Pulaski County

Mexican-American War

War with Mexico

The war with Mexico occurred in 1846. A company was raised immediately by Col. C. H. Webb and William A. Hughes. The former was elected Captain and the latter First Lieutenant. This company consisted of 105 men, the noblest and best of our citizens. They were in but one engagement, etc. * * * By changes and promotions, the company was officered thus on the day of battle (Buena Vista): Captain, William C. Woodward; First Lieutenant, John Bartleson; Second Lieutenant, Aaron Atherton; Third Lieutenant, William Price. On that eventful day, Col. Bissell, riding up to where the Pulaski company was posted, said to Lieut. Price: 'You are too old to go into this engagement; you will remain in camp.' The old man, nearly eighty years of age, standing proudly erect, said: 'Col. Bissell, I came here to fight. If my time has come, I just want to die for my country on this battlefield.' As the company went into action, Lieut. Atherton, observing that Capt. Woodward had only a Sergeant's short sword, gave his to the Captain, saying, 'You can take this; I know better how to use a gun!' The last that Metcalf, afterward Lieutenant, saw of Atherton, he was defending his prostrate friend, Price. As he had often swung his cradle, so his heavy rifle went in circles, wielded by his powerful arm, and many a Mexican went down before him. The sword of Atherton, so faithfully used by Capt. Woodward, and gashed on Mexican lances, is in the possession of the Atherton family. Of the 105 men who went so gayly to Mexico, only forty-two returned. Sixteen were killed in the battle of Buena Vista, including every officer, from the Captain down to the Second Sergeant, and of the forty-two, fourteen only now remain (1876). Among these are Joseph Evans, E. A. Philips, Lieut. William Pate, Capt. A. P. Corder, A. C. Bartleson, Edward Bartleson, James H. Metcalf, R. J. Johnson, G. P. Garner, Reuben Vaughan and John Abbott. Among those who fell on the field were Capt. Woodward, First Lieut. John Bartleson, Second Lieut. Aaron Atherton, Third Lieut. William Price, Orderly Sergeant William J. Fayssoux, private J. W. Kiger, H. Dirk, George Crippen and Joseph Emmerson. On their return in 1847, these men were welcomed with demonstrations of joy at a public gathering, when speeches were made and a poem read by J. Y. Clemson, of which we extract a couple of stanzas, showing that while we had brave men, we had poets to sing their praises:

"We lost some noble men that day —
Men that were stamped in nature's mould;
For fame and country those they fell,
Not for the sordid love of gold.

"Conspicuous on that fatal day
Was a small band from Illinois,
Foremost they were in all the fray.
The gallant, brave Pulaski boys."

The occasion and the home-like sentiment and truth the poet expresses are a sufficient apology for any seeming tripping there may chance to be in the verse, that at that time found a hearty response in every heart.

In the Adjutant General's office at Springfield, we find the following very imperfect roster of this company. Like nearly all the rolls of the Mexican war soldiers, it is not only wretchedly imperfect, but the company is credited as the " place of enrollment, Alton, Ill.," because there was where they were mustered, and no residence of the companies are given. This is an outrage by the State upon the memories of those brave sons of Illinois, and the State should by all means remedy the records, at least to that extent that it could be done now by those who yet survive. If neglected a few years, the wrong will be irreparable, and the very children of these men will remain in ignorance of their illustrious sires. The writer has had occasion to write the war record of several different companies that were in the Mexican war, and invariably in talking with these old veterans in regard to their company, he has found the Adjutant's books almost wholly unreliable. For the State to longer neglect this would be a flagrant injustice to the whole people.

Col. Foreman, the only surviving Illinois Colonel of that war, is now an old man, residing in Vandalia, Ill. It would be a labor of love — and he is eminently fitted for the work — to go into each county that sent a company or companies to that war, and perfect the roster of each company, give the correct residence of each man, and fill out a complete history of every man that Illinois sent to that war. The band of surviving Mexican war soldiers have not been any too handsomely remembered by their country. No pension steals have gone into their pockets, and we know of no more appropriate act the State Legislature could do than to commission Col. Forman to do this work.

From the records in the Adjutant General's office we give the following as all that appears of Company B, Second Regiment Illinois Volunteers:

Captain, Anderson P. Corder; First Lieutenant, John W. Rigby: Second Lieutenant, William W. Tate and James M. Gaunt; Sergeants, Watho F. Hargus, Abraham S. Latta, Calvin Brown and John Delaney; Corporals. John L. Barber, Robert E. Hall, James Cuppin, and James H. Gorrell, Musicians, Andrew I. Ring: Privates, John Abbott, William C. Anglin, Edwin BartleSon, Augustus Bartleson, Abner Baccus, Welbourn Boren, John Barnett, Henry Burkhart, William Crippin, Robert Cole, Jiles M. Cole, John Curry, Marion M. Davis, Henry Doebaker, Joseph Evans, iller Echols, Daniel Emerick, Charles Goodall, John Goodwin, Joseph B. Hornback, William Hughes, James M. Hale, Reason I. Johnson, William Johnson, Elisha Ladd, James L. Loudon, Thomas E. Loudon, Pleasant Lefler, Patrick H. McGee, James H. Metcalf, Enos A. Phillips, George Purdy, Framnel Parker, John B. Russell, Pinkney Russell, John Russell, David Renfrew, Jonathan Story, Columbus C. Smith, Calvin L. Scott, Jackson Summerville, Elijah Shepherd, Cyrus Stephens, James Thorp, Andrew J. Tiner, William E. Tiner, Isham L. Tiner, Thomas Thompson, Reuben Vaugh, John White, William Whitaker, H. A. Young, died; Alfred Bakston, March 21, at Saltillo; Thomas James, March 4, at same place; Enoch Kelso, at Loracco, time not known. Discharged, Private John Kitchell, on Surgeon's certificate, March 20; Abraham S. Latta, on detached service, hospital, September 29; James H. Gorrell, absent, sick at Laracco, from August 11; William C. Anglin, taken prisoner at Buena Vista; also at same time and place John Curry and Joseph Evans. Wounded in this battle, Charles Goodall, absent, sick at Loracco, from August 11; Calvin L. Scott, Elijah Shepherd, and William Whitaker. Taken prisoner at Buena Vista, James Thorp.

The company was discharged from service at Camargo June 18, 1847.

Extracted from 1883 History of Alexander, Union, and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Chapter 3, pages 523-525.

Illinois in the Mexican War

Records of the Services of Illinois Soldiers in the Black Hawk War, 1831-32, and in the Mexican War, 1846-8 by Isaac H. Elliot (pub. 1882), was compiled by volunteers for the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park into this database. This is a database of almost 5,600 Illinois men who enlisted as volunteers for the Mexican War (1846-1848). The place of enlistment is listed by city, not county. The troops would organize and then travel to a designated city to be enlisted. Illinois in the Mexican War is available for search at ILGenWeb.


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