There is scarcely anything in history equal to this achievement of General Scott. Throughout the siege he shared all the dangers and hardships of his troops. He examined in person, aided by his very able staff officers, every detail of works of defense, and gave orders for the firing of the batteries.
One day during the siege General Scott was walking the trenches where a heavy fire of the enemy was directed. Seeing some of the soldiers standing up, General Scott ordered them not to expose themselves. “But, General,” said one, “you are exposing yourself.” “Oh!” said he, “generals nowadays can be made out of anybody, but men can not be had.” The point of this reply is easy to understand. General Worth was appointed commandant and governor of Vera Cruz, with instructions to establish and enforce police regulations, but not to interfere with the functions of the civil magistrates in affairs between Mexicans.
He was authorized and instructed, after conferring with Commodore Perry, to establish a tariff of duties on articles imported, to be applied to the necessities of the sick and wounded of the army and navy and indigent inhabitants of the city of Vera Cruz; this to continue in force until instructions were received from Washington. General Worth, on assuming command, immediately issued an order to the alcalde as follows:
“Arms in possession of citizens to be given into the alcalde’s possession and to be reported to headquarters. Drinking saloons to be closed, and not to be reopened hereafter except under special permission. Mexican laws as between Mexicans to be enforced, and justice administered by regular Mexican tribunals. Cases arising between American citizens of the army, or authorized followers of the same, will be investigated by military commissions.”
To cover all cases arising by the military occupation of the country, General Scott had issued at Tampico his Martial-Law Order No. 40, and republished it at Vera Cruz. General Worth gave permission to the residents of the city to leave and enter the city freely between daylight and sunset. No duties were imposed on any of the necessaries of life.
On March 30th a combined military and naval expedition was organized to move to Alvarado, Commodore Perry in command of the naval contingent. The army detachment, under General John A. Quitman, consisted of the Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina infantry, and a squadron of the Second Dragoons under command of Major Benjamin Lloyd Beall, and a section of the Third Artillery under Lieutenant Henry Bethel Judd.