First Dragoons

A site dedicated to the 1st US Dragoons 1833-1861 (What is a Dragoon?)

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Banner Article on Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales

Philip Ferguson, a newspaper reporter in civilian life, wrote in his journal that a “day or two after the battle [of Santa Cruz de Rosales] I found an old press and types, and issued one number of a paper called the Santa Cruz Banner, containing Colonel Ralls’ [sic] and Colonel Lane’s reports and an [unofficial] account of the battle.”

Special thanks and appreciation to Tim Kimball, an indefatigable researcher, who found this story taken from the Banner and reprinted in the Santa Fe Republican, April 22, 1848, at bottom of column 3 of page 1.

We copy the following from the Santa Cruz
Banner, a small sheet published at that place by P. G. Fergurson.
On the first of March Gen Price set out from
El Paso with four companies of the Missouri
regiment of horse under command of Colonel
Ralls, two companies of U. S. Dragoons under
command of Major Beall, and two mounted
howizers with an artillery detachment under
command of Capt Hasseduebel for a forced
march upon the city of Chihuahua, 300 miles
distant, south from El Paso, at Carasel [sic, Carrizal], 100
miles upon the road. The Santa Fe battalion,
Major Walker’s, joined us, making in all, nine
companies, with which we marched on to Chi-
huahua, in the unprecedented time of six days;
reached the city with the nine companies, but [here shifts to top of column 4]
the enemy under Gen. Trias, with his forces
some eight hundred strong, with principally Caval-
ry, had left some12 hours before with all the
public property, including a [blurred] of newer artil-
lery for the South. A few hours after our arri-
val at Chihuahua, we were put en route to over
take the enemy. Our forced march upon the
city exhausted a great many of our horses and
men and we set out for the South with skeletons
of nine companies, numbering in all about 300;
with this force, we kept our march in pursuit—
we made sixty miles march in about 12 hours,
and approached Santa Cruz at about sunrise,
where the enemy had already fortified himself,
his batteries fixed, and full and efficient dispo-
sition made for defence of the place, he having
reinforced himself to the number of about 1200
in all behind his barriers, also occupying the
church itself, a perfect fortification. As we
moved our column around the west of the city,
a nine pounder was discharged by the enemy,
passing our centre, when several of the compa-
nies of his infantry filed through the balcony,
ranging in order upon the church, a person sup-
posed to be a priest, harangued them, and the
surrounding populace, a part of which was
heard and distinctly understood, was replied to
by loud cheers by the soldiery, and the people
with many “vivas” “vivas” and vevar Re-
publicano Mexicano.”
An express was sent back to hurry on the
pieces, and the place was put under siege. We
permitted no communication with the place, al-
lowed omen and children and non-combat-
ants two days to leave the city with their ef-
fects, when our pickets were closed upon them.
The siege last from the 9th to the 16th.
Many attempts were made by parties of the
enemy during the siege o leave the town, but
few succeeded—now and then, a fleet horse
would out run our pickets and get to the moun-
tains. The third day of the siege, the com-
mander of one of the pickets, sent word to the
general that a number were escaping, which he
could not prevent, his picket was too small.
On the morning of the 16th, Lieut. Col. Lane,
arrived with artillery &C., and we received the
enemy’s invitation to come on. Our forces are
referred to the reports of Col Ralls and to Lt.
Col. Lane in this number, which detail their part
of the affair. The reports of Major Walker and
Beall would make this accout complete. Maj.
Walker’s command distinguished itself by
storming the South of the town while the dra-
goons acted well the part assigned them, and
Capt. Hassandeuebel [sic] and Lieut. Love, gallantly
managed their batteries the whole day, with
great science and skill.
The charge of Col Rall’s column was a spleen-
did affair. It moved like a thunder-bolt, pre-
cisely in the direction it was sent spreading dis-
may, death and destruction, and it was over this
column that Col Sanchez extended the flag of
surrender. It was a proud day for all, but for
those leading and directing this column, it was
particularly so, and Col Ralls in his report has
but rendered justice to his officers and men, and
that report does that commander distinguished
honor for the virtue of his head and heart.
An entire park of artillery was captured with
about 2,000 stand of arms and munitions, with
other public property to the value of seven to
eight hundred thousand dollars.
We captured the whole force, including thir-
ty commissioned officers, Gov. Maj. General
Trias at their head.
After the day had nearly expired we learned
that the place could only be carried by storm-
ing. The order to charge was given, and in
one hour’s time the city surrendered, our arms
as ever, victorious, adding another trophy to the
Fame of the great Republic we serve.
Lieut. George O. Hepburn of Co. D, privates
Schafenberg and Bockman, co. B.
WOUNDED.—Private Ripper, Greff and De-
drich, co. B, Jackson, Kearnes, Williams and
Gillam, co. D.
We also understand by a private letter that a
young man by the name of Maston, commissa-
ry Sergent, start out from Santa Cruz, to meet
Love’s command, and has never since been
found or heard from, he is supposed to have been


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