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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

February 22nd, 1847 - The Battle of Buena Vista

Conflict: Mexican-American War

Combatants: Americans vs. Mexicans

Location: Mexico

Outcome: American victory


While the the bulk of the American army maneuvered to invade central Mexico, General Zachary Taylor was left with 5,000 troops to defend the area of Saltillo. Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna learned this plan via a captured message and plotted to destroy Taylor's undermanned and inexperienced American force. Santa Anna took 20,000 soldiers and crossed 300 miles across the desert. Four thousand Mexican soldiers were lost in the crossing.


Battle of Buena Vista by Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot

But n this day in 1874, Santa Anna began an assault on the American positions south of Saltillo. Taylor had taken up a defensive position in a mountain gap. Santa Anna successfully cut Taylor's line of communication. The next day, the Mexicans drove back the volunteer American regiments but were halted by artillery manned by regular army troops. Mexican infantry attacks were thwarted as well by both soldiers and grapeshot. When the attempt to attack the American rear failed, Santa Anna withdrew his soldiers from the field. The Mexicans had lost some 500 men killed and 1000 wounded. The Americans suffered combined casualties of approximately 700.


The Battle of Buena Vista by Henry Martens

Points of Interest:

  • It was in this battle that Zachary Taylor is said to have ordered "a little more grape, Captain Bragg." Others report his quote as "double shot your guns and give 'em hell!"

  • Taylor was elected President in 1848, but died in July of 1850.


General Zachary Taylor by James Lambdin
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna in 1855 by an unknown photographer


















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Sources:


Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).


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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