The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974 Page: 112
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The Battle oj Buena Vista
midwest and the upper South where his insistence on training made him
seem a martinet to the free-spirited western volunteers and earned him their
cordial dislike. Nevertheless, he received command of the largely volunteer
column intended to march through northern Mexico to seize Chihuahua.
That objective was abandoned after the troops had reached Parras, about
seventy-five miles west of Saltillo. In December, Wool rushed his command
to Buena Vista when the troops there appeared to be threatened by a Mex-
Seven months earlier Taylor's army had started the war with smashing
successes at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. These battles cleared Mex-
ican forces from the Rio Grande and led to an early fall campaign which
culminated in the seizure of Monterrey, approximately a hundred miles
south of the river. There Taylor temporarily halted his army following an
ill-advised armistice which earned him the disapproval of President James
K. Polk. In November, Taylor moved fifty miles deeper into Mexico by
seizing Saltillo only to have Major General Winfield Scott take nearly all
the regulars and seasoned volunteers from his army for the impending
Mexico City campaign. Despite this depleted strength, Taylor refused to
obey a directive to retire to Monterrey. In January, 1847, he assigned com-
mand of the forces remaining around Saltillo to Wool.'
When Mexico's strong man and army commander, General of Division
Antonio L6pez de Santa Anna learned of the American plans and the
enfeebled condition of Taylor's army he realized that he had an excellent
opportunity to destroy both American armies. Since it would take Scott
some time to mount his Mexico City campaign, Santa Anna decided to
attack Taylor before turning his attention to the threat to the Mexican
capital. Despite nearly insurmountable obstacles of disinterest, distance,
and lack of money, Santa Anna gathered an army of 21,553 men at San
Luis Potosi, about 250 miles south of Saltillo. In an honor-filled march
between January 27 and February 21 the Mexican army traversed the arid
highlands separating the two forces.4
2D.A.B., XX, 513-514; Samuel Rezneck, Profiles Out of the Past of Troy, New York,
Since 1789 (Troy, 1970), io6-i o; Jonathan W. Buhoup, Narratives of the Central
Division, or, Army of Chihuahua (Pittsburgh, x847); Smith, War with Mexico, I, 267-
SHolman Hamilton, Zachary Taylor: Soldier of the Republic (Indianapolis, 1941),
181-190, 195-216, 225; Smith, War with Mexico, I, 163-176, 259-264, 356, 368-369;
David Lavender, Climax at Buena Vista (Philadelphia, 1966), 68-76, 99-121, 130, 133.
4Hamilton, Zachary Taylor, 225-226, 231-232; Lavender, Climax at Buena Vista,
164-171; Manuel Balbontin, La invasion americana, 1846 d 1848 (Mexico City, 1883),
60-71; Smith, War with Mexico, I, 264-266, 356-358, 362-382.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 77, July 1973 - April, 1974, periodical, 1973/1974; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117148/m1/130/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.