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powder weighed nine and a half drachms. * But moderate-sized guns would not have battered down the convent, a solid edifice of stone ; while the tête-de-pont, less firm, would probably have suffered the most. Were the field work in advance of the convent susceptible of easier conquest than the other, there were the buildings which formed the “citadel”-the garrison might retire there, and hold out against everything except heavy artillery and starvation. But a storming party once over the parapet of the bridge-head, the work would be subdued. It had no citadel for an after struggle. With these comments, we leave this question.

Notwithstanding the remarkt that Worth's division won the field, the three combats in one, were intimately connected. Gen. Scott says, in his report, “They (Clarke's brigade) would have suffered greatly more by flank attacks from the convent, but for the presence of Twiggs on the other side of that work."I Again, “ As the concurrent attack upon the convent favoured, physically and morally, the assault upon the tête-de-pont, so, reciprocally, no doubt, the fall of the latter contributed to the capture of the former.” And lastly, in reference to Shields, "It cannot be doubted that the rage of the conflict between him and the enemy, just in the rear of the tête-de-pont and the convent, had some influence on the surrender of those formidable defences." It is not sought to question the truth of these remarks. After some investigation and much thought, our judgment concurs. They demolish the “ train of reasoning,"s by which a certain writer would claim all the credit for the first division. The point not clearly defined is, how much influence was exerted by Shields ? Perhaps the due allowance has not been granted to him, in despite of the dereliction of a part of his command, and the delay in his success. The military value of the position he assailed has been estimated in general terms. Besides, did not his presence in the rear weaken

* “ The Other Side," p. 295. Nine and a half drachms equal 570 grains, which is an extraordinary charge of powder. The charge of the American musket, according to United States Ordnance Manual, (of 1850, 2d edition, p. 243,) is only 110 grains, or a little under two drachms.

† By Semmes, as previously stated. #Gen. Scott's report, 28th August, 1847, Ex. Doc. No. 1., pp. 306-315. § Semmes, p. 403.

the morale of the defenders of the works, by obstructing reinforcements to them, and by intercepting their withdrawal on defeat? Did it not suggest to their minds this last thought? And, when such an one is entertained, who will pretend to assert, that they were not already half conquered? Would not the great aim be to escape before the outlet was entirely closed? And did not the array of his forces for the last advance, which, it appeared, would be resolute and decisive, create a panic in the tête-depont, induce a slackening of its fire and the fleeing of its garrison, since only twenty-four men were found in the work? The reply to these inquiries—and it is conceived that there can be but one-is conclusive. The question, whether the tête-de-pont or Shields's contestants, yielded first, is altogether subordinate. The former may have preceded—they may have been simultaneous. The reports would indicate the first, by stating that Worth's advance soon joined Shields's, and both engaged in the pursuit. And the bridge-head was three-fourths of a mile distant, and some minutes must have elapsed before the troops thence could have united with Shields. A few facts may render this opinion a shade doubtful. The enemy before Shields did not wait to cross bayonets, but broke when our men, with determined aspect, at the “charge,” were yet at some distance, and time was required to pass the deep and difficult ditch along the causeway. Shields, on the causeway, gave ground to the cavalry of Kearney to pass--they were the first to overtake him. And, in consideration of his numerous wounded, he suspended pursuit, with the design of returning to take care of them. It was about this time that Worth's advance arrived, and three* of Shields's companies joined

* Lieut. Col. Dickinson's Report, Ex. Doc., No. 1. Appendix, 130. Semmes, at p. 402, remarks that Shields had just “reached the causeway,' when “the head of Worth's column came up.” We are informed that Kearney first passed the Palme{tos. They had been on the causeway some time,

He says, farther, that the fall of the bridge head enabled Shields, with his “ remnants” of regiments, to “charge up to the causeway.” give him the benefit of his declaration. The text contains our statement. Again, he says, “A large number of prisoners were taken in San Pablo—the enemy having retreated from the tête-de-pont into that work." p. 403. The retreat was precisely the other way. See Report of Col. Belton, early in the tête-de-pont, Doc. No. 1, Appendix, p. 50. On the same page this author says, the “ number of killed and wounded shows where the hardest fighting has been done,” and allows Worth a loss of 349 ; Twiggs, whose division was about

*

even then.

We

them in the march towards the city—the others returning to the field. The first gun turned upon the retiring enemy was fired by Brevet Captain Ayres,* early in the work, and the first shot was aimed, through mistake, at the Palmettos, then near or on the causeway. Possibly the tele-de-pont fell first-probably the enemy gave way at both places at the same time. Either would not alter the true point at issue—the matter is of comparatively trifling importance—any decision would be useless, and farther discussion fruitless of good.+

Gen. Scott acknowledges that he could have occupied the capital the same evening, with "little additional loss." There were two considerations that induced him to check the enthusiasm of his army, and halt it outside of the walls. The first was a public one-which he and Mr. Trist have both expressed--the fear that a precipitate entrance would expel the members of the government, degrade the republic, (by thus mortifying individual vanity,) exasperate the people, and “scatter the elements of peace.”\ The neutral British, and others, had impressed upon him this fear, while yet at Puebla. The will-o'-thewisp of peace had not yet exhausted its baleful light. All efforts were applied to constrain a close waddling after its zig-zag course. Military operations and military renown were perverted into subordination to the distant lure of

one man.

“the same size," 200 ; and Shields. 240. Now, [official report,] Worth, out of 2600 men, lost 335; Twiggs, having the 4th artillery and 7th infantry absent from the battle, and numbering about 2000, lost 178 ; and Shields, out of 1500, lost 399! Let us ask here, according to his rule, where was the “hardest fighting ?Ile puts Pillow's loss at 200, placing the division entire under Pillow, to the exclusion of the credit due Shields; whereas Pillow's loss, in fact, was but 16, including a regular officer [Lieut. Irons) in his staff. The voltigeurs (see Andrews's Report, Doc. No. 1, Appendix, p. 122) losing only

With regard to the three divisions, Ripley (2d. vol., p. 310] says, “ Had any been beaten, it is difficult to see how the victory would have been achieved.”

Stevens, p. 72, says of Shields, “The only safety to his command, perhaps to the army itself, was to reach the causeway.” Again, p. 73, “All [ihe divi. sions] suffered in nearly equal proportion, and to no particular one belongs the glory.”

* Capt. Ayres informed our authority.

† An officer of distinction, of the regular army, and disinterested on this question, informs us that he viewed the combats from a church top, at the angle of the Coyacan road and San Antonio causeway, and distinctly saw the enemy give way in front of Shields, before the tête-de-pont hud been taken.

This ought to be conclusive of the matter.

# Scott's despatch, 28th August, 18-17.

pacific overtures. The only sound upon the ear was the eternal ding-dong of treaty. It was pleaded for in proclamations; it was bribed for in the $10,000* paid to Santa Anna, and the tacit promise of a million on its conclusion; it was battled for heroically in the valley, and yet it flitted before us, with intangible form. The piling of arms could not conciliate its approach, nor would it receive a virtual surrender, (on terms.) in exchange for its embrace! It was a modern Siren, to be classed almost equally with the fabled pair; but, unlike Ulysses, Scott was not compelled to resist its seductive strains. He, alone, yielded to the enchantment. His followers, with open ears, could not be beguiled.

The second motive for the halt was very probably, nay, it may be asserted, the voluntary pledge to offer (not invite) an armistice," + when he should defeat the enemy in view of the city, or should take a strong position from them.

The first is only to be lamented, because our government and people anxiously desired a termination of the war. Like drowning men, rather than bold statesmen and daring warriors, our public functionaries grasped at every straw that apparently tended to secure negotiations. A lesson was given them by Santa Anna, when he passed, by our aid, to his country, to display the bitterest hostility. Another impressive one was taught by Ampudia, when he persuaded Taylor to the armistice at Monterey, with a falsehood about peace commissioners. Both were deemed consummate stratagems, by the wily foe. And they fell on ears not unwilling to be convinced. Trist was accredited, on Scott's line, to improve any moment of necessity or conciliation, on the part of the enemy. The persistency of the Mexican character was blindly miscalculated. Scott was thus embarrassed and trammelled, and he is justified. But it would have been as well to have demanded better authority than the British attachéesinterested persons—for the statements, that the government of Mexico would be " dishonoured," and the nation outraged and exasperated, by an entrance forcibly into the capital.

* Ripley (vol. 2) is our only authority for this assertion.

+ Col. Hitchcock's letter to the New York Courier, Jan. 23d, 1848, to be found in proceedings of Pillow's Court, p 524. This letter, we may say, was not intended for publication, but to furnish materials for a desence of General Scott. It was addressed to Major Davies, formerly of the army. It is ardent in style, but we make no doubt of its entire truth. NEW SERIES, VOL. VI.-NO. 11.

8

Subsequent events falsified them ; but these should not be weighed against Scott, who was unable to foresee consequences.

The spontaneous promise to leave the city intact, until efforts at negotiation were exhausted, will be commended in after times. Yet, in a military sense, it was an error. It is unwise for a general to expose his game, or express to the enemy any of his designs, and more imprudent to give him the fixed programme of action, with a stipulation of leniency, after certain great achievements. If the disclosure of the contingency were not regarded as boastful, and scorned accordingly, it would not overawe, but stimulate to the highest exertions, to falsify the prediction. When the weak struggles with the strong, with an understanding from the latter that the most serious injury will not be inflicted, the former fights with the greater desperation. Taylor,* with blunt frankness, announced his intention, on the march, to take Monterey, at all hazards. The enemy were not intimidated; but, on the contrary, all their energies were aroused, to resist successfully. The worst feature of Scott's course was, that his high character gave a sanction to his assurance, that the capital

* We take occasion, at the mention of Taylor's name, to notice the NewYork Democratic Review, for November, 1851. That number contains a portrait of General Wool, accompanied by a most fulsome panegyric of his qualities and services as an officer. The object was to thrust him before the country, as a candidate for the Presidency, and to make it appear that he was quite available for success. It is natural that there should be great straining to produce these effects; and, had the praise or the puffing been limited to Wool, without depreciating or detracting from Taylor, the article might pass without notice. Even as it is, the positions assumed are too brazenly erroneous to impose on a sensible reader. We sought it for the purpose of replying ; but on full examination and reflection, we are convinced that the time and labour would be wasted. Besides, we esteem General Wool, and it would be painful to present him in the light which a close analysis of the different points would inevitably exhibit him. We quote two passages, in illustration of the tenor and spirit of the entire piece. “ He (Wool, in reference to Buena Vista,) foresaw all, planned all, and performed all, and his foresight remedied the mistakes which the mental inactivity of Taylor caused him to commit.” « At the final onset he (Taylor) was absent from the field, when the battle was saved only by the foresight of Wool.” p. 454. Every one who knows anything of this battle, knows the direct contrary of these assertions. He does not say that Wool met Taylor, on the latter's return from Saltillo, and told him all was lost," and advised a retreat to another position ! Nor many other things, which a candid view of facts would have elicited. We dismiss the matter, with the remark, that all Wool's services there are exaggerated, and all of Taylor's are perverted or denied.

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