Wilmingtonian Casualty of Mexican War
On February 7, 1847, New Hanover County native Capt. John Henry King Burgwin died of a wound he received while leading an assault during the Taos Revolt, an insurrection of Mexicans and their Pueblo Indian allies against the American occupation of what is now New Mexico.
Earlier that month, troops under the command of Col. Sterling Price found rebels holed up in a heavily fortified chapel at Pueblo de Taos. After a fruitless day of artillery fire on the chapel, Burgwin’s First Dragoons were ordered to storm it. Burgwin was shot in the chest after having set fire to part of the structure. He lived long enough to see the insurrection quelled, but died in Taos of his injury.
Fort Burgwin was established near Taos, N.M., in 1852. The fort, never considered permanent, was utilized during some of the Indian campaigns but was ultimately abandoned by the U.S. military in 1860.
Some of the structures were reconstructed to become the Fort Burgwin Research Center, now a part of Southern Methodist University. There was also a Confederate camp in Wilmington named in Burgwin’s honor.
Although his remains were exhumed several times, he is now at rest in Wilmington’s Oakdale Cemetery.