1855 Pistol Carbine

During the Ante-bellum period, the Ordnance Department remained concerned over the reliability of breech-loaders and efforts were made to improve muzzle-loading weapons. One weapon issued to some Dragoons was the Springfield Model 1855 Pistol-Carbine. It was originally intended for the two new regiments of cavalry created in 1855.
Secretary of War Jefferson Davis believed that this weapon would also prove useful to the Dragoons. In 1855, he wrote, “No difference will be needed between the arms and equipments dragoons and those of light cavalry; but the whole, armed with this weapon, will be rendered in celerity of movements equal to light cavalry, and in combat to heavy dragoons.”
The weapon was designed to fire the .58 caliber minie ball. Carried in the pommel holster, like the .44 caliber Dragoon pistol, it came with a readily attachable shoulder-stock. This powerful weapon fired a 500-grain bullet and used a charge of 60 grains of powder. Akin to the Model 1855 rifled musket, the pistol carbine employed the cranky Maynard taped-primer system.
When fired with the shoulder stock attached, this weapon proved to be reasonably accurate and hard-hitting. But as a pistol, it did not fare so well. The hefty, 12-inch barrel rendered the pistol-carbine unbalanced. Dragoon Captain Richard Ewell, who tested this weapon in 1858, found that shoulder stocks did not always fasten firmly to the pistol and that this adversely effected its accuracy. Although about 5,000 pistol-carbines were manufactured at the Springfield Arsenal, it does not appear that this weapon was issued to any of the troops at Fort Tejon.
The problem of placing a small brass percussion “hat” cap on a nipple of the carbine while aboard a skittish American horse was, at best, a nimble task for steady fingers. The ensuing complaints from the field persuaded the Army to purchase 400 Model 1855 Sharps carbines equipped with the Maynard tape primer system. These weapons were issued in limited numbers, beginning in the year of 1856.
The Maynard Taped Primer system worked in a manner similar to that of a child’s toy cap pistol: the tape featured a paper roll containing bits of fulminate of mercury as primers, which was mechanically fed under the hammer each time that the hammer was cocked. When the hammer dropped, the fulminate would be detonated and the paper cut away. This system had been first tested in 1849 on contract muskets supplied to the Infantry by the firm of Daniel Nippes.
When exposed to harsh wet, or icy weather, the tape became brittle, damp, torn, and would not fire. With age, the fulminate became defunct and would not detonate. Captain Ewell tested the system and found that the tape caps failed to explode two out of three times.

James E. Hicks: U.S. Firearms 1776-1956 (Beverly Hills, Eadco Publishing 1957), plate 48

During the Antebellum period, the War Department was concerned over the reliability of breech-loading weapons and it made efforts to design improved muzzle loaders for use by the mounted arm. Two such weapons were the 1855 carbine and the 1855 pistol-carbine. Secretary of War Jefferson Davis believed that the latter weapon would prove to be a useful weapon for both light cavalry and heavy dragoons. It could be carried either in the pommel holster or, as the ambrotype above shows, attached to trooper’s the carbine sling.

About 5,000 pistol-carbines were manufactured at the Springfield Arsenal.

On 12 September 1859, Inspector General Joe Johnston found Lt. Richard Lord’s Company D, 1st Dragoons, on duty at Fort Fillmore, New Mexico Territory, and observed their weaponry: “The dragoon company is not well armed. All of the men have sabres & Colt’s Navy revolvers–a majority, the pirtol carbine–some Sharps & a few, rifles of the cal. 54 of inch [Yeager Model 1841].” On the 4th of October, General Johnston visited Ft. Buchanan and had this to say about the arms of Captain Richard Ewell’s Dragoon Company D: “There is, however, a great variety of fire arms, Sharp’s, Hall’s & the pistol carbine, the rifle (cal. 54) & musketoon–Colt’s revolver of both sizes [.44 Dragoon and .36 Navy], & the old [Aston M1842] Dragoon pistol. Capt. Ewell advocates Sharp’s Carbine, in comparison with the musketoon, for he has had no opportunity to compare it with others of the same kind. The Capt. has made two requisitions for carbines annually for several years. His sabres are of the old pattern [1833].” Captain Ewell also pointed out that the shoulder stocks did not always fasten firmly to the pistol and this would adversely affect its accuracy.

How William Grier became Colonel Grier

Willaim Grier: Grant Makes Him a Colonel
By Thomas P. Farner, 2003
This is the final part in a series printed in the SandPaper on the life of General William N. Grier before he arrived in Manahawkin, New Jersey, as President of the Stafford Land Company in the early 1870’s.

Grier and his 1st U. S. Cavalry had played a key role in what has been called the Peninsula Campaign from May-June 1862. He received a saber wound leading a charge at Williamsburg, Virginia, and also suffered from other physical problems. He wrote in 1866, “At the time we left Yorktown, it was my misfortune to be suffering from dysentery. Nevertheless (against the recommendations of my surgeon) I remained with the Army of the Potomac until it reached ‘Harrison’s Landing’ on James River – avoiding the sick report during the whole xxxxxxx.”
But in August 1862 the situation became critical most effective weight loss supplement. Grier wrote, “I was no longer able to ride my horse half a mile without falling off; was sent from the field.”
For the hard charging cavalry officer of the American west, the opening of the Civil War 1862-65, saw him confined to a desk. First sitting on court-martials in St. Louis, Missouri from September 1862 to February 1863, then as a recruiting officer in Ohio and Iowa. Of this time in his career he remembered he was, “still suffering for a year and a half with chronic dysentery, and then with typhoid fever, and chills and fevers – yet, laboring hard at officer duties, and avoiding leaves of absence and sick reports.”
As the Civil War was winding down in March 1865, Grier was awarded the Brevet rank of Brigadier General for meritorious service in the war. With peace and improved health Grier again wanted to lead a cavalry regiment but the army was downsizing and commands were few and far between. In 1897, General U. S. Grant’s son Fredrick Dent Grant wrote an article for The New York World Sunday magazine about his father. A portion was entitled, ‘How Grier Became a Colonel.—
“A good illustration of how he appreciated a kindness may be given in his thoughtfulness of Lieut. (afterwards Col.) Grier, who was a tactical officer at West Point when my father was a cadet. My father occupied a room with Cadet [George] Deshon, who is now a priest in the Paulist Church in New York. Upon one occasion Deshon ventured forth upon a foraging expedition and brought back a turkey, and my father and he were cooking this treasure in their room when Lieut. Grier came in upon them while making a tour of inspection. The odor of roasting turkey was strong in the room and must have smote the officer in his nostrils before he crossed the threshold. He walked around, keeping his eyes continually upon the ceiling, and announced with ostentatious severity: ‘Gentlemen, it seems to me I can smell something cooking.’ Grier carefully avoided looking at the guilty faces of the two young fellows or towards the fowl on their hearth. It was perfectly clear that he had not the faintest intention of reporting them, and he did not do so. Of course he should have reported them, for their’s was a serious offense. His consideration saved the boys a great deal of trouble, and possibly from dismissal from the corps of cadets, and in after years, when the reorganization of the army took place, my father remembered the favor shown to him by Grier, and he did not allow the pressure brought by the friends of other officers to secure them places in the new army list to overweigh the just and proper claims of one who had rendered a kindness to him in his early life. Grier, who was a brave and efficient officer, became a Colonel.”
In August 1866, Grier was named Commander of the 3rd U. S. Cavalry. In July 1867. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton had decided to revise the manuals of tactics used by the U. S. Army. On the 9th a Board of distinguished officers was convened to evaluate and recommend the new manual’s adoption. Heading the Board was General U. S. Grant along with General George Gordon Meade, hero of Gettysburg and designer of Barnegat Lighthouse and West Point classmate of William Grier, who was also appointed to serve on the Board.
After the Board disbanded Grier became the Commander of Fort Union, New Mexico where he remained until 1870 when the regiment was transferred to Camp Halleck, Nevada. Grier’s health began to decline and he was hospitalized in San Francisco. Later that year on December 15 he requested retirement after 35 years in the service of his country. It was his background of fighting Indians with Kit Carson, for dashing charges at the head of his regiment that Grier brought to the little cottage on Stafford Avenue and almost immediately The New Jersey Courier of Toms River began to refer to the Grier house as the ‘Cavalry Cottage,’ the name by which most people know it today.
It would appear even then that his adopted home wanted to show their respect for the new resident and its only fitting that 133 years after his retirement the modern citizens of Stafford chose to purchase and preserve the building and recognize the 35 years of faithful service he gave to his country.

Capt. John Davidson and Company B to the Rescue

In August of 1855 it was reported that Capt. John Pope’s comand (Company I, 7th Infantry) out on the Staked Plains near the Texas/New Mexico border, had been attacked by Comanche Indians and had lost 7 men. John Davidson’s B Company, stationed at Fort Stanton, was dispatched to rescue Pope. A patrol, under Sgt. James Bennett, left Ft. Stanton on 21 August. The remainder of the company departed from Ft. Stanton on 28 August. Two men were drowned at the crossing of Blue Water. After traveling across the harsh desert terrain with temperatures in excess of 120 degrees, Pope’s camp was reached on 1 September. Company B discovered that the reported Indian attack turned out to be false. It returned to Fort Stanton and arrived there on 16 September.

Here are two reports of the patrol graciously provided by Gary Cozzens and the Fort Stanton history group.

Head Quarters Fort Stanton
N. M. September 10th 1855

Desirous of sending the whole force of Captain Davidson—™s Company to Delaware Creek, he deferred his departure until 28th August for the return of about 10 men absent escorting to Fort Bliss. These not returning by the time he departed with all the strength of his Company here (thirty five men) and 20 pack mules with a howitzer with the Dept. order and the Genl—™s letter of instructions of 2nd August for his guidance, to open communication with Capt. Pope, T. E. He returned within 20 miles of them last night and reported to me. I directed him to come to the Post. I enclose a copy of his report, the original being in pencil. It was my design to allow his animals about 10 days to recruit and send him again with the whole strength of his company now increased by eleven recruits and six men who will by that time return from escorting Dr. Henry to Fort Fillmore on his way as a witness to Fort Bliss as it is believe he could go securely by Dog Canyon and south of the Guadalupe Mountains. Flores the guide (bearer of this) wishes to go to Santa Fe, on important business to him, and I have thought it best to enclose to the Cmdg General Captain Davidson—™s report and a sketch of the country transversed for his information, and further particulars he can get from Flores and through him I can be informed of the General—™s wishes by the time the animals are sufficiently rested for another expedition. A map will be furnished as soon as complete.
Captain Davidson speaks very highly of Flores; of his perfect knowledge of the county, and of of the Indians their bands, habits, numbers and mountains. It is deemed very important that he be returned here for a year as to acquire a knowledge of the country, now unknown to the officers serving here. Col. [Daniel] Chandler has written to me to send Flores to Fort Craig, but it seems to me that the services of him or of El Cojo of Manzanos or some equally good are very material here, and Flores is considered best, and is most desired. I believe he would be glad to be so employed at $1.50 per diem.
It is his opinion and Capt. Davidson that no reliance can be placed on the friendship of the Mescaleros and that as soon as their fruits and other resources on the Rio Grande are exhausted, we may expect them (perhaps with others), to make attempts at driving off our animals.
Capt. Davidson estimates the distance to Capt Pope at considerably over 200 miles and that he has reached within about 80 miles of him. The Pecos was very high and he considered it very dangerous if not impractible then to cross it. The grass below is excellent and his horses are in better condition than when he started, but the mules much exhausted.
The [ ] Mill works pretty well. We have made yokes and yoked up some of our beef cattle to haul logs.
I am Sir
Your Obt. Svt.
Bvt. Major N. A. Nichols J. Van Horne
Asst Adjt General USA B. Maj. Comdg
Santa Fe

(National Archives microfilm, RG 393, M1120, [V-8].)

Camp on Ruidoso near —œSanta de los Rios—
September 7, 1855

I have the honor to report briefly to the Commanding Officer from this point that in pursuance to his orders I left the post on the 1st ulto. with 1 sergeant, 1 bugler, platoon of sixteen files of my Company, and a mountain howitzer to open communication with Capt. Pope, Topo Engineer.
Below the junction of the Ruidoso and Bonito the road became so impracticable that I left my gun it being impossible to carry it further without great labor and detentioin.
On the 2nd of September in the afternoon I observed signal smokes about 12 miles below me on the Pecos having been on this river two days and striking the river an hour later I came upon a large Indian Camp located a day or two from the signs of my guide (Flores) judged there to be a band of Auga Nueva Apaches joined by a renegade band of Mescaleros under Chino [?] (likely as not is at the treaty) and that from this [?] has obsereved [?] camped about [?] below on the River, where some [?] from the Mesa to the Pecos and which are termed Los Luganitas. There Indians must have with them some 200 head of horses among which is a shod one recently stolen from the Settlements as the traders are cut clear showing the newness of the shoe. There could have been no friendly Mescaleros among them or there was no sign of corn in the camp or any of the supplies down under the treaty but to the contrary they are subsisting scantly on game, the roots of the field and the fruit of the cactus. I counted 32 lodges which have been put up one fine camped without lodges.
From the direction from which these Indians came, my Guide thinks them to be the same, apart of whom committed the depredations near Fort Bliss probably attacked and killed the wagon escort on the river and are about 90 strong. These things gave me matter of reflection during the night and on the morning of the 3rd then signal smokes being answered from the Guadalupe. Showing another band to be in concert with them. I therefore in consideration of the known hostility of these Auga Nuevas, the size of the band and the smallness of my own force, there being no means of transporting wounded men (not a pole for stretchers to be cut on the river) and no particular routes on the eastern slopes of the Guadalupe by going down the Pecos and my order not being for a Campaign, determined not to jeopardize my party without necessity but returned to this point, Report and await further orders which I have done. Accordingly with exceeding regret not that I doubt the prosperity of this step but that I have not sufficient force to prosecute my march whiter I choose to go.
The pack mules of my party are unsuited for such an expedition having done much work this year with scanty forage and little rest and have been giving out daily so as to delay my marches going and returning back to this point slowly. On the 4th I had one shot unable to go further.

I am Sir
Your Obdt Servt
J. N. Davidson
Capt 1st Dragoons

Lt. R. M Bonneou
Post Adjutant
Fort Stanton, N. M.

National Archives, RG 393, M-1120, [V 8/1]

Slavery in the Dragoons: Colonel Stephen Kearny, Captains John Burgwin and Captain Robert H. Chilton and Lieutenant Ben Allston

In 1845, while riding steadily along the trail, passing caravans and immense herds of buffalo, the homeward bound dragoons came closer to their destination with each beat of the horses’ hooves. On August 7 they knew that civilization was near when an escaped slave wandered into the dragoon camp. Wrote Lieutenant Henry Turner, “he confessed that he ran off from his master & that it was his object to get if possible into New Mexico; that he had been treated badly by his master, he was willing to encounter any danger or privation rather than return.”[i]

Here we witness a heart breakingly common example of the great societal problem that afflicted the nation since its creation: the “peculiar institution” of slavery. Concerning the escaped Arapaho woman and her children enslaved by the Sioux, and previously found by the dragoons, Col. S. W. Kearny’s sense of justice, along with that of the majority of Americans, dictated that she be set free and returned to her people. Those views, however, did not in Kearny’s mind extend to the case of an escaped slave of white men. For him and many citizens, the man was the property of his owner, the law required that he should be duly returned to his master upon the troops’ reaching the Missouri settlements—just as Dodge had returned to his owner’s family the African-American slave who had been captured by the Pawnee. Two days after being captured by the dragoons and put into the service of an officer, the man somehow escaped again. That Kearny may have had a change of heart is suggested by the lack of any attempt on his part, this time, to pursue the runaway. Indeed, the only dragoon pursuits that day were not of humans, but of buffalo.[ii]

[i] Turner, Journal, 76.

[ii] Turner Journal, 77; Franklin, South Pass, 31.

  1. S. L. City U.T.

March 28, 1854

My dear Mother [Adele Allston]

Your last letter dated Dec. 20th pasan was received two days ago and I proceed with much pleasure to answer it. I send by this mail a letter I wrote before I went again to the South to attend the trial of these persons which were given up by their Chief. In was under the impression that I would not return in time to send by the California Mail. But here I am safe and sound returned and in time to write to you. I am very glad of it because I know how anxious you would be obliged to wait so long a time for any news from me. The date of your letter is Dec. 20th . Three months have elapsed since it was written, what is the cause of this time must be some irregularity in the Mail from thus Georgetown to Independence else why should all of your letters be so late in arriving. From what you say it seems that my letters are also late in coming to hand. Would that they not so late going. My letters have reached St. Louis in some cases just a month after they were written, and it current, it should not take them a month to go to you from there. I am now making preparations to leave the City to move to continuing the march to California. All the troops are doing the same. We will leave the City take up an abode in Rush Lake [sic] Valley until the middle of May probably when we will take up the line of march to California. Whether we will all go together to California is a question that has not yet been determined—time will show. The troops are to be scattered over an immense extent of Territory and this point is as central as any in California.

Now a short description about the trial of trial of the Indians. We took down five Indians five Indians, including a squaw who was [giving immunity and] made states evidence which left four and Ka-Wah brought one more to meet us at Nephi. The Grand Jury found an indictment against three of the Indians and let the other two go. There were many witnesses who went to prove the fact of their having been engaged in the affair, but the evidence of the squaw was damning. She said that all were there and participated in the massacre and that one of them was who saw the party coming down to the river and told his followers saying “there come the Americans come let us kill them.” The testimony was quite strong, and convincing and yet the jury though sworn to determine according to law and evidence found them guilty of manslaughter—and they have been sentence to imprisonment for three years. The verdict of the jury occasioned great disgust and ill feeling on our side. It was said and with a great deal of reason judging from the facts that Brigham Young the mouth piece of God as they term him, and as he has taught them to believe was the morning spring the motive power of the whole affair. There are grounds for this belief and I for one believe it to be a fact. It would be necessary for me to go into the particulars of the facts which gave use to this conclusion, but suffice it to say that all of us (who were down there) believe it to be so. His reasons are to us unknown and will not know theirs. No reasons however strong could sanction such a thing for a moment.

Lt. Mowry was associated with the district Attorney in the prosecution of the case and he has reported the whole case. You will therefore see the whole in full. A Copy has been sent to the Pres[ident] and to [Attorney] Gen. [Caleb] Cushing besides that indented for the Pres.

This I think will bring on some trouble and excitement in connection with his [unintelligible] speech of which I with you some time since and which has been reported & doubtless published by this time—perhaps you are now reading it.

The Indians in Nephi were very friendly to us, and to the Col. treated them with great leniency and kindness.

Theophilus [a slave] is behaving very badly and shamefully and I am afraid I shall be obliged to sell him. He has given me a great deal of trouble and annoyance. He has said that he was free and owed me no allegiance. And on the morning on which I left for the South I told him to report to Capt. Ingalls who would send him out to Rush Valley, I wished to punish him and took this method of doing it. The rascal took it into his head to run away after I left the City went to the Gov and showed as the Gov says free papers, and asked for employment. But thanks to Capt. Ingalls he was recovered and is now at Camp. I feel no inclination to have him any where near me again. I am disgusted with him. Mr. Perry has offered me a thousand dollars for him or says he will take him through to Mier [?] and there hire him out for me until I return. I do not know what I will do, but I am pretty well persuaded that I shall not take him through to California with me—for not only would he there leave me but I would be very much troubled by him—between here and there—In would sell him without further thought were it not that the whole family belong to me and I do not like to hurt their feelings.


There has been no change in my orders & etc, as yet through I should be at all surprised to find orders returning me to California when I get there. I shall probably go to Oregon to deliver some of these men to their posts. I shall thus see portions of California and Oregon. I consider myself very fortunate in having to come on this trip. Every day I realize its importance to me.

Col. Steptoe’s Commission as Governor of the Territory has at length arrived. I do not know whether he will accept or not though I think it more than likely that he will. I like the Col. very much and if he accepts this Commission I do not know but what I will resign if I an get the [position of] Surveyor General of the Territory. It is something I have thought of for a long time, and can come to     a very definite conclusion. Whether the Surveyor Generalship in the    by which it is held is sufficient inducement for me to give up my present profession. Another question presents itself to me, what             and fortunes here in case trouble should come with the Mormons which unless the kind and over ruling province does not remove Brigham Young from his Stewardship, seems to me inevitable. If Brigham Young should die, there would be trouble in the Church itself, and although a successor might be selected without division of the Church (and I do not think one could be) this new President [James Buchanan] would not command the people as he does now. If we should ever be at war with the people, they would make a desperate struggle (being united and considering every interference that the government or its officers might make in their customs, beliefs, and supreme pleasures, as a direct willful and malicious persecution, and being situated here in the midst of the Rocky Mountains where Rocks. Caves, & Canons would make afford them protection from a much superior force. All things would make their defense most desperate. I must end dear Mother for the present. I am going to attend a wedding this evening; a Mormon girl and a gentile. The girl is the daughter of Elder John Taylor now in St. Louis editing a paper and who was in prison with Joe Smith when he was murdered. The Community in general are very much opposed to it but I do and see how they are going to better themselves. They have issued an ordnance against Women leaving the City. Give my love, etc.

I do not know whether you know I or not but our friend, that good woman McKnight whom you met at Carlisle is dead, she died last July. It has as matter of course thereon thrown the family deep sorrow. Her loss to them can never be replaced. I sympathize with them deeply for you know I was intimate with and liked the whole family very much. I cannot now write much more. It will puzzle you very much to finish this letter, but I hope that it may produce feelings of pleasure when you have accomplished the task. I doubt not that it will in part. Adieu again my dear, dear Mother. Hoping to hear from you every day now for the Mail for this month is not yet in. I remain yours very affectionate yours, Ben Allston

It was not unusual for some officers serving in the Antebellum Army to own slaves. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision of 1857 arose when a deceased officer’s slave sought to obtain his freedom. These letters were written by Captain Henry Smith Turner, USMA 1834, of the 1st Dragoons who accompanied Brig. Gen. Stephen W. Kearny and two companies of Dragoons on out to California and briefly assumed command at the 1846 Battle of San Pascual. He resigned from the Army in 1848. On April 4, 1849, Turner wrote to Lt. John Love from St Louis inquiring about Burgwin’s property and his efforts to block James Schaumburgh from gaining a commission in the 1st Dragoons. (Schaumburgh, a 2d lieutenant at the time of formation of 1st Dragoons, resigned his commission under a cloud in 1836, was reinstated in 1844, but dropped in 1845). In 1849, Lt. John Love, the acting regimental adjutant at Ft. Leavenworth, and was involved in, among other things, settling the late Captain John Burgwin’s affairs.

The first letter below concerns Captain Burgwin, an officer in the 1st Dragoons from North Carolina and an 1830 graduate of the Military Academy. He owned a servant who was named Horace. Captain Burgwin seems to have brought Horace with him when he went to conquer Santa Fe with the Dragoons in 1846. Burgwin died from wounds suffered in the Taos Mutiny on 7 February, 1847.

The second letter sent by Turner to Lt. Love concerns a female slave that he was about to purchase in Booneville, Missouri on behalf of Captain Robert Hall Chilton, 1st Dragoons. Captain Chilton, USMA 1837, was at th time commanding B Company at Fort Kearney. Turner arranged to have the slave sent to Ft. Leavenworth and requested that Love see that she be shipped west to Fort Kearney. Chilton, a Virginian, would resign from the army on 29 April 1861 and later served as a General in the Southern Confederacy.

In 1854, a young 1st Dragoon lieutenant and his slave arriving at Fort Leavenworth had no way of knowing what awaited them out west. Benjamin Allston, from South Carolina, West Point class of 1853, and Theophilus, his personal slave, were bound for the Pacific Coast. Allston wrote home frequently. His letters mention his fellow officers but, not surprisingly, never the names of his enlisted men. He does, however, briefly mention Theophilus in several letters.

During this trip they were to spend the winter in Salt Lake City, and tensions between master and slave commenced. Theophilus, soon after arriving in Salt Lake, sought his freedom. Writing to his mother, this is what Ben had to say of the behavior of his man servant:

“Theophilus is behaving very badly and shamefully and I am afraid I shall be obliged to sell him. He has given me a great deal of trouble and annoyance. He has said that he was free and owed me no allegiance. And on the morning on which I left for the South I told him to report to Capt. [Rufus] Ingalls who would send him out to Rush Valley, I wished to punish him and took this method of doing it. The rascal took it into his head to run away after I left the City went to the Gov and showed as the Gov says [his] free papers, and asked for employment. But thanks to Capt. Ingalls he was recovered and is now at Camp. I feel no inclination to have him any where near me again. I am disgusted with him. Mr. Perry has offered me a thousand dollars for him or says he will take him through to Mier [Mexico] and there hire him out for me until I return.] I do not know what I will do, but I am pretty well persuaded that I shall not take him through to California with me—for not only would he there leave me but I would be very much troubled by him—between here and there—I would sell him without further thought were it not that the whole family belong to me and I do not like to hurt their feelings.”

Private William Antes mentions that Ben’s personal slave was with him on an expedition in which he escorted convicted murderers in Utah. Other than this brief reference, Theophilus disappears from all mention by either Allston or by another. During the Civil War years, a slave named William attended to Allston and replaced Theophilus.

Did Allston, who was in need of funds in 1854, sell his slave, send him back to the plantation in South Carolina, or keep him? In 1854-56, a number of slaves entering into California with their masters were granted their release by civilian courts. By 1857, the law changed and slaves serving as personal servants remained as slaves (see, e.g., Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) 60 U.S. 393; Ex Parte Archy (1858) 9 Cal. 147).


` Near St Louis
April 4, 1849

D[ea]r. Love

Please give me the history of Burgwin’s boy Horace since the death of his master. I have just rec’d a letter poor B’s father on the subject and in reply I have promised to obtain information from you and [shall] communicate it to him. Write to me on this subject by return mail.

I suppose you are all practising for the redoubtable Schumburg[h]. I cannot think that this outrage is really comsummated, as I understand old Zack [Taylor] has taken action action on the matter.

Did you get the sash?

In haste,
H. S. Turner


Near St. Louis
Sept. 10, 1849

My Dear Love,

I’ve some time since a letter from our friend Chilton at Fort Kearney, requesting me to purchase for him a negro woman. I have now the prospect of complying with his request after many unsuccessful efforts. In the event of my succeeding I am directed by C. to send the woman to you, to be forwarded to Fort K. I learned but a few days ago that there was at Booneville a woman for sale achievig the descripion required by C. and I have written to a friend there to buy her and have requested him to ship her to you at Fort Leavth. Should she arrive of course you will have been informed of C.’s wishes in relation to her.

As from your sincere friend,
H. S. Turner

Capt. William Grier's Pursuit of the Jicarillas 1855

This report furnished courtesy of Gary Cozzens, Ft Stanton, Inc.

Fort Stanton, N. M.
June 21st 1855


For the information of the Commanding Officer, I have the honor to make the following report of detached service performed by my Company (—œI— 1st Dragoons) in connection with Captain Pino—™s Company of Mounted Mexican Volunteers of Blas Guerro Company of Guides and Spies.

Pursuant to Post Order No. 23, dated HdQrs Fort Stanton on June 10th 1855, I marched on the afternoon on the same day with five days provisions, taking with me my own Company, (Lieut. Davidson, 1st Dragoons temporarily attached thereto), and Captain Guerro with his —œGuides and Spies— —“ Agreeably to verbal instructions from the Commanding Officer, I proceeded down the Rio Bonito in order to intercept the Indians in case they were attempting to cross this river and penetrate the Mescalero Country in the direction of the Pajaro. —“ Captain Pino with his Company of Mounted Mexican Volunteers at the same time marched for the Capitan Mountains passing around the western end of that range to look for the trail which road reported to have been seen the day previous —“ Very early on the morning of the 11th I had made sufficient examination to satisfy myself that the Indians could not yet have passed in the direction of the Pajaro. I then marched around the eastern end of the —œCapitan— with a view to find, if possible, the fresh trail of the Indians. About two o—™clock P. M., having passed around the end of the Mountain, we discovered a fresh trail (perhaps made early that morning) of ten or twelve animals, giving evidence that a small party of Indians had been there —“ followed the trail until dark when we were obliged to leave it an hunt a camp with water for men & animals —“ reached camp about 10 o—™clock P.M. —“ Early next morning proceeded to take up the trail, and after about an hour—™s march discovered that it united with a much larger one coming from the opposite direction and that Captain Pino had discovered it the day before and was evidently in hot pursuit. The trail led directly out from the Capitan across the plains, toward the Pecos. We followed it two or three hours until I became satisfied that from the speed with which Captain Pino had been preceding from the previous day, we could do no more than meet him on his return from the pursuit. I then made a detour to the left in order to reach the Cienega opposite the gorge in the Capitan Mountains and encamped there for the night.
Next morning had not marched more than half a mile when we met two Volunteers of Captain Pino—™s Company returning themselves and had completely worn out suffering for want of water. They stated that the Captain and his men were still some distance in the rear, men and horses have totally broken down for want of water.
I then returned to camp and dispatched a party with pack mules laden with water for their relief and by five o—™clock I had the satisfaction of seeing them arrive safely in camp with only the loss of two horses.
Captain Pino informed me that he came upon the Indian trail (giving sign of at least on hundred animals) on the 11th and pursued it rapidly towards the Pecos hoping to overtake them in pursuit and kept up so well, that they come in sight of the Indians in the distance, but owing to the broken down condition of his horses he could not overtake them. The Indians, however, were so closely pursued as to be compelled to abandon a horse which they had killed and dressed ready for eating recovered five horses & two mules, one or two buffalo robes, & bundles of roots intended for food were also abandoned. And in their haste, the left a boy about two years of age, whom the Captain took charge of, and brought with him. He also brought in two mules and horses ~ four of the abandoned Indian horses were too much exhausted to be led or driven in.
The party proved to be a band of the —œJicarilla— Apaches with their families who were doubtless intending to seek safety in the Capitan or other mountains in the vicinity ignorant of the fact of troops being stationed at this point. The Captain reported a position of the Indians to have gone in the direction of the Gallinas Mountains and the others toward the Pecos River and thinks that amongst the latter many of the women and children, most of their animals, and probably some of their men, must have perished for want of water, and they had a greater distance to go from it than he did but returned and he considered them as much broken down as his own party was when he gave up pursuit and but for the timely relief afforded by the supply of water from my camp, he might have lost some of his men and more of his horses.
The same day Captain P joined me, I sent Lieut. Davidson to this Post, for a further supply of four or six days provisions, and enough fresh animals to mount twenty of Captain Pino—™s men —“ The Lieut. returned in good time the next day with the supplies and we marched toward the Gallinas leaving one half of the Volunteers to return to this Post with the broken down animals —“ Arrived at the Gallinas on the 18th —“ reconnoitered the country toward the —œLion— of [—œCanisleon—] mount ruins.—”A trail of a small party of Indians was found in the —œGallinas— or Canadian Mountains, but the Indians had evidently gone there for water and then moved toward the Pecos several days before. —“ There was therefore no prospect of overtaking them. The weather was very hot, frequently we had to march long distances without water. I returned to this Post about 11 o—™clock A. M. yesterday —“ my men in good spirits and my animals much in need of rest.

To: Lieut. R. V. Bonneau Very Respectfully,
3rd Infantry Wm. N. Grier Brvt Maj
Acting Post Adjutant Capt. 1st Dragoons

National Archives, RG 393, M1120, [V-9/1]

Captain Richard Ewell's Report of Death of Captain Stanton

On January 18, 1855, Captain Henry W. Stanton was ambushed and killed by Apache warriors. Details of the life of Captain Stanton are found elsewhere in this blog. Here is the official report filed by Captain Richard Ewell, 1st Dragoons, of Stanton’s death and the engagement. Ewell’s report was graciously provided to this site by Gary Cozzens of the Fort Stanton, Inc.

Los Lunas, N. M. (1)
Maj. W. A. Nichols, U. S. Army Feb 10 1855
A.A.G. Dept. of N. M.

—œSir: I have the honor to report my return from the scout ordered from your office December 21. On the 7th I proceeded to Anton Chico (60 miles S. E. of Santa Fe) with 61 men, Company —œG—, 20 of —œK—, and Lieutenant Isaiah N. Moore and H. B. Davidson, 1st Dragoons. Dr. Kennon was the acting surgeon of the command; and his services proved to be highly important and were cheerfully rendered.
—œAt Anton Chico I learned from your office of the cooperating force from Fort Fillmore to meet me on the Bonito [near the present site of Fort Stanton] and also that the predators were Mescalero Apaches. I accordingly proceeded down the Pecos River and up the Bonito River to the vicinity of Sierra Capitan where on the 13th of January, as previously arranged by Gen. John Garland, I met Capt. Henry W. Stanton, 1st Dragoons, Lieuts. Junius Daniel and Henry W. Walker, 3rd Infantry, and 50 Infantrymen and 29 Dragoons.
On my route down the Pecos I was overtaken at Bosque Redondo by J. Gittings, (2) Esq., who with four Mexicans proved my only reliable guides, and whom Mr. Gittings, at the instance of General Garland, had been active in hunting up he, with great public spirit, mounting them on his own horses. Fatigue and exposure brought on an attack of sickness, which, to his regret, prevented Mr. Gittings from going further.
—œI made two night marches on a small Indian trail on the Pecos, which we then abandoned because it was older than we thought, then continued my march to meet the troops from Fort Fillmore.
After combining the two commands I moved south toward the Guadalupe and Sacramento Mountains and then on January 17th, 1855, encamped on the Penasco, a fine stream running from these chains toward the Pecos. Up to this time we had seen no Indians or signs, though constantly on the trail of the cattle, now six weeks old and few in number, which had been stolen by the Indians. This night the camp was attacked by the Indians with arrows and firearms and at the same time they tried to burn us out.
Next morning the Indians seemed in force with every mark of defiance and during the whole day opposed our march, disputing every ravine at times under cover within arrow shot.
A body of skirmishers, first of Infantry, under charge, at different times, of Lieutenant Danels and Walker, and then of mounted and dismounted dragoons, under Lieutenant Moore, was engaged the whole day in clearing the line of March. The country was broken into high hills, with deep ravines crossing the line of march. Lieut. Moore, with some of the best horses, gave chase to some Indians on the open ground but a winter march of 450 miles had reduced the horses too much to catch the Indians on their fresh animals. The Indians gave the impression from their boldness that they were trying to keep us from their families.
Hoping to bring on a close fight, we kept up the march as rapidly as possible. During the day some 15 of them were shot from their horses and carried off by their comrades, leaving the ground marked with blood and at one time, after the fall of the boldest, they collected on a high hill and set up a lamentation, afterwards becoming even bolder in their attacks. None of my guides had ever seen the country I passed through after reaching the Penasco.
About 3 PM on the 18th of Jan, I came to the first of their abandoned camps where thy command was halted for the night and Captain Stanton was directed to take his company, with some additional men and examine a small open valley to the right where were some more abandoned lodges, about 500 yards distant, and endeavor to find the direction taken by the Indians when they left.
This officer, after reaching the place designated, charged after some Indians he saw in front and in following up the steep hillside in the ardor of the chase, became separated from some of his men, badly mounted, who were unable to join him when he sounded the rally. After rallying about a dozen men he proceeded up the valley until he became satisfied that the Indians had not retreated in that direction, then he started back, leading his horses. About three-fourths of a mile form the camp the valley narrowed with trees, and here he was ambushed and fired into, the first fire killing one of his men. He ordered his party to take to the trees, but the Indians being in too great force, he mounted and ordered his party to retreat, remaining in the rear himself, firing his Sharps carbine, when he received a shot in the head and was instantly killed.
One of the men when he first charged, Private Duger, (4) Company B, 1st Dragoons, was dismounted, surrounded and lanced after killing an Indian. As soon as I ascertained that Capt. Stanton was engaged, I ordered Lieut. Moore with a strong party on foot, whose approach dispersed the Indians. Lieut. Moore brought in the bodies of Capt. Stanton and the two men killed, and the Horse and rifle of the Indian killed by Duger. After the Indians had dispersed my guides were utterly incapable of tracking them, and on the 20th, having passed the source of the Penasco, I stated back with my horses so worn out that I was forced to lead them to the post. Within five miles of my camp the day of the fight were over 300 newly abandoned lodges.
The infantry were of invaluable service and towards the last were able to out-march the dragoons. The Indians were not aware of musket range until they paid for their experience. M. Gleason, Esq., gave me important assistance not only in the fight, but in keeping in advance with Mexicans when trailing. I had the hearty cooperation of Officers and men. Enclosed is a map of my route, drawn by Lieutenant Moore.
The signal smokes of the Indians, on my return, satisfied me that they retreated towards the lower rang of the Guadalupe Mountains.—

I remain,
R. S. Ewell,
Captain, 1st Dragoons

1. National Archives, Letters Received, Department of New Mexico, Record Group 393, Microcopy 1120, Roll 4.
2. Probably James M. Giddings. James Giddings had a ranch at the junction of Auga Negra Creek (Pinata Creek) and the Pecos River about two miles north of Puerta de Luna.
3. Private John Hennings, Company B, 1st Dragoons
4. Private Thomas Dwyer

Dragoons at Fort Tejon

c 2001 by George Stammerjohan and Will Gorenfeld
Elements of the First Dragoons arrived in California in December of 1846. They were promptly mauled at the Battle of San Pasqual. This ragged affair, pitting weary Dragoons riding on jaded horses and restive mules against lance-wielding and well-mounted Californio vaqueros, was something less than a glorious introduction to the Dragoons’ presence in the Far West. Nonetheless, the Dragoons were in California to stay and would remain until the outbreak of the Civil War.
The Regiment of Dragoons (the First Dragoons), a mounted cavalry unit trained to ride to battle and to fight on foot, was created in 1833 to patrol the great plains region. Initially, the Dragoons were armed with the latest in experimental weapons such as the Hall carbine and the Colt Patterson revolving rifle.
The 1850’s presents a confusing picture of the Dragoon image. On the one hand, the Regulations of 1851 gave a neat picture of what a suitably uniformed, dashing Dragoon should look like: dark blue frock coat, “flower pot” shako, and grey-blue trousers.
The frock coat had orange collars and cuffs. For troopers of the First Dragoons, a brass number, “1”, was placed on each side of the collar. The first model (1851) shako bore a brass eagle, orange facing, and orange pompom.
The long-tailed frock coat was heavy, and generally scorned by the troops because it impaired the Dragoon when he mounted or dismounted. The shako was stiff, hot, and hard to balance while riding at a fast gait. The orange facings of the coat and shako faded rapidly beneath a bright California sun, creating in anything but a uniformed appearance to a line of troopers. No matter to the Dragoon troopers in California, for it would take years before this uniform would be delivered to them.
Army storehouses were filled to the brim with old-style uniforms left over from the Mexican-American War. An economy-driven Quartermaster Department wished to use these until stores were exhausted. In 1852, it was decreed that mounted troops would receive yearly allotments of two jackets–the first would be of the dark blue 1833 pattern, while the second would be of the sky-blue variety, reportedly stripped of its infantry or artillery piping. Indeed, some Dragoon companies received nothing but the sky-blue jackets.
Two items of clothing which would remain in constant use by the Dragoons were the off-white wool flannel shirt and old-pattern 1839 forage cap. The shirt was long in the tails, with a fairly full body and tight sleeves. The neck was a shallow “V” with a single button at the throat. (The dark grey salt-and-pepper woolen shirt, seen in some illustrations, was not issued until 1875.)
On August 10, 1854, a detachment of Company A of the First Dragoons arrived at Camp Canada de las Uvas. Although not located in Tejon Pass, the post soon was designated Fort Tejon. Upon arrival, these rowdy recruits and former infantrymen were put to work in the construction of the post.
These Dragoons were dressed in a bewildering kaleidoscopic array of colors. The former infantrymen, who had recently marched overland from New Mexico, wore the light blue infantry jackets. The recruits were wearing old pattern 1833 dark blue jackets. The original members of Company A–all nine of them–wore a mixture of dark blue and sky blue jackets; all the worse for wear. This elite regiment would resemble ragpickers–or even worse, mounted infantry.
1st Lt. Thomas Castor begged departmental headquarters to either send new clothing or else allow him to purchase civilian attire for the ragged troops. The next month, a shipment of 1851 pattern clothing arrived at the fort.
The popular image of the Dragoon depicts him in tall boots and brass spurs. This is wrong. The Dragoon generally wore infantry-style brogans. When mounted, the Dragoon wore low-shank bootees with brass stud spurs. The spurs were commonly lost and the unfortunate trooper was charged $1.10 per set to replace them.
In 1854, the regulations did away with the frock coat. In its place was a short shell jacket trimmed with orange piping and brass shoulder scales. This uniform did not reach Fort Tejon until the fall of 1856. The old-style surplus jackets in sky blue or dark blue were continued to be issued to the troops–two per year. If Company A troopers wore out their yearly issue, which was often the case, they had to purchase a sky blue jackets, making them appear as worn-out infantrymen.
The men of Company F, arriving at Ft. Tejon in 1857, were issued Mexican War surplus sky blue jackets. This troop would not receive the proper Dragoon pattern uniform until it reached Fort Crook, California, in 1858.
Companies B and K arrived at Fort Tejon on July 7, 1858. Brevet Major (Captain) James Carleton, the commanding officer of Company K, was furious when he learned that the Quartermaster Department had mistakenly sent his unit artillery trousers. He demanded that the Quartermaster take them back and send him proper trousers for Dragoons. The quartermaster officer, temperamental Captain Winfield Scott Hancock, refused to exchange the trousers. This led to a private feud between the future generals Hancock and Carleton.
Company B, under the sickly and more easygoing command of Captain John Davidson, still wore the 1850 white buff belt and carried the Model 1833 Ames saber. It was said that the saber would wrap “rubber-like around a man’s head and was only good for cutting warm butter.”
In 1858, a new uniform was designated for the Dragoons: a refined version of the 1854 jacket, dark blue trousers, and the new, so-called Hardee hat of stiff black felt with a folded brim, ostrich feather, orange cord and brass company letter. Of this hat Major Albert Brackett wrote, “If the whole earth had been ransacked, it is difficult to tell where a more ungainly piece of furniture could have been found.”
Company K was, perhaps, the best company in the 1st Regiment. Carleton wished his troop to be correctly dressed and requested the new hats. The Quartermaster Depot in Benicia sent him just ten hats for a company of eighty men. When Carleton demanded to be sent the new fatigue flannel sack coat for these men, he received just forty.
Carleton was not the kind to surrender without a fight. He lodged some stinging complaints but was each time rebuffed with the reply that the new clothing was “experimental” and that he should be happy with what he had already received. Only the fact that Lt. Col. Benjamin “Old Ben” Beall of the 1st Dragoons was serving as acting commander of the Department of California saved Carleton from being court-martialed.
DRAGOON FIREARMS: More Legend than Fact
One persistent myth concerning the Dragoons on the frontier is that they were well-equipped with the most modern of weaponry. In reality–and that reality would remain true until the late fall of 1858–the Dragoons who served out on the west coast were, for the most part, armed with firearms that bordered upon obsolete.
This is not to say that these weapons were old. Indeed, none of their firearms were technically out of date. Rather, they were what the War Department, controlled by a penny-pinching Congress, could afford to issue.
The Ordnance Department arsenals were filled with large stocks of these weapons. Also on hand were immense inventories of ammunition. The acquisition of modern pistols and carbines would not only render obsolete those weapons on hand, but would also require the costly procurement of new ammunition. An economy-minded Congress was not about to authorize new funds for these purchases.
Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, graduate of West Point and former Colonel of Mississippi Volunteers, also appreciated the need of better firearms, but could only do so much. Davis authorized the testing of new firearms and the updating of existing weapons but, lacking congressional appropriations,
could not purchase large numbers of new weapons for the troops.
In 1851, the Dragoons had turned in their old Hall carbines and M1837 Hall North flintlock horse pistols. In exchange they were issued the Model 1847 Springfield Musketoon and Model 1842 Aston pistol.
The .69 caliber Model 1847 musketoon was a well-balanced, smoothbore carbine. It had an effective range of less than sixty yards.
Inspector General Joseph Mansfield reported in 1854 that the musketoon presented “no probable certainty of hitting the object aimed at, and the recoil is too great to be fired with ease.— Mansfield concluded that the weapon, as issued, was —œa worthless arm— and that it had —œno advocates that I am aware of.—
In order to somewhat compensate for the musketoon’s deficiencies, officers would instruct their men to load a double charge: two .63 caliber balls and six .31 caliber buckshot. At close range, this load made the musketoon a deadly shotgun.
For example, in late 1854, a detachment of Dragoons from Company A, mounted on mules borrowed from the post quartermaster, rode down to the Tejon Reservation. The Indians were outraged over the murder of two tribesmen by a former government teamster; they wanted to take him into custody and were ready to fry him up.
Alfred Latimer, a young Infantry Lieutenant in command of the Dragoon detachment, demanded that the tribesmen disperse. When they refused, he ordered his men to load two charges. Through an interpreter, the lieutenant stated that he was “ready to commit murder.” The angry crowd quickly scattered. The crisis was over.
Responding to growing criticism, Colonel Henry K. Craig, the chief of the Ordnance Department wrote that if the musketoon —œis not a suitable arm for cavalry, I do not know where to look for one that will answer.— As it turned out, Colonel Craig did not have to look far for a replacement weapon.
Christian Sharps, who had worked on the Hall carbine while employed at the Harper—™s Ferry Arsenal, by 1848 had patented a breech-loading, rifled carbine. The design was relatively simple. Pulling down a lever located as part of the trigger guard lowered the slide, and a paper or linen cartridge was then placed into the breech. When the slide was forced back upward, it sheered off the rear of the cartridge and exposed the powder to ignition.
The Sharps rifled carbine fired at the revolutionary rate of 8 to 10 rounds per minute–with accuracy. The Ordnance Board tested the weapon and was favorably impressed. In 1852, it ordered 150 carbines for field tests by Dragoons stationed in New Mexico Territory and Southern California. Because it was an experimental weapon, only ten Sharps were issued to each company.
Secretary Davis continued to press for congressional funds with which to purchase experimental weapons. In 1857, four-hundred model 1855 Sharps carbines were purchased by the War Department. Ten carbines were issued to each of several Dragoon companies stationed out on the West Coast.
Out in New Mexico territory, in 1858, Captain Richard “Old Baldy” Ewell raved that his 15 Sharps carbines were the best firearms available, and asked for more. Captain Davidson chimed in: “I am satisfied from trial and experience, that Sharps—™ carbine is the best weapon yet known in our country for a cavalry soldier. Its range and accuracy are greater than those of the musketoon. It is a stronger arm; the soldier can make it last longer. . . . One argument I had almost omitted to mention in favor of the Sharps—™ carbine is that dragoon soldiers have more confidence in it than any other weapon I have ever seen put into their hands; and I have seen them use the musketoon, carbine pistol and Minie rifle. Give your soldiers but confidence in the effectiveness of their weapons, and they will give a better account of themselves than with those they can not trust.—
When Dragoon Companies B and K, enroute to Ft. Tejon, from Ft. Buchanan in New Mexico Territory, they were armed with the Musketoon and the M1841 Mississippi rifle. While stationed in New Mexico they had been issued ten M1855 Sharps carbines per company. But these experimental weapons were the property of the Ordnance Department of New Mexico and, as such, were left behind.
The War Department had delivered two dozen or so First Model Colt Dragoon revolvers to each Dragoon company for testing. A great debate soon raged within the ranks of the mounted arm over the efficacy of the Dragoon revolver. It was much too heavy to be carried in a belt holster. Brevet Major Carleton quipped that the Dragoon revolver was only fit for teamsters who had a wagon in which to carry it. Thus, many officers favored the lighter .36 caliber “belt revolver,” the 3d Model 1851 Colt Navy.
A number of officers chafed at the notion that a lowly enlisted man, often an immigrant, might be entrusted with Colt pistols worth between $25-$50. It is also important to bear in mind that company arms were, ultimately, the financial responsibility of the senior company officer. Lost revolvers could, thus, be charged against the officer’s monthly pay.
Colt’s revolvers were easily stolen by deserters and sold on the black market. In late 1856, 25 second-model Colt revolvers were issued to Company A at Fort Tejon. Within weeks of the delivery, three Dragoons deserted, taking with them three pistols. The sale of stolen Colt’s became such a problem that General Order No. 19, issued August 16, 1859, decreed that any trooper who lost his Colt would have to pay $40.
In 1856, the Army contracted with the Sharps Company to produce 4000 Model 1853 carbines. These weapons, sealed into tin can-like cases, along with a large order of Navy Colt revolvers, were crated and shipped from New York to California. They were placed in storage at the Benicia Arsenal. The Ordnance Department continued to issue the musketoon and Aston pistol the best weight loss supplement.
To the north of California there would be fought an engagement that would change the whole picture of mounted troops. On May 16, 1858, the Couer d—™Alene, Spokane, and Palouse Indians of Eastern Washington attacked a field force of three companies of dragoons and 25 infantrymen marching under the command of Major Edward Steptoe.
During a running fight, two companies of Dragoons, armed with the short-range musketoons, were deployed as a rear guard. In this firefight, they consumed a huge amount of ammunition–with little effect. Finally, the battered column gained a low hilltop and forted up. The Indians, many of whom had Hudson Bay trade muskets and rifles, soon formed a ring around the hill and banged away at Steptoe—™s beleaguered force. With men dying and ammunition down to three rounds per trooper, Steptoe buried his dead and made a run for the Columbia River and the safety of Fort Walla Walla.
This embarrassing fiasco sent a shockwave through out the Army. At Department of the Pacific headquarters, grandfatherly Brevet Brigadier General Newman A. Clarke pointed his finger at the Ordnance Department which, at the time, had resting in its warehouse in Benicia, California, dozens of boxes of Sharps carbines and Navy Colt revolvers. Clarke wanted the new weapons issued, and now!
Beginning in July of 1858, Ordnance officers at Benicia uncrated, cleaned, and shipped hundreds of Sharps and Colts to Fort Walla Walla for the mounted units destined for the Spokane Campaign. Additional weapons were next shipped to Forts Crook and Tejon to re-arm the other Dragoon companies.
Within weeks, Dragoons from Fort Tejon took to the field armed with their newly issued M1853 Sharps carbines. The Mojave tribe was angered by a new wagon road across their lands and were attacking emigrant trains. At a place near the Colorado River known as Beaver Slough, Mojave tribesmen, boldly attacked the Dragoons. It was a mistake: the awesome firepower of Sharps carbines in the steady hands of veteran troops quickly drove off the attackers.
In 18
59, Inspector General Mansfield, on an inspection tour of California, witnessed a firing exercise by Brevet Major James Carleton’s company K at Fort Tejon. Mansfield reported that, despite the lack of sufficient powder in the experimental cartridges supplied by the Benicia Arsenal, half of Company K’s shots hit a 6′ x 22″ target at 100 yards. Carleton, never without a hot opinion, later wrote to the chief of Ordnance at Benicia and openly expressed anger over the poor quality of the experimental cartridges.
Sharps carbines, like Colt’s, were popular with deserters. Stolen Sharps could be sold in Los Angeles for about $100 in gold coin. One 1st Dragoon sergeant took a detail into the pueblo of Los Angeles and then, graciously, allowed his men a night on the town; after the men had departed from camp, he gathered up their carbines and disappeared.
In 1860, Dragoon trooper Henry Ott, the post butcher, got tired of army life. He procured three Sharps carbines and vanished in broad daylight. For good measure, Private Ott also pilfered a new Model 1855 Springfield rifle that had been sent to the Dragoons for field tests. He was never caught.
The Dragoons of Fort Tejon rode out on their last campaign On April 12, 1860. Crossing the arid sands of the Mojave Desert as far as Las Vegas, they chased scattered bands of Pah-Utes who had been attacking mail carriers, cattlemen, and prospectors.
By the end of the Regular Army’s occupation of Fort Tejon, Company K had was properly dressed in the complete 1858 dark blue uniform. The men of Company B, however, sailed off to the Civil War still wearing the old 1854 Shako and carrying the 1833 Ames sabre.
Thus, in the final moments of pre-Civil War California, the Fort Tejon Dragoons, most of them, had finally attained the level of armament that gun lore had always declared: they were elite troopers who were superbly armed! It had simply taken the Army 24 years to make fact match legend.

Another of the great myths of Fort Tejon is the relationship between Dragoons and the government-owned camels. In reality, there was no connection.
In 1855, the War Department purchased 75 camels for experimentation. Edward Beale, a former naval officer and Superintendent of Indian affairs, was ordered by Secretary of War John Floyd to take 25 of these camels westward across the desert to California.
Beale reached Los Angeles in late 1857 and turned the camels over to Samuel A. Bishop, his business partner. Bishop put the camels to use on his ranch. Two years later, the Fort Tejon army quartermaster was ordered to take possession of the camels. The camels spent just four months in the army corrals at the fort, during which time they were not used by the Dragoons, but ate prodigious amounts of hay and barley. The camels went back to the Bishop Ranch on rental grazing.
In September of 1860, Captain Winfield Scott Hancock put four of the camels to use as “pony express” to deliver mail between Los Angeles and Fort Mojave. The first camel, ridden by the legendary herder “Hi Jolly”, dropped dead near present day Barstow; the second camel made it just a few miles further east before it died. That was the end of the experiment.
When the fort was closed in mid-June of 1861, the camels were transferred to the Los Angeles Quartermaster Depot. What did the Dragons have to do with camels? Absolutely nothing.

— 30 —

First Encounter

The first shots fired in battle by the 1st Dragoons took place on 12 November 1846 when a patrol from Company I. led by Captain William Grier, came into contact with Navajo tribesmen who had stolen some stock. Grier and Lt. Wilson were well-mounted and the enlisted men were riding mules. Consequently, they foolishly rode far in advance of their support–and into an ambush. The event is reported by Lt. J. W. Abert and found in Ex Doc. No. 41, (Washington 1848) pp. 497-498.

November 12 –
In the evening we saw, on the opposite side of the river, the
companies of Captains Burgwin and Grier, on their return to
Albuquerque. Lieutenant McIlvane came across the river, and from him
I learned that Captain Grier, with Lieutenant Wilson and two men, had
a fight with a party of Navajoe Indians. It appears that while the
companies were on their march down the river, some Mexicans rushed
hurriedly up to them, crying out that the Navajoes had just been into
the village, murdering the people and carrying off their flocks and
herds. Captain Grier immediately set off in pursuit, and soon came in
sight of the bold marauders. In a little while the Indians began to
abandon the cattle they were driving off, until at last 400 head had
been left along the route. So warm and exciting was the chase, that
the officers, who were well mounted, heeded not the want of their men
who were unable to keep pace with them, but they pressed on, anxious
to recover the immense “cavalgada” of sheep the Indians were yet driving. Suddenly they saw
they had rushed into an ambuscade, for the Indians rising up from
their concealment surrounded Captain Grier and his three brave
companions. With horrid cries and shouts of “Navajoe,” the Indians
sprang forward to the combat; they were dressed for war, being
ornamented with paints and plumes, and mounted on good horses, and
armed with bows and arrows, and lances; but, fortunately, they were so
crowded that they feared lest they shoot each other. At length, one
of the chiefs came alongside of Lieutenant Wilson; their horses were
on the gallop, each one waiting until the horses should jump together,
when, at the same moment, Lieutenant Wilson and the Indian fired; the officer’s pistol did not
go off, and the arrow of the chief only cut off a coat button, and
lodged in the saddle blanket of Captain Grier. As the Indian turned
his horse, a Mexican, who had started at full speed, came in contact
with him, and rolled horse and rider in the dust; the Indian was
immediately upon his feet, and rushed up to a dragoon soldier, who
had a patent carbine, such as loaded at the breach, and had, unseen by
the Indian, reloaded it, and the Indian coming up within two or three
feet, the soldier shot him dead. One other Indian was killed, when Captain
Grier ordered a retreat, and the four, drawing their sabres, cut their
way out and rejoined their company, while the Navajoes succeeded in
carrying off 3,000 head of sheep.”


Ft. Leavenworth December 24, 1846

Dear Love

I send you herewith a Regimental and General Orders, and an extract from the clothing receipt roll of Sergt. Muller and Corpl. Nickerson, clothing issued by Lieut. McLean. I also send you Duplicate Receipts for Ordnance and Horse Equipage which I have directed Sergt. Bishop to leave behind as I do not think you would want to be troubled with old equipage and ordnance at Jefferson Barracks, when you will probably get an entire New Equipment for your Company.
If you should want any horse equipage I have appective for a good deal of New Equipage that was sent on for the different Dragoon Companies, and which has never been used, and if you are not able to equip you Company entirely at St. Louis, I may be able to help you. Colonel Wharton has at last indirectly applied to join the Army in the field, he will probably get an answer before the middle of next month. We got a mail from Santa Fe a day or two ago. Grier had a fight with the Indians, it seems they have runned off some cattle, Grier followed them, but owing to the bad condition of the mules of his party, only himself, Lieut. Wilson and two men were able to come up with the Indians; they killed two of the Indians and Grier’s horse or mule whatever it was, shot under him. The Dragoons under Burgwin have been ordered to the Passo to protect the traders. He writes very despondently, says, if his men were only Dragoons he might do something. I hope that Colonel Wharton joins Scott or Taylor that he will [take] some more Companies of the 1st Dragoons down with him. If he could get four or five Companies it would be a very pretty command. How are you getting along at Dayton. Did the Girls give you a warm welcome? I was not able to send you a copy of your estimate for clothing because by some mistake it was sent off without a copy being attached. If there should by any possibility be any thing new here, I will let you know.
Yours Truly

Reports of Santa Cruz de Rosales

Headquarters, Army of the West,
Chihuahua, March 31, 1848.

GENERAL: I have the honor to submit a report of my operations from the period of adopting the intentions expressed in my communication to the war department, dated 6th February, 1848, to the present instant.

After making such arrangements both military and civil, as I deemed essential for the security and tranquility of New Mexico, I took up the line of march on the 8th of February, with one company of Missouri horse, for El Paso, where I had previously ordered a concentration of the following troops to operate against the State of Chihuahua, viz: three companies United States dragoons, commanded by Major B. L. Beal–one of which was acting as light artillery, under the command of Lieut. Love; six companies Missouri horse, under command of Col. Rolls; five companies Missouri infantry, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Easton; and Major Walker—™s battalion of Santa Fe horse, three companies of horse and one of light artillery.

On the 23d I arrived at El Paso, distant from Santa Fe 340 miles, where measures were at once adopted for the intended operations; the peculiar characteristics and general features of the country, embracing the privations which must necessarily be endured on the road thus traveled, have been, I believe, already submitted to the department in former reports.

The additional information at El Paso confirming the many reports respecting the hostile intentions of the enemy supported by positive evidence as to the extended preparations in the fabrication of cannon and munitions of war, together with contributions of small arms from the adjoining states, induced me to change my original plan of operations, and adopt forced marches with my best mounted troops, for the purpose of striking a blow before the enemy could conceive my design. With this determination, I dispatched Major Walker with three companies of his battalion on the night of the 24th, to occupy the small town of Carrizal, distant from El Paso 90 miles, and so situated as to command all the passes leading to Chihuahua. This command has orders to reconnoitre the country: cut off all communication, by establishing strong pickets, and make every effort to obtain information respecting the designs and movements of the enemy.

On the 1st of March, after having been delayed by the non-arrival of my supply of trains, conducted as they were compelled to be by inexperienced officers, I resumed by march with four companies of Roll—™s and two of Beale—™s command, supplied with eight day—™s subsistence, leaving orders for Love—™s artillery, the remainder of Rall—™s command, under Lieut. Col. Lane, and Easton—™s infantry, with the exception of one company, which I designed as additional protection to the train, yet in the rear, to march on the 2d. Major Walker, at Carrizal, received no additional information, but succeeded in effectually stopping all communication with the enemy.

Thus far my march was successful, and continued so until the night of the 6th. When within sixty miles of Chihuahua, a small party of my advance unexpectedly came upon one of the enemy—™s pickets, which, unfortunately, succeeded in escaping.

Aware, now, that my approach would be known on the following morning, I pushed forward my command until I arrived within six miles of the Sacremento, at a point termed Laguna, where I was met by a flag of truce from the general commanding the Mexican forces, protesting against the advance of my troops upon Chihuahua, upon the ground that instructions had been received from the Mexican government suspending hostilities, as a treaty of peace had been concluded and signed by commissioners on behalf of both governments. The evidence adduced on behalf of this assertion I did not then deem sufficiently satisfactory, and could not, therefore, comply with the proposition. Convinced of the uselessness of further conference, I was solicited to send in advance of my command two of my officers, to arrange the preliminaries of a capitulation. To this request I yielded, and immediately dispatched Capt. McKissick, of the quartermaster—™s department, and Lieut. Prince, my assistant adjutant general, who were fully made acquainted with my views.–Fearful that dissimulation was the object of this interview, I determined to move my command upon Chihuahua that night, and accordingly proceeded with rapidity, when, in about an hour after the departure of my officers, I was met by some American citizens of Chihuahua, who informed me of the retreat, the morning previous, of the Mexican army, with their munitions of war. Anticipating events of this nature, I had, on the previous day, detached Beall—™s dragoons, so that by a forced march over the mountains during the night, he would be able to intersect the Durango road, and possibly encounter the enemy in his rapid and confused fight. For his operations, I respectfully refer to the report herewith submitted. At 9 o’clock at night, my troops had possession of the city. On the following morning, (the 8th,) with portions of Rall—™s, Beall—™s, and Walker—™s commands, (the majority mounted,) and numbering about 250 men, I pursued the enemy to the town of Santa Cruz de Rosales, where he had already strongly fortified himself–a distance of 60 miles from Chihuahua–where I arrived at sunrise the morning of the 9th. After a careful reconnaissance of the place, I determined to carry the town by storm, notwithstanding the immense superiority of the enemy in numbers, implements and munitions of war. Dismounting Rall—™s (with the exception of McNain—™s company) and Walker—™s commands to operate as infantry, and posting Beall—™s dragoons, now augmented by one company of Rall—™s regiment, to act either as a reserve or to intercept the flight of the enemy, in the event of success, I determined the attack on the west side of the town, with Rall—™s command, and on the southeast angle of the same, with Walker—™s command.–These arrangements perfected, I dispatched Lieut. Prince, with a flag of truce, demanding an unconditional surrender of the town and public property. An interview upon this summons was requested by General Trias, which I readily granted for the reason adduced–viz: that official notice from the Mexican government of a treaty of peace having been signed by commissioners, on behalf of both governments, had been received, and the solemn assurance by General Trias that he himself had no doubt of the existence of the treaty; moreover, that he felt assured that confirmation of the same from his government wou
ld reach him by a courier (express) expected in three days. This declaration was supported by the honor of the Mexican general, and, under the circumstances, was regarded important. I therefore made the proposition contained in the subsequent correspondence, which I have the honor to submit herewith. That success must inevitably follow any course I might decree, I had not the slightest doubt. I was expecting reinforcements of my artillery and horse, and was willing, if human life could be saved, to withdraw for a few days my forces; though, at the same time, I considered it my duty to besiege the town, as I maintained the right to dictate such terms as I deemed consistent with American honor.

It will thus be seen, that a small American force, not exceeding 300 men in the aggregate besieged with success a strongly fortified town, containing over 900 troops of the enemy. Without tents, a scarcity of provisions, and suffering from the effects of forced marches beyond a parallel, my troops cheerfully performed the onerous duties of the siege day and night, and are entitled to the highest considerations of their government.

From the 9th instant to the morning of the 16th, nothing of importance transpired for the subject of my report, save the correspondence before alluded to, and the arrival of small detachments of the several commands, together with two 12 pounder howitzers, of Major Walker—™s battalion, under the command of Captain Hassendeubel, whom I left at Chihuahua on the morning of the 8th.

Expecting daily a sally from the enemy, my troops were constantly in the saddle ever vigilant and cautious, each appearing to possess the individual interest, which belongs more properly to the commander. That the enemy exhibited supineness–that his every effort became paralyzed by the vigilance of my troops, is sufficiently manifested by his total inaction, although numbering near four times my own. With a battery of eight pieces of artillery (several heavier than any of my guns,) and nine wall pieces, no attempt was made, designs executed, or pickets forced, to remedy the evils which were the subject of complaint in his official correspondence.

About daylight on the morning of the 16th, my expected reinforcements arrived; they consisted of part of three companies of Missouri horse, under the command of Lieut. Colonel Lane, and Love—™s battery.

They reports of these officers, which I have the honor to submit, evince a zeal seldom displayed, a rapidity of movement yet to be surpassed, and an iron energy of will which recognizes no limit, and convey to the department a record of their own merits.

Convinced now of the necessity of terminating a siege peculiarly burdensome to my troops, I determined at once upon an act. From several reconnaissances, I felt sure the enemy believed my main force would be directed against that portion of the town fronting my camp, as new batteries had been established, and an unusual degree of activity became apparent throughout the siege in that quarter. At seven o’clock, A. M., I broke up my camp, and with my entire force, excepting Beall—™s dragoons, augmented by Captain McNair—™s company Missouri horse, who were left to cut off a retreat on the Durango road, I proceeded round the southern point of the town, where I placed in position Walker—™s battalion, protected from the enemy—™s artillery by walls and houses, for the meditated assault. Continuing to the western side of the town, I then detached Lieutenant Colonel Lane, with two companies of the Missouri regiment, to support Love—™s battery, which I ordered to take position within 500 yards of the town, on the road leading to Chihuahua, and commanding the principal plaza church, around and in which the enemy were strongly posted, reserving Rall—™s remaining four companies as my centre, and so disposes as to afford timely support to the artillery under Love and Hassendeubel.

My final disposition made, Hassendeubel—™s two 12 pounders having been put in battery on the west side of the town, supported by Rall—™s command, I, at 101/2 A. M., ordered my batteries to open, which, for nearly an hour, maintained a spirited and destructive fire, clearing the houses and church of the enemy; which latter, from its flanking position and strength of construction, became the stronghold of the enemy.

The fire of the enemy, during this time, from all his heavy guns and wall pieces, was incessant, but, from their position, without effect.–Observing that large gun of the enemy, which I afterwards learned to be a 9 pounder, had been brought to bear upon Hassendeubel—™s battery, and evidently with a view to silence it, Lieut. Dyer, of the ordnance, belonging to my staff, but who volunteered for duty with Love—™s battery, was ordered to reinforce Hassendeubel with a 24 pounder howizter and a 6 pounder gun. This movement having been perceived by the enemy, his battery was reinforced, and an incessant fire of canister, grape, and round shot was opened upon our batter, but without doing material injury. Lieut. Dyer was soon in position, where he continued a direct fire upon this battery, placed in embrasure in one of the principal streets leading to the main plaza, as well as the church and a large building, upon both of which were stationed a strong force. For the upwards of an hour this battery was served with great effect, clearing the houses and church during which time it was exposed to the fire of the enemy—™s batteries, which, throughout mantained a most rapid firing.

I now ordered Lieut. Love, with a 24 pounder howitzer and a 5 pounder gun, (the remainder of his battery having been disabled in firing,) to advance upon the position occupied by Lieut. Dyer, determined if possible, to silence the enemy—™s 9 pounder, which contributed, by the efficient manner in which it was served, greatly to our annoyance. Immediately thereafter I received information that my rear was threatened by a large cavalry force of the enemy, supposed to be about 900 strong, and intended as a reinforcement for the enemy within the town. I immediately withdrew my artillery to a commanding position about three quarters of a mile from the town, and in the direction of the Chihuahua road; ordering, at the same time the remainder of my command to the same point, for the purpose of attacking this supposed reinforcement. This movement was evidently regarded by the enemy as a prelude to a signal defeat.–Loud cheers arose from the town, the houses were again covered by the soldiery, a flag was immediately run up from an angle of the church, and the fire of the enemy—™s heavy guns became unusually brisk. I soon discovered the report of a large reinforcement of the enemy in my rear to be incorrect, and that only a small body of cavalry had threatened it, which I soon dispersed with the command under Lieutenant Col. Lane.

I now determined to storm the town, agreeably to the dispositions made at the commencement of the attack; and therefore gave orders for Ralls, Lane, and Walker to resume their former positions, dismount their men, and charge the town at the points assigned them, as soon as my batteries should re-open.

Lieut. Love was ordered to take up his former position. About 31/2 P. M., the action was resumed, and the fire of our battery returned with unusual briskness. Lieut. Love—™s battery at this time consisted of one 24 pounder howitzer, one 6 pounder, and one 5 pounder. For a more detailed report of this battery, and the efficien aid contributed by the officers who kindly assisted at it, I respectfully refer to Lieutenant Love—™s report, which I take pleasure in endorsing, from my personal observations upon that day.

For the particulars of the several storming parties, I must also refer to the reports of their respective chiefs, which I desire to be identified as a portion of my own. The charge of Ralls w
as commenced under my own eye, and in a manner which foreboded success. So soon as time would permit, I witnessed the persevering efforts of Major Walker—™s command, and felt confident of the result.

I would also refer to Major Beall—™s report for the duty assigned the squadron of dragoons, under the command of Capt. Grier. In affording protection to my battery on the 16th, in the judgment and activity displayed to intercept any attempt by flight of the enemy, and in the discharge of the highly important duties of the siege, I discovered talent and ability.

I feel confident that I cannot add to the known reputation of this command; for the second time has it shared with me the honors of victory. Although the first was at the sacrifice of its gallant and accomplished leader, (the lamented Burgwin,) yet I cannot refrain from according that tribute of praise which is due the distinguished services they have performed since forming a portion of my command.

Shortly after sundown the enemy surrendered. Gen. Trias and forty-two (42) of his principal officers were made prisoners of war; and eleven pieces of artillery, nine wall pieces, besides 577 stand of arms, fell into our hands. Our loss in the action was one lieutenant, two corporals, and one private killed; and nineteen privates wounded. The loss of the enemy–from the evidence of commanding officers herewith submitted–was two officers, and 236 non-commissioned officers and privates; the number wounded cannot be correctly ascertained.

In submitting to the consideration of the government the operations which have been performed by my troops, I feel anxious to exhibit that high degree of praise their conduct on this occasion so justly merits. The exceedingly onerous duties of forced marches, over a sterile and desert country of nearly 320 miles, without tents or transportation trains, with merely a few days’ rations of subsistence, have been willingly, indeed cheerfully, endured by my gallant column. I feel a sense of pride in recording the distinguished bravery of all–regulars and volunteers; believing that feeling will be reciprocated by the war department, and cherished by the American people.

The distinguished conduct of Lieutenant Love–in the highly efficient manner in which his battery was served; in the rapidity of movement which characterized his conduct, when ordered to reinforce me, traveling night and day, going into battery four hours after his arrival, and his unceasing efforts during the entire day in working his battery–deserves especial notice; and I cannot refrain from expressing the strongest recommendation for that honorable gratitude from this country which the brave soldier acquires by his exploits.

To Colonel Ralls, to Lieutenant Colonel Lane, to Major Walker, and their brave officers and men, I must accord the highest honors; unflinching in the performance, they each and all vied, where duty called them, for the crowning result of success. Ralls, on the west, charged with animation and enthusiasm; Walker, on the southeast, stormed with daring and bold determination; Lane, on the northwest, with a small command, forces the enemy—™s barriers, gained the main plaza, but, overwhelmed by numbers, prudently withdrew, in good order, his small command. In this charge, the brave but lamented Lieutenant G. O. Hepburn, Missouri mounted horse, fell, leading the men gloriously, cheering and animating them to the last. His country has lost a valuable officer; his relatives and friends must look to his deeds, worthy of record upon the page of history, to console them for their loss.

From the officers of my personal staff, I have received the most important services and encouraging aid. Capt. McKissick, assistant quartermaster, Capt. Garrison, assistant commissary of subsistence, Maj. Spalding, pay department, and Lieutenant Prince, A. D. C. and A. A. A. General, served during the contest near my person, conveying my orders with promptness wherever necessity demanded.

Captain McKissick, suffering severely from sickness, resumed his position in the field, rendering valuable services throughout the action.

To the medical staff, conducted by Assistant Surgeon R. T. Simpson United States army, I have to express my acknowledgements. The attention and ability displayed by Assistant Surgeon Simpson to our wounded upon the field, as well as those of the enemy after the action, has won for him admiration and esteem from both armies.

I also mention, with pleasure, the services of Capt. Haley, Missouri horse, acting brigade inspector of my command, who voluntarily led his company at the storming of the town, under the immediate command of Colonel Ralls.

I also take great pleasure in recording the services of Messrs. James L. Collins, E. W. Pomeroy, and W. C. Skinner, American citizens, resident at Chihuahua, who volunteered their services as aids-de-camp upon that duty.

Of these gentlemen I must take particular mention. The valuable information received from the former upon my arrival at El Paso, as respects the condition of the enemy, a knowledge of the country and its language, together with his unremitting efforts to second my views in all that pertains to these occurrences, and the personal exertions of the two latter, in assisting me to remount my command at this place, with their services on the 16th, entitle them to my warmest thanks.

I respectfully transmit herewith a special field return of the forces engaged in the action of the 16th: a report of the killed and wounded; a list of officers paroled; a list of stores captured;a muster-roll of the enemy—™s forces, as furnished by Gen. Trias; and two topographical sketches of the town, showing the position of my several commands; prepared respectively by Captain Hassendeubel, of Maj. Walker—™s battalion, and Assistant Surgeon Horace R. Wirtz, United States army.

I think proper to state here, that every exertion was made by Lieut. Col. Easton, commanding battalion of infantry, Lieut. Webber, commanding two sections of Captain Hassendeubel—™s artillery, and those officers who were necessarily absent with the trains, including Major Bodine, pay department, in charge of the public funds, to share the honor of the attack.

I would also inform the department that Gen. Manuel Armijo, late governor of New Mexico, surrendered himself to me as a prisoner of war on the 21st inst., and is now on his parole of honor; a copy of which together with that of Gen. Trias, I have the honor herewith to submit.

I am, sir, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Brig. Gen. U. S. A. Comd’g.

To Brig. Gen. R. JONES,
Adjt. Gen. U. S. A., Washington, D. C.

M567 R388 F275

City of Chihuahua
March 26, 1848

The Board met pursuant to the foregoing orders, and soon after the reception of the captured property, as was practicable, and up to the present time have been busy in assorting and taking inventories of said property, which they find to be as follows (incl.(?) accompanying list or inventory as marked —œA—).

All the large guns are more or less injured by firing, and some of them badly cast, full of flaws and honeycombs. The majority of the muskets and escopetas are in bad order, broken locks and stocks, bent barrels &c. Three of the muskets are very much injured in the stock by shot, or shell, of one, the entire stock is gone. The muskets, and in fact all of the cartridges, are badly made, and only valuable for the amount of powder they contain. The sh
ells, strap shot, balls, and canister, are as a general thing very badly made and would be apt to greatly damage a good piece if fired from one.

One reference to the list, it will be found that there are eleven large boxes of powder, this is supposed to be for cannons, as also the five bags. Ten of the kegs contain very fine powder, supposed to be for rifles, and the remainder for muskets. Having no means to ascertain the weight, the amount in bulk only is first put down as it appeared before the Board.

The horses are all small, poor, and weak, and many of the mules are equally in as bad condition, none of them being fit for present use, and scarcely any will ever be capable of hard service.

The saddles are of Spanish pattern and much out of order in their present state worthless.

Of the drums, three are without heads or have but one, and the others are so heavy and unwieldy as to be almost or quite unserviceable.

The articles, not having (sic) innumerated, are generally in very good condition, and might, if necessary, be put to immediate use.

The above is respectfully submitted as a report of the proceedings of the Board, which, having no further business before it, adjourns sin die.

B.L. Bell,
Major 1st Dragoons



2 Two 32-Lb. Brass Howitzers

1 One 10-Lb. Brass Cannon by Measurement

1 One 8-Lb. —œ —œ —œ —œ

1 One 4-Lb. —œ —œ —œ —œ

2 Three Swivels

7 Seven Wall Pieces

1 One Double-Barrel Wall Piece

392 Three Hundred and Ninety-Two Muskets

281 Two Hundred and Eighty-One Musket Bayonets

99 Ninety-Nine Cartridge Boxes & Belts

80 Eighty Escopetas

27 Twenty-Seven Service Rifles

78 Pistols

35 Sabres

122 One Hundred and Twenty-Two Lances Complete

142 One Hundred and Forty-Two Lance Heads and Ferrules

150 ________ Lance Straps

145 Shafts for Lances

6 Six Wipers for Wall Pieces

11 Eleven Large Boxes of Powder

23 Twenty-Three Kegs of Powder

5 Five Bags of Powder

58 Fifty-Eight Cartridges for 32-Lb. Howitzer

72 Seventy-Two Cartridges for 9-Lb. Gun

2600 Twenty-Six Hundred Musket Cartridges

7 Seven Bunches Signal Rockets

9 Nine 32 Lb Grenades

9 Nine 24 lb Shells

4 Four 32 lb Shells

75 Seventy-Five 4 lb Shells

7 Seven 3 lb Strap Shot

24 Twenty-Four 6 lb Strap Shot

4 Four 12 lb Strap Shot

103 One-Hundred and Three 4lb Balls

50 Fifty 3 lb Balls

76 Seventy-Six Cases 32 lb Canister

116 One-Hundred Sixteen Cases 3 lb Canister

1 One Lot Canister for Wall Piece

1 One Lot Balls for Wall Piece

1 One Lot Musket Balls

1 One Ten Ball Roller

10 Ten Bullet Molds

7 Seven Rifle Locks

1 One Lot Gun Flints

11 Eleven Sponges

2 Two Worms

6 Six Hand Spikes

1 One Treatment Scale

A List of Quarter Master Property Captured at the Siege of Santa Cruz de Rosales, Mexico, March 16th 1848.

98 Ninety-Eight Horses

66 Sixty-Six Mules

7 Seven Wagons

52 Sets of Harnesses, four collars wanting

9 Nine Pack Saddles

35 Thirty-Five Spanish Bridle Bits

32 Thirty-Two Sets Spanish Saddle Rigging

1 One Bulk —œ —œ —œ

35 Thirty-Five Buckles

7 Seven [Screw} Drivers

43 Forty-Three Files

8 Eight Hammers

4 Four Vices

2 Two Wrenches

1 One Grinding Stone

65 Sixty-Five Edge Tools

13 Thirteen Augers

18 Eighteen Saws

3 Three Screw Plates

2 Two Anvils

10 Ten Pounds Rod Steel

2 Two Boxes Tin

2 Two Boxes Shoes

8 Eight Boxes Blue Clothe

1 Lot Printing Type

1 Lot Duct Parts

1 Lot Rosin

2 Lots Steel Yards

12 Twelve Empty Boxes

11 Eleven Boxes Cigarilos

Here is an unoffical report that was re-published from the Santa Cruz Banner in the Santa Fe Republican, April 22, 1848, bottom of bottom of column 3 of page 1. I am grateful to Tim Kimball for running down this precious piece of frontier journalism.


We copy the following from the Santa Cruz

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

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

howizers 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 Chi-

huahua, in the unprecedented time of six days;

reached the city with the nine companies, but [here shifts to top of column 4]

the enemy under Gen. Trias, with his forces

some eight hundred strong, with principally Caval-

ry, had left some12 hours before with all the

public property, including a [blurred] of newer artil-

lery for the South. A few hours after our arri-

val 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 dispo-

sition 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 compa-

nies of his infantry filed through the balcony,

ranging in order upon the church, a person sup-

posed 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 —œvivas— —œvivas— and vevar Re-

publicano 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, al-

lowed omen and children and non-combat-

ants two days to leave the city with their ef-

fects, when our pickets were closed upon them.

The siege last from the 9th to the

Many attempts were made by parties of the

enemy during the siege o leave the town, but

few succeeded—”now and then, a fleet horse

would out run our pickets and get to the moun-

tains. The third day of the siege, the com-

mander 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 and

Beall would make this accout complete. Maj.

Walker—™s command distinguished itself by

storming the South of the town while the dra-

goons 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 spleen-

did affair. It moved like a thunder-bolt, pre-

cisely in the direction it was sent spreading dis-

may, 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 thir-

ty 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 storm-

ing. 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.


Lieut. George O. Hepburn of Co. D, privates

Schafenberg and Bockman, co. B.

WOUNDED.—”Private Ripper, Greff and De-

drich, 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, commissa-

ry Sergent, start 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 weight loss supplements that actually work.


Major Beall to John Love; 6 March 1854

Dear Love

You will much oblige me by attending to the this matter [sale of brood mares] for Dr. Mills. You may probably know Dr. Mills and may have served with him. He is at present at this Post as Surgeon. Now my dear fellow give this matter your particular attention as the Doc is anxious and is desireous of getting up a stock farm either in Missouri or the contemplated Terry. of Nebraska.
How do you come in–what’s the price of railroad stock[?] Can a poor devil like me make any money in this business? Or must I go back to Chihuahua and meet such fellows as you, Terry, Folger, Adams, Easton, McCarty, & a lot of others who congregated in that abomiable Corral.
I am here in command of this post. Run some of your rail roads in this direction and I will patronize you (d–m poor patron).
I would like to hear from you occasionally. Give me a line. I shall always be glad to hear from my chums particularly those who fought & died with me (spiritual rapture from those last mentioned persons I am in daily correspondence with.

Yours truly,

BL Beall