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Lawler and the Mexican War
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Lest We Forget




Lawler and the Mexican War
Submitted By JON MUSGRAVE
C apt. M. K. Lawler organized two companies of soldiers for the Mexican War. In 1847, after one year of service in Mexico, Lawler returned to Shawneetown and organized the Marmaluke Legion, otherwise known as Capt. Lawler's Independent Company of Dragoons.
From the 1887 History of Gallatin County (p. 78) — For the Mexican war Illinois raised six regiments, a larger number than was raised in any other State. The Third Regiment was composed of ten companies, one of which was raised in Gallatin County. Of this company, Michael K. Lawler was captain, and Samuel D. Marshall, major. The Third Regiment was commanded by Col. Forman. Subsequently Capt. Michael K. Lawler raised company of dragoons in Gallatin County. Thus Gallatin County performed her full share in the war for the annexation of Texas.

Thus it appears, there are two groups of soldiers from southeastern Illinois. A search of the state's online database using Shawneetown as the place of enlistment pulled up the following list of names. However, when searching for Capt. Lawler himself, he showed up twice as indicated by the 1887 history. First, as captain in Company G, Third Regiment, with no place of enlistment offered, then again for the Lawler Company (likely the dragoons) with the place of enlistment as Shawneetown. Therefore, if you think you have ancestors from Gallatin County who fought in the Mexican War, don't give up hope, they may have stayed with Company G.

If you're looking for a particular name not listed below go to the Illinois State Archives Mexican War Veterans Database now and query by surname. I don't think the locals who joined Co. G, 3rd Reg. showed their place of enlistment.

History of Company G, Third Illinois Infantry
The soldiers of Company G elected Lawler captain on June 6, 1846. Gov. Thomas Ford signed off on the rank two weeks later on June 17. By July 4, the Gallatin County soldiers had arrived at the rendezvous point at Alton and were mustered into service on July 8. (Note: Crichton quotes the Alton Telegraph as noting Samuel D. Marshall as lieutenant colonel and not just major). The 3rd Regiment left Alton on the steamers Glencoe and John Aull bound for New Orleans on July 22. Gen. James Shields commanded the 3rd. Arriving in New Orleans the troops learned that the both the 3rd and 4th Illinois Regiments would be transferred to join Gen. Zachery Taylor on the Rio Grande. The troops traveled by steamer to Point Isabel, Texas. The 3rd ended up encamping close to Metamoros on the banks of the Rio Grande.

On March 19, 1847, the 3rd finally marched to battle, taking up positions one mile outside the wall of Vera Cruz, Mexico. After the fall of Vera Cruz, the 3rd remained there until April 9, when the army began its march on Mexico City. Before they arrived, the battle of Cerro Gordo began on April 17. Two days later the troops began their march to Jalapa. By this time, the end of the soldiers' 12-month enlistment could be felt on the horizon. On May 4, Gen. Winfield Scott ordered the Illinois troops back to Vera Cruz. The 3rd began their return trip two days later on May 6. The 3rd officially discharged on May 21, 1847 in New Orleans. Out of an original 905 men, only 450 mustered out. Some 140 had died because of disease or battle (mostly disease), and 399 had been discharged due to illness.

History of the Marmaluke Legion
After being mustered out, Lawler traveled to Washington that summer before returning to Gallatin County. Once back in the county he raised a second unit, an independent company of mounted troops that called themselves the "Mamaluke Legion." Gov. Augustus C. French commissioned Lawler captain of the company on Aug. 13, 1847. Of the 114 officers and men in this company of dragoons, only two veterans of Co. G., joined up with Lawler: 2nd Lt. Samuel L. M. Proctor and Private Abraham Crenshaw, the son of Thomas Hart Crenshaw and a first cousin to Lawler's wife.

Lawler's company traveled by river again and boarded the steamers Fashion and Major Tompkins at Baton Rouge and proceeded to Vera Cruz. Upon arriving in Mexico, Lawler's company engaged in scouting duty for the Department of Tampico with the mission of harassing the Mexican guerillas and keeping open the road from the Gulf of Mexico to Mexico City. Sometime prior to Dec. 10, 1847, Lawler's men skirmished with Mexican cavalry at Horcasitas.

Lawler's company continued their activity for most of 1848, not returning home until the fall. Part of the company arrived at Cairo by Oct. 5. Others followed. The company officially musgered out at Shawneetown later in October. Thirteen members of the company died in Mexico (and no, I don't know which 13, though Abraham Crenshaw died either in Mexico or shortly after returning home from the war due to injuries or illness. His siblings received the proceeds from his bounty lands).

Lawler's Company is also listed in some records as the Third Independent Company of Illinois Volunteers.

Source: Jane W. Crichton. 1965. Michael Kelly Lawler: A Southern Illinois Mexican War Captain and Civil War General. Thesis. Carbondale, Ill.: Southern Illinois University. 19-50.

Lawler's Company of Dragoons
Baker, WilliamPrivate
Becraft, JohnPrivate
Berry, CharlesPrivate
Boyer, William LPrivate
Bozman, PhineasPrivate
Bramlet, SanfordPrivate
Bruce, James Private
Buckner, Edwin Private
Burrel, Mars Private
Burrel, William Private
Burrell, John Private
Cadle, JohnSergeant
Calicoat, John Private
Campbell, Chalon GPrivate
Catt, Levi B Private
Catt, Pilate S Private
Caughman, Charles JPrivate
Caughman, John Private
Cayton, William WPrivate
Chapman, Isaac Private
Christian, RufusPrivate
Clark, Josiah Private
Clark, Walter S1stLt
Cockran, SanfordBugler
Conyers, Isaac Private
Crandle, BenedictFarrier
Crenshaw, AbrahamPrivateVeteran, Pvt., Co. G.
Crissup, Thomas Private
Davis, James B Private
Dorsey, William Private
Eastman, Jacob IPrivate
Eaton, William HPrivate
Ensminger, StephenPrivate
Eubanks, George WPrivate
Fowler, James Private
Gaston, John Private
Gaston, Robert Private
Gates, William Private
Gatewood, William JBugler
Gillerson, Patterson H Private
Greathouse, TevisPrivate
Greer, Peyton Private
Hair, James Private
Harget, William Private
Hargrave, ThomasPrivate
Henso, Elijah Private
Hill, Edward Private
Hill, Morris Private
Hood, James Private
Hood, William Private
Hudgins, AmbrosePrivate
Hudson, Sanford Private
Hughes, AlexanderPrivate
Hughes, Cephas GPrivate
Hughes, Champ T Private
Hughes, George Private
Jameson, John D Private
Jones, Richard MPrivate
Jones, William HPrivate
Kennedy, Daniel Private
Lawler, Michael KCaptainVeteran, Capt., Co. G
Leavell, BenjaminPrivate
Linderman, IsaacPrivate
Lockhart, Theodore LSergeant
Lynch, John Q A Private
Mahoney, CorneliusPrivate
Mc Carty, CharlesPrivate
Mc Clusky, DanielPrivate
Miller, John W Private
Mitchell, John CCorporal
Morris, Robison BPrivate
O'neil, Peter Private
Overbee, John Private
Peeples, Robert MSergeant
Pelham, John Private
Pennell, Willis YPrivate
Perry, WashingtonPrivate
Pillow, Parker BPrivate
Pipe, Thomas Private
Pool, Thomas Private
Powell, Thomas JCorporal
Proctor, Samuel H TCorporal
Proctor, Samuel L M2ndLtVeteran, 1st Lt., Co. G
Rawson, Thomas Private
Rearden, Henry TPrivate
Reeves, Jeremiah HPrivate
Renwick, John G Private
Reynolds, Isaac Private
Reynolds, ThomasPrivate
Ridgway, John G2ndLt
Ritchey, Francis PPrivate
Roark, David H Private
Robison, John Private
Sharp, Holmes Private
Shirley, Nimrod Private
Sinks, ZachariahPrivate
Sloo, HowellSergeant
Spivey, Lindley MPrivate
Stickney, George WPrivate
Stone, Lorenzo WCorporal
Sumpter, WilliamPrivate
Trimble, John Private
Turner, John Private
Umsnider, EliasSergeant
Vaugh, Thomas B Private
Walters, WilliamPrivate
Watts, Lewis F Private
Webb, Asa B Private
White, Benjamin FPrivate
White, George FSergeant
White, Joseph Private
Wolf, Stephen Private
Wright, Alanson GPrivate
Wright, Robert Private


Source: Mexican War Database, Illinois State Archives, Secretary of State's Office.

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