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June

This webpage reproduces part of the
Journal
of
Philip N. Barbour

G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1936

This text has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!

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August
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

Journal
of Major Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Philip Norbourne Barbour

 p87  July 5th — On the 10th of June I left Matamoras on a twenty days leave to visit my wife at Galveston. My visit has terminated and I am back again with the Regiment. Never in my life have I enjoyed so much happiness as my visit afforded me. The recollection of it will live with me forever. My dear Mattie was perfectly overcome with joy and seemed to cling to me during the whole stay with her as though a separation would be death.a God grant that this war may soon terminate and we may be again permanently united and comfortably settled somewhere. I found Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bibb in a horrible state of mind on my return here. He had forgotten his pledge, got on a frolic and been forced to resign. When he met me it was near Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Hatch's tent. He could not speak but threw himself on the bed and burst into tears. I soothed him as well as I could and after the lapse of perhaps ten minutes he became somewhat calm and asked me how I had left "Cousin Mat." I told him very well and that she sent her love to him. This threw him into another paroxysm of grief, and when he partially recovered from it he told me he had nothing on earth to live  p88 for, that he could not go home and he was resolved upon putting an end to his existence. I combated this fancy as well as I could and finally by holding out to him bright prospects, the attainment of which depended only on his own exertions, got him to promise me that he would make preparations and leave for Mobile or Montgomery, Alabama, on the first boat.

July 6th — Today I furnished Bibb with $50.00,b all the money I had at the time, and he left this afternoon on a steamboat for the mouth of the river. He promised to let me hear from him and to follow the advice I have given him.

July 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th — Nothing important.

July 11th — Thornton'sc Court met today. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bragg and myself are assisting him in his defence.

July 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th — Have been to the Court room every day. A great deal of interest is manifested by the editors and correspondents of newspapers now here in the result of this trial.

July 16th, 17th — Prepared defence. Bragg wrote it and read it today in Court. It was a strong one.

July 18th — Heard today Col. Whistler'sd defence by Ogden of Alexandria, La., a distinguished lawyer. It was a very ingenious production and indicated  p89 very extraordinary talent in the writer. The old Colonel was so much pleased with it that he remarked as he came out of the Court room, "By George, they can't hang me."

July 19th — I am detailed as Judge Advocate for a General Court Martial which is to convene tomorrow, for the trial of Lieut. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bowman, 3d Infantry, on charges preferred by Major Leare for "neglect of duty, disobedience of orders and disrespect to his commanding officer." General Taylorf has acknowledged Thornton's letter of yesterday calling on him to avow or disavow the remark reported by Capt. Mayg to have been made by him prejudicial to Thornton's courage, and has disavowed it, saying that to say he had ever asserted anything derogatory to Thornton's courage was to attribute to him sentiments he never entertained. Thornton is perfectly satisfied, and ought to be.

July 20th — Court met today and sat five hours. Volunteers are playing the devil and disgracing the country in Matamoras.

July 21st — Court continued its session and finished the evidence for the prosecution.

July 22d — Finished the testimony on the defence today. Court adjourned until the 25th to enable Bowman to make his written defence.

 p90  July 23d — Cols. Twiggsh and Kearneyi are Brigadier Generals; General Taylor is Major General and lots of volunteer appointments. W. O. Butlerj Major General of Volunteers. The "Mohawks" are signalizing themselves. They killed a Dragoon this afternoon. I have been in town writing up proceedings.

July 24th — Spent the day in town writing. The artists took a sketch of me for their painting.

July 25th — Bowman delivered his defence and the proceedings have been handed in. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Brooks is in the reveille today, denounced as wanting every principle of honor as an officer and gentleman for confining in the guard house a rowdy "Mohawk."

July 26th — Ordered to be in readiness to leave for Camargo.

July 27th — Brookek arrived here from Washington with dispatches for General Taylor.

July 28th — This afternoon about sunset companies F, H and I, 3d Infantry, embarked on the steamer "I. E. Roberts" for Camargo. Officers Captains Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bainbridge (in command), Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Field and Barbour; Lieuts. Dobbins,l Brooks and Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Richardson and Dr. Kennedy. My company came off at very short notice. During the day Major Lear had positively assured me that I would not go until tomorrow, and I  p91 had therefore made no preparation except that of turning in to the Quartermaster's Department the surplus baggage of my company. We were under arms for evening parade when the Major sent me an order to embark. In an hour the company and property was on board, and the boat left. We are running along very slowly, making not over two miles an hour. The boat is well commanded by Capt. Reedm whom I knew ten years ago on Red River.

July 29th — Our progress has been slow but sure so far. Today we passed General Smith'sn camp at Buena Vista. The "Troy" was lying there to take down one of the regiments to the mouth of the river. All the men and officers of the camp were on the bank as we came up and a portion of the camp was already struck preparatory to the embarkation. In a few days more that camp will be broken up by the embarkation for New Orleans of the remaining regiment of Louisianians, and General Smith will according to rumor be assigned to the command of a brigade of regulars composed of the 5th and 7th Regiments of Infantry at Camargo. The Rio Grande is a noble river at the present stage of water. There is not a snag in it. The country along its banks is decidedly pleasing, many spots being so elevated as to have escaped entirely the recent overflow. A dense mesquite forest borders the river on both sides except here and there where a Mexican cornfield varies the scene. The Mexicans  p92 appear to be exceedingly friendly along the river. They generally have wood to sell to the boats, but no chickens or other eatables.

July 30th — We have been poking along at a snail's gallop all day and at 10 o'clock at night have tied up until morning, being unable to make steam enough out of the green mesquite (the only wood to be had) to stem the strong current of the Rio Grande. The boat has frequently had to run in to the shore during the day and stop long enough to get a sufficient head of steam on to make the slightest progress.

July 31st — Passed Reynosa at 9 o'clock this morning. It is an old looking town, built after the plan of Matamoras with a plaza, etc. The people up here are much more friendly towards us than at Matamoras owing to two facts mainly; first the Texas Rangers have not been let loose on them and only Canales has since the battle committed outrages upon them which have rather turned the current of their feeling in our favor. Col. Wilson'sn battalion of the 1st Infantry is quartered in the Plaza and conduct themselves with great propriety. At Reynosa the country is perceptibly more elevated than any we have passed, the town itself being chiefly built on a considerable hill. Ran until about 10 o'clock at night, when we struck a sand bar upon which we remained for half an hour then got off and tied up for the night.


Thayer's Notes:

a See his wife's diary, July 1.

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b Equivalent in 2015 to about $1100.

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c Seth Barton Thornton: born in Virginia, appointed from Alabama. Second Lieutenant in the 2d Dragoons 8 Jun 1836; First Lieutenant 16 Nov 1837; Captain 1 Feb 1841; killed 18 Aug 1847 on a reconnaissance near San Antonio Valley of Mexico. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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d William Whistler: born in Maryland, appointed from the Northwest Territory. Second Lieutenant in the 1st Infantry 8 Jun 1801; First Lieutenant 4 Mar 1807; Captain 31 Dec 1812; transferred to the 3d Infantry 17 May 1815; Major in the 2d Infantry 28 Apr 1826; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 7th Infantry 21 Jul 1834; Colonel in the 4th Infantry 15 Jul 1845; retired 9 Oct 1861; Brevet Major 31 Dec 1822 for 10 years faithful service in one grade; died 4 Dec 1863. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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e William W. Lear: born in Maryland, appointed from the Army. Private, Corporal, and Sergeant in the Light Dragoons 18 May 1812 to 15 Jun 1815 and in the 4th Infantry to Mar 1818; Second Lieutenant in the 4th Infantry 13 Feb 1818; First Lieutenant 24 Feb 1818; Captain 1 May 1824; Major in the 3d Infantry 14 Jun 1842; Brevet Major 1 May 1834 for 10 years faithful service in one grade. Died 31 Oct 1846 of wounds received 21 Sep 1846 in the attack on the city of Monterey, Mex. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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f Zachary Taylor: born in Virginia, appointed from Kentucky. First Lieutenant in the 7th Infantry 3 May 1808; Captain 30 Nov 1810, Major in the 26th Infantry 15 May 1814; retained 17 May 1815 as Captain in the 7th Infantry which he declined and was honorably discharged 15 Jun 1815; reinstated as Major in the 3d Infantry 17 May 1816; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 4th Infantry 20 Apr 1819; transferred to the 8th Infantry 13 Aug 1819; transferred to the 1st Infantry 1 Jun 1821; transferred to the 7th Infantry 16 Aug 1821; transferred to the 1st Infantry 1 Jan 1822; Colonel 4 Apr 1832; transferred to the 6th Infantry 7 July 1843; Major General 29 Jun 1846; Brevet Major 5 Sep 1812 for gallant conduct in the defense of Ft. Harrison, Ind.; Brigadier General 25 Dec 1837 for distinguished service in the battle of Kissimmee [Okeechobee], Fla. with Seminole Indians and Major General 28 May 1846 for his gallant conduct and distinguished service in the successive victories over superior Mexican forces at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, Tex. on May 8 and 9, 1846; tendered the thanks of Congress 16 Jul 1846 "for the fortitude, skill, enterprise and courage which have distinguished the recent operations on the Rio Grande, with the presentation of a gold medal with appropriate devices and inscriptions thereon, in the name of the Republic, as a tribute to his good conduct, valor, and generosity to the vanquished;" by resolution of 2 Mar 1847 "for the fortitude, skill, enterprise, and courage which distinguished the late brilliant military operations at Monterey," and with the presentation of a gold medal "emblematical of this splendid achievement, as a testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of his judicious and distinguished conduct on that memorable occasion," and by resolution of 9 May 1848 "for himself and the troops under his command for their valor, skill, and gallant conduct, conspicuously displayed on the 22d and 23d of February last in the battle of Buena Vista, in defeating a Mexican army of more than four times their number, consisting of chosen troops under their favorite commander, Gen. Santa Anna, with the presentation of a gold medal emblematical of this splendid achievement, as a testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of his judicious and distinguished conduct on that memorable occasion;" resigned 31 Jan 1840; President of the United States 4 Mar 1849 until he died 9 Jul 1850. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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g Charles Augustus May: born in the District of Columbia, appointed from the District of Columbia. Second Lieutenant in the 2d Dragoons 8 Jun 1836; First Lieutenant 15 Dec 1837; Captain 2 Feb 1841; Major in the 1st Dragoons 3 Mar 1855; transferred to 2d Dragoons 23 Oct 1855; Brevet Major 8 May 1846 for gallant and distinguished service in the battle of Palo Alto, Tex.; Lieutenant-Colonel 9 May 1846 for gallant and highly distinguished conduct at the battle of Resaca de la Palma, Tex. and Colonel 23 Feb 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Buena Vista, Mex.; resigned 20 Apr 1861. Died 24 Dec 1864. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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h David Emanuel Twiggs: born in Georgia, appointed from Georgia. Captain in the 8th Infantry 12 Mar 1812; Major in the 28th Infantry 21 Sep 1814; honorably discharged 15 Jun 1815; reinstated as Captain in the 7th Infantry 2 Dec 1815 with brevet of Major from 21 Sep 1814; transferred to 1st Infantry 14 Dec 1821; Major 14 May 1825; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 4th Infantry 15 Jul 1831; Colonel in the 2d Dragoons 8 Jun 1836; Brigadier General 30 Jun 1846; Brevet Major General 23 Sep 1846 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the several conflicts at Monterey, Mex.; received by resolution of Congress of 2 Mar 1847 the presentation of a was done "in testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of his gallantly and good conduct in storming Monterey;" dismissed 1 Mar 1861. Major General C. S. A. war 1861 to 1865. Died 15 Jul 1862. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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i Stephen Watts Kearny (very often spelled Kearney in contemporaneous documents): born in New Jersey, appointed from New York. First Lieutenant in the 13th Infantry 12 Mar 1812; Captain 1 Apr 1813; transferred to the 2d Infantry 17 May 1815; transferred to the 3d Infantry 1 Jun 1821; transferred to the 1st Infantry 4 Jun 1821; Major in the 3d Infantry 1 May 1829; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 1st Dragoons 4 Mar 1833; Colonel 4 Jul 1836; Brigadier General 30 Jun 1846; Bvt Major 1 Apr 1823 for 10 years faithful service in one grade and Major General for gallant and meritorious conduct in Northern Mexico and California to date from the battle of San Pasqual 6 Dec 1846. Died 31 Oct 1848. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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j The printed book's "L. O. Butler" is a transcription error by the editor or her printer; there is no officer by that name in Heitman's Register.

William Orlando Butler: born in Kentucky, appointed from Kentucky. Sergeant in the Kentucky Volunteers, 1812; Second Lieutenant in the 2d Infantry 28 Sep 1812; Captain in the 17th Infantry 5 Apr 1813; transferred to the 44th Infantry 3 Aug 1813; transferred to the 1st Infantry 17 May 1815; Brevet Major 23 Dec 1814 for gallant conduct at New Orleans, La.; resigned 31 May 1817; Major-General of Volunteers 29 Jun 1846; received by resolution of Congress of 2 Mar 1847 the presentation of a sword in testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of his gallantry and good conduct in the storming of Monterey, Mex.; honorably discharged 15 Aug 1848. Died 6 Aug 1880. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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k Not the Brooke who resigned in April, of course:

George Mercer Brooke: born in Virginia, appointed from Virginia. First Lieutenant in the 5th Infantry 3 May 1808; Captain 1 May 1810; Major in the 23d Infantry 1 May 1814; transferred to the 4th Infantry 17 May 1815; transferred to the 8th Infantry 27 Jan 1819; Lieutenant-Colonel 1 Mar 1819; transferred to the 4th Infantry 13 Aug 1819; Colonel in the 5th Infantry 15 Jul 1831; Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel 15 Aug 1814 for gallant conduct in the defense of Ft. Erie, U. C.; Brigadier General 17 Sep 1824 for 10 years faithful service in one grade and Major General 30 May 1848 for meritorious conduct particularly in the performance of his duties in prosecuting the war with Mexico. Died 9 Mar 1851. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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l Stephen Decatur Dobbins: born in Pennsylvania, appointed from Pennsylvania. Cadet at the Military Academy 1 Jul to 30 Sep 1830 and 1 Jul 1834 to 10 Jul 1835; Second Lieutenant in the 3d Infantry 29 Sep 1838; First Lieutenant 31 Jan 1842; Captain 16 Feb 1847; dismissed 21 Mar 1847; reinstated 24 May 1847; dismissed 1 Dec 1847. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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m Heitman's Register lists no officer by the name of Reed (Read, Reade) serving in 1846 with the rank of Captain or Brevet Captain.

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n Persifor Frazer Smith: born in Pennsylvania, appointed from Louisiana. Colonel in the Louisiana Volunteers 2 Feb 1836; honorably mustered out 13 May 1836; Brigadier General in the Louisiana Volunteers 15 May 1846; Colonel in the Mounted Rifles 27 May 1846; Brigadier General 30 Dec 1856; Brevet Brigadier General 23 Sep 1846 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the several conflicts at Monterey, Mex. and Major General 20 Aug 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex. Died 17 May 1858. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

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o Henry Wilson: born in Pennsylvania, appointed from Pennsylvania. Ensign in the 32d Infantry 17 May 1813; Second Lieutenant 19 Apr 1814; honorably discharged 15 Jun 1815; reinstated 2 Dec 1815 in the 4th Infantry; First Lieutenant 31 Dec 1816; Regimental Adjutant 7 Sep 1816 to 20 Apr 1819; Captain 20 Apr 1819; Major in the 3d Infantry 1 Nov 1838; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 1st Infantry 14 Jun 1842; Colonel in the 7th Infantry 11 Jun 1851; Brevet Major 20 Apr 1829 for 10 years faithful service in one grade and Colonel 23 Sep 1846 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the several conflicts at Monterey, Mex.; resigned 25 Feb 1861. Died 21 Feb 1872. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)


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