Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/28

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greater patience. War being declared, he could only be -- and was -- a soldier.

It was the first time since the Washington days that an American army was embarking on a campaign. The nation kept a close watch over its preparation, with an interest easy to conceive. It was hoped that the result of the expedition would be worthy of a great people. But the nation, more trade than military-minded, was prone to entertain a small army and, at first, did not accept the necessary sacrifices that it later imposed on itself with such generous eagerness.

Eight thousand men were concentrated under the command of General Scott. Captain Lee was in command of the engineering. Mustered first at Brazos, on the southern coast of Texas, this little army crossed the Gulf of Mexico and landed near Vera Cruz. The preliminary works under the responsibility of our Captain were speedily accomplished, and the town soon surrendered itself.

Then began the real difficulties. The army was marching towards Mexico City, and the invaded nation mustered all its means to make the assailants pay dearly for their presumption in choosing the most direct route to the capital.

Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Cherubesco, became the bloody stages of a march beset with difficulties. Not trusting the natural obstacles of the land, the Mexicans had fortified all the mountain passes. They had to be conquered -- one after the other -- by sheer fighting. Under the enemy's fire,