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Scott, Winfield (1786–1866)

Scott, Winfield (1786–1866)

Win-field Scott (b. 13 June 1786; d. 29 May 1866), U.S. army general who led the invasion and occupation of central Mexico in 1847. Scott ordered the largest amphibious landing yet attempted south of Veracruz on 9 March 1847. His troops thus avoided the fortress of San Juan de Ulúa guarding the harbor. Scott ordered his artillery to surround and bombard the city, ignoring the pleas of foreign diplomats to allow women, children, and other noncombatants to escape. He would accept no truce without unconditional surrender. By the time the city surrendered on 27 March, there were twice as many civilian as military casualties.

After Scott's army outmaneuvered General Santa Anna's troops at Cerro Gordo, the city of Puebla surrendered without opposition. The defense of Mexico City was poorly coordinated, but soldiers under Pedro María Anaya at Churubusco and young cadets defending Chapultepec fought valiantly. During the occupation of Mexico City, civilians threw stones and sniped at U.S. troops until Scott threatened to turn his artillery on the city. Word of the destruction of Veracruz was so widespread that the disturbances stopped. The Duke of Wellington considered Scott's campaign against Mexico City the most brilliant in modern warfare.

The Whig Party, which had opposed the war with Mexico, chose Scott as its candidate for president in the election of 1852, but he lost to the Democratic candidate, Franklin Pierce. Scott was later general-in-chief under President Abraham Lincoln. He is buried at West Point.

See alsoMexico, Wars and Revolutions: Mexican-American War .


Charles L. Dufour, The Mexican War: A Compact History (1968).

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).

Additional Bibliography

Eisenhower, John S. D. Agent of Destiny: The Life and Times of General Winfield Scott. New York: Free Press, 1997.

Frazier, Donald S. The United States and Mexico at War: Nineteenth-Century Expansionism and Conflict. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998.

Levinson, Irving W. Wars within War: Mexican Guerrillas, Domestic Elites, and the United States of America, 1846–1848. Fort Worth: TCU Press, 2005.

Libura, Krystyna, Luis Gerardo Morales Moreno, and Jesú s Velasco Márquez. Ecos de la guerra entre México y los Estados Unidos. Toronto: Libros Tigrillo, 2004.

                                          D. F. Stevens

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