Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/32

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Contreras, and thus opened the road to Mexico.

Many years after, whenever General Scott was asked which had been, in his opinion, the most beautiful deed accomplished during the war, he always answered, “Lee′s crossing the Pedrigale”.

A few days after the battle of Contreras, the Battle of Chapultepec took place at the very gates of Mexico. There, a dying bullet hit Robert Lee right in his chest. The shock was so strong that he lost consciousness and remained, a long time, lying on the ground without giving any sign of life. His superb white mare, Creole, whose beauty and deeds had been made famous in all the army, remained faithfully next to his master′s body. Jim, the Captain′s ordinance, seeing from a distance Creole immobile and without a rider, fearing an accident, rushed up. His efforts to bring back to life his wounded master seeming fruitless, the poor man thought he was dying.

Meanwhile, the City of Mexico made its submission, and the army was making haste to take possession of it. The companies, one after the other, were marching past the place where Captain Lee had fallen, and each soldier, seeing the beautiful and so well known white horse standing near the body while Jim was crying beside it, learned what loss the army had just suffered and expressed their concern. “Poor Lee,” said some, “he certainly didn′t spare himself much.” Others would exclaim, “To die with the last shot, just when peace is