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CARDENAS' DESPATCH. columns, the Dragoons being on the right, the Third Brigade on the left, and the First and Second Brigades in the centre.
On the 24th, upon reaching a point on the route from Matamoros to Point Isabel, eighteen miles from the former, and ten from the latter place, he learned that Point Isabel was not occupied by troops, and directed General Worth to move towards Matamoros, while he himself proceeded with the dragoons and the empty wagons of the train to Point Isabel. On approaching the place, General Taylor was met by a deputation of citizens of the state of Tamaulipas, who came to present a protest of the Prefect against his advance into their country. He promised to give them an audience when he halted the troops, but when near Point Isabel, the rising smoke indicated that the Mexicans had fired the place; when he dismissed the deputation, informing them that he would answer their protest when opposite to Matamoros. Having detached Colonel Twiggs with the advance of the dragoons to arrest the flames, General Taylor found on his arrival that the conflagration had done but little damage ; and had the further good fortune to find that, agreeably to his well concerted arrangements, the steamboats from Corpus Christi with the supplies, had just entered the port.
The protest to which we have referred was as follows:
"Office of the Prefect of the Northern District of the Department of Ta
"Santa Rita, March 23, 1846. “Sir: Although the pending question respecting the annexation of the department of Texas to the United States is subject to the decision of the supreme government of Mexico, the fact of the advance of the army, under your excellency's orders, over the line occupied by you at Corpus Christi, places me under the necessity, as the chief political authority of the northern district of Tamaulipas, to address you, as I have now the honour to do, through the commissioners, who will place this in your hands, and to inform you that the people under this prefecture, being justly alarmed at the invasion of an army, which, without any previous declaration of war, and without announcing explicitly the object proposed by it, comes to occupy a territory which never belonged to the insurgent province, cannot regard with indifference a proceeding so contrary to the conduct observed towards each other by civilized nations, and to the clearest principles of the law of nations; that, directed by honour and patriotism, and certain that nothing has been said officially by the cabinet of the Union to the Mexican government, respecting the extension of the limits of Texas to the left bank of the Rio Bravo, trusting in the well-known justice of their cause, and using their natural right of defence, they (the citizens of this district) protest, in the most solemn manner, that neither now nor at any time do they, or will they consent to separate themselves from the Mexican republic, and to unite themselves with the United States, and that they are resolved to carry this firm determination into effect, resisting, so far as their strength will enable them, at all times and places, until the army under your excellency's orders shall recede and occupy its former positions; because, so long as it remains within the territory of Tamaulipas, the inhabitants must consider that · whatsoever protestations of peace may be made, hostilities have been openly commenced by your excellency, the lamentable consequences of which will rest before the world exclusively on the heads of the invaders.
“I have the honour to say this to your excellency, with the object indicated, and to assure you of my consideration and esteem.
JUAN JOSE PINEDA. To General Z. Taylor, &c."
ARRIVAL AT THE RIO GRANDE.
As Point Isabel was to be the depot of all military stores for the Army of Occupation, it was accordingly surveyed with a view to its defence, and Captain Sanders of the Engineers ordered to construct the necessary works. In addition to the troops originally intended for the defence of the post, Captain Porter's company was ordered to the place as a reinforcement; and the whole placed under the command of Major Monroe.
Having thrown forward a sufficient amount of supplies towards Matamoros, General Taylor proceeded with the dragoons and staff to join General Worth, who had advanced with the brigades on the 24th six miles towards Matamoros, and again three miles on the 25th, encamping at Palo Alto, near the place where the battle afterwards occurred, and which General Taylor then indicated as the place which the enemy would probably select, should he desire to meet them in an open field. The junction of the troops was effected on the 27th, and orders issued to march on the 28th for the town of Matamoros. At eight o'clock, on the morning of the 28th, the troops were put in motion ; and after a march through a beautiful and picturesque country, reached the Rio Grande opposite Matamoros at eleven o'clock A. M., and planted upon its banks the standard of the - Stripes and Stars.” The point of destination had been gained. At their feet rolled the waters of the farfamed river, and beyond rose the city of Matamoros in its beauty, with the Mexican colours gaily flying from the Place d'Artillerie, the quarters of the military commandant, and the prominent places of the city. When the American flag was spread to the breeze, its presence was greeted by the cross of St. George, and the French and Spanish colours run up from the different consulates.
As the American troops advanced towards the Rio Grande, large parties of irregular Mexican troops retreated before them, by whom two of our dragoons, far in advance of the rest, were captured, which created some excitement among our soldiers.
Interview between General Worth and the Authorities of Matamoros—Intrenchments thrown up-Fort Brown-Murder of Colonel Cross-Arrival of General Ampudia-Artful Address to the Foreigners in the American Army-Correspondence between Ampudia and General Taylor-Blockade of the Rio Grande-First Rencontre-Body of Colonel Cross found The Burial-Arista's Arrival-Pro. clamation of Paredes-Correspondence between Arista and Taylor-Recapitulation of the Causes of the War.
DIRECTLY after the planting of the American colours on the Rio Grande, General Worth and staff were directed to cross the river with an open communication for General Mejia, the commander of the Mexican forces in Matamoros, and a sealed one for the civil authorities. General Mejia, on a point of etiquette, refused to receive General Worth in person ; but, after some delay, General Vega, representing the military authorities of Matamoros, and the Licenciado Casares the civil authorities, were deputed to meet General Worth and receive any communication which he had to make from his commanding-general.
In the interview which took place, General Vega complained of the march of the American troops into the department of Tamaulipas as an act of aggression ; to which General Worth replied that the question of the right of territory was a matter to be settled by the two governments. Finding that General Mejia refused to receive from him the despatch with which he was charged, General Worth withdrew it, but delivered to the Licenciado Casares the sealed document for the civil authorities.
During the interview, General Worth repeatedly requested permission to see the American Consul, and, when finally refused,
stated that the refusal was considered a belligerent act; and, after announcing that the commanding-general would regard the passage of any armed party of Mexicans across the Rio Grande as an act of war, promptly terminated the conference.
Both parties now prepared for the contest which was inevitable. General Taylor ordered Major Mansfield of the Engineers to make the necessary surveys and throw up suitable works, while the Mexicans were active in strengthening their former defences and establishing new ones. On the 29th the Mexicans mounted a heavy gun in a battery of sand-bags, and contemplated a night attack. The reported crossing of a large body of cavalry led General Taylor to believe their object was to attack Point Isabel, while at the same time they opened their batteries on the troops opposite Matamoros. Accordingly he gave out the watchword and ordered the men to sleep upon their arms, while he despatched Captain May with a squadron of dragoons to reach Point Isabel, twentyseven miles distant, in the space of four hours, to put Major Monroe on his guard and reinforce the garrison. The morning of the 30th dawned, however, without an attack, and the Mexicans lost the golden opportunity of assailing their enemy while encamped in open field.
The defences under Major Mansfield, an active and accomplished officer, were prosecuted with energy. By the 6th of April a battery was completed for four 18-pounders, and the guns placed in battery bearing “directly upon the public square of Matamoros, and within good range for demolishing the town.” In rear of the battery they broke ground on the 8th for the principal intrenchment, a strong field-fort with six bastions, capable of holding two thousand men. It was afterwards named Fort Brown, in honour of the brave Major Brown who was killed in its defence. Along the Rio Grande on either side, fronting each other for the space of two miles, thus lay the hostile armies within musket-range-their batteries shotted—the guns pointed at each