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"A Scot at Cerro Gordo" Topic

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155 hits since 20 Feb 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP20 Feb 2021 8:02 p.m. PST

"By the time George Ballentine, a handloom weaver and British Army veteran in Paisley, Scotland, decided to emigrate to the United States in the summer of 1845, his country had fallen on hard times. The widespread adoption of power looms throughout Great Britain had put his profession on the path to extinction, and, like many of his countrymen, Ballentine could earn only starvation wages. He hoped to find work as a weaver when he arrived in New York, but almost immediately he found his prospects there to be nearly as dismal. One day, on hearing that he could earn more than $100 USD a year as an American soldier (in addition to having his basic needs met), Ballentine walked into a U.S. Army recruiting office in lower Manhattan and offered to enlist for a five-year tour of duty.

A recruiting sergeant informed Ballentine that he had been ordered not to accept former British servicemen on
the grounds that deserters generally turned out to be bad soldiers. But Ballentine had papers proving that he had purchased his discharge some five years earlier, and so on August 12, 1845, he joined the U.S. Army at age 33.

Sent to Fort Pickens, on Florida's Santa Rosa Island, for training, Ballentine found himself mostly in the company of Irish, Scottish, and German immigrants. Assigned to Battery I, 1st U.S. Artillery, he became part of the 12,000-man force led by Major General Winfield Scott that landed at Veracruz during the Mexican-American War and fought its way to the Mexican capital. The following account of the Battle of Cerro Gordo, on April 18, 1847, is drawn from Autobiography of an English Soldier in the United States Army, Ballentine's 1853 memoir…"
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Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Feb 2021 11:37 a.m. PST

Great account! I've saved it to my files for "Gone To See The Elephant" and an eventual supplement of Scott's battles in Mexico.

"Merci" with a big "beaucoups" on it.


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP21 Feb 2021 2:30 p.m. PST

A votre service mon ami! (smile)


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