Battle of Contreras


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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

CONTRERAS, BATTLE OF. General Scott resumed his march from Puebla for the city of Mexico Aug. 7, 1847. General Twiggs, with his division, led the way; and on Aug. 11 encamped at St. Augustine, with the strong fortress of San Antonio before him. Close upon his right were the heights of Churubusco, and not far off was the strongly fortified camp of Contreras. In the rear of it was Santa Anna with 12,000 men as a reserve. In the afternoon of Aug. 19, Generals Twiggs and Pillow, assisted by Generals Persifer F. Smith and Cadwallader, attacked the camp of Contreras, and a sharp conflict ensued, with almost continual skirmishing around. This indecisive conflict continued about six hours. At the moment when some Mexican cavalry were preparing for a charge, General Scott arrived at the scene of conflict, and ordered up General Shields with reinforcements.

David Twiggs

General David Twiggs

When night fell, the wearied Americans lay down and slept, expecting to renew the contest in the morning. Generals Scott and Worth started early the next morning (Aug. 20) from St. Augustine for Contreras, and were met on the way by a courier with the news that the enemy's camp was captured. The battle had been begun at sunrise by Smith's division. While Generals Shields and Pierce had kept Santa Anna's reserve at bay, Smith's troops had marched towards the works in the darkness and gained a position, unobserved, behind the crest of a hill near the Mexican works. Springing up suddenly from their hiding-place, they dashed pell-mell into the entrenchments; captured the batteries at the point of the bayonet; drove out the army of Valencia; and pursued its flying remnants towards the city of Mexico. The contest, which had lasted only seventeen minutes, was fought by 4,500 Americans, against 7,000 Mexicans. The trophies of victory were eighty officers and 3,000 Mexican troops made prisoners, and thirty-three pieces of artillery. See MEXICAN AMERICAN WAR.




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