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Washington, August 30, 1845. Sır: Only one letter has been received from you since you entered Texas, and that was written the day after you arrived at Aransas bay. Permit me to urge upon you the importance of availing yourself of every opportunity of communicating with this department. It is desirable to have early and correct information from you, to enable the government to form a true judgment of the designs and movements of Mexico, founded on ascertained facts.
It is presumed that, in pursuance of previous instructions from this department, you have taken special pains to become acquainted with the proceedings of Mexico, particularly in regard to the number, and kind, of Mexican troops at Matamoras, Monterey, and other places, as well as those which are on the march towards them, and may be brought to act against your forces, or pushed across the Rio Grande, either in the vicinity of Matamoras or at distant points in that river. You will not, I trust, underrate the importance of such information, or fail to use the proper and necessary means for acquiring it. You are directed, should you deem it expedient, to employ competent and trustworthy persons to obtain such intelligence.
The instructions, heretofore issued, enjoin upon you to defend Texas from invasion and Indian hostilities; and, should Mexico invade it, you will employ all your forces to repulse the invaders, and drive all Mexican troops beyond the Rio Grande. Should you judge the forces under your command inadequate, you will not fail to draw sufficient auxiliary aid from Texas; and, if there be need, from the States, pursuant io your previous instructions. It is not to be doubted that, on your notification, volunteer troops, to the number you may require, will rally with alacrity to your standard. You have been advised that the assembling a large Mexican army -on the borders of Texas, and crossing the Rio Grande with a considerable force, will be regarded by the Executive here as an invasion of the United States, and the commencement of hostilities. An attempt to cross that river with such a force, will also be considered in the same light. There may be other acts on the part of Mexico which would put an end to the relations of peace between that republic and the United States. Should depredations be committed on our commerce by her public armed vessels, or privateers, acting under her authority, this will constitute a state of war.
Orders have been issued to the vessels of the United States in the gull, to furnish you with information of any hostile proceedings of Mexico, and the state of things in that republic. You will embrace every occasion that may present, to forward to the commanders of these vessels such' intelligence as you may possess, concerning the movements of the military forces, and the state of things in Mexico and Texas, and to suggest to them such assistance and co-operation as you may desire to receive.
In case of war, either declared or made manifest by hostile acts, your main object will be the protection of Texas; but the pursuit of this object will not necessarily confine your action within the
territory of Texas.
Mexico having thus commenced hostilities, you may, in your discretion, should you have sufficient force, and be in a condition to do so, cross the Rio Grande, disperse or capture the forces assembling to invade Texas, defeat the junction of troops uniting for that purpose, drive them from their positions on either side of that river, and, if deemed practicable and expedient, take, and hold possession of, Matamoras and other places in the country. I scarcely need to say, that enterprises of this kind are only to be ventured on under circumstances presenting a fair prospect of success. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War. Brigadier Gen. Z. TAYLOR,
Commanding the U. S. army in Texas. P. S.-Here with you will find a copy of the order of the Navy Department to Commodore Connor.
Washington, October 16, 1845. Sir: The information which we have here, renders it probable that no serious attempts will, at present, be made by Mexico to invade Texas, although she continues to 'threaten incursions. Previous instructions will have put you in possession of the views of the government of the United States, not only as to the extent of its territorial claims, but of its determination to assert them. In carrying out these instructions, you will be left very much to your own judgment, by reason of your superior knowledge of localities, and the earlier notice you may receive of the probable views of Mexico, and the movements of her troops.
On the supposition that no active operations on your part will be required during the approaching winter, an important question to be decided is the position or positions to be occupied by your forces. This must be determined mainly with reference to the objects for which the army under your command was sent into Texas. You will approach as near the western boundary of Texas (the Rio Grande) as circumstances will permit; having reference to reasonable security; to accommodations for putting your troops into winter huts, if deemed necessary; to the facility and certainty of procuring or receiving supplies; and to checking any attempted incursions by the Mexican forces or the Indian tribes. Ought your present position to be changed? the forces which are, or soon will be, assembled under your command, be kept together or divided? and, if divided, what positions are to be taken, and how are they to be divided? These are questions which inust be in a measure left to your judgment, or, at least, the decision upon them here, if there be time, will be influenced in no inconsiderable degree by the information and views which you may furnish the
department. You need not, therefore, wait for directions from Washington, to carry out what you may deem proper to be done. Upon all the points above enumerated, and others not suggested, your reports and views in full are desired, not only with reference to the continuance of the present aspect of affairs between the United States and Mexico, but in the contingency of your selecting, or being directed to take, a position on the banks of the Rio Grande near its mouth, or places above, or even in the event of open hostilities. It is expected that the officers of the engineer and topographical corps, who have been sent into Texas, will examine, as far as practicable, under your direction, the country, with a view to selecting eligible positions for permanent or temporary occupation, for depots of supplies, arms, and munitions of
It is extremely desirable that the sea coast, or at least that part of it which will be likely to be visited by our vessels in aid of any contemplated military operations, should be better known here than it now is; as well as the character of the several rivers which may present obstacles to the movements of our forces, or furnish facilities for transporting supplies. You are requested to avail yourself of all proper occasions, and employ the means you possess, to collect information in regard to all these matters, and forward it to this department. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
WM. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War. Brigadier General Z. Taylor,
Commanding army of occupation in Texas.
Washington, January 13, 1846. SIR: I am directed by the President to instruct you to advance and occupy, with the troops under your command, positions on or, near the east bank of the Rio del Norte, as soon as it can be conveniently done with reference to the season and the routes by which your movements must be made. From the views heretofore presented to this department, it is presumed Point Isabel will be considered by you an eligible position. This point, or some one near it, and points opposite Matamoras and Mier, and in the vicinity of Laredo, are suggested for your consideration; but you are left to your better knowledge to determine the post or posts which you are to occupy, as well as the question of dividing your forces with a view to occupying two or more positions.
In the positions you may take in carrying out these instructions and other movements that may be made, the use of the Rio del Norte may be very convenient, if not necessary. Should you attempt to exercise the right which the United States have in common with Mexico to the free navigation of this river, it is probable that Mexico would interpose resistance. You will not attempt to enforce this right without further instructions.
You are requested to report to this department, without delay, what means you may require, if any, beyond those you now possess, to enforce and maintain our common right to navigate this river, as well as your views of the importance of this right in the defence and protection of the State of Texas.
It is not designed, in our present relations with Mexico, that you should treat her as an enemy; but, should she assume that character by a declaration of war, or any open act of hostility towards us, you will not act merely on the defensive, if your relative means enable you to do otherwise.
Since instructions were given you to draw aid from Texas, in case you should deeu it necessary, the relations between that State and the United States have undergone some modification. Texas is now fully incorporated into our union of States, and you are bereby authorized by the President to make a requisition upon the executive of that State for such of its militia force as may be Deeded to repel invasion or to secure the country against apprehended invasion.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant,
WM. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War. Brigadier General Z. TAYLOR.
Washington, January 20, 1846. Sır: You will perceive by a letter which has been addressed to General Taylor, commanding the United States troops in your State, a copy of which I send to you herewith, that the President has authorized him, in case of hostilities between the United States and Mexico, and an invasion or threatened invasion of your State, to make a requisition for such militia force as in a possible state of things may be required from Texas.
By the request of the President I hereby apprise you of the directions which have been given to General Taylor, and express to you the confidence here entertained, that, should he make a requisition, it will be promptly responded to.
WM. L. MARCY,
Secretary of War. His Excellency JAMES HENDERSON,
Governor of the State of Texas.
Washington, March 2, 1846. SIR: Your letter of the 7th ultimo, addressed to the adjutant general, with accompanying documents, marked Nos. 1 and 2, has been submitted to the President for his consideration.
It is very desirable that you should use all the means at your command to acquire the most full and accurate information in relation not only to the military movements in the northern provinces of Mexico, but to the feelings and disposition of the people in them towards the present government, and to keep us advised thereof. It is the settled determination of the United States, in every possible event, to protect private property, to respect personal rights, and to abstain from all interference in religious matters. Upon these points you will give the most ample assurances, and improve every occasion that may arise to furnish proof of the good faith with which these assurances are made. If, in the course of events, you should have occasion to enter Mexico, it would be proper to quiet all apprehensions, so far as it can be done, by a public proclamation that the rights of property, persons, and religion, will be respected. Particular care should be taken not to alarm the religious feelings of the Mexicans.
At this time, we have no information direct from Mexico so late as that contained in the extra of the Corpus Christi Gazette of the 12th of February. Though this is not of a character to cominand much confidence, yet it may not be prudent wholly to disregard it. You cannot fail to have timely notice of the approach of any considerable Mexican force; and, in that event, will promptly and efficiently use the authority with which you are clothed to call to you sůch auxiliary forces as you may need. The governor of Texas has been notified that you are authorized by the President to make a requisition on him for troops, and it is not doubted that he will promptly respond to any call you may make for that purpose.
Your advance to the Rio del Norte will bring you, as a matter of course, nearer to your assailants in case of hostilities, and at the same time remove you to a greater distance from the region froin which auxiliary aid can be drawn. This consideration will naturally induce you to take more than ordinary care to be in a safe position, and prepared to sustain yourself against any assault. I make this suggestion because I am not sure that you will have such co-operation on the part of our naval force as you may expect. The government has not such a vessel as you desire; but one or two, best suited to the service, have been ordered to the Texan coast. The Flirt, which has the least draught-eight or nine feet-is not of much efficiency. She carries not more than four guns. The Somers or Porpoise, brigs of ten guns, and drawing thirteen or fourteen feet of water, will be ordered to report to and co-operate with you; but it is not probable that either of them,