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Buena Vista, Battle of

Buena Vista, Battle of (1847). Maj. Gen. Zachary Taylor's small army had been victorious in all three of its Mexican War battles by the end of 1846. After the Battle of Monterrey in September, many of his troops were assigned to Maj. Gen. Winfield Scott for a proposed attack on the Mexican coastal town of Veracruz.

Antonio López de Santa Anna commanded Mexican forces, and he knew from captured dispatches that Scott had siphoned off Taylor's best troops. In late January 1847, therefore, he led 21,000 troops northward to attack Taylor's weakened force of about 5,000. The U.S. forces positioned themselves near the Hacienda San Juan de la Buena Vista, where the road passed between mountains.

The Mexican Army, reduced to about 15,000 men by death, disease, and desertion, reached the U.S. position on 22 February. After Taylor refused Santa Anna's invitation to surrender, the Mexicans attacked. The fighting was brisk but inconclusive. It ended at sunset.

Santa Anna reopened the battle the next morning. Mexican cavalry rode around the U.S. position and toward its supply base at the hacienda. Col. Jefferson Davis formed his Mississippi volunteers and an Indiana regiment into a large V. When the Mexican horsemen rode into the mouth of this V, they were shot to pieces. Meanwhile, superbly handled U.S. artillery held off Mexican infantry advancing straight up the valley.

Nightfall again ended the fighting, but this time Santa Anna used the darkness to mask his retreat. He had lost over 3,500 men in the two‐day fight. U.S. casualties were also heavy; over 600 had fallen.

The Battle of Buena Vista was the last major battle of the war in northern Mexico. Within two weeks, General Scott landed at Veracruz, and Santa Anna hastened southward to try to protect his nation's capital city from this new threat. Had the Mexicans won at Buena Vista, Scott's attack probably would have been postponed or even canceled.

Bibliography

K. Jack Bauer , The Mexican War, 1846–1848, 1974.
John S. D. Eisenhower , So Far From God: The U.S. War with Mexico 1846–1848, 1989.

James M. McCaffrey

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Buena Vista, Battle of

BUENA VISTA, BATTLE OF

BUENA VISTA, BATTLE OF (22–23 February 1847). During the Mexican War General Zachary Taylor had advanced his army of about five thousand men south-westward from Monterrey in northeastern Mexico to a mountain pass south of Saltillo. Near the hacienda of Buena Vista he encountered a Mexican force three times the size of his own led by General Antonio López de Santa Anna. Although the Americans lost ground the first day, they won a brilliant victory on the second, and the Mexicans withdrew. Taylor gained a reputation that aided him in his bid for the presidency, but the further conquest of Mexico was entrusted to General Winfield Scott.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Eisenhower, John S. D. So Far from God: The U.S. War with Mexico, 1846–47. New York: Random House, 1989.

Lavender, David S. Climax at Buena Vista: The American Campaigns in Northeastern Mexico, 1846–47. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1966.

L. W.Newton/a. r.

See alsoMexican-American War ; Monterrey, Battles of .

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Buena Vista, battle of

battle of Buena Vista, military engagement in the Mexican War, fought Feb. 22–23, 1847. The battle site was just S of Saltillo, Coahuila, in Mexico. Gen. Zachary Taylor, disobeying orders from the U.S. government, had advanced here. Gen. Santa Anna, having gathered a Mexican army, made a long march north and, attacking Taylor's forces furiously, outflanked them. The fighting was hard and at the end of the second day seemed a drawn battle, but on the night of Feb. 23 the Mexican army withdrew, leaving Taylor in control of the north of Mexico.

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"Buena Vista, battle of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 30 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Buena Vista, battle of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 30, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/buena-vista-battle