men, and surrounded on all sides, by a nation of
foes, no one will doubt, who is acquainted with
the character of General Scott, that he availed hini-
by passing around, south of Lake Chalco and Jochimilco, at the foot of
the hills and mountains, so as to reach this point, and hence to manoeuvre
on hard ground, though much broken, to the south and southwest of the
capital, which has been more or less under our view since the 10th in-
stant." â Report <>f General Scott to the Secretary of War, August 19,
* " In the mean time, no reconnoisance had been made over the
southern route, by American officers, and it is highly probable that none
would have ever been made, had not Lieutenant-Colonel Duncan, who
was intimate at Worth's headquarters, and whose views in relation to the
proposed operations fully coincided with those of that General, volun-
teered to make a reconnoisance on the following day." "With a letter
from Worth, inclosing his written report, and recommending the change,
Duncan proceeded on the evening of the 14th to Ayotla, and the effect of
his information was, that the orders issued in the morning were counter-
manded." â Ripley's History of the War with Mexico, vol. 2, pp. 191
POLK ADMINISTRATION. 225
self of every opportunity to acquire information as
to the vulnerable point in the fortifications that de-
fended the city. That General Scott may not have
been acquainted with the absolute feasibility of
turning Lake Chalco, until after the reconnoisance
under Colonel Duncan, is very likely, and he may
have held the army in readiness to march by Mex-
icalcingo. The great error General Scott commit-
ted, was in not giving to Colonel Duncan the credit
which was due him for that reconnoisance, which
enabled the army to reach the city without either
storming El Penon, or passing beneath its guns.
"While the Mexicaus were expecting to repulse
the American army under the walls of El Penon,
their confidence was somewhat shaken when they
ascertained that "Worth's division, followed by the
whole army, was advancing upon Contreras. This
.movement was commenced on the 15th, and Gene-
ral Twiggs, with the rear guard, left Ayotla on the
16th, having delayed his march until that time to
induce the Mexicans to believe that he intended to
attack El Penon, or fall upon Mexicalcingo * The
town of Contreras is situated upon a wide and con-
venient thoroughfare leading to the city of Mexico ;
here was stationed the flower of the Mexican army
under General Valencia, one of the most despe-
rately brave of the Mexican chieftains, who was
determined to dispute the advance of the Ameri-
cans at all hazards. The position which he had
taken did not meet the approbation of Santa Anna,
* Report of General Scott to the Secretary of War, April 19th,
226 HISTORY OF THE
who ordered Mm to retreat to Coyoacan and
Churubusco, which command he refused to obey,
and the Mexican General-in-chief left him to his
* " On the 18th, General Santa Anna ordered Valencia, that early in
the next day he should march with his force to Coyoacan, and send for-
ward his artillery to Churubusco. This disposition arose from the opinion
he had that on the 19th the enemy would attack the fortification of San
â¢â¢ In answer to him, General Valencia, notwithstanding what he had
expressed in his first note, was inconsistent by refusing to abandon the
point which before had been pronounced indefensible.
" General Santa Anna, then, not opposing further than to note the
discrepancy between the first and second communications of General
Valencia, agreed that he should remain in the position occupied, and only
declaring, as he said afterward, that he woukl leave Valencia to act on
his own responsibility.
" The advices which, from the beginning of the action, he had sent
to General Perez and Santa Anna, he now repeated in view of the immi-
nent danger which menaced us.
â 'I'm.' beat for the return of General Perez, was struck three times,
and General Santa Anna remained immovable with his division, whose
I iad made the enemy to hesitate, and General Scott to fear for
ue of the battle. But Santa Anna did nothing to pass by the road
when it was possible, and the belief was universal that he wished to
surround with his division and ours the enemy's forces, and accomplish
in thi- manner their defeat.
â¢ During all the time of this inexplicable immobility of the forces of
Santa Anna, the firing was going on in various directions.
â¢â¢ In fact, alter this firing, General Santa Anna descended from the
Olviar, and his company in chorus threw, what his presence gave license
to. the blame of the defeat upon the insubordinate Valencia. The troops
that were with General Santa Anna withdrew by his order, leaving Va-
lencia surrounded on all sides, and going to lodge at San Angel." â Mex-
ican History of the War with Mexico, d. 272-5-G-7.
POLK ADMINISTRATION. 227
Battle of Contrcras. â Worth's division storms San Antonio.â Victory of
Churubusco. â Armistice granted. â Negotiations broken off. â Sanguinary
battle of 3Iolino del Rey.â Storming of Chapultepecâ Surrender of the
city. â Santa Anna resigns the Presidency. â Attacks Colonel Childs at
Puebla â Major Lally forces his way from Vera Cruz to Jalapa. â He is
joined by General Lane with 2,500 men. â Battle of Huamantla. â Powers
invested in Mr. Trist revoked. â Contributions exacted. â Treaty concluded
by Mr. Trist. â General Scott recalled.â General Butler appointed to the
command of the army.â Treaty of Gaudaloupe Hidalgo. â Americans
evacuate Mexico. â The army of the United Slates.â Territory acquired
from Mexico. â Its value.
Pillow's division was ordered to make a practica-
ble road for heavy artillery, and Twiggs' division
was ordered to cover that operation. By three
o'clock on the 19th, the men engaged in making
the new road, came under the fire of a very heavy
park of artillery, which was advantageously posted
to check their operations. This battery was sup-
ported by large bodies of infantry and cavalry.
The divisions of Pillow and Twiggs advanced for
the purpose of storming this formidable battery.
This movement was met by a terrible fire from the
enemy's intrenchments. Not only did the heavy
artillery, which lined the hills, send its iron hail
into the ranks of the Americans, but the heavy
columns of infantry with great gallantry defended
that position. For three hours the battle raged
furiously, and when night set in the Americans had
228 ir r s t o b y o p t h e
made no impression upon the Mexican lines. Noth-
ing could surpass the obstinacy with which the
Mexicans held to their position, and not all the
gallantry of the Americans could drive them from
it. General Scott, discovering that large bodies of
troops were advancing from the city, ordered the
loth regiment, under Colonel Morgan, to occupy
Contreras. Colonel Riley was at the time on the
enemy's left, while the brigade under the command
of General Shields was ordered to support Colonel
It was now dark, and the cold and chilling rain
fell in torrents. Without fires and with no tents to
protect them from the tempest, many of the regi-
ments without food, the officers wandering about in
search of each other, the obstinate fury with which
the battle had been disputed, all had a tendency to
casi a temporary gloom over the army. But the
glorious results of the next day proved that the
confidence of the troops in their invincibility was
not shaken. The morning of the 20th of August
found the brigades of Shields, Smith, Cadwalader^
Riley, and Morgan's regiment around the hacienda
of Contreras. Worth was ordered to march with
one of his brigades to mask San Antonio, and with
the other to advance upon Contreras. Similar
orders were given to General Quitman, and the
com Lined forces were to be concentrated upon the
battle field. The plan of the attack, which re-
sulted in the defeat of the enemy, was arranged by
General Smith. At three o'clock in the morning,
the movement commenced, Riley being in the ad-
POLK ADMINISTRATION. 229
vance. After surmounting many difficulties he
gained the enemy's rear, and with irresistible im-
petuosity, stormed their intrenchments. The bri-
gade under Colonel Ransom, composed of the 9th
regiment and companies from the 3d and 12th, with
the rifles, arriving at the same moment, attacked
the Mexicans with terrible effect, while the brigade
under Shields poured a destructive fire upon the
enemy during their retreat.
The results of this brilliant victory were a loss
upon the part of the enemy, of 700 killed, 813
prisoners, 83 officers, 4 generals, and 22 pieces of
brass ordnance. The battle was won before the
arrival of the division under Worth and Quitman ;
the former general was directed to assail San An-
tonio in front, as soon as the divisions under Pillow
and Twiggs should attack it in the rear. The battle
now raged along the whole line.* Worth stormed
the intrenchments at San Antonio, and continued to
advance until he met Pillow, who, ascertaining that
San Antonio had been taken, turned to the left for
the purpose of attacking Churubusco. Here almost
the entire Mexican force, amounting to more than
20,000 men, commanded by Santa Anna in person,
rallied for a last desperate stand. The Americans,
flushed with victory, advanced to the attack with
great ardor. The position was hemmed in and furi-
ously assaulted by portions of Worth's, Twiggs 1 , and
Pillows' divisions, and was carried at the point of
* Report of General Scott to the War Department, August 28th,
230 HISTORY OF THE
the bayonet. The next position to attack was the
Convent, which, after a long and desperate defence,
was surrendered by the garrison.
This was a brilliant day for the American troops.
Victory utter victory was won, and one position
after another fell into their hands; and without
striking another blow, they might have entered the
capital in triumph, and thus put an end to the Avar."
Future events proved the error which was commit-
ted in granting an armistice. The Mexicans were
determined to resist to the last, and nothing but
reducing them to extremity, and subduing their
pi'i<l<- by the capture of the city of Mexico, would
force them to agree to terms. The history of that
country from the time of the invasion under Cortes,
proves that the possession of the city decides the
late of Mexico. The revolutions, whether blood-
less or produced at the point of the bayonet, have
never been signal until the metropolis yielded.
* " After so many victories, we might, with but little additional loss, have
occupied the capital the same evening. But Mr. Trist, commissioner,
&c, as well as myself, had boen admonished by the best friends of peace
â intelligent neutrals and some American residents â against precipitation.
lesl by wantonly driving away the government and others â dishonored â
we mighl scatter the elements of peace, excite a spirit of national despera-
tion. ,-md thus indefinitely postpone the hope of accommodation. Deeply
impressed with this danger, and remembering our mission â to conquer a
-the army very cheerfully sacrificed to patriotism, to the great wish
and want of our country, the eclat that would have followed an entrance,
Bword in band, into a great capital. Willing to leave something to this
republic â of no immediate value to us â on which to rest her pride, and to
recover temper, I baited our victorious corps at the gates of the city, (at
leasl l<>r :i time,) and have them now cantoned in the neighboring villages,
where they are well sheltered and supplied with all necessaries." â Report
ni General Scott to the Mm- Department, August 28th, 1847, Volume
2, /,' Documents, Is/ srssiun 307/1 Congress.
POLK ADMINISTRATION. 231
Wherever the pronunciamento was issued, the capi-
tal was the point upon which the disaffected con-
centrated, and its fall alone terminated the struggle.
To prove that the pride of the Mexican people
had not yet been broken, we have only to refer to
the events which preceded the armistice, when
Santa Anna was fearful of having it known that he
had taken the initiative. On the morning of the
21st General Scott offered to sign an armistice, con-
taining a pledge upon the part of the Mexicans to
enter at once into the negotiations for peace, while
Santa Anna proposed a truce. The latter proposi-
tion was rejected, and commissioners were apj)ointed
on the 22d ; the armistice was signed on the 23d
and ratified on the 21th. The first article provided
for the absolute suspension of hostilities between
the two armies within 30 leagues of the city of
Mexico, for the purpose of enabling the commis-
sioners to open negotiations. The third article pro-
vided that the armistice should continue while those
commissioners were engaged in negotiations, or until
the armistice was broken off upon a notice of 48
hours. The fourth article stated that neither army
should be reinforced.
As little faith could be placed in the promises
of the enemy, General Scott was strongly urged by
some of his generals to make the surrender of Cha-
pultepec a guarantee of their good faith ; but to
this proposition the Mexicans would not agree.*
* " General Orders, ) " Headquarters of the Army, }
No. 262. \ Tacubaya, August 24th, 1847. \
"The following military convention is published for the information
and strict government of the American army, its retainers and followers.
232 HIS TOBY OF TIIE
The commissioners of the two powers met on the
27th of August, 1847. It is doubtful whether
Santa Anna agreed in good faith to open negotia-
Anv infraction of one or more of the articles of the said convention shall
be followed by rigorous punishment.
" The undersigned appointed respectively, the three first by Major Ge-
neral Winfield Scott, Commander-in-chief of the armies of the United
States, and the two last by bis Excellency D. Antonio Lopez do Santa
Anna. President of the Mexican Republic and Commander-in-chief of its
. met with full powers, which were duly verified, in the village of
Tacubaya, on the 22d day of August, 1847, to enter into an armistice, for
the purpose of giving the Mexican Government an opportunity of receiv-
ing propositions for peace, from the commissioner appointed by the Presi-
dent of the United States, and now with the American army, when the
following articles were agreed' upon :
"Art. 1. Hostilities shall instantly and absolutely cease between the
armies of the United States of America and the United Mexican States,
within thirty leagues of the capital of the latter States, to allow time to
the commissioner appointed by the United States, and the commissioners
to be appointed by the Mexican Republic, to negotiate.
" Akt. 2. This armistice shall continue as long as the commissioners
of the two Governments may he engaged in negotiations, or until the
commander of either of the said armies shall give formal notice to the
other of the cessation of the armistice, and for forty-eight hours after such
" Art. 3. In the mean time, neither army shall, within thirty leagues
of the city of Mexico, commence any new fortification or military work
of offence or defence, or do any thing to enlarge or strengthen any exist-
ing work or fortification of that character within the said limits.
"Art. 4. Neither army shall be reinforced within the same. Any
n inforcementa in troops or munitions of war, other than subsistence now
approaching either army, shall be stopped at the distance of at least twen-
ty-eight leagues from the city of Mexico.
â \ i . 5. Neitherarmy, nor any detachment from it,shall advance be-
yond tlio line it at present occupies.
Neither army, nor any detachment or individual of either,
sg tin' neutral limits established by the last article, except under
flags ot truce lirarine; the correspondence between the two armies, or on
authorized by the nexl article ; and individuals of either army
who may chance to straggle within the neutral limits shall, by the oppo-
site party, he kindly warned off. or sent back to their own army under flags
POLK ADMINISTRATION. 233
tions, or whether he designed to take advantage of
the suspension of hostilities, for the purpose of
strengthening the defences of the city. By the
" Art. 7. The American army shall not by violence obstruct the
passage from the open country into the city of Mexico, of the ordinary
supplies of food necessary to the consumption of its inhabitants, or the
Mexican army within the city ; nor shall the Mexican authorities, civil or
military, do any act to obstruct the passage of supplies from the city or the
country needed by the American army.
" Art. 8. All American prisoners of war remaining in the hands of
the Mexican army, and not heretofore exchanged, shall immediately, or as
soon as practicable, be restored to the American army against a like num-
ber (having regard to rank,) of the Mexican prisoners captured by the
" Art. 9. * * * * [Omitted.] (See Mexican ratification.)
" Art. 10. The better to enable the belligerent armies to execute these
articles, and to favor the great object of peace, it is further agreed between
the parties, that any courier with dispatches that either army shall desire
to send along the line from the city of Mexico or its vicinity to and from
Vera Cruz, shall receive a safe conduct from the commander of the oppo-
"Art. 11. The administration of justice between Mexicans, accord-
ing to the general and state constitutions and laws, by the local authori-
ties of the towns and places occupied by the American forces, shall not
be obstructed in any manner.
"Art. 12. Persons and property shall be respected in the towns and
places occupied by the American forces. No person shall be molested in
the exercise of his profession ; nor shall the services of any one be re-
quired without his consent. In all cases where services are voluntarily
rendered, a just price shall be paid, and trade remain unmolested.
"Art. 13. Those wounded prisoners who may desire to remove to
some more convenient place for the purpose of being cured of their
wounds, shall be allowed to do so without molestation â they still remain-
" Art. 14. Those Mexican medical officers who may wish to attend the
wounded shall have the privilege of doing so, if their services be required.
"Art. 15. For the more perfect execution of this agreement, two
commissioners shall be appointed â one by each party â who, in case of
disagreement, shall appoint a third.
"Art. 16. This convention shall have no force or effect unless ap-
proved by their excellencies the commanders respectively of the two armies,
234 HISTORY OF THE
terms of a treaty which had been furnished Mr.
Trist 1 Â»y the Secretary of State, the boundary of
the two countries was to be the Rio Grande, the
within twenty-four hours, reckoning from 6 o'clock, A. M., of the 22d
day of August, 1847.
"J. A. QUITMAN,
Major General U. S. A.
"PERSIFER F. SMITH,
Brevet Brigadier General U. S. A.
Brigadier General U. S. A.
" IGNACIO DE MORA Y. VILLAMIL.
" Headquarters of the Army of the U. S. of America, )
Tacubaya, August 23d, 1847. \
" Considered, approved, and ratified with the express understanding that
the word ' supplies,' as used the second time, and without qualification, in
the seventh article of this military convention (American copy), shall be
taken to mean â as in both the British and American armies â arms, am-
munition, clothing, equipments, subsistence (for men), forage, money, and
in general all the wants of an army. That the word supplies in the Mex-
ican copy is erroneously translated ' viveres' instead of recursos.
General-in-chief U. S. Army."
" Palacio Nacional de Mexico,
August 24//;, 1847.
" Ratificado, soprimiendose, el articulo 9Â° y con esplication del 4Â° en
f â¢! sentidode que la paz temporal deeste armiticio se observant en la capital
y veinte ocholiguas al rededor; convenido en quela palabra supplies se
traduzca, recursos, y que en ella se comprenda lo que pueda. Ilaba
menester el ejercito, escepto armas y municiones.
" ANTONIO LOPEZ DE SANTA ANNA."
llr.ADQUARTERS OF THE AlIMY OF THE U. S. OF AMERICA, )
Tacubaya, August 2 1///, 1847. \
"I accept and ratify the foregoing qualifications added by the President
G il of the Mexican Republic.
" I', command of Major General Scott.
"II. L. SCOTT, A. A. A. General."
/-' '/if Documents, \sl session 30th Congress, vol. 2, p. 356.
POLK ADMINISTRATION. 235
undisputed title of the United States to the State
of Texas, and the cession by Mexico, of Upper and
Lower California. New Mexico was to be guaran-
teed upon the payment of a sum which was to be
the subject of negotiation.
To neither of these propositions were the Mexi-
cans disposed to agree.* Negotiation was pro-
tracted for several days, without any prospect of
producing a favorable result, and it was apparent
that the contest would have to be decided by the
arbitrament of the sword. On the 6th of Septem-
ber, a note was addressed by General Scott to the
Mexican General-in-chief, complaining of the viola-
tion of several articles of the armistice,f which pro-
* " Headquarters of the Army of the United States )
of America, Tacubaya, September 6, 1847. $
" To his Excellency the President mul Commander-in-chief of the Mexican
" Sir : The seventh Article, as also the twelfth, that stipulates that
trade shall remain unmolested â of the armistice or military convention,
which I had the honor to ratify and to exchange with your Excellency,
the 24th ultimo, has been repeatedly violated, beginning soon after date,
on the part of Mexico ; and now I have good reason to believe, that, within
the last forty-eight hours, if not earlier, the third article of that convention
has been equally violated by the same party.
" Those direct breaches of faith give to this army the most perfect right
to resume hostilities against Mexico, without any notice whatever ; but to
afford time for possible explanation, apology, and reparation, I now give
formal notice, that unless full satisfaction on these allegations should be
received by me, before. 12 o'clock, meridian, to-morrow, I shall consider
the said armistice at an end, from and after that hour.
" I have the honor to be your Excellency's most ob't serv't,
f " But I shall desist offering apologies, because I cannot be blind
to the truth, that the true cause of the threats of renewing hostili-
ties, contained in the note of your Excellency, is, that I have not been
236 HISTORY OF THE
duced a response from Santa Anna, the conclusion
of which very nearly amounted to a threat* Ne-
gotiations were broken off, and hostilities were re-
willing to sign a treaty which would lessen considerably not only the ter-
ritory of the republic, but that dignity and integrity which all nations de-
fend to the last extremity. And if these considerations have not the
same weight in the mind of your Excellency, the responsibility before the
world, who can easily distinguish on whose side is moderation and justice,
will fall upon you.
" I flatter myself that your Excellency will be convinced, on calm re-
flection, of the weight of my reasons. But if, by misfortune, you should
seek only a pretext to deprive the first city of the American continent of
an opportunity to free the unarmed population of the horrors of war, there
will be left me no other means of saving them but to repel force by force,
with the decision and energy which my high obligations impose upon me.
" I have the honor to be your Excellency's very obedient servant,
" ANTONIO LOPEZ DE SANTA ANNA.
" A true copy of the original, â Mexico, September 7, 1847.
"JOSE DE ROMERO."
Executive Documents, 1st session ZOlh Congress, vol. 2, p. 261.
* COUNTER PROJECT SUBMITTED TO MR. TRIST BY
THE MEXICAN COMMISSIONERS.
" 1st. There shall be firm and universal peace between the United
States of America and the Mexican Republic, and their respective terri-
tories. cities, towns, and villages, not excepting persons or place-..
â¢ 2d. All the prisoners of war made on either side, whether by sea or
land, shall be released immediately after the signing of the present treaty.
It is also agreed, that if any Mexicans are now captives in the power of