Still in Texas
EDITED BY LLERENA FRIEND*
T HESE THREE LETTERS FROM HUGH E. DUNGAN, A UNITED STATES
soldier stationed in Texas in 1852, indicate that the passage of
more than a century has not brought much change in tempora or
mores when it comes to the plaints in the old army game: sniping of
staff against line, nostalgia for the scenes of home, problems of military
versus civil authority, resentment at being stuck in a rank without
promotion, and complaint that everything the United States did
"smacks of the almighty dollar." Many a G.I. stationed in Texas in
1968 might have also complained, "I have been almost six months in
Texas and have seen enough to satisfy me that I would not remain
long in the country if I were so situated that I could get away." Hugh
E. Dungan did not get away.
Appointed from his home state of Pennsylvania, Dungan was a cadet
at the United States Military Academy at West Point from July 1,
1846, to July 1, 1850, when he was graduated ninth in his class and
was breveted second lieutenant of the Artillery. He was sent to frontier
duty at Fort Brown and carried out his military assignments there on
the Rio Grande until he died at the fort on November 11, 1853, age
The letters are addressed to a fellow townsman and life-long friend
whose years were to be as long and full of honors as Dungan's were
brief and frustrated. William Watts Hart Davis (1820-1910), journal-
ist, author, soldier, government official, was born in Bucks County,
Pennsylvania, in July, 1820. He was a law student at Harvard when he
volunteered for service in the Mexican War, enlisting as a private in
the 1st Massachusetts Infantry. He was mustered out as a captain in
1848. For five years he practiced law in New Mexico and acted as
governor, superintendent of Indian Affairs, attorney general, and pub-
lisher of the Santa Fe Gazette. In April, 1861, he was made captain of
the 25th Pennsylvania Infantry and was subsequently breveted brig-
adier general. He belonged to patriotic and historical organizations
*Miss Friend is Texas History Center librarian and lecturer in history at the University
of Texas at Austin.
1George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S.
Military Academy, from 1802-1890o (3 vols.; Cambridge, 1891), II, 259.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/. Accessed August 1, 2014.