Since the first edition of this work was published, two important wars have been commenced and terminated—that between the United States and the Republic of Mexico, and that between Russia and the Western Powers of Europe—and another is now being waged between France and Austria, upon the old battle fields of Northern Italy. In issuing a new edition of these Elements of Military Art and Science, it is deemed proper to refer to these wars, and to apply the principles here discussed to the military operations carried on in Mexico and in the Crimea. It is proposed to do this in the form of Notes to the several Chapters. The war in Italy being still undetermined, and the details of the several battles which have already been fought being but imperfectly known, it is obviously improper to attempt to criticize their strategic character or tactical arrangement.
NEW YORK, July, 1859.
In the invasion of Mexico, the United States formed four separate armies, moving on four distinct lines of operation: 1st. The “Army of the West,” under General Kearny, moving from St. Louis on New Mexico and California; 2d. The “Army of the Centre,” under General Wool, moving from San Antonio de Bexar on Chihuahua; 3d. The “Army of Occupation,” on the Rio Grande, under General Taylor, moving from Corpus Christi on Matamoras, Monterey, and Saltillo; and 4th. The “Main Army,” under General Scott, moving from Vera Cruz on the capital of Mexico.
The Army of the West, under General Kearny, moved upon a separate and distinct line of operations, having no strategic relations to the other three; its objects were the conquest and occupation of New Mexico and Upper California. The first was readily accomplished; but the general then detached so large a force to operate on Chihuahua after the diversion of Wool’s column, that his expedition to California must have utterly failed without the assistance of the naval forces in the Pacific.
The lines of Taylor and Wool were evidently ill chosen, being so distant as to afford the enemy an opportunity to take a central position between them. Fortunately Wool proceeded no further than Monclova, and then turned off to occupy Parras, thus coming under the immediate command of General Taylor. The latter fought the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, and sustained the siege of Fort Brown; then crossing the Rio Grande at Matamoras, he captured Monterey, and, forming a junction with Wool, defeated the army of Santa Anna at Buena Vista. This battle ended the campaign, which, however brilliantly conducted, was entirely without strategic results.
Scott landed his army near the Island of Sacrificios without opposition, and immediately invested Vera Cruz, which surrendered after a short siege and bombardment. Having thus secured his base, he immediately advanced to the city of Puebla, meeting and defeating the army of Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo. Remaining some time at Puebla to reinforce his army, he advanced into the valley of Mexico, and after the brilliant victories of Contreras, Churubusco, Molino del Rey, and Chapultepec, captured the city and terminated the war.