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History of Livingston County
from The History of Caldwell and Livingston Counties, Missouri.  1886

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Census of 1840 - The Political Canvass of 1840; the "Log Cabin and Hard Cider" Campaign - Hard Times - Polk and Clay in 1844 - Livingston County Soldiers in the Mexican War - Detailed Account of Their Services - Roster of Co. L, 2d Missouri Mounted Rifles - Old Militia Muster.


The total population of the county this year was 4,325 comprising 2,160 white males, 1,922 white females (total whites, 4,082): 115 male slaves, 126 female slaves (total slaves, 241), and two free colored females. The total number of voters was 835. (Caldwell county had a population of 1,458, of which there were 61 slaves. The white population comprised 770 males and 627 females.)

There were in the county 2,299 horses, 5,639 neat cattle, 1,883, sheep and 17,925 hogs. There had been raised the previous year, 1,768 bushels of wheat, 4,699 bushels of oats, 135,598 bushels of corn, 3,587 bushels of potatoes, 3,802 pounds of wool, and 1,439 pounds of bees' wax had been made and sold. In the entire county this year there were 13 retail dry goods, grocery and other stores, with an aggregate capital of $29,000.


In some respects the Presidential campaign of 1840 was the most remarkable in the history of the United States from the time of their organization. The Whig party, then for the first time formidable in the country, had renominated Gen. Harrison for President, associating with him John Tyler, of Virginia, for Vice-President. The Democrats renominated Martin Van Buren and Richard M. Johnson.

Owing to the suspension of the United States bank, and from other causes, there had been great stringency in the money market, and there were other financial distresses which occasioned hard times throughout the country. Many working men were either out of employment, or were at work for very low wages; prices of produce had fallen to insignificant figures, and there was general discontent with the situation. Many people attributed the unhappy condition of affairs to Mr. Van Buren and the Democrats. Then, as now, the party in power was held responsible for the ills afflicting the country.

The Whigs of the country took advantage of the situation, and conducted their campaign with unexampled ardor and enthusiasm. Mass conventions of unprecedented numbers were held, in some instances remaining in session for several days, which were addressed by distinguished speakers whose object seemed to be to influence the popular enthusiast and carry the election by music, banners, processions and stump oratory. Some of the Whig out-door meetings in the Ohio Valley numbered twenty thousand and were addressed by Gen. Harrison in person. At these monster assemblages miniature log cabins and veritable coons and hard cider were displayed, and campaign songs sung, exciting the wildest enthusiasm; so that the contest took the name of the "Log Cabin, Coon Skin and Hard Cider Campaign."

To counteract the influence of the meetings and the party paraphernalia employed by the Whigs to captivate the masses, the friends of Mr. Van Buren held their conventions also, and invoking the name and influence of "Old Hickory," who ardently supported him for the Presidency, adopted hickory boughs and the chicken-cock as their party emblems, the former gracefully waving and the latter defiantly crowing everywhere.

The Whigs and Democrats of Missouri caught the prevailing enthusiasm, and conducted the canvass with unusual spirit. Mass conventions, accompanied by the splendid pageantry of processions, brilliant banners and martial music, to say nothing of political discussions unexcelled in fervid eloquence, abounded everywhere. The State was wild with excitement, and many and interesting and, graphic are the scenes which our older citizens are able to recall of the campaign of 1840.

Among the many songs sung by the Whig vocalists this year, the following was in great favor: -


Tune -" Rosin the Bow."

You jolly brave boys of Missouri,

And all yea old Jackson men, too,

Come out from among the foul party,

And vote for old Tippecanoe.

And vote for Old Tippecanoe, etc.

The month of November is coming,

And the Van Jacks1 begin to look blue;

They know there's no chance for poor Matty,2

If we stick to old Tippecanoe.

If we stick, etc.

Then let us be up and a-doing,

And cling to our cause so true;

I'll bet you a dollar we'll beat them

With the Hero of Tippecanoe.

With the Hero, etc.

Good men from the Van Jacks are flying,

Which makes Van look "kinder" askew,

For he sees they are joining the standard

Of the Hero of Tippecanoe.

Of the Hero, etc.

They say that he dwelt in a cabin,

And lived on old hard cider, too. But if he did it is certain

He's the hero of Tippecanoe.

He's the Hero, etc.

Then let us all meet in convention,

And form a procession or two;

And I tell you the Van Jacks will tremble,

At the sound of "Old Tippecanoe."

At the sound, etc.

And if we get anyway thirsty,

I'll tell you what we can do -

We'll open a keg of hard cider

And drink to Old Tippecanoe.

And drink, etc.

1 The Democrats or Van Buren men.

2 Martin Van Buren.

As to the origin of the terms " hard cider" and " log cabin," as applied to Gen. Harrison, it is stated by the Missouri Republican of April 20, 1840, that they originated from this circumstance: The Washington correspondent of the Baltimore Republican, the organ of the Democrats in Baltimore, after Harrison's nomination, said: " Give him (Harrison) a barrel of hard cider, and settle a pension of $2,000 a year on him, and, our word for it, he will sit the remainder of his days contented in his log cabin on the banks of the Ohio." The Whigs caught up the Baltimore paper's assertion, and what was intended as a slur and a sneer was seized upon and made a watchword and a rallying cry.

At the Presidential election of 1840 the following were judges of the election in the different townships of the county: -

Chillicothe - Asel F. Ball, Wm. Linville, Warren Wait.

Marion - Reuben Perkins, Wm. Anderson, James Work.

Greene - Nathaniel Matson, Joseph Harper, Wm. Woolsey.

Monroe - John Austin, Isaac McCroskrie, Robeson Bryan.

Jackson - James A. Davis, Jesse Nave, Andrew Ligett.

Jefferson - Isom Ware, N. R. Hobbs, Sam'l Ramsay.

Franklin - James Merrill, Wm. Evans, Wm. Thrailkill.

Madison - Philip Wild, Evans Peery, Wm. Renfrow.

Washington - B. F. Wood, A. J. Walker, Jno Mc----

Lafayette - R. D. Slover, John Hart, Henry Moore.

Morgan - Peter Caine, James Morgan, Esq. Gardner.


In 1842-43 times were very hard upon the people of this county. Money was scarce and hard to obtain, and produce and wages were ridiculously low. In the winter of 1842 the report of the St. Louis market showed that even then flour was about $2.50 a barrel in gold, and $3 in "city money." Wheat was 45 cents a bushel and went down to 35. Potatoes and corn were 18 cents per bushel. Nice, sugar-cured ham brought 5 cents per pound. Tobacco "firsts" brought $3.10 per hundred pounds. But on the other hand groceries were proportionately cheap. Coffee was 10 1-2 cents per pound; the best sugar, 7 cents. Molasses, 25 cents per gallon; whisky by the barrel, 18 cents; by the single gallon, 25 cents; by the pint, 5 cents.

In Livingston county produce was much cheaper and groceries much higher. The cost of transporting produce from here to St. Louis by way of Brunswick and the Missouri river, and of transporting groceries from St. Louis here by the same route, was considerable, and was added in both cases. Wages here, too, were ridiculously low. Good farm hands could be hired for $6 per month.

At a public sale in Linn county, in February, 1843, terms, "cash in hand," three good colts brought $1.50 each; one ox, 12 1-2 cents; a lot of five cows, two small steers, and one calf, $3.75; 20 sheep, 13 cents each; 24 hogs, 75 cents each; one lot of tobacco, 700 or 800 pounds, $5.00; three stacks of hay, 25 cents each; one stack of fodder, 25 cents; one dining-table, 50 cents; one eight-day clock $2.50.

1844 --- POLK AND CLAY.

The leading event of this year in this county was the Presidential campaign between the Whigs and the Democrats. The former had nominated Henry Clay, of Kentucky, and Theodore Frelinghuysen, of New Jersey, for President and Vice-President, and the Democratic candidates for the same offices were James K. Polk, of Tennessee, and George M. Dallas, of Pennsylvania.

At that date the Whigs called the Democrats "Locofocos," or "Locos," the term being derived from the fact that in New York city certain leading Democrats held a secret nominating caucus in a hall one night with the lights extinguished, and conducted the proceedings in whispers and suppressed voices. When it was absolutely necessary to have a light small locofoco matches were burned.

Before the Democratic national nominations were made the leaders of the party seemed at a loss for a candidate to run against Henry Clay, whom it was certain the Whigs would nominate. This circumstance gave rise to the following effusion, which was very popular as: --



Tune - Old Dan Tucker.

The moon was shining silver bright,

The stars of glory browned the night,

High on a limb that "same old coon"1

Was singing to himself a tune:

CHORUS - Get out of the way, you're all unlucky,

Clear the track for Old Kentucky!

Now in a sad predicament

The Locos are for President,

They have six horses in the pasture,

And don't know which can run the faster;

Get out of the way, etc.

The wagon horse from Pennsylvania,2

The Dutchmen think he's best of any;

But he must drag in heavy stages,

His federal notions and low wages;

Get out of the way, etc.

They proudly bring upon the course,

An old and broken-down war horse;

They shout and sing, "Oh, rumpsey-dumpsey!

Col. Johnson killed Tecumseh!"

Get out of the way, etc.

And here is Cass, though not a dunce,

Will run both sides of the track at once;

To win the race will all things copy,

Be sometimes pig and sometimes puppy;

Get out of the way, etc.

The fiery Southern horse Calhoun,

Who hates a Fox and fears a Coon,

To toe the scratch will not be able,

For Matty keeps him in the stable;

Get out of the way, etc.

And here is Matty never idle,3

A tricky horse that slips his bridle;

In forty-four we'll show him soon,

The little Fox can't fool the Coon;

Get out of the way, etc.

The balky horse they call John Tyler,

We'll head him soon, or bust his biler;

His cursed "grippe" has seized us all;

Which Doctor Clay will cure next fall;

Get out of the way, etc.

The people's favorite, HENRY CLAY,

Is now the "Fashion "4 of the day,

And let the track be dry or mucky,

We'll stake our pile on Old Kentucky;

Get out of the way, he's swift and lucky,

Clear the track for Old Kentucky!

1 The raccoon was the Whig emblem in the political heraldry of the time.

2 James Buchanan.

3 Martin Van Buren.

4 "Fashion" was the fastest race horse on the turf at that day.

In the Gubernatorial canvass of 1844 the candidates were Judge Chas. H. Allen, of Marion county, independent Democrat, and John C. Edwards, the regular Democratic nominee. Judge Allen received the regular support of the Whig party, which put out no candidate this year, and some dissatisfied Democrats. He was defeated in the State by a majority of 5,621, the vote standing: Edwards, 36,978; Allen, 31,357.

Judge Allen was generally known by his nickname "Horse," or " Hoss" Allen, which, it is said, he received from the following circumstance: On one occasion he was holding court when a disorderly attorney interrupted the proceedings by talking in a loud voice, being engaged in a sort of altercation with another lawyer. The judge commanded silence. To this command the turbulent lawyer paid no regard. The sheriff chanced to be absent from the room at the time. Thereupon His Honor rose and, in a voice of thunder, cried: "Sit down, sir, and keep your mouth shut!" The lawyer subsided, sank into his seat and murmured, "Well, as you are judge of this court, I guess I will obey you this time." Judge Allen instantly, and with certain demonstrations, rejoined: "By G -, sir, I'll let you know that I am not only judge of this court, but I'm a HOSS besides, and if you don't obey me I'll make you!"

At this time and until 1846 the representatives in Congress from Missouri were elected by the voters of the State at large, and not by Congressional districts, as is now the case. Those elected this year were John S. Phelps, James B. Bowlin, James H. Relfe, Sterling Price and Leonard H. Sires, all "Hards" 1 but Mr. Sims, who was a "Soft," and who chanced to be elected by reason of the following circumstance: Hon. D. C. M. Parsons, of Pike county, was originally one of the " Hard" candidates. A few days before the election he died, and the "Hard" central committee substituted Hon. John G. Jameson in his stead. News traveled slowly in those days in the absence of telegraph: and fast mails, and the tidings of Mr. Parsons' death did not reach all parts of the State until after the election. The result was that the "Hard" vote was divided between Parsons and Jameson, and that a plurality over them was obtained by Mr. Sims, who received the votes of both "Soft's" and Whips, and was one of the five Congressmen elected. Both Phelps and Sims were from the same county - Greene.

1 The Democratic party of Missouri at that date was divided into two factions, the "Hards," who were in favor of hard money, or of State bank money on a metallic basis, convertible into coin on demand, no bills to be of less denomination than $10. The " Softs " favored the issue of banks bills of the denominate of $1, $2, $3 and $5; and leaned toward the Whig idea of free banking.


The annexation of Texas was the alleged cause of the declaration of war by Mexico against the United States in April, 1846, but the more immediate cause was the occupation by the American army of the disputed territory lying between the rivers Nueces and Rio Grande. May 13, 1846, a counter-declaration by the American Congress was made, that "a state of war exists between the United States and Mexico."

President Polk called on Gov. Edwards of this State for a regiment of volunteers to join Gen. Kearney's "Army of the West," and by the 18th of June the full complement of companies designated had rendezvoused in Fort Leavenworth, and chosen Alex. W. Doniphan, then of Clay county, the colonel. This regiment numbered about eight companies, and was denominated the 1st Missouri mounted volunteers. It soon set out with other troops, amounting to a considerable force, for Santa Fe, New Mexico, then a part of Old Mexico, and the scene of the hostilities.

Early in the summer of 1846, Hon. Sterling Price, then a member of Congress from Missouri, resigned his seat and was appointed by President Polk to command another regiment of Missouri volunteers to re-enforce the Army of the West. This regiment consisted of companies from the counties of Boone, Benton, Carroll, Chariton, Linn, Livingston, Monroe, Randolph, Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis.

In the latter part of July or the 1st of August the Livingston county company was organized at Chillicothe. Wm. Y. Slack, then a young lawyer of the town, 30 years of age, was chosen captain; John W. Tucker, first lieutenant; Zadoc Holcomb, second lieutenant, and John Mansfield, third lieutenant. Following is a complete roster of the company, which was known as Company L, 2d Missouri Mounted Riflemen: -





Wm. Y. Slack Captain 30
John W. Tucker 1st Lieut. 31
Zadoc Holcomb 2d Lieut. 44 Discharged for disability.
John Mansfield 2d Lieut. 43 Died February 16, 1846.1
Robert Patton 2d Lieut. 39 Promoted from third sergeant.
J. H. B. Manning 1st Sergt. 29 Discharged for disability, April 1, 1847.
John H. Clark 1st Sergt. 23 Promoted from corporal.
Wm. G. Stone 2d Sergt. 23
Austin Sisk.... 3d Sergt. 24 Died in New Mexico Oct. 27, 1846.
Joseph H. Bigelow 3d Sergt. 19
Robert Patton... 3d Sergt. 39 Promoted to second lieutenant.
James Boucher 4th Sergt. 23 Died at Santa Fe, January 16, 1847.
J. H. Bigelow 4th Sergt. 19 Promoted to third sergeant
Thos. Cooper 4th Sergt. 21
James Anderson 1st Corpl. 27
David Benson 2d Corpl. 24
Hugh L. White 3d Corpl. 22 Died November 4, 1846.
John H. Clark 3d Corpl. 23 Promoted to first sergeant
Elias H. Brown 3d Corpl. 21
Porter Mansur 4th Corpl. 24
Alex. T. Williams Bugler 28
Geo. M. Starr Bugler 30
Saml. Thompson Farrier 43 Discharged for disability, March 31, 1847.
Brannock Curtis Farrier 32
Isaac Anderson Private 45
James R. Bell Private 24
Thos. Boulware Private 44
Joshua Boucher Private 26 Died October 21, 1846;
Daniel Bigelow Private 26 Discharged at Ft. Leavenworth.
Wm. L. Brown Private 27
Gideon Brown Private 24 Discharged for disability, April, 1847.
Saml. J. Brown Private 21 Discharged for disability, June 22, 1847.
Wm. F. Brown Private 23 Discharged for disability, April 9, 1847.
Elias H. Brown Private 21 Promoted to third corporal.
James C. Brown Private ---
Oliver Bain Private 21
Ira Benson Private 19
Joseph H. Bigelow Private 19 Promoted to fourth sergeant.
David Benson Private 24 Promoted to second corporal.
Brannock Curtis Private 32 Appointed farrier and blacksmith.
John H. Clark Private 23 Promoted to third corporal.
Edward D. Carter Private 23 Discharged for disability, April 1, 1847.
David Carter Private 21 Discharged for disability, April 1, 1847.
Thos. Cooper Private 21 Promoted to fourth sergeant.
Isaac D. Campbell Private 23
Arehibald Campbell Private 28 Died at Abique, December 16, 1846.
Elisha J. Edwards Private 30
Wm. B. Graves Private 25
Nathan H. Gregory Private 24
Spencer H. Gregory Private 19
Wm. R. Gibbons Private 24
Thos. Gray Private 44
Renna J. Howard Private 22
John Hood.... Private 36 Died at Santa Fe, May 22, 1847.
Jonathan Harvey Private 24 Died at Abique, December 14, 1846.
Jonathan Hubbell Private 25 Died at Abique, December 2, 1846.
Bennett Heskett Private 36
John Hollingsworth Private 28
George Jesse Private 26
Wm. Y. Just Private 25 Died in New Mexico, January 10, 1847.
Thos. Z. Kirk Private 25
J ames D. Kirk Private 23
Danl. H. Kirk Private 25
Thos. D. Kirk. Private 23
Wm. H. Keister Private 23
Noland Lackey Private 18 Died at Santa Fe, May 20, 1847.
Thos. J. Latham Private 24
Hardin R. Manning Private 26
Claiborne Maupin Private 24 Died at Abique.
James L. Marion Private 21
John J. Mansfleld Private 23
Jacob Moore Private 18
Martin Noland Private 27
Francis P. Peniston Private 27
John Patton Private 24
Ganom Patton Private 23
Robert Patton Private 39
John W. Rosebrough Private 30
Wm. Ratliff Private 28
Henry Richards Private 32
John W. Sheets Private 25
Thos. Sparks Private 24
John N. Stone Private 18
Ganom Smith Private 22
A. J. Stark Private 32
Wm. T. Todd Private 25
Wm. B. Thompson Private 28
Chas. C. Thompson Private 24
Danl. D. Vancliff Private 19
Wm. W. Welch Private 32
John Woodward Private 25

1 Note from proofreader, 1998. The date of Mansfield's death is probably 1847, as he is listed as injured later in the text of this book.

The company was mustered in at Fort Leavenworth by Lieut. A. B. Lincoln, August 10 and 11, 1846. Sterling Price was elected colonel and D. D. Mitchell lieutenant-colonel, and B. G. Edmonson, major of the regiment. Col. Price had already been commissioned by President Polk, but many of the volunteers thought if he commanded the regiment at all he ought to be chosen by their suffrages. Accordingly he deferred to their wishes and was elected, practically without opposition.

About the 15th of August, Price's regiment took up the line of march from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe, following the same road taken by Kearney and Doniphan. The men stood the march well, and met with many adventures of interest. The trip will never be forgotten by those who made it. The country through which they passed was wild, the life was new, and the experience novel. They encountered more or less privations and discomforts, but invariably made merry over mishaps. When the fierce storms that swept over the wild western prairies blew down the tents of their camp, which frequently happened, the boys crawled out of their beds and laughed at the circumstance. They were heroes and Mark Tapleys as well.

No Indians or other hostiles were met with on the route, although a sharp look out was kept for them, and there were no alarms of any consequences. The men were well mounted, but for the most part were very indifferently armed, their weapons being old-fashioned, flint-look, smooth-bore "Harper's Ferry" muskets, with bayonets. They had no sabers, no pistols. In fact, they were mounted infantry men.

At last, on the 28th of September, the 2d Missouri arrived and was quartered at the quaint old adobe-built city of Santa Fe, then a place of 5,000 or 6,000 inhabitants, comprising a population cosmopolitan in character although mostly Mexicans, Spanish and half-breed Indians. A few days before, Gen. Stephen Kearney had left the city for California, and Col. Doniphan, with the 1st Missouri, had deported for Mexico. A detail of 100 men from Price's regiment, consisting of ten men from each company, was immediately dispatched to join Doniphan. This detail was commanded by Lieut.-Col. Mitchell, of the 2d Missouri. Following were from company L: Wm. B. Graves, Alex. T. Williams, Ira Benson, Bennett Heskett, James R. Bell, Oliver Bain.

The 2d Missouri went into quarters in various public buildings in Santa Fe, and the men enjoyed the situation immensely. Life in the city in that day was gay and frolicsome, after the most approved Mexican and Spanish fashion, and the soldiers soon adapted themselves to it, and partook bountifully of it. Monte banks were everywhere in full blast, dance houses abounded, and kindred establishments of every sort were to be found on every hill. All of these houses were well patronized, and of all classes. It was no uncommon sight to behold, among the patrons of a monte bank, a merchant, a hidalgo or large landed proprietor, an official of the city government, a padre or priest, in his robe and with his crucifix, an American soldier, a muleteer, or mule driver, a Magdalen and a Peon, or Indian serf.

At the dance houses, fandagoes were nightly held, participated in by motley groups of soldiers, citizens, officers, and the abandoned of both sexes. The wildest revels were indulged in at times, and often the orgies closed up with a tragedy when Santa Fe was under Mexican rule; but these endings were rare during the American occupation. The music was not of the best, indeed, it was the rudest, but it put life and mettle in the heels of the dancers, and was wild and as wierd, was the assemblage. Quite often, however, the scene was graced (?) and the antics hallowed (?) by the presence of the jolly padre, whose eyes twinkled merrily as they gazed upon the revelry, and rolled solemnly as he invoked a "benedicite" on revel and reveler.

About two weeks after their arrival at Santa Fe, Capt. Slack's company and the company from Carroll county, commanded by Capt. Williams, were sent up to the little village of Abique (pronounced Ab-i-ku), on the Rio Chaima, a tributary of the Rio Grande. Abique was a small place, whose population was composed of Mexicans and Pueblo Indians. The town was exposed to the raids of the fierce and merciless Navajo Indians, and, as the American authority had been established in New Mexico, Col. Price sent up these two companies to protect the town and its people. Capt. Williams took command of the post.

The inhabitants of Abique were very friendly and peaceably disposed toward the soldiers, and the most amicable relations were established between the people and the garrison. Here the Livingston county men remained until about the 20th of December. During their stay, many of the soldiers were attacked with the measles, and when the companies were ordered away were left behind. Some of them died of disease.

When Gen. Kearney captured Santa Fe, he proclaimed the supremacy of the American authority, and set up a provisional government for New Mexico. Chas. Bent was appointed Provisional Governor. The Mexicans did not greatly relish the new order of things, and stimulated by the priests, who imagined that American rule in New Mexico meant the extinction of the Catholic religion, and encouraged by certain of their former officials, who knew that their days of extortion, profligacy, and corruption would forever pass if the "Yankees" maintained their authority, so stipulated and so encouraged, the people rose in revolt and insurrection against those whom they deemed their oppressors and "infidel usurpers." The situation of Col. Price and his men was extremely critical. They were hundreds of miles from support, in an enemy's country, in the midst of winter, and almost without means of communication with their friend. Yet Col. Price was equal to the emergency, as was clearly and thoroughly demonstrated.

The rebellion was led by Gen. Tofoya, Chavez and Montaya. Their forces were chiefly organized in the district northwest of Santa Fe, the town of Taos (pronounced Tow-us or Touce) being the headquarters of the insurgents. One of the first outbreaks occurred at Gov. Bent's mill near Taos. The Governor and some others were killed. Wm. J. Hatfield, a member of the Carroll county company, was also killed, either at Bent's mill or at another near by. The insurrection rapidly spread and assumed alarming proportions. It seemed as if the Americans would be overthrown, and either exterminated or driven from the country. Tofoya, at the head of a strong force, was marching directly on Santa Fe, and all of the outposts were threatened. The Americans who had settled in isolated locations were daily being surprised and massacred.

About the 24th of January Col. Price called in all his companies. The companies at Abique made a hurried march to Santa Fe, where they were joined by their comrades from the other outposts. As before stated, the sick were left behind. In a short time, the regiment, with Fischer's St. Louis battery and a company of dragoons, marched to meet the Mexicans who were threatening Santa Fe. Fischer's battery consisted of four howitzers, and was manned almost exclusively by Germans.

The first evening out the Mexicans were encountered, 2,000 strong, at a little hamlet called Canada (pronounced Can-ya-tha). Price's forces, all told, numbered not more than 500 or 600 men. The Mexicans, under Tofoya, Chavez and Montaya, were posted on a high ridge, commanding well the country in front and running directly across the American line of march. They were well armed with muskets and other infantry and cavalry arms, but were without artillery.

Col. Price marched his command up within striking distance, along the road, which, as has been indicated, struck the ridge at right angles, and then deployed his forces in front of the enemy, forming this line in an arroyo, or dry bed of a stream, running parallel with and at the base of the mountain range, on the crest of which the enemy were posted.

Fischer's battery unlimbered and opened on the Mexicans with shell. The effect was insignificant, and Col. Price ordered the Missourians to "charge!" Away they went up the steep hillside, receiving the fire of the Mexicans at short range without halting or quailing, and pressed gallantly on to the crest of the hill, and to victory. The Mexicans not relishing a bayonet encounter, nor a hand-to-hand fight, retreated with great precipitation, and in confusion. Two thousand men had been put to fight by five hundred.

When the fight was over several Mexicans lay dead on the field. The Americans lost a number wounded, but none killed outright. Col. Price himself was slightly wounded. Some guns and other munitions of war were taken by the victors. The fight closed at nightfall. The Americans remained on the field that night, apprehensive of an attack, but by the next morning not a Mexican was in sight.

The march was resumed and the enemy was again reached on the 29th, posted in the little hamlet of El Embudo. Fischer's battery was brought up and shelled the town. A charge followed, participated in by the mounted men and the infantry. The Mexicans were routed with several killed and wounded, while the Americans lost but two men. The superiority of American over Mexican courage was made manifest in the Embudo fight, and the Missouri boys won a deserved good name for pluck and efficiency. The Mexicans fled over a range of hills and mountains, and Col. Price led his men in pursuit with much alacrity. On the mountains there was much snow, and the soldiers suffered considerably. Beds were made of fine boughs, and on them and under their army blankets, the volunteers lay contentedly down to sleep with pickets well out, while -

"The sentinel stars kept their watch in the sky."

There was little murmuring or complaint. A soldier's life, well followed, is one of privation, peril, inconvenience, and discomfort generally, and the men knew this and were content.

About the first of February Col. Price's little army descended the mountains and entered the valley of Taos. The command camped in the village of San Fernandez, a suburb of Taos. The only inhabitants of the place, when the Missourians entered it, were women and children and a few old men. All of the able-bodied male population were in the city of Taos, in Tofoya's army, which had there determined to make a final stand. There was, of course, great alarm and trepidation in San Fernandez, when the dreaded "Americos " took possession of the place, but without good cause or adequate reason. Nobody was hurt, and the time was mainly spent in preparing for the work of the following day.

At sunrise on the morning of February 8, 1847, Col. Price drew up his force in front of the Mexican position at Taos. The Mexicans were well protected and in admirable position to withstand and repel an assault from the enemy ten times the number which then confronted them. Taos is situated on a plain, and the town was surrounded by a high and strong wall built of adobe, or sun dried bricks. On the side where Col. Price made his attack stood a large Catholic Church, the outer wall of which formed a part of the fortification which enclosed the town. This church was well filled with soldiers, the walls being pierced with loop-holes for musketry. Fischer's battery opened the fight by well-directed fire against the walls, which it was desirous to shatter and dismantle, in order that an entrance into the town might be erected. The cannonade was kept up until about noon, the balls at every discharge striking the wall fairly and truly in what seemed its most vulnerable parts, but without the desired effect. The walls would not fall.

Col. Price at last became weary of this ineffective mode of attack, and determined, by the advice of his officers, and the consent of his own mind, on an assault. Early in the afternoon a storming party was formed, a part of the men being provided with axes, and at the word, the Missourians dashed gallantly forward, receiving the Mexican fire for hundreds of yards. The axes were plied vigorously, and holes were soon made in the church sufficiently large to admit of hand grenades being thrown through them upon the Mexicans. A brisk musketry fire was kept up on the top of the walls, and seldom did a Mexican show his head that it was not hit. At last, breaches were made that admitted the brave Missourians, and through there they went cheering and shouting, and firing and bayoneting.

As the Americans entered Taos on one side, the Mexicans began leaving on the other. A body of horsemen were sent around the walls and fell upon the fugitives, cutting down many of them, and making prisoners of many more. Firing was kept up in the streets of the town and behind buildings for some time, but at last the Mexicans were vanquished, their tricolored flag went down, and the stars and stripes floated in its stead.

In this engagement the Livingston company had but few men wounded, none killed. Lieut. Mansfield was struck by a musket ball; Jacob Moore was wounded in the shoulder by an arrow, and W. E. Gibbons was shot through the thumb by an arrow from the bow of a Pueblo Indian, whom a comrade of Gibbons instantly dispatched.

Hundreds of prisoners were taken, and among them were Tofoya and several of his officers. A large amount of military stores were also captured. The victory was a glorious one, and complete, for it ended the war, substantially, so far as New Mexico was concerned.

A short time after the Taos fight, Tofoya and about a dozen other of the leaders of the insurrection were tried by drum-head court-martial and hung at San Fernandez. All of them had taken the oath of allegiance to the American government, and had violated it in the basest and most treacherous manner, thereby forfeiting their lives. They met their deaths very heroically, and elicited from the Americans not only admiration for their bravery, but pity for their fate. It seemed indeed a grievous thing to take their lives after they had surrendered, and so it was; but it was actually necessary to resort to the extremest measures to repress the insurrection and visit the severest punishment upon its leaders in order to prevent repetition. The ignorant, deprived Mexicans, treacherous by nature and murderous almost by instinct, could not be made to live under American authority by any other motive than fear. It was necessary to "strike terror into their hearts" by meting out to them the most rigorous punishment for their perfidy.

The loss of the Mexicans in the three engagements of Canada, El Embudo and Taos, in killed was 250; the wounded and prisoners were never counted. Col. Price's loss was 15 killed and 47 wounded. The only officer killed on the American side, of any distinction, was Maj. Burgwine, a North Carolinian, an officer of dragoons, but who served with Fischer's artillery on the expedition at Taos, and was killed at the battle of that place. His remains were afterwards exhumed, taken to Fort Leavenworth and reburied in the following September.


In early days in Missouri all able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five were required to organize into companies, choose officers, and meet at stated times and places for drill and exercise in military evaluations. The company commissioned officers were a captain and lieutenants. Companies were organized into battalions; battalions into regiments, with colonels, lieutenant-colonels, majors and other field officers; regiments into brigades, with a brigadier-general in command; brigades into divisions, with a major-general in command, and the whole under the charge of the Governor, ex officio commander-in-chief of the military forces of the State.

In this county company musters were held in every township -- at a town, if there was one, and if there was no town, then at some other convenient place. Battalion musters were held at Spring Hill, Utica, and Chillicothe. Regimental musters were uniformly held at Chillicothe, the drill ground being in the northern part of town, about two blocks north of the square. Col. Joseph Cox was the commanding officer at first of the regiment, and some other old settlers yet recall his imposing appearance, and that of some of the other field officers, clad in full regimentals, and mounted on spirited war horses, whose necks were "clothed with thunder," and who said among the trumpets, " Ha.! Ha! "

The militia of the county were all required to attend these musters, or present a satisfactory reason for a failure, or else suffer a fine. They were also required to bring their arms with them, if they had any, and in early days, these arms must be " in good order." As not every man had a gun, numbers went through the manual of arms with sticks, cornstalks and other implements. As not every officer had a sword, "daggers of lath," and sabers and rapiers of pine were waved and flourished in directing the movements of the troops.

All the drilling that was done, however, was not of a very effective sort. The drill masters were not very efficient to begin with, and their tactics differed very widely from the more modern ones of Hardee and Upton. Then the "troops" were undisciplined, and resented all attempts to force them to become the "machines," which the Duke of Wellington said all men should become in order to be good soldiers. Indeed, general musters were only kept up and submitted to by the people, for a long time, on account of the "fun" that always attended them. The theory was a very good one - that in time of peace people should prepare for war, and that a well regulated militia was necessary to the peace and security of a country; but in practice musters became troublesome, inconvenient and unhandy, and productive of no good, and the Legislature abolished the militia law about the time of the breaking out of the Mexican War.

The provisions of the militia law were changed from time to time, but as a general rule company musters were held once a month, battalion musters twice a year, and general musters yearly. As a rule the men mere not uniformed. The officers were compelled to uniform themselves, at their own expense. The State furnished a great many arms and equipments, chiefly holster and dragoon pistols, belts, sabers and the like.

One thing surely the musters produced -- a bountiful supply of military titles. The county was abundantly furnished with captains and majors and colonels, many of whom, though they never set a squadron in the field, or knew the evolution of a legion, yet were glorious to behold when they were clad in their showy uniforms, and mounted upon their prancing steeds, leading their commands to the drill ground. But though at times the parades were conducted with all the pomp and circumstance of glorious war, they came to be considered, as they were, nuisances, and the performance ridiculous and farcical.

There were not drillings and meetings enough to render the militiamen trained soldiers, and there were too many for comfort. Courts-martial convened at the court house quite frequently for the trial of offenders against the militia law, and many a luckless delinquent was fined for his non-attendance at drills or musters, or for other offenses.

There was always fun at the musters, more or less in quantity or better or worse in quality. Great crowds attended the general musters. Old darkies were there with spruce beer and ginger cakes; refreshment stands abounded; horse races were made and run; foot races, wrestling matches, and other athletic sports were indulged in, and many a fisticuff was fought on muster day. At all these things, and at the drilling and evaluations of the militiamen, the crowd stared and admired.

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