The battle of Cerro Gordo or Thermopylae at 175: 1847-2022

Angel Rafael Martinez Alarcon

April 16, 2022.- On the afternoon of April 17, 1847, the invading North American army continued to advance towards the capital of the Mexican Republic. It was a new war for the Mexican government and army, three fronts at the same time, the land advance from the north, the sea from the Gulf of Mexico, and the conquest and advance on Mexican soil to the west. Texas, was the problem of the nascent Mexican nation and the United States of America, first its separation in 1836, then 9 years later, the annexation to the government of the United States of America; thus initiating the territorial expansion of downloading in favor of North America.

In just 26 years of independent life, the Mexican state had faced until 1847 an attempt to recover the former territory of New Spain by the Iberian army, liberating Veracruz, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna he emerged victorious for his nation; In 1838, it was the French who invaded the national soil, again General de Xalapa, Lopez de Santa Anna, went out in defense of the homeland, and said event loses its leg. Without forgetting also the attempt of defense and recovery of Texas. For the war of 1846-1848, he was also at the head of several armies; but his strategies were not the best to avoid the military advance of the northern neighbor. Not to mention either that the Mexican army was not a professional and technical army with old weapons; but they still did their best to defend the country.

With him, the official chronicler of Xalapa, Vicente Espino Jaraand a server since 2015, when we started remembering the dead of the Battle of Cerro Gordo, with the inhabitants of the said congregation, we began to save the memory of the said battle, where unfortunately it was lost, on April 18, 1847; cfr https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoIILypvnJA&t=356s, for the past seven years we have tried to keep in memory the inhabitants of Cerro Gordo, congregation of the municipality of Emiliano Zapata, the battle that took place between the afternoon of April 17 and the early hours of April 18, 1847. Two armies fighting in the same geographical space. Much has been written about the strategy of Lopez de Santa Anna, failed. It should also be remembered that the invading army was professional while the Mexican army, made up of levy, and a lot of patriotism.

The general Lopez de Santa Anna, thought that the invading forces would be rejected, and with another strategy, he succeeded in defeating the national army, and continuing his way to the city of Mexica, the political capital of the country. It is again in Mexico City, where a series of battles are fought for the defense of the territory, finally on September 14, 1847, the capital falls into the hands of the invader. His route was the same he used in the summer of 1519, Hernan Cortesto reach the heart of the Aztec Empire 500 years ago.

The Meritorious of the Fatherland, Lopez de Santa AnnaIn his memoirs he writes: Congress appointed the acting president, General Don Anaya Pierre to let me go. Cerro Gordo was the point where I fixed myself to contest the passage of the invader; strong by nature eighteen leagues from Veracruz, on the wheel path the enemy would take, and situated between hot and cold temperatures, it served my purpose.

I got there quickly. There were no fortification works; peons from my hacienda del Encero (Lencero) began to clear the land. To the Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers, Mr. Manuel M. Robles Pezuela, I commissioned the first works, to which he devoted himself tirelessly. The forces and the material of war arrive, pieces of cannon are raised on the heights; with the incessant fajina, the entrenchments advanced, everything was in motion, until the presence of the invaders interrupted us four days later.

The general Scott, Knowing that by giving time for the gathering of forces and the advancement of the fortification it would be difficult or very costly for him to pass through Cerro Gordo, he hastened his movements. He ordered one of his divisions to take the hill of Telégrafo (the main height), and in an entire afternoon he failed, leaving the ground covered in their corpses. Scott, alarmed by this disaster, attacked with all his might the next morning; the position was valiantly defended for five hours; four thousand inexperienced militiamen resisted the thrust of fourteen thousand veterans with shining weapons, causing them considerable casualties; and when these bizarre militiamen could stand no more, they withdrew in order, by roads unknown to the enemy.

The general Scott, In the report to his government concerning the occupation of Cerro Gordo, he greatly exaggerates the number of his defenders, also saying that he dislodged them from positions inaccessible to the bayonet.

I retreated to the town of Orizaba, where a section of twelve hundred men from the Mixteca joined me, under the orders of General Don Antonio Leon. see: https://dgb.cultura.gob.mx/libros/dgb/81936_2.pdf

For North Americans, the battle of Cerro Gordo, were baptized as the battle of thermopylae, in memory of the second doctor, in which the Persians invaded the Greeks, in the fifth century BC. The battle took place in the summer of the year 480. In the geographical gorge between northern and central Greece. Where not only geography played an important role, but also spy services. Herodotus(484-420 BC), in his work The nine books of historyin the seventh relates the said battle.

Next Monday, April 18, 2022, the Cerro Gordo Improvement Council, chaired by Roger Delgado, with the Constitutional City Council of Emiliano Zapata, will pay homage to the dead, at 10 a.m.; with a Conference: dictated by the Mtro in history, Mario Alberto Garcia Suarez,, with the title of the conference: “Clash of Steels: A History of the Soldiers at the Battle of Cerro Gordo in 1847″

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