Post by texian1845 on Jun 15, 2015 14:52:35 GMT -5
Col. Hays signed for 214 of the first shipment of 220 (6 were stolen in transit) Colts patent pistols, aka Colt Whitneyville-Walker Pistols, on 10/19/1847. He signed for the second shipment of 180 pistols on 10/26/1847. These were distributed amongst headqt staff and 6 "Ranger" companies per my research (E, F, G, H, I, and K). With a nominal company strength of 75, not every Ranger got a Walker. In fact some Rangers snagged a couple. Lt. Claiborne of Co.C of 1st Reg. of USMR, Capt. Walkers replacement, signed for the final 100 Walkers on 11/19/1847, nearly 6 weeks after Walkers death at Huamantla. The final shipped of 500 Walkers were reportedly shipped to MExico, but transhipped to the Baton Rouge arsenal for use on the post war frontier.
It might be helpful to note, in relation to the date Hays took custody of the first consignment of the thousand Colt Model 1847 Army revolvers, the regiment had only arrived at Vera Cruz on October 17, 1847. Another 180 revolvers were issued to Captain Walker's company (Company C), and more than a month passed before a second consignment of 500 revolver arrived and were issued. Though I do not have the figures for the quantity lost among the other companies, but in Captain Alford Marion Truitt's company (Company E) from Shelby County, some 29 "six-shooters" were reported as lost (or exploded), eight of which were lost in the battle at Sequalteplan, on February 25, 1848. Of some 976 revolvers issued to Hays' command, only some 409 were returned to the government, nearly 300 of which were returned for repairs due to a ruptured cylinder. First Lieutenant Amos Strickland (1828-1905), of Company E had two revolvers to unadvoidably explode.
As mentioned previously only 394 Walkers were distributed in Vergara to Hay's Regiment, per US Army Ordnance records and Lt. Col, US Army Ret., Robert D. Whittington's 1983 seminal book on the military Walker. Only 100 were issued to Lt. Claiborne of Co. C, USMR in Mexico. The last 500 military Walkers were ordered to be shipped from the New York depot to Mexico on March 15, 1848, but were not issued in Mexico. However there is some speculation that these perhaps were shipped to Mexico and then sent to the federal armory at Baton Rouge for issue to federal Dragoons and Texas Rangers in federal service on the post war Texas frontier. The army provided Rangers with 1 percussion rifle, pistol. and ammunition from stores at the Baton Rouge armory. Per Whittington, "numerous references to the use of Colts and six shooters by the Rangers indicates they received some of the Walker pistols." 1000 1841 and 500 Walkers had been reserved for the 8th Military Dept.(Dept of Texas) by Col. Talcott. Of the 394 Walkers issued to Hays in Oct. 1847, only 191 were turned in on May 8, 1848, by the Rangers at Vera Cruz, of which only 82 were servicable. The remaining 203 Walkers were presumably retained by individual Rangers contrary to Army Regulations. The 100 Walkers issued to the USMR were likely retained by Dragoons for use on the frontier The info you present on loss of Walkers closely corresponds on what I have found. I might add that the 300 Walkers that were reported as defective were actually revolvers found defective during initial proofing and testing by govt. inspectors at the Whitneyville factory. The 1000 Walkers shipped had been individually loaded and fired with a full chamber charge of powder with a conical "ball". Only after a revolver passed numerous pre and post firing inspections was it accepted and shipped. While there is info that cylinders exploded in the field, this may have been due to the .44 cal 220 grain conical bullets being inserted backwards. If one inserts such a bullet in that manner, which is documented, there is the possibility of the bullet not seating correctly on top of the powder, possibly leading to an air gap between the powdervand bullet which can cause a dangerous overpressure in the chamber.ere
As an aside I am looking fir inf on an ancestor who was reportedly wi the Rangers during the Mexican War. Would you suggest the best reference to be "The Muster Rolls of Texas Volunteers During the Mexican War" or some other resources?
I posted something this a.m., but I guess it got lost. Anyway, you mentioned that Truitt's Co. E reported 29 Colts lost or damaged. Robert's Co. F reported a similar of 26 Colts lost or damaged. Assuming that the Hq staff each took 1 Colt, that left 359 Colts to be distributed among the Ranger Cos., or about 60 Colts per company if evenly distibuted, which is likely. Thus, with the data points of 29 and 26 Colts reported lost or dammaged from Co. E and Co.F, respectively, we can speculate that perhaps 43-48 percent of all of the Colts for all of the 6 Ranger Cos. were reported lost or damadged. I have a list of at least 11 Rangers in Co. F who drew Walkers at Vegara, based on the fact that these listed Rangers lost 13 Colts. Also, it was reported that of the total of 394 Colts issued to the Rangers, 191 were turned in, but only 82 were in working order, thus 109 were damaged,and 203 perhaps remaining in the posession of individual Rangers. There is no evidence that these damaged Colts were shipped back to either Colt or the Baton Rouge Arsenal for eventual repair/reuse. In fact Talcott didnt seem interested in any of the ordnance returning from Mexico in his correspondence with the Baton Rouge Arsenal commander. Btw I have two older Italian repro Walkers as well as an Edwin Wesson long distance target rifle similar to one ordered by Walker when he met Wesson in Feb. 1847 to also inquire regarding an order of 1,000 such rifles for the USMR. I'll have to get out to the range and do a youtube video.
In some old notes, I came across the following pertaining to Col. John C. Hays' Regiment of Texas Mounted Volunteers, 1847. Since I know of at least one other Hays researcher on this forum, here it is..."
I haven't been around here in YEARS and somehow stumbled on today. Reading through posts here and there and I was wondering if you ever finished that book you were working on TRK?
"The Muster Rolls of Texas Volunteers During the Mexican War" by Charles D. Spurlin. I also recommend "Texas Volunteers in the Mexican War" by Henry W. Barton. I also, found this report that helped me see the action my ancestor's company engaged in during the Battle of Buena Vista: "Major-General Zachary Taylor, at Agua Nueva, Mexico, to William L. Marcy, Secretary of War, at Washington, D.C. Dispatch communicating Taylor's official report of the Battle of Buena Vista." www.dmwv.org/mexwar/documents/bvista.htm
My ancestor mustered into the Texas Volunteer company at Castroville in 1846, under Captain John Conner (no relation to the Terminator movie)...and I did not realize he engaged in Mexico beyond the Texas Frontier until I found this report. Spurlin's work details the complex mustering pattern during this time, and Barton talks about the political aspects of the Texas Muster after the Governor Pinckney became involved.
Post by sloanrodgers on Oct 11, 2015 17:23:40 GMT -5
If there is one thing all of these interesting documents shows, it's that the Mounted Volunteers were not Texas rangers in their organization, equipment supply or U.S. funding. They were ranger-like units in their leadership and support duties for the regular army.
"If we fight, we fight for our rights only." ~ Stephen F. Austin