Weight of Dragoon Armament and Equipment

“On more than one occasion, the Apache have escaped from Dragoons, when almost in their grasp, where fleetness of their horses was put to test by the troops on broken down animals.” (Colonel George Archibald McCall, New Mexico in 1850: A Military View (1968) Robt. Frazer, ed., 187) In 1852,John Greiner, an Indian Agent in New Mexico observed, “A dragoon mounted will weigh 225 pounds. Their horses are all as poor as carrion. The Indians have nothing but their bows and arrows and their ponies are as fleet as deer. Cipher it up. Havy dragoons on poor horses, who know nothing of the county, sent after Indians who are at home any where and who always have some hours start, how long will it take to catch them? So far, although several expeditions have been started after them, not a single Indian has been caught.” (Journal of American History, Vol. III (No.4, 1909), 549; cited in Frazer, Ibid.)

“The weight of a man & kit upon a horse will average 350 pounds.” Sgt. C. Francis Clakrke. 29 September 1852, Fort Massachusetts (Miller, ed, Above a Common Soldier (UMN Press 1997) 41).

Source: Ex. Doc. No. 2, Message of the President, December 2, 1851, page 253

Item…………………….. Pounds Oz
Musketoon……….. …………. 6 …. 8
Aston Pistol…………………. 2 …. 8
Sabre, sabre-belt, cartridge-box,
sling and swivel, and sabre knot. 8 …. 4
Forty rounds of ammunition…….. 3 …. 0
Holster complete……………… 2 …. 8
Curry-comb and brush………….. 1 …. 8
Spurs and straps……………… 0…… 8
Two blankets (horse and bed)…… 9 ….. 0
Valise containing one pair of wool
overalls, one pair of drawers, one
flannel shirt, one pair of stock-
ings, and one fatigue frock…… 6 ….. 4
Great-coat…………………… 6 ….. 4
Nose-bag…………………….. 1 ….. 4
Picket-pin and rope…………… 3 ….. 0
Total…………………78 ….. 0

German Born Enlisted Men in Company B 1845-48

Political unrest and widespread poverty in the German states of the 1840’s resulted in a significant wave of immigrants from those lands to the United States. Many of the immigrants headed west and settled in St. Louis. Eager to show their patriotism for their new homeland, these men rallied to the colors when war was declared against Mexico. The Army, however, was not always that eager to accept the services of non-English speakers into its ranks. Out of a detachment of 110 Dragoon recruits received at Fort Leavenwoth in 1840, there were 20 German immigants who did not understand English, causing Colonel George Crogan to remark, “It is no pleasant task to instruct raw recruits, but when those recruits are ignorant of your language, the task is ten times more tedious and disagreeable. I would suggest the propriety of forbidding the enlistment of all such persons for the future, taking care at the same time to issue a like interdict against the Irish, who (a few honorable exceptions to the contrary) are the very bane of our garrisons.”

The information that follows was gleaned from the muster roll and recruitment records for Company B of the 1st Dragoons. At the time this comnpany left Ft. Leavenworth for Santa Fe in June of 1847, over one-quarter of its privates were of German extraction.

1st Sgt. Frederick Muller 15 Apr. 1844, St. Louis, Mo., Prussia, Promoted Ordnance Sergeant and died at Fort Wood, NY Harbor, 1860.

John Baker 29 April 1845 St. Louis, Mo. Prussia, Fireman Discharged due to Disability, Chihuahua, Mexico 27 Apr. 1848

Henry Heineke 16 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo.; Wounded at Battle of Rosales, 16 Mar., 1848, Discharged due to Disability Chihuahua, Mexico, 15 May, 1848: Civil War Service: Lt., 14th Illinois Cavalry

Joseph Hoerner 29 Dec. 1846, St. Louis, Mo.; left sick at Santa Fe, 10 Feb. 1848

Phillip Joost 4 Jan. 1847, St. Louis, Mo. Germany; Signmaker Deserted Ft. Leavenworth
4 June 1847

Joseph Kieffer 23 Dec. 1846 St. Louis. Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability
19 March 1850, Taos, NM

Hy Kroaus (Kraus?) 27 Dec. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Tailor Discharged due to Disability
24 Aug. 1848, Santa Fe, NM

Edward Langerwelsh 13 Jan. 1847 Jefferson Bks Germany Laborer 19 Aug. 1848, Santa Fe, NM

Conrad Leffler 16 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability
28 Dec. 1848, Alburqueque, NM

Frederick Lohrmeyer 19 Apr. 1847 St. L. Mo. Germany Laborer Dicharged 19 Aug 1848; re-
enlisted 1 Dec. 1855 Albur-
queque, NM

George Meyers, St. Louis, Mo. Feb. 25, 1847 Wounded at Rosales 16 Mar. 1848 (lost right arm); left sick Santa Cruz de Rosales (18 Mar. 1848)

Peter Mokenhanbt 3 March 1845 St. Louis, Mo click this. Germany Laborer Deserted 28 May 1848; captured
25 Nov. 1846.; Detached Duty as officer’s servant Feb-Apr. 1848; Discharged end of service 3 March 1850

John Mokenhanbt 21 Jan. 1845 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Deserted 4 May 1846, captured
25 Nov. 1846. Discharged end
of service 1850

Jno Racener 9 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Farmer Discharged 9 Aug. 1848 Santa Fe

Jno Scott (Schott?) 9 Jan. 1847 St. Louis, Mo Germany Painter Discharged 9 Aug. 1848 Santa Fe

Frederick Sick 28 June 1846, Ft. Scott Germany Soldier 2d Enlistment. Discharged
Disability 24 Aug. 1848 Santa
Fe, NM

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

Edward Shobe 24 Apr. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Clerk Discharged 19 Aug. 1848 Santa Fe
Civil War service 20th Ohio Inf. 1861; McLaughlin’s Sqd. Ohio Cavalry?

Jno Shobe 9 Jan. 1847, St. Louis, Mo. Germany, painter; Discharged Santa Fe, 19 Aug. 1848

Herman Sigler 11 Apr. 1846 St. Louis, Mo Discharged 11 April 1850 Taos

George Sigler 11 Apr. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Dischgd 11 Apr. 1850, Taos

Wm Strobe 10 Dec. 1846 Jefferson Barracks Hanover Laborer Discharged at Sonoma Barracks
California 10 Dec. 1851

Geo. Stremmle 5 Dec. 1846 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Locksmith Discharged 5 Dec. 1851 Ft.
Leavenworth; end of service

Peter Trimborn 22 Jan. 1847 St. Louis, Mo Germany Carpenter Dischgd 19 Aug. 1848, Santa Fe; Civil War service: pvt. West Missori Volunteers.

Henry Vankaster 24 Mar. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Farmer; Severely wounded in battle with Commanche; 26 June 1847; Discharged Disability 19 Aug. 1847 Santa Fe

Jno Wedeg 15 Feb. 1847 St. Louis, Mo. Germany Laborer Discharged Disability 15 Feb.
1848, Chihuahua, Mexico

Henry White 23 Mar. 1847 Jefferson Bks. Germany Farmer Dischrgd 19 Aug, 1858 Santa Fe

The Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales: 16 March 1848

Kugler: Die US Kavallerie

2006, New Mexico Historical Review

During a lull in the fighting at Santa Cruz de Rosales, James Glasgow had taken a brief nap. He was awaken by the screams of a wounded man who was having his leg sawed away by an army surgeon. A short distance away he saw hospital attendants —œdressing the stump of another—™s which had just been cut off. I didn—™t feel sleepy again for some time. War is an ugly business and I could not help thinking when it was all over, that this thing of people—™s killing each other is the greatest nonsense extant.— The date was March 16, 1848—”the Mexican-American war had officially ended six-weeks prior, but this battle would continue.
On 16th March 1847, a squadron composed of Companies B, I, and G of the 1st Dragoons, Major Benjamin Beall commanding, and a regiment of the 3d Missouri Mounted Rifles, under the joint command of General Sterling Price, participated in an attack upon the Mexican town of Santa Cruz de Rosales. The battle is remarkable in three respects. First, Company B acted as a light artillery battery, secondly, the battle took place over a month after the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo had been signed (2 February 1848), and third, following the battle, the Missouri troops engaged in the “Cow Pens” massacre of Mexican soldiers. What follows is a remarkable tale of a battle that seldom receives, at best, not much more than a sentence or two in most accounts of the Mexican-American War.
August 6, 1847: The New Mexico sun beat down mercilessly upon the column of seventy Dragoons in dusty blue shirts as they entered Santa Fe. A light breeze caused the red and white swallow tailed guidon to lutter. At the head of the column the young lieutenant smartly saluted the provost guard. After nearly a year back east on recruiting duty, Lt. John Love was back in Santa Fe with his recruits. General Winfield Scott’s army was at the gates of Mexico City, and Lt. Love hoped that there would be an opportunity for him to gain a Captain’s brevet before the war ended.
The detachment had been on the Santa Fe Trail since June 5th. Sent west as members of newly reconstituted B Company of the First United States Dragoons they had escorted Army Paymaster Bodine’s wagons. Most of these Missouri and Indiana farmboys had been in the army for less than six months but had already —œseen the elephant,— having been attacked, outridden and defeated by Comanches on the plains of Western Kansas Territory five weeks earlier. Five of their number were behind in unmarked graves along the trail, six others were wounded in that attack. (See Wild West: June, 2004.)

Well-mounted on big-boned, black sorrells, the recruits hardly appeared soldierly, neither in bearing nor uniform. Despite the cursing of the sergeants, many of the riders had difficulty maintaing a smart column of twos as they clattered past the governor’s palace. —œRight into line,— came the command. The troopers wheeled their restive mounts and, with some difficulty, the column eventually fomed into a ragged line. The lieutenant shouted, —œprepare to dismount, draw carbines, dismount.—
What these recruit lacked in training the recruits made up in enthuasism and patriotism. Lt. Leonadis Jenkins trained a detachment of these men while they were at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri and wrote Lt. Love, —œI have 13 men and in a few days think I will make it up to 20—”as good men as ever enlisted. They get along rapidly in their drill on foot and if I only had a few horses and saddles could have them pretty well instructed by the time that you are ready to receive them.— Unfortunately, these good men had been rushed into the war with virtually no training in what the 1841 Army Manual called, —œSchool of Trooper, Mounted,— otherwise known as horsemanship. Quite simply, they were not ready to be thrown into the fray as a mounted unit.
But army headquarters had special plans for the unsteady horsemen of Company B. Believing there was no time to train them to fight as Dragoons, Company B would be transformed into a field artillery battery. On August 16, 1847, Lt. Love drew six cannon from military stores in Santa Fe: two powerful 24-pounder howitzers, one 12-pounder mountain howitzer, and 3 Mexican artillery pieces. One of the these latter cannons was a six-pounder, seized by Mexican troops from an ill-fated 1843 expedition of the Republic of Texas sent west to conquer Santa Fe and then captured by General Kearney forces when they took possession of Santa Fe in 1846.
On September 7, 1847, Company B was ordered to Albuquerque, where it encamped with veteran Dragoon Companies G and I. While their artillery horses and mules grazed peacefully under the stand of cottonwood along the grassy banks of the meandering Rio Grande, the men of B Company drilled as artillerists.
A brief word about Mexican War era field artillery is in order. The terms “24-pounder” and “6-pounder” refer to the weight of solid shot fired out of the cannons. Cannons of this period could also fire explosive spherical case shot: a hollow ball filled with small pellets, a bursting charge, and timing fuse. For firing at enemy troops at under 400 yards, the guns fired canister: a tin can filled with iron balls that, when fired, turned the weapon into a massive shot gun. Howitzers were designed to lob larger caliber projectiles at enemy positions. In order to improve their maneuverability, these pieces employed barrels that were shorter and lighter than those of other types of cannons.
The training of a field artillery unit was the most difficult of the three branches of combat arms. Whether a artilleryman be a driver or cannoneer, he was trained to load and fire the piece, cut fuses of shells, mount and dismount the piece and limber, harness and drive a team, or replace a damaged wheel. Once these multifaceted skills had been learned, the battery of six horse-drawn cannon and accompanying artillery limbers would engage in field maneuvers.
On September 14, 1847, General Winfield Scott captured Mexico City. The war now diminished to a few scattered skirmishes, the diplomats were taking and an end to hostilities was in sight. But on February 4, 1848, a report reached Santa Fe that a Mexican army of 3,000 men was marching north from Chihuahua with the objective of re-capturing Santa Fe. The report would prove to be inaccurate, but for General Sterling Price, in command of all United States troops in the theater and sensing his chance at glory to be fast slipping, had other ideas. A former member of Congress, Sterling Price had resigned his seat when the Mexican War broke out and raised a regiment of Missouri volunteers. Sent to command a garrison to protect New Mexico, now a backwater of the war, his troops had seen only limited action against Navajo raiders and Mexican insurgents. Finally and long last, here was a chance for the politician-turned-general to grab some last-minute glory on the field of battle.
General Price decided to move the bulk of his forces down the Rio Grande Valley so that they would be nearer the enemy. He promptly issued orders for the three Dragoon companies at Albuquerque to march post-haste to El Paso del Norte to reinforce the garrison of Missouri volunteers stationed there.
Hearing news of the impending campaign, veteran Sergeant Benjamin Bishop, although still suffering from serious wounds he received during the fight with the Comanche in June, left a hospital bed in Santa Fe to join his company. Trooper Lewis Dunbar, a sturdy 5’5″ blacksmith from Johnson, Indiana, although sentenced to a term of six months on hard labor for having deserted his sentry post, was released from the guardhouse so that he might drive the company’s ammunition wagon.
On February 8th, General Price, left Santa Fe, and with an escort company of the Missouri Horse regiment, rode 340 miles to join his command in El Paso. Upon arrival, General Price received orders from Adjutant General Roger Jones directing him to stay put in El Paso and, if possible, send five or six hundred of his mounted troops west to reinforce the under strength forces that were occupying California.
The inhabitants of the Mexican state Chihuahua viewed with apprehension the steady build up of American forces in El Paso. The January 19, 1848 edition of the Faro, a Chihuahua newspaper, reassured the populace by reporting the Yanquis lacked sufficient supplies and provisions to invade. But the troops, however, were not in want of mutton: the Faro also mentioned that rancher Don Ignacio Roquillo had complained of Price—™s men having taken 700 of his sheep and not paid him a cent.
The paper was also wrong with regard to troop movements. On February 26th, General Price ordered Major Walker’s three mounted companies of the Santa Fe Battalion to ride 90 miles south and occupy the desert town of Carrizal. From this strategic location, Price believed that Major Walker would command the passes on the roads to Chihuahua and could observe the operations of any approaching force. Major Walker dutifully sent out patrols far and wide into the trackless Chihuahuan Desert, rounded up a few Mexican army stragglers, but found no evidence of any organized Mexican force.
Ignoring Walker’s intelligence and his orders from the Adjutant General to remain in El Paso, General Price, with four companies of 3d Missouri Horse and two companies of 1st Dragoons, waded the broad Rio Grande and headed south across the wilderness of the Chihuahuan Desert. His objective was Chihuahua, a town of 14,000 residents. As he neared the Rio Sacramento, a Mexican patrol approached under a flag of truce. They gave General Price a note from Mexican Governor General Angel Trias. The dispatch contained surprising news: a peace treaty had been signed on February 2d at Guadalupe Hidalgo, a villa on the outskirts of Mexico City, and a cease fire had been declared.
Not having received any official word of a peace treaty and doubting Trias’ representations, the general continued his advance. General Price, although distant from reliable sources of intelligence, should have believed Trias: he was fully aware that Mexico City had been taken five months prior and all major operations in the war had ceased. Furthermore, he was in receipt of orders to not move his forces south of El Paso.
Seeking to avoid bloodshed and having inadequate forces at his disposal, Governor Trias abandoned Chihuahua and with four hundred soldiers and some cannon, retreated south towards Santa Cruz de Rosales. There he expected to have his force reinforced with one hundred National Guard troops, under the command of Lt. Colonel Vicente Sanchez, marching from the State of Durango.
After a rapid march of sixty miles down the highway to Durango, Price caught up with General Trias on March 9. By this time, Trias had reached the shelter provided by the mud-walls of Santa Cruz de Rosales, a small Mexican village. The governor-general again insisted that a peace treaty had been signed and requested an armistice so that a courier might bring a copy of the document. General Price, realizing that he lacked sufficient troops and artillery to carry the town, agreed not to take action for five days.

Both sides honored the five-day armistice, and both generals, in the meantime, called for reinforcements. During the wait, Price—™s forces camped in the woods about a mile east of the town. Over one-hundred Mexican troops under the command of Colonel Cayetano Justiani slipped through the Yanqui lines and entered Rosales on March 10th. A few nights later, two hundred more troops of the 2d Battalion of the National Guard entered the town. These reinforcements swelled Trias—™ force to over eight hundred men.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Love—™s battery was encamped 210 miles north of Santa Cruz de Rosales. On 12 March, he received Price—™s orders to support the general in Rosales. Mounting some of his newly minted artillerists on fast traveling sorrels and others on artillery teams, accompanied by three companies of the Third Missouri Horse, he raced to the scene of the siege—”covering the distance in three and one-half days, sixty of the miles in the final twenty-four hours. This feat was made even more remarkable in that two of the cannon were heavy howitzers—”neither weapon designed to move as light artillery nor to travel in mountainous terrain.

Santa Cruz de Rosales hardly looked appropriate for a bloody siege and massacre. Situated at an elevation of thirty-nine hundred feet, the town sat adjacent to the Rio San Pedro, a clear mountain stream that courses the plain on its northeastern pathway down to the Rio Grande. Surrounded by freshly plowed fields watered by irrigation ditches, the town sat astride the dusty road from Chihuahua to Durango. Spring had arrived early in March 1848. Philip Gooch Ferguson, a Missouri Volunteer, noted in his journal, —œThe cottonwoods were in full leaf; and the grass quite green; peas and other vegetables in full blossom.—

In 1848, Santa Cruz de Rosales extended for about three-quarters of a mile along the road in a northeast/southwest axis. It was about a quarter mile at its widest point. In the town—™s center was a 200 yard-long plaza. On the west side of the plaza sat an imposing and elegant cathedral. Most buildings were low, mud-walled structures with flat roofs.

General Trias’s defending force of 804 men was a mixed lot. It primarily consisted of elements of the 2d Battalion of National Guard along with some regular (permanente) artillerymen and cavalry. There was also a detachment of presidiale lancers commanded by Lt. Colonel Vicente Sanchez. Inadequately equipped, even as police force, the black hated, blue-jacketed presidiale lancers guarded and protected Mexico—™s northern frontier. The infantry was armed with British Brown Bess muskets–flintlock relics of the Napoleonic era weapons that had an effective range of about seventy-yards.
In order to protect his troops from exposure to artillery and rifle fire, General Trias placed most of his men in the town—™s interior. He ringed the town plaza with entrenchments, barricades, wall cannon and fortifications. The bulk of Mexican artillery was placed securely behind nearby fortifications, well sited with a clear field of fire down the broad boulevards that led to the plaza—”but unable to fend off attacks that were shielded by buildings. The flat roofs of the buildings adjacent to the plaza and cathedral bristled with infantry and small calibre wall cannon.

Twitchell, Ralph Emerson. The History of the Military Occupation of New Mexico.
Smith Brooks Company, Publishers. 1909. Illustration by K. M. Chapman.

At dawn, Love—™s six-gun battery with accompanying ammunition caissons headed across the dusty plain towards Rosales. Through the thick cloud of dust, created by a dozen caissons and cannon being pulled by seventy-two horses. The lively strains of a bugle sounded and the detachment halted five hundred yards to the northwest of the town plaza. Then came the command, —œFire to the rear—”caissons pass your pieces-trot-march—”in battery.— In seeming confusion, cannon, caissons, limbers, horses, and men moved in every direction. Within a few minutes, however, the guns were unlimbered in line, the cannoneers standing at their proper posts, limbers and ammunition caissons properly aligned behind each piece.

By mutual agreement, non-combatants were afforded the opportunity to leave the town before the start of the battle. As non-combatants streamed out of the town, General Price re-positioned his troops, moving them out of the woods east of the town, and placed them so that they now surrounded the town. Lieutenant Colonel Lane—™s squadron of the 3d Missouri marched to the north of Rosales. Behind Love—™s battery, west of Rosales, were four companies of Colonel John Ralls—™ 3d Missouri. Major Walker—™s Santa Fe Battalion and two mountain howitzers covered the southern approach to the town. Major Beall—™s two companies of 1st Dragoons and Captain W.L.F. McNall—™s company of 3d Missouri remained in position to the east of the town.

At 10:30 a.m. General Price ordered his artillery to open the ball. Love gave the command and each of six gunners touched off their pieces. Smoke and flame belched forth as six cannon balls arched across the morning sky. In the words of Edward Glasglow, the shots struck the adobe buildings —œmaking the mud bricks fly about pretty lively and so continued for the greater part of the day.” For more than a deadly hour the American and Mexican cannon dueled one-another and two of the Mexican cannon were silenced. Upon General Price’s orders, a section of the battery, consisting of a 24-pound howitzer and a six-pounder, under the command of Lt. Alexander Dyer, were shifted seven hundred yards south to the town cemetery. The remainder of Love—™s battery soon joined Dyer—™s two guns, now positioned less than 400 yards from the town. Despite intense counter-battery fire by Yankee cannon, a lone Mexican nine-pounder located in the plaza continued to bravely return fire. Most of its round shot flew high and did little damage to Love—™s battery. Some of the overshots, however, landed amongst Colonel Ralls—™ troops, killing Corp. T. Ely, wounding another trooper and killing six horses.
In the heat of battle, a nervous loader had forgot to charge his gun with a linen package of gunpowder and the rammer, unaware of this oversight, shoved a 24 pound shell down into the barrel. For want of a power charge, the gun could not be fired. Lt. Oliver Hazard Perry Taylor, commanding a nearby company of Dragoons, stepped forward and with much exertion and at great risk, removed the shell from the breach, and this allowed the piece to resume with its deadly work.
Around noon, American scouts reported that a column of 900 lancers were fast approaching and Love was ordered to fall back in order to protect the American encampment and his ammunition train. —œLimber up— came the command and the cannon were hitched to the limbers and away trotted the battery to the threatened sector of the field. As it did so, rousting cheers and loud shouts of “Venceremos,” —œViva Mexico,— and —œSantiago— could be heard from the defenders who believed that the Yanquis were in retreat and reinforcements were arriving.

The reinforcements turned out to be nothing more than a few presidale horsemen and some unarmed campesinos from neighboring towns. Hearing the distant rumble of artillery, they came to watch the battle. These individuals skirmished briefly with a company of Santa Fe Horse and fled.

General Price decided that the lengthy artillery bombardment had not shaken the resolve of the well-entrenched defenders and that his troops must enter the town. At 3:00 in the afternoon, he ordered Lt. Love’s cannon back to the cemetery with orders to provide covering fire for the impending attack. Love—™s battery, under fire from two Mexican artillery pieces, trotted forward and again swung into battery.

Missouri Mounted Voluinteer

For the remainder of this story, please see New Mexico Historical Review, Vp;. 81, No. 4, Fall 2006.

Newport Barracks 1847: "Our condition is very unpleasant"

Newport Barracks circa 1858

In the spring of 1846, 2d Lieutenant John Love was busily seeking recruits in Dayton, Ohio. Unlike many an officer on recruiting duty who took liberal advantage of being away from the hardship and boredom of frontier duty, Lt. Love was anxious return to his company. There were daily rumors of war coming out of Texas. When he learned that Colonel Stephen W. Kearney and his dragoons were about to take the field to fight the Mexicans, Lt. Love frantically sent off several letters to his superiors requesting permission to close down the recruiting station and —œjoin my Company should my Regiment be ordered into the field.— In due course, authorization was granted and, on July 29, 1846, the hard-riding Lt. Love caught up with Colonel Steven W. Kearney—™s Army of West at Bent’s Fort.

After the bloodless conquest of Santa Fe, Kearney left for California with an escort of two companies of dragoons. It was about this time that John Love learned that he had received a promotion to 1st Lieutenant and would take be taking charge of B Company. Prior to his departure for California, however, Kearney had broken up B Company by transferring the enlisted men to other companies. This left Lt. Love in command of four sergeants, four corporals and a bugler. He was ordered by the War Department to return to —œthe States— to recruit the company up to full wartime strength of eighty men.

In late October of 1846, Lt. Love and his little band left Santa Fe and a month later reached Ft. Leavenworth. There he found but a single recruit waiting for him—”private Thomas Crosby. The lieutenant, with a sergeant and a corporal in tow, he headed for Dayton, Ohio, to open his recruiting service.

He must of felt a sense of deja vu: once again stuck on recruiting duty in Onio and Indiana while the war was fast moving on and leaving him behind. He desperately needed to expeditiously recruit a full company of men and head back to the fray. By December, he had enlisted just three men for his company. On December 20, 1846, the Lieutenant wrote to Roger Jones, the Army—™s grandfatherly Adjutant General, expressing how —œextremely anxious— he was —œto fill the Company which fortune has given me the command— and that he expected to take the field by April 1, 1847. Finding recruits in a hurry was not going to be an easy task. Lt. Anderson Nelson of the regular Sixth Infantry, one of Love—™s West Point classmates, complained to him in February of 1847 that, after —œpegging away since some time last summer and [he had] done any thing but a —˜land office—™ business— finding Hoosier recruits for his regiment.

Included in the John Love collection of correspondence at the Indiana Historical Society is a letter dated April 2, 1847, from three recruits complaining about their treatment at Newport Barracks, Kentucky. The letter is remarkable in that the writers, who were recruited in Indianapolis, wholly disregard the class differences existing between enlisted men and officers. Lt. Love was not offended by this slight to his rank and station: in June of 1847 he promoted George Gibson, one of the signatories, to the rank of corporal. We have left intact the spelling and grammatical errors contained in the original.
Newport Barracks
April 2, 1847
Liet Dear Sir
We wish to inform you that our condition is very unpleasant
on account of the absence of our officers. We are here drilled in the infantry squads, and obliged to do duties that we believe we would be exempted of were you with us and on this account there is some, not inconsiderable, dissatisfaction prevailing in regard to our having no officers of our own company with us. We would inform you that the discord refered to, has already been the cause of the one of the company—™s —œdeserting—, but we do not think that any who came with us, will, on any consideration be guilty of so base an act, but could you favor us with an officer of our own, greater satisfaction would exist, and a greater degree of confidence would be concentrated in you by your men. We consider it right you should know these circumstances and also that is binding on us to inform you of it. Gardener is dead and another one of the Company not expected to recover. We have considered it our duty to write this much.
We remain your friends and Obedient soldiers
John W. George
Jeptha Powell
George W. Gibson

Clash at the Coon Creeks: Lt. John Love's Report of 27 June, 1847

Camp on the “Arkansas,” June 27, 1847.

Sir: I have the honor to report, that company “B,” 1st dragoons, marched from Fort Leavenworth on the 7th instant, to join the army in New Mexico, escorting some three hundred and fifty thousand dollars– government funds. On our arrival at “Pawnee Fork,” (about three hundred miles from Fort Leavenworth,) we found two “trains” of wagons bound for Santa Fe, and one returning to the United States. The day before our arrival, one of the “trains” for Santa Fe, and the one for the United States, (encamped about one mile apart,) were attacked by the Indians, supposed to be either Pawnees or Osages– (each tribe receiving an annuity.) All the oxen of the return ” train” were driven off and killed in sight of Pawnee Fork. One man of Mr. Wethered’s trading party was severely wounded lanced in five or six places. I at once determined to travel with the trains for Santa Fe, and give them all the protection in my power. Our first day’s march from Pawnee Fork brought us on the Arkansas river, where we encamped; one train a quarter of a mile from the river; the other nearly the same distance from the river, and three or four hundred yards from the first. With my company I encamped on the bank of the river between the two trains.

On the morning of the 26th– just as the oxen of the first train were turned out of the coral, (a pen formed by the wagons,) the oxen of the second about turning out to graze, and the horses of the company were picketed– the Indians made their appearance a half mile distant, in full chase after the oxen.– The herdsmen used every effort to drive the oxen back into the coral; but, unable to do so, placed themselves between the oxen and Indians, hoping to prevent their being driven off. The Indians charged boldly amongst the oxen, frightened them, and drove them into the prairie; wounding in the charge two or three herdsmen. As soon as I saw the Indians, I ordered the company to saddle. Some Indian, seeing my intention to pursue, immediately appeared on the opposite bank of the river, numbering fifty or one hundred men. It now became necessary for me to protect our own camp; I therefore dismounted all but 25 men I ordered, under Sergeant Bishop to pursue the Indians, and recover the oxen proven weight loss supplements.– When the sergeant arrived in the vicinity of the oxen, the Indians swarmed in from all directions, and completely surrounded his platoon; he charged fearlessly amongst them, but our horses being wild, and unaccustomed to the yells of the Indians and shaking of blankets, (all done to frighten the horses,) could not be held by the riders. So great was the number of Indians– supposed to be three hundred on the north side, and two hundred on the south side of the river– that all hope of cutting a way through to the oxen was abandoned. It is with the deepest regrets that I have to report five of our best men killed: privates Arledge, Dickhart, Gaskill, Short, and Blake; and Sergeant Bishop and five men wounded. Sergeant Bishop (who so gallantly led the charge) and privates Lovelace and Vankastar are severely wounded; privates Bush, Wilson, and Ward slightly. With pride, I call your attention to the gallant conduct of this platoon of the company, as shown in the list of killed and wounded we have no means of telling, as their dead were carried off the field.

The oxen of one train having been driven off, I have encamped both trains together, and shall remain with them until enough trains together, and shall remain with them until enough trains arrive to take the government property to Santa Fe. I would respectfully call your attention to the fact, that it is the determination of the Indians, headed (as I have every reason to believe) by white men and Spaniards, to destroy all the government property in their power. It would seem at first sight that one company of soldiers ought to be enough to secure any number of oxen and mules from spies to watch our movements, never attacked unless by the Indians, but, sir, you must reflect that the animals of a train have to be scattered over a large extent of country for grazing; that in an attack, it is nearly as much as a company of dragoons can do to prevent their horses from taking a “stampede;” that the Indians, thoroughly acquainted with the country, and constantly having everything is in their favor; that being the most expert horsemen I the world, they are enabled to make an attack, alarm the animals, and be out of sight in an incredibly short time. You can judge, when from the time they were first seen approaching on the 26th, until they had the oxen over the river and out of sight, was not more than half an hour.

The only way, then, sir, to insure safety to public property on this road, is, in my opinion, to station about 300 mounted men at Pawnee Fork, 300 near the crossing of Arkansas, and 300 more at or near the upper Cimeron spring. These troops to have their permanent encampments at these points, but to scour the country in all directions, and at least keep the Indians in check, or they cannot catch them.– Scarcely a party has crossed the prairie this spring in summer without being harassed by them. I deem it my duty to make this report to you, believing a proper representation has not been made to you of all the outrages committed by the Camanches and other Indians during the last six months; and to represent the importance of taking active measures to insure safety to the provision trains. There was a fort or depot established by the quartermaster’s department near the crossing of the Arkansas; but this was worse than useless, as the Indians kept the few men there penned up, and have eventually succeeded in compelling them to abandon and burn the fort. This I learn from a wagon-master. The only way to deal with these Indians is to station a force in their country, to pursue and whip them for any misconduct.

With the highest respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant, JNO. LOVE,

lieut. 1 dragoons, comd’g. comp. B.

Indiana Men Who Enlisted in Company B 1st Dragoons During the War with Mexico

These men were recruited by Lt. John Love, 1st Dragoons, in the Spring of 1847. Most of the men enlisted for the duration of the war with Mexico. A few signed up for 5 year enlistments.

Within a 3-4 months of their enlistments and after only minimal training, they were involved in a fight with the Comanche at a place on the Santa Fe Trail known as the Coon Creeks. After their arrival in Santa Fe, these men were hastily trained as field artillery and fought at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales on 16 March 1848.

Name Birthplace Plave & Date of recruitment Remarks

DEMAREE, Isaac; Adams, Pa.; Madison, Ind. Feb. 5, 1847 In confinement, Jefferson Barracks, May 2, 1847; Discharged Santa Fe, N.M. Aug. 19, 1848

DUNBAR, Louis; Johnson, Ind.; Madison, Ind. Blacksmith Mar. 27, 1847 Deserted sentry post and confined to guardhouse December 8, 1847 sentence remitted; discharged Santa Fe, N.M. August 19, 1848

ELKINS, Martin; Logan Co., Va.; Madison, Feb. 5, 1847 Laborer Discharged Mar. 22, 1851 for disability; Rayado, N.M.

GARDNER, Anthony; Bartholomew, Ind.; Madison, Feb. 22, 1847 Laborer Died, Nerwport Barracks, March 27, 1847

GASKIL, George; Edinburgh, Ind. Clerk; Lafayette, Apr. 17, 1847 Killed in action, Coon Creeks, Kansas Territory June 26, 1847

GIBSON, George; Perry Co., Ky. Mar. 7, 1847 Clerk, Indianapolis Promoted to corporal. Discharged Santa Fe, N.M. August 19, 1848.

GEORGE, John W.; Bountville, Tenn; Feb. 23, 1847, Indianapolis Physician

HAHASEY, Michael; Limerick, Ireland; Indianapolis Mar. 16, 1847 Farmer Discharged March 19, 1848, Santa Fe, N.M.

HAZEL, Wm; Kent, Delaware; March 22, 1847, Farmer Indianpolis Discharged August 19, 1848, Santa Fe, N.M.

HARPER, John; Green, Ohio; Mar. 22, 1847, Farmer Indianapolis Died December 13, 1847, Alburqueque, N.M.

HOUSE, Albert; April 9, 1847, Lafayette Deserted Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, June 7, 1847

JONES, Wm. ; Manchester, England; Mar. 17, Shoemaker Madison Dischareged, Santa Fe, N.M. August 19, 1848

LANG, Jonathon; Ohio; Madison, Ind., Feb. 23, 1847, Laborer; Discharged disability, Sept. 1, 1848, Santa Fe, N.M.

LEWIS, Geo. W. ; Boyce, Ky.; Madison, Feb. 15, 1847, Laborer Discharged, Los Lunares, N.M., Feb. 15, 1852

LEAVERTON, Wm. ; Indianapolis; Mar 7, 1847, Laborer; Indianapolis Discharged disability, Chihuahua, Mexico, July 11, 1848

McCOLE, Silas; Indianapolis, March 27, 1847

POWELL, Jepha; Kentucky; Indianapolis, Mar. 16, 1847, Farmer; Wounded at Santa Cruz de Rosales, Mexico, March 16, 1848; Discharged August 18, 1848, Santa, Fe, N.M.

PUTERBAUGH, Adam ; Green, Ohio; Indianapolis, Feb. 16, 1847. Blacksmith; Discharged disability, October 22, 1849, Taos, N.M.

TURNER, Dempsey; Kentucky; Madison, Feb. 16, 1847, Laborer; Died, December 23, 1847, Albuqueque, N.M.

WALKER, G.W.; Franklin, Ind.; Indianapolis, Mar. 27, 1847, Farmer; Died Chihuahua, Mexico, March 27, 1848

WARD, Thomas ; Delaware; Lafayette, April 12, 1847, Cooper; Discharged, Santa Fe, N.M. August 19, 1848

WOOLSEY, Philander; New York; Lafayette, April 10, 1847, Laborer Discharged August 19, 1848, Santa Fe, N.M.