From the category archives:


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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From the Wide Missouri to the Pacific Shore: Rufus Ingall’s Report of the Steptoe Expedition

July 19, 2010

In 1854-55, an expedition of dragoon and artillery recruits, under the command of Major Steptoe, left Fort Leavenworth for the Pacific Coast. Steptoe carried with him orders to spend the winter in Salt Lake City and, while there, investigate the murder of Captain John Gunnison and his party. Capt. and Assistant Quartermaster Rufus Ingalls, a […]

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Report of Company G at Taos and Embudo

March 29, 2010

Don Fernando De Taos, N. Mex., February 16, 1847. Colonel: I have the honor herewith to transmit the monthly return of the late Capt. J. H. K. Burgwin’s company (G, First Dragoons) for the month of January, 1847. I have signed the return myself, and in order to explain it beg leave to submit the […]

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Carleton at Bitter Spring

February 28, 2010

Originally from Wild West (with John Gorenfeld) James Henry Carleton is generally remembered as the fanatically loyal Union officer who saved New Mexico Territory from the Confederates. Hell-bent on keeping the territory safe against an invasion from Confederate Texas, Carleton called on the men in his California Column to crack down on suspected Southern sympathizers. […]

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The 1848 March of Company H

November 15, 2009

Santa Fe Republican, September 12, 1848, reported: -Co. (H,) 1st Dragoons, commanded by Lt. Buford, from Fort Gibson, reached this place on Saturday, the 9th inst., all in fine health and spirits.  It seems that Lieut. Buford came direct from Fort Gibson almost a new and untravelled route, which he considers much the best and shortest to […]

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Kearny’s March to California

October 22, 2009

StL Weekly Republican August 10, 1846 LETTER FROM CAPTAIN MOORE July 10, 1846 Pawnee Fork We have received from a friend in Jefferson City, for which he has our thanks, a private letter received from Capt. Moore, commander of the advance guard of U. S. Dragoons now en route for Santa Fe, from which we […]

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Co. F, 1st Dragoons at Churubusco

July 29, 2009

Company F, 1st Dragoons was commanded by Captain Phil Thompson, but recruited, trained and led in the field by Lieutenant Phil Kearny. Shortly before the war with Mexico, Phil Kearny wrote to his friend John Love from New York. June 7, 1846, to Lt. John Love of the 1st U.S. Dragoons. “I hope to heaven […]

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A LETTER FROM HEADQUARTERS: New Horse Equipage and Seeing the Elephant, 1846

March 2, 2009

On August 18, 1846, Company B of the 1st United States Dragoons participated in the bloodless conquest of Santa Fe.  Brig. General Stephen W. Kearny, with orders to proceed to California, broke up Company B and transferred most of its enlisted men and mounts to the other four companies of Dragoons and headed west.  Lt. […]

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Letters Home: Mathias Baker

February 22, 2009

Mathias Baker ran off from his prosperous New York home and joined the 1st Dragoons in 1845. He accompanied Stephen W. Kearny to Santa Fe in 1846. Returning to Ft. Leavenworth with Lt. John Love to rebuild the company, he writes of the trek back to the states. Baker accompanied Love to New Mexico in […]

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Overawing the Indians: Major Steen’s Futile Pursuit of the Apaches in 1850

June 26, 2008

The editor of Santa Fe Gazette of 5 March 1853, pondered, “How can a Dragoon who, with his arms and accoutrements weighing 250 pounds, mounted on a half starved browken down horse be expected to catch an Indian mounted upon his fleet little pony, sooner than an Infantryman loaded down with his musket, knapsack, his […]

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