The Twiggs-Myers Family, Part III

Marion Twiggs, the daughter of Major General David E. Twiggs, married a young Army officer named Abraham Charles Myers, from Georgetown, South Carolina.  Myers was born on 14 May 1811, the son of Abraham Myers, a practicing attorney.  Myers was accepted into the US Military Academy at West Point in 1828 but was held back at the end of his first year due to deficiencies in his studies.  He graduated with the class of 1833.  Upon graduation, Myers was brevetted to Second Lieutenant and posted at Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Myers AC 001Myers served two tours of duty in Florida during the Seminole Indians Wars—from 1836-38, and 1841-42.  During this time, he was promoted to captain in the quartermaster department.  During his service in Florida, Myers was responsible for the construction of a key fortification and re-supply center—Fort Myers was named for Captain Myers, although I suspect that most people living there do not know this bit of history.

During the Mexican-American War, Myers served under General Zachary Taylor in the Texas campaign.  In recognition for his gallant and meritorious conduct in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, Myers was brevetted to major.  He was later transferred to Winfield Scott’s command, where he again distinguished himself in combat at Churubusco and received a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel.

From April to June 1848, Myers served as the chief quartermaster of the Army in Mexico.  After the war, and for the next thirteen years, Myers served at various posts and stations in the southern regions of the United States.  It was during this time that he married Marion, the daughter of Major General David E. Twiggs, who at the time was the Commanding General, Department of Texas.

On 28 January 1861, Myers was serving in New Orleans, Louisiana.  On this date, by virtue of the outbreak of the American Civil War, Louisiana officials demanded that Myers surrender his quartermaster and commissary stores to the Confederacy.  Myers promptly resigned his commission from the United States Army and turned his supplies over to Confederate authorities.  On 16 March 1861, Myers accepted appointment to lieutenant colonel in the quartermaster department of the Confederate States Army.  On 25 March, he assumed the duties as acting quartermaster-general until December, when he assumed the post of quartermaster-general of the Confederate States Army.  In this capacity, he was advanced to colonel on 15 February 1862.

During the first months of the war, Myers was able to purchase much-needed supplies from the open market, contracting with local manufacturers for cotton, woolen cloth, and leather goods.  He also established shops for making clothing, shoes, tents, wagons, and other equipage, and purchased livestock at market prices for as long as possible.  By the spring of 1862, however, he was forced to resort to impressment of necessary supplies. The problem was two-fold: the availability of goods and insufficient funds provided to him by the government of the Confederacy.  Added to this was the devaluation of currency, poor railway transportation.

By mid-1863, Myers had established an extensive organization of purchasing agents, local quartermasters, shops, and supply depots. It was still insufficient, and the Confederacy soon resembled a rag-tag army, particularly in clothing and footwear. The quartermaster department soon became the target of much criticism, and in spite of his personal efficiency, he was unable to overcome the laxity and carelessness of remote subordinates. There was no doubt a considerable black-market operation in the works, as well.

On 7 August 1863, President Jefferson Davis (formerly a US Senator and Secretary of War) replaced Myers with Brigadier General Alexander Lawton.  Jefferson reasoned that the change was in the interest of efficiency.  Colonel Myers and his many friends resented his removal from office.  In January 1864, the Confederate senate reinstated Myers to the post, claiming that Lawton had not been properly nominated for either the post or his promotion. President Davis then formerly nominated Lawton, and Lawton was finally approved to serve as the new quartermaster-general.  Myers, humiliated and deeply offended by Davis’ actions, refused to serve under Lawton and resigned his commission.  He lived throughout the rest of the war in Georgia, and according to records found in the Bragg papers (Western Reserve Historical Society), lived “almost in want, on the charity of friends.”  This may not be true, since Myers traveled extensively  in Europe between 1866 and 1877.  His son John was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1871.  Eventually, Colonel Myers made his home in Maryland and later in Washington DC, where he passed away on 20 June 1889.  Myers never reconciled with Jefferson Davis.

John Twiggs Myers (1871-1952) is quite literally the kind of man that Hollywood films are made of, with two blockbuster films surrounding his exploits as a United States Marine.  Moreover, “Handsome Jack” was the last in a long line of tremendously patriotic Americans stretching from the American Revolution to the conclusion of his own forty-years of service in 1935.  He was the great-grandson of General John Twiggs, a revolutionary war hero, the grandson of Major General David Emanuel Twiggs, a leading figure in the Mexican-American War, and the son of Colonel Abraham C. Myers, who served as the quartermaster-general of the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. His uncle was Major Levi Twiggs, U. S. Marine Corps, who was killed during the Battle of Chapultepec, Mexico, and a cousin of Second Lieutenant David Decatur Twiggs, US Army, who was also killed in Mexico—a mere thirty days before the death of his father, Levi.

After resigning his commission as quartermaster-general of the Confederate Army, Abraham C. Myers traveled in Europe for about eleven years.  John Twiggs Myers was born in Wiesbaden, Germany on 29 January 1871.  Returning to the United States with his family at the age of eight years, Jack was appointed to attend the United States Naval Academy in 1892.  Two years later, he received an appointment as an assistant engineer, and six months after that he applied for, and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U. S. Marine Corps.  By virtue of his grandfather’s service in the Mexican-American War, he was granted Hereditary Companion of the Military Order of Foreign Wars, and later, a Veteran Companion of the same order by virtue of his own service in the Spanish-American War, Boxer Rebellion, Philippine Insurrection, and World War I.

Twiggs-Myers 002Having completed his studies at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, Myers began his service with the line during the Spanish-American War.  Stationed with the Asiatic Fleet, Myers led a Marine Detachment that participated in the capture of Guam from its Spanish garrison.  He served successively aboard the USS Charleston, which operated off the coast of the Philippine Islands, and then with the USS Baltimore.  During the Philippine Insurrection (also known as the Philippine-American War), Myers led several amphibious assaults against Filipino rebels in 1899.  These resulted in Myers gaining a reputation for gallantry and coolness under fire. He was promoted to Captain, U. S. Marine Corps in 1899.

In May 1900, Jack was sent to China aboard the battle cruiser USS Newark and put ashore with a detachment of 48 Marines [1] and three sailors to guard the US Legation at Peking, China from rampaging “Boxers,” known to history as the “Boxer Rebellion” [2].  Captain Myers and his Marines occupied a wall defending the international legations, the most vulnerable section of the wall.  Supported by Russian and British troops, Myers led an attack that dislodged the main Boxer position along the war [3].  The battle that ensued was, by every account, up-close and personal.  Myers was wounded in the leg by a Chinese lance, but the Chinese were pushed back.  British Consul Sir Claude Maxwell MacDonald reported through diplomatic channels that Myers’ attack was one of the most successful operations of the siege.  As a result of his courage in the face of overwhelming odds, Myers was brevetted to Major.  He was later awarded the Marine Corps Brevet Medal for this action.

After recovering from his wound, Myers was assigned as Provost Marshall on American-Samoa, with later service at the Marine Barracks, Bremerton, Washington.

In May 1904, Mulai Ahmed er Raisuli, a Moor bandit, kidnapped Ion Perdicaris, Ellen Varley (the wife of British telegrapher C. F. Varley), and Ellen’s son Cromwell, demanding a ransom for their safe return. It sparked an international incident because Ion Perdicaris was the son of a former US diplomat and because President Theodore Roosevelt [4] felt obliged to react militarily to the situation in North Africa.  The president dispatched a naval squadron to Tangier and, leading a detachment of Marines aboard the USS Brooklyn, Myers played a significant role in obtaining the release [5] of Ion Perdicaris and Ms. Varley.

In later assignments, Jack Myers attended the US Army War College (1912), participated in expeditions to Santo Domingo (1912), Cuba (1913), and during World War I, Myers served as the counterintelligence officer of the US Atlantic Fleet.  As he progressed through the ranks, General Myers served severally as Fleet Marine Officer in both Atlantic and Asiatic fleets, as the officer commanding several Marine Barracks at different locations, as a battalion commander with the 2ndProvisional Marine Regiment, Commanding Officer, 1stBattalion, 4thMarines, Adjutant and Inspector General, Department of the Pacific, Commanding General, Marine Corps Base, San Diego, California, Commanding General, 1stMarine Brigade, and Commanding General, Fleet Marine Forces, Pacific.  Myers retired as a Major General in 1935.  He was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant General on the retired list in 1942 in recognition of his highly decorated combat service while on active duty. General Myers lived out the balance of his years in Coconut Grove, Florida.  He passed away on 17 April 1952.

Sources:

  1. A Continent Divided: The US-Mexico War, Center for Greater Southwestern Studies, University of Texas, Arlington, 2019
  2. Winters, J.D. The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963
  3. Warner, E. J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959
  4. Russell K. Brown, New Georgia Encyclopedia, History and Archeology, 29 Jan 2010: John Twiggs

Endnotes:

[1] Including a Marine private by the name of Dan Daly.

[2] The Boxer uprising was an anti-Imperialist, anti-colonial, anti-Christian uprising that took place in China between 1899-1901.  The Boxers, so called because they belonged to an organization that was known as The Righteous and Harmonious Fists.  See also: Send in the Marines; China Marines (series).

[3] This action formed the basis of the 1963 Hollywood film, “55 Days at Peking,” which starred Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, and David Niven.  The film was constructed around a novel of the same name by Noel Gerson.

[4] Whatever Theodore Roosevelt’s faults, he was a fierce nationalist and not at all inclined to accept foreign insult.  Given the history of the Barbary Pirates, he may have wanted to squelch the renewal of North African kidnappings.

[5] This was the second action involving Jack Myers that eventually became a major Hollywood film. Titled The Wind and the Lion, the film starred Sean Connery, Candice Bergen, Brian Keith, and John Huston—released in 1975.  While the story was restructured to fit Hollywood artistry, actor Steve Kanaly did a superb job as “Captain Jerome,” a portrayal of John Twiggs Myers

The Twiggs-Myers Family, Part II

TWIGGS Levi 001Major Levi Twiggs was the younger brother of David E. Twiggs, born in Richmond County, Georgia on 21 May 1793.  Upon the declaration of war against Great Britain in 1812, the nineteen-year-old Levi Twiggs wanted to join fight but was prevented from doing so by his parents, who insisted that he remain with his studies.  Levi obediently continued his studies at Athens College for several more months.  Ultimately, however, Levi was unable to repress his passion for military service and, having been motivated by the reported exploits of Commodore Decatur of the American Navy, Levi left school and begged his parents’ permission to join the United States Marine Corps.

Levi was commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 10 November 1813.  After his initial training and indoctrination, Levi was assigned to the Marine contingent at Patuxent River.  The mission of these Marines was to oppose any passage of the British fleet, which was then hovering along the coastal regions of the Chesapeake Bay.  During this initial assignment, Lieutenant Twiggs displayed exceptional leadership ability and energy in leading his small force of Marines, traits that would continue to distinguish his service as a U. S. Marine.

He was next assigned to the frigate USS President, then commanded by Commodore Decatur. Twigg’s assignment would be as second-in-command of the Marine Corps detachment, then numbering around 56 seasoned Marines.  Upon reporting aboard ship, however, his senior officer was not present, and Twiggs assumed command of the detachment.

USS President sailed from New York on 14 January 1815.  Due to ill-marked channel markers, the ship ran aground along the outer banks of the harbor.  Stranded on a sandbar for a full lunar cycle, the ship lifted and dropped with the incoming tides.  It was not long before her hull had been significantly damaged, her timbers twisted, and masts sprung.  Damage to the keel caused the ship to sag amidships.  It was Commodore Decatur’s judgment to return to port for repairs, but once the ship was clear of the sandbar, strong winds and tidal currents contrived to push her out to sea.

Decatur realized that his ship was unseaworthy. Under these circumstances, he set a course to avoid the British fleet, which was believed to be operating along the coast of the Chesapeake Bay.  Decatur set out in search of a safe port for much-needed repairs.

Within a few hours, Decatur spotted enemy sails on the horizon.  President being sluggish underway, Decatur ordered expendable cargo thrown overboard, but the British frigate HMS Endymionsoon overtook President and began delivering broadsides.  President put up a gallant defense and unmercifully raked the enemy with ball, bar, and chain shot, but ship’s damage adversely affected her maneuverability and HMS Endymion was a better ship.  The battle raged for hours as Endymion and President jockeyed for advantages.  Decatur finally surrendered his ship to the British at midnight.

During the President’s engagement, Twiggs acquitted himself with gallant energy and a cool frame of mind while under fire, displaying the composure of a more experienced officer.  His men having discharged more than 5,000 cartridges with accurate and deadly fire, Commodore Decatur pronounced the detachment’s combat efficiency as “incomparable.”

Taken as prisoners of war, the President’s officers were transported and detained in Bermuda until the peace accord was signed.  Upon return to the United States, Commodore Decatur and ship’s officers were referred to a court of inquiry and court-martial but all were acquitted of wrong-doing.  Meanwhile Commodore Decatur offered First Lieutenant Twiggs glowing praise for his performance of duty.

From 1816 to 1823, Twiggs was attached to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  During this time, he became engaged to and married Pricilla Decatur McKnight [1].  In 1824, Twiggs was once more ordered to sea, this time under the command of Commodore Lewis Warrington’s West Indian Squadron where he served for two years in efforts to suppress piracy in the Caribbean, Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles, and Lucayan Archipelago.  On his return, Twiggs was assigned to the Navy Yard at Philadelphia.  He was advanced to brevet Captain on 3 May 1825. In November of that year, he assumed command of the Marine Barracks at the Norfolk Navy Yard (in Virginia).  In June 1826, Captain Twiggs was ordered to Florida where he participated in the Seminole Indian wars.

The Seminole Indian Wars were a trial for the Americans. They confronted with dangerous hostiles, of course, but also had to contend with dangerous reptiles, pestilence, swamp fevers, and dehydrating heat and humidity.  From 1828 until 1843, Major Twiggs served in routine assignments at various posts and stations in Washington, New York, and Philadelphia. His overall performance of duty was regarded as exceptional.

In 1843, Major Twiggs assumed command of the Marine Barracks at the Philadelphia Navy-Yard.  By this time, Twiggs had earned an enviable reputation as a professional Marine and a refined southern gentleman.  During his long period of thirty-four years’ service, Major Twiggs requested leave of absence on one occasion: the illness of a member of his family.  He was absent from duty for one week in 34 years.

Considering the size of the United States in 1846, comparing that to its population, the Mexican-American War was a massive undertaking. If one were looking at a list of navy vessels in 1846, one might easily conclude that the size of the Navy was massive. It was not.  There were but two squadrons: The Home Squadron (Commodore David Conner, later Matthew C. Perry), and the Pacific Squadron (Commodore John Sloat, later Robert F. Stockton, W. Branford Shubrick, James Biddle, and Thomas ap Catesby Jones).  Each of these squadrons had ships, of course, and a list of them would appear impressive. There were ships of the line, but most of the Navy’s vessels were cargo ships, revenue cutters, paddle steamers, riverine craft, and barges.  Nor was the war (which is to say, the Navy’s mission) confined to old Mexico.  There was a war to be won in California, as well—which was largely a Navy operation supported by the Army.  In Mexico, it was an Army operation, supported by the Navy.

The missions included blockading Mexican ports, or seizing and hold them, amphibious operations, and riverine assaults.  At this time, the entire Marine Corps consisted of only 63 officers and 1,200 enlisted men.  These were distributed about the Navy’s ships of the line, and guarding shore activities (Navy Yards).  In order to provide a battalion of fighting Marines, the Commandant of the Marine Corps (Colonel Archibald Henderson) was required to strip the barracks at Boston, Gosport, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia to no more than a sergeant’s guard. Additionally, new recruits were shipped out with inadequate training.  There were simply an insufficient number of Marines to man a 600-man combat regiment.  Henderson decided to form a battalion, instead.  Three hundred Marines formed the battalion, divided into six-line companies.

General Zachery Taylor approached Mexico through Texas. He commanded a force of about 4,000 soldiers.  General Winfield Scott commanded a force of about 12,000 Army, Navy, and Marine Corps personnel.  The Mexican force outnumbered the Americans —by 20,000 troops.  The Mexicans had the ability to replace their war casualties. The Americans didn’t have this flexibility.

With only 63 Marine officers serving on active duty, there was a scramble to be included in the Marine Battalion.  Major Levi Twiggs one of these.  The battalion departed the United States on 2 June 1847.  More than 300 officers and men sweltered in the heat as the sailing ships slowly made their way south.  The ship stopped for supplies at Havana, Cuba on 17 June with only two days in port.  The battalion of 22 officers, 2 Navy doctors, and 270 enlisted men arrived at Veracruz on 29 June under the command of brevet Lieutenant Colonel Samuel E. Watson. Another 66 Marines arrived from Pensacola, Florida a few days later.

Watson’s battalion remained near Veracruz for two weeks before marching inland.  He was ordered to join Winfield Scott’s army, then at Puebla.  Upon arrival, the Marines were attacked to General Franklin Pierce’s [2] brigade.  Bad weather, deep sand, and enemy harassment hampered the Marine’s progress.  Pierce assigned the Marines to form a rearguard for the brigade

On 21 July, Pierce’s brigade reached the National Bridge over the Antigua River.  The Marines repulsed an enemy attack as they approached the bridge.  In the fighting there, young Second Lieutenant George Decatur Twiggs, Levi’s son, serving with the 9thUS Infantry, was killed in action.

The march had taken three weeks; the Marines and soldiers of Pierce’s brigade were weary as they finally reached Puebla.  Scott was ready to move —but the troops needed a rest. They got two days.  Scott assigned Watson’s Marines to General Quitman’s 4thInfantry Division.  Quitman assigned Watson to command a brigade consisting of a detachment of the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment and the Marine Battalion.  Major Twiggs, as Watson’s executive officer, assumed command of the Marine Battalion.

Meanwhile, Mexican President-General Antonio López de Santa Anna fortified Mexico City and all approaches to it.  Scott was taking a big risk marching inland; outnumbered, hampered by citizen insurgents and unfamiliar terrain, Scott faced the real possibility of being cut off from any retreat to the coast.  It was a rough route of march, the same one taken by Cortez in 1519.  The Americans marched through wide valleys and scorching deserts.  There was a steep climb to a narrow plateau, the apex of which was 10,500 feet above sea level.  From the point, the Americans could see the valley of Mexico, encircled by rugged mountains.

Scott’s force moved steadily toward Mexico City. The Americans fought a series of minor engagements along the way.  On 20 August 1847, the Mexicans were defeated at Contreras and Churubusco and fled toward the capital.  Enroute to Mexico City, the Marines were assigned to guard the supply train. When engagements erupted, the Watson’s Brigade (and the Marines) were kept in reserve. On 23 August, both sides agreed to an armistice and a peace commission met in an attempt to bring an end to the fighting.  From the Mexican point of view, the willingness of the Americans to even discuss peace at this stage was a sign of weakness; they used the armistice period to further reinforce their positions.  The ceasefire ended on 6 September—Scott claiming that the Mexicans had violated the terms on several occasions and the Americans moved forward once more.

On 11 September, General Scott convened a war council to discuss the next step.  After listening to what his subordinates had to say, Scott decided on an assault upon the Castle of Chapultepec before going into Mexico City.  Sited on a hill overlooking Mexico City, the citadel was the key to the city …  American batteries began shelling the citadel on 12 September.  Major Twiggs led a detachment of Marines to reconnoiter to determine enemy concentrations.  Twiggs and his Marines came under heavy fire, and Major Levi Twiggs fell, mortally wounded. The Marines, however, had accomplished their mission by drawing the Mexicans out of the fortress.

On the day the Marines entered the citadel, Sam Watson was directed to assume command of the Army’s 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, and with Twiggs killed in action, Major William Dulaney assumed command of the Marine Battalion.  Watson’s health, however, had given out and he departed Mexico City for return to the United States in early November.  He died at Veracruz, Mexico on 16 November 1847.  He was laid to rest in the same grave as Major Twiggs at Veracruz.

Sources:

  1. A Continent Divided: The US-Mexico War, Center for Greater Southwestern Studies, University of Texas, Arlington, 2019
  2. Winters, J.D. The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963
  3. Warner, E. J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959
  4. Russell K. Brown, New Georgia Encyclopedia, History and Archeology, 29 Jan 2010: John Twiggs

Endnotes:

[1] Priscilla was the daughter of Captain James S. McKnight, U. S. Navy.  When McKnight was killed in action, she was adopted and raised by Stephen Decatur.  Priscilla was the mother of Lieutenant George Decatur Twiggs, US Army, who was killed in action during the Mexican-American War while serving with the 9thUS Infantry, engaged with the enemy at Natural Bridge in the Mexico City campaign on 12 August 1847.  She never recovered from the loss of both her husband and her son in the same war.

[2] President of the United States, 1852-1856.

The Twiggs-Myers Family, Part I

TWIGGS John 001John Twiggs (c. 1750-1816) was a prominent military leader during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), leading Georgia militia against both the British and back-country Cherokee Indians.  After the war, Twiggs remained politically and militarily active in the area of Augusta, Georgia.  Twiggs County, Georgia was named in his honor.

While there is not an abundance of information about his early life, we know that John Twiggs was born on 5 June 1750, in the Maryland colony.  His parents’ names are unknown, and his antecedents and early life are shrouded in obscurity. Unsubstantiated family history records indicate that he may have been descended from the Jamestown colony, but later biographical sketches place him in Georgia around the 1760s, accompanying the family of David Emanuel, Sr., who had emigrated from either Maryland, Pennsylvania, or Virginia to St. George’s Parish (present-day Burke County), Georgia.  In his youth, Twiggs may have been trained as a carpenter or millwright.

John Twiggs married Ruth Emanuel, a daughter of his guardian.  Ruth was the youngest sister of David Emanuel, a prominent Georgia politician and former acting governor.  Together, John and Ruth Twiggs had five sons and a daughter.

John Twiggs began his military career in the Georgia militia.  In August-September 1775 he was a member of Captain John Lamar’s militia company, a unit organized by the Council of Safety and the Committee in Augusta.  During the Cherokee War of 1776 he commanded a company in Colonel Samuel Jack’s Georgia regiment.

During the Revolutionary War, the Georgia militia opposed the British advance on Augusta.  Twiggs fought as part of Lachlan McIntosh’s [1] brigade at the abortive Franco-American attack on Savannah in October 1779.  Twiggs was commissioned a colonel and appointed to command the Fourth Militia Regiment.  When Tory troops reoccupied Augusta in June 1780, Twiggs and his family escaped to the Georgia backcountry.  In the following autumn, Twiggs accompanied Elijah Clarke’s exodus to the Carolina mountains.  John Twiggs’s name appears on a list of Georgia Whigs proscribed from political activity by royal decree, that of Georgia Governor Sir James Wright, in the summer of 1780.

Twiggs and his regiment participated with Colonel Thomas Sumter in the defeat of British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton at Blackstocks, South Carolina in November 1780.  Twiggs was promoted to brigadier general in August 1781.  He was tasked with two important missions: drive the British out of Georgia and quell disturbances among the Creek Indians.  As a result of his efforts, Twiggs became known as the “Savior of Georgia.”

In addition to his military activities, Twiggs was named to Governor George Walton’s executive council, and served as a land settlement commissioner in the Georgia backcountry.  Twiggs served as a member of the State Legislature in 1779, 1781, and 1782.  In 1782, Twiggs was appointed to serve as Justice of the Peace in Burke County.

After the Revolutionary War, Twiggs and his family settled in Richmond County, located south of Augusta along the Savannah River. He established a working plantation of approximately 1,500 acres which he called New Hope [2].  He continued his public service as State Indian Commissioner and in this capacity was able to conclude land cession treaties with the Creek Indians.  When George Washington visited Georgia in 1791, John Twiggs was part of the welcoming committee.  He also served on the commission that selected the site for the University of Georgia and served as a trustee during the university’s earliest days.

In 1795, Twiggs and six others formed a partnership to invest in the so-called Yazoo lands.  The effort didn’t work out, however, and after the scandal [3] was made public, Twiggs aligned himself with the efforts of James Jackson to demand land reform [4].

John Twiggs died on 29 March 1816 and was buried in the family cemetery, where his grave marker stands.  Among John’s six children included Major General David Emanuel Twiggs, USA/CSA, Major George Lowe Twiggs, USA, Abraham Twiggs, and Major Levi Twiggs, USMC, all of whom served during the Mexican-American War (`846-1848).  A great-grandson of John Twiggs was Lieutenant General John Twiggs Myers, USMC.

TWIGGS D E 002David Emanuel Twiggs (14 February 1790—15 July 1862) was the eldest son of John Twiggs, who served during the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Mexican-American War, and the American Civil War.  David Twiggs was born on the Good Hope plantation in Richmond County, Georgia.  He was the nephew of David Emanuel, a governor of Georgia, through his mother.

At the outset of the War of 1812, David was commissioned a captain and subsequently decided to make a career in the Army.  In 1828, he was dispatched to lead three companies of the First Infantry Regiment to Wisconsin in order to establish a fort at the portage between the Fox and Wisconsin rivers.  The fort was named Fort Winnebago, which became the primary base of operations during the Black Hawk War.

In 1836, David Twiggs served as the colonel commanding the US Second Dragoons during the Seminole Wars in Florida.  His fierce temper earned him the nickname “Bengal Tiger.”  Twiggs was an aggressive military commander who decided to launch pre-emptive offensive operations against the Seminole, rather than waiting for them to make the first strike.  To avoid the American army, many Seminole moved deep into the Everglade Swamps. The Seminole never surrendered and, with but few exceptions, the Seminole were able to avoid being forcibly removed to the Indian Territories in present-day Oklahoma.

During the Mexican-American War, David Twiggs led a brigade in the US occupation at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma.  He was advanced to brigadier general in 1846 and in this capacity, commanded a division of infantry during the Battle of Monterey.  Subsequently joining Winfield Scott’s expedition, he commanded the 2ndDivision in all its battles, from Veracruz to Mexico City.  Twiggs was wounded during the assault of the citadel at Chapultepec.  After the fall of Mexico City, Twiggs was appointed military governor of Veracruz. In recognition for his service in Mexico, the US Congress awarded him a ceremonial sword.  Twiggs was a founding member of the Aztec Club of 1847, a society of US military officers who had served during the war with Mexico.

At the conclusion of the Mexican-American War, Twiggs one of four general officers serving on active duty in the United States Army [5].  Advanced to brevet major general, he was placed in command of the Army’s Department of Texas, a position he held until the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861.

In 1860, Twiggs wrote to the Commanding General, U. S. Army (Winfield Scott) to inform him that as a son of Georgia, he would follow his state in the matter of secession from the Union.  At this time, Twiggs commanded about twenty percent of the entire US Army.  General Scott undertook no action to relieve Twiggs of his command in Texas.  As the southern states began to secede, Twiggs met with a trio of Confederate commissioners (including Philip N. Luckett [6] and Samuel A. Maverick [7]) and surrendered his command to the Confederacy. The surrender included the arsenal at the Alamo, all federal property in Texas, and all of his men (4,000) —including Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee, who was then commanding Fort Brown (present-day Brownsville, Texas).  In addition to the 20 federal installations, Twiggs turned over 44 cannon, 400 pistols, 1,900 muskets, 500 wagons, and nearly 1,000 head of horses—all valued at around $1.6 million.

In his agreement to surrender, however, Twiggs insisted that federal officers be permitted to retain their personal firearms and all flags and standards of the U. S. Army.  Notwithstanding this chivalry, the United States government was not at all pleased with General Twiggs and he was subsequently “dismissed” from the service effective on 1 March 1861.  In May 1862, he accepted a commission as a major general of the Army of the Confederacy and appointed to command the Confederate Department of Louisiana (which included Louisiana and the southern portions of Mississippi and Alabama).  By this time, David E. Twiggs was 71-years of age and, owing to his poor health, Twiggs resigned his commission on 11 October 1861, turning his command over to Major General Mansfield Lovell.  Returning home to Augusta, Twiggs passed away from pneumonia on 15 July 1862.  He was placed to rest on the Good Hope Plantation in Richmond County.

Sources:

  1. A Continent Divided: The US-Mexico War, Center for Greater Southwestern Studies, University of Texas, Arlington, 2019
  2. Winters, J.D. The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963
  3. Warner, E. J. Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders.  Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959
  4. Russell K. Brown, New Georgia Encyclopedia, History and Archeology, 29 Jan 2010: John Twiggs

Endnotes:

[1] McIntosh emigrated to Georgia with his family from the Scottish Highlands in 1736.  Lachlan came of age during the time when Darien township Scots defended the Georgia colony during England’s commercial war with Spain (1739-1748).  After his father, John McIntosh Mohr was captured and imprisoned by the Spanish in 1740, Lachlan was placed in the care of George Whitefield at the Bethesda orphanage in Savannah.  In 1742, General James Oglethorpe appointed Lachlan to serve as a cadet in the military regiment at Fort Frederica.  Lachlan solidified his sympathies with the American protest movement and worked to help organize delegates to the Provincial congress.  Promoted to colonel in 1776, he was appointed to command the Georgia Battalion in the defense of Savannah.  McIntosh was later commissioned brigadier general in the Continental Army.

[2] This land was partially comprised of lands confiscated from British sympathizers awarded to Twiggs for his war time service. He farmed tobacco and engaged in shipping and warehousing.  Twiggs was a slave-owner, but as to the number of slaves he may have had, we only know that when he died, he left his widow with seven persons in human bondage. New Hope later became part of Augusta’s Bush Field Airport and the only remnant of the estate is the family cemetery.

[3] The Yazoo land fraud was one of the most significant events in the post-Revolutionary War period (1775-83) history of Georgia. The bizarre climax to a decade of frenzied speculation in the state’s public lands, led by then Governor George Mathews and cronies in the Georgia General Assembly.  In essence, Georgia politicians sold large tracts of land in portions of present-day Alabama and Mississippi to political insiders at very low prices.  The laws passed to enable this fraud were overturned in the following year, but the issue was challenged in the courts and eventually reached the US Supreme Court (Fletcher v. Peck (1810).  The Yazoo sale of 1795 did much to shape Georgia politics and to strain relations with the federal government for well over a generation.

[4] Land speculation was one frequently overlooked cause of the American Revolution.  In the 1740’s land companies (Ohio Land Company and Vandalia Company) formed to claim lands west of the Appalachian Mountains in territories claimed by France.  The shareholders of these companies had tremendous influence in the colonial assemblies and in the British Parliament.  Their first concern was to remove the threat to their claims by the French, achieved for the most part by the French and Indian War.  The land companies were then thwarted further by the British Proclamation of 1763, which prohibited settlement in these western territories.  To remove British control over these western lands, the land companies supported the American independence movement, hoping for better terms and a stronger influence within a new government.  Federal land policy governing the expansion westward proceeded without clear direction throughout the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The Ordinance of 1785 initially laid out the orderly protocol by which the western territories were to be settled and incorporated into townships. Under the ordinance, each township was allotted 640 acres, in the expectation that no single farmer would be able to afford all 640 and that groups of farmers from the same region in the East would join together to form western townships. However, during the 1790s, the Federalist Party, in control of the national government, favored the sale of large parcels of land to wealthy speculators who bought the parcels in anticipation of their rising value, and then sold them in smaller pieces to farmers. To this end, the Federalists passed a law setting the minimum individual purchase at 640 acres and the minimum price at two dollars per acre, which was by far more onerous than land development in Texas in the next several decades.

[5] Along with Winfield Scott, John Wool, and William Harney.  As there was no mandatory retirement at this time, all four generals were over the age of 60-years, and three of these men had served in the War of 1812.

[6] Luckett was a graduate of the USMA and a physician who established roots in Texas after the Mexican-American War.  In Texas, he served as a physician with the Texas Rangers under Captain John Ford.  An ardent advocate of States’ Rights, he was elected as a delegate to the Texas State Secession Convention in late 1861 and when Texas voted to secede from the Union, Luckett was appointed to the commission of public safety, whose aim was to secure the transfer of federal military property to the Confederacy without engaging in hostile actions.  Luckett was later appointed as the Quartermaster General of the Confederate States’ Army in Texas, serving under Earl Van Dorn.

[7] Maverick was a signatory of the Texas Declaration of Independence in 1835, a land baron and cattle rancher.  His name is the source of the term “maverick,” which means “independently minded.” As a rancher, he steadfastly refused to brand his cattle or enclose his property.  Consequently, unbranded cattle found wandering the open range were called “mavericks.”

Halls of Montezuma

Chapultepec CitadelIn early September 1847, American forces managed to drive the Mexicans from their positions near the base of the Chapultepec Castle in the Battle of Molino de Rey. The castle guarded Mexico City from the west. Army engineers continued to express interest in the southern causeways into the city, and so General Winfield Scott held a council of war with his generals and engineers on 11 September. Scott favored attacking Chapultepec, but the only general to agree with him was General David E. Twiggs[1]. Most of Scott’s remaining officers favored the attack through the southern gates, including (then) Captain Robert E. Lee. A young lieutenant by the name of P. G. T. Beauregard gave a textbook speech that caused Brigadier General Franklin Pierce[2] to change his vote in favor of the western attack.

Inside the city, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna commanded the Army of Mexico. He understood Chapultepec was an important defense for the city. The castle stood atop a 200-foot hill that was the home of the Mexican Military Academy. Santa Anna’s field commander, however, General Nicolas Bravo, had fewer than 1,000 troops. The official records of Mexico indicate that there were only 400 defenders. All additional troops were used in external walled redoubts of the castle to protect the rectangular shaped parade ground in front of the castle itself. High walls extending about three-quarters of a mile long, but one quarter mile deep protected this entire area. This area was critical because the slope from the hill from the west was so gentle that it actually encompassed the southern slopes. Additionally, the source of water for the castle was located within this area.

General Scott organized two storming parties: Captain Samuel Mackenzie led 256 men from Major General Gideon J. Pillow’s division and Captain Silas Casey’s force from Major General John A. Quitman’s division. Mackenzie would advance from the Molino eastward up the hill; Casey would advance along the Tacubaya Road. At the last minute, U. S. Marine Corps Major Levi Twiggs[3] replaced Captain Casey. Only General Twiggs division and (then) Brigadier General Bennett C. Riley’s brigade protected the American right flank.

The Battle of Chapultepec began with an artillery barrage at dawn on 12 September 1847. The assault continued all-day and halted at sundown. It resumed at first light on the following day. The barrage fell silent at 0800 and Scott ordered the infantry to make their attack. There were three columns in the attack formation: 11th and 14th Infantry under Colonel William Trousdale occupied the left flank; in the center were four companies of the Voltiguer[4] regiment under command of Colonel Timothy Patrick Andrews and the 9th and 15th Infantry moving through the swamp and western edge of the grove, and on the right were the remaining four Voltiguer companies under Lieutenant Colonel Joseph E. Johnson.

General Pillow, although shot in the foot, called for reinforcements, which came from General Quitman. The attack faltered, however, when fired upon by the Moella Battalion artillery. Andrews’s column cleared the grove of Mexican troops and linked up with Johnson, but the attack by the 9th and 15th Infantry stalled waiting for scaling ladders. Colonel Ransom in command of the 9th Infantry was killed.

Battle at ChapultepecThe assault continued when Quitman brought up the 1st Brigade under Brigadier General Persifor F. Smith, organizing him on the right, and directed Brigadier General James Shields and the New York and Pennsylvania regiments into the assault. Brigadier General Newman S. Clarke’s brigade arrived on the western slope (along with scaling ladders), and it wasn’t long before the Voltigeurs planted their flag on the parapet of the castle. An assault of 120 handpicked Marines and soldiers attacked the hill from the south; the fighting was hand-to-hand, up close and personal with fixed bayonets as Americans struggled up the steep hill. The small assault force reached the castle at around 0930 and raised an American flag over the fortress. Soon after, General Bravo surrendered to the New York Regiment. Santa Anna watched the Americans take Chapultepec; he is said to have remarked, “I believe if we were to plant our batteries in hell, the damned Yankees would take them from us.”

Side note: During the battle, thirty men from the Saint Patrick’s Battalion, a group of former US Army soldiers who joined the Mexican side, were executed. These men had been previously captured during the Battle of Churubusco and it was Colonel William S. Harney’s orders to hang them within Chapultepec—within full view of all hands, and at the precise moment the US flag replaced the Mexican tricolor atop the citadel.

General Scott arrived at the Chapultepec Castle and was mobbed by his soldiers. General Worth’s division was sent to support Trousdale’s men on the La Veronica Causeway (present day Avenida Melchor Ocampo) for the main attack against the San Cosme Gate. Trousdale, Garland, Clarke, and Cadwalader’s Brigades began their advance up the causeway.

General Quitman quickly reformed his troops in Chapultepec. Detailing the 15th Regiment to guard the castle and prisoners, he ordered a feint toward the Belen Causeway. The Morelia Battalion, commanded by General Andres Terres, manned the Belen Gate.

By the time Worth started his advance down the San Cosme, having fended off an attack by Mexican cavalry, it was 1600 (4 pm). Garland’s Brigade used the arches of the aqueduct to advance to the right. Clarke’s men passed on the right through a tunnel carved out by sappers.

Marine Captain George Terrett led First Lieutenant John Simms, Second Lieutenant Charles Henderson,[5] and 36 leathernecks in pursuit of enemy troops as they fell back toward the city. Terrett and his Marines raced up the San Cosme causeway under heavy fire. Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant and twenty soldiers of the 4th Infantry used the bell tower of San Cosme Church to place a mountain howitzer. On the north side Navy lieutenant Raphael Semmes[6] duplicated Grant’s successful maneuver.

Lieutenants Simms and Henderson attacked the gate with 85 men but soon found the gate too heavily defended. Simms and Marine Second Lieutenant Jabez Rich led seven Marines in an attack from the left side of the gate while Lieutenant Henderson, even though wounded in the leg, launched a simultaneous attack from the front. Captain George Terrett, led a group of Marines behind the Mexican defenders and, climbing on the roof, unleashed a deadly volley on the artillery gunners. Altogether, the Americans seized the San Cosme Gate, sustaining six casualties. The Mexican defenders were now in full retreat, sweeping Santa Anna along with them as they fell back into the city and subsequently withdrew from the battle.

At dawn on 14 September, as Quitman and Worth prepared to assault the two entrances to the city, the Americans realized that Santa Anna had pulled out. Quitman’s men raced through the crowded streets into the Grand Plaza and took the Mexican National Plaza, where before had stood the Halls of Montezuma. Marines were stationed there to guard the palace, and when Scott marched into the city, he discovered the streets well secured.

Among the lower ranking American officers that participated in the Mexican American War, many served as general officers in the American Civil War. These included Daniel H. Hill, Ulysses S. Grant, George Pickett, James Longstreet, Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson, and Robert E. Lee. Officers who once served with one another in the crucible of combat turned against one another. It was nothing short of awful.

TWIGGS Levi Maj USMCThere is also another legacy: the performance of U. S. Marines in the Battle of Chapultepec and subsequent occupation of Mexico City, are memorialized by the opening verses of the United States Marine Corps hymn: “From the Halls of Montezuma….”

During the battle at Chapultepec, 90 percent of the Marine officers and noncommissioned officers who fought were killed —including their commander, Major Levi Twiggs. In honor of these officers and NCOs, Marine Corps tradition maintains that all officers and noncommissioned officers shall be entitled to wear a red stripe on the trousers of the Dress Blue Uniform. Commonly referred to as the blood stripe, it serves as a reminder to all Marines of the blood that was shed in the capture of Chapultepec.

Notes:

[1] General Twiggs (1790 – 1862) was a US soldier during the War of 1812, Mexican American War, and American Civil War. He was the grandfather of John Twiggs Myers (Handsome Jack of the Marines).

[2] Fourteenth President of the United States

[3] Major Levi Twiggs was the younger brother of General David E. Twiggs. Levi commanded the U. S. Marines

[4] Meaning line or light infantry

[5] Charles Henderson was the son of then Marine Corps Commandant Colonel Archibald Henderson

[6] After Semmes lost his ship in a squall, he was assigned to fight with the Army.

Major Levi Twiggs, USMC

Major Levi Twiggs was born in Richmond County, Georgia on 21 May 1793. He was the sixth son of Major General John Twiggs of revolutionary memory, whose patriotic devotion of his person and his purse in the war of independence earned for him an imperishable renown. A faithful son of his country, who at the outset of that unequal contest, raised from his private fortune an effective brigade, which, with his own services, he tendered to the cause of liberty, services which proved most efficient, earning for himself the rank of Major General in our then infant army, and the still higher title of “Savior of Georgia.” The present eminent Major General David E. Twiggs in the fifth son of the same illustrious sire.

1812-1840At the declaration of war against Great Britain in 1812, the subject of the present notice, then just having completed his nineteenth year, was desirous of entering the service, but failing to obtain the sanction of his parents at that time, he continued his studies at Athens College in his native state, for some months longer. At length, his military ardor was fanned into an irrepressible flame by the gallant exploits of our little navy, and on learning the news of the capture of the Macedonian frigate, by the United States under Commodore Decatur, he immediately left college, and solicited again his parents consent to apply for an appointment in the Marine Corps, which was now granted. He enter the Corps as second lieutenant on 10 November 1813 and, after a brief sojourn at headquarters, was stationed on the Patuxent with the troops which were posted there to oppose the passage of the British fleet, then hovering along the coast of the Chesapeake, which he displayed the energy of character and good conduct which ever after distinguished him. From this duty, Lieutenant Twiggs was ordered to join the frigate [1] President, commanded by Commodore Decatur, on her last memorable cruise under our flag. She sailed from New York on the 14th of January 1815, and soon after encountered a British fleet, consisting of the Majestic razee [2], the Endymion, Tenedos, and Pomona frigates, and a gun brig, and was captured after a most gallant defense —one of the opposing frigates, the Endymion, having been first disabled and her fire silenced in full view of the other ships of the hostile squadron.

By some untoward accident, the senior Marine officer did not sail in the President, and that arm of the service was commanded on this occasion by Lieutenant Twiggs —who by this time had attained the grade of first lieutenant—with such consummate skill and gallantry as to elicit the warmest applause of his commander, and to obtain honorable mention of his name in the commodore’s official dispatches. Lieutenant Twiggs’ command numbered fifty-six men, who, as is stated in Mackenzie’s Naval History, discharged during the action five thousand cartridges, and whose fire was pronounced by Commodore Decatur “incomparable.”

The officers of the President were detained as prisoners of war in Bermuda, until news of the peace reached there, when they returned to their country.

From that period until 1823, Lieutenant Twiggs was attached to the New York station, from whence in that year he was ordered to Philadelphia, having in 1822 united himself in marriage to a daughter of the deceased Captain McKnight, of the Marine Corps, and a niece of Commodore Decatur —the afflicted lady who now deplores his death. In 1824, he was ordered to the frigate Constellation under Commodore Warrington, to cruise among the West India islands, in which service he was absent nearly two years. On his return he was again attached to the Navy Yard at Philadelphia, having been advanced to captain by brevet during his absence, on 3 May 1825.

In November 1825, he was placed in command of Marines at the Norfolk Navy Yard.

In June 1826, Captain Twiggs was ordered to Florida, where he was engaged in the Seminole War until the month of April following, discharging the constant and very arduous duties attendant upon a war with wandering savages, marked by all the perils of treachery and ambuscades, and the more fatal dangers of a pestilential climate, and every species of suffering and exposure.

From the period of his return from Florida until 1843, having obtained the rank of major on the 15th of November 1840, he was from time to time, placed in command of Marines at the several stations of Washington, New York, and Philadelphia, discharging his duty at every post, and on all occasions, to the entire satisfaction of the Navy Department, and of the local authorities and citizens with whom he had either official or personal intercourse.

In 1843, Major Twiggs assumed command of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, where he proved himself worthy of the rank and station which his gallantry and long services had earned, by the scrupulous discharge of every detail of his duty as an officer, and no less by his amiable, manly, and exceptionable bearing as a good citizen and high-bred gentleman. During the long period of 34 years’ service, he never but once asked a leave of absence, and then on account of the illness of a member of his family, when he was off duty but a single week.

Battle_of_ChapultepecOn the 2nd of June 1847, Major Twiggs departed for Mexico, having solicited active service. On the 20th of June, he arrived at Vera Cruz. On the 16th of July, he left for the interior with General Pierce’s brigade and reached Puebla on the 6th of August, which place he left with Major General Quitman’s division, a few days after, and on the 13th of September he fell, at the head of his command, leading them to the assault at the storming of Chapultepec; pierced by a bullet through the heart.

Of the details of the operations in which Major Twiggs was engaged, as well on the march to the Mexican capital as on the bloody fields in its neighborhood, no precise accounts have yet been received. We only know that, whilst in the performance of the proudest duty of a soldier, his brave spirit took its flight.

Of an imposing presence and noble mien, he was the personification of courage; dauntless himself, he infused the same quality into all his followers, performing the duties of his profession with a zeal that never flagged, and a singleness of purpose that considered no obstacle. Tenderly alive to the domestic sympathies, he sacrificed them all to his sense of duty to his country. This sentiment was uppermost in his heart. When he left home, therefore, upon his last tour of service, like a wise and good man, he made all his worldly arrangements, based upon the probability that he would never return, whilst he studiously avoided alluding to them to his family.

The death of his gallant son, George Decatur Twiggs, who fell a volunteer in Major Lally’s command at the National Bridge, on the 12th of August, on the way to join his uncle the general, whose aid he was to become, had already excited a sincere and deep-felt sympathy for the bereaved mother. Having but just entered his twentieth year, a young of the finest talents, and with the brightest prospects, already distinguished in the walks of literature, and pursuing his legal studies with the zeal inseparable from an ardent temperament, he also, true to his blood—the commingled blood of heroes, which flowed in his veins—panted for martial fame. In one action, he had already gained the applause of his commander; in the next, whilst activity discharging the duty of a lieutenant in the place of one who had just fallen, the fatal missile of the enemy cut him off in the flower of his age.

“As some fair tree which erst the forest graced

And charmed the eye by blooming vines embraced,

Prone on the earth, a lovely ruin, east,

Yields to the lightning’s stroke, or tempest’s blast!”

Of the many brave men who have laid down their lives for their country’s honour during the existing war, none fought more gallantly, nor died more nobly, than did these kindred spirits—the father, and the son. Neither has it pleased an all-wise Providence to call hence on any of those battlefields, recently rendered immortal by the achievements of our heroic soldiers, a more worthy and well-tried citizen than the one, nor a youth of brighter promise than the other.

Well appreciated by his friends, to whom he was endeared, as well as by his own virtues as those of his estimable wife, the news of the fall of Major Twiggs, almost coincident as it was with that of his son, has created a deep sensation of universal sorrow and sympathy. Generous, humane, social, affectionate, and with a soul of chivalry, he was swayed by the gentlest emotions; considerate to those under his command, without any relaxation of discipline, he was the friend of the soldier, and was rewarded by the soldier’s obedience and devotion. As an officer, long holding most responsible and arduous stations, his conduct always elicited the applause of his superiors; and in all the social relations, and more especially in those of domestic life, his deportment may be pronounced to have been faultless. Of scrupulous integrity, he was conscientious in the discharge even of his minutest duties: a tender and affectionate husband, a most kind and indulgent parent, leaving a wife and three daughters to lament his loss. Alas, it is to those widowed and orphaned hearts that his many virtues are best known, and by them that they will be most fondly cherished; hearts crushed beneath a weight of affliction which few are called upon to bear, for scarcely had they begun to recover from the shock of the loss of a son and brother, before this last stunning blow fell upon them like a thunderbolt. Let them be considered henceforth as the widow and children of the nation, for to their ease the annals of war, with its aggravated horrors, can scarcely produce a parallel. To their prior bereavements it would be out of place to refer here. But that gracious Being, who has seen fit to visit them with such grievous afflictions, will not fail to comfort and uphold them in this our of their bitter trial.

Among the testimonials of respect from senior officers, and different friends, was the following order dated from the Adjutant and Inspector’s Office, Washington on 20 November 1947, and addressed to Captain J. G. Williams, commanding Marines at Philadelphia:

“The Commandant of the Marine Corps with profound and cordial sorrow, announces to the officers and soldiers the death of Major Levi Twiggs, while leading his command to victory and glory, on the 13th September, under the walls of the city of Mexico. In his loss the Corps has to mourn for a gallant officer, who has passed all of his young in its ranks, and his country for an estimable and patriotic citizen, and those who knew him most intimately, for a valued friend and a high-minded gentleman.”

“The usual badge of mourning will be worn for him by the officers of the Corps for one month, and the flag at headquarters will be half-masted tomorrow.”

“By order of Brevet Brigadier General Commandant.”

___________

Off additional interest:

  1. Levi Twiggs was the great uncle of John Twiggs Meyers, the topic of two previous stories of the Corps.
  2. Marine Corps participation in the Battle of Chapultepec and subsequent occupation of Mexico City are memorialized by the opening lines of the U. S. Marine Corps hymn, “From the Halls of Montezuma…”
  3. In acknowledgment of the Marine officers and NCOs who died in the Battle of Chapultepec, all officers and NCOs have worn a pronounced red stripe on the trousers of the Dress Blue uniform since 1849. It is commonly referred to as the “blood stripe.”
  4. Among the captains and majors who participated in the Mexican American War were the generals commanding both Union and Confederate armies in the American Civil War, including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, George Picket, James Longstreet, and Thomas Jackson.
  5. The entire account (above) was taken word for word from a work published in 1848 by Grigg, Elliot & Company, publishers, entitled The Mexican War and its Heroes.

Footnotes

[1] In the 18th and early 19th Century, a frigate was a ship of war equivalent in length to a ship of the line, but lightly armored, possessing only 28 guns, faster, and used for patrolling and escorting ships of the line.

[2] A razee is a ship that has undergone modifications of original construct, reducing the number of decks, guns, and ship’s company. HMS Majestic was commissioned in 1785 with 74 guns, razeed in 1813 to become a large frigate with 58 guns.