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Chapter
This webpage reproduces a chapter of
R. E. Lee: A Biography

by Douglas Southall Freeman

published by Charles Scribner's Sons,
New York and London, 1934

The text, and illustrations except as noted, are in the public domain.


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Vol. I
p203
Chapter XIII

Campaign Without a Cannon Shot


[image ALT: A 19c photograph of a moustached man in a uniform. It is a photograph of Robert E. Lee as a young Army captain.]
R. E. LEE IN THE DRESS UNIFORM OF A
CAPTAIN OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY,
TAKEN ABOUT THE PERIOD OF THE MEXICAN WAR
After a photograph in the Confederate Museum, Richmond, from the original daguerreotype.

Making up his statements as quickly as possible, Lee turned over the work at the Narrows to the capable Delafield, and hurried to Washington, where he filed his accounts on August 28, 1846. Three days later he made his will.1 As he prepared his kit for field service his friends insisted on giving him presents for it — among them a bottle of much-praised whiskey, which politeness compelled him to accept and to take with him.2 He had always moved promptly on receipt of orders, and now, under the spur of opportunity, he lost no time in adieux, even to the proud but anxious household at Arlington. On the first available steamer he travelled to New Orleans, where he was surprised to find, despite the flow of government funds in the purchase of supplies, that treasury notes were at a discount of 2½ per cent — a fact that grieved his thrifty soul.3 From the busy Louisiana base he embarked for Port la Vaca, a Texas port town, on the bay of the same name, 120 miles down the coast of Texas from Galveston, through Pass Cavallo. Arriving there on September 13, 1846, he spent his first night on land at Sarassa4 with a French family, M. and Mme. Monod. The next day he took horse for San Antonio, then styled San Antonio de Bexar, which he reached on September 21, a month and two days after he had been relieved of duty at Fort Hamilton.5 It was a very rapid journey for the times.

p204 The quaint border town had a civilian population of about 2000, chiefly farmers and herdsmen, many of them Mexicans.6 It bore many marks of the war for Texas independence, and in its externals was still foreign. The old missions, the so‑called "palaces," and the ruins of the Alamo, where the Texas garrison had been slaughtered ten years previously — all these were unlike anything Lee had ever seen before. The town's past, however, was engulfed in its present, and its quiet streets were swamped with soldiers. Two squadrons of regular cavalry were there, one battery of regular artillery, three companies of the Sixth Infantry, two regiments of Illinois infantry, and a sufficient sprinkling of other volunteers to raise the total to 3400 men.7 The atmosphere was one of excited preparation, for it was known to everyone that the troops were to start an advance into Mexico as soon as supplies were accumulated and equipment was complete. It was Lee's first contact, after twenty-one years of military service, with the contagious elation that pervades a camp when the talk is of a march "into the enemy's country." With that same spirit he was to become grimly familiar before he was to unbuckle his sword for the last time.

The commander of this expedition, the officer to whom Lee reported on arrival, was Brigadier General John E. Wool, the same Wool who had come to Fort Monroe for an inspection of the engineering work not long before General Macomb's order that had ended Lee's labors under Captain Andrew Talcott.8 Wool had grizzled much since the hot day in July, 1834, when he had been rowed out to Fort Calhoun with Lieutenant Lee. He had received his promotion to the rank of brigadier in 1841, and in the years since Lee had been with him in Hampton Roads he had directed the transfer of the Cherokee Indians west of the Mississippi, but otherwise had been engaged in routine duties. He was now sixty-two, and although he had not heard a gun fired in action for thirty-one years, he was full of ardor and was organizing his forces with real skill.

Among the line officers at San Antonio, Lee probably found p205 few whom he had met before, but on the staff were a number of West Pointers, some of whom served in his own corps or in the affiliated topographical engineers. To this latter service belonged a busy young lieutenant named William B. Franklin, who was then making ready to set out on a reconnaissance. Sixteen years later, almost to the very day, that same Franklin was to be in command of some very troublesome troops at a place called Crampton's Gap, in South Mountain, Maryland. Another man of whom Lee heard much talk at the time of his arrival was one of General Wool's aides-de‑camp, Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Irvin McDowell, first lieutenant of artillery, then absent, none other than the McDowell whose threatened march on Richmond from the North had to be taken into account when Lee, on June 1, 1862, assumed command in front of the Confederate capital.

The officer with whom Lee had the closest official relations, from the very day he reached San Antonio, was Captain Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.William D. Fraser of the corps of engineers, a New Yorker who had graduated from West Point at the head of the class of 1834. Fraser was seven years younger than Lee but had risen fast in the army and had been commissioned captain on the same day as Lee, who doubtless had met him before they came to Texas. Fraser had worked assiduously under Wool's orders and had well in hand most of the engineering arrangements for the expedition. General Wool, therefore, did not supersede him on the arrival of Captain Lee, but, it would appear, associated Lee with Fraser, more or less as a supplementary officer, not assigned to definite duty. Lee's first task was to assist in the collection of tools for use in road and bridge building. San Antonio had few artisans, prices were very high,9 and neither Lee nor Fraser had any government funds with which to make purchases.10 Progress accordingly was slow and results were discouraging.

Two days after Lee arrived, and while he and Captain Fraser were searching for picks and shovels, the topographical engineers set out to find the best road for General Wool's advance. The four officers who had this distinction must have been the envy of the whole camp as they rode off under Captain George W. p206 Hughes, with their guide and their interpreter, their wagons having gone ahead. Young Franklin was one of this quartet.11

The expedition had not long to wait after the topographical engineers started. On September 28 a column of some 1954 men moved out of San Antonio, toward the Rio Grande. The rear guard was to follow with delayed supplies. It was the first time that Lee, though he was not far from his fortieth birthday, had ever ridden with troops on a march against the enemy. Indeed, it may have been the first time since he left West Point that he had been with a column.

General Wool's advance was in accordance with the tentative and incomplete plan of campaign that had been slowly formulated after war had been declared. Mexico had conceded to Texas a boundary line no farther south than the river Nueces, which is approximately 130 miles north of the Rio Grande. President Polk claimed the territory running south to the Rio Grande and in March, 1846, had sent General Zachary Taylor forward to occupy it. Taylor had reached the river on March 28 at a point opposite the Mexican town of Matamoras, where he had entrenched himself in the works later known as Fort Brown. The efforts of the Mexicans to force him to abandon the line of the Rio Grande had led to the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Following up his successes, Taylor had crossed the Rio Grande on May 18 and had occupied Matamoras, from which the enemy had fled. There he had remained until July 30, when he had started up the river to Camargo to undertake his part of the larger operations upon which the administration by that time had determined.

The plan was this: One small column was to be sent to seize New Mexico; another was to co-operate with the navy in upsetting the Mexican government of California. With these possessions taken from the enemy and held as war indemnity, General Taylor was to advance from the Rio Grande to Monterey, and General Wool, acting under Taylor's orders, was to go forward from the river to Chihuahua. These two advances were thus to be as shown on the opposite page.

[image ALT: zzz]

The hope was that these operations and a strict blockade of the p207 eastern coast would bring northern Mexico under American control.

Nothing beyond this had been decided. The administration knew little about the country that was to be entered. The general staff was not certain whether Wool could reach Chihuahua, whether it was really important that he should do so, or whether he and Taylor could subsist their troops on local supplies if they were to attempt to move southward toward Mexico City after they had reached their first objectives. The strength of the Mexican forces in nearby districts was equally unknown. Washington waited on Taylor for a more definite plan; Taylor waited on Washington for more extensive orders.12

An uneventful march of 164 miles in eleven days brought Wool's first column to the Rio Grande, just east of the presidio named after the river. The rapidity of this advance was attributed by one observer to "the indefatigable exertions of those distinguished officers, Captains Lee and Frazier [Fraser]," who built a road and bridged the streams.13 Being now on the boundary p208 claimed by the United States, the army on its next advance would assume the offensive in Mexican territory. The ardor of every soldier was inflamed at the thought. "We have met with no resistance yet, Lee wrote his wife. "The Mexicans who were guarding the passage, retired on our approach. There has been a great whetting of knives, grinding of swords, and sharpening of bayonets, ever since we reached the river."14 Invasion was not, however, easily begun. The few fords of the Rio Grande were deep, and the current was swift. It was necessary to camp on the American side of the river until the engineers could place a bridge with the pontoons Captain Fraser had built at San Antonio and had brought forward in the wagon train. Lee doubtless had a hand in this. He probability assisted, also, in choosing and running the lines of the field defenses that General Wool ordered the engineers to construct at the bridgeheads. It was the first earthwork he ever constructed of the general type that he, more than any one man, was to develop in utility.

On October 12, the bridge having been completed, the whole force passed over to the right bank of the Rio Grande. There, under a flag of truce, a Mexican officer, escorted by a contingent of lancers, was awaiting General Wool. He brought news that was more pleasant to the Americans than to the messenger: General Taylor had advanced to Monterey and after a battle there had forced the Mexican troops to withdraw. The articles of capitulation had provided that the Mexicans should march out of the town with their arms, and should retire beyond a designated line. The "forces of the United States," the sixth article of capitulation read, "will not advance beyond the line . . . before the expiration of eight weeks, or until the orders or instructions of the respective governments can be received."15 This had been signed on September 24. The Mexican officer exhibited a copy of the paper and insisted that General Wool's advance directly contravened the agreement, which virtually declared an armistice. Wool, of course, was delighted at Taylor's success, of which he had previously received no definite information, and he did not consider that the first stages of the advance he had in contemplation were violative of the agreement. He accordingly sent back p209 word that he would continue his march.16 The Mexican withdrew as he had come.

In the hearts of inexperienced soldiers, ambitious for battle, this incident raised hope of early action. Anywhere, they reasoned, an enemy might be lurking; the very next day they might have opportunity of capturing a Monterey of their own. Expectancy tightened. But how, meantime, would the column proceed? Inquiry showed no direct western route to Chihuahua. The only way to reach the city was to move southward and take one of the few roads that ran northwestward from the general vicinity of Monclova, which was about 200 miles south of the American camp near the Rio Grande. That, then, must be the line of advance. With high heart the army followed a route the topographical engineers selected, and on October 30 reached the environs of Monclova.17 Not an enemy was seen; not a gun was fired at a human mark; some of the enthusiasm of the army began to exhaust itself as the days passed in hard marches through a dull country. Nor was this uneventful march the only disappointment of the soldiers: General Wool considered that he had now reached a position where the Monterey armistice applied and that he could not go farther until it expired. This meant nearly three weeks around Monclova, a town of 8000, cleaner and more pleasant than most Mexican cities, but no place, surely, for a restive army to wait. General Wool kept the men occupied with drills, and exercised his talents for organization by establishing depots and a hospital. The spirit of the volunteers, however, did not respond to routine duties. Wool became doubtful of his ability to control them during a period of prolonged inaction, and he so notified General Taylor.18

While waiting for the expiration of the armistice, Wool continued to study the routes to Chihuahua. He concluded there was no practicable road for an army unless he moved almost to Saltillo and thence followed the route via Parras. This seemed so circuitous a way to an objective of such uncertain value that he proposed the abandonment of that expedition and requested p210 Taylor, instead, to permit him to move on Saltillo.19 He asked, also, to be allowed to break up his old line of communications and to open a new and shorter line by way of Camargo, which was already being used as Taylor's principal depot.

Lee was fairly busy during this time. Captain Fraser had gone back during the march to Monclova20 in order to conduct the rearguard, which had subsequently advanced from San Antonio under Colonel Sylvester Churchill. After Fraser came up with Churchill on November 6, the engineers examined Monclova and its vicinity with a view to its defense in the future. This was no easy task, for the town was commanded by hills. Nevertheless the two officers selected a site and made ready to build a redoubt.21 Lee prepared, in addition, a rough map of the town and its environs.22 He had, ere this, established himself in the good opinion of General Wool, and though he had thus far received no important independent assignments to duty, he was apprised of Wool's problems and plans.

The Monterey armistice expired on November 19, according to Wool's interpretation of its terms; so, on the 18th, he pushed his advance guard forward. That night he received an express from General Taylor. This directed him to maintain his position at Monclova, to abandon the plan of operations against Chihuahua, and to open the proposed new line of communications with Camargo.23 A few days later he was authorized to move on Parras, whence he could join Taylor, or unite with Worth at Saltillo, or march on Chihuahua, if changed circumstances required.24

On November 24, leaving five companies of Illinois volunteers to guard Monclova, the column took up its southward march. A pioneer detachment that had been organized at Monclova from the Illinois troops was sent ahead under Fraser and Lee and p211 prepared the roads for the main army. Through the efforts of the quartermaster's department, tools for this work were at last available. The pioneers must have worked hard, for the march of the infantry was fast and uninterrupted, though some parts of the road, even when repaired, were rough and difficult for the artillery and wagons.

Seventy miles from Monclova, the troops left the Saltillo road and struck west for Parras. Northers, fast-changing temperature, dust, and heat taxed the endurance of the soldiers. But Wool kept them moving. Ten days after the start, the army halted near Parras, and on the following day it took position in a broad plain about two miles north of the city. The distance covered on the march was computed at from 165 to 181 miles.

The column was now about 365 miles within the enemy's country and had not seen a single Mexican soldier since bidding farewell to the officer and lancers who had met the vanguard at the crossing of the Rio Grande. Part of Taylor's army, under General W. J. Worth, was at Saltillo, about one hundred miles eastward, as the roads ran. Presumably there was an enemy in front of Worth, but here at Parras there was hospitality rather than hostility, a welcome rather than a battle. "Our camp," wrote the chronicler of the expedition, "was constantly crowded with the beauty and fashion of the town, who visited the tents of the officers without hesitation or restraint, and the most cordial feelings and intercourse were established between us."25 It was a dull experience, however, despite the visits of the ladies, for men who had come to Mexico anticipating daily battles and hourly opportunity for feats of daring.

Nearly two weeks went by at Parras, with no alarms and no promise of excitement. Then, on December 17, there came a hurried messenger from General Worth. The Mexicans were preparing to attack Saltillo, Worth wrote, and he wanted Wool, if possible, to reinforce him. Wool immediately decided to do so, and determined to move at once and at top speed, because his only practicable road to Saltillo lay, in part, by the route the enemy would certainly take in moving on that city. If the Mexicans reached the hacienda of La Encantala, on the road from San Luis p212 Potosi to Saltillo, a junction between Worth and Wool would be impossible and both American forces might be wiped out.26 Orders were given to break camp and to put the column in motion. Soon there was hustle and excitement everywhere, no man in the ranks knowing whether the enemy was a hundred miles away or just over the horizon.

Thanks to the good organization that Wool had set up, the head of the column moved within two hours after word had been given to break camp. For the next four days there was no rest for any one, except when men and horses became exhausted. Fearful that the threat against Worth might be serious, and that Saltillo might soon be attacked, Wool kept up a forced march.

Much of his line of advance lay through a valley and part of it through mountains from Patagalana to Castanuela. Here again the engineers had to improve the road to make it practicable for the wagon train and the guns. Progress on that part of the march was necessarily very slow, but on the better stretches of the road the infantry made thirty-five miles one day and almost as far another day. Not only so, but an officer who followed the troops reported that with the exception of the camp sites he saw no evidence that an army had passed. "Not a broken wagon, or a dead animal, or a straggler was to be seen."27

On the evening of December 20, being close to the positions the foe might be expected to occupy in an advance on Saltillo, Wool sent forward a reconnoitring party. It returned with a report that no enemy was to be found. The next day the little army moved forward again and encamped near Agua Nueva, some seventeen miles south of Saltillo. The troops had come more than one hundred miles in four days — a very good performance — but they were denied the battle they expected to fight upon arrival. For it developed that the reported advance of the enemy was a false alarm and that all Wool's haste had been to no purpose.28 As he nursed his bruised and sore feet, the soldier in the ranks found small compensation in reflecting that the forced p213 march had brought about a very desirable concentration of the United States troops in the zone where the enemy might most reasonably be expected to attack — whenever that might be.29 Wool's long separation from the other forces had been a jest among the soldiers of Taylor, whose favorite gag was, "When did you hear from General Wool?"30 But now that they had emerged from the wilderness the fine discipline of Wool's men evoked much praise.31

Lee now found himself with one division of what was immeasurably the largest body of troops he had ever seen, fully 6000 men! Once the reconnaissances were made and the camp was laid out he had no special duties until Christmas eve, when Captain Fraser received orders to report at Monterey.32 This left Lee the senior engineer officer with Wool. For the time being, his new responsibilities were negligible. That evening his mind turned homeward, where he knew his children were preparing for Christmas. From his tent he wrote Custis and Rooney: "I hope good Santa Claus will fill my Rob's stocking tonight; that Mildred's, Agnes's and Annie's may break down with good things. I do not know what he may have for you and Mary, but if he only leaves for you one half of what I wish, you will want for nothing. I have frequently thought if I had one of you on each side of me riding on ponies, such as I could get you, I would be comparatively happy."33

Shortly after breakfast Christmas morning a hurried message from some of the subsistence officers was sent to headquarters: The enemy was coming! Great clouds of dust had been seen in the line of his advance. The alarm was sounded at once. The men were ordered to stand to their arms; General Butler was notified and was asked for orders. Lee immediately hurried out from camp and found a good point of observation. There he threw himself on the grass, his bridle rein over his arm, and focussed his telescope on the gap in the mountains through which the Mexicans p214 would have to advance. Behind him the troops only awaited his report that the enemy had been sighted, for General Butler sent word that as soon as the Mexicans approached, Wool's little army was to fall back. "The Mexicans, however, did not make their appearance," Lee wrote his wife that night. "Many regrets were expressed at Santa Anna's having spoiled our Christmas dinner for which ample preparations had been made. The little roasters remained tied to the tent pins wondering at their deferred fate, and the headless turkeys retained their plumage unscathed. Finding the enemy did not come, preparations were again made for dinner." The feast did not awaken enthusiasm in Lee's heart. He found, instead, what comfort he could in writing Mrs. Lee. "We have had many happy, happy Christmasses together," he said. "It is the first time we have been entirely separated at this holy time since our marriage. I hope it does not interfere with your happiness, surrounded as you are by father, mother, children, and dear friends. I therefore trust you are well and happy, and that this is the last time I shall be absent from you during my life. May God preserve and bless you till then and forever is my constant prayer."34 The language differed little from that which he was to employ in a letter written on a dark Christmas day, with far greater issues at stake, fifteen years thereafter.35

Investigation proved that the clouds of smoke seen by the subsistence officers had been raised by the Arkansas cavalry, which had been out reconnoitring,36 but rumor and military logic still represented Santa Anna as close at hand. On December 28 there came another false alarm, which caused General Butler to order General Wool to move his force back where it would have the support of the other troops. The site chosen by Butler, much to Wool's disgust, was Encantada, at the entrance to the valley that leads to Saltillo. It was a most uncomfortable place, where the command, in Wool's grumbling words, was "exposed to high winds and almost constant clouds of dust."37

Wool was getting skeptical, by this time, of all the false alarms of Mexican activity near at hand, and when a new report came one evening of a great force marching down on the Americans, p215 he determined to ascertain the enemy's position. Lee happened to be with him at the time and volunteered to make the required scout. The general at once accepted Lee's offer, told him to procure a guide, and gave orders that a company of cavalry should meet him at the outer picket line and go with him. Lee found a young man, the son of a neighboring old Mexican, who knew the country, and he prevailed upon him to act as his guide. Before they set out Lee showed the Mexican his brace of pistols and gave him to understand that if he played him false he should have the contents of them.

In some way Lee missed the cavalry escort at the picket line. Rather than search for it and waste hours of darkness, he determined to press on with no other companion than the unwilling native. They had not ridden many miles when they saw in the road, by the aid of a bright moon's full rays, the tracks of many wagons and mules. Lee examined these closely to see if he could discern whether artillery had been along. As he found no evidence of this, he reasoned that a wagon train had traversed the road after the guns had passed. The wagons, he concluded, evidently had been used for foraging or reconnoitring and were now returning to camp. This seemed strong evidence that the enemy was near at hand, but wishing to confirm it by closer reconnaissance, Lee decided to push on until he came to the Mexican picket line. A long ride brought him no sign of the enemy, and no challenge from picket or outpost, but a little later he saw the light of numerous camp fires on a hill not far away. This was enough for the Mexican guide, who doubtless decided that if he and the hard-riding American officer were captured he would be hanged as a spy and traitor. He besought Lee to turn back. There was a stream near the place where the lights were burning, he insisted; there could be no doubt that an army had chosen that site for its camp. They must return or they would be caught! Lee was not quite satisfied. He let the native stay where he was, and rode on alone. Presently he was rewarded by the sight of what seemed to be a large number of tents on the hillside. Some impulse carried him still farther, through a little sleeping town and down to the stream, across which he could hear loud talking and noise. He was now so close that he could see p216 clearly — and could realize that the white objects he had taken for tents were a large flock of sheep, part of a caravan that was moving to market and had stopped by the road for the night. Undisturbed, Lee crossed the stream and, with the little Spanish he possessed, questioned the drovers. They were as much surprised by his appearance as he was at finding them to be peaceable herdsmen, and they told him the Mexican army was still on the other side of the mountains.

With many thanks and adios, Lee rejoined his guide and hurried back to camp, to find something of a hubbub over his failure to return sooner. General Wool, suspecting duplicity, had sent for the father of the guide and was holding him prisoner, with threats to hang him if Lee were not forthcoming. "The Mexican," said Lee, in recounting the story long afterwards, "was the most delighted man to see me."38

Lee had ridden forty miles, but with the information given him by the drovers he felt that he could speedily locate the Mexican forces. He rested three hours, changed mounts and started again with a cavalry escort. This time he went much farther than during the night, and when he returned it was with fairly definite news of the position of the enemy.

Wool apparently believed that hard work was the best reward of the men who had done it, and shortly after Lee's reconnaissance he named him acting inspector general without relieving him as engineer.39 Scarcely had Lee assumed these duties than there came another wild report of Santa Anna's advance with a great force. This caused Butler to order Wool's withdrawal to Buena Vista, a place six miles from Saltillo and destined to have fame as the scene of a hard battle the following month.40 The change p217 brought relief from the dust and drafts of Encantada, but it probably brought, also, several days of hard labor for Lee in locating a new camp and in making good its approaches.

Pleased as General Wool was at leaving Encantada, he was growing weary of continuous wild tales of Santa Anna's advance. General Taylor was even more disgusted at the endless reports of threatened attacks that never materialized. Lee chanced to be at Taylor's headquarters one day when an excited young officer announced that he had seen 20,000 Mexican troops moving up with 250 guns.

"Captain," asked Taylor, "do you say that you saw that force?"

"Yes, General," said the officer.

"Captain," answered the General, "if you say you saw it, of course I must believe you; but I would not have believed it if I had seen it myself."

The old General's critical attitude toward exaggerated reports of the enemy's strength made a deep impression on Lee. Sixteen years later, on the field of Chancellorsville, he was to meet a wild report of the Federals' movements and strength with a recountal of Taylor's answer that day at Buena Vista.41

It was not alone of Santa Anna's movements that rumor spread among the waiting troops. By the middle of January, 1847, it was whispered everywhere that another American army was mustering on the coast, and that a descent was to be made on Vera Cruz by General Scott.42 For once, camp-fire gossip was right. The previous November, Scott had prepared a detailed plan for an attack on the principal Mexican Gulf port,43 and while Lee was tracking the drovers' caravan, Scott was at Brazos de Santiago, off the mouth of the Rio Grande, gathering ships and supplies for what he expected would be the major operation of the war.44 Campaigning without a cannon shot was about to end, for Captain Lee in particular.


The Author's Notes:

1 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Aug. 19, 1846, Aug. 28, 1846; Eng. MSS., 869‑870. Will in Rockbridge County (Va.) Will Book, 1870. This document was never changed, even after the War between the States. It left all his property to Mrs. Lee for life and provided that after her death it should be distributed equally among his children unless Annie, who had received an injury to the eye, should need more than the others.

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2 Jones, 169.

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3 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Sept. 21, 1846; Eng. MSS., 882.

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4 The writer has been unable to locate this place. It is possible that the name was wrongly transcribed by Jones.

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5 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Sept. 13, 21, 1846; Eng. MSS., 877, 882; Lee to Mrs. Lee, March 27, 1857; Fitz Lee, 67.

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6 Memoir Descriptive of the March of a Division of the United States Army, under the command of Brigadier-General John E. Wool from San Antonio . . . to Saltillo . . . by George W. Hughes . . . ; Senate Doc. 32, 1st sess., 31st Cong. (cited hereafter as Hughes), 9. The author was Wool's chief topographical engineer.

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7 Hughes, 5.

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8 See supra, pp124‑25.

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9 Hughes, 9.

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10 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Sept. 21, 1846; Eng. MSS., 882. For Fraser, see Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Cullum, No. 750.

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11 Hughes, 12.

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12 Taylor's correspondence with the War Department will be found in House Doc. 60, 1st sess., 30th Cong. The uncertainties of the plan of operations are well set forth in 2 Rives, 195 ff., 276 ff.

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13 Francis Baylies, A Narrative of General Wool's Campaign in Mexico (cited hereafter as Baylies), 12.

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14 Jones, 50.

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15 Ex. Doc. 60, 1st sess., 30th Cong., 349‑50.

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16 Hughes, 19.

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17 Justin H. Smith: The War with Mexico (cited hereafter as J. H. Smith), 1, 270 ff.; Baylies, 13‑15.

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18 2 Rives, 290; Hughes, 26.

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19 2 Rives, 290.

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20 Baylies, loc. cit., 13, said Fraser was left behind to build works on the Rio Grande at the crossing.

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21 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Dec. 5, 1846; Eng. MSS., 906.

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22 Original among the Lee Maps, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va.

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23 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Dec. 5, 1846; Eng. MSS., 906; Taylor to A. G. O., Nov. 9, 1846; Ex. Doc. 60, 1st sess., 30th Cong., p361.

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24 Hughes, 27; Taylor to Secretary of War, Nov. 24, Ex. Doc. 60, loc. cit., 377. The reason for assuming this order came subsequently to that for abandoning the Chihuahua expedition is that in his letter of Dec. 5, 1846, summarizing the dispatch received on Nov. 18, Lee does not mention the order to move on Parras.

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25 Hughes, 26 ff., 33; Lee to chief engineer, MS., Dec. 5, 1846, loc. cit.

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26 2 Rives, 304.

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27 Hughes, 32n, 61‑62 Cf. Lee to chief engineer, MS., Jan. 1, 1847; Eng. MSS., 910. Hughes said the army made nearly forty miles a day on two days of the march, but Wool reported the distances here given.

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28 Hughes, 26; Lee to chief engineer, MS., Jan. 1, 1847; Eng. MSS., 910; Wool to R. Jones, MS., Jan. 17, 1847, Office of the Adjutant-General of the Army, File Wool, 116.

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29 Major General William O. Butler had also been marching, meantime, from Monterey to support Worth, and as he outranked both Worth and Wool, he assumed command (Taylor's orders, Dec. 22, 1846; Ex. Doc. 60, 1st sess., 30th Cong., p515).

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30 J. R. Kenley: Memoirs of a Maryland Volunteer (cited hereafter as Kenley), 167.

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31 W. S. Henry: Campaign Sketches of the War with Mexico, 275.

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32 Lee to chief engineer, MS., Jan. 1, 1847, loc. cit.

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33 Lee to G. W. C. and W. H. F. Lee, Dec. 24, 1846; Fitz Lee, 34.

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34 Lee to Mrs. Lee, Dec. 25, 1846; Fitz Lee, 35.

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35 See infra, p620.

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36 R. S. Ripley: The War with Mexico (cited hereafter as Ripley), vol. 1, p338.

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37 Wool to R. Jones, MS., Jan. 17, 1847, loc. cit.

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38 The story of this reconnaissance was first printed in Jones, 288‑90, and appears also in Long (49‑51) and in Brock (168‑69). It doubtless was told Jones by Lee at Lexington. Jones probably is in error in saying that on the second day of his adventure Lee brought back precise news of the enemy's position, for Wool wrote the adjutant general on Jan. 17 that it was almost impossible to get accurate news of the movements of Santa Anna. The date of this reconnaissance is not given by Jones, who simply says that it was "not very long before the battle of Buena Vista" (p228). Inasmuch, however, as mention is made of the bright moonlight, the adventure must have occurred at the very end of December, 1846, or in the first week of January, 1847, as the moon was full on Jan. 1, 1847 (American Almanac, 1847, p10).

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39 Order No. 189, Jan. 10, 1847, Headquarters Centre Division; Orders and Special Orders Headquarters of the Army, War with Mexico, 1847‑48, MS., Office of the Adjutant-General of the Army.

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40 Wool to R. Jones, Jan. 17, 1847, loc. cit.

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41 Charles Marshall: Appomattox, 4.

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42 Kenley, op. cit., 310, heard this rumor for the first time on Jan. 14.

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43 Ex. Doc. 60, 1st sess., 30th Cong., p1270 ff.

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44 Scott spelled the name of his base in various ways. Brassos san Iago was the most ponderous official form.


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