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Company 'A', corps of engineers, U.S.A., 1846-'48, in the Mexican war   By: (1822-1896)

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First Page:

COMPANY "A,"

CORPS OF ENGINEERS, U. S. A.,

1846 '48,

IN THE

MEXICAN WAR.

BY

GUSTAVUS W. SMITH,

FORMERLY LIEUTENANT OF ENGINEERS, AND BVT. CAPTAIN,

U. S. ARMY.

THE BATTALION PRESS, 1896.

PREFACE.

Executive Document, No. 1, United States Senate, December 7, 1847, contains a Communication from the Secretary of War, transmitting to Congress the official reports of commanding generals and their subordinates in the Mexican War.

The Secretary says: "The company of engineer soldiers, authorized by the act of May 15, 1846, has been more than a year on active duty in Mexico, and has rendered efficient service. I again submit, with approval, the proposition of the Chief Engineer for an increase of this description of force." (Senate Ex. Doc. No. 1, 1847, p. 67.)

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

Page

PREFACE. 3

CHAP. I. Enlistment Instruction Detention on the Rio Grande March to Victoria and Tampico Landing at Vera Cruz Death of Captain Swift. 7

CHAP. II. Engaged in Operations against Vera Cruz. 21

CHAP. III. After the Surrender of Vera Cruz to the Occupation of Puebla. 28

CHAP. IV. From Puebla to Churubusco. 34

CHAP. V. Capture of the City of Mexico. 48

CHAP. VI. In the City of Mexico; Return to West Point. 57

APPENDIX A. Brief Extracts, from Wilcox's History of the Mexican War, 1892. 66

APPENDIX B. Promotions of Enlisted Men of the Company. 69

CHAPTER I.

ENLISTMENT INSTRUCTION DETENTION ON THE RIO GRANDE MARCH TO VICTORIA AND TAMPICO LANDING AT VERA CRUZ DEATH OF CAPTAIN SWIFT.

Previous to the war with Mexico there existed among the people of the United States a strong prejudice against maintaining even a small regular army in time of peace. Active opposition to a permanent, regular military establishment extended to the West Point Academy, in which cadets were trained and qualified to become commissioned officers of the army. That Academy was then a component part of the Military Engineer Corps. For years the chief of the Corps had, in vain, urged upon Congress, the necessity for having, at least one company of enlisted engineer soldiers as a part of the regular army.

In the meantime he had, however, succeeded in persuading the Government at Washington to send by permission of the Government of France a selected Captain of the U. S. Engineer Corps to the French School of engineer officers at Metz; for the purpose of having in the U. S. Army, an officer qualified to instruct and command a company of engineer soldiers in case Congress could be induced to authorize the enlistment of such a company.

Captain Alexander J. Swift was the officer selected to be sent to Metz. On his return to the United States, he was assigned to temporary duty at West Point awaiting the long delayed passage of an act authorizing the enlistment of a company of U. S. Engineer soldiers.

That act was passed soon after the commencement of hostilities with Mexico. It provided for the enlistment of an engineer company of 100 men, in the regular army. The company to be composed of 10 sergeants, 10 corporals, 39 artificers, 39 second class privates, and 2 musicians; all with higher pay than that of enlisted men in the line of the army.

Captain Swift was assigned to the command; and, at his request, I was ordered to report to him as next officer in rank to himself. At my suggestion, Brevet Second Lieutenant George B. McClellan, who had just been graduated from the Military Academy, was assigned as junior officer of the company... Continue reading book >>




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