The Mexican War – A call to Arms


By Bob Boldman - Contributing Columnist



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In the book written by Nelson Evans “History of Scioto County,” circa 1903, he describes Portsmouth’s role in The Mexican War. “Edward Hamilton, a popular young lawyer and a Whig, undertook to raise a Company for the Mexican War. He raised Company D of the First Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Alexander W. Mitchell was Colonel, John B. Weller was Lieutenant Colonel, and Thomas L. Hamer, Major, succeeded by Luther Giddings. The Company was mustered in, June 1, 1846, to serve one year. Edward Hamilton was Captain, John K. Kidd was First Lieutenant, and John W. Maben Second Lieutenant, Charles Boyle and Cassander Hall Lieutenants. The Company was in two battles, Monterey, Mexico, September 21, 1846, and Ceralvo, Mexico, March 7, 1847. The regiment had 24 killed, 42 died of disease, total loss 66. Of Company D, Timothy Boyle was killed, September 6, 1846; James Davids was killed November 25, 1846; by accidental discharge of a gun. John W. Hewlett was killed September 21, 1846; at the battle of Monterey. William H. H. Canley, John Estes, Alexander McHenry, William E. Stephens, R. Walters and Hiram Wilson, died in the service. Andrew J. Canley, Alfred Donaghue, Daniel Estes, Thomas Fought, David Fuller, Martin Hickle, Edward Reed, Henry Rice, Lawrence Rowley, John H. Slater, George D. Smith, Griffin Soward, Burrill Stephens, Thomas W. Sullivan and George W. Wooten were discharged for disability during the year for which the Company was enlisted. “

“The regiment was organized June 23, 1846, at Cincinnati, Ohio. Captain Hamilton’s Company was organized June 1, 1846, the second completed in the regiment. He marched his men about Portsmouth after rendezvous and they were laughed at for their awkwardness. On June 11, 1846, the Scioto and Lawrence County Volunteers were encamped on the “common” near the town. On Wednesday, June 10, the Ross County Volunteers, 86 in number, left on the steamer, Ashland, for Fort Washington. On June 18, 1846, the Stark County Rangers were in Portsmouth. They came down by canal from Massillon. The Portsmouth Company was to leave June 18. Five companies went away from Portsmouth on the steamboat, “New World.” They stopped near Henderson, Ky., and went into a grove and celebrated the Fourth of July. On July 18, 1846, the Portsmouth Company of the First Regiment was on Mexican soil. On the 12th of November, 1846, they were at Monterey, Mexico. After the battle of Monterey, there was a Company of Portsmouth Guards organized. Colonel Peter Kinney was Captain, John Cook was First Lieutenant, L. N. Robinson was Second Lieutenant, Colonel O. F. Moore was Third Lieutenant. Colonel S. E. Varner, John L. Ward, Charles C. Row, Uriah McCloud, John Barker, L. C. Damarin, George W. White, A. W. Buskirk, Martin Molster, Leonard C. Heaton, Joseph C. Gilbert and George W. Brown were also members of the company. It paraded 80 men through the town. The men had dark blue swallow tail coats faced with white, with stars, on the tails and face, of the coats. Their trousers were dark blue, with white stripes down the seams. They had white waist and shoulder belts, bell crowned caps, with metal plates in front with white cord behind, looped under the chin, and with a drooping white plume. They were drilled by Captain John Scott, a West Point graduate and afterwards by Lieutenant Ernst, then stationed in Portsmouth as a recruiting officer. During the Mexican War the total population of Wayne Township (Portsmouth) – wasn’t much over 2,000 and the County about 15,000. The males of military age in Scioto County, during the Mexican War were not over 1,200, Edward Hamilton, the General of the militia, was the central figure in Portsmouth during this war. In July, 1846, he resigned as a member of the Town Council on account of going to war. The town presented him the flag for his Company, at the time he went into the war, President Zachary Taylor, who made his acquaintance during the Mexican War, appointed him Secretary of the Territory of Oregon and on October 19, 1849, he resigned as Town Clerk on account of his intended removal. He left with the council the flag his Company carried through the Mexican War. He also resigned as Examiner of the public schools. E. W. Jordan was elected Town Clerk. Mr. Currie introduced a resolution to the effect that the Council would with pleasure accept the trust of the flag, which waved over the battlefield of Monterey. Peter Kinney, John L. Ward and James Malcomb were appointed to receive the flag. They reported they had received it, and placed it on the armory of the Portsmouth Guards.” Over time the flag disappeared and the whereabouts unknown.

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By Bob Boldman

Contributing Columnist

Bob Boldman is a local historian. He can be reached by email: g.boldman5@gmail.com

Bob Boldman is a local historian. He can be reached by email: g.boldman5@gmail.com