Sunday, July 21, 2013

In Honor of Company G, Tennessee 5th Infantry

One hundred sixty-five years ago, on 20 July 1848, the surviving men of Company G, 5th Regiment Tennessee Volunteers received their discharge papers for their service in the Mexican War. My 4th-great-grandfather, Robert Thomas Jones Sr., was among the ragged heroes who completed their service on that day. This post is a tribute to them and a memorial to those who served but have largely gone unrecognized.

Company G endured a long journey down the Tennessee River, to New Orleans, along the Gulf Coast to Veracruz, Mexico. From Veracruz, they marched inland to guard the Puente Nacional (National Bridge) or secure the supply route between Veracruz and Mexico City. This is well documented in Down the Tennessee by Richard Mitchell Edwards, a veteran of the 5th Infantry. 

Upon their return to Memphis, many of the soldiers were battling the effects of yellow fever, dysentery and other diseases contracted while stationed for several months at Puente Nacional, near Jalapa, Mexico. Of the 105 men who entered service in Company G in November 1847, only 86 returned or were discharged prior to July 1848. Of those 86, only 28 men (or their surviving spouses) received a pension from the US Government.

For most of those 28, a pension was granted years or decades after an extensive back and forth battle with the US Pension Office. Several of these pensions were only granted due to a private act of Congress, often some 50 years after discharge, when many of the surviving men were elderly and unable to work.

To the best of my research among available records from,, FamilySearch and the US National Archives in Washington, DC, below is a list of those who served from Company G and their pension status (please note, some of the men who served in Company G later served in the Civil War, and may have received a pension from their Civil War service in addition to their Mexican War service).

These men deserve some recognition for their service.

Company G, 5th Regiment Tennessee Volunteers (November 1847-July 1848)
Captain John Reese (24) -Memphis (no pension filed)
2nd Lt. Proctor Porter (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
2nd Lt. John A. Miller (23) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Laura A.W. Miller, application# 14520, 19012, pension received)
Sergeant [Marcus] LaFayette Allen (21) - Memphis; promoted to 2nd Lt when Atkinson discharged (pension filed by widow Leah Allen, application #6965 from Arkansas, pension received)

Sergeant William F. Barr (28) - resigned, discharged in New Orleans on 28 Dec 1847 (pension filed by widow Mary E. P. Barr, application #18628, pension received)
Sergeant Isaac Cardwell (21) - promoted to Sergeant when Barr resigned; Memphis (No pension filed)
Sergeant Conner Moore (26) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Sergeant James Thomas (25) - promoted to Sergeant on 4 Apr 1848 when John P. Holland was demoted to private; Memphis (Pension filed by widow Elizabeth J. Thomas, application# 9181, pension received)
Sergeant John W. Thurnburg (19) - promoted to Sergeant on 1 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
Sergeant John P. Holland (23) - demoted to private, "broken of his appointment to Sergeant on 4 April 1848, since that time a private"; Memphis (no pension filed)

Corporal James Bethel (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Corporal Leonard R. L. Davis (25) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Corporal Hugh K. Duncan (21) - promoted to Corporal on 1 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
Corporal James Lowe (25) - promoted to Corporal on 4 Apr 1848; promoted again when LaFayette Allen was promoted to 2nd Lt. 1 Jun 1848; Memphis (pension application #11799, pension received)
Corporal/Pvt Robert Thomas Jones Sr (41) - Memphis (but died 2 days after discharge, drowned in Mississippi River) (Widow's pension filed by Elizabeth Thornhill Jones rejected)

William G. Atkinson (19) - Musician/Drummer; Memphis (pension application filed, #18918 Old Wars #12168; later served in Company I, 2nd US Cavalry 1855-1858; died 9 April 1919 in Russellville, Tennessee. Pension received).
William P. Cozart (17) - Musician, played the fife, discharged in Memphis (pension application #1399, rejected)
William Couch (19) - Cook; transferred to hospital on 4 Feb 1848; made hospital steward on 29 Feb 1848; discharged in Memphis (pension application filed by widow Sarah Couch, #9235. Pension received).

Roderick Anderson (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
John P. Baugh (25) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Eli Blair (26) - Memphis (pension application # 518, pension received)
Hiram Blair (19) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Mary J. Blair, application #23049, 12324. Pension received).
James Branham (28) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Lewis Breeden (21) - Memphis (pension filed #697, pension received)
Merrill Breeden (21) - Memphis (pension filed #11391, pension received)
Ransom Brogden (26) - Memphis (No pension filed)
[Frances] Marion Click (21) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Eliza Ann Click, #4274, pension received)
Robert Collier (21) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Mary Catherine Collier, #18621, pension received)
William R. Copeland (27) - Memphis (pension filed #15019, pension received)
Samuel Cox (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Caleb Crow (21) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Jane Crow, #10395, Old Wars file #13444. Rejected but later received).
James Ferguson (19) - transferred into Company G on 12 Nov 1847; Memphis (pension application #2111; 9565. Pension received)
John Foster (28) - joined in New Orleans on 25 Dec 1847; Memphis (No pension filed)
David Fry (21) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Joseph Grisham (23) - Memphis (No pension filed)
James J. M. Haggard (20) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Shadric W. Harie (or Haire) (22) - Memphis (Pension filed by widow Mary Ann Hair, #4137, Old War Widow Pension. Pension received).
Valentine L. Harris (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Thomas Haskett (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Thomas B. Hickey (30) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Henry Hickman (18) - Memphis (pension filed application 14879, pension received
Humphrey Hickman (28) - Memphis (No pension filed)
William L. Hudson (22) - Memphis (Pension #20618, pension received)
Francis A Irwin (20) - Memphis (Pension filed by widow Levina Irwin, #3385; 11920. Widow's pension rejected.
Grant Jones (19) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Miles Jones (40) - Memphis (pension application rejected)
William Lane (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Zebedee Langford (24) - Memphis (No pension filed)
John J. Lennon (19) - Memphis (No pension filed)
William Lines (18) - Memphis (No pension filed)
James Maner (24) - Memphis (No pension filed)
Benjamin Manning (20) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Mary J. Manning, application #13316, survivor application #4281, pension received).
Henry Maples (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Andrew J. Margraves (44) - Memphis (no pension filed)
George W. Massengill (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
James D. McClelland (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
James McKinney (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Jacob Miller (22) - Memphis (pension application #4620, pension received).
James C. Myers (19) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Sarah C. Myers, application #1462, Old Wars file #16710. Widow's pension rejected).
James L. Neal (22) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Ewen Jefferson Newman (19) - Memphis (married Margaret Caroline Jones on 15 Feb 1849, daughter of Robert Thomas Jones Sr, sister of Robert Thomas Jones Jr) (no pension filed)
Jackson Nunn (19) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Paul Potter (23) - Memphis (pension filed by widow Isabella J. Potter, application #1713 in Tennessee, pension received).
Andrew J. Potts (20) - Detailed for daily duty as artilleryman since 4 April 1848; Memphis (pension filed by widow Mary Potts in Oklahoma, #18554; Invalid #17168; application #21279, Texas. Pension received).
Henry Ratford (23) - Memphis (no pension filed)
James Robertson (40) - Memphis (no pension filed)
William P. Rodgers (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Stephen Shrobert (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
William P. Sisk (20) - Memphis (no pension filed)
John P. Smallwood (30) - Memphis (no pension filed)
James Sparks (23) - Memphis (no pension filed)
Thomas Spurgeon (21) - Memphis (pension application #10310, pension received).
Thomas Stafford (25) - Memphis (pension application #16552, pension received).
Soloman Stanberry (21) - Memphis (no pension filed)
George Stomer (26) - Memphis (no pension filed)
John Thomas (19) - Memphis (pension application #6394, 15255, pension received).
Wyley [or Wiley] A. Warden (24) - Memphis (pension application #12875; 20077; Old War's 18731. Pension received).
Burl Whorly (19) - Memphis (no pension filed)
William Wood (25) - Memphis (pension application #14676, pension received)

Early Discharge
1st Lt. Hendle Atkinson (40) - honorable discharge on 20 Jun 1848 (no pension filed)
Frederick Hickman (38) - discharged 14 May 1848, in New Orleans by 29 May 1848 on surgeon's certificate (No pension filed)
Alexander Jones (22) - discharged by writ of habeas corpus by Judge Alexander in Knoxville, Tennessee on 4 Dec 1847 (no pension filed)
James K. Michaels (18) - discharged at National Bridge, Mexico by surgeon's certificate, 28 Mar 1848 (pension application #4594 in Illinois, 29 Jan 1887, pension received)
Eli Sartin (30) - Discharged at National Bridge, Mexico upon surgeon's certificate 28 Mar 1848 (pension filed by widow Mary Ann Sartin, application # 2610, Old War's Inv. Rej. #17653, pension received)
Jesse Young (44) - Transferred to Company G from F on 12 Nov 1847; Discharged at National Bridge upon surgeon's certificate 28 Feb 1848 (No pension filed)  

No official notice of death or discharge
Andrew J. Clemens (22) - Left sick in hospital in Veracruz on 30 Jan 1848, no official notice of death or discharge (no pension filed)
William Kensley (20) - transferred from Company F to G on 12 Nov 1847; name not on further rolls for Company G after Nov 1847 (no pension filed)
Ruffin Warrick (24) - Left sick in hospital at Veracruz, 10 May 1848. No official notice of death or discharge. (No pension filed)

Died in Service
Elijah Church (19) - Died at Veracruz on 26 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
John W. Ebbs (29) - Died at Veracruz on 25 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
William Johnson (19) - Died at National Bridge, Mexico on 18 Mar 1848 (No pension filed)
Thomas Jones (29 years old, of Jackson County, Tennessee) -  Died in Mexico (pension filed by wife rejected)
Robert Thomas Jones Jr (20) - Died at Muscle Shoals, Alabama on 17 Dec 1847 (pension filed by mother Elizabeth Thornhill Jones rejected)
Thomas H. Lawson (28) - Died at National Bridge, Mexico on 9 Apr 1848 (no pension filed)
Henry Pangle (28) - Died at National Bridge, Mexico on 13 May 1848 (no pension filed)
James Russell (38) - Left in hospital in Veracruz 30 Jan 1848, died 11 Feb 1848 (no pension filed)
James Soloman (20) - Died on board transport ship America 9 Jun 1848 (no pension filed)
Thomas L. Walker (41) - Died at Veracruz, 23 Jun 1848 (No pension filed)
Thomas D. Whalen (20) - Died at National Bridge, 4 Mar 1848 (No pension filed)

Ransom Cross (21) - Deserted in Knoxville, Tennessee on 15 Nov 1847
George Hurst (23) - Deserted at wood yard on Mississippi River, 25 Dec 1847
Noah Hurst (19) - Deserted at Paducah, Kentucky, 23 Dec 1847
Pleasant Hurst (19) - Deserted at Paducah, Kentucky, 23 Dec 1847
Charley Mathis (18) - Deserted at Veracruz on 30 Jan 1848
Paschal Nunn (25) - Deserted at wood yard on Mississippi River, 25 Dec 1847 

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