United States: 1789 - 1861

Mexican War

During the Mexican War, "no move was made to establish a permanent intelligence capability,... either in the fighting or in the peace that followed. [General Zachary] Taylor ignored intelligence almost to the point of dereliction in his invasion of northern Mexico. General Winfield Scott, who landed at Vera Cruz and occupied central Mexico, displayed better intelligence sense. He organized a crude but effective secret service known as the Mexican Spy Company under Colonel Ethan Allen Hitchcock." Ameringer, U.S. Foreign Intelligence, p. 48.

Topics included here:

1. Bibliography

2. Ethan Allen Hitchcock & the Mexican Spy Company

3. General


1. Bibliography

Tuterow, Norman. The Mexican-American War: An Annotated Bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1981.

Petersen finds this "[h]elpful in identifying items of intelligence interest."

2. Ethan Allen Hitchcock & the Mexican Spy Company

See "Ethan Allen Hitchcock and the Mexican War Spy Company" at the Huachuca History Program under "Masters of the Intelligence Art": http://www.huachuca.army.mil/sites/History/PDFS/MHITCH.PDF.

Campbell, Kenneth. "Ethan Allen Hitchcock: Intelligence Leader -- Mystic." Intelligence Quarterly 2, no. 3 (1986): 13-14. [Petersen]

Caruso, A. Brooke. The Mexican Spy Company: United States Covert Operations in Mexico, 1845-1848. Jefferson, NC/London: McFarland, 1991.

Clark comment: The sources for this study include records of funds disbursements for intelligence purposes. There is considerable detail here, particularly concerning secret missions by Army topographical engineers. Archer, I&NS 8.4, expresses concern that Caruso's book is "based upon English-language published sources" and, thereby, "perpetuates a flawed one-dimensional view of the war.... [T]he language of twentieth-century clandestine warfare and intelligence operations is strained when applied to the events surrounding the Mexican-American War." Caruso "tends to repeat old ideas without advancing our knowledge about the war."

Croffut, W.A., ed. Fifty Years in Camp and Field: Diary of Major-General Ethan Allen Hitchcock, U.S.A. New York: Putnam's 1909.

Hefter, Joseph, and John R. Elting. "Mexican Spy Company, 1846-1848." Military Collector and Historian 21, no. 2 (1969): 48-50. [Petersen]

Hitchcock, Ethan Allen. Ed., Grant Foreman. A Traveller in Indian Territory: The Journal of Ethan Allen Hitchcock, Late Major-General in the United States Army. Cedar Rapids, IA: Torch, 1930.

3. General

Bauer, Karl J. The Mexican War, 1846-1848. New York, Macmillan, 1974.

Petersen: "Good treatment of intelligence aspects."

Beach, Moses S.

1. "Origins of the Treaty of Guadelupe-Hidalgo." Scribner's Monthly 17 (Nov. 1878): 299-300.

2. "A Secret Mission to Mexico." Scribner's Monthly 18 (May 1879): 136-140.

Petersen: "[F]irst-hand accounts of his secret mission."

Bill, Alfred H. Rehersal for Conflict: The Story of Our War with Mexico. New York: Knopf, 1947.

Blevins, Don. "The Forgotten Peacemaker, Nicholas Trist." American History Illustrated 14 (Jun. 1979): 4-8, 42-47. [Petersen]

Chamberlain, Eugene K. "Nicholas Trist and Baja California." Pacific Historical Review 32 (1963): 49-63. [Petersen]

Elliott, Charles W. Winfield Scott: The Soldier and the Man. New York: Macmillan, 1937.

Petersen: "Elliott ... treats General Scott's use of spies, scouts, and agents."

Urban, John M. "The Sutter Connection." Periscope 4, no. 3 (1979): 6.

John Sutter was the owner of Sutter's Mill during the 1800s California Gold Rush.

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