reported to General Scott
, and was detailed for special service as a separate command.
His men being well mounted, handsomely uniformed, splendidly equipped and perfect in drill, ‘did the ornamental,’ as he laughingly said, ‘on great occasions for general officers, and triumphal entries into conquered cities.’
Accompanying a party making a reconnoissance, as they drew near the city of Mexico
he pushed ahead, and was the first to catch a distant view of the city as it lay, to use his words, ‘glorified by the morning sun in the midst of the loveliest landscape the eye ever beheld.’
was several times honorably named in General Scott
's official reports, for important services and gallantry in the field.
His command having suffered severely in killed and wounded, he was sent home, soon after the taking of the city of Mexico
, to fill up his ranks with new recruits.
These he soon obtained at Nashville
, where a flag was presented to his company by the young ladies of Christ church school; on which occasion the color-bearer had on a complete suit of armor—helmet, breast-plate, &c. of polished brass—taken from one of Santa Anna
Returning to Mexico
, Captain Wheat
was detained at Jalappa till the close of the war. He used to regret that the government of the United States
did not keep permanent possession of what he pronounced the finest country in the world; insisting that the present occupants were as incompetent to develop its resources as the Indians whom the Spaniards had supplanted.
He thought it would be a charitable proceeding, as in the interest of civilization and reformed Christianity.
He regarded the corrupt church in Mexico
as the curse of the country.
After the war, Captain Wheat
settled in New Orleans and resumed the study of law. He was admitted to the bar in 1847.
He early acquired considerable reputation as a criminal lawyer.
His very first effort resulted in the acquittal of one of his former command, charged with murder, and after the senior counsel had given up the case as indefensible.
In 1848 Captain Wheat
was elected one of the representatives from the city of New Orleans
to the State Legislature.
He also canvassed the State
for the Whig
candidates in the pending Presidential election, by request of the Central Committee, and had no little success as a stump speaker.
His father having deprecated his frequent introduction of Scripture language and illustration into his political speeches, he was equally surprised and aggrieved, saying he had found nothing