I AMECBOTES AND INCIDENTS: !
OFFICERS AND PRIVATES OE THE ARMY LN MEXICO,
ACTIONS OF THE NAVY,
OF THE MEXICAN WAR,
EJftlTKD BV .1. M.
I.ATE OF 1SV OHIO R2GIMENT.
PUBLISHED AT PITTSBURGH,
FOR SALE* BY ALL BOOKSELLERS AND NEWS AGENTS
PRICE TWENTY-FIVE CENTS.
_; ... ,. >r
ANECDOTES AID INCIDENTS:
PERSONAL AND AMUSING ADVENTURES
OFFICERS AND PRIVATES OF THE ARMY,
OF THE MEXICAN WAR.
EDITED BY J. M. WYNKOOP,
LATE OF 1st OHIO REGIMENT.
PUBLISHED AT PITTSBURGH,
FOR SALE BY ALL BOOKSELLERS AND NEWS AGENTS.
1A77 7. i ->>7.'' N'
THE brilliant operations of both divisions of the
American army in Mexico have been themes of
universal admiration, and the acclaim of the world
has rendered a deserving tribute to the masterly
qualities of our generals. Buena Vista stands upon
the page of history as one of the most gallant defen
ces of modern times ; while the rapid and successful
movements of General Scott are, perhaps, unparal
leled. To mention this, however, is a work of
supererogation; it can add nothing to the laurel
wreath that encircles the brows of our officers and
soldiers, whose patriotism is only excelled by their
gallantry on the field of battle.
No war has been more prolific in interesting per
sonal detail and thrilling incident than that between
the United States and Mexico. The Peninsular
War affords, perhaps, the only parallel; and even
the heroic and brilliant exploits of that era have
been fully equalled by our gallant army; while
the peculiar character of Mexican fighting has
rendered personal daring and sacrifice absolutely
necessary. The interest excited in the minds of
the American people, to know and learn all that is
possible of their soldiers, who are either their per
sonal friends, or have left homes contiguous to
their own, led the editor to undertake the compi
lation of these pages. And, he believes, that, by
mingling the " grave and the gay," as he has done,
the public have the most interesting view of the
war that has yet been presented them.
The present volume purports only to contain the
personal adventures of the officers and privates of
our army, together with the most brilliant exploits
of the war. It is, of course, no attempt at an histor
ical record ; though, doubtless, most if not all of
the incidents are authentic. The volume, it will be
easily perceived, is chiefly a compilation, yet the
editor has not deemed it necessary to give his
authorities in every instance. He hopes that it may
prove acceptable, and that the discrepancies and
deficiences, which a hurried compilation may easily
occasion, and which doubtless exist in the present
volume, may meet with the indulgence of a liberal
and candid public.
Zanesville, O. April, 1848.
Burning of the Creole, .-.-.,.- 9
Giving the Countersign, ^ Af 12
Making a Priest drunk, . 13
The grief of an old Soldier at the <leath of his Commander, .-. 15
Camp Ventriloquism, . ^ 17
Origin of " Rough and Ready," . ; . ^ 18
"Yankee Doodle,".. ^ -. . 19
Lieutenant Morris, ^ . . 20
Charley Bugher. ^ 20
" Wooling " General- Wool, 21
Napoleon's Veteran, 22
An Adventure with a Nun, . .....-..-.-.-. 23
The Repulse at Buena Vista, and Fall of Henry Clay, Jr 25
" General Taylor never surrenders !" .' 27
Death of a Soldier, .-.-. ..:-.-.; ..-.-.......-. 27
The Man that spoke Mexican, 28
Scenes at the Quartermaster's, 29
The Military Tailor, 31
Dan Murphy, ..;..;. ; ......;... 33
Charge of Captain May at Resaca de la Palma, i . ... .. 34
Lieutenant Newman, -. . . ^ 35
Anecdote of Captain Mason, .;. 36
An Attempt to Capture Santa Anna, 37
Captain Jo ... 39
The Soldier's Bible 40
Anecdote of Santa Anna, .... < ^ * 41
" Ten Strike Set 'em up ! " . 42
"Give them H 11!" . 43
Serenading vs. Discipline, 44
Ludicrous Picture of General Pillow, ..* 44
Death of Major Ringgold, .. 46
General Taylor's Good Things, 47
A Thrilling Incident, . . . . ,, -* 43
The Lame Drummer, . 50
Captain Baylor's fight with Guerillas, 51
Swappin' Hosses, 52
Bombardment of Fort Brown, 53
An American Matron, 56
Anecdote of General Urrea, 56
Anecdote of Captain Coffy, 57
Storming of Chapultepec, . 58
Lessons at " Single Stick," 60
Battle of Htiamantla, and Death of Captain Walker, 61
Camp Hydropathy, 64
Colonel Wynkoop and Captain Walker, 65
The Night after the Battle of Buena Vista, 66
Capture and Death of a Mexican Fanatic, , 67
Incident at Buena Vista, 63
Rum vs. Soldier, 69
Captain Henrie, 70
Magnanimity of General Shields, 72
A Texan Ranger, 73
"I couldn't help it|" 74
Applying to the Head Boss, 74
An Affecting Scene, .. 77
Santa Anna's Gamecocks, .. 78
The Rifles, 79
Capture of Alvarado, 80
The Eloquence of Action, 81
Charge of the Mississippians at Buena Vista, 82
Incident at Cerro Gordo, . 83
Alexander Kunze, 84
Execution of Deserters, 85
Appearance of General Taylor, .. . 86
Bob Walker, 86
A Noble Recruit, 87
How they died in Battle, 88
The Late Levi Gantt,. 89
"Crowd 'em!" 90
Inhuman Massacre, 91
Incident related by General Shields, 92
Captain Burgwin, .. . . . . . 93
Horrors of War, 93
" Not too good te be looked at," 94
Lieutenant Colonel Graham, 95
Anecdote of General Taylor, 97
Lieutenant Burbank, 98
Anecdote of General Smith, 97
General Quitman, ..... .. ...... .. ... . ...... 99
Jarauta, the Guerilla, 100
Execution of Mexican Officers, 101
A Brilliant Exploit, 102
Captain Roberts, 103
Capture of General Valencia, 104
A Palmetto Soldier, 105
Baron Von Grone,.. . 106
Captain Johnston, 107
Anecdote of the Indiana Regiment, 109
Capture of Midshipman Rodgers, 110
Cutting out the Mexican Brig Condor,* Ill
Eating a Mexican, 114
Costly Uniform, 113
Mexican Cavalry Officers, 116
Capture of Captain Thornton's Command, 118
Captain Butler, 119
Fremont's Extraordinary Ride, . 121
The Man that was not born to be killed by a Shell, 124
"A fire in the Rear," 125
Generals Taylor and Ampudia, 127
Military Etiquette, 123
General Taylor and the Volunteers, 129
Lieutenant Colonel Duncan, 130
Major General Pillow, 131
ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
Burning of the Creole.
The most brilliant exploit of the war was, doubtless, the
burning of the Mexican Schooner "Creole," under the walls
of the Castle of San Juan d'Ulloa, by Lieutenant Parker,
since deceased. It was boldly and gallantly done, and
evinced the ripeness of our navy for deeds of utmost daring.
There was a touch of downright " devil may care" courage
about the transaction which is as refreshing as the adven
tures of ancient .knight errantry.
The United States Brig Somers lay about four miles
from the Castle ; having been left by the rest of the squad
ron, (which was absent on the Tampico expedition,) to keep
up the blockade of Vera Cruz. The inactive and monot
onous life of those on board the Somers, led them to form
enterprizes to relieve themselves from the excessive ennui of
their situation ; and the feasibility of burning the Creole at
her moorings, as she lay within pistol shot of the Castle, had
been frequently discussed, and it was finally executed in the
most brilliant and successful manner, by three officers and
five men, in a single boat.
The officers engaged were Lieutenant J. L. Parker,
and Passed Midshipmen J. R. Hynson and Robert C. Rog
ers. The affair was finally started on the impulse of the
moment, without the cognizance of either the Captain or the
first Lieutenant. Several officers of the vessel, who were in
the secret of the plot, were extremely anxious to participate
in its execution, but the limited accommodations of the
10 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
boat, united with the probability of having prisoners to bring
back, besides her own crew, precluded more than three
officers going with prudence.
When the little party left the Somers at Sacrificios, they
counted upon the setting of the moon before the moment of
attack ; but as the boat's crew approached a point where the
proximity to the enemy made it as hazardous to pause as to
proceed ; the queen of the night was still beaming just above
a cloudless horizon. When within three or four boat lengths
of the Creole, however, she sank behind the distant high
lands, but her disappearance only served to disclose another
in the large revolving beacon light of the castle, which, at the
distance of less than one hundred yards, threw its intense glare
directly upon the boat. One of the officers, in describing its
appearance as he gazed upon the apparently innumerable
dazzling panes, as they turned one after another, remarked that
they looked to him like ten thousand illuminated wheelbar
rows going round and round. Thus they could hardly hope
to escape detection, supposing it was feasible to board at any
The little party ran upon the larboard beam of the Creole,
and passed within about seventy-five yards of the* British
mail steamer Clyde, from which vessel they were repeatedly
hailed. The Clyde was, fortunately, to windward, however,
and was not at all incommoded or endangered by the opera
tions about to be undertaken.
There were three men leaning on the railing of the Creole
as they came alongside, to whom Lieutenant Parker, who
spoke their language like a native, represented himself as sent
upon business by a friendly merchant vessel lying at Sacrifi
cios. This quieted the Mexicans for a moment, but a clash
ing of the arms of the party, as they clambered up the ves
sel's sides, alarmed them again, and they at once hailed their
brother sentinels on the castle walls. The alarm bell was
rung, there was a rapid passing to and fro on the battlements,
BURNING OF THE CREOLE. 11
and a display of lights in different parts of the town ; yet the
little party persevered in their efforts, mounted the decks of
the schooner, and secured every man on board, to the amount
of seven, prisoners, and proceeded to lay the train for setting
her on fire ; the first attempt failed ; the light was then acci
dentally extinguished everything looked ominous of failure.
The use of fireaVms would have provoked the fire of the
castle. One of the Mexicans was forced to find fire with a
pistol at his head. It was a bright coal, and it was on the
point of going out. To save the last chance, Mr. Hynson
then poured powder from his hand and succeeded, but he
was considerably burned. After getting into the boat, it was
feared that the fire would not burn, when the officers returned
to make all sure by making a second fire ; and, it is said,
that having no other material, they tore up their shirt tails,
which burned remarkably well. The American shirts have
been put to a good many; uses during the present War ; at
Tuspan a part of one was a flag of truce, at the Resaca they
served to bind up wounds, and at Vera Cruz assisted in
burning the Creole.
As they cast off from the burning vessel, and when still
within pistol shot of the castle, and with the muzzles of the
huge guns plainly visible, the party gav three hearty cheers.
These failing to provoke a single gun, the impatience of the
gallant tars vented itself in curses. It would appear that the
Mexicans from the incessant ringing of bells, must have ap
prehended a general attack, and were too intently engaged
in mustering and flying about to discover the little boat's
crew. The whole affair appears afterwards to have annoyed
them immeasureably, while, at the same time, it would go
far to shew that the guns of San Juan de Uloa offered little
protection unless the garrison have vigilance to discover an
enemy, and presence of mind enough to fire upon him after
he is seen.
The suspicions of the Mexicans, as might be expected,
12 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
under the first impulse of exasperation, and reckless of rea
son or truth, they are said to have gratuitously charged the
English with aiding the Americans by hoisting a light a
light a falsehood hardly deserving of contradiction. A light
was hoisted by the Somers, which the alarm of the enemy
must have magnified into two. The Mexicans have, how
ever, become very vigilant since the occurrence, and a few
nights afterwards fired upon what must have been some prom
inent rocks of the reef close by, mistaking them for boats !
Giving the Countersign.
One of that fine regiment, popularly spoken of as Colonel
Stevenson's California boysj was put on guard by way of ini
tiating him into the mysteries of a sentinel's duties. With
the pass-word "Newport" were given to him strict injunc
tions to shoot the first man approaching or departing from
the island, who did not pronounce the shibboleth of the
The raw youth shouldered his musket, and soon all sounds
were hushed save the echo of his own solitary walk, as mo
notonously he trod the beaten path. But anon and the sound
of footsteps, and then a heavy plunge into the water caught
his ear, and running to the spot, he hailed in the direction of
the sound, " Holloo who goes there?" "A friend," was
the prompt reply. " Then if you be a friend say Newport,
or I'll shoot."
Great was the laughter, and not small the vexation of the
sergeant of the guard, who was in a tent near the speaker.
Of course he had to call in the whole of the guard, and
change the countersign.
MAKING A PRIEST DRUNK. 1.3.
Making a Priest Drunk.
Mendicant Priests are constantly going about the streets of
all the cities of Mexico, begging alms for the "Holy Virgin,"
carrying a little tin box to receive the gifts of the benevolent.
One of these entered a restaurant just after a score or more
of American officers had dined ; all in that peculiar mellow
ness of humor which a good dinner seldom fails to excite in
a set of fellows who are not epicures, but, still admirers of
"wot is good ;" and this, added to the gurgling of the wine
that was hissing around, besides numerous other strong drinks,
embracing the whole vocabulary of punch and toddy, had
placed the drinkers in what might be termed the quintessence
of a jolly state ; not drunk, Oh, no ! Gentlemen never get
drunk ! Gentlemen only get merry ! Very merry, sometime?,
The tin box was protruded. The reverend father raised
his pious visage toward heaven, muttering several words that
nobody understood ; though, quite likely, invocations to scores
of saints (whose pronunciation would be more difficult than
the pronunciation of Webster's unpronouncable Dictionary,)
to hear his pious prayers, and open the hearts of these sinning
rascalg who came to rob the church, and cause their purses
to pour like a golden shower into the reception box of the land !
Praiseworthy occupation, truly ! And the priest seemed
desirous of testing the belief or benevolence of his company,
for he immediately petitions in a mixture of English and
Spanish to "give a mite for the souls of the wretched."
Captain who generally undertook to be spokes
man of the party, in trying circumstances, being peculiarly
gifted with the properties of blarney. In proof of which prop
erties of blarney, it is related, that said Captain stopped the
entire fire of a Mexican battery of six 8 pounders, at Cerro
Gordo, by running up to the gunners as they were applying
the match to the touch-hole, and telling them in Spanish that
"they were d d fools, frightening themselves so, firing
14 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
off cannon, wasting so much powder, just to blow to flinders
the heads of those good fellows coming up the hill, yonder,
who would give each one of them a flask of good liquor, a
knapsack of pork and crackers, and safe quarters to boot !
He'd pledge his word to that ! that he would ! and he would
cut his own noddle off just so, if there was any failure in the
treaty." At the same time clipping a Mexican's head in
corroboration of his assertion. His men coming up in the
meantime, enabled the courageous captain to give the Mex
icans safe quarters, and the extra too, that is, if his men
would ratify the treaty !
"Mr. Priest Sackcloth! you're a priest, you are! I'm a
soldier, I am ! You want some "rhino!" I've got the article
damme! At the same time producing a handful of "pica
yunes" "bits" and "etc." Now, Sir Sackcloth, I venerate
your calling ! so much like our own robbing d n fools !
But, you're a Catholic we "is'nt!" We like a horn
you "dos'nt" Now, if you'll take a horn, we'll take a little
Catholicism ; that is, pay the dimes, the quintessence of
Catholicism. The Priest was no drunkard, not he indeed ;
though the usual prescription for monkish head-ache is a little
brandytoddy made hot very hot, with a nun to pour it.
But "here was an honorable compromise,"* it was no harm,
surely, to drink in the cause of the Virgin ? So thought the
priest, and swallowed a stiff horn. The benevolent feelings
of the entire company were awakened, and "picayunes" and
'bits' chinked into the box, and 'horn' after 'horn' flowed down
the pious father's throat, calling forth, as it gurgled in his
mouth, myriads of blessings on the patrons of the holy saints.
The priest's visage warmed into a natural glow ; and the
liquor ran down his throat as if there had been a stream run-
Here was an honorable compromise,
A halfway house of diplomatic trust,
Where they might meet in much mor peaceful guise,
And Juan now his willingness exprest
DEATH OF COL. SCOTT. 15
ning that way all his life, as the pence had into his tin box.
The pious father became jolly, and went around the com
pany dancing a jig, rather than a saintly walk, and singing
his prayers to the Virgin in good round numbers.
And he now took the 'horn' not caring much whether
the ' bit' went into the can or not. He had got round the
company, and was pretty full of 'horns' and 'bits', but still
he seemed loth to depart. He did not find such philanthro
pists every day.
"More hie tod hie dy ! hie more hie bits
hie !" Essayed the priest.
"Joily old Friar !"
Began one of the company. The priest caught the strain,
and sallied into the street, with his tin box in one hand, and
with the other donned his canoed beaver to his generous pat-
trons ; yet in replacing it, he could not get it to ride other
wise than aslant, and thus he wielded his tin box, singing as
he went along, his beaver topling on one side
-.,, "Jollv old Friar !"
The grief of an old Soldier at the death of his Commander,
Col. Martin Scott.
Passing over the battle-field of Molino del Rey, immedi
ately after our victorious standard had been planted on the
enemy's works, where lay the dead and wounded mingled
together, my attention was attracted to different places, by
the scenes of grief and sorrow scenes which pained my
feelings and shocked my sight there I found many acquain
tances, dead and wounded, whom I had seen but a short time
previous full of health, and with buoyant spirits, marching at
the head of their commands, in the strong hope of soon, by
their noble deeds and heroic valor, achieving fame for them-
16 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
selves and honor for their country. But, alas I how uncer
tain are the ways of life ; there I found the strong youth and
the aged veteran, who fell side by side, to rise no more.
Many of the most noble souls of the army, and the pride of
the country's chivalry, there performed their last gallant acts
on the stage of life. After going over a portion of the ground,
and finding here and there a valued acquaintance, my atten
tion was attracted to a grey headed veteran, who was stand
ing by the side of one who had fallen. He leisurely took his
blanket from his back, and spread it over the corpse with
great care. I rode up to him, and asked him whether that
was an officer. He looked up, and every lineament of his
face betokening the greatest grief, replied, "You never asked
a question more easily answered; it is an officer." J then
asked him who it was. He again replied, "The best soldier
of the 5th infantry, sir." I then alighted from my horse, and
uncovering the face, found it was Col. Martin Scott. As I
again covered the face, the soldier continued, without appa
rently addressing himself to any person in particular "They
have killed him they will be paid for this if it had only
been me I have served with him almost four enlistments
but what will his poor family say?" And as he concluded
thus, the tears coursed down his furrowed cheeks, and the
swelling of his bosom showed how deeply he was affected
by^the death of his veteran and gallant commander. Could
there have been anything more affecting than the grief of
this soldier on the battle-field ? And how truly sublime and
eloquent was his reply to me, that it was "the best soldier of
the 5th infantry." If the greatest orator of the age had dwelt
upon the memory of a departed friend until he had exhaus
ted his eulogy and eloquence, he could not have said any
thing which would make a greater impression on our feelings
than did the reply of this soldier. Col. Martin Scott was
among the "bravest of the brave." He fought his way into
the army in the Jast war with Great Britain ; since that time
CAMP VENTRILOQUISM. 17
he has been one of the brightest ornaments, and has signally
distinguished himself in the war with Mexico, for which he
has been promoted and brevetted. Letter from an Officer.
Gen. WooFs strict principles of discipline are frequently
of great annoyance to the officers and soldiers of the army,
especially to the volunteer corps, who have but little respect
for their officers, and still less for determinate sticklers to
A private in the Indiana regiment had frequently felt the
effects of Gen. Wool's discipline ; and, of course, conceived
that it was aimed particularly at himself; he, therefore, was
actuated by no very friendly feelings towards the general.
Upon one occasion, as the general passed the regiment in
review, he was saluted with the unusual sound of "Old
Wooley ! " The fiery little general turned round on his
saddle, when immediately from the other side of the horse
arose a gruff voice, " Old Wooley !" "Who dare"
commenced the general, in an enraged tone of voice, but he
was interrupted by a different toned voice from the former,
" Old Wooley ! " The general's choler was up ; his
' Ebenezer was fairly riz ! ' He turned the head of his
horse so as to face the line of soldiers, and was about to
give utterance to some expression of rage, when a voice,
apparently just by his horse's tail, squeeked "Old Wooley !"
This was too bad. The little general was boiling with rage ;
his horse cut a quick caper, that fairly beat the renowned
ponies in their polkas. But no one was by the horse's tail.
The general looked at his staff the staff looked at the gen
eral. " Some trick," essayed Colonel ; " Trick or no
trick, it's " here the general was cut short by the old
sound, " Old Wooley! " "Arrest the offender! " shouted
18 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
the general. Very good ; but the offender was not to be
found. The officers looked along the line, behind, around,
in every direction. The general was almost bursting with
rage universal silence again reigned he raised himself in
his stirrups, as if about to read a disciplinarian lecture to the
corps of soldiers, but was again interrupted by a low chuck
ling voice, close by him, " Give't up, old Wooley ! " The
officers could contain themselves no longer ; a universal roar
of laughter saluted the disciplinarian, who was forced to
smile in spite of himself. " It must be the devil himself."
said Wool to an officer near by. " Perhaps some Ventrilo
quist ? " The mystery was solved ! But who was the guilty
character? No one knew; all the officers were interrogated,
but none knew of a Ventriloquist in their ranks. "Did n't
I give it to him ? " whispered the Indianian to one of his
messmates. "You did nothing shorter! But I'll be hanged,
Ned, if I did n't think that awful visage of yours was goin'
to bust; you pulled such darnation queer faces! "
Origin of "Rough and Ready. 11
We have all heard that the soubriquet of Rough and
Ready had its origin in the Florida war, in which General
Taylor treated the red-skins in the roughest way and readiest