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WORTH ENTERS PUEBLA.
“I have the honour to remain, sir, with high respect, your most obedient servant,
WINFIELD SCOTT. Hon. Wm. L. MARCY, Secretary of War.”
The complete rout at Cerro Gordo opened the way to Jalapa. The partially completed defences of the La Hoya pass, offered no molestation to the march of our troops. On the 19th, the day succeeding the battle, the division of Twiggs was in undisputed possession of Jalapa, while Worth's division pushed on to Perote, and captured the town and castle without resistance; receiving at the hands of Colonel Velasquez, the commissioner appointed to surrender them by the Mexican government, the following arms and munitions of war:-“Fifty-four guns and mortars, iron and bronze, of various calibres, in good service condition,eleven thousand and sixty-five cannon-balls, fourteen thousand three hundred bombs and hand-grenades, and five hundred muskets."
Here Worth rested, and recruited his command. After remaining for about two weeks, he again resumed his line of march, and on the 15th of May, accompanied by Quitman's brigade of volunteers, entered the city of Puebla, with no more opposition than a slight skirmish, near Amosoque, distant about twelve miles from the city. There his progress had been threatened by a force of about three thousand cavalry, under General Santa Anna;
but a few discharges from the light artillery, dismounting some ninety of the enemy, sufficed to clear the way, and by ten o'clock the next morning, the division, numbering four thousand men, stacked their arms in the Grand Plaza.
* Worth's Report, Perote, April 22, 1847.
Astonishment of the Pueblanos — Appearance of the American Troops — Their
Characteristics—Embarrassing Position of the General-in-chief-Discharge of the twelve months Volunteers-Prospects of Peace-Mexican Affairs-Defiance of the Mexican Congress-Proclamation of General Salas--Anaya declares the Capital in a state of Siege-Coalition of the Mexican States-Scott's Address to the Mexican People-Feeling of the United States Government-Buchanan's Letters-American Commissioner appointed-Mexico refuses to Treat-Condition of the American Army--Arrival of Reinforcements.
NOTHING could exceed the astonishment of the citizens of Puebla, at witnessing the entrance of the small force of four thousand American troops, one-half of whom were raw, and only partially disciplined volunteers, into the midst of a hostile population of eighty thousand souls.
The false and exaggerated reports which had been circulated throughout the interior of Mexico, in regard to the ferocious prowess of the North Americans,—their gigantic stature -- their cannibal propensities, and their wonderful skill in arms, had disposed the more imaginative of the Pueblanos to expect the arrival of a body of men far different in personal appearance from those who marched with quiet confidence into their midst. Great, indeed, was the wonder of the citizens to find, that in stature and apparent physical strength, the conquerors were not superior to the conquered ; that the arms of the Anglo-Americans were plain and unpretending, their equipments indifferent in the extreme, and themselves apparently worn down with the fatigue of a long march, the sickliness of the country through which they
THE AMERICAN TROOPS.
had passed, and the alternations of heat and cold to which they had been constantly exposed.
The undaunted courage, and indomitable resolution, which had made every man a hero, could not be exaggerated. The commonest soldier in our armies fought as if the fate of the battle and the fortunes of his country rested upon his single arm.
The battles won by Taylor and Scott, from Palo Alto to Cerro Gordo, are as much instances of individual daring, as of fine military skill.
To us it appears as if they present a new and terrible feature in warfare—terrible from its very effectiveness, the combination of the individual heroism of the old chivalric era, with the warlike science of modern times.
In European warfare, men are still considered as mere machines, to be impelled or withdrawn as the science of the commander shall dictate. The sentiments of a pure patriotism, as acting upon and stimulating the gallantry of the soldier, are but little regarded, while thought, genius, ability, or a quick perception in the masses, are considered as obstacles to success rather than calculated to promote it. The perfection of the art has been hitherto supposed to consist in a blind unreasoning obediencethe accuracy of mechanism in military evolutions, and a perfect knowledge of the manual.
But, unfortunate indeed would that general be, who should attempt to snatch a victory from the grasp of the Anglo-American by means of the present continental system of military tactics.
Enthusiastic in temperament, and elastic under reverses-accustomed to a life of hardihood and adventure—familiar from childhood with the use of arms—pressing forward continually to the outskirts of civilization, whence he has often to repel savage incursions, and often obliged to maintain his own rights by his own hand, in states and territories thinly settled, where the force of law is many times administered with difficulty or inefficient in
its operation, the Anglo-American has learned, in a severe school, the benefits of self-reliance, and the good results which never fail to follow the strong will, supported by a corresponding energy.
The system of volunteer training has also been of service; so that, while retaining much that is really useful in modern military science, and acting when necessary under its strictest rules, he still maintains an independence of thought and action which enables him to cope successfully with dangers from which no mere skill could extricate him, and to win battles after science has pronounced them irrecoverably lost.
While Worth took possession of the hills commanding Puebla, and accumulated supplies, the General-in-chief, still at Jalapa, found himself placed in a situation of the utmost embarrassment.
Of the twenty-three regiments of twelve months volunteers called out by the President in May and June 1846, seven regiments were with Scott, and the period for which they enlisted was now about to expire.
By the abstraction of these forces, honourably discharged and amounting to nearly three thousand men, the army was so greatly reduced that the General-in-chief found himself compelled to await for reinforcements before he could resume offensive operations.
It is true, that the spirit of the Mexican army appeared to have become completely paralyzed by the terrible defeat of Cerro Gordo, but the main body, which escaped with Santa Anna and Almonte, amounting to eight thousand men, still remained as a nucleus around which many yet eager and untried spirits might rally.
The prospects of peace also seemed further off than ever. Indignant under their repeated disasters, the cry of the Mexican people was still for vengeance. The chief papers of the capital and departments of Mexico, teemed with appeals to the honour and patriotism of the nation, and every effort which a feeble
DEFIANCE OF THE MEXICAN CONGRESS.
government could exert, was made to induce the people to rise " en masse" and exterminate their invaders.
On the 20th of April, the Mexican Congress passed a series of resolutions, the preamble to which is as follows:
“ The Sovereign Constitutional Congress of Mexico, in use of the full powers with which it has been invested by the people of the republic for the sacred object of preserving its nationality, and faithful interpreters of the firm determination of their constituents to carry on the war which the government of the United States is waging against the nation, without losing courage at any kind of reverses, and considering that in these circumstances, the first public necessity is to preserve a centre of union, to direct the national defence with all the energy which the state of things demands, and to avoid even the danger of a revolutionary power arising to dissolve the national union and destroy its institutions, or to consent to dismember its territory, has decreed the following.”
The first resolution asserts the power of the supreme government « to take the necessary measures to
war, defend the nationality of the republic, and to save the republican form of government, popular and federal, under which the nation is constituted.”
The second resolution, in explanation of the true intent and meaning of the first, states that the foregoing article does not authorize the Executive to make a peace with the United States, conclude negotiations with foreign powers, nor alienate the whole or a part of the territory of the republic.”
The fourth article declares null and illegal “ all treaties and arrangements made between the United States and any authority who should substitute itself for the supreme powers legally established.”
And in the fifth, every individual is denounced as a traitor, - who, either in his private capacity or as a public officer, either privately, or invested with any incompetent authority, or of revo
carry on the