Wednesday, April 03, 2013

General Pierce

I am currently at an online conference and one of the sessions I went to involved digital copyright. The speaker brought up a lot of websites that are pretty much all free access, like the Library of Congress. So, of course, I had to start browsing through American Memory (because you just must...) and found this picture of General Franklin Pierce during the Mexican-American War. So that led me to bring you some information about Pierce's service:
Aware of the positive effect of military service on his father's political success, Franklin Pierce saw an opportunity in the Mexican-American War. He helped enlist men into the New Hampshire Volunteers and was himself a private. Using his connections, he appealed to President James Polk for a commission. The President repaid Pierce's old campaign favors. By the time the force sailed for the Mexican shores of Veracruz in mid-1847, Pierce was a brigadier general commanding over two thousand men, though he had no military experience whatsoever....

In August, the army won two battles against Mexican forces southwest of Mexico City. Unfortunately, the war soon proved less than kind to the inexperienced Brigadier General Pierce. At the Battle of Contreras on August 19, his horse stumbled. Pierce was thrown onto the pommel of his saddle and fell off his horse, crushing his leg. He passed out from the pain and some of the men under his command began to break ranks and flee. The injured Pierce was able to ride again within a month but he arrived too late to participate in decisive victory at the Battle of Chapultepec in September 1847. Some soldiers, perhaps resentful of a political general like Pierce, began referring to him behind his back as "Fainting Frank." The unfair allegations later followed him into presidential politics. Pierce returned home to New Hampshire at war's end. His résumé now included a war record and the title "Brigadier General Franklin Pierce."

No comments: