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"The War Hero New York Forgot" Topic

4 Posts

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American Civil War
19th Century
World War One

774 hits since 25 Dec 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Dec 2018 4:19 p.m. PST

"Winfield Scott was one of America's greatest generals—a war hero many times over and a man whose struggle to professionalize the United States Army shaped much of the nation's early history. His achievements were considerable and his tenure long: he served 14 presidents. But he had the misfortune to serve in two conflicts—the War of 1812 and the controversial Mexican-American War—bracketed by the far more significant American Revolution and Civil War. Since his death, Scott has faded into the background of American history.

Even more obscure is Scott's long association with New York City, where he lived and worked for much of his adult life. Though born in Virginia, Scott died an urbanite, marked indelibly by Gotham. He was an immediately recognizable figure on Manhattan's streets, at home in the salons and dining rooms of Knickerbocker New York's finest society and referred to frequently in the diaries and memoirs of the era's prominent citizens. Leading New York Whigs supported Scott's presidential bid. He even directed the United States Army from the city. His time in New York influenced one of the most significant decisions of his life: to remain with the army instead of joining the Confederacy at the outbreak of the Civil War. His native Virginians burned him in effigy for that choice, and he remains a controversial figure in the South. New Yorkers, by contrast, simply forgot him.

Scott was born in June 1786 at his family's farm near Dinwiddie Courthouse, southwest of Petersburg, Virginia. His grandfather was a Scotsman who had supported Bonnie Prince Charlie in his doomed effort to win the English crown. After the prince's defeat at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Scott's grandfather fled to America, "smuggled on board a ship bound for Virginia," as Scott wrote in his memoirs. There, he prospered as a lawyer and bore a son, William, who served as an officer in the Revolutionary War and became a prominent Petersburg citizen. William married Ann Mason, the daughter of a prosperous local family, and the pair left their son, Winfield, the means to enjoy the life of a well-to-do Virginia landowner…."
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ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Dec 2018 4:42 a.m. PST

Scott is one of my favorites. He is sometimes ridiculed by his appearance and infirmity at the time of the Civil War, but his plan to win the war was the one which ultimately did win the war. And in his prime, he was a great general. His Mexico City campaign was brilliant and is still studied by professional officers today.

Normal Guy Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2018 7:43 a.m. PST

When thinking of Scott, I can't help but remember what I read about the shabby treatment McClellan gave him at the beginning of the ACW. He deserved better.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Dec 2018 11:51 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed the Reading my friend.


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