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Thread: Regarding Service in the War in Mexico

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mint Julep View Post
    My dad was in Japan during the Korean War and still sometimes answers the phone with a Japanese expression. Those were formative years and exciting times for young men and I'm sure they were heavily influenced and never forgot. Just like today.
    I'll agree with that one---Chinese expressions peppered MyDaddy's language for the rest of his life, though he ran troops on that little American gunboat the Yalu River no more than a year. As Alzheimer's slowly took his speech and abilities, one of the last things to go was a short Chinese expression used to compliment the food---He continued to say it even when the food was pureed vegetables with a side of Ensure.

    Upon arriving in-country in the early 1980's, I was surprised that, while my formal language lessons allowed me basic navigation, count money, and polite greetings, what I really understood was how to compliment the cook and some common profanity--neither of which had been taught at the University of Alabama.

    Last weekend I found myself in the Year 49. Bright sun, cold wind, traditional clothing that covered me head to foot, and stone ovens to cook in. I found a corner of the stuccoed building, pulled my palla over my head against the cold, and began to prepare vegetables for the garrison. As the green beans hit the pork grease, the smell of the Roman dish I was making was so close to a traditional Chinese dish, I was transported to the dusty courtyards of Xian.


    Mindset and 'memory' is everything, Mel. Allowing those small Spanish expressions to surface will add to yours.
    Mrs. Lawson
    Weaver, Spinster, Strong Fast Dyes
    Knitted Goods and yarns available thlawson@bellsouth.net



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  2. #12
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    I've found this thread interesting. I also use the Mexican War, as my back story; at least in my own head. As an example, I use Federal equipment for my Confederate Officer's impression. It's the stuff I used when I was in the Federal Army, back in the day. All the new holes I've added to my sword belt are period correct!
    Bill Rodman, If you need a really bad example.
    King of Prussia, PA
    wrodman1@aol.com

  3. #13
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    The California Gold Rush did not begin until December of 1848, even though gold was discovered in March. What did you do do in the interval? How did you here about the gold discovery?
    Travel to California? The Oregon Trail, then South through Donner Pass; or the southern route through Texas, Mexico, and the Southwest. Did you have the means to sail to California around the horn or over the isthmus at Panama?
    How many gold camps did you stay in? Who were the rest of your company? How long before you realized you weren't going to get rich?
    It takes more than age to have participated in one of the largest mass migrations in human history.
    Andrew Grim
    Monte Mounted Rifles, Monte Boys
    Mess of Myself
    Occasional 7%er


    "Los Angeles at the close of the Rebellion was the most vindictive, uncompromising community in the United States" Horace Bell

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mint Julep View Post
    My dad was in Japan during the Korean War and still sometimes answers the phone with a Japanese expression. Those were formative years and exciting times for young men and I'm sure they were heavily influenced and never forgot. Just like today.
    Hey Joe, what unit was he with. My Uncle was with the 187th RCT. Japan, to Korea, and back to Japan.
    Galen Wagner
    Yellowhammer Rifles
    Past Master, Oak Park # 864 F&AM
    Montgomery, AL

  5. #15

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    You know, I overstated my own position. A couple people have pointed out that it depends on the event how much a backstory matters. It also depends on what you do with your backstory. In one of the units I belong to, we have regular mail calls. In order to make those letters meaningful, a number of us have circulated short bios of our on-field personae. This technique really works to make mail call a powerful first-person experience.
    I use my backstory to create a period presence that is easy for me to remember, too. For instance, I'm an old armored tanker in real life (a DAT if you will ) I still pay attention to some of those armored/cavalry issues. So in my younger days, I was a cavalryman, though I am not now. I've also traveled a lot in and studied the history of Panama, so I went to California by way of the Isthmus. Quite and adventure, let me tell you...
    How I ended up in Wisconsin in 1861? Well, now youngster, that's another story.
    Mrs L: You weren't cooking doormice, were you? The Emperor has declared that to be illegal, though I can't see why. I've heard hey're good stuffed.
    Rob Weaver
    Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
    "We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
    -Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty

  6. #16
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    After the Mexican War, the 5th Infantry was here in the Indian Territory, garrisoned at Forts Washita, Towson and Gibson. Also Fort Smith, Ark. A man mustered out here in the west may be inclined to head to the gold rush. That may help you.
    Thank you Frank. That's most helpful.



    The California Gold Rush did not begin until December of 1848, even though gold was discovered in March. What did you do do in the interval? How did you here about the gold discovery?
    I think I could have waited until I was mustered out in late '49 or early '50, and this would have been something that by this late date was on everyone's lips. I see myself as being more of a "50er"--kind of a Johnny-Come-Lately. It's authentic and I think more of an interesting story.

    Travel to California? The Oregon Trail, then South through Donner Pass; or the southern route through Texas, Mexico, and the Southwest. Did you have the means to sail to California around the horn or over the isthmus at Panama?
    How I got there is largely why I started this thread. Before I know for certain I'd like to do some considering, look at maps, see where the routes were located, and how I could have made my way towards them. As fascinated as I am with sailing ships, I don't think that I would have had the monetary resources to allow me such "luxury". But that definitely plays into my later story: how I came to leave California.

    How many gold camps did you stay in? Who were the rest of your company? How long before you realized you weren't going to get rich?
    Hadn't thought too much about the number of camps or who was there. I'm not certain that I care. There had to have been any number of nameless camps, and the men who happened to be around me are of little import as well. Now, the name of the nearest city seems more germane to my personal back story. I like to think that I'm pretty smart and figured out that the only way to get rich was to mine the miners. I personally have panned for gold and I think my character would have looked for alternate employment after about a week.

    It takes more than age to have participated in one of the largest mass migrations in human history.
    Agreed. Thanks for the questions Andrew. They help me to think about what I need to focus on with my reading. I appreciate it.



    Thank you for all of your help so far. Part of the fun of this is to encourage me to do a little research outside of troop movements and 1864 Federal uniforms.
    Mel Glover
    -GG grandson of Cpl Christian Greener, 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, Co. F

    -Rob Weaver is my guru:
    -"...one of the characteristics of a good reenactor is the willingness to not be bulletproof."
    -"Be more concerned with your own impression than with anyone else's."

  7. #17
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    Nov 2008
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    Murrieta, California
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    Or, you could just be a 50 year old patriot who was caught up in the fervor of the moment...

  8. #18
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    To answer your original questions, from the Regulations of 1861.

    1 - The term of enlistment was five years until January 1, 1861, when it was changed to three years. The minimum age for a first enlistment was 21, or 18 with parent's permission. Thus, if you joined the Third Infantry in 1846 and fought in Mexico, assuming you didn't get an incapacitating wound or illness, you'd have been discharged in New Mexico or Arizona, depending on what company you belonged to, in 1851. If you served in the Sixth Infantry you'd already be in California, as that's where that regiment went following service in Mexico.
    2 - If you chose not to reenlist, you mustered out from where ever your company was stationed at the time, and paid an allowance to travel to your original place of enlistment (I thought it was 12-1/2 cents per mile but I haven't been able to nail that part down, but it says in the 1861 regs that these pay provisions had been in place since 1840). If you were leaving the service, there was nothing to stop you from spending your travel pay to go to California from where ever you mustered out. This is your "out" to get your character to California following service in Mexico.
    3 - If you were sick or wounded, you'd stay in the post hospital until you got well or died or were discharged due to disability, unless you were judged to be insane, in which case you'd be sent under escort to Washington City for admission into the "Government Asylum."

    Cheers,
    Darrell Cochran
    Third U.S. Regular Infantry
    http://www.buffsticks.us

  9. #19
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    Sep 2008
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    Thanks Darrell. This is helpful too.
    Mel Glover
    -GG grandson of Cpl Christian Greener, 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, Co. F

    -Rob Weaver is my guru:
    -"...one of the characteristics of a good reenactor is the willingness to not be bulletproof."
    -"Be more concerned with your own impression than with anyone else's."

  10. #20

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    My ancestor that fought in the CW had served in Mexico as a teamster when he was a young man. He was a middle aged Quartermaster Captain at the time he died in late 1862.

    Sean Cochran

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