Two or three miles from Puebla a commission met General Worth to treat for terms. A halt of a few hours was made, when the march was resumed, and the American forces without opposition marched into the Grand Plaza between the palace of the Governor and the cathedral.
A Mexican historian thus describes the first appearance and occupation of Puebla by the American troops: “The singular appearance of some of the soldiers, their trains, their artillery, their large horses, all attracted the curiosity of the multitude, and at the corners and squares an immense crowd surrounded the new conquerors. The latter—extremely fatigued, confiding in the mutual guarantees stipulated by the Ayuntamientimo and General Worth, or perhaps despising a people who easily permitted the occupation of their territory—stacked arms in the plaza while waiting for quarters, while some wandered into neighboring streets to drink pulque and embrace the leperos, with whom they seemed old acquaintances. [The leperos were the vagabonds of the city and country.] There is no doubt that more than ten thousand persons occupied the plazas and corners. One cry, one effort, the spirit of one determined man would have sufficed; and if once this multitude had pressed in on the enemy, they would have inevitably perished. Nothing was done. General Worth took quarters in the Governor’s palace, east of the Grand Plaza, and upon its flagstaff hoisted the Stars and Stripes.”
General Worth took possession of Puebla on May 15th, and, acting under orders of General Scott, he issued orders which gave assurance to the inhabitants that they would not be disturbed either in person or property, and that they could continue without molestation their ordinary business. The markets were kept open, and no officer or soldier was permitted to take anything without paying the regular market price.
The civil administration of the city was not interfered with. The police of the city was continued under the regulations of the city government. The churches, of which there were a large number, were opened, and continued their usual functions, and the attendance was largely augmented by the American officers and men. In fact, the city, except for the presence of the United States troops, was in all other respects governed and conducted as before its occupation.
General Scott left Jalapa on May 23d for Puebla. He arrived there on the 28th, and was met and escorted into the city by a number of officers. Along the streets of the city through which he passed the balconies were filled with Mexican ladies and the avenues crowded with men. The populace cheered him heartily and escorted him to the palace. The soldiers, volunteers and regulars, gave him the heartiest welcome, showing that he had the respect and confidence of the army, and the demonstrations of the Mexicans evidenced that they regarded him as a humane and Christian conqueror.
In this connection it is well to produce the address of General Scott to the Mexican people after the battle of Cerro Gordo: