were driven from their covert into a pine woods.
On March 28th, three days after the time mentioned in the orders, this command was in position at Camp Broadnax, near Chicuchatty, in pursuance of General Scott's orders. The country over which they had marched was hilly, and in many places there were dense forests which retarded their movements, though the late period at which Colonel Lindsay received his orders would have prevented his arrival at the time specified in them. No censure can be attributed to General Scott for the delay, as it was impossible under the circumstances for him to have matured his plans earlier.
General Eustis, commanding the left wing, arrived at St. Augustine on February 15th, and at once established a chain of posts at intervals of from ten to twenty miles, extending along the Atlantic coast as far south as the Mosquito Inlet, in order to drive off the bands of depredators and to give protection to the plantations. Colonel Goodwyn's mounted South Carolina volunteers having arrived on March 9th, the several detachments of the left wing, with the exception of Colonel Pierce M. Butler's battalion and two companies of artillery under Major Reynold M. Kirby, were put in motion for Volusia, where they arrived on March 21st after encountering great difficulties, being compelled to cut the road nearly the whole distance. On the 22d they began crossing the St. John's River. When the vanguard, consisting of two companies under Captains Adams and T.S. Tripp, had reached the opposite shore they were attacked by about fifty Indians who were concealed in a hammock. Being re-enforced by George Henry and Hibler's companies, they charged the enemy and drove him. Two companies of mounted men were crossed above with a view of cutting off the retreat of the Indians, but they were too late. The loss in this battle was three killed and nine wounded. On the 24th, Lieutenant Ripley A. Arnold, with twenty-seven mounted men, was sent in quest of Colonel Butler and his command, who had not joined the main command, he having marched in the direction of New Smyrna. This detachment fell in with a party of twelve or fifteen Indians who gave battle. Two of the Indians were killed, and Lieutenant Arnold, having his horse shot, ordered a retreat, for which he was severely censured. The whole force of General Eustis's command being now concentrated on the west side of the St. John's River, opposite to Volusia, orders were issued to distribute thirteen days' rations, and the line of march to be taken up for Pilaklakaha, leaving the sick and wounded with two companies of Colonel Brisbane's regiment at Volusia, under command of Major William Gates, United States army. The roads being bad, they were unable to march more than seven miles in two days. On the 29th they reached the Ocklawaha, and, constructing a bridge, crossed over after sundown and discovered fires on the margin of Lake Eustis, which they supposed to be signals of the Indians. Colonel Butler, with a small command, accompanied by General Joseph Shelton, who was serving as a private soldier, moved in the direction of the fires and discovered four Indians, who at once retreated. One of these Indians, Chief Yaha Hayo, was killed, while the others made their escape. On the 30th Colonel Goodwyn was sent forward to reconnoiter, and when near Pilaklakaha was attacked by Indians, having three men and several horses wounded. Colonel Robert H. Goodwyn was soon re-enforced by General Eustis, and a battle ensued lasting nearly an hour. The Indians were driven into the swamp. On March 31st an express was sent to Scott for information and for the purpose of obtaining forage. A signal gun was fired on the following morning after their arrival, but not answered.
The right wing having assembled at Fort Drane, General Scott ordered General Clinch to put his troops in motion on March 25th and take position on the Ouithlacoochee; but a heavy rain prevented the movement until the morning of March 26th. General Clinch sent forward two flatboats drawn on wagons to await the arrival of the troops at the river. The movement was begun by Major Douglass with his mounted Georgians. The order of march was in three columns: the center, with the baggage train, headed by General Clinch, the right consisting of the Louisiana volunteers, under command of Colonel Persifor F. Smith, joined the line at Camp Smith, and the left, commanded by Colonel Bankhert, joined by Lieutenant Colonel William S. Foster's battalion of United States troops at Camp Twiggs, General Scott and staff with an escort of dragoons taking position in the center. Colonel Gadsden was appointed quartermaster general for Florida, and acting inspector general. When nine miles from Fort Drane information reached the army that some volunteers left in charge of a broken-down team had been attacked by the Indians and one man killed. On March 28th the column reached the Ouithlacoochee and encamped near Fort Izard. The river bank was occupied by sharpshooters and two pieces of artillery to protect the crossing. Foster Blodget, of the Richmond Blues of Augusta, Ga., swam the river and attached a rope to a tree on the opposite shore and planted the flag of his command. The whole command was passed over, but the rear division was fired upon by the Indians, who were quickly repulsed by the six-pounders. On the morning of March 30th a party of Indians was encountered, charged upon, and routed, and the same party were next day met and driven into the swamp. The column proceeded on its march and arrived at Tampa Bay on April 5th. They here learned that Colonel Lindsay had preceded them one day, being obliged to return for necessary subsistence.
It will be remembered that the center, being under Colonel Lindsay, took position at Camp Broadnax, near Chicuchatty, on March 28th. They were fired on by the Indians, but succeeded in driving them off. As his supplies had run short and the original plan of the campaign had been defeated, Colonel Lindsay returned with his command to Fort Brooke, arriving there April 4th. When Colonel Lindsay reached Fort Alabama, near the Hillsboro River, he learned that the post had been attacked on the morning of March 27th by three or four hundred Indians, who surrounded the breastwork and continued the attack for two hours, when they were repulsed with a loss of fifteen. The garrison lost one man killed and two wounded. General Eustis, for the same reasons which moved Colonel Lindsay, marched on April 2d from Pilaklakaha and encamped about sixteen miles from Fort Brooke, reporting to General Scott.
The whole army being now concentrated at or near Fort Brooke, the plan for a new campaign was discussed. They had found but small parties of the Indians in the cove or swamp region, and it was thought that they had gone to the southern part of the Florida peninsula and concealed themselves in the Everglades.
General Scott ordered Colonel Smith, of the Louisiana volunteers, to proceed by water to Charlotte Harbor and move north, while Colonel Goodwyn, with the South Carolina mounted men, was ordered to the lake at the head of Pease's Creek for the purpose of driving the Indians down. Having destroyed a large unoccupied Indian village on the left bank of that stream, and finding no Indians, the command returned to Hillsboro River and joined the left wing.
The Louisiana troops left Fort Brooke on April 10th and arrived at Pease's Creek on the 17th. They moved forward at once, but the weather was oppressive and the men were broken down by previous marches; many of them being destitute of shoes and other clothing, it was found necessary to return to camp. Out of over seven hundred Louisiana troops who had volunteered in January and entered the field the beginning of the next month, but one hundred and thirty were now left fit for duty. With these, however, and a small detachment of marines from the United States vessels in that vicinity, Colonel Smith determined to proceed. He embarked with one half of his command in canoes, the others proceeding by land. Meeting no Indians, he returned to Fort Brooke on April 27th, when the Louisiana troops were ordered to New Orleans to be mustered out of service. Colonel Smith proceeded to St. Mark's and reported to General Scott.
The right wing having remained at Tampa Bay from April 5th to the 13th, General Scott issued orders to General Clinch to move toward Fort Drane, and, after relieving Major Cooper, to co-operate with Colonel Lindsay, who had left Fort Brooke about the same time, for the purpose of penetrating the cove in a different direction from that pursued by the right wing on its march to Tampa, and to penetrate the forks of the Ouithlacoochee.
While Colonel Lindsay was engaged in constructing a defensive work on the military road near Big Ouithlacoochee, General Clinch encamped near Fort Cooper and dispatched some cavalry under Captain Malone to relieve the garrison, with instructions that should he meet the enemy, he was to advise General Clinch at once. When about three miles distant from the main body the Indians opened fire and at once retreated. The hammock was penetrated and searched, but no Indians were found.
Major Cooper was attacked by a large body of Indians and besieged for thirteen days. His loss was one man killed and twenty wounded. The Indians not having been found in any large numbers, the two wings separated, the center returning to Fort Brooke and the right to Fort King, where they arrived April 25th.
After the arrival of Colonel Goodwyn's mounted regiment, the left wing, accompanied by General Scott, took up line of march on the 18th for Volusia. A small party of Indians was encountered, but they fled and secreted themselves in a hammock. General Eustis's command arrived at Volusia on the evening of the 25th, and on the 28th all the volunteers from South Carolina marched to St. Augustine and were mustered out. On the arrival of Colonel Lindsay at Fort Brooke he was directed by General Scott to relieve the garrison at Fort Alabama, and disband the Alabama volunteers, leaving only regulars there.
They were attacked by the Indians with a loss of four killed and nineteen wounded. General Scott, accompanied by Colonel Gadsden, Captain Augustus Canfield, and Lieutenant Johnson, with a detachment of seventeen men, embarked in a steamboat at Volusia for the purpose of penetrating by the St. John's River the south part of the peninsula and selecting a site nearer to the seat of war as a depot for supplies. They proceeded to the head of Lake Monroe, but the boat was unable to pass the bar and they were compelled to return.
In his report of April 30th General Scott says: "To end this war, I am now persuaded that not less than three thousand troops are indispensable—two thousand four hundred infantry and six hundred horse, the country to be occupied and scoured requiring that number." He further recommended that two or three steamers with a light draught of water, and fifty or sixty barges capable of carrying from ten to fifteen men each, be employed, but did not ask for the control of the operations he recommended, saying it was an honor he would neither solicit nor decline.
Scott prefers complaint against General Jesup—Court of inquiry ordered by the President—Scott fully exonerated by the court—Complaints of citizens—Difficulties of the campaign—Speech in Congress of Hon. Richard Biddle—Scott declines an invitation to a dinner in New York city—Resolutions of the subscribers—Scott is ordered to take charge of and remove the Cherokee Indians—Orders issued to troops and address to the Indians—Origin of the Cherokee Indian troubles—Collision threatened between Maine and New Brunswick, and Scott sent there—Correspondence with Lieutenant-Governor Harvey—Seizure of Navy Island by Van Rensselaer—Governor Marcy.
General Scott had, a short time previous to the events just narrated, complained to the War Department of disobedience of orders on the part of General Jesup, who had written a letter to the Globe newspaper in Washington charging that Scott's conduct had been destructive of the best interests of the country. Mr. Francis P. Blair, the editor to whom the letter was addressed, showed it to President Jackson, who indorsed on it an order to the Secretary of War to recall General Scott to Washington, and that an inquiry be held as to his delay in prosecuting the Creek War and the failure of the Florida campaign. On Scott's arrival in Washington he asked for a court of inquiry, which was ordered on October 3d, composed of Major-General Alexander Macomb and Brigadier-Generals Henry Atkinson and Hugh Brady, with Colonel Cooper, General Macomb's aid-de-camp, as judge advocate. The court assembled at Frederick, Md., and was delayed some time by the absence of witnesses. General Scott addressed the court in his own defense.
The finding was unanimous that the plan of the Seminole campaign was well devised, and prosecuted with energy, steadiness, and ability; and as to the Creek campaign, the court decided that the plan of the campaign as adopted by General Scott was well calculated to lead to successful results, and that it was prosecuted by him, as far as practicable, with zeal and ability until he was recalled from the command. This was not only a full vindication, but a compliment to him expressed in the broadest sense.
He now addressed a letter to Secretary of War Joel R. Poinsett, asking the immediate direction of affairs in Florida, as this was a part of the geographical division to which he had been assigned, and a large number of the troops of his command had been ordered there; and that he was senior in rank to General Jesup, then commanding there. The members of Congress from his native State made a unanimous appeal to the Secretary of War seconding his application, but the application was denied.
Some citizens of Florida made complaints of the nonsuccess of the army, and severely censured General Scott. In fact, complaints of this nature were made against every officer who commanded in Florida, except General Zachary Taylor. It has been seen that the court of inquiry fully vindicated General Scott's course in the management of the war in Florida. The campaign, however, vindicated itself. Considering the scarcity of all the means at hand, it is remarkable how much was accomplished with so little loss of life.
When General Scott undertook this campaign Florida was a terra incognita. The greater part of it had scarcely been visited by the whites, and very little was known of the settlements of the Seminoles. They were known by their approaches to the white settlements, and when the war broke out by their plunders and devastations. It was not known where their hiding places were, and this could only be determined by pursuing them. At the time of General Scott's assignment to the command all the information tended to locating them on the waters of the Ouithlacoochee and the St. John's Rivers; and accordingly against this portion of the country the movement of the army was directed.
It was not only the want of ordnance, clothing, and subsistence, but the geographical peculiarity of Florida—with its marshes, thickets, hammocks, everglades, and impenetrable swamps—that made this campaign almost fruitless, and which for years baffled all efforts of the Government to subdue this small but brave and desperate tribe of Indians.
In Congress General Scott's campaign in Florida was defended by some of the ablest men in the country. Richard Biddle, of Pennsylvania, in 1837, when the House of Representatives was engaged in a debate on appropriations for carrying on the war in Florida, said: "It would be recollected by all that after the war in Florida had assumed a formidable aspect Major-General Scott was called to the command. An officer of his rank and standing was not likely to seek a service in which, amid infinite toil and vexation, there would be no opportunity for the display of military talent on a scale at all commensurate with that in which his past fame had been acquired. Yet he entered on it with the alacrity, zeal, and devotion to duty by which he had ever been distinguished....
"When the late General Brown, writing from the field of Chippewa, said that General Scott merited the highest praises which a grateful country could bestow, was there a single bosom throughout the wide republic that did not respond to the sentiment? I, for one at least, can never forget the thrill of enthusiasm, boy as I then was, which mingled with my own devout thankfulness to God that the cloud which seemed to have settled on our arms was at length dispelled. On that plain it was established that Americans could be trained to meet and to beat in the open field, without breastworks, the regulars of Britain....
"Sir, the result of that day was due not merely to the gallantry of General Scott upon the field. It must in part be ascribed to the patient, anxious, and indefatigable drudgery, the consummate skill as a tactician, with which he labored night and day, at the camp near Buffalo, to prepare his brigade for the career on which it was about to enter. After a brief interval he again led that brigade to the glorious victory of Bridgewater. He bears now upon his body the wounds of that day. It had ever been the characteristic of this officer to seek the post of danger—not to have it thrust upon him. In the years preceding that to which I have specially referred—in 1812 and 1813—the eminent services he rendered were in the positions which properly belonged to others, but into which he was led by irrepressible ardor and jealousy of honor.
"Since the peace with Great Britain the talents of General Scott have ever been at the command of his country. His pen and his sword have alike been put in requisition to meet the varied exigencies of the service. When the difficulties with the Western Indians swelled into importance, General Scott was dispatched to the scene of hostility. There rose up before him then, in the ravages of a frightful pestilence, a form of danger infinitely more appalling than the perils of the field. How he bore himself in this emergency, how faithfully he became the nurse and the physician of those from whom terror and loathing had driven all other aid, can not be forgotten by a just and grateful country....
"Mr. Chairman, I believe that a signal atonement to General Scott will one day be extorted from the justice of the House. We owe it to him; but we owe it still more to the country. What officer can feel secure in the face of that great example of triumphant injustice? Who can place before himself the anticipation of establishing higher claims upon the gratitude of the country than General Scott? Yet he was sacrificed. His past services went for nothing. Sir, you may raise new regiments and issue new commissions, but you can not without such atonement restore the high moral tone which befits the depositories of the national honor. I fondly wish that the highest and lowest in the country's service might be taught to regard this House as the jealous guardian of his rights, against caprice, or fanaticism, or outrage from whatever quarter. I would have him know that in running up the national flag at the very moment our daily labors commence, we do not go through an idle form. On whatever distant service he may be sent—whether urging his way amid tumbling icebergs toward the pole, or fainting in the unwholesome heat of Florida—I would enable him as he looks up to that flag to gather hope and strength. It should impart to him a proud feeling of confidence and security. He should know that the same emblem of majesty and justice floats over the council of the nation, and that in its untarnished luster we have all a common interest and a common sympathy. Then, sir, and not before, will you have an army or a navy worthy to sustain and to perpetuate the glory of former days."
Soon after the decision of the court of inquiry exonerating him from blame or censure General Scott was tendered a public dinner in New York from leading members of both political parties. He accepted the invitation, but it was subsequently postponed until about the middle of May, and before that time it was altogether declined, for reasons expressed in a note of which a copy follows:
"GENTLEMEN: Early last month I accepted the invitation to a public dinner which you and other friends did me the honor to tender me. In a few days the embarrassments of this great emporium became such that I begged the compliment might be indefinitely postponed. You, however, were so kind as to hold me to my engagement, and to appoint a day for the meeting, which is now near at hand. In the meantime the difficulties in the commercial world have gone on augmenting, and many of my friends, here and elsewhere, have been whelmed under the general calamity of the times. Feeling deeply for the losses and anxieties of all, no public honor could now be enjoyed by me. I must therefore, under the circumstances, positively but most respectfully withdraw my acceptance of your invitation.
"I have the honor to remain, gentlemen, with the greatest esteem, your friend and servant,
The subscribers to the dinner, on receipt of General Scott's letter, called a meeting, Cornelius W. Lawrence in the chair, and unanimously adopted the resolutions which follow:
"Resolved, That in the decision of General Scott to withdraw, for the reasons assigned, his acceptance of the public dinner designed to testify to him our high appreciation both of his private and public character, we find new evidence of his sympathy with all that regards the public welfare, and of his habitual oblivion of self where the feelings and interests of others are concerned.
"Resolved, That we rejoice with the joy of friends in the result, so honorable to General Scott, of the recent court of inquiry instituted to investigate his military conduct as commander in chief in Alabama and Florida, and that the President of the United States (Mr. Van Buren), in approving its proceedings, acted in gratifying unison with the general sentiments of the nation."
General Scott also received invitations from Richmond, Va., and Elizabeth, N.J., both of which places had been his former homes.
The Florida War was brought to a close by the defeat of the Indians by Colonel Zachary Taylor, in the decisive battle of Okechobee, for which he received the brevet of Brigadier General, and in 1838 was appointed to the chief command in Florida. Taylor was succeeded by Brigadier-General Armistead, and in 1842 General Worth succeeded to the command and made a treaty with Sam Jones and Billy Bowlegs, allowing them to remain and possess a large tract of land.
In the spring of 1836 General Scott was ordered to take charge of and superintend the removal of the Cherokee Indians to the reservation which had been set apart for them by treaty west of the Mississippi River. Great opposition to removal was expected from the Indians, and much fear felt by the inhabitants contiguous to their settlements. General Scott, however, by his kindness and generosity, won the confidence of the Indians, and was not compelled to resort to any act of violence. Twenty-four thousand five hundred and ninety-four were removed, two hundred and thirty-six having lost their lives on the steamboat Monmouth. Only seven hundred and forty-four remained east of the Mississippi River. The Cherokees occupied territory in the States of Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, and Tennessee. Many of their leaders were well educated and were men of ability, and some of them were wealthy, owning fine farms and negro slaves. General Scott in his Memoirs says: "The North Carolinians and Tennesseeans were kindly disposed toward their red brethren. The Alabamians much less so. The great difficulty was with the Georgians (more than half the army), between whom and the Cherokees there had been feuds and wars for many generations. The reciprocal hatred of the two races was probably never surpassed. Almost every Georgian on leaving home, as well as after arrival at New Echota—the center of the most populous district of the Indian Territory—vowed never to return without having killed at least one Indian."
General Scott arrived at the Cherokee agency, a small village on the Hiawassee River in Tennessee, in the early part of May, 1838. He published and circulated two addresses—one to the troops and the other to the Indians—but had them circulated together.
Following is the address to the troops:
"HEADQUARTERS, EASTERN DIVISION,
"CHEROKEE AGENCY, May 17, 1838.
"Considering the number and temper of the mass to be removed, together with the extent and fastnesses of the country occupied, it will readily occur that simple indiscretions, acts of harshness, and cruelty on the part of our troops may lead, step by step, to delays, to impatience, and exasperation, and in the end to a general war and carnage—a result in the case of these particular Indians, utterly abhorrent to the generous sympathies of the whole American people. Every possible kindness compatible with the necessity of removal must therefore be shown by the troops; and if in the ranks a despicable individual should be found capable of inflicting a wanton injury or insult on any Cherokee man, woman, or child, it is hereby made the special duty of the nearest good officer or man instantly to interpose, and to seize and consign the guilty wretch to the severest penalty of the laws. The major general is fully persuaded that this injunction will not be neglected by the brave men under his command, who can not be otherwise than jealous of their own honor and that of their country.
"By early and persevering acts of kindness and humanity, it is impossible to doubt that the Indians will soon be induced to confide in the army, and, instead of fleeing to the mountains and forests, flock to us for food and clothing. If, however, through false apprehensions, individuals or a party here and there should seek to hide themselves, they must be pursued and invited to surrender, but not fired upon, unless they should make a stand to resist. Even in such cases mild remedies may sometimes better succeed than violence; and it can not be doubted, if we get possession of the women and children first, or first capture the men, that in either case the outstanding members of the same families will readily come in on the assurance of forgiveness and kind treatment.
"Every captured man, as well as those who surrender themselves, must be disarmed, with the assurance that their weapons will be carefully preserved and restored at or beyond the Mississippi. In either case the men will be guarded and escorted, except it may be where their women and children are safely secured as hostages; but in general, families in our possession will not be separated, unless it be to send men as runners to invite others to come in.
"It may happen that Indians will be found too sick, in the opinion of the nearest surgeon, to be removed to one of the depots indicated above. In every such case one or more of the family or the friends of the sick person will be left in attendance, with ample subsistence and remedies, and the remainder of the family removed by the troops. Infants, superannuated persons, lunatics, and women in helpless condition, will all, in the removal, require peculiar attention, which the brave and humane will seek to adapt to the necessities of the several cases."
Following is the address to the Indians:
"Major-General Scott, of the United States Army, sends to the Cherokee people remaining in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama this
"CHEROKEES: The President of the United States has sent me with a powerful army to cause you, in obedience of the treaty of 1835, to join that part of your people who are already established in prosperity on the other side of the Mississippi. Unhappily, the two years which were allowed for the purpose you have suffered to pass away without following and without making any preparation to follow, and now, or by the time that this solemn address shall reach your distant settlements, the emigration must be commenced in haste, but, I hope, without disorder. I have no power by granting a further delay to correct the error that you have committed. The full moon of May is already on the wane, and before another shall have passed away every Cherokee man, woman, and child in those States must be in motion to join their brethren in the far West.
"My friends, this is no sudden determination on the part of the President, whom you and I must now obey. By the treaty the emigration was to have been completed on or before the 23d of this month, and the President has constantly kept you warned during the two years allowed, through all his officers and agents in this country, that the treaty would be enforced.
"I am come to carry out that determination. My troops already occupy many positions in the country that you are to abandon, and thousands and thousands are approaching from every quarter to render assistance and escape alike hopeless. All those troops, regular and militia, are your friends. Receive them, and confide in them as such. Obey them when they tell you that you can remain no longer in this country. Soldiers are as kind-hearted as brave, and the desire of every one of us is to execute our painful duty in mercy. We are commanded by the President to act toward you in that spirit, and such is also the wish of the whole people of America.
"Chiefs, headmen, and warriors, will you then by resistance compel us to resort to arms? God forbid! Or will you by flight seek to hide yourselves in mountains and forests, and thus oblige us to hunt you down? Remember, that in pursuit it may be impossible to avoid conflicts. The blood of the white man or the blood of the red man may be spilt, and if spilt, however accidentally, if may be impossible for the discreet and humane among you or among us to prevent a general war and carnage. Think of this, my Cherokee brethren! I am an old warrior, and have been present at many a scene of slaughter; but spare me, I beseech you, the horror of witnessing the destruction of the Cherokees.
"Do not, I invite you, even wait for the close approach of the troops; but make such preparations for emigration as you can, and hasten to this place, to Ross's Landing, or to Gunter's Landing, where you will be received in kindness by officers selected for the purpose. You will find food for all, and clothing for the destitute, at either of those places, and thence at your ease and in comfort be transported to your new homes according to the terms of the treaty.
"This is the address of a warrior to warriors. May his entreaties be kindly received, and may the God of both prosper the Americans and Cherokees, and preserve them long in peace and friendship with each other. WINFIELD SCOTT."
There was some delay in bringing in the mountain Indians of North Carolina, but the Indians of Tennessee and Alabama were readily collected for emigration. General Scott remained with the Georgians, and followed up his printed addresses by suggestions which proved to be invaluable.
In a short time the Indians, excepting a few parties, were collected at the place of rendezvous. The camp selected was twelve miles in length, with a breadth of four miles. It was well shaded by large forest trees, and had a large number of springs furnishing an abundance of the best of water.
The sick were placed in hospitals, and attended by good physicians and furnished with everything necessary for their comfort. General Scott rode through the camps daily, and saw that every attention was given to the Indians which they required, and he made inquiries and gave special attention to the care of the sick and to the women and children. At length he placed the matter of the emigration of the Indians in the hands of the Cherokee authorities, having won the entire confidence and regard of the Indians, and he ordered all of the volunteers to their homes, except one company which he retained as a police force, and one regiment of regulars which it was thought necessary to retain to meet any unforeseen contingencies that might arise. Two other regular regiments were ordered off, one to Florida and the other to the Canada frontier. The company of volunteers retained was from Tennessee, and of it General Scott said: "The company of volunteers (Tennesseeans) were a body of respectable citizens, and under their judicious commander, Captain Robertson, of great value as a police force." The Cherokees were at this time receiving large sums of money from the Government in the way of damages and indemnities, and a number of gamblers and confidence men sought to enter their camps. They were, however, kept out by the vigilance of the Tennessee company.
In October the movement west began. General Scott accompanied them to the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. General Scott gives credit for services and aid rendered him to his acting inspector general, Major Matthew Mountjoy Payne; Captain Robert Anderson, acting adjutant general (later the commander of Fort Sumter, and a brigadier general); Lieutenant Erastus Darwin Keyes, aid-de-camp, afterward major general, United States volunteers; Lieutenant Francis Taylor, commissary; Captains Page and Abner Reviere Hetzel, quartermasters; Lieutenant Henry L. Scott, Fourth Infantry, then aid-de-camp and inspector general; Major H.B. Shaw, aid-de-camp, Tennessee volunteers; Colonel William Lindsay, Second Artillery; Colonel William S. Foster, Fourth Infantry; and Colonel Ichabod Bennett Crane, First Artillery. Generals Worth and Floyd rendered important service in this campaign, and their names should not be omitted.
It may be necessary, for a better understanding of the Cherokee Indian difficulties, to add something more to what has been written. The chief troubles which had arisen were in Georgia, and many complications arose between the Indians and the whites. In a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, the opinion being rendered by Chief-Justice John Marshall, the status of these Indians was thus defined: "Their relation is that of a nation claiming and receiving the protection of one more powerful; not that of individuals abandoning their national character and submitting as subjects to the laws of a master."
Regarding the acts of Congress to regulate trade with the Indians the Chief Justice said: "All these acts, and especially that of 1802, which is still in force, manifestly consider the several Indian nations as distinct political communities, having territorial boundaries, within which their authority is exclusive, and having a right to all the lands within those boundaries, which is not only acknowledged but guaranteed by the United States." By one of the treaties made by the United States Government with this tribe of Indians, it was enacted and agreed that "the United States solemnly guarantee to the Cherokee nation all their lands not hereby ceded," and, "that the Cherokee nation may be led to a greater degree of civilization, and to become herdsmen and cultivators, instead of remaining in a state of hunting, the United States will from time to time furnish gratuitously the said nation with useful instruments of husbandry." Acting under this treaty, a greater portion of the Cherokees had become both cultivators and herdsmen, and rivaled their white neighbors in both.
The trouble which arose in Georgia was from the fact that she claimed the right to extend her criminal jurisdiction over these Indians, and that the United States was bound to extinguish the Indian titles within her borders. This claim of Georgia, persistently pressed, caused the United States Government in 1802 to agree to purchase the Indian lands, and remove them to some other territory. The Indians resisted this action on the faith of treaties. Eventually a treaty was made with a portion of the Cherokees by which they were to relinquish their lands and accept lands across the Mississippi River. Many of the Indians resisted and never ratified this treaty, yet the Government insisted upon carrying out the treaty. General Scott received his orders on April 10, 1838, and first established his headquarters at a small village called Calhoun, on the Hiawassee River, in East Tennessee. Colonel Lindsay, an officer of merit and who enjoyed the full confidence of General Scott, was in immediate command of that territory, had established posts in many of the settlements, and had arranged to have the mountain passes well guarded.
Referring to these matters, the National Intelligencer of September 27, 1838, said: "The manner in which this gallant officer [Scott] has acquitted himself within the last year upon the Canada frontier, and lately among the Cherokees, has excited the universal admiration and gratitude of the whole nation. Owing to his great popularity in the North, his thorough knowledge of the laws of his own country, as well as of those which govern nations, united to his discretion, his great tact and experience, he has saved the country from a ruinous war with Great Britain. And by his masterly skill and energy among the Cherokees, united to his noble generosity and humanity, he has not only effected what everybody supposed could not be done without the most heartrending scenes of butchery and bloodshed, but he has effected it by obtaining the esteem and confidence of the poor Cherokees themselves. They look upon him as a benefactor and friend, and one who has saved them from entire destruction. All the Cherokees were collected for emigration without bloodshed or violence, and all would have been on their way to the West before the middle of July, had not humanity induced General Scott to stop the movement until the 1st of September. Three thousand had been sent off in the first half of June by the superintendent, before the general took upon himself the responsibility of stopping the emigration, from feelings which must do everlasting honor to his heart. An approval of his course had been sent on by the War Department, before his report giving information that he had stopped the emigration had reached the seat of Government. In the early part of January last the President had asked Congress for enlarged powers, to enable him to maintain our neutral obligations to England—that is, to tranquilize the Canadian frontiers. Before the bill passed Congress, General Scott had finished the work and effected all its objects. These, too, he effected by flying from one end of the frontier to the other in the dead of winter, and during the severest and coldest period of it. He returns to Washington, and is immediately ordered to the Cherokee nation, to take charge of the very difficult and hazardous task to his own fame of removing those savages from their native land. Some of his best friends regretted most sincerely that he had been ordered on this service, and, knowing the disposition of the world to cavil and complain without cause, had great apprehension that he would lose a portion of the popularity he had acquired by his distinguished success on the Canadian frontier. But behold the manner in which this last work has been performed! There is so much of noble generosity of character about Scott, independent of his skill and bravery as a soldier, that his life has really been one of romantic beauty and interest."
It was General Scott's intention to accompany the Indian emigration farther west, but receiving information that the Canadian insurgents were making renewed attempts on the Canadas, he was directed to proceed at once to that frontier.
Passing through the States of Kentucky and Ohio, accompanied by Captain Robert Anderson, he called upon their respective governors and arranged for the calling out of volunteers should they be needed, and also gave proper instructions to the United States marshals and district attorneys for such duties as they might be called upon to perform. He passed on rapidly to Cleveland, Sandusky, and Detroit, and met great assemblages of excited citizens, and, by his appeals and reasoning with them, prevailed upon them to desist from any acts in violation of the neutrality with Great Britain. Pending these important services, he learned of the trouble which had arisen between the State of Maine and the British colony or province of New Brunswick, and at once made haste for Washington. On his arrival at the capital, after reporting to the President, he was called before the committees on foreign affairs of both Houses of Congress, before whom he urged and succeeded in securing the passage of two bills—one authorizing the President to call out the militia for six months and to accept the service of fifty thousand volunteers, and the other to place to his credit ten millions of dollars. On taking leave of the President he said to him: "Mr. President, if you want war, I need only look on in silence. The Maine people will make it for you fast and hot enough. I know them. But if peace be your wish, I can give no assurance of success. The difficulties in its way will be formidable." The President replied, "Peace with honor"; and the general, who fully reciprocated the President's feeling, took his leave, accompanied by Captain Robert Anderson and Lieutenant E.D. Keyes, his aid-de-camp. He left with general instructions, but in certain events he was to act on his own judgment without restriction. Arriving in Boston, he met Governor Edward Everett, and arranged for calling out the militia and accepting volunteers if needed.
Governor Everett introduced him to his executive council with the following address: "General, I take great pleasure in introducing you to the members of the Executive Council of Massachusetts. I need not say that you are already known to them by reputation. They are familiar with your fame as it is recorded in some of the arduous and honorable fields of the country's struggles. We rejoice in meeting you on this occasion. Charged as you are with a most momentous mission by the President of the United States, we are sure you are intrusted with a duty most grateful to your feelings—that of averting an appeal to arms. We place unlimited reliance on your spirit, energy, and discretion. Should you unhappily fail in your efforts, under the instructions of the President, to restore harmony, we know that you are equally prepared for a still more responsible duty. Should that unhappy event occur, I beg you to depend on the firm support of Massachusetts." He was then given a reception by the Legislature, and received on its behalf by Robert C. Winthrop.
From Boston he proceeded at once to Portland, where he found the people greatly excited, and demanding the immediate seizure and occupation of the disputed territory. At the capital, Augusta, where he next proceeded, he found the same excitement with the same demands. The Legislature was in session, and a large majority of its members were for war. The strip of disputed land was valuable chiefly for ship timber. Some British subjects had entered the territory and cut some of the timber, and the Governor of Maine sent an agent with a posse to drive them off. The British seized and imprisoned the agent, and much angry correspondence followed between the authorities of both sides.
General Scott soon determined that the only mode of settlement was to prohibit or have an agreement on both sides to leave the territory unoccupied by either party until the matters in dispute could be arranged between the governments of the United States and Great Britain, taking the matter out of the jurisdiction of the State of Maine and the province of New Brunswick. Previous to Scott's arrival in Maine the Legislature of that State had passed an act placing eight hundred thousand dollars at the disposal of the Governor and authorizing the calling out of eight thousand troops. Some of these troops had been organized and moved near the disputed territory, and others were held ready to move when ordered. British troops, both regulars and militia, had also been moved forward. Everything indicated a war. On February 27, 1839, President Van Buren had sent a message to Congress transmitting various documents received from the Governor of Maine, and a copy of a memorandum signed by the Secretary of State of the United States and the British Minister to the United States, which, it was hoped, would prevent a collision of arms. Mr. H.B. Fox, the British Minister, had acted without specific authority from his Government, and the memorandum therefore had only the force of a recommendation. All correspondence had for some time ceased between the governors of Maine and New Brunswick.
The Governor of New Brunswick, John Harvey, had been an adjutant general of one of the armies of Canada in the campaign of 1813, and was well known to General Scott. Scott, it will be remembered, was an adjutant general in this campaign, and he and Colonel Harvey had frequent correspondence, and it was so conducted as to create a feeling of respect on both sides. At one time in the campaign mentioned, when Scott was on a reconnoitering expedition, his party came upon Harvey, and a gun in the hands of a soldier near Scott was leveled on him. Scott caught the gun, and said, "Hold! he is our prisoner," but Colonel Harvey made a rapid turn and escaped.
On General Scott's arrival in Maine he had with him a private letter from Sir John Harvey, the Colonel Harvey just mentioned, then Governor General of New Brunswick. It is proper to mention here, as additional reason for good feeling between General Scott and Sir John Harvey, that at one time in the War of 1813 an American soldier under Scott's command had come into possession of the uniform coat of a British staff officer, and in one of the pockets was found the miniature of a young lady. The portmanteau from which the coat and miniature were taken was marked "Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey." Scott purchased these articles from the soldier and sent them to Colonel Harvey. The picture was that of his young bride, then in England.
Governor Fairfield, of Maine, had on March 12th sent a message to the Legislature objecting to the terms of the memorandum, but recommending that, when fully satisfied that the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick had abandoned all idea of occupying the disputed territory with a military force, or of attempting the expulsion of citizens of Maine, he [the Governor] be authorized to withdraw the military force, leaving the land agent with a posse of armed or unarmed men, as the case might require, sufficient to drive out or arrest trespassers. The Legislature on March 20th passed resolutions in accordance with these recommendations. The message of the Governor of Maine and the resolutions of the Legislature required the lieutenant governor to make the advance.
General Scott, after the action of the Legislature above mentioned, sent a reply to Harvey's private letter, which he had held unanswered so long. This elicited a friendly reply, and other letters of the same character quickly followed on either side. A line of couriers was established between them to facilitate correspondence. Governor Harvey took the first step, and made the concessions which were necessary to appease the authorities of Maine, but the Governor did not feel authorized to withdraw the troops from the disputed territory unless authorized by the Legislature. General Scott mingled freely with members of the Legislature, urging pacific measures, and on March 20th resolutions were passed; and Scott having his memorandum with Sir John Harvey with all concessions to restore tranquillity, the Governor of Maine added his approval, and the question was transferred to the authorities of the United States and Great Britain, which resulted in a satisfactory settlement to both nations of this unhappy affair.
An uprising, confined chiefly to the French inhabitants of Upper Canada, occurred in 1837, in which they demanded a separation from the British Government, and they enlisted many sympathizers among citizens of the United States, especially among those living on the Canadian boundary. Organizations of sympathizers with the Canadians were secretly formed by American citizens to such an extent that the President of the United States issued a proclamation enjoining its citizens to observe neutrality. This did not quiet the excitement, but rather tended to increase it. Matters were brought to a crisis by the action of a certain Van Rensselaer, who had been dismissed from the Military Academy at West Point, and who styled himself "Colonel" Van Rensselaer. He organized a party of Americans reckless like himself, and took forcible possession of a small British island opposite to Fort Schlosser, on the American side, and known as Navy Island. This island was a short distance above the falls of Niagara. Young Van Rensselaer engaged a small steamboat called the Caroline to ferry parties from Navy Island, which he occupied, to Schlosser on the American shore.
The first night on which the Caroline began her voyages the British fitted out an expedition to capture her. Instead of making a descent on Navy Island within British territory, they boarded the steamer at Schlosser, on the American side, and thus violated our territory. The boat at the time of this invasion was filled with people, many of whom were there for idle curiosity, including a number of boys. In the melee of capture one American citizen was killed and several others wounded. They cut the boat from its moorings, set it on fire, and it drifted down the cataract. It was reported and generally believed that when the vessel went over the cataract it had a small number of wounded Americans on board.
The publication of this affair created the greatest excitement from one end of the country to the other. This occurred on December 29, 1837, but the news did not reach Washington until January 4th. On the evening of that day General Scott was to dine with President Van Buren and a number of other distinguished gentlemen. The entire party had arrived, but the President failed to appear. After a time he came in and spoke inaudibly to Henry Clay, one of the guests, and then said to General Scott: "Blood has been shed; you must go with all speed to the Niagara frontier. The Secretary of War is now engaged in making out your instructions." General Scott left at once, and passing through Albany, met William L. Marcy, the Governor of New York, who with his adjutant general (McDonald) accompanied him to the scene of the troubles. The United States troops at this time were all either in Florida or on the Western frontiers. General Scott, in passing through New York, had ordered some small detachments of army recruits to follow him. Governor Marcy was with him ready to answer his requisitions for militia, and he had the aid of the officers commanding on Lake Erie and the Detroit frontier and on the Niagara, Lake Ontario, and St. Lawrence. All United States marshals and other civil officers of the Government were ordered to support and aid him. He passed from one place to another, going where his services could be needed, exhorting the people to observe the neutrality proclamation of the President; and where he found them obstinate and determined, he notified them in terms which could not be mistaken that any attempt to violate this proclamation would be met by resistance from the Government, which would promptly overpower them.
Pending these troubles, a steamer called the Barcelona was taken from the harbor of Buffalo in January, 1838, and passed down the river, with a view to aid the insurgents on Navy Island. Scott, on learning of this, sent an agent who made terms to employ the Barcelona for the service of the Government. The vessel then proceeded back to Buffalo, where it was intended to use her on Lake Erie; but the Canadian authorities had determined to destroy her. As the vessel passed near Grand Island, within the jurisdiction of the United States, some armed British schooners had taken position, aided by land batteries, to open fire on her. This was on January 16th. General Scott and Governor Marcy stood on the river bank watching events. Batteries on the American side were put in preparation to return the fire of the British.
The day before the event just mentioned, Scott had written and dispatched a note "To the Commanding Officer of the Armed British Vessels in the Niagara":
"HEADQUARTERS, EASTERN DIVISION, U.S. ARMY,
"TWO MILES BELOW BLACK ROCK, January 15, 1838.
"SIR: With his Excellency, Governor Marcy, of New York, who has troops at hand, we are here to enforce the neutrality of the United States and to protect our own soil or waters from violation. The proper civil officers are also present to arrest, if practicable, the leaders of the expedition on foot against Upper Canada. Under these circumstances, it gives me pain to perceive the armed vessels mentioned, anchored in our waters, with the probable intention to fire upon that expedition moving in the same waters. Unless the expedition should first attack—in which case we shall interfere—we shall be obliged to consider a discharge of shot or shell from or into our waters, from the armed schooners of her Majesty, as an act seriously compromising the neutrality of the two nations. I hope, therefore, that no such unpleasant incident may occur.
"I have the honor to remain, etc.
The next morning, January 16th, the same information was given by General Scott to a British officer who called on him at his quarters. The Barcelona moved up the river, and Scott had his cannon pointed and his matches in readiness for firing. Scott stood on the highest point in full uniform and in view of the other shore. The vessel passed up unmolested, and doubtless by this act of Scott a war was averted.
In the meantime Van Rensselaer with his adherents had evacuated Navy Island and landed some miles below, where they were arrested by General Scott's orders. Thus ended a disturbance which might have resulted in war, and it can not be gainsaid that its peaceful settlement was due to the wisdom, firmness, and prudence of General Scott.
Annexation of Texas—Causes that led to annexation—Message of the President—General Scott's letters regarding William Henry Harrison—Efforts to reduce General Scott's pay—Letter to T.P. Atkinson on the slavery question—Battle of Palo Alto, and of Resaca de la Palma, Monterey, and Buena Vista—"The hasty plate of soup"—Scott's opinion of General Taylor—Scott ordered to Mexico—Proposal to revive the grade of lieutenant general, and to appoint Thomas H. Benton—Scott reaches the Brazos Santiago—Confidential dispatch from Scott to Taylor—Co-operation of the navy—Letters to the Secretary of War as to places of rendezvous—Arrival and landing at Vera Cruz, and its investment, siege, and capture—Letter to foreign consuls—Terms of surrender—Orders of General Scott after the surrender.
The Congress of the United States, on February 27, 1845, passed joint resolutions providing for the annexation of Texas, and they were approved by President Tyler on the 1st of March. A convention was called by President Jones, of Texas, to meet on the 4th of the succeeding July, to consider the matter of annexation to the United States. The convention ratified the proposal, and prepared a constitution for Texas as a State in the American Union. The question of annexation was submitted to a vote of the people of Texas and ratified by a large majority. On December 29th following, a joint resolution of the Congress of the United States was passed, which declared Texas admitted as a State into the Union.
It may be interesting to take a retrospective view of the causes, or rather the means, by which this important measure was brought about.
In the winter of 1842-'43 there appeared in a newspaper published at Baltimore a letter of Mr. Thomas W. Gilmer, a member of Congress from Virginia, urging the annexation of Texas. He argued among other things that the British Government had designs on Texas; that it proposed a political and military domination of the country, with a view to the abolition of slavery. At this time Texas and Mexico were at war. It was at once charged by the opponents of the scheme of annexation that Mr. Gilmer, who was known as the close political friend of Mr. John C. Calhoun, was simply acting as the mouthpiece of the latter. It will be remembered by those who are conversant with the proceedings of Congress that Mr. Calhoun, in the Senate in 1836, had offered some resolutions looking to the annexation of Texas. Mr. Webster, who was known as opposed to the measure, was the only member of President Harrison's Cabinet who remained with President Tyler. He resigned his portfolio as Secretary of State, and was succeeded by Mr. Hugh S. Legare, of South Carolina, who, dying very soon after his appointment, was succeeded by Mr. Abel P. Upshur, of Virginia. Both of the latter named were known friends of the annexation scheme. There appeared not long after the publication of the Gilmer letter, in the Richmond Enquirer, a letter from General Andrew Jackson to Mr. Brown, in reply to a letter of Mr. Brown, in which he indorsed a copy of Mr. Gilmer's letter and asking General Jackson's views on the subject. General Jackson's reply was a thorough and hearty approval of the proposed immediate annexation of Texas. General Jackson's letter was dated from the Hermitage, his residence near Nashville, Tenn., March 12, 1843. The letter of General Jackson produced a profound effect throughout the country. Although out of office, old, and in the retirement of private life, he exercised more influence than any man living in the United States.
Mr. Calhoun succeeded Mr. Upshur as Secretary of State, and he was known as a friend of annexation. Mr. Van Buren, replying to a letter from Mr. William T. Hammett, a representative in Congress from Mississippi, announced his opposition to the immediate annexation of Texas, because it would produce a war with Mexico. He expressed himself in favor of the measure when it could be done peaceably and honorably. Mr. Clay announced his opposition to the measure. In December, 1843, the British Premier, Lord Aberdeen, in a dispatch to Sir Richard Packenham, British Minister at Washington, denied that Great Britain had any design on Texas, but announced (which was superfluous, and not germane to the charge which he felt called upon to deny) that "Great Britain desires and is constantly exerting herself to procure the general abolition of slavery throughout the world." This provoked a correspondence between Mr. Calhoun and the British Minister. In his annual message to Congress at the commencement of the session of 1843-'44 the President expressed himself very strongly in regard to war being waged by Mexico against Texas. The proposed treaty for annexation was rejected by the Senate June 8, 1844, by a vote of thirty-five to sixteen. Mr. Benton presented a plan for the peaceful acquisition of Texas, but the Senate refused to adopt it.
President Tyler in his last message again referred to the war between Mexico and Texas, and said: "I repeat now what I then said, that after eight years of feeble and ineffectual efforts to recover Texas, it was time that the war should have ceased."
When the convention of the Whig party met at Harrisburg, Pa., December 4, 1839, to nominate a candidate for the presidency, General Scott's name was presented. He had addressed a number of letters to members of the convention urging that, if there appeared any prospect of success, Mr. Clay should be selected, and if not, that the choice should fall on General William Henry Harrison. The total number of votes in the convention was two hundred and fifty-four. Of these, General Scott received the votes of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont, and Michigan—in all, sixty-two. The States which had voted for General Scott gave their votes eventually to General Harrison, who received the nomination. General Scott said of General Harrison, "But the nomination and success of General Harrison," if his life had been spared some four years longer, would have been no detriment to the country. With excellent intentions and objects, and the good sense to appoint able counselors, the country would not have been retarded in its prosperity nor disgraced by corruption in high places. No one can, of course, be held responsible for sudden deaths among men. A single month in office ended President Harrison's life, when the plaint of Burke occurred to all, "What shadows we are, what shadows we pursue!" In June, 1841, Major-General Macomb having died, General Scott was called to take up his residence in Washington as general in chief of the army. Among his first orders was one which put a stop to arbitrary and illegal punishments in the army.
An effort was made in the House of Representatives of the next Congress in 1844 to reduce his pay, but being resisted by Charles J. Ingersoll, of Philadelphia, and ex-President John Quincy Adams, it was voted down by a large majority. Mr. Adams, in the course of his remarks in opposition to the resolution, said that he "felt bound to declare that he did think it a very ill reward for the great and eminent services of General Scott during a period of thirty odd years, in which there were some as gallant exploits as our history could show, and in which he had not spared to shed his blood, as well as for more recent services of great importance in time of peace—services of great difficulty and great delicacy—now to turn him adrift at his advanced age.... That he could not for a moment harbor in his heart the thought that General Scott, if he had received from the Government thousands of dollars more than he had, would have received one dollar which he did not richly deserve at the hands of his country."
On February 9, 1843, he wrote from Washington to T.P. Atkinson, of Danville, Va., in reply to a letter from that gentleman, asking his opinions on the question of slavery. Mr. Atkinson was the son of an old friend of General Scott, and the letter was written to him as a probable candidate for the presidency. He took the position in this letter that Congress had no power under the Constitution to interfere with or legislate on the question of slavery within the States. He argued that it was the duty of Congress, however, to receive, refer, and report upon petitions which might be presented to it on the question of slavery, as on all other questions. He did not blame masters for not liberating their slaves, as he thought it would benefit neither the masters nor the slaves. He, however, held it to be the duty of slave owners to employ all means not incompatible with the safety of both master and slave to meliorate slavery even to extermination. He held that, with the consent of owners or payment of just compensation, Congress might legislate in the District of Columbia, although it would be dangerous to contiguous States.
He also, in March, 1845, in reply to a letter from J.C. Beckwith, corresponding secretary of a peace convention, wrote that he always maintained the moral right to wage a just and necessary war.
In March, 1845, as stated, Congress passed a joint resolution for the annexation of the republic of Texas, and in July of that year Brigadier-General Zachary Taylor, then commanding the first department of the United States army in the Southwest, was ordered to Texas. He embarked at New Orleans with fifteen hundred troops, and in August established his camp at Corpus Christi. Re-enforcements were dispatched to him rapidly, and in November his command amounted to about four thousand men.
On March 8, 1846, General Taylor, under orders from Washington, moved his army toward the Rio Grande, and on the 28th of that month encamped on that river opposite the Mexican city of Matamoros. He here erected a fort called Fort Brown, which commanded the city of Matamoros. The Mexican troops near Matamoros were at the same time busily engaged in fortifying the city. General Pedro de Ampudia, who commanded the Mexican forces at Matamoros, on April 12, 1846, addressed General Taylor a note requiring that within twenty-four hours he should retire from his position at Fort Brown and march beyond the Neuces, stating that the governments of Mexico and the United States were engaged in negotiations regarding the annexation of Texas, and that a failure or refusal of General Taylor to comply with this demand would be regarded by his Government as a declaration of war on the part of the United States. General Taylor replied in substance that he was there with his army under orders of his Government, that he declined to retire beyond the Neuces, and that he stood ready to repel any attack which might be made upon him. Soon after this correspondence General Mariano Arista was placed in the command formerly held by General Ampudia, and in May, with an army of six thousand men, he crossed the Rio Grande and attacked General Taylor at Palo Alto, and was signally defeated. General Arista retreated on the next day to Resaca de la Palma, where he was again defeated and his army routed, and he retired across the Rio Grande. General Taylor was now promoted to the rank of major general, and on May 18th took possession of Matamoros without opposition.
On September 9th he arrived at Monterey with about six thousand seven hundred men, chiefly volunteers. General Ampudia held the command here with ten thousand regular Mexican troops. General Taylor assaulted his position on September 19th, and after five days of almost continual fighting General Ampudia surrendered. General Taylor then transferred his headquarters to Monterey, but guarded the city of Saltillo with a strong force. He was about making an advance on San Luis Potosi, when a large portion of his force was ordered to join General Scott at Vera Cruz.
Concentrating his forces, some five thousand in number, he learned that General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was concentrating a force of twenty thousand men at San Luis Potosi, with a view to attack him. On February 21, 1847, he took position at a mountain pass called Buena Vista, a few miles from Saltillo, where, being attacked the next day by the Mexican army under General Santa Anna, he defeated them, and Santa Anna retreated to San Luis Potosi. This brief statement of the magnificent and almost unprecedented campaign of General Taylor is necessary to understand the part taken by General Scott in the war with Mexico.
General Scott was notified early in May, 1846, that he might be ordered to assume the command on the Mexican frontier. He expressed his disinclination to this duty, because it was, as he expressed it, "harsh and unusual for a senior, without re-enforcements, to supersede a meritorious junior, and that he doubted whether that was the right season, or the Rio Grande the right basis, for offensive operations against Mexico," and suggested a plan to conquer a peace, which he afterward planned and executed. Political reasons to some extent delayed action in sending General Scott to Mexico, and his views on the proper campaign in Mexico were not approved by President Polk. General Scott thought that unless his plan met the full approval and support of the Government, it might result disastrously, and expressed the sentiment, which became afterward a byword, that "soldiers had a far greater dread of a fire upon the rear than of the most formidable enemy in the front." The President declined to order him to the command.
Pending these affairs, the Secretary of War one day called at General Scott's office and found that he was absent. General Scott, on returning, learning that the secretary had called, wrote him a note in explanation of his absence, saying that "he had only stepped out for the moment to take a hasty plate of soup." This was also made a byword, and was used with a view to injure General Scott, or rather to ridicule him by his political opponents when he was a candidate of the Whig party for President in 1852. The successes of General Taylor had endeared him to the whole country, and his praises were in every one's mouth. Congress passed a resolution of thanks, with a promise to present him with a sword in recognition of his services. General Scott wrote to the Kentucky senators, to Hon. Jefferson Davis, and others in Congress, suggesting that instead of a sword the higher honor of a gold medal should be voted him, and this suggestion was adopted. General Scott made an indorsement on the resolution of Congress voting this medal, recommending that it be made in the highest style of art. About this time he was called upon by some Whig members of Congress to inquire if General Taylor was a Whig, and if he would not be a proper person for the Whigs to nominate as their candidate for the presidency.
General Scott spoke of him to these inquirers as a man who had the true basis of a great character—pure, uncorrupted morals combined with indomitable courage. Kind-hearted, sincere, and hospitable in a plain way, he had no vice but prejudice, many friends, and no enemies. He also related an anecdote showing General Taylor's unscrupulous honesty and high sense of honor.
General Scott made repeated requests during the summer and autumn of 1846 to be ordered to Mexico. On November 23d he received the following order:
"WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, November 23, 1846.
"SIR: The President several days since communicated in person to you his orders to repair to Mexico to take command of the forces there assembled, and particularly to organize and set on foot an expedition to operate on the Gulf coast, if, on arriving at the theater of action, you shall deem it to be practicable. It is not proposed to control your operations by definite and positive instructions, but you are left to prosecute them as your judgment, under a full view of all the circumstances, shall dictate. The work is before you, and the means provided or to be provided for accomplishing it are committed to you, in the full confidence that you will use them to the best advantage.
"The objects which it is desirable to obtain have been indicated, and it is hoped that you will have the requisite force to accomplish them. Of this you must be the judge when preparations are made and the time for action arrived. Very respectfully,
"Your obedient servant,
"W.L. MARCY, Secretary of War.
"General WINFIELD SCOTT."
General Scott was impressed with the belief that Mr. Marcy, the Secretary of War, and Hon. Robert J. Walker, of Mississippi, the Secretary of the Treasury, had the fullest confidence in his ability, and favored giving him the substantial direction of the war. He was also impressed with the kindness and confidence extended to him by President Polk, but on his arrival in New Orleans he was shown a letter from Alexander Barrow, then a Senator in Congress from Louisiana and a personal friend of General Scott, informing him that the President had asked that the grade of lieutenant general be established in the army, and that on the passage of such an act by Congress it was the intention of the President to confer this rank, and consequently the command of the army, upon Thomas H. Benton, then a Senator from Missouri. This was a great shock to General Scott, and he attributed it to political motives. He reasoned this way: "Scott is a Whig; therefore the Democracy is not bound to observe good faith with him. His successes may be turned to the prejudice of the Democratic party. We must, however, profit by his military experience, and if successful, by force of patronage and other helps, continue to crown Benton with the victory, and thus triumph both in the field and at the polls."
He reached the Brazos Santiago, near the mouth of the Rio Grande, in Christmas week, and proceeded from there to Camargo, where he expected to meet General Taylor, but, by some mismanagement or delay, his notification to General Taylor did not reach the latter.
A confidential dispatch from General Scott to General Taylor was opened, read, and freely discussed at headquarters at Monterey. A duplicate was sent forward, but the party in charge of it was killed at Villa Gran and the dispatch delivered to General Santa Anna. Taylor had made a movement toward Tampico, and hence did not receive the first dispatch delivered at Tampico. In the later dispatch General Scott had written him that he might have his choice of two armies—either remain as the commander of Northern Mexico, or accompany General Scott in command of a division toward the City of Mexico, with every assurance in either case of confidence and support.
General Scott anticipated the difficulty of timely concentration of forces off the Brazos large enough to give hope of success. He thought it necessary to have fifteen thousand troops, of which five thousand were to be regulars, and to have the co-operation of the navy. The time named for the concentration was the middle of January, so that the army might reach Vera Cruz by February 1st. He had requested the advice of General Taylor on these matters and all others in regard to the proposed campaign. He had intimated, in a letter of November 15th, that it would be necessary to withdraw a large number of troops from General Taylor, and thus reduce him to the defensive, while he thought it absolutely necessary for success that General Taylor should have a force sufficient to act offensively in the direction of San Luis Potosi. In addition to the volunteers and regulars at Tampico and those moving there, he desired that Worth's division of regulars, Duncan and Taylor's field batteries, a thousand mounted men, and all the volunteer infantry that could be spared be sent to General Taylor, only retaining a force sufficient to hold Monterey and protect his communications to Point Isabel. From New Orleans General Scott had written the Secretary of War that he approved of the rendezvous at Pensacola rather than at Brazos for the ordnance and ordnance stores. He also urged that volunteers be forwarded rapidly to Brazos. Subsequently he wrote the Secretary of War asking that ships with troops and supplies be ordered to Lobos Island. He addressed a letter to General George M. Brooke, commanding at New Orleans, giving detailed orders of what he required of him. He also wrote to Commodore Conner, and made suggestions about joint operations.
Failing to meet General Taylor, as he hoped and endeavored to do, with a view of a full and free conference, he felt compelled to issue orders detaching from the army of the Rio Grande such regular troops as were deemed necessary to lead the volunteers for the capture of Vera Cruz and the move on the capital, leaving General Taylor with a force sufficient to maintain himself at Monterey. He intended, had he seen General Taylor, to advise him to contract his line to the Rio Grande. General Taylor, supported by the authorities in Washington, favored the movement on the City of Mexico from Monterey and via San Luis Potosi, but General Scott had already formulated and determined on the movement which he made with such brilliant success. Orders were accordingly issued from Camargo, January 3, 1847, for the movement of troops from Monterey, and General Scott returned to Brazos Santiago. The embarkation for Vera Cruz was delayed by the non-arrival of the troops from Monterey and want of transportation. The Lobos Islands was selected as the place of rendezvous. This point is one hundred and twenty miles from Vera Cruz. When the greater part of the troops had arrived, they sailed past Vera Cruz and anchored, on March 7th, at Anton Lizardo, from which point it was determined to make the necessary reconnoissances.
General Scott was at this time ignorant of the movement of General Santa Anna toward Monterey, and expected, on landing or attempting to land, to be met by a formidable force of the enemy. On March 9th, the weather proving good, the fleet, consisting of some eighty vessels, including transports, moved up the coast with the naval steamers and five gunboats. General Scott was on board of the Massachusetts, and as she moved up, the troops from the decks of the vessels cheered him with great enthusiasm. The anchorage was made outside the range of the enemy's guns. General Scott had provided sixty-seven surf boats, and in these and some cutters fifty-five hundred men—the boats being steered by sailors furnished by Commodore David Conner—passed the Massachusetts and repeated their cheers to the commanding general. The whole force was landed at half past five in the afternoon, without the loss of a man or a boat and without serious opposition from the enemy. The remainder of the force was soon landed, amounting in all to something less than twelve thousand men.
The following appeared in the New Orleans Bulletin of March 27, 1847: "The landing of the American army at Vera Cruz has been accomplished in a manner that reflects the highest credit on all concerned; and the regularity, precision, and promptness with which it was effected has probably never been surpassed, if it has been equaled, in modern warfare. The removal of a large body of troops from numerous transports into boats in an open sea, their subsequent disembarkation on the sea beach, on an enemy's coast, through a surf, with all their arms and accouterments, without a single error or accident, requires great exertion, skill, and sound judgment.
"The French expedition against Algiers in 1830 was said to be the most complete armament in every respect that ever left Europe; it had been prepared with labor, attention, experience, and nothing had been omitted to insure success, and particularly in the means and facilities for landing the troops. This disembarkation took place in a wide bay, which was more favorable than an open beach directly on the ocean, and (as in the present instance) without any resistance on the part of the enemy; yet only nine thousand men were landed the first day, and from thirty to forty lives were lost by accidents or upsetting of boats; whereas on the present occasion twelve thousand men were landed in one day, without, so far as we have heard, the slightest accident or loss of life."
Both the city and the castle of San Juan de Ulloa were strongly garrisoned and well provisioned. It was General Santa Anna's opinion that the garrison at Vera Cruz and the castle could successfully resist a siege until the annual breaking out of the yellow fever, upon which he depended to cause the withdrawal of the American troops; hence he devoted himself to the collection of troops to advance on General Taylor. General Scott says: "The walls and forts of Vera Cruz in 1847 were in good condition. Subsequent to its capture by the French, under Admiral Baudin and the Prince de Joinville, in 1838, the castle had been greatly extended, almost rebuilt, and its armament about doubled. Besides, the French were allowed to reconnoiter the city and castle and choose their positions of attack without the least resistance, the Mexicans deprecating the war with that nation, and hence ordered not to fire the first gun. Of that injunction the French were aware. When we approached, in 1847, the castle had the capacity to sink the entire American navy." Soon after the landing was effected, General Scott, accompanied by Colonel Joseph G. Totten and other officers of his staff, reconnoitered the land side of the city, the reconnoissance of the water front having been previously made.
The city was now completely invested, and all communication with the interior cut off. A complete blockade had been established by Commodore Conner. Several officers applied to General Scott for the privilege of leading storming parties. They were thanked, but no orders were given. In a meeting with his staff—Colonel Totten, chief engineer; Lieutenant-Colonel Ethan A. Hitchcock, acting inspector general; Captain Robert E. Lee, engineer; and Lieutenant Henry L. Scott, acting adjutant general—General Scott spoke as follows: "We, of course, gentlemen, must take the city and castle before the return of the vomito—if not by head-work, by the slow scientific process of storming, and then escape by pushing the conquest into the healthy interior. I am strongly inclined to attempt the former, unless you can convince me that the other is preferable. Since our thorough reconnaissance, I think the suggestion practicable with a very moderate loss on our part. The second method would no doubt be equally successful, but with the cost of an immense slaughter to both sides, including noncombatants, Mexican men, women, and children, because assaults must be made in the dark, and the assailants dare not lose time in taking and guarding prisoners without incurring the certainty of becoming captives themselves, till all the strongholds of the place are occupied. The horrors of such slaughter as that, with the usual terrible accompaniment, are most revolting. Besides these objections, it is necessary to take into account the probable loss of some two thousand, perhaps three thousand, of our best men in an assault, and I have received but half the number promised me. How, then, could we hope to penetrate in the interior?... For these reasons," I added, quoting literally, "although I know our countrymen will hardly acknowledge a victory unaccompanied by a long butcher's bill (report of dead and wounded), I am strongly inclined—policy concurring with humanity—to forego their loud applause and 'aves vehement' and take the city with the least possible loss of life...."
General Scott's views were fully concurred in by Colonel Totten and others of his staff, and orders were issued for digging the trenches and the establishment of batteries. Very soon all outposts and sentries of the enemy were driven in. General Scott had warned the foreign consuls in the city of his proposed attack and had furnished them safe conducts out of the city, but they had not taken advantage of it. The marines of Commodore Conner's squadron, at his request, were now allowed to join the army, and, under command of Captain Alvin Edson, they were attached to the Third Artillery.
On the morning of the 10th the guns from the castle opened fire, but did very little damage. General Robert Patterson now joined Worth on his left, and extended the line of investment. Small parties of Mexicans were in sight in a valley, and a detachment under command of Colonel Cenovio approached the American camp and opened fire. The only damage done was the wounding of one soldier. General Gideon J. Pillow, with a part of his command and a six-pounder, opened fire on a large stone building occupied by the enemy and known as the magazine. They were soon driven off, and General Pillow advanced and attacked a small force in his front, driving them and occupying the magazine.
Colonels William T. Haskell's and Francis M. Wynkoop's regiments of Tennessee and Pennsylvania volunteers were moved on a small force on the road to Medelin, which retired, and two companies—one of artillery under command of Captain John R. Vinton, and one of infantry under command of Lieutenant A.P. Rogers—seized a point known as the limekiln, where it was proposed to plant a battery. General Twiggs moved on the 11th to extend the line of investment, which was now complete. General Scott then addressed a letter to the commanding officer of the city as follows:
"HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, CAMP WASHINGTON, BEFORE VERA CRUZ, "March, 23, 1847.
"The undersigned, Major-General Scott, general in chief of the armies of the United States of America, in addition to the close blockade of the coast and port of Vera Cruz previously established by the squadrons under Commodore Conner, of the navy of said States, having more fully invested the said city with an overwhelming army, so as to render it impossible that it should receive from without succor or re-enforcements of any kind, and having caused to be established batteries competent to the speedy destruction of said city, he, the undersigned, deems it due to the courtesies of war in like cases, as well as to the rights of humanity, to summon his Excellency the governor or commander in chief of the city of Vera Cruz to surrender the same to the army of the United States of America, present before the place. The undersigned, anxious to spare the beautiful city of Vera Cruz from the imminent hazard of demolition, its gallant defenders from a useless effusion of blood, and its peaceful inhabitants—women and children inclusive—from the inevitable horrors of a triumphant assault, addresses this summons to the intelligence, the gallantry, the patriotism, no less than the humanity, of his Excellency the governor and commander in chief of Vera Cruz. The undersigned is not accurately informed whether both the city and the castle of San Juan de Ulloa be under the command of his Excellency, or whether each place has its own independent commander; but the undersigned, moved by the considerations adverted to above, may be willing to stipulate that if the city should by capitulation be garrisoned by a part of his troops no missile shall be fired from within the city or from its bastions or walls upon the castle, unless the castle should previously fire upon the city. The undersigned has the honor to tender his distinguished opponent, his Excellency the general and commander in chief of Vera Cruz, the assurance of the high respect and consideration of the undersigned, WINFIELD SCOTT."
To which he received the following reply:
"GOD AND LIBERTY!"
"VERA CRUZ, March 22, 1847.
"TO MAJOR-GENERAL SCOTT: The undersigned, commanding general of the free and sovereign State of Vera Cruz, has informed himself of the contents of the note which Major-General Scott, general in chief of the forces of the United States, has addressed to him under date of to-day, demanding the surrender of this place and castle of San Juan de Ulloa, and in answer has to say that the above-named fortress as well as the city depends on his authority; and it being his principal duty, in order to prove worthy of the confidence placed in him by the Government of the nation, to defend both points at all cost, to which he counts upon necessary elements, and will make it good to the last, therefore his Excellency can commence his operations of war in a manner which he may consider most advantageous. The undersigned has the honor to return to the general in chief of the forces of the United States the demonstrations of esteem he may be pleased to honor him with.
The city was garrisoned by a force of three thousand three hundred and sixty officers and men, and the castle had a force of one thousand and thirty, making a total of four thousand three hundred and ninety. It was certainly a brave determination of the Mexicans with this force to resist the formidable foe who had invested them and were ready to attack.
On March 22d, at 4.15 P.M., the mortar batteries opened fire, and from that time the firing was continued without ceasing until the 23d, when it was suspended for a few hours. The fire was returned from the batteries. Fire was also opened on the city from the vessels. Heavy guns having arrived, preparations were made for getting them ashore, but it was prevented by a heavy norther. The norther having subsided on the 23d, six heavy guns and a detachment from the navy were landed. On Commodore Matthew C. Perry's request a place in the trenches was assigned to the navy. On the 24th, Colonel Persifor F. Smith moved out to a small stream called the San Pedro and attacked and drove off a force of the enemy.
On the night of the 24th General Scott received a communication, signed by the British, French, Spanish, and Prussian consuls in Vera Cruz, asking time to permit the neutrals and women and children to withdraw from the city; to which he replied that up to the 23d the communication between the neutrals in Vera Cruz and the neutral ships of war lying off Sacrificios was left open to allow them an exit, and that he had given notice to the consuls. He therefore declined to grant the request unless it was made by the governor and commander in chief of Vera Cruz, accompanied with a proposition to surrender. On the 25th, the six heavy guns, the navy battery, and all the mortars opened fire. General Scott had determined that, if no proposition for surrender was made by the 26th, he would assault the works.
The command of the city having been turned over by General Morales to General Landero, the latter, on the 26th, addressed General Scott as follows:
"I have the honor of transmitting to your Excellency the exposition which has this moment been made to me by the senores consuls of England, France, Spain, and Prussia, in which they solicit that hostilities may be suspended while the innocent families in this place who are suffering the ravages of war be enabled to leave the city, which solicitude claims my support; and considering it in accordance with the rights of afflicted humanity, I have not hesitated to invite your Excellency to enter into an honorable accommodation with the garrison, in which case you will please name three commissioners who may meet at some intermediate point to treat with those of this place upon the terms of the accommodation. With this motive I renew to your Excellency my attentive consideration.
"God reward your Excellency, etc., etc., etc. (on account of the sickness of the commanding general).
"JOSE JUAN DE LANDERO."
General Scott notified General Landero that he had appointed Brevet Major-General Worth, of the regular army, Major-General Pillow, of the volunteers, and Colonel Totten, chief of the engineer corps of the army, commissioners on his part to meet a like number to be appointed by General Landero. The latter announced the appointment on his part of Colonels Herrera, Gutierrez de Villa Nueva, and Lieutenant-Colonel Robles. The commissioners met at the Punta de Hornos, and on the 27th agreed upon terms.
The terms of capitulation were in substance that the Mexican troops should march out of the city with the honors of war, should stack their arms and be paroled; that their colors, when lowered, should be saluted. Absolute protection was guaranteed to persons and property in the city. No private building was to be taken or used by the United States forces without previous arrangement and fair compensation. A Mexican historian says: "The sacrifice was consummated, but the soldiers of Vera Cruz received the honor due to their valor and misfortunes—the respect of the conqueror. Not even a look was given them by the enemy's soldiers which could be interpreted into an insult." Five thousand prisoners and four hundred guns were captured, and with a loss of only sixty-seven killed and wounded.
There is scarcely anything in history equal to this achievement of General Scott. Throughout the siege he shared all the dangers and hardships of his troops. He examined in person, aided by his very able staff officers, every detail of works of defense, and gave orders for the firing of the batteries.
One day during the siege General Scott was walking the trenches where a heavy fire of the enemy was directed. Seeing some of the soldiers standing up, General Scott ordered them not to expose themselves. "But, General," said one, "you are exposing yourself." "Oh!" said he, "generals nowadays can be made out of anybody, but men can not be had." The point of this reply is easy to understand. General Worth was appointed commandant and governor of Vera Cruz, with instructions to establish and enforce police regulations, but not to interfere with the functions of the civil magistrates in affairs between Mexicans.
He was authorized and instructed, after conferring with Commodore Perry, to establish a tariff of duties on articles imported, to be applied to the necessities of the sick and wounded of the army and navy and indigent inhabitants of the city of Vera Cruz; this to continue in force until instructions were received from Washington. General Worth, on assuming command, immediately issued an order to the alcalde as follows:
"Arms in possession of citizens to be given into the alcalde's possession and to be reported to headquarters. Drinking saloons to be closed, and not to be reopened hereafter except under special permission. Mexican laws as between Mexicans to be enforced, and justice administered by regular Mexican tribunals. Cases arising between American citizens of the army, or authorized followers of the same, will be investigated by military commissions."
To cover all cases arising by the military occupation of the country, General Scott had issued at Tampico his Martial-Law Order No. 40, and republished it at Vera Cruz. General Worth gave permission to the residents of the city to leave and enter the city freely between daylight and sunset. No duties were imposed on any of the necessaries of life.
On March 30th a combined military and naval expedition was organized to move to Alvarado, Commodore Perry in command of the naval contingent. The army detachment, under General John A. Quitman, consisted of the Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina infantry, and a squadron of the Second Dragoons under command of Major Benjamin Lloyd Beall, and a section of the Third Artillery under Lieutenant Henry Bethel Judd.