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LIII.

CHAP. all flew to arms, and amid a din of shouts fell into ranka

as best they could. The Mexicans—more than twelve 1846. hundred strong, and with a piece of artillery-drew near ;

an officer bearing a black flag made his appearance, and in a magniloquent speech, declaring that no quarter would be given, summoned the Missourians to surrender. Doniphan's answer was characteristic and defiant.

The Mexican cavalry extended far to the right and left, while the infantry, firing volleys of musketry, advanced in front. Presently they came within rifle range, and the backwoodsmen threw away scarcely a shot. The whole body of the enemy broke and fled—they lost nearly two hundred men, killed and wounded, in a few minutes. Only seven Americans were wounded.

Two days later Doniphan entered the beautiful village of El Paso, "where a neat cultivation, a comfortable people, fields, orchards, and vineyards, and a hospitable reception, offered the rest and refreshment

which toils, and dangers, and victory had won.” There 1847. he waited till artillery could join him from Santa Fé, and Feb. then commenced his march upon Chihuahua. 8.

The Mexicans kept out of the way; but after a march of nineteen days it was ascertained that they had taken position at a pass of the Sacramento, a small branch of the Rio Grande. Here General Herredia made a stand with a force of four thousand men, protected by intrenchments across the pass, and on the neighboring hills, but defences were of little avail against men who never hesitated to attack an enemy. Doniphan suddenly diverted his route from the main road, forced his way round to the flank of their advance, and before the Mexicans could bring their guns to bear, he was in full play upon them with his own artillery. Their cavalry as well as artillery, fell back and retired across the river. Now the intrenchments were to be forced ; this was done in true backwoods style. Each man rushed or and fought

DONIPHAN TAKES POSSESSION OF CHIHUAHUA.

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LIII.

26.

on his own responsibility ; some rode along the entrench- CHAP ments seeking a place to enter, while others dismounted and crept up to pick off their defenders. The Mexicans 1847.

Feb. fled from the presence of their assailants, who leaped over the works and secured every place within reach. Meanwhile a party of mounted volunteers crossed the river to storm, on horseback, a battery which crowned the hill on the opposite side. This singular engagement cost the Mexicans three hundred killed and a greater number wounded, while the Missourians lost but one killed, one mortally wounded, and a few disabled. The enemy, completely routed, abandoned every thing; the officers fled toward the south, and the common soldiers to the mountains.

The following day Doniphan, without opposition, entered Chihuahua-a city of nearly thirty thousand inhabitants-raised the American flag on its citadel, and, in the name of his government, took possession of the pro- Mar. vince. He was in a very perilous situation, with only a thousand men, from among whom almost every vestige of discipline had vanished. In this city were many American merchants, most of whom were wealthy. Doniphan's measures were prudent and just, and they conciliated the inhabitants.

On the 27th of April he set out for Saltillo, where he April arrived in a month without opposition, except from a few Indians. From Saltillo he marched to Matamoras ; and as the term of his men was about to expire, they were taken to New Orleans and there discharged.

The most remarkable expedition on record. They had passed over nearly five thousand miles, three thousand of which was a march through an unknown and hostile country swarming with foes. They returned in one year ; nc body of troops had ever in so short a time passed over BC much space or surmounted so many obstacles.

Fremont was the military commandant of California,

2.

CHAP. under a commission from Commodore Stockton. Soon LIII.

after the Commodore sailed from San Francisco to Mon1817. terey, and thence to San Diego. The recently established Aug.

government was placed in peril ; a deep laid plot was in train, and only a favorable opportunity was wanting to commence the insurrection. Fremont, by a rapid and secret march of one hundred and fifty miles, surprised and captured the main leader of the insurgents, Don J. Pico, who had been a prisoner, and had violated his parole. A court martial sentenced him to death. Fremont remitted the sentence, and thus won Pico's influence and aid in tranquilizing the country. He also endeavored to conciliate the inhabitants, and made no attack upon the hostile parties, which hovered around his march. He came up with the main Mexican force, under Don Andreas Pico, brother of the one whom he had just pardoned. He sent them a summons to surrender, and they agreed to deliver up their artillery and promised to return to their homes. They were not required to take the oath of allegiance, until a treaty of peace should be concluded

between the United States and Mexico. Dec. Commodore Stockton now learned of the approach of

General Kearney. The latter had experienced great difficulties on his march ; attacked by the enemy, he was placed in desperate circumstances at San Pasqual; his provisions gone, his horses dead, his mules disabled, and most of his men sick, while the enemy in great numbers completely surrounded his camp and held possession of all the roads. Three brave men-Kit Carson, Lieutenant Beales, of the Navy, and an Indian-volunteered to find their way to San Diego, thirty miles distant, and inform Commodore Stockton of Kearney's peril. The Commodore promptly sent assistance, at whose appearance the

enemy retired and Kearney was enabled to reach San Jan:

Diego.

A month later took place the battle at the river San

8.

INSURRECTION QUELLED.

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Gabriel. Then General Flores, chief of the insurgents, CHAP. sent a flag of truce, proposing a cessation of hostilities in California, and to let the sovereignty of the territory be 1848. determined by the result of the war between the United States and Mexico. Stockton refused to accede to the request, and continued his march. Another flag of truce came in. Now it was offered to surrender the town of Los Angeles, if the rights of the people and their property should be preserved. On these conditions the capital of Upper California was surrendered a second time, and the possession of the country more firmly established than before the insurrection.

Difficulties now arose among the officers in relation to the question who should be governor. But recent orders from Washington relieved Stockton of his civil functions, Mar. which devolved upon General Kearney as he happened to be on the ground. In truth, the civil government was only in name beyond the range of the American cannon.

Fremont, however, refused to recognize the authority of Kearney, and was brought to trial charged with disobedience of orders and mutiny. The court found him guilty and sentenced him to be dismissed from the service. The President did not approve of all the findings of the court; but, because of “ the peculiar circumstances of the case and his previous meritorious and valuable services," remitted the sentence and restored him to his rank in the army. Fremont would not accept the clemency of the President, and thus admit that the proceedings of the court were just ; he at once resigned his commission. In a few weeks he set out at his own expense on his fourth tour of exploration in the Rocky Mountains.

CHAPTER LIV.

POLK'S ADMINISTRATION-CONCLUDED.

Movement of Troops.—Vera Cruz invested.— Its Bombardment as d Capitu.

lation.—Santa Anna's Energy.—Battle of Cerro Gordo.-General Scott at Puebla.-His Misunderstandings with the Authorities at Washing. ton.—Commissioner Trist.—Dissensions in Mexico.-Scott's Manifesto. -Reinforcements.--Advance upon the Capital.-El Penon turned. — Battle of Contreras; of Cherubusco.-Attempts to obtain Peace.Conflict of Molino del Rey.—The Castle of Chapultepec captured.—The American Army enters the City.-Santa Anna again in the Field; dismissed from the Mexican Service.—Treaty of Peace.-Its Conditions.Evacuation of Mexico.-Misunderstanding among the American Officers. -Discovery of Gold in California.—The Effects.--Death of John Quincy Adams.-The Wilmot Proviso.—The Presidential Election.

LIV.

CHAP. WHILE these events were in progress, plans were formed

and partially executed to invade Mexico from the east; 1846. to secure Vera Cruz, the best harbor on the coast, and

then, if peace could not be obtained, to march upon the capital itself.

Numerous delays impeded operations, and it was near the end of November before General Scott left Washington for the seat of war. The quarter-master, General Jessup, was already at New Orleans preparing transports for the troops ; and communications were held with Commodore Connor in relation to the co-operation of the fleet. The troops, as already mentioned, drawn from Taylor's command, were speedily concentrated at convenient points on the coast, but the want of transports prevented their embarkation. The place of rendezvous was at the island

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