The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 436
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
one denied that. What angered Hoosiers was Taylor's apparent refusal
to correct his report when subsequent developments proved that the
volunteers had retreated not from fear but from an order to do so.
Who had issued the order? Colonel William A. Bowles, the very man
whom Taylor had commended for gallantry in his report. According
to the usual interpretation, this miscarriage of justice so incensed the
Indianians that when it came time for the national election in 1848,
they reaped a measure of revenge by voting against Old Rough and
Ready. Although this simple explanation seems plausible, the 1848
election results in Indiana do not support it.
President James K. Polk's call for volunteers to serve in the war
against Mexico reached Indiana on May 21, 1846. Within a month
thirty companies of volunteers from twenty-seven Indiana counties
had gathered at Camp Clark, a staging area on the north shore of the
Ohio River, midway between the cities of Jeffersonville and New
Albany. There the companies were shuffled into three regiments,
equipped, and mustered into the national service as the Indiana
The volunteers elected their own officers. As usual in such elections,
the men chosen were selected more for reasons of popularity or
political affiliation than for military competency. In this instance
party politics seems to have been even more obtrusive than usual.
On hand to help in the selection were Indiana's Democratic Governor
James Whitcomb and Lieutenant-Governor Paris C. Dunning. Dun-
ning's role in lining up the proper candidates earned him the rather
obvious nickname, "Big Dog." The fact that the Whigs managed to
salvage only two positions from the slate of ten brigade officers is
testimony to the Democrats' effectiveness. Even more significant, Dem-
ocrats filled the highest positions: James P. Drake, colonel of the
First Regiment; Joseph Lane, colonel of the Second; and James H.
Lane, colonel of the Third. Of these men not one knew the manual
of arms or basic military tactics at the time he assumed command."
Prior to the brigade's departure for Mexico word arrived that
President Polk had appointed Joseph Lane brigadier general. His
promotions to overall command left vacant the colonelcy of the
Second Regiment. Bowles, a physician from Orange County and
'Report of the Adjutant General of Indiana, 1846, Documentary Journal [Indianapolis,
1846], Part II, Document 1, p. 8.
1R. Carlyle Buley, "Indiana in the Mexican War," Indiana Magazine of History, XV
(September, 1919), 269-272.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969, periodical, 1969; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/m1/390/: accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.