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WARLIKE TONE OF THE MEXICANS.
However sincere the Mexican commissioners may have been, personally, in their efforts to promote a peace, the instructions by which they were fettered showed that their government was far from desirous of participating in such a result. Perhaps, indeed, peace might have been obtained, had the United States been willing to yield all the points of controversy, and further agreed to surrender the line of the Rio Grande and fall back upon the Nueces; but such a retrogression, even had the Mexican proposition been referred by Mr. Trist, would never have been acceded to by his government.
But, long previous to the close of the armistice, the warlike temper of the Mexican people had made itself apparent. Independent of their almost undisguised efforts to fortify the approaches to the city, the representatives of the states of Mexico, Jalisco, and Zacatecas united in a protest in which they asserted that the city of Mexico would not allow the necessary freedom in its discussions and deliberations, if Congress should assemble in that city.”
They declared also, that any arrangement made in relation to foreign affairs, unless ratified by Congress, would be unconstitutional, and that their only motive for protesting against the negotiation then pending, was to save the republic from the ignominy of a treaty concluded and ratified under the guns of the enemy, and on the day succeeding unlooked-for reverses."
In addition to this, a circular was sent by the Secretary of State to the states of Puebla and Mexico, exhorting the people to grasp whatever arms they could conveniently obtain, and by fire and sword, and every other practicable means, endeavour to annihilate the invaders.
Matters were now drawing to a crisis. On the 6th of September, the day before the failure of the negotiations was fully ascertained, Scott addressed a letter to the Mexican General-inchief, complaining of repeated violations of the armistice, and
threatening a resumption of hostilities, unless full satisfaction was accorded before twelve o'clock of the following day.
To this General Santa Anna replied in a letter of the same date, indignantly denying the charges specified, and accusing his antagonist of similar infractions of the truce. This closed the correspondence; on the 7th, the negotiations were publicly declared to be abortive, and both parties entered into active preparations for the renewal of the war.
During the pending of the armistice, an event occurred which produced emotions of painful regret among many of the Mexican people. This was the trial of the deserters from the American army, taken in arms against their own countrymen at the battle of Churubusco.
These men, after clandestinely quitting the colours of the United States, had enrolled themselves in the service of the enemy, by whom they had been formed into two companies, under the title of the companies of St. Patrick, commanded by the notorious Riley, a man whose undaunted courage won the admiration even of those who abhorred his treason. They had fought long and desperately in the field-work before the convent of San Pablo, and were not taken prisoners until their Mexican comrades had fled, and their own ammunition was entirely exhausted.
At a general court-martial, over which Colonel Bennett Riley presided, twenty-nine of these deserters were tried and found guilty, sixteen of whom were hung on the 10th of September, at San Angel, and four the day following, at Mixcoac.
At a subsequent general court-martial, of which Colonel Garland. was president, thirty-six more were tried and convicted, thirty of whom were also executed at Mixcoac, on the 13th of September.
The remainder on both occasions, amounting to fifteen in number, owing to mitigating circumstances, had their sentences commuted to lashing and branding ; among the latter was the
EXECUTION OF THE DESERTERS.
commander, Riley, who escaped the extreme penalty of the law by having deserted previous to the formal declaration of war by the United States.
Thus ignominiously perished, by the hands of their indignant comrades, fifty convicted traitors, whose weapons at Buena Vista and at Churubusco had been wantonly turned against the colours they had sworn to defend, and the nation to which they owed allegiance. It was a terrible spectacle, and only to be justified by the enormity of the crime, which had, however, been provoked, throughout the whole war, by the allurements with which the Mexican generals basely tempted them.
Hostilities recommenced-Reconnoissances-Valley of Mexico--Defences around
the City—Description of Chapultepec-Molino del Rey-Casa de Mata-Strength of the Mexican Lines-Storm of Molino del Rey-Capture of the Mexican Battery-Repulse of the Victors—The Battery retaken-Storm of Casa de MataTerrible Fire of the Mexicans—McIntosh's Brigade repulsed-Duncan's Battery -Surrender of Casa de Mata-Mexican Loss-American Loss.
During the period of the truce, the head-quarters of General Scott were established at Tacubaya, a delightful village about two and a half miles distant from the city of Mexico, and within point-blank range of the guns of Chapultepec. There Worth’s division and Harney's cavalry brigade were also quartered. The remainder of the army occupied the surrounding villages; Pillow's division head-quarters being at Mixcoac, that of Twiggs at San Angel, and Quitman's at San Augustine.
On the 7th of September, hostilities were recommenced on the part of the United States, by a reconnoissance of the enemy's interior line of defences immediately around the capital. These defences will be best elucidated by a brief description of the topography of the valley.
The view of the valley of Mexico, as displayed from the eminence on which the Archbishop's Palace at Tacubaya is situated, exhibits the city of Mexico as built on a slight elevation, in the centre of a level plain, hemmed in for two hundred miles around by lofty mountains.
The immense expanse of this lovely valley, which the transparency of the atmosphere renders distinctly visible, is chequered