speed. Rough aud Ready eyed it for a moment with great
interest, during which time he ascertained, with mathematical
precision, the. exact spot it would hit him if he remained
still. But at the same time he satisfied himself that with a
little finesse, he could avoid the danger. So, waiting with
great patience until the ball was about to strike him, he del
iberately raised himself in his stirrups, and the ball passed
between him and his saddle, leaving him quite unharmed !
This the Doctor saw with his own eyes, and therefore there
can be no doubt of its truth.
98 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
This young and gallant officer belonged to the 8th regiment
of infantry, " Worth's Own," and was engaged with his
comrades in tne desperate attack upon the Molino del Rey.
Precisely how he was wounded, we are not yet advised ; but
it appears certain that he survived his mortal injuries until the
subsequent day. Lieut. Burbank was a graduate from West
Point, and entered the army immediately after his probation
at that institution was at an end. He was stationed for some
time in Florida, and accompanied his brave associates when
they were ordered to Corpus Christi. At the fiercely con
tested battle of La Palma, Lieut. Burbank was wounded in
the right arm, so as to be effectually disabled. In conse
quence of this casuality he received a furlough, and was
assigned to to the recruiting service. His friends were priv
ileged to meet him then for the last time. For, in the urgent
necessity for reinforcements to save the army of Gen. Scott
from repulse, officers and recruits were hastily summoned
from their respective rendezvous, and despatched to Vera
Cruz. And so, after passing through the early perils and
hardships of the war, he has fallen in full view of that gor
geous capital, which he was not destined to enter. He was
one of the many who poured out their life-blood upon that
congenial plain, yet, among them all, was none whose fame
will be more carefully cherished by the admirers of brave and
Anecdote of General Smith.
At a dinner given to Generals Shields and .Quitman the
latter related the following anecdote of General P. F. Smith.
" After the final charge on the garita, believing it to be my
duty to be in the advance on that occasion, for the purpose
of determining on future movements, I heard a very mild
GENERAL QUITMAN. , 99
voice addressing me. I looked, and amongst the many gal
lant soldiers there assembled, I saw the person of General
Smith, his mild but noble face exhibiting great composure,
in contrast with the scene through which he had passed. He
stood with his watch in his hand and said ' General, there
have been many disputes about time before, let it be re
membered that we enter the garita at twenty minutes past
It is right to give publicity to an incident in the storming of
the city of Mexico, which illustrates the bravery and patriotic
enthusiasm of this officer, but which his modesty had sup
pressed from the knowledge of the country. The following
is an extract from the gallant leader of the mounted rifle regi
ment, (Major Loring) who fell at the head of his regiment o n
the eve of entering the city of Mexico, by a wound which
deprived him of one of his arms. The extract is an eloquent
tribute from a gallant soldier to the bravery of his distinguished
commander. The letter was addressed to a friend in private
" General Quitman was at the head ofrny regiment at the
time I was shot. We were the nearest American soldiers to
the city of Mexico and their army at the time I was wounded.
After I fell, he armed himself with one of my rifles, joined
the rifles in their attack upon the Garita de Belen, fired his
last cartridge, then tied his handkerchief to its muzzle, and
waved his gallant soldiers over the breastwork being the
first to mount amid the terrible carnage that followed. I'll
venture to say there are few instances in history where one
so high in rank, and advanced in life, has thus had, and
availed himself of the brilliant opportunity of wreathing
around his brow so distinct a title to the honor of being re
garded as the ' bravest of the brave.' '
100 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
The following anecdote of Gen. Taylor, is related by one
who was present. It is characteristic of" Rough and Ready."
When Gen. Taylor arrived at the Brasos, there was but one
boat ready to start for New Orleans. Gen. Taylor inquired
if he could get a passage for himself and suite. He was an
swered that there was room plenty for all who desired to go
over in her ; but that as it was an old boat, there was some
danger of her blowing up ; and that he, General Taylor had
better delay for a day or two for a better and a surer boat.
To this the old white horse of Palo Alto replied : " Let
her blow up ! Put my baggage on board ! and let her blow
up, if she wants to !"
Jarauta, the Guerilla.
Father Jarauta, the famous Guerilla chief, whose frequent
depredations upon American trains passing between Vera
Cruz and the capital, has raised him to an unenviable noto
riety, barely escaped being captured by Colonel Hays, at
Teothuacan. some twelve leagues to the northeast of the city
of Mexico, on the 12th of January, last
Colonel Hays with about one hundred Rangers and a few
of the Illinois volunteers, reached that place in pursuit of the
padre. Whilst his men were reposing themselves at a haci
enda, their horses all unbridled and unsaddled, Jarauta came
suddenly upon them with a party of Mexicans. A sharp and
severe contest for some minutes ensued. About one hundred
and fifty shots were fired by the rangers, and a hundred by
the Mexicans the balls of the latter all going over and not
taking effect. Eight Mexicans were killed, and not #n Am
erican was killed or wounded. Father Jarauta fled on his
horse, having received several wounds. When last seen he
was reeling in his saddle, and in a few moments afterwards
EXECUTION OF MEXICAN OFFICERS. 101
his horse came back, saddled and bridled and the blood
running down his side. A lieutenant was taken prisoner,
who states that the padre was severely wounded. It was a
very narrow escape for him 4 and, if living, we think he can
not hold out much longer. In the present instance had not
the Rangers been " caught napping," their horses without
bridles or saddles, very few of the Mexicans would have
escaped to tell the story.
Execution of Mexican Officers.
Lieut. Alcalde and Adj't. Garcia, had violated their parole
of honor : having been taken prisoners by the American army
and released on parole, when they were again captured, with
arms in their hands, in the lines of the enemy. A court mar
tial w T as convened, and, according to all rules of civilised
warfare, they were condemned. The 24th of November was
set as the day of execution.
The sympathy awakened among all parties for the unfor
tunate prisoners, who were the victims of a perverted custom,
rather than a natural criminality, was so great, that for several
days before the execution, the Governor of Jalapa, CoL
Hughes, was besieged by petitions for a mitigation of their
punishment. Women and men thronged to the Governor's
quarters, and blended tears with their supplications for the
condemned. But the Governor must see that the rules of
the service were effectually carried out, and therefore refused.
How strange that people professing to be free, should so far
demean themselves as to plead for those who have basely
forfeited the highest pledges of honor ! Yet, in Mexico, it
is considered no disgrace to violate a parole of honor ; and
this was urged in defence of their supplications for the pris
102 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
At twelve o'clock M. the escort moved to the plaza, (se
lected as the place of execution,) in solemn order. The
prisoners marched blind-folded to the plaza, accompanied by
a priest, and a friend holding them by an arm. They were
in the full uniforms of their respective ranks. They were
led to the side of the plaza near the barracks, and seated on
their coffins. After continuing their devotions aloud for some
time, they embraced a few friends, when the word "fire! "
was pronounced ; they fell back, scarcely moving a muscle.
The bodies were handed over to their friends, and were
honored with an appropriate burial.
A. Brilliant Exploit.
It appears that a Mexican, named Luis Salazar, had been
suspected of conveying an express from Chihuahua to Santa
Fe, for the Mexican authorities, and it was deemed necessary
to arrest him. His residence was ascertained to be at San
Migual, fifty-five miles northeast of Santa Fe. Sergeant
Cable was charged with this delicate and dangerous mission,
which he executed with admirable presence of mind, travers
ing one hundred and twenty-six miles, as he says, of hostile
country, with only two military companions and a Mexican
guide. The man was arrested at his father's residence, in
the midst of a large population, who appeared to be so sub
dued by the daring of the young American Sergeant, as not
to offer the least molestation to him in going or coming.
Sergeant Cable was handsomely complimented in orders by
Col. Easton, on his arrival at Santa Fe. The father of the
man thus addressed is the identical captain of the Mexican
escort that conducted the Texan prisoners from Santa Fe to
Mexico, some years ago, among whom was our friend and
cotemporary, Mr. G. W. Kendall. Southern paper.
CAPTAIN ROBERTS. 103
In the closing operations before the city of Mexico, the
name of this officer has been .prominently placed before the
public. He was selected by Gen. Smith to command the
storming party from his brigade, and led 125 picked men
and officers in the assault upon the strongest position of Cha-
pultepec, His services in this desperate assault were so dis
tinguished, that Gen. Quitman in his report says, he "selected
Capt. Roberts, who had greatly distinguished himself in lea
ding the advanced storming party at Chapultepec, to plant
the star-spangled banner of our country on the National
Palace.'' This compliment was not an unmeaning one, and
was richly earned by Capt. Roberts. The honor of planting
the first flag of our country on the national palace of Mexico,
and of having been the first American officer to enter the halls
of the Montezumas, will be a passport for life, to the hearts
and gratitude of his countrymen.
Although this officer has been prominent in every battle
fought by his regiment, and selected by Gen. Smith for every
position where skill and courage were most demanded, he
has thus far escaped without a wound. At Cerro Gordo
more than half his company were killed or wounded. At
Contreras he led the advanced guard and commenced that
glorious action. At Churubusco he also escaped, and al
though 66 of the 125 of his storming at Chapultepec, were
killed or wounded, he was untouched. Besides his hair
breadth escapes where his regiment has been engaged, his
good fortune has favored him in several of the most success
ful and daring attacks on the guerillas. At Puerto del
Media, near Tera Cruz, he was specially noticed by Gen.
Smith for his skill and gallantry, At San Juan de los Ilan-
nos, he commanded the main storming party, and was spec
ially commended by Capt. Ruff, who commanded the expe
dition. He attacked the guerillas, Rea and Torrejon, at
Tclascala, and recaptured a train valued at $50,000, they
104 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
had stolen from Mexican merchants. This attack was one
of the most successful and daring of the war. Capt. R. had
but 120 menj and charged the town, held by 600 lancers and
guerillas, captured the train and a large uumber of horses
and mules, before the arrival of a large infantry force, under
Gen. Lane, had come up. The General in his report com
mended Capt. R. in the highest terms.
Capture of Gen. Valencia.
Col. F. M. Wynkoop, of the first Pennsylvania volunteers,
having learned by a Mexican friend that Padre Jarauta, and
Gen. Rea were at Tlalnepanatla, about five leagues from
Mexico, applied to Gen. Scott for permission to take twenty
men and capture them. Permission being granted, the Col.
set off on the first, with thirty-eight Texan Rangers, under
command of Lieuts. Daggart, Burkes, and Jones. Upon
arriving at and charging Tlalnepanatla, and finding no one
there, they learned that Rea and Jaruata had left for Toluca
a few hours previous, to their arrival. Col. Wynkoop here
learned that Gen. Valencia and his staff were at a hacienda,
some six leagues distant. He immediately set off with his
party, and arrived at the hacienda, which they surrounded.
Admittance into the house was demanded by the gallant
little party, but it was for a time refused, when Col. Silea, a
wounded Mexican officer on parole, opened the door and
assured Col. Wynkoop that Gen. Valencia had departed that
day for Toluca ; but this was not credited, -and lights were
demanded to search the building. Col. Silea then proposed
to deliver Gen. Valencia the next day, if the party would re
tire. To this the Colonel would not assent, and proposed to
send an officer and eight men, with him, to await their return.
This proposition completely nonplussed Col. Silea, and con
vinced Col. W. -that Valencia was really in the house. Search
A PALMETTO SOLDIER. 105
was accordingly made, but nothing could be found of him.
Col. W. declared he would not leave the hacienda without
him, and that if Valencia would give himself up, he would be
perfectly safe, but if he attempted to escape, he would not
answer for his life. At this moment a person stepped up,
and said, "I am Valencia." He then said that it was
against the usages of civilised warfare to attack a man in the
peace and quiet of his family, at the dead hour of the night.
The Col. answered that " It was the only way he could be
captured" Col Arreta was also captured in the same haci
enda on that night.
Gen. Valencia and Col. Arreta were afterwards released
on their parole.
A Palmetto Soldier.
In December, 1846, at Columbia, in S. C., the fair daugh
ters of that town held a fair ; it was at the time the troops
were encamped at Columbia, and about to march. Among
the specimens of beauty's handiwork, was a very handsome
miniature American flag, on a staff. This little flag was
presented to a young soldier, by a lady who at the same time
exacted a promise from him, that if he lived to return, he
should bring the flag home with him.
The young soldier returned, and true to his word, as every
palmetto boy is, has honorably redeemed his pledge. But
the flag bears unmistakable evidences that it has been amidst
scenes of blood and carnage. The tiny staff was crushed,
and its silken folds stained no, not stained, but richly crim
soned with jets of gallant blood. The young soldier himself
was wounded, and two, at least, of his noble companions,
occupying with him the same tent, surmounted by this little
emblem of their country's honor, have been brought home
lifeless corpses. The lady who has the flag, prizes it highly,
and intends treasuring it up as an interesting historical me
mento, for the instruction and imitation of her sons.
106 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
Baron Von Grone.
This Prussian officer has lately returned, to Prussia to his
duties in the service of the king of Prussia, after a year's
absence, on leave, with our army in Mexico. He entered
that country about the time the train of Major Lally was leav
ing Vera Cruz, and took an active part in all the operations
consequent upon its long and bloody march. His gallantry
at Puente Nacional, and Cerro Gordo, was a source of the
greatest approbation. It is said, that the rapidity with which,
at the latter place, 600 chosen troops drove 2500 of the ene
my from their different positions, was owing, in a great meas
ure, to the plan of battle he suggested ; and his conduct at
the bridge, was marked by equal skill and gallantry.
Many incidents are related of the cool daring of the Baron
on those occasions, by officers attached to the expeditions ;
among which may be related the following :
It seems that the command having advanced beyond the
reach of the castle, and upon the bridge, in rather an incau
tious manner, were attacked in front and on both flanks, and
a few minutes after, in the rear. The fire was so severe that
a retrograde movement was ordered, and a new positon assu
med some quarter of a mile in the rear. To gain this point
the troops had to encounter another severe fire from the cas
tle, which at one time threatened their entire annihilation.
The Baron was one of the last to leave the bridge, and re
turning on foot and alone, received a rather irregular but
heavy volley. At the first shot, he turned his face to the
enemy, and when they had finished and were reloading, he
walked backwards, in a very deliberate manner, up the hill
to the head of the pass ; here he received a wound. Some
one alluding to the circumstance, enquired why, when the
fire opened, he had acted thus ? The Baron replied, "Ah,
that was very natural ; the balls began to grow thick, and I
turned, for a gentleman does not like to be shot in the back."
After the castle was taken, it was found that there was a
THE LATE CAPTAIN JOHNSTON. 107
large breach in the wall ; the Baron observing it, and that
there was a large body of men hovering near, with the appa
rent purpose of renewing the attack, insisted that the breach
should be secured. The young officer in command remon
strated, stating that the men, having been fighting all day,
were tired and wanted rest. "Tired, sir; want rest?
What is tired ? A soldier is never tired ! "
Having been rather hasty in entering the city of Jalapa,
he was taken prisoner by the Mexican commander, (Capt.
Nunen,) who, after asking him a variety of questions con
cerning his name, rank, &c., proceeded, " Well, sir, if you
are merely a foreigner, on a visit to this country, what do
you with these vile Americans ? " "Ah,', said he, " that is
your own fault ; one cannot travel in your country without
a sword and escort ! " " But then, sir," persisted the Capt.
" you were seen to draw and use your sword in their behalf."
" It was but right," said the bold Baron, " for they were as
sisting me on my journey ; and for the fight, that I could not
help, for fighting is my trade." The American troops were
now, after a stout resistance, entering the city, when the val
iant Captain vamosed the room, and made his escape on the
The Baron was also present, and a volunteer aid to Gen.
Lane, at the battle of Huamantla, where the gallant Walker
was killed ; at the bombardment of Atlixco, and various
other places, where his bravery, composure, and military
skill, were the subject of frequent remark ; while his gentle
ness and suavity ia garrison, have endeared him to all with
whom he has ever been associated.
Nearly a year has elapsed since was fought the battle of
San Pasqual, in which fell some of the choicest spirits of that
108 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
little band which accompanied Gen. Kearny in his arduous
march to California. One of the fallen was Captain Abra
ham Robinson Johnston, the second son of Col. John John
ston, one of the earliest settlers of the State of Ohio, a com
panion in arms, in the seventeenth year of his age, of the
impetuous Wayne, in his expeditions against the hostile
Indians of the then distant frontier of the northwest, and for
many years the faithful Agent for Indian Affairs in Ohio and
Indiana ; he was born at Piqua, Ohio, on the 23d of May,
1815, and entered as a cadet the Military Academy at West
Point, in 1830, at which noble institution, he in due time
graduated with distinguished honor. While at the Academy,
he was remarkable for his fondness for the study of the nat
ural sciences, particularly geology and mineralogy, and while
engaged in the pursuit of his favorite study, among the almost
inaccessable mountains surrounding the Point, he was pre
cipitated, by the breaking of a root, by the aid of which he
was endeavoring to reach an elevated position, in search of
mineralogical specimens, into a deep and rugged chasm be
low, by which fall, he had the misfortune to fracture a leg,
in which situation he was compelled to drag himself along,
though suffering the most excrutiating agony, until he reach
ed a point where those sent in search would be likely to find
him. By this accident, he was confined to the hospital
until after the graduating of his class ; but a private examin
ation having been given him, he was, soon after, appointed
to the 1st regiment of dragoons, which regiment he joined,
as soon as his leg had become sufficiently strong to bear the
fatigue of the journey ; and continued with it almost uninter
ruptedly until the day of his death, either on the frontier of
the West, or among the distant Indian tribes beyond in
summer, making excursions among them, in winter, attending
to the arduous and annoying duties of a cavalry officer in
garrison. On the promotion of Col. Kearny to his present
rank of Brigadier, he was selected by the General, having
ANECDOTE OF THE INDIANIANS. 109
been the adjutant of his regiment, as his Aid-de-camp, in
which capacity he accompanied him in his expedition to Cal
ifornia, when, meeting the enemy at San Pasqual, Johnston
was selected to lead the advance, which he did in the most
gallant style, until, receiving a ball in the head, he fell from
his horse, and expired without a groan. He was remarkable
for his extreme benevolence, and the generally high tone of
his character, which united to a mind of superior order, en
deared him to all. He was known but to be loved. When
his sad fate was announced, there was grief throughout the
army. Had he lived to have prepared for publication the
rough notes taken by him on the march to California, a work
would have been produced, which would have been an orna
ment to literature and an acquisition to science.
Anecdote of the Indiana Regiment.
When the new Indiana regiment was on its way to Cam-
argo, it evinced no disposition to obey the officers of the
sjeamer, although prompt to yield submission to its military
superiors. As the steamboat was breasting the current, under
full head of stearn, the volunteers placed themselves on the
shady side of the boat, listing her so as to make her rather
unmanageable. The engineer called out *' trim boat," but
no one obeyed. The request was repeated, but the volun
teers stood their ground, determined to meet the danger of
bursting boilers or collapsed flues, rather then forego the
comfort of the moment. The engineer thought that if the
volunteers would keep shady, he might test their courage,
and at the same time force them to keep cool. As the lead
showed that there were only four feet of water in the channel,
he suddenly raised the mud-valve, and let loose a current of
steam upon his military heroes, who were in an instant over
board, and up to their arm-pits in the water. The lord of
110 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
steam had routed nearly a whole .regiment, which fled -inglo-
riously at the first charge. The boat was kept ' trim ' for
the remainder of the trip without the least difficulty.
Capture of Midshipman Rogers.
The successful exploit of burning the Creole, a fast sailing
vessel supposed to be fitting out as a privateer, and moored
alongside of the very walls of the castle of San Juan de
Ulloa, emboldened the officers of the Somers to undertake
fresh enterprises. One of these was a.reconnoisance of Vera
Cruz itself, with the intention of ascertaining the locality of
the magazine and the feasibility of an attempt to blow it up,
and on this hazardous undertaking a little party, which Mid
shipman Rogers and Surgeon Wright volunteered to conduct,
was made up.
For two nights, favored by the darkness, the party pur
sued it reconnoisance ; on the third, after having obtained a
most complete and satisfactory knowledge of the localities
about Vera Cruz, and ascertaining that their object could be
accomplished, the little band was surrounded by a small body
of Mexican lancers, while returning to the boat. Rogers,
and the only sailor along with him were at once taken pris
oners Mr. Wright, by presenting a pistol to the horsemen,
succeeded in keeping them off until he reached his men at
the shore, when they at once shoved off and succeeded in
gaining the vessel in safety. Mr. W. did not dare to fire,