A History and Biographical Cyclopaedia of Butler County, Ohio
Pages 203 - 207

Mexican War

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"We have no news from general SCOTT; but yesterday the Mexicans had a report that he had been compelled to fall back to Puebla, and were offering to bet on it two to one. It is not believed. We have had no mail for twenty-one days."

The health of the regiment had been very good, and only eight men had died since they entered the service. Daniel SYNDER, private, of the "Butler Boys No. 2," died on the 20th of August, at Matamoras. The company were in good health generally, and had suffered very little from the climate.

He wrote again from the camp near Vera Cruz, September 14, 1847, that in three-quarters of an hour they would be on their march to the city of Mexico, and would, perhaps, have to fight their way from Jalapa to that city. "The last news here, last evening, was that General SCOTT was in a small plaza in that city; that Mr. TRIST's propositions had all been rejected, and nothing to do now but to fight it out. The fighting has been continued so long that we expect to be up before the city is taken. General SCOTT has met with great loss. From report, the First infantry has been cut nearly to pieces. I have been searching for the grave of Lieutenant Daniel MCCLEARY, but have been unable to find it or hear much about such affairs. During the Summer seven hundred soldiers have died in Vera Cruz with yellow fever and vomito. The "Butler Boys No. 2" are in better health now than since they left home. I have one of the finest horses in Mexico, and will bring him home with me if he lives till the close of the war. We have every thing that is good in this city, from oysters to sherry-cobblers. There is some difference between this line and the Rio Grande. It is two hundred and eighty miles to the city, and in fourteen days I expect to be near the Halls."

The brigade, under the command of General LANE, arrived at National Bridge on September 23d, and remained for a day. The march was very slow, and when they would arrive at the city was not certain. General SCOTT was in the city, but nothing else was positively known. On the 22d one of the train was shot by a party of guerrillas just as the rear guard were leaving the encampment. A battalion of the Fourth Ohio under Major YOUNG's command, and a battalion from the Indianians with Colonel GORMAN, and General LANE in command of the whole force, were sent out. The troops marched about two miles toward Cerro Gordo to head them off, but without success, and returned to camp without fighting. They had had several such fights. The march was very hard on many of the men. Sergeant FENTER managed to keep up, with hard work. Four of the "Butler Boys" were left at Point Isabel, and one at Vera Cruz. The health of the regiment was good.

The following list of deaths is taken from the muster-roll of Colonel BROUGH's regiment of Ohio volunteers:

On Muster-roll for July - Henry MARSHALL, private, Company A, died June 29; Horace TRAIN, Company E, July 15; John J. CLARK, private, Company C, died July 6.

On Muster-roll for August. - John PRICHARD, private, Company I, died August 1; Daniel SNYDER, private, Company A, died August 19; Laurenz JETZEE, private, Company A, died August 1; John CROSEMAN, private, Company C, died August 24; Engelbert GRAB, private, Company A, died August 28; Fisher L. HART, captain, Company C, died August 31.

On Muster-roll for September. - E. H. NEWTON, private, Company C, died September 3; Henry STEINNET, private, Company B, died September 16; George CULLMAN, first lieutenant, Company B, died September 17; W. JACOBS, corporal, Company K, died September 20.

On Muster-roll for October. - Andrew ANTRICAN, private, Company D, died October 12.

Later Deaths. - George BIRD, Company G, died November 1; William BOOHER, Company F, Died November 3; Daniel MOWRY, Company C, died November 5; Jacob CRAMER, Company D, died November 5; William JOHNSON, Company D, died December1; Amos SMITH, Company H, died December 2; Richard GEORGE, Company E, died December 5; Thomas MOATS, Company H, died December 5.

During the later months of the season no intelligence was received from them. A letter from Vera Cruz, dated February 1, 1848, was received, in which it was said that the troops had arrived there on the 27th, with the train from the city of Mexico, under the command of Major CALDWELL. Captain J. A. SMITH left Puebla on the 18th. Before he left all was bustle and excitement, information having been received that they were to be relieved by the Fourth Tennessee Regiment. He received an order from Colonel BROUGH, ordering him to Vera Cruz on regimental business. When he left Puebla the Fourth Ohio was enjoying reasonable health, though there was some sickness, and occasionally a death. The company had lost five men by death on this line - Jacob FENTER, Amos SMITH, Samuel P. DAVIS, John CAMPBELL, and Thomas MOATS; and Casper SACKS with missing after an expedition to Tlascala, and was supposed to have been taken prisoner. FENTER died at Vera Cruz on the 10th of January, of the yellow fever. DAVIS and CAMPBELL were discharged, and died on their way to Vera Cruz. SMITH and MOATS died at Puebla.

It was thought that there would be no general movement of the army for some time. Captain SMITH was told that peace was much talked of at the head-quarters of the army, and it was said that Generals SCOTT, BUTLER, PATTERSON, LANE, etc., had all expressed the opinion that peace would be had within three months; but upon what they predicated their opinions was not known.

There were a number of officers of the army there going home, some having resigned, and others having been on the recruiting service, though they would probably not sail for several days, as there was a strong northerner blowing at that time.

Captain SMITH left Vera Cruz on the 8th of February, and arrived at Puebla on the 21st, traveling the greater part of the way with one other American and some Mexicans, though they all arrived safe and without interruption. The train with which he started from Vera Cruz arrived on the 24th. It left for the City of Mexico on the 26th. Lieutenant-colonel MOORE, Captain KESSLER, Lieutenant RESSLER, and three privates obtained leave to go up to the city with the train, but did not start until the following day, calculating to overtake it the same evening. When they were at about four miles beyond St. Martine, and about twenty-eight from Puebla, they discovered a party of Mexicans in the road before them. Not seeing any arms about them, they did not apprehend much danger, although they had not gone far until they discovered that the whole party of Mexicans were well armed. At this moment one of the party cast his eyes to the rear, and discovered that there was another party advancing upon them. At this critical moment Colonel MOORE ordered his party to face to the rear, knowing that the only possible chance of escape was to cut their way back to St. Martine. At this time the Mexicans fired upon them, Captain KESSLER receiving a severe wound in the left shoulder, which disabled him very much from managing his horse. Colonel MOORE ordered a charge. When they arrived within a few paces of the Mexicans, they saluted the latter with a volley from their pistols, and dashed on. Colonel MOORE, Lieutenant RESSLER, and one other made their way through, but soon discovered that Captain KESSLER and the other two were surrounded. The colonel ordered a halt, for the purpose of going to the rescue of the unfortunate party, though it was soon discovered that the whole party would be murdered if they were overtaken; so they went on in full speed to the village, being followed to the very outskirts of the town by the Mexicans. They immediately went to the alcalde, and put themselves under his protection, and as soon as possible dispatched a messenger to Puebla to inform the American troops of their situation, who arrived there about ten o'clock at night. As soon as possible, Colonel BROUGH and Colonel GORMAN, with several officers and men from both regiments, and a few dragoons, were on their way to the rescue. They reached St. Martine about five in the morning, and were informed that Captain KESSLER and two others of the party were missing, and supposed to be killed. They immediately left for the scene of action, but did not succeed in finding the enemy as expected. Previous to their arrival at St. Martine, a party of Mexicans had been sent out to see if they could discover the fate of the missing; and, to the mortification of every American and to the disgrace of every Mexican, they were found dead, their persons stripped entirely naked and so horribly mutilated that it was hard to recognize them. Their bodies were brought back. Captain KESSLER had a golden medal with him, which the Fourth Ohio and Fourth Indiana Regiments had made for the purpose of presenting to Brigadier-general LANE as a token of the high respect which they entertained for him. This also was taken by the Mexicans. Colonel MOORE thought that his party had killed or wounded two or three of the Mexicans. The detachment which went to the rescue succeeded in finding a few Mexicans, and capturing two of them.

The "Butler Boys No. 2" were generally well, with the exception that the mumps had been in the camp, which caused a number of the boys to complain for a few days. Two of the company were discharged, and would return to Vera Cruz with the next train.

They returned home in July, 1848, and were enthusiastically received in Cincinnati and this place. A supper was given to the "Butler Boys No. 2" on the last Saturday in July, to the entire satisfaction of the very large number present. The supper itself was prepared by Messrs. CORY & MILLIKIN, of the Butler House, and was in the best possible taste. After the cloth was removed, there was a loud and enthusiastic call for Major YOUNG, who responded in a neat and appropriate speech. Captain RICHMOND afterwards briefly but handsomely thanked the audience for the honor done him and the boys of his company.

Agreeable to previous arrangements, made by a committee consisting of B. DEBOLT, S. VANNATTA, D. C. CROWS, J. W. CROWS, and H. C. HUNT, the citizens of Madison and the adjoining townships met in Miltonville on Saturday, the 9th of September, 1848, to give a public reception to the returned soldiers of that place, who had been sustaining our flag and our national honor against the hostile arms of Mexico.

A procession was formed by Marshals T. B. BERRY and S. CARLE, which was headed by the officers of the day, assisted by Rev. Dr. J. ANTRUM as chaplain, and Isaac ROBERTSON as orator, followed by the Middletown Guards, command by J. M. HITT, and the Wayne Guards, command by J. SNYDER. Then came the eight soldiers, followed by a choir of twelve young ladies, who were most appropriately dressed in white, garlanded with blue trimming and cedar branches. Other ladies and gentlemen also joined the procession, and marched with them to a grove on the premises of David PAULIN, where suitable preparations had been made for the services of the day.

The officers of the day and the chaplain and orator were seated on a high stand. In the rear of the aisle were the eight soldiers - John VANNATTA, Davis W. BALL, William DINE, Stephen SHROYER, Jabez ANTRIM, W. WIKLE, James DAVIDSON, and C. HARRIS - and back of them were the twelve young ladies, forming an arch, partly surrounding the volunteers. The services then commenced with a warm and fervent prayer from the Rev. Dr. J. ANTRIM, and, at the request of the marshal, the choir sang some verses, composed by Dr. ECKERT, in such a manner that tears were seen to flow from many eyes. An address was then made by Mr. Isaac ROBERTSON, of Middletown, concluded by some remarks to the young soldiers who were the guests of the day, which were responded to by William DINE, one of the soldiers. The services then concluded with a song by the choir, to the tune of "Hail, Columbia."

The procession then marched to VANSCOYK's Hotel, where a splendid repast was prepared, and after a luxuriant feast, thirteen regular toasts were drunk, amid deafening cheers and musketry.

Among those who lost their lives in Mexico was a gallant young volunteer from Rossville, Daniel MCCLEARY, of a well-known family. The news of this young officer's death produced a deep and painful sensation among his friends in Butler and Montgomery counties. Lieutenant MCCLEARY was the eldest son of Andrew MCCLEARY, of Rossville. He had won the esteem and friendship of a large circle with whom he had become acquainted. High-minded, honorable, gentlemanly, and intelligent, he was qualified to adorn the sphere of society in which he moved. But, on the breaking out of the war with Mexico, he closed his business connections in Dayton, where he then was, and, responding to the first call of his country for volunteers, repaired to the Rio Grande. He arrived at the seat of war in time to take part in the storming of Monterey, and bore himself with distinguished gallantry throughout the memorable battle. He had no regular connection with our military forces at that time, but fought as an independent volunteer. Shortly after this he returned to Dayton; but the stirring scenes of a soldier's life had thrown a spell around his gallant spirit, which was not to be broken. Obtaining a lieutenant's commission from the authorities at Washington, he was soon at Vera Cruz. But an insidious and fatal foe was in waiting for him there.

On the 18th of June he was attacked by the vomito, and on the 23d he yielded up his young life to the deadly malady. His career was short one; he was scarcely twenty-four years of age.

At a meeting of the officers of the fifteenth Infantry, United States Army, held, on the sixth day of August, at the head-quarters of the regiment in Puebla, Mexico, on motion of Colonel MORGAN, Lieutenant-colonel HOWARD was called to the chair, Captain KING appointed vice-president, and Lieutenant GOODMAN secretary.

On motion of first Lieutenant BRODHEAD, adjutant of the regiment, a committee of three were appointed to draft resolutions expressive of their sympathy with the friends of the late Daniel MCCLEARY, and the chairman appointed Adjutant J. I. BRODHEAD, Captain D. CHASE, and Lieutenant Thomas B. TILTON as the committee.

The committee, through their chairman, then reported the following resolutions, which were unanimously adopted:

"Resolved, That we have heard with heartfelt sorrow of the sudden death of one of the youngest of our number, Lieutenant Daniel MCCLEARY.
"Resolved, That in this early death of Lieutenant Daniel MCCLEARY in the commencement of his military career, and before the opportunity of achieving that success of which his courageous and manly character gave such sure indication, the service has lost a gallant and chivalrous officer, and we a brother and a friend.
"Resolved, That our intercourse with our deceased brother and associate was such as to leave upon our minds no other feelings than those of profound sorrow and regret at his early death. He was, to all who knew him, a friend in the truest sense of the word - a man whose frank and manly bearing won all hearts, and of whom it can truly be said,

"None knew him but to love him,
None named him but to praise."

"Resolved, That we extend to the family and friends of our deceased brother our earnest and sincere sympathy - a sympathy springing from hearts that knew and appreciated his worth, and even now wrung with his untimely fate.
"Resolved, That, in token of our high regard for our deceased comrade, we wear crape on our sword-hilts for the period of thirty days.
"Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be signed by the officers of this meeting, and forwarded to his relations."

The meeting then adjourned. The proceedings were signed by Lieutenant-colonel J. M. HOWARD, chairman; Captain A. E. KING, vice-president; and Lieutenant J. B. GOODMAN, secretary.

These resolutions were transmitted to the family, together with a long letter of condolence. The body was exhumed, and was brought here at the end of January. The ceremonies on the occasion of the burial, on the 5th of February, 1848, were appropriate, and conducted in a becoming manner. He was buried with military honors. Several military companies were present, besides a large number of citizens from different parts of the county. An appropriate sermon was preached at the residence of his father by the Rev. David MACDILL. Afterwards a procession was formed, which marched to the graveyard, where his body was deposited in its last resting-place. It was a solemn scene. The marshal was General William J. ELLIOTT, and the assistant marshals Major J. M. MILLIKIN, Captain N. REEDER, and Wilkeson BEATTY. The secretary of the committee that took charge of the funeral was James GEORGE.

The following soldiers of the Mexican war are buried in Greenwood Cemetery:

Daniel MCCLEARY, I 1st, died of yellow fever in Mexico, June 23, 1847, aged 24 years 6 months, and 7 days; also Lieutenant of the 15th Regiment.
William H. SINNARD, 3d, July 3, 1853, aged 23.
William P. YOUNG, 3d, August 18, 1861, aged 41. Born in Oxford.
William H. WILSON, I 1st, June 22, 1862, aged 41 years, 5 months, 14 days.
Joseph GARRISON, I 1st, killed by a fall, December 9, 1865, aged 45 years, 1 month, and 10 days.
John HOLLOWAY, I 1st, died July 28, 1848, aged 26 years, 10 months, and 17 days.
J. S. FREEMAN, I 1st, Fairfield Township, killed in battled September 22, 1846, aged 20 years, 11 months, and 12 days.
Oscar BOEHNE, I 1st, Fairfield Township, killed in battle September 22, 1846, aged 20 years.
John PIERSON, I 1st, Fairfield Township, killed in battle September 22, 1846, aged 28 years.
(These three men - FREEMAN, BOEHNE, and PIERSON - are buried in one grave.)
John G. DENZER, I 1st, November 13, 1848, aged 33 years.
John L WILKINS, I 1st, June 14, 1874, aged 46 years and 7 months.
James MOORE, December 28, 1860, aged 42 years.
Peter LEFLAR, of Fairfield Township, May 1, 1856, aged 56 years.