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Worsham to Discuss Mexican War Hero at National Meeting

James Worsham, Coordinator of Campus Publications and an adjunct history instructor and at Bluefield State College, will be a featured presenter at the national meeting of the Descendants of the Mexican War Veterans. According to Worsham, who is working on his dissertation on Walker, "Sam Walker was an outstanding cavalry officer who early in the Mexican War earned national recognition for his heroism. In fact, a New York play featuring Sam Walker as its main character was written at the time." The famous Mexican War figure is best known, Worsham added, as "Walker, Texas Ranger." He came to Texas in the early 1840s, before the Mexican War and served along with such legendary Rangers as Jack Hays," Worsham continued. "Walker proved himself in numerous encounters with the Comanche and Mexican Bandits." He rose from the rank of private to lieutenant colonel. Through a quirk of nature, the massive shipment of horses for the eight companies of Riflemen were almost all lost at sea in a storm, Worsham said. Six of the eight companies would therefore serve on foot during the war. "Walker, who was delayed in Maryland recruiting men for his company, was determined that his company would be mounted, and he cut through Army red tape to arrange the purchase and personal delivery of over 100 horses for his men," Worsham said. To historians, Walker's second accomplishment is better known. At a time when most U.S. Army soldiers fought with single-shot, flintlock muskets and pistols, Walker was determined that his men would have better weapons. Having already gained experience as a Ranger with Sam Colt's new five-shot revolver, Walker went to Colt for more revolvers. Colt, on the verge of bankruptcy, had sold his factory and had retained only his patent. Walker personally visited President James Polk and arranged an Army contract for a newly designed revolver for his men. Colt subcontracted the manufacture of the new pistols, to be co-designed by Sam Walker. As a result, Walker saved Colt from oblivion and simultaneously set in motion a plan to provide his men with the first six-shot Army issued revolver--the equivalent of a .44 magnum--one of today's most powerful rifles. As a soldier in saddle, Walker would see combat in Mexico. He led his men against many marauding guerrillas who harassed American supply trains from the coast. His last battle, however, would be against regular troops. It would also be the last battle fought by Mexican General Santa Anna, who had earlier massacred many defenders of the Alamo. In Huamantla, Walker led his men well in advance of American foot troops as he and his company engaged Santa Anna's troops in battle. Greatly outnumbered, Walker's troops fought courageously with high losses until the arrival of the infantry. As the battle seemed nearly over, Walker was fatally shot. His body was temporarily buried in Mexico, but was later moved to Texas, where he is buried near the Alamo. On October 12, Nancy Bouvier of Upper Marlboro, MD and a descendant of Walker's brother will travel to Texas to participate in a memorial ceremony, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Walker's death. She will place a handful of Maryland earth from the Walker homestead on his grave. Worsham requests that any members of the Walker family who have additional information on Sam Walker to contact him at (304) 327-4187 or (540) 322-3574.