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emy of West Point. After the usual and left in the hospital. Lieutenant course of four years of study he grad- | McClellan and his comrade, Lieutenant uated in 1846, being twenty years old, Gustavus W. Smith—now a major-genat the head of his class. He entered eral in the Confederate army-proceeded the army as brevet second lieutenant of in command of the remainder of the engineers, an honored corps into which company to Vera Cruz. “During the the most distinguished students of West march from Matamoras to Vittoria," Point are only admitted. On the dec reported Colonel Totten, “the company, laration of war against Mexico, Congress then reduced to forty-five effectives, expassed an act establishing a company of ecuted a great amount of work on the sappers, miners, and pontoon construc- roads, fords, etc., as it did in proceeding tors to be added to the corps of engi- thence to Tampico, where it formed, neers, and young McClellan was ap- with one company of the Third and one pointed its second lieutenant. Upon of the Seventh Infantry, a pioneer party, him and two other officers devolved the under Captain Henry of the Third Infanduty of organizing and drilling this new try. The detailed reports of these labors branch of service. The recruits were exhibit the greatest efficiency and excelaccordingly mustered at West Point, lent discipline under severe and trying where they were practised in sapping, circumstances, Lieutenant Smith having mining, constructing bridges, and pre- then but one officer, Lieutenant McClelparing the materials for sieges. At lan, under his command.” the same time they were thoroughly On arriving at Vera Cruz, the captain, drilled and disciplined as infantry sol- invalided at Matamoras, resumed the diers. Colonel Totten, the chief of command of the company, to which was this department, declared in his report, attached also another subordinate officer. that when this new company, composed To the conduct of the sappers and minof seventy-one men, left West Point for ers at the siege of Vera Cruz, Colonel the war, they were in "admirable Totten paid this tribute: “During the discipline," and warmly applauded the siege of Vera Cruz,” he said, “I was skill and energy displayed by McClel witness to the great exertions and serlan and his associates in their work of vices of this company, animated by and organization and drill. Proceeding first emulating the zeal and devotion of its to Camargo, in Mexico, and reporting excellent officers, Lieutenants Smith, for duty to General Taylor, the com McClellan, and Foster.” During the pany was ordered to return to Mata- whole work of the siege, the labors of moras, and act with the column about the company were incessant. “The marching under the command of General total of the company was so small," said Patterson.
Totten, “and demands for its aid so incesAt Matamoras the captain and nine- sant, that every man may be said to have teen men of the corps were invalided | been constantly on duty, with scarcely a
moment for rest and refreshment.” The the column commanded by General captain was unable, from continued ill Pillow. Before the battle at Contreras ness, to take any very effective part in opened, Lieutenant McClellan was orthe onerous duties of the command, and dered, together with another officer of soon after died, leaving the weight of engineers, to reconnoitre the position of labor and responsibility to rest upon his the enemy. They, however, fell in with youthful subordinates, who proved them | the advance guards of the Mexicans, and selves equal to the task, and earned being fired upon, and losing their horses, another tribute from their superior, Col which were killed, barely escaped in onel Totten, who declared that they safety back to the lines. During the “ directed the operations with unsur- engagement which ensued, Lieutenant passed intelligence and zeal.”
McClellan joined Magruder's battery. The same officer, in his reports of the General Twiggs bore testimony to his services of the company, whether on the good service on that day : march, in the field, or in the trenches, “Lieutenant George B. McClellan, had occasion but to repeat his praises after Lieutenant Calender was wounded, both of men and officers. He said : took charge of and managed the how
"Severe labors followed the surrender itzer battery (Lieutenant Reno being of Vera Cruz and its castle, and accom- detached with the rockets) with judgpanied the march to the battle of Cerro ment and success, until it became so disGordo, in which the company displayed, abled as to require shelter. For Lieuin various parts of the field, its gallantry tenant McClellan's efficiency and gallanand efficiency. It entered the city of try in this affair, I present his name for Jalapa with the advance of Twiggs' the favorable consideration of the Gendivision, and Puebla with the advance eral in-chief.” of Worth's. During the pause at the On the next day, when the battle of latter place, the instruction of the com- Churubusco was fought and the victory pany in its appropriate studies and ex- won, McClellan again obtained the “honercises was resumed by its persevering orable mention" of his commander, and a and zealous officers, and assistance was brevet rank. General Persifer F. Smith, given by all in the repairs of the de- with whose division the young Lieutenfences. Marching from Puebla with ant served, declared in his report: General Twiggs' division, the company “Lieutenant G. W. Smith, in com- . was joined to General Worth at Chalon, mand of the engineer company, and and arrived in front of San Antonio on Lieutenant McClellan, his subaltern, disthe 18th of August, having greatly tinguished themselves throughout the assisted in clearing the road of obstruc- whole of the three actions. Nothing tions placed by the enemy."
seemed to them too bold to be underOn the next day, the 19th of August, taken, or too difficult to be executed, the company was placed at the head of and their services as engineers were as
valuable as those they rendered in battle tem of tactics, the bayonet exercise, at the head of their gallant men.” introduced it into the army.
In the battle of Molino del Rey, too, During the summer and autumn of which succeeded, McClellan was again 1851, McClellan was charged with the conspicuous among the most active and superintendence of the construction of brave. He was brevetted captain in Fort Delaware, and in the spring of the acknowledgment of his services. He, same year was ordered to duty in the however, declined the promotion, and exploration of the Red River, under was still only a lieutenant during the Major R. B. Marcy, whose daughter he attack on Chapultepec. His services on married. While engaged in this work he this occasion, in erecting batteries before was ordered to Texas, as chief engineer, the engagement, and his gallantry in under the command of General Persifer fighting during the battle, brought him Smith of that department, and had been once more within the notice of his supe- occupied for several months in surveying riors. General Scott named him in his the rivers and harbors of the State, dispatch as one of "those five lieuten- when he was transferred to the Pacific ants of engineers” who “won the ad-coast, to command the western division iniration of all.” The name of his of the survey of the route for the North famous competitor, Beauregard, was on Pacific Railroad, to pass from the Misthe same honored list.
sissippi to the Pacific Ocean. McClellan was thus with the army of Jefferson Davis, the present President General Scott during the whole of its of the Southern Confederacy, then
ictorious progress from Vera Cruz to secretary of war of the United States the capital, and at every step the young in his report to Congress thus acknowlLieutenant won an increase of honor for edged the services of McClellan as an his good conduct. He was brevetted explorer : captain for his service in Mexico, and “The examination of the approaches returned in 1848 to West Point with and passes of the Cascade Mountains, his company of sappers and miners, of made by Captain McClellan, of the corps which he soon after became com- of engineers, presents a reconnoissance mander.
of great value, and, though performed Here McClellan remained for more under adverse circumstances, exhibits than two years, in comparative inac- all the information necessary to detertivity, but improved the time by study mine the practicability of this portion and devotion to the welfare of the of the route, and reflects the highest service. He translated from the French, credit on the capacity and resources of with which he is said to be thoroughly that officer." acquainted, a military work, which has Again he added : “Captain McClelbeen adopted as a text-book, and modi- lan, of the corps of engineers, after fying in accordance with the latest sys- the completion of his field operations,
was directed to visit various railroads, McClellan will be the great leader the
This public duty was followed by the they had ascertained that the Russians performance of some secret service for were in the habit of relieving the guard the Government in the West Indies of the Malakoff at noon, and that a
In 1855, McClellan received a com- great part of the old guard marched out mission of captain in the United States before the new one arrived, in order to cavalry, and was appointed by the Gov- avoid the loss which would arise from ernment, together with Colonel Richard crowding the work with men ; in the Delafield and Major Alfred Mordecai, to second place, it was determined to keep proceed to the Crimea and report upon up a most violent vertical fire until the the war then waging between Russia very moment of the assault, thus driving and the allied powers of France and the Russians into the bomb-proofs, and England. The result of his observations enabling the storming party to enter the was embodied in a work entitled, “Re- work with but little opposition. port on the Organization of European “The hour of noon was therefore Armies and the Operations of the War.” selected for the assault, and the strong It is acknowledged to be a production columns intended for the work were at showing a thorough mastery of the mil- an early hour assembled in the advanced itary art. Its demonstrations evince an | trenches, all in admirable order, and exact knowledge of science and a broad furnished with precise instructions. view in the application of its principles. "The mortars maintained an unreThe author, in the freedom of his criti- mitting fire until the moment appointed. cism, does not hesitate to disregard the The very instant the last volley was dispretensions of rank and authority, and charged, the storming party of Zouaves submit the strategy and tactics of the rushed over the thirty paces before them, most distinguished European officers to and were in the work before the astonthe test of his own judgment. This self- ished Russians knew what had happened. reliance, though it might be thought by It was stated that this party lost but some presumptuous in so young a man, eleven in entering the work. Other comes from a consciousness of power, troops advanced rapidly to support the derived not only from original genius but storming party, a bridge was formed by careful culture, which gives promise that rolling up five ladders with planks lashed to them, a communication was at and the character of his studies may be once commenced between the advanced | seen in the conclusions with which he trench and the bridge, brigade after has closed his report. From them can brigade passed over, the redoubt was at be inferred the probable direction of his once occupied by the storming party, present efforts toward securing the safety and thus the Malakoff, and with it Se- of the country. bastopol, was won. The few Russians “It is believed that a calm consideraremaining in the work made a desperate tion of the events so hastily and imperresistance. Many gallant attempts were fectly narrated in the preceding pages made by Russian columns to ascend the must lead all unprejudiced persons steep slope in rear and regain the lost among our countrymen to a firm conwork ; but as the road was narrow, viction on two vital points : difficult, and obstructed, the position "1st. That our system of permanent strong, and the French in force, all their coast defences is a wise and proper one, furious efforts were in vain, and the which ought to be completed and armed Malakoff remained in possession of those with the least possible delay. who had so gallantly and skilfully won “2d. That mere individual courage it. With regard to the final retreat to cannot suffice to overcome the forces the north side, it can only be said that that would be brought against us were a personal examination of the locality we involved in a European war, but merely confirms its necessity, and the that it must be rendered manageimpression so generally entertained that able by discipline, and directed by that it was the finest operation of the war ; consummate and mechanical military so admirably was it carried out that not skill which can only be acquired by a a straggler remained behind ; a few men, course of education instituted for that so severely wounded as to be unfit for special purpose, and by long habit. rough and hurried transportation, were “In the day of sailing vessels the the only ghastly human trophies that successful siege of Sebastopol would remained to the allies. The retreat, have been impossible. It is evident being a more difficult operation than the that the Russians did not appreciate the assault, is worthy of more admiration, advantages afforded by steamers, and but the Russian retreat to the north were unprepared to sustain a siege. side, and the French assault upon the “This same power of steam would Malakoff must each be regarded as a enable European nations to disembark masterpiece of its kind, deserving the even a larger force than that which closest study. It is difficult to imagine finally encamped around Sebastopol. what point in either can be criticised, To resist such an attack, should it ever for both evinced consummate skill, dis- be made, our cities and harbors must be cipline, coolness, and courage.”