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rocky and precipitous mule-paths, through a region of wild ravines and tangled forests.

Deserted in disgust by Santa Anna, whose advice he had scorned, and whom he hoped by a decisive victory over the American invaders to oust from power, Valencia was utterly bewildered by the attack to which this dangerous night reconnoissance opened the way; his troops, finding themselves inextricably involved, were stricken with a panic, and one of the most complete victories of the war rewarded the skill of our commanders and the valor of our troops.

When compared with the scale on which war has since been waged by American armies, the battles through which our soldiers fought their way to the city of Mexico may seem, indeed, but petty and insignificant combats. But the campaign of 1847 was, in truth, a most instructive school for the officers who passed through it. Not less by the mistakes and failures of the enemy than by our own successes were the capable and the thoughtful among those officers taught rightly to estimate the tremendous difficulties which attend a war of invasion, and the formidable advantages enjoyed by an army acting on the defensive in a country sparsely populated, broken, rugged, and densely wooded ; nor is it easy to imagine the extent of the disasters which must have befallen the cause of the Union, in the outset of the existing war, had we possessed no officers qualified by such an experience to neutralize, in part at least, the follies and the presumption of the arrogant and ignorant civilians whose influence has been since so lamentably felt in the disturbance of well considered plans of campaign, and the waste of well organized resources.

The hard-fought action of Molino del Rey on the 8th of Sep tember, 1847, afforded Lieutenant McClellan an occasion to prove that his rapid promotion in his profession had not disturbed that conscientious love of justice which is one of the rooted qualities of his nature.

The conduct of the attack upon the Mexican positions at Molino del Rey had been confided by General Scott to General Worth. The ostensible object of this attack was the destruction of a cannon foundry which the Mexicans were believed to have established at that point; but as General Worth found reason to anticipate such a resistance as might lead to a general action for the possession of the heights and fortress of Chapultepec, it was of the first importance for him to be thoroughly informed of the true nature of the defenses thrown up by Santa Anna at Molino del Rey, and of the true proportions of the force which the Mexican President would there array against him. Two serious reconnoissances were accordingly ordered by General Worth before the attack was made, and in these reconnoissances Lieutenant McClellan bore a distinguished part.

The conflict which followed assumed the character of a battle--the most fiercely contested battle, indeed, of the whole war in which, after hours of desperate onslaught, an aggregate American force about three thousand five hundred strong assailed and drove from their formidable intrenchments a Mexican army numbering at least ten thousand men, with the loss to the enemy of four pieces of artillery and nearly a thousand prisoners. Lieutenant McClellan was offered the brevet rank of captain for his share in this victory, but declined to receive it on the ground that he was not fully entitled to it, having been concerned in the preliminary operations alone, and not in the actual assault and capture of the enemy's works. The maxim palmam qui meruit ferat is not often thus rigorously applied to his own case by a young and ambitious man actively engaged in the most exciting of professions. Within a week, however, the storming of Chapultepec, and the consequent occupation of the Mexican capital, gave the magnanimous young soldier a fresh opportunity of winning, by actual service and exposure in the stricken field, the rank which he disdained otherwise to wear. He was breveted a captain for these crowning operations of the campaign on the 14th Sep. tember, 1847.

As Captain McClellan, he remained with the army in Mexico till the signing of the treaty of peace with that republic. The administration of a conquered city necessarily afforded to a soldier of his character and training many valuable opportunities of observation and reflection upon the true relations of the military with the civil authority. The impotence of mere force to maintain or restore a solid tranquillity in the social order is never so apparent to a clear and vigorous mind as when force is clothed with a temporary omnipotence; the beauty and the majesty of law are never so apparent as when the calm and constant operation of the law is for a time suspended in favor of the sword. As the Duke of Wellington learned during his long military mastery of the peninsula and his briefer practical dictatorship of Paris that profound dislike of all unnecessary military interference with civil affairs which, at a later day, when England was convulsed with civil commotion, made the veteran of a hundred victories the calmest, most forbearing, and most conciliatory of English statesmen, so we may be sure that his experience of conquest and of military rule in Mexico contributed mainly to fix in the mind of Captain McClellan those sound and moderate principles of policy which were afterward to develop themselves so wisely and so firmly in the proclamations and in the conduct of the victor of West Virginia and the leader of the Peninsula campaign.

In June, 1848, Captain McClellan returned to the United States, and was almost immediately ordered to the post at West Point, where, for three years, he remained in command of the company of sappers and miners. In June, 1851, he was removed to Fort Delaware to superintend the construction of the works, and early in the next year he fulfilled the common destiny of the officers of the regular army of the Union by joining an expedition for the exploration of the far western territory of the Red River, under the command of Colonel Marcy, whose daughter has since become his wife.

From the Red River he passed into Texas upon the staff of General Persifer F. Smith, and until March, 1853, was occupied the survey of the Texan coast. From the sea-breezes of the Gulf and the lowlands of Texas he was suddenly transferred to the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains, going to Washington Territory in the spring of 1853, and remaining there until May, 1854, in charge of the western division of the survey for the northern route to the Pacific Ocean. The vast extent, the magnificent possibilities, the grand unity in variety of our great national dominion, which are but sounding forms of words on the lips of so many a blatant orator, become simple realities to the intelligent American officer whose routine of duty thus leads him from one extremity to another of the imperial republic; and the sentiemnt of continental patriotism, which is so vague and passionate in the minds of most men, is thus made to him a substantial and controlling impulse of his nature.

But Captain McClellan's love and reverence of American nationality were to be intensified by a wider and still more impressive experience. In March, 1855, he was promoted to a full captaincy in the First Cavalry, and, with Major Delafield and Major Mordecai, was ordered to proceed to Europe, there to study the operations of the great war then raging between the western allies and the Russian empire. War on a scale which had become traditional in our time, war waged upon the principles of the Napoleonic era, but with all the appliances of modern progress, was now to pass under his inspection. When Captain McClellan and his companions reached the Crimea, in the early part of the summer of 1855, the most trying period of the great allied invasion had already been overpassed. The battle of the Alma had been fought and won ; Sebastopol had been invested, so far as investment was practicable; victory had been snatched by the troops of

France and England from the very jaws of ruin, on the heights of Inkermann. But the spectacle which met the eyes of the American commissioners was far more instructive than any shock of battle could have been. In the course of his investigations into the organization and establishment of the allied forces before the Russian stronghold, Captain McClellan learned to estimate aright the tremendous hazards which, even in modern times, and with all the advantages given by a complete command alike of the sea and of all the “ sinews of war," attend what may be properly called, as Mr. Kinglake has called it, a colossal “ adventure of invasion.”

As a means of training the future Commander of the Army of the Potomac, nothing more apt and admirable than this visit to the Crimea could well have been imagined.

England and France, the two greatest military and naval powers of modern times, after many years of uninterrupted intercourse with all parts of Europe, found themselves brought to the necessity of invading a remote and almost isolated province of the Russian Empire.

" Their fleets had dominion over all the Euxine Sea, home to the straits of the Kertch. They had the command of the Bosphorus, the Dardanelles, the Mediterranean, and of the whole ocean; and of all the lesser seas, bays, gulfs, and straits from the Gulf of Gibraltar to within sight of St. Petersburgh. The Czar's Black Sea fleet existed, but existed in close durance, shut up under the guns of Sebastopol.” The expeditionary force of the Western allies numbered sixtythree thousand men, and a hundred and twenty-eight guns. The objective point of their campaign was a single city, held to be impregnable by sea, but by land wholly open to attack, and garrisoned, when the allies moved against it, by about forty-five thousand men. Yet such was the difficulty of obtaining accurate knowledge in regard to the condition and strength of this single city, though the embassadors of France and England and Constantinople, their generals and admirals,

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