Capture of Tucson (1846)
The Capture of Tucson was an uncontested United States entry into the Mexican city of Tucson, now the present day Tucson, Arizona. The would-be combatants were provisional Mexican Army troops and the American Army's "Mormon Battalion". Tucson temporarily'fell' in December 1846 without resistance but was reoccupied two days by the Mexican forces once the US troops moved on; the Mexican–American War began after Thornton's Defeat in 1846. This same year a battalion of Mormon men was recruited by the United States Army in western Iowa and dispatched with General Steven Watts Kearny's "Army of the West" across what they considered the "Great Western Desert"; the mission assigned to the Mormon Battalion was to create a continuous wagon road from Santa Fe to San Diego—the first into southern California. See Southern Emigrant Trail; the American force, of around 499 riflemen and officers, were commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke. Only an effective force of 360 took part in the trek across the Arizona desert.
About 150 physically unfit men and some eighty-four women and children family members trailing the Battalion towards Santa Fe had been sent to the trapper/trader compound'el pueblo' on the Arkansas River. Marching towards Tucson in November 1846, the Mormon Battalion fought their only battle and it was against wild cattle which attacked them near the San Pedro River. After the "Battle of the Bulls", as it is humorously known, the force turned west towards Tucson, where it seemed they might have to fight the Mexican garrison of Fort Tucson, a former Spanish presidio; the Mexican force consisted of around 200 men, most infantry and cavalry plus two small brass cannons, as well as an unknown force of men from the garrisons of Tubac, Santa Cruz and Fronteras. The Mexican Captain Antonio Comaduron had received about three days warning of the approaching Americans. Following an exchange of information between the two commanders and parlays regarding safe passage on the 100-mile shorter and easier route through Tucson, Comaduran refused permission to the US Army to enter Tucson, much less would he agree to surrender the presidio.
Each side took token prisoners released them as tokens of good faith. Tensions were getting higher as Cooke's force approached. Realizing he was outnumbered, Captain Comaduron decided to withdraw without fighting, he advised many civilians to abandon Tucson with him. The Mexican forces retreated to San Xavier about 8 1/2 miles southwest of Tucson. On December 16, 1846, the US Army unit arrived at the south end of Tucson and prepared to enter the town. Though the muskets were loaded and bayonets affixed, Col Cooke paused to remind his troops of his Order No 19, given 13 December: "We came not to make war against Sonora, less still to destroy an unimportant outpost of defense against Indians, but we will overcome all resistance. But, shall I remind you that the American soldier shows justice and kindness to the unarmed and unresisting; the Americans began to assure the staring population of their friendly intentions. Many of the Mormon men were interested in trading for clothing. One man related that a twenty-eight star American flag temporarily flew over Tucson for the first time though neither Cooke nor any other journalist makes any mention of it."The author remembers, with much gratitude, the silver-haired Mexican, of more than three score years and ten, when signs of thirst were given, ran to the brook... dipped up his water, and... with cheerful countenance, delivered the refreshing and much needed draught.
He has doubtless, long since, been gathered to his fathers. Surely,'I was athirst, he gave me drink.'"Lieutenant Colonel Cooke's soldiers had been low on food, so the Mexicans bartered meat and bread for cloth and pins, but only a little food was transferred to the Mormons through trade. Cooke estimated about 1,500 bushels of wheat grain had been left behind by the Mexican garrison as'public' property. Cooke ordered 25 bushels of this confiscated for his command's wagon mules and two quarts as food for every three soldiers. All told, Cooke appropriated about 30 bushels of wheat—about 2% of the Mexican'public' wheat stores. None was taken from private families. Tyler goes on to relate that, "Quinces and semi-tropical fruits were purchased here, as well as beans, etc." On 17 December, Cooke determined to make an expedition to the Catholic Indian Mission San Xavier del Bac with about 50 armed men, but they were spotted, prompting the Mexican Army to retreat further south towards the Tubac presidio to avoid an unnecessary fight.
That night, some of the sentries created a temporary excitement by signaling that Mexican troops were attempting to attack. Within the hour it was determined to be a false alarm and most of the men tried to get a little more rest; the morning of the 18th, Cooke ended their temporary occupation and continued his march towards the next settlement, the Pima Villages, 75 miles distant across a nearly water-less flat plain. The Mexican forces and inhabitants returned to their undespoiled city. Tucson, with about 400-500 inhabitants in 1846, would become an American community ten years in 1856, following the Gadsden Purchase. History of Tucson, Arizona Smith, Justin Harvey; the War with Mexico. 2 vol. Pulitzer Prize winner. Full text online
Zacualtipan is a town and one of the 84 municipalities of Hidalgo, in central-eastern Mexico. The municipality covers an area of 241.6 km². As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 25,987; the town of Zacualtipan was the site of the Action of Sequalteplan on February 25, 1848. It was a surprise attack by a mounted American force under Gen. Joseph Lane that defeated a Mexican guerrilla force under Celedonio Dómeco de Jarauta during the Mexican American War
Battle of Huamantla
The Battle of Huamantla was a U. S. victory late in the Mexican–American War that forced the Mexican Army to lift the Siege of Puebla. Santa Anna left Puebla at the end of Sept. to intercept Joseph Lane's relief column, planning an ambush at Paso del Pintal. Learning of Santa Anna's men at Huamantla, Lane left his train under guard and marched toward that city, Captain Samuel H. Walker's four companies of cavalry in the lead. Walker charged, upon seeing Santa Anna's lancers. Santa Anna led a counterattack, Walker was shot by a civilian in a nearby house, his men retreated into a church; the Mexicans retreated to Querétaro. Lane turned his troops loose in a drunken sack of the town, they reached Puebla on 12 Oct. to lift the siege. Battles of the Mexican–American War Mexican Army: General Antonio López de Santa Anna Nevin, David. S. - Mexico War, Center for Greater Southwestern Studies, the University of Texas at Arlington
Battle of Monterrey
In the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican–American War, General Pedro de Ampudia and the Mexican Army of the North was defeated by the Army of Occupation, a force of United States Regulars and Texas Rangers under the command of General Zachary Taylor. The hard-fought urban combat led to heavy casualties on both sides; the battle ended with both sides negotiating a two-month armistice and the Mexican forces being allowed to make an orderly evacuation in return for the surrender of the city. Following the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, Taylor crossed the Rio Grande on 18 May, while in early June, Mariano Arista turned over command of what remained of his army, 2,638 men, to Francisco Mejia, who led them to Monterrey. On 8 June, United States Secretary of War William L. Marcy ordered Taylor to continue command of operations in northern Mexico, suggested taking Monterrey, defined his objective to "dispose the enemy to desire an end to the war." On 8 August, Taylor established the headquarters for his Army of Occupation in Camargo, Tamaulipas and in Cerralvo on 9 September with 6,640 men.
Taylor resumed the march to Monterrey on 11 September, reaching Marin on 15 September and departing on 18 SeptemberIn early July, General Tomas Requena garrisoned Monterrey with 1,800 men, with the remnants of Arista's army and additional forces from Mexico City arriving by the end of August such that the Mexican forces totaled 7,303 men. General Pedro de Ampudia received orders from Antonio López de Santa Anna to retreat further to the city of Saltillo, where Ampudia was to establish a defensive line, but Ampudia disagreed, sensing glory if he could stop Taylor's advance. Ampudia's forces included reinforcements from Mexico City totaling 3,140 men: 1,080 men of the Garcia-Conde Brigade, a thousand men of the Azpeitia Brigade, 1,060 men of the Simeon Ramirez Brigade and an artillery unit, the Irish-American volunteers called San Patricios, in their first major engagement against U. S. forces. Mexican Order of Battle: Army of the North' Commander: Gen. div. Pedro de Ampudia Chief of Staff: Gen. J. Garcia Conde Engineers: Capt.
Luis Robles Zapadores Battalion: Lt. Col. Mariano Reyes Artillery: Gen. Tomas Requena 26 field guns & 3 howitzers about 7-8 batteries Battery: Comdte Luis Nieto ": Capt. Ignacio J. del Arana ": Capt. Patricio Gutierrez ": Capt. Jacinto Dominquez ": "San Patricios" 2- 3 more batteries 1st Infantry Brigade: Acting gen. Simeon Ramirez 3d & 4th Ligero Aguascalientes Activos 2d Infantry Brigade: Act.gen. Francisco Mejia−−− 2d Ligero, 6th & 10th Line, Querétaro Activos 3d Infantry Brigade: Col. Jose Lopez Uraga 3d & 4th Line, Mexico 1st Activos 1st Cavalry Brigade:Act. Gen. Anastasio Torrejon 1st, 7th & 8th Cavalry, Mexico Light Mounted 2d Cavalry Brigade: Act.gen. Manuel Romerro 3d Cavalry, Jalisco Lasncers, Guanajauto & San Luis Potosi Activos <Adams, Anton. The War in Mexico. Chicago, IL 1998> <Balbontin, Manuel. Memorias. San Luis Potosi. 1896> Taylor's army, with the Texas Division leading under the command of Major General and Texas Governor James Pinckney Henderson, reached the plain in front of Monterrey at 9 am on the morning of 19 September, when they were fired upon by Col. Jose Lopez Uraga's 4th Infantry guns: San Patricio Battery atop the citadel.
Taylor ordered the army to camp at Bosque de San Domingo while engineers under the command of Major Joseph K. Mansfield reconnoitered. Besides the citadel, Mexican strong points within the city included: the "Black Fort" "the Tannery," La Teneria, El Fortin del Rincon del Diablo, La Purisima bridge and tete-de-pont. West of the city atop Independencia stood Ft. Libertad and the Obispado with the Activos of Mexico commanded by Lt. Col. Franciso de Berra and 3 guns and 1 howitzer, atop Federacion was a redanand Fort Soldado. In reserve at la Plaza was the 3d Ligero under 1 gun-Lt. Agustin Espinosa. General Zachary Taylor decided to attack western Monterrey using William J. Worth's Division in a giant north and west "hook" movement while attacking with his main body from the east. Worth started at 2 pm on 20 September along with Col. John Coffee Hays's Texas Regiment screening the advance, but they camped for the night three miles from the Saltillo road. By 6 am on 21 September, Worth continued his advance, repulsing a Jalisco cavalry charge by Col. Juan Najera, killing the latter and an advance guard consisting of General Manuel Romero's brigade and Lt. Col. Mariano Moret's Guanajuato Regiment.
By 8:15 am, Worth had severed the Saltillo road from Monterrey and sent Capt. Charles F. Smith with 300 infantry and Texans, plus Capt. Dixon Miles's
Battle of Molino del Rey
The Battle of Molino del Rey was one of the bloodiest engagements of the Mexican–American War as part of the Battle for Mexico City. It was fought in September 1847 between Mexican forces under General Antonio León against an American force under Major General Winfield Scott at El Molino del Rey on the fringes of Mexico City; the Americans made little progress in this battle, but the Mexican forces were unable to hold them back long enough to prevent the capture of Mexico City one week later. The Americans were camped south of Mexico City and Worth's division at Tacubaya, Gideon Johnson Pillow's division at Mixcoac, David E. Twiggs division at San Ángel, John A. Quitman's division at San Agustín. On 6 September 1847, Scott ended the armistice following the Battle of Churubusco as negotiations broke down, as it became clear that Antonio López de Santa Anna was preparing to resume fighting. On 7 September, a large number of Mexican horsemen were observed around a group of low, massive stone buildings known as El Molino del Rey or King's Mill.
Spread across the distance of this point, they were about 1,000 yards west of the Castle at Chapultepec, which itself was about two miles from the gates of Mexico City. A large grove of trees separated the Mill from the castle, while the castle's batteries covered the area. General Winfield Scott received reports that the trees masked a foundry for casting cannon, there were rumors that Antonio López de Santa Anna, leader of both the Mexican government and military, in desperate need of ordnance, was sending out church and convent bells to have them melted down and converted to cannon. Scott ordered General Worth to attack and take the Mill, break up the factory, destroy any munitions found. Molino del Rey was manned by Brigadier Antonio León's Oaxaca Brigade, while Brigadier General Francisco Pérez manned the Casa Mata, Brigadier General Simeón Ramírez's brigade with seven guns manned the ditch connecting the two. General Juan Álvarez's 4,000 cavalry waited in reserve at the Hacienda Morales.
The National Guard Battalions of Liberty, Querétaro, Mina, were commanded by General León, the brigade of troops were commanded by General Joaquín Rangel. The 2nd light battalion, that of the Fijo the Mejico, the 1st and 12th regiments of the line, with six pieces of artillery, were commanded by General Simeón Ramírez; the 4th light battalion and 11th regiment of the line, were commanded by General Francisco Pérez. In the grove of Chapultepec, was the reserve 1st and 3d light battalions. At 5:45 AM, on 8 September, Worth sent an assault column of 500 men, the 8th Infantry led by Major George Wright, down a sloping plain against the western end of the buildings. Behind them he placed Colonel Charles F. Smith's light battalion and George Cadwalader's brigade in the center, to their right was Garland's brigade and a battery under Captain Simon H. Drum. On the left, attacking the Casa Mata, was Colonel James Duncan's battery and a brigade commanded by Colonel James S. McIntosh. Major Edwin Vose Sumner commanded three squadrons of dragoons on the left flank.
Captain Benjamin Huger's heavy guns provided support. Major Wright's force came under intense artillery and small arms fire, which drove them back, killing eleven of fourteen officers. Lt. Col. Miguel Maria Echeagaray's 3d Light Infantry launced a counterattack, prompting Worth to send in Capt. Ephraim Kirby Smith's light battalion. McIntosh's men withdrew in the face of a counterattack, but Duncan's guns forced Pérez's men to withdraw from Casa Mata. Worth sent the Voltigeur Regiment and the 11th Infantry into the assault, while Scott sent in the 9th Infantry. General León and Col. Lucas Balderas were killed. Brigadier General Matías Peña y Barragán led two counterattacks but the Americans were able to force two gates and fight room to room to take the mill after two hours, but found only a few gun molds; the Casa Mata caught fire and blew up near noon, causing more casualties, but by 1 PM, the Americans were back where they started. Col. Hitchcock called the battle a Pyrrhic victory for the Americans.
Scott still needed an assault path despite the destruction of Molino del Rey. Preparations began thereafter for the Battle of Chapultepec. List of battles of the Mexican–American War Brooks, N. C. A Complete History of The Mexican War Alcaraz, Ramon et al. Apuntes Para la Historia de la Guerra entre Mexico y los Estados Unidos Ramsey, Albert C; the Other Side The Great Battles of All Nations, Volume 2. Edited by Archibald Wilberforce, 640–644. Peter Fenelon Collier & Son: New York. Annual Reports 1894, War Department lists trophy guns: 2× 6 pounders bronze, 1× 4 pounder
Siege of Veracruz
The Battle of Veracruz was a 20-day siege of the key Mexican beachhead seaport of Veracruz, during the Mexican–American War. Lasting from March 9–29, 1847, it began with the first large-scale amphibious assault conducted by United States military forces, ended with the surrender and occupation of the city. U. S. forces marched inland to Mexico City. After the battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista, much of Zachary Taylor's Army of Occupation was transferred to the command of Major General Winfield Scott in support of the upcoming campaign; that campaign, determined by Scott and other Washington officials, would be a Veracruz landing and an advance inland. Mexican military intelligence knew in advance of U. S. plans to attack Veracruz, but internal government turmoil left them powerless to send crucial reinforcements before the American assault commenced. Veracruz was considered to be the strongest fortress in North America at the time. Brigadier General Juan Esteban Morales commanded a garrison of 3,360 men which manned three major forts guarding Veracruz: Fort Santiago – south end of town Fort Concepción – north top of town These two forts included 3,360 men and 89 guns: artillery, 2d and 8th infantry regiments, 3d Light Regiment, a picket of 11th Regt.
Puebla Libres, Veracruz and Tehuantepec national guards. Battalions and enlisted marines. Fort San Juan de Ulúa – offshore on the Gallega Reef. Gen. Jose Durán with 1,030 men and 135 guns: artillery and Jamiltepec activo battalions, companies of Tuxpan and Alvardo activo battalions. See Orders of Battle Mexican War; the Americans arrived at Veracruz in early March. Scott agreed with Conner's suggestion for a landing site at Collado Beach, 3 mi south of Veracruz; the 1st Regular Division under Worth was chosen to make the landing first, followed by Patterson's volunteers and Twiggs' regular division. Conner's Mosquito Fleet moved to within 90 yd of the beach to supply covering fire if necessary. By 12:15 pm on 9 March, this force was off Collado Beach, followed by larger vessels over the next three hours and a signal for landing the surfboats at 5:30 pm. Just before the main force touched the beach, a gig dashed ahead, General Worth with his staff jumped ashore. Worth's whole division landed without receiving a single shot.
By 11 pm, Scott's entire army had been brought ashore without a single man lost, the first large scale amphibious landing conducted by the U. S. military was a success. Once ashore Patterson's division began marching northward to effect a complete envelopment of the city. One of Patterson's brigades under Gideon Pillow drove off a Mexican cavalry at Malibrán, cutting off the Alvarado road and the city's water supply. Quitman and Shields managed to drive off cavalry with one shot attempting to prevent the investment. By 13 March, the U. S. had completed a 7 mi siege line from Collado in the south to Playa Vergara in the north. On 17 March, siege lines were dug for Scott's siege artillery, sufficient for taking the city but not Ulua; the besiegers were plagued by sorties from the city, Col. Juan Aguayo used the cover of a storm to slip his Alvarado garrison into Veracruz. Commodore Matthew C. Perry, Conner's successor, returned from Norfolk, Virginia after making repairs on the USS Mississippi, on 20 March.
Perry and Conner met with Scott regarding the Navy's role in the siege, offered six guns that were to be manned by sailors from the ships. The naval battery was constructed under the direction of Captain Robert E. Lee 700 yd from the city walls. On March 22, Morales declined a surrender demand from Scott, the American batteries opened fire at 4:15 pm followed by those of Commander Josiah Tattnall's Mosquito Fleet at 5:45 pm; the Naval battery's heavy cannonballs broke the coral walls. Congreve rockets were fired into the defenses and the combined fire forced the abandonment of Fort Santiago as Mexican morale began to drop. On March 24, Persifor F. Smith's brigade captured a Mexican soldier with reports that Antonio López de Santa Anna was marching an army from Mexico City to the relief of Veracruz. Scott dispatched Colonel William S. Harney with 100 dragoons to inspect any approaches that Santa Anna might make. Harney reported about 2,000 Mexicans and a battery not far away, he called for reinforcements.
General Patterson led a mixed group of volunteers and dragoons to Harney's aid and cleared the force from their positions, chasing them to Madellin. Scott made plans for an assault on the city when on 25 March, the Mexicans called for a cease-fire to evacuate women and children which Scott refused; that night, Morales' council of war advised surrender prompting Morales to resign while General José Juan Landero assumed command. A truce was called at 8 am on 26 March while terms of surrender were negotiated and concluded by 27 March. On 29 March, the Mexicans surrendered their garrisons in Veracruz and Fort Ulúa and that day, the U. S. flag flew over San Juan de Ulúa. The obstacle to an advancement to Mexico City was removed and Scott made immediate plans to leave a small garrison at Veracruz and march inland, his first objective being Jalapa. Along the way, Scott would in fact encounter a sizable Mexican army under Santa Anna at the Battle of Cerro Gordo. Battles of the Mexican–American War List of amphibious assault operations San Carlos Fortress A Continent Divided: The U.
S.–Mexico War, Center for Greater Southwestern Studies, the University of Texas at Arlington Aztec Club of 1847 annotated art gallery
Battle of Dominguez Rancho
The Battle of Dominguez Rancho or The Battle of the Old Woman's Gun or The Battle of Dominguez Hills was a military engagement of the Mexican–American War. The skirmish took place within Manuel Dominguez's 75,000-acre Rancho San Pedro. After receiving word of the Siege of Los Angeles, Commodore Robert F. Stockton sent US Navy Captain William Mervine and the Savannah on October 4 to San Pedro to assist Capt. Archibald H. Gillespie. Arriving on October 7, Mervine set out on October 8 with sailors and bear flaggers to recapture the town. Mervine's march was poorly planned with little knowledge of the enemy, it began inauspiciously with the death by friendly fire of a cabin boy upon landing. His troops were armed with an assortment of muskets and pikes; the first leg of the planned march toward the pueblo, on October 8, was a six-hour dusty slog with little or no water, during which they were harassed by the enemy on the hillsides around them. Mervine and his troops reached the abandoned Dominguez Rancho, where they camped for the night, within view of an advance detachment of Flores' troops.
There was sporadic firing from the enemy during the night, with no other effect than that of depriving Mervine's party of sleep. Setting off at daylight on the 9th, the Americans advanced just to the north of Dominguez Rancho; when the Americans had occupied Los Angeles in August, residents had hidden some weapons by burying them. General José Flores' force, equipped with lances and old firearms, hidden, was nearly as poorly armed, but it did have a cannon; this old brass four-pounder, used ceremonially in the Los Angeles Plaza, had been buried in the garden of Inocencia Reyes. It was mounted on a horse-drawn limber. Señora Reyes' four-pounder was placed on the narrow trail. Ropes were lashed to the limber to pull the gun into the brush for reloading; the Californio horsemen deployed at a safe distance from the trail on the enemy's flanks. The simple tactics proved effective; when the Americans came within 400 yards, the cannon was fired and pulled back into the brush, followed by musket fire from the horsemen.
Mervine's forces were helpless on foot against a mounted enemy. Realizing they could not reach Los Angeles, Mervine had little choice; the main battle lasted less than an hour. Four of the wounded Americans died and were buried on a little island in San Pedro Bay called Isla de los Muertos, along with the cabin boy.. Mervine's troops reboarded the Savannah, after a few days, the warship sailed north toward Monterey; the fate of the old woman's gun is unclear. Some say. According to the account of one Major Horace Bell, a Los Angeles Ranger, Juan Sepulveda dug up the gun from near his own property and took it to Dead Man's Island where he and his friends set it up near the graves of the Americans and fired a salute "in the exuberance of his patriotism." It is possible that the famous gun was displayed at the New Orleans Exposition of 1884-85 in the Navy Exhibit. Dominguez Rancho Adobe Rancho San Pedro List of conflicts in the United States Battles of the Mexican–American War A History of California: The American Period.
Robert Glass Cleland. Published 1922; the Macmillan company. 512 pages California History, Bancroft - https://web.archive.org/web/20120102074700/http://www.1st-hand-history.org/Hhb/HHBindex.htm