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TAYLOR, WORTH, WOOL AND BUTLER:
COLS. MAY, CROSS, CLAY, HARDIN, YELL, HAYS,
OTHER DISTINGUISHED OFFICERS ATTACHED TO GENERAL TAYLOR'S ARMY.
NUMEROUS ANECDOTES OF THE MEXICAN WAR,
PERSONAL ADVENTURES OF THE OFFICERS.
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WITH A SUPPLEMENT:
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Calving and Lambing Tables, &c. &c.
BY J. S. SKINNER,
Editor now of the Farmer's Library, New York ; Founder of the American Farmer, in 1819
and of the Turf Register and Sporting Magazine, in 1829 ; being the first Agricultural
and the first Sporting Periodicals established in the United States.
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WITH A SUPPLEMENT:
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Breeding; together with Trotting and Racing Tables, showing the best time on
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Horses, since 1839; and of the most celebrated btallionsand
Mares : with Useful Calving and Lambing
Tables, &c. &c.
.BY J. S. SKINNER,
Editor now of the Farmer's Library, New York ; Founder of the American Farmer, in 181 J*;
and of the Turf Register and Sporting Magazine, in 1829 : being the first Agricultural
and the first Sporting Periodicals established in the United States.
MEMOIRS OF GENERALS
TAYLOR, WORTH, WOOL, AND BUTLER:
COLONELS MAY. CROSS, CLAY,
HARDIN, YELL, HAYS,
OTHER DISTINGUISHED OFFICERS ATTACHED TO GENERAL TAYLOR^S ARMY;
NUMEROUS ANECDOTES OF THE MEXICAN WAR,
PERSONAL ADVENTURES OF THE OFFICERS.
COMPILED FROM PUBLIC DOCUMENTS AND PRIVATE CORRESPONDENCE.
ACCURATE PORTRAITS. AND OTHER BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATIONS.
GRIGG, ELLIOT .& CO,
No. 14 NORTH FOURTH STREET.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1848, by
GRIGG, ELLIOT & CO.
in the clerk's office of the District Court of the United States for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
STEREOTYPED BY J. FAGAN.
PRINTED BY T. K. AND P. G. COLLINS.
If the Hero of Buena Vista nobly commenced
the present war with Mexico, the Hero of Chip-
pewa has not less nobly completed the second
Conquest of Mexico. General Scott and his splendid
army have " won golden opinions of all sorts of
*men." They have displayed all the best qualities
*of commanders and soldiers. They have carried
on sieges and captured cities which were considered
impregnable, with a force apparently hardly adequate
for a forlorn hope. They have fought pitched
battles and won them,, opposing fresh recruits to
veteran troops. They have accomplished marches
over routes before considered utterly impassible ;
captured fortresses bristling with cannon, by means
of the rifle and bayonet; and planted the star-
spangled banner upon the proud " Halls of Monte-
General Taylor and his noble army having been
instrumental in first developing these facts and this
principle, during the present war, it becomes an in-
teresting matter to follow out all their splendid actions
in detail, and to learn the real characters of the actors
themselves. The following series of lives has beela
compiled from authentic materials, with a view to
satisfy the public curiosity on this important subject.
The author has endeavoured to do justice to the
officers and men, so far as the materials at his com-
mand enabled him to accomplish the object ; and he
trusts that any errors or inadvertencies which may
have involuntarily been committed by him in sp
serious an undertaking, may have the reader's candidt
Philadelphia, Jan. 1, 1848. •
MAJOR-GENERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR Page 11
MAJOR-GENERAL WI L LIAM J. WORTH 90
BRIGADIER-GENERAL JOHN E. WOOL 125
MAJOR RINGGOLD 174
CATTAIN WALKER 179
CAPTAIN M'CULLOCH 196
COLONEL HAYS 206
MAJOR TWIGGS 212
flEUTENANT-COLONEL MAY 217
colonel cross 222
Colonel hardin 225
lieutenant-colonel henry clay 231
colonel yell 233
major brown 235
major-general william o. butler 238
lieutenant j. e. blake 243
lieutenant-colonel watson 245
^tain r. a. gillespie 249
captain randolph ridgely 251
9ft ' !• a2 (5)
VI CONTENTS. ..
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL BRAGG '.', .....v^eSS
MAJOR BLISS, ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL/.V. * . 256
MAJOR EATON ...'.■.;.'. 256
CAPTAIN GARNETT .....'.. 257
COLONEL BELKNAP ...". .7« "SSlX <
COLONEL MUNROE •.......' ^8
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL MANSFIELD ; -.;.... ..S58
CAPTAIN RAMSAY ! ..ViV^SO
CAPTAIN SHERMAN ....,.* 1 ^^9
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL WHITING ' ... . . 26^
LIEUTENANT-COLONEL DUNCAN V . ." .261? ,
CAPTAIN O'BRIEN ...;.... i " 2^1 -1
COLONEL CROGHAN .^ 264^
CAPTAIN LINCOLN -26^./
MAJOR-GENERAL GAINES :^'''
COLONEL JEFFERSON DAVIS :Slfi
CAPTAIN HENRIE 2t8 .
GENERAL TAYLOR'S RECEPTION AT NEW ORLEANS. ^^ ..»
■ I ••
MAJOR-GENERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR.
The early history of a man, educated amid the wilds of Ken-
tucky, while that territory was yet in possession of the Indians,
must necessarily be a narrative of the most thrilling interest. The
first settlers of that slate passed through trials which the American
of a more modern date can but feebly appreciate. Swarming with
tribes of Indians, hostile to the Union and to each other, scenes were
there daily enacted of the most appalHng character; burnings,
scalpings, and massacres, were of nightly occurrence ; and often as
the disheartened few of one settlement retired from daily toil, they
beheld, far in the distance, the lurid column that announced the
ruin of another.
Unfortunately, the traditional records of this stirring and eventful
period have, in the course of ages, died away ; the blasted hopes,
the fierce struggles, and tragic fate, of the early settlers, have been
buried in the same deep grave with their perpetrators. The Indian
and his victim have not only ceased to strive, but have descended
into one common obhvion.
For this reason, the most rigid investigation has failed to discover
much concerning the early life of General Taylor. Even the year
of his birth has been a matter of dispute. His father was Mr.
Richard Taylor, of whom little is known, except that he was bora
in Virginia, [March 22d, 1744,] explored Kentucky when a young
man, was a colonel in the Revolution, and had five sons and three
daughters. His third son, Zachary Taylor, was born [November
24th, 1784] in Orange county. In the following summer. Colonel
Taylor emigrated to Kentucky, arriving there, but ten years after the
first settlement, and within a short time after his brother Hancock
had been murdered by the Indians. Here he founded his perma-
nent abode, and here the subject of our biography, received his
12 MAJOR-GENErA ZACHARY TAYLOR.
boyish impressions. The estate was in Jefferson county, two miles
from the Ohio river, and five from Lexington. As the latter in-
creased in size and population, the fortunes and importance of
Richard Taylor grew with it. He received from President Wash-
ington a commission as collector of that port, and was honoured, in
many ways, by the neighbouring settlers.
Zachary Taylor was early placed at school, under the direction
of Mr. Elisha Ayres, of Connecticut. After remaining there some
years, he adopted the profession of his father, working constantly on
the estate, and laying the foundation of that constitution, which has
subsequently borne the test of trying duty, rough fare, and every
variety of climate, during a military life of thirty-five years. While
in this employment, the movements of Aaron Burr began to excite
alarm, and Zachary joined a volunteer company, of his native state,
raised to oppose the supposed treasonable designs of that individual.
When the excitement had subsided, he returned to the cultivation
of the farm, in which occupation he continued until the death of his
brother, Lieutenant Taylor. As this person had been in the national
service, his death afforded Zachary an opportunity to enter the army.
Accordingly, through the influence of friends, among whom was
Mr. James Madison, he received a commission as first heutenant in
the 7th U. S. infantry regiment, May 3d, 1808.
Being now in a profession which suited the daring aspirations of
his genius, Taylor appears to have conducted himself in a manner
that gave high hopes of a future brilliant career. He assiduously
studied the best treatises on military science ; and during the whole
of our dispute with the European powers, previous to the war of
1812, he watched its progress with intense interest. To the national
difficulties were soon added others, which for a long while threat-
ened nothing less than the complete extirpation of all the western
settlements. These were the league of the border Indians, under
Tecumseh and the Prophet, one of the most powerful and well con-
certed of all the numerous combinations formed by the savages
against the United States.
At this time, General W. H. Harrison was governor of the North-
western Territory. Having received orders to march into the
Indian country, he moved rapidly, with a small army, to ^he
stations designated, erecting forts, at convenient places, on his
march. One of these, built on the Wabash, in the very heart of
DEFENCE OF FORT HARRISON. 13
the Indian country, was provided with two block-houses, stockade
works, and a few buildings for stores or magazines. In honour of
the governor, it w^as subsequently called Fort Harrison. Appa-
rently insignificant as was this small defence, it afterwards laid the
foundation of General Taylor's military reputation.
In 1810, Lieutenant Taylor married ; but was not permitted to
sit down in the enjoyment of domestic felicity. Hurried away in
the following year to the seat of contention, he left his young wife
and child, and for a whole year was prevented from seeing them.
For a long while no tidings were heard of him by his family ; and
it was beheved that he had fallen a victim to his perilous service.
So ably, however, did he acquit himself, that in the beginning of
1812 he was rewarded with a captain's commJssion from President
Madison. Accompanying the commission was an appointment as
commander of Fort Harrison. Very soon after, Congress declared
war against Great Britain ; and Taylor was thus thrown into the
front of hostile opemtions.
Captain Taylor had not been long in his new station, when he
perceived unmistakable signs, that his every energy would soon be
called into requisition to defend it. On the 3d of September, the
report of fire-arms was heard near the fort, in a direction where two
young men were making hay. Next day their bodies were found
scalped and mangled, a circumstance which left no room to doubt
that an attack upon the fort would soon be made. Accordingly,
Captain Taylor increased his vigilance, and made every effort for
defence compatible with his limited means. Only sixteen men
were fit for duty, while more than thirty were disabled by sickness.
He himself was debilitated, by recent fever, brought on by exces-
sive fatigue. Besides these discouraging circumstances, the fort
contained several women, wives of the soldiers, who would be
greatly exposed in case of attack.
On the evening of the 4th, a number of Indians arrived before
the enclosure, begging provisions, and requesting admittance. The
commandant gave them something to eat, but refused to open the
fort. Suspecting stratagem, he examined all the arms, served six
rounds of ammunition to each man, and made such other disposi-
tions of his meagre resources, as would enable him to guard against
surprise, and sustain an asSauk. His force was so small, that a
sufficient number of sentinels could not be posted to protect the
14 MAJOR-GEiNERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR.
whole extent of the outworks, so that the officer of the guard was
ordered to make the tour of the inside through the night.
Overcome by fatigue, the Captain now retired to rest, ordering
his soldiers to arouse on the slightest appearance of the enem}'-.
For a little while he was permitted to rest, and no sound interrupted
the death-like stillness, save the dull tread of the officer on guard.
Suddenly, about midnight, the report of a sentry-gun broke through
the air. Taylor sprang from his couch, and rushed into the fort.
The Indians were upon them. Scarcely had the sentinels time to
save themselves, when a cry of fire rang terribly through the air,
and with horror the Captain saw flames leaping out from his lower
block-house, the point at which the savages were attacking. Now
the fearful truth flashed over his mind — they were to choose be-
tween the fire and the tomahawk. Every soldier became paralyzed;
some dropped their arms, others hurried to and fro in wild disorder,
others wept like children. The women ran among them screaming
for help ; two men leaped the pickets in despair. The flames com-
municated with some whiskey, shooting up in blue glaring columns,
sparkling and roaring toward heaven. Lit up by the blaze, the
faces of the savages seemed like those of demons, while their dim
forms, shrouded in fire and smoke, lent an air of indescribable
horror to all the scene. The fearful darkness increased the embar-
rassments of the garrison, since they knew not on what side they
might receive another attack. " The raging of the fire," says
Taj'lor himself — "the yelling and bowline? of several hundred In-
dians — the cries of nine women and children, and a desponding of
so many men — made my feelings very unpleasant."
But amid all this clamour, the self-possession of the youns: com-
mandant never forsook him. Although the Indians had almost
gained the fort, and utter destruction appeared inevitable, yet still
he possessed so much influence over the men as to restore them to
order and duty. " I saw, [says his official report,] by throwing off
part of the roof that joined the block-house that was on fire, and
keeping the end perfectly wet, the whole row of buildings might
be saved, and leave only an entrance of eighteen or twenty feet for
the Indians to enter after the house was consumed ; and that a tem-
porary breastwork might be formed to prevent their entering even
jhere. I convinced the men that this could be accomplished, and
it appeared to inspire them with new life ; and never did men act
I DEFENCE OF FORT HARRISON. 15
with more firmness or desperation. Those that were able (while
others kept up a constant fire from the upper block-house and the
two bastions) mounted the roofs of the houses, with Dr. Clark at
their head, under a shower of balls, and in less than a moment threw
off as much of the loof as was necessary. This was done with one
man killed, and two wounded, and I am in hopes neither of them
dangerously. Although the barracks were several times in a blaze,
and an immense quantity of fire against them, the men used such
exertion that they kept it under, and before day raised a temporary
breastwork as high as a man's head. Although the Indians con-
tinued to pour in a heavy fire of ball, and an innumerable quantity
of arrows, during the whole time the attack lasted, in every part of
the parade, I had but one other man killed, (nor any other wounded
inside the fort,) and he lost his life by being too anxious. He got
into one of the gallies in the bastions, and fired over the pickets, and
called out to his comrades that he had killed an Indian. Neglecting
to stoop down in an instant, he was shot."
The battle lasted with uninterrupted fury for seven hours. The
approach of daylight enabled the Americans to take sure aim at
their enemy, who, in consequence, began to suffer severely. About
six o'clock the assailants retired from the fort, and furious from their
repulse, shot all the horses and hogs within reach, and drove off all
About an hour before daylight one of the deserters returned, and
begged for God's sake to be admitted. His voice not being recog-
nized, he was fired upon ; but on running to another part of the
fort, he made himself known to Dr. Clark, and was directed to lie
quiet until morning. When admitted, his arm was found broken
in a shocking manner, and he had been otherwise maltreated by the
savages. His companion had been caught and hacked to pieces.
The Indians suffered severely, but were sufficiently numerous to
carry off" all their dead.
The noble defence of Fort Harrison produced the most beneficial
effects throughout the western county- That a handful of men
should repulse a host of four hundred'assailants, astonished and dis-
comfited the savages, and materially altered their views and plans,
respecting future operations. They had confidently anticipated fol-
lowing up the destruction of the fort, by an attack upon all the other
defences of the Indiana territory, as an execution of part of the
16 MAJOR-GENERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR.
jchcme entertained by Tecumseh and his brother. Their repulse
disconcerted this great design, created divisions among the tribes,
and probably saved the settlers from a savage and exterminating
Captain Taylor was not allowed to remain unnoticed by govern-
ment. On his return from an expedition, soon after the 4th of Sep-
tember, he received a package from government, containing official
thanks for his good conduct and services, together with a commission
as brevet-major in the United States' service.
The remainder of the war of 1812, aflbrded Major Taylor no op-
portunity for a further display of his talents in a separate command ;
and all that is known of his public service between that and the
Florida war, may be summed up in a few words. When peace
returned, he was unjustly degraded to his former rank of captain ;
and feeling the injustice of such a proceeding, he threw up his com-
mission and returned to the bosom of his family. Here he would
probably have remained, enjoying the company of those so dear to
him, had not his numerous friends exerted themselves strenuously
in his behalf. Their efforts were successful, and in 1816 he was
restored by President Madison to his former rank. Being ordered
to Green Bay, he remained at that station for two years ; after which
he returned to his family, spent a year with it, and then joined
Colonel Russell at New Orleans. He remained in the south for
several years, during which time he performed various military
duties, and built Fort Jesup. In 1819 he was made Lieutenant
Cglonel, and, in 1S26, appointed a member of a Board of officers of
the Army and Militia, convened by Secretary Barbour, to consider
and propose a system for the organization and improvement of the
militia of the United States. Of this board, General Scott was pre-
sident. Its report was presented to Congress by Lieutenant Colonel
Taylor, and approved by that body ; but owing to various causes, a
bill, founded upon it, was allowed to remain so long with the com-
mittee on militia, as to be finally forgotten. In 1832 he was pro-
moted to the rank of Colonel., Immediately after, he was employed
in the expedition against Black Hawk, and signalized himself by his
untiring pursuit of the enemy, and by his firmness and address in
compelling the volunteers to perform their duty. He was then en-
.rusted with the command of Fort Crawford, at Prairie du Chien,
where he remained until ordered to Florida.
This is not the place to inquire into the causes or merits of the
THE WAR IN FLORIDA. 17
Seminole war of Florida. It owed its progress, on the part of the
Indians, principally to the efforts of Osceola, a chief whose influence
was sufficient to drive the Indians through every danger and trial.
Prior to the appointment of Taylor, [1837,] the breaking up of the
interior settlements, the massacre of the gallant Dade, and the unfor-
tunate issue of every exertion, had produced a powerful effect
throughout the country ; so that at his arrival near the seat of war,
dismay, anxiety, and consternation pervaded all classes. Men ap-
peared paralyzed, and gazed around for some influence to reassure
them. It had been confidently anticipated, that the removal of the
Seminoles to the west would be unattended with any opposition ;
and the waking up of this false dream — the baffling of military sci-
ence and senatorial wisdom — the utter defiance of disciplined armies,
occasioned much disappointment and surprise. ,
To act promptly and successfully in such intricate perplexity,
required talents of no ordinary cast ; and Colonel Taylor felt the
full responsibility of his new situation. In December he received
orders to seek the enemy in every quarter, to give battle, and de-
stroy or capture his forces ; and in conformity thereto he left Fort
Gardner, with about eleven hundred officers and men, and com-
menced his march for the interior. The ground over which he
passed presented all those obstacles which had baffled so many for-
mer expeditions. A wet and soft soil, matted with rank herbage,
which clogged the feet at every step, serving as an impenetrable
screen to a lurking foe ; the deep slimy beds, and waters of the
streams ; the dense thickets of cypress, palmetto, and the luxuriant
undergrowth; — these were some of the enemies to be vanquished
before the army could reach the Indians. As the latter had antici-
pated his approach, and were perfectly familiar with the labyrinths
and natural fastnesses of their own country, thev had retired to one
of the strongest and most inaccessible places, and prepared to give
On the 25th of December they reached a dense swamp, where
the enemy were reported to be in force. Here they halted. A few
steps more might bring them within range of a hidden foe ; that
foe might be on every side ; and they, about to share the fate of
Dade. Yet, led on by Colonel Taylor, no man desponded. The
line of battle was formed, and those brave men pushed forward.
To charge an exposed foe, requires coolness and intrepidity; to
18 MAJOR-GENERAL ZACHARY TAYLOR.
charge a protected fort is the test of veteran abihties ; but to wade
up to the middle in a swamp, where the rank grass is waving over
head, and an unseen enemy on every side, imphes a degree of courage
possessed by few. Yet this duty was cheerfully undertaken by
that little army. Forgetting all danger, only eager for action, the
troops hurried forward with enthusiasm. Havmg proceeded about
a quarter of a mile, they entered a wide slough, which seemed to
forbid all further progress. Abandoning their horses, the troops
buried themselves to the neck in the grass, wading through a four
feet depth of slime and water.
Suddenly the rustling of grass and plash of water were drowned
in the reports of hundreds of rifles. The savages were close be-
fore them, having reserved their fire until their aim would be cer-