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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

April 17th, 1847 - The Battle of Cerro Gordo

Conflict: Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

Combatants: Americans vs. Mexicans

Location: Mexico

Outcome: American victory

Having taken Vera Cruz, American commanding General Winfield Scott sent his 8,500 soldiers marching westward toward Mexico City. They were confronted at Cerro Gordo by 12,000 Mexican troops under General Antonio de Santa Anna. An American attack was launched prematurely on April 17th against Santa Anna's left, but the full assault followed on the 18th. The Americans cleared the Mexicans from the mountain pass, inflicting heavy casualties and capturing some 3,000 prisoners of war as well as many cannons and small arms. The Americans suffered about 400 killed and wounded.

Battle of Cerro Gordo by Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot

Points of Interest:

  • Animosity between America and Mexico had only intensified since the Texan War and annexation of Texas. James Polk ran for president in part on the promise of expanding and strengthening the USA's borders at Mexico's expense. Mexican generals, for their part, bragged that they would be marching through Washington DC within two weeks of the war's start.

  • American Army Captains Robert E. Lee and George B. McClellan participated in the reconnaissance of the enemy positions prior to the Battle of Cerro Gordo.

Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in 1855 by an unknown photographer
General Winfield Scott (Cropped) by Robert Walter Weir



Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

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