Zachary Taylor and Monterrey

Generals as Diplomats

Authored by: Felice Flanery Lewis

The Routledge Handbook of American Military and Diplomatic History

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415533805
eBook ISBN: 9781315817347
Adobe ISBN: 9781317813354


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General Zachary Taylor’s “Army of Occupation” won the first four battles of the U.S.–Mexican War (1846–1848). The earliest, Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma (May 8th and 9th), were fought after Mexican regulars overwhelmed a squadron of Old Zach’s dragoon scouts north of the Rio Grande River, the immediate cause of the war. With the attacking Mexican general’s rejection of Taylor’s offer to suspend hostilities pending negotiations by their respective governments, Old Zach crossed the Rio Grande, occupied Matamoros, and with his regular army units enhanced by a horde of volunteers, proceeded deep into Mexico’s northeastern interior to Monterrey. The struggle by his forces to occupy that city and its suburbs (September 21–24)—the most complex and costly battle of his campaign—was concluded with the controversial Monterrey truce.

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