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    Kearny appeals to General Winfield Scott for the Return of His Men

    [Mexican War]. Philip Kearney Autograph Letter Signed to Gen. Winfield Scott. One page, 7.5" x 9.5" (sight), "Camp P. A. Landing," February 6, 1847. Three weeks before writing this letter, First Lieutenant Philip Kearney was involved in an incident that nearly cut short his career. General Winfield Scott, then in Texas and wishing to meet with General Zachary Taylor, found that his fellow general had retired south into Mexico near Ciudad Victoria. He sent dispatches in the care of Lt. John A. Richey, 5th U.S. Infantry, accompanied by a detachment of ten dragoons from Kearny's Company "F," 1st Dragoons. The dispatches not only contained information regarding Scott's planned expedition to Vera Cruz, but also hinted at the depleted status of Taylor's army. At Villa Gran, Richey, against the orders of Kearny, entered the town to purchase supplies and was set upon by locals who brutally murdered him. The plans were stolen and taken directly to General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.

    The ten dragoons were transferred after the incident, and in this letter, Kearny appeals to General Winfield Scott for their return, saying, "The fear of losing a simple instant must be my excuse for addressing you, even on a military subject. . . .The detachment of 10 Dragoons, that accompanied Lt. Ritchie [sic], have been attached to Col. May's Company. This I trust is merely contemplated as temporary, and yet, if it happens that they do not join my Company in time I fear that this will be assumed, as the grounds for a Transfer. I now solicit, that you may be pleased to issue instructions, for said men of this Company ('F,' 1st Drs) to join as quickly as possible - and wherever the Company may have proceeded, if embarked before their arrival at the Brazos." Folds. Light discoloration of the paper at the right edge. Matted with a photograph of Kearny and framed to an overall size of 16.75" x 13.5".

    The information provided in the stolen dispatches regarding the reduced force of Taylor's army gave Santa Anna the incentive to march north with a force of 15,000 men to strike at Taylor and destroy the threat in the north. Taylor, armed with information gathered from Texas Ranger Ben McCulloch and his spy company concerning the strength of Santa Anna's army, made a tactical retreat to Buena Vista and met the Mexican force on February 22 and 23. Taylor's defeat of an army four times the size of his made him a hero and propelled him to the presidency in the election of 1848.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2013
    21st Saturday
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