thinking it might bring a large force upon him : as it was, he
had the satisfaction of knowing that he had saved the boat
and her crew.
Midshipman Rogers was immediately marched off to the
castle of Perote, and experienced very rigorous treatment
while on the road. Before leaving Vera Cruz, however, the
British Consul, with a praiseworthy generosity, furnished him
CUTTING OUT THE BRIG CONDOR. Ill
with a change of clothing, besides one hundred dollars in
cash. After being confined in the dungeons of Perote for
some time Midshipman Rogers was removed to the city of
Mexico, when he was allowed to wait upon the General-in-
chief, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who, with his usual
dissimulation promised Midshipman Rogers every conveni
ence and comfort, a promise which however, he did not fulfil.
Midshipman Rogers was thus left friendless in the city of
Mexico, the Mexican gaoler having eased him of the donative
of the British consul. He was exposed to many hardships,
but finally, upon the approach of Scott, he succeeded in
making his escape, and joining the American army, and after
wards served in the battles under the walls of Mexico as an
aid to the General-in- chief.
Cutting out the Mexican Brig Condor.
The United Slates Sloop of War, Cyane, Com. Dupont,
anchored about .a mile from the town of Guaymas, situated
in the Department of Sonora, halfway up the Gulf of Cali
fornia, east side, on the 3d of October, and discovered two
Mexican gunboats, which she had been in search of, lying
in front of the town, dismantled, and their guns landed.
The Mexican brig Condor was hauled close in, and the
Mexicans were busy in dismantling her. A large number
of citizens and soldiers had assembled on the shore to watch
the movements of the Cyane, and to resist any attempts that
might be made to land.
Com. Dupont sent a flag of truce, demanding the surren
der of the two gunboats. The Mexican commandant
refused compliance, as not comporting with the Mexican
national or military character. Com. Dupont immediately
prepared for bombarding the town. The Cyane, on the 7th,
hauled up to within about a thousand yards of the town,
112 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
being as near as she could get at high tide. Com. Dupont
was then waited upon by four persons, representing them
selves as neutral merchants, who requested him to defer
hostilities for three days, to allow them, as well as others,
time to remove their effects. This he promptly refused,
as he believed them to be colleagued with the Mexicans,
which eventually proved to be the case. They left the
sloop in anger, and no sooner had they reached the shore,
than the two gunboats were immediately set on fire. Com.
Dupont fired two Paixhans at the gunboats, which dispersed
those who were setting fire to them. The boats, however,
were soon destroyed, and' as the ostensible object of the
expedition was now fulfilled, (the destruction of the gun
boats, though it would, doubtless, have been much more
agreeable to the feelings of the Americans to have captured
them, yet, when they reflected upon their small numbers,
greatly reduced by sickness, compared with the force of the
enemy, who were over five hundred strong, they considered
the affair as fortunate as was desirable,) Com. Dupont
ceased the bombardment, and gave orders for cutting out the
brig Condor, lying under the Mexican batteries.
Part of the Cyane's crew were now drafted for the expe
dition, perhaps one of the most perilous undertakings since
the burning of the Philadelphia under the walls of the
Bashaw's castle at Tripoli. The launch, with a 12 pound
carronade in her bows, together with the third cutter, with
their crews properly armed and equipped, formed the cutting
out party, under the command of Lieut. G. W. Harrison,,
assisted by Midshipman Crabb and Acting Boatswain Col
lins, in the launch, and Lieut. Higgins and Midshipman
Lewis, in the cutter.
The boats lay to for a few moments, while Com. Dupont
addressed the crews in few pertinent remarks, setting for'h
the necessity of his sending them on so hazaradous an expe
dition ; wishing them to show the enemy, from the manner
THE BRIG FIRED. 113
in bringing out the brig from her more protected position,
how they would have handled the gunboats. The officers
and men in the boats, envied by all those on board, (for
such was the enthusiasm that every one was disappointed who
was not selected to participate in the attack upon the brig,)
gave three cheers, and pulled for the brig.
It was mid-day when the launch and cutter left the ship,
in full view of the batteries of the enemy,. The Condor lay
within pistol shot of the town, and was in complete range of
their musketry, stationed in perfect safety in the turning of
a hill ; while one of their batteries could rake the entire deck
of the brig. The guns of the Cyane immediately opened a
tremendous fire upon the enemy to protect the bparding of
the boats ; but it was discovered, as they drew near to the
brig, that there was great danger of her fire injuring those in
the boats, and Com. Dupont instantly checked his fire. The
enemy reserved their fire until the crews of the boats had
mounted the decks of the Condor, which they galkntly did,
raising with an accompaniment of three cheers the American
ensign at her flag staff. With a deafening yell the enemy
now poured a dreadful fire upon the decks, from an 18-
pounder, charged with grape and round shot, and a culver-
ine, together with sharp volleys of musketry. The fire of
the Cyane was now resumed, and it was so efficiently kept
up that it prevented the enemy from making a nearer
approach to save the brig. The launch returned the fire of
the battery, while the marines poured a sharp fire in range
of the musketeers,
Her cable, though of iron, was soon cut with an^xe, and
the crew began heaving cheerily upon the hawser running to
the kedge anchor, which they had dropped as they ap
proached the brig, with " Off she goes, and off she must
go." In the meantime the enemy's fire became so hot that
Lieut. Harrison ordered the brig to be fired, fearing the boats
might be disabled. This work was done under showers of
114 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
balls, as they were receiving the fire of at least five hundred
muskets. When she was warped up to the kedge, she was
taken in tow by the boats. It was at this moment that the
enemy had some exultation ; seeing the boats pulling away
from the brig, and not observing the hawser, which was
slack, they thought the boats were beaten off; but they soon
saw the hawser tighten, and the brig follow the boats.
The brig was soon towed out of range of the enemy's
musketry, and as she was burning fast, she was towed to lee
ward and abandoned. The gallant little crew were joyously
received by those on board the Cyane, who had witnessed
their perilous and successful adventure. Not a man was
injured, which seems miraculous, as they were exposed to
an almost overwhelming fire for about thirty minutes ; and it
can only be attributed to the incapacity of the Mexicans in
aiming their guns, a characteristic of theirs, which they have
faithfully preserved in every engagement which they have
had with American troops.
Eating a Mexican.
A scouting party arrived late one evening at the village of
Mineral del Monte, near the city of Mexico,* and put up at
the house of Don Pedro, one of the first citizens of the
place, who received them very kindly. The people of the
village had been told that the Americans were in the habit of
feasting upon children ; and, fearful that some of the dra-*
goons might want a Mexican child for his supper, they had
removed all those " pledges of love."
Lieut. M. having heard this story, thought of amusing
himself with the fears of the Mexicans ; and accordingly
accosted a man in the street, if he knew where he could get
a nice fat boy for supper ; adding that he was very hungry.
COSTLY UNIFORM. 115
The astonished and frightened Mexican answered with a
doleful shake of the head, "hay no."
" Well," said M. " as I'm hungry, I ain't particular
let's have a little girl then."
The poor man, still more horrified, declared that there
were none of those in the village.
The Lieut, then said, " Well, if you can't let me have a
boy or a girl, be so good as to show me a market where I
can get a choice piece of a full-grown man, as I'm dreadful
hungry, and must have something to eat ! "
This was too much for the Mexican, and he took to his
heels in the twinkling of a jack-knife.
Gen. Valencia, who was so badly whipped by Gen.
Smith, at Contreras, possesses one requisite, and the chief
requisite of a great Mexican general, he has a most splendid
and costly uniform. It is said that when in full dress he
bore upon his distinguished person at least $20,000 worth of
gold, diamonds, and precious metals. What a splendid
capture he would have been to some of our ragged boys !
No wonder he ran so fast when Riley charged his batteries.
He had something to run for, though how he made such
good time under such a heavy load, was a wonder to every
body. We understand, however, that the general was in
very bad spirits we mean nothing against the quality of the
spirits with which he quenched the valor of his soul, and
kept the cold off his stomach on the memorable night of
the 18th of August ; but he was disheartened by the ab
sence of a magnificent jewelled sword, which cost $10,000,
and which, under a monied pressure, he had left " in soak"
at the Monte Pio. This sword is now to be seen in Mex-
1L6 r ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
ico, and was pawned for $1,500. Its absence at Contreras
has been assigned by Valencia's friends as one of the causes
of his defeat in that battle.
It would be an interesting contrast to estimate the compar
ative value of the respective uniforms of Gen. Valencia, the
conquered, and Gen. Smith, the victor, at Contreras. The
result will throw much light upon the great leading distinc
tive traits of the American and Mexican character. Without
meaning to impugn the richness and extent of Gen. Smith's
wardrobe, we do not think it extravagant to estimate the
value of the old dark blue coat and lightish blue pants, six-
bit glazed cap, cork-soled boots, and service sabre, worn by
the hero of Contreras, on that memorable day, as of- the val
ue of $15. We doubt whether any of our little Jew tailors
would not think that amount enormous.
But the inward man of these two generals is not less
striking in contrast than their outward man. The showy
and costly exterior of the one covers a vain, faithless, cow
ardly heart whilst the plain, simple, and unpretening
appearance of the other gives token of the dauntless heart
and indomitable character, that made him the Conqueror
Mexican Cavalry Officers.
CORTAZAR is a member of one of the first families of
Guanajuato a family that has always taken a leading part
in the affairs of Mexico. He received the rank 'he now
holds in 1841 being then the Governor of Guanajuato. In
the year just mentioned, Santa Anna pronounced against
President Bustamente, who, doubting the loyalty of Cortazar,
sent him the General's sash as an inducement to be faithful.
But the present had not the desired effect ; or rather, as some
say, it arrived at Guanajuato a day or two too late.
MEXICAN CAVALRY OFFICERS. 117
GUZMAN. There'is scarcely a cavalry officer in the Mex
ican army, who has seen more service than he has. It was
in 1839, or in 1840, that Guzman received the rank of Gen
eral of Brigade, which was not the reward of political intrigue
or tergiversation. It was won by hard fighting. In the de
partment of Morelia he maintained for nearly three years
and with but little assistance from the Government a haras
sing war with the Federalists ; defeated them in several en
gagements, and finally compelled them to sue for peace.
More than one act of daring has been attributed to this offi
cer. It is said that during an emeute, he galloped towards a
gun which the artillerymen had deserted, and for a few min
utes alone kept the insurgents at bay.
TORREJON is a mestizo, or half-breed ; and, like most
mestizoes, is by no means distinguished for personal beauty.
Like Guerrero, and other Mexican officers who have had a
large admixture of Indian blood in their veins, Torrejon is
very cunning. In laying traps for an adversary, he is re
markably expert ; and, as will be remembered, it was he who
surrounded and took prisoners Captain Thornton's command
of sixty men.
General JOSE MARIA MINON is in most respects the op
posite of Torrejon. Both are men of courage ; but there is
something chivalric in the courage of Minon ; nothing in
that of Torrejon. Torrejon rarely attacks an enemy, except
by means of an ambuscade. Minon would almost scorn to
vanquish an enemy in that way. They are as unlike in per
son as they are in mind. Minon has a fine figure and ex
pressive features. He is a great favorite in the Mexican
army, who like him for his chivalric courage and style him
the " Murat of Mexico." He is now forty-six or forty-eight
years of age or in the prime of life. He was made a Gene
ral of Brigade in 1828, having distinguished himself at the
battle of Acajete. He served during the campaign in 1836,
but was not present at the battle of San Jacinto. When con-
118 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
versing with Englishmen or Americans, he descants in the
highest terms, upon the valor displayed by the Texans through
out the campaign in question. Amongst the instances of
that valor which he relates as having come under his own
observation, is the following :
During a skirmish, Minon saw a Texan pursued by five
Mexican foot soldiers. The Texan finding his pursuers
gaining upon him, turned suddenly round and shot the fore
most Mexican dead. Then clubbing his rifle, he withstood
the assaults of the others. Two of them he struck dead;
but in doing this he broke his rifle, and at that moment the
remaining Mexican stabbed him in the back and killed him.
Capture of Captain Thornton's Command.
On the evening of the 23d of April, Gen. Taylor received
intelligence that the Mexicans had crossed the Rio Grande ;
about twenty-five hundred men above and fifteen hundred
below the American Fort. Two squadrons of dragoons
were the next day despatched, one in each direction, for the
purpose of reconnoitering the Mexican advance. The
squadron ordered above was in command of Captain Thorn
ton, and composed of Captain Hardee, Lieutenants Kane
and Mason, and sixty-one privates and non-commissioned
officers, who found that the Mexicans had crossed over the
river in great numbers. Captain Thornton had proceeded
but about twenty-four miles, and as he supposed to within
about three miles of the Mexican camp, when his guide re
fused to go any further, stating for his reason that the whole
country was infested with Mexicans.
Captain Thornton, however, proceeded on with his com
mand about two miles, when on the 26th he came to a farm*
house, which was enclosed entirely by a chapparel fence,
with the exception of that portion of it which bordered on
CAPTAIN BUTLER. 119
the river, and this was so boggy as to be impassable. He
entered this enclosure through a pair of bars, and approach
ed the house for the purpose of making some inquiry, his
command followed. They had no sooner entered than from
the chapparel there sprung out some two thousand Mexicans,
completely surrounding him and opening a severe fire. He
wheeled his men for the purpose of charging the enemy,
when his horse having received a shot, ran away with him,
and leaping the chapparel fence, plunged down a precipice
and fell, Captain Thornton under him, who remained insen
sible for several hours. Captain Hardee, who succeeded to
the command, attempted to effect an escape, but finding it
impossible, prepared to resist to the last extremity, when a
Mexican officer rode up and asked him to surrender, prom
ising to treat him and his force as prisoners of war accor
ding to the custom of civilized nations. Captain Hardee
In this engagement Lieutenant Mason and nine men were
killed, and two wounded, who were sent by the Mexicans
into the American camp. Captain Thornton was subse
quently taken prisoner.
It has been already announced that Captain John Butler,
of the 3d dragoons, U. S. A., died at Mier, on the 23d of
December last. He sunk under a malady which has robbed
the army of many brave spirits himself of the bravest. He
was the grandson of Pierce Butler, a delegate from the State
of South Carolina to the Convention that framed the Consti
tution of the United States. His father was distinguished
for courage and patriotism during the revolutionary war, and
has furnished bright names for the scroll of fame since the
achievement of the independence of America. The imme-
120 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
diate subject of this notice inherited the wealth and spirit of
a line of noble ancestry. He was of that joyous and gene
rous turn of mind which tempers courage with the sweetest
attributes of social excellence. He was wealthy and brave.
A scholar, a gentleman, and a soldier. For many years he
occupied a distinguished position in the fashionable circles of
Philadelphia, where his residence was a pattern of elegant
taste, and the resort of wit and learning. His fireside was
adorned by his lady, whose accomplished manners imparted
grace and dignity to the hospitalities of a polished and pro
The war found Captain Butler thus surrounded by luxu
ries, blest with domestic comfort, and honored by troops of
friends. Less than these would have been a sacrifice
for the toils of a campaign. But the spirit of the
Butlers of the Revolution was awakened in the breast of
this their representative, and he at once sought a place under
the flag of his country. He joined the 3d dragoons as
captain ; and though the chances of war have not thrown in
his way opportunities of signalizing himself by such deeds
as command the admiration of millions, his soldierly bearing
and prompt spirit acquired for him the respect of his corps
and the admiration of his commanding officer. His com
pany acknowledged no superior in discipline and effective
ness. He was a soldier from choice. He entered the army
from the impulses of a gallant heart, and whilst the most
exemplary officers, he was yet one of the kindest and most
generous of men. He was respected for his manliness, ad
mired for his devotion to duty, and loved for the munificence
of his disposition. The loss of such a man was a loss to the
service, His place at the head of his column can with dif-
ficulty be supplied, his loss at the hearthstone can never be.
It was one of the griefs of his friends that he was worsted by
disease. They would have been prepared to hear of his
falling in the midst of battle ; for such men are born to
return from the wars with honor, or to return not at all.
FREMONT'S RIDE. 121
Fremont's Extraordinary Hide.
It was at day break on the 22d March, 1847, that Lieut.
Col. Fremont, his friend Don Jesus (pronounced Haisoos,)
Pico, and his servant Jacob Dodsons, set out from La Ciudad
le los Angeles (the city of the Angels,) in the southern part
of upper California, to proceed, in the shortest time, to Mon
terey on the Pacific ocean, distant full four hundred miles.
The way is over a mountainous country, much of it unin
habited, with no other road than a trace, and many defiles to
pass, and particularly the maritime defile of El Rincon, or
Punto Gordo, fifteen miles in extent, made by the jutting
of a precipitous mountain into the sea, and which can only
be passed when the tide is out and the sea calm, and even
then in many places through the waves. The towns of Santa
Barbara and San Luis Obispo, and occasional ranches, are
the principal inhabited places on the route. Each of the
party had three horses, nine in all, to take their turn under
the saddle. The six loose horses ran ahead, without bridle
or halter, and required some attention to keep the track.
When wanted for a change, say at distances of twenty miles,
they were caught by the lasso, thrown either by Don Jesus
or Jacob. None of the horses were shod. The usual gait
was a sweeping gallop. The first day they ran one hundred
and twenty-five miles. The next day they made another one
hundred and twenty-five miles, passing the formidable moun
tain of Santa Barbara, and counting upon it the skeletons of
some fifty horses, part of near double that number which
perished in the crossing of that terrible mountain by the Cal
ifornia battalion on Christmas day, 1846, amidst a raging
tempest, and a deluge of rain and cold more killing than that
of the Sierra Nevada the day of severest suffering, say
Fremont and his men, that they have ever passed. At sun
set the party stopped to sup with the friendly Capt. Dana,
and at nine at night, San Luis Obispo was reached, the home
of Don Jesus, and where an affecting reception awaited Lieut
122 ANECDOTES AND INCIDENTS.
Col. Fremont, in consequence of an incident that occurred
there, which history will one day record ; and he was detain
ed till eleven o'clock in the morning, receiving the visits of
the inhabitants, (mothers and children included,) taking a
breakfast of honor, and waiting for a relief of fresh horses to
be brought in from the surrounding country. Here the nine
horses from San Angeles were left, and eight others taken in
their place, and a Spanish boy added to the party to assist
in managing the loose horses. Proceeding at the usual gait
till eight at night, and having made some seventy miles, Don
Jesus, who had spent the night before with his family and
friends, and probably with but little sleep, became fatigued,
and proposed a halt for a few hours. It was in the valley of
the Salinas, (Salt River, called Buena Ventura, in the old
maps,) and the haunt of marauding Indians. For safety du
ring their repose, the party turned off the trace, issued through
a Canada into a thick wood, and laid down, the horses being
put to grass at a short distance, with the Spanish boy in the
saddle to watch. Sleep, when commenced, was too sweet
to be easily given up, and it was halfway between midnight
and day, when the sleepers were aroused by an estampedo
among the horses, and the calls of the boy. The cause of
the alarm was soon found not Indians, but white bears
this valley being their favorite resort, and the place where
Col. F. and thirty-five of his men encountered some hundred
of them the summer before, killing thirteen of them on the
ground. The character of these bears is well known, and
the bravest hunters do not like to meet them without the ad
vantage of numbers. On discovering the enemy, Col. F.
felt for his pistols, but Don Jesus desired him to lie still,
saying that " people could scare bears;" and immediately
hallooed at them in Spanish, and they went off Sleep went
off also ; and the recovery of the horses, frightened by the
bears, building a rousing fire, making a breakfast from the
hospitable supplies of San Luis Obispo, occupied the party
FREMONT'S RIDE. 123
till daybreak, when the journey was resumed. Eighty miles
and the afternoon brought the party to Monterey. The next
day, in the afternoon, the party set out on their return, and
the two horses rode by Col. F. from San Luis Obispo, being
a present from Don Jesus, he (Don Jesus,) desired to make
an experiment of what one of them could do. They were
brothers, one a grass younger than the other, both of the
same color, (cinnamon) and hence called el canalo or los
canalos, (the cinnamon, or the cinnamons.) The elder was
taken for the trial ; and the journey commenced upon him
at leaving Monterey, the afternoon well advanced. Thirty
miles under the saddle done that evening, and the party stop
ped for the night. In the morning the elder canalo was
again under the saddle, for Col. F., and for ninety miles he
carried him without a change and without apparent fatigue.
It was still thirty miles to San Luis Obispo, where the night
was to be passed, and Don Jesus insisted that canalo could
easily do it, and so said the horse by his looks and actions.
But Col. F. would not put him to the trial, and, shifting the
saddle to the younger brother, the elder was turned loose to
run the remaining thirty miles without a rider. He did so,
immediately taking the lead and keeping it all the way, and
entered San Luis in a sweeping gallop, nostrils distended,
snuffing the air, and neighing with exultation at his return to