« PředchozíPokračovat »
MONTEREY AND ITS FORTIFICATIONS.
feet above their flat roofs. The city itself was fortified by CHAP. massive walls, and on its ramparts were forty-two pieces of heavy artillery, while from the mountain tops, north of 1846. the town, the Americans could see that the flat roofs of the stone houses were converted into places of defence, and bristled with musketry, and that the streets were rendered impassable by numerous barricades. On the one side, on a hill, stood the Bishop's Palace, a massive stone building, strongly fortified, on the other were redoubts well manned, in the rear was the river San Juan, south of which towered abrupt mountains. Such was the appearance and strength of Monterey, garrisoned as it was by ten thousand troops, nearly all regulars, under the command of General Ampudia. It was now to be assailed by an army of less than seven thousand men.
Ten days elapsed before the vicinity of the town could be thoroughly reconnoitred. In the afternoon,
Septe General Worth was ordered, with six hundred and fifty
19. men, to find his way around the hill occupied by the Bishop's Palace, gain the Saltillo road, and carry the works in that direction, while a diversion would be made against the centre and left of the town, by batteries erected during the night. The impetuous Worth, by great cxertions, accomplished his purpose, by opening a new road over the mountains. In one instance he came to a small stream in a deep gully, the bridge over which had been broken down. A neighboring field furnished the material ; his men soon filled the chasm, and passed over on a cornstalk-bridge.
The next morning the batteries erected the night before opened upon the enemy, who replied with a hearty good will. At length, after hard fighting, one of the Mexican works of great strength, situated in the lower part of the town, was captured. The brigade under General Sept.
20. Quitman, of the Mississippi Volunteers, “ carried the work
CHAP in handsome style, as well as the strong building in its
rear." General Butler had also entered the town on the 1846. right; both of these positions were maintained.
While these operations were in progress, General Worth succeeded in gaining the Saltillo road, and thus cut off the enemy's communication with the west. He carried, in succession, the heights south of the river and road, and immediately turned the guns upon the Bishop's Palace.
During the night, the Mexicans evacuated their works in the lower town ; but the next day they kept up a rigorous fire from the Citadel. The following morning at dawn of day, in the midst of a fog and drizzling rain,
Worth stormed the crest overlooking the Bishop's Palace, Sept. and at noon, the Palace itself fell into the hands of the 23.
Americans. Yet the city, with its fortified houses, was far from being taken. “Our troops advanced from house to house, and from square to square, until they reached a street but one square in the rear of the principal plaza, in and near which the enemy's force was mostly concentrated.”! The Americans obtained the plaza, then forced the houses on either side, and, by means of crowbars, tore down the walls, ascended to the roofs, then drew up one or two field-pieces, and drove the enemy from point to point till the city capitulated.
The carnage was terrible. The shouts of the combatants, mingled with the wail of suffering women and children, presented a scene so heart-rending that even the demon of war might be supposed to turn from it in horror,
The Mexicans had effectually barricaded their streets, but these were almost undisturbed, while the invaders burrowed from house to house. The conflict continued for almost four days, in which the Mexicans fought desperately from behind their barricades on the house
· Gen. Taylor's Report.
CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES.
tops, where they did not hesitate to meet the invaders of CHAP. their hearthstones hand to hand. The following morning Ampudia surrendered the town 1846.
Sept. and garrison. The Mexican soldiers were permitted to
24. march out with the honors of war.
General Taylor was assured that those in authority at the city of Mexico were desirous of peace. In consequence of these representations, and also of his want of provisions, he agreed to a cessation of hostilities for eight weeks, if his government should sanction the measure.
He now left General Worth in command of the city, and retired with the main force of the army to Walnut Springs, about three miles distant, and there encamped.
The President hopes for Peace.-Santa Anna.-Hostilities to be renewed.
Troops withdrawn from General Taylor.-Letter from General Scott.-
CHAP. THOSE in power at Washington had hoped, indeed, it was
confidently predicted, that the war would be ended within 1846. ninety” or “ one hundred and twenty days” from its
commencement, and a peace concluded, that “should give indemnity for the past and security for the future.” These desirable ends were to be attained by treaty, through the means of that incomparable patriot, Santa Anna, then an exile in Havana, who promised, for a certain consideration, if restored to authority in Mexico, to exert his influence in favor of peace. A secret messenger from Washington had made to the illustrious exile" overtures to this effect, about the time that General Taylor was ordered to the Rio Grande ; the special act which led to hostilities.'
In his next annual message the President gives some Dec. information on this subject. “Santa Anna," said that docu
ment, “had expressed his regret that he had subverted the Federal Constitution of his country," and "that he
* Benton's “Thirty Years' View," Vol. ii. pp. 561 and 681-2.
SANTA ANNA AND HIS PROFESSIONS.
was now in favor of its restoration.” He was also opposed CHAP. to a monarchy, or “European interference in the affairs of his country.” The President cherished the hope that 1846. the exiled chief would “ see the ruinous consequences to Mexico of a war with the United States, and that it would be his interest to favor peace ; ” and further the Message said, that Paredes, then President of Mexico, was “a soldier by profession, and a monarchist in principle ; sworn enemy of the United States, and urgent to prosecute the war.
Santa Anna, on the contrary, was in favor of peace, and only wanted a few millions of dollars to bring about that object so dear to his patriotism ; hence the hopes that the war would be brought to a close in three or four months. It was with this expectation that the President, in a special message, asked of Congress an appropria- Aug. tion of two millions of dollars “in order to restore peace, and to advance a portion of the consideration money, for any cession of territory” which Mexico might make. It was also in accordance with this arrangement, that, on the very day Congress, at his suggestion, recognized the “ex May
13. istence of the war," he issued an order to Commodore Connor, who was in command of the feet in the Gulf, to permit Santa Anna and his suite to return to Mexico. The latter availed himself of this passport to land at Aug. Vera Cruz. President Polk had been duped.
Santa Anna never intended to fulfil his promise, except so far as to forward his own selfish ends. Instead of endeavoring to conciliate the hostile countries and obtain peace, he devoted all his energies to arouse the war spirit of his countrymen ; called upon them to rally under his banner and save their nationality ; issued flaming manifestos expressing the most intense hatred of the people of the United States, and his righteous indignation at the wrongs imposed on his country by the “perfidious Yankees.”