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Cerro Gordo, battle of

Cerro Gordo is a difficult mountain pass, at the foot of the eastern slope of the Cordilleras, on the great national road from Vera Cruz to the city of Mexico. Santa Ana, by extraordinary efforts after the battle of Buena Vista (q. v.), had gathered a force of about 12,000 men from among the sierras of Orizaba, concentrated them upon the heights of Cerro Gordo, and strongly fortified the position. When the capture of Vera Cruz (q. v.) was completed, General Scott prepared to march upon the Mexican capital, along the national road. He left General Worth as temporary governor of Vera Cruz, with a sufficient garrison for the Castle of San Juan de Ulloa, and moved forward (April 8, 1847) with about 8,000 men, the division of Gen. D. A. Twiggs in advance. Twiggs approached Cerro Gordo on the 13th, and found Santa Ana in his path. Scott arrived the next morning and prepared to attack the stronghold. On the 17th he issued a remarkable general order, directing, in detail, the movements of the army in the coming battle. These directions followed, secured a victory. That order appeared almost prophetic. On the 18th the attack commenced, and very severe was the struggle. It was fought in a wild place in the mountains. On one side was a deep, dark river; on the other was a frowning declivity of rock 1,000 feet in height, bristling with batteries; while above all arose the strong fortress of Cerro Gordo. The place had to be taken by storm; and the party chosen to do the work was composed of the regulars of Twiggs's division, led by Colonel Harney. Victory followed the efforts of skill and bravery, and strong Cerro Gordo fell. Velasquez, the commander of the fortress, was killed; and the Mexican standard was hauled down [83] by Serg. Thomas Henry. Santa Ana with Almonte and other generals, and 8,000 troops, escaped; the remainder were made prisoners. Santa Ana attempted to fly with his carriage, which contained a large amount of specie; but it was over turned, when, mounting a mule take from the carriage harness, he fled to the mountains, leaving behind him his wooden leg—a substitute for the real one which was amputated after a wound received in the defence of Vera Cruz in 1837. In the vehicle were found his papers, clothing and a pair of woman's satin slippers The victory of the Americans was com plete and decisive. The trophies were 3,000 prisoners (who were paroled), forty three pieces of bronze artillery (cast in Seville, Spain), 5,000 stand of arm (which were destroyed), and a large quan tity of munitions of war. The fugitive were pursued towards Jalapa with vigor In that battle the Americans lost 431 men The loss of the Mexicans was about 1,200 killed and wounded.

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