An Extended War
In the aftermath of the battles on the Rio Grande, many U.S. soldiers felt certain that their success would produce an early end to war. Mexican leaders, however, remained determined to fight. Despite continuing U.S. pressure and a growing list of Mexican defeats, Mexican leaders came to view the conflict as a war of honor and resisted for almost two years.
In the summer of 1846, the war shifted west as army and naval forces began the conquest of Mexico’s New Mexico and Upper California territories that would reach completion in January 1847. But Zachary Taylor’s forces would remain at the forefront of activity. After adding thousands of volunteer soldiers to his once-tiny force, Taylor left Matamoros in August 1846 and proceeded toward the Mexican interior.
Winfield Scott’s campaign became the deciding factor in the war. Landing near Veracruz, on March 9, 1847, he bombarded the city until military officials surrendered on March 29. From there, Scott pressed toward central Mexico, defeating Mexican defenders at Cerro Gordo (April 18, 1847), Contreras and Churubusco (August 20, 1847), and Molino del Rey (September 8, 1847). On September 13, 1847, the dramatic U.S. assault on the Mexican stronghold of Chapultepec overwhelmed the last major line of defense for Mexico City. The following day, U.S. troops entered the Mexican capital and raised the Stars and Stripes over the National Palace.
Did You Know?
On-going archeological and historical research continues to provide new details about the battle of Palo Alto and the Palo Alto Battlefield.