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General Winfield Scott
and the Mexican-American War (1846-1848)

From the editors of
About North Georgia

With Zachary Taylor's troops stuck in northern Mexico, General Winfield Scott proposed a bold plan, an amphibious attack on the coastal Mexican town of Vera Cruz. Scott used his extensive experience with similar operations on the Canadian frontier during the War of 1812 in planning the attack. The attack was the largest amphibious landing of any nation up to that date.

Beginning in February, 1847, Scott amassed nearly 12,000 troops at the Rio Grande on the border of Texas and Mexico. Opposing him would be more than 20,000 Mexicans, some of whom were seasoned veterans under the command of Santa Anna, the Centralist leader who 10 years earlier invaded Texas, ordered the massacre at Goliad and led the attack on the Alamo.

General Winfield Scott at Vera Cruz
General Winfield Scott
Commanding the largest amphibious force in history (to that date), Scott captures Vera Cruz ("True Cross") in 20 days. Courtesy National Archives
Scott landed about three miles south of the city on March 10, 1847, and encircled Vera Cruz in four days, laying siege to the Mexican city. By the end of the month the encircled city surrendered. It was the first in a series of successes that would make General Scott an American hero.

Moving inland, Scott encountered 12,000 Mexican nationals at Cerro Gordo or El Telegrafo. In what was a textbook execution of a brilliant plan, Scott encircled Santa Anna's army and forced it to withdraw. A mistake by Gideon Pillow unfortunately cost the lives of hundreds of men, however, because of Pillow's close association with then President Polk, the error was downplayed in Scott's report.

As the General approached Mexico City he stopped. He could not attack the city because he needed General Santa Anna to remain as head of government. If he attacked and won, the general might have been relieved of duty. This upset some of his higher ranking subordinates, many of whom wanted to attack the city for personal reasons.

Finally, facing recruitment deadlines and financial problems, Scott was forced to attack. A three-prong advance caught the Mexican Army off-balance and sent them scurrying from the city and the surrounding countryside. The Mexican Army removed to Buena Vista. From here Santa Anna negotiated a peace treaty, then was quickly overthrown.

Winfield Scott had so impressed the people of Mexico that a delegation visited his camp to find out what he would require to lead the new government. Scott refused politely. His eye was on a bigger prize (President of the United States).

General Winfield Scott biography.

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Want to add a link to this page from your web page?
All of the photographs, graphics and text on About North Georgia (http://ngeorgia.com) are © Copyright 1994-2006 by Golden Ink unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. For more information please see our Copyright policy


[About North Georgia] [History] [Travel] [Adventure]
[American Indians] [Biography] [Parks ] [Attractions ] [Naturally] [Weather] [Railroads] [Rivers]
[Mountains] [Roads] [Feature Articles] [Previous Issues] [Facts] [Food]
[Giving Back] [Voices from the Past] [Poetry Corner] [Photography]
[Lodging] [About Us] [Bookstore ] [Events ] [Letters ] [Help ] [Kudos ] [Randy's Corner]
Other Places: Today in Georgia History : Today in The Civil War : Georgia Attractions : Georgia Hiking : Chattanooga



Golden Ink Internet Solutions
Georgia's innovative design group

Legal Notice
Copyright Policy
Privacy Policy