pursuits, or excite with reason the hostility of sects or classes. It arose, perhaps the first, with the very dawn of mankind ; it has engaged, through all time, the energy of human genius, and impelled it to its loftiest efforts ; it served to cement the fabric of civil society; it confirmed, while it aided to form, the civilization of the world ;* it fixed on equitable bases the laws of international intercourse; and while man's passions exist, his nature not being revolutionized, war must continue to be practiced,t as the most certain and the most ennobling means of national adjustments. With all the arts and sciences, if not at the summit of all, it merits study and improvement. Every field of arms confirms some experience, or developes new theory, and while the bold encounter for victory, with life on the hazard, wins the general admiration, original ideas are furnisheds to the military student, towards perfecting an indispensable department of knowledge.

[ocr errors]

in judgment to both doctrines, of innate notions, and those derived or developed from external contact or observation, we only assert that maxims of wisdom are drawn from experiment or experience, not only in war, politics, &c., but in ordinary life. Whatever notions are inborn, for a wise course of conduct in any avocation, and to fix comparatively the rules of such course, experiment is indispensably requisite. By association, ney thoughts will be awakened—by trial, new theories are established into uniform practice—and the labours undergone, and the sufferings endured, stir the latent sentiments, and induce the profound and practical meditation of human kind. Etiam capillus unus habet umbram suam. The smallest hair casts a shadow.

* A close examination of the rise of empires will lead to all these conclusions. Bacon furnishes a summary of the uses of the profession of arms. He offers six essential requirements for the greatness of a State, of which four are as follows: 1st, In the population and breed of men. 2d, In the valour and military disposition of the people. 31, In the fitness of every man to be a soldier. 4th, In the temper of the government to elevate the national character. (2d vol.) All pointing to the military art. In his Advancement of Learning, he says: “The arts which flourish in times while virtue is in growth, are military ; while in State, are liberal; while in declination, are voluptuary.” For all purposes of grandeur and glory, for power, respectability, and happiness, the same wise man says: “ Above all things cultivate a stout and warlike disposition of the people.”

+ “The PRINCE OF PEACE never specially forbade war, but left it to the spirit of the gospel to remove the causes of war. The sweeping condemnation of all war by the Quakers is not warranted by Scripture.” Small Books on Great Subjects, 3d vol.

# “ There is an unreasonable, uncharitable and superstitious notion, that a soldier, so far as his profession is concerned, is ‘of the world ;' and that a man who dies on the field of battle is necessarily less prepared for his change than one who dies in his bed,” &c. The evils pointed out. Maurice's Kingdom of Christ.

Cæsar said the suddenest passage from life was the easiest. And Bacon

But the vindication of the battle of Churubusco may be placed on other, and, perhaps, higher grounds, than those here indicated, which in the progress, or in the sequel of this paper, we will endeavour to disclose.

Having ended our last article with the affair of Contreras, we will resume thence the thread of our account of the campaign, and proceed to the narrative of events, inclusive of the armistice, which was signed, at least on our part, as the preliminary to negotiations and peace.

After securing the trophies of the field, and detailing a guard for the prisoners, Gen. Smith, still in command, ordered the pursuit of the flying enemy. At this juncture Twiggs arrived on the ground, and led the movement on San Angel, where a skirmish ensued; but the Mexicans still retired, and it was unimportant. Pillow joined at this point, and pressed forward, with an occasional interchange of shots between the hostile parties, as far as Coyacan. An order detained him there, until the arrival of Scott.

The road from Contreras passes through San Angelthree miles—and, at a short distance beyond, branches; the left branch, a causeway,* led east of north, to the garita Nino Perdido, about five miles, and passed nearly two miles to the westward of Churubusco; the right ran north of east to Coyacan, one and three-fourths miles, and thence to the San Antonio causeway, a mile farther, upon which it debouched at the hamlet of Churubusco. aiming for this position, took the latter route, and our troops, who were ignorant of the formidable works there, and only intent on coming up with their lightfooted antagonists, followed hotly after them to Coyacan, where, as said above, they were halted. From this place a road passed southeasterly two miles to the rear of San Antonio.

Gen. Scott was not long in reaching the head of his column, where, on passing through the lines, he was welcomed by three general cheers. He informed the troops that there was more work to be done that day, and at once arranged his combination against the enemy. Engineer Lee, escorted by Kearney's dragoons, was sent to forcibly remarked, "death is a friend of ours, and he that is not ready to entertain him is not at home !"

* Distances are derived from map of Topographical Engineers. Semmes likewise states them. NEW SERIES, VOL. VI.-NO. 11.


The enemy,

reconnoitre the rear of San Antonio; the rifle regiment followed in support; and Worth was to be notified of our position, if possible. Without waiting for Lee's report, however, Pillow,* with Cadwallader's brigade--11th, 14th infantry, and voltigeur regiments,--was ordered along the same route, to assail the rear of San Antonio, in concert with Worth in front. Twiggs, with Smith's brigade, was directed towards Churubusco, to drive the enemy before him, and cut off the retreat from San Antonio. Pierce, with his brigade--9th, 12th, 15th regiments, and Reno's howitzers--was despatched to make a détour to our left, and attack the flank of the Mexican reserves, stationed along the causeway from the tête-de-pont to the city. These orders were all given, as declared by Gen. Scott, within the same ten minutes. The vital importance of Pierce's movenient, so well calculated,t if successful, to decide the day, induced the General in a short time to reinforce that column with the brigade of Shields, consisting of the New York and Palmetto regiments. This officer, being senior to Pierce, would assume command. He was led to the point of attack by Engineer Lee, who had returned to head-quarters, on perceiving Worth's success.

In the meantime Worth had prepared to storm San Antonio. Garland's brigade had returned from the mound of Zacatapec, on the fall of Contreras. The position had been repeatedly and daringly reconnoitered by Captain (Brevet Lieut. Col.) Mason. Worth, as well as this intelligent officer, believed that the right flank could be readily turned : and accordingly, at 11 o'clock, A. M., Clarke's brigade was detached, under Mason's lead, to crossf the

* Gen. Scott's report and testimony before Pillow's court of inquiry. It is due to Pillow, to say, that he sent an officer from San Angel to Scott, then at Contreras, to ask permission to attack San Antonio in rear, in conjunction with Worth in front. The reply was, to proceed cautiously. Testimony of Lieut. Davis, 14 Inf. Pillow's Court. This was not denied, we believe, and is of no importance. We may yet, if it appears to be worth the candle, look into the proceedings of the court in a distinct paper.

Gen. Scott's report. # Scott, in his report, says he ordered this attack. Pillow says, in his report, that he learned so. Ripley contradicts it. Worth remarks: “ Under general instructions and discretion granted by the General-in-chief,” &c. It is probable that Scott sent a special order, which was not received until Worth had marched; or equally so, that Scott said precisely what he reports, which adds that Worth would assail “as soon as approached in rear by Pillow's and Twiggs' divisions ;” and Worth did not await this approach, and thus acted by general instructions. But query? What if Worth had stormed at 8

edge of the Pedrigal, envelope the right of the works, and at the same time obstruct retreat from their rear. Garland's brigade was drawn up behind a protecting angle of the causeway, in readiness to advance rapidly on the fort, when Clarke should become engaged. The 4th infantry (from Garland's command) was sent along the left of the causeway, to support Clarke if necessary, or, if possible, to seize upon a hostile battery. Clarke, in his progress, encountered skirmishers sent to oppose him, and brushing them away, approached the causeway in rear of the work. At the signal, Garland gallantly dashed forward, with a company preceding, to draw the fire and expose the magnitude of the batteries ; he expected a severe conflict, but not a gun was fired, and there was no resistance at the place, from which he discovered the enemy now in full retreat. Securing the abandoned guns, &c., he began the pursuit. Seeing the Mexicans* retire, two companies,—5th infantry, Clarke's brigade,—under Ruggles and Merrill, which were deployed nearest the road, and urged by Mason, moved againstf their flank. After some firing they bravely charged the column, numbering over 2000 men ! and cut it in two. One portion faced about, and finally escaped over the meadows--the other hastened towards Churubusco, two miles distant. These companies, now joined by the 6th infantry, pressed on in pursuit, making prisoners (one a general) and seizing a gun on the way. Arrivingf at the hamlet, the causeway was blocked by the enemy's train—they frightened off the guard and conductors—and passed on, a battalion of the instead of 11 o'clock, without orders, and been defeated -would not a court have inquired into it? We say, yes.

* It is asserted in “ The Other Side,” that, on learning the defeat at Contreras, Santa Anna ordered the prompt withdrawal from San Antonio.

+ Ripley and (even) Worth say Merrill and McPhail. It is an error. It was Ruggles. We rely on his report, corroborated by McIntosh. (See reports.) Clarke says, too, that R. was in the advance.

Scott says five guns were taken. Garland says “ several.” Worth omits the number of them. Ruggles took a 24 pounder ; Ripley says a 32 pounder.

# These flying troops were the Victoria and Hidalgo battalions, who did not fire a gun on the 20th. They passed through the tête-de-pont, and on to the city, where they arrived, “much wearied and sunburnt.” (Intercepted letters.) These were the Polkas—the national guard—the better class of citizens. Brave men!

The general captured was Perdigon, (Other Side,) of whom Semmes gives an amusing account. He was a fat fellow, and a soldier ran him out of breath and caught him. He said bis aide bad ran off with his horse !

6th infantry in advance, to strike the enemy beyond. But their career was suddenly checked by a tremendous fire from the tête-de-pont, which was aggravated by a severe discharge on their flank from the convent. They could not sustain it—the division was a long way behind ; yet they would not retreat, and diverged to the right into a corn field for shelter. A desultory fire was kept up for awhile, but without hope of prompt support, the greater portion withdrew to the approaching division. A few men, however, under* Walker, Armistead, and others, held their ground for a while longer.

Having conducted the antagonist armies to the scene of combat, it becomes necessary to describe, briefly, the field of operations, and the enemy's defences, and to state the numbers of the respective forces.

The hamlet of Churubusco consists principally of scattered mud houses, and lies on the southern side of the river (?) of the same name. It is situated in an extensive flat, which, divided into fields, and subject to inundation by means of irrigating drains, was mainly covered in August by a full growth of Indian corn. Its eastern quarter is traversed by the San Antonio causeway, which, flanked by deep ditches, and fringed with maguey and other trees, runs due north, four miles, to the city. Along its southern border passes the Coyacan road, abutting at right angles against the causeway. At its western extremity, some three hundred and fifty yards from the causeway--two hundred yards or more north of the Coya

* The 6th infantry detachment numbered about 150 men, and was commanded by Capt. Wm. Hoffman. The Walker alluded to, now Brevet Lieut. Col., is a native of Augusta, Georgia. At O-kee-cho be, Florida, he was struck by five balls —two of the wounds were highly dangerous, one through the neck, the other in the chest. He escaped at Churubusco, but we will notice him again at Molino del Rey. His daring and chivalrous spirit has impelled him to fearful hazards, and desperate wounds; and yet he is in harness for another encounter, whenever the occasion may offer. We have known him from early youth, and in character, the boy was father to the man.

Augusta had another representative in Lieut. W. M. Gardner, 2d infantry. He placed his hands first on one of the guns captured at Contreras. At Churubusco he was amid the sweeping fire from the right flank, and received two wounds. Reports of Riley and Capt. T. Morris, Doc. No. 1. App. pp. 90–96.

And yet a third distinguished officer of the : 20th, although born in SouthCarolina, was reared near Augusta—Lieut. James Longstreet, 8th infantry. He was the adjutant of bis regiment, and, with its colours floating over him, he was the first to plunge into the ditch of the tête-de-pont, and the first in the work. Worth's report.

« ElőzőTovább »