Dragoons 1833-1850

by Will Gorenfeld on November 24, 2015



What follows is an attachment of sundry materials dealing with the 1st Dragoons gathered over by the years by the authors and Tim Kimball.


  1. Muster Rolls of Selected Companies of the 1st Dragoons, 1834-1847

Company B, 1st Dragoons, May 30, 1834



Capt. E. V. Sumner

1st Lt. Thomas Swords

2nd Lt. J. H. K. Burgwin

Bvt. 2nd Lt. George McClure


Non-Commissioned Officers Place and Date of Enlistment   Stoppages for lost equipage


1st Sgt. Samuel Roberts           Youngstown, Ohio      May 12, 1833

Sgt. John Leton                       Utica, N.Y.                  May 21

Sgt. Samuel Jordan                  Salina, N.Y.                 May 20

Sgt. Jacob Martin                    Canandaigua, N.Y.      April 17

Corp. Aaron Young                Cleveland, Ohio          Aug. 6

Corp. Nelson Derthick           Canandaigua, N.Y.      May 1

Corp. Joseph Fenton              Watertown, N.Y.        May 27

Corp. Timothy Kempshall     Utica, N.Y.                  June 17

Bugler John Leprey                Brownsville, N.Y.       July 11

Bugler Caleb Goodrich            Utica, N.Y.                  May 21

Farrier James White                Sackets Harbor, N.Y.  July 23




William Belding                       Canandaigua                April 22, 1833

Theodore Bingham                  Utica                           July 22

William Bennett                      Utica                           June 6

Benjamin Casterline                Utica                           May 3

James Craig                             Brownsville               July 6  rifle flask

George Clarke                         Canandaigua                July 23            breast plate, rifle flask,

Faustus Close                         Canandaigua                April 29

Robert Dickerson                    Canandaigua                May 11

George Daggett                       Brownsville                 July 6    spur

Norman Fullington                  Canandaigua                May 9

James Fletcher                                    Brownsville                 July 6

Nathan Fitch                           Cleveland                    April 5

David Grummon                     Canandaigua                May 9

John Grantor                           Utica                           June 25   spur

John Goodall                           Utica                           June 13

Phillip George                         Brownsville                 June 21

Seth Hubbell                           Utica                           May 20

Lewis Halstead                       Canandaigua                May 3 wiper

James Heald                            Brownsville                 July 6

James Hildreth                        Genoa, N.Y.                Aug. 6

Willis Kelsey                          Cleveland                    Aug. 2

Aron LaFleu                            Canandaigua                April 15

George Latham                        Utica                           July 1

Archibald Montgomery          Youngstown, Ohio      May 4 curry comb, brush

Alfred Miller                           Sackets Harbor            May 28

John Marble                            Watertown                  June 6

William McCann                     Utica                           June 17 rifle flask

John Oatman                           Utica                           June 12

Abel Osmun                            Cleveland                    Aug. 6

William Pennington                 Utica                           July 1  screw driver

Horace Partridge                     Canandaigua                May 30 waist belt, plate, wiper

Peter Rhoda                            Canandaigua                April 18 rifle flask

Ira Rosier                                Youngstown                April 27 pair of spurs

Samuel Runnion                      Youngstown                May 30

James Rundel                          Cleveland                    August 6

George Rockwood                  Brownsville                 June 30

John Smith                              Utica                           May 3

Joseph Sayer                           Canandaigua                June 26

William Sheldon                      Utica                           July 20

Andrew Snyder                       Canandaigua                May 16

John Sherwood                       Cleveland                    April 15

George Thatcher                     Canandaigua                May 30

Lester Templar                       Utica                           May 10

William Vann                          Utica                           June 25

Benjamin Vanbauchoten         Cleveland                    Aug. 6

Arthur Washburn                    Utica                           June 22

Abiatha Walden                      Cleveland                    Aug. 6

Hiram Young                           Canandaigua                May 9




Robert Green                          Roscoe, Ohio              Aug. 9




James Fitch                             Brownsville                 June 21






Company I, 30 April 1835

Camp Des Moines, Iowa Territory



Capt. Jesse Browne, present, sick.

1st Lt. Abraham Van Buren, absent, ADC to Gen. in Chief.

2nd Albert M. Lea, present, commanding company.


Non Commissioned Officers When and Where Recruited    


J.C. Parrot,               1st Sgt.         Feb 10, 1834     Wheeling, Va.

B.F. Price                   Sgt.                 “       8,   “               Parkersburg, “

Styles, L.A.                 “                   “     10,                    Wheeling,   “

Heishberger, H.R.,   “                   “     11, 1835         Carlisle, Pa.

Burtlett, S.M.           Corp.             Jan. 30, 1834          Parkersburg, Va.

Barnett, R.,                 “                   Apr.   4,   “              Lancaster, Pa.

Wilson, C.C.               “                     Mar. 11,   “              Wheeling, Va,

Haber, B.M.              “                    Feb. 5,       “                   “             “

Deem, J.                   Bugler               “   3, 1835           Reading, Pa.

Deem, R.,                     “                           5,   “                     “           “

Ambold, F.             Farrier           Jan 30,   “                  Harrisburg, “





Britte, Jacob                                            March 13, 1834   Wheeling, Va.

Browne, Geo. S.                                 “       12,   “               “                “

Brown. A.C.                                     Feb.       27,     “       Parkersburg, “

Bishop, Benj.                                   “           20,   “       Carlisle, Pa.

Cornoy, Wm.                                   “            9     “             “           “

Chapman, A.                                     “           18   “             “           “

Deem, Daniel                             Feb. 3, 1835           Reading, Pa.

Dennis, James                                 “   13,   “                        Carthage, New York

Eastman, John                             March 31, 1834             Portsmouth, Pa.

Foley, Jas. A.                                  Feb. 8,         “                  Parkersburg, Va.

Farmer, John                                March 18, 1835             Carisle, Pa.

Gaston, Chas. W.                          Feb. 17,     1834              Clarksburg, Pa.

Herr, Henry                                   “     12,         “                 Wheeling, Va.

Holladay, A.G.                              April 16, 1834         Chilicotthe, Va.

Heermance, Ed                          March 12, 1835       Carisle, Pa.

Hoffman, John                             Feb. 9,         “             Reading, Pa.

Kent, William                           Jan. 30,       “              Harrisburg, Pa.

Lockard, A.M.                              March 5     “               Carlisle, Pa.

Magonan, James                        Jan. 30, 1834             Parkersburg, Pa.

Miller, O.H.P.                               Feb. 11,     “                Wheeling, Va.

Mitchell, C.S.                               “     19,     “                        Clarksburg, Pa.

Mitchell, Robert                     Jan. 27, 1835                       Harrisburg, Pa.

Morrison, Daniel                   Feb. 11,     “                           Carlisle, Pa.

McDonough, Jos.                   Mar. 4,       “                     “           “

McKinley, Alex                           “ 15, 1834                        Parkersburg, Pa.

McCleary, Wm.                       Feb. 4, 1835                         Harrisburg, Pa.

Mc Farland, Gil.                     Mar, 27, 1834                        Zanesville, Oh.

Neely, John                               Feb. 18,     “                         Clarksburg, Pa.

Norton, Abel                           April 16,   “                           Chillicote, Va.

Pennington, Jos.                         “     12,   “                         Baltimore, Md.

Piper, Conrad                         March 7, 1835                      Carlisle, Pa.

Platte, John                             Feb. 18,     “                     “

Robinson, John                         “     17, 1834                      Parkersburg, Va.

Rubble, Geo. W.                     February 8, 1834         Parkersburg, Va.

Strait, J.B.                                       “         20,   “                       “

Smith, John                                   “         3, 1835               Clarksburg, Pa.

Shelton, Jacob                             “         6,     “               Harrisburg, Pa.

Shoemaker, A.W.                        “         8,     “                   Reading, Pa.

Sheffer, William                         “         4,     “                 Harrisburg, Pa.

Trowbridge, Levi                     “         7, 1834             Parkersburg, Va.

Willey, Henry                             April 11,   “                   Baltimore, Md.

Wolf, John                                  February 11, 1835     Carlisle, Pa.

Worth, Henry                                 “             9,     “                   “

Wynkoop, Isaac                           “             “                             “

Young, William                         Jan. 31,                 “ Harrisburg, Pa.


Muster Roll Company C, October 31, 1846 (prior to San Pasqual)


Captain Benjamin Moore, commanding *

Lieutenant Andrew J. Smith

Lieutenant Joseph McElvain

Bvt. Lt. John Adams


Non Commissioned Officers Where recruited and Stoppages


Sergeant R.T. Falls                January 1, 1844, Weston, Mo. (re-enlisted) Great coat                                                    $4.75.

Sergeant Richard Williams   May 24, 1846, St Joseph, Mo.

Sergeant John O’Brien         December 15, 1845, Weston, Mo. Pistol $8.00, Boots                                                       $1.22

Sergeant John Cox *                         May 24, 1846, Leavenworth (re-enlisted)                                                                                     Promoted sergeant, July 1, 1846.

Corporal Paul Woods             September 24, 1844, Weston, Mo.

Corporal John Cassin           July 19,1846, Leavenworth (re-enlisted)                                                                          surcingle $.73.

Corporal Edward Heinrich   July 28, 1843,            Ft. Scott, Mo. (re-enlisted)

Corporal Oliver Wilson        November 4, 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlisted)

Daily duty in charge of Howitzer; 2 pr. Socks $.49.

Bugler Michael Halpin          October 7, 1843, Leavenworth (re-enlisted) due                                                                         sutler $8.00

Bugler James McKee            December 8, 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlisted) Daily                                                       duty escort to Kearny.

Farrier John Roady                 January 19, 1846, Dayton, Ohio, appointed farrier                                                         August 1, 1846.



George Ashmead *                 October 1, 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlisted) Flannel shirt                                            $.49, greatcoat $4.95.

Stephen Bishop                     May 20, 1844, Leavenworth (re-enlisted)

George Bryan                       October 7, 1844, St, Louis, Mo. Headstall $.55.

Zarah Bobo                                       January 14, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Flannel shirt $.49.

John Brown                                       January 24, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Gen’l court martial                                                        suspension of half-month’s pay for 12 months.                                                                        (Wounded at San Pasqual.)

George Casselt                         February 10, 1846, Leavenworth (re-enlistment).

Edward Cumen                        October 14, 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlistment) Flannel                                                        shirt $.49, socks $.49,carbine sling swivel $.75.
Mark Childs                               June 27, 1844, St. Louis, Mo. Screw driver $.24,                                                                       cartridge box plate $.10, carbine sling swiverl $1.50.

Joseph Campbell *                   February 14, 1846, St. Louis, Mo.

Jeremy Crab                             January 20, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Wool jacket $4.19.                                                      (Wounded at San Pasqual.)

Caroloust Callahan                July 26, 1844, Louisville, Ky.

John Douglass                           May 7, 1846, Leavenworth

John Dunlap *                        August 10, 1845, Ft. Washita, IT, re-enlistment. Pistol                                                     $8.00.

A.C. Donaldson                         December 17, 1845, Wheeling, W. Va.

William Dalton *                       June 18, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Pistol $8.00 (in                                                                 confinement)

Peter Forney                             December 14, 1843, Weston, Mo.

Erasmus French                       January 3, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue frock $.61,                                                       flannel shirt $.61 (hospital stewart). Deserted, Los                                                         Angeles, September 25, 1848.

Thomas Grady                         January 26, 1846, Leavenworth (re-enlisted). Sling &                                                  swivel $1.50, sabre $2.50, 2 cotton shirts $.86. Daily                                                        duty Howitzer.

John Henerle                             April 2, 1846, St. Louis, Mo. Sling & swivel $1.50.

Joseph Kennedy *                 July 15, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Daily duty escort Kearny.

Matthew Louber                     July 10, 1845, St. Louis, Mo.

William Lecke*                       January 6, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue cap $.95.5, cotton                                               jacket $.72.

Jacob Mauser                           May 7, 1846, Leavenworth (re-enlisted). Daily duty                                                    Howitzer.

John McNeilly                      May 3, 1846, St. Louis, Mo. Wool overalls $3.36, flannel                                                   shirt $.90, fatrigue frock $.61. (Wounded Jan. 6, 1847.)

James Murphy                           December 24, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. $9.00 due to court                                                            martials of May 22 and August 28, 1846. Wool jacket                                                          $4.19.

George Myers                           December 29, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue frock $.61.

John Murtry                               July 23, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Resigned.

Ferdinand Nichols                  June 27, 1846, St. Louis, Mo. Extra duty under                                                               Quartermaster.

John Osborne                                     July 30, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Reins $.40, snaffle bit $.62,                                                           2 cotton shirts $.86.

George Pearce                           July 1, 1844, Louisville, Ky. Company letter $.05. Daily                                                            duty escort Kearny.

Henry Purcell                        January 16, 1846, St. Louis, Mo. Sabre $4.50, belt $1.50,                                                             cartridge box $1.10, wool jacket $4.19, flannel shirt                                                     $.90.

Amasa Palmer                                   Jan. 15, 1846, Dayton, Ohio.

James Pinkerton                       January 9, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Cartridge box and plate                                                          $1.10. Daily duty Howitzer.

Isaac Randolph                         August 29, 1844, Jefferson Barracks. Pistol $8.00,                                                        fatigue shirt $.90, 2 pair socks $.49.

Samuel Repose *                              December 10, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. Wool jacket $4.19.

James Reppeto                       October 30, 1845, Dayton, Ohio. Fatigue cap $.95, wool                                                             jacket $4.19, cotton jacket $.72, cotton frock $.61.

John Stokely                             February 2, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Sling swivel $1.50.

Michael Tubb                           July 19, 1844, St. Louis, Mo. Daily duty escort Kearny.

William Tubb                                    January 16, 1846, (re-enlisted) St. Louis, Mo. Daily duty                                                             escort Kearny.

Christian Teinchand               May 5, 1843, Dayton, Ohio. 2 shirts $.86.

Paul Vanaken                                     December 13, 1843, St. Louis, Mo. Boots $1.22.

John Vyzer                            November 1844, Dayton, Ohio. Ramrod $.59; fatigue cap                                                           $.95; wool jacket $4.19; wool overalls $3.56; sling &                                                            swivel $1.50; cotton jacket $2.00; cotton overalls $.98,                                                    ramrod $.59

George Williams                    August 20 1845, Leavenworth (re-enlisted). Wool                                                          overalls $3.36; belt plate $.10; socks $.49

Jacob Westfall                        December 22, 1845, St. Louis, Mo. Cotton overalls $.98

William West*                        August 3, 1844, Leavenworth (re-enlisted). Flannel shirt                                               $.90

John White                            February 6, 1846, Dayton, Ohio. Daily duty driving                                                         howitzer.

Harry Walker                         May 26, 1842, Leavenworth (re-enlisted).            Left sick at                                                      Leavenworth


  • Died, Battle of San Pasqual



German born soldiers who served with Company B, 1st Dragoons 1847, Lt. John Love commanding. This information was gleaned from the muster roll and recruitment records for Company B of the 1st Dragoons. At the time this company left Ft. Leavenworth for Santa Fe in June of 1847, over one-quarter of its privates were of German extraction.
1st Sgt. Frederick Muller 15 Apr. 1844, St. Louis, Mo., Prussia, Promoted Ordnance    Sergeant and died at Fort Wood, NY Harbor, 1860.
John Baker 29 April 1845 St. Louis, Mo. Prussia, Fireman Discharged due to   Disability, Chihuahua, Mexico 27 Apr. 1848
Henry Heineke 16 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo.; Wounded at Battle of Rosales, 16 Mar.,    1848, Discharged due to Disability Chihuahua, Mexico, 15 May, 1848: Civil        War service: Lt., 14th Illinois Cavalry
Joseph Hoerner 29 Dec. 1846, St. Louis, Mo.; left sick at Santa Fe, 10 Feb. 1848
Phillip Joost 4 Jan. 1847, St. Louis, Mo. Germany; Signmaker Deserted Ft.         Leavenworth, 4 June 1847
Joseph Kieffer 23 Dec. 1846 St. Louis. Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability
19 March 1850, Taos, NM
Hy Kroaus (Kraus?) 27 Dec. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Tailor Discharged due to   Disability, 24 Aug. 1848, Santa Fe, NM
Edward Langerwelsh 13 Jan. 1847 Jefferson Bks Germany Laborer 19 Aug. 1848,   Santa Fe, NM
Conrad Leffler 16 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability
28 Dec. 1848, Alburqueque, NM
Frederick Lohrmeyer 19 Apr. 1847 St. L. Mo. Germany; Laborer; Dicharged 19 Aug   1848; re-enlisted 1 Dec. 1855 Alburqueque, NM
George Meyers, St. Louis, Mo. Feb. 25, 1847 Wounded at Rosales 16 Mar. 1848 (lost             right arm); left sick Santa Cruz de Rosales (18 Mar. 1848)
Peter Mokenhanbt 3 March 1845 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Deserted 28 May             1848; captured.
25 Nov. 1846.; Detached Duty as officer’s servant Feb-Apr. 1848; Discharged end of            service 3 March 1850

John Mokenhanbt 21 Jan. 1845 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Deserted 4 May       1846, captured 25 Nov. 1846. Discharged end of service 1850
Jno Racener 9 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Farmer Discharged 9 Aug. 1848      Santa Fe.
Jno Scott (Schott?) 9 Jan. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Painter Discharged 9 Aug.      1848 Santa Fe.
Frederick Sick 28 June 1846, Ft. Scott Germany Soldier 2d Enlistment. Discharged
Disability 24 Aug. 1848 Santa Fe.

John Stein 14 January 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany; Wheelwright; Deserted Ft.         Leavenworth, 7 June 1847; captured 21 Dec.1847; Discharged General Ct.
Martial 16 Jan. 1848.

Edward Schobe 24 Apr. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Clerk Discharged 19 Aug. 1848           Santa Fe,

Jno Shobe 9 Jan. 1847, St. Louis, Mo. Germany, painter; Discharged Santa Fe, 19 Aug.            1848.
Herman Sigler 11 Apr. 1846 St. Louis, Mo Discharged 11 April 1850 Taos
George Sigler 11 Apr. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Dischgd 11 Apr. 1850, Taos
Wm Strobe 10 Dec. 1846 Jefferson Barracks Hanover Laborer, Discharged at            Sonoma Barracks California, 10 Dec. 1851
Geo. Stremmle 5 Dec. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Locksmith Discharged 5 Dec.        1851 Ft., Leavenworth; end of service
Peter Trimborn 22 Jan. 1847 St. Louis, Mo Germany Carpenter Dischgd 19 Aug.        1848, Santa Fe; Civil War service: pvt. West Missori Volunteers.
Henry Vankaster 24 Mar. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Farmer; Severely wounded in           battle with Commanche; 26 June 1847; Discharged Disability 19 Aug. 1847        Santa Fe
Jno Wedeg 15 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability 15    Feb. 1848, Chihuahua, Mexico
Henry White 23 Mar. 1847 Jefferson Bks. Germany Farmer Discharged 19 Aug, 1858          Santa Fe


Muster Roll of Phil Kearny’s Company F of the First Dragoons, Following the Battle of Churubusco, Mexico City, October 31, 1847
Capt. Philip Kearny, Jr.         Sick
1st Lt. A. Buford                     Absent. Never Joined. Place and duty not known.
1st Lt. Richard Ewell             Commanding Company.
2d Lt. Oren Chapman           Joined from duty 2d Drags. 5 Sept. 1847


Non Commissioned Officers     When and where recruited

1st Sgt. David Reed               9 Jan. 46, Ft. Leavenworth
Sgt. Henry Hence                   23 Nov. 46, Sick
Sgt. Fleming Megan               8 Aug. 46, Terre Haute Sick, Pueblo, Mexico, since 8 Aug.
Corp. James Clark                  7 Sept. 46, St Louis
Corp. John Perkins                8 Aug. 46, Shelbyville
Corp. Wm Anderson             28 Aug. 46, St Louis
Bugler Joe Hodgson              25 Sept. 47, Joined City of Mexico
Farrier George Thompson    12 Jan. 44, Ft. Scott,  $2.00 stoppage garrison ct martial


Daniel Alaways                      21 Aug 46, Chilicotte
John Alaways                         “     “    “               “             Sick, Pueblo, Mexico, since 8 Aug.
Joseph Aleut                          21 July 46. St Louis
John Askins                            8 Aug. 46, Shelbyville     Detached service, since 31 Oct.
Allen Bullard                          13 Aug. 46, Terre Harte
Michael Brophy                     20 Apr. 46, Rayado, joined co. prisoner exch. Sept. 3
Thomas Bryant                      5 Aug 46, St Louis, Sick, Pueblo, Mexico since 8 Aug.
Morris Kane                           18 Sept. 46,  “    ”
Hugh Call                               16 Oct. 46, near St Louis
Peter Christman                    6 Dec. 43,  St Louis, Sick; wool infy coat, $2.28
Alonzo Clark                           16 May 47, Jalapa, Mexico,     joined during march.
James Curley                                     18 July, 46, St Louis
Eleazor Dort                                       10 Aug. 46, Terre Haute
William Donovan                               29 Aug., St Louis                           Daily duty
David Dunton                        9 Dec. 46, Saltillo, Mex.               Daily Duty
Samuel Flint                           14 July, 46, Chilicotte
Philip Frankenberg               6 Aug. 46, Ft. Leavenworth, Sick, Puebla, Mex., 8 Aug.
Charles Graman                    10 Aug. 46, Terre Haute        Sick
David Giesler                                     21 July 46, Chillicothe
Andrew Gillespie                               26    ”      ”       ”
James Grace                                       16 June 46, Ft. Leavenworth
Jacob Grant                                        5 July 46, Jefferson Bks, Sick Puebla, Mex. 25 May
Augustus Gruber                               6 July 46, Ft. Leavenworth, Sick, Puebla, Mex., 8 Aug.
Thomas Hall                                       5 July 46, Jefferson Barracks, Sgt. until 29 October.
John Harper                                       28 July 46, Chillicote, Stoppage pistol $7.50.
Patrick Hart                                       4 August 46, St Louis; Tabacayo 5 Sept. prisoner exch.
Michael Henry                       12 Sept. 46, Philadelphia; from desertion 16 Feb 47.
Thomas Hewitt                      27 Aug. 46, Terre Haute, Sick, Puebla, Mex., since 8 Aug.
Henry Hoffman                     14 Jan. 46, Dayton                  Sick
Martin Howard                      11 Aug. 46, Terre Haute, Sick, Puebla, Mex., since 8 Aug.
John Howell                                       6 Feb. 46, Ft. Leavenworth; flannel shirt and pistol
William Jeffers                       19 Oct. 46, New Orleans
John Kaler                                          4 June 46, St. Louis
John Keckler                          17 Aug. 46, Chillicote
Levi Kimball                                       1 June 46, Sackett’s Harbor; Detached Service 31st Oct.
Antone Lange                                    14 Aug. 46, St Louis                     Daily duty.
William Martin                                  8 Aug. 46, Terre Haute
Persaruis Maypelle               25  July 46, St. Louis
John Moore                            10 Aug, 46, Terre Haute
Wm McAllister                       17 Aug. 46, Covington, Ind., 1 blanket $2.22.
Wm McCrea                                       19 Aug. 46, Roseau, Ind.         Daily duty.
John McDonald                      19 Aug. 46, Chillicote, pistol $7.50.
Anthony Pulver                     7 Dec. 46, Corpus Christi; det. ser. since 31 Oct.

Charles Prother                                 10 Aug. 46, Terre Haute
Christian Ranner                   10 Aug. 46, Terre Haute
John Roberts                                      1 April 47. Vera Cruz    Sick at Puebla since 8 August.
Frederick Rodewald              16 Aug 46, St Louis, left sick at Puebla since 8 August.
William See                                        15 Aug. 46, Terre Haute    Detached service since 31 Oct.
John Smith                                         10 Aug. 46.

John W Smith                                     “    “          “  , stoppage flannel shirt $1.30.
Robert Stewart                                  8    “       “     “          ”
James H Stevens                                1 Apr.  46, Vera Cruz.
Daniel Suter                                       6 Aug. 46, Ft. Leavenworth; Daily duty.
Clinton Thompson                14 Aug. 46, Terre Haute, sick at Puebla since 8 August.
Harvey Thompson                4 Aug. 46, Shelbyville; Daily duty.
James Thompson                              8 Aug. 46,        “                     Sick at Puebla since 8 August.
John Walkes                           24 Aug. 46, St. Louis; Sick
Joseph Westgenes                 17 Aug. 46,  “      “          “   ; Sick, Puebla since 8 Aug.
Robert Whitener                               7 Jan. 41, Ft. Crawford; Sick Perote, since 25 May.
Andrew Whitley                    31 July 46, Geldon, Ind.
William Wilson                                  25 Sept. 46, Jefferson Bks.
Robert Wright                       8 Aug. 46, Terre Haute.



  1. The Otoe Question: June 28, 1843, Jefferson Barracks Col. Kearny to Major Samuel Cooper, Assistant Adjutant General, 3rd Military Department, St. Louis, Missouri, Dragoon Letter Book 197





I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a communication from Major General Gaines, Commdg. 3d Military Dept. & of yesterday’s date on the subject of the late disorderly conduct of the Otoe Indians, and requiring a report from me of my opinion of the measures which should be adopted towards them.

By letters (which you sent to me, and from which I now return) from Capt. Burgwin, U.S. Dragoons, and Mr. Daniel Miller (Ind. Agent) it appears that Otoes are evincing “a restless and turbulent spirit, and that they have openly and directly insulted their agents and the Government.”—“That their feelings are hostile to the Government and the authorities”—“That they told him [their agent] that he must go away, and that they expected to find his house empty when they returned from their hunt”—“That their [sic] would return is about the 20th August”—That “they may have 350 or 400 warriors, active, well armed, and having the reputation of being misbehaved on that frontier”—and by the deposition of Mr. P. D. Passin and of Mr. T. Roberts it appears that the latter was dangerously wounded on the 9th inst. when they were peacefully descending the Platte River in their Boats, when opposite the Upper Platte Otoe Village, by a ball from a party of 10 or 12 Otoes, who fired four vollies of shot at them!


If a Military force is to be sent into the Indian Country, “to convince the Otoes & Missouri Indians into a sense of their duty to the Central Government”, as their agents Mr. Miller requires, is should be large enough to put down opposition (should any be exhibited) from 400 well armed and discontented Indian Warriors; and full powers should be given to the Officer in command to decide upon a Peace or War with them, as their conduct may call for! If it be deemed necessary to apprehend those Indians who on the 9th inst. fired at the Boats and wounded Mr. Roberts, it should be previously determined what it to be done with them? Will the Officer in command of the troops be authorized to caused those Indians to be whipped or authorized punished as is his judgment may deem with? I have no reservation in saying that it would have a bad affect to those Indians into the State of Missouri and turn them over to the civil court for trials–no testimony could be produced there which would ensure their conviction & [im]prisonment.


Another course towards the Otoes & one more pacific than the former may be entitled to consideration! They are now in receipt of annuities amounting to about $2,000! What would be the effect of instructions being given to their agent to tell them that he is directed to stop any further payments of their annuities—to present officially any direct or indirect intercourse between them and the Traders—to remove the Missionaries & any other White who may be living with them—that we with hold no kind of communications whatever with any of them, will they repent of their former bad conduct and then their submission and a proper respect to the Government of our Country & its Representatives sent among them. Should they not soon find their situation a deplorable & intolerable one! Like outlaws they would be surrounded by Persons of their own Race, enjoying privileges from which they were debarred & in sight of comforts & necessities which their own conduct prevented them from obtaining. Their annuities stopped & unable to get any thing from the Traders, and all their intercourse with the Whites having ceased. They would soon become the scorn of other Nations of Indians & would assuredly be made to feel it in with this subject, I have to state, that on the 25th April 1838, Capt. Boone & myself being commissioners under the Act of July 2, 1836, in a communication to the Q.M. General, urged upon the Secretary of War, the establishment of a Military Post at the mouth of Table Creek—I send a copy herewith—That point is in Otoe Country & a Post were would serve to quiet those Indians, as well as to produce much other good—It would be the starting point from the Missouri River to Oregon Country. Should a line of posts to connect them be determined upon & the point from which Emigrants to that Country will commence their land journey. The Sect. of War in June 1838 told me that he highly approved of the site selected, & that he would cause a Military Post to be established there, as soon as he could draw troops from Florida.


In connection also with this subject I have to state what I have frequently reported to the authorities in Washington, that the laws relating to the Indians could as much better executed & peace with them more officially secured, if Congress could be induced to proclaim Martial Law over the whole of the Indian Country.

Very Respectfully,

Your Ob[edient] Servant],

S.W. Kearny

Col. U.S. Dragoons









  1. Weapons Seized by Dragoons from the Snively Party in 1843.


29th Congress, 1st Session. Senate Document 43, 1846

DOCUMENTS SHOWING The description and value of the arms taken from a party of Texans, within the Territory of the United States, by Capt. Cooke, 1st Regt Dragoons, June 30, 1843, and deposited at Fort Leavenworth, Mo.

January 8, 1846.
Submitted, and ordered to be printed, to accompany bill S. No. 37

Head Quarters, Fort Leavenworth, 4th August, 1844. Sir : I have to acknowledge the receipt of the communication, addressed to me from your office by Capt. Freeman, Assistant Adjutant General, on the subject of the arms, &c, taken from a party of Texans on the 30th June, 1843, by Capt. P. St. G. Cooke; and I now transmit a return of those arms, and a report of a board of officers convened by my order, for the purpose of furnishing the information desired by Captain Freeman for the department of State.

I understand from the president of the board that the value placed upon the several arms is rather their worth, with respect to condition when seized, and their probable cost, than their value here, and now.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,


Major 1st Dragoons, commanding.

Brigadier General Jones,

            Adjutant General, Washington, D. C.

Proceedings of a board of survey convened at Fort Leavenworth by virtue of the following orders, viz:

Orders}                       Head Quarters, Fort Leavenworth, Mo.

No. 85}                       August 3, 1844.


A board of officers, to consist of Capt. Moore, 1st dragoons, 1st Lieut. Johnson, and bvt. 2d Lieut. McClelland, 3d infantry, will assemble this morning at half past 9 o’clock,, and proceed to ascertain “the number, description, and condition, and as nearly as may be the value of the arms ken from a party of Texans on the 30th of June, 1843, by Capt. P. St.Geo. Cooke, commanding a detachment of U. S. dragoons,” and which arms are now in possession of the ordnance sergeant, by whom they will be shown the board. As the report of the board is intended for the
Department of State, the board will be as minute as possible in stating the variety, condition, and value of the respective arms.
By order of Major Wharton:

  1. C. HAMMOND, Bvt. 2d Lieut. 1st DragoonsPost Adjutant

Fort Leavenworth, August 3,1S44.

The board met pursuant to the above orders: present, all the members.

The board then proceeded to the careful examination of a number of arms presented by Sergeant Hemming [sic, Ross Flemming], ordnance sergeant at Fort Leavenworth, being those taken from a party of Texans by Capt. P. St. Geo. Cooke, viz: Thirty flint lock rifles, valued at eighteen dollars each, including the barrel of one which has no stock, which appears to have been 1st in transportation. Twelve percussion rifles, valued at twenty-two dollars and fifty cents, including the barrel of one which has no stock, which appears to have been lost in transportation. Fifteen English flint lock guns, valued at ten dollars each. Three tower pieces, valued at seven, dollars each. One large American flint lock shot gun, valued at twenty dollars. Two double barreled flint lock shot guns, stub and twist, at fifty dollars each. Four percussion lock double barreled shot guns and twist, valued at sixty five dollars each. Three half stock Middletown rifles, percussion lock, valued at eighteen dollars each. One full stock percussion lock, valued at eighteen dollars. One half-stock flint lock Middletown rifle, valued at eighteen dollars. Two American dragoon carbines, valued at seventeen dollars each. One American and two Texas muskets valued at sixteen dollars each. Four pairs of flint lock holster piston valued at twenty dollars a pair. Two pairs percussion lock pistols, valued at forty dollars a pair. Eight flint lock holster pistols, odd, valued at ten dollars apiece. Seven percussion lock belt pistols, valued at fifteen dollars apiece. One percussion lock duelling pistol, valued at forty dollars. One sabre and scabbard, brass mounted, valued at ten dollars. One steel mounted sabre, no scabbard, valued at ten dollars. One steel sword and scabbard valued at ten dollars.

The board are of opinion that the arms are considerably injured from rust, and many of them broken, apparently from transportation from the place of capture.

  1. D. MOORE, Capt. 1st Dragoons. B. R. JOHNSON, 1st Lieut. 3d Infantry. Geo. C. McClelland, Bvt. 2d Lieut. 3d Infantry

The above is the original official record.


         Major 1st Dragoons, commanding


Return of arms taken from a party of Texans, by Capt. P. St. G. Cooke, 1st Regt. Dragoons, June 30, 1843, within the territory of the United States, and now deposited in the ordnance store at Fort Leavenworth, Missouri.

No.      Description of arms.

30        Flint lock rifles.
12        Percussion rifles.
15        English flint lock shot guns.
3          Tower pieces.

1          Large American flint lock shot gun.

2          Double barreled flint lock, stub and twist, shot guns.

4          Percussion lock, double barreled, stub and twist, shot guns.

2          Half-stock, percussion lock, Middletown rifles.

1          Full stock, percussion lock, Middletown rifle.

1          Half-stock, flint lock, Middletown rifle.

2          American dragoon carbines.

1          American musket.

2          Texas muskets.

4          Pairs flint lock holster pistols.

4          Pairs percussion lock pistols.

8          Flint lock holster pistols.

7          Percussion lock belt pistols.

1          Percussion lock dueling pistol.

1          Sabre and scabbard, brass mounted.

1          Sabre, no scabbard, steel mounted.

1          Steel sword and scabbard.

Head Quarters, Fort Leavenworth,

August 5, 1844.

  1. WHARTON, Major


  1. D. Plans to return Arapahoe Captives, Col. Kearny to Capt. William Eustes, Dragoon Letter Book 1845:270


Head Quarters, 1st Regt. Dragoons

Camp on Platte River 55 miles

Above Ft. Laramie

June 18, 1845


Two men of Co. Pvts Callahan & Buckner return to your camp in charge of a Squaw and 2 children, supposed to belong to the Arapahoe Tribe of Indians, and having seen out column from a bluff on the opposite side of the river, followed on and came into camp after we had halted for he day. The Squaw relates as far as her signs and language have been understood, that she is of the Arapahoe Tribe, and living on the prairies north of us with a party of Ree Indians, they were attacked by a War party of Sioux, and that she with the 2 of her was permitted to escape, the rest having been killed. The Colonel supposes that through the interpreter at Laramie you will be able to obtain more satisfactory information from this Squaw, and he instructs me to say that should an opportunity [arise?] offer of sending her home, that you will do so—if not, that you will give her protection in your Camp until our return, when she can accompany us towards the Arkansas and be returned to her people.


Capt. W. Eustes                                             I am Sir,

Comdg Dragoon Camp                                   Very respectfully,

Near Fort Laramie                                           Your Hum. Servt.

Platte River                                                     Signed H.H. Turner

Adjt. 1st Drags.


P.S. Should you have an opportunity, the Colonel desires that you will write to some one at Bents Fort starting that we expect to be three towards the last of July and will need the Government provisions supposed to be there.

  1. Correspondence between Capts. Sumner and Cooke with the Adjutant General re their availability for war with Mexico.


Fort Atkinson Iowa
May 18th 1846
I have this day received the startling information of the commencement of hostilities in Texas. As I presume this will lead to the rapid concentration of all our regular troops that can possibly be spared from their present stations, among the rest a large part of the 1st regiment of dragoons, I hasten to state to you that Capt. Cooke’s company and my own can be withdrawn from this frontier. If a single company of volunteers was raised (which can be easily and quickly down) to garrison this post, with a detachment at Fort Crawford, and the frontier put under the charge of Governor Dodge [original Colonel of the 1st Dragoons, at this time Governor of Wisconsin Territory], it would be perfectly secure. The Winnebagoes, although troublesome, are not at all inclined to be hostile, and there is no man in the country for whom they have more respect & fear than for Govr. Dodge.
These two companies of dragoons are full and effective, the horses are in fine condition, and I can safely guaranty they will do good Service.
We could leave immediately, & could join the Army in Texas (by Steamboats) in less than 20 days from the receipt of the order. Will you please take this subject into consideration. Capt. Cooke and myself have been so long in Service it would be very humiliating to us, to be left at these remote posts, while the rest of the army, and particularly our own regiment was actively engaged in the field.
I am Sir,
With high respect
Your obt. Servt.
Signed E. V. Sumner
Capt. 1 Drags
[To:] Brig Gen. G. M. Brooke
Comdg 3rd Dept
True Copy
PS GeoCooke
Capt. 1. Drags

[the following personal enclosure was included:]
Fort Atkinson Iowa
May 18th ’46
My dear Sir
I have just addressed you officially about affairs in Texas. May I ask the favor of you to do what you can for me consistently with your public views. I have been so long in service and on a peace establishment at that, it would be particularly mortifying to me to be left up here, if the rest of my regiment takes the field. I don’t know what effect this news will have upon the Bill for the Mounted [Rifle] Regiment. It appears to me there is some secret and powerful hostility to that bill. If it should be determined to replace my compy with volunteers, Mr. Rice [Henry M. Rice, Post sutler, soon to be Tty Congressional Delegate for Minnesota, later a Senator as it became a state ] will raise a company, if authorized to do so, and he would be an excellent person to take charge of these two posts [Fort Crawford, Wisconsin Tty, also] and all the public property for he is both responsible and careful.
I am Sir
Very sincerely yours
E V. Sumner
[To:] Genl Geo. Brooke

[Attached letter]
Fort Atkinson Iowa
May 18th ’46
My Dear Sir

Index 218-C, 1846, filed with 80-K, 1846
Fort Crawford May 20th 1846
I enclose this with a letter from Capt. Sumner Commander of Fort Atkinson reporting that his and my company can be spared from this part of the frontier at this time with other states & remarks relative to the commencement of hostilities at the south.
So far as my short command here has enabled me to judge of its Indian relations, I must concur with the opinion of Capt. Sumner which he has had every opportunity to mature & I heartily respond to his whole letter.
The 1st Regiment of Dragoons have steadily matured & perfected a system of tactics and discipline of cavalry, its equipment for, and the art of making, long and active campaigns without disorganization or deterioration. The Mexicans are understood to be strong in this arm, (which must be met by its like,) and it is precisely that which cannot be created on such a sudden requisition as the present war, which takes the most time & pain for sufficient organizations.
Under these circumstances I trust the general has even anticipated our earnest request to be sent where we may be of much more importance to the public service.
Very respectfully
Yr. Obt. Servant
Capt. 1st Drags.
[To:] Lieut R. B. Garnett [for Brooke]
ADC &AAAdjGen 3 Mil. Dept.
Saint Louis


  1. Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales, as reported in the Santa Fe Republican, April 22, 1848.



We copy the following from the Santa Cruz

Banner, a small sheet published at that place by P. G. Ferguson.


On the first of March Gen Price set out from El Paso with four companies of the Missouri regiment of horse under command of Colonel Ralls, two companies of U. S. Dragoons under command of Major Beall, and two mounted howitzers with an artillery detachment under command of Capt Hasseduebel for a forced march upon the city of Chihuahua, 300 miles distant, south from El Paso, at Carasel [sic, Carrizal], 100 miles upon the road.  The Santa Fe battalion, Major Walker’s, joined us, making in all, nine companies, with which we marched on to Chihuahua, in the unprecedented time of six days; reached the city with the nine companies, but the enemy under Gen. Trias, with his forces some eight hundred strong, with principally Cavalry, had left some12 hours before with all the public property, including a [blurred] of newer artillery for the South.  A few hours after our arrival at Chihuahua, we were put en route to over take the enemy.  Our forced march upon the city exhausted a great many of our horses and men and we set out for the South with skeletons of nine companies, numbering in all about 300; with this force, we kept our march in pursuit—we made sixty miles march in about 12 hours, and approached Santa Cruz at about sunrise,where the enemy had already fortified himself, his batteries fixed, and full and efficient disposition made for defence of the place, he having reinforced himself to the number of about 1200 in all behind his barriers, also occupying the church itself, a perfect fortification.  As we moved our column around the west of the city, a nine pounder was discharged by the enemy, passing our centre, when several of the companies of his infantry filed through the balcony, ranging in order upon the church, a person supposed to be a priest, harangued them, and the surrounding populace, a part of which was heard and distinctly understood, was replied to by loud cheers by the soldiery, and the people with many “vivas” “vivas” and vevar Republicano Mexicano.”


An express was sent back to hurry on the pieces, and the place was put under siege.  We permitted no communication with the place, allowed omen and children and non-combatants two days to leave the city with their effects, when our pickets were closed upon them. The siege last from the 9th to the 16th. Many attempts were made by parties of the enemy during the siege or leave the town, but few succeeded—now and then, a fleet horse would out run our pickets and get to the mountains.  The third day of the siege, the commander of one of the pickets, sent word to the general that a number were escaping, which he could not prevent, his picket was too small.


On the morning of the 16th, Lieut. Col. Lane, arrived with artillery &C., and we received the enemy’s invitation to come on.  Our forces are referred to the reports of Col Ralls and to Lt. Col. Lane in this number, which detail their part of the affair.  The reports of Major Walker andBeall would make this account complete.  Maj.Walker’s command distinguished itself by storming the South of the town while the dragoons acted well the part assigned them, and Capt. Hassandeuebel [sic] and Lieut. Love, gallantly

managed their batteries the whole day, with great science and skill. The charge of Col Rall’s column was a splendid affair.  It moved like a thunder-bolt, precisely in the direction it was sent spreading dismay, death and destruction, and it was over this column that Col Sanchez extended the flag of surrender.  It was a proud day for all, but for those leading and directing this column, it was particularly so, and Col Ralls in his report has but rendered justice to his officers and men, and that report does that commander distinguished honor for the virtue of his head and heart.


An entire park of artillery was captured with about 2,000 stand of arms and munitions, with other public property to the value of seven to eight hundred thousand dollars. We captured the whole force, including thirty commissioned officers, Gov. Maj. General Trias at their head. After the day had nearly expired we learned that the place could only be carried by storming. The order to charge was given, and in one hour’s time the city surrendered, our arms as ever, victorious, adding another trophy to the Fame of the great Republic we serve.


LIST OF THE KILLED AND WOUNDED. – 2d Lieut. George O. Hepburn of Co. D, privates Schafenberg and Bockman, co. B.

WOUNDED.—Private Ripper, Greff and Dedrich, co. B, Jackson, Kearnes, Williams and Gillam, co. D.

We also understand by a private letter that a young man by the name of Maston, commissary Sergeant, started out from Santa Cruz, to meet Love’s command, and has never since been found or heard from, he is supposed to have been killed.

  1. Dragoon Recruitment Advertisement 1847

On the front page of the Indianapolis Indiana Journal for February 8, 1847, there appeared the following notice:
Recruiting Service: Wanted for the United States Army,
able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 35 years, being
above 5 feet 3 inches, of good character, and of respectable
standing among their fellow citizens. None need apply to en-
ter service, but those who are determined to serve the period
of their enlistment, honestly and faithfully for the term of five years.
Table of established rates of pay agreeably to existing laws.
Monthly Pay
Sergeant Major, Quarter-
Master Sergt. Chief Musician
and Chief Bugler, $17
1st Sergeant of a Company 16
Ordnance Sergeant 18
All other Sergeants, 13
Corporals 10
Buglers 9
Musicians 8
Farriers 11
Privates 8
Besides the monthly pay, as above stated, one ration per day
is allowed every soldier, which is amply sufficient for his sub-
sistence; also a large supply of comfortable and genteel cloth-
ing. Good quarter and fuel are at all times furnished; and
every attention will be paid to those men who may enlist and
are determined to serve their country in good faith. The best
medical attendance is always provided for the sick soldier; and
no deduction of pay is made during the period he is unable to
perform his duty. Should the soldier be disabled in the line of his
duty, the laws provide a pension for him.
By the above it is seen that pay and allowances are res-
pectably and that, with prudence and economy, the monthly
pay of the soldier may be laid up—”as every thing requisite for
his comfort and convenience is furnished by the Government,
including sugar and coffee. The prudent soldier, therefore,
may readily save from $420 to $1020 during his enlistment of
Five years; and at the expiration of the term he can, if he
chooses, purchase a small farm in any of the Western States,
and there settle himself comfortably, on his own land, for the
rest of his life.
1st Lieut. 1st regt. Dragoons
Recruiting Rendezvous
Drakes Hotel

  1. Letters from Corporal Matthias Baker, Company B., 1846-1847

Santa Fe, Mexico, Sep 13th 1846
Dear Sister [Mrs. Hugh Martin],
I suppose that by my previous letter you have long since known my starting for Mexico and by this time you will see I have advanced as far as Santa Fe which at present is held by an American Army, commanded by Gen—™l Kearney [sic]. You will have seen by the papers that the Mexican soldiers & officers on the approach of the American Army, retired and totally dispersed. The whole country gave up without a gun being fired, if I except the firing of the American Artillery (blank cartridges) on this day of the entry into Santa Fe. I am much disappointed in this country. It is bare of wood and water, mountainous and the only parts they can cultivate is [sic] a few of the valleys that are watered by springs and small streams from the Mountains. The houses of town and country are built of mud bricks dried in the sun, are one story high and have no windows, so when the door is shut the room is dark at mid-day. However they are very warm in the winter & cool in summer. The roofs all flat. They raise corn, wheat onions, no potatoes, have thousands of goats sheep, some cattle, plenty of asses and mules with some fine Pony horses. The silver and gold mines siren to be plenty and no doubt before long Yankee skill & perseverance will bring many to light, as yet undiscovered. The Americans have heretofore been afraid to hunt for and work the mines on account of the Indians, who have been the Real masters of the country. But the American Dragoons will soon learn them to keep quiet. They have no mills for grinding wheat except some small hand concerns, and they have to use to the sieve or what is commonly done [to] eat bran and all. They kill-dry both corn & wheat. They have some apples & peaches as well as melons and their grapes equal those I saw in France. They are fond as a nation of dancing and have Fandangos every night in town & country and the way the Mexican Senora dances could be a caution to a Broadway belle. The beauty of Mexican ladies is not generally great but in some cases is extraordinarily fine and brilliant. They become women very young and marry early, but fade and become old & haggard in proportion. Indian blood is almost universally mixed through out the population & the language is far from the pure Spanish. I have given you some few ideas of this country & people but cannot dwell at length on the subject now. You know I must have something to talk about when I see you. I suppose you are anxious to know when that may be, I cannot say for certainly when for I start the 25th of this month to go some hundreds of miles south into the country, to Chuwauwau and then west into California, to Monterey, about 1400 miles off. This is the most healthy country in the world, and I am much larger and heavier than ever before. It rains only in the Spring & Fall. You would laugh to see what a complexion I have, burnt to the colour of Mahogany and with an immense Moustachios.
This will be carried by Government express to Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri about 1000 miles from this and hence mailed to New York. I wish you would write me and direct to me care of Major E. C. Sumner Santa Fe via Fort Leavenworth, Missouri. I wish you would also have mailed to me the latest N.Y. Weekly Herald. I suppose the difficulties between the two countries have been settled before this time, if not all our troops have to do is to march from our part of of the country to the other for the Mexican Army will not fight.
Well good bye for the present. Remember me to all of the members of our family. I am anxious to hear how brother James—™ healt is. I have not heard since he left for England. I hope you are in good health and spirits. I always am,
Affectionately your brother,
M. L. Baker
Fort Leavenworth Dec. 10 1846
Dear Nephew,
I was much pleased to receive your letter in fact I was delighted to receive a communication from any one East, but was most highly gratified to get a letter from you which is perhaps the first one you have sent to any one. Your first inquiry is —œare you in the Army—and next add that my previous letter must have been miscarried as none had been received.— That must be the reason, the letter must have been miscarried and therefore you left in ignorance of my whereabouts. And so you hope I am not in the Army! Why not? Should a consideration of fear keep an American back when he may be wanted by his country to fight for its causes? No my dear boy; you should not have any selfish feelings on such a subject, you should hope and wish for a x welfare that would go to the x , but at the same time feel proud of a relative—™s determination in such a matter. Yes, my dear boy, I am in the Army, and although I do not rank as high as some yet without the influence of powerful friends, but my merit alone am already a N. C. Officer of B Troop of the U.S. Dragoons. I went out last spring under Gen Kearney [sic] and was with him in entering the Mexican Territory and in the taking of Santa Fe. When Gen. Kearney [sic] left for California our Company was broken up and the men out in other companies to fill them up, and our officers ordered to the U.States to fill up a new company. Some are now in Ohio, St. Louis & [et]c recruiting for us and by spring our Troop will be organized and sent to the seat of War. As to the exact point I cannot say, perhaps, to join the Southern Army commanded by Gen Taylor or which is very probable ordered to California. But the whereabouts is very uncertain as a soldier seldom knows where his presence may be wanted for an hour ahead.
We had a hard time of it in coming from Santa Fe this time of the year. Scarcely any grass was left, and very little wood. We had two six mule teams and one four mule carriage and put in much corn as we could carry besides our own food. We could only give our mules but two quarts a day! Yet enough of them lived to bring our waggons to this post, having lost about Ten, but we replaced them by saddle mules and by the saddle party (17.) walking the last 150 miles. Yet notwithstanding all this we made the trip in thirty one (31) days! We had plenty of Buffalo and Antelope meat on the way with an occasional Squirrel, Hare. Turkey & [et]c. Some shoot the Prairie Dogs but I don—™t fancy them as for friends and inhabitants of their holes [,] Owls, a Rattlesnake and a horned frog! This is singular, but true and the Frog is a most curious and beautiful animal, entirely harnless. The Dog is about the size of a plump rabbit and their meat and [et]c resembles a squirrel, but they resemble very much a bull pup as they sit at the mouth oftheir holes and bask at you. They live in Towns, never above, for when you come across a dog hole you will see debris in extent all dug up huge rattle snakes running in and out of the holes, here and there, an Owl hopping in and out, the prairie dog shaking his little tail and shirilly barking, while here and there is the most curious of all curious animals the horned frog. The Grass grows around a dog town. For hundreds of mile in the Buffalo range, we see in all directions as far as the eye the eye can reach the ground blackened by Buffalo. To look at this you would not expect they could run very fast but it takes a very fast horse to keep up with them. Their meat is most excellent and no butter can compare to the marrow in their bones. A person can eat four fold the quantity of this meat than of Beef, and feel no inconvenience. The road is infested part of the way by the Comanche Indians, but we saw none of them except one evening, when by a timely precaution we perhaps saved ourselves from a night attack. The place is called Rocky Point and is noted for many attacks being made there by the Indians on Traders & others. We noticed on coming into Camp we noticed some dung from Indian ponies grazing at a . . . .and suspected immediately that some of these devils were in the neighborhood. As soon as we got supper over a few of us went out armed to the teeth to reconnoitre. We had had proceeded about one hundred yards when the Mules were panicked, when up jumps an Indian from behind a rock and starts off with the speed of a Deer. He was distant—“above 90 or 100 yds when he started, and it being after dark he certainly could be x seen again, but on [letter damaged hereon] carbine at the rascal but none of the Balls hit him as he . . . . coursed and suddenly disappeared among the rocks. . . . . him/loading as we ran, but could find no trace . .. . . put on guard to keep watch but we sure . . . . more by them. They know the difference between a Dragoon . . . . I find my letter must come to a close for . . . .

Fort Leavenworth April 28, 1847

My Dear Boy,
I received your letter a short time since and from its date, I see that it has laid in the office for some time. In the Army, we know not at which moment our services may be required and although we may be at this post to day, yet we may be about some fifty miles by the morrow. Such as been the case with me during the past winter. I have been ordered to take charge of a party to go among the Indians, and in one quarter of an hour have been in my saddle, and on my journey, fully armed and equipped. Such is a Dragoon—™s life, he must have always, all his accoutrements ready, and in the proper place, so that whether we are ordered night or day, it makes no difference in the dispatch. I have been called upon at 10 O Clock at night and traveled without moment—™s rest the distance of one hundred and forty miles. Some say a soldier—™s life is an easy or lazy life. In some respects, the Infantry does lead such a life (as garrison), but no one can say our Corps, (that is the Dragoons) are ever idle. I will give you a small detail of my duties during the day. I rise at Reveille (that is early dawn.) The men are all formed into line and the roll called = one half hour. After Drill Call is blown, and we mount our horses and Exercise with Carbine, Sabre and pistol for an hour or so. Then comes breakfast call. The men are all paraded and they march into the eating room. But previous to this all the horses are thoroughly groomed and watered. In mornings we have ourselves except we may be on Guard or on some fatigue party, which a non commissioned officer (like myself) always has charge of—”in x. (for a non commissioned officer is not supposed to labor at all) At 12 O Oc[lock] Stable Call, when all the horses are led into line and watered. At One O Clock Dinner. At Two—”Drill for something like an hour. At Six P.M. stable call, the horses groomed, watered, & [et]c. At sun down, Retreat sounds, all are paraded during the fifteen minute of the Band playing, from thence to supper and at 9 Oclock Tattoo sounds, all parade again answer to their names. Half an hour after this call sounds second Tattoo, at which all the lights in the garrison are put out, and all have retired to bed. Such is a garrison life of a Dragoon, and considering the different set of arms he has to use, as well as his horse equipage, all of which must be in a clean state, I am sure no one can say he has an idle and lazy life. At our leisure moments, we repair to the library and read the papers & periodicals of the day and take perhaps some work home to our quarters to peruse. I have been very busy since I last wrote you. Lately a number of Recruits have arrived from St Louis all of which now being drilled. Three of us have that duty to perform, dividing the men into different squads. I need not say it is a very serious task to be drilling a lot of green horns and especially when they are sometimes so Dutch as not to understand or be understood. Our Company is about full and will be organized either here or at Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis in about three weeks, when we will get orders to proceed either to join Gen. Scott or, once again, to visit Santa Fe, I prefer the latter, on account of the climate for it is the most healthy climate in the world. Wherever I go, I shall sit down before I start, and let you know so you will do in the public print the departure of B. Company. I should like much to see you all again, but no one cannot say when. Certainly not until the close of the War and maybe not for some years afterwards. You must let me hear from you, as soon as you receive this, for I know not how soon I may be on my way to Mexico, and be sure to give me all the news concerning the family & [et]c. & [et]c. I am enjoying the best of health and satisfied and contented with my present mode of life.
When the war closes, I may perhaps leave the Army, but I do not promise for I may have inducement held forth to help me, for the balance of my life. But if such shall be the case, I shall see you much more and perhaps more for I can get a furlough (that is, leave of absence) when the Army is laying still. My dear boy, make as rapid progress as possible in your studies, for perhaps you may in time be thrown on the world like myself and then you will see the advantages of improving one—™ self in early life. Give my love to Pa & Ma, as well as other friends and relatives. I much need close, so good bye and believe me to be an uncle that wishes you all the happiness this world can bestow.
M. S. Baker
Corporal B Troop & 1st Regiment
of U.S. Dragoons

  1. Please say, I received the Phila. papers and should be pleased to receive any that my friends would take the trouble to send me.

Council Grove                      June 14, 1847
My dear Nephew,
We arrived at this place to day and will remain encamped until the morning—”On the 17th inst., Company B 1st Dragoons left Ft. Leavenworth as an escort and Guard to Maj Bodine Paymaster in U.S. army who takes out some $350,000 —“ to pay off troops in Santa Fe.  We are about 100 strong and have 12 waggons —“ On the 3d day out an express brought out the last Eastern mail and was pleased to receive your one (a letter) from you. I can spare but a moment to acquaint you that I am again going out to New Mexico —“ I forgot to say we have 120 waggons loaded with provisions for our troops in Santa Fe which are a few days ahead of us which will proceed in company as soon as we get up. The whole road is full of hostile Indians who are plundering all the trains not guarded by a military escort. They have some 800 lodges about 200 miles from here and it is our commanding officers intention to give battle on coming up. They are Comanches & Pawnees. I hope we may be able to find them and give them a severe punishment for they richly deserve it —“ Yesterday we met a train waggons belonging to the Government returning and they had a man who was scalped by three monsters —“ Four of the men were out hunting buffalo, when suddenly the Indians burst on them killing two, wounding one who escaped and the fourth supposing him dead took his scalp!! His friends found him still breathing, they took him to the waggons, and by a miracle almost is still alive. It was a horrific sight, not a vestige of hair remains and the skin was taken off clean to the skull! It made a great impression on our men and they swear signal vengence on such demons. We just now hear they have taken the mules from a train of ours ahead of 30 waggons, we of course move rapidly and try to regain them with other property. The Mexicans have visited these tribes and made them presents to induce them to harass & stop all American trains. I shall not be surprised that after having been to Santa Fe we shall have to return and Guard this road until Winter sets in —“My health continues uninterruptedly good. You must not expect a long letter for I have little chance to write much. You can see by any large map of the U. Sates where I am penning these few lines —“ it is 160 miles from Ft. Leavenworth. We have made but small progress as yet owing to the roads which are the worst in the whole route. Give my love to Ma & Pa Also to my relatives and friends. I may perhaps never be permitted to see you again and I will again remind you to pursue your studies diligently while you have the chance, to be kind & dutiful to your dear Parents for you cannot expect to have them always with you and you will in so doing remember your Uncles advice after having grown to manhood and learned by experience and observation the cares & duties of the life man. I should much like to see you my dear nephew before I shall I suppose you will have grown to be quite a man. If any one should wish to write me they can direct to me B. troop U S Dragoons Santa Fe via Ft. Leavenworth and I will get it sooner or later. Well I must close and bid you and all friends good bye and believe me to be your affectionate uncle.
M Baker
P.S, It is uncertain whether we remain in Santa Fe, go to California go to the Southern Army and come back to guard the road, or return immediately to Ft. Leavenworth, but when we started we expected we should return to Ft. Leavenworth. I am glad to hear brother James is in such good health and spirits. My best respects to folks next door &c &c.
Your &c
M. L. B.

Arkansaw River one days march
From Pawnee Forks June 27 1847
My dear Nephew
When I last wrote you I was at Council Gove on my way to Santa Fe. After leaving there we proceeded on our journey and nothing of note happened until we reached Pawnee Forks, where we arrived just one day late to have had an encounter with a party of Comanches & Pawnees, who attacked a homeward bound train of waggons  and drove off over one hundred oxen and wounding some of the men. We found here two government ox trains of thirty waggons each, which started the next day with us. Two other trains of thirty each had started some two or three days ahead. We traveled some 16 to 18 miles and encamped on the Arkansaw. At Revielle or light the next morning we discovered that the Indians had made a charge on Haydens train and were driving off their oxen —“ The order to saddle and mount our horses was given and in a few moments all were in the saddle.  I was among the first in the ranks, but was ordered to remain behind to help guard the camp.  About Twenty one men (only) started off in pursuit of the Indians —“ Opposite to us on the other sie of the river, was a large crown of Indians, ready to cross and fall on our camp if we went away with our men. Our men (21) headed by a sergeant made a gallant charge on the Indians and they commenced to run off. At this time the Indians on the other side run their horses up the river a few hundred yards, crossed and charged in the rear after our men. The Indians in front seeing this, turned around and there was our poor fellows with enemies in the front & rear and ten to one at least (When the Indians commenced crossing the river I foresaw the result and wanted only twenty men to attack them and keep them from attacking our men in the rear but our commanding officer Lt. Love would not send the men and the result was horrid to relate. I make no comment, but leave the facts to speak for themselves) There was at least two hundred warriors all mounted, with lances, bows & arrows & a few guns, all of them on trained horses and themselves the best horsemen in the world. Those could not last only a few moments, when our men made a retreat for camp at the top of their horses speed. They got by this time all the cattle, some 70 to 80 yoke of oxen across the river and had about one hundred and fifty men on foot during this part. The first man that came in was Segt. Bishop, wound with a bullet just above the kidneys. He is not as yet thought dangerous, although it is rather doubtful. The next was a young man by the name of Vancaster, son of a German Baron, who fell from loss of blood &c off his horse some 200 yds from Camp. Besides being lanced, he had an arrow, still in him, which entered under the right arm and the steel point was sticking out through him just above the heart. He still is living but his has is thought hopeless. The next was the Farrier of the Company Seeing he was fainting I ran out, several hundreds from camp and held him on his horse until he got in. He held on to his sabre until I told him to let go his grasp. His case is doubtful, another came in lanced in the back and is very bad to day, but not dangerous. Two belonging to my mess were slightly wounded with lances. The roll was called and we found five men missing & party of umounted and went over the field of battle and the first one we found was the dead body of a fine young man of my mess —“named Arlidge. He was stripped of all clothing, but his scalp wasn’t taken. Then on looking around we found the dead bodies of three more Blake, Short & Dickhart, all three were horribly butchered. Most besides being lanced in a dozen places had his throat cut from ear to ear. Dickhart had his ears cut off and mouth mutilated. All of these three had their scalps taken.We buried them all in a single grave with honors of war. The fifth man, Gaskin, we did not find until this morning, he was dreadfully mutilated, his scalp was not taken, but half of his hair was pulled out, I suppose the one that killed him had no knife about him. So you see we have had five brave fellows taken from us and six wounded, four of them badly. We do not know for a certainty how many of the Indians died with them, but it cannot fall short of thirty, for almost all of our men killed one and those of our men that got killed, each killed two to four & five.  The Indians have not as yet made another attack, but we expect nothing else every moment. We are well prepared for them. The two ox trains lay close along the side of us and shall remain here until we can get cattle to take along the waggons.  There are some days behind us several hundred head of cattle going to Santa Fe, which when they come up will I suppose be put in the waggons. We have just learned the Indians have taken and destroyed the new fort lately built at Jackson Grove near the crossing of the Arkansaw. They killed three men, the rest escaped with a six pounder and have gone to Santa Fe with Smiths train as guards. We are somewhat fearful they will in a few days bring a still larger number and give us battle. I do Not think they can harm us, as long as we remain encamped as we now are, and very soon we will have a reinforcement as several companies of volunteers are on the road. Almost all the men remain under arms day & night. I have given you a hasty but impartial account of this tragic event, and one must be on the spot & participate in the scene to have any idea. It may be my fate never more to return if such should be the case it is my wish that whatever may be due me by government as well as my other property shall become your own. I will write again when I arrive in Santa Fe. Give my love to Ma, Pa, and all my relatives and friends. Good bye. God bless you, and sometimes if you see me no more spare a moment to think of your uncle
M L Baker
P.S. An express starts at dark for Fort Leavenworth by which I sent you this letter. I hope it may get through safe.

  1. Two Dragoon Deserters in Puebla, Mexico

The Puebla American Star for June 20, 1847, reported:

DESERTERS—No instance could more clearly demonstrate the fats we urged in our last, relative to the treatment deserters would receive from the enemy, than the fact that we are going to state:–Two dragoons having taken French leave from their quarters, thought they would better their condition by repairing to the enemy’s camp. They had not proceeded three leagues on the road to Alixco, before they fell in with a party of the enemy, who stripped them of every thing but their shirts. The greasers then took their arms, mounted their fine American horses, and rode off, notwithstanding the deserters exhibited to them a pass from a Mexican officer in Puebla. The most degraded nation in the world despises a deserter, and the treatment such as the above shows it. This is the way they pay deserters for their arms and public property they may take away with them. Excellent indeed.

  1. P. Kearny to Love 1848 re Churubusco


On Nov 4, 1848, Kearny wrote the following to fellow 1st Dragoon, Lt. John Love.

I understand that there are whispered rumors of rashness on my part to detract from what our troop did at Churubusco. My answer is, that those who investigate the matter will find far sooner cowardice, (of, at least, a moral nature), and stupid doltish incapacity on the part of Col. Harney, who interfered with our columns which he was too far in the rear to comprehend the position of. I hold Harney, who took the command out of my hands, responsible for sounding the “Recall” at all, or too late, [as when the head of it being committed, the foremost were left in the lurch.] From the first moment of seeing the “El Pinon,” and understanding the enemy’s double line of defences, I had determined, when opportunity offered, to win distinction for ourselves, by ___?___ into the second line of defences, protected by their own fugitives. It was on the eve of accomplishing this, when I found the rear part of the column had been withdrawn. The ordeal of [re]-calling a squadron of ho[rse] on a hard gravelled [sic] avenue [[with?]] cries, in the [[turn]] around & confusion to boot!!! Lt. [Julian] May [Mounted Rifles] recalled the men from his rear. Neither Ewell nor myself, nor Sergt. Reid ever saw or heard him. Thank God we are all young. I may have another chance yet. You would be surprised to find how little the loss of an arm incommodes me. I heard from Ewell yesterday. He is at “Buckland, Prince William County, Virginia.”See him if you can. We old men of the First must rally warmly to each other. We are all getting (young though we be) too old & form new friendships and god knows our late [ranks?] & [dearest?] ones have been decimated. I was very glad that Mrs. Stewert has seen you. Believe me, very Truly Yours
P. Kearny

  1. Col. Thomas Swords writes to Capt. Love

Washington City. March 8, 1850


My Dear Love,

I had hoped that before that I should be able to tell you something definite in relation to this detestable matter about Schumburg, but it appears this subject is not yet settled. The Senate in acting on the nomination of Ewell, refused to confirm it and called the attention of the President to a former resolution brought by them.  I have understood that the President replied that he was aware of the resolution, and the Secy of War had investigated and made a report on the case–here the subject rests for the present. The President says he will never nominate Schumburg, so the vacancy may remain open, at least until another occurs either among the Captaincies or First Lieutenancies, as if S. is not placed on the Register as 1st Lt. [,] the Senate may refuse the confirmation [of] the next nomination of 1st Lieut.

Everybody here is in quite good spirits to-day from the effect of Mr. Webster’s speech delivered yesterday and the disunion stock is getting quite below par, if they table the question over a few weeks longer, the probability–is, it will result like a lover’s quarrel and all parties will be more loving from the temporary estrangement. I might perhaps to except the abolitionist as I consider them beyond the influence of common sense views which operate in sensible beings. As to the Freesoilers, they may be considered among the things that were, at least as far as their influence is felt in Congress. No notice is taken of them by either of the other parties.

We have nothing new in the way of Army movements, no assignment has yet been made in our Dept. towards scattering some of us in the spring. What will my fate I don’t know, neither do I much care. Would have no objection to remaining here, if I could be permanent, which is not the case, as every little while I get a scare about going somewhere, I know I could make myself contended in almost any place which Mrs. S[words] could go with me.

We have had a very gay winter of it–at a party almost every night go at 10 or a  1/2 before and come away at about 1 or 2 , but it makes no difference as to our hour of getting up, which is always in time for breakfast. Ewell has been over occasionally with some ladies from Balt. and if don’t take care, I think, from what we hear, he will get fixed before he leaves here. I have been locking for him since the action by the Senate, but if he has been [passed] over he has not shown himself to me. 17 member of the Senate were absent when the nomination was acted on, and the resolution of passed by only one majority. Clay voted against Ewell’s nomination.

I have had a very pleasing reception of Mrs. Love and think you have been fortunate–as well as myself in your selection. I could wish you no better wish, than that you may continue to be as happy as we have been in our married life.

Give my love to Mrs. Love and say that I hope at some day to have the pleasure of being at the same station with her and that she and Mrs. S. may become friends. I know they would be, if they could be together.

Yours most truly

Thos. Swords







Fort Leavenworth I.T.

May 19, 1854

Mt dear Mother,

Here I am at the jumping off place. I wrote to you some time since today that I had applied for this duty. I wrote also a few days ago to inform you that I had got my request and then was making every preparation for leaving St. Louis as soon as possible. I left on the evening that I anticipated and having had a safe passage up I find myself at the post. Col. Steptoe and his command are here, also Capt. [Henry] Judd and Mrs. Judd.

I do not think we will get off before the 1st of June. There is no other lady along with us but Mrs. Judd and I think it very doubtful if either they Capt or herself go ahead with our party. They are both in very delicate health.

I am very sorry that this should be the case. I like them both very much from what I have seen of them. But I do not think their health will justify their going! Fort Leavenworth is a very pretty place. Much prettier than Jefferson Bks. The Country differs in being a rolling prairie Country where Jefferson Bks or the County around and about is full of what are termed sinkholes, deep natural pits. The grass here is very fine and an excellent place for grazing. My horse and mule, for I have one, spend most of their time grazing, picketed with a rope of about 20 feet. I bought a mule when I was here a short time since. It is a small animal but a very nice little thing having the particular property of being very gentle. Horses and Mules are very high here. They average from 140 to 130 dollars. The Indians [?] buy them up almost as rapidly as they are brought in. I think it more than probable that the Command will Winter in Salt Lake. Yet I do not know, neither can I tell, whether we are on the Plains some distance and see how many miles we travel a day. I am afraid that I will walk almost all the way, though I will have my very own horses and mules. Yes the men of my Command Dragoons will buy the strange fancy of Genl Jesup have to walk while there are 300 and more horses going out, some of which are for these very same men when they get there. I will be unwilling to ride when they walk, knowing full well that they ought to ride as well as I. I hope we may have a pleasant time crossing the Plains and many a time while trudging along very weary way I think of you. And oft when I am smoking my pipe in the evening after supper sitting around the fire if it is cold enough or by the stream on the grass if we are lucky enough. I will think of you, father, and the children sitting on the steps of the house on the beach, talking perhaps of the absent member. And when I stop at Noon I will think of you sorting out and your fruit and saying “Now children go away. Don’t bother me” or “Children behave,” or “Jane I will slap you if you do so again,” and many other nice sayings to keep the too desirous hands from dipping into the pears, figs and apples. Ah! How well do I remember those days of my childhood passed and never to return.

The Missouri River is the most rapid stream I think I saw taking it as a river. There are portions of other streams more rapid to observe but as a body of water I have never seen any which in my opinion can compare with the Missouri. There is very little difference between the Missouri and Mississippi, but I think that from what I have seen that the former is even more rapid than the latter. It is much more muddy and a much faster river. The banks a short distance from the mouth are high and well filled with grass and trees which give a very pretty appearance while here and there you see the ragged and the timeworn rock jutts out in defiance to the storms of heaven. This river is completely filled with snags. The Mississippi in this respect cannot compare with it. In some places it seems as though the boat could not possibly get through, and certainly nothing but nice steering and excellent management can do so sometimes. I thought when I was at home and looked on the map that Fort Leavenworth was out of civilization altogether, but when I got here I found I was mistaken as every [one] else will be who comes out [here] with any such notion.

I must draw to a close here my dear Mother as you see. My Father is getting written up. I will write again before I leave though by the time this reaches you I will be upon the Plains. Theophilus [the slave] is well and so am I. Give my love, etc.


Camp on 3 Mile Creek near Fort Leavenworth

May 26, 1854

My dear Mother

As you see from my heading I am in Camp, and I have been there for a few days passim. I should have written to you but that I have been so busy     since I have been here that I scarcely know which way to turn around. Our friend Capt. [Robert] Judd [3d Atry] and his excellent Lady, who as I before told you to have gone with us, sharing a separate command of an hundred men and even I for a subaltern have been compelled, through the very ill health of the Capt. to return to New York. The Dr. of the Post positively forbid the Capt. to go out with the Command and to leave the Post as soon as possible. Being very desirous of joining his Comp. which is in Cala. is determined to go by sea by which route he would if the trip prove successful much sooner then we shall. By this time of affairs, I was left in Command of the Dragoon Detachment of which he had been. As soon as I was placed in Command by turning over the Papers &c. to me I moved into the Camp and the next day Capt. Judd & Lady took their departure. I was very sorry to see the Capt. leave, for I had formed a very favorable opinion of him. I have had very much to do. Papers to make out, receipts to sign &c. and the worst of it is that I am not through yet.

My sources of consolation are however various and not the least is that I am acquiring knowledge every day which may be of use to me one of these days. My Camp is pitched about two or three hundred yards from Col. Steptoe’s. I have my own sentinel and over every thing am Comdg. the Camp and in that small space of the camp, I am a big man, much bigger than anywhere else. My tent is placed just at the head of the Camp, and I think I look very comfortable. I wish you could see me just as I am now, writing to you to describe it to your ________ and impossibility for me, but I think I must draw you a plan of the encampment.

Genl. Jessup and the other knowing ones at Washington think that this Comnd. of Col. Steptoe’s ought to walk across the plains 2,000 miles and guard almost 800 horses which they may mount upon when they get over. But Col. Steptoe has thought fit from the exigencies of the Case to Mount a certain number of the men, for the protection of himself and others of his Comnd.

As I am the only Dragoon Officer present and have Comnd. of the Dragoons recruits, I have mounted part to be selected by myself from my men, is placed under my Comnd and the remainder of the men are to be placed under the Comnd. of another officer to ________ I will have a Comnd. independent of all save Col. Steptoe and I will take great pain in making it efficient &c. for all duty. Whether I will be able to effect this or not is another thing but I will try and do so. I think we will learn more on Monday 29th inst. It is late at night now when I am writing. My camp is quiet and still. I am going around to inspect the Centinels. I have a very good set of men much better behaved than they are in the Artillery Camp. I think it very probable that I we will Winter in Salt Lake or near there. I will try and write to you from someplace on the route. I suppose we will be at Fort Kearney by the end of June. I have given you my address for California but I told you to address to Salt Lake. So you may write to me there and if I am there the letters will be forwarded to me. If we Winter there, we will not leave before the Spring. Give my love to all of my friends at home and say that I am very well satisfied. I have a good deal to do, more papers to sign. They so cover up and smother my ________ that I can hardly see through them. But I have managed thus far to get through with them and I hope to manage the rest of them. Give my best to Father, Adele and all of the children and tell them I am comfortable. I must now wind up my letter to you. It has not been a long one, but share in time my letter with them, to write more. Many of my letters will be much shorter than any you have received for a long time. Give my love, etc.

Ben Allston


Camp on Oak Point

June 6, 1854

My Dear Mother,

I must drop you a few lines from this solitude wilderness. Here we are a short distance from the Fort on our winding way to California. This makes the sixth day since we have been out from our Encampment three miles from the Fort. I am quite well and every thing my self. I wrote to you just before I left the Fort informing you that I was in command of Capt. Judd’s party. I am still in command of 50 of them, being number of the only mounted party along.

You would laugh to see my Costume—one of your check shirts rather more dirty-stained you would like to see it, no collar and no cravat and a common grey flannel shirt used as a coat—This with my pants rolled up to my knees almost, completes my costume.

The opportunity of sending in a letter to you occurs from meeting the Pay Master on his way to the Fort from Fort Laramie.

I wish I could see you. You have by this time learned of my departure for California. I wish that it had been possible to give you notice it and receive an answer in reply before I went but this was impossible.

I leave many friends behind in St. Louis and the day may soon come when you or I may have the opportunity to return them the kindness they have shown you.

I must close this short, but I know I know it will be an acceptable letter. I must not allow the opportunity to slip by me. Give my love to Father and Adele and all the Children, to Joe you will also. Joe has not written to me since I left. And so he is going to Europe   success be with him. Theophilus is well and is my cook.

Adieu Mother, etc.

Ben Allston



Dragns & Artillery Camp 30 miles from

Fort Kearney June 20th 1854

My dearest Mother

Taking advantage of an early Camp and knowing that we shall or rather stand a chance of meeting the Mail from Salt Lake on its way in, in a day or so now, I sit down to write you a few lines informing you of my well being. I am thanks to the gun in most excellent health, now in better. I enjoy my self in the wild life, so you would term it, but I cannot call it so exactly. The life is certainly very different from any that I had heretofore led but I thing much more charming and delicious. The only thing in my opinion approaches it in the slightest degree is the summer on the beach where you are now. There you seldom if ever breathe impure air. There I might say more the air is balmy and delicious. Imagine to yourself Mother a line of tents and wagons such as you have seen driven into town with cotton, I might say a long line for it is indeed pretty long 70 odd wagons and 50 odd tents. Now if you should look at the fourth tent from the right, you might see me sitting under it under a fly facing the west with my dog in front of me barking in the sun after the march. The front of my tent stretches out the east plain green as possible undulating, and wavering over 800 mules and horses together picketed out grazing on the       , until this time near-failing grass. Look around you and you will not be able to see a tree or shrub as far as the eye can reach. There is a small stream scarcely running but yet not stagnant, particularly through the sand in some cases and running in others. Here we all are without a stick of wood to cook on_______ except what we brought with us which is not much. We laid to Sunday as is the Col.’s intention. It rained very harshly the night previous as also that morning but it cleared off about twelve o’clock and a party of five of us went out to see if we could come across a stray buffalo. We crossed the little Blue and went about five or eight miles. We saw several antelope with their faerie figures, if you so might call them. They are the most curious creatures I have ever saw. They somewhat resemble the deer, but they move differently and not so fast. When they are running from you, you can see nothing but their tails white as cotton and much larger. But we could not get any of them because we were all foolish enough to go out without anything but our pistols. We saw tracks yet no Buffalo, I hope we may be more fortunate the next time.

I must now bid you goodbye my dear Mother…   I will write again from Kearney where we will be tomorrow or the next day. Adieu

Ben Allston


Camp on North Folk of the Platte

Near the Court House Rock

July 11, 1854

My Dearest Mother

Here you see I am on the North Fork of the Nebraska or Platte—I am quite well and in good spirits. The life has not yet lost its pugliancy [?] and pleasure for me. The scenes, though very much the same, are changing every day and the constant and daily exercise keeps me always with a good appetite, not to say am or have been generally without it. But there is a pleasure in feeling tired and then have the time to eat. Something which I presume you do not often feel, sometimes maybe when you have taken a race after the children at the Beach or have carried the baby on your back for the sake of the thing, you may feel a little tired, but it is not the tire of a hot and long march. There is a luxury about it that you cannot well understand I presume. A little incident occurred to one party the other day which broke very much on the monotony and rest of the Sabbath. On Saturday the 1st of the present month one of our party, a very nice fellow, in his thoughtlessness and excitement of the matter, left the party alone in the pursuit of a Buffalo. Capt. Ingalls by whose side he was riding saw him disappear on the crest of the hill. This was the last that was seen of him. We got into Camp soon after, this happened about then and thought nothing of his absence. He was not missed by myself. But when dawn came on _______ and he was still absent, we became alarmed and a party of five or six was made up to go in search of him. They returned at twelve at night with no intelligence of him. Capt. Ingalls and myself then determined to go out at 3 o’clock in the morning with a large party consisting of some civilians in his employ, and I took 15 (fifteen) of my Dragoons. One of the other officers started also and we got up at four o’clock. It was then broad daylight. We took a wagon with us to bring him in if we found him, and carried some provisions in it as we had no breakfast. I ordered my men to take some bread with them. We went out. I took nothing but a glass of cold water, and started. We soon got separated from each other. I with my men travelled over a whole area of at least ten miles by six or seven. Any quantity of Buffalo went soon. I was out without a morsel to eat for 10-l/2 hours with but little water. I was determined not to leave him out there until the necessity of the case I was obliged to come in. I would not have come in then believing as I did not had he not been found. Had it not been both men and horses were suffering from the length and fatigue of the work. I got into camp at half past two when I came in I felt very tired and exhausted having had but an hour and a half’’s sleep the previous night. I took a little to eat and drink. I found all the parties already in very much to my surprise a captain told me that they had him. My first question is, is he dead? Much to my joy he told me that he was not, but that he was crushed. I immediately went in to see him. He was perfectly sensible and told me how the accident occurred. He said that he had scarcely been out of sight of the Capt. when being in full chase after his game his horse stumbled and fell throwing him out and then rolling twice over him crushing his hind parts. For ten minutes he says he was delirious from pain, when he came to his senses he found that he was entirely disabled in his lower parts, from the small of his back. His suffering was intense. He had been without food for more than twenty-four hours but did not feel it was the thirst that he suffered from the most. His mouth was thoroughly parched. He heard the men when they were shouting for him during the night and says that they could not have been more than 60 to 100 yards from him but he was unable to give them the least due to him. Wolves and ravens, the buzzards of the plains, ______and owls around him all night. How great his anguish must have been when he heard the party go off and leave him you may imagine. He said that seeing nothing of anyone in the morning early he supposed that we had given him up and moved on. Where he was found he was lying on his face. He had been crawling with his hands and elbows, which were full of prickly pear, in order he said to try and reach the River— for he said that he could not make up his mind to die without one drink of water— if he could have got that he was willing to die. It was a great relief to me to find that he had been found. Messengers were sent out to me as soon as he was found but they all missed me. He is doing quite well at present but still unable to move or act for himself. As soon as I had eat and taken something to quench thirst I lay down in the shade of the tent and slept for five hours so soundly that the firing of the mountain howitzers did not disturb me. I am writing this now partly after the twelfth our camp is beneath Chimney Rock and the Capitols as Stansbury calls them. I drank today of the identical stream, five miles from Chimney Rock, where Stansbury and his party were encamped five years ago. I have had my chase after Buffalo and am in Company with Capt. Ingalls killed the first buffalo that was killed in the Camp. It is not safe to chase buffalo alone. If any accident should occur there should be one to tell the tale. I must close of this letter now as we may meet the mail tomorrow and this request not miss it for you would not get it for a month later. Give my love &c. …. I think I am growing shorter and may be a little taller. If the mail does not meet us tomorrow I shall write Laramie, I was prevented from writing to you at Kearney by being placed on duty on a Court Martial if no such intervening accident occurs I shall write from Laramie. Give my love to all &c. Affectionately yours, Ben Allston


Camp Near Fort Laramie

July 17th 1854

Mt dear Mother

I have just your two letters of the 25 May and June 6th and though there is a letter in the same mail that this will be in, I write this to inform you of the condition of affairs. I am quite well and in good spirits. I cannot give you much of a letter for my time is very limited. Fort Leavenworth is as different from Carlisle Bks as you can well imagine. The buildings are all old and not in the best condition. There are no farmers about it, and some few Indians. The Country on the opposite side of the River is well settled. But Fort Leavenworth being is in Indian Territory there are no settlements around it to speak of. The Indians who are about it are harmless. I saw none while there. Indeed, I saw none at all during the trip until a few days since where a War Party of the Sioux caught up with us, since then we have seen quite a number. They are odd looking subjects. But they, I meaning the tribe, is well disposed to the Whites. Fort Laramie is situated on the tongue of land situated between the North Folk of the Platte and the Laramie River. It seems to be quite a pleasant place. As fpr the Indians they are thick around this place. Any quantity of them may be seen hanging around. Many of them have come into our Camp to ask for sugar and Coffee and whatever else they can get. The first that came into our Camp near at the foot of Scotts Bluffs. The scenery about here is quite pretty. There is some wood around here—which is seldom seen on the Platte River. We will probably leave here tomorrow for the Salt Lake where we hope to arrive before September. I am sorry that I cannot write more but I really have not time. Have you heard any of the various experts that were flying around about      &c They were all      I have not been indisposed once. Give my love to …… etc. Ben Allston




Camp on Echo Canon

August 24th 1854

Here I am again my dearest Mother writing to you on the green turf. I am now about twenty miles west of Bear River—and in among the Wasatch Mountains. First and foremost I am well and am well-placed. I have had nothing like sickness since I left—have enjoyed myself very much. There is such a great variety in scenery, and at the same time such a vast monotony. I wrote to you from Laramie and I presume that you have received and read that letter to this time, and are looking-out for another. I will come in the course of time Mother—I am keeping myself quiet by thinking what a feast I will have when I get to Salt Lake. I expect any quantity of letters. I expect many from you to be waiting there for me. I would delay writing to you until I arrive in the City but I am afraid though not now distant over 60 miles from it, that I might miss the mails for there is no telling when we will get into the City. I intend to send this letter in by Col. Steptoe who goes in, in a day or two and will leave the Commd to wait his return to them. He will be certain to get in in time for the Mail as he will go in one day. If I am in time for the Mail in the City I will give you some account of it. Leaving Fort Laramie on the 19th ultimo, where we had received as much attention as it was possible for them to show there being only two officers and a Surgeon there with nothing much about them. We started for the – The road was quite rough for a short distance and some pretty steep hills to get up and down but nothing like we had gone up and done since. In ascending the Black Hills we took a road which left the river entirely. There is another road which follows the river called River Road in Contra distinction of the Hill Road that we took. We had got 12 to 15 Miles from Laramie and on the edge of the Hills when we were over taken by a violent hail-storm. Most unluckily my animals alone caught the hail. The rest of the Comm’d all caught the rain but not the hail or it have played a sorry part to us. Several of my horses burst away from those holding them and ran at a most precious rate. I had great doubt of ever seeing any of them in a woeful condition again. The hail fell very thick and my own horse, Falstaff, was most anxious to race with the rest. He had not the slightest shelter, I had a poncho of Indian rubber about me but it was not the slightest use, I had enough to do to keep it around me, the wind having a great propensity to take it away from me.

As soon as the storm was over I dispatched several men after the horses and proceeded with the rest of the Comm’d & Camp. The horses were recovered but ten of then were very badly hurt. One of them so badly that after carrying him along until we get to the Crossing of the N. Fork of the Platte, I determined to leave, and send him back to Laramie to the Q.M., the other horses recovered.

The country over which we travelled was mountainous, bleak and sterile except on streams where there was generally good grass to be found if we went off the road and hunted it. These Hills or Mountains as you please to call them evidently derive their name from the quantity of pine which grows on them, giving them at a distance black and dismal appearance. After four or five days travel we again struck the Platte, our old “Compagne du Voyage”. The second day travel after striking it brought us to the Crossing, where finding good grass we remained two days to recruit the Animals before we started over the country between it and the Sweet Water. Crossing the Platte on the 31st we followed it up for nine miles and encamped opposite the “Red Buttes.” I crossed over to these and found them to consist primarily of red sandstone — which had been heaved up, and teetered at a considerable angle. There is also a great deal of red clay in them. The Butte breaks through the Black Hills here their having a butte on each side of their banks. I picked up here a great many specimens of petrified wood of which there seems to be a great quantity about. I have now one or two specimens with me besides a section of a petrified Buffalo horn. We did advance to the Platte on the 1st of August and commenced the crossing of a country still more of a desert if possible than any we have yet crossed and in two days reached the long looked-for and wished-for Sweet Water. We struck this beautiful stream at Independence Rock. Having the desire to go to the top of this famous Rock, I watered my horses and dismissing my men let the horses graze while I proceeded to look for the Col who was ahead of me. The Rock as Stansbury says is literally covered with names but I recognized none of them. It is an immense rock of granite. I do not know the dimensions of it exactly. We encamped on the Sweet Water about two or three miles from the Devils Gate. Starting the next day I attempted to pass through the Devils Gate or rather the Col thought he would try to have me go through, but it was a most signal failure. I rode my horse in through about the middle where it was very cool. The size of it are 400 ft. high and a short time before we were there a young lad had fallen from the top of the rock. He belonged to a party of immigrants, the family consisting of Father, Mother & Son. The mother died some days before reaching here and the son was killed and the poor bearded father went alone. Camp on the Werber River               Aug. 25th I take up my [narative?], again having time to write more. Yesterday evening, leaving the Devils Gate which is a curious formation and, in my opinion, water had nothing to do with its formation; it must have been an immense fracture which the water took advantage of. We followed up the Sweet Water several days and then came to the South Pass. The Sweet Water falls undoubtedly may many feet in some places and forms tremendous cascades—although I saw none of them, I know that this must be the case because while following it we ascended at times many feet at a time. It is really a beautiful stream winding way along with the utmost regularity. The course is most irregular something like this (squiggly marks) making the strangest bends, imaginable, when you consider that the soil of the valley is to all appearances exactly the same—and one can see no cause for its meandering in the way it does. We did advance through this little stream with reluctance knowing that we would have a sorry time of it for grass and water for our next two camps at least. Dr. Wirtz and two other officers and myself went back to the summit of the South Pass and sat down, having drank to the remembrance of our Eastern friends, smoked a pipe, picked up a specimen or two and then proceeded to join the Commd. Such a Country as we passed over is something that you have never seen. Almost in complete dissent. The wild sage which Stansbury called Artemesia to use his own words “has taken complete possession of the grounds.” But such a sight was not at all uncommon [?] to us. Indeed the whole Country is the same except at intervals where we find a stream then there is grass in the small valley of it. We found no grass hardly until we struck Green River where descending it some five or six miles we encamped in a lovely spot on Grand Islands, remained there two days to recruit the animals. Green River as we saw it is a most beautiful stream running in some places with a very rapid current and then suddenly subsiding into a slow deep and dark green-looking river—soon again it rumbles forth its hoarse tones, and rushes madly over rocks and stones of every description. The waters of it where we crossed it, appeared to me like molten metal they seemed so solid, yet they were as clear as crystal. I meant to have said some more about South Pass before I left it, but I “slipped up”, as the Q.M. would say and forgot it. There is a full report given of it in Fremont’s Report, but I judge that a few words from me would not set you in “arrears” at all. It is a most remarkable formation.

To commence with, the road which by the [Commd ?] is an excellent one, one of the best roads I have been on, artificial or natural, passes between two little knobs about fifty to sixty feet high, which stand as sentinels to guard the pass and see that the ground is not violated which separates the waters of the Atlantic from those of the Pacific. Standing thereto the North offers nearby the Wind River Mountains, to one of which Fremont has given his name. They appear with patches of snow but we did not see them, as Stansbury did come with snow about one third of the distance down. We did not the pleasure of seeing them thus. To the South of us arose hills of considerable height but nothing like the mountains exept away in the far distance so they could be scarcely be seen. Standing there I did not feel as if I was in and among the great Mountains of the Western Continent. I did not feel that that I was among Mountains at all—although I was then on seven thousand feet above the sea, looking down upon all my friends, be they on sea or mountain. This Pass is certainly a very curious break in the great chain of Mountains, but I am told by some of the rough Mountaineers who live out here, there are many passes possible for wagons, both north and south of this one. What reliance is to be placed upon this statement I cannot say, certain it is that nest of them are in the habit of romancing a great-deal.

Saturday 25th Still in camp on Wind River. Having finished my digression on about the South Pass I will proceed with my account. About a mile and a half from our camp on Grand Island, was a trading post, belonging to an old French-man or half-breed French. I had occasion to go up there and such a set as I found there I cannot well describe to you. There was a perfect round of drinking and its concomitance, although I had the good fortune not to see any of them. A fight with knives is a now usual occurrence out here, where men all collect together at one of these posts.

Leaving Green River on the 17th of this month we crossed several streams, tributaries to Green River, all of which we found good grass and water and arrived at Fort Bridger on Saturday 20th. The intervening Country is one of the most remarkable I ever saw. It is between streams, as the Country already passed can, a complete desert incapable of producing any thing. Even the Sage here grows very sparse and is a miserable looking specimen. The Country seems to have been completely burned up by an immense heat. Any quantity of volcanic rock are to be found there, pieces of obsidian, trup, and all the others of the same nature. The face of the Country also shows the signs of a by-gone immense action of water on a grandiose scale as indeed the whole country since first striking the Platte at Kearney does. The soil is almost altogether Clay incorporated with stones—small boulders of sand and lime stone and igneous rock, together with the soil resulting from their decomposition. There was one isolated peak just on the side of the road particularly attracted my attention, and halting my horses to give them half an hours rest after a ride of three hours, I went up to this and examined it in a curiosity manner. From the road it appeared to be covered with the most curious and antique kind of covering. On approaching I found it to consist of red sandstone, & bluish or greyish limestone and a whitish clay. What appeared as a carriage was the effects of the weather, some portions of the hill bring, as you will readily see, much after the others. There were great caves so I might call them which had been excavated by the rain &c. If this could be painted as it actually exists, you would find few who would believe that this was a hill covered by natures own workmen so much are we accustomed to judge a painting by what we ourselves have seen.

I see that I will have to commence on another sheet of paper, or else break off in the midst of my ideas and account. Whether the subject matter of this epistle will replay you for the reading of it I know not, but as I have commenced it I will proceed though I hope it will not be to your annoyance. I might cross this but I do not like to do it, is the writing bold enough without being confusion?

Leaving this hill as soon as I had rested sufficiently we proceeded with our journey. The whole day it appeared to me as if I was travelling through the remains of what was at some far distant day, an immense Fortification. There were ramps and slopes and heights and all so completely and thoroughly blended together, as to give this appearance, while their utter destitution from vegetation appear the work, I could not help thinking while passing through, one of the Plains summoned on all sides with a vast rampart, what a fine place for a battle and I don’t doubt but that some battles of our country will there be fought.

The whole country is pretty much the same until we reach Fort Bridger. As you have already found, without doubt, some idea of this celebrated Station. Doubtless you have formed, allow me to say, a very extravagant idea of this place. I know that I did. I thought it was quite something of a building, where a person could be accommodated comfortably. But I was most woefully mistaken. It is a small dirty little building in the form of a square—with an opening or gateway. Black’s Fork, which branches off into many small streams forming many glades. The Country immediately surrounding would be pretty were it not for the fact that thousand upon thousand Cattle have accumulated there. The Fort, so called, it is the most perfect abode of filth I have ever seen. There were hides, feet, heads and almost every other portion of the carcasses, collected just in the immediate vicinity of the door and the idea of the old man’s wanting to sell it to the government for $50,000 is I have heard he did so is preposterous. It would take the garrison stationed there two weeks or more hard work to put it in a habitable condition for any one unaccustomed to the life of a mountaineer or an Indian trader. I bought here three four pence chickens, as we call them for the benefit of the mess,          the caterer and paid a dollar a piece for them $3.00. How many chickens would you buy at this rate? Not many. I suppose. We stayed at Bridger being encamped being about three quarters of a mile above the Fort the day following our arrival being Sunday—although the grass was very indifferent, simply because it passed Sunday. Leaving this place, about which Stansbury speaks a good deal, on the 22nd we commenced closing up the last 100 miles between the states and Salt Lake. The aspect of the country is entirely changed after the first 20 miles. The signs of fertility become more numerous and we commence to very sensually to feel the cool mountain air and at sight Bear River is a fine stream but we did not catch trout here as we thought we should do. We caught them in Blacks Fork and in this stream. After leaving Bear River we continued crossing the Wasatch range of mountains. The country is truly picturesque and interesting. For the last four days we have been travelling down Canon (Canyon) with steep hills or mountains on either side of us. On our right is the rare rock exposed. It is sandstone or conglomerate. The sandstone is of the brightest colors. Deep and light red, yellow, green, white &c. I never saw rocks so variously and brightly colored, but shows evidence in the tilt all the             of being powerfully and       . I went fishing with the Col. today and caught my first trout. It is a beautiful fish and delicious eating, the regular mountain trout. The Col starts to morrow morning early for the City. I would write more if I had time, but it is now night and I must rise early to morrow to attend to some duties besides I have scribbled you ten pages, the longest letter I have ever wrote in all my writing. I sincerely hope that it will not tire you. Theophilus is well and sends love to all, wishes to know something about his things, wife &c. Remember me most kindy to all my friends, [etc.] Ben Allston



Camp in Rush Water Lake Valley

Sept. 29, 1854

My Dear Mother

I have not more than time to write that I am quite well and as far as circumstances will admit, enjoying myself well. I should have written more at leisure and meant to please you had it not been that [the] Col Sunday noon last I received orders to strike our tents and move on the next morning. This order went so decidedly beyond any thing I had though of, took me quite unprepared and by surprise, consequently I will be obliged to make some of my auditors wait long before I they get them over. I am now 45 miles from the City and have been as busy as I could possibly could ever since I have been here—building a corral for my horses, I have been here for two days and have 99 yds or 100 yds of the wall built consisting of rods, being 6 ft high or more. This is I think doing very well, I know not what you or Father may think of it. I promise in my last which was eleven pages, I don’t know whether you will ever get it or not, to give you a description of Salt Lake City &c but you will have to wait until some other and more favorable time arrives for as I before said my dear Mother I actually have not time. I must start off my expressman early in the morning in order that he may ride from this the City 45 miles and get there before the mail closes. You never saw such a place as this for ducks and geese. They thoroughly abound, but I have not yet shot none. Stanbury’s description of the City is very good, but as regards its inhabitants, I think it is the lowest of the low. I cannot express to you what a thorough disgust I have for the whole religion and it only in my opinion, needs one to be an eyewitness to be of the same tone of feeling. Honor and integrity I see none—Truth and justice, I see none. Religion and chastity—I see none. Purity of thought, and delicacy of sentiment—there is none. This is my opinion and it goes of course only this far no farther.

But of this, sometime hence—You know or rather will know before this letter reaches you of wht has occurred at Laramie. We do not know here yet and every man is in suspense. It has been reported that the whole garrison was cut off and the fort burned down how this is I cannot say.

I am well and in good health and good spirits. Give my love to all of my Relatives & Friends—Father, Sister and all and may the ever living God protect and guide you all aright is the sincere prayer of your most devoting attached Son,

Ben Allston





  1. L. City March 15th


My dear Mother

I commence this letter as you will perceive, in the middle of the Month. I am ordered away and I know if I will return in time to write you by the Mail. In my last letter, I wrote that I was to start the next morning for Fillmore to obtain some of the Indians who were concerned in the murder of Gunnison and party. We made the trip in very rapid time, but arrived in the City the day the Mail left it so that I could not write to you by the Mail. We got all of the number except one who is yet to be given up. The Indians were very much agitated on the day they were given up and for several days previous. But they were delivered. There were several to have been given up. There were to have been seven given up, we received four men, one woman and her child which counted for one. The other man is yet to be given up. We came back from Fillmore to the City a distance of 150 miles in three days. This is what I call good travelling for teams. What say you [?] We are going down to Nephi a distance of 90 mi for the purpose of attending the trial of the prisoners and protecting the Judge from receiving any injuries at the hands of the enemy. Our force consists of sixty eight men, not including the officers and the quartermaster. Col. Steptoe goes down himself I think or so he says though I know not if he will. I take twenty of my men, the rest are from other Companies. I sincerely hope that we may get back in time for the Mail that I may give you an account of it and relieve your mind from the anxiety under which I know it will labor. But I apprehend little or no danger. The town in which we will encamp is a walled town and adaptable of defending itself against the Indians. Besides the one wall which encloses it , it consists of three or four stockade forts, all of which make up the city of Nephi. Nephi is one of he Prophets mentioned in the Book of Mormon, indeed it commences with the Book of Nephi.

The weather curious to relate has been very unpleasant it was when I started two weeks ago. It has been blowing and threatening all day and now at half past eleven P.M. it is snowing, sweet prospect for the morrow. But the weather is very changeable here that we may have tomorrow a fine and pretty day. Last night at 12 o’clock if was first the reverse of what it is now. Now as I have just said is dark cloudy and snowing. Last night it was clear starlight, and pleasant, and when I woke it was blowing and slating a little.

We may count upon one thing, however, very bad roads for travelling, muddy and slippery.

I was enabled to write Father only a short note by last mail, acquainting him with the summer full fact that I had again given a draft on him for $18.00. Mr Perry came here just before I started and stated he was in need of so much money, and requested me to let him have it. I could not refuse, and so I gave it to him. I do not mean that there was any           in the matter, but I considered it obligatory upon me, and I then cancelled the obligation. $500 is a pretty large sum to spend in a few short months, and if I continue I will soon spend all that I have, there being not much more than that very sum remaining. Put every thing will have a beginning and an ending and so will these large expenditures. I will see the Company and every body in it in the                 imaginable before I again do the like. I am out of debt to Mr. Perry and intend to stay so. I leave here even with the world and draw no more either. My investment in goods at Fillmore is I am afraid not going to turn out as well by a good deal as I fondly hoped it would. But if my partners are the honest men I will at least secure my capital back “Experientia docet.” The only Latin proverb I know, but a good one for all that. I intend to hold on to my lands, and expect in the course of time to make my losses on them, and at last come out even. To sell them would only be a loss, for I doubt if I could sell them for what they cost me, but this will change in the course of a year or two. We are anxious here to learn of the proceedings of Congress in regard to the Army Bills. And as no Eastern Mail came in last month, we are expecting some [unintelligible] developments in the expected Mail. You of course know all about it now, and can tell better than I can what impact what prospect is before me. If it is good congratulate me if not do not console me, for it is of very little to me; but nevertheless would like a little more rank in the Army, then I have at present.

I hope and trust you are all well my dear Mother, I have had serious apprehensions to the contrary coming into my brain how I cannot tell, but there they live and continue for some days until I drive them away as foolish. I am quite well except a slight Cold which is nothing. I do not think I will have much of a beard when I see you. It appears to be slow in its growth I know not why. Give my love to Father, Adele and all of the children and to all my Relatives and friends. Remember me to all of the servants, Theophlius is well, but not as dutiful as one might desire. Hoping to add to this before. The mail leaves I remain all affectionate, Your Ben Allston



Lieutenant Love’s Indiana Recruits

January 10, 2013

LIEUTENANT JOHN LOVE IN INDIANA 1846-1847 By Will Gorenfeld After he left the military, John Love became a successful businessman in Indianapolis. Active in civic affairs, he was a co-founder of the Indiana Historical Society. In this capacity, he left his collection of correspondence with the society. This is a brief account of his recruiting […]

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Such is a Dragoon’s Life (State Historical Society of Missouri, July 2011, vol 105, no. 4)

January 1, 2012

Such is a Dragoon’s Life: Corporal Mathais Baker, Company B, 1st Dragoons, 1845-1849[1] By Will Gorenfeld and Tim Kimball The year 1845 found Mathias L. Baker, a twenty eight year old clerk from Middlesex County, New Jersey, residing in a reasonably comfortable neighborhood in St Louis. On October 17, 1845, he enlisted in the United […]

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George Henneberg: Immigrant Bugler and Deserter

October 16, 2011

Kearny to Adj. Gen. Jones, January 27, 1839, Letter Book 410 Sir By the last mail received your instruction of the 8th Inst. to send George Henneburg one of the Principal Musicians of the 2d Dragoons, to Jefferson Barracks that he may be sent over there to join his Regiment in Florida, & for the […]

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Beall’s 1849 Expedition

October 15, 2011

  Maj. Ben Beall to Lt. John Dickerson, 2d Arty., AAAG, Head Quarters, 9th Military Dist. Don Fernando de Taos, NM, March 12, 1849 Sir, Agreeably to a letter of instructions from Head Quarters 9th Mily Department, dated 27th January 1849, directing me to “proceed as soon as possible to the country inhabited by the […]

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What is a Dragoon?

January 5, 2011

If the antiquated term dragoon manages to appear in current literature, it may conjure, to some, images of antiquated mounted troops, fighting in antediluvian European wars of a forgotten past; to others, the forcing of somebody to do something he doesn’t want to do. The word has its origin on the fields of battles fought […]

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A Gold Rush Officer’s Card Game Feud

November 28, 2010

Born and reared in Tennessee, Lt. Cave Couts frequently placed personal integrity above all else and a willingness to chastise those opponents threatening his honor. This became evident after an army officer, Major Justus McKinstry, verbally maligned Couts’ new-found novia, Ysidora Bandini. Incensed, Couts sent Lieutenant George Evans, with a note challenging McKinstry to a […]

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Old Four O’Clock: Sumner Takes Command of the Mounted Rifles

October 18, 2010

Armstrong to Love: Letter from Brazos Santiago, 1847. (A special guest contribution) This  breezy  communication was written by  2nd Lt. Bezaleel Armstrong, USMA 1845. He had recently returned from the occupation of New Mexico with a small party of 1st Dragoons, arriving at Fort Leavenworth on November 20, 1846.  Armstrong was one of several young […]

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Gossip from Ft. Leavenworth 1845 & 1846

September 3, 2010

McLean to Love Fort Leavenworth Mo. Nov 26th 1845 Dear John Had you not said in your first letter, that you would write to me on arriving at Dayton, I suppose I would be obliged to commence this with an apology; but as you were so rash as to give one that piece of information […]

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