Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/340

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Troops were not wanting, for popular indignation was roused, and popular vanity stimulated by the idea of a war with the powerful neighboring Republic. It was pretty generally thought in the cities and towns that the result of the combat would be an easy victory. The one thing Mexicans were sure of about themselves was that they could fight, and the popular impression about the United States on the other hand, was that they could not. They had long been at peace, and without practice in arms, while it was well known that the war was unpopular in the Northern States.

The Mexicans therefore rushed to arms with their usual alacrity, little fearing the result. The Indians, all unconscious of the horrors of an invading army swarming over their villages and devastating the country, saw armies marching towards the north through their pueblos with indifference. Their eyes and ears were but too familiar with the sound of drum and the flying colors of the national flag. Their interests, their liberty, had little to do with the tempests that raged over them.

The Mexican army was characterized by many of the necessary qualities of good soldiery. Patient and suffering, requiring but little subsistence, with great capacity for enduring fatigue, and with enough physical courage to enable them to encounter danger without fear, the Mexican soldiers when properly led compared well with the troops of other nations. But corruption existed among their officers from the highest to the lowest grade; commissions were sometimes given by the functionaries of government as rewards