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May 8th, 1846 AD (search for this): chapter 1
reserved uninterrupted good health. He could to-day discharge with ease the duties of a common soldier in any arm of the service; and in the shock of encountering steel, few men would be more formidable, whether on horseback or on foot. At the close of his student-life, a new impulse had been given to the military spirit of the country, and of the army especially, by the breaking out, a few weeks previously, of the Mexican War. The brilliant victories of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma (May 8 and 9, 1846), gained against immense odds, had shed new lustre upon American arms, and opened to the officers of the army the prospect of a more congenial and animating employment than the dreary monotony of a frontier post or a harbor fort. McClellan went at once into active service as brevet second lieutenant of engineers, and was assigned to duty as junior lieutenant of a company of sappers and miners Sappers and miners form a part of the Corps of Engineers. They are employed in buil
Elizabeth Brinton (search for this): chapter 1
ers of the name emigrated to America about the middle of the last century. One went to Maine, one to Pennsylvania, and one to Connecticut: from the last of these the subject of this memoir is descended. George Brinton McClellan was born in Philadelphia, December 3, 1826. He was the third child and second son of Dr. George McClellan, a distinguished physician, a graduate of Yale College, and the founder of Jefferson College, who died in May, 1846. His mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Brinton, is still living. The eldest son, Dr. J. H. B. McClellan, is a physician in Philadelphia; and the youngest, Arthur, is a captain in the army, attached to the staff of General Wright. The first school to which George was sent was kept by Mr. Sears Cook Walker, a graduate of Harvard College in 1825, and a man of distinguished scientific merit, who died in January, 1853. He remained four years under Mr. Walker's charge, and from him was transferred to a German teacher, named Schipper
J. H. B. McClellan (search for this): chapter 1
me was Elizabeth Brinton, is still living. The eldest son, Dr. J. H. B. McClellan, is a physician in Philadelphia; and the youngest, Arthur, the religious enthusiasm of one of Cromwell's Ironsides. Young McClellan was a little under the prescribed age when he entered the Academythe Academy, as well as more attentive to its regular studies. McClellan was graduated in the summer of 1846, before he had completed his nt than the dreary monotony of a frontier post or a harbor fort. McClellan went at once into active service as brevet second lieutenant of eic warfare were not called into play. The duties in which Lieutenant McClellan now found himself engaged were very congenial to him, and heIn a letter written in the course of the summer to his brother, Dr. McClellan, with whom his relations have always been of the most affectionen they are too. I am perfectly delighted with my duties. Lieutenant McClellan sailed with his company, seventy-one strong, from New York,
Sears Cook Walker (search for this): chapter 1
s still living. The eldest son, Dr. J. H. B. McClellan, is a physician in Philadelphia; and the youngest, Arthur, is a captain in the army, attached to the staff of General Wright. The first school to which George was sent was kept by Mr. Sears Cook Walker, a graduate of Harvard College in 1825, and a man of distinguished scientific merit, who died in January, 1853. He remained four years under Mr. Walker's charge, and from him was transferred to a German teacher, named Schipper, under whoMr. Walker's charge, and from him was transferred to a German teacher, named Schipper, under whom he began the study of Greek and Latin. He next went to the preparatory school of the University of Pennsylvania, which was kept by Dr. Crawford, and in 1840 entered the University itself, where he remained two years. He was a good scholar, and held a high rank in his class, both at school and in college; but he was not a brilliant or precocious lad. His taste was for solid studies: he made steady but not very rapid progress in every thing he undertook, but he had not the qualities of mind tha
De Russey (search for this): chapter 1
in obedience to his general inclination for a military life. He had no particular fondness for mathematical studies, and was not aware that they formed so large a part of the course of instruction at the Academy. Having a modest estimate of his own powers and attainments, it was a source of surprise as well as pleasure to him to find, at the examination in January, 1843, that he was coming out one of the best scholars in the class. The Academy was at that time under the charge of Colonel De Russey. Among his classmates were several persons who have served with distinction in the army of the United States, as well as some whose mistaken sense of duty led them at the breaking out of the civil war into the ranks of the Confederates. Among these latter was that remarkable man, Thomas Jonathan Jackson, better known by his far-renowned name of Stonewall Jackson, who in his brief military career seems to have combined all the dash and brilliancy of one of Prince Rupert's Cavaliers, w
Charles G. Stewart (search for this): chapter 1
larly free from that self-assertion which is frequently seen, but not always pardoned, in men of superior powers. He showed perseverance, a strong will, and resolute habits of application. His acquisitions were not made without hard work, but, when made, they were securely held. At the close of the course at West Point, he stood second in general rank in the largest class which had ever left the Academy. In Engineering and Geology he was first. The highest scholar in the class was Charles G. Stewart, now a major of engineers. He came out first because he was more uniformly strict in complying with the rules and regulations of the Academy, as well as more attentive to its regular studies. McClellan was graduated in the summer of 1846, before he had completed his twentieth year. Few young men have ever left West Point better fitted by mental discipline and solid attainments for the profession of arms than he. He had also a precious gift of nature itself, in that sound health an
A. J. Swift (search for this): chapter 1
idges. 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 ning until the afternoon drill, after which I go to parade. After tea, we (Captains Swift, Smith, and myself) generally have a consultation. Then I go to tattoo. TVictoria, under the orders of General Patterson. Before leaving Matamoras, Captain Swift was taken ill, and the company was left under command of Lieutenant Smith. the part of several engineer officers, and been organized and drilled by Captain A. J. Swift and Lieutenants G. W. Smith and McClellan, of the Corps of Engineers. Tfirst line on the beach at Vera Cruz, being then again under the command of Captain Swift; who, in his desire to lead in its dangers and toils, strove nobly, but vai
John Sanders (search for this): chapter 1
s and batteries, or in the manner of their execution, worthy of commendation, it is due to the ability, devotion, and unremitting zeal of these officers. By extraordinary and unsparing efforts, they were enabled, few as they were, to accomplish the work of many; and, so far as the success of your operations before this city depended on labors peculiar to their corps, no words of mine can overrate their services. The officers thus engaged are Major John L. Smith, Captains R. E. Lee and John Sanders, First Lieutenants J. L. Mason, P. G. T. Beauregard, and I. I. Stevens, Second Lieutenants Z. B. Tower and G. W. Smith, Brevet Second Lieutenants G. B. McClellan and J. G. Foster. The obligation lies upon me also to speak of the highly meritorious deportment and valuable services of the sappers and miners attached to the expedition. Strenuous as were their exertions, their number proved to be too few, in comparison with our need of such aid. Had their number been fourfold greater, the
J. L. Mason (search for this): chapter 1
the manner of their execution, worthy of commendation, it is due to the ability, devotion, and unremitting zeal of these officers. By extraordinary and unsparing efforts, they were enabled, few as they were, to accomplish the work of many; and, so far as the success of your operations before this city depended on labors peculiar to their corps, no words of mine can overrate their services. The officers thus engaged are Major John L. Smith, Captains R. E. Lee and John Sanders, First Lieutenants J. L. Mason, P. G. T. Beauregard, and I. I. Stevens, Second Lieutenants Z. B. Tower and G. W. Smith, Brevet Second Lieutenants G. B. McClellan and J. G. Foster. The obligation lies upon me also to speak of the highly meritorious deportment and valuable services of the sappers and miners attached to the expedition. Strenuous as were their exertions, their number proved to be too few, in comparison with our need of such aid. Had their number been fourfold greater, there is no doubt the lab
ngagements of the company. We know only that it has been on the march with General Scott's army to the city of Mexico. I will venture to say, however, that the opped the advance of the army. Soon after leaving Puebla, they were joined by General Scott, the commander-in-chief. Our troops entered the Valley of Mexico on the 10th, and General Scott fixed his Headquarters for the time at Ayotla, a village on the northeastern edge of the Lake of Chalco, about nine miles east of the fortifiedoissance was pushed upon the route by Mexicalcingo. This was pronounced by General Scott, the most daring reconnoissance of the whole war, as the small corps of obscommand 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 ch was forced, and the city entered. On the 14th day of September, 1847, General Scott, with six thousand five hundred men, the whole of his effective army remain
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