OUTSTANDING CELTS

American Irish who played outstanding roles in the capture of Mexico City were many of those already listed and: Captain Silas Casey, Lieutenant Farrelly, Sergeant Major James O'Reilly, Colonel J. S. MacKenzie, and Captain Philip Kearny. Kearny is the nephew of Stephen Watts Kearny. In another war Philip Kearny became the first American to win the French medal, the Cross of the Legion of Honor, for action in the French Army.

Thomas Jackson's artillery battery moved up Chapultepec hill under heavy fire. He lost all his men but one sergeant. Together, they kept the guns barking until reinforced. General Scott gave Jackson a spot promotion to Major for his gallantry under fire.

Jackson's commander, Captain John B. Magruder commanded the artillery at Vera Cruz, Contreras, Molina Del Rey, Churubusco and Chapultapec. Magruder would show again his skill with artillery, this time in Texas.

Another outstanding Celtic name in the Mexican War that bears mention is that of Texas Ranger and Irishman John Salmon Ford. Ford was the Adjutant to "Jack" Hays' Texas Ranger unit in the Mexican War. As such, it was among his many duties to notify next of kin of any Ranger's death. In his notice, Ford always closed with the expression, "Rest in Peace." When casualties mounted, he shortened it to the abbreviated R.I.P. This expression is still in use today. It also gave Ford his nickname of "Old Rip" Ford.

< John Salmon "RIP" Ford

"Buck" Barry, another Ranger who was Irish, and in the Mexican War, later became Navarro County's first Sheriff.

One of the flagbearers of the United States Army during the campaign was young Patrick Burke, the son of Anna Burke. He was the Irish child born on the beach at Copano just after his mother arrived in Texas. He was later a County Commissioner for Bee County. He was the last of the original San Patricio colonists to die. He died at 78 years of age in 1912.

Colonel John W. Geary went into the war as a Captain in 1846. In 1847, he was a Colonel. He later became the Mayor of San Francisco (1850), the Governor of Kansas (1865), and the Governor of Pennsylvania (1867).

A future U. S. Senator from Texas was in all the major battles in the march to Mexico City. At West Point he was Thomas Jackson's roommate. He was Samuel Bell Maxey. In the Civil War Maxey would rise to be a Confederate Major General.

Captain Samuel Walker kept Scott's supply lines open from Vera Cruz as he moved to Mexico City. He was provided a regular commission in the United States Army for his bravery at Palo Alto. Walker's troops were stationed at Perote Castle while securing Scott's supply and communication lines. Walker walked into the walled castle and dug up the dime he had buried there as a Mier prisoner.

Sam Walker >

Walker and his men fought guerrilla style against the Mexicans attempting to disrupt Scott's supplies. Before the unit's arrival, General Scott lost as many men on the roads as he did in battle. Jack Hays replaced Walker when Walker was killed in a battle at Huamantla.

Richard King, together with Mifflin Kenedy, provided a steamboat to move the army's men and supplies about Texas. This led to the formation of a steamboat company, M. Kenedy & Co. Another principal in the company was James O'Donnell. By 1865 the company operated 26 boats. In the photo to the left King is seated and Kenedy standing. King later bought the Santa Getrudis Ranch. It became the

first part of what became the King Ranch, which at its peak was 25% larger than Rhode Island. The largest ranch, before the King Ranch, was built by Thomas O'Connor, the youngest Texan at San Jacinto.

THE WAR IN THE WEST

The California campaigns featured some Celts of note. Red haired Colonel Alexander Doniphan and his men marched from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to occupy Santa Fe. They were then given orders to move on to California. The campaign over in California, the unit was asked to go into Mexico and attack Chihuahua. This too was successfully accomplished, Doniphan and his men were next assigned to Scott's forces at Vera Cruz. All told Doniphan and his men had marched a total distance of over 5,000 miles. Among Doniphan's men were: Major Samuel Owens and J. L. Collins; as well as Major Meriwether Lewis Clark, son of William Clark. William Clark was the partner of Meriwether Lewis on the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the brother of George Rogers Clark. James W. Magoffin helped Doniphan and his men when they passed through the El Paso area.

< Colonel Alex Doniphan

Kit Carson, whose grandfather was born in Ireland, helped in the California campaign as a guide for General Stephen Watts Kearny.

Irish on both sides of his family, Stephen Kearny took New Mexico for the U.S. It was a peaceful occupation facilitated in no small part by James Magoffin. Kearny gave New Mexico its early code of laws known as the Kearny Code.

...General Steven Watts Kearny >

Earlier in the war, General Stephen Watts Kearny raised the American flag over California. The U.S. flag replaced not the Mexican flag, but the Bear Republic flag of John C. Fremont, first raised at the ranch of Martin Murphy near Sacremento. Martin Murphy was one of the first immigrants to reach California overland. Murphy's daughter, Ellen Murphy helped found Stockton, California. Thomas Fitzpatrick was another Irishman who helped the cause in the West. He discovered the South Pass through the Rockies. The Irish played no small part in the history of California, but that is another story.

 

THE END OF THE WAR

When the Americans captured Mexico City on September 14, 1847, there was a young Celt serving as an interpreter for the Americans. He was John Christopher Columbus Hill shown to the left.

The war went on for another eight months. The Mexican Army, the surviving San Patricios among them, withdrew to Querétaro 170 miles northwest of Mexico City. The war was concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Guadlupe Hidalgo. It was signed February 2, 1848 by, among others, Irishman General William O. Butler.

General Butler succeeded General Scott in January as Commander-in-Chief of American Forces in Mexico. He was the grandson of an Irish emigrant who fought the Creeks with Jackson in the Florida campaign. The United States obtained with the treaty; California, New Mexico, Arizona, and finalized the Rio Grande as the border of the State of Texas and of The United States. Among the terms agreed to by the United States was that the United States would be responsible for prohibiting Indian raids into Mexico from U.S. territory, and the release of all San Patricios. Those the Americans held since Churubusco and those of the San Patricio Battalion in Querétaro that again numbered more than 200 men in 1848. The San Patricios continued as a unit in the Mexican Army after the war. The unit was disbanded in late summer, 1848 for their role in a revolt.

Mexico remembers the San Patricios. Besides the plaque in San Angel (now called Villa Obregón) there are other testimonies to Mexico's appreciation of the San Patricios. An elementary school is named Batallón de San Patricio. In 1960, a commemorative medal honoring the San Patricios was issued by the Mexican government. Commercial versions were later offered by a numismatic firm in gold, silver and bronze. Twice, every year, at San Jacinto Plaza where the marble memorial is located in Villa Obregón, there is a ceremony to honor the memory of the San Patricio Battalion. On September 12, the day of the hangings and on March 17, Saint Patrick's Day.

There were no known Texans among the San Patricios. Some people surmised the San Patricio Colony in Texas supplied recruits and supported the San Patricios, but this is a myth. Their story has been included here because their name eventually comes up when ever one discusses the connections between the Spanish, Mexico and the Irish. Besides, it is an interesting story.

The dynamic map to the left shows the changed boundaries of the United States and Mexico before and after the Treaty of Hildago in 1848. Not long after it was signed it was recognized by all parties that the southern boundary between Mexico and the United States other than opposite Texas was based on an inaccurate map. The matter was not settled until 1853 when President Franklin Pierce sent as his Minister to Mexico, James Gadsen an American railroad entrepeneur to purchase the disputed area. The settlement was driven by the fact that proponents of a southern U.S. transcontinental railroad route found the Mesilla Valley located in the disputed area was the preferred route and the fact the Mexican Administration of Mexican President Santa Anna was severely cash strapped. It was agreed by both parties that the United States would purchase the area which became the southern most area of the states of Arizona and New Mexico for ten million dollars.

OFFSHOOTS

That was not the only part of territory to the south of the United States that was being eyed by Americans. Before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago was finalized, Federalist Justo Sierra O'Reilly, acting as the representative of the Republic of Yucatán, asked the United States to annex their republic and make it a U.S. territory. The United States, at first, did not seriously consider the idea. Then, it learned that if the United States did not acquire the Yucatán, Yucatán would ask England to take the territory as a protectorate. This was not taken lightly as the British were active in the Caribbean. The Monroe Doctrine notwithstanding, the English had occupied; Cape Honduras, Escuda de Veragua, Belize, and San Juan de Nicaragua. The United States then considered the idea, but instead offered the republic a generous aid package if it remained independent of any European power. This agreement was accepted.

Another Irishman, John L. Sullivan, the newspaperman who was credited (actually it seems it was someone who worked for him, Jane McManus) with coining the phrase "manifest destiny," suggested to Polk that the United States make Cuba a state, "to prevent Cuba from passing to another power" (England). Polk agreed and had his minister in Madrid make an oral offer for Cuba.

Jane McManus was still politically active. In a letter to President Polk dated February, 1848, she warns Polk of the political strength Zachary has gained for the coming elections.