1847 – Letter from a Captain in the 1st Regiment Missouri Mounted Volunteers identifying soldiers that had died during in the Navaho Expedition so their names could be published in the Liberty, Missouri Tribune.
El Paso, Texas, 1847. Unbound. This one-page stampless folded letter written on “Tuesday 26th” [January 1847] by Captain John T. Hughes, Company C, 1st Regiment Missouri Volunteers is a postscript to a letter he had written newspaper editor the day before while at El Paso, Texas, shortly after seizing the town and its stores of powder and weapons following its Christmas Day victory over the Mexicans at Brazito, just south of Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was carried by military courier and placed into the U.S. mail at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas where it received a postmark dated April 2. In nice shape. A transcript of this letter and the letter of the day before will be provided. This letter, which was also published in the Tribune reads:
“P.W. John Browning of the Howard company was taken ill while upon the Navajo Expedition, was brought into Socorro upon the Del Norte, remained there sick with Captain H. H. Hughes [the commander of Company G], was finally removed to Albuquerque for medical aid & there died some time in December. . .. Jordan Hackley of the Howard Company, a young & interesting man, died of Typhoid Fever in the Hospital. His corpse will be interned tomorrow. I have reported the names of all the men who have died in the Regiment because friends & relatives are anxious to hear every particular respecting the deceased. . ..”. Very good. Item #009916
After General Kearny captured Santa Fe in August of 1846, he claimed New Mexican for the United States and directed Colonel Doniphan and his Missouri Volunteers to engage Mexican forces to the south. However, Navaho attacks upon New Mexicans altered his plan, and in November, he ordered Doniphan to lead an expedition into Navajo territory and secure the peace. Doniphan met with Chief Narbona on November 22, 1846 at Ojo del Oso and concluded the Bear Spring Treaty guaranteeing “firm and lasting peace and amity . . . between the American people [including New Mexicans and Pueblo Peoples] and the Navajo.” It further guaranteed trade would be conducted without “molestation,” and the return of Mexican prisoners and property. It was during this campaign that the soldiers identified in this letter died. Hughes’s earlier letter Liberty Tribune described in detail the Navaho Expedition, the Battle of Brazito, and the occupation of El Paso. In that letter, Hughes noted that he could not recall all of the names of soldiers who had died; in this letter he provided an additional two. Later, Hughes wrote the classic history of the Mexican-American war in the Southwest, Doniphan's expedition . . . an account of the conquest of New Mexico; General Kearney's overland expedition to California; Doniphan's campaign against the Navajos; his unparalleled march upon Chihuahua and Durango; and the operations of General Price at Santa Fe. . .. Very scarce. This letter was once part of Floyd Risvold’s famous, one-of-a-kind Americana collection that was sold by Spink Shreves Galleries in January of 2010. At the time of listing, no similar letters are for sale in the trade. The Rare Book Hub identifies no other similar items as having appeared at auction, and OCLC identifies no similar letters held by institutions.