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[25] by a grape-shot which struck plump upon the hilt of his sword. “StonewallJackson, who belonged to Magruder's battery, relieved Lieutenant McClellan from command of the section, and the latter then took charge for some time of a battery of mountain-howitzers whose officer had been wounded, and, after a day of severe toil and great exposure, rejoined his company, which was at San Geronimo, a small village on the western edge of the Pedregal,1 a little north of Contreras.

At a very early hour the next morning (August 20) the intrenched camp of General Valencia at Padierna was stormed and carried at the point of the bayonet by the left wing of the American army, under the command of General P. F. Smith. This was the battle of Contreras, of which General Scott says, in his official report, “I doubt whether a more brilliant or decisive victory — taking into view ground, artificial defences, batteries, and the extreme disparity of numbers, without cavalry or artillery on our side — is to be found on record.” In this battle Lieutenant McClellan's company of sappers and miners led General Smith's brigade of regulars in its attack on the flank of the enemy, and is thus mentioned in the report already quoted from:--“In the mean time, ”

1 The Pedregal is a field of broken lava, about nine miles south of Mexico, nearly circular in form, and about two miles in diameter, entirely impracticable for cavalry or artillery except by a single mule-path, and only practicable for infantry at a few points.

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