« PreviousContinue »
« If we again dwell upon the fact that no one, even of his most intimate friends, dreamed of a great future for him, it is to add that, looking back now, we must confess that the possession of many excellent qualities, and the entire absence of all low and mean ones, establish a logical sequence from first to last, and illustrate, in a novel manner, the poet's fancy about
"The baby figures of the giant mass
Of things to come at large.'”
ENTERS THE ARMY-THE MEXICAN WAR.
On leaving West Point Grant entered the United States army as a brevet second lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry
-the date at which this brevet rank was awarded to him was that of the succeeding day to his graduation, viz.: July 1, 1843. Lieutenant Grant's regiment was at this time stationed on the frontier in Missouri and Missouri Terri. tory, among the Indians who were at that time very annoying and dangerous to the early settlers of that region. He remained nearly two years, when in 1845 he was ordered, with his regiment, to Corpus Christi, Texas, where United States troops were gathering under command of General Taylor.
Corpus Christi was an important town on the Texas shore, and was taken possession of by the Americans as a base of operations. While stationed here Grant received his commission as full second lieutenant of infantry. The commission was dated September 30, 1845, and was made out to fill a vacancy in the Second U.S. Infantry. Having become so attached to the officers and men of the Fourth, a request was forwarded to Washington to allow him to remain with his old company, and in the following Novem. ber he received a commission appointing him a full second lieutenant in the Fourth Infantry.
Some time before the declaration by Congress of war with Mexico, the struggle commenced in Texas. The bill
annexing Texas to the Union having been passed three days before the Tyler' administration closed. The State was originally a part of Mexico. It had been largely settled by citizens of the United States.
The people rebelled and seceded from Mexico under the leadership of General Sam Houston. The battle of San
Jacinto resulted in the capture of the President of Mexico, General Santa Anna. General Houston making his release the recognition of the independence of Texas, this condition was complied with. Not long thereafter Texas asked to be annexed to the United States. The war between Mexico and the United States grew out of the annexation of
Texas largely, and the desire of the South for an enlarged area—the North, on the other hand, bitterly opposing it because the area of slavery would be extended thereby.
The Americans and Mexicans were facing each other upon the opposite banks of the Rio Grande. Several petty struggles ensued before the actual declaration of war. General Taylor learned that a large force of Mexicans were marching with the intention of crossing the river into Texas. At Fort Brown, opposite Matamoras, there was a small garrison of United States troops. The Mexicans besieged this fort. After a severe bombardment they crossed the river six thousand strong to attack the fort in front and rear. The gallant garrison defended the position with great bravery. Major Brown, who was in command of the fort, signaled General Taylor then at Point Isabel, twelve miles distant, of his peril by firing during the night eighteen pounders at stated intervals. Early on the morning of the 8th of May, 1846, General Taylor, with 2200 men, set out to rescue his comrades. Lieutenant Grant was then with General Taylor, and marched to his first battle ground. At about noon of the same day the American troops encountered the Mexicans at Palo Alto, where they were drawn up in line of battle, to dispute the further advance of the Americans. General Taylor promptly accepted battle and defeated the enemy, mainly through the efficiency of his artillery. Lieutenant Grant, though not mentioned in the official reports, has been spoken of by his companions as acting with great bravery. Several of the officers of his regiment received brevets for their gallant and meritorious conduct. The Mexican loss had been 262, while the Americans had lost but four killed and thirty-two wounded.
During the night the Mexicans retreated to a new and
formidable position a few miles in the rear, called Resaca de la Palma, having left their dead and wounded upon the battle field at Palo Alto. On the following morning General Taylor attacked the new position of the Mexicans, opening the battle with artillery, following with charges of infantry and cavalry. Though the Mexicans stubbornly defended their position, they were no match for the more intelligent and better disciplined Americans. They were soon put to flight, having lost in killed and wounded a thousand men. The American loss did not exceed 150. Fort Brown was relieved, the enemy retreating in great disorder across the Rio Grande.
The American army then advanced up the left bank of the Rio Grande, a distance of 150 miles, where they crossed the river and marched upon Monterey, in the Republic of New Leon, which was garrisoned by 10,000 Mexican troops. The army under Taylor comprised 6,220 mnen. Arriving before the city on Sunday morning, September 20, a careful reconnoissance showed that the place had been strongly fortified; but General Taylor determined to drive the enemy out of their entrenchments, and succeeded after a terrible and bloody conflict, which continụed with but few intermissions until the 24th, when the city capitulated. The
YBAA CRUZ Fourth Infantry, to which Grant was attached, in an at. ROUTE OF THE U. S. ARMY FROM VERA ORUZ TO MEXICO. tempt to capture Fort Teneria, lost two-thirds of their numbers. The American army lost heavily; 43 officers and 517 men were killed and wounded.
About this time a combined movement of the army