Letter from Zachary Taylor to Hon. Henry Clay, March 1, 1847.
HEADQUARTERS, ARMY OF OCCUPATION,
Agua Nueva, Mexico, March 1, 1847.
MY DEAR SIR: — You will no doubt have received, before this can reach you, the deeply distressing intelligence of the death of your son in the late battle of Buena Vista. It is with no wish of intruding upon the sanctuary of parental sorrow, and with no hope of administering any consolation to your wounded heart, that I have taken the liberty of, addressing you these few lines: but I have felt it a duty which I owe to the memory of the distinguished dead, to pay a willing tribute to his many excellent qualities; and while my, feelings are still fresh, to express the desolation which his untimely loss and that of other kindred spirits has occasioned.
I had but a casual acquaintance with your son until he became a member of my military family, and I can truly say that no one ever won more rapidly upon my regard, or established a more lasting claim to my respect and esteem. Manly and honorable in every impulse, with no feeling but for the honor of the service and of the country, he gave every assurance that in the hour of need I could lean with confidence upon his support. Nor was I disappointed. Under the guidance of himself and the lamented McKee, gallantly did the sons of Kentucky in the thickest of the strife, uphold the honor of the State and the country.
A grateful people will do justice to the memory or those who fell on that eventful day. But I may be permitted to express the bereavement which I feel in the loss of valued friends. To your son I felt bound by the strongest ties of private regard, and when I miss his familiar face, and those of McKee and Hardin, I can say with truth, that I feel no exultation in our success.
With the expression of my deepest and most heartfelt sympathies for your irreparable loss, I remain, Your friend,
Hon. Henry Clay, New Orleans, La.