Mr. Romero to Mr. Seward

Mr. Secretary: I have the honor to transmit to you, for the information of the government of the United States, the copy of a report addressed to me from New York, the 28th of February last, by a Mexican citizen, Jesus Maria Guerra, commissioner from headquarters of the central army near the federal government of Mexico, relating to the present condition of affairs in the States composing the central military line in the Mexican republic.

I avail myself of the occasion to renew to you, Mr. Secretary, the assurances of my most distinguished consideration.


Hon. William H. Seward, &c., &c., &c.



Charged with a commission from headquarters near the citizen President of the republic, I am transiently in this city, and before continuing my journey I believe it my duty to give you a report of the situation of the mam army and of the States that form its line. To do this I must briefly refer to some of the principal events of 1865.

The condition of the army of the centre and Michoacan was lamentable at the beginning of the year. All of the State was occupied by the invaders, except the town of Huetamo, and the whole army consisted of one thousand men, under General Riva Palacio, when he was inaugurated governor, and one hundred that served as an escort to the citizen General-in-chief José Maria Arteaga. After Huetamo was taken there was nothing left to us but a small territory, with not a town in it; we had no resources, and the unhealthy climate was destroying our little force. Such was the situation.

When the French evacuated that town, General Riva Palacio went to Zitacuaro, surprising the garrison, and destroying the traitors he found there. He took two hundred prisoners, a quantity of arms, and everything the enemy had.

With unceasing energy the reorganization of the army began. On the 11th of April the town of Tacambaro, held by Belgians, was attacked. The enemy surrendered after fighting six hours, and the republicans gained a complete victory.

We next attacked the town of Uruapam on the 18th of June, and captured it after a fight of twenty-four hours. It was strongly fortified. On account of this the invaders and traitors were obliged to evacuate Ario and Taretan, and legal governments were soon established in those places.

The army returned to Tacambaro on the 16th of July, and was completely routed by a strong column of Belgians and traitors. All was lost except eighty men, who retired in good order.

The confidence of those who are fighting in a just cause, the patriotism of the people, and the efforts of General Riva Palacio, soon caused the army to be reorganized, and it was reviewed in Uruapam on the 4th of October, consisting of over three thousand men completely armed and equipped.

The army was then divided, in order to operate in different sections, and on the 13th of the same month the disastrous event of Santa Anta Amatlan occurred. A portion of the army was completely lost, and eight days afterwards the illustrious General-in-chief José Maria Arteaga, General Carlos Salazar, and Colonels Villagomez, Diaz Gonzales, and Perez Milicua, were assassinated in accordance with the barbarous decree of the 3d of October.

The enemy then returned to Patzcuaro and Morelia, because they could hold no more places than they already had.

After the death of General Arteaga, General Riva Palacio was elected general-in-chief by the officers of the army. By the month of December it numbered near five thousand men.

Citizen General Regules was named chief of the first division, and with it he traversed the State from Tacambaro to Uruapam and Zitacuaro. In that transit he routed the traitors at Angangueo, and a few days afterwards threatened the towns of Zoluca and Timaltepec.

Such was the condition of the army of the centre and Michoacan in December last when I left Zitacuaro, and by it you may judge of the advantages gained in one year of constant struggle.

[Page 98]

In February, 1865, the State government could not hold a single town—they were all occupied—and now they have an extensive line, the enemy being reduced to Morelia, Patzcuaro, Moravatio, and Zamora.

At that time the army consisted of little more than one thousand men; now it has over five thousand, well organized, in Michoacan and in the first district of the State of Mexico.

We have not done so well in the States of Jalisco, Guanajuato, and Queretaro; the governor of the second was in prison, and the governor of Queretaro was assassinated by the French. These events have caused some confusion, of course, yet new efforts are making in those States to sustain the national cause. Honored leaders have been authorized to organize forces, and they must be already active in the south of Jalisco and Guanajuato, where they will rapidly increase, as General Canto has been set at liberty by exchange of prisoners between General Riva Palacio and Marshal Bazaine, and will revive the patriotism in that section.

This slight sketch will convince you that when the central army has given liberty to all the towns in Michoacan, the army will enlarge, the enthusiasm of its men will increase, and they are already disposed to make any sacrifice for national honor.

It is vain for the imperial press to say that State, and others of the line, are at peace; it is useless to pretend they are satisfied with intervention; and it is wrong to say only lawless bands are left—it is all untrue. The fact is, battle still follows battle, and the invaders and traitors are only masters of the towns they hold in subjection by force of arms. The people have struggled gloriously in defence of liberty, and the courage of the brave sons of Zitacuaro, who preferred misery to subjection to imperial power, is proof to the world that they hate intervention, and are worthy of independence.

The forces that are now contending are not predatory bands, for those never attack and capture fortified places, but belong to the army of the centre, regularly organized, and acknowledged as belligerents by Marshal Bazaine in his exchange treaty with General Riva Palacio on the 5th of December.

It is superfluous for me to make any remarks on the facts given in this report, all of which are exact and true. I am sure you will give them the consideration they deserve; and you may be certain that the army of the centre, and the people within its lines, will continue faithful and constant in this unfortunate crisis of their country.

These advantages, gained by the courage and patriotism of the Mexican people, are counteracted, to a certain extent, by the absolute want of means in the central line. The marine custom-houses are in the power of the invader, and the people are tired of supporting the national army, so exhausting to their resources. The soldier seldom receives his pay, and only the most fervent patriotism can keep the army together. The want of provisions causes a consequent want of all the elements of war. We have no means of transport, no commissary department; there is a scarcity of ammunition; even guns are scarce, of different calibres, and many are old ones that have been repaired and almost useless.

On the contrary, our enemies have all the elements of war that the French treasury can furnish them, and if the present situation continues much longer we may have to lament greater disasters in future.

I have the honor, citizen minister, to offer you the assurances of my attentive consideration.


Citizen Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Mexico in Washington.