then in the course of organization at West Point
, under charge of Captain A. J. Swift
The first lieutenant
was G. W. Smith
, now a general in the service of the Confederate States
. Captain Swift
had studied the subject in Europe
; and he instructed his lieutenants, and the latter drilled and exercised the men. The summer was spent in training the company, and in preparing their equipments and implements.
It was a branch of service till that time unknown in our country, as since the peace of 1815 our army had had no practical taste of war, except in an occasional brush with the Indians, where the resources of scientific warfare were not called into play.
The duties in which Lieutenant McClellan
now found himself engaged were very congenial to him, and he devoted himself to them with characteristic ardor and perseverance.
In a letter written in the course of the summer to his brother, Dr. McClellan
, with whom his relations have always been of the most affectionate and confidential nature, he says, “I am kept busy from eight in the morning till dinner-time.
After dinner, I have to study sapping and mining until the afternoon drill, after which I go to parade.
After tea, we (Captains Swift
, and myself) generally have a consultation.
Then I go to tattoo.
The amount of it is that we have to organize by the 1st of September the first corps of engineer troops that have ”