CDV OF GENERAL BEN MCCULLOCH – KILLED AT PEA RIDGE

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Item Code: 1138-358

Waist-up view of McCulloch in a dark civilian suit. Image was taken from life and is not a lithograph.

Clarity and contrast are excellent. Paper and mount are slightly toned. Top edge of the mount has been slightly trimmed.

Reverse has a period pencil ID that reads simply “MCCULLOCH.” There is also some collector information in pencil at bottom.

Image is from the collection of the late William A. Turner.

Ben McCulloch was born in Rutherford County, Tenn., November 11, 1811. His father was Alexander McCulloch, who won distinction as an aide-de-camp of Gen. James Coffee, under General Jackson, in the Creek and British wars of 1812 and 1815.

Ben McCulloch spent his early life in Dyer County, Tenn. In 1835, when about to join a party of trappers and hunters to the Rocky Mountains, he heard of Gen. David Crockett's expedition to aid the struggle for the independence of Texas, and immediately started for Nacogdoches, the place of rendezvous.

He arrived too late, but pushed on alone as far as the Brazos River, where he was taken ill and did not recover until after the fall of Alamo.  Upon his recovery he joined the army of Gen. Sam Houston, on the eve of the battle of San Jacinto.  During this battle, being placed in command of a gun in the artillery, his cool and daring bravery won the highest commendation.  It was at the battle of San Jacinto that he met, and formed the life-long friendship of Tom Green, W. P. Lane and Ben C. Franklin.  General Houston had known him from boyhood.

After the army disbanded in 1837, he settled in Gonzales and engaged in surveying and locating lands on the frontier.  In 1839 he was elected to congress in Texas.  During this period of his life he was conspicuous in numerous skirmishes with the Indians, notably the fight at Plum Creek, and the following encounters with the Comanches and Mexican raiders.  It was during his election to the Texas congress in 1839 that his altercation with Col. Reuben Davis occurred, which terminated in a duel, in which he received a wound in the arm, the full use of which he never regained.

He rendered invaluable service as scout in the Indian raid of 1840.  When Texas was admitted to the Union, he was elected to the first legislature, and was appointed major-general of all the militia west of the Colorado in 1846.

At the opening of the Mexican War, he raised a picked company of Texas Rangers, with their own horses and arms.  One of his most brilliant achievements as a scout was his advance of 100 miles into the enemy's country, where he ascertained the exact strength of Santa Ana's forces, and gave to General Taylor the plan of retreat to the impregnable position of La Angostura, which was afterward the battlefield of Buena Vista.

In this battle it was his command which had the honor of being sent forward to ascertain the strength and position of the Mexican forces, and he led the opening charge of the battle.  He was afterward made quartermaster and promoted to the rank of major.  He and a few picked spies performed valuable service in the capture of the city of Mexico.

In 1849, when the gold fever was at its height in California, he went to that region, and was soon chosen sheriff of Sacramento County, while his old comrade, of the Texas Rangers, Jack Hays, became sheriff of San Francisco County, offices in which the two won great renown.

He returned to Texas in 1852, and was appointed United States marshal of the eastern district of that State, and was reappointed by President Buchanan.

In February, 1861, with the rank of colonel, he was in command of State troops, and obtained the surrender of the Federal posts at San Antonio and elsewhere.  Subsequently commissioned brigadier-general, May 14, 1861, in the Confederate service, he was assigned to the command of the troops in Arkansas, and rendered valuable service in their organization.

Joining General Price in Missouri, he had chief command of the Confederates at the battle of Wilson's Creek, in which he won a victory.  In the spring of 1862, under the command of General Van Dorn, he led his brigade and the cavalry brigade of General McIntosh against the Federals at Elkhorn Tavern, and at the opening of that bloody struggle, while reconnoitering the Federal lines, rode directly into a party of sharpshooters, and was mortally wounded by a rifle ball in the breast.  He died near Pea Ridge, Ark., March 7, 1862. He is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas. [AD] [ph:L]

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