as do all Louisianians of his origin and time of life, still, most of his correspondence is conducted, and all his private as well as official writings are made, in English
At sixteen he entered, as a cadet, the United States Military Academy at West Point
His parents, who had for several years persistently opposed his wish to obtain an appointment there, had finally yielded, overcome by his pertinacious entreaties.
Here really began his brilliant career.
Highly impressed with the nobleness and importance of the profession he had embraced, he devoted himself with ardent zeal and untiring perseverance to his multitudinous studies, and went through his four years course with no less distinction than success.
He was graduated July 1st, 1838, being second in a class of forty-five, and on July 7th of the same year was appointed Second Lieutenant
in the United States Engineers. Generals Hardee
, Ed. Johnson
, and Sibley
, of the Confederate army, and Mc-Dowell, A. T. Smith
, and McKinstry
, of the Federal
army, were classmates of his, and were graduated at the same time.
His life was uneventful from that date to the year 1846-47, when, according to plans drawn up by Captain J. G. Barnard
, U. S. Engineers, and himself, he directed the fortification works at the city of Tampico
In the month of March, 1847, he joined the expedition under Major-General Scott
, against the city of Mexico
He distinguished himself at the siege of Vera Cruz
, in several bold reconnoissances before the battle of Cerro Gordo
, and also in most of the engagements in the valley of Mexico
The strongest proof of his merit—one that gave a forecast of his great strategic and engineering powers—was exhibited during the Mexican
war, at a council of general officers, held at Piedad, September 11th, 1847, after the disastrous assault on the fortified positions of Molino del Rey
. The attack on the city of Mexico
, and the best mode of effecting its capture, were the main subjects under discussion.
, in opposition to most of the general officers
there present, and contrary to the views of all his comrades of the engineer corps, advocated an attack by the western approaches of Mexico
His suggestion, though very much combated at first and nearly discarded, was finally adopted, with what successful result is now a matter of history.
Soon after this episode—on September 13th—Beauregard was twice