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The Mexican - American War

 

The Mexican-American War (1846-1848) marked the first U. S. armed conflict chiefly fought on foreign soil.  This war followed in the wake of the 1845 U. S. annexation of Texas, which Mexico considered part of its territory.  In 1845, U.S. President James Polk made a proposition to the Mexican government to purchase the disputed lands between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. This offer was rejected, and American troops, commanded by Major General Zachary Taylor, were moved into the disputed territory. They were attacked by Mexican troops, who killed 12 U. S. soldiers and took 52 as prisoners. These same Mexican troops later laid siege to an American fort along the Rio Grand. U.S. forces quickly responded, invading parts of central Mexico.  In the end, Mexico lost about one third of its territory, including nearly all of present-day California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.

 

The city of Alton, Madison County, Illinois, served as a rendezvous point for the volunteer troops from Illinois. The Alton Volunteer Guards were the first company mustered into service. The troops encamped in and around Alton, with one Company (Colonel Forman's) camping near Upper Alton.

 

 

ALTON VOLUNTEER GUARDS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 6, 1846

The Alton Volunteer Guards, eighty in number, organized on Monday of this week by electing Messrs. P. Goff, Captain; J. W. Baker, 1st Lieutenant; Edward. F. Fletcher, 2d Lieutenant; and Rodney Ferguson, Orderly Sergeant. The same day they reported themselves to the Governor of this state, as ready for active service at any moment. This company now number one hundred.

 

The "Alton Volunteer Guards," on their way to Upper Alton on Saturday last, called upon G. T. M. Davis, Esq, the Mayor of this city, at his residence, and were addressed by him, after which they were invited in and partook of some refreshments. The best feeling prevails among the corps, and should they be called into active service, they will beyond question, make a good report of themselves.

 

The Common Council of Alton, at its last regular meeting, adopted unanimously the following resolutions:  Resolved, That the Mayor be authorized to purchase a sword and to present the same in the name of the city of Alton, to the Captain of the Alton Volunteer Guards, as a token of their regard and admiration for the promptness with which they answered the requisition made by the executive of this state for volunteers to repair to the seat of war.

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PRESENTATION OF SWORDS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 20, 1846

The highly interesting ceremony of presenting swords to the commissioned officers of the "Alton Volunteer Guards" took place on Wednesday afternoon in the presence of numerous spectators. The Guards, escorted by Captains Morrison's and Wheeler's fine companies of volunteers, were drawn up in front of the Franklin House at six o'clock, when the Mayor, George T. M. Davis, Esq., in the name and in the presence of the Common Council, addressed their commander in the following eloquent terms:

 

"Captain Goff: To me has been assigned the gratifying duty of presenting to you, on behalf and in the name of the Common Council of the city of Alton, this sword. Accept it, sir, as a slight memento of their respect for you, as well as for those under your command, and as a token of their admiration of the promptness with which you have all responded to the requisition made upon this state for volunteers by the Chief Executive of this nation. There is probably nothing more repugnant to the genius and spirit of a Republican form of government like ours, than the existence of standing armies in times of peace. Its perpetuity, as well as the security of its people, depend, therefore, entirely upon the valor and patriotism of the citizen soldier, when menaced or assaulted by a foreign foe. And if, in the minds of any, there could ever have lingered the slightest apprehension that such dependence would fail us in the hour of our country's peril, the developments of the last two months cannot otherwise than have banished all such fears.

 

At a period when we had been at peace for nearly the third of a century, in the midst of unexampled individual and national prosperity, at a moment, when our whole militia system was not only in a disorganized condition, but had grown in almost entire disuse, the serene sky of our peace and tranquility became suddenly overcast by the dark cloud of adversity. The cannon's blazon throat, and the shrill blast of the clarion, bade its loud summons to the battlefield, and in the twinkling of an eye, as it were, thousands and thousands of our citizens, of all professions, ranks and callings, hasten to the scene of danger, ready to mingle in the battle's fiercest fury.

 

Into that conflict you are about to engage. You go there, not only as the representatives in part of the state of Illinois, but as the sole representatives of this city, and it is neither strange nor unnatural that those whom you may leave behind you should feel the deepest solicitude that such should be your bearing, as to reflect neither disgrace upon your arms, nor discredit upon your country. For myself, as well as for those whom I represent upon this occasion, no fears are entertained that the sword we have this day presented you will be stained with dishonor, or that these glorious stripes and stars, the handiwork of the female innocence, youth and beauty of your city, will ever be surrendered in the enemy, while a man of you is left with sufficient strength to bear it aloft, and to give its ample folds to the winds. But Volunteers, to make your victory complete, and the laurels which we trust will encircle your brows of an enduring verdure, something more will be expected from you than simply planting the standards of your country in triumph upon the ramparts of the enemy. You go into this battle as a Christian people. As such, the motives that prompt you should not be those of conquest, neither of pillage, much less an unhallowed ambition to add the dominions of those against whom we war to our already vast and almost boundless Empire.

 

The American Eagle that will hover over you, whithersoever your footsteps may lead you as an army, though carrying in one of his talons the arrows of war, always bears in the other the alive branch of peace! Whenever, therefore, an honorable, just and permanent peace can be secured, your mission will have been fulfilled and the vengeance of your country appeased! Remember, that we are, by far, the mightiest and most powerful of the two, and as such, the eyes of the civilized world will watch with jealous and sleepless vigilance, our course of warfare towards our foes. So conduct yourselves, I entreat you, as to satisfy not only that civilized world, but also our enemy, that although myriads of swords glitter in the uplifted hands of our incensed nation, it is but to light the deluded Mexicans through the storms of war to the regions of freedom and peace.

 

In this respect, I shall have urged all I desire, or that the occasion with justify, when I conjure you at all times amidst the triumphs as well as the reverses of the battlefield, to emulate the virtues, to imitate the example, and obey the precepts of the illustrious, the immortal Father of your country - whose heart was the sanctuary of virtue, and his mind the temple of wisdom. Do this, and you may with confidence look forward to an early period when our army will return, flushed with victory, to the bosom of their families and friends, and standing absolved at the tribunal of their country of all imputations unworthy American citizens and soldiers; and above all, furnishing another bright and unfading example to the world, that as a nation, 'we fight but to protect and conquer but to bless.'"

 

At the close of this address, which was listened to with the most breathless attention by the large assemblage present, Captain Goff stepped forward, and having received the sword from the hand of the Mayor, returned his acknowledgments for the honor thus conferred upon him substantially as follows:

 

"Sir: I receive this sword with feelings such as I never before experienced, and which it is impossible for me to express. Unused as I am to public speaking, I cannot find words with which to testify my heartfelt gratitude for this unequivocal mark of the confidence of the Common Council, and the very flattering terms in which you, sir, have accompanied its presentation. I shall bear it with me to the distant battlefield, and trust that if I shall have occasion to draw it against the enemies of my country, it will so be used as to justify the expectations of the donors, and to prove that the "Alton Volunteer Guards" are worthy of the name they bear. The recollection of this day, and of the generous confidence reposed to us by our fellow citizens and their constituted authorities, will serve our arms for the conflict, and neither the glorious banner under which we march, not the beautiful sword with which I have just been honored, ever will, while life exists, be stained by any act unworthy the character of a citizen solder."

 

The swords procured by the citizens for the First and Second Lieutenants, J. W. Baker and E. F. Fletcher, and for the Third Lieutenant, Rodney Ferguson, by his namesake, R. Ferguson, Esq., were then presented to these officers severally, by Messrs. G. W. Dutro, William Martin, and George T. M. Davis, accompanied by brief, but very neat and impressive addresses, to each of which pertinent and patriotic responses were made. At the close of the ceremonies, sundry wreaths of flowers and evergreens were thrown to the "Guards," and the other companies, by some patriotic ladies, from the upper rooms of the Franklin House, one of which was accompanied by the following lines, viz:

 

TO THE ALTON VOLUNTEER GUARDS

Go, and if 'mid battle's din,

Or midnight's solemn hour of rest,

Sad thoughts of home come crowding in,

And warring tumults fill the breast,

Think! Oh think! Of hearts sincere,

Whose prayers shall ever rise for those

Who nobly left their kindred dear,

To die, or conquer Freedom's foes!

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ALTON IS THE FIRST!

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 20, 1846

The "Alton Volunteer Guards" were the first company mustered into the service of the United States from Illinois, under the requisition of the President for 3,000 volunteers from this state. Their muster-roll bears date June 12th, 1846, and exhibits the gratifying spectacle of over two-thirds of the whole company having enlisted to serve during the war! In the language of a brave and generous son of the Emerald Isle - a private in this company - they go "to conquer or be conquered." As they are the first that have entered the service of the United States from Illinois, so we fondly trust they may be the last that will leave the field of battle, while a blow remains to be struck to secure a glorious and complete triumph over our foes.

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Illinois Governor Thomas FordGOVERNOR OF ILLINOIS ADDRESSES ALTON VOLUNTEER GUARDS

Alton Designated as Place of Rendezvous for All Volunteers in Illinois

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 20, 1846

On Thursday evening last, the Governor Ford arrived in Alton, accompanied by his Aide-de-Camp, Colonel James Shields and Dr. E. H. Merryman. At the request of the Alton Volunteer Guards, both the Governor and Colonel Shields addressed them and a large concourse of citizens who had assembled to listen to them. The speech of Colonel Shields was received with marked approbation, and was frequently interrupted during its delivery with loud plaudits from those who were present. He was eloquent, fearless, and just - keeping entirely aloof from everything like party allusions, and speaking only as one American should speak to another in the hour of his country's peril. Its effect was good, and was sensibly felt, as exhibited in the subsequent action of our citizens.

 

Having been favored with a perusal of the correspondence between Governor Ford and General Brooke, Major Lee, and Major Mackay, we speak advisedly when we assure the public that from the very day that the Governor of this state received the communication from the War Department, to the hour that he finally consummated his arrangements, nothing was left undone by him to secure the necessary provisions, camp equipage, &c., to enable the volunteers to rendezvous at some convenient point without delay. We the more cheerfully make this statement, as some paragraphs that have appeared in the Telegraph might be construed into indirect complaint at what was regarded by the public as the tardy movements of the Executive. Satisfied, however, that he has done all that the nature of the circumstances that surrounded him would admit of, it is no less our pleasure than our duty as public journalists to say so.

 

To Major Lee and Major Mackay, we, in common with the citizens of the state at large, are under great obligations for their promptness and kindness in consenting to furnish our troops with the necessary supplies and subsistence in the absence of orders from the War Department, and although the timely appearance of Captain Wall relieves them from all responsibility, they are nevertheless entitled to the gratitude of the volunteers and the citizens generally.

 

Our arrangements are now completed, and Alton designated as the place of rendezvous for all the volunteers in the state, except the regiment that has been raised by Colonel E. D. Baker, which is to rendezvous at Springfield. The delay in Illinois has been less than in any other of the western states, and Governor Ford has accomplished what the rest have not - an early enrollment of our volunteers into the service of the United States, without subjecting Illinois to any expense whatever previous to such enrollment.

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ST. CLAIR TEXIAN GUARDS ARRIVE IN ALTON

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 20, 1846

On Monday evening, the 15th inst., the St. Clair Texian Guards, commanded by Captain J. L. D. Morrison, reached here on the steamer Luella. They were received by the Mayor of the city, and conducted to comfortable quarters as barracks. They number 79 privates, and a finer body of men never were enrolled into any service. They are nearly all of German and Swiss descent. The following are the names of their officers: Captain J. L. D. Morrison; First Lt. Julian Raith; Second Lt. Nathaniel Niles; Third Lt. Louis Stack; Ensign Maximillan Scheel; First Serg. A. Engelmann; Second Serg. Robert Morrison; Third Serg. Charles Sominsky; Fourth Serg. Fridolin Schelterer; First Corp. Adolphus Schlatterbeck; Second Corp. Charles Gooding; Third Corp. Adam Emig; Fourth Corp. Henry Waldmann.

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Captain William Henry Bissell

 

ST. CLAIR RIFLEMEN ARRIVE IN ALTON

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 20, 1846

The St. Clair Riflemen, under the command of Captain W. H. Bissell, reached here on Wednesday evening by the steamer Luella, and were immediately mustered into the service of the United States. They number upwards of eighty, are neatly and appropriately equipped, and reflect great credit not only upon St. Clair County, but upon the state. This company are under the command of as fine a fellow as ever buckled on a sword, and we have no fears but that they will make their mark, if an opportunity presents itself.

 

The Quincy Rifle Company, under the command of Captain Morgan, arrived in this city on Thursday morning the 18th inst. This is conceded to be the crack independent company of the state. They number 88 men, and are to be attached to General Hardin's Regiment.

 

The Chicago Rough and Ready reached this place also on Thursday morning, and were immediately mustered into the service of the United States. They are a splendidly drilled company, numbering 77 men, and commanded by Captain Mower. The north has reason to be proud of this corps. From present indications, the three regiments from Illinois will be hard to beat in any state. The following are the names of the officers of this company: Captain Lyman Mowers; First Lt. D. S. Elliott; Second Lt. Samuel M. Parsons; Ensign Richard Cody; Orderly Serg. William Erwin; Second Serg. William E. Sweet; Third Serg. W. H. H. Robinson; Fourth Serg. William Daly.

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THE VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

The Volunteers who have thus far reached Alton are deserving of great credit for their assiduity and perseverance in disciplining themselves for the field of action. They have entered at once upon the life of soldiers, and are endeavoring to rival each other in drill-muster and soldier-like appearance. They are at it from morning until night, and are determined not to be behind any three regiments that have left the western states. We not only rejoice at this emulation, but as citizens of the state, feel proud of it. And what adds to the beauty of the scene is that the utmost harmony and good feeling prevails throughout the whole camp. It is true, that there is occasionally a man who finds out that "sogering" [sic] is not the thing it was cracked up to be, and who cannot reconcile it to his ideas of republicanism to submit to that degree of subordination that is absolutely necessary to the existence and safety of an army. But a little reflection, we trust, will convince all such that implicit obedience to the commands of his superior officers is the first duty of a soldier. This they must not only learn, but practice, remembering that a departure from this fundamental principle of our army regulations will not only subject them to punishment, but disgrace.

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VOLUNTEERS FROM WASHINGTON COUNTY ARRIVE

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

The volunteers from Washington County arrived here on Saturday afternoon the 20th inst., and were at once mustered into the service of the United States. They numbered, including commissioned and non-commissioned officers, 93 strong, and are commanded by Captain Elsey C. Coffey. A more hardy, robust, noble looking corps, it would be difficult to find in any state. A large portion of them are emphatically the bone and sinew of the country, possessing a spirit and energy that constitutes the very heart and soul of an army. The southern section of this state has reason to be proud of them, and we have no apprehension but what their bearing in the field will be such as to reflect credit upon themselves and their state.

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SECOND COMPANY OF VOLUNTEERS FROM CHICAGO

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

A second company of volunteers from Chicago, commanded by Captain Wells, reached this city on Friday evening last, the 19th inst., and were immediately mustered into the service of the United States. They are composed principally of Irishmen, and are as fine a looking body of men as any that have thus far been enlisted. What have the native Americans to say now? Speak out, gentlemen, and not remain longer as a sheep dumb before his shearer.

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BOND COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

The volunteer company from Bond County reached here Sunday afternoon, and were mustered into the service on Monday the 22d inst. They number, rank and file, 92 men, are under the command of one of their most estimable citizens, Captain W. W. Willey, and are composed of the best citizens of Bond County. It would be difficult to select ninety-two men in every respect more worthy the admiration and confidence of the public than this corps. We were extremely gratified to learn that the Bible Society of Bond County had donated to each man a Testmanet, an example which we hope to see followed by other similar Societies.

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JEFFERSON COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

Captain S. G. Hicks of Jefferson County, with a fine company of 91 men, rank and file, came in on the 21st, and were mustered into service on the 22d. They are a bold, vigorous and athletic body of men, reflecting great credit upon the southern section of this state, as well as the counties in which they reside. With such men in the field, Illinois has nothing to fear from a comparison with any other state in the Union, that will be represented in the contemplated expedition against Mexico.

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FAYETTE COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

Captain Ferris Forman, with his company from Fayette County, came in at the same time the companies from Bond and Jefferson County did. They are 85 strong, rank and file, and constitute the best material of Fayette County. The south has just reason to be proud of her companies thus far mustered in at this place.

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LASALLE COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

The North sent another splendid delegation here on Monday of this week, in the company of Captain T. L. Dickey. This corps is from LaSalle County, is constituted of young, enterprising, estimable men, from appearance every way calculated to do as good service to their country as any corps that has as yet reached Alton. LaSalle County has nothing to apprehend from their representatives to Mexico. They are animated by a spirit of enthusiasm and valor, that will lead them either to victory or death.

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GREENE COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

The volunteer company from Greene County under the command of Captain Noah Fry reached Alton on Tuesday, and was at once mustered into the United States' service. This company is decidedly the best uniformed of any that as yet has arrived, and is composed mostly of young men both able and willing to do their country service. They reflect credit upon Greene County, as well as the state.

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MONROE COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

The volunteer company from Monroe County, under the command of Captain R. F. Trail, arrived on Wednesday evening, by the Luella. They number eighty-six men, rank and file, and were selected from among the best citizens of that county.

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SCOTT COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

The volunteers from Scott County, commanded by Captain Samuel Montgomery, reached this city on the morning of the 25th inst., on the steamer Gov. Briggs. They number 81, rank and file, are well uniformed, and to all appearance, as able to do hard fighting, as any company previously mustered in. They are attached to Gen. Hardin's regiment, which is about filled up.

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MORGAN COUNTY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

The crack volunteer company reached town about 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon. They are the Morgan boys, under the command of Captain Weatherford. They are well uniformed in a grey suit with frock coats, and form one of the finest looking bodies of men yet mustered into service. Each company, as it arrives, makes us feel prouder of our state. This company is attached to Gen. Hardin's regiment, and is 90 strong, rank and file.

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YOUNG LADIES PRESENT WREATHS TO VOLUNTEER COMPANIES

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

We have frequently been inquired of, who were the two patriotic young ladies that prepared and presented the wreaths to the volunteer companies on Wednesday evening last, upon the occasion of the presentation of the swords to the Alton Volunteer Guards. We take great pleasure in answering that they were Miss Birk and Miss A. Mellen. The former was the authoress of the neat and touching piece of poetry that was encircled in the wreath thrown to the Alton Company.

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NEWS IN ALTON REGARDING THE VOLUNTEER COMPANIES

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 27, 1846

Soldiers should remember that endurance and privations are essential elements in their profession. They should, therefore, submit to the inconveniences they meet without murmuring or complaint. If they already think their lot a hard one, they had better back out before leaving Illinois. Before their return, they will willingly admit that their situation while in barracks here was a paradise to what they subsequently endured.

 

Baptain Bissell's company are improving astonishingly in their drills. Composed, as they are, of enterprising, intelligent, estimable young men, the day is not far distant when they will prove themselves among the very first companies that go from Illinois.

 

The Alton Volunteer Guard are exerting themselves with commendable zeal to become perfect in drill muster. We visited their Barracks a day or two since, and found them comfortable, contented, and cheerful. They will at all times be on hand in the hour of danger.

 

The tents are being received every day, and our companies will all now be speedily in camp. The first lot were very properly given to Captain Wheeler, who set an example that others might with propriety have followed. He immediately erected bush tents, and for the last week has had his men in camp under them. In this situation they remained contented until tents were provided them by the Quarter Master. They also have improved astonishingly in their drill, and a few days more experience will bring them in the front rank with any company in camp.

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LITTLE INTOXICATION AMONG VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

It is a subject of universal remark, how little intoxication is to be seen among the 2700 volunteers in this city. We challenge the Union to present the same number, who as a whole, are more temperate and orderly than the Suckers. This speaks volumes, not only for the character of our soldiers, but the advancing cause of Temperance throughout the land. Temperate habits and a contented mind are the best safeguards against the diseases of a southern clime.

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QUINCY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

The Rifle Company from Quincy, under the command of Captain Morgan, is confessedly the best-drilled company on the ground. The strife among the residue of the volunteers seems to be whose company can come nearest them in soldier-like appearance and drill. Captain Mowers from Chicago is a splendid disciplinarian, and his company are rapidly approaching the state of perfection already reached by the Quincy Riflemen.

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MONROE COUNTY VOLUNTEER BREAKS ARM

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

One of the members of the Monroe County Volunteers fell through the hatchway of one of our warehouses last week and broke his arm. He is doing well, and we trust will soon have the use of the injured member restored to him.

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CLARK COUNTY VOLUNTEERS WRONGLY DISMISSED

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

Some degree of excitement was produced in Alton on Thursday of last week by the arrival of a company of volunteers under the command of Captain Archer, well and favorably known throughout the State as one of our most estimable and worthy citizens. This company was from Clark County, and was composed of its best inhabitants. They were the twenty-first company that reported themselves to the Governor at Springfield, and their services as one of the volunteer companies accepted. This was shown by a publication made by Gov. Ford in the Missouri Republican, and subsequently copied in the State Register, in which the Clark County Volunteers are announced as one of the companies that had been accepted. Subsequently, however, and for reasons which we have never learnt, the Governor "took the responsibility" to strike out of the list this company of volunteers, unsurpassed in the state for bravery, intelligence, or capability to give their country the best of service and to give their place to some other corps, subsequently raised. This created not only among those interested, but the public generally to the community, the greatest indignation, for no one had time to assert that the treatment they had received was not an act altogether unjustifiable. On Saturday, Captain Archer marched his men in front of the Franklin House in this city, and there formally disbanded them. Previous, however, to doing this, he addressed them in a strain of fervor, eloquence and heartfelt indignation, that called from the vast concourse that listened to him repeated cheers. No one could mistake the expression then given. The sympathies of the entire public were with Captain Archer and his brave and generous corps, and but one opinion could be heard from all quarters, which was that the volunteers from Clark County were entitled to be mustered into the service of the United States, let what other company that might be excluded. We have often heard Captain Archer speak, but never before in such a strain as on Saturday last. He has since joined as a private one of the volunteer companies already mustered into the service, as have a number of his brave companions who have been able to find suitable vacancies. We regret, deeply regret, the occurrence, not only on account of the Clark County Company, but as tending to create hard feelings and jealousies in the ranks, that we should have been glad to have seen kept down.

 

P. S. After the above was in type, we have received such information as fully satisfies us that the exclusion of the Clark County Volunteers was purely the result of accident, and not of design.

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ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

Since the date of our last, the following companies have arrived and been mustered into the service of the United States: Captain J. S. Roberts, Hardin Guards from Morgan County; Captain John S. Hacker from Union County; Captain William A. Richardson from Schuyler County; Captain Laban G. Jones from Perry County; Captain J. P. Hardy from Hamilton County; Captain J. C. McAdams from Montgomery County; Captain James Freeman from Shelby County; Captain W. W. Bishop from Coles County; Captain A. T. Crow from Joe Daviess County; Captain M. K. Lawler from Gallatin County; and Captain Henry L. Webb from Pulaski County.

 

These companies are nearly every one of them full, and the character of the men composing them renders them the best volunteer corps that ever wont from any section of the country. Whatever may have been the opinion expressed by others of the valor and patriotism of the citizens of Illinois, we are willing to be judged by our acts. We have turned out four regiments of Infantry and Riflemen, that we assert, fearless of contradiction, cannot and will not be surpassed by any four regiments in the Union. The Governor was compelled to reject upwards of four more regiments that had offered themselves too late, and after both requisitions upon the State had been filled, and the statistics in the State Department will prove that no State in the Union has volunteered in greater numbers, or with more alacrity in proportion to their population than Illinois. With this we are thus far content. All we desire now is that our regiments will be kept together, and an opportunity offered them to test their metal on the field of battle. We speak but the sentiments of every volunteer, when we assert that they are determined to return crowned with glory, or not at all. This we know they will accomplish if the opportunity is offered them.

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John J. HardinFIRST REGIMENT ORGANIZED

John J. Hardin, Esq. Elected Colonel!

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

The first regiment of Illinois Volunteers was organized on Tuesday the 30th inst., and John J. Hardin, Esq. elected the Colonel thereof, with but two dissenting voices in the entire regiment. Colonel Shields, G. T. M. Davis, and William Martin, Esqs., were appointed by the Governor Judges of election, and on the result being announced, Col. Hardin appeared upon the ground, escorted by Col. Shields, and made one of the most appropriate speeches it has ever been our fortune to listen to. He riveted the attention of the vast concourse present, who at the close of his speech, testified their respect for him and their approbation of his remarks, by three tremendous cheers. The entire population present had the most unlimited confidence in his integrity as a citizen, and his valor and qualification as a soldier, and the pledge he gave that he was determined the First Regiment of Illinois Volunteers should not be inferior either in discipline or bravery to any regiment upon the field of battle. As a military officer he stands confessedly without an equal in the state, and as such very appropriately commands the First Regiment of Volunteers that go from Illinois.

 

The First Regiment of Illinois Volunteers consists of the following Companies: The Quincy Riflemen of Adams County, Captain J. D. Morgan; two companies from Chicago, the one commanded by Captain Mowers, the other by Captain Wells; two companies from Morgan County, the one under the command of Captain Weatherford, the second commanded by Captain Roberts; the company from Ottawa, LaSalle County, Captain T. L. Dickey; one from Greene County, Captain Noah Fry; one from Schuyler County, commanded by Captain W. A. Richardson; one from Scott County, commanded by Captain S. Montgomery; and the last from Galena, commanded by Captain Crow. Ten finer companies will not go from any section of the Union, and under the command of as brave and skillful an officer as Colonel Hardin, the best of service may be expected from them.

 

The First Regiment completed its organization elections on the 2d inst. The first battalion consists of the companies commanded by Captain Morgan of Adams; Captain Wells of Cook; Captain Fry of Greene; Captain Roberts of Morgan; and Captain Richardson of Schuyler. Of this battalion, William B. Warren, Esq. of Morgan County was elected Major.  The second battalion consists of the companies under the command of Captain Mowers of Cook; Captain Dickey of LaSalle; Captain Crow of Joe Daviess; Captain Weatherford of Morgan; and Captain Montgomery of Scott. Captain W. Weatherford of Morgan County was elected Major by this battalion. This gives all the field officers of the above regiment to Morgan County, a circumstance not very well relished by the other sections of the state represented in the First Regiment.

 

[Note:  Col. John J. Hardin was killed on February 23, 1847 at the Battle of Buena Vista, Mexico, while leading a charge against a Mexican battery.]

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SECOND REGIMENT

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

The Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers was organized on the same day that the First was. It is composed of the following companies: Captain Goff, Alton, Madison County; Captain Morrison, Belleville, St. Clair County; Captain Wheeler, Edwardsville, Madison County; Captain Dodge, Kendall, Jersey and Madison Counties; Captain Bissell, Belleville, St. Clair County, Captain Coffey, Washington County; Captain Trail, Monroe County; Captain Hacker, Union County; Captain Jones, Perry County; and Captain H. L. Webb, Pulaski County. This regiment, with a unanimity equal to that of the First, elected Captain William H. Bissell of St. Clair their Colonel, casting 807 votes in his favor, with but six against him. Of this latter, five were in Captain Morrison's Company, and one in Captain Bissell's own company. The remaining eight companies voted for him without an individual exception.

 

It is not strange that we should naturally entertain a partiality for this regiment, as in it are our neighbors and friends, from this county as well as those adjoining us. We, therefore, felt the greatest solicitude that its Colonel should be one in whom not only the volunteers composing the regiment, but the community at large have implicit confidence. Such a selection has been made, and although the military knowledge of Colonel Bissell is not as extensive as that of Colonel Hardin, yet he has the talent, the perseverance, and the disposition to make himself the equal of Colonel Hardin. We are satisfied he is decidedly the best selection that could have been made, and under his command we entertain no fears but that the Second Regiment will distinguish itself not only in drill, but upon the field of battle.

 

Colonel Bissell's address to his regiment was both appropriate and in good taste, and was well received by all who listened to him. Our hearts are with the Second Regiment, and we shall look with anxious solicitude for the report it shall make of itself in the hour of danger, and on the day of battle. Brave volunteers of the Second Regiment success attend your arms, and a speedy return to your families and friends.

 

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

The Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers was inspected and finally mustered into the service on Tuesday of this week by Col. Churchill of the U. S. Army. This regiment numbers upwards of nine hundred rank and file, out of which but four were rejected by the inspecting officer, two of whom were over the age of forty-five, and two considered unfit for service from physical disability. The Second and Third Regiments of our volunteers, under the command of Cols. Bissell and Forman, are to leave here next week to join the forces under the orders of Major General Taylor. They will ship directly from Alton for the South. The First and Fourth Regiments, it is said, are to go under the command of General John E. Wool.

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THIRD REGIMENT

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

The election for officers in this regiment took place on the 4th inst.  Captain Ferris Forman was elected Colonel; Samuel D. Marshall, Esq. of Gallatin, Lieut. Colonel; and Captain W. W. Willey of Bond County, Major. We are particularly gratified at the election of Mr. Marshall, who is well and favorably known as one of the most estimable Whigs in the state, and who will fully sustain his previous reputation in the new office to which he was elevated with great unanimity. Both Col. Forman and Major Willey will fully meet the expectations of their friends.  Out of the Third Regiment, composing upward of 950 men, rank and file, but three were rejected by the inspecting officer, two of whom were over the age of forty-five years. This regiment was finally mustered in on the 8th inst., by Col. Churchill of the U. S. Army.

 

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

The Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers was inspected and finally mustered into the service on Tuesday of this week by Col. Churchill of the U. S. Army. This regiment numbers upwards of nine hundred rank and file, out of which but four were rejected by the inspecting officer, two of whom were over the age of forty-five, and two considered unfit for service from physical disability. The Second and Third Regiments of our volunteers, under the command of Cols. Bissell and Forman, are to leave here next week to join the forces under the orders of Major General Taylor. They will ship directly from Alton for the South. The First and Fourth Regiments, it is said, are to go under the command of Gen. Wool.

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FOURTH REGIMENT

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

Colonel E. D. Baker's regiment favored our city with a visit yesterday morning. They are composed of nine companies of as fine looking, well-uniformed men as we ever saw together. As a body, they are better uniformed than either of our other regiments, having, as a general principle, adopted blue cassinet of an excellent quality in preference to jeans. Of this regiment, the Northern section of the state may well be proud, especially those counties furnishing the volunteers. Its appearance and soldier-like bearing while on parade in our city gave us renewed cause of pride and gratification for the course Illinois has pursued in responding to the requisition made upon her for the four regiments already in the field prepared to march at a moment's warning. We should like to see the state that, in the judgment of any unprejudiced mind, has turned out a finer or more worthy body of volunteers than Illinois has.

 

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

Col. Baker's regiment left this city on the night of the 4th inst. by the steamers La Clede and Luella, for Jefferson Barracks, where they will remain until called into actual service.

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COURT OF INQUIRY

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

On the morning of the 2d inst., a court of inquiry was directed to be held at the Franklin House in Alton, consisting of the following officers, viz: Captains Bishop, Dickey, Crow, James, Elkins, Hicks, McAdams, Willey, Coffey, Roberts, and Morgan.  G. T. M. Davis, Esq., was appointed clerk. We learn that this investigation is predicated upon the following specifications, presented by Col. John J. Hardin of the First Regiment of Illinois Volunteers.

 

"Headquarters, First Regiment Illinois Volunteers

His Excellency Governor Ford:

I understand that Colonel E. D. Baker of the Fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers claims to hold a commission dated 27th June, 1840, and claims to take rank from the 6th day of June 1846, and as such claims seniority over me. I respectfully demand that the question of seniority of rank between myself and Col. Baker be submitted to a Board of Officers or Court Martial, as it is important to have the rank of the officers and the regiments settled. It is not my intention or desire to interfere with the internal regulations of the Fourth Regiment further than is absolutely necessary to establish and uphold the rights of the First Regiment. But if the organization of the Fourth Regiment is such as to deprive the First Regiment of its seniority, I feel bound, as commander of the First Regiment, to assert its rights, and am requested to do so by the officers of the First Regiment. The specifications I submit, therefore, are these:

 

1st. That on the 6th day of June 1846, when it is alleged Col. Baker was elected Colonel, there was no election whatever held for Colonel.

2d. That the Governor never ordered an election for Colonel in the Fourth Regiment.

3d. That when the election which purports to have been held was actually held, there were not more than seven companies on the ground, or mustered into service, claiming to belong to said regiment.

4th. That when Col. Baker was alleged to be elected, he had not a full regiment, and that consequently, an election by part of a regiment cannot give priority to the Colonel of that regiment over a Colonel who has been duly elected.

5th. That the commission issued to Col. Baker was improperly issued during the absence of the Governor by a clerk in the State Department.

6th. That Col. Baker has not now a full regiment of companies, and never has had ten companies mustered into service in his regiment.

 

Disclaiming all disposition to press these inquiries further than is absolutely essential to preserve the rights of myself and my regiment, I yet respectfully urge  that they be investigated so far as is necessary to settle the question of priority of rank between Col. Baker and myself. If that question can be settled, I pledge myself to withdraw this request for an investigation, and will do it with pleasure. I have the honor to be respectfully ours, John J. Hardin, Colonel First Regiment Illinois Volunteers."

 

The board informally met and adjourned over until Friday morning at 8 o'clock, to meet at the headquarters of the officer near the encampment. We regret the necessity that compelled the institution of these proceedings, and hope for the honor of all concerned, as well as the state at large, that the difficulty may be amicably and satisfactorily arranged.  They are both gentlemen of high standing and attainments, which renders the affair the more unpleasant, so far as we are concerned. The only part we can take between them is to impartially record the facts of the case as they transpire.

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COURT OF INQUIRY

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

The proceedings of this body were stayed last week by an agreement entered into between Cols. Hardin and Baker, amicably to submit the question of rank to referees mutually chosen between them. In pursuance of this arrangement, Col. Baker selected Captain W. Wall, U. S. Quartermaster, at presented stationed in this city. Col. Hardin selected the Hon. G. P. Koerner, Judge of this Judicial Circuit who was here, and the two Colonels agree upon Governor Ford as the umpire, or third referee. By the understanding between the parties, the award of two of the referees was to be received, and be binding upon both Colonels. On Saturday evening last, the referees met, and upon hearing the testimony, as well as the argument of both gentlemen, decided in favor of Colonel Hardin, awarding to him the seniority of rank over Colonel Baker, and as a natural consequence, over all other Colonels among the volunteers from this state. The testimony showed that Gov. Ford had given verbal instructions to Dr. Merriman of Springfield to proceed and hold the election of Colonel in the Fourth Regiment. It also appeared in evidence that at the time of such election there were but seven companies mustered into the service by Col. Baker; that of these seven companies, three only were full companies - three falling far short of being full companies (that is, 64 privates, the smallest number allowed by law) - and as to the seventh, it was doubtful whether it was a legal company or not. On the other hand, at the time of General Hardin's election, he had ten full companies upon the ground, average nearly 90 men each, rank and file.  The letter of the Secretary of War was produced under the authority of which Col. Baker's regiment was raised, which was to be a fourth regiment, provided the first requisition of three regiments was filled. Under this state of facts, Capt. Wall and Judge Koerner, without any hesitation, pronounced in favor of Col. Hardin - Gov. Ford expressing no opinion, one way or the other. In the justice and propriety of that decision there cannot exist two opinions, and all that astonishes us is that it was ever allowed to be a subject of investigation, even by an amicable reference.  Colonel Hardin now ranks as senior Colonel of the Illinois Volunteers, and in this position will fully sustain the high reputation he enjoys, at home and abroad, as a military officer and a citizen.

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OFFICER DRILLS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 4, 1846

It will be seen by the following extract, which we take from the last letter of the junior Editor of the Missouri Republican, that the necessity of an officer drill was seen by that veteran of the army, General Taylor, and that he had sent a U. S. officer to the encampment of the Missouri Volunteers to effect that object. This shows the prudence and foresight of Colonel Shields, who last week repaired to St. Louis and procured an order from General Brooke for a U. S. officer to drill the officers of our volunteer companies. Lieutenant Hawkins reached Alton on Saturday evening last, and has during the whole of this week been busily engaged in drilling the officers. He is a fine officer, a gentleman of great urbanity, and has given universal satisfaction. We trust our officers will see and feel the necessity of availing themselves of this opportunity to prepare for the discharge of the responsible duties they have assumed. The success that may attend their various commands, in the event of being engaged in battle, will depend entirely upon the valor and competency of the officers at the head of the respective companies. They should consequently exert every nerve to become well versed in the profession of a soldier, previous to consenting to lead a body of their fellow citizens into the dangers of a battle. A body of brave men can do nothing under the command of an incompetent officer.

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PAYMASTER ARRIVES TO PAY VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

The Paymaster arrived in Alton on Wednesday evening of this week, bringing with him his iron chest well filled with the needful, for the payment of the Illinois Volunteers. He commenced paying off the Second Regiment on the 10th inst.  He was a welcome visitor to most of our volunteers.

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LADIES OF ALTON PRESENT FLAG TO CAPTAIN DODGE'S COMPANY

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

On Thursday afternoon of last week, we were present at the presentation of a beautiful and appropriate flag on the part of the ladies of Alton to Captain Dodge's coompany. The ceremony took place on the ground where the volunteers are encamped, and the presentation was made from a carriage by Miss Mizner, with a great deal of ease and grace, accompanied by the following touching and beautiful remarks:

 

"Gentlemen Volunteers:

In the name and behalf of the ladies of Alton, I present you this banner as a small to token of the gratitude we fell for the brave and loyal manner in which you have rushed to your country's rescue in an hour of peril. 'Tis presented with the full confidence that you will return it untarnished from the field of battle, to be fanned again by the zephyrs of freedom; and that you will never forsake it till its azure hue is crimsoned with your life's blood. And while defending this token of our respect, when fronting the cannon's mouth, let one glance upon that small gift serve to remind you that ten thousand thousand prayers are breathed to the God of Battles for your success on the field of glory, and a safe return to 'wife, children, and friends.' By letting all the ends you aim at tend to the promotion of your conairy's glory, whether you meet with success or defeat, you will be entitled to, and will receive, the heartfelt praises of an ever grateful people. Then, brave Captain, this banner is for the brave in war, and the pure and free in peace, and may it continue to 'wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.'"

 

The response of Captain A. R. Dodge was not only appropriate and eloquent, but delivered in that gentleman's happiest style. We regret his indisposition has prevented his furnishing us, as we requested, a copy of his speech. We shall, however, endeavor to procure it in time for our next. Altogether it was one of the most touching scenes we have witnessed during the encampment of the volunteers in this city. After the ceremony of presenting the flag was concluded, George T. M. Davis, Esq., on behalf of a few of the friends of Lieut. J. A. Prickett of the same company, presented him with a beautiful sword, accompanied by a few remarks. The reply of Lieut. Prickett was a happy one, and showed that he fully appreciated the mark of respect paid him by those who had known him longest and best. On the 4th of July, a second flag was presented to Captain Dodge by some other ladies of Alton. We did not witness the ceremony, and cannot, therefore, speak of what occurred. But it shows that Captain Dodge and his company of gentlemanly soldiers are evidently great favorites in this community. The hopes and expectations of their numerous friends will be fully realized, if brought into contact with the enemy.

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LADIES OF ALTON PRESENT FLAG TO COLONEL BISSEL'S REGIMENT

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 11, 1846

A splendid regimental flag was presented on Thursday evening by Miss Sarah Baker on behalf of the ladies of Alton to Colonel Bissell's Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. We have not the space to add more this week, but will give a full account of the highly interesting scene in our next.

 

Alton Telegraph, July 18, 1846

We have now the gratification of presenting the reader with an exceedingly neat address, delivered on Thursday of last week by Miss Sarah Baker of Alton, upon the presentation, in the name of the ladies of Alton, of a splendid banner to the Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, commanded by Colonel Bissell, to which the companies from Madison County are attached. Also, another, accompanying a beautiful flag, recently forwarded by the ladies of Hillsboro to the company of volunteers from Montgomery County, under the command of Captain McAdams, and attached to the Third Regiment. As it was not in our power to be present at the ceremonies, and no copy of the replies has been furnished us, we are under the necessity of omitting them. Verbal reports of other presentations are in circulation, but as no authentic information on the subject has reached us, we must defer a particular notice of them to a future day.

 

Address of Miss Baker:

"Colonel Bissell - The ladies of this city beg leave to present to the Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, under your command, this flag. It is, we are aware, but a small testimonial of the respect we have for those patriotic citizens who have so cheerfully offered their services in the cause of their country. In parting from their homes, we duly appreciate the sacrifice they make, and although we are not permitted to share the toils and privations of the tented field, we trust, we never can be unmindful that they are endured in the cause of the Republic. Accept for yourself and for them, this banner, and may the sight of our own eagle lead you on to victory. We are not expected to hear the sword, and in this land we are not permitted to sway the sceptre, but surely we are not without power, if our good wishes and prayers can nerve the arm and strengthen the heart of our brave countrymen. Those good wishes and prayers follow you, and may peace to the nation, the object of your toils, speedily restore you to your friends, crowned with wreaths won in the field of honor and of glory."

 

To the Volunteers of Montgomery County:

"Gentlemen: We hope you will accept this banner as a token of our confidence in your patriotism and valor, believing that when necessity requires and duty urges, you will honorably defend it as long as life exists. Although we are women, weak and defenseless, yet there exists within us a spark of that patriotic spirit which burns in your bosoms. We love our country as we love our lives, and nothing can tear that idol from our hearts. Still floats the American eagle in triumph over her foes, her course is onward and upward towards the consummation of our proudest hopes. If you meet your foes in battle, remember your country, your homes, and firesides. If you conquer, remember mercy, and if you should be so fortunate as to return, you will be warmly welcomes by the Patriotic part of the Ladies of Hillsboro."

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MARCHING ORDERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 18, 1846

Colonel Churchill, under the direction of Brig. Gen. John E. Wool, has issued marching orders to the three regiments of Illinois volunteers in Alton as follows:

The Second Regiment, under command of Col. Bissell, to be ready for embarkation for Point Isabel via New Orleans, on Thursday the 16th inst.

The Third Regiment, commanded by Col. Forman, to embark on Friday the 17th for the same destination.

The First Regiment, under command of Col. Hardin, to leave on the 18th to take the route to La Baca, Texas, and from thence to San Antonio de Bexar, there to be placed under the command of Gen. Wool.

 

Brigadier General James ShieldsThe Fourth Regiment, it is expected, will take the same destination as the First. What effect the confirmation of General Shields, as one of the Brigadiers General, will have upon these orders, we cannot now say. But as he will be entitled to three regiments to constitute his brigade, we have no doubt that he will insist upon the three regiments from this state, and now encamped here, going together, and constituting one brigade. We are also confident that the Quartermaster at Alton will not be able to get the regiments in readiness to leave before the beginning or middle of next week.

 

P. S. Since the above was in type, General Wool has arrived in Alton and slightly varied the order of march, which, we understand, is to be as follows: Col. Bissell's regiment is to leave this day (Friday), and Col. Hardin's Saturday; both for La Baca, and thence proceed with all practicable expedition by way of San Antonio de Bexar to Chihuahua. These two regiments will constitute a part of General Shields' brigade, and will be attached to the division commanded by Gen. Wool. Col. Baker's regiment now at Jefferson Barracks, and Col. Forman's, encamped at Upper Alton, are under orders to proceed to join General Taylor in the course of a few days, but it is thought that the destination of the last named regiment will be changed, and that it will ultimately join Gen. Wool's command.

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VOLUNTEER DROWNED IN MISSISSIPPI WHILE BATHING

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 18, 1846

We are pained to state that on the 11th inst., Mr. Thomas F. Wyatt, one of the volunteers attached to Captain Zabriskie's (late Captain Roberts') company from Morgan County, while bathing in the Mississippi a little below the Alton House, was accidentally drowned. On Monday the 13th, his body was found near the mouth of the Missouri, brought to this city, and buried with the honors of war, several of the volunteer companies following his remains to the grave. From those who knew him, we learn that he was an estimable and promising young man, and much esteemed in the community where he resided. We sympathize with his friends and relatives in their severe bereavement.

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LETTER FROM LIEUT. EDWARD F. FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS
Onboard the S. B. Convoy, Cairo, July 21, 1846
Source: Alton Telegraph August 7, 1846
Gents: Aware that yourselves, as well as the numerous readers of your widely circulated journal, will look with a great deal of anxiety for the least intelligence from the Illinois troops, in compliance with my promise, I hastily throw together what little items may be in my possession, relative to "ourselves." We reached St. Louis the same evening we left Alton and anchored off in the stream opposite the city. But few were permitted to land, which caused a good deal of dissatisfaction and grumbling, that, however, soon disappeared after we were under way. On passing every little town, village, or wood yard, we are saluted with shouts of joy and wishes for our happiness and prosperity and safe return. If there is anything that will nerve and animate the citizen-soldier on the field, it will be the remembrance of these kind manifestations that greet him, and are borne on every breeze as he passes onward to his destination.

The river is so very low that we are forced to travel very slowly during the day, and "tie up" at night. Nothing has occurred to relieve the monotony of steamboat traveling, save and except those thousand little vexations which are incident to our peculiar situation. The "boys" dislike very much to be circumscribed in their desires of locomotion, and with a feeling truly American, hate with a holy horror all restraint. The health of the troops on the Convoy continues to be very good, but few new cases of sickness having occurred. The steamer Missouri, with the balance of the Second Regiment and a portion of the First, overhauled us on Saturday, and is in company. But I am warned that I must close my letter, as the boat is about pushing off. I will write you again from New Orleans. Truly yours, "F."
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LETTER FROM LIEUT. FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

At Camp New Orleans, July 24, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 7, 1846

Gents: The Convoy and Missouri, having onboard the Second and a portion of the First Regiments of Illinois troops, reached New Orleans Wednesday, 23d inst., having made the trip from Alton to this point, notwithstanding the low water, in the space of five days. The trip was very pleasant, and nothing occurred to mar the general good feeling, and the troops continued to maintain the same spirit which marked them before their embarkation. The steamers reached the city about 5 o'clock p.m. of Wednesday, and shortly after dropped down to the battleground, where we are now encamped. As the Convoy, onboard of which I was, neared the shore, a universal burst of enthusiasm rang from one end of the boat to the other, at the sight of the sail rendered sacred by American blood. But a small portion of the troops were ever in the South before, and it was really amusing to listen to the exclamations of wonder and surprise that greeted the ear on every side as the boat glided past the splendid plantations and magnificent buildings that are to be seen upon the coast as the banks of the river are denominated below Baton Rouge. And indeed, the appearances on both sides were sufficient to call forth such expressions as were frequently heard, for a greater treat could never meet the eye. For mile upon mile, as far as the sight could reach, plantations covered with a luxuriant growth of sugar cane, extended, while groves of orange and fig trees were seen at every turn.

 

General John E. WoolI neglected to mention in my last, that we received General Wool onboard at Cairo. Since that time we have been under strict military discipline, and have already began to experience a little of our duties as soldiers. As was to be expected, some little grumbling was heard, but it has now subsided, and the men all evince a disposition to do their duty and to render the most efficient service possible to their country. The most trying time for the men was that of debarkation last evening. It was nearly dark when we reached the point we were to land at, and it was past 10 o'clock before we were enabled to pitch our tents, and many of the men, wearied and fatigued, threw themselves upon the ground and went to sleep supperless, yet not a man in the regiment left the ground. A good many laughable scenes occurred amid the hurry and bustle of landing, and with all the trying circumstances, shouts of laughter and good humor were heard from every part of the ground.

 

The report on the ground this morning is that we shall embark for La Bache tomorrow, as there are several steamships in port in waiting. The Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio Infantry, together with the Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas, mounted men, are to concentrate at San Antonio de Bexar under General Wool, and thence to march into Mexico. The route is said to be by the way of the state of Chihuahua, into the city of Mexico.

 

The city papers of this morning contain the account of a skirmish that took place between the boats of the Princeton and a party of the enemy, a short distance north of Vera Cruz, but it did not amount to much. If we do not leave as soon as anticipated, and anything occurs worthy of note, I will writen again from this point. Truly yours, "F."

 

P. S. As I am closing this sheet, the Hannibal having onboard the balance of the First and a portion of the Third Regiments has arrived, and the troops are now disembarking. General Shields has not yet arrived, he having stopped at Baton Rouge for the purpose of obtaining arms.

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DEPARTURE OF THE TROOPS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 25, 1846

The three regiments of Illinois volunteers encamped in and around this city since about the middle of last month, left us a few days since in order to proceed to their respective places of destination. Seven companies of the Second Regiment, commanded by Colonel Bissell, took passage onboard the Convoy, in the afternoon of the 17th. The three remaining companies of the said regiment, and part of the First Regiment under Colonel Hardin, left here on the morning of the 18th in the Missouri, and were followed on the next day by the other part of the last named regiment onboard the Hannibal. These two regiments are bound for San Antonio de Bexar. The Third Regiment, commanded by Colonel Foreman, remained in this vicinity a few days longer, and took its departure on the afternoon of the 22d, in the Clencoe and John Aull. Its present destination is Point Isahel, but it is though that it will ultimately be ordered to join the preceeding corps. The Fourth Regiment, under Colonel Baker, still remains at Jefferson Barracks, but is expected to leave today or tomorrow for the Rio Grande.

 

Of the three regiments whose departure from this place is noticed above, and also, we believe, of Colonel Baker's, it may truly be said that they compose as fine a body of men as ever have been mustered into any service. Although heretofore wholly unused to restraint, and for the most part totally unacquainted with the military art, their proficiency during the few weeks which have elapsed since their enrollment has been very great, while their conduct during their stay here has been honorable to them as citizen soldiers. They went off in high spirits, singing patriotic songs and with colors flying, and were saluted as they left the wharf and dropped down the river by discharges from a piece of ordnance and the cheers of the assembled crowd. Our best wishes, and those of our fellow citizens generally, accompany them.

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DINNER FOR VOLUNTEERS AT EAGLE TAVERN

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 25, 1846

We learn that Mrs. Tomlinson, the liberal and patriotic hostess of the Eagle Tavern, gave a splendid dinner to the Alton Volunteer Guards, commanded by Captain Peter Goff, on the day of their departure down the river. May she ever possess the means, as well as the inclination, to exercise the same generous hospitality towards her country's brave defenders.

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BANNER PRESENTED TO CHICAGO GUARDS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 25, 1846

Messrs. Editors: A very handsome little banner was presented to the "rough and Ready" Chicago Guards, commanded by Captain Lyman Mower, by Miss S. E. Miller, in behalf of the young ladies of Alton, in front of the residence of William Miller, Esq., on State Street, on the 13th inst. Herewith is a copy of the very appropriate and chaste speech by Miss Miller on the occasion , which was replied to by Lieutenant Elliot in a beautiful, patriotic, and elegant address. The banner had, in gilt letters on one side, "Rough & Ready," the motto adopted by the company upon their organization, and "Chicago Guards" on the other, with twenty-eight stars on either side, corresponding with the states of this more than glorious Union. It was trimmed with flowers in quite a handsome and tasty manner, and as the company moved off after the presentation, they were literally lauded with wreaths and bouquets by the young ladies assembled to witness the ceremony. I have sent you this imperfect account, knowing that you are willing and anxious to give such things a place in your valuable paper. It shows that the ladies of Alton are alive to the honor of our beloved country, and take quite as much interest in the success of our arms as the other six.  Signed by B.

 

"Lieut. D. S. Elliott: Through the liberality of friends, and in their behalf, I have the honor of presenting to you this banner, Accept it, sir, as a momento of the confidence which we repose in your valor, and the bravery of those under your command, and a conviction that it will never be surrendered to a foreign foe. As you are now called to encounter period and endure hardship in the defense of our beloved country, let this banner be a pledge of our sympathy, and an assurance of our best wishes for your safety, and for your return to us after having earned for yourselves those laurels which all will delight in awarding to your prowess."

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JUSTICE OF THE PEACE GOES TO WAR

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 25, 1846

To the people of Madison County: Having felt it my duty to respond to the call of the Government as a Volunteer to take part in the war with Mexico, I deem it proper to resign my office as Probate Justice of the Peace, and this day forward to the Honorable County Commissioners my resignation, and take passage of steamboat for the seat of war. Whatever my condition or location in life may be, I shall ever feel a lasting gratitude to my fellow citizens for the confidence they have been pleased to repose in me, entertaining a sincere wish for their future prosperity and happiness. Your fellow citizen, George W. Prickett.

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A CARD FROM THE ALTON VOLUNTEER GUARDS

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 7, 1846

The officers and privates of the Alton Volunteer Guards would return their most sincere thanks to those citizens of Alton who have bestowed upon them so many marked favors of their esteem and respect, and they would in particular tender unto Mrs. H. B. Tomlinson, the obliging landlady of the Eagle Tavern, their feelings of gratitude for the kindness she has uniformly bestowed upon them as a corps, and more particularly for her generosity in furnishing them with a splendid collation on Friday last.

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LETTER FROM A VOLUNTEER

(onboard the Brig T. Street, at the Mouth of the Mississippi River)

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 14, 1846

Yesterday the 25th, all of the First and Seven Companies of the Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers embarked for La Bache, the point fixed upon for disembarking, en route for San Antonio de Bexar. Three steam ships - the Telegraph, the McKimm, and the James L. Day - were chartered, together with several sailing vessels, by the U. S. Quartermaster, for the purpose of conveying the troops, and to prevent any harsh feelings, the captains of the several companies drew lots for the choice of craft. We draw a sail vessel - the Brigantine T. Street - and onboard of her the Alton Volunteer Guards, under the command of Captain Goff, and the Washington County Guards under the command of Captain Coffee, are fast making their way under the tow of the towboat Patrick Henry, to the Gulf. The boat has also in tow four other craft, two of which have onboard four companies of the First Regiment, viz. Capt. Morgan's Riflemen, Capt. Dickey's, Capt. Wells', and Capt. Mower's - the two latter from Chicago.

 

The steamship Telegraph, on which three companies of the Second Regiment, together with Col. Bissell and his staff, had embarked, after having run about six miles below the city, was discovered to have sprung a leak, and before the troops could be landed, she had five feet of water in her hold. What arrangements have been made for bringing on these troops I do not know, and it is supposed that the McKimm, on which the Colonel and staff of the First Regiment are, will remain until Col. Bissell and staff shall be enabled to proceed.

 

Since my last was written, I have learned that General Shields, together with the Third and Fourth Regiments of Illinois Troops, have been ordered to join General Taylor on the Rio Grande. This is contrary to all former expectation, at least so far as the Third Regiment is concerned, and causes a good deal of dissatisfaction among those who have the desire for Illinois to take her proper position among her sister states, at heart. Why the powers that be should find it necessary to separate troops from the same state, and raised under the same requisition, is incomprehensible, and those who have been entrusted with the keeping of the interests of our state at headquarters will have to answer for this gross injustice, and we betide those who shall be unable to clear their skirts in this matter!

 

Although we were forced to leave New Orleans in the night, and consequently were deprived of many interesting sights, yet the splendid views which met the eye on every side as we passed down this morning amply recompensed us for our losses. The far-extending plantations, the palace-like dwellings surrounded with orange groves covered with golden fruit, forests of the pineapple and cocoa, whose branches were laden to breaking, were plainly to be seen from the vessel's deck; while the intense heat of the sun announced our approach to the tropics. The breeze from the Gulf is pleasant and invigorating, and but few or no complaints are heard. The Alton Guards continue to be very healthy - but one man on the sick list - probably an exception to any other company in the three regiments.

 

I neglected in my last to extend to Captain Garrison and the gentlemanly officers of the steamer Convoy, the favorable notice which they are entitled to from every officer and private of the Second Regiment, for their kindness and attention to all on the late trip down. I will write you again from La Bache, so that you shall be kept acquainted with the movements of the troops that go that route.  Truly yours, "F." 

 

P. S. Persons forwarding letters to those among the volunteers should direct them to the care of the officer commanding the company, and if possible, should name the letter of the company on the back of the communication

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LETTER FROM THE TELEGRAPH JUNIOR EDITOR

New Orleans, August 8, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 21, 1846

I arrived in New Orleans on the afternoon of the 6th inst., after a passage of eight days from St. Louis to this port. The whole of the Illinois troops had left, as well as General Shields and Lieutenant Hammond, his other aid, previous to my reaching here. My disappointment in not meeting with General Shields was, however, to some extent compensated for by finding at the Quartermaster's department, instructions from General Wool, detailing me from the First Regiment, with orders to join General Shields at Point Isabel, by the earliest means of conveyance. The First Regiment to which I was attached, being under General Wool's command, and destined to a different point, I could not have retained my position in General Shields' staff but for this act of kindness on the part of General Wool, for which, as may readily be imagined, I feel deeply grateful.

 

The First Regiment, under the command of Colonel Hardin, and the Second Regiment, under the command of Colonel Bissell, disembarked at La Baca, and will march from thence to San Antonio, where they will remain until September, probably the middle if not the last of the month. They, with the residue of General Wool's command, will then take up their line of march for Chihuahua. Taking possession of that point, they are then expected to join Major General Taylor on his march to the city of Mexico. Col. Churchill of the regular army is attached to this command as Inspector General.

 

The Third Regiment, commanded by Colonel F. Forman, and the Fourth Regiment, under Colonel E. D. Baker, were shipped to Point Isabel, and constitute a portion of the Brigade of General Shields. They will join General Taylor as soon as practicable, and constitute a part of his forces in his attack upon Monteroy. What volunteers will compose the residue of General Shields' Brigade I could not ascertain in this city.

 

As a general thing, the whole of the Illinois volunteers were in good health and excellent spirits on their leaving this city. Dr. O'Neil, attached to Colonel Forman's Regiment as Surgeon, was, however, dangerously sick, and is still at the hospital in this city. Colonel Forman's was the last Regiment that got off, and he was compelled to take another physician from this city with him. If I have the time before sailing, I shall go and see Dr. O'Neil.

 

I regretted to learn in this city that Captain Mower of the Chicago Rifle Company left here under arrest. As the story runs here, he had made a violent speech to his company against going onboard the vessel that was to transport them to La Baen. It was regarded by Colonel Hardin to be of a mutinous character, and with that promptness and decision that always characterize his military or civil career, he at once had the Captain put under arrest. The matter, so far as anyone here knowns, went no farther. I am still in hopes this is altogether a mistake, or if true as to the arrest, that there were such mitigating circumstances as will relieve Captain Mower from the unfortunate dilemma. At Alton, he was regarded as one of the best officers in the encampment, and his every act there proved that he was a soldier of which the army might well be proud. How he could have fallen into this unfortunate scrape is to me unaccountable.

 

Colonel Craghan is here, and goes out in the same steamship that I do. He is attached to General Taylor's command as Inspector General.

 

Major A. Dunlap, U. S. Quartermaster, and Dr. E. B. Price, who is assigned to Colonel Bissell's Regiment as Surgeon in the place of Dr. Hope, came to this city with me. Dr. Herrick of Chicago is his assistant, but has not yet reached here. Dr. Maban of Mt. Carmel, who is the Surgeon to the Third Regiment, arrived here today, and his assistant, Dr. Daniel Turnay of Wayne County, is hourly looked for. Dr. Price goes to La Baca on Monday, and Dr. Mahan, Major Dunlap, and myself, to point Isabel on the same day. Transportation has been provided for us on the McKimm, a steam propeller. The Captain of the McKimm informed me today we should be sixty hours in making the trip.

 

The city is overrun with the Volunteers who were disbanded by General Taylor, under the instructions of the Secretary of War, in consequence of their refusal to enlist for twelve months. Four vessels arrived today bringing the residue of the Louisiana and Alabama Volunteers. The St. Louis Legion is expected here in the course of the day or tomorrow. You will see by the papers that great efforts are making to create excitement in consequence of this move. But to me it appears plain that it is a result brought about by their own action. They were called into service by General Gaines for which very act, among others, he is now undergoing a trial by a court martial. The service was to be but for six months. At the end of three months, these six months volunteers are informed that they will be retained in the service of the United States, provided they will put themselves upon an equal footing with the volunteers from Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi, and enlist for twelve months. That their service of three months longer will, instead of facilitating, embarrass the campaign carrying on against Mexico, and that in all probability, their six months would expire at the very time when General Taylor would be marching upon some important point in the interior of Mexico, and where their services would be most needed. That they would then have the right to claim their discharge, and that the government, profiting by the experience of the last war, could not incur the risk of being compelled to discharge them, and thus place themselves in an attitude to be overcome by the enemy. They were, however, told by General Taylor in his orders, that if they would not re-enlist for the twelve months as Regiments, that he would receive them as Battalions, or as single companies; yea, that he would go still further, and receive them as individuals and attach them to the Quartermaster's Department. If, therefore, there was a disposition to continue in the campaign, every facility on earth was afforded them by the gallant Taylor to do so. There is neither reason, sense, or justice in the proposition that these five or six thousand men should only be required to serve six months, whilst all the residue of the volunteers of the Union are compelled to serve twelve.

 

It is said here by a number who have returned that a large proportion would have remained, had their prowess or patriotism been appealed to, and that it was the manner in which the Secretary of War had imposed the conditions upon them that brought about the result. There may be something in this, but not enough to justify them in this community at all events. You will see by a correspondent in the New Orleans Delta of today, which I send you, and who if a volunteer, that he furnishes an entirely different excuse. He charges deceit upon two of the commanding officers in procuring the vote of the Regiments. If, however, this writer is correct, as well as those who think with him, they had an opportunity to prove that it was not a preference on their part to return by enlisting as individuals.

 

As an abstract proposition, I freely admit these six months volunteers had the right to expect they would remain that length of time, and then be discharged. But when it is remembered they were called into the service in an unauthorized manner, and for a shorter period than designated by the law authorizing volunteers to be raised, and that the nature of the campaign actually required soldiers for at least twelve months, to me it appears the part of prudence as well as necessity that the step should have been taken that has been. There has been some speculation here whether the disbanding of so large a body of volunteers as six thousand would not to some extent embarrass the movements of General Taylor in penetrating into the interior of Mexico. But all such fears are now dissipated. He, it is said, even with the loss of this number of men, considers that the present strength of the forces are sufficient to enable him to reach the city of Mexico in triumph.

 

The Quartermaster's department in this city has been somewhat embarrassed within the last few days for the want of funds. The Captains of several of the boats who brought down stock for them have had to return without getting their pay. Others furnishing supplies &c. for the government are similarly situated, and as a matter of course, curses more in number than the hairs on a cat's back are heaped upon Uncle Sam for making contracts without having the funds to comply on their part. It will, however, be but a few days before this difficulty will be obviated.

 

The shipping and steamboat interests are making immense sums of money out of the general government about these days. Every head of horses or mules transported to either La Baca or Point Isabel cost from twenty to twenty five dollars. Freight a dollar and a half a barrel, and everything else in the same proportion. There are now here eleven hundred head of government horses and mules waiting transportation. The cost of keeping them here is forty cents a day. I was informed by a gentleman of this city who knows, that the owners of the James L. Day, a steam vessel, will clear this season by her, fifty thousand dollars! How? She is in the employ of Uncle Sam running from here to La Baca and to Point Isabel, as occasion may require. The flour, pork and other provisions bought here for the army are of the very best quality. Flour is worth here from three dollars and a quarter to four dollars a barrel, according to the reputation of the brand. Pork is much firmer than it has been, and has actually advanced about twelve and a half cents a barrel. Many suppose this change in the pork market to have grown out of the government purchases of that article. But this is not the case, as I am informed by the best merchants in the city. It arises purely from the amount of orders for pork from the West Indies.

 

New Orleans is very healthy for the season of the year, and the weather nothing like as oppressive as it was at Alton when I left, and had been for six weeks previous. Every afternoon and evening there is a fine sea breeze, and showers of rain are frequently visited upon us. I have conversed with a number of the volunteers who have returned from Mexico, and they all agree in opinion that the heat is greater here than there. Colonel Hardin took up his line of march for San Antonio within twenty-four hours after the last companies of his Regiment reached La Baca. He is a general favorite here among the military men, and all persons who formed any acquaintance with him speak in the highest terms of him. Colonel Bissell is long ere this on his march for San Antonio, and has already, as I learn, gained not only the respect, but the affection of his whole Regiment. You may rely upon it, it will prove the best selection, decidedly, the Second Regiment could have made. It has been to me a sore disappointment in not having them in General Shields' Brigade, as there are a number of my own fellow citizens and friends in that Regiment to whom I flattered myself my position would enable me to have been of some service. We shall, however, all meet as we penetrate into the interior of Mexico.

 

Friends writing to any of the volunteers should invariably pay the postage on their letters if they wish them to reach those for whom they are included. The reason is this. There is no mail facilities beyond Matamoras, and if the postage on letters is not paid, they cannot be taken out and sent with the government dispatches by private conveyances after the Army. The same should be done on papers. You will please have this done with my paper. I will write you again on my reaching Point Isabel. Yours truly, George T. M. Davis.

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LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

From New Orleans, La.

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 28, 1846

When last I wrote you, it was under a firm conviction that ere this I would have been on my way to Point Isabel and that my next would be written from the camp of General Shields. But the procrastinating movements of the general government at this point, still retain me in this city with no expectation of getting off for the next two or three days.

 

I regret that I am under the unpleasant necessity of announcing the death of Dr. John O'Neil, formerly of Alton, and at the time of his decease, surgeon of the Third Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. He died at the Charity Hospital in New Orleans on the 11th inst., at 5 p.m. The disease that terminated his mortal career was the dysentery, which baffled the skill of the best medical faculty in New Orleans. for forty-eight hours previous to his departure from this world of sorrow he was fully sensible that the hour of his dissolution was at hand. He retained fully his mental faculties to last, and died not only at peace with all mankind, but with an unwavering confidence in that religion which for years he had adorned by an upright and faultless walk in life. For him, death had no terrors, and he met the issue with a composure and fortitude that showed that his was the Christian's faith, and that his hope of immortality beyond the grave was such as is only experienced by the true and devout Christian. He was removed the same evening from the hospital by some friends and buried the next day in accordance with the rites and ceremonies of the Catholic religion. All that could be was done for him, and though in a land of strangers, he found himself surrounded by friends who, in his last days and moments, manifested that friendship not by profession, but by acts.

 

On Wednesday of this week, the 11th inst., Major General Robert Patterson of Philadelphia arrived here "en route" for Point Isabel. He goes over in the Alabama, the same vessel that Major Dunlap, myself and several others are provided with passages in by the Quartermaster in this city. General Patterson's division consists of General Shields' Brigade, composed of two regiments from Illinois and the St. Louis Legion. General Pitlow's Brigade, comprising two regiments of infantry and one regiment of mounted men, all from the state of Tennessee, and General Quitman's Brigade, composed of one regiment from Mississippi, one from Alabama, one from Georgia, and an odd battalion from the city of Baltimore. The St.Louis Legion having very unwisely decided to return home, will leave General Shields with but two thirds of a brigade. The deficiency, however, will without doubt be immediately filled up upon a statement of facts to the War Department.

 

The city if rife with rumors that Mexico has proposed terms of peace to our government, and that before many weeks the war will be at an end. Notwithstanding the apparent authentic tone of this information, as given in some of the Eastern papers, I do not myself credit it. Certain it is, that when General Patterson left Washington a few days since, no such thing was then even dreamed of.

 

The weather, with the exception of the two last days, has been fine, and the city as far as I can ascertain, unusually healthy. None of the volunteers here from our section of the country have suffered as much with the heat since their stay in the city as they did at home previous to leaving. Yours truly, George T. M. Davis.

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LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

From New Orleans, La., August 17, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 4, 1846

After a delay here of twelve days, I am at last on the eve of leaving for Point Isabel. The steamship Alabama leaves tomorrow evening, without fail, in which the following staff officers embark. Major Gen. Robert Patterson of Pennsylvania; Major A. Van Burco, Paymaster; Major Burns, Paymaster; Major A. Dunlap, U. S. Quartermaster of Illinois; Captain Fenner of Alabama, Assistant Commissary; Captain R. B. Reynolds of Tennessee, Assistant Commissary; Captain John Caldwell of Ohio, Assistant Commissary; Captain J. H. Campbell of Illinois, Assistant Commissary; Surgeon W. H. Quinn of Illinois, to be attached to Col. Baker's Regiment; and myself. The Alabama has been detained here several days at an expense to the government of five hundred dollars per day, waiting for a detachment of regulars whose arrival from the Ohio has been looked for hourly for some time past, and after all the probability is, she will leave without them. In fact, she ought not to have been detained as long as she has. The way Uncle Sam is skinned in this city is curious. A faithful history of the fitting out, and carrying on this Mexican campaign would not redound much to the credit or honor of many of those who have had a finger in the pie. Much larger fortunes will be made out of it, and far more extravagant expenditures have been made than any that was brought to light, and darkened the pages of the Florida expeditions. The hand that indites a faithful and impartial history of this affair will have everything else but an enviable duty to perform. The day, however, will come when the expose will be made and the participators will have to submit to public indignation unsparingly expressed.

 

The Assistant to the Quartermaster's department in this city paid the Illinois volunteers a very handsome compliment in my presence a few days ago. He remarked he had shipped from this city twenty-two regiments of volunteers, numbering some eighteen thousand men, and that of them all, the volunteers from Illinois were the best behaved and most orderly; that they gave him no trouble or unpleasant feelings whatever; and that their officers apparently had untimated control over them. Both Major Dunlap and myself heard this conversation, addressed to a third person, and as a matter of course felt gratified at it. I hope our volunteers will continue to maintain this reputation, and that on being disbanded, it may be with the respect and esteem of the Commanders in Chief.

 

For the last three or four days we have had nothing but rain here, which has checked all out of door operations. The extreme low stage of the Ohio and Mississippi has almost put an end to all navigation, and as a natural consequence greatly limited business operations. The rates of freight are rapidly increasing, as none but the smallest class of boats will take any. The city continues, as far as I can ascertain or judge, perfectly healthy, and the rumors of the prevalence of the yellow fever and smallpox being here is without the least foundation. Your truly, George T. M. Davis.

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LETTER FROM LIEUT. FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

From Camp Ladache, Texas, August 5th, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 4, 1846

The First and Second Regiments of the Illinois Volunteers, with the exception of the company commanded by Capt Osdon of Perry County, which has arrived are now encamped on the edge of a broad prairie and close to a beautiful stream of water, called in the Mexican language Boneventin Placroedes, and notwithstanding the strangeness of its sound to an American, its name flows as softly from the tongue of a native of the country as does its bright and pure waters. The encampments of the regiments are about a mile distant from each other, and both being on slight clovations in the prairie, are plainly to be seen from each, and in the evening, so pure is the atmosphere, and so bright are the southern skies, that a conversation can be easily maintained by a slight clevation of voice, and almost every object can be perceived. The climate in this section of Texas has certainly never been correctly represented, or else it would have been thickly, instead of sparsely populated, as it now is, for a more pleasant time I have never witnessed than it has been my good fortune to enjoy for the four days we have been encamped at this point. From sunrise until about 8 o'clock, there is a very pleasant breeze stirring; from 8 until 1 or 2, it is rather hot, but a shower of about half an hour's duration usually passes over, cooling the heated air and refreshing the parched earth, and that is succeeded by a sea breeze which continues until nightfall, keeping the atmosphere cool and pure.

 

Most of the troops arrived at Port Labache within a day or two of each other, the sailing vessels being behind the steamers only about 24 hours. The little brigantine on which I was a passenger sailed like a duck, and barring that it was rather small for the comfort of our companies, we were very pleasantly situated. The captain is a prince of a fellow - a good-natured, jovial son of the Emerald Isle, ready and willing at all times to contribute to the comfort and pleasure of his passengers. His brig is a regular trader to Havana, and let me advise such of your readers as think of taking a trip to that place to make diligent inquires upon their arrival at New Orleans for Jack O'Connell and his fancy vessel, and embark thereon, and take my word for it, they will never regret it. Nothing occurred on our trip to change the monotony of uninteresting travel - not even that pleasant and charming variety - sea-sickness.

 

Port Labache, the point at which the troops were landed, is a little town containing some 15 or 20 houses, together with a church and what seems to be essentially necessary to complete a Texas village, 4 or 5 doggeries. The Labache River empties into Matagorda Bay a short distance to the east of the town, but is of small size and of no use for the purposes of navigation. The town is about 25 miles from the entrance of Matagorda Bay, but the passage is very much obstructed by bars, vessels drawing over six feet water are unable to cross the principal bar, which is 12 miles from Labache. The passage up the bay was dull and uninteresting, as the coast on either side is low and marshy and everything wore an excessively forbidding aspect, and troops were all taken from the vessels on the bar by steamers, up to the point of landing. It was late in the afternoon when we landed, and finding that no previsions or water had been provided for us, we were forced to take up the line of march 12 miles distant to our present camping ground, the rain pouring in torrents, and the mud three inches deep. It was a severe march, and one which gave us a foretaste of what would be expected of us as soldiers. It was nearly dark when we left Port Labache, and night coming on made the march more disagreeable. As it was, a portion of us managed to reach our point of destination about midnight, tired and hungry.  I assure you I was very glad to get hold of a piece of bacon, roast it on a stick, eat it with a cake of hard bread, wrap myself in my blanket on the grass, where I slept soundly until long after daylight, although it rained and thundered and lightened all night. It was, perhaps, as severe a tramp as we shall ever have, but under all the circumstances, it was pulling the health and comfort of the men to too severe a test, I think, and those who were the authors of the outrageous march deserve to be severely censured. I am happy to say that but few or none of our men suffered from it, and that but four of our company are on the sick list. The company that performed the march with us are more unfortunate - it has some 30 on the sick report. The measles are the only disease prevalent in camp, though many are complaining of the diarrhea.

 

The orders have been issued for us to take up the line of march for San Antonio on Friday next, August 8, via Victoria. Should anything worthy of note transpire, I will write you from the latter point. Truly your, "F."

 

Camp Irwin, Texas, August 10, 1846

In my last, I informed you that the two regiments of Illinois volunteers were to take up their line of march for San Antonio de Bexar on the morning after the date of my letter, but after it was dispatched the order was countermanded on account of the badness of the roads, etc. But tomorrow we shall certainly start for General Wool, who has just left for that point, insists that our movement cannot longer be postponed. Nothing of interest has occurred since my last, unless it be the resignation of Captain Goff of the "Alton Volunteer Guards." I question not, but that the news of Captain Goff's resignation will be received with some surprise by his friends in Alton, but he was honorably entitled to a discharge, as he was physically unable to march on foot; consequently he received a Surgeon's certificate to that effect. First Lieutenant Baker was elected to supply the vacancy; Second Lieut. Fletcher was elected in his place; Third Lieut. Ferguson was elected to fill this vacancy; and Orderly Serg. L. Robbins was elected Third Lieutenant.  Truly yours, "F."

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RESIGNATION OF CAPTAIN PETER GOFF

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 18, 1846

To the Citizens of Alton:

For the very many compliments paid to me and my company previous to my departure to join the army, and the confidence which many of the citizens of Alton and its vicinity appeared to repose in me for the feeble aid which I was about to offer towards the termination of the existing war between the United States and Mexico, I consider it my duty to lay before them the cause of my return. It was known to some, previous to my departure, that I was unwell, though not known to Col. Churchill at the time I was mustered into service, nor did I intend that it ever should be known. But on my arrival in Texas, my affliction became so great that I was compelled to make my situation known to the Surgeon of the regiment, and he, after mature deliberation, came to the conclusion to communicate it to General Wool. This he accordingly did, and requested for me the privilege of riding on horseback. To which the General replied, that if he granted to one this privilege, that all would expect the same, and if Captain Goff or any other Captain under his command was not able to perform his duty and march at the head of their respective companies on foot, that he should have to dispense with their services, and that they should be sent home, for a sick man had no business attempting this campaign. The Surgeon informing me of the determination of the General, and my disease becoming worse daily, I immediately demanded my discharge at La Baca, Texas, on the 5th August, 1846, which was granted, and with the Surgeon's certificate, will be found below. I have given this to the public for their approval or condemnation, as they may see cause to determine.  Signed Peter Goff, Alton, September 9, 1846.

 

Headquarters, Second Regiment Illinois Volunteers, August 5, 1846

I hereby certify that Peter Goff, Captain of Company B, Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, is incapable of performing the duties of a Captain, and therefore in the opinion of the undersigned, the interest of the service requires that he should resign his post as Captain in the Army for the following reasons: Captain Goff has a sore leg, and it will be impossible for him, in consequence, to march at the head of his men.  Signed by Thomas M. Hope, Surgeon, Second Regiment, Illinois Volunteers.

 

Camp Irwin, near La Baca, August 5, 1846

Captain Peter Goff, commanding Company B of the Illinois Volunteers (Second Regiment), having produced the certificate of the Regimental Surgeon that he is physically unable to perform military duty, and tendered his resignation of the office of Captain, which resignation has been accepted, is hereby honorably discharged.  Signed W. H. Bissell, Colonel Second Regiment, Illinois Volunteers.

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FROM THE SEAT OF WAR

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 18, 1846

Our readers will observe, with deep regret, that Colonel Baker, Captain Roberts, and several privates of the Fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, were badly wounded on the night of the 31st ult., while gallantly attempting to quell a riot among the Georgia troops. The latest accounts speak favorably of the speedy recovery of the officers, although it was apprehended that the injury sustained by the Colonel might permanently affect his voice, and that one or two of his men would probably die of their wounds. It is mortifying and painful to witness so many acts of insubordination as have recently taken place among the gallant men who so promptly responded to the call of their country, and to reflect that their appetite for fighting could not have been indulged in a way more honorable to themselves and more satisfactory to their fellow-citizens, than that of turning their weapons against each other. No censure, however, is due to the Illinois Volunteers on account of the melancholy affair particularly referred to. On the contrary, their conduct on that trying occasion is worthy of the highest praise, and will doubtless be properly appreciated by the Government. But it is to be feared that a volunteer force, although admirably calculated for a sudden emergency, will hardly answer for offensive operations, to the success of which long training and rigid discipline are indispensable, and that in a long war our main dependence must be upon a well-appointed regular army. The correctness of this opinion will, we think, be evident within the space of a twelve month, unless peace shall be restored in the meantime.

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FROM THE JUNIOR EDITOR

Camp Patterson, near Barila, August 31, 1846

[Portions of his letter only]

Since my last to you under date of the 25gth inst., but little has transpired worthy of note. On the evening of the 27th, a report was brought to our camp that an attack upon Point Isabel was anticipated, and that the whole forces there had been put under arm. The next morning I was dispatched by General Shields as his Aid de Camp, to Major Gardner, commanding Point Isabel, to ascertain the facts and offer the assistance of as many companies from his brigade as, in the judgment of the officer in command, would be sufficient to protec the large amount of public property at that post from any contemplated attack on the part of the enemy. On reaching there, I ascertained that some apprehensions had been entertained, the evening previous, that some marauding part of Mexicans might, under cover of night, attempt to plunder and burn the public property. As an act of prudence, Major Gardner threw up a breastwork around the Point, drove all Mexicans within its limits away, and stationed pickets some five miles out. Major Gardner informed me that it was the thieving propensities of the Mexicans that he was endeavoring to guard against, and not their prowess.

 

The sickness among our two regiments diminishes daily, and there is none in either regiment that is reported by the Surgeons as dangerous. Several will be discharged and sent home by the first vessel, most of whom have pulmonary complaints and are wholly unfit for the arduous duties of a soldier during times of war. Our forces are in fine spirits, and are determined to stand first among all the volunteer forces in Mexico.   Yours truly, George T. M. Davis.

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LETTER FROM THE JUNIOR EDITOR

Colonel Baker Wounded in Riot by Georgians

Camp Patterson, near Barila, September 1, 1846

The gloom that has pervaded our camp during the last thirty six hours - the scenes of riot and bloodshed that have passed under my observation dutring the same period, and the frequent sound of the muffled drum, beating the dead march as corpse after corpse were borne by our tents to the silent and final resting place of our race - have forcibly brought to my mind the beautiful expression of the poet: "God made the world beauty and peace; man's passions made that world a frightful field of blood and woe." You will probably have already seen the particulars of a melancholy affair, which has resulted in the death of two of the members of Captain Pugh's Company in the Fourth Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, and the serious, if not dangerous, wounding of their commanding officer, Colonel E. D. Baker. A shameful riot had broken out last evening between two companies of Georgia Volunteers - one from Savannah, composed of Irishmen, called the Jasper Greens; and the other of Americans known as the Kershaw Rangers - onboard the steamer Corvette, upon which they had embarked for Camargo. It was the finale of an old feud, that had existed between them ever since they have been in camp on the Rio Grande, and the outbreak of which was stimulated and hastened on by that arch enemy of the peace of man - whisky. These companies had been drinking freely during the day, and their blood was consequently well heated and in excellent order for the perpetration of the disgraceful outrages that followed at their hands.

 

Colonel Baker and the company of Captain Pugh had just returned from burying a member of that company, by moonlight, who had died in the morning in a fit of apoplexy. The fight on the boat between the Georgians had been progressing for nearly half an hour, amid the most horrible blasphemy and imprecations, and apparently was on the increase when Colonel Baker, with the above company, and Captains Roberts and Post proceeded from his encampment to the boat for the purpose of quelling the same. Two other of his companies under the command of Captains Roberts and Jones in a few moments followed, and all reached the boat about the same time. The first object that met the view of Colonel Baker was one of the Georgians in the act of being killed by one of the other company from the same state. He at once ordered the men to follow him, and led the way on to the boat, announcing who he was and demanding, as the senior officer in command, in the absence of General Shields, that peace be restored, and the ringleaders on both sides among the belligerants seized and secured. He had advanced but a short distance on the boat when the Captain of the Jasper Greens drew his sword and assailed him, aided by three other of his men. Colonel Baker immediately unsheathed his sword and defended himself with undaunted bravery and coolness against the combined assault of the four. He had been engaged but a few minutes in this personal conflict, when another of this company of Georgians, whose conduct show that they are not only a disgrace to their state, but to the human family, who stood in the rear of Colonel Baker, drew a pistol within a few feet of him and fired directly at his head. The ball passed through his neck, about an inch under the left ear, and out of his mouth, knocking out one of his front teeth, and injuring to some extent the right side of his lower jaw. The company of Captain Pugh fought bravely and nobly, and clung to their Colonel without for a moment flinching. They not only successfully maintained their ground, but after Colonel Baker fell, succeeded in driving back the Georgians and bringing them to terms of peace. Captain Roberts, as well as Captain Post, the Assistant Commissary attached to the Fourth Regiment, fought manfully by the side of Colonel Baker, both of whom are slightly but not seriously wounded. Captain Pugh's company bear honorable and conclusive testimony of their valor and bravery in the number of killed and wounded. Mr. Hehn, one of their sergeants, is pierced through and through with a bayonet, and all hopes of his recovery abandoned. Mr. __________, a corporal, was slightly wounded with a bayonet; among the privates, Mr. Dillow was shot through the body, died this morning, and was buried this afternoon. Messrs. H. Martin, Stewart, Shepherd, and Lee were all wounded, but none of them I think dangerously. This constitutes the loss and the extent of the injury inflicted upon the Fourth Regiment Illinois Volunteers.

 

Among the belligerents on the boat, one was killed on the spot and was buried this morning. Several others were knocked overboard with the but of muskets, and others jumped over to save themselves from being shot; several if not all of whom were drowned. The Captain of the Jasper Greens was arrested at once and placed in confinement, and a strong detachment from the Third Regiment of Illinois Volunteers stationed as a guard around the boat, with strict orders to allow none of either of the two Georgia companies to go on shore.

 

Colonel Baker this evening is much easier than he was this morning, and I have had an hour's conversation with him since then. From him I have learnt the particulars of the number who attacked him. He supposed last night he could not live an hour, but never for a moment quailed before what he regarded the rapid approach of the stern messenger of death. He manifested a willingness to go, if the dispensations of Providence had so ordained it, and expressed a desire to Captain Churchill of the regular army, in my presence, that his wife, of whom he spoke in the tenderest terms, should have the whole of his property. He desired that his friends should be made acquainted with the fact that he fell in endeavoring to save the life of another, and in the discharge of what he regarded his duty to his country. Throughout the whole, he was perfectly calm and collected, and showed himself worthy of the place he fills as the highest office in command of his regiment. I trust he may soon be restored to his health, and long be spared to his country and his family. The physicians this evening express great confidence that they will raise him - the fulfillment of which God grant may be realized.

 

A Court of Inquiry this morning was organized by the Field and Staff officers, which resulted in placing the Captain of the Jasper Greens, and four others, shown to be the ringleaders among the rioters, in irons, and sending them to the Headquarters of General Taylor, there to be tried under the Articles of War for mutiny. If they are convicted, as they should be, the penalty of this inexcusable outrage is death. the boat left with them about two o'clock today, as well as the rest of the Georgia regiment.

 

Since my letter to you under date of the 30th ultimo, several deaths have occurred in the two regiments of Illinois Volunteers. All but one had had severe attacks of the measles, and were reported by the Surgeons as convalescent. But on Friday night last, the 28th ult., we had a most violent rain, which completely inundated not only the hospital tents, but all others on the ground. Those who have since died were immediately seized with a relapse, and there are several others that cannot survive twenty four hours. The first who died since the date of my last was a private by the name of Gilbreath, in Col. Perkins' regiment. He was well on Sunday morning, was seized before ten o'clock with a fit of apoplexy, and in the afternoon was buried. On the same day, the 30th, John J. Baugher, a private in Capt. Lewis' company, died, and last night another private from the same company, named Joseph Oxberry, and a third in Capt. Hardy's company named John Cook, also died. Both of these latter named soldiers, as well as Dillow who died this morning of wounds received last night in suppressing the riot among the Georgia troops, were buried today. All of them but Dillow had the measles, and died form the cause above stated. The truth is, the tents of the volunteers are the most miserable set of things I ever saw, and are a disgrace to the government in whose service we are. Not one out of fifty of them afford any shelter whatever against the peltings of the storm, and the result is that every man who is sick, and under the influence of medicine, has a far greater risk to run from not having a shelter from the rain than he does from the ravages of his disease. In this encampment, no hospital tents whatever have been furnished our brigade, and necessity compels the crowding together of several sick men in a small tent, scarcely large enough for a single individual. There are no new cases in either of our regiments, and the sickness generally is abating in both. The deaths, with the exception of Dillow, have all been from among the old cases, and solely for the want of such tents, as not only the regulations of the army, but common humanity, require the volunteers should have. There were dismissed yesterday from the two regiments in our brigade, about thirty-five men, mostly in consequence of physical disability. In all the other regiments, the proportion is more than double when compared with ours. For instance, there is a boat today lying opposite the Tennessee camping ground that takes off one hundred and two sick men, who go to the Brazos to be sent home.

 

General Shields is absent, and has been since the 29th ult., at Matamoros on important business connected with our future movements. Had he been here last night, neither of the Illinois regiments, nor no member thereof, would have been identified with the riot among the Georgia volunteers, unless his assistance had been asked by the officer in command of the Georgians. A good deal of dissatisfaction exists, and not without good cause, among the Illinois Volunteers, at their receiving no Telegraphs. The mail to Point Isabel is direct, and papers and letters directed there and sent via New Orleans cannot fail reaching their destination. Not a Telegraph has reached here, but what I brought, while papers from other parts of the state come every mail.

 

The Sutler's tents were all examined this morning, and in one of them, attached to the Indiana regiments, two barrels of whisky were found and confiscated, under the order issued some time since by General Taylor. A strict adherence to the letter and spirit of his order will hereafter be followed. I cannot add more at this time, as the messenger is waiting to carry this to the river in the hope of reaching there in time for the steamer McKimon. Yours truly, George T. M. Davis.

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[PORTIONS OF] LETTER FROM THE JUNIOR EDITOR

Headquarters, First Brigade, Second Division, Camp Patterson, September 4, 1846  [

Colonel Baker is today, in my judgment, much better than he has been since the night he was wounded. For two days until this morning, he had a high fever with a good deal of distress about the head. But he is, thank God, relieved from both to a great extent, and his throat so much improved as to enable him to swallow with, comparatively speaking, but little pain or trouble. As might naturally be expected, he is very much reduced from the great loss of blood he has undergone. Yet there is nothing now in the way that either his physicians or friends can perceive to prevent his speedy restoration to health, and the consequent acquisition of his strength.

 

The other two, who when I last wrote were regarded as dangerously wounded, I am happy to say have thus far been saved, with great confidence on the part of the Surgeons that they will eventually get well. They receive all the care and attention that a camp life will admit of, and great solicitude is felt among all the volunteers that they should recover. The rest are all doing well. Captain Roberts, who was wounded, appeared yesterday at the head of his company with his arm in a sling.

 

We have had no m ore deaths in either regiment since the date of my last, and the sick generally are getting better. Their improvement would be much more rapid, and we would have much fewer cases, had we the ordinary medical stores and hospital tents that we are entitled to. The neglect in both of these respects is unpardonable, and the injustice to the volunteers too manifest to need comment.

 

A great deal of dissatisfaction manifests itself among the volunteers at the small number of their forces that are allowed to move with the main army, and the complaint of those who are not allowed to go forward as far as Camargo are loud and long. They, however, forget that invading an enemy's country, where you have to transport a long distance the entire subsistence of your army, and at most exorbitant and unparalleled rates of transportation, is one thing, and defunding your own country in the midst of plenty, and that plenty easy of access, is quite another. The army, I am satisfied, has gone forward full as fast as either the public service required or provision could be made for its subsistence. We have had a rumor in camp that General Taylor was daily expecting orders to disband all the volunteer forces not with him, but two regiments, and this has been cause for renewed grumbling and fault-finding. But I doubt the correctness of the news, as our information from Camargo is full as late, if not later, than that received upon which the rumor is based. General Taylor expects no resistance whatever in marching into Monterey, and but little that there will be any impediment made to his progress between Monterey and Santillo. .......  Yours truly, G. T. M. Davis

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[PORTIONS OF] LETTER FROM THE JUNIOR EDITOR

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 2, 1846

Camp Patterson, September 8, 1846

The number on the sick list in the two regiments from Illinois does not vary much from three hundred. Out of this number, however, not to exceed one hundred are in the hospitals. The prevailing diseases among them are measles, mumps, and diarrhea. There are some cases of fever, congestive in their character, a few of which have proven fatal. All that has astonished me is that more have not died. The sick have to lay on their blankets on the ground in small miserable tents, and most of them get drenched every rain that falls. Under such circumstances it is unreasonable to expect either physicians or medicine to do a patient much good. The want of the proper hospital tents and the ordinary medical stores is sensibly felt throughout both regiments. 

 

Thus far, it is true, we have been spared the desolating havoc of a battle. Yet the bones of many a citizen of our state have already been left to bleach upon the banks of the Rio Grande. They have encountered a sterner foe than Mexicans, one who is always conqueror in the conflict, and whose weapons of warfare are the malignant diseases of a southern clime. Those who have died since I last wrote are as follows: Davis Smith of Fayette County; Hemelinn Smith of Edgar County; William McGuire of Hamilton County; and Micajah Holbrook of Shelby County; and Isaac N. Richards of DaWitt County.

 

Col. E. D. Baker left on the 6th, Sunday, in the steamer Mercer, for Matamoros, to remain in the hospital there until he should so far recover as not to need medical attendance anymore. He had gradually improved up to the time of leaving here, and was regarded by all as being out of danger. Captains Hart and Jones, and Mr. James Barrett went with him, and will return by the first boat. The rest of those who were wounded at the same time, and in the same skirmish, are all convalescent and doing well. One man has survived, contrary to the expectations of everyone who saw him. The number of those wounded among the Georgians has been accurately ascertained to have been sixteen. Some of them, when the boat left here, were considered dangerously so, but since then we have heard nothing farther from them.   .....   Very truly yours, George T. M. Davis

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LETTER FROM JOHN J. HARDIN

San Antonio, August 24, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph October 9, 1846

On the 11th inst., the First and Second Illinois Regiments left their camp, 12 miles from La Baca, for this place. We have just arrived this day at our camp, three miles from San Antonio. For thirty miles from the Gulf, we passed through a flat, wet prairie, styled here, "hog-wallow prairie," from the fact that it is fully of holes which appear to have been made by hogs. This formation seems to be peculiar to the whole Gulf coast of Texas. Thirty miles from La Baca we crossed the Gaudaloupe, at Victoria. The town looks old and deserted, and has nothing of the appearance of our now Western towns. The Gaudaloupe is a rapid stream, sevenly yards in width, and gave us much trouble in passing with our teams. The country from Victoria to this place is similar in its appearance and formation. The soil is a light, sandy loam, covered with prairie grass for 75 miles from the Gulf, and with muskeat grass for the remaining 85 miles. This last grass is a finer variety of prairie grass, and is very nutritious. The timber consists of scattering, scraway live oak and muskeet trees. There is no such thing as rail timber in this part of Texas. Fences are made of trees and limbs set in a ditch in the ground, like picketing. Water is also very scarce and is only to be found in the larger streams, and in deep holes, which are very common in the beds of all the creeks.

 

Within 40 miles of this place we have passed a dozen Mexican ranches, or cattle farms. There is usually a field of corn enclosed, and a pen or two for stock. These, with a house built of logs set on end and commonly covered with dirt, and with dirt floors, constitute the whole improvement of these ranches. Some of these ranches have been occupied for 100 years, and yet an American squatter would be ashamed not to have made a better improvement on a piece of government land in two years, than is usually to be found at a Mexican ranch. The appearance of the country from Victoria to Bexar is exceedingly beautiful. The land is greatly undulating, the trees are low, and except on the margin of streams, without undergrowth. .....

 

The population of Bexar is evidently decreasing, it is said now to be 3,000. There are about 100 persons residing in Bexar from the States, there are no American farmers residing in its vicinity.....  The ruins of various public buildings in San Antonio and its vicinity add greatly to the interest of the place. In passing from our camp to San Antonio, we pass by the ruins of the Alamo, which is an immense pile where Bowie, Travis, and Crockett were slaughtered. There are several churches or missions as they are term, in the vicinity, which were erected by the Jesuits about a century since. The whole country has the appearance of an old country, which has gone to waste. Everything looks strange, and nothing that the hand of man has executed looks inviting. In a few days we will be settled and will learn our plan of future operations. Your truly, John J. Hardin.

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LETTER FROM LIEUT. E. F. FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

Camp Crockett, Texas, September 14th, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 9, 1846

I have had little of interest to communicate you at this time. All are busily engaged in drilling and obtaining a knowledge of their duties as soldiers. Among the Illinois troops, Captain Morgan's fine company of Riflemen bears off the palm, while Captains Raith and Baker's companies rank the highest in point of discipline of the infantry, in the two regiments. The Alton Guards have been so unfortunate as to lose one of their members. His name was William P. Shields. He died on the 8th inst. from an attack of apoplexy, after a few hours illness. He had for some time been in rather ill health, and on the morning of his death, he obtained a dose of medicine from the surgeon, ate a hearty breakfast, and shortly after lay down in his tent, closed his eyes in sleep, and never spoke again. So soon as he was attacked, medical assistance was procured and every effort was used, but in vain. He lingered until about 4:30 in the evening, and expired. His attendant informs me that just as the drum beat for evening drill, he opened his eyes at the first lap, sprung to his feet, fell back and expired. He was a young man, about 21, a good soldier and was much respected by his officers and comrades. He was interred in the bull honors of war, and was followed to the grave by his officers and fellow soldiers. Shields was from Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois, at which place he has a mother residing. For several months before his enrollment, he was in the employment of Captain Little of Upper Alton. On the 11th inst. a private in Captain Hacker's company died. His name was Pleasant Oliver, and resided in Union County, Illinois.

 

The camp has been on the qui vive [on the alert] for the last few days over an "affair of honor" between Drs. Price and Hope, which came off this morning, and resulted in the former being severely wounded in the lower part of the abdomen; some fears are entertained that the wound may prove fatal. The difficulty which produced the duel originated in the medical department, and was caused by Dr. Price repeating a private conversation which had taken place in Dr. Hope's tent, Dr. Hope feeling himself aggrieved thereby, I believe, severely flogged Dr. Price in the streets of San Antonio, and which caused the latter to send a challenge to him. It is said, I do not know with how much certainty, that the civil authorities design interfering, if not, it is to be hoped that General Wool will enforce the law and court martial all hands concerned. Major Cross of the U. S. Army acted as the second of Dr. Price, and Captain Williams of the Kentucky Lifeguards acted for Dr. Hope.  Your very truly, E. F. Fletcher

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LETTER FROM LIEUT. FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

Camp Victoria, Texas, August 13, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1846

The two regiments left Camp Irwin on Tuesday morning, the 11th, and reached this point on the same evening, after a march of 20 miles, through mud and water, which, some parts of the way, was more than 18 inches deep, and for more than 10 miles was over a foot deep. It was a march, which I venture to assert, is unparalleled, in this or any other country, where raw recruits are concerned, and it reflects infinite discredit on the military character of our commanders, exhibits a want of sound judgment, and displays a total disregard of all the feelings of humanity. This may seem harsh language, but I assure you, nevertheless, that I am borne out in uttering it, by more than two-thirds of the officers of both regiments. Very many dropped down with pure fatigue, and to add to the horrors of the scene, almost every company were without tents or tent equipage, the men having been forced more than ten miles ahead of their baggage wagons, which owing to the Train Master's humanity - who displayed more fueling for the brutes under his control than our commanding officers did for their men - they were halted at the half-way place, where properly we should have been encamped. When I tell you, gentlemen, that almost every officer of both regiments, except the commanders, slept on the grass without aught for covering, save the canopy of the heavens, and without provisions of any kind, save what the men generously divided with them, and which they were obliged to roast on the ashes, you can judge whether we ought to complain. I am not disposed to cavil, or to murmur at encountering all necessary hardships, it was what I bargained for when I became a soldier, but when I feel myself outraged, and those who act with me, treated with less humanity than the ox of burthen, then I feel called upon to hold up to the view of that communit whose every heart beats with feeling deep for our welfare, a course of conduct on the part of those officers whom we have so generously deposited our health and our lives into their keeping, which deserves the hearty execration of every man who is possessed with the most common feelings of humanity.

 

This place, Victoria, is a small town and was formerly occupied by a Mexican population. It is situated on the east bank of Warpello (or Gaudaloupe), and is a place of some little business. The population at the present time is about four hundred, mostly people from the states, as it is yet called. There is a paper published here - neutral in politics, and its typographical appearance is much neater than that of four-fifths of the papers published in the Western states. They seemed proud to learn that there were more than 40 printers in the two regiments, and were highly elated, they said, to meet with their patriotic typographical brethren.

 

Perhaps it may be of some interest to your Alton readers to learn the present officers and non-commissioned officers of the Alton Guards:

James W. Baker, Captain; E. F. Fletcher, 1st Leiut.; R. Furguson, 2d Lieut.; L. Robbins, 3d Lieut.; T. R. DuBolis, Orderly Sergeant; James Smith, 2d Sergeants; J. A. Buckmaster, 3d Sergeant; John Brown, 4th Sergeant; S. E. Chamberlin, 1st Corporal; Charles Chaney, 2d Corporal; William Hill, 3d Corporal; Martin T. Smith, 4th Corporal.

Truly yours, F.

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LETTER FROM LIEUT. FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

Camp Crockett, August 27, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1846

The two Illinois Regiments of volunteers under the command of Cols. Hardin and Bissell arrived at this point on yesterday, and encamped about three miles above the city on the San Antonio River. The march from Victoria, where my last was dated, to this place, was tedious, and was rendered doubly severe by long and heavy marches. That someone was at fault, there can be no mistake, and I know it will create surprise with your readers when I tell you that without the least shadow of reason, we were marched some days from 18 to 25 miles per day, and that, too, under a sun whose heat was 125 in the shade. For miles upon miles men were to be seen, strewed under every little shade bush or bunch of grass, sunk to the earth through pure fatigue and exhaustion, and yet the command was to on!  During one day's march, I chanced to be in command of the rear guard, whose duty it was to bring up those that had left the main body, and I assure you the picture presented us was sorrowful and disagreeable in the extreme. So exhausted were many of the men that the guard were forced to abandon them. The wagons appropriated for the sick, and those unable to walk, were filled to overflowing, and more than 500 men failed to reach the camp that night. But what rendered the case more aggravating on that particular occasion was that the baggage of almost every company in the two regiments was left in the rear, and men, after traveling for more than 20 miles in the sun, were forced to sleep on the grass, and to awake in the morning completely wet to the skin by the dew. You can judge of the effect of such marches, when I tell you that we only went 1 1/2 miles the next day and established a sick-camp, leaving in about 150 men, sick, besides Captain Webb's entire company who were mostly sick. Every company in the two regiments left some men, save and except the Alton Guards, and it affords me pleasure to state that during those long marches, that company reported only three men sick. It will undoubtedly afford great gratification to those who have relatives and friends in the company to learn that it is pronounced by all as the hardiest company of men in the two regiments.

 

Our line of march was through a country that has scarcely been disturbed by the hand of civilization. It is mostly prairie, and what little timber there is, is scrubby live oak or low muskeet wood. The soil is fine, and were it not for the lack of timber, southwestern Texas would, undoubtedly, in a short space of time become a wealthy and thickly populated section of the state. There is one other objection to the country, and that is the vast number of poisonous reptiles which infest it. A good many of the men have been bitten by them, and their sufferings have been extreme. One hardly feels secure on lying down in his tent, lest he may be awakened in the night by the motion of a cold, slimy serpent across his body, perchance even in his face. The other morning, on shaking my boots (a precaution which I take), I dislodged two poisonous scorpions and a poisonous spider, and the morning before, on waking up, I discovered a large tarantula on my blanket, eyeing me very complacently. As you may suppose, I slipped from under the blanket instanter, and did not return to his neighborhood until I was prepared to charge upon him. The tarantula, of which most of your readers have heard, is a large spider, somewhat large in size than a dollar, is covered with a short black fur, and its bite is said to be perfectly incurable.  Truly yours, F.

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LETTER FROM A VOLUNTEER

Camp Near Monterey, September 19, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1846

A fire has been opened this morning from the batteries of the enemy. About 8 o'clock, General Taylor, being in advance with the two Texas regiments, the Bishop's Palace appeared in sight. It is on a commanding eminence, about a mile and a quarter or a mile and a half from the city, and is strongly fortified with a new-made ditch around it, plainly visible to the naked eye at the distance even of two miles. A heavy fog hung like a mantle over the city as we neared it, concealing everything from sight, but when within a mile and a half the fog slowly lifted, and now could plainly be seen the forts and batteries of the Mexicans. The tri-colored flag was waving over the main fort, but no other banner could be seen. General Taylor kept steadily on in the advance, until within some fifteen hundred yards of the city, when suddenly a dense smoke from one of the batteries, followed by the loud boom of a twelve pounder, caused a sudden halt. I should have previously said that before the city appeared in sight, a sharp rattling of musketry announced that our pickets had come in collision with the outposts of the Mexicans. The latter fired a heavy volley at our men, but fortunately no one was killed or wounded.

 

The first ball from the batteries fell short, striking the ground before reaching the point where we had been halted, tearing up the ground, and then ricocheting along thro' the chaparral; the next three or four were directed with better aim, one ball going over the heads of General Taylor and staff, and so close that it was at once evident that the Mexican gunners had got the range. The party now moved off, Major Mansfield and some of the engineer department dispersing themselves singly in the chaparral and approaching close to examine the works of the enemy. The Texan regiments being now ordered to retire out of the reach of the batteries and for the purpose of giving their horses water. They did not leave, however, until they gave shouts of exultation and defiance that might have been heard in the city. In an hour's time we were again within sight of their batteries, which they opened once more with their heaviest guns, yet not a man or horse was struck.

 

Half past 5 o'clock. I have just returned from a visit to the works of the enemy, a party of us going almost within point blank range of their guns, but scattering about so that they never could get more than a single man to fire at. They have given Graham's and Gillespie's companies at least a dozen rounds, but without injuring a man. A heavy ball passed within a foot of one of the latter's men, and so close to the horse that he shrunk almost to the earth. We thought at first that both man and horse were stricken to the ground, but it was only the windage of the ball that frightened the latter. 

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MONTEREY TAKEN

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1846

The road to Mexico is now in possession of our forces. The volunteers have proved themselves worthy of the reputation of citizen-soldiers, being the first to scale the enemy's fort, led on by the gallant Butler, of Kentucky. On the 19th ult., General Taylor arrived before Monterey with a force of about 6,000 men. He reconnoitered the city, at about 1500 or 1600 yards from the cathedral fort, during which time he was fired upon from its batteries. His force encamped three miles from the city. General Worth was ordered with his division to gain the Saitille Road on the west of the town on the 20th; on the 21st he continued his route, encountering a large body of cavalry and infantry supported by artillery from the heights, and repulsed them, and covered the passage of the road. He then stormed and carried two forts on the opposite side of the San Juan; the guns of the latter when carried were immediately turned against the Bishop's palace. On the 21st, the division of Regulars under General Butler made a diversion to the left of the town, favoring the operations of General Worth. On the morning of the 23d, General Quitman, discovering that the defenses had been abandoned by the enemy, retired. Two companies of Mississippi and two of Tennessee troops were thrown in the streets to reconnoiter, and became hotly engaged with the enemy. There were assisted by Col. Wool's Regulars, a company of Texas Rangers, dismounted, and by Bragg's light artillery. The engagement lasted most all day. Our troops drove parties of the enemy, and penetrated to the defenses of the main Piazza.

 

On the morning of the 24th, General Ampudin sent a communication, under a flag, making an offer of capitulation. The terms detailed by General Taylor, were finally agree to. The Mexican army were allowed seven days to evacuate the city. The following officers were killed in the second charge: Col. Watson of the Baltimore Battalion; Captain Morris, 3d infantry; Lt. D. Irwin, 3d infantry; Lt R. Hazlet, 4th infantry.  Three officers were killed in the first charge: Lt. Hoskens, 2d infantry; Lt. J. S. Woods, 4th infantry; Capt. Field, 3d infantry.  Wounded: Major General Butler, slightly; Col. Mitchell, in the leg; Capt. Lamotte, 1st infantry, slightly; Lt. Dilworth, 1st infantry, leg shot off.

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LETTER FROM LIEUT. FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

Camp Crockett, Texas, September 7, 1846

Since my last, more than one third of both regiments of the Illinois troops have been on the sick list, and more than this number, I believe I am safe in saying, are at this moment reported unfit for duty. Two men have died the past week out of Capt. Wheeler's Company, one by the name of James Scott, and the other by the name of _____ Short. the former resided between Alton and Edwardsville. The latter formerly resided in both Edwardsville and Alton, but more lately in the vicinity of Collinsville. A private in Capt. Zabriskie's Company by the name of Evans died a day or two since, and what is more shocking, all were healthy men when we left Camp Irwin.

 

The Alamo - a name familiar to every American as the place where the eccentric but noble Crockett lost his life - is opposite the city on the east bank of the river. It is now but a heap of ruins, with the exception of one story of a portion of the front, and the main archway. The building is said to have been erected for the double purpose of that of a church and place of residence for the Governors of the province. It must in its grandeur have been of vast size and great strength, as the ruins of the superstructure cover more than four acres of ground. In some of the half-ruined apartments, I found the names of Crockett, Bowie, and several others, who fell in defending themselves on the spot, said to have been written during the siege. There is, however, scarcely a spot or corner about the old building, but what the inhabitants will point out to you as the identical spot where Crockett fell!

 

Every preparation is being made to get in readiness to take up the line of march for Mexico, and General Wool and his staff display great activity. The Illinois volunteers are drilled six hours each day, and they have made great proficiency, and but a short time will elapse, ere they will compete successfully in point of discipline, with regular troops. General Wool has the entire confidence of the troops, and everything augurs well for a speedy and successful campaign. The report is that we are to march on the 25th inst., which I presume is correct. At all events, our departure from this place will not be retarded beyond the 1st of October, as I learn from an authentic source. Should aught occur between this time and that period, I will write you.  Truly yours, F.

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LETTER FROM AN ALTON GUARD

Camp Crockett, September 2, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 16, 1846

During the first ten days of our stay in Texas, it rained almost constantly, which added to the intense heat of the weather, and the exposure of the men to the elements, imperfectly protected by their tents, caused a good deal of sickness among the ranks, though not of a serious character. One death occurred in the First (a private), and one of the Second (Mr. B. F. Van Duzen, First Sergeant of Capt. Dodge's Company). The last had been ill most of the time since leaving Alton, and refused to be sent home as an invalid. He lingered until the 10th and then expired. He was buried next morning at sunrise with military honors under a lone tree in the prairie, and "left to sleep alone in his glory."

 

We were ordered by Col. Hardin to remove our camp up and join on his left, which was done. We had drills twice a day, and it was a subject of general remark that although Col. Hardin had been drilling his regiment much more than ours had been, yet that we were not a whit inferior to his in point of discipline and soldier-like appearance. The sick of both regiments, unable to stand the march to this place, were left in a hospital. I know not how many were thus left, but in our company only five were reported as such, and accordingly left. Three of them came on and joined us here within a day or two, the others are soon expected.

 

On the morning of the 11th August, we got under march. The route that day was through a low, swampy prairie, which from the late rains was covered with water in many places to the depth of thirty inches, and from the camp to Victoria, twenty-five miles, three fourths of the distance was covered with water varying from one foot to twenty inches. We advanced in four columns abreast, and at first with much regularity. About half way between the camp and Victoria, we found almost the only dry point of ground on the march, and which would have done very well to encamp on for the night. The men had become tired and looked with dismay across the low prairie, beyond which lay Victoria. But Colonel Hardin ordered us forward, and by a forced march we arrived near Victoria at dark, and having outstripped our baggage wagons, we were without tents and blankets, and were compelled to lie down on the damp ground for the night without any covering, save the "canopy of heaven." A large number of men of each regiment fell in the rear during the day, many of whom did not come up until the next day.

 

We remained near the town of Victoria for two days, having to cross the Gaudaloupe in a flatboat. Here our boys hired a wagon to convey their knapsacks to San Antonio, which afforded them great relief in the long and tedious march. Before this, they had been singing snatches of a song like the following: "Oh! Lord of love, look from above, Upon these weary soldiers; Give them some bread and meat to eat, And take these knapsacks from their shoulders."

 

After crossing the river, for three miles the road leads through a densely timbered bottom, whence emerging on the prairie, you observe farms and scattered houses. That day our company marched over twenty miles, and suffered much for want of water - none being found except what was dipped up in the ponds on the side of the road. We were obliged to go thus far, to come up to headquarters, so as to get provisions.  During the day we passed the battleground where the ill-fated Fanning fell, a victim to his own rashness, and the barbarity of the Mexicans. The green grass waves its rank stalks over the scene of carnage, swaying with every breath of wind, while the ruins of a stockade, commenced by Fanning before his surrender, are still visible, as also one or two pieces of dismounted canon. We encamped on a gentle swell of the prairie, in a most picturesque position. One one side of us ran a clear, small stream of water over its gravelly bed, while on the other a ravine stretched itself far around the flank. In the distance the prairie, beautifully situated, presented a pleasing sight to the eye, interspersed with regular rows of muskeet trees, almost as regularly set out as if done by the hand of man instead of that of "dame Nature." Resting here one day, we pressed onward, and after a few miles the old, but now ruined city of Goliad, showed itself in the distance on the west side of the San Antonio River. It is situated in the form of a crescent, on a bend of the river, on an elevated site, commanding an extensive view of the country for miles around. Before the Mexican and Texian wars of independence, it contained 10,000 inhabitants, and was the first Mexican city east of the Rio Grande. Its churches and public buildings were constructed of rock, and before their desolation by the shock of war, presented grand, and magnificent views to the observer. But now ruin stalks in its deserted streets, its churches laid waste by battle, and by fire, and its former busy and happy population dwindled down to less than 500 - the whole presenting a desolate and frigid aspect, chilling to contemplate, and striking the spectator with awe. There are but few plantations in the vicinity of Goliad. It has about thirty miles above the mouth of the San Antonio River.

 

This day was Sunday, and we passed a hamlet where its denizens had assembled to worship Almighty God. Our band struck up a martial air, to encourage them in their devotions. This day also we suffered for want of water, and on encamping for the night we found that we had arrived in the region of the large black venomous spider, or tarantula, the stinging scorpion, the centipede, and all sorts of poisonous snakes, reptiles and insects. A number of the men were bit, but fortunately recovered. On lying down to sleep at night,m I have often debated with myself whether before morning I might not become "food not for worms," but for something far more terrible, at least to the imagination.

 

The second Sunday after leaving Camp Irwin proved to be a very hot day. After marching twelve miles, Col. Bissell proposed to encamp for the night, as it was said to be six miles to the next water, but Colonel Hardin overruled the proposition, being told, as he said, by a Mexican, that it was only three miles. We proceeded on, and instead of being but three miles, it proved to be ten. This having caused much murmuring in both regiments, Colonel Hardin, next evening, called a Council of War, and upon the unanimous remonstrance of the Captains, ordered that in future, no day's march should exceed twelve miles. Next day we struck the San Antonio River and encamped on its delightful banks. Its swift current colors the water, something like that of the Missouri, while it is the best water for drink I have yet seen in Texas. We are still attended by the centipedes, tarantulas, &c., which seize every possible occsion to infix their villainous fangs upon our men. We encamped one night upon the Sevillah, a limpid little stream coursing its way over a pebbled bed, near which resides a brother of the somewhat notorious Col. Carrahabel, of the Mexican army. He lives in a cottage made by driving pieces of timber in the ground, upright, with a dirt or sod roof, and no floor. He has a wife and children, who are as white as our females at home, and boast themselves to be of the pure Castilian blood. Here Captain Webb was left with his company to collect the stragglers, take care of the sick, until they were able to march, and then bring them on. This was the more necessary, as in Captain Webb's company alone, 22 were on the sick list, while over 30 had not yet come up.

 

Next morning, the 25th of August, we approached the long-looked for town of San Antonio De Bexar, on the east side of the river, which presented a singular aspect of ruins, grated window-lights, with the walls of the houses built up to serve as parapets for defense. Its population does not exceed 1,200, though formerly it had as many thousands. Within the last thirteen years it has been taken and re-taken seven times, and suffered severely from the conquerors at each time. On this side of the river stand the ruins of the old fortress, the Alamo, where the heroic Crockett gave his life, a noble and priceless sacrifice to Texian liberty. Originally the works must have been of great strength and beauty of finish, as the grand gateway, yet remaining, sufficiently testifies. It covered an area of about three acres, and the room where tradition says Crockett fell is pointed out. There is yet blood on the wall, which all efforts cannot wash away. These ruins should be preserved and guarded with religious care against any profanation by the hand of man, as a memorial of times that have been, and as the scene of one of the most desperate struggles the occurred between the Texians and Mexicans.   Respectfully, Alton Guard.

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LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

Camp Patterson, Near Malamaros, Mexico, September 13, 1846

We are now in the enemy's country. Three days since we struck our tents on the Texian side of the Rio Grande, and on the next day pitched them again in Mexico, near what is known as Ampudia's Landing. At our first appearance, the Mexicans were generally alarmed, but upon having assurances made to them, became apparently reconciled and gave us full and accurate descriptions of the face of the country in their vicinity, the condition of the roads, the means of obtaining supplies, &c.  The intercourse of the Mexicans with us during the few days we have been her has been the most friendly character. A number of the better class of them have visited us at headquarters, and eaten several meals with us, among whom was Joseph Maria Travano, the largest land holders in our vicinity. Last evening there was a large Spanish ball at one of the ranchos, at which General Shields and staff were invited, but the fatigue we all felt, incident to laying off a new encampment and pitching our tents, prevented either of us from attending.

 

The prospects of a continuation of the war, and of resistance, stern and vigorous resistance, on the part of the Mexicans, is greater now than at any other period since we have been engaged in it. Information at Camargo and Malamoros is that Ampudia is at the head of a large force, preparing to cut off General Taylor. He is collecting large droves of horses and mules for the transportation of his army and its supplies. Colonel Baker, for the last eight days, has been at Matamoros under the professional charge of Dr. Wright. He is convalescent and rapidly recovering his strength. Another week will see him again at his quarters in the field, preparing his regiment for any emergency they may be called upon to encounter. He will not feel any permanent bad effect from his wound, which the Surgeon at Matamoros says was inflicted with a bayonet, and not with a ball.

 

The health of both regiments is improving, although since the date of mylast, we have had five more deaths. They were men who had the measles, were convalescent, and had been taken down again from getting wet for the want of either a hospital or any other kind of a tent that would shed the rain. Their names are: Sept. 8 - William S. Holford of Montgomery County; Captain M., Adams County, Third Reg't.  Sept. 9 - Andrew Hodge of McLean County, Capt. Eikin's Company, 4th Reg't.  September 10 - Alonzo Yaw of Fulton County; Calvin Pain of Dewitt County.  September 11 - Alexander Pierson of Montgomery County.  As far as ascertained, we have lost in the two regiments, since the 30th of August, 16 men by death, 8 of which were in the Third, and 8 in the Fourth Regiment.

 

General Shields received orders last night about 10 o'clock from Washington to proceed at once with his staff to join the column under General Wool, operating against Chihuahua, and to report to him for duty. The information in regard to Chihuahua is that there is a well-organized force of the enemy there, five thousand strong at least, and that they are determined to make a desperate resistance against our entrance into that place.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

Camargo, Mexico, September 25, 1846

Last evening about eleven o'clock an express arrived from General Taylor's camp, coming through from Monterey here, in a day and a half.  The news of the desperately fought battle, commencing on the 21st and terminating on the 24th, will doubltess reach you ere this. Exaggerated accounts will doubtless fill the papers of the Union, as to the number of the enemy against whom we dought, and the achievements of our own army.  We have long enough deceived ourselves, and suffered others to be deceived, as to the valor of the Mexicans and their ability even to check the prowess of our forces through their country. If this war is ever to be terminated, we must look at things as they really exist, and prepare for the issues accordingly. The best informed have the Mexican forces at seven thousand. We had six thousand men, acknowledged to be the picked regiments of our entire army in Mexico. The battle was kept up for four days in succession, and resulted in the withdrawal of Ampudia's forces under a capitulation in which he secured an armistice of eight weeks.  General Taylor's ammunition had nearly given out, the subsistence for his men was rapidly decreasing, and he had little or no forage for his horses.  Had the battle kept up forty-eight hours longer, we should have been compelled to fall back for the want of supplies, both of ordnance and subsistence. These are facts not to be disguised.

 

Never was there a body of men who fought with greater valor, or more determined zeal than the forces under General Taylor. The large number of killed and wounded - five hundred - test the prowess and bravery of our arms in a manner not to be misunderstood. Among the regulars, the Third and Fourth infantry suffered the most. They los a large proportion of officers, among were many of the brightest ornaments of our army.

 

Ampudia, whose cowardice was proclaimed in every quarter after the battle of Palo Alto, has redeemed himself with his countrymen, and his praise is now upon every lip. That he does not deserve this, but few who understand the facts will assert.   Yours truly, G. T. M. Davis

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

Camargo, Mexico, September 30, 1846

All of the two Illinois Regiments are now here, except six companies of the Fourth Regiment. They, under the command of Colonel Baker, are garrisoned at present at Matamorus, upon a requisition from Colonel Clarke, commanding that post, who anticipated an attack from the Mexicans in that quarter. If ever an army of men fought gallantly, it was the American army at Monterey. The day after the battle, there were but seventy men in the Third Regiment of U. S. Infantry reported fit for duty. The regiment, it is true, was small, consisting of but six companies, but the rest of those six companies were killed or wounded, being nearly five-sixths of their strength. 

 

Night before last, two volunteers attached to the Tennessee regiment encamped in this place, who had been sick, were caught out beyond the line of sentinels and murdered. Not returning that evening, they were searched for and found the next morning in the chaparral close to the town. Their throats were cut, and their bodies stripped of all their clothing. This morning a scouting party, consisting of 27 dragoons under the command of Lieut. Kane, and the same number of Tennessee volunteers under the command of Col. Haskell, left here on a scout, and with a view of searching the country thoroughly for twenty miles around. If any of these brigands and marauders are caught, they will be unceremoniously hung.  Yours truly, George T. M. Davis.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM LIEUT. FLETCHER

Camp Crockett, Texas, October 5th, 1846

Contrary to all expectation, the Second Regiment yet remains at this point. As was intimated in my last, the First Regiment, under command of Colonel Hardin, took up the line of march on the 1st inst., to join General Wool, and the advance upon the banks of the Rio Grande. Although orders for marching have not yet been issued, yet it is strongly intimated that we shall received them for Thursday next, the 7th.

 

The health of the camp is nearly complete. The cool weather has had a very salutary effect, and has been instrumental in expelling old diseases and preventing the contracting of new ones.  Information had been received by Col. Hardin that a small band of Delaware Indians, who are prowling about the neighborhood, had in contemplation a plan to steal his noble war steed, and that they meditated a descent upon the camp for that purpose. On the evening of the night in question, the sentinels were all supplied with cartridges, and continued to be on the alert, lest the Indians should accomplish their foul purpose. About two o'clock the camp was aroused by the firing of muskets, the beating of drums at the various guards, and amid confusion, the two regiments were formed into a line of battle in front of the encampment. As may readily be supposed, a great many laughable incidents occurred in the hurly-burly attendant upon the scene, which has afforded us much amusement. One of the richest which is related is that of an officer who mistook his coat for his pants, and thrust his legs through the sleeves, and all the time roaring at the top of his lungs for his men to parade. He did not discover his mistake until he undertook to button up, and then in his hurry, he put on his coat and appeared on the battlefield minus his breeches! False though the alarm was, it will prove a good lesson to the men, and in the case of real danger, it will give them confidence to rally at the first alarm.   Truly yours, "F"

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM LIEUT. FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 27, 1846

The troops at San Antonio took up the line of march on the 14th inst., leaving at that point only Capt. Hacker's Company and the sick. Many of the companies left quite a number of sick in the hospital, but it may be a source of gratification and pleasure to many of your readers who have friends in the Alton Guards, to inform them that but one of their number was left behind sick - by the name of A. H. Diamond - and he was rapidly recovering. We have been but five days on the march, yet we this evening encamped where General Wool and Colonel Hardin encamped on the sixth night of their march. The men are all in the finest spirits, and have been so ever since marching orders have been received.

 

On leaving Camp Crockett, three hearty cheers were given for the Rio Grande, and we were all rejoiced to think that at last we should be permitted to accomplish the legitimate purpose for which we left home - that of meeting the enemy. During our stay at Camp Crockett, we improved wonderfully in point of drill, so much so that the regular officers expressed much surprise. We flatter ourselves that the Guards are behind none, either in discipline or drill, and Col. Churchill did us the honor the other day on the road to compliment us on our regular marching, which is considered on all hands to be high praise, as the old soldier was never known to flatter.

 

During our second day's march we crossed the Rio Madina, on the banks of which is a flourishing colony, composed mostly of German emigrants. The town is called Eastonville, and has some 30 buildings, including a tavern and a Catholic Church.  We encamped the next night on the Qule, on Corner Creek, which also has a small German colony on its banks. Last spring seven families of this colony were murdered by the Comanche, and all their stock was carried off. Those Indians succeeded in stealing about one hundred head of horses from us the night we were encamped here, without even creating an alarm. 

 

During our third day's march we crossed the Rio Alamos, on the west bank of which was fought the battle between the Mexicans, under General Woal, and the Texians, under Major Howard, who pursued him from San Antonio in 1837. You will easily call to mind that this was the last battle between the Mexicans and their antagonists, and that it produced the celebrated Armistice which gave a quast peace to the two nations, and defined the Rio Grande as the boundary between the two countries. I visited the ground, and found many evidence of a hard-contested battle.

 

For the last two days we have been traveling over the table lands, amid a picturesque and charming scenery. The weather for three days past, mornings and evenings, has been uncomfortably cold, and indeed, one day, I really suffered from it. But in the middle of the day the weather is beautiful and pleasant, and we are enabled to march from 20 to 30 miles per day with as much ease as we marched 10 last summer.  Truly yours, Fletcher

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 4, 1846

We left the Presidio on the 16th inst., and have marched in the three days about 60 miles, passing through the towns of San Fernando and Nava. Tomorrow we shall reach the town of San Rosa, and remain there until the next day. We have had most excellent weather, with the exception of one day and night, during which we were visited with a violent cold blow, known in this country as a Norther. The men suffered a good deal from the sudden transition from heat to cold, and in the night a good deal of injury was done and loss incurred by the blowing down of tents and the scattering of the loose property in them over the boundless plain upon which we were encamped. This morning we crossed the first belt of mountains, known in this country by the name of the St. Josephs. The length of our line, including infantry, cavalry, artillery, and the 250 wagons, was over four miles, and being with the staff, in advance of the whole column, there was one point where I had a full view of the entire army. Henry Hart, son of Mr. John Hart of Middletown, is with us as a teamster. He is in excellent health and doing well. He gets thirty dollars a month. His brother is at San Antonio, but will be up with the next train of wagons, which are expected in about three or four weeks. McFarland, Hugh Black, one of the Carrolls, Sullivan, and several other Altonians are along with us, and compose a portion of the pioneers that precede the army in its march. They all look exceedingly well and do great credit to themselves in their bearing as soldiers. Young Joseph Quigley is a member of this company, and continues in the same good health as when last I wrote you. He is one of the most useful members of the pioneer corpos, and endures as much, and with apparently as little fatigue as anyone of its members. I procured him a place that would have been much easier and more agreeable for him, but he does not feel inclined at present to abandon the service which he is in. General Hardin has been quite unwell for a few days past with a severe colic, but is now convalescent. I drank tea at his camp this evening with him, and found him entirely relieved.  Signed George T. M. Davis.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM AN ALTON GUARD

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 25, 1846

The Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, with three other companies, some dragoons, &c., and a very large train, left San Antonio October 14th, all commanded by Colonel Churchill, as senior officer. After marching eleven days (and hard and long marches they were), we encamped on the Rio Grande, October 24th. General Wool, with the regulars, dragoons, and artillery, also Hardin's Regiment, had preceded us two weeks, and left Mower's Company here to construct the works of a fortification. A ferry boat had been put on the river on which we crossed, though most of the train forded the stream, which is near 400 yards wide, and the water muddy like that of the Missouri. We arrived here the 6th instant, having been out but twenty-four days from San Antonio, a distance of 450 miles - a march performed with unsurpassed celerity and unequaled in the military annals of the United States. Illinois may well boast of her indomitable sons, who performed this feat without flinching, save from some sore and blistered feet. General Shields we found here. He is to command our two regiments. At a hacienda, back a few miles, General Wool ordered Colonel Hardin to post a guard to prevent, as he said, the volunteers from plundering the Mexicans. Col. Hardin sent a guard of a drummer, a bugler, and a fifer, which General Wool seeing, sent for the Colonel and demanded the reason of so singular a guard being posted. The Colonel said, "General, you have accused the volunteers of the intention of stealing, and I could not order out any other guard after that imputation on my men, than the one detailed." General Wool replied, "I did not mean your men, and you can tell them so; it was the Arkansas troops that I meant." Hardin said, "I cannot make this explanation, for my men have heard that you suspected them of stealing, of which they are entirely innocent, and it is an insinuation under which they will not rest. If this matter proceeds farther, I shall make it a personal matter." "Retire to your quarters," replied the General, "or I will make it a personal matter with you." Such is the reported conversation between them. Later, the General ordered corn in the ear be issued to the men, with mills to grind it on. Colonel Hardin protested against the order and insisted that until four or bread is first disposed of or consumed, the men should be permitted to use it. "And farther," said Colonel Hardin, "if this order is attempted to be enforced and my men furnished with corn to eat as though they were hogs, I shall march them home immediately." General Wool said, "Colonel, you can go home yourself as soon as you please, but your men cannot, and shall not go." Colonel Hardin replied, "We shall see," and returning to his regiment ordered them to strike their tents and pack up for home.  His men cheerfully obeyed and commenced packing up, but General Wool some way pacified them and things thus remain. Colonel Hardin has gained great popularity with his men by the stand he has taken in these affairs.  General Shields is also popular, but his hands are tied up by his superior. General Wool is reported to have said that if he could get out of his command without dishonor, he would do so.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

Loredo, Mexico, October 8, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, January 1, 1847

On Sunday the 4th inst.,  we left Guerreo at 11 a.m., and had to travel twenty-two miles with our heavily laden mules before reaching water. At eight o'clock that evening we reached and crossed a small stream, upon the opposite bank of which we camped for the night. The stream was a very sluggish one, with a muddy bottom, and not even two feet deep. The water was very bad to drink, but there was no alternative, and we had "to go it blind." The day had been oppressively hot, we had rode hard, and both men and beasts were glad to rest their weary limbs upon the mother earth. But we were soon afterwards aroused from our slumbers by a small party of Indians, who made a bold but happily unsuccessful attempt to steal our horses and mules, and probably cut our throats and carry off our baggage, &c., which effectually deprived us of rest for the remainder of the night. At three o'clock on the morning of the 5th inst., we left the above encampment and performed the most trying day's journey of any yet encountered by us. The day was one of the warmest of the season, the little air that was stirring was in our backs, and we were on the road for fourteen hours without a drop of water for either man, horse, or mule, traveling about thirty-five miles. At five o'clock that afternoon we reached a deserted rancho, immediately on the banks of the Rio Grande. Never was the sight of either habitation or water more acceptable to the eyes of man. Two of our mules had given out, and one of our company could scarcely alight from his horse. The rays of the sun had been scorching during the entire day, and the excitement of the previous night had allowed but little sleep to any of the party. So great was our fatigue that although strongly urged by some Mexicans who visited our encampment not to remain there on account of the proximity of the Indians who had lately murdered several persons on the same spot, we concluded to remain and enjoyed a good night's rest till sunrise the next day.

 

At 7 o'clock on the morning of the 6th inst. we left, and by traveling eighteen miles reached the west bank of the Rio Grande at this place, at 11 a.m.  Here we crossed our persons and property in a ferryboat (if so it can be called) on the dug out plan, and swam our horses and mules across the river. We had to pay twenty-five cents ferriage for each person, and a dollar to the man who swam the horses over.

 

By stopping the last two or three days at this place, we have recruited our horses and mules, as well as ourselves, and have found living here cheaper than in any other part of Mexico we have visited. Eggs we have bought eight for a bit, milk a pleaune a quart, chickens from six to twelve cents a piece, beef two cents a pound, and mutton twenty-five cents a quarter. Corn has the same price paid for it all through Mexico, a dollar a bushel, and fodder and grass still higher in proportion.

 

The priests here get no fixed salaries, yet the perquisites of their office are as enormous as they are oppressive. At the birth and baptizing of every child, the minimum fee for administering the rite of baptism is ten dollars, and from that up to two hundred, according to the ability of the parent to pay the tax. This of itself, in a country where a cradle is in perpetual motion to every dwelling throughout its borders, and where the established religion of the nation compels the early baptism of every child, would render the priesthood among the wealthiest in the land. But when to this are added the same exorbitant fees for burying the dead, and still more exorbitant ones for performing the marriage ceremony, all wonder must cease at the recorded fact that the Catholic clergy of Mexico control the principal portion of the wealth of the nation.    Yours truly, George T. M. Davis.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

Presidio De Rio Grande, Mexico, October 13, 1846

From the time we left Laredo until we reached this place, we did not lay eyes upon a single human being, beside our own party. The entire way was a vast wilderness, and the only mark of civilization or settlement was the deserted ranchos we encountered on the banks of the Rio Grande during the two first days, all of which, without a solitary exception, had been abandoned by the proprietors in consequence of the merciless warfare carried on against them by the Comanche's. It was a sad picture to look upon, to see so many farms laid waste, so much property destroyed, and such flagrant acts of outrage, as our eyes encountered on all sides, all the result of Indian barbarity and revenge. We kindled no campfires at night, selected secluded spots on the banks of the river where we could have access to water and grass, and kept up a vigilant guard. by such means we passed directly through the Indian country, performing a journey never before undertaken by the same number of white men through the same region of Mexico. When we arrived within three or four miles of this place, we sent a trusty old Mexican guide to come ahead and ascertain whether the Mexican troops were still here, and if anything had been heard from General Wool's column. The General's patience becoming exhausted, and apprehending from his delay that the guide had been arrested and detained at this place upon suspicion by the Mexicans, he determined to construct a rough raft out of the limbs of trees to pass our baggage and provisions over the river, and then for each man to swim his horse across. On reaching the other side, we should at once have taken what we believed to be the direction of General Wool's army, and traveling all night should have continued our march until we had overtaken him. We commenced reloading the mules for a start, when much to our gratification, the old Mexican came in upon us, conveying the intelligence that about a thousand strong of General Wool's advance guard had reached Presidio the night before, and were encamped some four miles out of town on the Monclava road.

 

We have now traveled from about 20 miles below Reynose to this point, on horseback, with little or no protection but what our little force afforded, comprising four officers, the same number of servants, and three Mexicans. The distance is between four and five hundred miles, and embracing the entire extent of country over which the Comanche have so long ranged, committing every species of depredation upon property and persons unchecked by any effort of the Mexican government. The dangers that surrounded us were imminent in the extreme, yet we have passed them all unscathed, and are once more attached to the main body of the army. I do not mean to insist that because we have thus fortunately escaped there was no room for the thousand stories that exist of the dangers to be apprehended from the hostility of the Comanche, and the depredations of the Mexican banditti designated Rancheros. The mutilated bodies, not only of Mexicans, but of many of our own citizens attached to the army, and the many deserted ranchos or farms, all afford superabundant evidence that dangers to a certain extent do exist.

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LETTER FROM LIEUTENANT FLETCHER

Source: The Syracuse, New York Daily Star, August 12, 1847
Lieut. Fletcher, of the Alton (Illinois) Volunteers, was a widower and the father of a little girl, two years old. The night before the battle, Lieut. Fletcher wrote the following letter, which presents, in a gratifying light, his paternal affections :

Camp Buena Vista, Mexico, Jan. 14, 1847
Dear Colonel:
Tomorrow we expect to have an engagement with a superior Mexican force, and on the eve of the affair, I have believed it proper to address you a few lines. As you are well aware, the object nearest my heart is the welfare of my little child; and, so far as I have been able, I have provided for her. My wages, to the amount of two hundred and eighty dollars, are due me from the Government; besides a small sum owing me, as well as the contents of my trunk, and the books and other articles I may own, I have, in a memorandum in my trunk, left to her, and placed the whole in charge of Capt. Baker, to be forwarded to you in case I should fall - all of which I doubt not you will most religiously see appropriated to her use, as may best seem fit and proper by you and mother. And now, with respect to the child. Should I fall, I leave her entirely with you and your wife; but I have written to my brother, requesting him to throw his brotherly protection over her; and if, at any time, you think fit to send her to him, he will receive her as his own child and protect her as such. Should she remain with you, I wish that she should receive as good an education as the little means left her will afford: and above all things, teach her that truth and virtue are to woman, what the soul is to the body - the life of its life. Teach her that to be just to all - -in thought - in word - in deed, is the true - the great aim of a good mind; and those who strive to accomplish that purpose, seldom fail to live at peace with the world, and accomplish the "Great Destiny" for which they are created. I would say a thousand things more about her, and my wishes for her; but that would be superfluous - so I will revert to other subjects.

In death as in life,
Ever yours,
Edward F. Fletcher

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PORTION OF A LETTER FROM LIEUTENANT FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

Camp Near Monclova, Mexico, November 19th, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, January 15, 1847

The command of Colonel Churchill, to which the Second Regiment was attached, arrived at this point, the "Headquarters" of the Centre Division of the Army of Occupation, under General Wool, on the 6th inst., after a march of 21 days from San Antonio - a distance of over 400 miles! The command sustained the march, hurried as it was, remarkably well, and it is said to be the greatest march on record in the annals of the military history of this Republic. After we encamped, in company with a friend I ascended a nearby mountain, at the foot of which the springs are situated, and found it, by calculation, about 800 feet above the level. As it appeared to have no name known to the natives, we erected a staff upon the top - placed a handkerchief at the masthead for a flag, and for the sake of old remembrances, called it Mount Alton!

 

Yesterday the Second Regiment received directions to take up the line of march this morning, at 7 o'clock, and every preparation was made to be off - in what direction has not transpiried - when just at retreat, a messenger arrived from General Taylor, bringing dispatches ordering this command to remain here until further orders. General Shields and suit are here, with the exception of Mr. Davis, who has gone to Monterey with dispatches. It is said that General Shields has been ordered to Tampico, and that he leaves tomorrow. His departure will be much regretted by the Illinois Regiments, and indeed, by the entire command, as he had, by his courtesy and urbanity of manners, rendered himself very popular with all classes in the army.   Yours truly F.

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PORTION OF A LETTER FROM LIEUTENANT FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARD

Near San Jose La Paras, Mexico, December 10, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, February 12, 1847

After a rapid but tedious march from Monclova, we reached this point on the 2d inst. The distance is variously estimated, but I cannot conceive it to be less than 250 miles over a country for the most part mountainous and barren. One day we marched fifteen leagues (45 miles) without water, and other days 25 and 30 miles. As this has been denominated the Sleepy Divison, it may surprise you and your readers to learn that it is more than 100 miles farther on, on the direct road to the city of San Luis Potosi, than General Taylor's advance, under General Worth! General Taylor and his brave army have had all kinds of merited praise bestowed upon them, yet they have been transported, without labor to themselves, to almost the very scene of their glorious actions.

 

Camp, Headquarters of Advance of "Army of Occupation" near Saltillo, Mexico, December 25, 1846

Source: Alton Telegraph, February 12, 1847

Some may exclaim the Centre Division under General Wool has been forced to retreat, but it is not so. On the 17th inst, General Wool was ordered to join General Worth at Saltillo, as the whole Mexican force, 25,000 strong, under General Mejia, had taken up the line of march for Saltillo, and was at that time expected to be with his advance, within a short distance of that place. General Wool was requested to concentrate with Worth at the earliest possible moment, and on the evening of the 17th, at 4 o'clock, we took up the line of march - everyone highly elated at the prospect of meeting the enemy - and reached this point on the 20th, about 3 o'clock p.m., where we met with a dispatch from General Butler, informating us of his junction with General Worth, and ordering us to take position near the entrance of the main pass between Saltillo and San Luis Potosi, at which place we are now encamped. The evening of our arrival here, General Wool sent for Colonel Yell of the Arkansas Cavalry, and informed him of his intention of dispatching a party of regular dragoons, together with some of his men, to overtake a party of Mexicans said to be on the retreat. "You had better, sir," said the Colonel, "dispatch a party of the Illinois Volunteers, for they can kill both our horses and men." The General laughed and replied, "that if a contest occurred, the Illinois troops would be reserved for the charge, "for," he said, "I am satisfied that they will fight like devils!"        Truly yours, Fletcher.

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DEATH OF AN ALTON GUARD

And Editor of the "Alton Democratic Banner"

Source: Alton Telegraph, February 19, 1847

It will be observed by a letter from one of our correspondents in the Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers, attached to General Wool's command, that Mr. William N. Watson, late of this city [Alton], died near Saltillo on the 28th of December last. The deceased, it will be recollected by some of our readers, commenced the publication of the "Alton Democratic Banner" about the middle of May last, but had issued only a few numbers when he volunteered in the above regiment, and after sharing in its long and harassing marches through the Mexican territory, has, in common with hundreds of other patriotic citizens, become the victim of an unhealthy climate. Our acquaintance with him was very limited, having seen him only a few times during his brief residence in this place, but his conversation and manners impressed us strongly in his favor. We believe he was from Steubenville, Ohio, and without a family. May his ashes, and those of his fellow sufferers, rest in peace!

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM LIEUTENANT FLETCHER OF THE ALTON GUARDS

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 5, 1847

Laboring under the evils incident to an attack of the pleurisy, I failed to write you last week, thereby saving yourselves and your readers from the affliction of a long letter about nothing.  My last, I believe, was dated at the La Encantada, which is only a distance of six miles from our present encampment. consequently our movements since that time have not been very important or worthy of note. The movement, however, was made in consequence of the intelligence brought in by a Mexican, of the appearance in our vicinity of a large force - amounting to some 20,000 of the enemy under the command of Santa Anna himself, and that the advance, consisting of some 8,000, was within 30 miles of us and rapidly approaching. As may well be imagined, much excitement prevailed in camp, and expresses were forthwith dispatched to General Butler at Saltillo, and General Taylor at Monterey. The next day orders were received from the former General, by General Wool, to break up the encampment at the Encestada and take a position (our present one) within five miles of Saltillo, so that in case we should be attacked, a concentration of forces could be had in a short time. But as usual, we were again made the sports of false intelligence, and have settled down to the old routine of camp life - the dullest life possibly led.

 

Many of the sick left back have either died or have been discharged, which has caused much reduction in some of the companies. The Alton Volunteer Guards have been very fortunate in that respect, having lost only two by death - one Shields, whose demise I have already mentioned, and the other, A. H. Diamond, left at San Antonio. The Guards left Alton, the smallest company from the state, having only 70, all told, yet it now has in the service of the United States in Mexico 74 members - a thing probably unprecedented in the history of any corps of volunteers now in the field!   Truly yours, Fletcher

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM "ILLINOIS"

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 12, 1847

The Second Regiment, with the artillery and regular dragoons, removed today from their old camp and took post on the brow of the hill overlooking Saltillo. The knowing ones say that this is to be the battleground, and that the Mexicans are in force at Palos, thirty miles distance. The future only can test the truth of the rumor. I learn that about sunset this evening at the rancho near our other camp, two of Capt. Smith's company, formerly Wells' of Chicago, were killed by the rancheros, and a third man mortally wounded, as is supposed. They had gone to the ranch for the purpose of obtaining liquor (which was probably used too freely), and got into a "spree" with the Mexicans present, and thus fell victims to their own folly. Their death, however, is to be regretted.  Signed by "Illinois"

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

From Tampico, Mexico, February 12, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 26, 1847

We are now rapidly approximating another sickly season, and about to enter upon a new expedition in a section of the enemy's country where that scourge of the human race - the yellow fever - rages with unmitigated severity during nine months in the year, from one end to the other of our contemplated line of operations. To have insured success, and prevented more of our brave men from falling by disease than would fall by the sword of our opposing foe, the blow was to have been struck, and the battle against Vera Cruz won or lost by the 16th of March. Yet here is the 12th of February, less than a month of the time designated, and scarcely a step has been taken towards the accomplishment of the design. For the last two days we have been visited with the most violent Norther of the season. We are consequently without any advices from New Orleans for several days back. The Norther still continues, though evidently subsiding, and much apprehension is felt that it has been attended with great damage to our shipping, if not with loss of life. The change in the weather is very great, and must of itself create disease. Generally, however, the men in both of our regiments are in good health, and would continue so if they were only put in motion again. A camp life is destructive alike to their health and their spirits. Drinking, I regret to say, prevails to a far greater extent than at any other period during the campaign, and the number of men daily to be seen wending their way from town to camp in a beastly state of intoxication is discreditable to the service. There is, however, far more intemperance among the men in the regular service than among the volunteers. In our two regiments here, there is less intemperance than in any other two regiments at Tampico.  

 

Cases of yellow fever occasionally occur here, and by advices yesterday received from Vera Cruz, it appears that it is very bad at this latter city. The health of both the 3d and 4th Illinois regiments continues excellent, their encampment having been most judiciously selected by General Shields, about four miles from the city, upon a high rolling piece of ground. The rigid police he maintains in regard to the cleanliness of the men and the camp no doubt goes a great way in securing the present state of good health that prevails among them. In Colonel Forman's regiment, they have not los a man by death since they reached Tampico. In Colonel Baker's regiment, there has been five deaths, four of whom were privates, and the fifth a  Captain. The names of three of the privates are McGarvey, Company I, Marion Wallace and Belford. The name of the fourth one has escaped my recollection. Captain A. Morris, commanding the company of riflemen from Sangamon County, died on the 15th inst. in the hospital. The disease was chronic diarrhea, which has proved so fatal to hundreds of those who have been in this campaign. He was buried on the 16th with military honors, and every attention paid to him that the assiduity of kind friends could accomplish.

 

The Alton Guards stand as well as any company in the Second Regiment, with the exception of Captain Raith's company from St. Clair. They do credit to our city, and to the regiment. The officers are all devoted to their duty, and seem anxious to acquire the highest state of perfection for their company.    Yours truly, G. T. M. Davis.

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PORTIONS OF LETTERS FROM ALTON GUARD LIEUTENANT FLETCHER

Camp Near Saltillo, Mexico, February 6, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 2, 1847

On the first day of February, Major General Taylor, or old "rough and Ready" (as he is familiarly styled) arrived in camp from Monterey, bringing with him Colonel Davis's Regiment of Mississippi riflemen, and two companies of artillery with their batteries. The arrival of this distinguished officer created quite a sensation in camp. All were anxious to see the hero of Palo Alton, Resaca de la Palma, and Monterey. The regiment was paraded to receive him. In appearance, he is somewhat over fifty years of age, with a corpulent body, and ungainly physiognomy relieved by bright eyes that flash from beneath overhanging eyelids. Mounted upon an indifferent horse and dressed much like one of our substantial farmers when driving a load of wheat to market, without a particle of uniform to set off his appearance, and a long, rusty steel sabre hanging by his side, will complete his portrait, drawn at full length. The contrast between him and General Wool as they rode side by side was great.  While the latter is noted for his neatness of figure, full military costume, and splendid horsemanship which is unrivaled in this division (and probably not excelled in the United States), the former holds himself as careless on his steed as Napoleon was accustomed to do.

 

The Mexicans have often sneezed and ridiculed the people of the United States because while professing to be free, and advocating the doctrine that "all men are born free and equal," they yet have slaves. Now this sneer, coming from a nation that in fact had no slaves, might be well enough, perhaps, and be borne with equanimity, but how I pray, does it sound, when coming from the Mexicans, who have a system of slavery the most degraded of any in the world? It is not, I believe, generally known in the Union, that if a person gets into debt in Mexico in the amount of twenty dollars, he is no longer a freeman! The law then allows the creditor to seize the person of the debtor, and oblige him to work to pay the debt at a certain stipulated sum, about four dollars per month, and while the poor man is laboring hard to pay the debt, he must needs have food to eat and clothes to wear, and having no money or credit from whom can be obtain these indispensable necessities of life, save from his master creditor? The poor slave has no other alternative, and thus gets deeper into debt, and as time advances, so much the more is he involved, and in the end, never can begin to repay his cumulative debts. This system of slavery is known as that of the Peon system, and if a man is married, his debts increase much faster, and by law these debts descend to his children, a dread "inheritance of woe," and they are equally bound as their descendants after them for the liquidation of these liabilities.

 

Camp at Aqua Nueva, February 9, 1847

The Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers removed to this point on the 8th inst., leaving as a garrison, in Saltillo, MOrgan's and Prentiss's Companies of the First, and Wheeler's and Hacker's Companies of the Second Regiment. We are encamped at some little distance from the ground occupied by us when we lay at this place before. General Lane's brigade, consisting of two Indiana and one Kentucky Regiment of Volunteers, is immediately on our left, then follows General Wool's Brigade, being composed of the First and Second Illinois Volunteers. It is a very pretty campground, and wood convenient, for this country, having to be hauled eight or ten miles only.

 

February 10, 1847

Last evening a party of Colonel Yell's Regiment came into his camp, bringing with them the lifeless remains of one of their late comrades (whose name I understood, was Colquitt). He had gone out during the first part of the day towards the mountains in search of his horse, unattended and unarmed. Not returning at nightfall, search was made and his body found, to all appearance, having been larietted, and thus strangled to death and stripped of its apparel, which was taken away. This morning the corpse presents a wretched sight. The face swollen and disfigured, and the print of the lariette around the neck being visible. This regiment swear vengeance against the Mexicans, and they are right. Such things have become entirely too common of late, and should be stopped by the taking and holding of soldiers or others as hostages, one of whom should be hung for every one of our troops who is destroyed in such a barbarian manner, and if this even handed justice will not put an end to such nefarious feats, on the part of the Mexicans, then let a hundred of them be killed outright, for every American who is thus foully massacred. He who pleads for pity or forbearance, to be shown to such a dastardly foe, is unworthy the name of an American. As I anticipated, early this morning a large body of Colonel Yell's Regiment went out to take vengeance for the murder of Calquitt (who is said to be a nephew of Senator Colquitt of Georgia), and finding a lot of rancheros, in the mountains, they forthwith commenced shooting them down. Somewhere between 20 and 30 were killed, and 17 brought into the camp prisoners. These last would probably have shared the same fate as the Arkansas men were infuriated at the destruction of their late comrade, but fortunately for the Mexicans a party of the Second Regiment were out on patrol and persuaded the men to spare the remainder of the poor wretches.

 

Camp, February 12, 1847

Yesterday a party of dragoons visited the spot where the Mexicans had been killed in order to bury the dead. They, however, had all been removed and interred by their friends, excepting one body, which was brought into camp and buried at the ranch nearby. Among the dead was a Lieutenant of the Mexican Army (it is said), and a large majority of the others were outlaws, bandits, and robbers, men long since ejected from the pale of even that kind of civilization prevalent in Mexico, and whose fate is not to be regretted.   A Court of Inquiry is now in session, convened for the purpose of taking into consideration the conduct of those engaged day before yesterday in killing the rancheros. From the evidence thus far elicited, it appears that there was no officer with the Arkansas men - that they went out singly with their arms, determined upon having revenge on the Mexicans for the death of Colquitt.  The men would have finished the whole of them, but for the opportune arrival of Captains Coffee, Scott, and Miller of the Second Regiment, with a small squad of men, whose resolute interference saved the lives of those who were brought in as prisoners - that the Arkansas men could with difficulty be persuaded to desist from their shooting, and were very angry at being interrupted in their work of revenge, and expressed their surprise that the Illinoisans, instead of aiding them, should prevent them doing what they pleased with the Mexicans. It was ordered that neither officers nor men will be allowed to leave the vicinity of the camp, except on duty, or with the permission of their Colonels or other commanders. Brigadier General Wool will make such regulations restricting leaves of absence as he may deem proper. The commanding General regrets most deeply that circumstances again impose upon him the duty of issuing orders upon the subject of marauding and maltreating the Mexicans. Such as have been recently perpetrated, by a portion of the Arkansas Cavalry, cast indelible disgrace upon our men, and the reputation of our country. The men who cowardly put to death unoffending Mexicans are not those who will sustain the honor of our arms in the day of trial. The General appeals to his commanders to adopt and enforce the most rigid rules on the subject of disturbing private property, and above all interfering with peaceable and unarmed citizens.  Yours truly, Fletcher

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THE FALL OF JOHN J. HARDIN

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 2, 1847

The fall of this gallant officer and accomplished gentleman on the bloody plains of Buena Vista will be most deeply regretted, not only by his numerous relatives and friends, but also by every citizens of Illinois, as well as by the admirers of true merit throughout the Union. A native of Kentucky, he inherited all the virtues and few or none of the foibles which characterize the citizens of that chivalrous state, and bid fair to become as distinguished in the field of war as he had previously been in Congress, in the Legislature, and at the Bart, when he was suddenly cut off in the prime of life. His death, when leading his brave comrades against the Mexican host, is truly a national loss. To his deeply afflicted widow and children, it is irreparable. The remembrance of his many virtues, the deep sympathy of the American people, and above all the paternal tenderness of their Heavenly Father, can alone afford them any comfort under this heart-rending dispensation.

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The Battle of Buena VistaTHE ALTON VOLUNTEER GUARDS - THE BATTLE OF BUENA VISTA

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 2, 1847

Although the details of the desperate actions of the 22d and 23d of February [the battle of Buena Vista] have not yet reached us, there is but too much reason to fear, from the intelligence already received, that this fine corps, the pride of our rising city, have been among the greatest suffereers. It will be seen by the list of the officers killed and wounded from the Second Regiment, inserted in another column, that Captain Baker, the commander of the Company, is included among the latter, and that all the other commissioned officers - Lieutenant Fletcher, Ferguson, and Robbins - are among the slain. Of the non-commissioned officers and privates, nothing is yet known, and the harrowing doubt which exists as to their safety is hardly less painful to their anxious relatives and friends than would be the certainty that they have shared the fate of their gallant leaders. Captain Baker, we fervently trust, will be spared to bring the remnant of his devoted band back to their homes. Of the fallen, we shall endeavor to say a few words:

 

EDWARD F. FLETCHER, the First Lieutenant, was, we believe, a native of Kennebeck, Maine, where his parents still reside, and a printer by profession. He removed to the west about eight years since, and sometime afterwards engaged in the publication of a paper, first at Jerseyville, then at Carrollton, Greene County, and subsequently in this place [Alton]. Meeting with but indifferent success as an Editor and publisher, he finally gave up the business and obtained a situation in this office, where he remained, engaged in the faithful discharge of his duties as a compositor, till June 1846, when he left our employment in order to serve his country. He was the first man who entered his name as a volunteer from this city [Alton], and upon the organization of the Alton Guards, he was elected their Second Lieutenant, in which capacity he acted to the entire satisfaction of his comrades, till he was promoted to the First Lieutenancy. Mr. Fletcher was a kind-hearted, amiable man of a very cheerful and lively disposition, and possessed of very respectable talents. In him we lose not only a professional brother and assistant, but also a valuable correspondent, whose letters, since his departure from this place have frequently imparted interest to our columns, and one of which - the last to reach us, though of older date than those published last week - will be found on our first page. He has left an orphan daughter, about two years old, and many friends and acquaintances to deplore his loss.

 

RODNEY FERGUSON, the Second Lieutenant, was either a native of Illinois or came to this state at a very early age, but did not reside in Alton until within a comparatively short time. Our personal acquaintance with him was too limited to enable us to say more of him than that he bore an excellent character, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him. He has many highly respectable relatives in this vicinity whose regrets we share, and with whom we truly sympathize.

 

LAURISTON ROBBINS, the Third Lieutenant, was a native of western New York, but removed to this place, in company with his elder brother, S. W. Robbins, Esq., about fifteen years since. He studied law after his arrival here with our friend, George T. M. Davis, Esq., and was subsequently admitted to the Bar. Being a man of fine literary acquirements, and lively imagination, he was fond of writing, and frequently favored us with excellent communications before his departure for Mexico. We have also received several highly interesting letters from him since he joined the army, which have been from time to time laid before our readers; and to his death, as well as in Mr. Fletcher's, we have to mourn the loss of a valued friend, and an esteemed correspondent. We offer our sincere sympathy to his afflicted relatives and friends. May the turf lie lightly over the heads of the gallant dead!

 

We regret to see the name of Lieut. John A. Prickett, a gallant young man, among the wounded, and trust he will soon recover. Although a citizen of Alton, he belonged to Company D, formerly commanded by Captain Dodge.

 

LIEUTENANT COLONEL H. CLAY.  The death of this accomplished officer will wring many a bosom, not only on account of his own acknowledged merits, but also because of the deep anguish in which it will plunge his illustrious father and his afflicted family. May Heaven comfort them in their bereavement!

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TREMENDOUS BATTLES! GLORIOUS VICTORY!

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 2, 1847

We hasten to lay before our readers the following brief and imperfect account of a most signal, but dear bought victory, obtained by General Taylor and the gallant troops, chiefly volunteers under his command, over the grand Mexican army, led by Santa Anna in person, on the 22d and 23d of February. The struggle was as desperate, and the victory as fiercely and obstinately contested as any on record, the tremendous loss sustained by both armies, most clearly shows that on our side being estimated at 700 killed and wounded, and that of the enemy at 4,000. The Mexican force is reported at not less than 15,000, General Taylor's at about 5,000, nearly all volunteers. The Illinois troops, it is evident, were in the thickest of the fight, and fully realized all that was expected of them. Would to God we could add, that they had sustained but little loss! But, it is our most painful duty, while paying this just tribute to their bravery, to say that many of them have sealed their patriotism with their blood. Among others, the noble and chivalrous Hardin, Colonel of the First Regiment; the gallant Fletcher, First Lieutenant of the Alton Volunteer Guards, Second Lieutenant Ferguson, and we fear also Third Lieutenant Robbins of the same corps, besides two Captains and five Lieutenants belonging to other companies - are numbered with the slain. Two Captains, one of whom is Captain Baker of the Guards, and seven Lieutenants, most of them belonging to the Second Regiment, are among the wounded. The loss in General Taylor's force, although not proportionally as large as in the Illinois troops, was also very great, and includes Colonel Yell of the Arkansas Cavalry, Colonel McKea and Lieut. Colonel H. Clay, son of the Hon. Henry Clay of the Second Kentucky foot rifles, and several other distinguished citizens. May the Almighty comfort the friends and relatives of the beloved dead, under this sad bereavement!

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PORTIONS OF A MEMORANDUM OF THE BATTLE OF BUENA VISTA

Prepared for the Editors of the Picayune by Lieut. J. J. C. Binn, U. S. A.

On the 22d, Santa Anna began the battle by various maneuvers, attempting to outflank and terrify old Rough and Ready. On that day the battle was confined to skirmishing and commanding, without much effect on either side. In the meantime, Santa Anna had sent a large force to Taylor's rear, but our artillery opened upon them with great effect, and they were soon compelled to withdraw.

 

On the 23d, the battle commenced in real earnest, and raged with great violence during the whole day. The Americans did not wait to be attacked, but with the most daring impetuosity charged on the enemy with loud huzzas, their officers leading them most gallantly. General Taylor received a ball through his overcoat, but was not injured. Adjutant Bliss was slightly wounded at his side. Adjutant Lincoln, also of the General's staff, the intrepid young officer who so distinguished himself at Resaca de la Palma, was killed. The battle of the 23d lasted from early morn till 4 o'clock, when Santa Anna drew off his army and retired to Agua Nueva, to await a reinforcement. It will be remembered that Santa Anna's corps de reserve, commanded by General Vasquez, had been delayed in its march, and has, no doubt, joined him in a few days after the battle. In the meantime, his army is starving, and many of his men are deserting. Capt. Prentiss' strong artillery company was not in the action, and had left Monterey to join General Taylor, with six cannon, two being 18 pounders. On the 7th March, one of the Ohio Regiments also left Monterey to join General Taylor. If these and Capt. Prentiss' artillery arrive in time, the General's heavy loss will be fully repaired, and he will be ready to meet Santa Anna again.

 

After the battle, General Taylor demanded of Santa Anna an unconditional surrender of his whole army, which the latter declined, but in return, required General Taylor to surrender immediately. Immortal be the reply of "Old Rough and Ready," as delivered by the gallant Lieutenant Crittenden - "General Taylor Never Surrenders!"

 

ILLINOIS BRIGADE KILLED AND WOUNDED

FIRST REGIMENT

Killed:  Colonel J. J. Hardin, commanding; Captain Zabriskia, and Lieutenant Haughton.

Wounded: Lieutenants J. L. McConnell and H. Adams

 

SECOND REGIMENT (ALTON GUARDS)

Killed: Captain Woodward; Lieutenants Rountree, E. F. Fletcher, R. Ferguson, L. Robbins, A. Atherton, Bartieson, and Price.

Wounded: Captain Coffey and Captain Baker; Lieutenants J. A. Prickett, A. Engleman, Steel and West; and Adj. Whiteside.

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LAST LETTER FROM LIEUTENANT E. FLETCHER, OF THE ALTON VOLUNTEER GUARDS

[Note: Lieutenant Fletcher was killed in the battle of Buena Vista.]

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 9, 1847

The subjoined letter from our departed friend and correspondent, Lt. E. F. Fletcher of the "Alton Volunteer Guards," reached us on Wednesday afternoon. When it was placed in our hands by the Postmaster, and our eyes met the well-known hand writing, a faint hope rose up in our mind that the first report of his fall on the bloody field of Buena Vista might have been premature, and that he still survived to relate the exploits of his gallant comrades. This hope, however, was destined to be of only one moment's duration. Upon hastily breaking the seal and casting a hurried glance at the date, we discovered that the letter was written on the 21st of February - the day before the engagement commenced - and is probably the last ever penned by the brave fellow. It bears honorable testimony to the fidelity and patriotism of the "Guards," and will be perused with deep but melancholy interest by the friends and acquaintances of the lamented writer.

 

"Camp Taylor, February 21, 1847

Since my last, nothing has transpired of any importance in a military point of view in this section of Mexico. Although we are frequently excited with reports of the approach of an enemy, het he does not make his appearance, and I doubt if anything like a respectable force will meet us short of San Luis de Potosi.

 

General Taylor is exerting every energy to place matters in a train of forwardness, but at such a distance as supplies have to be drawn, and the insufficiency of means of transportation, it seems almost disheartening to those who are anxious to press forward. In less than four months, the term of service for which almost all of the force here are enlisted for, expires, and most of us are beginning to cast anxious eyes towards home. The farmer, who last spring abandoned his crop and rushed to the field in answer to the call of his country, as the springtime of the year approaches, feets that his presence is necessary at home to save from wreck the labor of former years, and make good the time he has absolutely sacrificed in the last twelve months. So it is with the mechanic, who forsook his workshop, and so indeed it is, with all classes of community that are engaged in this war, and they can scarcely bear to see their time and their energies fretted away by the listlessness of a camp life. They wish to accomplish their mission - to meet the enemy, and if permitted by the hand of Providence, return to their families and occupations. These wishes are prompted by the highest and holiest feelings of the human heart, and without them, man would be unfitted for a soldier - much less a patriot, and indulging in them, our citizen soldiery only exhibit to the world the sacrifices they made in abandoning their peaceful avocations and taking upon themselves the onerous duties of soldiers. But, and I am sorry to say it, there are those in our midst who have been so lost in all principles of honor, abandoned to all sense of patriotism, and reckless of consequences, as to endeavor to pervert those nice principles of human nature, and render them subservient to their own base purposes. These men - and I would give their names were it not that it would be aiding to advance them to that ignominious notoriety which they so much covet - have set about to convince the men that the government was bound to place them back at home, or give them a discharge in time to reach their homes within the period for which they were mustered in, and have so far succeeded as to circulate petitions and have them numerously signed in every volunteer regiment here. General Taylor, to whom these petitions have been presented, justly indignant that such an advantage should even be attempted, which if succeeded in, would result in stripping him of nearly his whole force - destroying the entire campaign and causing the loss of Saltillo, Monterey, and perhaps the whole of the advantages gained in the glorious battles which have shed such lustre upon our arms - refused to pay the least attention to it - thus showing those busy-bodies that they had their labor for their pains. Since the matter has become a little cool, those who were pfersuaded to place their names to the petitions now are sensible of the unjustness of their demands, and regret that they suffered themselves to be led away by designing knaves. Though this affair may be forgotten for a time, yet the names of those who were the originators of a plan, which if carried into effect would cast indelible shame upon every state whose volunteers were concerned in it, will be rendered a hissing shame - a word of scorn to even their own children!

 

I am happy to add, that among the two Illinois Regiments, the contagion spread less than in any of the other volunteer corps in camp, and it must be a source of gratification to the friends of the "Alton boys," to learn that of all the companies in the two regiments, the only company that not one of its members did sign those odious petitions is the "Alton Guards!"

 

Must sickness is existing in camp at the present time, owing probably to the sudden changes that occur among these mountainous regions, as yet but little or no mortality prevails.

 

Truly yours, Lieutenant Fletcher

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TO THE FALLEN

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 9, 1847

The following tribute to the memory of the lamented officers of the Illinois Volunteers, who fell when leading their brave comrades against the Mexican host on the memorable field of Buena Vista, by one of our fellow-citizens, will awaken the sensibility of every friend and acquaintance of the gallant dead:

 

A TRIBUTE TO THE VOLUNTEERS OF ILLINOIS

The sound of battle onward comes,

From Buena Vista's bloody field,

Where freedom's brave and dauntless sons

Might chance to die, but never yield.

 

What tho' the hosts of Mexico

Were marshaled out upon the plain -

For thrice our numbers had the foe,

And well might hope the field to gain -

 

 Yet what availed their numbers here,

With Santa Anna at their head?

Opposed were hearts that knew no fear,

And by their gallant Taylor led.

 

All hearts their country's bulwarks were,

All firm as veteran soldiery,

And when they saw the foe appear,

All raised a shout for victory.

 

Dire was the conflict and severe;

Contending with superior force,

Fell many a gallant volunteer -

A generous country mourns their loss!

 

Our volunteers like lions fought;

Yes, Illinois! how dear the prize

Of victory, thus dearly bought

When they became the sacrifice?

 

And whilst that shout of victory

Is ringing out from hill and plain,

Would tears avail, Hardin, for thee,

They'd fall as like the gentle rain.

 

Nor thee alone, but many more

Fell fighting with their latest breath;

Their loss we4 deeply may deplore,

Yet theirs it was an honored death.

 

Zadriskie, Woodward, Atherton,

Price, Kelley, Haughton, met like fate,

Bryan and Rountree, Bartleson -

Brave spirits of their own loved state.

 

Sad duty this, I now name some,

Whom I most intimately knew -

A Fletcher and a Ferguson,

And also gallant Rordine too.

 

Alton! bring back these brave men's bones,

They shall not rot in foreign soil,

but lay them mid their own dear homes,

A poor reward for blood and toil!

 

A soldier fills a noble grave,

his spirit fired with generous zeal,

Goes forth his country's rights to save,

Nor thinks but of that country's weal.

 

So went they forth, as Spirit's hand,

To conquer, die, but never yield;

And many, for the spirit land,

Have left the bloody battlefield.

 

Their deeds, their memory, their manes,

A lasting monument demand;

High in the niche of fame, their names

Shall stand, whilst Freedom's self shall stand.

 

A nations' tears shall wet the sod,

That lightly lies upon their breasts

The bloody path to fame they've trod,

Is with a nation's honors pressed.

 

Ye spirits of the brave, farewell!

Ye nobly fought, and nobly fell!

 

Written by a Citizen of Alton

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PUBLIC TESTIMONIAL FROM THE CITIZENS OF ALTON

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 16, 1847

We have been requested to state that the committee appointed at the meeting held in this place on Saturday evening last, for the purpose of devising suitable means to testify, in a public manner, the deep sense entertained by the people of Alton and its vicinity, of the admirable skill and gallantry displayed by Major General Taylor and the officers and men under his command in the memorable engagements of the 22d and 23d of February last, as well as their affectionate respect for the memory of those of our brave fellow-citizens and neighbors who fell on that glorious occasion, have agreed to recommend the celebration of this brilliant triumph of the American arms on Saturday next, in the following manner, viz:

 

Minute guns to be fired from the Public Square at sunrise, at eleven o'clock, and at sunset. The different Associations, citizens, and strangers, to meet on State Street at ten o'clock. A procession to be formed, which will march under the direction of the Marshal of the day and his assistants, to the Episcopal Church, where the exercises will take place.  The ladies will be provided with seats, and public associations, citizens and residents of the adjacent country are invited to attend. Those intending to join the procession are requested to be punctual, as the exercises at the church will commence at eleven o'clock precisely.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 23, 1847

On the evening of the 9th, about 5 p.m., we effected a landing in a bend of the coast fronting the Island of Sacrificios, about three miles south of the city of Vera Cruz. This was accomplished by about fifty surf boats, each of which could carry a company. The gallant General Worth was the first to spring into the water, and the first to reach the shore. That night we put between six and seven thousand men upon the coast without meeting with the slightest resistance from the enemy. Neither men, officers, nor staff brought anything ashore but their side and fire arms; consequently the sand beach was our pallet for the night, and the canopy of heaven our only covering. About eleven o'clock that night, the fire from the picket guard announced the approach of the enemy, and the whole command were soon on their feet and in position. The skirmish lasted for about thirty minutes, when the enemy fled, leaving six of their number killed. On our part, we had one man wounded and none killed.

 

On the morning of the 10th, about seven o'clock, while General Worth was standing conversing with General Shields, Captain Hughes approached him and informed him that a large force of the enemy, consisting of cavalry and infantry, was rapidly advancing upon his right. General Worth at once went to the right of the line and placed his command in position. Major General Patterson followed with General Pillow and his brigade, composed of the two Tennessee and two Pennsylvania regiments; and General Shields' portion of a brigade, consisting of the three companies of the 4th Illinois Regiment we had brought round with us on the steamship New Orleans, and the New York regiment, which is about eight hundred strong. During this day a good deal of skirmishing took place, in which General Pillow's brigade, to a great extent, participated. We drove the enemy from all the heights that they had occupied, killing twelve of their number and wounding about thirty more. General Pillow also took a magazine, about two and a half miles south of the city, without resistance, in which was found one hundred and sixty boxes of packed ammunition. 

 

On the 11th, the principal skirmish was between a detachment of General Quitman's brigade, under the immediate command of Lieut. Colonel Dickinson of the South Carolina Regiment of Volunteers. They were attacked by about two hundred of the enemy, but with their gallant Captain at their head, they repelled with vigor the assault.  Our loss was ten wounded, but none killed, among whom I regret to say was Colonel Dickinson, as gallant an officer as ever appeared upon the field of battle. Colonel Dickinson, after being wounded, sent for Captain DAvis, and introduced him to all his officers, using the strongest language conceivable, approbatory of his conduct. During the forenoon of this day, a ball from the enemy struck Captain Alburtis, who was within twenty-five feet of Hammond and myself, killing him instantly. The ball took off the top of his head. He was of the regular infantry corps, an excellent officer, and universally esteemed.

 

On the 12th, a violent Norther set in early in the morning, which completely suspended all operationbs on both sides. During the night, a reinforcement of the enemy, about a thousand strong, succeeded in getting through a gap in General Twiggs' line and reaching the city in safety. This, in connection with the violence of the storm, afforded a safe opportunity to the enemy, who knew every pass to get through our lines.

 

On the 13th, the enemy opened their fire upon the extended right of our line, and continued the whole day. A ball from the city killed one of the mounted riflemen, and another took off the arm of a drummer boy attached to the same corps. In the afternoon, a detachment of General Twiggs' division had a skirmish with a small force of the enemy. It resulted in their being cut off, with twenty-eight of their number taken prisoners, and fourteen mules loaded with fifteen casks of wine and thirteen casks of brandy captured.

 

In the morning of the 14th there was a simultaneous movement of a portion of all the brigades throughout the entire line, toward the city. The skirmishers from the different brigades have got within three quarters of a mile of the city, under the cover of the ravines and sand hills, where they remain secure from the fire of the enemy. During the day of the 15th, there was no skirmishing with any part of our forces. The fire from the enemy has been heavy, killing but one man and wounding none. General Twiggs intercepted, during the night of the 14th, a courier from Vera Cruz, with official dispatches from General MOrales to the Secretary of War. They speak of the destitute condition of the Mexican army in Vera Cruz.  Captain Wright's company of the 4th Illinois regiment captured a Mexican lancer, and brought him to brigade headquarters. He proved to be a member of the National Guards. He had no written communications upon his person, and was evidently charged with giving verbal information to the Central Government of the condition of the enemy at Vera Cruz. He was kept under strict guard.  

 

A few days since, the news of the great battle fought by General Taylor on the 22d and 23d of February reached us. Whatever effect it may have had upon other commands, upon ours, so far as the two Illinois Regiments were concerned, it cast a dark shade of gloom and despondency. The loss of so many brave and generous spirits overwhelmed many with grief, and even now my feelings will not permit me to allude to it, only so far as is necessary to set out the following order, published by Colonel Baker at the head of his regiment on the 21st inst. I deeply feel the loss of many, but none so much as that of the lamented Hardin, to whom, for many years, I had been bound by the strongest ties of friendship and attachment. In my judgment the favorite, mos distinguished son of Illinois has fallen, and no matter how great the honor and respect the state may pay his memory, it will be no more than his pure and unsullied life and his glorious death richly merits.

 

"Headquarters, 4th Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, Camp near Vera Cruz, March 21, 1847."

The Colonel commanding has heard with the deepest regret of the death of Colonel John J. Hardin of Illinois, who fell gloriously leading his command in the late action at Buena Vista. Illinois has lost a most distinguished citizen, and the army a gallant and accomplished soldier. Possessing great purity of character and high qualities of mind, his life was eminently useful and honorable, and his death was worthy of his life. As a citizen, he was foremost in the councils of his state, and of high reputation as a Representative of that state in the halls of Congress. As a soldier, he brought a gallant regiment into the field, and infusing his own spirit into its ranks, led it where it has covered itself with glory. A life of such unsullied honor and a death of such proud distinction have given his name to immortal renown. An example so glorious will not be lost to his countrymen, as long as truth and courage appeal to the human heart.  By order of Col. E. D. Baker"

 

Yours truly, George T. M. Davis.

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LETTER FROM AN ALTON GUARD

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 23, 1847

Camp Taylor

I will say something of our fight. It is one among the greatest ever fought in America. The Mexican force was 21,000 strong, while ours was only 4,568. But the lustre of our victory is somewhat dimmed by the melancholy loss of life; among which are found three of our officers - Fletcher, Ferguson, and Robbins - all of whom were as brave men as ever fought or fell for their country. Lieut. Fletcher had command of the company, Captain Baker having been wounded in the first charge in the morning, but is getting well. Fletcher was shot in three places. When he was first wounded in the thigh, he cried out, "Boys! I have got one bullet in me, but one, on to death or victory." His was death, but ours is victory. We took 59 men on the field in the morning. This company has suffered worse than any other infantry company among the Illinois volunteers. Our whole number of killed and wounded is 616, of whom 223 were killed on the field. The Mexican loss is much greater than ours. They left about 1.500 dead on the field, and the prisoners we took say they have 1,000 wounded and 3,000 deserted.  Signed by M. T. Smith.

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WOUNDED SOLDIERS RETURN FROM THE BATTLEFIELD

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 30, 1847

Two of those of our gallant fellow citizens who were wounded in the great battle of the 23d of February - First Lieutenant John A. Prickett of Captain Lott's (formerly Dodge's) Company, Second Regiment Illinois Volunteers; and Mr. John A. Buckmaster, Quartermaster Sergenat of the same regiment - returned home on the evening of the 22d inst.  They left General Taylor's camp on the 29th of March, at which time the Headquarters of the army had been removed to Monterey - General Wool, with the advance, remaining at Agua Nueva. We have enjoyed the satisfaction of conversing with them two or three times, and the accounts they give of the glorious actions in which they bare so honorable a part, differ but little from those already published. They inform us that Captain Baker of the "Alton Volunteer Guards," having been severely wounded early in the morning of the second day, the command of the company devolved upon First Lieutenant Fletcher, who gallantly discharged his duty until he was badly wounded in the last fatal charge, and subsequently killed by the enemy's lancers. Second Lieutenant Ferguson was shot nearly through the heart at the commencement of the charge, and died almost instantaneously. Third Lieutenant Robbins was wounded at or near the same time with Fletcher, and being surrounded by the enemy, was in the act of giving up his sword to a Mexican officer when he was barbarously run through by his assailants. All the wounded of the "Guards" were recovering when Messrs. Prickett and Buckmaster left the army, but three of those in Captain Lott's company - among whom we regret to include Mr. William Fisher of this place - had died of their wounded.

 

Lieut. Prickett was very badly wounded in the left shoulder by a heavy musket ball, which entered in front near the top and lodged behind the scapula, whence it was afterwards cut out. It is still quite painful, and Lieut. Prickett is under the impression that a part of the patching yet remains behind. Up to this time the arm is entirely powerless, but the hope is indulged that the use of it is not irrecoverably lost. Mr. Buckmaster was wounded near the left groin - the ball just missing the large artery and coming out behind. For some days the surgeons thought the wound dangerous, but not long afterwards it took a favorable turn, and although it is still somewhat painful and causes him to limp a little, he is recovering rapidly, and we trust will soon be entirely well. We are, however, very sorry to say that Capt. Baker of the "Alton Guards" has wholly lost his right eye - the ball having passed just above it and injured it so much as to cause it to run out of the socket.  He still suffered much from the wound when our informants left the army, but was slowly mending, and intended to remain with his company until the expiration of their term of service. The vacancies occasioned by the fall of Lieuts. Fletcher, Ferguson, and Robbins, on the glorious field of Buena Vista, had been filled by the election of Messrs. Turner R. DeBaits, James Smith, and John Brown, as First, Second, and Third Lieutenants, respectively. As the unsurpassed bravery of the Illinois troops is universally admitted, and at the heavy loss of the Alton Guards emphatically shows that they were "in the thickest of the fight," it is unnecessary to add, on this occasion, that every member most nobly discharged his whole duty. We hope soon to have the great pleasure of announcing the return of the remnant of that gallant little band in their home, amid the hearty congratulations of their personal friends and the unbounded respect of their fellow citizens.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

Source: Alton Telegraph, April 30, 1847

From Vera Cruz, April 4, 1847

We are still here, with the prospect of getting off in a few days for the interior. How far the army will proceed it is difficult to determine. General Scott indulges the opinion that the foundation for peace will be established within six weeks from this time, and that he will not have to advance farther into the enemy's country than Perole, a distance 135 miles this side the city of Mexico. Within the last week we have received information of three different revolutions to the city of Mexico, the last of which was communicated to the General in Chief today. Santa Anna, during the last struggle, was released from his captivity and is now the acknowledged and respected President of this republic. Since I last wrote you, Alvarado, another important town on the Gulf coast, some twenty-four miles from here, has fallen into our possession, and from its walls the American flag floats in triumph. It was taken by General Quitman, and the greater part of his brigade, without the slightest resistance on the part of the enemy.

 

The health of our entire brigade is as good as any in the service. That of the two Illinois regiments is excellent, there being but very little complaint among them. Some excitement prevailed in our camp a few days ago, in consequence of one of the men in Captain Ross' company, attached to the 4th Illinois regiment, being attacked with smallpox. He was, however, at once removed out of camp, and from the precautionary measures adopted we are in hopes it will not extend farther. Vera Cruz is becoming Americanized very rapidly. We have already an American newspaper here, a copy of which I send you by this mail. American merchants, coffeehouse keepers, boarding houses, &c. &c., are as thick as hair on a cat's back, and the stocks of merchandise already landed here are incredible. Several foreign vessels are also unloading large stocks of goods, who pay a duty similar to that paid under our revenue laws. Many of the families who had left the city are returning, some of them only to witness the destruction of their property, and to learn that they are nearly bankrupted. Every day discloses the fact that the injury our shells did was much greater than ever the most sanguine in the army had any idea of. Those that were killed were piled into carts and thrown into the Gulf, without even a coffin or a shroud. Their cemetery is nearly three quarters of a mile south of the city, and beyond its walls so that there was no alternative left them, but to commit the bodies of their dead to the sea. Most of those killed were, beyond any doubt, women and children.  Yours truly, George T. M. Davis.

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CHART SHOWING MEN ENGAGED IN THE BATTLE OF BUENA VISTA

[The Alton Guards were in the Second Illinois Foot soldiers.]

Source: Alton Telegraph, May 7, 1847

The following table, showing the number of men actually engaged in the glorious action of Buena Vista, with the regiments or corps to which they respectively belonged, and the killed, wounded, and missing in each, compiled from the statement appended to General Taylor's dispatch, will doubtless interest the reader. The greatest numerical loss was sustained by the Second Regiment, Illinois Volunteers - the heaviest, in proportion to their numbers falling upon the company from Texas, attached to this regiment; and the next upon the Mississippi Riflemen. The dragoons suffered but little, having had no opportunity for distinguishing themselves:

 

 

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GALLANTRY OF THE ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, May 7, 1847

It is a source of the liveliest pride to every Illinoisan to see the gallantry of our volunteers so widely acknowledged and applauded. Scarcely a newspaper that comes to our table that does not contain a tribute of admiration andf praise to our brave fellow-citizens, who covered themselves and their state with eternal glory. They all echo the sentiment of the St. Louis Republican, that "It is an honor to be an Illinoisan." The following, from the N. O. Southern Reformer, one of the most patriotic, as well as ablest papers in the Union, thus alludes to the heroic conduct of our volunteers in the battle of Buena Vista:

 

"The regiments raised in Illinois must be composed of a very superior body of men. We have heard gentlemen who accompanied the command of General Wool from San Antonio to Parras, speak in the highest terms of commendation of the Illinois troops, and one of them writing home, whose letter found its way into the newspaper of that state, mentions that General Wool himself frequently remarked in the course of the march that they were the finest body of men he had ever seen. Well have they sustained their high reputation, and justified the hopes they had inspired in the event of a conflict with the enemy. Although they had been raised but a few months, and had never before encountered the shock of battle, and in the face, too, of such fearful odds, calculated to inspire doubt and distrust, all accounts we have received of the eventful scenes at Buena Vista on the 23d of February, represent these men to have stoode cool and unmoved, and to have acted their part with the bravery and precision of veterans - obeying with zeal and alacrity the orders of their superior officers - and to have shared in all the perils and difficulties of the conflict. It would be difficult to find a parallel in history, if we except the bloody tragedy of Monterey."

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ANOTHER GREAT VICTORY - THE BATTLE OF CERRO GORDO!

From Plan Del Rio, April 17, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, May 7, 1847

I have just returned from the scene of conflict, and a bloody one it has been considering the number engaged. A hill this side of the farthest Mexican work, and on which there was no one seen last evening, was found occupied by the enemy's light troops this morning, and to force it was at once deemed indispensable. For this purpose the rifles under Major Gumne, besides detachment of artillery and infantry, were ordered to charge up the rugged ascent. This they did in gallant style, driving the Mexicans, after a resistance which may be put down.  Great numbers of the enemy were killed, while on our side the loss was also severe. Major Sumner was shot in the head by a musket ball- severely but not mortally. Lieuts. Disury and Gibbs of the rifles were also wounded, but not severely, as was also Lieut. Jarris of the 2d infantry. I could not learn that any one of our officers were killed. The entire loss on our side, in killed and wounded, is estimated at about one hundred; but from the nature of the ground - broken, covered with brush and thick chaparral, and extremely uneven - it is impossible to tell with accuracy. Nor can I at this time give ever the names of the officers who were immediately engaged.

 

April 18, 1847

The American arms have achieved another glorious and most brilliant victory. Outnumbering General Scott's force materially, and occupying positions which looked impregnable as Gibraltar, one after another of their works have been taken today; five Generals, Colonels enough to command ten such armies as ours, and other officers have been taken prisoners, together with 6,000 men, and the rest of their army driven and routed with the loss of everything, ammunition, cannon, baggage train all. Nothing but the impossibility of finding a road for the dragoons to the rear of the enemy's works saved any part of Santa Anna's grand army, including his own illustrious person.

 

Among the prisoners is our old friend La Vega, who fought with his accustomed gallantry. The other Generals are Jose Maria Janero, Luis Pinson, Manuel Uoriaga, and Jose Obanda. Santa Anna's traveling coach, together with all his papers, valuables, and even his wooden leg, have fallen into our hands; together with all the money of his army. No one anticipated when they arose from their hard bivouac this morning such a complete victory.

 

The loss on both sides has been heavy - how could it have been otherwise? The rifles, Colonel Haskell's Tennessee volunteers, the First Artillery, the 7th Infantry, and Captain Williams' Company of Kentucky Volunteers, have perhaps suffered most. General Shields was severely, and I am fearful, mortally wounded, while gallantly leading his brigade to storm one of the enemy's farthest works. General Pillow was also wounded, although slightly, while storming a fortification on this side, commanded by La Vega. All the field officers of Colonel Haskell's Regiment were wounded at the same time, save himself. Of the rifles, Captain Mason has lost a leg, Lieut. Eweit has been badly wounded, Lieut. McLane, slightly.

 

I write in great haste, and have no time for particulars. The names of the killed and wounded I will ascertain as soon as possible. I think that five hundred will cover our entire loss. Had it not been for the positive cowardice of Santa Anna and Canalizo who ran before the battle - at least in brave men's hands - was half lost, it would have been far greater. No one at present can estimate the loss of the Mexicans - they are scattered on the hills, in the roads, every where.

 

April 19, 1847

The rent of the Mexicans last evening was total - complete. They were pursued within four miles of Jalapo by General Twiggs, at which point there were none to follow. Santa Anna himself, instead of entombing himself as he threatened, escaped by cutting the saddle mule of his team from the harness of his magnificent coach, mounting him, and then taking to the chaparal.  His service of massive silver, nearly all his papers, his money - everything in his carriage, even to his dinner, was captured.

 

The Mexican loss upon the heights was awful - the ground in places is covered with the dead! Among the bodies found was that of General Vasquez, and near him was Colonel Palocio, mortally wounded. Their loss in the retreat was terribly severe - every by-path is strewn with the dead. Had our dragoons been enabled to reach them in season, all wound have been killed or captured - Santa Anna among them. The officers and men of the Mexican army - I mean such as are prisoners - are to be turned loose on their parole, not again to take up arms during the war. Perhaps it is the best disposition that could be made of them, as any other convas would delay General Scott's forward movement. Fifteen of their officers have refused to sign, but have given their parole of honor to report themselves, without delay, to Colonel Willson at Vera Cruz as prisoners of war. Among these are Generals La Vega and Jarrec, the latter Governor of Parote during the time the Texan prisoners were there, and I believe distinguished for his good treatment of them. These officers will either be kept in the castle of San Juan de Uiloa, or else proceed to the United States.

 

P. S. I just learned that there is some hope for General Shields. God grant that he may live. Colonel Baker, who charged on the last fort, lost forty-five men in killed and wounded, out of only a portion of his regiment. Lieut. Cowardin, killed. Lieut. Murphy supposed to be mortally wounded; Lieut. Johnson wounded in three places and thigh amputated; Lieut. Scott, Froman and Malthy, wounded.  Signed by G. W. K.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

From El Plan, Mexico, April 15, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, May 21, 1847

We made a march of fifteen miles through the very heat of the day, ten of which was through sand half-leg deep, and camped for the night on the banks of the river St. Juan. The men were more fatigued than by any march ever before made by them. A more injudicious, ill-advised day's march was never made. On the 10th, we made a march of but ten miles, camping for the residue of the day and the night upon the margin of a handsome little river known by the name of "El Manautial." The valleys were exceedingly rich, reminding me very much of our American Bottom. On the 11th, we made another short march of but ten miles, reaching the celebrated "National Bridge," one of the most stupendous and magnificent pieces of work of the kind, that any country can boast of. The settlement that surrounds it at the end towards Jalapa is called "Puenta del Ray." On an elevation that overlooks the whole settlement, as well as the stream that this magnificent bridge spans, is a beautiful edifice, the property of Santa Anna, and where he is said to spend much of his time when not engaged in stirring up or directing commotion in his own country. The enemy had erected strong fortifications upon the height on both sides of the National Bridge, and for miles had cut down the timber all along the road so as to prevent our taking shelter behind it.

 

General Twiggs issued an order, instructing the army to move at midnight, that they might get upon the attacking ground under cover of the night, and he anabled to make a simultaneous attack at daybreak. The pass of the Cerro Gordo is said by our engineers to be the most formidable position the enemy have yet assumed since the commencement of the war. They have thrown up four forts at different points. Their forts, breastworks, and entrenchment, when we first arrived here, were all in an unfinished condition, and have only been completed within the last twelve hours.

 

The Military Commission of which I was Recorder was compelled to close its session. J. I. Adams, 3d Illinois Regiment, was tried and convicted upon a charge of aiding and abetting in the robbery of three Mexican females, of a large amount of personal property. He was sentenced to two months imprisonment in the castle of St. Joan, to pay a fine equal to two months' full pay as a sergeant, the amount thereof to be paid to the females who property was taken, and to be reduced to the ranks.  Peter Murphy, a private in Company K. 3d Illinois Regiment, was tried and convicted upon a charge of robbing the same persons, and was sentenced to two months imprisonment, to pay a fine equal to three months' full pay to be paid to the persons injured, and to be dishonorably discharged from the service.  John Padfield, a private in Company E of the 3d Illinois Regiment, was tried and convicted upon the charge of aiding and abetting in the same robbery, and was sentenced to ten days' imprisonment, and to pay a fine equivalent to one month's pay, the same when collected to be paid over to the persons robbed.  Thomas McCabe of the Georgia Regiment, was tried and convicted upon a charge of aiding another to steal from a Frenchman a sword, worth six dollars. He was sentenced to thirty days' imprisonment, and to pay a fine equivalent to one month's pay only, the sword having been restored to the owner.  William Crystal, of the Pennsylvania Regiment, was tried and convicted of stealing cakes from a Mexican who had taken them in their camp for sale. He was sentenced to two months' imprisonment, and to pay a fine equivalent to two months' full pay as a private, out of which the Mexican is to be compensated for his loss. Joseph Grusennger, of the same regiment, was tried and convicted of participating in the same offense, and received a similar sentence in all respects as Crystal did.  Isaac Kirk, a free man of color, and a servant to one of the officers in the Tennessee Cavalry, was tried and convicted of a rape upon a Mexican female and sentenced to be hung. On Saturday afternoon last, General Scott ordered the sentence to be put in execution, and he was hung on the plain without the walls of the city. The sentence was in accordance with the laws of the state of Tennessee, for a similar offense, where the prisoner resided when at home.

 

A number of our men have been killed within the last few days by the Mexicans, in consequence of their straggling too far beyond the limits of the camp. One or two of the New York Regiment were found with their throats cut from ear to ear. I lose much of my sympathy for such persons, as they are the victims of their own indiscretion and folly.  Signed by George T. M. Davis.

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MORE TROOPS REQUESTED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 4, 1847

The War Department is gratified to learn, by your latter of the 10th last, that the regiment recently called for from Illinois has been so promptly organized and put in march for the place of rendezvous. Yielding to the earnest solicitations of the patriotic citizens of your state, the President has instructed me to request that your Excellency will cause to be raised and rendezvoused at Alton, another regiment of volunteer infantry, to have the same organization, to serve for the same period, and to be received under the same regulations and restrictions, as are mentioned in the requisition of this Department of the 19th of April, in respect to the regiment already reported. The President does not doubt that this additional regiment will be promptly organized for service. Its destination will be Vera Cruz, whence it will join the army, operating under Major General Scott.  Very respectfully, W. L. Marcy, Secretary of War.

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LETTER FROM LIEUTENANT NILES OF COMPANY A, SECOND REGIMENT ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS

From Camp Near Buena Vista, April 27, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 18, 1847

The battlefield is still a melancholy and noisome spectacle. The dead bodies of Mexicans lie unburied in various parts of its extensive area and in the ravines. These have been overlooked by the country people (rancheros), who buried their dead, while the feet and hands of many of those who found interment project from their graves and show by their uniform whether they were infantry or lancers. American hats and caps, marked with bullets and blood, canteens, cartridge boxes, straps, and all kinds of shot, still mark the scene of the bloody conflict. Large spots of earth, blood stained, as by a pool of the red fluid, are still to be seen; notwithstanding the frequent and heavy rains which have lately fallen. I saw the marks for twenty yards of the bloody stream which flowed from the body of Henry Clay Jr., and fell upon the rocks at the bottom of a deep ravine, down which four men carried him till one was shot dead and another mortally wounded, when Clay exclaimed, "boys, leave me - it is no use - save yourselves!" They then left him to be massacred by the barbarians, who swarmed on foot and on horseback along the brows of the hills which inclosed on two sides, our retreating men, until they reached the road where Washington's battery stopped the pursuit with a volley of cannon balls. I, with several others, including Lt. Colonel Morrison, were so fortunate as to pass down the ravine immediately in front of this battery, and thus escaped the lancers lining the sides of the other, near its opening on the road, who cut off many valuable lives. Among these was one whose owner, my friend, is well entitled to an honorable mention in the history of this eventual day! Alexander Kunze was a private in Company II, Second Regiment of Illinois Volunteers. He was a German, born in Hamburg about twenty years ago, and received his splendid education oat the Universities of Jena and Gottingen. He was an excellent linguist, deeply read in history, ethics, criticism, and natural philosophy. He was my tent mate, my intimate friend and frequent companion. I contemplated with great pleasure the continuance of our intercourse to the end of the campaign, and our traveling in company through the most interesting parts of Mexico, at the conclusion of the war. Our reading was together, when his superior knowledge served me in the place of dictionaries and abridgements. Our rambling was together, thro' cities, towns and ranchos, where we observed a new phase in human nature in Mexican character; and over mountains where we culled the wild tropical plants which he intended to send to Germany, and which his botanical knowledge enabled him to class with accuracy. Together we stood in battle, and never did man bear himself more soldier-like than he. His mother, who lives in Bueckeberg in Hanover, and near to his native city, is allied to the Scotch family of McGregor by descent; and this fact called to mind that sturdy chief of whom it was said - "The eagle - he's lord above - Rob Roy is lord below!"  And never did the Highland chieftain display more cool, steady, deliberate, and determined courage than did this young soldier on the day of his death. On the night before, of the 22d, we of the Second Illinois expected to be roused as soon as the moon had gone down, to storm the principal battery of the enemy. As Kunze threw himself upon the stony ground, he said to me, "come, Lieutenant, and get some sleep before we begin this bloody work." I lay down with him, and soon perceived that he was sleeping soundly, little recking the deep sleep into which he was to be plunged on the following evening. He fell about the same time and in the same part of the field with Hardin, McKee, and Clay, and a nobler spirit than Kunze's never passed from a field of battle. He was the soul of honor. A conscientious rectitude governed all his actions. Every emotion of his heart was true and noble, and a clear and disciplined judgment found nothing in his emtoions to condemn. He was of a calm, meditative cast of mind; never subject o passion. He was a friend to be "grappled to the soul with hooks of steal" - to be worn in the "heart's core," and in the "heart of hearts." Except a brother in South America, he left no relatives on this continent. He had been in the United States only a year when he volunteered in the service of a country, of which he had declared his intention, according to law, to become a citizen, whose institutions he esteemed above those of any other. He died fighting the battles of that country! Shall it be said that such a man was not qualified to be a citizen without an apprenticeship of twenty-one years? He was a true American; his grave shall receive the tribute of respect of American tears, and his glorious memory be cherished in every true American heart. The lofty piles of the Sierra Madre are his monument, and will forever be associated with his name and the names of those who fell with him, and are buried beneath their frowning summits. The companions in arms of those who withstood the shock, and breated the storm of battle which proved so fatal to them, will hold their memories dear, above all things, and celebrate their glory among their countrymen.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

From Jalapa, May 13, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 18, 1847

Upon me devolves the unwelcome duty of announcing the death of Lieut. S. J. Johnson, Company F, 4th Illinois Regiment, who departed this life about ten o'clock last night. On the 18th of April last, at the battle of Cerro Cordo, he greatly distinguished himself by his coolness and valor in the thickest of the fight, and fell, covered with wounds that he received. So horribly was one of his legs shattered by the fire of the enemy, that amputation was rendered necessary; and for many days subsequent to the operation, the hope was entertained by his numerous friends that he would survive. This, however, added to another severe wound in the body, proved more than his strength could sustain, and last night his body yielded up its spirit into the hands of Him who gave him existence. In the absence of his regiment, all of whom left here some days ago for their respective homes, I took upon myself to see that he received a decent burial, such as not only his rank, but his gallent conduct upon the field of battle entitled him to. I had him buried in a small graveyard, inclosed by a stone wall, within the limits of the city - but two others, besides himself, resting in this spot.

 

I visit the wounded from our state nearly every day, and am happy to state that, with but one exception, I think the residue will all recover. That exception is a private in Captain Newcomb's Company, who was shot through the abdomen. He, however, has so much improved within a day or two that I now entertain strong hopes of his eventually recovering.

 

Governor Shields has continued to improve for several days past, very perceptibly, and he is now regarded by his surgeon as convalescent. They express the opinion that I should leave the country with him by the first of June, although, as yet, he has not sat up a moment except being twice bolstered up in bed for a short time. His cough still clings to him, which retards the progress of his recovery more than anything else. It is astonishing to witness, not only the deep sympathy expressed for him by all the officers and men of the army, but the marked respect and attention he receives at the hands of the whole of the former, from Major General Scott down. General Twiggs informed me that he had specially reported to General Scott that but for the indomitable energy and perseverance of General Shields, backed by the assistance of his two Illinois Regiments, the large guns never would have been got in position on the night of the 17th of April, so as to have been used on the morning of the 18th; and Captain Huger, the chief of the Ordnance Department, called in person and returned his thanks to General Shields for the invaluable services he had rendered in getting the above guns into position. I have no doubt that General Scott's second report to the department at Washington will do General Shields something like justice, all previous ones having fallen very far short of it.

 

The mortality among the sick and wounded still continues to be very great. Yesterday there were seven burials from the different hospitals; and today five more. A large portion of them, however, were from among our unfortunate wounded men.  Signed by George T. M. Davis

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CAPTAIN JAMES W. BAKER RETURNS TO ALTON

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 18, 1847

The gallant commander of the "Alton Volunteer Guards," in the glorious battle of Buena Vista, and the perilous and fatiguing marches which preceded it, reached this place on Monday last, on the Governor Briggs; having left General Taylor's headquarters about the middle of May. We are happy to be able to say that, notwithstanding the entire loss of his right eye from the terrible wound he received in the memorable action above mentioned, his general health is very good - the hardships and dangers he has encountered during the campaign having apparently affected him but little. Captain Baker left the Guards under the command of First Lieutenant De Burts. They were generally well at the time of his departure, and may be expected home, together with their brave comrades of the Second Regiment, early next month. The First Regiment, it was believed, would follow them in about two weeks. Both were to be paid off, and mustered out of service at New Orleans. Owing to the smallness of his force, and the difficulty of obtaining the necessary supplies, General Taylor was not expected to be in a condition to advance against San Luis de Potosi before the first of July.

 

Captain Baker speaks to the very highest terms of the military. The Guards he deems entitled to special praise for the indomitable firmness with which they resisted the immensely superior force which attacked them on two sides, after the defection of the Indiana Regiment had left their flank uncovered; and he bears the most unequivocal testimony to the undaunted courage of the lamented Fletcher, who succeeded him in the command of this gallant band, after he was disabled by his wound and carried from the field. It seems that the former was wounded early in the action, but he continued to lead his brave comrades in the thickest of the fight, until he fell, covered with wounds, together with Lieut. Robbins, in the last charge, which proved fatal to so many heroic citizen soldiers. Captain Baker estimates the entire loss sustained by the regiment during the campaign at about 302. A warm and hearty welcome awaits the gallant survivors.

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TWO PRIVATES DIED IN ALTON

Source: Alton Telegraph, June 18, 1847

We are sorry to state that Henry Holienderff, a private belonging to Captain Kinney's company of volunteers from Chicago, was accidentally drowned on Friday last, while bathing in the river. A comrade, who was with him, saved himself with difficulty after unsuccessfully using his best exertions for his rescue. His body was recovered on Sunday and buried with the usual honors - an inquest over it having been previously held by P. Wood, Esq. Coroner of the county. Another volunteer named Ellis Evans, a private in Captain Niles' company from Edwardsville, also came to an untimely end on Saturday by falling from an upper window of the building occupied by the company, which so seriously injured him that he survived only a few hours.

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GENERAL SHIELDS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 2, 1847

It was at the storming of the heights of Cerro Gordo that General Shields won his brightest military laurels, at the expense of a terrible wound, of which he is now lying in a precarious state at Jalapa, the object of the deep sympathy and prayerful hopes of the nation. General Shields was shot in the early part of the action while leading the 4th Illinois Regiment in a charge upon a six gun battery, supported by a large body of Mexican lancers and infantry. This battery was the extreme right work of the enemy, and the headquarters of Santa Anna, as well as the depot of all their stores, officers' baggage, &c.  The ball (which was either grape or canister) entered the right breast, about an inch and a half, or two inches below the nipple, passed through the right lobe of the lungs, and out at the back, without, however, doing any injury to the spine. He was at once borne from the field by his friend and aid-de-camp, Major Davis, and carried two miles before medical aid could be obtained. His wound was at length examined and dressed, but the physicians expressed the conviction that he must die. He was subsequently removed to Jalapa, where he still remains, and strong hopes are entertained of his recovery. The circumstances under which General Shields received his wound speak in his praise a language more emphatic than any which can now be used. The battery is at least one mile beyond the pass of Cerro Gordo. To reach it, he had to lead his command over three miles through the densest chapparal, without even the guide of a footpath. He was on foot at the head of his troops, and had almost reached the goal of victory, through a terrific fire of grape, canister, and musketry, when he fell.

 

His command immediately entered the enemy's works, and drove the enemy before them in a general rout. With the battery was also captured a large amount of public stores, some twenty thousand dollars in specie, and 200 pack mules. The Mexican officers state that the appearance of General Shields' command, so far beyond the pass, and immediately in front of Santa Anna's headquarters, produced great consternation in their ranks, and did much to induce an early surrender.

 

General Shields having been borne from the field of battle, the command was assumed by Colonel Baker, as brave an officer as ever wore a sword. At the head of his victorious troops, the Colonel charged on the enemy, who fled in the utmost confusion, closely followed by the victors. In this pursuit, Santa Anna, himself, was chased so closely as to be compelled to abandon his carriage and to mount on one of the mules which drew it; in this inglorious manner he effected his escape.

 

General Shields is at this time about forty years of age. His intellect and its triumphs have already been sufficiently considered. Of a frank bearing, a disposition kind and friendly, a character pure and spotless, his heart is full to overflowing with every manly and generous emotion.  In this land, a man thus constituted cannot fail in triumphing, in the end, over every obstacle to a laudable ambition, and of winning a name, such as that now enjoyed by General Shields. Long may he live to add to the reputation he has already acquired, and to earn further claims upon the affection and gratitude of his country. The memory of his services will adorn the remainder of his days, and embalm his fame when dead.

 

In closing this notice of General Shields, it is deemed appropriate to pay a passing tribute to his gallant friend and Aid-de-camp, Major George T. M. Davis, to whose kind attention, unremitting care and assistance, General Shields, if he survives, will in a great measure under the blessing of God, owe the preservation of his valuable life.

 

Major Davis, upon his return to Illinois, will receive, as he deserves, the gratitude of the people of that patriotic state - a reward to him of all others, the most acceptable.  Signed N. O. Delta.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

From Jalapa, June 3, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 2, 1847

Contrary to all expectation at the date of my last, I am called upon at this time to mention the death of two more of our wounded comrades from Illinois, both of whom breathed their last in the hospital at this place. William L. Thorney of Company E, Captain Newcomb, died during the night of the 31st of May from the wound he received in the battle of Cerro Gordo on the 18th of April. He was shot through the hip, the ball passing out of the abdomen.  William Morris, of Company K, died during the night of the 1st instant, from wounds received at the same time and place as Thorney. He had his leg broken by a ball, and after being disabled in this manner, was bayoneted in six or seven different places by the merciless foe that for a few moments surrounded him. His leg was amputated, and he finally went off as Johnson, Mason, and several other did, with what the physicians denominate absorption of the pus. All efforts to save him proved unavailing. Both of them were decently interred in the common burying ground of this place. The proportion of our wounded men that we have lost has been very large, though I trust that the few that are now remaining here will be able to return to Illinois when I do. There are only six of the wounded left, all of whom are doing well.

 

General Shields has improved very rapidly for the last five or six days, and is now ready to leave for the United States, so soon as a suitable escort can be provided for him. They are endeavoring to form a volunteer escort here, sufficiently strong to send down a small train of some twelve or fifteen wagons; and if they succeed, I shall get this letter off by them. The traveling between here and Vera Cruz is entirely cut off, except for large bodies of armed men, in consequence of the number and strength of the guerrilla parties that occupy the road between the two places.

 

Jalapa, June 7, 1847

How true it is that no man can tell what a day may bring forth. I was in the full expectation of leaving tomorrow morning for the United States with General Shields and the wounded of the Illinois Regiments. Now our destination is entirely changed, and our steps are directed towards Perote and Puebla. Last evening, Colonel Childs, the officer in command of this post, received ordeers from the General In Chief, directing him to send forward, without a day's delay, all the sick and wounded from this place to Perote, as also all the ammunition, subsistence stores, and public property of every nature. When this is accomplished, the post at this place is to be abandoned, and all men are to move forward with all practicable dispatch for the advance of the army. The disappointment to the sick and wounded, who were able to leave, and expected to go tomorrow, is very great. But their own personal safety, as well as the public interest, demand that the sacrifice should be made. I am in hopes that not to exceed four weeks will transpire, before we shall be able to leave for home.

 

Some four days since, the proprietors of the diligence line of stages, sent three of their drivers, who are Mexicans, to Perote, with a number of their stage horses and mules, the stages having been stopped from running by an edict of Santa Anna. They had got but a few leagues from this place when they were attacked by a party of guerrillas, two of the three murdered and their horses and mules all taken from them. The survivor, with the aid of a detachment of our men, succeeded in identifying and arresting five of those engaged in the murder. Yesterday they were brought in and underwent a partial examination before Colonel Childs, as military Governor, who committed them to the guard house for trial. Today a military commission was organized, before whom all five of the accused have been tried. The opinion pretty generally prevails throughout the community that they have been found guilty of murder and highway robbery, and sentenced either to be shot or hung.   Signed by George T. M. Davis.

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SOLDIER RETURNS TO ALTON

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 9, 1847

Our esteemed friend and fellow-citizen, Mr. George R. Clark, returned to this place on Tuesday evening last, after a twelve months' tour of military duty in Mexico, under the orders of Colonel Deniphan. He originally belonged to the "Laclede Rangers," but was subsequently transferred to Captain Weightman's artillery company, attached to Major Clark's command; and participated with them in the glorious victory of Sacramento, as well as in the almost unequaled marches which preceded and followed that brilliant achievement. Mr. Clark, we are happy to say, has generally enjoyed excellent health, and looks extremely well. His safe return home, after having undergone the perils and fatigues of a harassing campaign, will be hailed with much satisfaction by his numerous friends and acquaintances in this city and the neighborhood.

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THE BUENA VISTA BOYS RETURN

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 9, 1847

A number of the gallant heroes of Buena Vista arrived here yesterday forenoon, in the fine packet Governor Briggs, which announced their coming as soon as she came in sight by the firing of cannon, occasionally repeated until she reached the wharf. They were greeted with loud and hearty cheeers, by the crowd of citizens which rushed to the landing the moment the first gun was heard, and upon stepping ashore, received a warm and most cordial welcome from their friends and acquaintances. The greater part of them belong to the adjoining counties - three only, so far as we have been able to ascertain, being citizens of this place, viz: Mr. Hugh Black of the Alton Guards; and Messrs. Joseph Quigley and Isaac E. Hardy of Captain Lott's Company. These brave young men - whose gallantry and excellent conduct on the field of battle, and during the whole campaign, reflect the highest credit on themselves, this city, and the state - are in excellent health, and we most heartily congratulate their parents, relatives, and friends, on their happy return to their respective homes. The remainder of their gallant comrades may be daily expected, and will all probably arrive in the course of the present and the ensuing week.

 

The Missouri Republican states that about fifty privates, belonging to the First Illinois Regiment, reached St. Louis on their return home on Tuesday last. We presume that the greater part of them have gone up the river.

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THE GALLANT DEAD

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 9, 1847

The remains of the lamented Colonel Hardin, Captain Zabriskle, and Lieutenant Houghton, of the First Regiment Illinois Volunteers, reached St. Louis yesterday morning in the steamer Missouri. Ample preparations had been made to receive these honored relics by suitable addresses, a procession, the firing of minute guns, and other ceremonies, intended to manifest the respect of the people for the memory of the brave citizen soldiers who have fallen in fighting the battles of their country; and we are persuaded that the proceedings - of which no account has yet reached us - have been such as to be worthy of the occasion of the living and of the dead.

 

We learn that the remains of the departed leaders of the Alton Guards - Lieutenant Fletcher, Ferguson, and Robbins - who fells, with so many of their brave comrades on the glorious field of Buena Vista - are on their way up, in charge of a committee from that gallant band, and may be expected here in the course of the ensuing week. Every arrangement, which the shortness of the time and other circumstances, will be promptly made to give them a suitable reception, and to convey them to their final resting place in such a manner as to testify our attachment to their persons while living, as well as our high respect for their memory, and our deep regret at their glorious but too early death.

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TESTIMONIAL TO THE FIRST AND SECOND REGIMENTS OF ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 16, 1847.

Order No. 302

Headquarters, Buena Vista, May 28, 1847

The term of service for which the First and Second Illinois Regiments have engaged to serve the United States has nearly expired, and they are about to return to their homes. The General commanding takes this occasion to express his deep regret at the departure of those who have been so long under his immediate command, and who have served, and served so well, their country. Few can boast of longer marches, greater hardships, and more privations, and none of greater gallantry in the field of Buena Vista. It was there that the General witnessed, with infinite satisfaction, their valor, which gave additional lustre to our arms and increased glory to our country. To their steadiness and firmness, in connection with the Second Kentucky Foot, in resisting the Mexicans at the critical moment, and when there were five to one against them - and, as General Santa Anna said, "when blood flowed in torrents and the field of battle was strewed with the dead," - we may justly ascribe a large share of the glorious victory achieved over more than 20,000 men.

 

A great victory, it is true, but attained at too great a sacrifice. Hardin, Zabriskie, Woodward, McKee, Yell, and Clay, and many others, fell leading their men to the charge. Their names and gallant deeds will ever be remembered by a grateful people. In taking leave of these regiments, the General cannot omit to express his admiration of the conduct and gallant bearing of all, and especially of Colonels Bissell and Weatherford, and their officers, who have on all occasions done honor to themselves, and heroically sustained the cause of their country in the battle of Buena Vista.

 

The best wishes will attend them to their homes, where they will be received with joy and gladness, as the pride of their families and their state. By command of Brigadier General Wool; Irvin McDowell, A. A. G.

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COLONEL HARDIN LAID TO REST

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 16, 1847

The remains of this distinguished soldier and patriot reached Jacksonville, his late place of residence, on Friday evening. His funeral took place on Wednesday. No account of it has yet reached us, but it was doubtless conducted with all the honors due to his eminent public services, high moral worth, and the love and respect of the entire community among whom he lived, as well as in the character of the state which claimed him as a favorite son. A monument is to be erected to his memory.

 

P. S. Since the above was in type, we have had a few minutes conversation with a gentleman of Alton, who was present at the obsequies of the lamented Hardin, and who informs us that the ceremonies were of the most solemn and impressive character, and attended by an immense crowd of sorrowing friends. We have likewise received a letter from one of our delegates in the state convention, who was also present, from which the following is an extract:

 

"The town of Jacksonville is now crowded to overflowing, with persons who have come to pay their tribute of respect to Hardin. A large majority of the delegates to the convention are here to join in the ceremonies of the day. Judging from all I have seen and heard, Col. Hardin seems to have been not less the idol of the state than of his own county. His name, and the fame of his civil and military services, are not the property of his county or the state of Illinois alone; they belong to our common country. Long may they be remembered and cherished."

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THE GALLANT DEAD

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 16, 1847

The remains of our lamented frieds and fellow-citizens - Lieutenants Fletcher, Ferguson, and Robbins - who bravely fell at the head of the Alton Volunteer Guards on the memorable field of Buena Vista, while engaged in a desperate struggle against an immensely superior force, have not yet arrived, but are daily expected. A large and active committee, appointed at a general meeting of the citizens, held on the evening of the 9th inst., are engaged in making the necessary arrangements for their reception and burial. The City Council, with praise-worthy promptness and unanimity, have made an appropriation to defray the attendant expenses - the Rev. S. Y. McMasters of the Episcopal Church has consented to deliver a suitable address, and every preparation has been made to honor the memory of those who have so nobly redeemed the pledge, they so solemnly gave upon their departure from this place twelve months since, either to bear the name of Alton in triumph over the battlefield, or die in the attempt. Public notice of the day and hour when the obsequies of the fallen heroes shall take place, and of the order of the exercises, will be given at the earliest practicable moment after the arrival of the remains.

 

P. O. Information reached us last evening that the remains of our gallant friends have arrived at St. Louis, and will be brought up in the course of the day. We are authorized by the committee to state that the funeral solemnities will take place on Wednesday afternoon.

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SOLDIERS RETURN

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 16, 1847

Many of the gallant heroes of Buena Vista have reached this place since our last publication, but they have arrived in such small parties, and on so many different days, that it has been found impracticable to give them a general reception, as had been originally designed. All that circumstances have permitted has been to announce the arrival of each successive party by a salute from a piece of ordnance stationed for the purpose on the Public Square, and the delivery, on the evening of the 9th, of a very beautiful and appropriate address of welcome to about a dozen of these brave men, who then came up together on the Luella. Those that we have seen look very well. May health and happiness attend them to their respective homes!

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THE GALLANT DEAD LAID TO REST

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 23, 1847

The remains of our brave departed friends, and late fellow citizens - Lieutenants Fletcher, Furguson, and Robbins - who nobly fell at the head of the Alton Volunteer Guards on the glorious field of Buena Vista - reached here [Alton] in the steamer Governor Briggs, on Friday forenoon, in charge of Lieutenant Brown and other members of their late command. They were attended by a deputation from the general Committee of arrangements, previously appointed by the citizens of this place, who had proceeded to St. Louis for the purpose of receiving them from the steamer John Hancock, which had brought them up from New Orleans. The moment the Governor Briggs appeared in sight, with her precious freight, her approach was announced by the firing of minute guns, and the tolling of the bells of the different churches and other public edifices; which, with the performance of sundry funeral airs by the band, was continued until the bodies were conveyed by the Committee of Arrangements to the place selected for their temporary accommodation. On Tuesday morninbg, the honored remains, encased in the coffins or boxes in which they had been brought up from Mexico, but which, since their arrival here, had been covered with black velvet, were removed to the Episcopal Church and placed upon a handsome catafalque, dressed in black cloth with festoons of white muslin, which had been raised in front of the pulpit. Lieutenant Fletcher's coffin, which was elevated a little higher than those of his brave comrades, occupied the center; Lieutenant Ferguson's the left; and Lieutenant Robbins' the right - with the name of the lamented occupant, encircled by a very neat chaplet of oak leaves, on the end of each. The catafalque was surmounted by two U. S. flags, between and near the top of which was suspended a wreath of oak leaves, in the center of which were inscribed, upon a white background, the memorable words, "Buena Vista." On the rod supporting the wreath was a noble looking eagle, while at each corner of the platform stood a stack of arms, encircled at the top by a wreath of oak leaves and flowers. Round and above the coffins were ranged 21 tapers of various sizes, which were lit up during the exercises of Wednesday, and cast a soft and mellow light over the scene. The interior of the church was hung with black cloth, relieved by festoons of white; and large wreaths of oak leaves, together with chaplets of the same material, were suspended against the sides of the building - the different decorations being so arranged as to give to the whole a solemn and impressive, and at the same time a very beautiful and pleasing appearance.

 

On Wednesday afternoon at half past two o'clock, the procession was formed on Front Street, and moved to the Episcopal Church in the following order, viz: Marshal and Aids; Martial Music; Military Escort, consisting of the Alton Volunteer Guards, Lieutenant Brown; and the Upper Alton Light Infantry, Captain Nutter; Piasa Lodge No. 27 and visiting brethren; clergy; Committee of Arrangements; Sons of Temperance; Hibernian Benevolent Society; Pioneer Fire Company; Neptune Fire Company; Governor of Illinois; and Mayor of Alton; Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State; Auditor of State and Attorney General; Deputation from the State Convention; Common Council of the city; Guests; Music; Volunteers of the 6th Illinois Regiment, under command of Captain Sibley of the U. S. Army; citizens. Immediately after the entrance of the procession into the church, or to speak more correctly, of the small portion which could be accommodated within the building, the solemnities of the occasion commenced with a voluntary upon the organ, followed by an appropriate dirge by the choir. The solemn funeral service of the Episcopal Church was then read by the minister, the Rev. S. Y. McMasters; at the close of which another excellent dirge, written by a gentleman of this city, was sung by the choir. A beautiful address, admirably adapted to the occasion, was then delivered by the Rev. Mr. McMasters, which commanded the undivided attention of the vast assemblage present. This was followed by a funeral hymn, at the termination of which the services in the church were closed.

 

The procession was then again formed, in the same order as before, except that the remains of the gallant dead, followed by their mourning relatives and connections, were placed between the Masonic Fraternity, and the Committee of Arrangements; and moved in measured steps to the sound of solemn music towards the City Cemetery. Upon their arrival at this consecrated spot, the Brethren of Piasa Lodge took charge of the body of Lieutenant Fletcher, who was a member at the time of his departure for Mexico, and at his oft repeated request, depositied it in the grave, the Rev. Br. G. J. Barrett, Pastor of the M. E. Church, as Chaplain, reading the beautiful and appropriate service appointed for such occasions. At the conclusion of this ceremony, the Alton Guards, Lieutenant Brown, who composed part of the escort, fired the ordinary salute over the remains of one of their late commanders, after which the bodies of Lieutenants Ferguson and Robbins were successively brought up and severally received a similar salute from the same gallant band. The exercises being concluded, the procession returned to the city and was there formally dismissed by the Chief Marshal. The solemnity of the occasion was much heightened by the firing of minute guns, and the tolling of the bells, during the march of the procession through the city, and while on its way to and its return from the cemetery.

 

Of the solemnities and exercises of the day we may truly say that they were such as to reflect the highest credit upon the patriotic character of our young city. The chaste and appropriate decorations of the church, the excellence of the music, the beautiful and impressive funeral services, the very neat uniforms and emblems of the different societies, the fine soldierly appearance and demeanor of the volunteers, the good order and quietness which universally prevailed, not only in the procession, but also in every quarter of the city, all speak in terms stronger and more expressive than mere words, that Alton has paid a noble tribute to the memory of her gallant sons. Larger crowds and longer processions have been doubtless witnessed in more populous cities. But we are borne out by the testimony of all present here, in saying that, take them all in all, the proceedings of Wednesday greatly exceeded anything of the kind ever before seen in this state, and made a most favorable impression upon the distinguished strangers who honored us with their presence; among whom we had the gratification of noticing the gallant commander of the Second Illinois Regiment, Colonel William H. Bissell; also, Colonel Ferris Forman of the Third; and several other meritorious officers of various grades.

 

But our limits wear us to bring to a close this hasty and imperfect sketch. We shall, therefore, conclude with the remark that the thanks of the community are justly due to the Committee of Arrangements, the Marshals, the gentlemen who decorated the church, and the ladies who assisted them, as well as to all others who contributed in carrying the laudable object in view so happily into effect. All faithfully discharged their duty, and will find an ample reward in the consciousness that they have aided in exalting the character of our city.

 

"Such honors Alton to her heroes paid,"

And peaceful sleep her gallant children dead."

 

FUNERAL ORATION

Delivered at the Burial of the Remains of Lieutenant Fletcher, Ferguson, and Robbins, Alton, July 21, 1847

By the Rev. S. Y. Masters

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 6, 1847

I need not say that the present is an occasion of singular and melancholy interest. This sable drapery - this gloomy furniture - the service and requiem just ended - declare that death is in our midst; but it is not in an ordinary form. The gloomy train of harbingers, which generally announce its coming, have not appeared. The ordinary instruments of death have not been employed. Disease, debility, and the natural sinking of the functions and energies of life, despite the healing art, and the untiring attention of ever faithful and devoted friends, have not announced the coming of the King of terrors. But, suddenly, in the vigor of manhood - may I not say, in the bloom of youth, and the perfection of health, and the flush of manly and noble ambition - sudden as the lightning's bolt from an unclouded sky, these sons of hope have fallen - and their untimely end has confirmed the melancholy and oft repeated truth, that "In the midst of life, we are in death."

 

Less than twelve months since, they were with you - with you in all the pride and activity and buoyancy of a life unimbittered by gloomy apprehensions of death. Again they are with you, but alas! how changed. Memory has lost nothing of what they were. The bright and joyful countenance, the manly form, the genteel deportment, the well-known accents of warm hearted friendship, and the merry laugh that gladened the social circle, are not forgotten. They are all fresh in memory, and we almost instinctively seek them in their former locations, or in the vocations of former years, and the truth that they are not there seems more like the melancholy dream of a feverish brain than the sober reality of truth. But they are no more. Alas! there was a sad necessity for the sacrifice. Like the father of the faithful, our country was called upon to the sacrifice of persons. It was not Ishmael, nor of the common ones of our land - but the children of promise, the children of hope, were demanded - the best blood of the country must flow.

 

The story, without particulars, is soon told. From a combination of causes, not now to be spoken of our Southwestern frontier was understood to be menaced with invasion. Private property was exposed - the life of the hardy pioneer was thought to be in danger; and hence, the honor of the nation, which was pledged for their protection, was at stake. On hearing this, the ardent and noble spirits whom we are now called upon to honor, with others not less gallant, of our land, took fire, and swift as angels of mercy, to the rescue they flow. The tolls of the march, the duties of the camp, the frightful forms of disease, in a climate not less hostile than the foe they sought, and the storms of the battlefield, they met, glad to interpose their lives between their country and harm.

 

All felt, at the time of their departure, that there was a chasm in society which could only be filled by their safe return. Many a blessing was breathed upon them, as they bid farewell. Alas! with these, it was a long - a last farewell - in the multitude of friends who thronged the shore, and many a prayer went up to heaven for their safety.

 

Months passed away. Rumors of battles were heard. At length, rumor passed into certainty, that the field of Buena Vista had become the scene of a sanguinary conflict. O! there were trembling hearts among us. Many of the choice spirits of our city and country were certainly there. Particulars were anxiously sought. The list of killed and wounded at length came, and was read with an intensity of interest, unknown but to the mother, the wife, or the sister; the object of whose strongest affections is known to be in danger. The faithful records of the field, report the names of Lieutenants Fletcher, Ferguson, and Robbins, with others not less dear to their country and friends, no more among the living! The heart of the community grew sad. The shout of victory was raised; but it blended with the widow's wail, and the orphan's cry. Songs of triumph were called for, to celebrate the recent victory, but the notes were lost in the deeper and heavier tones of the tolling bell, and the melody of the Te Deum [Christian hymn] was drowned by the plaintive notes of the dirge, and we felt that a nation's tears were mingled with a nation's joy.

 

O! it was a costly sacrifice. It is always a dear bought peace which is the price of blood, but that which is the purchase of lives so valuable must be esteemed "far above rubies," for the laurel is nobly won when the exhausted victor reels, as he places it on his bleeding brow.

 

Their sad remains are now with you. The vital spark has fled - "the spirit returned to God, who gave it." The dreams of war, and visions of glory are dissipated. They sought to show themselves worthy by worthy deeds. They have done it, and now they rest content. They "have fought a good fight; they have finished their course, and have kept the faith" of the patriot, and now they come, according to your bidding, to receive the crown of glory - the dear-bought honors which a grateful country is ready and anxious to confer. The field of their fame had claims upon their ashes and they had been content in the common soldier's grave - in a distant land - beneath another sky - among strangers - nay, with foes to mingle - a stone not raised - a line not carved - but left alone with their glory. There their rest had been sweet, and when the tumult of war had been hushed, and peace restored and the semi-barbarian manners of the land had given place to a higher civilization, and the gorgeous mantle of successful agriculture spread over the plains of Buena Vista, their spirits from the heights of immortality might have looked down, proud - may I not say? - to read their own epitaphs, their lasting and proud memorials in the improvements, and elevation to respectability, of a country now degraded. But their native land, and you their friends, had yet stronger claims upon them, and it is your summons they obey, as this day they appear in your midst.

 

They come not to ask the honors you can confer, for spirits entered by the realities of the eternal state, doubtless contemplate higher honors and brighter rewards than earth affords. They ask no chronicler to record their deeds - no monument to perpetuate their memory - no place in the temple of fame. All they ask is leave to mingle their ashes with kindred and friends, beneath the clods of their own native soil. But though they ask it not, to them it is due - to their names it is due - to the cause of patriotism and the honor of their country it is due, that you record their noble deeds. Yes, when you shall have committed their "earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust," bidding them repose until the voice of the archangel and the trump of God shall summon them to the resurrection of the just - then spread it on the annals of your country, inscribe it on some enduring tablet, or some immovable pillar, on or near the bank of the great "Father of waters," where the passenger of future years - of ages yet unborn - may read it, that they fell in defense of their country's honor. Tell it to posterity, that they harkened to the call of duty. That they waited not, like noisy partisans or as less devoted patriots might have done, to hear a solution of the question, "How came the war?" The time for this question was passed. It existed in fact, and they fell that more now depended on active resistance on the scene of conflict than on a political controversy at home. And their illustrious example will have its influence in years to come. Future generations will rise up and call them blessed. And when controversy and political strife shall be resorted to, by some, as a remedy for the evils of war, the hoary sage will stand up in the councils of the wise and pointing to the faithful marble which you will have erected, will say, "thus acted the patriots of the nineteenth century."

 

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Thus have passed away in the brave and gallant spirits of Fletcher and Ferguson and Robbins. You know and honored them living, and now you mourn them, dead. But while the melting eye of pity drops a tear, and mourns their untimely end, and kindred and friends no less than kindred dear feel the pang of bereavement, there is infinite satisfaction in the reflection that they fell where duty called them. And this day they appear, not under the ordinary circumstances of death - not merely as men who have paid the last debt of nature, but as bleeding victims, immulated on the altar of their country. No hecatomb nor Trojan gift, nor Grecian sacrifice was ever half so costly. You sorrow not, then, as others who have an hope of good resulting from your loss. Their blod is not lost - the fire of their patriotism is not quenched - the savour of their names is not spent, nor has the effect of their labors ceased. Out of the ashes of each one will spring a thousand young spirits as gallant as themselves, ready to tread in their footsteps, the same rugged path of duty and glory, and ready, like them, to seal their oaths of allegiance to their country with the last flowing drop of their own heart's blood.

 

To the earth, the faithful guardian of the dead, we now commit their ashes. Their names, and chivalrous deeds, we commit to the keeping of a grateful country, which will, doubtless, preserve and hand them down to future ages, as bright specimens of early patriotism. Their spirits, we commend to God who gave them, expecting to hail them again in the resurrection of the just.

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THE LATE LIEUTENANT FLETCHER

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 23, 1847

The subjoined extract from the last letter, written by the lamented Lieut. Fletcher, to his respected father-in-law, Col. J. W. Scott of Greene County, was kindly submitted to our inspection yesterday morning, by this gentleman, with whose permission we give it a place in our columns. It would seem from the terms used by our gallant friend that he had some presentiment of his fall; and that the subject which most fully engrossed his thoughts, on what he expected to have been the eve of a sanguinary engagement with a vastly superior force, was the future welfare of his motherless child, not then quite two years old, and so soon, alas! to become fatherless also. Not the least among the many touching incidents attending the mournful solemnities of Wednesday, was the appearance, in the church, and in the procession, of the interesting object of so much solicitude, under the charge of her afflicted maternal grandfather and grandmother. That the wishes of her deceased parent, on the subject of her education, will be religiously and faithfully observed, we cannot doubt, and we trust that the child will grow up to honor, by a virtuous and exemplary life, the memory of her patriotic father, as well as to realize the fondest expectations of those friends who take a deep interest in her future welfare:

 

"Camp Buena Vista, Mexico, Jan. 14, 1847
Dear Colonel:
Tomorrow we expect to have an engagement with a superior Mexican force, and on the eve of the affair, I have believed it proper to address you a few lines. As you are well aware, the object nearest my heart is the welfare of my little child; and, so far as I have been able, I have provided for her. My wages, to the amount of two hundred and eighty dollars, are due me from the Government; besides a small sum owing me, as well as the contents of my trunk, and the books and other articles I may own, I have, in a memorandum in my trunk, left to her, and placed the whole in charge of Capt. Baker, to be forwarded to you in case I should fall - all of which I doubt not you will most religiously see appropriated to her use, as may best seem fit and proper by you and mother. And now, with respect to the child. Should I fall, I leave her entirely with you and your wife; but I have written to my brother, requesting him to throw his brotherly protection over her; and if, at any time, you think fit to send her to him, he will receive her as his own child and protect her as such. Should she remain with you, I wish that she should receive as good an education as the little means left her will afford: and above all things, teach her that truth and virtue are to woman, what the soul is to the body - the life of its life. Teach her that to be just to all - -in thought - in word - in deed, is the true - the great aim of a good mind; and those who strive to accomplish that purpose, seldom fail to live at peace with the world, and accomplish the "Great Destiny" for which they are created. I would say a thousand things more about her, and my wishes for her; but that would be superfluous - so I will revert to other subjects.
 

In death as in life,
Ever yours,
E. F. Fletcher"

 

A SOLDIER'S LAST LETTER

By Reverend Edward C. Jones

He folded up the written sheet,

Now moistened with a tear;

The foe tomorrow must he meet,

And he may not be here.

 

To stir the heart, what wrote he then

To light affection's flame,

Why trembles in his grasp the pen,

And shakes his manly frame.

 

His daughter, with her infant grace,

Her pratiling loves of glee,

Her sweet, confiding, artless face,

Her spirits blithe and free.

 

He give her to the guardian care

Of him, the cherished friend;

In Virtue's paths that child to rear,

Should war his being end.

 

And as he thinks the coming dawn

May rank him with the dead,

He longs to lay his hand upon

That bright and sunny head.

 

He longs to clasp her to his breast

And breathe the last adieu,

Before in that unbroken rest

He sinks from mortal view.

 

Relentless Fate - the wish how vain!

Denied that last caress;

Tomorrow saw that parent slain,

That daughter fatherless.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM GEORGE T. M. DAVIS

From Jalapa, Mexico, June 17, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1847

Today we evacuate Jalapa, and take up our line of march for Pebla, at present the Headquarters of the army. To get there we evidently shall have to fight our way through a very large force of guerrillas. About fifteen miles from here is a pass in the Perute mountains fifteen hundred guerrillas have entrenched themselves and will make the first stand in an attempt to cut off our train. Between Perote and Puebla a force of three thousand guerrillas have been thrown along the road, the whole under the command of General Bravo. Once beyond the pass, there will be no obstacle to our further advance. We are among the most warlike portion of the inhabitants of Mexico, and little or no doubt can exist but that we shall have to fight our way both in and out of the country, inch by inch. How many sincere wishes now escape the lips of the late calumniators in the regular army of the volunteers - "if we only had the old volunteers here we would be safe." Yes gentlemen, all this is too true. The injustice and aspersions with which they have been visited by you all during their twelve months' arduous campaign is the cause why you have not many of them with you still to add brilliancy to your achievements, and to insure your success in any attempt against the enemy. The battles of Buena Vista and Cerro Gordo have taught you that the volunteer citizen soldier, in the hour of peril, and where danger towers the darkest, is the most to be relied upon, and will achieve for his country what the mere mercenary soldier never can. And reluctantly you have been forced to acknowledge the valor, the prowess, and the efficiency of the citizen soldier.

 

I was never more relieved in my life than when I heard of the safe arrival at Vera Cruz of the small body of men that left here on the 8th inst., including the wounded men and those who had been left behind in the hospitals, sick, and as attendants, attached to the Third and Fourth Illinois Regiments. At the National Bridge, I learn they were vigorously attacked by the guerrillas, and five were killed. I trust in God none of those who fell were among the Illinois men. They have suffered and endured enough, to insure their safe arrival home.

 

From here we take the whole of our sick and wounded, among whom there is but one Illinois man - J. D. Todd of Company I, fourth Regiment. He was most horribly mangled about the head and neck by a cannon ball, and has come very near dying since his comrades in arms left for home. He is still in a very precarious situation, but I hope he will yet weather the storm. A braver man or better soldier never carried a musket, and after enduring and surviving so much, I fervently trust he will sufficiently recover to enable him to return to his own country and lay his bones among his kindred and friends. The mortality among the sick here has been awful; most of which is justly attributable to the filthiness and inattention of those having charge of the hospital.

 

General Shields is almost himself again, though still weak and debilitated. It is his design to take charge of a brigade on reaching Puebla, and to participate in any battle that the American army may have to fight, in cutting their way through to the city of Mexico and reducing it to our possession. He is unwilling to remain in the country, and more especially in the vicinity of a hard fought battle, and not participate in its dangers and its responsibilities.

 

From Perote, Mexico, June 22, 1847

Here we are at the castle of Perote, one of the strongest fortifications in the world. Having ascertained that the enemy was concentrated upon the heights that overhung the pass of the La Hoya, our march on the morning of the 20th was commenced with great care and circumspection. A little after sunrise, the advance of the column was put in motion to drive the guerrillas from their position. The skirmishing soon commenced, and was kept up some four or five hours, which resulted in the entire and complete rout of the enemy. The heights were immediately occupied with our troops that had gallantly scaled them, and the entire train carried through in safety. The loss of the enemy was considerable, between seventy and eighty being killed and eighteen taken prisoner. Two of their caves in the mountains, well supplied with provisions, some ammunition, and a few fire arms, were discovered and emptied of their contents.  One private in Captain Walker's Company was wounded slightly, and Captain Guthrie of the Fifteen Infantry was badly wounded in the leg.

 

One scene within the walls of the castle met my view that caused the blood to chill in my veins. Within the yard and near the outer wall that encircles the castle, stands a rude cross, around the base of which lie bleaching upon the sand the bones of a number of human beings. Upon this fatal spot, and tied to this cross, the Texian prisoners met their death by being shot. Their bodies were not even allowed a decent burial; but after being taken down from the cross, were thrown upon the ground and barely covered with sand, which in a brief period, was scattered by the rude blast that during one season of the year, almost incessantly sweeps over the plain. The Mexican government determined to release one portion of those confined as prisoners, and put the residue to death. The fate of each prisoner was determined in this wise.  A number of beans were placed in a hut, corresponding with the full number of Texians in confinement. Those beans that were black represented the number that were to die, while the white ones designated those that were to be released. The chances of each man's life or death was determined by the color of the bean he drew from the fatal hat. Captain Walker, commanding the company of mounted riflemen stationed at this post, was then a prisoner, as well as his brother. He drew a white bean and was liberated. His brother drew a black one and was put to death upon the cross. While a prisoner, with a chain and ball attached to his leg, subjected to the most menial service about the castle, he placed in a safe cavity in the wall a ten cent piece, with the aspiration that he might one day be allowed to take that same ten cent piece from its place of concealment, with the American flag floating in triumph from the walls of that castle. Visionary as at that time might have been regarded his hopes, he has been spared to have them fully realized; and among the first things that he did on arriving at Perote with his command, was to proceed to the castle, from whose battlements the star spangled banner did indeed wave in triumph, and take from its walls the ten cent piece he had years previously deposited there as a Mexican prisoner. With him, it is revenge, that nerves his arm and hardens his heart in all his engagements with the Mexicans, and the "story of his wrongs," oft repeated to his command upon the very spot where he endured his sufferings, and where yet stands the cross upon which his brother and fellow prisoners met their inhuman death, and were refused a Christian burial, inspires his men with the same feelings that animate him in every conflict with the enemy. Who can wonder that conflagration, and devastation, trace his march over the land of the Mexicans? Dr. Smith of Illinois has picked up several bones of the murdered Texians, that he designs taking home with him, and others of the medical faculty have done the same thing.

 

In this castle are to be left the prisoners we took at La Hoya, until their fate is determined by the General In Chief. Judging of the future by the past, they will be retained there for a period, and then released as an act of clemency and humanity. The deserts of several of them is death.

 

General Shields has improved very rapidly even since we commenced this march. Yesterday he rode some five or six miles on horseback for the first time, without feeling half the inconvenience he anticipated. On his arrival at Puebla, if he meets with no backset, he designs again taking charge of a brigade, especially if there is any probability of a battle between Puebla and the city of Mexico. He has not got his strength by a great deal, and I am still greatly apprehensive that his ambition will lead astray his better judgment, and that he will yet have a relapse.

 

Yours truly, George T. M. Davis

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PROPOSED MONUMENT FOR THE DEAD

Source: Alton Telegraph, July 30, 1847

We have been requested to state for the information of such as may be desirous of contributing to the monument, proposed to be erected in this city [Alton] to the memory of the lamented Lieutenants Fletcher, Ferguson, and Robbins, of the Alton Volunteer Guards, that they may enjoy this privilege by calling at the office of Edward Keating, Esq., on Second Street [Broadway] near State Street, where a subscription has been opened for the above laudable purpose. No citizen of Alton or Madison County, we trust, needs to be urged to contribute his mite towards an object which appeals so strongly to the best feelings and sympathies of very friend and acquaintance of the gallant dead, and of their former neighbors generally. A subscription paper, for the erection in the town of Jacksonville, his late place of reside3nce, of a suitable monument in honor of the heroic Colonel John J. Hardin of the First Illinois Regiment, who likewise fell on the glorious field of Buena Vista, has been left at the Telegraph office, where it may be examined by those willing to aid in perpetuating the memory of a man, not less distinguished for his great private worth, than by his eminent public services.

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ALTON GUARD, JAMES RICKETTS, AS MIRACULOUS RECOVERY

Source: Alton Telegraph, August 6, 1847

We had the pleasure, two or three days since, of conversing for a short time with Mr. James Ricketts, a member of the Alton Volunteer Guards, who was desperately wounded in the memorable battle of Buena Vista, and whose escape from death may indeed be considered almost miraculous. He was in the last charge, which proved fatal to so many of our brave fellow citizens, and in which the noble band to which he was attached bore so honorable a part; and while in the ravine in which the principal loss was sustained, gallantly contending against an immensely superior force, he was struck on the head by a lance, which fractured his skull and laid him senseless. While in this condition, the enemy's lancers, according to their invariable practice in such cases, inflicted upon him thirteen other wounds, more or less severe - four about the throat and neck, one of which nearly approached the jugular vein - three on the face, and the others about the head, after which they stripped him of his money and other articles. Mr. Ricketts remained in this situation until the evening, when his comrades, upon an examination of his body, finding that he still breathed, removed him to Saltillo, where his wounds were dressed. It was not then thought probable that he would survive, but contrary to all expectation, he had so far recovered, at the time the Illinois regiments were discharged, as to be able to accompany them home, and is now nearly well of all his wounds except the first, which will require another surgical operation before a perfect cure can be effected. This is a bad fracture of the skull, near the top of the head, causing a portion of the bone, of about the size of half a dollar, to sink to the depth of perhaps half an inch or upwards, and probably to press upon the brain. The depressed part was raised some time after the wound was received, but having again sunk in the process of healing, threatens serious consequences unless replaced in its proper position, which, Mr. Ricketts informs us, is about to be attempted by an experienced operator. With the exception of the pain and sundry unpleasant symptoms occasionally arising from this wound, his general health is good, and although he will bear the marks of his numerous other injuries to the grave, they now cause him little or no inconvenience. We trust the operation he is about to undergo will completely restore him, and that, ere long, nothing will remind him of his wounds except the honorable scars.

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UPPER ALTON COMPANY UNDER CAPTAIN JOSIAH LITTLE CALLED TO DUTY

Source: alton Telegraph, September 3, 1847

We learn that our worthy neighbor, Captain Josiah Little of Upper Alton, who, it may be recollected, raised a fine company of cavalry about two months since, with a view to join the army in Mexico, but the services of which were not then accepted, was advised on Saturday last by the Secretary of War that the said company will now be received into the service of the United States. As in consequence of their non-acceptance at the time above stated, some of those who first joined have since left this part of the state, a few active and patriotic young men of good habits and willing to serve their country will be now received to their stead. All so disposed are there invited to meet at Upper Alton on this and the following days, when an opportunity will be afforded them to join the company. The time of departure and the place of destination of which will be then made known. Those who do not wish to be left behind will do well to apply promptly.

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BARBECUE GIVEN FOR RETURNING SOLDIERS

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 10, 1847

Given on Friday last by the citizens of Upper Alton in honor of the gallant volunteers of the Second Regiment [Alton Guards] and their brave comrades, in conformity with previous arrangements, passed off very handsomely, and was attended by a large concourse of people from this and the adjoining counties. At ten o'clock in the forenoon, the procession was formed to Manning Street, under the direction of N. G. Edwards, Esq., Marshal of the day, assisted by Dr. F. Humbert and Messrs. H. P. Hulbert, Mark Dickson, C. A. Moore, William Hundley, J. P. Delaplain, I. B. Randle, L. J. Cooper, and E. Thorp; when, after marching down College Avenue to the grove adjoining the Baptist Church - where it received a large accession to its numbers - it proceeded, under the escort of Captain Nutter's light infantry company, and accompanied by the Upper Alton Brass Band, to the Public Square, where the returned volunteers, under the orders of Captain Baker of the Alton Guards, and Captain Wheeler of the Edwardsville Company, had been paraded by Major George W. Long. The procession here received their honored guests, and then moved back to the grove already mentioned, which was occupied by a large number of ladies and gentlemen; when our gallant citizen soldiers were welcomed by the Hon. William Martin, in behalf of the citizens of Upper Alton and Madison County, in the following eloquent terms:

 

"Gentlemen: On me the honor has been conferred by the citizens of Upper Alton, in a formal manner, to welcome you on your return to this state, and to your kindred and friends. The citizens of this state owe to the returning volunteers a debt of gratitude. This is due to them, for the virtue, the valor, and the humanity they have displayed during the campaign from which you have just returned. And be assured, gentlemen, that none more highly appreciate these noble qualities that you have shown yourselves to possess than do those citizens by whose request, and in whose behalf, I now address you. This public exhibition of our regard for you and of the esteem in which we hold your public services will prove that we desire to bear testimony of our gratitude, in the only appropriate way in which that can be done under present existing circumstances.

 

Here is a large assembly of citizens, met to cheer the return of the citizen soldier, who has been preserved from the perils of war; and to sympathize with him in all those incidents that gave him pleasure or pain, during his absence from his friends and his country. Whence came these feelings, that have induced the preparation and this vast collection of citizens? They are not produced from a vain desire of a servile nation to conciliate a despot, but they arise from the outpouring of the heart of a free, sovereign people, who neither know or acknowledge a superior; who do nothing for effect, but who are full of the love of country and always forward to reward such as sacrifice their own interest to the public good.

 

We are a nation who soon perceive and who duly appreciate generous acts, that look to the public welfare, and are always ready to reward them. We are not unmindful of our condition when hostilities began between ourselves and the Republic of Mexico. We then saw the veil clouds of war hanging over our beloved country, and ready to break upon us with fearful disaster. The time had come when the energies of the state, in part, were to take a new direction and to assume the character of the soldier. A call is made upon this state, inviting the noble and the brave to step forward into the ranks of the army of the Republic, and to defend our common country against the foreign foe.

 

This was a peculiar period in the history of Illinois, from it we may date a new era in our political history. On that occasion, you were seen to withdraw from the pursuits of civil life, and to array yourselves on the side of your country; to form a band of citizen soldiers whose conduct in the field was to reflect honor or disgrace upon our state. Our character for  valor in arms had not been established, as an opportunity had been afforded to test the courage of our citizens in war; and public opinion had decided against the utility of an army composed of volunteers, supposing that the citizen could not fight until he had been drilled in a military camp for many years.

 

The rapidity with which our volunteers were raised induced some to believe that when their patriotic zeal had time to abate, when they had duly considered the task upon which they had entered, when they should be put under strict military discipline and should encounter the hardships and privations of the camp, that they would become dejected and broken in spirit, and finally show a want of courage in the face of the enemy. When it was also remembered that we were to contend with a nation who had some veteran troops, who were to fight as they supposed, for their altars, their homes, and for their national existence - these considerations, operating upon many of our fellow citizens, left room to doubt whether you would be able, in the hour of severe trial, to sustain the character and honor of the state. Hence it was that all our hopes and fears were centered upon you. You had in your keeping the reputation of our state, and also the reputation of its citizens.

 

It was well said by another, on an occasion similar to the present, that when you left us we followed you on the broad stream of the Mississippi; across the gulf of Mexico; through Texas; and in all your way until you reached the bloody field of Buena Vista, because we fell deep anxiety. We felt that all we held dear to us was in your hands - our honor, our state pride, our military reputation - all was to be lost or won by your conduct in the first conflict of arms. When that conflict came, you nobly sustained yourselves and the honor of the state; you preserved our state pride, and established for us a military reputation equal to that enjoyed by any nation. You were found on that bloody field in the hottest of the fight, doing battle under those beautiful banners that had been presented to you by your fair countrywomen.

 

Your conduct at Buena Vista, for coolness and courage, could not be surpassed. You fought against fearful odds, but with a determination to conquer. Beating down a superior force, you advance upon the enemy's lines, until overcome by numbers, you are forced to retreat under a galling fire. You then re-form, in good order, and in good time re-attack the enemy in his strong position, and put him to the rout at the point of time when the foe is sure of victory. The day upon which you thus distinguished yourselves was a proud day for the state. The lustre of your achievements were reflected upon all the citizens, and while we submitted to none of the hardships of the camp, nor to the perils of war, still we have a full share of the glory won by our arms on that memorable occasion.

 

This is the cause of our gratitude, and that gratitude is increased when we appreciate the great sacrifices you made to secure so much renown. Among the volunteers, in the ranks of the army of the Republic, called out in 1846, we find from Illinois a large number of our most valuable men - the flower of the state - men who, at home, were surrounded with families and friends; possessing wealth and talent, holding lucrative and honorable offices under the state and general governments; in active and profitable business, and surrounded with all the other means required to fill up their earthly enjoyment. When the call is made to arms, all these are left behind, and exchanged for the tented field; exchanged for the perils and hardships of a military campaign; exchanged for the chances of disease and death in a foreign land, and for the certainty of danger and death on the field of battle. Citizens that have given up so much; who have sacrificed so much; who have accomplished so much for the honor of the state; and who have set an example so worthy of imitation, are surely entitled to the lasting gratitude of their fellow citizens.

 

I will now speak of the illustrious dead, who have fallen in the defense of the country. In this war, the arms of the Republic have been successful; but this success has been attended with a great loss of many of the noblest men in the Western states. In the fall of those gallant men, we deeply sympathize. They formed with us but a part of the great political family, who have but one cause, one interest, and one destiny; they placed themselves in peril for the good of the Republic. Their memory should, therefore, be held by us in sacred and most holy reverence. In such remembrance we hold the officers and men who have fallen in the present war, and especially those officers and men who fell at Buena Vista. Those officers that fell on that occasion were among the noblest of the states from whence they came, possessed of virtue and intellect, and all the other qualities that placed them high in the affections of the people. Inspired with the love of country - fired with an ambition for honorable distinction, they led to battle those thousands who had made them chief.

 

They fought with desperate courage, and while victory remained doubtful amid the clash of arms, the roar of cannon, the groans of the dying and the mournful spectacle of those who had dfallen in battle, and while urging their men on to the conflict, they are stricken to the earth, and numbered with the honored dead. They moulder in the dust, but their memories live, enshrined in the hearts of their countrymen. The record of their deeds in the service of their country will fill the brightest pages in our national history. Their virtues and their noble deeds will be pointed to in after times, as examples worthy of imitation. We deplore the loss the country has sustained in their fall, and while we contemplate with pride the brilliant career of our arms in the present war, we are overcome with silent, solemn grief that the gallant dead, who did so much to add splendor to our achievements, are not with us to share in our rejoicings. Time will obliterate the keenest sermons, and although we may not hereafter feel so deeply the loss of our beloved departed friends, still their names, their virtues, and their valor will always be referred to with a sacred feeling of reverance for their memory. Their memory will always live green and blooming in the hearts of the countrymen.

 

Gentlemen, I must close, as other speakers are to claim your further attention. I will, therefore, again welcome you in behalf of this assembly, on your return to civil life, to your homes and to your friends. In their behalf, I also big you a hearty welcome to the hospitalities of the occasion, got up in testimony of the esteem in which we hold the services you have rendered to the country. These services we duly appreciate. You were ready and willing in the hour of danger to stand up and defend the country; so will you find your fellow-citizens as ready and willing, on a proper occasion, to render you a just reward."

 

To this address, Captain Wheeler, in the name of the returned volunteers, gave a brief but neat and appropriate reply; at the close of which the procession was again formed and marched through the several streets designated in the program, to the large and beautiful grove adjoining the public grounds in Salu, where the principal part of the ceremonies were intended to take place, and were there received by a salute from a piece of ordnance. At the entrance of the grove had been erected a large and handsome triumphal arch, neatly adorned with wreaths of evergreens and flowers, and surmounted by two flags. Beneath the arch a platform had been raised for the use of the orator of the day, and against its columns were suspended beautifully painted in gilt letters, upon a blue ground, the names of the different encampments of the Second Regiment in their long march through the Mexican territory, viz: Lavacca, San Antonio, Presidio, Monclova, Parras, Saltillo, Monterey, Camargo, Matamoros, and Brazos Santiago - the name of the field of their glory, Buena Vista, being inscribed conspicuously on the apex.

 

When the head of the procession reached the arch, the whole was formed in close order. George B. Arnold, Esq., the orator of the day, then delivered a short and extemporaneous but eloquent and appropriate address to the large assemblage present, of which, as it was not in our power to take notes, we shall not do him the injustice to attempt giving even a synopsis. Suffice it to say, that while the speaker strongly and unequivocally avowed his decided opposition to all wars, as contrary to the spirit of the age and imminently dangerous to human liberty and social improvement, and expressed the opinion that the period was approaching when the area of freedfom would be so extended as to embrace the whole world, he at the same time did ample justice to the valor, humanity, and praise-worthy conduct of the gallant citizen-soldiers who had so nobly sustained the honor of Illinois during the late memorable campaign.

 

At the close of the address, which was listened to with breathless attention by the surrounding multitude, fifty-two beautiful young ladies, all uniformly and very neatly arrayed in white, with crimson sashes, who formed by no means the least attractive or interesting part of the procession, and each provided with wreaths of flowers and evergreens, passed under the arch and took a position on stands prepared for the occasion on each side of the entrance. The returned volunteers then marched in, and as they passed along, received the wreaths from the fair donors, and disposed of the same in various ways about their persons. They were followed by the remainder of the procession, all of whom moved to the center of the grove and sat down to enjoy the good things so plentifully set before them.

 

Of the entertainment, it is impossible to speak in too flattering terms. We have attended many in different places, and on a great variety of occasions, but have never been presented at one better, if so well got up - whether in regard to the abundance and richness of the repast, the excellence of the arrangements, the unwearied attention bestowed upon the guests, or the perfect order which prevailed throughout. Among the meats provided for the festival, we notices particularly a large and beautiful buck, killed by William Gill, Esq., of Wood River [township], and roasted whole, which in point of delicacy, equaled, if not surpassed, anything of the venison kind previously set before us on any occasion; and the rest of the fare was not less excellent. We are unable to state with certainty how many persons partook of the barbecue, but as 1,600 plates were set on the tables, and as neartly all successively accommodated two persons, it is believed that 3,000 cannot be an over estimate. So abundant, however, was the supply, that after all had satisfied the calls of hunger, to which a pretty long march had given a keen edge, enough was left to furnish a plentiful feast for nearly an equal number.

 

At the conclusion of the repast, George Smith, Esq., president of the day, assisted by B. L. Dorsey and D. J. Baker, Esqs., as vice-presidents, and accompanied by L. H. Parsons, Esq., toastmaster, and N. G. Edwards, Esq., Chief Marshal, asconded a convenient stand, erected in the center of the grove, and surmounted by the Stars and Stripes, were followed with toasts and responded to by loud cheers from the company, appropriate music from the band, and a salute from the cannon.

 

The toasts being disposed of, Mr. Friend, the celebrated Falsetto-Sloger and vocalist, being on the ground, was loudly called for, and having promptly made his appearance on the stand, amused and gratified the company by singing in his usually felicitous style, a variety of patriotic and humorous pieces, suited to the occasion. The assemblage was then dismissed in handsome styled by the Chief Marshal. We understand that the festivities of the day were closed by a ball in the evening, but as wel did not attend it, we can give no other account of it than simply to remark that those who were present say that it passed off very pleasantly.

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CAVALRY COMPANY WILL BE MUSTERED IN

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 10, 1847

Captain Little's Cavalry Company will, we understand, be mustered into the service of the United States at Upper Alton, on Monday next at two o'clock in the afternoon. It is now nearly full, but a few active well-disposed young men will be received upon making immediate application at the place of rendezvous.

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THE LATE VICTORIES

Source: Alton Telegraph, September 24, 1847

Aware of the deep anxiety with which most of our readers are looking for the particulars of the great battles of the 19th and 20th ult., we shall offer no apology for the space occupied in our present number by the additional intelligence on this interesting subject, which has reached us since our last publication. The people of Illinois will perceive with feelings of excusable state pride that much of the success of our arms is due to the gallantry, skill, and coolness of our distinguished fellow-citizen, General James Shields, who had sufficiently recovered from the terrible wound he received at Cerro Gordo, to take a prominent part in the late glorious actions. Whether the negotiations entered into between the Commissioners of the two nations will result in the conclusion of a treaty of peace or in the speedy renewal of hostilities, is now quite as uncertain here as it was eight or ten days ago. We are inclined to hope for the first alternative - not such much, however, on account of the repeated defeats of the Mexicans and especially of their late tremendous overthrow, as because we think President Polk, in view of the certainty of a Whig majority in the next House of Representatives will be anxious to bring the war to a close before the meeting of Congress.

 

Our loss in the late great battles near the city of Mexico, is thus reported in the official returns, viz:

 

 

 

We do not perceive the name of any Illinoian among the killed or wounded; and as the term of service of our first volunteers had expired about two months before the battles were fought while the last had not yet reached the seat of war, it is probably that but few of our brave fellow-citizens, except the gallant General Shields and his staff, enjoyed the opportunity of distinguishing themselves on that occasion.

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THE ILLINOIS TROOPS

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 8, 1847

Three trains were sent from Vera Cruz within a few days previous to the 14th ult., the first under command of Lt. Colonel Hughes, which took and occupied the National Bridge; the second under Col. Collins of Illinois; and the third under Captain Heitzelman. On the 19th, General Lane joined them, and moved forward with 2,200 men to reinforce General Scott.

 

William Pierce, an Illinois volunteer, was badly wounded at Vera Cruz on the 15th. His arm was subsequently amputated. The Delta correspondent of the 14th ult., says:

 

There has been two deaths this week at the camp at Cerra Gordo, both occurring in the First Battalion of the Illinois Regiment. E. D. Anderson, First Lieutenant, Company A., died on the 11th, and James R. Lynch, Second Lieutenant same company, on the following morning. The bodies were interred with the military honors, by a detachment of the Louisiana Battalion, under command of Lieut. Read. In consequence of the number of sick at camp belonging to the Illinois, this duty devolved on the battalion here. It was performed with characteristic promptitude and the marked respect that even in death is shown by the gallant soldier to his deceased comrade.

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REMAINS OF CAPTAIN FRANKLIN NILES LAID TO REST

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 8, 1847

The remains of this lamented officer, who, it will be recollected, departed this life on the 24th of July last, at One Hundred and Ten Mile Creek, when on the march to Santa Fe with his regiment, were brought to this city on Saturday last on the Governor Briggs, in charge of the committee heretofore appointed for the purpose by the people of this county; and removed to Edwardsville, his late place of residence, for interment. We learn that the funeral, which took place on Monday last, was attended by a very large concourse of cvitizens, and conducted with great solemnity; but as no account of the ceremonies has been forwarded to us, we are unable to lay them before our readers.

 

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 15, 1847

A large meeting of the citizens of Edwardsville, Illinois was held at the Courthouse on the evening of the 2d inst., to make arrangements for the burial of the late Captain Franklin Niles, deceased. Whereas the remains of our esteemed and lamented friend and fellow citizens, Captain Franklin Niles, who died on his route to Mexico on the 24th day of July last, while zealously engaged in vindicating the honor of our country, and upholding her arms in the war with Mexico, have been brought to this place, his adopted home, where they are to remain forever. And whereas, it is in accordance with the feelings of the citizens of this place and vicinity, who have desired their removal here, that a proper tribute of respect should be shown to the memory of the deceased, on account of his many excellent qualities of head and heart. We tender our heartfelt thanks to Lieutenants John A Buckmaster and William B. Reynolds, for the prompt, zealous and indefatigable manner in which they have discharged the duty, voluntarily undertaken by them, of visiting the place of the death of Captain Niles, at 110 Mile Creek, in the Indian Territory, and bringing home his remains. That the noble perseverance displayed by Lieuts. Buckmaster and Reynolds, on that occasion, is worthy of the fame they acquired on the field of Buena Vista, and attests the true feeling of one gallant soldier for another. We tender our sincere thanks to our fellow citizens of Alton for the generous assistance they have extended to us on this occasion.

 

The body of Captain Niles was removed on Saturday night to the house of Joseph Gillespie, Esq., where it remained until Monday at 3 o'clock p.m., when it was taken to the Protestant Episcopal Church to this place. In accordance with the request of the committee of arrangements, the burial service was performed according to the ritual of that church, by the Rev. Dr. Darrow, in an exceedingly appropriate and impressive manner; after which the procession was formed: the Rev. Clergy in front, followed by the hearse, accompanied by six pallbearers in scarves; the family, and a very large concourse of citizens in carriages, on horseback, and on foot; and proceeded to the burying ground, where the funeral obsequies were completed by the Rev. Dr. Darrow, and the body consigned to its last resting place. Throughout the entire proceedings, the deepest feelings seemed to pervade the community, well attesting the grief which the death of Captain Niles inspired amongst his numerous friends and acquaintances.

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PORTIONS OF A LETTER FROM D. T. B.

Camp Near Matamoras, September 22, 1847

Source: Alton Telegraph, October 29, 1847

Since my last, we have experienced quite a change in the temperature of our climate. The wind, which had been blowing from off the Gulf, has shifted to a N. N. E. course. The atmosphere is now cool and pleasant, and the horizon clouded with a hazy, smoky appearance, must resembling the Indian Summer of Illinois. This change has brought with it a great improvement in the health of the troops. Many have returned from the hospital, and nearly the whole of the remainder are fast recovering. Our present force consists of Colonel Temple's battalion of the 10th Regiment, and the two companies of Illinois and Alabama cavalry. Colonel Davenport has found it very difficult to enforce those rules of law and order which he, as civil and military governor of this post, is authorized to execute. Scarcely a day has passed over without the record of some outrage, perpetrated upon person or property, in some gaming shop, bye-street, or brothel in Matamores. Seven or eight murders have been committed during the last week. Yesterday, one of the rangers was arrested upon the charge of killing three Mexicans, in and about the city. About the same time, one of the city sentinels was shot while on duty upon his post. These outrages arise from the total inadequacy of a military establishment to answer the end for which Government is instityuted - the security of person and property.  Yours truly, D. T. B.

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CAPTAIN GEORGE T. M. DAVIS APPOINTED SECRETARY TO MAJOR GENERAL GUILMAN

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 12, 1847

Our friend, the Captain George T. M. Davis, has been appointed Secretary to Major General Quilman, the Civil and Military Governor of Mexico. A rumor to the same effect reached this place a few weeks since, but as no direct intelligence from the gentleman in question has reached us, or any member of his family, for some months past, and as General Shields, whose Aid he still was at the last accounts, is about to return home, we know not what credit is due to the statement. The next arrivel from Vera Cruz will probably furnish authentic information on this, and many other interesting subjects.

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ILLINOIS VOLUNTEERS - CAPTAIN LITTLE'S COMPANY

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 12, 1847

Among the troops lately arrived here from the West, there is not a more splendid body than the company of Illinois Mounted Riflemen, brought down on the Little Missouri on Saturday last, and commanded by that staunch old patriot, Captain Josiah Little. This gallant gentleman raised the company by his own influence and exertions in the neighborhood of Alton. He is famed for his urbanity and unbounded hospitality. This company is a volunteer one in every acceptation of the term; having proffered in services at a time of need without a requitition and been redily accepted. They are a fine stout set of young men, and willl, no doubt, gather laurels in plenty, should occasion for a display of their prowess occur.

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THE DEATH OF LIEUTENANT CHARLES P. HAZARD OF ALTON

Source: Alton Telegraph, November 12, 1847

I learn with unfeigned regret the death of Lieut. Charles P. Hazard, late of Alton, and nothing during the whole course of my life has ever appeared to me more melancholy than the circumstances under which it occurred.  A young man fresh and vigorous to hope, daring and commendable in ambition, refined and cultivated in taste, generous and affable in heart, he has been stricken down in all the pride of youth, just as he had reached forth his arms to clasp the reward of his labors.  Lieutenant Hazard was a native of Westerly, Rhode Island, and came to Alton in the Spring of 1842. Then leaving his friends and relinquishing all the deepest ties of our nature, he came forth to seek his "fame and fortune" in the wild and stirring scenes of the West. He had not, however, remained here long before he determined to give himself a finished education, and for that purpose entered our University at Upper Alton, where he continued for some years to pursue his studies with honest assiduity, beloved by his companions and respected by the professors. But when the sound of war was heard in our land, and the old and the young alike pressed forward to fill our ranks, his ardent spirit partook of the excitement around him, and yearned for the actions of the field. Circumstances, however, then prevented him from gratifying his most cherished wish, and it was not until the present fall, after having surmounted the most perplexing difficulties, that he was enabled to offer his services to his country. By the constant and unremitting exertions a beautiful company of horse was then raised, which alike reflected honor upon him, and credit upon his adopted state. In this he was justly and unanimously chosen First Lieutenant. With his active mind, ever solicitous of responsibilities, he cheerfully performed all the duties and even drudgeries of the company, both during its organization as well as after its reception. No obstacle seemed capable of discouraging him. With a ready hand, he took hold of whatever there was to be done, and his sanguine nature prompted him to look beyond to a day of sunshine and reward. At length the time arrived for his departure with his troops. But the difficulties which he had encountered, the anxieties with which he was affronted, the exposures to which he was necessitated, all gradually had conspired to enfeeble his constitution, delicate by nature. And as he left us, his thin and care-worn countenance, filled his friends with apprehension for his safety, and seemed to betoken his melancholy fate. At the barracks, whither he proceeded, his health rapidly declined until at length he was confined to his bed. Yet even then, he did not wholly relax in his labors; but summoned all his energies to the performance of his duty. At length, the day came when his comrades were to be borne to the seat of war. His alarming condition induced many of his friends to solicit him to remain behind them, but for a moment he would not listen to such counsel, and disregarding all fears, he insisted upon being carried onboard of the boat, that he might accompany his companions. He had flattered himself that a change of climate might improve his health, but it was found all to be of no avail. He rapidly declined, until he arrived at Memphis, Tennessee, when it was impossible for him to proceed farther. His companions bore him in their arms on shore, and there, taking an affectionate farewell, left him in a strange land, among strangers, to linger out the last sad hours of his existence. He expired on the morning of the 10th of October, in the 27th year of his age, and a nobler and more generous soul was never borne to the "spirit land." His loss has been deeply felt by his friends, and his amiable virtues will long be remembered by all who knew him. It indeed was not reserved for him to yield his life upon the field of battle, but not the less should we regard him as among the number of those who have generously sacrificed themselves for their country. Although it was not for him to expire amid the shouts of victory, and his name stands forth only in its simple virtue, unadorned by any brilliant exploits, yet had his life been spared, we cannot doubt but his would have added another name to that galaxy of heroes, who reflect such glory upon our arms. As it is, we, all of us, cannot but lament his untimely death, and say, peace to the beating heart, and warm spirit of the young soldier, who has left us in order to go "where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest."  Signed by "A Friend."

 

[Note: Lieutenant Charles P. Hazard, born November 25, 1820, was buried beside his father, Captain Joshua Hazard, and his mother, Elizabeth Niles Hazard, in the River Bend Cemetery, Westerly, Rhode Island.]

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CAPTAIN GEORGE T. M. DAVIS RETURNS FROM MEXICO

Source: Alton Telegraph, December 24, 1847

Captain George T. M. Davis, one of the editors of the Alton Telegraph, and known as the Secretary of General Shields in Mexico, and a correspondent of several Whig newspapers in this country, has returned from Mexico, and announced his determination of withdrawing from the Telegraph on account of a difference of opinion between himself and his associate, Mr. Bailhache, on the subject of Presidential candidates, the latter having declared for Taylor.

 

On Wednesday last, the citizens of Alton honored our gallant friend, Captain George T. M. DAvis, with a public dinner, as a testimonial of their deep sense of the important military services he has rendered our common country since the commencement of the present war, and especially in the series of brilliant action which have so greatly distinguished the late glorious campaign. At two o'clock, the company assembled at the Alton House, and at three, sat down to a sumptuous dinner prepared in Mr. Corson's best style, to which all present did ample justice. Among the gentlemen in attendance, we had the pleasure of meeting a portion of the Rev. Clergy of the city, as well as of the brave officers of the Second Regiment Illinois Volunteers, who so greatly distinguished themselves in the ever memorable field of Buena Vista, residing in this county - all of whom had received cards of invitation - and regret that indisposition or the necessity of attending to other indispensable duties, should have prevented any of them from being present. At the close of the dinner, Dr. B. K. Hart, president of the day, proposed a sentiment, complimentary of Captain Davis. After the cheering with which the above was received had subsided, Captain Davis rose and addressed the company in a very interesting speech, the delivery of which occupied neatly an hour, and to which, after returning his grateful acknowledgments to his fellow citizens for the present manifestation of their personal regard, as well as their approbation of his conduct in the trying scenes through which he had so recently passed, he explained at some length his views in relation to the existing war, and the only mode in which a lasting and honorable peace could be secured. The sentiments were heavily responded to by the company, as well as by appropriate airs from the City Band, who had kindly volunteered their services for the occasions, and the company retired at an early hour, highly gratified with their entertainment, and the cause which had brought them together. As no intoxicating drinks of any kind appeared on the table, it is unnecessary to add that nothing occured to mar the festivities of the day, which will long be rememberedf as one of the most pleasant ever passed in this city.

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NEWS FROM THE ILLINOIS TROOPS

From Jalapa, Mexico, January 9, 1848

Source: Alton Telegraph, February 4, 1848

With deep sorrow I announce the demise of Captain James Bowman, Company A, Second Regiment, Illinois Volunteers, who departed this life on the 28th day of December, after a short but violent attack of what is known in Illinois as "putrid sore throat." Also,k the demise of First Lieutenant William R. Holder, Company A., same regiment, on the morning of the 2d instant. They were interred with the honors of war, in presence of many officers of the army.

 

In the announcement of the decease of the above two officers, it will be noticed that five of the highest offices in Company A have been vacated by death, viz: Captain Bowman, Lieutenant Holder, Lieutenant Anderson, Lieutenant Newby, and First Sergeant James Mathewann. What a change in the short space of five months! And yet the tale is not all told. Twenty-three others of that company are sleeping their eternal sleep beneath the earthy covering of Mexico. And as, if one command should not have cause to complain more than another, the "Grim Monster" has taken from the other four companies (pretty equally) a number which swells our total of deaths to ninety-eight, from this location alone since landing in Mexico.

 

I would not forget to mention the death of one much beloved in our battalion - William G. Taylor, Quartermaster's Sergeant. The upright, the sensitive, the noble-hearted Taylor is also a victim. His heart beats no more with grief at the loss or distress of his friends, or the sufferings of humanity. No more is heard those kind and encouraging words to the sick and dying. Not! He has joined his unfortunate comrades. Sergeant Taylor was a young man, possessing an amiable disposition of fine talents and fair promise, and in his loss Illinois has much to regret. Captain Bowman was a good officer and jealous for the honor of Illinois, much liked by his men and much lamented in his loss. He is from Jefferson County, where he leaves a wife and four or five children. His loss to them is irreparable. Lieutenant Holder is from the same county. His course has been such as to win for him the hearty goodwill of the battalion.

 

Signed by F.

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TREATY OF PEACE

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 3, 1848

But little information on the subject of the Treaty with Mexico has reached us. All that is certain is that an arrangement of some kind, having for its object the restoration of peace, has been entered into, that it has received the sanction of the acting Executive, and will probably be approved by the Mexican Congress, and that it has been submitted to the U. S. Senate by President Polk for ratification. Of its terms we know nothing, except from repast, but a few days will probably enable us to ascertain its true character, as well as its fate, of which our readeres will be promptly advised.

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PEACE TREATY RATIFIED

Source: Alton Telegraph, March 17, 1848

Most of our readers will rejoice to learn that the Treaty of Peace, recently negotiated by Mr. Trist with the Mexican Commissioners, was ratified by the U. S. Senate on Monday evening last, by a vote of 88 to 15, being the requisite constitutional majority. The territory ceded to the United States contains about 600,000 square miles, with a population of nearly 100,000 souls, for which we are to pay the sum of $20,000,000, including the claims of our own citizens upon Mexico, which are to be discharged by the government. The modifications insisted upon by the Senate are generally supposed to refer to certain grants of land in Texas, made before 1836, and to large indemnities to Mr. McIntosh, an Englishman residing in Mexico, who is reported to have taken a very active part in bringing the negotiation to a favorable issue, which were recognized by the Treaty, but deemed entirely inadmisible.

 

 
 

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