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SANTA ANNA RECALLED.
Wool, with twenty-four hundred men and six pieces advanced to Parras.
While these events were transpiring, Paredes had been driven from the supreme command in Mexico, and General Santa Anna, formerly commander-in-chief, recalled from exile in Cuba, and placed at the head of affairs. This officer promptly took the field, and commenced the most active measures for raising an army sufficient to recover all the national losses. By forced loans on the clergy, he raised large sums of money, and before the close of the year had succeeded in raising twenty thousand men, and concentrating them at San Luis Potosi, which place he strongly fortified and filled with military stores.
In the latter part of December, General Taylor left Monterey,and marched toward the interior, in order to meet the Mexican general upon his own ground; but on arriving at Victoria he received a demand from General Scott for a portion of his troops, to assist in the intended assault of that officer upon Vera Cruz. Scott had been appointed by government to supersede General Taylor in the command of the army of occupation; but finding is force inadequate to fulfil the objects he had in view, he was obliged to make this draft upon the army of his brother officer.
Nearly all the regular troops, including the gallant Worth, were detached from General Taylor, obliging him to fall back and resume his old station at Monterey. In February, 1847, large reinforcements of volunteers arrived; and anticipating an attack by Santa Anna on the posts between himself and Matamoras, he determined to advance and fight a pitched battle with him. Accordingly he left Monterey, and on the 20th of February, encamped at Agua Nueva, eighteen miles south of Saltillo; but learning that Santa Anna, was rapidly approaching him with twenty thousand men, he fell back
Where di General Wool establish himself?–Meanwhile, whas bad transpired in Mexico 1-How did Santa Anna raise an army? What place did he fortify?-When did Taylor march to meet him What did he receive at Victoria ? What is said of General Scott 1 -Whither did General Taylor retire ?-When was he reinforced !Did he again advance to the interior 1- Where was he on the 2011 af February?
APPROACH OF THE MEXICANS AT BUENA VISTA. 327
to a strong position at the pass of Angostura, near Buena Vista, and seven miles from Saltillo.
This had not been the original design of the Mexican commander. During the armistice following the fall of Monterey, he stationed himself near San Luis Potosi, for he purpose of drilling the army with which he intended to meet and oppose the progress of General Taylor to the capital. Before the eight weeks had expired, however, he received notice that the American government disapproved of the truce, and that consequently hostilities would immediately recommence. His government were now clamorous for active operations, and compelled him to abandon his wise resolution of acting on the defensive, until attacked by the Americans. He therefore, reluctantly broke up his encampment, and commenced a march, which for suffering and fidelity to the leader, has no parallel in Mexican annals. Almost all the troops were destitute of shoes, and many had but one article of clothing. During two days they subsisted on a biscuit, and slice of meat for each man; and so great was the scarcity of water, that it was accurately measured to the men, and the time of drinking, as well as the quantity, defined in general orders. Part of the journey lay over an utter wilderness, and the remainder over crags and mountains, barren, solitary, and wrapped in the horrors of winter. No man in Mexico, except Santa Anna, could have conducted that march a single day.
On the morning of the 22d, the Mexicans were seen approaching in immense numbers across the neighboring hills; and about noon, Santa Anna sent a summons to General Taylor to surrender at discretion. Although the force of the Americans was only about forty-five hundred, their general declined acceding to the request. In the afternoon, a portion of the enemy commenced an attack upon the American left, and a heavy cannonade was
What position did he finally occupy ?-Had this been the original design of Santa Anna ?-How had he been employed during the armistice ?-What forced him to abandon this policy? -Describe the condition of his army during his march.-What is said of it ?-When were the Mexicans seen approaching ?-What is said of the summona to surrender 1
maintained till dark, during which three Americans were wounded. Under cover of the darkness, the enemy strongly reinforced this portion of their army, and made preparations for turning it and gaining the rear.
At sunrise the 23d, the battle began in earnest. The dark lines of Mexican infantry were drawn out as far as the eye could reach, and their cavalry seemed to cover the whole plain with interminable lines. After the dispositions for battle had been completed, both armies opened their artillery on the left, and at the same moment the Mexican infantry commenced a rapid fire of musketry. Meanwhile, a part of the enemy's cavalry wound along the mountain defiles, and although encountering great opposition, gained a position favorable for attacking the American rear. To prevent this, the artillery was advanced against them, and after several discharges, completely dispersed them with heavy loss. They rallied twice, but were as often driven back, taking refuge after the last charge among the mountains, on the opposite side of the valley. At this important moment, when their capture seemed almost certain, Santa Anna sent a white flag to General Taylor, desiring to know
What is said of the skirmish at evening ?-Describe the appear. ance of the army on the 23d.-How did the battle commence ? -Describe the movements of the cavalry.
CONTINUATION OF THE BATTLE.
what he wanted. The delay occasioned in answering this, gave opportunity for the cavalry to escape from their perilous position and effect a junction with the main body.
The Mexicans now came on in dense masses, and for a long while the slaughter on both sides was dreadful. A superior force of the enemy routed one regiment, and drove back two others, compelling Captain O'Brien, who with two pieces of artillery had sustained their heavy charge, until every one of his men was killed or wounded, to leave his guns and fall back. At this critical period, the commander ordered Captain Bragg to advance with his artillery, which he did, overthrowing the masses of the enemy when they were within a few yards of his guns. In their retreat, the enemy encountered the second Kentucky regiment, and a severe conflict took place in a ravine; here the loss of the Ameriains was very severe, especially in officers, although they succeeded in repulsing the Mexicans.
At night the Americans slept on the battle field, and the enemy retired to Agua Nueva.
The American force actually engaged in this battle was about 4500 men; their loss was 267 killed, 456 wounded, and 23 missing ; that of the enemy was nearly 2000.
Of all the battles fought during the present war with Mexico, this is perhaps the most remarkable. It was the test, the criterion of national valor. Both countries had anticipated it with painful forebodings; for it was known to form a crisis, which in its causes, nature and consequences, would never rise again. Hitherto victories had been gained over generals but little distin guished in war's great drama; now their conqueror was met by one on whom rested the experience of campaigns, revolutions, and counter-revolutions, and whose popularity was such, th at at a nod, he gathered around him a host of twenty thousand men, and conducted them
How did Santa Anna save the cavalry?-Describe the charge of the Mexicans,-the bravery of Captain Brazg,--the fight with the Kentucky regiment,-the final result.-What was the American force in this battle?-their loss ?-the loss of the Mexicans ?--Give the remarks on the battle of Buena Vista.
successfully through all that soldiers can endure. Fame announced his coming long before his columns apa peared in sight; and when he stood on the heights of Angostura, and saw sweeping before him his innumer able legions, victory seemed already within his grasp:
And to oppose this general and his army were a little troop, less in number than their opposer's cavalry, and apparently inferior in everything save strength of position. But energy, terrible and resistless, slept among that iron band; could one be found capable of rousing it, of uniting its powers, and hurling it against an enemy, opposing thousands would crumble and wither before it. That one they had among them. It was General Taylor. Some had followed him through excitement and danger, on the plains of Texas, and amid the volcanic blaze of Monterey ; but the greater part were those whose hope was soon to be led by him, to their first bloody field. A command, a nod from him would have driven them, like a hurricane, on a forest of bayonets, or up to the cannon's blast. In the darkest moments of that gloomy day, when long-loved campmates were piled in bleeding masses, in every ravine, his voice kept the shattered regiments to their posts, and was heard by the dying soldier, with a thrill that eased his final agonies. No doubt many battled there for glory; many through patriotism, and many in the wild sweepings of passion; but all fought for Genera} Taylor. With him in command, each soldier became a host, and supplied in efficiency the lack of numbers. When, in the lancers' final charge, Captain Bragg stood almost alone, few generals would have stood as Taylor Jid, and watched with his piercing eye, the foe's advance; and when the huge host was hurled back, and the last triumphant shout of our army went up,
it for General Taylor, more than for victory.
This has been the last important feat of General Taylor; a fruitless pursuit of Urrea followed, but that officer managed to escape with all his cavalry, beyond the mountains. General Taylor then encamped near Mon'erey, where he is at present.
What was done by Taylor after the battle ?