Shelby and His Men
by John N. Edwards
"... At Monterey the command separated. Some went to Sonora and joined the Liberal chief Corona; some went to California; some to British Honduras; some to Brazil, and many joined the French contra-guerrillas under Colonel Dupin, and those who did so did it with the intention of avenging the murder of General M. M. Parsons and party between Matamoras and Monterey. The circumstances of this terrible tragedy, as nearly as could be ascertained, were these: General Jeanningros had sent a train of merchandise from Monterey toward Matamoras, convoyed by a regiment of Imperial Mexican cavalry. With this train were General M. M. Parsons; his Assistant Adjutant General, Colonel Standish; a member of the Confederate Congress from Missouri, Hon. Mr. Conrow; and three Irish soldiers who had belonged to Parsons' division. The wagons were ambushed by the Liberals in a narrow gorge, their convoy was driven back, and the journey for the time abandoned by the soldiers. General Parsons, anxious to reach Monterey, left the escort and attempted to travel alone with his party through a country as thick in crosses to mark the spots of murders as there are bees in well-filled hive. As an inevitable consequence they were captured before proceeding a dozen miles, disarmed, and closely guarded. The party making the arrest was a portion of the Liberal detachment which had fought the Imperialists in the morning. The leader, a Mexican who spoke tolerable English, was riding a splendid horse-in fine condition and remarkably fleet. General Parsons also was superbly mounted-and his horse, being an American horse, had double the speed and strength of the others. A race was proposed-for the prisoners up to this time had retained their horses. Forth dashed General Parsons and the Mexican, and for a short distance it was closely contested. At length the American horse gained rapidly on his rival, and disobeying three or four orders to halt, General Parsons made good his escape from his captors. Fate frowned upon him, however. He had scarcely traveled five miles before he rode directly upon another and larger party of Liberals, who again arrested him, and brought him back to the detachment from which he had just succeeded in escaping. After a short parleying on the part of his captors, he, together with Colonel Standish, Colonel Conrow, and the three soldiers, were brutally murdered, stripped naked, and left upon the wayside. Some generous Mexican citizens living in the neighborhood buried them, and afterward, when eighty-two of Shelby's men, led by a trusty guide-and having a carte blanche from their captain, Ney, to demand blood for blood-arrived upon the scene of the butchery, these same citizens pointed out fifteen of the murderers and the houses of eleven more. The vengeance blow was terrible, and fire and sword made all the amends possible, while the graves of the murdered Southerners were carefully marked and preserved by their sorrowful countrymen."