Company "A" Corps of Engineers, U.S.A., 1846-1848, in the Mexican War

Company "A" Corps of Engineers, U.S.A., 1846-1848, in the Mexican War

Company "A" Corps of Engineers, U.S.A., 1846-1848, in the Mexican War

Company "A" Corps of Engineers, U.S.A., 1846-1848, in the Mexican War

Synopsis

"This important memoir illuminates life within the U.S. Regular Army of the antebellum years. The U.S. Company of Sappers, Miners, and Pontooniers, which Congress authorized on May 13, 1846, quickly became one of the army's elite units. During the Mexico City campaign, Company "A" played a significant role in scouting, building fortifications, and settling artillery batteries. Gustavus Woodson Smith, the unit commander and author of the text, describes the training and discipline of the enlisted soldiers. His commentary also provides interesting insights into the early careers of future Civil War generals - Lee, Beauregard, Pemberton, and McClellan. The narrative is a striking testament to the impact of West Point-trained officers on the course of the war and to the effectiveness of Winfield Scott's army." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

More than 150 years ago, the United States and Mexico fought a war that changed both nations forever. Prior to that military event of the middle nineteenth century, the American nation had enjoyed more than three decades of peace with foreign countries. That peace, however, disappeared when the United States declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846. President James K. Polk, a proponent of expansionism, did not shy away from a fight with his southern neighbor. the diplomatic squabbles between the two countries degenerated into an armed conflict that lasted seventeen months. the patriotism of Americans would be tested as the nation fought a war on foreign soil for the first time in its history.

Two days after the war declaration, Congress passed a bill creating a hundred-man engineer company as part of the regular army. Doubtless, the law satisfied Secretary of War William L. Marcy and Joseph G. Totten, chief engineer of the U.S. Army. Totten had long supported the authorization of such a unit. According to the new legislation, the prospective enlistees of the engineer company had to be American born, physically fit, and of good character. the soldiers had to possess mechanical aptitude and the ability to read and write. the men of the engineer company would be trained at West Point to perform a variety of tasks, including the construction . . .

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