Description[Mexican War]. Four Letters by Nicolas Mendoza, a total of 18 pages, 8" x 10.5". The first letter is written from Matamoros and is dated April 17, 1846. In near fine condition, Mendoza writes to fellow officer Captain Jesus de la Garza sharing news that Mariano Arista has been named General in Chief of the Army of the North and that Pedro de Ampudia arrived with his forces on April 14. Two letters are written from Linares, and dated June 10 and 16, 1846. Following the Mexican retreat from the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de Palma, Mendoza on June to Nievas de la Garza, recounting moments from these battles. He also discusses Army finances, and the current plans of Generals Arista and Mejia. Finally, he goes into great detail regarding the conditions of the march to Linares. He relates that on May 17, they "left Matamoros for this city, over a thousand men with the need that each corps bodily carry a cannon because there were no mules to pull them with, and the oxen we used in their place became tired. We walked through the desert, never coming upon even a ranch where we could buy something to sustain us..." Both Linares letters have heavy wear and staining, with paper loss/deterioration at corners.
The fourth letter is written from Monterey, dated August 31, 1846. Writing (in Spanish) to Captain Jesus de la Garza, Mendoza transmits manuscript circulars and news of the military preparations at Monterey. In part: "...Political matters had taken on a very ugly aspect, since an order arrived that we abandon the Plaza and we would retreat to San Luis P. As you see, what foresight! They had us in formation to show us the order and unanimously we answered that it seemed that we didn't belong to the army that would defend Monterrey even though we knew that we would be buried in her ruins. Fortunately, the day following this news, which was the 28th, we received new arms so that we could stay in Monterrey so that we could defend it at all costs while the brigades arrived which for the second time countermarched to the interior and were returning. In effect today the 1st brigade, composed of the battalions from Queretaro, S. Luis, and Aguascalientes with their forces between them of 1,500 men... and by the 7th of next there are two other brigades expected. The imprints I enclose will advise you of present things at their origin, communiqués from the General Command here, the General in chief, Commander Gen. of Saltillo, and the latest news from Mexico City. The Americans, a minimum of 1000 men, some are in Cerralvo since the 24th, they have only 700 mules which have been having to make trips to freight the effects for food and was that they need. It is known that Taylor said he was going to make his headquarters there, On the 24th in Camargo he disarmed 1300 Texans or Americans because they wanted horses and the 26th he disarmed 400 for the same reason. It is known for certain that the forces of the enemy approach 9,000 some men from the Fronton to Cerralvo; because at said point they had to leave some troops at Matamoros, Reynosa, Camargo, Mier, and China. They would not have left Camargo, but they work according to the circumstances... Our fortifications are continuing by the same troops and I am sure that if the come they will not come out with such and advantage as in Palo Alto..." He goes on to explain the financial circumstances of the army, including the suspension of pay by General Ampudia and belief that the situation will improve when Santa Anna returns to Mexico and takes command. Included is the aforementioned military circular relaying various orders including the defense of the borderlands and the need to establish national credit in order to save it from financial ruin.
Despite the preparations by the Mexican army, the superior artillery and fighting tactics of the American forces would result in their ceding Monterey. On September 24th, General Taylor would grant an eight week armistice allowing the Mexican army to retreat. As evident by Mendoza's letter, General Ampudia had already lost the confidence of his men. Unfortunately, Santa Anna would not provide the leadership desperately lacking.
Numerous references are made to Mendoza in Jose Maria Roa Barcena's book Memoirs of the North American Invasion. After Monterrey, Mendoza would eventually lead his troops to the city of Mexico. He would attain the rank of General and was one of the principal leaders during the war. At the battle of Churubusco, Mendoza's troops were situated alongside Santa Anna's.
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