Mexican War:  Officers


Officers in the Mexican-American War

The Colors of the 14th Infantry were again unfurled on 9 April, 1847.  That is the earliest date Heitman’s makes available for documenting the activation of the 14th for this war.  It was on that date that the majority of officers were assigned to the 14th but recruitment to the ranks must have taken place before that date.  The officers were principally from Tennessee and Louisiana.

Senior officers were: Colonel William Trousdale, Commanding; Lieutenant Colonel Paul Octave Hebert; Maj, Lieutenant Colonel John Savage; Major Charles Wickliff and Major John Wood.  Lieutenant Colonel Hebert and Major Wickliff were both professional soldiers and graduates of West Point.  Colonel Trousdale had been a Colonel with the Tenn Mtd Vols for 11 years and Major Wood, a Major with the Illinois Volunteers and a veteran of the Blackhawk wars.  The senior staff was not new to fighting.

Col Trousdale and Lieutenant Colonel Hebert were brevetted for gallantry along with five other officers:

1. 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Lieutenant Samuel Davis (attended West Point for one year)

2. 1st Lieutenant, Capt James Blackburn

3. Capt Thomas Glenn

4. 2nd Lieutenant Andrew Jackson Issacks

5. Capt James Scantland

All of the brevets save two were for Chapultepec.  Lieutenant Colonel Hebert received his for Molino del Rey and 2nd Lieutenant Sam Davis received his for both Contreras and Churubusco.  Gallantry was common even amongst those new to war.


Excerpts from "Stonewall Jackson and The American Civil War"

by  G.F.R. Henderson


"The 14th Infantry, connecting the two attacks (Pillow’s Division and Worth’s Division) moved along a road which skirts the base of the hill, and Magruder was ordered to detach a section of his battery in support.  Jackson was selected for the duty, and as he approached the enemy’s position dangers multiplied at every step.  The ground alongside was so marshy that the guns were unable to leave the road.  A Mexican field-piece, covered by a breastwork, raked the causeway from end to end, while from the heights of Chapultepec cannon of large calibre poured a destructive fire.  The infantry suffered terribly.  It was impossible to advance along the narrow track; and when the guns were ordered up the situation was in no way bettered.  Nearly every horse was killed or wounded.  A deep ditch, cut across the road, hindered effective action, and the only position where reply to the enemy’s fire was possible lay beyond this obstacle.  Despite the losses of his command Jackson managed to lift one gun across by hand.  But his men became demoralized.  They left their posts.  Many had already fallen.  The infantry, with the exception of a small escort, which held its ground with difficulty, had disappeared; and General Worth, observing Jackson’s perilous situation, sent him orders to retire.  He replied it was more dangerous to withdraw than to stand fast, and if they would give him fifty veterans he would rather attempt the capture of the breastwork.

"Deserted by his gunners, and abandoned by the escort which had been ordered to support him (after General Worth’s orders to retire), the young subaltern still held his ground.  (On Magruder’s orders) A second gun was hoisted across the ditch; the men rallied; the Mexican artillery was gradually overpowered, and the breastwork stormed."



Untested 2nd and 1st Lieutenants filled the 14th’s ranks. Those who served included:

2nd Lieutenant John Chester

2nd Lieutenant Alvan Cullom (former enlisted)

2nd Lieutenant Tilman Cullom (died in service of causes unreported)

2nd Lieutenant James Hays

2nd Lieutenant Andrew Jackson B. Hudson

1st Lieutenant Henry Brooke Kelly

2nd Lieutenant Samuel Love

1st Lieutenant George Morgan

2nd Lieutenant Thomas Nichols

2nd Lieutenant William Seawell

1st Lieutenant Thomas Shields

2nd Lieutenant Richard Smith (transferred to Artillery, Lost at sea, 24 Dec 1853)

1st Lieutenant Thomas Smith

2nd Lieutenants Alvan and Tilman Cullom were both from Tennessee and presumably related.

Many men who served in this war went on to fight in the next.  Eleven officers of the 14th were no exception, although all of those whom fought in the Civil War from the 14th, fought for the CSA.

Lt John Chester Col, 51st Tenn Inf

Lt Sam Davis Maj, AAG and IG, CSA

Lt Colonel Paul Hebert Brig Gen., CSA

Lt Henry Kelly Col, 8th La. Vols

Lt Sam Love Maj, 27th Tenn Inf

Lt George Morgan Maj, 3rd Tenn Vols

Lt Colonel John Savage Col, 16th Tenn Vols

Lt William Seawell Lt Col, 21st Va. Militia

Lt Thomas Shields Lt Col, 30th La. Vols

Lt Thomas Smith Col, 36th Va. Vols

Maj Charles Wickliff, Col, 7th Ky. Inf, died from wounds received at Shiloh on 7 April 1862.

The medical staff of the 14th included one surgeon and two assistants. Lewis W Jordan was Surgeon for the 14th. Robert Hagan and Edward Price assisted him.

It is easy to see that the Army did almost nothing to spread the experienced officers around the newly formed regiments for the fighting in Mexico.  This would lead one to conclude that there might have been method to their madness.  The only logical conclusion is that the older regiments were most likely used where the hardest fighting was thought to be and the less experienced units were thrown at less important points.

Mexican War:  Officers
Copyright © 2012  14th Infantry Regiment Association
Last modified: November 01, 2012