The annexation of Texas
caused an immediate rupture between the United States
, for the latter claimed Texas
as a part of her territory, notwithstanding its independence had been acknowledged by the United States
, and other governments.
When Congress had adopted the joint resolution for the annexation of State of Texas
(q. v.) to the United States
, General Almonte
, the Mexican
minister at Washington
, protested against the measure and demanded his passports.
On June 4 following the President
(Herrara) issued a proclamation declaring the right of Mexico
to the Texan territory
, and his determination to defend it by arms, if necessary.
At the same time there existed another cause for serious dispute between the United States
The latter had been an unjust and injurious neighbor ever since the establishment of republican government in Mexico
Impoverished by civil war, it did not hesitate to replenish its treasury by plundering American vessels in the Gulf of Mexico
, or by confiscating the property of American merchants within its borders.
The United States government remonstrated in vain until 1831, when a treaty was made and promises of redress were given.
These promises were never fulfilled.
Robberies continued; and, in 1840, the aggregate value of property belonging to Americans
which had been appropriated by the Mexicans amounted to more than $6,000,000. The claim for this amount was unsatisfied when the annexation of Texas
took place in 1845.
Being fully aware of the hostile feelings of the Mexicans, President Polk
ordered (July, 1845) Gen. Zachary Taylor
, then in command of the United States troops in the Southwest
, to go to Texas
and take a position as near the Rio Grande
as prudence would allow.
This force, about 1,500 strong, was called the Army of Occupation for the defence of Texas
At the same time a strong naval force, under Commodore Conner
, sailed to the Gulf of Mexico
to protect American interests there.
In September Taylor
formed a camp at Corpus Christi
, and there remained during the autumn
He was ordered, Jan. 13, 1846, to move from his camp at Corpus Christi
to the Rio Grande
, opposite the Spanish
city of Matamoras
, because Mexican
troops were gathering in that direction.
This was disputed territory between Texas
and the neighboring province of Tamaulipas.
When he encamped at Point Isabel
, March 25, on the coast, 28 miles from Matamoras
was warned by the Mexicans that he was upon foreign soil.
He left his stores at Point Isabel
, under a guard of 450 men, and with the remainder of his army advanced to the bank of the Rio Grande
, where he established a camp and began the erection of a fort, which he named Fort Brown
, in honor of Major Brown
, in command there.
were so eager for war that, because President Herrera
was anxious for peace with the United States
, they elected General Paredes
to succeed him. The latter sent General Ampudia
, with a large force, to drive the Americans
beyond the Nueces
This officer demanded of General Taylor
, April 12, the withdrawal of his troops within twenty-four hours. Taylor
refused, and continued to strengthen Fort Brown
hesitated, when General Arista
was put in his place as commander-in-chief of the Northern Division
of the Army of Mexico.
He was strongly reinforced, and the position of the Army of Occupation became critical.
Parties of armed Mexicans soon got between Point Isabel
and Fort Brown
and cut off all intercommunication.
A reconnoitring party under Captain Thornton
was surprised and captured (April 24) on the Texas
side of the Rio Grande
, when Lieutenant Mason
Having completed his fort, Taylor
hastened to the relief of Point Isabel
, May 1, which was menaced by a Mexican force, 1,500 strong, collected in the rear.
He reached Point Isabel
the same day. This departure of Taylor
from the Rio Grande
emboldened the Mexicans, who opened fire upon Fort Brown
, May 3, from Matamoras
, and a large body crossed the river to attack it in the rear.
had left orders that in case of an attack, if peril appeared imminent, signal guns must be fired, and he would hasten to the relief of the fort.
On the 6th, when the Mexicans began to plant cannon in the rear and Major Brown
was mortally wounded, the signals were given, and Taylor
marched for the
on the evening of the 7th, with a little more than 2,000 men, having been reinforced by Texan volunteers and marines from the fleet.
At noon the next day he fought and defeated Arista
, with 6,000 troops, at Palo Alto
(q. v.). At 2 A. M. the next day his wearied army was summoned to renew its march, and, towards evening, fought a more sanguinary battle with the same Mexicans
, at Resaca De La Palma
(q. v.). Again the Americans
army in Texas
was now completely broken up. Arista
saved himself by solitary flight
across the Rio Grande
The garrison at Fort Brown
In the mean while, Congress had declared, May 11, 1846, that, “by the act of the republic of Mexico
, a state of war exists between that government and the United States
,” and authorized the President
to raise 50,000 volunteers.
They also (May 13) appropriated $10,000,000 for carrying on the war. The Secretary of War
and General Scott
planned a magnificent campaign.
On May 23 the Mexican
government also declared war.
crossed the Rio Grande
, drove the Mexican
troops from Matamoras
, took possession of the town (May 18), and remained there until August, when he received reinforcements and orders from his government.
Then, with more than 6,000 troops, he moved on Monterey
, defended by General Ampudia
, with more than 9,000 troops.
It was a very strongly built town, at the foot of the great Sierra Madre
A siege commenced Sept. 21 and ended with the capture of the place on the 24th. General Wool
had been directed to muster and prepare for service the volunteers gathered at Bexar, in Texas
, and by the middle of July 12,000 of them had been mustered into the service.
Of these, 9,000 were sent to reinforce Taylor
went up the Rio Grande
with about 3,000 troops, crossed the river at Presidio
, penetrated Mexico
, and, in the last of October, reached Monclova
, 70 miles northwest of Monterey
He pushed on to Coahuila, where he obtained ample supplies for his own and Taylor
had agreed to an armistice at Monterey
This was ended Nov. 13, by order of his government, when, leaving General Butler
in command at Monterey
, he marched to Vic-
toria, the capital of Tamaulipas, with the intention of attacking Tampico
, on the coast.
Meanwhile, General Worth
, with 900 men, had taken possession of Saltillo
(Nov. 15), the capital of Coahuila.
, ascertaining that Tampico
had already surrendered to the Americans
(Nov. 14), and that Santa Ana
was collecting a large force at San Luis Potosi
, returned to Monterey
to reinforce Worth, if necessary.
Worth was joined at Saltillo
's division (Dec. 20), and Taylor
again advanced to Victoria
(Dec. 29). Just as he was about to proceed to a vigorous campaign, Taylor
received orders from General Scott
, at Vera Cruz
, to send the latter a large portion of his (Taylor
's) best officers and troops, and to act only on the defensive.
This was a severe trial for Taylor
, but he cheerfully obeyed.
He and Wool
were left with an aggregate force of only about 5,000 men, of whom only 500 were regulars, to oppose 20,000, then gathering at San Luis Potosi
, under Santa Ana
united their forces, Feb. 4, 1847, on the San Luis
road, determined to fight the Mexicans, who were approaching.
The opportunity was not long delayed.
fell back to Buena Vista
, within 11 miles of Saltillo
, and encamped in a narrow defile, and there a severe battle was fought, Feb. 23, resulting in victory for the Americans
Gen. Stephen W. Kearny
(q. v.) was placed in command of the Army of the West, with instructions to conquer New Mexico
He left Fort Leavenworth
in June, 1846, and, after a journey of 900 miles over the great plains and among mountain ranges, he arrived at Santa Fe
, Aug. 18, having met with no resistance.
Appointing Charles Brent
governor, he marched towards California
, and was soon met by an express from Commodore Robert F. Stockton
(q. v.), and Lieut.-Col. John C. Fremont
(q. v.), informing him that the conquest of California
had been achieved.
and a party of explorers, sixty in number, joined by American settlers in the vicinity of San Francisco
, had captured a Mexican force at Sonoma pass, June 15, 1846, with the garrison, nine cannon, and 250 muskets.
He then defeated another force at Sonoma
, and drove the Mexican
authorities out of that region of country.
On July 5 the Americans
declared themselves independent, and put Fremont
at the head of affairs.
On the 7th Commodore Sloat
, with a squadron, bombarded and captured Monterey
, on the coast; on the 9th Commodore Montgomery
took possession of San Francisco
. Commodore Stockton
and Colonel Fremont
took possession of Los Angeles
on Aug. 17, and there they were joined by Kearny
, who had sent the main body of his troops back to Santa Fe. Fremont
went to Monterey
, and there assumed the office of governor, and proclaimed, Feb. 8, 1847, the annexation of California
to the United States
Meanwhile, Colonel Doniphan
, with 1,000 Missouri
volunteers, marched towards Chihuahua
to join General Wool
In two engagements with Mexicans he was victorious, and entered the capital of Chihuahua
in triumph, March 2, and took possession of the province.
After resting six weeks, he joined Wool
, and thence returned to New Orleans, having made a perilous march from the Mississippi
of about 5,000 miles.
The conquest of all northern Mexico
was now complete, and General Scott
was on his march for the capital.
He had landed at Vera Cruz
, March 9, with an army of 13,000 men. It had been borne thither by a powerful squadron, commanded by Commodore Conner
He invested the city of Vera Cruz
(q. v.) on the 13th, and on the 27th it was surrendered with the castle of San Juan de Ulloa
took possession of the city two days afterwards, and, on April 8, the advance of his army, under General Twiggs
, began its march for the capital, by way of Jalapa
had advanced, with 12,000 men, to meet the invaders, and had taken post at Cerro Gordo
, a difficult mountain pass at the foot of the Eastern Cordilleras
had followed Twiggs
with the rest of his army, and, on April 18, defeated the Mexicans at that strong pass, and, pushing forward, entered Jalapa
on the 19th.
On the 22d the American
flag was unfurled over the Castle of Perote
, on the summit of the Eastern Cordilleras
, 50 miles from Jalapa
This was considered the strongest fortress in Mexico
, excepting Vera Cruz
It was surrendered without resistance, and with it fifty-four pieces of cannon, some mortars, and a large amount of munitions of war.
Onward the victorious army marched, and entered the fortified city of Puebla
, May 15, a city of 80,000 inhabitants; and there the army rested until August.
Being reinforced, Scott
then pushed on towards the capital.
From that very spot on the lofty Cordilleras
first looked down upon the quiet valley of Mexico
, centuries before.
now beheld that
spacious panorama, the seat of the capital of the Aztecs—the “Halls of the Montezumas.”
He pushed cautiously forward, and approached the stronghold before the city.
The fortified camp of Contreras was taken by the Americans
on Aug. 20.
Then the strong fortress of San Antonio
yielded the same day. The heights of Churubusco
advanced, and soon the whole region became one great battle-field.
was taken, and Santa Ana
fled towards the capital.
A Mexican army, 30,000 strong, had in a single day been broken up by another less than one-third its strength in number, and at almost every step the Americans
Full 4,000 Mexicans were killed and wounded, 3,000 were made prisoners, and thirty-seven pieces of cannon were captured on that memorable day. The Americans
had lost 1,100 in killed and wounded.
They might now have entered the city of Mexico
in triumph, but General Scott
preferred to bear the olive-branch rather than the palm.
As he advanced to Tacuba, Aug. 21, only 7 miles from the city, he met a deputation from Santa Ana
to ask for an armistice, preparatory to negotiations for peace.
It was granted.
Nicholas P. Trist
(q. v.), appointed by the United States government to treat for peace, was present.
The treacherous Santa Ana
had made this only a pretext to gain time to strengthen the defences of the city.
When the trick was discovered, Scott
declared the armistice at an end, and advanced upon the city.
Less than 4,000 Americans
attacked Santa Ana
with 14,000 Mexicans, Sept. 8, at Molino del Rey
(the King's Mill
), near Chapultepec
The combatants fought desperately and suffered dreadfully.
left almost 1,000 dead on the field; the Americans
The lofty battlemented hill of Chapultepec
It was the last place to be defended outside of the city.
It was attacked by mortar and cannon shells and round-shot, Sept. 12, and the assault continued until the next day, when the American
flag waved in triumph over its shattered castle.
fled into the city, pursued by the Americans
to the very gates.
That night Santa Ana
and his troops, with the civil officers
, fled from the city, and, at 4 A. M. the next day, a deputation from the municipal authorities waited upon Scott
, begging him to spare the town and treat for peace.
He would make no terms, but entered the city, Sept. 13, a conqueror; and from the grand plaza he proclaimed the conquest of the republic of Mexico
Santa. Ana made some feeble efforts to regain lost power, but failed.
He was defeated in two slight battles.
Before the close of October he was stripped of every command, and fled for safety to the shores of the Gulf
The president of the Mexican Congress assumed provisional authority, and, on Feb. 2, 1848, that body concluded a treaty of peace with the United States
commissioners at Guadalupe
It was ratified by both governments, and, on July 4, 1848, President Polk
proclaimed it. It stipulated the evacuation of Mexico
by the American
troops within three months; the payment of $3,000,000 in hand, and $12,000,000 in four annual instalments, by the United States
, for New Mexico
, which had become territory of the United States
by conquest, and, in addition, to assume debts due certain citizens of the United States
to the amount of $3,500,000. It also fixed boundaries and otherwise adjusted matters in dispute.
Unfaithful American citizens plotted schemes for the extinction of the Mexican Republic
(see Knights of the Golden circle
). While the plots were fast ripening, the two governments successfully negotiated a treaty by which the boundary-line between the United States
was defined and fixed.
The treaty was ratified early in 1854, and it was agreed that the decisions of the commissioners appointed under it to revise the boundary should be final.
By that treaty the United States
was to be released from all obligations imposed by the treaty of peace with Mexico
in 1848, and, as a consideration for this release, and for the territory ceded by Mexico
, the United States
agreed to pay the latter $10,000,000—$7,000,000 on the ratification of the treaty, and the remainder as soon as the boundary-line should be established.
These conditions were
complied with, and the peaceful relations between the two countries have never since been broken.
For documents relating to the war, see Polk, James Knox
. See, also, the titles of the military and naval officers above mentioned, and of the scenes of battles.
See Churubusco, battle of