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Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna versus Winfield Scott: An American army under Scott assaults a Mexican army under Santa Anna in his own capital. Moral spirit guides both these armies, but whose resolve will break first and decide the battle? Includes the Battles of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec.
This is one of the most important battles in American history, up there with Saratoga, Yorktown, Gettysburg, and any battle you could argue decided the Civil War. The Battle of Mexico City was a key component of American expansion in the 19th century. Imagine the geography of the United States today had it not defeated Mexico in 1848 and annexed the land of the current southwestern United States (check out Schulten’s post on this). The annexation of these lands also exacerbated tensions between the North and South as they bickered over whether these new states would be free or slave states. While it is extremely difficult to judge and rank mass violence in terms of morality, it can be argued that the campaign against Mexico was one of the most unjust wars ever waged, being part of the same expansionist logic or Manifest Destiny as the expulsion of Native Americans during this period. This battle is another of example of how often history is determined simply by which side can prevail in organized violence.
It cannot be overstated as to how much of a near-run thing this battle was with each commander utilizing a number of feints and counterattacks. Santa Anna presented Scott with the opportunity to defeat his forces in detail but Scott still had to defeat each one with the bayonet. Had any of these assaults been checked decisively, Santa Anna may have survived long enough for Scott’s force to wither on its logistical shoestring or launch his own offensive. The battle was therefore won on the spirit and will to win from the individual soldier. Scott was able to confuse Santa Anna, then surprise and successfully seize any objective he chose.
Butler, Steven R. A Documentary History of the Mexican War. Richardson: Descendants of Mexican War Veterans, 1995.
Eisenhower, John S.D. So Far from God: The U.S. War with Mexico 1846-1848. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
Esposito, Vincent J. The West Point Atlas of American Wars. New York: Praeger, 1959.
Nevin, David. The Mexican War. Virginia: Time-Life, 1978.
Smith, Justin H. The War with Mexico, Vol. II. New York: MacMillan, 1919.
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_L%C3%B3pez_de_Santa_Anna
Map of Southern North America: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican%E2%80%93American_War
Map of the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_map_projections
Mexican soldier: http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/war/mexican_army.html
United States soldier: http://www.blueandgrey.zoomshare.com/1.html
Winfield Scott: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winfield_Scott
If you enjoyed the Battle of Mexico City 1847 battle animation, you may also enjoy these other battle animations:
Battle of the Wilderness 1864, another battle fought in North America during the 1800s:
Battle of Mosul 2014, another battle featuring an attack on a major city too large to surround and besiege:
Battle of Praga 1794, another battle featuring an assault on a major city during the Gunpowder Era:
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I have studied the battles for Mexico City many timers over the last 40 years. Your map studies capture the ebb and flow of the campaign like nothing else I have seen.
This was amazing thanks so much for it. Scott is easily the greatest U.S. General ever, his campaigns were the best america has ever had.
Besides, Santa Anna could be rated as one of the most incompetent generals of all time. See also Texas war.