The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 12
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
to serve as freighters for Taylor's army when it moved to the
Although Taylor's army would not be considered large by
present standards, it was a formidable force for the times; in-
deed, it comprised over half of all United States troops. The
best evidence of the army's strength is the field return which
Taylor submitted on November 26, 1845.22 In addition to giv-
ing a breakdown of the forces, the field return shows the aggre-
gate total of Taylor's Army of Occupation to have been 4,079
officers and men.
A vanguard to the main army left Corpus Christi on the
morning of March 4, 1846. Under command of Major William
Graham, it was composed of one hundred men to escort a train
of sixty wagons loaded with provisions. The mission of the van-
guard was to proceed to the Santa Gertrudis to establish a sup-
ply depot on the route of march about one-third the distance
to the Rio Grande.23
Final preparations were completed, and orders were issued
by General Taylor on March 8, 1846, for the Army of Occupa-
tion to advance to the left bank of the Rio Grande.24 Pursuant
to Taylor's directive, the army was organized into an advance
guard and three brigades for convenience in marching, camp-
ing, and supplying the troops, and for mutual support in case
of hostilities. The advance unit left Corpus Christi on Sunday,
March 8, 1846, and each brigade, which was to be followed by
its own baggage and supply train, left at one-day intervals. A
main supply train consisting of 307 wagons drawn by oxen and
mules followed the last column. General Taylor and his staff,
who planned to overtake the advance guard by the time it got
to the Little Colorado, were the last to leave camp.25
22House Executive Documents, 29th Cong., Ist Sess. (Serial No. 480), Document
No. 2, p. 220 ft. In his official correspondence, Taylor mentioned that field returns
showing his army's strength were submitted to the adjutant general both on March
11, 1846, the day Taylor left Corpus Christi, and on March 28, 1846, the day the
army reached the Rio Grande. The writer, however, has been unable thus far to
find those reports.
28Meade, Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, I, 50-51.
"Z. Taylor to the Adjutant General, March 8, 1846, House Executive Docu-
ments, 3oth Cong., Ist Sess. (Serial No. 520), Document No. 60, p. 118.
25Z. Taylor to the Adjutant General, March 11, 1846, ibid., 12o; Nichols, Zach
Taylor's Little Army, 44.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/24/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.