THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LXX JULY, 1966 No. I
aaylor's Zrai i areas
ROBERT H. THONHOFF
PROBABLY THE MOST QUOTED DIARIST OF THE MEXICAN WAR,
Captain W. S. Henry, recorded the following impressions
and prophecy in his journal on March 15, 1846.
Sunday, 15th. "Advance" sounded at sunrise; the prairie higher
and more rolling, and filled with gorgeous flowers. The road was very
hard, and looked simply, by the passage of the advance brigades, like
a well-beaten turnpike. "Taylor's Trail" will never be obliterated.
But old trails do have a way of being lost in history, and such
is the case of the trail taken by the army of General Zachary
Taylor during March, 1846, from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Mat-
amoros, Mexico. Known for many years as "General Taylor's
Road" or "Taylor's Trail," the route was one of the most im-
portant of the few paths of conquest ever trod by a United
States army on American soil.
There are numerous accounts about the 174-mile march from
the Nueces River to the Rio Grande, but most tend to slight the
first 144 miles from the Nueces to the Little Colorado2 and go
into detail only on the last thirty-mile stretch from the Little
Colorado to the Rio Grande. Thus the following study repre-
sents an attempt to retrace the route as exactly as possible and
to re-create the events which were attendant to an army on the
It should be remembered that in the spring of 1844, pending
negotiations for the annexation of Texas, an "Army of Obser-
vation" was concentrated at Fort Jesup, Louisiana, near the
Sabine River. In command was Brevet Brigadier General Zach-
1W. S. Henry, Campaign Sketches of the War with Mexico (New York, 1847), 55.
2The Little Colorado, a salt water stream about thirty miles north of Matamoros,
was also called the Sal Colorado and the Arroyo Colorado. Presently, it forms part
of the boundary between Cameron and Willacy counties.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/. Accessed February 1, 2015.