Rough and Ready Anecdotes.
The army of occupation passed six months in camp at Corpus Christi where General Taylor drilled his new forces into a state of admirable discipline, and inspired them by his frank, and gallant bearing with that confidence in their leader which contributes so largely to military success. Nor was he less mindful of the morals of his men, breaking up the faro-banks and groggeries which a gang of rowdy camp followers repeatedly endeavored to establish clandestinely until the General's patience was exhausted. "Take those sporting men," he said to an officer, "and send them where they will not bother us any more." "But where can I send them, General?" "Oh! anywhere. Send them to the United States."
General Taylor having sent back his wounded to Point Isabel under a strong guard, advanced next morning, in battle array, and found the enemy awaiting him at La Resaca de la Palma, a ravine crossing the road at right angles, where they had thrown up breast works. It was a daring act, to combat six thousand veterans, entrenched in a chosen position, strongly defended with artillery, with about two thousand, and there was some hesitation, in a council of war about the propriety of going on Gen. Taylor patiently heard what all had to say, and then drily remarked, "I promised the boys they should go to Fort Brown, and they must go." He had written to the Department before leaving Point Isabel: "If the enemy oppose my march in whatever numbers, I shall fight him;" and now laid his plans for attack with cool sagacity. A militia colonel who had always been very prominent on parade and in councils of war, was ordered to deploy his regiment on the enemy's flank. Not over-delighted with the prospect of escopeta shots, the Colonel stammered out a request to know what his men should fall back on if repulsed? "They never will be repulsed, said Gen. Taylor;" and if you wish to repeat, "fall back on New Orleans!"
On the presentation of Gen. Vega after his capture by the gallant Col. May, to the "Old Hero," Gen. Taylor, exclaimed, "I do assure you, General Vega, that I regret this misfortune has fallen upon you. I regret is sincerely, and insist on returning you the sword which you yielded up when captured, after having this day wielded it with so much gallantry." General Vega was an inmate of the commander's tent, until he was sent to New Orleans, carrying with him a letter of introduction to Gen. Gaines, from General Taylor, who also added a letter of credit on his banker.
While attentive to his own troops, General Taylor ordered the Surgeons to attend to the wounded Mexicans, abandoned to die in lingering agony, saying, "Keep an account of all that you disburse for them, and of what medicine they have from the army chest — if the War Department grumble, I'll foot the bills."
THE REASON THEY TOOK IT. — Part of the defences on the eastern side of Monterey was formed of an immense distillery. After it was carried by storm, a volunteer told General Taylor that the distillery was filled with whiskey. "No doubt of it," said old Zack, "I thought it was, by the way, you fought to get into it."
After every man belonging to O'Bryen's battery was either killed or disabled, Captain Bragg anticipated that his own guns might from the same causes fall into the hands of the enemy, and he prepared to take another position. At this critical juncture, when a single false move might have proved fatal to the whole army, General Taylor exclaimed "a little more grape Captain Bragg" which decided the fate of the day.
Samuel C. Reid, thus narrates a morning call at head quarters
"Calling on the Commanding General, soon after our recovery, to ascertain the chances of transportation, he remarked, after some pleasant conversation, that he was perfectly deluged with letters, and that much of his time was occupied in making replies. ‘And sir,’ said Gen. Taylor, smiling, as he handed us two letters, ‘to show you the diversity of subjects that I am called upon to respond to, you may look at these.’ One of them was from a boy fourteen years of age, giving a sort of history of himself and family, and who desired to enlist in the service, and had written to the General to ask his advice on the subject. Another was from an Irish woman who wanted to know if her son Mike was killed, as she had not heard from him since the late battles. We are sure that such letters would not have received attention at Washington, but both of them were answered by the General, carrying out the old maxim that ‘nothing is beneath the attention of a great man;’ and we left him impressed with the great goodness of his heart."
GEN. TAYLOR'S LETTERS. — "Bliss" exclaimed a friend to the far-famed Aid of Gen. Taylor, "It is said you write the ‘Old Man's’ letters for him." "I have never done more than dot an i or cross a t, and no man would dare do more" he exclaimed.