Scarcely any attempt was made during the long years of peace from the formation of Brown County until the war with Mexico, and afterward until the rebellion of 1861 to 1865, to maintain the organization of the county militia. During the ’40s, a nominal organization was kept up for short periods, and several of the citizens were permitted to assume the honors of military commissions, but prior to the war with Mexico, there was scarcely a man in the county who could have boasted of having smelled gunpowder, much less having participated in an actual war campaign.
There were a few survivors of the war of 1812, who, at celebrations of the Fourth of July, were placed on the stand, eulogized and cheered. James Taggart was a commissioned officer under this old militia system, as were T.M. Adams, James S. Hester and several others.
On the 13th of May, 1846, the president of the United States called for troops to carry on the war with Mexico, which had just begun. Within a few days after the receipt of the news, James Taggart, T.M. Adams, P.C. Parker, Williamson Wise, Charles Bolt and perhaps others concluded to raise a company, if possible, in Brown County for the war. A meeting was advertised to be held at Georgetown to raise volunteers, on which occasion a large crowd gathered.
Early in June, the complete organization was effected by the election of the following officers: James Taggart, captain; Thomas M. Adams, first lieutenant; Patterson C. Parker, second lieutenant; Williamson Wise, third lieutenant.
On the 14th of June, orders were received from the governor for the company to proceed forthwith to New Albany and there to report to the officers of the Third Regiment. They had purchased bright uniforms and had styled themselves “Brown County Blues,” a name by which they were known all through the war. On June 15, they left the county. A large crowd assembled to see them leave in wagons.
The company, except for about 10 of their men who remained behind to arrange their business affairs before joining their comrades, reached New Albany on the 17th of June, and were soon mustered in as company E of the Third Indiana Volunteers, Col. James H. Lane. Here, the company and its regiment remained until early July.
When the regiment reached New Orleans, they camped upon the field made famous by Gen. Jackson. At the expiration of about a week, the regiment took shipping across the Gulf of Mexico to Brazos Island, encountering on the way a severe storm.
While at New Orleans, Caleb Bidwell died of measles, his death being the first in the company. Reese Brummet and John Followell died of disease on the Gulf and were buried beneath the waves with cannon balls at their feet. Joshua Brummet and several others died at Brazos Island and were entombed in the sand.
The regiment, after several months was removed to Camp Belknap, where Capt. Taggart was taken sick and sent home. During his absence, Lt. Adams commanded the regiment.
The regiment occupied Matamoras, Marine, Saltillo, Nueva and various other points, doing guard and garrison duty and suffering severely from the peculiar southern diseases.
The regiment started back North on the 24th of May, 1847. The Brown County boys reached home in early July and were given a warm welcome by their relatives and friends.
Submitted by Pauline Hoover, Brown County Historical Society