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The Man Who Won The West Mexican War 1846 – 1848

The Man Who Won The West Mexican War By Page #

Postscript signed by Jos P. Hamelin “All well 8 miles from Bents Fort July 30/46”

Postscript signed by Jos P. Hamelin   “All well 8 miles from Bents Fort  July 30/46”


Bents Fort on the Arkansas River

8 miles from Bents Fort, July 30th, 1846

   Dear Maria

When in Texas I was wont to hear from you, and have my dreary way lightened and brightened by your letters.  So far we have no news from home except a line from Madsen when we were at Pawnee Fork.

Col. Kearny arrived two days since with all the Army.  Joseph Hamelin is only a few miles behind, and Rich say is without letters for us.  We are all well as usual intending to leave for Santa Fe in two or three days.  The traders are in fine spirits from the understanding that we are not to pay any duty, and from the seaports being blockaded so that supplies can’t enter the usual way.  They seem to anticipate large profits. We are making fine profits in our sales to the army.  The only trouble is in procuring goods enough.

Had it not have been for these enterprises I should never have undertaken the trip.  I did not feel that I could afford it.  Whether it results to the advantage of my health or not it looks as if it might be the means of contributing to your comfort.  May God so direct that whatever the result may be to me that your life may never be clouded with a want that you cannot gratify.  I do not mean by this that I am worse, on the contrary I have been better for several days.

It is not however right to indulge too confidently in my entire recovery.  We learn that Robert [Robert Aull, an Army private,  one of Maria Pomeroy’s brothers] was at the Fort a day or two before the troops left which makes it the more strange that none of us have letters.  James spent the night at the Fort and has not yet returned. Col. Owens has come in and reports James to be enjoying himself with the ladies (if they may so be called).

The mail is about to close. The news from Santa Fe is that the place will probably surrender without a fight, nothing however is known upon which much reliance can be placed.    Truly your affectionate,

E. W. Pomeroy

Bents Fort on the Arkansas River circa 1846

Bents Fort on the Arkansas River circa 1846



Arkansas River, July 31, 1846

Encampment of “Army of the West  Near “Bent’s Fort”

Arkansas River, July 31, 1846


Figure No. 12 August 31, 1846 Fort Leavenworth

Figure No. 12  August 31, 1846  Fort Leavenworth, Missouri   On Public Service

To Genl. Geo. Gibson  Comm’s Genl. Subsistence, U. S. Army, Washington, D. C.

Sir,     I have the honor to report that, on my departure from Fort Leavenworth on 30th June last, I was unable to prepare all of my accounts’ for that month, in such form as to forward them to your office.  I therefore brought them with me in their unfinished Condition.  On the march the Wagon containing my baggage was overturned in fording a Creek – – – my public papers and accounts were seriously damaged, by getting wet, and I have not yet had time or opportunity, during our rapid marches, to prepare them for forwarding to your Office.

There is therefore due from me at this time, my accounts for June & July, all of which I hope to be able to prepare soon after my arrival in Santa Fe – – I know not at present, what safe opportunities may offer at this very remote point, for transmitting papers to your office – I have therefore to ask your indulgences as to time in preparing my accounts for our office.  I regret exceedingly that no Office of the Subsistence Department has been assigned to do the duties now imposed on me – – I hold no Commission or appointment in the Subsistence Department, and have never held or desired any – – I now find myself in awkward position of being Compelled to act as Commissary “in the field” to an Army.  Myself without any experience, or practical business tact in that Department.

       Very Respectfully your Obt Servt     Wm N. Grier 1st Lieut.   1st Drag’s A. A. C. S.

Courtesy Walske Collection


by PRIVATE R. W. BOWER on AUGUST 7, 1846



 Fort Leavenworth August 6, 1846

Dear Bart

I have only a few minutes to devote to you at present but even then clear my conscience.  They are now almost read to start, day after tomorrow being the appointed time and all is bustle and confusion. so you must pardon me if I am short in my first & last letter to you from this place.  It is just 1 month since I left home and I have only written one letter back though I must try and make up the deficit today or tomorrow – I was some what surprised at your not coming over before I left home and was looking every day or two until I received you first letter.  I have been in Independence since I come up saw Rice W. & Sanford they were doing very well with the goods & I think will do well.

Sanford was fixing to start to Santa Fe and is off by this time, We are camped close by the Boon Comp.  I have formed some good acquaintances with R. Tod, & Capt McMillain & am quite pleased with both, our Comp’s. will march together.  There is now 9 Comp’s. at the fort and 5 more to come.

Figure No. 13 August 7, 1846 Fort Leavenworth

Figure No. 13   August 7, 1846   Fort Leavenworth, Missouri

To  B. S. Grant, Esq. at Columbia, Missouri


Those that are here held an election yesterday for their officers Price had no opposition.  Gen. Allen of Lewis County was elected over Mitchell from St Louis for Lieut. Col. of the regiment & Capt Edmonson of the same for Major. Gen. Halleck was elected without opposition Lient Col. of the extra battalion.  The officers of the rest are subject to the vote of the 5 Comp’s. which are yet behind though I have no doubt but they will confirm our choices.

Bart you must write to me frequently there will be no difficulty about communicating as there will be a regular express every other week.  From this place to us direct your letters to me care of Co. A. Capt Giddings, Prices (Sterling) regiment Mo. Vol. you mail them to this place and they will be forwarded yours in the greatest imaginable haste without review.  Pardon mistakes and look over bad writing.

Yours truly as ever  R. W. Bower




Sand Creek Camp August 22, 1846

Sand Creek Camp  August 22, 1846

Figure 14 September 21, 1846 Weston, Missouri

 Figure 14   September 21, 1846   Weston, Missouri 

To  R. W. Finley Liberty  Clay County, Missouri

First recorded letter from Santa Fe carried by the first military express to Fort Leavenworth

Dear brother

                 As the mail leaves our camp to day, for Santafee I embrace the present opportunity of writing to you.  We arrived at Santafee on the 18th inst after a tedious march of 51 days.  I wrote you at Walnut creek I believe, since that time we have lain by but very little.  Our Journey has been one of a very monotonous character since leaving Walnut creek we traveled about 300 miles up the Arkansas to Bents fort.  It is situated in about the same latitude as fort Leavenworth distant about 900 miles.

It is built pretty much in the form of a Arsenal near Liberty, of unburnt brick the wall being much lower there is also an additional wall covering about half an acre for the purpose of keeping their stock during the night or from being stolen by the Indians.  A Spaniard is always in attendance herding the stock and the moment that an enemy is discovered they are driven rapidly into the enclosure and the gate barred so that unless they are sufficiently strong to take the fort they are secure.  On the 28th of July we camped about 10 miles below the fort at the mouth of the picket wire (Purgatoire River) a considerable stream which rises in the Spanish Mountains.

About 100 miles from where it empties into the Arkansas.  It was here a great many had the misfortune to lose their horses among that number was myself, we arrived there early in the day and the horses about fifteen hundred in number were turned loose in a bend of the river and a guard placed around them to keep them from rambling, but owing to their carelessness a few that were permitted to get outside of the guard

The Man Who Won The West Mexican War By Page #