Aztec Club of 1847 Military Society of the Mexican War

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9781886085053: Aztec Club of 1847 Military Society of the Mexican War

The Aztec Club of 1847 was founded in Mexico City at the time the American Army occupied that capital during the Mexican War. Its original members numbered 160, many sons or grandsons of original members of the Society of the Cincinnati, a fraternal order founded by George Washington and senior officers at the conclusion of the American Revolution. As the Mexican War came to a conclusion, these young officers formed a military society as their forefathers had done and called it: The Aztec Club of 1847.

The original Aztec Club members represent most of the major figures of the Mexican War and a significant group of those whose fame would come as leaders of the Union and Confederate armies in the Civil War.

Six of its members have been standard bearers of their respective parties for President of the United States and three served as President. By an Act of Congress, its members are entitled to wear the distinctive medal of the Aztec Club on the uniform of America's armed forces.

This is their story - a story of young men bonded tightly by the experiences of war, as only its mutual hardships and shared dangers could instill. Add the forging experience of a return to the battlefield against one another and the subsequent reunification after the War's end, and you have a sense of how unique the Aztec Club really is. Their bond, stronger than if they had been biological brothers, gives more profound meaning to the time-worn description of the Civil War as a war of "brother against brother".

West Point's class of 1846 was the most impacted, producing ten Confederate generals and twelve Union generals. The youthful bonds that developed between them as cadets, and fellow West Point graduates, were cemented by the maturing experience of war, not once but twice.

This work recalls the instances where many of the Aztec Club's early members later opposed each other in battle. Examples include those of George B. McClellan and Pierre G. T. Beauregard, both members of the Aztec Club serving together on General Winfield Scott's staff in Mexico, who led opposing armies during the Civil War. Aztecs Ulysses S. Grant and Simon Bolivar Buckner battled at Fort Donelson.

In 1847 Captain Robert E. Lee, also a member of the Club, commended a red-whiskered young Lieutenant, Ulysses S. Grant, on his initiative and daring in battle. After the American assault at Mexico's San Cosme Gate, Lieutenant John C. Pemberton was dispatched by General William J. Worth to bring to him the officer whose little command bluffed the larger opposing Mexican forces into a state of confusion. Pemberton, another Aztec and later a Lieutenant-General commanding the Confederate defenses at Vicksburg, returned to Gen. Worth with the young Ulysses S. Grant.

As young lieutenants in Mexico, Winfield Scott Hancock and James Longstreet fought side by side in the Battle of Churubusco. Sixteen years later Longstreet's corps attacked Hancock at Gettysburg, two more members of the Aztec Club whose paths crossed many times. The experiences these young officers had in Mexico created a bond between them that even in war could not be forgotten.

Revisit the bond between Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee, commanders of opposing forces during the War of the Rebellion, as they met face to face at Appomattox Court House that eventful day. Their conversation began with reminiscences of Mexico. While the crowd of generals grew outside, both Union and Confederate, it was remarkable how quickly they were likewise interested, not in war or peace, but in catching up on old times. Many were members of the Aztec Club, too, as was one of the last to arrive that day, Cadmus Wilcox, one of Lee's most trusted generals. Wilcox had been best man at Grant's wedding.

Following the Civil War, Lee, rather than accept any one of a number of lucrative proposals, instead devoted the remaining five years of his life as President of Washington College, educating young men to help rebuild the South. Grant became President of the United States not to play the role of victor, but of healer. They, along with numerous others, recognized yet another burden had been placed upon them that of bringing the war-torn country back together again. As a nation divided sought a path toward post-war reconciliation, they led by example. The bond even stronger than before, they came together again, to perpetuate the unique bond they shared. The Aztec Club grew and thrived as it evolved from a military society into the hereditary one that exists today. This work is full of interesting, yet little known facts about these men.

Imagine Sam Grant, with "Cump" Sherman and Joe Johnston at his side, and thirty other generals of the former Union and Confederate armies, traveling together by railroad car seeking conviviality and renewing of bonds of friendship. This actually occurred in 1881when, as members of the Aztec Club, the group journeyed on an outing together, one of several in which Grant participated while serving as President of the United States.

Beyond the definitive history of a unique organization, you'll find over 150 biographies of its original members, nearly 300 photographs, 19 battle maps, chronological list of battles listing units engaged, volunteer deployments by state, casualties by battle, a collection of historical documents, writings and artwork of the Mexican War not available before in one volume. It concludes with the most complete listing of officers serving in the Mexican War ever produced.

The author, utilizing the Aztec Club's own archives, scores of authoritative references, information garnered from State Adjutants General reports and with assistance of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, has produced a magnificent work of importance to all military historians, Mexican War and Civil War enthusiasts.

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From the Publisher:

This rare glimpse into a little-known American military society is even more fascinating because of the author's rich detail. The collection of photographs, most of which are reproduced full or near-full page, include many never before published. Printed on acid-free paper for long-term archival stability, we've emblazoned the hard-bound cover and spine in rich detail with gold embossing and included a handsome full-color dust jacket.

From the Back Cover:

This is the definitive history of a unique military society and contains over one hundred biographies and photographs of its original members who represent most of the major figures of the Mexican War and a significant number of those whose fame would come in the Civil War. Included is a collection of maps and information, documents, writings and artwork about the Mexican War not previously available in one volume.

Concluding this work is the most complete list of Army, Navy, Maine Corps and Revenue Marine officers serving in the Mexican War ever produced.

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