War with Mexico


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I left Saint Louis on the "Luella " for Alton and arrived there on the 20th of May 1846. The town was in a blaze of excitement caused by the news that Gen. Taylor was surrounded by the Mexican Troops on the Rio Grande. Gen. Gaines, commanding at New Orleans, had issued a call for fifty thousand volunteers, four thousand from Illinoise. Drums were beating all over town and in two hours after I landed I enlisted. I went with the crowd hurrahing, drinking whiskey untill after several days we numberd one hundred strong.

The company election was held in a ten pin ally! I was ambitious and wanted a commission. I worked hard for it, I drilled the men in Scott's Tactics, thanks to Orderly Sergeant Hall, and Cap't N.A. Thompson of the "City Guard" of Boston, I was tolerable proficient in the manuel and evolutions. I spent my money freely in whiskey, defeated a Maj. Ward of Texas in fencing, and I expected to get the first Lieutenantcy. A staff officer of Gov. Ford's had called the meeting to order, when a large red-faced man mounted the Bar. I recognized the Butcher who backed Melchor, he delivered the following eloquent speech. "Fellow Citizens! I am Peter Goft, the Butcher of Middletown, I am! I am the man that shot the sneaking, white livered, Yankee abolitionist S-n of a B-h Lovejoy! I did! I want to be your Captain, I do; and I will serve the yellow bellied Mexicans, the same, I will! I have treated you to fifty dollars worth of whiskey, I have, and when elected Captain I will spend fifty more, I will." It is needless to state he was elected almost unanimously...

The Company was composed of the floating population of a Mississippi town, wild, reckless fellows, excellent materials for soldiers, but requiring strict discipline to curb their wild, lawless spirits. The officers, as might be expected, proved totally incompetent, took no care of their command but spent their time in drinking and gambling...

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