[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]
August

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!

[image ALT: a blank space]
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

 p103  September 1st — For the last ten days I have had no opportunity of writing in my Journal. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Cary Fry has been staying with me, sick in my tent and we have had so constant a stream of visitors that it was impossible to command a moment's time. I had to leave Cary in the care of Dr. Kennedy until he leaves for Galveston where I hope he will soon recover his health. Our Brigade marched this afternoon and we are tonight encamped about five miles from Camargo on the route to Monterey. There was great confusion on halting in selecting our company baggage. It is all carried on pack mules and the entire train for both regiments being unpacked at the same place it was extremely difficult to distinguish the packs from each other, it being after night when the mules came up and too dark to perceive the marks, although we had the light of a young moon. Just before starting received two letters from my dearest Mattie which caused me to take the route with a light and merry heart. Would to God I were able to be with her and make some return for her untiring devotion. However every pulsation of my heart is hers and I love her almost to idolatry. I saw this morning in a newspaper that I had been breveted a Major. It is of course gratifying to me but to Mattie what a source of proud satisfaction it will be! For her sake I  p104 would dare anything to win a name which she might be proud of.

Sept. 2d — Marched 11 miles today. Everybody disgusted that the hottest portion of the day should have been taken to perform it. Garlandaand Learb had a row. Country dead level, mesquite forest, etc. Writing by moonlight. Too much wind to burn a candle.

Sept. 16th — We have passed successively Puntiaguda, Serralvo, and Ramos on our route, part of which lay through the most lovely country on earth and reached the camp 1½ miles beyond Marin, yesterday. The 7th and 3d divisions (Worth'sc and Butler's)d will be up tomorrow and next day and our march will be resumed on the day following the arrival of the last for Monterey. (Evening.) Worth's Division is up. I cannot attempt a description of the scenery of this country, it is beyond my powers. But in a single word I can say with truth that it exceeds in picturesque beauty my most romantic dreams of nature's loveliest and grandest charms. In my letter to Mattie which I am writing from this place I have made a feeble effort to convey the impressions this truly lovely region has made upon me, but my powers of description fall far short of accomplishing it.

Sept. 17th — Received my Brevet Commission as Major. Butler's Division has arrived. General Taylore  p105 received a letter this evening from the Spanish Consul in Monterey asking him if he would respect private property when he entered the city. The General replied that if the city capitulated he would but if he had to take it by storm he would not be responsible for the excesses of his troops though he would endeavor to restrain them. This confirms our previous belief that Ampudia would not fight us. The Mexicans here all agree that he will vamoose. Indeed we have a report that he has already gone. We march tomorrow, the 1st Division at 6, the 2d at 7 and the 3d at 8. Sent off my letter to my dearest Mattie.

Sept. 18th — Marched 12 miles today through a thick chaparral country and we are snugly encamped in the outskirts of a little town called San Francisco. On our approach a body of Rancheros, about 400 of them, left the town and was in sight when we came up. Speculation is rife tonight about a battle at Monterey. The Padre here, I understand, says there will be one. I cannot, on his authority, yield my impression that there will not. There was quite a scene in camp this evening. Some of the Texans who were prisoners taken on the Mier expedition recognized a Mexican, whom they found in a house engaged in dictating or writing a letter, a man who had treated them with extreme cruelty in their passage through Mexico. They "nailed him" after a short chase but not in time to secure his letter that he tore up as he ran. They beat him severely  p106 and probably would have killed him but for the interposition of some of our men. They were taking him along to the General as a spy when he suddenly broke from them and ran. A man by whom he passed knocked him down with his musket. He rose and ran again. Lieut. McPhailf seized him and was thrown off from him with violence and he was about escaping when a man of the Dragoons with a pistol struck him over the eyebrow, cutting open his forehead, and secured him. He was then taken to the General who intends to hold him in custody until he gets to Monterey.

Sept. 19th — Today our road was dusty and consequently disagreeable. We passed two little places, towns or haciendas, one called San Domingo, the other Muscatel. When within three miles of Monterey my impressions about a fight were all suddenly and unexpectedly removed by the rapid discharge in front of three cannons followed by a number of others. The command was in a moment in high spirits, the men laughing and joking about the "fun," as they were pleased to term it. We quickened our pace and soon came up with the advance which was retiring. We ascertained that our gallant old General, ever foremost in seeking danger, had gone ahead until within range of the enemy's guns and they opened upon him. The two regiments of mounted Texans were with him. The first shot passed within ten feet of the General and subsequently two balls passed through both the  p107 Texas regiments without touching a hair of man or horse. The army retired half a mile to a beautiful grove of pecan and walnut trees of very large size, and encamped. All along the line of our camp springs of cold and clear water gush out of the rock and the troops are enjoying it with as much zest as ever the bacchanalian reveled in his care-destroying bowl. Several reconnoitering parties have been out all the afternoon making observations upon the enemy's defenses and have had their battery playing upon them, but without any effect during a greater part of the time. Out of more than 30 guns fired at them not a single shot has taken effect. Three Texans are reported to have been taken in a cornfield a mile from Camp, by the Rancheros who have been hovering about us during the entire march from Serralvo, and carried off. This is "tit for tat," the Texans having taken at San Francisco yesterday three lancers whom they have be choking a little this afternoon to get the news out of them. The city has to be carried and as there are no guns in our train of sufficient caliber to batter, the bayonet will probably have to do the work. It is a perilous undertaking and we must anticipate immense slaughter, but our officers and men without exception, I am sure, have stout hearts and strong arms, nerved by the determination to do it or die. The General is in high spirits, I am told, and has unshaken confidence in the little army that so nobly sustained him on the fields of "Palo Alto" and "Resaca de la Palma."

 p108  Sept. 20th — The first intelligence I heard this morning was that Major Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Mansfield had crept up to a battery on a height beyond the city and ascertained its exact strength and the nature of the ground about it. An act of skill and daring combined for which I sincerely hope he may be rewarded by another brevet. It appears there are two points at which we can attack them with the promise of success and but a trifling loss on our part. A deserter came in to the General last night from Monterey, stating that he was a regular soldier of the Mexican army and had deserted on account of Ampudia's cruelty to him; that he knew General Taylor to be a brave man and was ready and willing to render him all the assistance in his power against Ampudia. The fellow I believe was a little drunk. There is quite a fire going on in the direction of the city. Probably some straw huts burning that intercept the enemy's shot. I feel as calm and collected as if I were in the Astor House, having long since made up my mind that, during a time of war, my life is the rightful property of my country, and cannot be taken from me, or preserved, except by the fiat of the great God who gave it. And to His will, whatever it be, I am perfectly resigned.

[Written the evening before the fatal battle where he gave his life for his country.

(Signed)   M. I. Barbour.]


Thayer's Notes:

a John Garland: born in Virginia, appointed from Virginia. First Lieutenant 35th Infantry 31 Mar 1813; transferred to 3d Infantry 17 May 1815; Captain 7 May 1817; Captain and Assistant Quartermaster 31 May 1826 to 10 Jul 1832; Major in the 1st Infantry 30 Oct 1836; Lieutenant-Colonel in the 4th Infantry 27 Nov 1839; Colonel in the 8th Infantry 7 May 1849; Brevet Major 7 May 1827 for 10 years faithful service in one grade; Colonel 9 May 1846 for gallant conduct in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, Tex., and Brigadier-General 20 Aug 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex. Died 5 Jun 1861. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

[decorative delimiter]

b 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]

c 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 gallant and good conduct in the storming of Monterey, Mex. Died 7 May 1849. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)

[decorative delimiter]

d 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)

[decorative delimiter]

e 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]

f Daniel H. McPhail: born in Maryland, appointed from Maryland. Second Lieutenant 5th Infantry 8 Mar 1837; First Lieutenant 1 Mar 1840; Captain 10 Jul 1846; Brevet Major 20 Aug 1847 for gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Contreras and Churubusco, Mex.; resigned 30 Apr 1849; Additional Paymaster of Volunteers 1 Jun 1861; Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel of Volunteers 13 Mar 1865 for faithful and meritorious service; honorably mustered out 1 Jan 1869. Died 30 Jan 1884. (Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army)


[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 18 May 15