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
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.