General Scott had not intended to attack the enemy in the absence of Worth’s division, which had not yet arrived. A movement of Lieutenant Franklin Gardner, re-enforced later by the mounted rifles under Major Edwin Vose Sumner and a battalion of the First Artillery under Lieutenant-Colonel Childs, to occupy a position near the base of the Atalaya, provoked a sharp conflict. General Santa Anna, being at the front, ordered re-enforcements. Colonel Thomas Childs withdrew, having advanced under a misapprehension. The American loss was ninety-seven, killed and wounded. General Scott returned to Plan del Rio and issued the following order:
“HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
“PLAN DEL RIO, April 17, 1847.
“GENERAL ORDERS NO. 111.
“The enemy’s whole line of intrenchments and batteries will be attacked in front, and at the same time turned, early in the day to-morrow, probably before ten o’clock A.M. The second (Twiggs’s) division of regulars is already advanced within easy turning distance toward the enemy’s line. That division has instructions to move forward before daylight to-morrow and take up position across the national road, in the enemy’s rear, so as to cut off a retreat toward Jalapa. It may be re-enforced to-day, if unexpectedly attacked in force, by regiments—one or two—taken from Shields’s brigade of volunteers. If not, the two volunteer regiments will march for that purpose at daylight to-morrow morning under Brigadier-General Shields, who will report to Brigadier-General Twiggs in getting up with him, or to the general in chief if he be in advance. The remaining regiments of that volunteer brigade will receive instructions in the course of this day. The first division of regulars (Worth’s) will follow the movement against the enemy’s left at sunrise to-morrow morning. As already arranged, Brigadier-General Pillow’s brigade will march at six o’clock to-morrow morning along the route he has carefully reconnoitered, and stand ready, as soon as he hears the report of arms on our right, or sooner, if circumstances should favor him, to pierce the enemy’s line of batteries at such point—the nearer the river the better—as he may select. Once in the rear of that line, he will turn to the right or left, or both, and attack the batteries in reverse; or, if abandoned, he will pursue the enemy with vigor until further orders. Wall’s field battery and cavalry will be held in reserve on the national road, a little out of view and range of the enemy’s batteries. They will take up that position at nine o’clock in the morning. The enemy’s batteries being carried or abandoned, all our divisions and corps will pursue with vigor. This pursuit may be continued many miles toward Jalapa until stopped by darkness or fortified positions; consequently the body of the army will not return to this encampment, but be followed to-morrow afternoon, or early the next morning, by the baggage trains of the several