Battle of Resace De La Palma


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Mexican War Time Line | Map of the Mexican War | Mexico | President Polk | Zachary Taylor | Santa Anna | General Winfield Scott | General William Worth | General John Wool | General Stephen Kearny | Commodore Stockton | John C. Fremont | General David Twiggs | Nicholas Trist | Thornton Affair | Battle of Palo Alto | Battle of Resace De La Palma | Battle of Monterey | Battle of Buena Vista | Battle of Vera Cruz | Battle of Cerro Gordo | Battle of Contreras | Battle of Churubusco | Battle of El Molino Del Rey | Battle of Chapultepec

RESACA DE LA PALMA, BATTLE OF. At 2 A.M. on May 9, 1846, the little army of General Taylor, which had fought the Mexicans the day before at PALO ALTO, were awakened from their slumbers on the battlefield to resume their march for Fort Brown. The cautious leader prepared for attack on the way, for the smitten foe had rallied. He saw no traces of them until towards evening, when, as the Americans emerged from a dense thicket, the Mexicans were discovered strongly posted in battle order in a broad ravine about 4 feet deep and 200 feet wide, the dry bed of a series of pools, skirted with palmetto-trees, and called "Resaca de la Palma." Within that natural trench the Mexicans had planted a battery that swept the road over which the Americans were approaching.

"Old Rough and Ready" Zachary Taylor

Taylor pressed forward, and, after some severe skirmishing, in which a part of his army was engaged, he ordered Captain May, leader of dragoons, to charge upon the battery. Rising in his stirrups, May called out to his troops, " Remember your regiment! Men, follow!" and, dashing forward in the face of a shower of balls from the battery, he made his powerful black horse leap the parapet. He was followed by a few of his men, whose steeds made the fearful leap. They killed the gunners, and General La Vega, who was about to apply a match to one of the pieces, and 100 men were made prisoners by the troops and marched in triumph within the American lines. The battle grew fiercer every moment. The chaparral, an almost impenetrable thicket near, was swarming with Mexicans and blazing with the fire of their muskets. Finally, after a fearful struggle, the camp and headquarters of General Arista were captured and the Mexicans completely routed. Arista fled, a solitary fugitive, and escaped across the Rio Grande. So sudden had been his discomfiture that his plate and correspondence, with arms, equipments, and ammunition for several thou-sand men, besides 2,000 horses, fell into the hands of the victors. La Vega and some other captive officers were sent to New Orleans on parole. The Mexicans having been reinforced during the night of the 8th, it was estimated that they had 7,000 men on the battlefield; the Americans less than 2,000. The former lost, in killed, wounded, and prisoners, about 1,000; the latter, 110. The Mexican army was broken up. See MEXICAN WAR.




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