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commanding in chief the United States forces at Brownsville, State of Texas. It has been said that the general referred to sent troops of the United States, who occupied Matamoras, at the moment when that city was attacked by General Escobedo, to carry out the orders he had from the government of the Mexican republic; the necessary result of such occupation being, under the circumstances in which that garrison stood, to interpose great difficulty to its capture by General Escobedo, whose forces were, in consequence, repulsed with serious and lamentable losses. This narrative, with more or less details, has been confirmed by private letters. Besides, I hoped to have before me the official report of such occurrences in order to recur to you in presenting the complaints which the case should require.
Notwithstanding, I have not yet been able to obtain the official report which I wished for, and as I have no doubt that the facts treated of have substantially taken place, as the press has related them, I think myself obliged to call to them your attention, transmitting to you herewith the annexed extracts from the “Tribune,” and the “World,” of New York-correspondent with the 6th day of this month. Convinced, as I am, through various trustworthy reports, that the occupation of Matamoras, to which I allude, did not emanate from orders and instructions from the President of the United States, my object now is only to express the pain caused to me by this uncalled for occurrence, through the mischief it occasioned to the loyal forces of my government, no less than for the sinister constructions which the enemies of the Mexican republic might put upon it, by attributing it to a direct intervention of the United States in the domestic affairs of that republic.
I should assure you that I entertain well-founded confidence that the government of the United States will take the measures necessary to chastise all who are responsible for the acts to which I confine myself, and to avoid in future the repetition of the like.
I avail of this occasion to repeat to you, Mr. Secretary, the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.
M. ROMERO. Hon. WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Sc., 8c., sc.
Mr. Scward to Mr. Romero.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, December 17, 1866. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 13th of December, in which you allude to a late proceeding of General Sedgwick, in taking possession of Matamoras and holding it for a few hours. I have to inform you in reply, that the proceeding of General Sedgwick was not only without authority from this government, but is understood by this department to have been in violation of the orders of his military superiors; that as soon as it came to their knowledge the proceeding was disallowed and countermanded, and that General Sedgwick was thereupon suspended from command and subjected to discipline. I am unable to write with precision upon the subject for want of full information ; but I think there is sufficient ground for believing that General Sedgwick's error was committed under pressing importunities from persons residing in Matamoras, amenable to the government of Mexico, and that his indiscreet proceeding was regarded by him as favorable to that government, instead of being injurious to it, or likely to give offence.
I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you my assurances of the highest consideration.
WILLIAM H. SEWARD. Señor Don Matias Romero, 8c., Sc., fc.
Washington City, December 27, 1966. Mr. PRESIDENT: In reply to the resolution of the House of Representatives, dated December 19, 1866, respecting the occupation of Mexican territory by United States troops, hereto annexed. I have the honor to send herewith General Grant's report of this date, with three communications from General Sheridan, which contains all the information on the subject in possession of the department. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
EDWIN M. STANTON,
Secretary of IVar. The PRESIDENT.
HEADQUARTERS ASMIES OF THE UNITED STATES,
IVashington, December 27, 1566. Sir: I have the honor to return herewith the resolution of the House of Representatives, Congress of the United States, calling for further information in regard to the occupation of Mexican territory by United States troops, &c., referred to me for report.
The only information on this subject, received at these headquarters since my report of the 8th instant, is contained in the enclosed copies of a report and telegrams from Major General Sheridan, of date December 10th and 11th instant. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
U. S. GRANT, General. Hon. E. M. STANTON,
Secretary of War.
New Orleans, LOUISIANA, December 10, 1866. GENERAL: I have the honor to notify you of my return from the Rio Grande frontier. I have the honor to report affairs there in very good condition. On the 28th of November, General Sedgwick demanded and obtained the surrender of the city of Matamoras from General Canales, occupying it with about one hundred men. On the 30th he received my orders disapproving his action, and withdrew his men to our side of the river. The object of the occupation was for the alleged purpose of protecting American citizens, but the real facts are that he was made the cat's-paw of shrewd merchants of Matamoras, who wanted to secure the liabilities which were due to them from Canales before he was obliged to give up the city to liberal forces. General Sedgwick's action was without authority and in violation of written instructions as to the manner in which the grievances of American citizens in Matamoras should be redressed. I have relieved him from his command, in obedience to orders from the Secretary of War, and placed him in arrest, subject to further orders from the President. Matamoras passed into the hands of Escobedo on the 30th of November, and a better condition of affairs now exists on the Rio Grande frontier than has for the last eighteen months. A detailed report will be forwarded by to-morrow's mail.
P. H. SHERIDAN,
Major General General U. S. GRANT, Washington. Official :
GEO. K. LEET, Assistant Adjutant General.
New ORLEANS, December 11, 1866-1 p. m. GENERAL: I telegraphed you last evening of the good condition of affairs on the Rio Grande. The act of General Sedgwick gave rise to no complications ; in fact, General Escobedo called on me to ask me not to hold him responsible for it. The Canales faction having been submerged I was enabled to release General Ortega, upon Escobedo promising that he would look out for him. There is not a city or state in Mexico which takes issue against Juarez's government. On my return I met General Sherman at Brazos Santiago. He had just come from Vera Cruz, and was en route with Mr. Campbell for Matamoras.
P. H. SHERIDAN,
Major General, fr. General U. S. GRANT.
GEO. K. LEET, Assistant Adjutant General.
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF,
New Orleans, La., December 11, 1966. GENERAL : I have the honor to make the following report of my recent trip to the Rio Grande frontier : I arrived at Brownsville at 4 o'clock on the morning of the 6th instant, and found that, on the 24th of November, General Sedg. wick, commanding the sub-district of the Rio Grande, had demanded and received the surrender of the city of Matamoras from Canales, who arbitrarily held possession of the city against the legitimate authority of his government. That, on the 30th ultimo, the few United States troops (about fifty) holding the city had been withdrawn, in obedience to instructions sent by me disapproving the act of occupation or any action arising from it.
The motives which influenced Brevet Brigadier General Sedgwick in this act are unknown to me, but the alleged one of protecting American citizens and their property was in violation of a decision made by the honorable Secretary of State on this subject, which decision is on file in his office.
The case presents itself to my mind in this way: After the surrender of Matamoras to General Caravajal, the merchants of Matamoras—most of them foreign-born, and some claiming American citizenship, but ultra Maximilian adherents and blockade runners during the rebellion-induced Canales (a noted character) to pronounce against the authority of the liberal government. They had two objects in this : first, to help the imperial cause by creating as much dissension as possible among the liberal leaders ; second, that they might pass out goods from the city free of duty, or nearly so. This worked well for them, and goods said to amount to a large sum of money were so moved out.
This condition of affairs continued until General Escobedo, in command of the liberal forces, advanced troops against Matamoras for its recapture. Pending this event Ortega was sent for, and, as Canales was a usurper, it was necessary to support him by a more noted character like Ortega; but Ortega having been arrested at Brazos Santiago, and Escobedo having laid siege to the city, these merchants were obliged to change their plans. They then proposed that Canales should surrender the city to Escobedo, if Escobedo would agree to pay them the money given, or said to have been given, to Canales, the amount beng some ($600,000) six hundred thousand dollars. This Escobedo refused, and fearing that they would lose their claim, and perhaps their property, if the city was taken, they brought their influence to bear on Brevet Briga lier General Sedgwick, and made him their “cat’s-paw” to protect their interests. This is the point of the whole affair.
The occupation of the city was a mere matter of form, and had the consent of General Escobedo, who made no objections, and since the city passed into his hands has called on General Sedgwick in the most friendly manner, and asked me to forgive his action.
There is little doubt but that this unauthorized and harmless intervention does much to reconcile and bring about the very good condition of affairs that ex. isted in Matamoras when I left Brownsville, which condition of affairs enabled me to release General Ortega, as he had but few friends on the Mexican siile after the suppression of the Canales usurpation. I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. II. SHERIDAN,
Major General U. S. A. Brevet Major General J. A. RAWLINS,
Chief of Staff: Washington, D.C. Official :
GEO. K. LEET,
Assistant Adjutant General.
Copy of an article published in the Rio Grande Courier, of date Brownsville,
December 7, 1866.
THE OCCUPANCY OF MATAMORAS.
From the despatches which appear in the northern papers, via Louisville, coupled with the arrival of General Sheridan at this point, it would seem well settled that Colonel Thomas D. Sedgwick either has been, or immediately will be, relieved from the command of the sub-district of the Rio Grande.
While the primary cause of this is, no doubt, the dissatisfaction felt by high authority on account of his course in the late occupancy of Matamoras, yet it is more than probable that some change would have occurred at an early date.
While we know of no earthly reason for reflecting upon the good intentions of Colonel Sedgwick, yet it has been well understood that the delicate position of affairs here requires a man of enlarged experience, both in military and civil matters. Colonel Sedgwick came to the command by virtue of seniority of rank solely, and without r.gird to fitness or qualification. He did not seek the place. Indeed, without claiming to speak by authority, we think we can safely say that he accepted it only because his official duty did not allow him to decline it.
It has so happened ibat the difficulties over the river, and the machinations upon this side, have been far greater and more numerous than usual during liis administration, making his duties the more intricate and arduous.
It is impossible for either the authorities at New Orleans or at Washington to lay down a course of conduct to le followed in every case which may arise. All they can do is to mark out a general line of policy, leaving to the good sense and judgment of the commander here to attend to the details. To do this is oftentimes the most difficult part of the task.
The interests upon the other side of the Rio Grande are so often complicated, the leaders so numerous, their professions so persistent, and their skill at diplomacy so great, backed up, as they are, by any number of shrewd, intelligent lawyers, that he is indeed a man of unusual intelligence who can cope with them. And for this reason we say, as we have before said, that there is no place upon the continent where a commanding officer of great sagacity and firmness is more required.
In the late fiasco, for such it was, Colonel Sedgwick has been simply outwitted by a combination of military and civil influences, the latter mostly of American nationality.
The foreign merchants and capitalists of Matamoras, who have been compelled to advance money to Canales, were naturally enough anxious for its return. Escobedo, in all attempts which were made at negotiations, persistently refused to recognize Canales's engagements. These merchants were consequently opposed to any surrender of the city which should involve the loss of the money advanced by them. Many of them were Americans, and, in these matters, had the ear of the commanding officer. In their advice and representations they were of course influenced by their interests. They were also in the confidence of Canales, for, in the matter pending, their interests lay with him. With these, and with Canales, who professedly recognized Juarez as President, Colonel Sedgwick had to deal; every question which might at the same time arise, the more complicated by the presence of an army, under the command of the recognized representative of Juarez, besieging the city, for whose success Gen. Sedg. wick was at all times anxious. The result was a blunder which, in its practical results, was in this instance “worse than a crime.” The object desired, viz., the advancement of Escobedo's interest, was not obtained, but rather the contrary, as the presence of the American force, in the attack which followed, contributed very greatly to the success of Canales. Nor, as it seems, were the wishes of the government carried out, as, in rendering assistance to Juarez, his instructions did not warrant the occupancy of American territory. The result has been Colonel Sedgwick’s removal. Though not as generally well known as his predecessors, socially he has been popular with our citizens, and, aside from his official duties, his departure from among us (should this be involved) will be regretted. In commenting upon his course in the late affair, this journal has felt compelled to criticise it with some severity. The result has shown that we were correct.
In doing so, we have been actuated by no unkind feelings to Colonel Sedg. wick, but have acted solely for the honor and interest of the American name. Official:
GEO. K. LEET, A. A. G. HEADQUARTERS A. U. S., December 27, 1866.