Weston Arthur Goodspeed.

The province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) online

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the constitution was beaten by a majority of 9,000 votes out of
an aggregate poll of about 60,000. It was the vote of St. Louis
which defeated the constitution, the opposition in that city being
chieily directed against the provision which would make supreme,
and circuit judges elective instead of being, as then, appointed
by the governor. Aside from St. Louis, the state evidently
favored the change. Outside of that town the i)roposed consti-
tution received a majority of the votes cast. Moreover, shortly
afterward the change was brought about by constitutional amend-
ment, which received the sanction of the people, and since then
the judges have been elected, as they are in most of the states.

feini I Ir"-:


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Texas Annexation and the Mexican War

SEVERAL months before the election of 1846 which killed
the proposed state constitution, Missouri had sorneth'inj^
more L-xciliny to deal with than the framing of a new
organic law. Tlie war with Mexico began in the first half of
that year, and Missouri took an especially prominent part in
that struggle. The war came as a consequence of the annex-
ation of Texas in 1845, which Missouri had ardently favored.

For many reasons Missouri had a profound interest in the
welfare of Texas and its addition to the American Union. The
creation of Texas as an y\uiLricaui/i.'d communily had its incr])-
lion with two iMissi)urians : Moses Austin and his son Sleplien F.
.f\ustiii, biith residents of St. l.oui^ at the time their connection
with Texas began. Many emigrants to Texas went from Mis-
souri. Scores of Rlissourians were in the ranks of the armies
of Houston and the other commanders at tlie time Texas won
its independence from Mexico in 1836. Missouri was a cham-
pion of national expansion in any quarter in which it could be
had, irrespective of the influence which it would exert on the
balance between the free and the slave sections of the country.
Benton and other representatives of Missouri in congress had
often denounced the treaty of 1819 with Spain by wdiich the
country was led to surrender all its claims to Texas, wdiich some
understood to have been part of the Louisiana wdiich Bonaparte
sold to Jefferson in 1803. Through the trade with New Mexico
over the Santa Vc trail and its extensions in different direclicMis
Missouri furnished a convenii-nl highway by which Me.xican
territory could be invaded from the north, and at the same time
it established the trade and social relatiijiis' which l)egau tlie


liiW riiiji::.... _ bfin rio'rjwxjn


work of Americanizing New Mexico long l)efore Kearney, Doni-
phan and Price, in the war of 1846-48, made the mihtary con-
quest of New Mexico which Texas annexation precipitated.

President Tyler sent a treaty to the senate in April, 1844, for
the acquisition of Texas, which that body rejected. The vic-
tory gained by Polk, however, on an aimexation platform, a few
months later, was taken by the country as a mandate in favor
of annexation, and a measure, supported by Pienton, Atchison
and the rest of the Missourians i'n congress, and signed by Tyler
on JMarch i, 1845, j^^^t before his retirement from the presidency
and Polk's accession, the terms of which were agreed to by
Texas, brought annexation on December 29 of that year, nine
months after I'olk entered office, and Texas became the twenty-
eighth state of the Union.

A settlement of the Oregon controversy came soon afterward.
As insistence on the possession of the whole of Oregon up to
the Alaska line woidd have brought war with l^ngland, and as wai*
with r^iexico on account of the Texas boundary dispute was immi-
nent, Polk receded from the "iMfty-four-forty-or-fight" position,
and pro|)osed a compromise, under which the forty-ninth paral-
lel, which was the boundary between the United States and Eng-
land east of the Rocky mountains, should be extended westward
to the Pacific. This was a repetition of a proposal previously
made by Tyler, but which England rejected. England, however,
after some hesitation, now accjuiesced. I'olk signed the Oregon
treaty on June 14, 1846, the senate ratified it on the i8th, it was
aceipud tiv llie lirilisb i;()\ erniin'iil l.ilrr on, and the territory
comprisetl in ihe piesenl stales of ()reg(in, Washington and
Idaho, and parts of the states of Montana and Wyoming, came
under the flag.

Several weeks before Polk placed his signature to the Oregon
annexation treaty, war with Mexico began. Shortly after Texas,
on December 29, 1845, became United States territory, Polk
ordered Gen. Zachary Taylor, commander of the southern divi-
sion of the western department of the army, to enter the dis-
puted region west of the Nueces and march to the Rio Grande,
which was the boundary that Texas claimed and which the
United States government was determined to defend. Taylor,
with a force of about 4,000, pronijitly com])Iii-d vvitii this ccjin-
niand, and reached the Rio Grande oj)p(jsite Matamoras, (ju
March j>^, i8.|('). A reconiioilering party of Anu'ricans, inider
("aplain Thornton, was suri)rised l)y a hirger l)ody of Mexican
soldiers oil llie Texas side of the river on April 2.\. and some of

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Thornton's men were killed and the rest captured. Word of the
fight was inimodiately sent hy swift niessenyers, and the news
soon reached Washington.

As Taylor refused, when ordered hy the Mexican conunander,
to retire to the Nueces, General Arista, with six thousand men,
crossetl to the east side of the Kio Grande to move against him.
Taylor attacked Arista on May 8 at I'alu Aho and defeated him,
and assailed him on May 9 and heat him still more severely, after
which the Mexicans retreated to tlie west side of the river, and
were shortly afterward followetl h\- Taylor, who occupied Mata-

Meanwhile Polk, learning of the attack on Thornton, sent a
war message to congress. That l)Oil\- recognized a state of war
as existing with j\'Icxicp, and passed an act on May 13, 1846,
authorizing a call for fifty thousand volunteers, antl made an
appropriation of ten million dollars for the ])roseculion of hostili-

Ahout the middle of May, Governor Edwards of Missouri called
for volunteers for the Army of the West, A\hich was the name of
the column that, assemhling at Fort Leavenworth, in the present
Kansas, was to march to Santa Fe and strike New Mexico, Mex-
ico and California.

Here, as on many other occasions hefore and afterward, the mili-
tary spirit of the people of Missouri asserted itself: Under the law
of 1825 a complete militia system, to include all ahle-hodied men in
the state hetween eighteen and forty-five years of ago, excej^t minis-
ters, li'aehers, ci\ il olVicers and on" or Iwo olher classes, was estah-
lishetl. I'rimarily the law was enacted to afford protection against
the Indians, who were something of a menace to the state in 1825
and for years afterward, hut the s) stem which it created grew
to he one of the most valued and pojudar institutions of the state.
Companies, battalions, regiments, brigades and divisions were
organized, all officers up to and including colonels being elected
by the privates, and brigade and division commanders were chosen
by the officers. Regular muster da\s were set a]>art in which the
militia was organized into comi)anies and drilled, and other days
into which the formation into I)aUalioiis, re.Ldinents, brigades and
divisions uas attended to. ( )n m.iny oecasions previous to the
service of l']<lwards, Missouri's iMrxicnn war L;ovrnior, Missouri's
militia di<l good work. I'arlsof it figmrd in tl:r I'.la.f; Hawk and
olhrr liidi.iM (rouhlrs, ill the various lAhjiiiion dislnrhaiu'is from
1833 lo 1838, and ill (lie hound. uy dispute with Iowa, while a


regiment iinder Col. Richard Gentry \vt)n yiory in the Seminole
war in Florida.

There was a jjrompt response to Governor Iidwards' call of
l\lay, 1846, for volunteers to serve in the war against Mexico.
In a l)Ook named "Doniphan's Expedition," written by John T.
Hughes, a member of Doniphan's command, the story of the part
which Missouri bore in the war is told, and the record is very
creditable to the state. Mounted comi)anies from the counties of
Jackson, Lalayelle, Clay, Saline, i'ranklin. Cole, Howard and
Calla\va\' had arri\ed at [u)rt Leavenworlh by June 18, the iMr^t
Missouri ('aNalrv was organized, and Alexander \V. Doniphan
was elected as colonel, C. F. ivull as lieuleuant colonel, and Will-
iam (iilpin as major. Two of these — Doniphan and tiili)in —
figured with prominence before and afterward.

Colonel Doniphan, who hatl enlisted as a i)rivale in one of the
companies of his regiment, was born in Kentucky, settled in ]\lis-
souri at an early age, became a lawyer, served in the legislature,
as a Whig, figured in the troubles of 1838 against the Mormons in
Missouri as a brigadier general of militia, was thirty-eight years
of age when the Mexican war began, made a brilliant record in
that conllict, was conspicuous in the state's politics subsequently
and died in Richmond, I\[o., in 1887. Gilpin, a graduate of West
Foint, ijarticipaUnl in the .Seminole war in klorida as an officer
of the regular army, resigned just afterwartl, L-dited the Missouri
Argus in St. Louis for a short time, went io Oregon for a year
or two, and was back in Missouri in time to enlist in the hrst
ri'L;iineul, being oiil\ l\\ ent\-fi\'e \ear.- of age at the time of his
election as major. lie made- a fine record in the iMexican w.ir,
was appointed governor of the Terrilor\- of Colorado \)y Lincoln
in i8r)i, and died in l8c)4.

Before the Army of the West was formed at l""ort Leavenworth
in the early summer of 1846 the St. Louis Legion, six hundred
and fifty strong, commanded by Col. A. R. Easton, left by way of
the Mississipi)i for Mexico to join General Taylor's Army of CJ)ccu-
pation, but was mustered out after a service of a few m(;nths.

With the First IMissouri there also assembled at l'\)rt Leaven-
worth two batteries of liglit artillery from St. Louis, two hundred
and fifty strong, un.ler Captains R. A. Weightman and A. W.
Fischer, the battalion being commanded l)y Alaj. Al. L. Clark. The
LacK'de i\,iii!;eis were there also from St. Louis, about 100 in nimi-
ber, under C.ipl. 'i\ I'.. Iliidson, and a ballallion ol" inf.intiy, i.]5
men, from I'lalte and ( ole coiiiilies, uii(kr ( aptaiiis W. /. y\iiKiiey
and Minp! V, the fwriiier beinf;' the ranking (.fllcer. 'Die Laclede

MviniU'.-^ ^J^



Rangers were attached to the First Dragoons of t!ie regular army,
whose colonel was Stephen W. Kearney, and who nnmhered ahout
300 men, under the immediate eummand of iMaj. !']. \' . Sumner,
who participated in tlie Kansas iL-rrilorial troul)les a few years
later, and who was a distinguished officer on the Union side in
the Civil war. Another officer in the tlragoons was Capt. I'iiilip
St. George Cooke, who was afterward a well known general in
the Union army in 1861-65. The aggregate strength of tiie
Army of the West was one thousand six hundred and fifty-eight
men, with sixteen pieces of artillery, twelve being six pounders
and four being twelve pound howitzers. All were from Missouri
except the regulars. All were mounted except the battalion from
Cole and Platte counties. Kearney, who was advanced to the
rank of brigadier general, was fifty-two years of age at the time.
He had served in the war of i8[2, had been in the army con-
tinuonslv afterward, was made commander of the Army of the
West, ilid good service in the war (hm about to begin, and diid
in St. Louis in iS-jB, a few months after the war's ckjse.

Meanwhile Sterling Price resigned from congress just after the
declaration of war against Mexico, was a])pointed by President
Polk colonel of another regiment of Missouri cavalry, which
assembled at Fort Leavenworth, to re-enforce the Army of the
West, and was elected colonel by his men. They were recruited
from the counties of Boone, Benton, Carroll, Chariton, Linn, Liv-
ingston, Monroe, Randolph, Ste. Genevieve, and St. Lcuiis. D. D.
Mitchell \vas chosen lieutenant colonel and Captain I'ldmoudson
was made majeir. To Colonel Price's force was attached an extra
battalion (»f mouiUed nun under Lieutenant Colonel W'illock, con-
sisting of four companies, recruited from the counties of Marion,
Polk, Platte and Ray. Price's entire command nur.ibered about
one thousand two hundred men.

In August 1846, Governor Edwards made another call for one
thousand volunteers, this time for infantry, to re-enforce Price.
The regiment was raised quickly, and Maj. John Dougherty of
Clay county was chosen colonel, but bel"ore marching (orders were
received Polk countermanded the call under which they were
raised, and they were mustered out of the service.

Kearney's Army of the West, on June _'(). 1846, started for
New Mexico over the Santa Fe trail which the Missouri traders
had openi'<l many \ears earlier, and which furnished a well
maii.-ed hir.hwav to llie New ^b•xicail capilai. It re.iciie.l
Saul, I I'e, nnie hnnihvd miles fiuin hml l,(,iveiiwoilli, on August
18. The Mexican governor. Armijo, lied at the approiuli ,,f the

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American troops. On the 19th Kearney issued a proclamation
al)Solving- tlic people of New Mexico froni their allegiance to
Mexico and annexing the territory to the United States.

Under Kearney's instructions Colonel Doniphan and Willard P.
llall, holh la\v\ers, franiecl a i)rovisional coiistilution for the gov-
ernment of New Mexico. TIkii Keanie)- appuinted a full set of
civil (.llicers for the territory, among whom were Charles llenl,
governor, and hVancis P. lilair, Jr., Cnilcd Stales district attorney.
Most of the other officials were New Mexicans who had heen
partly Americanized hy the social and husiness relations estahlished
with New Mexico liy the Missouri traders, and who i)romi)tly
swore allegiance to (he United Slates on the arrival of the troops
on yVugust 18. Willard P. llall, wIkj was nienliom-d in the \)vc-
ceding chajjler as having been elected to congress from Missouri
in ]^-\C\ was a |)rivate in Doniphan's connnand, and was chosen to
congn-ss while in tin- mililaiy service. I'.ent was a well known
IMissourian aii.l a piomiunil Santa I'e trader, who huilt (he post^
on the Arkansas called lienl's Fort. I'.lair, also a i)rlvate in the
war, and then twenty-live years of age, was just beginning that
career which made him the most illustrious of Missourians next
to Benton hin.iself.

On Sejitember 25, General Kearney, with \rdvt of hjs force,
started for California to aid in completing the conquest of that
region which was well under way at that lime by Fremont, Ben-
ton's son in-law, leaving Doniphan at Santa Fe until Price's
arrival. Price, who traversed the same course from Fort Leaven-
worth which had been followed by Kearney and Doniphan a few
weeks earlier, reached Santa I'V on October 1, 1846. Soon
afterward Doniphan, leaving Price in commaiul in New i\lexico,
began his march to Chihuahua, where he was to re-enforce Gen-
eral Wool. Doniphan dealt with the Navajoes on the way, reduc-
ing them to a semblance of subjection, and then left Valverde on
December 12, pushing due southward into the heart of the
enemy's country. On Christmas day Doniphan met and defeated
one thousand one hundred Mexicans at Brecita, in which fight
thirty Mexicans were killed and one American was killed and
seven wounded, and two days later he entered El Paso del Norte,
in the department of Chihuahua. On I'Vbruary 8, 1847, ''f^er
being re-enforced by Major Clark with 117 men and six pieces of
artillery, Doniijban resumed his march for Chihuahua, 250 miles
distant, through a sterile and mountainous country, and on Feb-
ruary j8, whiii scvHiilceii miles fr<.m liis objeelive point, he sud-
denly found his coutm; blocked at the |.ass of the Sacramento by

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General Hcrredia and 4,000 Mexicans, who were intrenched in a
position (A great natural strength. Doniphan's effective force
numberetl only 950 men at that time, yet he attacked the Mexicans
with great vigor and drove tlicm out of their fastness with a loss,
it was estimated, of 800 killed or wounded, while his own casual-
ties were one killed, iMaj. Samuel C. Owens, and eleven wounded,
several of these mortally This was one of the most marvelous
victories of a war whicli had many marvels. The next day,
March i, Doniphan enteretl Chihuahua, a cit\' of -'5,000 people
which capitulated at his api)roach.

^\^)^)l was uoX in Chihuahua, l)ut had just taken i)art in the
battle of lUiena \'ista, I'ebruary 22, 1847, the last and most bril-
liant of all Taylor's conllicts. Doniphan opened communication
with Wool, and was ordered to march to Sallillo, seven hundred
miles to the southeast, which distance was covered between
Ai)ril -'8 and May 21, where \Vool was found, who complimented
the Missourians highly on llieir brilliant work. .As the \\:\s in
that jiart of Me'xico was (;ver, ( ieneral Ta\loi", commander of the
Arm)' of ( )ceupation, after passing a Iiigh encomium on their con-
duct during the cam])aign, or<lered Doniiihan and his men to
Brazos Island, at the mouth of the Riij (jrande. which they reached
on June 9. l-'rom thence they sailed for New Orleans, where
they were mustered out of the service, and, sailing up the ]\Iis-
sissippi, most of them arrived at St. Louis on July i. An enthusi-
astic reception was given to them on July 2 b)- the peojjle of that
city, at which there was a parade of all the city's military com-
panies and its lire di-parlnient, and an address of welcome and
coiigialulalion was dehvered b\ I'.enlon and a rejily by Doniphan.

Doniphan's iier.)ic men had maiehed aluuil three lhousan,d miles
througii a hostile country, had braxed hardships, hunger, thirst
aiul all the extremes of heat and cold, had fought Indians, ]\Iexi-
cans and guerrillas of both races, had been uniformly successful
in all their battles, and had completed a campaign as daring and
successful as any in the annals of the wars of the perioil.

While Doniphan, in the latter \xwi of 184C) and the early half
of 1847, \\''^y marching and iighting on the southern verge of
New Mexico's line and far into old Mexico, Price, with the other
little army of Missourians, with his heackpiarlers at New Mexico's
capital, was having- exciting times in that (piarter and near the
territory's northern border. A revolt had been planned by some
of the New Mexican leaders, to take place on Christmas day,
1846, the same day as Doniphan's fight at llrecila, two hundred
miles to the southward, but I'rice, learning of the i)lot, arrested

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some of the chief spirits in it, aiul the rising- did not take place.
The revolt was only delayed, however, not averted. i)n Jan-
uary 19, 1847, Governor Bent and his escort of a few soldiers
were murdered by insurgents at San Fernando, near Taos, in
the northeastern part of the territory.

Price, as soon as he learned of the outrage, marched with three
hundred and fifty ment against the rebels. Close to the village
of Canada he met them on the march toward Santa Fe, and
defeated them, although they largely outnumbered his force.
This was on January 24. Early in February, after being re-en-
forced by a company of cavalry and a 6-pounder cannon, his
force then numbering four hundred and eighty men, he pursued
the rebels to their stronghold at Taos, part of the way being
through two feet of snow, which had to be shoveled away in
order'to get the artillery and the baggage wagons through. At
Taos the Mexicans retreated to the Pueblo, where they were
besieged two days, and then their position was carried by storm.
About one hundred and fifty of the Mexicans were killed, many
were taken prisoners, and the rest retreated and dispersed. The
American loss was seven killed ami ft)rty-five wounded.

A few sporadic risings took place in the territory in the next
two or three months, but none of them were as formidable as
the one which was crushed at Taos, and Price and his men w^ere
ordered home, reaching Missouri on September 25, 1847, having
lost over four hundred men in battle and by disease. Other
volunteers from Missouri had reached New ^lexico from Fort
l.eavenworlh by this time, and Ceiieral Price returned to that
l)uinl, having in his new commanil about three thousand men.

In the meantime Scott, with his base at \'era Cruz, after a
wonderful series of successes between ]\Iarch, 1847, and Septem-
ber, entered the City of Mexico on the I4tli of the latter month,
and the war was virtually ended. All the nation's new territory
was pacified before the treaty of peace at Guadalupe Hidalgo, on
hVhruary 2, i^^.l8, plan-d the i)resent New Mexico, Arizona, Cali-
fornia, Nevada, Utah and portions of Colorado and Wyoming
inuier the stars and stripes.

n'l ^ionT ii




The Slavery Issue in Missouri

Kn;. ,< , 1 ne :51a very

THE new territory which this state took a leading part in w
ning- fi-

or the United States in 1846-48 began to make
serious troubk' for tlie hitter, and parlicniarl)' for 3ilissouri,
even before tliat conquest was conii)k'ted. To a bill introduced

^.^ in the house of representatives on August 8, 1846, for an ai)pro-
priation of two uiillion dollars to enable Polk to buy territory

jj, from Mexico, David Wilmot proposed an amendment shutting

^^ slavery out of all that region. This figured in the p(jlitics of the
day as the Wilmot proviso. The ilate of its introduction was

I three months after the beginning of the Mexican war. Wilmot
was a Pennsylvania Democrat, and his amendment had been

1. agreed on by many of the Democratic members of other northern

Though the \\ ilmot proviso was not enacted until 1862, in the
second year of the Civil war, it passed the hwuse of representatives
in 1846, in which body the North was predominant on accoimt of
poi)ulation, but it failed in the senate, in which there was a balance
between the free and the slave states, and in which, at that par-
ticular time, the slave states were slightly in the lead in the

In the vote in congress the Wilmot prohibition, in a general
way, split the country sectionally rather than by parties, reintro-
duced the geographical line in politics, like that seen in the division
on the {|uestion of Missouri's admission in i8i9-_'[. and which
reappeared momentarily in the Democratic national convention of
1844, wiun the Sonlh tinned against l-.x- 1 'resident Van iUnen,
whom l!ent(;n favored, and defeated him for the presidential
nomination because he was against Texas annt'xalion. ( )ne of the
Wihnot restriction's inimediate i-oiiseciuences was that Cass of

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Micliii;;in, in 1H17, iiivcntrd tl-ie popular .sovcrcii^nly doctrine
(that the pt-ojilc of the territories slionld have tiie privilege of
deciding;- whether they would ailniit or exclude slavery, regardless
(jf coni^ress's wishes in the matter), which Douglas patented and '
applied in the Kansas-Nebraska territorial act of 1S54, which ■
rei)ealed the Missouri compromise.

Online LibraryWeston Arthur GoodspeedThe province and the states, a history of the province of Louisiana under France and Spain, and of the territories and states of the United States formed therefrom (Volume 4) → online text (page 9 of 53)