Trustin Brown Kinder

Home Up 

Trustin Brown Kinder was the oldest child of Isaac and Maria Kinder, the proprietors of the boarding house in which James S. Griffing made his temporary home while living in Indianapolis from February to September, 1852. Trustin was born in 1822 and spent his entire youth and adolescent years in the Hoosier capital. He was well-liked and had many close friends. Educated in the public school system of Indianapolis, he later attended Asbury college [now DePauw University] where he graduated in 1845. After a year or two in Indianapolis following college, he relocated to Paoli -- the seat of government for rural Orange County in southern Indiana. Here he practiced law until the breakout of hostilities between Mexico and the United States in 1846, whereupon he volunteered for service and was voted First Lieutenant, later promoted to Captain, of Company B, 2nd Indiana Regiment of Volunteers.

In the first and only real engagement of the Mexican War in which Trustin's regiment participated, Trustin was slain on the battlefield near Buena Vista, Mexico, on February 23rd 1847. His body was eventually retrieved from the battlefield and returned to Indiana by his father, filled with grief over the loss of his only surviving son. Trustin Kinder is considered Indianapolis' first war hero.

The following letters were written by Trustin B. Kinder prior to and during his service in the Mexican-American War. All of the letters, with the exception of the one written to his close friend, Andrew Jackson Carr, are the property of the Indiana Historical Society. "Jack" Carr was a college chum and the son of Indiana Senator John Carr -- a leading Democrat in Indiana history. In addition to the letters, there are several newspaper articles wherein Trustin Kinder's name appears.

Indianapolis, July 16, 1844

Dear Sir  [M. M. Heiss, Eagle Village],

Your favor of the 10th inst. inviting me to attend a mass meeting of the Democracy of Boone County is in my possession. Nothing would be more gratifying to my feelings than to meet with those noble hearted Democrats of Boone County who are and have been battling in the cause of Equal Rights; -- sustaining those principles that have been handed down to us untarnished and pure. It should be the duty of every American Freeman to struggle with the fangs of the tyrant and hurl back those who have been and are still trying to stagnate our liberties; -- to rescue our country from the grasp of those who are now ruling and wish again to gain power & place in our bleeding country.

The Democratic Party of which I have this honor to be a member, are now of the eve of a most glorious victory. All that is wanting is unity of effort. Let us all show our patriotism by voting for men who support our own principles. Let the citizens of Boone County send up two noble democrats to the Legislature. By doing this they will do their duty.

As I have already said, it would be highly gratifying to my feelings to be with you, but my affairs at home demand my attention at the same time that you hold your convention. Were it not for that, I would most assuredly be present, be pleased to accept & through you I would tender to the citizens of Boone County my warmest wishes for their future prosperity.

I remain yours in the bonds of Democracy,

T. B. Kinder

Paoli [Indiana], Feby 16th 1845

Miss Hannah [Culley] ,

Having heard but little from Indianapolis since my departure and this being a very lonesome Sunday & not having church in our place today is the only excuse I shall render for the appearance of this epistle. Since my arrival at this place, I have as is very natural wished frequently that I was back at my old home, and enjoying the pleasure that I might derive from mingling in the society of my old friends and acquaintances. But a moment’s after reflection teaches me that it is much better that I have left that old home and the scenes of my childhood and thrown myself upon the broad theatre of the world. But it is a pleasure, even if it is a melancholy one, to revert to my past enjoyments and think of those friends that I was forced from duty to myself to leave, to call up those pleasing recollections has a tendency to alleviate the feelings and often times to prevent ennui. Indeed, it is pleasing to think that after a long absence, I shall again be permitted to return and revisit my old friends and companions, to meditate upon those halcyon days when “the wide, unbounded prospect” of life lay before me, but without its “shadows, clouds, and darkness,” and to compare my hopes and expectations of that time with what has since been realized. Some minds are so constituted or so regulated by habit that, in a retrospective view, only those incidents which are agreeable are brought forward, and all of an opposite kind kept in the background; or if they are presented in the foreground, time casts a veil over them through which are only seen what are beautiful. Such indeed I know is my own case. Consequently the draughts of memory are indeed sweet. Then indeed it is delightful to remember old friendships and my fancy delights to ramble over those scenes and incidents which have transpired and which, though each trifling in itself, and like flowers which observed apart scarce attract attention, but when formed into a cluster, strike with much pleasure.

And it will indeed be consoling in after life should it be my lot to drink deep from the bowl of misfortune to call up the recollections of my old friends and youthful associates. For

“Let fate do her worst there are relics of joy,
                Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy.”

That I may not exhaust your patience, I shall leave such reflections, but leave you at your leisure to indulge in such thoughts as they may by circumstances be presented to your mind.

My present location differs very much from your city [of Indianapolis]. We have a very pretty little town of about six hundred inhabitants who are very kind and clever people. The scenery around the town is delightful. Indeed, it is quite romantic and I am inclined to think that if I was given to writing poetry that it would be an admirable location. But my genius not inclining that way, I just stand and look out and think upon the subject. But while writing about poetry, you have some poet or poetess who has unfortunately been thinking of me. I am quite sorry that my departure produced such a sensation. If there is any danger of any person running crazy, I shall most assuredly wend my way back again, though my return might again cause another effort of genius by spinning into verse “lines written on the return &c.” Poets and Poetess’ are generally unhappy. To be so is the common destiny of poetic genius.

But my paper admonishes me that I must begin to draw these lines to a close. I hope all the fair hopes of Miss Laura are not blasted. I shall have the pleasure of seeing her friend next week and shall inquire into the cause of such conduct. All my advice will be given in her favor! And if ‘ere long she finds him humbly upon his knees imploring her pardon for his conduct, she can credit it all to me. I don’t know what to say to Mary but if I could tell it to her face to face I should say a great many pretty and pleasing things!

I should be highly gratified to hear from you & Laura, and Mary. Just drop me a kind of a historical letter letting me know what you have all been doing and what you all expect to do. Everything you know will be new to me not having heard anything of that nature since my departure [from Indianapolis]. Give my compliments to my friends. I am yours respectfully,

T. B. Kinder

Don’t forget to write immediately.     

Paoli [Indiana], April 14th, 1845

My Friends Hannah [Culley] and Mary [Jane Brown, of Indianapolis],

I am under many obligations to you for the kind reciprocation you was pleased to favor me with, and for the many little historical facts that you was pleased to put me in possession of. Be assured you have my warmest thanks. Every little incident which might take place in your city [of Indianapolis] among my old friends and acquaintances, though of little or no interest to you, is to me (placed at the distance I am) very interesting. I have received many letters from my friends at your place since my departure but they all forget to give me the every day affairs that are passing. I suppose ‘ere this time Miss Laura has returned to Ohio. If so, when you write, don’t forget to remember me to her. There is nothing that might occur in this place that would tend to interest you if I should write it, therefore I would only be wearing your patience to make you read a letter filled with such matters.

I was much edified by Mary’s romantic history of the “Umberella” and hope that she may ‘ere long instead of tying the red worsted ‘round the “umberella” be able to get that “silken cord that binds two willing hearts” safely noosed around his affections. When you write to Laura you can tell her that I have had the pleasure of seeing the “Judge” frequently since your letter and it always appears to be a great pleasure to him to speak of her; and [he] talks strongly of traveling for his health this summer, and thinks he will make Akron [Ohio] a point in his tour. You know this is ominous.

Since your letter I have received a letter from Mr. Hanna. He informs me that Miss Stipp is soon to leave Indianapolis and you wrote that some three or four are absent from town. I am inclined to think that you will have a dull summer, though I hope not, for down here I know what it is to have dull times, though the young people here have frequent meetings. But the society here is entirely different from what it is at your place though we have some very intelligent young ladies.

I am quite sorry that circumstances compels me to forego the pleasure of attending your Fair. Circumstances over which I have no control will prohibit me from visiting your city and mingling among my old friends until next winter at which time perhaps I shall be compelled from business to attend the Supreme Court and I have already obtained the consent of a young friend of mine who is practicing law in this place – a Mr. Black to go along with me. He is quite a beau and “eligible.” Though I cannot be with you at the fair, you can drink to my health. You will please remember me to Mr. & Mrs. Cully, and the balance of my friends whom you may think proper. You will please answer this immediately. No more procrastination. Give me a full history of the “sayings and doings” of the city. [Tell me] whether or no you are going to have any May parties and who is Queen? And everything that may present itself to your mind. I remain yours respectfully,

T. B. Kinder

Paoli [Indiana], February 2, 1846

Friend Jack, [Andrew Jackson Carr, Charlestown, Clark County, Indiana]

I need make no apology for not writing to you sooner, for when I went to Indianapolis this winter I expected to come by the way of Charlestown. But my hurry was such that I did not do so. And when I came home my whole intention was to visit your place. But when we passed the Charlestown landing I was fast asleep & intended to go up with Ferguson, but there was no stage & he didn’t go. And so I had to give it up. But you may rely on seeing me at Charlestown Court I believe in May.

Perhaps you have already understood that I am a candidate for Prosecuting Attorney and want you to do all you can for me. I wish I had about ten thousand old schoolmates & my election would be sure. I wrote to Simonson to have my name placed in your paper. I wish you would see that it is done. I hope to hear of your being a candidate for the Legislature this year; and if so I know you will be successful.

Since I last saw you I have been ploughing my way through the world. I expect to keep ploughing until I get tired, and then shall retire to private life & try and live at ease. The practice at the law is very dull. But if I can get elected prosecuting attorney I think it will all be right. Just name it to your friends. If you should have a county convention & there is anything said about nominating prosecutor, I desire that you will see that I am “A” number one. I shall receive the nomination of my county and I hope several others.

I should liked to have met you at Indianapolis this winter. No doubt we would have had lots of fun. I had the pleasure of seeing Athy Wathen in Jeffersonville when I came through. He was flourishing finely. [He had] joined the Temperance Society & to all appearances was flourishing bravely. You will please give my respects to Simonson, his daughter, [to] Ferguson & Lady, & also Pinckney. And you will accept my best wishes for your present and future prosperity, And by doing what you can for me in the present canvass, you will greatly oblige.

Your old friend,

T. B. Kinder

You will please write & let me know the news. What you are doing, & what you are going to do. Yours &c., -- Kinder.

Camp Belknap [Texas], November 28th, 1846

Dear Doct. [Livingston Dunlop of Indianapolis],

Your letter of the 8th inst. was received four days since. I have been waiting to obtain some information of our future destiny before writing to you, but as yet nothing has come to hand that is at all satisfactory. I send you what of rumors we have. It is though by those who ought to know that our whole Brigade will be immediately ordered to Tampico, to form the base of operations against San Louis Patosi. A few days since, six hundred “regulars” left Brasos to garrison that place until further reinforcements should arrive. Gen’l Patterson will be at Matermoris today. Gen’l Lane’s aid (A.S. Robinson) has one up to receive any orders he may have for us. So you may imagine that we are all on the lookout for a fight.

Gen’l Worth & his command are in the possession of Saltillo. They entered without resistance. Our whole Brigade are becoming quite restless to move, & will be much disappointed if we do not move soon. Though of our moving, I have not the slightest doubt. We have every appearance that we will be the first troops to move. In a very short time our whole army will be in motion. Let me assure you that nothing short of our army marching to the very walls of the city of Mexico will bring the Mexican government to terms. The day that we commence battering at the walls of the city, she will come to honorable terms & not before. And the sooner we walk right into her affections the better for our government. The policy of Mexico is to waste time in idle talk about negotiations & keep off the evil day as long as possible. Every month that passes is doing the present administration [in Washington] harm. The Whig party dare not openly oppose the war. They have had one trial of that. But every time our arms are defeated, every time a movement proves unsuccessful, they cry Oh! the Administration. The officers of the “Regular Line” echo it forth, “Go home Volunteers & vote down the administration.” Every effort that the officers of the Regular Army can make to procrastinate an issue is done – cause – more promotions – they are desirous that the “regular army” shall have all the honor – cause – the voluptious poor house of the Nation, “West Point” will be upheld. The present Congress must be active in forwarding every plan of attack, make every appropriation again & wind the matter up at the end of the twelve months, & all hell can’t beat the party.

A few days since I was at the 1st Regiment encampment. The health of the “boys” is very much improved. Col. Drake is quite well. McDougal & his company were in good health. Col. Lane’s 3rd Regiment is still at Matemoris & are enjoying very good health. All we desire is to give us a fair chance to do what we came for and then we shall be satisfied. I shall write to you frequently & give all the news, & if I should become troublesome with my letters, you must allude it to the want of information we get from home & think that you are in the same way from the army.

You will please write frequently. Remember me to my friends & believe yours truly,

T. B. Kinder


Camp Belknap, Texas, December 5th 1846

Dear Father,

I hasten to drop you a line informing you that to day we take up our line of march for Camargo. Our Regiment & the 3d Regt. are alone ordered. The 1st Regiment (Col Drake’s) will remain at the mouth of the Rio Grande. It is a hard lot for them. Their post is a very laborious and unhealthy one (though it is a post of honor). It is understood that we will immediately join Gen’l Butler’s Division. We may have to remain at Camargo some time. At all events, I think the probability of our Regiment having any fighting to be out of the question. That it is the intention to garrison Camargo, Monterey, & Saltillo, we have no doubt & I think we shall be engaged in that service the remainder of the time.

My health continues good. In fact, the health of the whole Brigade is much better than it has been. There is no news of any general importance at present. Everything is actively moving. Gen’l Patterson’s division is going to Tampico. Our will remain under Butler. I do not think there will be many more hard fights. You will excuse this hasty letter. You will please direct my letters to Camargo, 2 Regt. Ind. Vols.  You will please inform Doct. Dunlap of my change of residence. I correspond with him.

Recollect me to all the family, Mother & Sisters

I am yours, affectionately,

T. B. Kinder

In Camp opposite Camargo [Mexico], December 15th 1846

Dear Doct. [Livingston Dunlap of Indianapolis],

I hasten to drop you a line on the eve of our departure for parts as yet unknown. We are ordered to march from this place to Paris for the purpose of joining Gen’l Wool. Paris is 120 miles beyond Monterey. We start tomorrow morning, will reach Monterey in eleven days, stop at that place only long enough to provide provisions and forage and then go ahead. As yet I am not advised as to our final destination. But enough is already known to apprise us that we will have employment. Heretofore we have murmured at our being held back. But now all is going ahead.

I shall advise you from time to time as to our perigenations. I am as all satisfied that we will have a great deal of hard duty to perform. A rumor has just reached here that a train of baggage & provisions has been taken by a band of Mexicans supposed to belong to the clan of Canales. A portion of the 3rd Indiana Regiment & Kentucky Cavalry have just left & are in hot pursuit of the enemy. Our whole Brigade have orders to march – the 3rd and our Regiment are all here. The 1st [Regiment] have not reached here as yet but are looked for hourly. We will all get together at Seralvo which is four days march from this place.

You will please inform my friends that I am quite well & hearty. I walked 20 miles yesterday; today I have been hard at work preparing for the journey, each company entitled to one team. I have purchased a horse & saddle for $13, consequently I shall not be troubled with sore bones & blistered feet. I am pleased with the idea of having some duty to perform. The Brigade enjoy good health. Quite a number of men have been discharged. None but perfectly stout hearty men are taken.

You will please recollect me to father & family. Write to Monterey to be forwarded to the 2nd regiment of Indiana Volunteers.

I am yours respectfully,

T. B. Kinder

P.S.  You will excuse the apparent haste of this letter as all is confusion & I am tired. The weather is very war – something like a 4th of July in Indianapolis.

Camp near Monterey, Mexico, December 28th 1846

Dear Doct. [Livingston Dunlap of Indianapolis],

After nine days hard marching our Regiment have arrived safe & sound at Monterey. Since my last letter (from Camargo), orders were issued ordering the 1st Regt. back to the mouth [of the Rio Grande] & [to] Metamoris. We were all this side of Seralvo when the orders were received. Col. Drake and his command are truly sorry that their fate is so hard. But enough is now known to justify me in saying that the 1st Regt. will do garrison duty during the remainder of their service. The officers have done a great deal to injure their regiment by trying to underrate their commanders & entirely disband the Regiment. I was sorry that t hey could not go along with us.

Today while on the march to this place we were met by an express from Gen’l Butler requiring us to hasten with all quickness to Saltillo. The 3rd Reg’t Ind. Volunteers were ahead of us in the march & started from here last night. We will start tomorrow morning at daylight and make the march in three days. The same express that brought in our orders to proceed to Saltillo also brought the intelligence that Santa  Anna was in two days march of Saltillo. But we have so many false alarms that we hardly know when to believe. We were rushed through from Camargo to this place expecting to meet the “ochre coloured” scoundrels here, but they have all vanished. In three or four days we shall know the reality of this report. If I should get into a fight (now probable) & come out first best, you shall hear from me immediately upon my arrival at Saltillo. But if I should accidentally fall a victim, I shall only receive what a soldier volunteers for & all shall be right. If so, you will accept my long goodbye, hoping that I have not disgraced my own native Hoosier State, but that in defense of my country’s rights, I died. If all goes right, you shall hear from me soon again.

Our Regiment have traveled 25 miles today. Our camp is 3 miles from the city. I have just returned from the city [where] I got a “Sentinel” from you with the latest advices from Indiana. It was [dated] the 17th of November. You will please recollect me to father & family * friends generally.

The health of our Regiment is very fine & the climate is mild & agreeable. On Christmas night I slept on the ground under green leaves. The country abounds in tropical fruit. The oranges are fine & large.

You will excuse this hasty letter as I am tired & have not time to con. out set sentences. But you get it just as it comes.

I am yours respectfully,

T. B. Kinder

Gen’l Taylor with about 6000 men left here yesterday morning for Victoria. They may stir up a breeze in that quarter but I think it quite doubtful.    

Camp near Saltillo [Mexico], January 1st 1847

Dear Father, Mother & Family,

I wish you all a happy new year. May prosperity adorn your path through its entire course.

Our Regiment after a very hard days march have just reached this place. When we left Monterey, we anticipated a brush with the Mexicans at this place, but upon arriving here we learned that they had all fled the country. Occasionally they have heard of small bodies of Mexican lancers traveling over the country; hence an excitement in this region is very easily raised and our troops have and will be constantly on the lookout for a skirmish.

We are now encamped in one of the many mountain passes incident to this country. Gen’l Wool is twenty miles beyond Saltillo. The Mexican army cannot pass through to Monterey without passing both of these guards. Though we are creditably informed that the Mexican army are now at San Louis Potosi and it is impossible for an army to march from San Louis Potosi to Saltillo owing to the great scarcity of water. The distance is 340 miles and there are seven places of 40 miles without water. They have always preserved water in tanks but the season has been so very dry that the tanks have entirely given out. We made one day’s march on our road from Monterey to this place of 25 miles without water. The country is very mountainous and almost barren of wood. This morning I saw the first ice that has made its appearance in this country. There was very little of it. From Monterey to this place there is a continued rise in elevation. It is said that this place is 500 feet higher than at Monterey. I have just saw the Mexican President’s message. It is rather pacific and is considered a peace message. Our President’s message has not yet made its appearance though it is looked for daily.

In your letter dated November 4th which I rec’d at Monterey a week since, you complained of my failing to write to you. I assure you that I have written about every two weeks, but owing to the great irregularity in the mail, you may consider yourself quite fortunate if you get every other one. At the present time everything is perfectly quiet and we rest with great pleasure after a march of near twenty five days. We left [Camp] Belknap [Texas] on the 5th of December & arrived here this day. The boys are somewhat fatigued but are hearty and not at all displeased that they are having a little active service. You have doubtless learned before this that the 1st Regt. who were ordered on by Gen’l Patterson received an order from Gen’l [Zachery] Taylor countermanding Patterson’s order & so they have returned to their old post. Eight companies are sent to Metamoris & two company’s at the mouth of the Rio Grande. Col. Drake as a matter of course was much displeased. But it is the greatest duty of a soldier to obey orders, so he went. I hope he may be relieved soon & sent on but my own opinion is that he will remain at his present post during the remainder of his service.

You will please recollect me to my friends. Tell mother I shall bring her a New Year’s present from Mexico. You will write often.

I am yours affectionately,

T. B. Kinder


The following article appeared in the March 6, 1847 edition of the Indiana State Sentinel -- a weekly newspaper published in Indianapolis:

Charges against Lt. Governor Dunning

Under an envelope dated, “Camp near Saltillo, Jan. 9, 1847,” we have just received the communications which we append below, from Captain Kinder, who informs us that he has forwarded copies of the same to the State Journal. Upon a careful reading of these communications, we do not see that they establish any thing more than Mr. Dunning has himself admitted, as to matter of fact. But they do seem to evince a disposition to put the severest construction upon those facts which they will possibly bear; and even to manifest a feeling of personal hostility towards Mr. Dunning, rather difficult to account for, if these facts alone are taken into view. By the same mail which brought these communications, we received a private letter from another source, on which we can relay, and from which we take the liberty of making the following extract:

“I see that they are attacking Mr. Dunning for selling whiskey at exorbitant prices. I know but little about this matter, but I have heard it frequently remarked that P. M. K____ had rather skinned him, and that notwithstanding the exorbitant prices charged, Mr. D. would lose in the transaction. But I would just say to you that there were other people who sold whiskey besides Paris C. Dunning, and if one whiskey seller is to be attacked, they ought to give them all rough thunder. I am neither advocating nor defending any man, but contend that all persons guilty of the same offence ought to be treated alike. I regret that Capt. Kinder wrote the article in the Paoli paper, because I have a high regard for him. There will be plenty of time to talk of these matters after we get home.”

We think there is some pith in these remarks, and so we presume will our readers. But we must trust to time for a development of all the circumstances in this case; and we have no doubt that that arbiter will be a test of motives as well as of facts.

To the Editors of the Indiana State Sentinel

In your paper of Nov. 19th, 1846, I see a communication from Lt. Gov. Dunning relative to his doings while on the Rio Grande. It is not my intention to enter into a controversy with him. I send you with this communication, a circular from the democratic officers of the regiment, which you will please publish, and I shall rest satisfied, and let the case go to a jury of the people. In a letter which I did write to the editor of the Patriot, published at Paoli, I made certain statements, and I think the circular will fully justify me. The insinuation in your paper that I was once a whig, was unexpected to me, from the source. The first vote I ever gave was for James Whitcomb for Gov. and Joseph A. Wright for Congress. I never cast a vote for a whig for an office higher than a constable in my life. Your insinuation can have its weight. I am willing that the people of the State of Indiana may judge of my letter and the circular of the officers. I was much surprised at the effrontery of Mr. Dunning in attempting to deny the facts, when there are so many witnesses who will testify to the facts. I am yours, respectfully,  T. B. KINDER

We the undersigned officers of the 2d regiment of Indiana volunteers, and members of the democratic party, have seen with regret an attempt made by certain democratic papers in Indiana to bolster up the conduct of Paris C. Dunning while on the Rio Grande. That Lt. Gov. Dunning was engaged in the sutling business is true. That he was connected with P.M. Kent in selling whiskey and other liquors to the soldiers at high and most exorbitant prices, cannot be denied by any person who was here at the time.

The volunteers were forced to buy them or do without, because they were the sutlers to the Regiment, and there were no goods nearer than the mouth of the Rio Grande or Matamoras. We deem it but justice and a duty we owe to those persons who have written home disclosing these facts, to make thus openly, this statement, and we are surprised that he attempted to shuffle off the responsibility. We regret to see that persons are judged as acting from sinister motives in openly denouncing him to the people of Indiana. The statements made and published in some of the papers of Indiana are as notorious in camp as is the fact that he was here and was a partner of Kent. Mr. Dunning denies the selling of whiskey for more than about 10 days. We are well aware that it was kept and sold by the authority of the sutler, during Mr. Dunning’s entire connection with him, on the Rio Grande. We deem this sufficient. If more is necessary, it can be given from the Regiment.

W. A. Bowles, Col.
W. R. Haddon, Lieut. Col.
James A. Cravens, Major
David C. Shanks, Adjt.
L. Q. Hoggatt, 1st Lt. Law. Greys
Wm. T. Spicely, 1st Lt. Com. B.
David S. Lewis, Lt. Com. B.
A. T. Rose, 1st Lt. Com. C.
Joshua Moore, 2d Lieut.
Josiah Burnell, Lt. Com. Com. D
Thomas C. Pare, 2d Lieut.   

Saltillo [Mexico], January 25th 1847

Dear Friend [Livingston Dunlap of Indianapolis],

There is little of any interest transpiring in this section of the army. A portion of the Mexican army was within 60 miles march of this place but have retired, probably back to San Louis Potosi. Rumors hath it that Sant Anna has been ordered to the city of Mexico. The reason he assigns for not making a more vigorous defense is a want of funds. He desires an immediate appropriation of eight hundred thousand and a similar appropriation every succeeding month. Gen’l [Zachary] Taylor has returned to Monterey. Gen’t Butler left this place three days ago to see him and confer about an expedition – some say against San Louis Potosi. It is expected that an expedition under Taylor will immediately be fitted out. Everything in this quarter appears perfectly quiet at present. If a force goes under taylor, it is but reasonable to suppose that we will “be in.” Gen’l Butler will return to this place in a very few days and then we will know all about it. Gen’l Wool’s command is encamped five miles from the city consisting of about 300 dragoons Col. Yell’s Arkansas Regiment, two Illinois Regiments.  The 2nd Kentucky Reg’t of Infantry and Ky. Cavalry are encamped seven miles from town. There are no troops in this place except the 2nd & 3rd Ind. & a company of Artillery under Capt. Webster. The Hoosiers enjoy good health.

Why is it that I have not received your letters? Since the first one you wrote, none others have arrived. I read a copy of the President’s Message from you last night. The message is popular with the army. I expect the Whigs will resist an appropriation in Congress for this war. Let them if they dare, do it.

I have not heard from the 1st Regiment for 2 weeks. Charley Smith has returned to his reg’t.

Give my compliments to my friends & write often.

From yours truly,

T. B. Kinder

Aqua Nueva, Mexico, Feby 8th 1847

Dear Friend [Livingston Dunlap of Indianapolis],

We have made another move. Gen’l [Zachary] Taylor reached Saltillo in the 4th inst. and ordered us to march. We arrived at this place on last night twenty five miles from Saltillo. There are about five thousand troops in camp, all under the immediate command of Gen’l Taylor. We will remain here for some time. Old Rough says his orders are to act entirely on the defensive. A reinforcement is looked for about the the 1st of April, at which time it is thought we will be relieved and take up out line of march homeward (so thought). Maj. Bollan, Maj. Gaines and Capt. Clay & men have all gone under strong guard to San Louis Potosi. Rumor reached our camp this morning that the whole of the party officers and men in attempting to make their escape were killed. The report was brought by Mexicans they say. Our men attempted to break the guard, killed fifteen Mexicans, and every man was killed. Capt. Harney of Ky. with 18 men are reported as being among the number. If this proves true – as I am afraid it is – a deep sensation will be produced. There are many small scouting parties of the Mexican forces who seek every opportunity to cut off small bodies of our men. It is difficult to find out their many hiding places in the mountains. Old Rough is in fine health – somewhat chagrined about Scott’s taking command.

I see that the Tories in Congress are doing all they can toward assisting the Mexicans in this war. Those who favor the Mexicans at Washington City & elsewhere had as well take passage for the city of Mexico and there take up arms for those they appear to love. A person would think that they have had a sufficient warning in the days of the last war to stand off and look on. In fifteen years they will deny their opposition to this war. They had better back out in time to save their credit, if they have any to save.

I have no news from the 1st Reg’t. Gen’l Scott has not been heard from. I have no farther particulars. Health very fine.

Give my respects to my friends & write.

Yours truly,

T. B. Kinder

News of the bloody battle at Buena Vista did not reach Indianapolis for over a month. A description of the American victory did not appear in the Indiana State Sentinel until the March 31, 1847 edition. That issue provided the first listing of the names of the dead and wounded. The following is an excerpt:

A Bloody Battle! General Taylor Victorious. The Mexican Army led by Santa Anna defeated at Buena Vista with great slaughter. We lay before our readers, in advance of our regular publication, the glorious tidings from the army, brought by the schooner John Bell. Our reporter left the vessel in the river and came up to [New Orleans] by express with the glad news. The following account was prepared for us by an officer of the army. It may be relied upon. We publish also Gen. Santa's account of the battle, from which it will be seen that he has suffered a defeat, though he covers up his retreat with a flourish of words.

Dr. Turner, U.S.A., who arrived at Matamoras on the 9th inst. from Monterey, brought the glorious intelligence of another brilliant victory over the Mexican army. The scene of action was at Buena Vista, a hacienda about six miles west of Saltillo. The fighting commenced on the 22d of February and ended on the 23d. Santa Anna retired to Aqua Nueva, a distance of ten miles, leaving four thousand killed and wounded. Santa Anna's force amounted to about fifteen thousand men, that of Gen. Taylor to about five thousand, almost entirely volunteers...

Dr. T. brought a list of 63 officers killed and wounded. [Those in the Indiana Brigade are as follows:]

Wounded -- General Lane.

Second Regiment -- Killed -- Capts. T. B. Kinder and Walker, and Lieut. Parr.  Wounded -- Capts. Saunders and Osborn, and Lieutenants Cayen, Pennington, Morse, Lewis, Davis, and Epperson.

Third Regiment -- Killed -- Capt. Taggart. Wounded --- Maj. Gorman and Capt. Sluss.   

The following letter written by Major Morrison to Indiana Governor Whitcomb appeared in the April 21, 1847 edition of the Indiana State Sentinel. The murder and robbery of the grievously wounded Capt. Kinder is mentioned near the end of the letter. 

Buena Vista (6 miles south of Saltillo, Mexico), February 26, 1847

Dear Sir,

After the most desperate and sanguinary battle of this or any other age, I find myself sufficiently composed to undertake to give you a sketch of its details.

On or about the 3d or 4th of Feb., Gen. Taylor with all his forces, amounting to about 4,500 fighting men, advanced from Saltillo on the San Luis Potosi road, to a small Hacienda called Aqua Nuevo (New Water) where he encamped and remained until Sunday, the 21st February, on which day at 12 o'clock, he commenced a movement toward Saltillo, and retreated 14 miles to Buena Vista. He there encamped at a pass between the mountains where the only road is between an abrupt hill, extending to the mountains on the south, and a row of ravines on the north, extending across the valley to the mountains on the same side. Here he threw up a short embankment so as to reduce the pass to a mere wagon road way. On Monday morning at about seven o'clock, our pickets announced the approach of the Mexican army, commanded by Santa Anna in person, and accompanied by gen. Ampudia, consisting of 20,000 or 21,000 men, well armed and equipped, and provided with a large train of artillery, from 6 to 24 pounders. They drew up and formed for battle at a distance some two or three miles from our lines, and Gen. Santa Anna sent forward a flag of truce demanding a surrender of our army, promising to treat us with becoming clemency, stating his numbers to amount to 20,000 men, and giving one hour for consideration and answer. Gen. Taylor promptly returned for answer that he cared not for the size of the army, as he, Taylor, had an army that was able to whip it; but if Santa Anna saw fit to surrender to him, he would be treated in a proper manner.

These ceremonies being over, at 10 minutes before 4 o'clock P. M., the Mexican batteries opened the conflict by a discharge of bombs, which was promptly returned by our light artillery. After an exchange of six shots, the Mexican columns began to advance, and after a short time gained an important position on the mountain side, on the south of the pass. The U.S. army was posted in detached portions in such a manner as best to subserve the intentions of our Generals. Four rifle companies of the Indiana brigade, under the command of Major Gorman, were ordered to intercept the progress of the Mexicans, who were attempting to cross the mountain ranges to pass our left flank. These companies very actively ascended the mountain, and lay behind a ridge. The Mexicans opened a very brisk and continued fire upon them, which lasted until dark. The riflemen, commanded by Capts. Walker, Sluss, Dunn, and Osborn, lay close, and two of the companies only were enabled to shoot when the enemy advanced to the brow of the ridge, which they did do, with very considerable effort, killing many of the Mexicans. Our riflemen had only two or three slightly wounded. Thus ended the operations of the first day, and both armies lay upon their arms upon the field, through a cold and inclement night.

At the early dawn, the contest was renewed on the mountain side, and when the light rendered it possible to make accurate observation, it was discovered that the Mexican force had been reinforced, so that not less than 3,000 of them were on the hill side above our forces, where and when they poured forth an incessant volley of musketry upon our lines below, and upon the riflemen who had again attempted to prevent their progress around the mountain. The Mexicans had also erected a battery near the base of the same mountain, and their cavalry and lancers were moving in an immense column, endeavoring to force a passage towards Saltillo, on our left flank. The second Indiana regiment commanded by Col. Bowles, and led by Gen. Joseph Lane in person, was formed so as to be in front of the advancing column. The second Illinois, Col. Hardin, was next, and the Kentucky, Col. McKee, came in to the support of the others, in checking the column of the enemy. The Kentucky cavalry, Col. Humphrey Marshall, and the Arkansas cavalry, Col. Yell, were in the mountain gorge attempting to aid the riflemen in opposing the flanking column of the enemy. Here the whole of the line became hotly engaged, and a most deadly, vigorous, and gallant conflict, of at least three hours, raged between the contending hosts, the artillery on both sides playing during the whole time upon the contending masses.

After the contest had fairly opened, the Mississippi regiment of riflemen, commanded by Col. [Jefferson] Davis, marched into the engagement, at a most critical moment, and ardently engaged the Mexican column. So very numerous were the forces of the Mexicans, and so obstinately and effectively did they maneauver and fight, that it required all the bravery, skill, and devotion of our brave men to withstand them. Our officers most gallantly, heroically, and gloriously, led their men to the charge and to the cannon's mouth, and the fatigued and exposed volunteers most gallantly gave twenty full rounds of musketry, being at the same time under a most destructive and galling fire of cannon and grape shot, which enfiladed their ranks from left to right, and which was also met by the cross fire of the Mexican infantry. At the time that the Mississippi regiment came to the attack, the pressure upon the left wing of the second regiment of Indiana volunteers was so great that a part of the line was compelled to give way, and some of them retreated in disorder, but it was after they had stood their ground equal to any veterans, for three hours, and after regiment upon regiment of fresh troops had been brought to bear and charge upon them. Many of them devotedly paid the forfeit of their lives as the price of their bravery, and those who fell back only did so when further resistance seemed unavailing. A part of the Arkansas squadron of horse, who had dismounted, and fought valiantly on foot, were also compelled to retreat from the line, but they had nobly stood for a long time, exposed to every chance of death, before they wavered in the least.

Here was a most important juncture in the affairs of the day, and here the prowess of American arms, sustained by American hearts and nerves, was shown to be superior to all the forces of numbers, the discipline of regular veterans, and the ferocity of the savage and mercenary hordes, who so vigorously pressed upon our comparatively small army. The gallant Mississippians most nobly led their way to the hottest of the fight; and at this period were joined by many of the second regiment of Indianians who had been forced to separate from their comrades. The third regiment of Indiana volunteers commanded by Col. J. H. Lane, was now for the first time allowed to participate in the action, having been previously stationed near the right wing, where it was supposed the enemy would make a desperate effort to force a passage, should that point be, by any means, weakened. The third most gallantly moved the the support of the Mississippians, and participated in an open field fight for several hours, doing fine execution, but suffering quite a severe loss. The whole army now became generally engaged at various points. The Kentucky cavalry most heroically charging the lancers, cavalry and infantry of the enemy, suffered severely, but bravely maintaining the charges and checking the enemy. The regular dragoons under Col. May, fought in every direction where their services were needed, and too much praise cannot be given to the active and laborious exertions of the different companies of artillery who were incessantly engaged in raking the Mexican columns.

After the middle of the day, the enemy made a daring and desperate sally with a very large force, in order to overrun our entire line. They were met by Col. McKee's regiment of Kentucky infantry, and by Col. Hardin's regiment of Illinois volunteers. Never did veteran soldiers fight better, and never did an enemy pay more dearly for his temerity. Hour after hour passed amid the unceasing din of small arms, while the peal of the cannon reverberated from the whole chain of the mountain range, in a triple echo. Here and on every part of the vast battlefield the contest thickens, and the very elements seemed to participate in the struggle. Several short gusts of rain and hail the while serving to refresh the sinking vigor of the almost exhausted soldiery...

...Thus has closed one of the most desperate, great and glorious battles on record either in ancient or modern history; and a victory to American arms has been achieved as respendent as any that ever gilded her pages. Gen. Taylor, with his usual equanimity and coolness, commanded the forces as commander in chief, and his presence was a host in itself; inspiring confidence in every breast that all could be done would be done, and that defeat would never disgrace us, however great the disparity of numbers. Gen. Wool was next in command, and most diligently and valiantly attended to every department of the engagement. He is a brave and competent officer, and merits the gratitude of his countrymen for his services on this great occasion. Next came Gen. Joseph Lane, of the Indiana Brigade. He was on the field from the onset to the close of the action, and never did any man more heroically devote himself to his duty. The thickest of the fight had no terrors for him, and to an observer it would seem that he was heaven defended, for he was continually passing in all directions amidst the shower of bullets. he is however severely wounded through the right arm, the ball passing about midway between his shoulder and elbow, through the centre of the arm, yet not breaking the bone. Col. Bowles, Lane, Hadden, and McCarty were most gallantly employed, as were Majors Gorman and Cravens. Maj. Gorman, who, as already stated, first led the attack in the mountains, is slightly wounded. every officer of the Indiana Brigade sustained himself admirably, and although some had, from the necessity of the case, more conspicuous portions than others, none failed to perform his part. The soldiers deserve the highest commendation, for no man could me more of a man in the field, and each one fought as though the great issue depended upon his individual efforts. If, in the pressure of the fight some were forced to recede, let it be remembered, that on similar occasions, the most renowned legions have been overpowered and forced to retire from their position. This one great battle has established for the young State of Indiana, a reputation for patriotic devotion, chivalrous conduct and daring bravery which will endure until the conclusion of time, and the memory of her gallant sons will be as sweet incense to her latest generations. But she mourns the loss of many a noble spirit, and her joy will be tempered with tears of mourning, and the bright smile of her countenance, shaded wit the the crape and the pall. This memorable battle is the more glorious, as it was commenced on the 22d of February. the birthday of the illustrious Washington.

I here send you some of the names of the brave men who have fallen so gloriously. A more full and official statement will immediately be made by Gen. Taylor to Washington, which will be authentic and accurate, containing every name.

The total loss of the Indiana Brigade is as follows:

Second Regiment -- Killed 32, wounded 71, missing 4. Total 107.

Third Regiment -- Killed 9, wounded 57. Total 66.

In the two regiments, 173.

...Capt. Kinder was inhumanely murdered and robbed (after he was wounded and placed in a wagon,) by the Mexican lancers. They took from his person $945 in gold. They lanced many of our men who first fell wounded.

We are still encamped upon the battlefield, where we stay until another fight, or until the enemy leaves us. Santa Anna still threatens us; but we fear him but little, being determined to fight to the death rather than be conquered. I may write you again soon. You may rely upon the statement here given.

Your most ob't serv't,

A. F. Morrison, Major, U.S.A. 

The following letter, mentioning Trustin B. Kinder's death, was written by Lew Wallace to an Indianapolis acquaintance shortly after the Battle of Buena Vista. It was published in the Indiana State Sentinel on April 21, 1847.

Camargo [Mexico], March 12, 1847

Friend Chapman,

From the above date you may readily fancy us "up and at 'em guards." The order for Saltillo direct came just in the nich of time. Metamoras was becoming most infernally dull, and as the Mexicans had all "vomosed el rancho," carrying with them every beautiful cigaritto smoker in the place, I might add after the style of friend Watts, most infernally tedious and tasteless too. On Monday the 8th instant, we bundled up our duds, consisting of two check shirts, one pair of socks, &c. &c., took possession of the cabin and decks of the steamer Whiteville, and puffed ourselves to Camargo, landing in double quick time.

Col. Curtis marched last Sunday for up country, where all is confusion -- fighting, surprising, and murdering. Taylor has fought and vanquished Santa Anna in a battle [near Buena Vista], which at the same time that it will have a weighty and forcible argument for a speedy conclusion of the war, will not leave a rag of popularity on the back of the one-legged hero of San Jacinto. Taylor went into the field with 4500 volunteers at his back. Santa Anna assaulted him with 21,000 of the soldiers whom he has been cultivating so long at San Luis. After a bloody contest of two days and a greater part of one night, the latter sounded retreat, and hurried off his military carriage for Aqua Nueva. 4000 Mexicans were left unburied on the field; while 1600 more have fallen prisoners of war into the hands of the victor.

A victory so great, so unprecedentedly glorious, could not of course be purchased without loss on our side. Among the 700 heroes who were slain an wounded on that bloody day, we, who knew him from infancy, have to mourn the death of Captain Kinder. Poor Trus! The glory which shall forever shine upon the field which was thy death-bed, and which shall reflect lustre upon thy name and fate, is but sorry consolation for the loss this death inflicts upon country and friends. Peace, though, to his remains. When we reach Saltillo, we will mark his resting-place, and save it from obliteration and disrespect.

A train of 260 wagons was attacked just beyond Cerralvo and captured by Urrea. The inhuman devil heaped the wagons into a vast pyramid, threw into them the bodies of the teamsters, whom he had previously murdered, and settin fire torch to them, blotted his country with infamy, while he himself burdened his country with a lion's share of $150,000 which at the time was being conveyed to Monterey.

Major Giddings, returning from Monterey to Camargo with 400 Ohioans, attacked 1800 Mexicans, killed a great number, chased the rest out of town, and amply revenged the loss we ourselves sustained. From such incident you may infer that we are getting into a rather torrid nighborhood. Give us your best wishes though, and we will win names for ourselves and State, which will set us for valor and chivalry alongside of Kentucky and Virginia.

In conclusion, old fellow, the Hoosiers in Mexico have adopted a motto and a battle cry. Indiana forever!

Your friend,

Lew. Wallace  

A young Lew Wallace, shortly after the Mexican-American War

April 10, 1847

The Indiana State Sentinel

Death of Captain Kinder

Philological Hall, April 5, 1847.

Since it has been the will of an Almighty Providence to call from time to eternity our beloved brother and friend, we feel it a sacred duty to pay this feeble tribute of respect to his memory. We had fervently hoped that our country's colors might have waved in triumph over those we loved, and bore them back in safety to the soil of freedom; that no bitter pang should rend the parent's heart, and no mourning badge tell the fate of those who fought on the bloody field. But the will was not with us, for one of that little "Philo." band has fallen. Yes it was small, though firmly bound in heart and hand to brave the hardships of a stranger land, and with returning peace to meet again around our sacred alter here unbroken. But it was phantom hope. The minute gun has already told that T. B. Kinder is no more. in the midst of the shout, and groans, and cannon's roar, where the dripping sabre told the tale of many a gallant heart -- where the spirit of friend and foe together took their peaceful flight, he too sank an early victim, and his spirit left that scene of carnage for another world.

It is not for us to tell the merits of the departed one -- for many know him, and many a weeping eye and heavy heart responded to the news that the open and noble-souled Kinder was gone. He was the hope of declining years, the subject of the prayers of a pious mother -- an only brother -- and an only son. And in this sacred hall his memory will forever live; for he was of the number who nurtured the rose around which our affections twine -- and who by his frank and noble nature secured the love of all with whom he daily walked. Little did we think when last we met in this our common home, when we watched that firm and steady step that told of buoyancy and health, that it soon must falter on the field of death, and that we then parted to meet no more on earth. Yes, we parted -- he to visit that home now wrapt in mourning; and we to prepare for that stage on which he acted a short, though brilliant part. But he is lost to us, his parents, his friends, and his country. The lone field of Buena Vista has furnished a resting place for that manly form, o'er which the battle smoke has cleared away and left it there to rest in peace. The sister's hand has planted no rose or evergreen there; nor at the lonely hour of twilight bedewed them with her tears. No mother was there to hear that dying groan, to soothe the aching brow, or from it wipe the clammy sweat of death. But we would add no new pang to those already felt; there is a hope that soars beyond the cold and cheerless grave, that tells though friends should fall, far, far away from home on earth, -- the patriot's home is Heaven. Yet with those who weep we can but shed a tear of pity, and mourn with those who are thus bereft. Therefore

Resolved, That we deeply sympathise with the parents and friends of our deceased brother, for the loss of one thus torn away in the prime of manhood from the midst of a hopeful people; and to the surviving fellow soldiers who shared in that bloody conflict, we tender our assurance of deepest sympathy for the loss of their beloved commander.

Resolved, In token of this, that we, as fellow members wear the usual badge of mourning for the space of thirty days.

Resolved, That a written and printed copy of the above preamble and resolution be transmitted to the parents of the deceased.


Joseph R. McCrea,
W. T. B. McIntire,
Gilbert M. Dunn

The following article, written by "Martin" of New Albany, Indiana on May 20, 1847 appeared in the May 29, 1847 edition of the Indiana State Sentinel  (taken from The Western Democrat).

Colonel Bowles and the brave Captain Kinder

Three days before the bloody battle of Buena Vista, Colonel Bowles ordered the lamented Captain Kinder to detail a portion of his command for a certain purpose. Captain Kinder informed the Colonel that that duty belonged to his first Sergeant. For this instruction, the field commander had Captain Kinder arrested, and his sword taken from him. But on the morning of the twenty-second, and but a short time before the brave Kinder fell, he marched at the head of his company, with a musket upon his commanding shoulder instead of his sword by his side. General Lane, the very soul of chivalry and noble bearing, learning that the Colonel had not delivered to Captain Kinder his sword, and that he was upon the sanguinary field of battle armed only as a common soldier, immediately ordered Colonel Bowles to deliver up to the gallant Kinder his sword. The order was immediately complied with; but the brave and noble youth was soon seriously wounded, while leading on his command in the thickest of the fight.

Thus fell a brave officer and a warm and devoted friend. He was highly esteemed by all while living, and his death has thrown a gloom over a large circle of friends. But his Colonel still lives, -- lives to reap the just reward of his cowardice and treachery, and to receive from the brave and chivalrous sons of Indiana, the severest answer for the slanderous report he made to Gen. Wool, of the gallant and brave regiment under his command -- a regiment deserving a purer man -- a braver soldier, and a better military officer, to command them upon the battlefield.

July 17, 1847

The Indiana State Sentinel

Reception of the Body of Capt. Kinder

Saturday, June 19th 1847

In accordance with notice, the young men of Indianapolis held a meeting for the purpose of making preparations for the reception of the body of Captain Kinder.

The meeting was organized on motion of R. L. Walpole, Esq., by calling J. T. Morrison, Esq., to the chair, and appointing Mr. B. R. Sulgrove, secretary. The object of the meeting being stated by the chairman, A. J. Stevens, Esq., then offered the following, which was adopted:

“The young men of Indianapolis, the friends and acquaintances of the lamented Capt. T. B. Kinder, who fell so gallantly fighting for his country at the renowned Buena Vista, learn that his remains are now on the way to the home of his relations, and of his boyhood; and desiring to express their deep feelings of regret for his untimely death, their admiration for his noble bearing on the battle field, and their sense of his estimable worth as a citizen, unanimously,

Resolved, That the volunteers of Indiana merit the approbation of the citizens of Indianapolis for their generous resolve in bringing the remains of the late Capt. T. B. Kinder to rest among his early friends and relations.

Resolved further, That a committee of three be appointed to make suitable arrangements for the reception of the same, and that they report the order of arrangements through the city papers.

Committee of arrangements: Stevens, Sulgrove and Coburn.

The meeting on motion then proceeded to vote for Orator of the day: W. H. Hanna, Esq., was appointed.

Ordered, That the proceedings of the meeting be published in the papers; and on motion the meeting adjourned.  JOHN T. MORRISON, President. B. R. Sulgrove, Secretary


A procession will be formed at the Palmer House and proceed to the limits of the city where the remains will be met and escorted to the Court House, at which place an oration will be delivered.  Prayer by the Rev. Mr. Gillett. Oration by W. H. Hanna, Esq. Marshal of the Day, Wm. Campbell, Esq., and Assistants.





The Indiana State Sentinel

Burial of Capt. T. B. Kinder

On Monday last the funeral of Capt. T. B. Kinder, whose remains had been brought from the Rio Grande, took place in this city, and the melancholy ceremonies were attended by a very large concourse of citizens. The escort duty was performed by the company of volunteers from Paoli, formerly under the command of Capt. Kinder, but now of Capt. Spicely, and the company of Capt. Landrey, of this county, also performed duty on the occasion. A large number of ladies and citizens on foot accompanied the remains from the residence of the father of the deceased to the State House Square. Prayer was then offered by the Rev. Mr. Kavanaugh; a funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr. Gillett, and some very appropriate remarks in the way of eulogy upon the virtues and generous qualities of the deceased, were made by the Rev. Mr. Ames. After which the funeral train, under the military escort above mentioned, together with others of the volunteer officers and privates, proceeded to the grave yard, where an oration was pronounced by John T. Morrison, Esq.  The remains were then interred with the customary military honors.

Thus passes away one who had high hopes of earthly promotion and fame, and many long years of happiness. His memory will long be cherished by all who loved him so well while he lived, and who so sorrowfully lament his early death.

From the History of Great Indianapolis, page 140:

...And so the Marion Volunteers came home with hardly a smell of powder and large quantities of experience, but it was all the same here. They were all veterans. The first Regiment shared in the glories of the Third and the martyrdom of the Second under unjust criticism. Extensive preparation was made at Indianapolis for the public reception of the volunteers, but instead of coming in a body they came in squads, and spoiled the programme. And there was another event to turn attention from any celebration. There had been several Indianapolis people in other organizations than the company raised here, and among them none better known or more popular than Trustin B. Kinder. He had gone down to Orange County to practice law, and when the war came on he volunteered there, and his company, of which he was captain went into the Second Regiment. He fell at Buena Vista, and his body was brought home for burial, and it was the only one of the Indianapolis dead that was brought back. Luther Reck, son of the first Lutheran clergyman here, had been drowned in the Rio Grande on August 18, 1846, and Harry Cartwright, John Johnson, Jerome Lutz, Wm. Green, Edward Malone and John Peyton had succumbed to disease, but their bodies had been left on Mexican soil. Captain Kinder's funeral was on July 12, 1847. His company had come from Paoli to attend the service, and acted as escort while a great concourse joined in the procession. It was by far the largest funeral ever seen in Indianapolis up to that time and for years afterwards. The remains were escorted from his father's house to the State House Square where the services were held. A prayer was offered by the Rev. Kavanaugh, a sermon delivered by the Rev. Gillette, and an eulogy by the Rev. Ames; after which the funeral train moved down to the old graveyard. Here an oration was pronounced by John T. Morrison, and the soldier was consigned to his grave with military honors. To the wreaths upon his grave, Sarah T. Bolten added her immortelle of song  --

"Gallant soldier, farewell;
True, thy country has proved thee,
And thy memory will dwell
In the warm hearts that love thee."

From the History of Indianapolis & Marion County by B. R. Sulgrove, 1884, page 303:

In July 1847, the body of Trustin B. Kinder -- son of Isaac, an old settler of Indianapolis -- who had gone to a southern county of the State to practice law, and there joined the 2nd Indiana Regiment, so defamed by Jefferson Davis' report, and killed in the Battle of Buena Vista, was returned here and buried in the old cemetery with military honors and a public demonstration never witnessed at a funeral here before or ever since, except at the death of Gov. Morton.

From the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis by Bodenhamer & Barrows, 1994, p. 870:

Kinder, Trustin B. (July 27, 1822 to February 23, 1847). 

First war hero from Indianapolis. Kinder was born on the family's farm near the small village of Indianapolis. He was educated locally, read law, and was admitted to the bar in 1845. Kinder practiced his trade in Paoli, Indiana, prior to volunteering for military duty during the Mexican War. Commissioned a Captain of Company B, 2d Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Kinder died in action at the Battle of Buena Vista. Upon learning of his son's death, the captain's father, despite his advanced years, made a hazardous journey to Mexico to bring his son's remains back to Indianapolis for burial. Kinder's body lay in state in the Capital rotunda, and on July 12, 1847, was the object of what observers reported was the largest funeral in the city to that time and for years afterwards. After initial burial in City Cemetery, where members of his company laid him to rest with full military honors, Kinder's mother reinterred his body at Crown Hill Cemetery in October 1864.  -- Wayne L. Sanford

The following excerpts are taken from the USGENWEB Orange County Indiana web site. Clicking on the title to each story will take you to the web link.


The war with Mexico in 1846 - 47 brought out more than a full company from Orange County. On the 13th of May, 1846, President Polk called for volunteers, and soon afterward in response to this William A. Bowles, Trustin B. Kinder, William T. Spicely, John Murray and others, began the formation of a company in the county. The organization was completed some time in June, and the following officers were elected: William A. Bowles, Captain; T. B. Kinder, First Lieutenant; W. T. Spicely, Second Lieutenant; John Murray, Third Lieutenant. Soon after this the company assembled at Paoli to march to New Albany, where the Second Regiment, to which they were assigned, was being organized. The boys in bright new uniforms were drawn up in front of the residence of the Captain, and were there presented with a beautiful banner in behalf of the county by one of the Dougherty's. It is said Capt. Bowles replied in a short eloquent speech, pledging the lives of his company for the preservation of the national flag. Lieut. Kinder, a talented young lawyer, delivered a speech of considerable length and of great strength. He declared that he would leave his bones to bleach on the sunny plains of Mexico rather than see his country's flag dishonored and trailed in the dust. Lieut. Spicely also delivered a speech to the same effect. The company, then, in wagons and on horseback, started for New Albany, being escorted some distance from town by the brass band of Paoli, and a large delegation of sorrowing relatives and friends, some of whom continued on to New Albany. The Company became B, of the Second Regiment, Indiana Volunteers, and at New Albany Capt. Bowles was promoted to the Colonelcy of the regiment, and was succeeded as Captain of Company B, by T. B. Kinder. In July the regiment started for Mexico. An account of the service of this regiment will be found in another part of this volume. The roll of the company at the date of muster-in cannot be given. The following is the roll June 23, 1847, at the time of muster-out: William T. Spicely, Captain; John Murray, First Lieutenant; John Gullett, Second Lieutenant; D. S. Lewis, Third Lieutenant; John Hungate, Augustus G. Brooks, James H. Vandeveer, and Abner Dougherty, Sergeants; Eli McDonald, Albert Mayfield, Christian P. Leatherman and Christopher C. Shore, Corporals. Privates - David A. Apple, John Allen, John R. Allen, William Burks, James Blackburn, John Brown, Robert W. Bolton, Thornton Burgess, William Cook, Patrick Cosgrove, Martin Cutsinger, James Cobble, Alexander Conklin, G. Dougherty, Abe Dover, Epaulette Dufriend, James Dooley, Irwin Drake, Charles Edwards, Henry Edwards, Martin Gobble, Daniel Hulmstutter, John Hulmstutter, Samuel Harris, Samuel Hostetler, B. N. Hostetler, H. B. Hawkins, William Henson, Edward W. Hollowell, Nelson Johnson, Squire Kesterson, Joshua Y. Lewis, John R. McGhee, Elihu McDonald, Elias F. Moyer, James Moyer, William Morgan, Francis N. Noblitt, James M. Pinnick, Elijah Pinnick, Josephus Pounds, Jonathan Palmer, Elisha Pruett, Jacob Quinlan, Hiram Russell, W. J. Shelton, William Scarlett, John A. Smith, Eli Stalcup, Oliver M. Throop, Angel Tillery, George H. Tyler, Samuel VanCamp and Benjamin Walker. The following were killed at Buena Vista: Capt. T. B. Kinder, John T. Hardin, Joseph Lafferty, Arthur Massey, David McDonald, John Shultz and Joseph H. Harrison. The following died of wounds or disease: James H. Edwards, James H. Smith, David W. Johnson, Wesley Edwards, John Robertson, Benjamin Taylor, William Goldsmith. The following were discharged, probably for disability: William Warren, Robert Dougherty, Henry Harrison, Joab Burt, Enos Evans, Alexander Keith, Harvey Morris, Clement McDonald and John P. McDonald. At the battle of Buena Vista, Capt. Kinder was dangerously wounded, and was placed in ambulance which started for the rear, hut was upset in one of the many ravines on the battle-field. Here the wounded Captain was killed by the Mexican Lancers. His body was brought to Paoli where it was publicly received by a large assemblage at the court house, and was then conveyed to Indianapolis, the former home of the young soldier, for interment, being also publicly received by a large throng of citizens at Orleans on the way. John T. Hardin was killed by a spent ball just as the battle was over.


The most noted barbecue ever held in Orange county was the one held at French Lick on the return of the soldiers at the close of the Mexican War in 1847. During the war there had been much bitter controversy between the members of the different political parties. The objections urged against the administration were the opening of more slave territory by the admission of Texas.

The invasion of foreign territory by the American army and a war waged against a sister republic. The complete success of the American army silenced all objection. General Taylor's victory over Santa Anna at Buena Vista; the triumphant campaign of Scott, ending in the capture of the city of Mexico added new lustre to American arms and won the admiration of the people. The last discordant note in American politics received a quietus. The war was almost unanimously approved, and the participants in the war returned to be hailed as heroes "when Johnny comes Marching Home." The dispute between the Colonel and the members of his regiment about a having ordered a retreat had not reached the public ear at that time, so Col. William A. Bowles returned the idol of his friends at home and the hero of the hour at the great barbecue, given in honor of the returned soldiers. Some two weeks previous to this the body of Capt. T. B. Kinder, who fell in the battle of Buena Vista, passed through the county on the way to the home made sad by his death in battle.

The captain had for a brief period been a citizen of Paoli and was made first lieutenant, and finally captain of Company B of the Second Indiana. Captain Kinder was a talented young lawyer who came to Paoli to practice his profession. The field of glorious war was more attractive to his young ambition that climbing by slow steps the ladder of fame as a lawyer.

He obeyed his country's call and entered the strife with all the ardor of youth. On the assembling of the company at Paoli for departure to the scene of war a beautiful flag was presented to the company by the citizens. Young Kinder eloquently pledge his fellow countymen that rather that see the flag dishonored he would die in the battle and leave his bones to bleach on Mexican soil. He fell at Buena Vista, but the gallantry of the American soldiers won the battle and the body of the captain was returned to the sorrowing parents in the north part of the State. The patriotism of his new made friends at Paoli were granted the privilege of retaining the body long enough to honor the gallant dead. The meeting was held at the old camp meeting grounds across the creek south of Paoli. Notices were sent all over the country and a vast assembly of the people gathered to do honor to the dead soldier. The casket containing the body was received here and John Frazier, the father of Rev. William Frazier, so well known to our people, delivered an eloquent address which was published in the county papers. At this meeting announcement of the barbecue to be held at French Lock was proclaimed to the multitude by old Major A. J. Simpson, the father of our Major John R. The old man climbed on top of the camp meeting shanty and shouted with stentorian lungs these words, "Two weeks from next Tuesday there will be a barbecue to all the world at French Lick. This occasion is to honor the dead, that will be to the honor of the living." To do the soldiers honor great preparations had been made. A long trench was filled with wood and burned until it became a fiery furnace. Whole carcasses of dressed beef, cattle and sheep were suspended over the furnace until thoroughly cooked or barbecued. Long tables were constructed beneath the shady leaves of the fine old forest trees. Here the people gathered to a "feast of fat things." With abundance of bread and hot coffee and well roasted beef and mutton, the people gathered about the table and enjoyed the great feast with their honored guest.

From a platform erected for the occasion addresses of welcome were delivered and Col. William A. Bowles and Surgeon William F. Sherrod responded with eloquent addresses. The day closed without anything to mar the enjoyment of the people or disturb the laurels won by the brave. Bowles and Sherrod proudly wore their laurels unconscious of the fact that they had already reached the meridian of their popularity. The private soldiers and non-commissioned officers received hearty cheers as they stepped proudly to martial music. Another commissioned officer was present, Capt. William T. Spicely, who had succeeded Captain Kinder, and commanded the company with honor to the close of the war. He was a soldier (every ounce). While he had not the charm of oratory, like Sherrod and Bowles, he proved afterward in the war of the rebellion that he was born to command.

Spicely was the finest military genius Orange County ever produced. On the march to military fame he eclipsed both Sherrod and Bowles. He passed from Captain to Colonel, and from Colonel to General. Not a single cloud ever eclipsed his military star. While I write this brief tribute of respect to General Spicely his remains rest in the beautiful cemetery at Orleans. Once each year the hand of love covers his grave with beautiful flowers. Surgeon William F. Sherrod, who fought on his own hook at Buena Vista, and gave such a graphic description of the battle, and William A. Bowles, Colonel of the Second Indiana, seemed to tower above their fellows that day.

They appeared to be the best of friends. They spoke from the same stand, and at the barbecue, ate at the same table. Side by side they seemed to be successfully climbing the ladder of fame, all unconscious of the strife and the jealousy so soon to cloud their lives and hasten their death.

So closed the great barbecue, a fitting tribute to the valor of the American soldier. I can not at this time call to mind a single survivor who was present. Not one of the men so highly honored that day survive to tell the tale. One by one they have gone to join the innumerable company "in that bourne from whence no traveler returns."

The men who wore the shoulder straps, the men who gave the commands and the men who obeyed orders from superiors are now on a level. They have all perished from the earth, but the flag they loved and the government whose honor they maintained on the battle field is still honored and loved, and holds all the enchantment of the historic past. God grant that the necessity of obeying the call to arms may never come. May peace with all its sweet and hallowed influence be the heritage of our land forever. This may be the last statement that I shall ever make about the two doctors, whose actions fill so much of this historic chapter. As to Bowles it may be truly said no history of French Lick can be written without the repeated mention of his name. In passing let me say that he was once loved and honored by thousands. When his life was about to be taken for treason many men and women who had experienced his kindness and medical skill in saving lives of loved ones as a family physician were troubled. When the tender-hearted Lincoln commuted the sentence and spared his life, thousands were made glad.

Let us all forgive his errors and gratefully cherish the memory of all that was lovable in his life. As for Dr. William F. Sherrod we say as our last word about one we knew so well. He was companionable, he was intelligent, one of the best equipped men by nature and acquired knowledge of his profession that Orange County has ever had. He followed the hallucination of political fame until he lost his balance. Disappointed political ambition was his ruin, "With malice towards none and charity for all" we close this chapter.


In 1840 Andrew J. Thickston and Elias S. Terry were admitted to practice; W. D. Rossetter in 1843. In 1845 William P. Otto became President Judge, Michael Mavity and William Case being Associates. Henry Hollowell succeeded Mavity in 1846. W. B. Niblack and John S. Watts were admitted in 1846. T. B. Kinder was admitted to the bar in 1846. John Baker was appointed Master in Chancery in 1846. Lyman Leslie became District Prosecuting Attorney in 1846. Samuel Frisbie was admitted in 1846. William Case, Associate Judge, died in 1847 and John Hungate succeeded him. Jesse T. and Joseph Cox were admitted to practice about this time. T. H. Thornton had been admitted a number of years before. Lucian Barbour was admitted in 1850. George A. Bicknell became Special Prosecutor in 1850. William Morrow was admitted in 1851. C. L. Dunham had been admitted for many years. In 1852 the office of Associate Judge was abolished, W. P. Otto continuing alone. At this time the Common Pleas Court was created, and the Probate Court abolished.

Click on Images for Enlargement

TBK_1.JPG (66357 bytes)    Capt. Trustin B. Kinder's gravesite in Indianapolis

TBK_2.JPG (67558 bytes)    Engraving on Capt. Trustin B. Kinder's Monument in Indianapolis

Copy of TBK-31.JPG (73582 bytes)    Isaac and Maria Kinder's gravesite in Indianapolis

Copy of TBK_4.JPG (86900 bytes)    Engraving on Isaac and Maria Kinder's Monument in Indianapolis