Georgia Volunteers for the War with Mexico

The admission of Texas into the Union was the immediate and obvious cause of the war between the United States and Mexico, but a desire to extend the national boundaries was undoubtedly a factor which influenced the American people to welcome a fight with their hostile neighbors on the South. Furthermore, acts of cruelty credited to the Mexicans in the Texan War for Independence, linked with the apparent lack of bravery and chivalry of the Mexican General Santa Anna, caused American opinion, according to editorial comment, to brand all Mexicans as persons of indescribable evil who should be wiped out. 1

It was determined by the President and his Cabinet that the force of 50,000 volunteers to be called should be “assigned to each state and territory in the Union so as to make each feel an interest in the war.” 2 Of this number 20,000 were to be called out for immediate service. These were taken “from the Western and Southwestern States,” which included Texas, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. The remaining 30,000 “to be organized in the other states and territories
and held in readiness subject to the call of the Government.” 3

Instead of retaining control of the organization and officering of the regiments, the Government intrusted this work to the state, and, as a rule, the men chose their own officers. Generals were to be taken from the militia, although they would be under no obligation to serve more than three months and might withdraw in the midst of a campaign. And there were no provisions for filling vacancies resulting from death or discharge. This system of army organization naturally weakened military morale, discipline, and integration. Such as it was, however, the system went promptly into effect. Another factor that helped matters very little was Polk’s personal opinion of General Winfield Scott which was based upon prejudice and political jealousy. General Scott took the war with seriousness and wanted to make elaborate preparations, but Polk believed the war would be short and easy, and he did not seem to appreciate the time it required to outfit an army for field service to such dissension between the Army Command and the White House, and inadequate military organization gave no promise of the ultimate victory. Sheer force and strength of man power opposing a Mexican army, appallingly ignorant of tactics and the use of artillery, won the war for the United States, and not military discipline and civilian cooperation.

Georgia Volunteers for the War with Mexico


  1. Justin H. Smith, War With Mexico. 2 vols., New York, 1919. I, 117-119, 123-125.[]
  2. Allen Nevins, ed, Polk: The Diary of a President, 1845-1849. New York, 1929.[]
  3. Allen Nevins, ed, Polk: The Diary of a President, 1845-1849. New York, 1929. pp. 93, 95[]

War of Mexico,

Collection: Georgia Volunteers for the War with Mexico.

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