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Chapter 9: the Mexican War.

As soon as the annexation of Texas was consummated, the United States Government ordered General Zachary Taylor, commanding the Southwestern Department, to put troops in motion to protect the frontier against the invasion threatened by Mexico. As Mexico not only asserted a general right to the sovereignty of Texas, but also set up a special claim to the country between the Rio Grande and the Nueces, as belonging to Tamaulipas, General Taylor, pending negotiations, established himself at Corpus Christi, near the mouth of the Nueces, where he remained until March 8, 1846.

Love, writing to General Johnston in September, 1845, says:

General Taylor has 4,000 soldiers at Corpus Chriati. Six companies of Texan Rangers, under Hays, have been mustered into service. They are teaching the United States officers and soldiers how to ride. The feats of horsemanship of our frontier-men are most extraordinary. I saw one of them pick up from the ground three dollars, each fifty yards apart, at full speed, and pass under the horse's neck at a pace not much short of full speed.

On the 8th of March, 1846, General Taylor made a forward movement to Point Isabel, which commanded the mouth of the Rio Grande. In spite of a protest and some acts of hostility committed by the Mexicans, a fortification was erected opposite Matamoras, afterward known as Fort Brown. On the 12th of April General Ampudia addressed a letter to General Taylor, requiring him to withdraw to the left bank of the Nueces, or “that arms alone must decide the question.” A little later, the Mexicans captured Captain Thornton and 60 men, and committed other overt acts of war; and, finally, threatened General Taylor's communications [132] with Point Isabel, his base of supply. To reestablish his communications and secure his base, General Taylor marched with his army to Point Isabel, leaving a small but sufficient garrison in the fort. The Mexicans opened upon the fort with a heavy bombardment, by which the commander, Major Brown, was killed; but the garrison held out until relieved by the successes of the American troops.

General Taylor started on his return from Point Isabel, on May 7th, with 2,300 soldiers, and, on the next day at noon, found the Mexican army, under General Ampudia, drawn up on the plain of Palo Alto to dispute his advance. An engagement ensued, in which the artillery acted a conspicuous part, ending in the retreat of the Mexicans with a loss of 600 men. The American loss was nine killed and 44 wounded.

On the next day the American army again encountered the Mexicans, strongly posted in a shallow ravine called Resaca de la Palma. It was a hotly-contested fight with 6,000 Mexicans, who showed a stout courage; but they were driven from the field with the loss of 1,000 men. The American loss was 110. The war had begun.

Volunteers were called for, and came pouring in from all quarters. The martial enthusiasm of the people — of the United States was only equaled by the imbecility of the Government in its preparations for the conflict. It was a political regime merely, and nowise adapted to organize or carry on a successful war; but the ability of the commanders and the splendid valor of the troops supplied all defects, and made the Mexican War an heroic episode in our annals. General Taylor, having initiated the struggle by two brilliant victories, was condemned to idleness until September by the Carthaginian policy of the Government, which failed to supply stores, equipment, and transportation.

General Taylor, early in 1846, sent the following reply to a letter from Mr. Hancock, requesting his recommendation of General Johnston as colonel of one of the new regiments:

Corpus Christi, Texas, February 8, 1846.
Dear sir: Your esteemed favor of the 17th ult., from Galveston, reached me on the 2d inst., and let me assure you I was much gratified at hearing from you, and should have been more so to have had the pleasure of taking you by the hand at my tent at this place.

The day after the receipt of your letter, I addressed a communication to the Secretary of War, recommending General Johnston to the favorable consideration of the President of the United States, in the strongest terms possible, for the appointment in question, which I did with a clear conscience and hearty good-will, as I know of but few as well, and none better, qualified for the situation, and can truly say that no one desires his success more than myself. At the same time, I regret to learn that General Houston is unfriendly to General Johnston, as I am disposed to believe if he exercises his influence with Mr. Polk, he will prevent his succeeding, as most, if not all, of the appointments made or selected from Texas will be on the recommendation of General Houston. [133]

I have, this moment, received orders from Washington to take possession of the country to the Rio Grande, and establish myself on the left bank of that river, as soon as I could make the preparations necessary for doing so (which will occupy some three weeks, principally in collecting transportation, etc.); but not to cross the Rio Grande unless Mexico should make or declare war, in which case I would act on the offensive. Whether war will grow out of this movement, time must determine; but I, for one, hope that all difficulties between the two countries will be settled without an appeal to the sword; but, if war must come, I trust we will not only be prepared to meet it, but to bring it to a speedy and honorable termination. With sincere regards, I remain, yours truly,

When General Taylor found that he would have to contend with a greatly superior force of Mexicans, he called for volunteers to sustain his movement. The Texan Legislature promptly passed a bill raising the quota of that State. It was proposed to confer upon the Governor, who was himself requested to take chief command, the appointment of field and staff officers; and, under this supposition, Governor Henderson wrote, May 8th, urging General Johnston to meet him at Point Isabel, and again, through their mutual friend, Thomas F. McKinney, assuring him that he should receive rank next to himself in the Texan contingent. A messenger from General Taylor had arrived in Galveston on the 28th of April, with a request to General Johnston to join him at once. As, unfortunately, no vessel could be obtained to proceed by sea, he started on horseback, with a squad of gallant young men, for the scene of action. The time required for a land-journey brought him to Point Isabel too late for a share in the actions at Palo Alto and Resaca. His wife and infant son were left at Galveston under the care of Colonel Love and his good wife.

Leonard Groce, for many years General Johnston's friend, knowing his military ardor, promptly sent him a fine war-horse, which bore him nobly through the campaign. On the road to Point Isabel, General Johnston saw the tarantula for the first time. He had been ten years in Texas, and much in the field, without seeing one; but after passing Corpus Christi they appeared in great numbers, fiercely rearing themselves up and offering battle to an approaching horse and rider.

The Texans were gathering in hot haste at Point Isabel to defend their border, and their organization was rapidly effected. As General Johnston's extant letters give a clear and succinct account of the campaign and his connection with it, they may be allowed to tell their own story:

Point Isabel, July 10, 1846.
Dear Hancook: I suppose some time since you have stricken me from the roll of your friends, and, seemingly to yourself, with great justice; but things are not all that they seem. About the time I should have written to you I felt [134] myself obliged, by the request of the Governor, who desired to give me rank next himself in the Texas quota of four regiments, to go by land to Corpus Christi. Once away from Galveston there was no opportunity of writing until I should reach this point, and since my arrival here I have been so occupied that I have only taken time to write to my wife. The Governor was not allowed to make the appointments as he desired. The Legislature referred the appointments to the troops; so that, on my arrival here, I had to stand a canvass. I was elected by the First Regiment of Foot Riflemen of Texas colonel of the regiment, which gave me the rank I expected of the Governor. I have now encamped near this fort a regiment of ten companies, numbering 650 fine riflemen, ready and anxious to take the field. We are losing no time by waiting. They are daily undergoing instruction, which will make them the more efficient. General Taylor is making most strenuous efforts to prosecute the campaign with vigor, though I must say that his exertions are not sustained as they should be by the Government. There has been great deficiency of supply in the quartermaster's department. We understand that this will be speedily remedied both in means of transportation and equipment, and we have already seen a good many steamboats, adapted to river navigation, passing up the Rio Grande. The advanced guard has been pushed to Reynosa, about 60 miles above Matamoras, and several regiments are marching upon the same point; but, on account of the great quantity of rain which fell last month, their progress is necessarily slow. I am daily expecting my regiment to march. The troops are occupying Point Isabel, Brazos Santiago, Burita on the Rio Grande, Matamoras, and Reynosa, but we have no means of ascertaining the number-say 14,000. I visited the camp of the Louisville Legion on Brazos Island; they are a fine body of men; they are now at Burita. Rogers 1 was quite well.

Very truly, your friend,

A. Sidney Johnston.

Point Isabel, Texas, July 10, 1846.
Dear Hancock: When I last wrote to you we knew nothing of our destination. The discharge of all the Louisiana regiments created great uneasiness among the Texas regiments, lest they, being six months men, should also be discharged. It was, however, decided otherwise. I have received orders to march, and will be en route this evening with my regiment, a fine body of riflemen, capable, from the instruction received here, of manoeuvring with great rapidity and precision; and I do not doubt that they will acquire distinction. The commanding general is concentrating upon Camargo as rapidly as possible with the very limited means of transportation at his disposition; and we suppose we will march immediately upon that point. The war should be conducted directly against the city of Mexico, the seat of vitality and strength. Apart from all science, a mere animal instinct would inculcate that.

The desire of a speedy termination, as well as economy, points out Alvarado, or some place south of Vera Cruz (at the proper season), as the initial point of operation, retaining an army corps at Monterey, or on the route thence to Mexico. These movements would compel a concentration of the strength of Mexico at the capital, where a decisive engagement would soon be fought with adequate force and the war terminated. Mexico is to that republic what Paris is to France. [135] If Mexico falls, her dependencies fall with her. Why, then, waste a cartridge on the castle of St. Juan d'ulloa, or throw away the public treasure in a war of marches against a country without population comparatively, as Santa F6, Chihuahua, or California? These are portions of country which Mexico does not pretend to defend against the Indians.

Your friend,

A. Sidney Johnston.

A letter to Hancock, written August 11th, near Camargo, informs him of the movement of the troops from Matamoras to that point, and describes what he saw in his voyage up the Rio Grande. He portrays the six days journey up the tortuous channel of that river, its alluvial banks with their teeming crops, and the half-barbarous population gathered there, together with their houses, dress, and manners. General Johnston felt gratification that, while a good deal of sickness prevailed among the volunteers, only three men of his regiment had died; and those not with the command, but in a company of unacclimated Germans, and on detached service. The health of the regiment was due to its discipline, and to regard for sanitary precautions not usually observed.

The letter states: “General Taylor is rapidly concentrating his force at Camargo. The regular troops are nearly all there, and the volunteers are all in motion. My regiment was the first ordered to advance. The next movement, I suppose in fifteen or twenty days, will be for Monterey.”

General Johnston had taken great pride in his regiment, and such were their drill and discipline that General Taylor had given him the advance of the army. A question having been raised whether the six months volunteers were to be disbanded immediately, unless they reenlisted for an additional six months, a deputation of discontented soldiers called upon General Taylor during General Johnston's absence. The soldiers found “Old rough and ready,” in his shirt-sleeves, shaving. They began to state their grievance, when the old general, divining the purpose of their visit, half-turned and bluntly said: “I suppose you want to go home. Well, I don't want anybody about me who don't want to stay. I wouldn't give one willing man for a dozen that wanted to go home.” He went on shaving, and the committee left. The general had spoken the truth; but to some it gave offense as an implied insult, to others it afforded a pretext to get away from the hardships of a severe service. The agitators availed themselves of these circumstances; and on General Johnston's arrival pleaded General Taylor's promise that they might go home. On finding the state of the case, General Johnston assembled the regiment and put to the vote the question of returning home or reinlistment: 318 voted to disband, and 224 to reenlist. The majority was due in great part to the German company, which had been on detached service and had suffered [136] from sickness, and which voted as a unit 77 votes to disband. General Johnston sometimes told, as an illustration of his want of effectiveness as an orator, that after the adverse vote was given he told the men he could not believe that such was their deliberate purpose, and made an appeal to them in terms which he thought could not fail to move them, but only one man changed his vote. The regiment was disbanded, but a number reenlisted in the company of Captain Shivers and won distinction at Monterey.

Thus was General Johnston again compelled to see the labor of months undone in an hour, and his hopes of honorable distinction dissipated, without fault of his, by the instability of others. He was deeply chagrined; but he determined not to return home until his six months of service had expired, and he had shared with the army in the impending battle. General Taylor relieved him from the awkwardness of a subordinate position by assigning him as inspector-general to Butler's division, in which capacity he served until after the battle of Monterey.

When the regiment was disbanded, a good many young men, who subsequently reentered the service, availed themselves of the opportunity to visit their homes, and thus enjoy a furlough at least. One of them, a brave but easy young fellow, the son of a noble Texan patriot and gentleman, useful and famous in the history and career of the republic, came back with the rest. As he joyfully hastened from the beach at Galveston to his father's house, he saw his father sternly regarding him from his front porch. When he came within speaking distance the old gentleman halted him by inquiring, in no tender tones, “What are you doing here, sir? Your six months are not up!” “The regiment is disbanded, father, and the men have gone home; and I thought I would come to see you, and then go back.” “Has General Johnston come home?” “No, sir.” “Then go back; you cannot come in here!” The son hurried back to the beach, got aboard a schooner, and was with the army in time to share with his comrades under Shivers in the attack on Monterey.

The following letter, written soon after the battle of Monterey, gives a sufficient view of the campaign, terminating in that fine feat of arms:

Monterey, Mexico, September 28, 1846.
my dear son: My regiment was disbanded at Camargo on the 24th of August, under the construction of the law given by the War Department in reference to six months volunteers. Soon after, General Taylor offered me the appointment of inspector-general of the field division of volunteers under Major-General Butler, which I accepted, as I was desirous of participating in the campaign which was about to commence. The army moved from Camargo, and was concentrated at Ceralvo on the 12th; and marched thence to Monterey, successively [137] in divisions, on the 13th, 14th, and 15th, as follows: Twiggs's division on the 13th, Worth's on the 14th, and Butler's on the 15th. They were again united at Marin on the 17th, and arrived together at the forest of St. Domingo, three miles from Monterey, on the 19th. The 19th and 20th were passed in reconnoitring the position of the enemy's defenses and making the necessary disposition for the attack. These arrangements having been made, and General Worth's division having occupied the gorge of the mountain above the city on the Saltillo road, the attack was commenced by General Worth, who had by his position taken all their defenses in reverse, and pressed by him on the 21st until he had captured two of their batteries. At daylight, on the 22d, he took the height which commanded a strong work on the slope of the hill in the direction of the city, at the bishop's palace, and on Wednesday entered the city, fighting from house to house with his infantry (regulars and dismounted Texans), and along the streets with his light artillery. In cooperation with the attack of General Worth, General Taylor ordered Twiggs's division to attack their admirably arranged and powerful system of defense at the lower end of the city; here was the means of greatest resistance. This attack was supported by Butler's division, with the exception of the Louisville Legion, which was ordered to take a position near the mortar which was throwing shells into the main fort near the upper end of the city. These divisions approached the city under a tremendous shower of artillery and musketry from the fort and numerous batteries, suffering great loss. Twiggs's division attacked the batteries, and afterward filed off by the right flank toward a tete-de-pont (a species of fort), across a branch of the St. Juan, which runs through the city. The Tennesseans and Mississippians of Butler's division and a few regulars under Captain Backus, moving rapidly in support, attacked the first battery or redoubt, a strong work armed with artillery and escopetas or muskets, and bravely carried the work (Alexander McClung, at the head of the Mississippians of his wing of the regiment, being the first to enter), driving the enemy from it with considerable loss. The Ohio regiment, under Colonel Mitchell, entered the town more to the right, and attacked the works with great courage and spirit; but here was concentrated the fire of all their works. From this point, or a little in the rear, the regulars had been forced back with great loss of officers and men, after keeping up the attack for more than an hour, and after having lost in killed and wounded a great number. Having been ordered to retire, the Ohio regiment did so in tolerably good order. As it debouched from the streets of the city, believing that it was routed, the lancers of the enemy charged the Ohio regiment; but it had none of the vim of an American charge, and was easily repulsed with some loss to them. On the night of the 22d the enemy abandoned their strong line of defense at the lower end of the city, and retired to the plazas and barricades.

During these operations the light artillery and howitzers kept up a terrible fire of shot and shells against the enemy. On Wednesday, the 23d, the Texans and Mississippians were ordered to attack in the streets, and fight and work their way through the houses to the plaza. These orders were faithfully executed, so that at night they had arrived as near the public square (plaza) at the lower part as Worth had at the upper part of the city.2 On Thursday the Mexicans sent in, [138] early in the morning, a white flag; and during the day articles of capitulation were agreed to, by which the city, its defenses, public property, munitions of war, etc., were surrendered to the United States army, except their army, which is allowed to march beyond designated limits, viz.: Rinconada (the main pass of the mountains), Linares, and St. Fernando — a line passing through these points being the boundary. Within these limits the armies will remain for eight weeks, or until their respective governments can be heard from. Thus, after a series of brilliant and sanguinary actions, we have possession of this beautiful and strongly-fortified place. Butler's division sustained about half the loss of the army, say 250 killed and wounded, not less and perhaps many more. General Butler was wounded in the leg, while I, finely mounted throughout, escaped with my huge frame without a scratch. I endeavored to do my duty well, and I presume my conduct will be spoken of approvingly. Send a copy of this to Henry, and my love to your uncles George and Will, and to Aunt Mary and Margaret. Your affectionate father,

A. Sidney Johnston. To William Preston Johnston.

To this clear and succinct account of the storming of Monterey I add the following interesting description of the desperate assault of the Mississippians, given me in a letter from the Hon. Jefferson Davis, who commanded them, with other incidents of the battle :

The first attack was made on Fort Taneria, a stone building covered by a low and hastily-constructed redoubt. Twiggs's brigade, led by Colonel Garland, was in advance, and after a brief attempt was moved off to the right into a cornfield. Then the Tennesseans and Mississippians moved up; the former were brought into line to the left of the redoubt, the Mississippians on their right and in front of the work. The firing commenced on our side, and was continued on that of the enemy. In the redoubt, musketeers lined the breastwork between the pieces of artillery, and on the flat roof of the Taneria musketeers in large numbers fired over the heads of the men in the redoubt. After firing a few minutes, it was perceptibly our best policy to storm the covering work, and I ordered my men to advance. Lieutenant-Colonel McClung had been the captain of the company raised in the Tombigbee Valley, and which was on the left of the centre. Tie sprang before it, and called out, “Tombigbee boys, follow me!” The whole regiment moved forward — that company most rapidly-and Lieutenant-Colonel McClung and Lieutenant Patterson first sprang upon the breastwork. The Mexicans ran hastily out of the redoubt to the stone building in the rear, and we pursued them so closely that I reached the gate as they were closing it, and, jumping against it, forced it open. The cry immediately went up of surrender, and the officer supposed to be in command advanced and delivered his sword.

After the capture of the redoubt and the Fort Taneria, I followed the flying Mexicans with a large part of my regiment to attack the Fort el Diablo, and when near to it was ordered back by General Quitman, the brigade commander, and directed to join our division. It was behind a long wall, and under cross-fire of the artillery of the enemy's salients on our left. I approached General Johnston, and told him I had been recalled when about to take the salient on our left, that we were uselessly exposed where we were, and [139] said, “If not the left, then let the right salient be attacked.” He answered, with his usual calm manner and quick perception, “We cannot get any orders, but if you will move your regiment to the right place the rest may follow you.”

I moved off across a small stream, and through a field to the front of the tete-de-pont, which covered the front of the Purissima Bridge, where I met Captain Field, of the United States Infantry, with his company, and Colonel Mansfield, of the United States Engineers. Under their advice, a plan was formed for immediate attack; and, while we were making the needful dispositions, General Hamer, who had in the mean time succeeded to the command of the division, General Butler having been wounded, came up with his command and ordered me to retire. Both Colonel Mansfield and I remonstrated with him, and endeavored to show him the importance of our position. He was not convinced, but persisted in his own view. My men were withdrawn from the several posts assigned to them; but before this could be done the division had gone a considerable distance. Captain Field withdrew with me, and was killed while crossing the open field, by fire from the main fort. This field was inclosed by a high fence made of chaparral-bushes beaten down between upright posts.

My regiment (the First Mississippi) was following the movement of the division, and some distance in the rear, when the Mexican Lancers, seeing the movement from off the field of battle, came from the direction of the Black Fort, and, passing behind the column to a place where the fence was old and low, leaped into the cornfield and commenced slaughtering stragglers and wounded men. I halted my regiment, formed line to the rear, and advanced on the enemy, firing. The effect of this attack was the sudden flight of the lancers, leaving a number of killed and wounded, their leader being of the former. General Johnston afterward spoke of it as a remarkable event in war.

During the passage through the cornfield, General Hamer moved on until he reached a point where the fence was too high to be crossed by horsemen; a deep irrigating ditch was before them, and the lancers in their rear. Your father told me that the signs were such as precede a rout, and he felt that his hour was near. His only weapon was a sword I had received from the commanding officer when we burst open the gate of Fort Taneria, and received the surrender of the garrison, and which subsequently I had handed to him. Other reliance he had none. Just then, he said he heard some one giving orders in tones welcome and familiar to his ear, and saw the Mississippi Riflemen formed and advancing on the enemy. He told me he called General Hamer's attention to it.

During the assault upon the city, General Johnston accompanied Hamer's brigade of Butler's division, remaining for the most part with Colonel Mitchell's First Ohio Regiment. He was near that officer when he fell wounded in the streets of Monterey, at the point mentioned by Mr. Davis as the place where he met General Johnston, under the converging fires of the salients. General Butler was wounded at the same point. General Johnston's horse was thrice wounded; but, though he offered a conspicuous mark, he would not dismount when all the officers around him were dismounted or disabled. He told me that his reason for incurring this extraordinary hazard was, “that he [140] was unwilling to risk separation from his horse, as his efficiency would be greatly impaired if left on foot.” “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

In following the Ohio Regiment from the city, when he came to the irrigating ditch mentioned by Mr. Davis, he found it too wide for his horse to clear at a leap. He dismounted, and, forcing his horse into the canal, crossed on a narrow plank, which he fortunately found. He then discovered that his horse was swimming about, unable to clamber up the perpendicular walls of the canal. He called to his horse, who, obeying his master's voice, immediately swam to him. Leading the good steed to the lowest point in the wall, be braced himself, and, lifting him with both hands by the bit, encouraged him to come out. The spirited animal made a desperate effort, planted his forefeet on the bank, and, with his master's aid, struggled out. The docility and intelligence of his gallant charger probably saved General Johnston's life on this occasion, as he was left alone not far from the enemy.

General Joseph Hooker, who has subsequently attained eminence in the United States Army, has, in a letter dated June 3, 1875, furnished the following description and generous estimate of General Johnston's conduct at Monterey:

In approaching the subject of your letter, I may premise with stating that the episode in the battle of Monterey to which you allude was the only real service in which I had an opportunity to participate with your father. A few days before the battle of Monterey, his regiment returned to Texas, and your father accepted the appointment of inspector-general on the staff of Major-General Butler. At that time, General Taylor's army was encamped at Walnut Spring, four or five miles in advance of Monterey.

On Sunday morning, September 21, 1846, Major-General Worth was dispatched with his division to take possession of some high ground a few miles to the north of Monterey, and to threaten the city via the Bishop's Palace; and the following morning Garland's brigade was advanced to cover a reconnaissance in front of the city, and at the same time to create a diversion in favor of the column. Soon after they left camp, we learned that Garland's troops were engaged with the enemy, and General Butler's division was at once marched out in support. As the firing became brisk, our step was quickened, and by the most direct route. This took us within point-blank range of a formidable battery in the Black Fort, standing about a mile in front of the city in an open and level country. By a short detour this work might have been avoided, but, in our haste to join our comrades, we took the shortest route, and did not discover our mistake until after we had lost a number of men from the enemy's batteries. Our men became confused, and, just at that moment, the enemy's lancers were seen to sally out from behind the fort, and to make toward us.

From causes, which I do not now remember, our troops, from the moment we left the Rio Grande, had invested the enemy's lancers with a good deal of prowess; and, as soon as it was announced, all organization was lost, and our men were flying to the left in the direction of a cornfield a few hundred yards [141] off. This was inclosed by a strong chaparral-fence, formed by piling in chaparral-branches between posts driven six or eight inches apart, and the fence itself was so substantial that it was as good as a stone-wall of corresponding height for defensive purposes against cavalry. It was no discredit to new troops, in my opinion, to break under the circumstances, as it was the first time they had been exposed to fire from artillery, where they had no opportunity to return it with their own weapons.

It was thought by myself that, when they had gotten over the fence, they would stop and receive the enemy, it being a perfectly safe place; but, when I rode up to the fence, I found that the men had not stopped, but were continuing to run to the rear through the corn. As they had nowhere thrown down the fence in climbing over it, and as it was too high to leap, I dismounted, and made into the corn on foot, when I first met your father in trying to bring and keep the men up to their work. The artillery of the enemy was playing on us all the time, and appeared to be much more severe, I suppose, than it really was. The shots made more fuss in the corn-leaves in their flight than if uninterrupted in the open air. We succeeded in keeping about 150 or 200 men up to the fence; and, after a discharge or two of our pieces, emptying many saddles, the lancers retired and gave us no further annoyance.

It was all the work of a few moments, but was long enough to satisfy me of the character of your father. It was through his agency, mainly, that our division was saved from a cruel slaughter; and the effect on the part of the army, serving on that side of the town, would have been almost, if not quite, irreparable. The coolness and magnificent presence your father displayed on this field, brief as it was, left an impression on my mind that I have never forgotten. They prepared me for the stirring accounts related to me by his companions on the Utah campaign, and for his almost godlike deeds on the field on which he fell, at Shiloh.

General Johnston probably entered the cornfield a few minutes later than General Hooker, or at a different point, as he told the writer that the rush of the men in retreat broke down a space in the fence, through which he easily rode. He alluded in complimentary terms to General (then Captain) Hooker's bearing and efforts. He cited the quickness of the Ohioans to avail themselves of the chaparral-fence as a barrier against cavalry so soon as it was pointed out to them, as a proof of the intelligence of the American soldier, even when a recruit.

Some days before the battle, there had been an unpleasant official. difference, reaching high words, between General Johnston and Brigadier-General Hamer. This officer had been a member of Congress, and was appointed by President Polk, because of his political importance. He was not a soldier, but he was a very gallant and estimable gentleman. On the field he found the counsel and assistance of General Johnston of the utmost value to him. He was a man of quick and generous emotions; and, that night, after the fight was done, he came to General Johnston, and, with tears standing in his eyes, took him by [142] both hands, and told him he wished henceforth to be accounted his friend. General Johnston felt a deep regret when Hamer, shortly after, fell a victim to the climate. It was believed that, had he survived, he would have been the next Governor of Ohio.

General Butler and General Taylor certified on General Johnston's pay-account that, as inspector-general, “he performed the duties of the office on the march from Camargo, and during the operations before Monterey, resulting in its capture, with zeal, efficiency, and courage; and that his services were eminently important to the public interest.” General Butler also complimented him in his report; and both he and General Taylor recommended him for the position of brigadier-general. But military recommendations counted for little at that time, when generals were neither born nor made, but manufactured to order. He was even refused pay by the Government for this month in which he had done such good service, on the ground that his assignment by the commanding general gave him no legal status. He was thus thrust, as it were, from the United States service. Happy and fortunate the people who can afford to cast aside as superfluous a soldier so willing and capable!

It was a great pleasure to General Johnston to meet again in this campaign his early comrade-in-arms, Jefferson Davis. Mr. Davis had resigned from the army in 1835, and retired to his plantation near Vicksburg, Mississippi, where he lived in seclusion until 1844. He then appeared in political life as presidential elector, and the next year was elected to Congress. At the breaking out of the Mexican War he was elected colonel of the First Mississippi Rifles, which under his command won great distinction at Monterey, and subsequently at Buena Vista performed exploits which made the Union ring with applause.

Colonel Davis was selected by General Taylor as one of the commissioners to negotiate for the capitulation of Monterey. In speaking of these events, Mr. Davis has frequently related a circumstance illustrative of General Johnston's character. He said that General Johnston excelled all the men he had ever known, in consistency of conduct and in equanimity and decisiveness. Every action seemed weighed beforehand. The smaller as well as the greater acts of his life showed these traits. If he met a man in the street, whose uncertainty of movement indicated that he would blunder against him, he would calmly stop and allow the man to take his choice on the path, thus avoiding the unseemly jostling that sometimes occurs. No apology is necessary for offering the following incident of the capitulation, which I have heard from the lips of both Mr. Davis and General Johnston, in the language of the former. He writes as follows:

When the commissioners had completed their labors, and written out the terms of capitulation in English and Spanish, each to be signed by both of the [143] commanding generals, there was a manifest purpose on the part of General Ampudia to delay and to chaffer. I left him, after an unpleasant interview, with a promise on his part to give me General Taylor's draft with his (Ampudia's) signature, as early in the morning as I would call for it. At dawn of day, I mounted my horse and started for the town, about three miles distant. General Taylor, always an early riser, heard the horse's feet as I passed by his tent, and called to me, asking where I was going, then inviting me to take a cup of coffee with him. The question was answered, and the invitation declined, having already had coffee. Your father, seeing me on horseback, came from his tent to learn the cause of it, and proposed to go with me. General Taylor promptly said he wished he would do so; and, as soon as his horse could be saddled, he joined me, and we rode on for General Ampudia's headquarters, at the Grand Plaza of Monterey.

As we approached the entrance to the plaza, the flat roofs of the houses were seen to be occupied by infantry in line and under arms. The barricade across the street, behind which was artillery, showed the gunners in place, and the port-fires blazing. It may well be asked, Why should they fire on us? The only answer is, the indications were strong that they intended to do so. We were riding at a walk, and continued to advance at the same gait. Your father suggested we should raise our white handkerchiefs; and thus we rode up to the battery. Addressing the captain, I told him that I was there by appointment to meet General Ampudia, and wished to pass. Hie sent a soldier to the rear, with orders which we could not hear. After waiting a due time, the wish to pass was stated as before. Again the captain sent off a soldier; and a third time was this repeated, none of the soldiers returning. In this state of affairs we saw the adjutant-general of Ampudia coming on horseback. We knew that he spoke English, and that, as the chief of the commander's staff, he was aware of my appointment and could relieve us of our detention. There was a narrow space between the end of the breastwork and the wall of the house, barely sufficient for one horse to pass at a time. We were quite near to this passage, and as the adjutant-general advanced, evidently with the intention to ride through, I addressed him, stating my case, and remonstrated on the discourtesy with which we had been treated. He turned to the captain, and, speaking in Spanish, and with such rapid utterance that we could not comprehend the meaning, he put his horse in motion to go through. Quick and daring in action, as slow and mild in speech, your father said, “Had we not better keep him with us?” We squared our horses so as to prevent his passing, and told him it would much oblige us if he would accompany us to the quarters of General Ampudia. He appreciated both his necessity and our own; and, feigning great pleasure in attending us, he turned back and conducted us to his chief.

Whether the danger of being fired on was as great as it seemed, cannot be determined; but the advantage of having the well-known chief of staff exposed to any fire which should be aimed at us will be readily perceived. On this, as on many other occasions, during our long acquaintance, your father exhibited that quick perception and decision which characterize the military genius. The occasion may seem small to others; it was great to us. Together we had seen the sun rise; and the chances seemed to both, many to one, that neither of us would ever see it set. Ampudia received us with the extravagant [144] demonstrations of his nation, ordered our horses to be taken care of, and invited us to breakfast with him. Declining the invitation, he was reminded of the object of our visit, and of the desire to avoid further delay in the exchange of the articles of capitulation. He promptly delivered the duplicate left with him, which he had signed; and we took formal leave of him.

A little incident occurred during our brief visit, which illustrates one aspect of the Mexican character. In the “Black-Hawk” campaign, your father had given me one of a pair of pistols, and it was in my holster when our horses were in charge of Ampudia's orderly. After we had ridden, perhaps a mile, out of Monterey, on our way to General Taylor's headquarters, in leaping a ditch the flap of my holster flew up, and I discovered that the pistol had been stolen while we were holding an official interview with the general-in-chief. It was the loss of a weapon valued more for its associations than its intrinsic worth, though it was the best one I ever owned; and the petty pillage was in bold contrast with the grandiloquent professions with which we had been entertained, and the rich appointments of the headquarters where we were received.

Great in small things as in large ones, measuring matters with the exactness of cold calculation, yet keenly alive to every demand of honor or of courtesy, or of personal or official obligation, General Johnston was a friend to whom one could go for counsel in the most delicate affair of life, and equally rely on where personal hazards were to be taken, or values in business transactions to be balanced. Viewing him, as I did, through the medium of ardent affection, my estimate might seem the result of bias were it not sustained by all who knew him intimately. General Z. Taylor, whose judgment of soldiers was well-nigh unerring, gave full evidence of his high appreciation of your father, both as an officer and as a man. But this is a theme on which I feel so warmly and know so much, that even to his son there is danger of my becoming prolix in speaking of your father; therefore I desist.

General Johnston told the author that his only embarrassment in accompanying Colonel Davis was his dress. By an accident at Point Isabel, his uniform had been soaked with sea-water, and shrunken out of shape; and hence his garb was, per force, a red-flannel shirt, blue-jean pants, a torn check coat, and a wide-awake hat; a costume picturesque, but undiplomatic. Colonel Davis made light of the difficulty, and so he waived it. This trifling circumstance led, however, to a little incident which, though in itself grotesque, increased the danger of the situation already described in Mr. Davis's letter. While they were waiting at the barricade, with the dark faces of the Mexican soldiers glowering at them over the parapet, a rabble gathered around them with menacing gestures. One old hag, darting from the mob, thrust out her skinny finger toward General Johnston and hissed out, “Tejano!” Her divination of his nationality was probably due to his uncouth attire. But such was the hatred of the lower Mexicans to the Texans, that immediately the aspect of the mob became more threatening; and they were probably saved from violence only by the opportune arrival of Ampudia's adjutant-general.

As it was evident that the capitulation and armistice closed active [145] operations for some time, General Johnston, having no fixed rank or employment recognized by the Government, thought it right to retire until there should be some call for his services.

1 Lieutenant-Colonel Jason Rogers, of the Louisville Legion-General Johnston's brother-in-law.

2 It is probable, as was subsequently ascertained, that at the time mentioned Worth's command had not got beyond the Plazuela del Carne. The Mississippians and Tennesseans on the east had forced their way to within 100 yards of the Grand Plaza.

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