cations from that State in more than one instance, because I believed them not to be made under such circumstances as to render it proper to grant them. It is my duty, doubtless, in conjunction with my colleague, to see, as far as lies in my power, that the interests of New York are not overlooked in our consultations for the general good. That duty I shall endeavor to discharge faithfully and vigilantly. But I trust I shall never be found pressing any local interest of my own State in opposition to the common interests of the whole Union. Such a service I can never consent to perform. My constituents do not expect it of me. They would be the first to pronounce me unworthy of the trust they have reposed in me if they were to find me acting upon grounds so narrow and so subversive of all just principles of legislation. Sir, New York asks no partial exercise of legislative power in her favor. She needs none. She desires only to stand on equal ground with her sister States. Her “claim hath this extent, no more.”

In bringing forward this measure, I have been actuated by the single desire of benefiting the commerce of the country at large, of liberating it from some of the restrictions by which it is embarrassed, and of giving it freer and broader

scope. I believe these objects may be effected without prejudicing any other interest. I believe the measure proposed is due to every consideration of fairness. I have given it my support under these convictions. I shall defend it to the last. I trust it will receive the sanction of the Senate. . If I shall be disappointed, I shall bow, as is my duty, to the judgment of the majority of my associates on this floor. But in such an event, which I will not anticipate, it will be with the assurance, not that the measure is unworthy, but that it would have succeeded if it had been advocated by the mover in a manner at all commensurate with its claims to support.


JANUARY 4, 1847.

MR. Dıx moved that the Senate proceed to the consideration of the bill to appoint a lieutenant-general to command the military forces of the United States during the war with Mexico.

The motion was agreed to, and the bill was taken up accordingly, as in committee of the whole.

MR. PRESIDENT: The bill under consideration was introduced in accordance with the recommendation contained in the President's special message of the 4th instant. The reasons for asking the appointment of a general to command all our military forces in Mexico were briefly explained in that message. Having introduced the bill as a member of the Committee on Military Affairs, I deem it due to the Senate and to the subject to state the considerations by which I have been governed in giving the measure my support.

Our military operations in Mexico have heretofore been carried on in detached commands, on very extended lines, and in the execution of enterprises not only totally distinct from each other, but at geographical distances so remote as to preclude anything like direct combination between the forces respectively employed in them. These enterprises have all been successful. Santa Fé and Chihuahua have been overrun and occupied by the military forces under General Kearney; the Californias by Colonel Frémont and our naval forces in the Pacific; New Leon and part of Tamaulipas by General Taylor ; and Durango by General Wool

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and General Worth. The whole of northern and central Mexico, as far south as the mouth of the Rio Grande and the twenty-sixth parallel of latitude, is virtually in our possession. The Mexican authority may by this occupation be considered extinct in this extensive district, constituting - if we include Sonora and Sinoloa on the eastern shore of the Gulf of California, from which I believe the Mexican forces are withdrawn — about two thirds of the entire territory of the Mexican republic, and about one tenth of its population. The land forces, by which these acquisitions have been made, are rapidly concentrating upon the southern line of the subjugated territory. Their operations are to be, in some degree, combined, instead of being carried on in separate divisions. General officers, who have heretofore operated independently, are to come together and to act with each other in the accomplishment of common objects. At least four of these generals have the same rank, that of major-general, the highest rank in the service; and precedence among them in their respective arms is, therefore, to be determined by date of commission. In subordinate commands this mode of settling questions of precedence is inevitable, and ordinarily leads to little practical inconvenience. But to permit the right to the chief command over such numerous forces as are now to be combined, and in such extensive operations as are to be carried on, to be determined by mere priority of commission, and not by superiority of grade, is; to say the least, exceedingly undesirable, not only in deference to military principles, but because this


circumstance has often proved unfriendly to united and zealous action, and sometimes has led to the frustration of plans of campaign, and even to defeat, when success would have been certain with proper coöperation on the part of the commander and his subordinates. I might appeal, for the truth of this remark, to our own military history, as well as to that of other countries. I believe I may say, it is a well-settled opinion in respect to military command, and especially in


extensive operations, that the chief commander should, if possible, be superior in grade to the other general officers serving under him. The considerations by which the correctness of this principle is supported, are perfectly compatible with the highest patriotism and honor in the persons holding subordinate commands. It is strictly a question of military organization. We may concede to all the purest devotion and disinterestedness; and yet, in the organization of military bodies, and in the preparation of plans of campaign, we should be wanting in ordinary prudence, if we were not guided by those general principles which are calculated to render our arrangements proof, as far as human arrangements can be, against all hazard of failure in their execution. If there is a particular form of organization better suited than any other to give efficiency to the movements of military forces, it is the part of wisdom to adopt it; nor should we be content with a less efficient form, even though we have the fullest confidence in the patriotism and zeal of those who are to take part in the contemplated enterprises. Sir, I have entire faith in the devotedness and gallantry of the officers of our army, and of the volunteers; and no one shall surpass me here in attributing to them the praise, and awarding to them the justice to which they are entitled. I consider the proposed measure entirely consistent with the interests of both arms of the service, which are deeply concerned, though not so deeply as the interests of the country, in giving to the military body, of which they are a part, the most judicious and efficient organization.

Looking to the numerical forces to be moved in combination, they will far exceed any number ever commanded in this country — and I believe I may say in any other, except from accident or some temporary necessity — by a majorgeneral, the highest grade in our service. command of an officer of that rank is a division. A majorgeneral and a general of division are convertible terms. A

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division consists of two brigades; a brigade consists of two regiments in the regular service, and three in the volun

The command of a major-general, therefore, is from four to six thousand men. The force to be employed in Mexico, if our operations are to be carried on with proper vigor, should not fall short of twenty-five or thirty thousand fighting men in the field. It now exceeds twenty thousand. It is sufficient for four full divisions. To permit it to be commanded by a major-general, having no precedence over his associates excepting by the date of his commission, is as inconsistent with military principles as it would be to organize a regiment with three or four majors, and without a colonel, or, in other words, without a head. It is far too large a force to be commanded either by a major-general or a general having no higher rank than others serving under him. Such an arrangement is totally inconsistent with military principles and usages, looking to organization in its narrowest sense. When Napoleon was in command of the army of Italy, after his first successes, the Executive Directory determined to associate with him General Kellermann, one of the best commanders of that day. Napoleon remonstrated against it in a letter written in his usual terse and vigorous style; and he concluded by saying, that one bad general was better than two good ones. Sir, there is great force and truth in the proposition. He intended to intimate that every military body should have a distinct head; and certainly the observation is eminently applicable to cases in which the numerical forces are greatly disproportioned to the rank of the officer commanding them. For these reasons, if there were no others, I should be in favor of the President's recommendation to appoint an officer of higher rank to command our armies in Mexico.

Thus far I have spoken of the proposed measure as connected with sound principles of military organization and command. I desire now to present some considerations of a different nature. Our military commanders in Mex

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