Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant

By Ulysses S. Grant | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER II.

ARMY LIFE--CAUSES OF THE MEXICAN WAR--CAMP SALUBRITY --CORPUS CHRISTI--MEXICAN SMUGGLING--SPANISH RULE IN MEXICO--SUPPLYING TRANSPORTATION--TRIP TO AUSTIN --PROMOTION TO FULL SECOND LIEUTENANT--ARMY OF OC- CUPATION.

ON the 30th of September I reported for duty at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, with the 3 col4th United States infantry. It was the largest military post in the country at that time, being garrisoned by sixteen companies of infantry, eight of the 3d regiment, the remainder of the 4th. Colonel Steven Kearney, one of the ablest officers of the day, commanded the post, and under him discipline was kept at a high standard, but without vexatious rules or regulations. Every drill and roll-call had to be attended, but in the intervals officers were permitted to enjoy themselves, leaving the garrison, and going where they pleased, without making written application to state where they were going for how long, etc., so that they were back for their next duty. It did seem to me, in my early army days, that too many of the older officers, when they came to command posts, made it a study to think what orders they could publish to annoy their subordinates and render them uncomfortable. I noticed, however, a few years later, when the Mexican war broke out, that most of this class of officers discovered they were possessed of disabilities which entirely incapacitated them for active field service. They had the moral courage to proclaim it, too. They were right; but they did not always give their disease the right name.

At West Point I had a class-mate--in the last year of our studies he was room-mate also--F. T. Dent, whose family resided some five miles west of Jefferson Barracks. Two of his unmarried brothers were living at home at that time, and as I had taken with me from Ohio, my horse, saddle and bridle, I

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