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t again in this campaign his early comrade-in-arms, Jefferson Davis. Mr. Davis had resigned from the army in 1835, and retired to his plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he lived in seclusion until 1844. He then appeared in political life as presidential elector, and the next year was elected to Congress. At the breaking out of the Mexican War he was elected colonel of the First Mississippi Rifles, which under his command won great distinction at Monterey, and subsequently at Buena Vista performed exploits which made the Union ring with applause. Colonel Davis was selected by General Taylor as one of the commissioners to negotiate for the capitulation of Monterey. In speaking of these events, Mr. Davis has frequently related a circumstance illustrative of General Johnston's character. He said that General Johnston excelled all the men he had ever known, in consistency of conduct and in equanimity and decisiveness. Every action seemed weighed beforehand. The smalle
our midst could never extricate itself. Our armies, whenever employed, have acquitted themselves admirably; but, being separated, their efforts have produced no results. The simplest knowledge of mechanical power would indicate the folly of dividing our forces. But enough of this; our officers and soldiers, notwithstanding everything opposing, have added the greatest lustre to our arms. The following testimonial to the great abilities and solid character of the hero of Monterey and Buena Vista is inserted as one soldier's estimate of another, whom he had known under trying and widely varying circumstances: August 3, 1847. Dear Preston: . . . I will effect all or more than I expected in coming here, without encountering the dangers from the climate, with which the apprehensions of our friends threatened us. If by any good fortune I can obtain the capital to cultivate my plantation in sugar-cane, I feel sure that I will accumulate wealth. Like the poor, imprisoned abbe of th
Robert Lewis Dabney, Life and Commands of Lieutenand- General Thomas J. Jackson, Chapter 3: in Mexico. (search)
n. The old artillery, cumbersome in moving and, slow in working, was usually posted at some permanent point, and must needs remain there for the day. If the tide of battle flowed towards it, it might render important service; if away from it, it was condemned to inactivity, and a partial disaster could compel its surrender. But the rapid manceuvring of the light artillery in action was then a new feature in American warfare. Its brilliant results at Palo Alto, at Resaca de la Palma, at Buena Vista, had delighted General Taylor, and electrified the country. Jackson foresaw that this arm of warfare was henceforth destined to be used in every battle, and to be always thrust forward to the post of danger and of honor. To a soul thirsting, like his, for distinction, this was motive enough for preferring it. And he said that, determined as he was to do his whole duty, and to consecrate himself wholly to his functions as a soldier, he had no fears of being unable to satisfy the rigidity
Fitzhugh Lee, General Lee, Chapter 2: birth.-career as officer of Engineers, United States army. (search)
to prevent Mexican authority from being extended to the River Nueces, which was claimed as the proper line. He was the right man in the right place, and when Arista, the Mexican general, crossed the Rio Grande with six thousand men, near Fort Brown, Taylor, being in the vicinity, promptly attacked with two thousand men and defeated him, assumed the offensive, crossed the Rio Grande, and war with Mexico became an accomplished fact. Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Matamoras, Monterey, and Buena Vista are the stars in the military crown on the brow of Old rough and ready, as he was called. Calm, silent. stern, possessed of military genius, this soldier at once became a favorite with the American people, and for his services was afterward elected to be the twelfth President of the United States. When Mexico's capital was decided to be the objective point of the campaign, Taylor's base of operations was too distant and his line of communication too long. It was thought advisable to
Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, Political Intrigue — Buena Vista — movement against Vera Cruz-siege and capture of Vera Cruz (search)
g army. Indeed Scott did not deem it important to hold anything beyond the Rio Grande, and authorized Taylor to fall back to that line if he chose. General Taylor protested against the depletion of his army, and his subsequent movement upon Buena Vista would indicate that he did not share the views of his chief in regard to the unimportance of conquest beyond the Rio Grande. Scott had estimated the men and material that would be required to capture Vera Cruz and to march on the capital o being in the country. Under these circumstances Scott had to issue his orders designating the troops to be withdrawn from Taylor, without the personal consultation he had expected to hold with his subordinate. General Taylor's victory at Buena Vista, February 22d, 23d, and 24th, 1847 [Santa Anna had fled by the 24th], with an army composed almost entirely of volunteers who had not been in battle before, and over a vastly superior force numerically, made his nomination for the Presidency b
Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, March to Jalapa-battle of Cerro Gordo-Perote-Puebla-Scott and Taylor (search)
g General Taylor. It is not likely that he would have gone as far north as Monterey to attack the United States troops when he knew his country was threatened with invasion further south. When Taylor moved to Saltillo and then advanced on to Buena Vista, Santa Anna crossed the desert confronting the invading army, hoping no doubt to crush it and get back in time to meet General Scott in the mountain passes west of Vera Cruz. His attack on Taylor was disastrous to the Mexican army, but, notwithstanding this, he marched his army to Cerro Gordo, a distance not much short of one thousand miles by the line he had to travel, in time to intrench himself well before Scott got there. If he had been successful at Buena Vista his troops would no doubt have made a more stubborn resistance at Cerro Gordo. Had the battle of Buena Vista not been fought Santa Anna would have had time to move leisurely to meet the invader further south and with an army not demoralized nor depleted by defeat.
Through suffering and death, by disease and in battle, they have en-(lured, and fought and fell with you. Clay and Webster each gave a son, never to be returned. From the State of my own residence, besides other worthy but less known Whig names, we sent Marshall, Morrison, Baker, and Hardin; they all fought and one fell, and in the fall of that one we lost our best Whig man. Nor were the Whigs few in number or laggard in the day of danger. In that fearful, bloody, breathless struggle at Buena Vista, where each man's hard task was to beat back five foes or die himself, of the five high officers who perished, four were Whigs. In speaking of this, I mean no odious comparison between the lion-hearted Whigs and the Democrats who fought there. On other occasions, and among the lower officers and privates on that occasion, I doubt not the proportion was different. I wish to do justice to all. I think of all those brave men as Americans, in whose proud fame, as an American, I, too, have
neral in the Federal Army, whose account of Buena Vista will be given here, and, by taking turns withe narrow pass in front of the hacienda of Buena Vista, and here stood on the defensive. His forcmiles south of Saltillo, at a place called Buena Vista), the fight commenced between some light treding day, now known as the battle-field of Buena Vista. We had approached to within about two milowning joined his company, G, on the 22d at Buena Vista. He had heard at the Rinconada that we werral Wool estimates General Taylor's army at Buena Vista at 4,600. The force of the enemy (includinof the battle. The following account of Buena Vista was written by a young Mississippian scarceua Nueva, twelve miles west of the ranch of Buena Vista and eighteen miles from Saltillo. Here we achment of lancers had charged the ranch of Buena Vista, which, as before stated, was half a mile fgiment when it made the desperate charge at Buena Vista, as already related. He failed to notice t[1 more...]
be said, that in memory and admiration, at least, and if not in the actual fact, yet in proud and bounding memory, they have been able to tread the glorious tracks of the victorious achievements of Jefferson Davis on the fields of Monterey and Buena Vista (great cheering); and all have heard or have read the accents of eloquence addressed by him to the Senate of the United States (cheers); and there is one, at least, who from his own personal observation can bear witness to the fact of the surastership of victory for the arms of England! And well they might do so. But who originated that movement? who set the example of that gallant operation? who, but Colonel Jefferson Davis, of the First Mississippi regiment, on the fields of Buena Vista? (Tremendous applause.) He was justly entitled to the applause of the restorer of victory to the arms of the Union. Gentlemen, in our country, in this day, such a man, such a master of the art of war, so daring in the field; such a man may n
tronghold, says: Thousands of soldiers looked upon the strange scene. Two men who had been lieutenants in the same regiments in Mexico now met as foes, with all the world looking upon them — the one his country's glory, the other his country's shame. When they had approached within a few feet there was a halt and silence. Colonel Montgomery spoke: General Grant, General Pemberton. They shook hands politely, but Pemberton was evidently mortified. He said: I was at Monterey and Buena Vista. We had terms and conditions there. General Grant here took him aside, and they sat down on the grass and talked more than an hour. Grant smoked all the time; Pemberton played with the grass and pulled leaves. It was finally agreed to parole them, allowing the officers each his horse. It was a politic thing. The dread of going North and fear of harsh treatment had deterred them from capitulating sooner. Our men treated the rebels with kindness, giving them coffee, which some had
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