Battle of Chapultepec

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Battle of Chapultepec

Storming of Chapultepec
Conflict: Mexican-American War
Date: September 12-13, 1847
Place: Mexico City, D.F.
Outcome: U.S. victory
United States Mexico
Winfield Scott Nicolás Bravo
7,200 16,000
862 1,800
Valley of Mexico Campaign
ContrerasChurubuscoMolino del ReyChapultepecMexico City

The Battle of Chapultepec took place in September 1847 during the Mexican-American War, at Chapultepec Castle on Chapultepec Hill, on the outskirts of Mexico City.

The United States Army began an artillery barrage against Chapultepec at dawn on September 12. It was halted at dark and resumed at first light on September 13. At 08:00 the bombardment was halted and Winfield Scott ordered to charge. George Pickett (later famous for "Pickett's Charge" and the Battle of Five Forks during the American Civil War) was the first American to top the wall of the fort. There was great loss of life on both sides in the battle, and eventually Mexican General Nicolás Bravo was forced to withdraw and the U.S. forces succeeding in taking the hill. By September 15 the invaders were in control of Mexico City.

During the battle, six Mexican military cadets refused to fall back when General Bravo finally ordered retreat, and fought to the death against superior U.S. forces. One by one they fell, fighting for their country; when one was left (Juan Escutia), and the US forces about to kill him, he grabbed the Mexican flag, wrapped it around himself and jumped off the castle point. A moving mural decorates the ceiling of the palace, showing Juan Escutia wrapped in the flag, apparently falling from above. A monument stands in Chapultepec Park commemorating their courage. The cadets are eulogized in Mexican history as the Los Niños Héroes, the "Boy Heroes" or Heroic Cadets.

Saint Patrick's Battalion

Hanging of the San Patricios following the Battle of Chapultepec. Painted in the 1840s by Sam Chamberlain.
Hanging of the San Patricios following the Battle of Chapultepec. Painted in the 1840s by Sam Chamberlain.

A number of men from the controversial Saint Patrick's Battalion (el Batallón de San Patricio or San Patricios), a group of former U.S. army solders who joined the Mexican side, were executed en masse during the Battle of Chapultepec. They had been previously captured at the Battle of Churubusco. General Scott specified that they were to be hanged with Chapultepec in view, and that the precise moment of their death was to occur when the U.S. flag replaced the Mexican tricolor atop the citadel.

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