Military History of Mississippi:
Mexican War, 1846 – 1848

(Taken primarily from “Military History of Mississippi 1803 – 1898”
by Dunbar Rowland, 1908
1978 Reprint, The Reprint Company, Publishers, pp. 14-33.
Supplemented from other sources.)
Submitted by Tim Harrison


The organization of the “Army and Navy of the State of Mississippi” at the beginning of the war with Mexico was as follows:

Governor Albert G. Brown, Commander-in-Chief; B. C. Buckley, Adjutant-General; Wiley P. Harris, Quartermaster-General; James Roach, C. W. Clifton, W. B. Tebo, W. F. Courtnay, Aides-de-Camp; Samuel Daugherty, E. Rush Buckner, R. B. Miller, William E. Eppes, Assistant Quartermasters-General. Wiley P. Harris was made Adjutant-General and Clifford D. Mitchell Quartermaster-General July 13, 1846. H. L. French, Adjutant General, October 12, 1847, and Patterson Fletcher Aide-de-Camp, and Azel B. Bacon, Assistant Quartermaster-General, in 1847.

First Division—Major-General, William L. Brandon, Pinckneyville; Robert Semple, Inspector; P. F. Keary and Thomas McLochlin, Aides; J. D. Stewart, Quartermaster.  First Brigade—Brigadier-General F. C. Talbert, of Liberty.  Second Brigade—Brigadier-General, Daniel A. Hall, of Leakesville.

Second Division—Major-General, Arthur Fox, of Monticello (successor of John A. Quitman); R. M. Gaines, Inspector; Cornelius McLaurin, Quartermaster; William Strother and L. A. Turner, Aides.  First Brigade—Brigadier-General, Robert Stanton, of Lafayette.  Second Brigade—Brigadier-General, Alexander Trotter, of Quitman, succeeded in 1847 by Cornelius McLaurin, of Covington County.

Third Division—Major-General, John M. Duffield; Jefferson J. Hughes, Inspector; J. Shall Yerger and Horace Keating, Aides; Lewis M. Maney, Quartermaster.  First Brigade—Brigadier-General, Samuel S. Heard, of Spring Ridge, succeeded by S. A. D. Greaves, of Raymond, in 1847.  Second Brigade—Brigadier-General, Albert F. Bennett, of Yazoo City, resigned September, 1846, succeeded by Thomas Shackleford.

Fourth Division—Major-General, C. F. Hemingway, of Middleton; M. C. Womack, Inspector; Shilman Durham, Quartermaster; Robert D. Palmer, Thomas Montgomery, Aides.  First Brigade—Brigadier-General, James T. Owens.  Second Brigade—Brigadier-General, William Brown, of Macon, succeeded in 1847 by William B. Wade, of Columbus; William Barksdale, Inspector.  Third Brigade—Brigadier-General A. B. Woolridge, of Philadelphia.

Fifth Division—Major-General, John C. Bradford, of Ponotoc; John F. Wray, Inspector; Samuel Crig and Thomas B. Carroll, Aides; Simon B. Spight, Quartermaster.  First Brigade—Brigadier-General, Benjamin Collins, of Ripley (successor of Reuben Davis); Simon R. Speight, Inspector.  Second Brigade—Brigadier-General, James S. Oliver, of Hernando.  (Adjutant-General’s Register of Commissions, 1846-48.)

There was a dispute as to whether General Brandon or General Duffield was the senior Major-General, which the Governor decided in favor of Duffield.

There were sixty-eight regiments, one in each county, some fully organized, some partially, and some with no returns of organization on the Adjutant-General’s record.  Each regiment when fully organized had its staff of Lieutenant-Colonel, Major, Adjutant, Quartermaster, Judge Advocate and Surgeon, and ten companies with Captains and other officers.

It was through this organization that Governor A. G. Brown first acted in 1846 in preparing to furnish troops to the United States Government.

The life of the State military, however, was in the volunteer companies.  These had been increased in number somewhat, before this, on account of the Oregon dispute with Great Britain.  Mississippi’s patriotism was not confined to the Southwest.  The Adjutant-General’s record covering the years 1844-48 shows the following volunteer companies.  The list is of historical interest, though incomplete.  The dates are the dates of commissions of the Captains, but some of the companies were older than these dates, while in many cases the date indicates the beginning of the company.

Warren County

Hill City Guards, Capt. John B. Markham, 10 July, 1847.
Volunteer Rifle Company, Capt. A. M. Winn, 3 July, 1846.
Warren Troop, Capt. William A. Leake, 14 May, 1846.
Light Artillery corps, Vicksburg Southrons, Capt. John Willis, 17 May, 1846.

Hinds County

Brown Guards, Capt. John C. Turner, 10 July, 1847.
Utica Guards, Capt. D. A. Jones, 16 October, 1847.
Raymond Reserve, Capt. Joseph W. Stewart, 6 July, 1846.
Brownsville Volunteers, Capt.Joseph W. Birdsong, 9 July, 1847.

Lowndes County

Lowndes Invincibles, Capt. R. B. Covington, 6 August, 1847.
Tombigby Guards, Capt. John H. Lauderdale, 12 October, 1847.
Mississippi Guards, Capt. J. Riley, 27 March, 1847.
Columbus Rifle Company, Capt. H. Abert, 7 September, 1847.
Columbus Riflemen, Capt. Chas. H. Abert, 30 August, 1846.

Hinds County

State Fencibles, Capt. J. L. McManus, 30 May, 1846.
Brownsville Volunteers, Capt. R. D. Chapman, 25 June, 1846.
Raymond Fencibles, Capt. R. N. Downing, 2 June 1846.
Jackson Dragoons, Capt. Harvey S. Crittenden, 20 May, 1846.
Oregon Guards, Capt. S. B. Pyrce, 30 June, 1845.
State Fencibles, Capt. Charles W. Clifton, 12 July, 1845.

Jackson County

Dauntless Blues, Capt. Ellis Fairbanks, 10 June, 1846.
Jackson Grays, Capt. Joseph Rogers, 10 June, 1846.

Greene County

Greene Guards, Capt. Campbell McKay, 27 January, 1846.
Greene Light Infantry, Capt. Charles Bellman, 17 February, 1846.

Amite County

Amite Volunteers, Capt. E. M. Davis, 22 May, 1846.

Wilkinson County

Wilkinson County Volunteers, Capt. D. H. Cooper, 15 May, 1846.

Adams County

Natchez Guards, artillery, Capt. J. W. Bruce, 17 March, 1845.
Adams Light Guard.
Natchez Fencibles, Capt. Thomas W. Clay.

Claiborne County

Claiborne Guards, Capt. Henry T. Ellett, 12 January, 1846.
Quitman Riflemen, Capt. Richard Parkinson, 4 August, 1845.
Claiborne Volunteers, Capt. F. J. Poor, May, 1846.

Yazoo County

Yazoo Mounted Infantry, Capt. J. W. Sharp, 15 May, 1846.

Madison County

Madison Citizens Corps, Capt. Thomas Shackleford, 25 July, 1845.

Holmes County

Volunteer Company, Capt. Fleming Amyx, 15 July, 1845.

Kemper County

Kemper County Rangers (cavalry), Capt. T. S. Cocke, 15 January, 1846.

Oktibbeha County

Starkville Dragoons, Capt. William T. Montgomery, 24 July, 1845.
Starkville Guards, Capt. A. J. Maxwell, 25 June, 1845.

Winston County

Louisville Light Infantry.
Nanna Warrior Legion, Capt. John McLeod, 19 July, 1845.

Yalobusha County

Coffeville Guards, Capt. Ephraim Fisher, 31 March, 1845.
Yalobusha Guards, Capt. A. H. Davidson, 8 August, 1846.

Carroll County

Carroll County Volunteers, Capt. B. D. Howard, 26 May, 1846.
Volunteer Company, Capt. Calvin Carns (?), 3 July, 1845.
Carroll Guards, Capt. J. M. Strang, 4 July, 1845.
Carroll Guards (cavalry company at Middleton), Capt. Wm. H. Curtis, 10 July, 1847.

Jasper County

Volunteer Riflemen, Capt. G. W. Ryan, 17 September, 1845.
Jasper Volunteers, Capt. James McDougal, 7 August, 1845.

Smith County

Republican Blues, Capt. Richard Cosper, 28 August, 1845.

Attala County

Kosciusko Cavalry, Capt. James Hayden, 26 October 1846.
Attala Guards.
Attala Blues, Capt. David P. Crawley, 14 August, 1847.

Chickasaw County

Prairie Guards, cavalry, Capt. W. L. Baskin, 14 October, 1846.

Itawamba County

Volunteer Cavalry Company, Capt. Joshua Scurlock, 10 October, 1846.

Tippah County

Tippah Guards, Capt. A. M. Jackson, 1 June, 1846.

DeSoto County

DeSoto Dragoons, Capt. James H. Murray, 23 October 1846.

Lafayette County

Oxford Guards, Capt. E. W. Smith, 10 July, 1847.
Rough and Ready Cavalry, Capt. M. G. Kelso, 27 July, 1847.
Lafayette Guards, Capt. John F. Davidson, 21 March, 1845.
Lafayette Volunteers, Capt. William Delay, 1 June, 1846.
Lafayette Cavalry, Capt. James M. Cook, 6 July, 1846.

Monroe County

Aberdeen Guards, Capt. C. T. Valentine, 24 June, 1845.

Jefferson County

Jefferson Troop, cavalry company, Capt. Charles Clark.

Marshall County

Marshall Guards, Capt. A. B. Bradford.
Marshall Avengers, Capt. Thos. G. Polk.

Pontotoc County

Pontotoc Rovers, Capt. J. D. Bradford.

The war began as a result of t he order to Gen. Zachary Taylor, commanding United States troops in Texas, to take a position of “observation” on the Rio Grande.  Taylor was a Mississippian by intention, had no property except in the State, and had long been the owner of a plantation on the river in Jefferson County, where he intended to make his home after retiring from the army, near his son-in-law, Jefferson Davis.

After General Taylor had marched to the Rio Grande and had come into conflict with the Mexicans in April, 1846, he called on Texas and Louisiana for eight volunteer regiments.  General E. P. Gaines, in command of the Military Department of the United States Army, also made a requisition for volunteers, including two regiments from Mississippi, without authority from the War Department, which soon repudiated his action and relieved him of command.  Governor Brown was bitterly criticised by many in the State for disregarding the Gaines requisition, and later complimented and thanked by the War Department.  For there was no way to care for the men who went on Gaines’ call and they suffered much unnecessarily.  Late in April and early in May there was intense excitement in Mississippi.

On May 9 Governor Brown sent out an order to the Colonels of militia advising them to have all the effective militia enrolled in companies, “and with a view of responding to any call that may be made on this State for troops you are advised to open a list for the enrollment of such volunteers as are ready to march at twenty-four hours’ notice.”

General Duffield was appointed “drill officer,” as provided in the militia law, and directed to visit the counties of Warren, Claiborne, Jefferson, Adams, Wilkinson, Amite, Franklin, Copiah Hinds, Madison, Rankin, Yazoo, Holmes, Carroll and Yalobusha, to urge these enrollments, it being expected the State would be asked for 2,500 men.

Volunteer companies were drilling on the streets of Mississippi towns by the middle of May.  The Governor then accepted conditionally twenty-eight companies organized under his instructions to the Colonels.  He also, on the advice of General Gaines, began the organization of a cavalry regiment, and awaited the call from Washington.  When this came, May 29, the Governor and the State were disappointed, for it asked for only “one regiment of infantry or riflemen.”  (Act of Congress, May 13, 1846.)  The Governor’s call for ten companies to serve one year under his requisition was published June 1.

Meanwhile not a few Mississippians had entered the organizations in other States where regiments were formed to meet the calls of General Taylor and General Gaines.

It appears that the first citizens to go to the war from Natchez were Dr. Joseph A. Applewhite, Kemp Sprague, John Stockman, Burrus Wren, and James Filmore, who took boat for New Orleans May 6, and enlisted in Colonel Dakin’s Louisiana regiment, which they accompanied to Mexico.  The regiment served three months.


At Natchez, in the first week of May, a company was recruited with James D. Galbraith as Captain, William W. W. Wood and Ezra R. Price Lieutenants, which crossed the river and were mustered in as volunteers under the requisition of General Taylor upon the State of Louisiana.  They took the name of “Sparrow Volunteers” in compliment to General Sparrow, of Concordia Parish.  They left New Orleans for the front May 20, as Company E, Fourth Regiment Louisiana Volunteers (Montezuma Regiment), Col. Horation Davis, landed on Brazos Island, cross the Rio Grande June 7, and marched to camp near Matamoros. In August the regiment accepted discharge, on the ruling of the War Department that they could not be retained any longer than three months.  Lieutenant Price, who had been made Adjutant of the regiment, joined Taylor’s army and was distinguished at the battle of Monterey.

A company of Mississippians, commanded by Captain J. A. Talbot, arrived at New Orleans on May 22, from Biloxi.


Governor Brown called June 1, 1846, for ten companies to make up the regiment of riflemen, which was the quota of Mississippi in President Polk’s call for 17,000 volunteers.  The companies were to rendezvous at Vicksburg, and as the State had no money which could be used, the citizens were asked to loan money for the transportation and subsistence of the troops.  Thirty thousand dollars was put at the Governor’s disposal in response to this request.

On June 10 the following companies had reported to the Governor:  Vicksburg Southrons, Captain Willis; State Fencibles, Captain McManus; Raymond Fencibles, Captain Downing; Yazoo Volunteers, Captain Sharp; Carroll Volunteers, Captain Howard; Natchez Fencibles, Captain Clay; Claiborne Volunteers, Captain Poore; Tombigbee Volunteers, Captain McClung; Marshall Guards, Captain A. B. Bradford; Pontotoc Rovers, Captain J. D. Bradford; Lexington Volunteers, Captain Amys; Grenada Hornets, Captain Judson; Woodville Volunteers, Captain Cooper; DeSoto Volunteers, Captain Felix Labauve; Vicksburg Volunteers, Captain Crump; Lawrence Guards, Captain Delay; Lawrence Volunteers, Captain Williams; Quitman Rifles, Captain Parkinson; Copiah Volunteers, Captain King; Lauderdale Volunteers, Captain Daniel; Tippah Volunteers, Captain Jackson; Attala Guards, Captain McWillie.  Besides these twenty-two companies the Lexington Volunteers, Woodville Volunteers and Vicksburg Volunteers were entered as alternates for the Yazoo commpany, Claiborne company and Natchez Fencibles.

By June 10 the Vicksburg Southrons, State Fencibles of Jackson, Raymond Fencibles, Yazoo Volunteers and Carroll Volunteers had been mustered in at Camp Brown, near Vicksburg. There was a pressure of companies to be admitted, but those were accepted that were first complete and organized. The famous Natchez Fencibles, one of the first to go to Vicksburg, failed to come within this rule by a deficiency of two or three men, and their indignant remonstrances and the retorts of the Governor filled the newspapers for several weeks. The regiment was completed with the following companies, in which list an attempt has been made to give all the commissioned officers during its service:

Company A, Yazoo Volunteers—Capt. John M. Sharp, Lieutenants Philip J. Burrus, Thomas P. Slade, Amos B. Corwine, Seaborne M. Phillips.  [Yazoo County]

Company B, Wilkinson Volunteers—Capt. Douglas H. Cooper, Lieutenants Carnot Posey, James Calhoun, Sam R. Harrison.  [Wilkinson County]

Company C, Vicksburg Southrons—Capt. John Willis, Lieutenants Henry F. Cook, Richard Griffith, Rufus K. Arthur.  [Warren County]

Company D, Carroll County Volunteers—Capt. Bainbridge D. Howard, Lieutenants Daniel R. Russell, Louis T. Howard, E. W. Hollingsworth, Thomas J. Kyle, Leon Trousdale.  [Carroll Count]

Company E, State Fencibles, Hinds County—Capt. John L. McManus, Lieutenants Crawford Fletcher, James H. Hughes, Charles M. Bradford.  [Hinds County]

Company F, Lafayette Volunteers—Capt. William Delay, Lieutenants William N. Brown, Frederick J. Malone, William W. Redding, Josephus J. Tatum, John P. Stockard.  [Lafayette County]

Company G, Raymond Fencibles—Capt. Reuben N. Downing, Lieutenants Samuel A. D. Greaves, William H. Hampton, Francis J. McNulty, Samuel B. Thomas.  [Hinds County]

Company H, Vicksburg Volunteers—Capt. George P. Crump, John S. Clendenin, Lieutenants Robert L. Moore, Hugh M. Markham, James E. Stewart, John J. Poindexter, Richard Hopkins.  [Warren County]

Company I, Marshall Guards—Capt. Alexander B. Bradford, succeeded by James H. R. Taylor; Lieutenants Christopher H. Mott, Samuel H. Dill, William E. Eppes.  [Marshall County]

Company K, Tombigbee Volunteers—Capt. Alexander K. McClung, succeeded by William P. Rogers; Lieutenants William H. H. Patterson, William P. Townsend. [Lowndes County]

At the election of officers July 18, Capt. A. B. Bradford, who had been a soldier under Jackson in 1812-15 and Colonel of a regiment of Tennessee volunteers of Armstrong’s mounted brigade under General McCall in Florida, 1836, and was known as “the hero of Withlacoochee,” was supported by the northern counties for Colonel and received 350 votes to 300 for Jefferson Davis, who was a graduate of West Point, had been a Lieutenant in the regular army in the Black Hawk war, and Adjutant of the Dragoons in a Comanchee war, and was at the time a Representative of Mississippi in Congress.  R. N. Downing received 135 votes, W. L. Brandon 91, and A. G. Bennett 37.  Bradford declined to consider the election his, although it was sufficient in militia elections, unless he had a majority of the regiment.  On the second ballot Davis received a majority of 147.  A. K. McClung, R. E. Downing and Major-General Duffield were candidates for Lieutenant-Colonel and McClung was elected on the second ballot. On a subsequent day Bradford was elected Major.  McClung commanded the regiment until it reached New Orleans.

The staff officers were: Richard Griffith, Adjutant; Seymour Halsey, Surgeon; John Thompson, Assistant Surgeon; Charles T. Harlan, Sergeant-Major; S. Warren White, Quartermaster-Sergeant; Kemp S. Holland, Commissary; Stephen Dodds, Principal Musician.

Colonel Davis, then at Washington, D.C., arranged that the regiment should be armed with rifles instead of the ordinary infantry musket.  On this subject he said later in life: “General Scott endeavored to persuade me not to take more rifles than enough for four companies, and objected particularly to percussion arms as not having been sufficiently tested for the use of troops in the field.  Knowing that the Mississippians would have no confidence in the old flint lock muskets, I insisted on their being armed with the kind of rifle then recently made at New Haven, Conn., the Whitney rifle.  From having been first used by Mississippians, those rifles have always been known as the Mississippi rifles.” The arms were sent to the regiment by ship, to New Orleans.  They were without bayonets, there having been no time to make them. Colonel Davis, traveling by way of Wheeling, joined his command at the camp near New Orleans July 21, 1846.

While the regiment was in camp in Louisiana many men were taken sick, some died, and a considerable number were sent home. The regiment sailed on the steamship Alabama July 26, and landed at Brazos Island, seven miles from Point Isabel, where they encamped and remained, until August 2.  They were assigned, in the organization of General Taylor’s army, to the Third Brigade of the Second Division, there being brigaded with them the regiments from Alabama and Georgia, and the Baltimore and Washington battalion.  The commander of the brigade was John A. Quitman, of Mississippi, who had been commissioned July 1 Brigadier-General of Volunteers.  This command was notable for its gallantry in the severe fighting which led up to the capture of Monterey.


Quitman’s brigade [the Mississippi and 1st Tennessee Regiments, part of Butler’s Division] brought up the rear in the march out of Camargo, August 19.  The assault upon Monterey began September 21.  [The Mississippi regiment had only eight of its ten companies present for the attack, companies A and F having been left in Cerralvo by order of General Taylor to guard the depot.]  Quitman’s brigade attached the fort called the Teneria.  Colonel Davis advanced his riflemen obliquely by the left of companies into a line near the works, under the enemy’s fire, the Mississippians opening fire as soon as they formed in open order.  Then as the Mexican fire slackened, the Mississippians charged, the flanks converging toward an open embrasure that lay before the center of the line.  “The enemy fled from the rear sally port as we entered the fort,” Colonel Davis wrote in his report, “leaving behind him his artillery, a considerable number of muskets, his dead and wounded.”  Hot pursuit was made and many of the refugees captured in fortified stone building which they had not time to close before the Mississippians were upon them.  With part of the regiment Davis crossed a stream and attacked another fort on the interior line, but while waiting for reinforcements the battalion was withdrawn to another part of the field, where they repulsed a charge of Mexican lancers.  Colonel Davis wrote: “I saw no exhibition of fear, no want of confidence, but on every side the men who stood around me were prompt and willing to execute my orders. I cannot omit to mention the gallant bearing of Lieutenant-Colonel McClung.  At the storming of the fort he first mounted the parapet and turning to the regiment waved his sword over his head in that position to cheer the men on to further danger.  It was my misfortune soon after to lose his services.  At the fortified stone building he was dangerously wounded.  I must also mention Lieutenant Patterson, who sprung into the open embrasure as Colonel McClung mounted the parapet, and first the first American piece within the works of the enemy.  Captain Downing [Co. G], in whom is happily combined the qualities of a leader and a commander, was severely wounded whilst (among the foremost) cheering his company to the charge, and I felt severely the loss of his services.  Corporal Gresham, of Captain Taylor’s company [Co. I], fell near me, after we had crossed the stream and were advancing upon the fort beyond it.  He had fired his rifle several times and was advancing, firing with exemplary intrepidity, when he fell forward with two wounds and died as he had fought, calmly, silently, with his eye upon the foe.  Lieutenant Calhoun [Co. B] attracted my attention by the gallantry with which he exposed himself and the effort he made to shelter others.”

The manuscript report of Colonel Davis to Governor Brown on the gallantry of Mississippi troops is preserved in the Department of Archives and History.

Major-General Zachary Taylor wrote the following in his official report regarding the attack on September 21st:

“The three regiments of the volunteer division [Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio regiments], under the immediate command of Major-General Butler, had, in the mean time, advance in the direction of [the Teneria redoubt].  The leading brigade, under Brigadier-General Quitman, continued its advance upon that work, preceded by three companies of the 4th [U.S.] infantry, while General Butler, with the 1st Ohio regiment, entered the town to the right.  The companies of the 4th infantry had advanced within short range of the work, when they were received by a fire that almost in one moment struck down one-third of the officers and men, and rendered it necessary to retire and effect a conjunction with the two other companies then advancing.  General Quitman’s brigade, though suffering most severely, particularly in the Tennessee regiment, continued its advance, and finally carried the work in handsome style, as well as the strong building in its rear.  Five pieces of artillery, a considerable supply of ammunition, and thirty prisoners, including three officers, fell into our hands.”  [Quoted in The Mexican War and Its Heroes,J.B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia (1860), pp. 40-41.]  Taylor’s casualties in “the operations in the lower part of the city on the 21st” was 394 killed and wounded.

Next day (22d) Quitman’s brigade, including the Rifles, occupied the Teneria fort, exposed to the fire of the Citadel, Fort El Diablo and other works, while attacks were made in other quarters.  On the last day of the battle (23d) Colonel Davis took Company H, Lieutenant Moore, and Company C, Lieutenant Greaves, and two Tennessee companies out on a perilous reconnaissance into the town.  Lieutenant Cook volunteered to take the place of Adjutant Griffith, wounded.  They found El Diablo evacuated, but swept by the Mexican fire so that it was untenable.  Company B, Captain Cooper, and Company D, Lieutenant Russell, joined them and they advanced, encountering the enemy at a barricade, which they carried, Colonel Davis narrowly escaping the Mexican balls.  Private Tyree [Co. K] was killed here.  They pushed on, driving parties of the enemy from courts, gardens, houses and housetops, until near the plaza, where they found the streets all barricaded and swept by so severe a fire that the adventurous Mississippians halted and set about building a barricade.  They intended to hold their position against artillery and musketry, but were recalled.  In the return Lieutenant Howard [Co. D] and others were wounded.  Colonel Davis specially mentioned Captain Cooper [Co. B], Lieutenants Moore [Co. H], Russell [Co. D], Posey [Co. B], Greaves [Co. G], Hampton [Co. G] and Cook, Surgeons Seymour and Halsey and Sergeant-Major Harlan.  Two volunteers, Ezra R. Price, lately Lieutenant of the Natchez company of the Fourth Louisiana, and I. R. Smith, of New Orleans, were conspicuous for gallantry.  On the same day (23d) the remainder of the regiment made a sortie into the city under Major Bradford.  “We carried the street for several hundred yards under a continued shower of grape and canister shot, accompanied with musketry,” Bradford reported, “and took a position in the hear of the town and maintained it firmly for several hours under a most galling fire the whole time, and until we were ordered by the commanding General to draw off, and then retired in good order.  The officers with us were Captains Willis [Co. C] and McManus [Co. E], Lieutenants Patterson [Co. K], Townsend [Co. K], Wade [Co. K], Arthur [Co. C], Bradford [Co. E] and Markham [Co. H], who all behaved with great presence of mind and courage, as did every soldier who accompanied us.”  Next day (24th) Monterey was surrendered to Taylor, Colonel Davis being one of the three American officers who met the Mexicans to arrange terms.

General Quitman’s report of the events of September 22-23, 1846 provides the following information:

“Being ordered, on the morning of the 22d, to relieve Colonel Garland’s command, which had, during the preceding night, occupied the redoubt and fortifications taken on the 21st, my command marched from their encampment about nine o’clock in the morning.  Colonel Campbell, of the Tennessee regiment, being indisposed from the fatigue and exposure of  the preceding day, the command of his regiment devolved to Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson.  Both regiments [Mississippi and Tennessee] were much reduced by the casualties of the twenty-first, and the necessary details for the care of the wounded.  The march necessarily exposed the brigade for a short distance to a severe fire of artillery from the works still in possession of the enemy on this side of the city, and from the cross-fire of the citadel.  We were not allowed to reach our post without some loss.  Private Dubois, of Captain Crump’s company [H] of Mississippi riflemen, was killed, and two men of the same company wounded, before entering the works.  The redoubt and adjacent works being occupied by my brigade, and Lieutenant Ridgely’s battery, a portion of the troops were engaged, under the direction of Lieutenant J. M. Scarritt, of engineers, in strengthening our position on the side next to town.

“At intervals during the whole day [22d], until nine o’clock at night, the enemy kept up from their fortifications, and from the citadel, discharges of shell, round shot, and grape.  It was in the forenoon of this day, that, by the aid of our glasses, we were presented with a full view of the storming of the Bishop’s palace by troops under General Worth on the heights beyond the city. . . .  [A]t the first dawn of day on the 23d, it was discovered that the enemy had abandoned, or were abandoning, the strong works nearest us [El Diablo].  Colonel Davis, with a portion of his command, supported by Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, with two companies of the Tennessee regiment, was ordered to take possession of the works.  This was promptly done.  The enemy had withdrawn their artillery during the night, and nothing of value fell into our hands but some prisoners and ammunition.  From this work, which commanded a view of the cathedral, and a portion of the great plaza of the city, we perceived another half-moon or triangular redoubt in advance of us, and on our right, which appeared to be immediately connected with heavy stone buildings and walls adjoining the block of the city.  Having reported my observations to the commanding general, who had approached the field of our operations, I received permission to advance upon the defences of the city in this direction, and, if deemed practicable, to occupy them.  It was sufficiently apparent that all the approaches to the city on this side were strongly fortified.  Wishing to proceed with caution, under the qualified permission of the commanding general, I sent out a party of riflement, under Lieutenant Graves [Co. G], to reconnoitre, supporting them at some distance by a company of Tennessee infantry, under Captain McMurray.  Some active movements of the enemy in the vicinity induced me to halt this party, and to order out Colonel Davis, with two companies of his command, and two companies of Tennessee troops, to advance on these works.  As the troops advanced, armed men were seen flying at their approach.  Upon reaching the redoubt which had attracted our attention, we perceived that it was open, and exposed to the fire of the enemy from the stone buildings and walls in the rear.  It was, therefore, necessary to select another position less exposed.  Posting the two companies of infantry, in a position to defend the lodgement we had effected, I directed Colonel Davis to post his command as he might deem most advantageous for defence or active operations, intending here to await further orders or reinforcements.  In reconnoitring the place, several shots were fired at Colonel Davis by the enemy, and several files of the riflemen who had advanced to the slope of a breastwork …, which had been thrown across the street for the defence of the city, returned the fire.  A volley from the enemy succeeded. Our party having been reinforced by additions from the riflemen and infantry, a brisk firing was soon opened on both sides, the enemy from the house-tops and parapets attempting to drive us from the lodgement we had effected.  A considerable body of the enemy, securely posted on the top of a large building on our left, which partially overlooked the breastwork …, continued to pour in their fire, and killed private Tyree, of company K, whose gallant conduct at the breastwork had attracted the attention of both his colonel and myself.  From this commencement, in a short time the action became general.  The enemy appearing to be in great force, and firing upon our troops from every position of apparent security, I despatched my aid, Lieutenant Nichols, with orders to advance the whole of my brigade which could be spared from the redoubts occupied by us.  A portion of the Mississippi regiment, under Major Bradford, advanced to the support of the troops engaged, but Lieutenant-Colonel Anderson, with a part of the Tennessee regiment, was required to remain for he protection of the redoubts in our possession.  With this additional force more active operations upon the city were begun.  Detachments of our troops advanced, penetrating into buildings and occupying the flat roofs of hoses, and by gradual approaches, driving the enemy back.  They had been engaged more than an hour, when they were reinforced by a detachment of dismounted Texan rangers, commanded by General Henderson, with whose active and effectual co-operations the attack upon the city was gradually, but successfully prosecuted.  Buildings, streets, and courts were occupied by our troops without much loss, until, after being engaged for about five hours, having advanced within less than two squares of the great plaza, apprehensive that we might fall under the range of our own artillery, which had been brought up to our support, and our ammunition being nearly exhausted, active operations were ordered to cease until the effect of the batteries, which had been brought forward into one of the principal streets, could be seen.

“It being found that the batteries in the neighbourhood of the plaza were too strong to be battered down by our light artillery, the commanding general, who had taken position in the city, ordered the troops gradually and slowly to retire to the defences taken in the morning.  This was done in god order, the enemy firing occasionally upon us, but not venturing to take possession of the part of the town we had occupied.  Our forces had scarcely retired from their advanced position in the city, when we heard the commencement of the attack of the division under General Worth on the opposite side of the town.  The force under my command had been engaged from eight o’clock in the morning to three P.M.  It should be recorded, to the credit of the volunteer troops, that the greater portion of them had been without sustenance since the morning of the 22d, and exposed throughout the very inclement and rainy night of the 22d, to severe duty, without blankets or overcoats, and yet not a murmur was heard among them—their alacrity remained unabated to the last moment.  The character of this affair, the troops being necessarily separated into many small parties, gave frequent occasion to the exhibition of individual courage and daring.  The instances occurred so frequently, in which both officers and men distinguished themselves, that to recount those which fell under my own observation, or which were brought to my notice by officers, would extend this report to an improper length.  It is my duty and pleasure to mention the fact, that the veteran, General Lamar, of Texas, joined my command as a volunteer in the commencement of the attack on the city, and by his counsel and example aided and encouraged the troops….” [Quoted in The Mexican War and Its Heroes,J.B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia (1860), pp. 84-87.]

The honor of first entering the Mexican works was contested by a Tennessee regiment.  As Douglas H. Cooper said, it was true that the flag of the Tennesseans first floated there, but the inference was not correct.  “The reason that the Mississippi flag was not the first to wave there was that they had no flag with them to unfurl.  The ladies of Wilkinson would have had the pleasure of knowing that the beautiful colors their fair fingers and generous hears bestowed upon the Wilkinson volunteers were the first to throw its broad stripes and bright stars abroad over the blood stained ramparts of the east fort at Monterey but for the simple fact that it was left in a hurry in the knapsack of a sick volunteer at Ceralvo.”

The following were the casualties among Mississippi troops at Monterey:

Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander K. McClung, dangerously wounded.

Company B—Wounded, William H. Miller, Adam Lanehart, John L. Anderson, J. H. Jackson, George H. Jones, Reuben W. Chance (mortally).

Company C—Killed, L. M. Turner.  Wounded, Lieut. Henry F. Cook, Lieut. Rufus K. Arthur, John B. Markham, Henry B. Thompson, Peter W. Johnson.

Company D—Wounded, Lieut. Lewis. T. Howard, Serg. E. W. Hollingsworth, George Wills, Warren Huffman, Owen W. Jones, Alpheus Cobb, William Orr, David Love, Dr. George W. Ramsey, mortally wounded.

Company E—Killed, Silas Meechem.  Wounded, Serg. Joseph H. Langford, Hugh W. Pierce, William H. Fleming, Wm. Shadt, A. P. Broinham (mortal), Jacob Fredericks, John Coleman, William P. Spencer, Marshall M. Smith, James Kilby.

Company G—Killed, Samuel Potts.  Wounded, Capt. Reuben N. Downing, James Williamson, Warren White, A. W. Teague, Robert Owen.

Company H—Killed, Joseph P. Tennille.  Wounded, Daniel D. Dubois, Benjamin F. Roberts, Avery Noland, Robert Grigg, Frederick Mathews (mortal).

Company I—Killed, Joseph Heaton, Joseph Downing, William H. Grisham.  Wounded, Serg. Francis A. Wolf, Charles F. Cotton, Gideon Williams, Nat Massie.

Company K—Killed, John Tyree.  Wounded, Serg. William H. Bell, Edward B. Lewis, Charles Martin, James S. Thompson, John Stewart, John McNorris, Platt Snedecor (mortal).
Total—Fourteen killed and forty-seven wounded.


The regiment went into camp and for a short time the war was supposed to be over.  Colonel Davis visited his home, leaving Major Bradford in command.  December 14 the army began the march to Saltillo.  General Scott had arrived on the coast and Taylor was ordered to co-operate in a campaign from Vera Cruz.  The troops marched 260 miles to Victoria, under the command of Quitman.  Scott ordered Quitman’s troops into his army, allowing Taylor to retain Bragg’s and Washington’s batteries and any one regiment he might choose.  Taylor’s choice was the Mississippi Rifles.  They turned back sadly from what seemed the path of glory, unaware that they were destined to serve their country with almost unparalleled prominence on a battlefield that should be immortal in song and story.  The Rifles encamped at Agua Nueva, eighteen miles from Saltillo, and were joined by some new regiments from Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Arkansas, under General Wool.  This was the composition of Taylor’s army, no seasoned troops but the Mississippians and two batteries, when the ablest Mexican General, Santa Anna, advanced with nearly three times as many men for the purpose of crushing Taylor and thus defeating Scott’s plan of invasion.  Taylor fell back toward Saltillo and prepared to fight at the pass of La Angostura, a little south of the ranch called Buena Vista.  The famous battle of February 22-23, 1847, was for the possession of this pass and the fighting was in a mountain valley.  On the first day the Mexicans gained a flanking position on the hills, while their cavalry, under the famous Minon, threatened Saltillo, in the rear.  Taylor took the Mississippi Rifles and May’s Dragoons back to the town in the night.  Two companies (the Tombigbee [K] and Carroll [D] Volunteers) were left there, in that place of vital importance, when Colonel Davis returned with eight companies to Buena Vista in the morning.  Before their arrival the Mexicans had overwhelmed and driven back the left wing of the army.  The day seemed lost when Taylor arrived.  He sent Davis with his eight companies to meet the enemy coming down the hillside and himself took the dragoons to support the artillery yet holding the pass.  The Mississippians advanced through the demoralized commands that had yielded to the fierce attack, some of them not until practically destroyed, and on nearing the enemy formed in line of battle, advancing at double quick until in rifle range, then more slowly, firing as they advanced. A difficult ravine was crossed under heavy fire and the steady march resumed in good order.  The enemy in front fell back, but the Mexican cavalry circled to the rear of the Mississippians, who found themselves alone in a perilous position.  Colonel Davis then retired his regiment behind the ravine, where he was joined by Kilbourn’s battery and Lane’s Indiana regiment.  With this aid the battle swing back and forth.  Davis was greatly embarrassed by lack of cavalry to meet the enemy’s horsemen, which all the time menaced the flank of his line.  Finally, in one of the retiring movements, a more formidable attack of cavalry was seen rapidly advancing from the flank of the position he had just fortunately abandoned.  “The Mississippi regiment was filed to the right,” Colonel Davis wrote in his report, “and fronted in line across the plain; the Indiana regiment was formed on the bank of the ravine, in advance of our right flank, by which a re-entering angle was presented to the enemy. . . .  The enemy, who was now seen to be a body of richly caparisoned lancers, came forward rapidly and in beautiful order, the files and ranks so closed as to look like a mass of men and horses. Perfect silence and the greatest steadiness prevailed in both lines of our troops as they stood at shouldered arms awaiting an attack.  Confident of success and anxious to obtain the full advantage of a cross fire at a short distance, I repeatedly called to the men not to shoot.  As the enemy approached his speed regularly diminished until when, within eighty or one hundred yards, he had drawn up to a walk and seemed about to halt.  A few files fired without orders and both lines then instantly poured in a volley so destructive that the mass yielded to the blow and the survivors fled.”  [The original report of Colonel Davis on the gallantry of Mississippi troops at the battle of Buena Vista is on file in the Department of Archives and History.]  This victory won, Davis and his men were asked to help in a movement against the enemy at the base of the mountain, coming under heavy artillery fire.  Thence they were called by Taylor to help meet the attack of the enemy on the right.  The second battle was at the place where the Mexican reserves made the last assault, sweeping away the Illinois and Kentucky infantry, until they were held in check only by three guns of Captain O’Brien and George H. Thomas, reinforced at the critical moment by Couch, of the Washington battery, and a little later by [Braxton] Bragg, who was in time to let fly some canister and check the enemy.  It was there that the famous order came from Taylor, “A little more grape, Captain Bragg.”  The ravine was strewn with the American dead and dying, among them Colonel Hardin, McKee and Henry Clay, Jr., when Davis and Lane reached the adjoining plateau, the Mississippians coming up in time to pour a destructive fire into the right flank of the Mexican line.  The enemy fled in confusion and the battle ended with Bragg pursuing the fugitives, supported by the Mississippi riflemen.  “In this last contest of the day my regiment equaled—it was not possible to exceed—my expectations,” Davis reported.  “Though worn down by many hours of fatigue and thirst, the ranks thinned by our heavy loss in the morning, they yet advanced upon the enemy with the alacrity and eagerness of men fresh to the combat.”  Meanwhile the Tombigbee and Carroll companies, under Capt. W. P. Rogers and Lieut. D. R. Russell, had, with some help, held Saltillo against Minon’s cavalry.

Colonel Davis was painfully wounded in the right foot when the regiment first went into action, but throughout the engagement exhibited perfect composure and superb presence of mind.  In his report he particularly commended the services of Major Bradford, Adjutant Griffith, Sergeant-Major Miller, Quarter-Master Sergeant White, Commissary Mott, Quartermaster Slade, and the company commanders, Captain Sharp [A], Captain Delay [F], Lieutenant Cook, who commanded Company C; Lieutenant Moore, who led Company H and fell in the first fight and was succeeded by Lieutenant Clendenin; Lieutenant Fletcher, who commanded Company E, and Captains Taylor [I], Cooper [B] and Downing [G].

Companies A and F, on detached duty during the battle of Monterey, had the honor of first division in the battle of Buena Vista.

Quartermaster Slade mounted his teamsters and others on wagon horses and joined the artillery in a brilliant sortie that drove the Mexican cavalry from the American camp.

Captain Sharp stayed with his company through the fight, on horseback, though shot through both thighs.

Lieutenants Posey, Corwine and Stockard, Sergeants Scott and Hollingsworth and private Malone were given honorable mention for continuing on duty after being wounded.  In addition to these Lieutenants Calhoun, Dill, Arthur, Harrison, Brown and Hughes were honorably mentioned in the Colonel’s report.

General Taylor, in his official report, mentioned the Mississippians first among volunteer regiments, saying: “The Mississippi riflemen, under Colonel Davis, were highly conspicuous for their gallantry and steadiness, and sustained throughout the engagement the reputation of veteran troops.  Brought into action against an immensely superior force, they maintained themselves for a long time unsupported and with heavy loss, and held an important part of the field until reinforced.  Colonel Davis, though severely wounded, remained in the saddle until the close of the action.  His distinguished coolness and gallantry at the head of his regiment on this day entitle him to the particular notice of the government.”

Of peculiar value is the mention by Colonel Lane: “At this critical juncture the Mississippi regiment, under the command of Colonel Davis, arrived upon the field, and being joined by a part of the Second Indiana regiment, met the enemy in a most gallant style, and after a severe and bloody engagement repulsed them with great loss.”  Again he wrote: “In a battle so fierce and protracted as this, where there were so many exhibitions of coolness and bravery, it is a difficult and delicate task to particularize.  But justice compels me to mention Colonel Davis and his regiment of Mississippians, who so nobly came to the rescue at the proper time to save the fortunes of the day.”


Col. Jefferson Davis, shot through the foot.

Company A—Killed: Serg. Wm. Ingram, Cornelius O’Sullivan.  Wounded: Captain Sharp, Lieut. Amos B. Corwin, Henry Clark, William H. Stubblefield, Sergt. David M. Hollingsworth, Stephen P. Stubblefield, R. L. Shook, George Brook (mortally).

Company B—Killed: Seaburn Jones, Lewis Turbeville, Thomas H. Tilley, William H. Wilkinson.  Wounded: Lieutenant Carnot Posey, Solomon Newman, James M. Miller, George H. Jones, Walter Spurlock, William A. Lawrence, James W. Donnelly.  Missing: F. M. Schneider.

Company C—Killed: William Couch, Dick H. Eggleston, James Johnson, John Preston.  Wounded: Howard Morris, G. W. Conn, Sergt. William H. Scott, James A. McLaughlin, Samuel C. Suit, Jonathan N. Collier, John Barnes, Levi H. Stevens.

Company E—Killed: Sergts. Wm. W. Phillips and Joseph Langford; Corporals Frank M. Robinson and Joseph C. Reville; privates Robert A. Joyce, William Sellers.  Wounded: Richard Claridy, Anthony B. Puckett, John Kennedy, Isham C. Laird, Robert Fox, James Waugh.

Company F—Killed: Sergt. Ben Higany, Corporals James W. Blakely and Damascus L. Butler; privates Stephen Jones, Enos Garrett, Peter Dunevant.  Wounded: James N. Bigby, J. L. Simpson, Thomas Courtney, James W. Morris, Lieut. John P. Stockard, Frederick G. Malone.

Company G—Killed: Lieut. Francis McNulty, Josephus S. Bond, James H. Graves, William M. Seay, Richard E. Parr, Corp. J. M. Alexander, Robert Felts, Louis A. Cooper.  Wounded: Corp. Asa B. Atkinson, Benjamin. S. Edwards, Job Hammond, Phillip Burnett, Peter Sinclair, George W. Harrison, Andrew W. Neely, Charles W. Gibbs.

Company H—Killed: Lieut. Robert L. Moore, William D. Harrison, Pat Raridon, Jacob Locke.  Wounded: Thomas White (mortally), William Winans, Sam Edwards, John Dart, Henry Land, Stephen D. Carson, Sergt. Albert M. Newman, William H. McKinney.  Missing: James E. Stewart.

Company I—Killed: Sergt. Garland Anderson, Henry F. Trotter, John S. Branch, Adison Collingsworth, John Peace, James W. Vinson.  Wounded: Sergt. Plummer M. Martin, John Hedspeth, Thadeus O. McClanahan, Thadeus D. Randolph, John Bass.

Total, 42 killed, 51 wounded.

The period of enlistment having expired, the First Regiment returned to the coast and sailed May 29, 1847, from the Brazos for New Orleans, where it arrived June 9.  “When the regiment went to the war its numbers aggregated, officers and men, 926.  It brought back to New Orleans but 376, showing a loss in battle and from disease of 550 men.”  The regiment was welcomed with great enthusiasm at New Orleans, and addressed on behalf of the city by Sergeant S. Prentiss.  Its gallantry at Buena Vista and the efficacy of the peculiar V formation of the line to meet a cavalry charge were favorite subjects of discussion, not only in Mississippi but all over the Union for many years.

Col. Jefferson Davis became a national character by reason of his brilliant record.  There was much comment upon his refusal to accept a commission as Brigadier-General from the President, which refusal he put on the ground that the Constitution did not authorize such appointments.  He accepted appointment to succeed Jesse Speight in the United States Senate, and in January, 1848, was unanimously elected to the same office by the Legislature.  Because of his wound he used crutches for two years, suffered much for five years, and was for a much longer time disabled.


The Claiborne Volunteers, organized at Port Gibson in May, 1846, for the First Regiment, on failing to gain admission took boat at Grand Gulf, June 7, and proceeded to New Orleans, where they again found no encouragement, and whence, at their own expense, they sailed to Point Isabel, Texas.  There were sixty-five men in the company and the officers were William R. Shivors, Captain; W. H. Jacobs, First Lieutenant; H. E. Hall, Second Lieutenant; M. W. Goff, First Sergeant.  They were assigned to the First Texas Regiment on reaching Point Isabel and by August 1 they were at Camargo.  In the same month the Texans voted to go home and disbanded, the enlistment of the regiment being irregular and not binding for more than three months.  Some of the Mississippians also left, but enough stood form to save Shivors’ company, which was the only one that remained on duty.  There remained ten officers and twenty privates, besides the twelve in hospital, and the company was recruited from the Texans who desired to stay.  The Mississippians received the special praise of Generals Taylor and Worth, and Taylor paid them the high compliment of assignment to the Fourth Regiment United States Infantry, in Twigg’s Brigade.  With this command they were in the battle of Monterey on active and perilous duty in the hottest of the fight.  Later, when it was generally believed the war was over, the company accepted discharge and arrived at home in November, 1846.


Under a second requisition from the President, Governor Brown called for volunteers on November 27, 1846, enlistment to be for the period of the war, the rendezvous to be at Vicksburg, January 1-5, 1847.  December 18 the Governor announced that he had accepted seven companies as follows:

Lowndes Guards, Capt. Andrew K. Blythe [Co. A, Lowndes County].
Marshall Relief Guards, Capt. Joseph H. Kilpatrick [Co. B, Marshall County].
Choctaw Volunteers, Capt. Enos Elder [Co. C, Choctaw County].
Monroe Volunteers, Capt. Joel M. Acker [Co. D, Monroe County].
Tippah Guards, Capt. Alexander M. Jackson [Co. E, Tippah County].
Lauderdale Volunteers, Captain, W. J. Daniel [Co. F, Lauderdale County].
Thomas Hinds Guards (Jefferson County), Capt. Charles Clark [Co. G. Grady Howell’s book lists this company as being from Hinds County].

Very soon afterward the other three companies were accepted:

Union Grays, Capt. Adam McWillie [Co. H, Attala County].
Panola Boys, Capt. Alfred A. Overton [Co. I, Panola County].
Union Company, Capt. Benjamin C. Buckley [Co. K, Lawrence and Covington Counties.  Grady Howell’s book lists this as “Capt. Buckley’s Company”].

The full list of Captains during the service included, besides the above named: Fleming Amyx [H], Chesley S. Coffee (who succeeded Clark [G]), John B. Deason [K], William M. Estelle [I], Wilson Ijams [B], Phillip F. Liddell [C].

The First Lieutenants were: Christopher C. Chinn [B], Everard Downing [A], William C. Faulkner [E], James M. McKinney [I], Holland Middleton [C], Jesse G. Steele [F], William Strother [K], Alexander W. Weaver [C].

Second Lieutenants: George Barrows [K], Mark J. Biddle [G], Thomas Y. Carter [G], Robert Cleland [I], Robert M. Cook [B], Richard S. Cromer [C], Felix Goff [I], Charles Gouvenaux [K], Alston Gregory [B], Francis M. Heckworth [B], Eli G. Henry [H], Thomas C. Hindman [E], John A. Jackson [H], William H. Jackson [E], William C. Lauderdale [A], James M. Liddell [C], Metsalon A. Mann [D], Robert Martin [I], Beverley Matthews [A], Thomas S. Munce [A], Edward B. Shelton [F], Andrew J. Trussell [F], Martin S. White [D]. (Historical Register U. S. A.)

The companies went into camp at Camp McClung, three miles north of Vicksburg, in January.  The Governor wrote the Secretary of War: “The regiment is of the very best material and will do as good service as any in the world.  It contains judges, generals, legislator, lawyers, doctors, farmers, mechanics and gentlemen of every description.”

January 12 Reuben Davis was elected Colonel (the vote being, Davis 485, Benjamin C. Buckley [Co. K] 312), Captain Kilpatrick [Co. B] Lieutenant-Colonel and Ezra R. Price Major.  The staff officers were: Beverly Matthews, Adjutant; William Barksdale, Commissary; Charles M. Price, Quartermaster; Thomas M. Love, Surgeon; D. A. Kinchloe, Assistant Surgeon.  Lieut. Thomas S. Munce succeeded Matthews as Adjutant.  Capt. Charles Clark succeeded Davis as Colonel, and Lieut. John A. Wilcox was made Lieutenant-Colonel while in Mexico.

It was the intention of the War Department to arm this regiment with muskets, but through the endeavors of General Price, editor of the Mississippian, the Second was, like the First Regiment, equipped with rifles by the government, also authorized to add bowie knives as side arms if desired.

While at Vicksburg the regiment suffered severely from sickness.  going to New Orleans in January the men were assigned to tents on the old battle ground, which was soon submerged with heavy rains.  According to a letter from Charles Clark the regiment lost there from sickness and death three times as many as the First Regiment lost in battle at Monterey.  [Niles’ National Register, April 10, 1847, quoted a Col. Roberts of Virginia as writing: “There was a Mississippi regiment came to New Orleans at the same time we arrived there, which has lost 180 men and left 100 sick, they buried from 6 to 12 per day while we lay there, and six out of each of the two ships which arrived, and four since arriving here which is something very strange, as it is their own climate – while the two regiments from Pennsylvania have lost but 6 men out of 1700; but there was one great cause-they dissipated more than our men, and were not so well clad, our men all wearing flannel while they mostly wore light cotton clothing.”]  The bureau officials denied the Mississippians and Pennsylvania regiment, there at the same time, the use of the barracks.  The Vicksburg Sentinel, commenting, said:  “Men thrust out like beasts, without clothing, and denied the shelter they saw others enjoying, put to wallow in mire and exposed to the bitter elements which they felt every moment destroying their lives, were little disposed to obey the restraints of discipline, and the real wonder is not that a few outbreaks were committed by such as flew to the wine cup to forget their sufferings, but rather that the whole regiment, with arms in their hands, did not march and take the buildings they knew belonged to their government, but from which a tyrannical partiality was excluding them.”  The regiment reached the mouth of the Rio Grande the day of the battle of Buena Vista and ascended to Matamoras, where Colonel Davis was in command of the city.  A letter from the seat of war said: “The Second Mississippi riflemen left Matamoras on the 14th (March) for Monterey.  This regiment suffered awfully.  Originally consisting of 850 men, it now numbers 650.  They have lost 135 by death and fifty are now sick.  The rest are eager for a fight.  A list of those who had died, prepared by Lieut. John Martin, dated may 10, 1847, was reprinted from the Picayune in the Natchez Weekly Courier of June 9, 1847 (on file in the Mississippi Archives).  The following is a summary: Lowndes Guarges, 23; Monroe volunteers, 10; Union Grays, 17; Panola Boys, 21; Marshall Relief Guards, 13; Lauderdale Volunteers, 18; Choctaw Volunteers, 18; Union Company, 12; Tippah Guards, 7; Thomas Hinds Guards, 8; total, 156.  Among these were Captain Elder [Co. C] and Lieutenants Robert Martin [Co. I], William D. Laird [Co. F] and Holland Middleton [Co. C].  In June the death list was 167, 134 had been discharged, 38 had deserted.  [The poor health conditions were reported in Niles’ National Register, August 14, 1847: “Letters from camp Buena Vista to the 18th July; state that Gen. Cushing and suit reached Monterey on the 16th.  The Mississippi and North Carolina troops were suffering from diarrheas, &c., average three deaths a day.  Of the former, 100 sick, of the latter 150.  The Virginia regiment had 150 sick, but no deaths.”]  Captain Clark [Co. G] returned to Mississippi in July to enlist recruits.  When General Scott’s army advanced on the Mexican capital the Second was advanced to Saltillo and Buena Vista.  In a skirmish with Indians near Agua Nueva, Henry Bell, of Holmes County, with the Texas Rangers, was killed, and part of the Second was called out, but the enemy had disappeared.  Save an occasion alarm, there was no experience of war.  The men suffered from smallpox and Mexican diarrhoea.  The Colonel [Reuben Davis] and Lieutenant-Colonel [Joseph Kilpatrick], when desperately sick, resigned, and Captain Clark was elected Colonel and Lieut. John A. Wilcox Lieutenant-Colonel.  Afterward the remnant of the regiment was encamped near the city of Calderito, not far from Monterey.  In April, 1848, the headquarters were at Cedras, 120 miles south of Saltillo.

The Second Regiment returned home in the summer of 1848 and was welcomed with a barbecue at Fort Adams August 3, by the citizens of Wilkinson County.


A third requisition was made by the President in 1847 for a battalion of five companies of riflemen, under which the Governor issued his call July 29, 1847, appointing the rendezvous at Vicksburg.  Several companies had been formed, partly of veterans from the First Regiment, but only one reported by August 24.  Various reasons were assigned for the apathy, but the real reason was, according to the Vicksburg Sentinel, “the dictatorial and capricious, almost contemptuous, course which the Secretary of War has pursued towards our State in refusing the wishes of our people.  The great wish of Mississippi has been to furnish a mounted force for the war.”  There is little information in records or newspapers regarding this battalion.  The company first enrolled was the Chickasaw Heroes, Capt. William M. Keyes.  The Governor sent out a second and urgent appeal in October, also recruiting agents.  But a very exciting political campaign was on, and the purpose of his agents was misrepresented.  The Vicksburg Sentinel of November 25 said: “Two companies of the battalion called for from this State left on the Old Hickory last evening.  There were three completed and encamped here, and we learn that a fourth is now on the way from Pontotoc.  This will leave but one company yet to be raised to complete the battalion.  The companies which have been encamped here are made up generally of fine, intelligent looking men.”  The activity of General Duffield finally filled the battalion in the latter part of December.  The Ponotoc Avengers was Company D, Capt. John F. Wray (died at Vicksburg), succeeded by Nathaniel R. Cary; Lieutenants Columbus M. Leland and John W. Stewart.  Company E came from Monroe County.
The companies making up the Battalion of Riflemen were as follows:

Company A—Capt. Keye’s Company (Chickasaw County).
Company B—Capt. Crowson’s Company (Copiah County).
Company C—Capt. Anderson’s Company (DeSoto County).
Company D—Pontotoc Avengers (Pontotoc County).
Company E—Capt. Stewart’s Company (Monroe County).

Lieut.-Col. James P. Anderson was commander of the battalion.  Lieut. John A. Anderson Adjutant.  the Captains were: Nathaniel R. Cary [Co. D], Elisha Crowson {Co. B], Hilliard P. Dorsey [Co. C], William M. Keyes [Co. A], George E. Stewart [Co. E].  First Lieutenants: Samuel C. Astin [E], Ezekiel W. Evans [A], Richard S. King [C], William H. Landers [B], Columbus M. Leland [D].  Second Lieutenants, Jeremiah Alexander [D], John A. Anderson [C], William T. Cocke [A], William H. Dillingham [E], Hardman C. Forrest [C], Samuel Hunter [D], Thomas Ivey [A], Luke Lowe [B], Thomas J. Ramsey [B], William T. Sharp [B], John W. Stewart [D], Thomas Washer [E].

Some time later James Patten Anderson, then of DeSoto County and later a Confederate general, recalled the formation of Company C:

“In October, 1847, I received an earnest appeal from Governor A. G. Brown, of Mississippi, to organize a company in response to a call from the President of the United States, for service in Mexico. (I had previously made several efforts to enter the military service during the war with Mexico, but all the organizations from DeSoto county had failed to be received by the Governor, their distance from the capital making them too late in reporting.) In a few days I organized a company of volunteers from the regiment of militia in the county, of which I was then colonel. I was elected captain of the company without opposition. H. Car Forrest was elected 1st lieutenant, my brother John Adair was elected 2d lieutenant, and my brother Thomas Scott, orderly sergeant. The company repaired hurriedly to Vicksburg, the rendezvous. Two other companies had already reached the encampment. After waiting a fortnight or more for the other two companies of the battalion called for by the President to report, the five companies were sent to New Orleans for equipment and organization. Having received arms, clothing, &c., they embarked about the 2d of January, 1848, for Tampico, Mexico.

“On the 22d of February, 1848, I was elected at Tampico lieutenant-colonel to command the battalion. I remained at Tampico till the close of the war, when I was mustered out of the service along with the battalion at Vicksburg, Miss., and reached my home at Hernando on the 4th of July, 1848.”  [From the Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXIV, 1896, pp. 57 - 72.]

The New Orleans Delta, early in January, 1848, said that Companies A and B of the battalion had been about six weeks encamped in a swamp at the rear of the barraks, and that Company C had been there since December 17.  “There are now, we are informed, over seventy of them in the hospital.  Five men are reported dead there yesterday morning.  The Captain of Company A reported yesterday that of his whole command not twenty men were fit for duty.  The prevailing sickness is pleurisy.”  The other companies arrived in New Orleans in January, and the battalion was sent to the Mississippi coast.  Hostilities had then ceased, but there was a need of troops to preserve order.  July 1, 1848, the Vicksburg Sentinel said: “By general subscription of our citizens a collation was given on Thursday last to the battalion from this State, just returned from its station at Tampico.  An address was delivered by Mr. Horace Miller, and Lieut.-Col. Anderson replied on behalf of his command.”


Mississippi’s most distinguished representative with General Scott’s [he had also been the highest ranking Mississippian in Taylor’s] army was General John A. Quitman.  He was more deeply interested in the war than any other of the Generals.  It had long been his dream and object of effort to cause the annexation of Mexico.  After the battle of Monterey, where he was distinguished, he welcomed the transfer from Taylor’s army to Scott’s.  On the coast he took part in the siege of Vera Cruz, with Commodore Perry made the Alvarado campaign (in token of which he presented two captured cannons to Mississippi), was voted a sword by Congress for his gallantry at Monterey, and being commissioned Major-General in the regular army in April, 1847, was next in rank to General Scott, who did not, however, give him an opportunity for command.  Finally, when the Mexican capital was reached, he carried the Belen gate, entered the city with his troops and was “the first to plant the stars and stripes above the halls of the Montezumas.”

The first raising of the flag in the city of Mexico was afterward the subject of discussion by Congress.  The Senate Committee on Military Affairs reported that the only flag displayed at the Belen gate was that of the Palmetto regiment, and it was displayed under the personal order of General Quitman.  An in regard to the grand plaza, “It is undeniable that Captain Roberts, under the immediate orders of General Quitman, was the first to display our national colors from the staff upon the Mexican capital.”

He was appointed Governor of the city, of which the New Orleans Delta said: “To gallant Mississippi belongs the honor of giving to Mexico her first American Governor and, we may add, her first wise Governor.  General Scott displayed equal judgment and magnanimity in this appointment.  General Quitman had had the misfortune to be excluded from the battle of Cerro Gordo and of Contreras.  His brave spirit and acknowledged military talents had met with disappointment, which no doubt grieved his gallant soul.  But, in the closing scenes, he availed himself of the long delayed opportunity and covered himself with glory in the various difficult operations which preceded the occupation of the city.”

After restoring order he demanded command of a full division of the army, and, not obtaining the same, repaired to Washington and presented plans for the permanent occupation of Mexico.  Being offered by the President any position to which his rank entitled him, he asked command of the military district including General Taylor’s army.  But the treaty of peace ended his military hopes and he was honorably discharged in July, 1848.  He held the highest rank ever attained by any Mississippian in the regular army of the United States [as of 1908].

With Scott’s army also was Earl VanDorn, son of Peter A. VanDorn, of Port Gibson.  A Lieutenant in the Seventh U. S. Infantry, he won promotion to Captain and Major for gallantry at Cerro Gordo, Contreras and Churubusco, and was wounded at the Belen gate.  he was presented a sword by the Mississippi Legislature and another was given him by Claiborne County.

A complete listing of all known Mississippians in the Mexican War can be found in "Mississippi Rifles: A Muster Listing of All Known Mississippi Soldiers, Sailors and Marines Who Served in the Mexican War, 1846-1848" by H. Grady Howell, Jr. This book can be obtained from Southern Historical Press, Inc., P.O. Box 1267, 375 West Broad Street, Greenville, SC 29602, or by visiting their web site:

Southern Historical Press

This Page Was Last Updated Thursday, 04-Apr-2013 22:26:43 EDT

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