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On the 16th of June Major Tompkins, at Cincinnati, was ordered to purchase three boats.
On the 20th of June Captain Wayne, assistant in my office, was despatched to the south to examine one or more light draught iron steamers; and, if they should be found suitable for service on the Rio Grande and other shallow southern rivers, to purchase and have them taken in the shortest time possible to the Brazos San Iago.
On the 24th of June Captain Sanders was requested to purchase or charter such boats as he might be assured would render efficient service on the Rio Grande, and to employ pilots if he considered them necessary.
TH. S. JESUP.
Note.—Measures have been taken to prevent the accumulation of a greater number of boats than will be required, whilst there shall be a reasonable prospect of having enough.
HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF OCCUPATION,
Matamoras, June 17, 1846. Sir: I deem it proper to report that no advices have been received from general head-quarters since the 10th inst.; " general orders” No. 13, and "special orders" No. 45, both of May 26th, being received on that day. Our dates from the north, through the newspapers, are some days later.
No steamboats have been sent out from New Orleans for the navigation of the Rio Grande; and in the absence of all information on that point, or respecting the views of the government, I am altogether in the dark as to our future operations. I must think that orders have been given by superior authority to suspend the forwarding of means of transportation from New Orleans. I cannot otherwise account for the extraordinary delay shown by the quartermaster's department in that city. Even the mails, containing probably important despatches from the government, are not expedited.
Lieutenant Colonel Wilson has occupied Reinosa without opposition. What remains of the Mexican army is understood to be still at Linares, and has suffered from disease. Gen. Torrejon has died, and Colonel Carasco, at last advices, was very ill. I learn that Generals Arista and Ampudia have gone to Mexico-probably for the trial of the former, or both.
Volunteer regimen's have arrived from Louisville and St. Louis; making, with those from Louisiana, eight strong and organized battalions, mustering over 5,000 men. In addition we have seven companies of Alabama volunteers, and twelve or fifteen companies from Texas: others from Texas are continually arriving. A portion of these volunteers have been lying in camp at this place for nearly a month, completely paralyzed by the want of transportation. Exposed, as they are in this climate, to diseases of the camp, and with
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out any prospect, so far as I can see, of being usefully employed, I must recommend that they be allowed to return to their homes.
I have despatched Captain McCulloch, a good partizan officer, in the direction of Linares with his company, to gain information touching the numbers and position of the enemy, and the resources of the country. .
I enclose herewith the descriptive roll of the detachment of recruits brought out by Lieutenant McPhail. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Z. TẢYLOR Brevet Brig. General U. S. A., commanding. The ADJUTANT GENERAL of the Army,
New ORLEANS, June 5, 1846. SIR: By the instructions of General Taylor, (a copy of which I have the honor to enclose,) you will perceive that he has sent me hither to procure transportation, for the want of which his movements at the present moment are completely paralyzed. His new base of operations requires his principal depot to be at Camargo, which is 150 miles inland. To get his supplies there, and keep his wagon train free to move with the army, renders it imperatively necessary to use the river in transporting them. The distance from the mouth of the Rio Bravo to Camargo by the river is from 350 to 400 miles. I have been up as far as Matamoras. From personal observation, and the best information I can procure about that part of the river which I have not seen, I am satisfied that none but our lightest draught river boats will answer the purposes of navigation on that river. These boats are very fragile, and there will be serious risk of their loss in carrying them from the Mississippi to the Rio Bravo. The general, with his usual close and strict economy in all public expenditures, has limited the number to the fewest which, under the most favorable circumstances, could answer his purposes. Colonel Hunt, of the quartermaster's department, thinks with me that the number should be doubled; that is, increased to eight. I have taken this informal but direct way of appealing to you for authority to increase the number. To have half transportation when ready to start would again thwart the best arranged movement. There is nothing which will so firmly secure our acquisition of the Rio Bravo as the introduction of steam navigation on its waters. Also, I do not despair of seeing one of the lightest boats being sent up as far as the crossings of the roads from San Antonio to Mexico, which must be the routes followed by any mounted troops sent by land from the Mississippi valley into Mexico. Colonel Hunt and myself are both satisfied that not over two of the proper kind of boats can be procured here; I therefore start immediately for Louisville. I expect to get one of the public boats from Colonel Long, of the topographical engiDeers. If I cannot obtain another suitable one there, I certainly ·can at Cincinnati. As soon as I have procured and sent off the four boats, I have the general's verbal permission to visit my family at Pittsburg; at which place I hope I may receive your authority of procuring the additional number which seems so indispensably requisite for the certain transportation of our military stores. The general's calculation of the wants of transportation was for a much smaller number of troops than are evidently being sent to him.
Very respectfully sir, I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Captain Engineers. Hon. W. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War, Washington.
HEAD-QUARTERS, ARMY OF OCCUPATION,
Matamoras, May 28, 1846. Sir: With a view to expedite the procuring of small steamboats for the navigation of the Rio Grande, which is indispensable to ,future operations, the commanding general directs that you proceed without delay to New Orleans, and there assist Lieutenant Colonel Hunt in procuring boats of the proper draught and description.
Four boats will be required, and you may give assurances that they will receive employment at good prices in transporting military stores on the river. Should any change in the condition of affairs render it necessary to discharge them at an earlier period than is now contemplated, you will assure the proprietors that they shall be remunerated for the time so lost.
In . executing this service you will please communicate with Lieutenant Colonel Hunt, to whom you will show this letter of instructions, and also with Colonel Winthrop, who has promised his aid in this matter.
The proper draught of the boats and the description best adapted to the purpose you have already learned from the commanding general.
After the completion of this service you will please return to head-quarters.
If the requisite number, or indeed the proper kind of boats, cannot be procured at once in New Orleans, you will proceed up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers until you fully accomplish the object of your mission.
The commanding general deems it preferable to make arrangements for compensating the boats by giving the owners assurances of their receiving liberal prices for freight, but the boats must be procured if they have either to be bought or chartered.
As expedition is essential in this business, arrangements must be made to have at least the first boats you engage or procure towed
round the coast by some good sea boat of sufficient power to prevent any unnecessary detention or delays. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. W. S. BLISS,
Assistant Adjutant General. Captain Jno. SANDERS,
Corps of Engineers, Matamoras.
QUARTERMASTER GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington city, June 24, 1816. Sir: I have to-day received your letter of the 21st instant. It is my desire, as I believe it is that of every one here, to render the most efficient aid to General Taylor's operations. You were right to act at once, without waiting for special authority from Washington. You are acquainted with the Rio Grande, and I desire you to purchase or charter such boats as you are confident will render efficient service. If you consider pilots necessary, employ them.
The three boats, Utica, New Haven, and Swiftsure, were specially recommended to me by Captain Page, of the ocean steamer McKim, who is a seaman as well as an old steamboat captain. Had he not been placed in command of a sea steamer, he would have purchased those boats for the Rio Grande. If you consider them unsuited to that river, I will thank you to request Major Tompkins not to buy them. After a confinement of several days to my room I am out to-day, but not well. I will reiurn the map in two or three days. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. S. 'JESUP,
Quartermaster General. Captain John Sanders,
U. S. Engineers, Pittsburg, Pa.
Extracts from a letter of Captain J. Sanders, engineer corps, to the
“ PITTSBURG, July 2, 1846.
(6D " I have the honor to report that I have completed my purchases of light draught steamboats on account of your department, for the transportation of military stores on the Rio Grande. I send herewith a descriptive list of the same.
"Allow me, general, to take this occasion of expressing my acknowledgments not only for the ready and cheerful assistance and hearty co-operation which you had the kindness to extend to me in the discharge of this duty, but also for that which I have re
ceived from the hands of those (if I may be permitted to say so) highly zealous and active officers, Colonel Hunt and Major Tompkins, of your department. I shall most assuredly take the liberty of reporting the same to my commanding general. "I have the honor to remain, &c.,
· < JOHN SANDERS,
6 Captain Engineers.”
QUARTERMASTER GENERAL'S OFFICE,
Washington city, July 5, 1846. Captain: I have received your letter of the 2d instant, and in reply have to assure you that for the support which you have received from this department no extraordinary credit is due. You were employed on an important duty, and it would have been criminal in any officer of the department not to have given you all the aid in his power. Apart from all considerations of duty, however, I am disposed to sustain General Taylor to the utmost; and as far as the means, the energies, and the credit of the department shall enable me, he may rely on all that I can accomplish for him. I sustained him for more than two months by using appropriations for the service of his army which the President would have been impeached for using. It was contrary to law to divert them from the objects to which Congress intended they should be applied, but I considered that the situation of the army caused an overruling necessity which justified the course which I adopted. I shall never forget how faithfully and ably General Taylor sustained me in Florida.
It has occurred to me that many of the obstructions to the navigation of the Rio Grande might be removed by a good dredging machine. In Florida I availed myself of the steamboats on the St. John more than double the distance I could have used them without dredge boats. If you think a dredging boat and machine can be made advantageous, you are authorized to purchase, or cause to be prepared, a suitable one, and cause it to be put in operation as soon as possible. I am, sir, respectfully, your obedient servant,
TH. S. JESUP,
Quartermaster General. Captain John SANDERS,
Corps of Engineers, Pittsburg, Pa.
Note by the Secretary of War.
The passage in the foregoing letter which relates to diverting appropriations was first brought to my notice while preparing the documents to answer the resolution of the House of Representa