Tragic Story Of The San Patricio Battalion

Ne’er-do-wells and deserters, these soldiers lived hard, fought hard— and died when they saw a flag go up

In the 5th U.S. Infantry, stationed with General Zachary Taylor’s army on the Mexican border in 1846, Sergeant John Riley was rated a good soldier. Before his present duty he had served as a drillmaster for the Corps of Cadets at West Point which demanded high competence. Such was Riley’s ability that he was in line for a lieutenant’s commission, and rising from the ranks was rare at that period. He hail only one apparent fault, a grave one. He could enforce discipline but found it hard to take.

 
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Tales Of The Texas Rangers

There have never been many of them, and they haven’t always behaved well. But for more than a century now, they’ve been one of the most famous law-enforcement out fits in the world.

The Texas rangers vie with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a constabulary known and admired throughout the world. Both played a notable role in the past and continue to enjoy high reputation and a good press. Both attained legendary stature at least a century ago and still bask in its glow today.

 
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The San Patricios

Most of them were American soldiers who fought with skill, discipline, and high courage against a U.S. Army that numbered Ulysses Grant in its ranks. The year was 1847.

The court-martial of Capt. John O’Reilly was one of twenty-nine convened by the United States Army at the San Angel prison camp in Mexico on August 28, 1847: thirty-six other men of O’Reilly’s San Patricio Battalion faced courts-martial on that same day at nearby Tacubaya. Read more »

America’s First National Cemetery

Buried here, along with hundreds of congressmen and various Indian chiefs, are Mathew Brady, John Philip Sousa, and J. Edgar Hoover

As the truck bearing two coffins rolled out the main cemetery gate onto Potomac Avenue, the spirit of Richard Bland Lee must have sighed, “It’s about time.” In 1980, after 153 years, the brother of LightHorse Harry and uncle of Robert E. was finally going home to Sully Plantation in northern Virginia. Until his remains were disinterred, this little-known Lee, as mild as his middle name, had lain in the District of Columbia’s once-proud Congressional Cemetery. Read more »

How To Make It To The White House Without Really Trying

President Polk, a Democrat, needed a commander to win his war with Mexico, but all the good generals were Whigs. Now, could the winning general steal the Presidency from the party? As a matter of fact, he did.

Destiny and Fate are not, historically speaking, respectable concepts. Yet throughout the war with Mexico, Zachary Taylor’s luck was so uniformly bright that in retrospect it almost seems that some conscious providence, having determined to make him President of the United States, would thereafter let nothing operate to his harm.Read more »

Faces From The Past-XII

The dark troubles of disunion that beset America as mid-century approached called for a man who had slain dragons (or one who appeared to have accomplished something of the sort). So the Whigs, mindful that they had won their one and only presidential election with a military man in 1840, decided to enter the lists with another in 1848.

 
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