Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Capturing the Halls of Montezuma

William J. Worth
Most students of the Civil War know that many of the officers fought together in the Mexican War.  Their exploits and training has been well-chronicled in biographies and histories of the conflict between neighbors.

In researching the role of C. F.Smith in this war, I discovered a report by Brevet Major General William J. Worth that illustrates the level to which these future Civil War officers were involved in this war of conquest.  Worth's report describes the capture of the San Cosme garita and subsequent entrance into the "city of Mexico."  The description of the battle is interesting reading, but the recognition of officers who contributed to the victory reads like a Civil War who's who.

Notice  the number of future leaders that Worth mentions in his September 16, 1847 report to general-in-chief Winfield Scott.  I have added links to Wikipedia for the notables.

Officers and men of every corps carried themselves with wonted gallantry and conduct. Be pleased to refer to reports of subordinate commanders. Major Sumner, reported to me with his cavalry on the morning of the 13th, was actively on service, and under fire, and was advanced upon the San Cosme road, to be at hand to pursue the enemy. Towards evening the general-in-chief ordered his command to return to Tacubaya. the commander of this excellent corps rendered every service which the incidents of the day offered to their ready aceptance. 
I have again to make acknowledgements to Colonels Garland and Clark, brigade commanders, as also to their respective staffs; to Lieut. Cols. Duncan and Smith; Captain McKenzie, commanding, and the following officers, composing the storming party; Lieut. Simpson, 2d artillery and Johnson, 3d artillery, (light battalion;) Lieuts. Rodgers and McConnel, 4th infantry; Captain Ruggles and Lieut. J. P. Smith, 5th infantry; Lieuts. Armistead and Morrow, 6th infantry, and Lieut. Selden, 8th infantry; to Lieut. Col. Belton, 3d artillery; Major Lee, 4th; and Brevet Major Montgomery, 8th infantry; to Lieut. Jackson, 1st artillery, (Magruder's light battery;) Lieut. Hunt, 2d artillery, (Duncan's light battery;) Captain Brooks, 2d artillery; Lieuts. Lendrum and Shields, 3d artillery; S. Smith, Haller, and Grant, 4th infantry, especially; and Lieut. Judah, 4th infantry; Lieut. and Adjutant Lugenbeel, 5th; and Lieut. E. Johnson, 6th (much distinguished;) Captains Bomford and Gates, and Lieuts. Merchant and Pickett, (each distinguished for gallantry and zeal;) the young and gallant Rodgers and J. P. Smith, Lieuts. of 4th and 5th infantry, killed with the storming party; Captain Edwards, voltigeurs, and Lieut. Hagner, ordinance, commanded mounted howitzers, placed upon buildings, and rendered effective service, well sustained by the intelligent ordinance men.

Of the staff, Lieuts. Stephens, Smith, and McClellan, engineers, displayed their gallantry, skill, and conduct, which so eminently distinguished their cause. The first was badly wounded. I must not omit a respectful notice of the very intelligent enlisted men of the Sapers and miners, and desire to apply the same remark to Capt. Huger, and Lieut. Hagner and their excellent men.

Captain Mackall, assistant adjutant general, wounded; Captain Pemberton, wounded; Lieut. Semmes, (navy;) Lieut. Wool, aid-de-camp; and Lieut. Hardcastle, topographical engineers; and Woodbridge, division commissary; Major Borland and W. G. Kendall, volunteer aids-de-camp, the later wounded; each exhibited habitual gallantry, intelligence, and devotion.

(Source: Worth, W. J. Report of the capture of garita San Cosme and entrance into Mexico City to Scott. 16 September 1847.)

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