[July 30, 2014]
I recall reading that this book has never been out of print. It first appeared as two books, Volumes 1 and 2, it seems. This famous American Civil War winning General later served two consecutive four-year terms as President of the USA, and at the end of his life, he completed his best-selling memoirs in two volumes. Mark Twain was his publisher, as I recall.
I purchased a square-bound softcover printed-on-paper version of this book quite a few years ago. I read it and liked it, though I found long stretches of the narrative held little interest for me. I often wanted to re-read that story about the popularity of tobacco in Mexico. The war with Mexico occurred before our 1861-1865 Civil War. This week I downloaded these two free e-books from the Apple iBooks store. I found that tobacco story easily since I can search for words such as tobacco.
I am sure these books are in the public domain. I will check on that later by using Wikipedia. I note here that Volume 1 in this e-book form is produced by Glen Bledsoe and contains additional proofing by David Widger.
I place a few quotes here from Volume 1.
In my early days, every one labored more or less, in the region where my youth was spent, and more in proportion to their private means. It was only the very poor who were exempt.
[...] While my father carried on the manufacture of leather… I detested the trade, preferring almost any other labor; but I was fond of agriculture, and of all employment in which horses were used.
[...] I did not like to work; but I did as much of it, while young, as grown men can be hired to do in these days, and attended school at the same time.
[...] I noticed, however, a few years later, when the Mexican war broke out, that most of this class of officers discovered they were possessed of disabilities which entirely incapacitated them from active field service. They had the moral courage to proclaim it, too. They were right; but they did not always give their disease the right name.
Next I focus on a few long quotes from U.S. Grant about Texas, our war with Mexico which resulted in the transfer of Texas to the USA, and our Civil War.
In May of 1845, Grant procured a leave for 20 days. He visited St. Louis. He asked a lady’s father for permission to marry. It was granted.
Grant introduces us to Camp Salubrity. They stayed there for 6 months before the first death occurred, and that was by accident.
[...] There was no intimation given that the removal of the 3rd and 4th regiments of infantry to the western border of Louisiana was occasioned in any way by the prospective annexation of Texas, but it was generally understood that such was the case. [...] Generally, the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation was consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger nation against a weaker nation. It was in instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory. Texas was originally a state belonging to the republic of Mexico. It extended from the Sabine River on the east to the Rio Grande on the west, and from the Gulf of Mexico on the south and east to the territory of the United States and New Mexico-another Mexican state at that time-on the north and west. An empire in territory, It had but a very sparse population, until settled by Americans who had received authority from Mexico to colonize. These colonists paid very little attention to the supreme government, and introduced slavery into the state almost from the start, though the constitution of Mexico did not, nor does it now, sanction that institution. Soon they set up an independent government of their own, and war existed, between Texas and Mexico, in name from that time until 1836, when active hostilities very nearly ceased upon the capture of Santa Anna, the Mexican President. Before long, however, the same people-who with permission of Mexico had colonized Texas, and afterwards set up slavery there, and then seceded as soon as they felt strong enough to do so-offered themselves and the State to the United States, and in 1845 their offer was accepted. The occupation, separation and annexation were, from the inception of the moment to its final consummation, a conspiracy to acquire territory out of which the slave states might be formed for the American Union.
Even if the annexation itself could be justified, the manner in which the subsequent war was forced upon Mexico cannot. The fact is, annexationists wanted more territory than they could possibly lay claim to, as part of the new acquisition. Texas, as an independent State, never had exercised jurisdiction over the territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. Mexico had never recognized the independence of Texas, and maintained that, even if independent, the State had no claim south of the Nueces. I am aware that a treaty, made by the Texans with Santa Anna while he was under duress, ceded all territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande-, but he was a prisoner of war when the treaty was made, and his life was in jeopardy. He knew, too, that he deserved execution at the hands of the Texans, if they should ever capture him. The Texans, if they had taken his life, would have only followed the example set by Santa Anna himself a few years before, when he executed the entire garrison of the Alamo and the villagers of Goliad.
In taking military possession of Texas after annexation, the army of occupation, under General Taylor, was directed to occupy the disputed territory. The army did not stop at the Nueces and offer to negotiate for a settlement of the boundary question, but went beyond, apparently in order to force Mexico to initiate war. It is to the credit of the American nation, however, that after conquering Mexico, and while practically holding the country in our possession, so that we could have retained the whole of it, or made any terms we chose, we paid a round sum for the additional territory taken; more than it was worth, or was likely to be, to Mexico. To us it was an empire and of incalculable value; but it might have been obtained by other means. The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.
This is an incredible history of Texas and the American Civil War, but Grant is a reliable reporter in my eyes. This does not agree with the Wikipedia version of these stories, as I recall. I will compare those sources again later.
[...] Under these circumstances, I gave up everything like a special course of reading, and only read thereafter for my own amusement, and not very much for that, until the war was over. I kept a horse and rode, and staid [stayed] out of doors [outdoors] most of the time by day, and entirely recovered from the cough which I had carried from West Point, and from all indications of consumption. I have often thought that my life was saved, and my health restored, by exercise and exposure, enforced by an administrative act, and a war, both of which I disapproved.
Below is the last paragraph of Chapter 3 (Volume 1):
At Camp Salubrity, and when we went to New Orleans Barracks, the 4th infantry was commanded by Colonel Vose, then an old gentleman who had not commanded on drill for a number of years. He was not a man to discover infirmity in the presence of danger. It now appeared that war was imminent, and he felt that is was his duty to brush up on his tactics. Accordingly, when we got settled down at our new post, he took command of the regiment at a battalion drill. Only two or three evolutions had been gone through when he dismissed the battalion, and, turning to go to his own quarters, dropped dead. He had not been complaining of ill health, but no doubt died of heart disease. He was a most estimable man, of exemplary habits, and by no means the author of his own disease.
Chapter IV is titled Corpus Christi-Mexican Smuggling-Spanish Rule in Mexico-Supplying Transportation. Mexican Smuggling refers to that tobacco story that I plan to include in this post.
[...] Corpus Christi is near the head of the bay of the same name, …
[...] Tobacco is cheap, and every quality can be produced. Its use is by no means so general as when I first visited the country.
The tobacco story starts with Corpus Christi above and ends with, “Its use is by no means so general as when I first visited the country.” That is four paragraphs. I am not typing them here for now, but I will probably fill in those quotes later. Briefly summarized, when tobacco is only sold to a privileged group and is very expensive (and production is controlled), everyone wants tobacco, and everyone obtains it. Most obtain it via smuggling. Much later, when it is cheap and can be grown anywhere (and can be sold to anyone, and the quality varies), far fewer people use tobacco.