The U.S.-Mexican War: Some Statistics
Size of U.S. ForcesTwo excellent sources, K. Jack Bauer's The Mexican War (New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., 1974) and Justin H. Smith's The War With Mexico (New York: MacMillan and Company, 1919), are closest in agreement to the number of soldiers who served in the U.S. military forces during the Mexican War, 1846-1848.
There are, however, two differences between these sources: Bauer cites figures for the total number of enlistments during the war whereas Smith differentiates between those who enlisted and those who enlisted and also actually served in one of the theatres of the war. In addition, Smith lists a slightly higher number of pre-war soldiers than does Bauer. The reason for this latter difference is not known.
Pre-War Regular Army
637 Officers, 5,925 men - Total 6,562 (Bauer)
The difference between the above figures is 662.
*(Smith writes only 3,554 were on the Texas frontier at start of the War.)
Regular Army During the War
35,009 additional recruited; 32,190 actually started out for Texas or Mexico; only 31,024 actually served in the theatres of war. (Smith)*
*(Smith writes of the 31,024 who actually served, 15,736 went into existing regiments, 11,186 made up new "for the war" regiments, and 548 were Marines serving with the Army.)
1,016 officers and 35,009 men joined the Regular Army during the War. Total: 36,025. (Bauer)
Of the 28 states of the Union, only Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, and Rhode Island did not provide any volunteer units. California, which did not join the Union until 1850, provided soldiers, as did Iowa which didn't become a state until December 1846. States already in the Union which provided soldiers were: Alabama; Arkansas; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Kentucky; Louisiana; Massachusetts; Maryland; Michigan; Mississippi; Missouri; New Hampshire; New Jersey; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; and Virginia. The District of Columbia also provided volunteer troops.
Texas and Illinois provided the most regiments.(Many Illinois soldiers were out-of-work Irish immigrants.)
73,260 Volunteers were recruited by the various states(16,887 Mounted, 1,129 Artillery, and 55,244 Infantry). This number includes 3,131 officers. (Smith)
Of the above numbers, Smith writes only 58,812 actually served in Mexico; 14,448 were short-term enlistees who were mustered out and never left the United States.*
*NOTE: Some short-term enlistees (3 and 6 months volunteers), after being mustered out, re-enlisted for 12 months or the duration of the war and thus may have been counted twice in the above statistics.
Bauer writes 73,532 men appeared on the rolls of the various companies.
Pre-war Regulars: Smith 7,224/Bauer 6,562
The difference between Smith's and Bauer's figures is only 626 men. Therefore, it would safe to say that about 116,000 men saw some service as soldiers, either volunteer or regular, in the U.S. military forces of the Mexican War. Of those, using Smith's figures, some 90,000 of those troops raised after the War began actually saw service in Texas and/or Mexico.
U.S. Navy During the Mexican War
Only Bauer gives any figures for the Navy. These range between 1,053 officers and 10,131 men in 1846 to 1,041 officers and 11,238 men in 1848. The peak came in 1847 - the second year of the War - with 1,126 officers and 11,193 men. Of course, the figures for each year probably included most of the same officers and men. Based on that assumption, it would be safe to conclude that roughly 13,000 naval officers and men served aboard U.S. ships during the Mexican War. However, not all of these were on duty in the Gulf of Mexico or in the Pacific Ocean so it's difficult to say how many naval personnel were directly involved in the War.
For a complete list of organizations, see U.S. Military Organizations.
Please note: These figures do not include the thousands of soldiers on both sides who succumbed to illness or accidents.
* Killed and Wounded Combined
Source: Niles' National Register, Baltimore, Maryland, Jan. 15, 1848, p. 312.
NOTE: U.S. Government figures, published after the war, are slightly higher.
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