length to drive it off, after having killed more than twenty of its number.A few words may here be added, to explain a little more in detail the proceedings of the sappers and miners in making their way through the houses to which Major Smith refers. At the gate of the city a powerful and well-served battery swept the street with continued discharges of grape-shot, so that it was impossible to move down directly in front of it. The problem was to take the battery or to drive the Mexicans from their guns. The houses on both sides were built mostly in continuous blocks, with an occasional interval or vacant lot. The walls of the houses were of adobe, or light volcanic stone. The operation of breaking through them was thus conducted. A detachment of the sappers and miners, led by an officer, entered a house at the outer end of the street, with the proper tools and implements, and made a breach in the party or division wall large enough for a man to go through to the next house, and so on successively. Lieutenant McClellan led the party on one side of the street. It was a highly dangerous service, as. every house had Mexican soldiers in it, and there was continuous fighting until the Americans drove out the occupants. It was Lieutenant McClellan's duty — or at least he considered it to be so — to pass first into the opening. In one instance, where it was necessary to cross a vacant space between two houses which did not join, he nearly lost his life by falling into a ditch of stagnant water. The party at length forced their way through the houses till they
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