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ber 19, 1836, had declared the Rio del Norte to be the boundary of that Republic. Its jurisdiction had been extended and exercised beyond the Nueces. The country between that river and the Del Norte had been represented in the Congress and in the convention of Texas, had thus taken part in the act of annexation itself, and is now included within one of our Congressional districts. Our own Congress had, moreover, with great unanimity, by the act approved December 31, 1845, recognized the country beyond the Nueces as a part of our territory by including it within our own revenue system, and a revenue officer to reside within that district has been appointed by and with the advice and conjent of the Senate. It became, therefore, of urgent necessity to provide or the defense of that portion of our country. Accordingly, on the 3th of January last instructions were issued to the general in command of these troops to occupy the left bank of the Del Norte. This river, vhich is the southwestern boundary of the State of Texas, is an exposed rontier. ...
The movement of the troops to the Del Norte was made by the companding general under positive instructions to abstain from all aggresive acts toward Mexico or Mexican citizens and to regard the relations etween that Republic and the United States as peaceful unless she hould declare war or commit acts of hostility indicative of a state of ar. He was specially directed to protect private property and respect ersonal rights.
The Army moved from Corpus Christi on the 11th of March, and on le 28th of that month arrived on the left bank of the Del Norte oppo
. ? te to Matamoras, where it encamped on a commanding position, which as since been strengthened by the erection of fieldworks. A depot has so been established at Point Isabel
, near the Brazos Santiago, 30 miles rear of the encampment. The selection of his position was necessarily enfided to the judgment of the general in command. - the 12th of April General Ampudia, then in command, notified Gen
The Mexican forces at Matamoras assumed a belligerent attitude, and al Taylor to break up his camp within twenty-four hours and to retire yond the Nueces River, and in the event of his failure to comply with ese demands announced that arms, and arms alone, must decide the estion. But no open act of hostility was committed until the 24th of ril. On that day General Arista, who had succeeded to the command the Mexican forces, communicated to General Taylor that "he comered hostilities commenced and should prosecute them.” A party of
dragoons of 63 men and officers were on the same day dispatched from the American camp up the Rio del Norte, on its left bank, to ascertain whether the Mexican troops had crossed or were preparing to cross the river," became engaged with a large body of these troops, and after a short affair, in which some 16 were killed and wounded, appear to have been surrounded and compelled to surrender.”
The grievous wrongs perpetrated by Mexico upon our citizens throughout a long period of years remain unredressed, and solemn treaties pledging her public faith for this redress have been disregarded. A government either unable or unwilling to enforce the execution of such treaties fails to perform one of its plainest duties.
Our commerce with Mexico has been almost annihilated. It was formerly highly beneficial to both nations
, but our merchants have been deterred from prosecuting it by the system of outrage and extortion which the Mexican authorities have pursued against them, whilst their appeals through their own Government for indemnity have been made in in its character. Had we acted with vigor in repelling the insults and vain. Our forbearance has gone to such an extreme as to be mistaken redressing the injuries inflicted by Mexico at the commencement, we should doubtless have escaped all the difficulties in which we are now
Instead of this, however, we have been exerting our best efforts to propitiate her good will. Upon the pretext that Texas, a nation as indeand in official proclamations and manifestoes has repeatedly threatened she has affected to believe that we have severed her rightful territory, to make war upon us for the purpose of reconquering Texas. meantime we have tried every effort at reconciliation. the frontier of the Del Norte. But now, after reiterated menaces, Mexico bearance had been exhausted even before the recent information from has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil. She has proclaimed that hostilities have commenced, and that the two nations are now at war. by the act of Mexico herself, we are called upon by every consideration
As war exists, and, notwithstanding all our efforts to avoid it, exists of duty and patriotism to vindicate with decision the honor, the rights, James D. Richardson, A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presi
dents (Washington, 1897), IV, 437-442 passim.
In the The cup of for
and the interests of our country.
11. An Opponent of the War (1847)
BY SENATOR THOMAS CORWIN Corwin, elected to the United States Senate in 1844 as a Whig, was persistent in his opposition to the war with Mexico. He was a born orator, and by this courageous but indiscreet speech in the Senate against granting an appropriation with which to buy peace and territory from Mexico, he gained renown, but injured his political advance
– For Corwin, see A. P. Russell, Thomas Corwin. — Bibliography: Channing and Hart, Guide, § 194.
R. PRESIDENT, I ... beg the indulgence of the Senate to some
reflections on the particular bill now under consideration. I voted for a bill somewhat like the present at the last session our army was then in the neighborhood of our line. I then hoped that the President did sincerely desire a peace. Our army had not then penetrated far into Mexico, and I did hope, that with the two millions then proposed, we might get peace, and avoid the slaughter, the shame, the crime, of an aggressive, unprovoked war. But now you have overrun half of Mexico - you have exasperated and irritated her people - you claim indemnity for all expenses incurred in doing this mischief, and boldly ask her to give up New Mexico and California; and, as a bribe to her patriotism, seizing on her property, you offer three millions to pay the soldiers she has called out to repel your invasion, on condition that she will give up to you at least one-third of her whole territory. ..
But, sir, let us see what, as the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations explains it, we are to get by the combined processes of conquest and treaty.
What is the territory, Mr. President, which you propose to wrest from Mexico? It is consecrated to the heart of the Mexican by many a wellfought battle with his old Castilian master. His Bunker Hills, and Saratogas, and Yorktowns, are there! The Mexican can say, “There I bled for liberty ! and shall I surrender that consecrated home of my affections to the Anglo-Saxon invaders ? What do they want with it? They have Texas already. They have possessed themselves of the territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. What else do they want? To what shall I point my children as memorials of that independence which I bequeath to them when those battle-fields shall have passed from my possession?"
Sir, had one come and demanded Bunker Hill of the people of Massachusetts, had England's Lion ever showed himself there, is there a man over thirteen and under ninety who would not have been ready to meet
this up to John Bull.
The Senator from
With twenty millions of
11. An Opponent of the War (1847)
BY SENATOR THOMAS CORWIN Corwin, elected to the United States Senate in 1844 as a Whig, was persistent in his position to the war with Mexico. He was a born orator, and by this courageous but liscreet speech in the Senate against granting an appropriation with which to buy ace and territory from Mexico, he gained renown, but injured his political advanceent. -- For Corwin, see A. P. Russell, Thomas Corwin. - Bibliography: Channing d Hart, Guide, $ 194. R. PRESIDENT, I ... beg the indulgence of the Senate to some
reflections on the particular bill now under consideration. I ited for a bill somewhat like the present at the last session -- our arms is then in the neighborhood of our line. I then hoped that the Presi-nt did sincerely desire a peace. Our army had not then penetrated far 30 Mexico, and I did hope, that with the two millions then proposed, : might get peace, and avoid the slaughter
, the shame, the crime, of an gressive, unprovoked war.
But now you have overrun half of Mexico you have exasperated and irritated her people – you claim indemnity all expenses incurred in doing this mischief
, and boldly ask her to 'e up New Mexico and California ; and, as a bribe to her patriotism, zing on her property, you offer three millions to pay the soldiers she - called out to repel your invasion, on condition that she will give up you at least one-third of her whole territory. ... But, sir, let us see what, as the chairman of the Committee on Foreign lations explains it, we are to get by the combined processes of conquest Vhat is the territory, Mr. President, which you propose to wrest from xico? It is consecrated to the heart of the Mexican by many ght battle with his old Castilian master. His Bunker Hills, and Sara; liberty! and shall I surrender that consecrated home of is, and Yorktowns, are there! The Mexican can say, “There I bled Las already. They have possessed themselves of the territory between he Anglo-Saxon invaders? What do they want with it? They have Nueces and the Rio Grande. What else do they want? To what
I point my children as memorials of that independence which queath to them when those battle-fields shall have passed from my
ession?" E, had one come and demanded Bunker Hill of the people of Massa etts, had England's Lion ever showed himself there, is there a man thirteen and under ninety who would not have been ready to meet
him? Is there a river on this continent that would not have run red with blood? Is there a field but would have been piled high with the unburied bones of slaughtered Americans before these consecrated battlefields of liberty should have been wrested from us?
But this same American goes into a sister republic and says to poor, weak Mexico, “Give up your territory, you are unworthy to possess it'; I have got one-half already, and all I ask of you is to give up the other!" England might as well, in the circumstances I have described, have come and demanded
“Give up the Atlantic slope-give up this trifling territory from the Alleghany Mountains to the sea; it is only froni Maine to St. Mary's only about one-third of your republic, and the least interesting portion of it.” What would be the response ?' They would say, we must give
Why? “ He wants room." Michigan says he must have this. · Why, my worthy Christian brother, on what principle of justice? “I want room!” Sir
, look at this pretence of want of room. people
, you have about one thousand millions of acres of land, inviting settlement by every conceivable argument, bringing them down to a quarBut the Senator from Michigan says we will be two hundred millions in
If I were a Mexican I would tell you, you not room in your own country to bury your dead men? If you come into mine, we will greet you with bloody hands, and welcome
Why, says the chairman of this Committee on Foreign Relations, it is the most reasonable thing in the world ! It has been my fortune, Mr. President, to have practised a good deal in
Why? Because it is the best harbor on the Pacific ! criminal courts in the course of my life, but I never yet heard a thief, arraigned for stealing a horse, plead that it was the best horse that he could find in the country! We want California. What for? Why, says the Senator from Michigan, we will have it; and the Senator from South Carolina, with a very mistaken view, I think, of policy, says you can't keep our people from going there. Let them go and seek their happiness in whatever country or clime
All I ask of them is, not to require this Government to protect them with that banner consecrated to war waged for principles ---- eternal, enduring truth. Sir, it is not meet that our old fag should throw its
a few years, and we want room.
you to hospitable graves.”
We ought to have the Bay of
I don't desire to prevent them.
it pleases them.
protecting folds over expeditions for lucre or for land. But you still say
Washington, 1847), 216-217 passim, February 11, 1847.
12. A Young Officer in the War (1847)
BY SECOND LIEUTENANT ULYSSES SIMPSON GRANT
Young Grant was fresh from West Point; he served throughout the war, first under Taylor and later under Scott. For his gallantry in the event here described he was brevetted captain and mentioned in several reports, among others in that of Major Robert E. Lee. — For Grant, see Channing and Hart, Guide, $ 25. — Bibliography: H. H. Bancroft, History of the Pacific States, VIII, 550–556; Channing and Hart, Guide, $ 194.
WAS with the earliest of the troops to enter the Mills. In passing
through to the north side, looking towards Chapultepec, I happened to notice that there were armed Mexicans still on top of the building, only a few feet from many of our men. Not seeing any stairway or ladder reaching to the top of the building, I took a few soldiers, and had a cart that happened to be standing near brought up, and, placing the shafts against the wall and chocking the wheels so that the cart could not back, used the shafts as a sort of ladder extending to within three or four feet of the top. By this I climbed to the roof of the building, followed by a few men, but found a private soldier had preceded me by some other way. There were still quite a number of Mexicans on the roof, among them a major and five or six officers of lower grades, who had not succeeded in getting away before our troops occupied the building. They still had their arms, while the soldier before mentioned was walking as sentry, guarding the prisoners he had surrounded, all by himself. I halted the sentinel, received the swords from the commissioned officers, and proceeded, with the assistance of the soldiers now with me, to disable the muskets by striking them against the edge of the wall, and throw them to the ground below. . .
During the night of the uth [September) batteries were established which could play upon the fortifications of Chapultepec.
The bombardment commenced early on the morning of the 12th, but there was no further engagement during this day than that of the artillery. Gen
eral Scott assigned the capture of Chapultepec to General Pillow, but did not leave the details to his judgment. Two assaulting columns, two hundred and fifty men each, composed of volunteers for the occasion, were formed. They were commanded by Captains McKinzie and Casey respectively. The assault was successful, but bloody. ...
Worth's command gradually advanced to the front. ... Later in the day in reconnoitring I found a church off to the south of the road, which looked to me as if the belfry would command the ground back of the garita San Cosme. I got an officer of the voltigeurs, with a mountain howitzer and men to work it, to go with me. The road being in possession of the enemy, we had to take the field to the south to reach the church. This took us over several ditches breast deep in water and grown up with water plants. These ditches, however, were not over eight or ten feet in width. The howitzer was taken to pieces and carried by the men to its destination. When I knocked for admission a priest came to the door, who, while extremely polite, declined to admit us. With the little Spanish then at my command, I explained to him that he might save property by opening the door, and he certainly would save himself from becoming a prisoner, for a time at least ; and besides, I intended to go in whether he consented or not.
He began to see his duty in the same light that I did, and opened the door, though he did not look as if it gave him special pleasure to do so. The gun was carried to the belfry and put together. We were not more than two or three hundred yards from San Cosme. The shots from our little gun dropped in upon the enemy and created great confusion. Why they did not send out a small party and capture us, I do not know. We had no infantry or other defences besides our one gun.
The effect of this gun upon the troops about the gate of the city was so marked that General Worth saw it from his position. He was so pleased that he sent a staff officer, Lieutenant Pemberton . . . to bring me to him. He expressed his gratification at the services the howitzer in the church steeple was doing, saying that every shot was effective, and ordered a captain of voltigeurs to report to me with another howitzer to be placed along with the one already rendering so much service. could not tell the General that there was not room enough in the steeple for another gun, because he probably would have looked upon such a statement as a contradiction from a second lieutenant. I took the captain with me, but did not use his gun. V. S. Grant, Personal Memoirs (New York, 1885), I, 152–159 passim.