Mexican War

Thomas Weidmann

Battle of Mill el Rey
Battle of Mill El Rey–Near the city of Mexico–Sept. 8th 1847 / E.B. & E.C. Kellogg, N.Y. & Hartford, Conn. ; D. Needham, Buffalo. Library of Congress.

Thomas Weidmann (1813-1847) was a baker who had emigrated from Germany to the United States. He was a Lutheran and may have left Prussia to protest the Prussian government’s consolidation of the Reformed and Lutheran churches. In fact, between 1830 and 1850 Germans were by far the largest foreign-speaking immigrant group in the United States.

He enlisted in the Army on March 18, 1847, in Philadelphia. Private Wiedmann, age 34, was 5’5 ½” tall and described as having hazel eyes, brown hair, and sallow skin. He was assigned to the 5th Infantry, Co. A, known as the Bobcats.

The 5th was then sent to Texas and from there marched to Mexico City. They captured Perote in April, then Contreras in August and participated in the battle at Churbusco the very next day. On September 8th, the Bobcats broke into storming parties to assault Molino del Rey. After surviving at least 3 battles, this would prove to be Private Thomas Weidmann’s last, for he was killed in action, less than six months after he enlisted.


Henry Lane Kendrick

Photo of Henry Lane Kendrick courtesy of

Henry Lane Kendrick (1811-1891) was born in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He graduated from the U. S. military academy at West Point in 1835 and was appointed assistant professor of chemistry, minerology, and geology there.

Twelve years later he was a captain in the 2nd artillery, and saw active military service in several battles during the war with Mexico. In 1847 he was brevetted major for his “gallant and meritorious conduct” in the Defense of Puebla. Afterward, Kendrick held a command post in New Mexico for five years.

In 1857 he became full professor at West Point. Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889 wrote that Kendrick retired from the academy and the Army in 1880 after 45 years of military service “with the reputation of being, perhaps, the kindest-hearted and most popular professor employed at West Point.”

He was buried at the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Battery Kendrick at Fort Levett off the coast of Portland was named in his honor.


Alpheus T. Palmer

Alpheus Taft Palmer
Photo of painting Alpheus Taft Palmer, artist unknown, submitted to by JBriggs200, 03 July 2000.

Alpheus T. Palmer (1822-1890) was born in Camden, but raised in Bangor. In 1843 he was a tin-plate worker, coating sheet iron with tin which was then formed into kitchenware.

In 1847, Palmer enlisted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Infantry at Bangor. By August, Palmer and the 9th Infantry were fully engaged in the Mexican War, some 3000 miles from Maine. On Aug. 19th and 20th, the 9th Infantry fought in the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco. Three of their unit were killed and another 41 were wounded, including Palmer. He was appointed Brevet 1st Lieutenant on the battlefield for “gallant and meritorious conduct.” Though his injuries were severe, he recovered and remained in the Army until 1855.

After his resignation from the Army, Palmer and his wife, Jane Glidden, settled on a farm in Brewer, just across the Penobscot River from Bangor.

Then, sometime between 1870 and 1873, Palmer sold his farm and moved his family (3 sons and 1 daughter) to Bangor. He became a merchant, opening Alpheus T. Palmer & Son where he and his middle son, Calvin, sold “stoves and kitchen furnishing goods.”

Lieut. Alpheus T. Palmer died in Bangor in 1890 at age 68.



Se Ket Tu Ma Quah or Black Beaver
Se-Ket-Tu-Ma-Quah (aka Black Beaver), from Photo added by Anthony S.

Se-Ket-Tu-Ma-Quah (aka Black Beaver) (1806-1880) was a member of the Delaware tribe. Though born in Illinois, he settled in the southwest.  Se-Ket-Tu-Ma-Quah was well-known to American explorers and the United States government, being the go-to scout, guide, and interpreter for many exploring and military expeditions in the Southwest.

During the Mexican War, he was captain of Beaver’s Spy Company, Indian, in the Texas Mounted Volunteers. During the Civil War he led a band of scouts throughout Kansas for the U.S. Army. Later Se-Ket-Tu-Ma-Quah and his friend Jesse improved the path used by the scouts and the Union Army during the war. Though it could have been called the Black Beaver Trail, it was instead named for his friend, Jesse Chisholm, and became the Chisholm Trail.

There were consequences to Se-Ket-Tu-Ma-Quah’s work for the Union. Confederates destroyed his ranch and confiscated his crops, cattle, and horses. They also put out a bounty for his death, making it impossible for him to return home. The United States government never compensated him for the losses he incurred as a Union scout.


Moses Emery Merrill

View of Chapultepec and Molino del Rey, (after the battle,): City of Mexico in the distance, Library of Congress

Moses Emery Merrill (1803-1847) was the son of Roger and Sarah (Freeland) Merrill. He was born in Brunswick, Maine.

His father came to Maine from Massachusetts as a boy and settled first in Bethel, then Topsham, and finally Brunswick. He was very successful in the lumber business, but later in life lost his mills to fires and freshets. Despite setbacks, he maintained his integrity, and thus the respect of his fellow citizens who elected him to the Maine legislature.

His father’s tenacity and high-mindedness may have influenced Moses Emery Merrill to become the first person from Maine to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. As a member of the 5th Infantry he served on the Indian frontier until 1845, when he served as captain during the occupation of Texas and the Mexican War. He was killed in the September 1847 assault on the mill works at Molino del Rey, one of the bloodiest battles of the Mexican War. He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Brunswick, with his parents and two sisters.

Moses Emery Merrill left behind his wife, the former Louisa Slaughter, and 4 children. His son, William, was only ten years old when Capt. Merrill died in battle. William followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from West Point as an Army Engineer. He served during the Civil War, taught at the Military Academy, and remained in the Army the remainder of his life.