Battle of Chapultepec


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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

Chapultepec, BATTLE OF. The city of Mexico stands on a slight swell of ground, near the centre of an irregular basin, and encircled by a broad and deep navigable canal. The approaches to the city are over elevated causeways, flanked by ditches. From these the capital is entered by arched gateways; and these, when the victorious Americans approached the city (August, 1847), were strongly fortified.

Castle Chapultepec

Castle Chapultepec (Castillo de Chaplultepec)

When El Molino del Rey and Casa de Mata had been captured (Sept. 8, 1847), the castle of Chapultepec alone remained as a defense for the city—this and its outworks. The hill, steep and rocky, rises 150 feet above the surrounding country. The castle was built of heavy stone masonry. The whole fortress was 900 feet in length, and the terreplein and main buildings 600 feet. The castle was about 100 feet in height, and presented a splendid specimen of military architecture. A dome, rising about 20 feet above the walls, gave it a grand appearance. Two strongly built walls surrounded the whole structure, 10 feet apart and 12 or 15 feet high. The works were thoroughly armed, and the garrison, among whom were some expert French gunners, was commanded by General Bravo. The whole hill was spotted with forts and outworks.

Castle of Chapultepec


To carry this strong post with the least loss of men, General Scott determined to batter it with heavy cannon. Accordingly, on the night of Sept. 11, four batteries of heavy cannon were erected on a hill between Tucabaya and Chapultepec, commanded respectively by Captains Drew, Haynes, and Brooks, and Lieutenant Stone. They were placed in position by the engineer officers Huger and Lee (the latter afterwards commander-in-chief of the Confederate army). On the morning of the 12th these batteries opened fire, every ball crashing through the castle, and every shell tearing up the ramparts. The fire of the Mexicans was not less severe, and this duel of great guns was kept up all day. The next morning (13th) troops moved to assail the works, at their weakest point, in two columns, one led by General Pillow and the other by General Quitman. Pillow marched to assail the works on the west side, while Quitman made a demonstration on the easterly part. Both columns were preceded by a strong party—that of Pillow by 250 of Worth's division, commanded by Captain McKenzie; and that of Quitman by the same number, commanded by Captain Carey. Each storming party was furnished with scaling-ladders. While the troops were advancing the American batteries kept up a continuous fire over their heads upon the works to prevent reinforcements reaching the Mexicans. Pillow's column bore the brunt of the battle. It first carried a redoubt, and drove the Mexicans from shelter to shelter. At length the ditch and the wall of the main work were reached; the scaling-ladders and fascines were brought up and planted by the storming parties; and the work was soon taken and the American flag unfurled over the ramparts amid prolonged cheers.

Meanwhile Quitman's column had moved along a causeway, captured two batteries, and joined Pillow's column in time to share in the work of accomplishing a final victory. Together they took the strong castle of Chapultepec, and scattered its defenders in every direction. It was literally torn in pieces; and within, a crowd of prisoners of all grades were seized, among them fifty general officers. There were also 100 cadets of the Military College, the latter "pretty little boys," wrote an American officer, " from ten to sixteen years of age." Several of their little companions had been killed, "fighting like demons." The fugitives fled to the city, along an aqueduct, pursued by General Quitman to the very gates engaged all the way in a running fight, which was sometimes severe. See LEE, ROBERT EDWARD; MEXICAN WAR ; PILLOW, GIDEON JOHNSON; QUITMAN, JOHN ANTHONY; WORTH, WILLIAM JENKINS.

Battle of Chapultepec

Battle Chapultepec




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