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    "I left Mazapil at 8 o'clock A.M. on the 12th of March with fourteen of the Texan Rangers under the command of Major Lane"

    [Mexican War]. John Pope Autograph Letter Signed "Jno. Pope." Seven integral pages, 7.75" x 9.75", Saltillo, April 2, 1848. John Pope (1822-1892), like many generals who found fame during the Civil War, had his first taste of combat as a young officer in Zachary Taylor's Army of Occupation during the Mexican War. Writing to his commanding officer two months after the war's end, Pope, an officer in the topographical engineers, gives the particulars of a scouting expedition with a detachment of Texas Rangers led by Walter P. Lane (it was during this mission that Lane retrieved the remains of those who fell during the Mier Expedition). In part and transcribed as written:

    "In obedience to your instructions I left Mazapil at 8 o'clock A.M. on the 12th of March with fourteen of the Texan Rangers under the command of Major Lane, for the the purpose of examining the road to San Luis Potosi and as far south as in my opinion could be done with safety. After crossing the difficult and almost unpracticable pass between Mazapil and Concepcion the road is a large and nearly level wagon road to Agua Dulce . . . one stream of water is to be found near the road between Concepcion and Agua Dulce . . . the country . . . [is] incapable of furnishing any competent supplies for a body of troops. Concepcion is a small mining Hacienda at eight miles distance from Mazapil . . . a population of 1500- souls. There are no supplies of any kind raised in the immediate neighborhood . . . Agua Dulce is merly the residence of Shepperds and Cowherds . . . At six o'clock on the morning of the 13th, we marched from Agua Dulce with the intention of reaching that night the town of Cedral . . . but at 11 o'clock at night we were compelled to halt at the Rancho of San Isidro 5 miles from Cedral. We passed through the small rancho . . . belonging to the Hacienda of Salado. At the Salado and distant 21 miles from Agua-Dulce we stuck to the main road of Matehuala from Saltillo and the route pursued by the Army of Genl. Santa Anna when he marched upon Buena- Vista. Salado is a large Hacienda containing with it dependencies a population of nearly 2000 souls. . . . A supply of meat and forage could be easily obtained at the Hacienda sufficient for an army of 5000 men. After remaining several hours at Salado to refresh the horses and to examine the place we marched at 3 o'clock P.M. for Cedral pursuing the Main road from Saltillo to San Luis. . . . The whole country along this route still bears evidence of the march of a large army, in the destruction of many of the Ranchos and Tanks and the desolate appearance of those still inhabited. . . . we encamped for the night without food for ourselves or our horses . . . The rancho was immediately surrounded in order to prevent messengers being dispatched to give notice of our approach. our rapid marches and the open country prevented our approach being notified by messengers and we thus arrived within five miles of Cedral without any alarm having been given of our approach. . . . It had been my intention previously to have passed Cedral before daylight in the morning and without entering it . . . but the broken-down condition of the horses who had not been fed forced me to acquiesce with Major Lane in the necessity of entering Cedral to refresh both horses and men. We accordingly entered that place shortly after daylight on the 14th and greatly to the alarm and astonishment of the inhabitants who were not prepared for our approach. . . . . The population did not appear to feel alarmed greatly at our approach but exhibited the greatest curiosity, and the most profound surprise at the appearance of both men & horses. We immediately waited upon Alcalde requiring him to furnish corn & straw for the horses and wood for the men stating at the same time that we were the advance of a large body of troops who would arrive that evening or the next day and ordering a supply of wood and forage for them. We immediately took possession of a large stone house with a corral . . . the supply of corn and wood having been furnished immediately. Their total ignorance of our approach inclined them for a short time to the belief that other troops were actually advancing and we were treated for half an hour with courtesy and respect. Their suspicions however were aroused and an official came to the quarters of our men to direct that the commanding officer should immediately call upon the Commandante of the Plaza and state our business. As our horses had just been fed and the men were preparing their breakfast and were not in condition to make use of any retaliation for such a message and word was accordingly sent back to the Commandante by his official that we were provided by the Alcalde with all we had demanded and that we were then busy refreshing ourselves, that we had at present no business with him and if he had any with us we should be pleased to serve him at our quarters. Immediately upon the receipt of the message the bell was rung and several hundred men who had gathered round the door of the house in which we were quartered, disappeared. The sentinel at the same time reported mounted expresses riding at speed on the road to Matehuala and Catorce. In a few moments a letter received from the Commandante of the Plaza putting several questions to us as to our business and intentions and in a tone of considerable hostility. Having received undoubted information both at Mazapil and on the road that from 150 to 250 Calvary were in Matehuala and the condition of several of the horses rendering the loss of several men certain should we be pursued, Major Lane notified me that the safety of his command would be hazarded by any forward movement and expressed the opinion that we had better retire. In this opinion I was greatly to my disappointment compelled to concede as I entertained the same views he had expressed, and the men were ordered to mount. We marched out of town about 8'oclock and reached the Hacienda of Las Animas[?] about 40 miles at sundown."

    Folds are weakened in places with some separation occurring at the edges. Areas of ink smudging.

    Though the war had ended two months earlier, the United States Army would remain in Mexico until their complete withdrawal in July 1848. Pope would spend the remainder of his career in the U.S. Army, serving as a general in the Union Army during the Civil War and, later, out west fighting Indians during the Apache Wars.

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