[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
mail: Bill Thayer 
[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]
Italiano

[Link to a series of help pages]
Help
[Link to the next level up]
Up
[Link to my homepage]
Home
previous:

[image ALT: link to previous section]
May

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!

next:

[image ALT: link to next section]
July
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

 p76  June 1st — This has been a busy day with us all, having been employed in transferring the property of the companies broken up for the recruiting service to those remaining in Mexico. The day closed with a terrible storm which lasted until 10 o'clock at night. I have never witnessed more awful thunder, lightning and wind than we have had this evening. After supper I wrote a letter to Uncle Jacob to be taken by Mr. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Johns. No news of interest.

June 2d — This has been a very hot day and I have got through it barely alive, it appears to me. I feel so exhausted by the heat. The air we usually have has not been felt at all and it is close as a furnace out doors and in. Heard today that Col. Wilson'sa  p77 command (four companies of the 1st Infantry) were ordered to Reynosa and are to leave on the 4th inst. The rumor of General Scott'sb coming is believed at Headquarters. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.McLeod's No. 1 came out today. It is very well received by the Matamorians and doubtless will take generally with the people of northern Mexico whose eyes will be opened by it to the degradation of their condition under the existing and former Governments and the contrast presented to them of what they might be under a Government of equal and just laws and free institutions. McLeod called to see me this afternoon. He has received a letter from his wife as late as May 26th, brought over by Dr. Ashbel Smith. I wonder why he did not bring me one. Perhaps he did and has entrusted it to some one who has forgotten to deliver it, or, if he did not, he left Galveston without informing Mattie that he was coming. McLeod showed me a letter he received from Col. Lovec who makes assertions concerning Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Kingsbury's course in Galveston which, if true (and coming from such a source I cannot question their veracity), reflect but very little credit upon him as a representative of the Army and the Government. Col. Love says that besides uttering openly and at all times the most unprovoked and unfounded abuse of the city and its inhabitants, he has made himself especially conspicuous in denouncing this war as "unholy," etc., on our part, and that his own conduct, more than any other cause, has prevented the raising of more volunteers  p78 in the city. I make a minute of this because if K. should return to the Army and open the battery of his satire against Galveston, I shall certainly feel bound to defend it so far as to state that it was owing more to "his own conduct than any other cause" that he was not pleased there, etc. I know Galveston to be a delightful, hospitable place and am vexed that any one of the Army should assert the contrary, knowing better. As to the matter of volunteers, I am disposed to believe that it was not Kingsbury's fault that the people did not turn out at first, but his bitter denunciations for their want of zeal may have deterred them eventually from offering their services. My company is on guard tonight and I am officer of the day.

June 3d — Wrote to Mattie today and gave my letter to Dr. Ashbel Smith who popped in upon me just as I was in a sad, sad mood. Of late I have had too much excitement to permit my mind to brood over the cruel separation from my only source of happiness which my destiny imposes, but not having had a letter from Mattie for a long, long time, and being in a state of perfect idleness in Camp, added to the thousand annoyances from ticks, redbugs, etc., etc., we daily experience here, I had become quite melancholy and disgusted. Dr. Smith's arrival dispelled the gloom which was gathering round me by giving me news from Galveston of a much later date than I was in possession of notwithstanding he informed me that a good long letter  p79 sent by the "Rosella" was lost by the wreck of the vessel. The Doctor dined with me on roast mutton, corn, beans, tomatoes, onions, squash and a bottle of claret which he appeared to enjoy very much. I went with him to see General Taylord and during our visit he took especial pains to remark, "When I was the accredited representative of our little Republic across the waters," several times. His object here I believe is to enter the service in the staff of Governor Henderson as his Chief Medical Officer and he goes to Point Isabel tomorrow to meet him. The Texas troops have not used much apparent alacrity in repairing to the theater of war, but being scattered sparsely over a large extent of country it could not be expected they would reach it as soon as those from New Orleans, where not only the men but all the facilities of coming over were at hand. They will doubtless be at Point Isabel in a few days, in sufficient time to participate in the next campaign, if there be another. I regret very much to learn that Kingsbury has pursued an impolitic, not to say reprehensible course at Galveston; for it is calculated, not only to retard the arrival of the volunteers, but to injure the Army. It is to be hoped, however, the people will not judge the temper and character of a whole class of gentlemen by the peevishness and ill nature of a single individual. He says and does many things, I have no doubt, from a mere habit of sarcasm, and bitterness, which he never dreams will be so offensive to good taste and the feelings of  p80 those about him as is really the fact. The Officers detailed for the recruiting service left us this afternoon. I sent by Johns a box of Mexican segars and cigarettes to Uncle Jacob, also one to Uncle Levi. Dr. Smith has promised to see them forwarded from Point Isabel direct and to inquire what may be the chances of sending letters direct from time to time and let me know. The New Orleans route is altogether too slow for my comfort but at present I can do no better. I have concluded to send this Journal "with all its imperfections on its head" to Mattie. I have kept it solely for her and although it contains but little I have not already communicated in my letter, yet she will read its dull pages with interest. Owing to causes I have explained to her in my letter of today, it is not as minute as I could wish it, indeed it is more in the form of memoranda of military events than a history of my own sayings and doings. I possess as much egotism, I believe, as almost any other man (except perhaps my guest at dinner today), but not enough to write a whole volume about myself. Tomorrow I shall make another book like this and keep up my Journal as well as possible in the field. The General will not move toward Monterrey until he establishes a depot of supplies at Camargo, which is to be his base, and receives from Washington instructions for his guidance in carrying on the war and such a plan of campaign (if made) as the wisdom of the cabinet may concoct. There will be delay enough here, I  p81 am satisfied, to allow me time to run over to Galveston and back, but unless the indulgence is offered to me I cannot go as an application to leave here now would doubtless be construed into an acknowledgment on my part that I desired to quit the camp for the boudoir. If our Government has any energy at all it might close this war by the fall and let us have quiet. But I fear it has but a meager share of that important quality in any of its departments. It is now late and I must bid good-night to my Mattie (and my Journal) and hope in my dreams to be with her.

(Signed)   Phil Barbour.

 p82  Journal No. 2

June 4th, 1846 Sent to Mattie this morning my letter and my Journal from 28th March inclusive of yesterday. Received this afternoon her two letters of May 23d and 25th which Dr. Ashbel Smith assured me had been sent by the "Rosella" and were lost. My joy therefore at receiving them was enhanced. After tea, walked over to the General's and sat half an hour or more. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bliss had just received a box of clothing from New York which he displayed to me with all the vanity a boy would feel on putting on suspenders for the first time. He is quite foolish about some things. He told me my name was mentioned in the official dispatch of the battle of "Resaca de la Palma." I took occasion while talking with the General to remark that our troops were suffering for want of tents and from his reply I judge he is looking now for the arrival of a supply at Point Isabel. Received also today a note from Thorntone in answer to one I wrote him putting him on his guard against his witness being sent off under the recent order for "Recruiting Service." He says Sergt. Freeman, an important witness for him, and whose name was on the list previously submitted by him to Capt. Bliss, was under orders to leave and would have  p83 gone but for my note which caused him to inquire as to who was going. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bibb left camp last night on leave from Capt. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Morris (Major Learf being out) and not having returned this morning at 9 o'clock, the Major sent Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Johnson to look for him in town fearing he might have been killed by some desperado. Johnson found him in the plaza standing about there as deliberately and unconcerned as if he had not been and was not then absent from Camp without permission. He came back about 12 o'clock. I do not know what he has been about and shall not inquire. We have hot weather now, but a brisk air during the afternoon which enables us to snooze very comfortably. Our camp was reorganized today and pitched agreeably to regiments.

June 5th — Sent over the river today and recovered my little stool which I feared was lost. I would not lose it "for a pretty." The Major issued several orders yesterday touching the officers. One required them to apply in writing through the Adjutant whenever they desired to leave camp and to state the length of time they wished to be absent — another requires all the officers of the Regiment (including the Doctors) to attend reveille. I have not been to Matamoras for near a week. What will Mattie say when she learns that I have given up the practice of chewing tobacco and smoking? I cannot say it will be permanent, but I will try and make it so. Quite a moral man I have become of  p84 late — don't drink, smoke or chew. Why, I should be a suitable person in the "States" to head a Sunday School or Temperance Society. Went in bathing with Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bush this evening. The 1st Infantry crossed the river this afternoon preparatory to its march to Reynosa. It is rumored that Arista's army has dispersed. Saw young Mr. Toddg this evening from Gonzales, Texas. He is a volunteer in Capt. McCullough'sh company. He told me that he offered to take charge of my wife last fall when he came from Kentucky and see her after to Galveston, but she was not ready to come. I invited him to dine with me tomorrow.

June 6th — About 3 o'clock the morning I was awakened by a terrible storm that came up suddenly. I got up to fasten down the front of my tent, in which I only partially succeeded, so violent was the wind. Several tents were blown down, among them Capt. Morris' who was smothered for some time beneath it. Finally he made out to call for Coleby which set us all to laughing. He cried lustily but Coleby didn't hear him, and he was compelled to stick it out till reveille. This is anything but a pleasant climate. The storms are so frequent and terrific that we are suffering from them half the time. Went to town this morning. Saw McLeod and Major Labuzan.i The latter told me he had sent off to have published the piece about Thornton. No. 2 of the "Republic" is out. The Mexicans read it with much avidity. Mrs. Sarah  p85 Tayler of Corpus Christi reminiscence has set up a store in Matamoras, and is making money "hand over fist." After dinner just as I was preparing to take the siesta my Orderly Sergeant came to me with an order that one officer from each company should go over to the Fort to draw clothing. Bush being sick I had to go from our company. Saw over there Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Morris S. Miller, a classmate whom I have not met before since we left the Academy. He is just the man he was then, barring a slight sprinkling of gray in his locks. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Bainbridge and I went up from the fort to see the volunteers drill. Both regiments were under arms. The Washington Regiment (Col. Walton's)j is far ahead of the other called the Jackson Regiment (Col. Marks').k The Jackson boys may, from the influence of a name, fight well, but they certainly can't drill. In a few weeks Walton's regiment, I think, will have attained a respectable state of discipline. Saw General Smithl on our return. He was quite polite and agreeable. After tea found young Todd at Bibb's tent. He apologized for not coming to dinner (having been employed moving camp) and I invited him to breakfast with me tomorrow. He appears to be a good fellow. I have felt very much today the want of my tobacco. An indescribable sort of languor has been upon me all day, resulting doubtless from the withdrawal of every sort of stimulant from my system. Nevertheless I shall persevere and break myself of a vulgar and expensive habit. The commendation I will receive for it  p86 from Mattie will amply repay me for the inconvenience I now suffer from my abstinence. The church bells have been ringing merrily in town tonight. There is a rumour (not credited) that Vera Cruz is ours, we having lost two ships in its capture. There is also a report, relied on I believe at Headquarters, that two of Arista's Generals, viz.: Garcia and Torrejon, died of fever a few days ago on their retreat to Monterrey.

June 7th — The day opened with one of those bright but close hot mornings which almost surely betoken a storm before its close. Mr. Todd breakfasted with me, we had mutton chops, eggs, hash and coffee with excellent baker's bread and butter. Todd, whose bill of fare in the volunteers' camp is anything but inviting according to his own account of it, thought ours very sumptuous. He is a good fellow evidently. I like him for his Kentucky manners and frankness. He and Bibb are old acquaintances. They have been talking for the last two hours about Louisville and having gone through the catalogue of their mutual acquaintances they have left, Bibb for the other side of the river on duty and Todd to the Cathedral to see the Catholics worship. Remained all day in my tent reading, writing and sleeping. Inspected my company and found the muskets in bad order. Can't be helped, the frequent rains and no tents to protect the muskets must rust them. After tea walked with Capt. Bainbridge on the river bank and in returning  p87 called and sat half an hour at Capt. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Mansfield's tent. While there General Worthm rode by, pulled up and spoke to us. He appeared in good spirits and was as usual accompanied by his aide and orderly. Tonight have been trying to write to Mattie, but really I feel so stupid that I cannot write an intelligible sentence.


Thayer's Notes:

a 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)

[decorative delimiter]

b Winfield Scott: born in Virginia, appointed from Virginia. Captain in the Light Artillery 3 May 1808; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 2d Artillery 6 Jul 1812; Colonel 12 Mar 1813; Colonel and Adjutant General 18 Mar to 18 Jul 1813; Brigadier General 9 Mar 1814; Major General 25 Jun 1841; Commander in Chief of the Army 5 Jul 1841 to 1 Nov 1861; retired 1 Nov 1861; Brevet Major General 25 Jul 1814 for his distinguished services in the successive conflicts of Chippewa and Niagara, U. C., and for his uniform gallantry and good conduct as an officer in said army and Lieutenant General 29 Mar 1847 for eminent services in the late war with Mexico the day on which the U. S. forces under his command captured Vera Cruz and the battle of San Juan de Ulloa; presented with a gold medal under resolution of Congress 3 Nov 1814 with suitable emblems and devices in testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of his distinguished services in the successive conflicts of Chippewa and Niagara and of his uniform gallantry and good conduct in sustaining the reputation of the arms of the United States; resolution of Congress 9 Mar 1848:

"That the thanks of Congress be, and they are hereby, presented to Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott, commander in chief of the army in Mexico, and through him to the officers and men of the regular and volunteer corps under him for their uniform gallantry and good conduct conspicuously displayed at the siege and capture of the city of Vera Cruz and castle of San Juan de Ulloa, 29th March, 1847, and the successive battles of Cerro Gordo, 19th and 20th April, and the victories achieved in front of the city of Mexico 8th, 11th, 12th, and 13th September, and the capture of the metropolis 14th September, 1847, in which the Mexican troops, greatly superior in numbers, and with every advantage of position, were in every conflict signally defeated by the American arms.

"Sec. 2. That the President of the United States be, and is hereby, requested to cause to be struck a gold medal with devices emblematical of the series of brilliant victories achieved by the army and presented to Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott as a testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of his valor, skill, and judicious conduct in the memorable campaign of 1847."

Died 29 May 1866. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

[decorative delimiter]

c Heitman's Register lists no officer by the name of Love (or Lowe) with the rank in 1846 of Lieut.‑Colonel or Colonel, including brevet ranks. He seems to be the same man as mentioned in Martha Barbour's diary.

[decorative delimiter]

d 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)

[decorative delimiter]

e 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)

[decorative delimiter]

f 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)

[decorative delimiter]

g The only officer listed in Heitman's Register that this might be is Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.John Blair Smith Todd; Cullum's Register has him serving in the 6th Infantry and/or on recruiting service in 1846, not with any volunteers, and only participating in the Mexican War starting in 1847.

[decorative delimiter]

h More properly, Benjamin McCulloch: born in Tennessee, appointed from Texas. Captain in the 1st Texas Rangers 26 Apr to 30 Sep 1846; Major and Quartermaster of Volunteers 16 Jul 1845; resigned 6 Sep 1847. Brigadier General C. S. A. war 1861 to 1865; killed 7 Mar 1862 at the battle of Pea Ridge, Ark. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

[decorative delimiter]

i Charles A. Labuzan, of a prominent Louisiana family, was an officer not in the United States Army but in the Louisiana Militia; in the War between the States, he would be a Confederate general.

[decorative delimiter]

j Heitman's Register lists no officer by the name of Walton serving in 1846; the volunteers he commanded very likely belonged to the Texas Militia or a State Militia.

[decorative delimiter]

k Heitman's Register lists no officer by the name of Marks serving in 1846; the volunteers he commanded very likely belonged to the Texas Militia or a State Militia.

[decorative delimiter]

l 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)

[decorative delimiter]

m William Jenkins Worth: born in New York, appointed from New York. First Lieutenant in the 23d Infantry 19 Mar 1813; Captain 19 Aug 1814; transferred to the 2d Infantry 17 May 1815; transferred to the 1st Artillery 1 Jun 1821; Major in the Ordnance 30 May 1832; Colonel in the 8th Infantry 7 Jul 1838; Brevet Captain 5 Jul 1814 for his gallant and distinguished conduct at the battle of Chippewa, U. C.; Major 25 Jul 1814, that being the day of the battle of Niagara in which he was distinguished by his gallantry and good conduct; Lieutenant-Colonel 25 Jul 1824 for 10 years faithful service in the grade of Brevet Major; Brigadier General 1 Mar 1842 for gallant and highly distinguished service as commander of the forces in the war against the Florida Indians and Major General 23 Sep 1846 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the several conflicts at Monterey, Mex.; presented with a sword by resolution of Congress 2 Mar 1847 in testimony of the high sense entertained of his gallantry and good conduct in the storming of Monterey, Mex. Died 7 May 1849. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 18 May 15