The Mexican-American War

Part 3: The Coming of War

In 1844, the U.S. annexed Texas, making it an American territory.

Two years later, war began. The first major battle was at Palo Alto, in Texas, and neither side could claim victory. The Battle of Monterrey soon followed, and American forces under General Zachary Taylor seized the strategic Mexican city.

Also at this time, fighting was taking place further west. An American army occupied Los Angeles but was soon forced out. The California city of Monterey surrendered to American commodore John Sloat in 1846. In that same year, the American Army of the West, under Colonel Stephen Kearny, marched toward California. He reached Santa Fe in the summer and California in December. In January 1847, American troops reoccupied Los Angeles and kept it this time.

In Texas and Mexico in 1847, American troops enjoyed many successes:

  • In February, near Monterrey, at the Battle of Buena Vista, 5,000 American troops commanded by General Zachary Taylor went up against 14,000 Mexican troops commanded by Santa Anna. Despite being outnumbered almost 3-to-1, the Americans won the battle.
  • In March, 12,000 American troops under the command of General Winfield Scott made the country's first amphibious landing, moving from ships to land near the city of Vera Cruz. After a weeklong siege, Mexico surrendered the city.
  • Several more battles followed, resulting in more American victories and more Mexican retreats.
  • American forces captured the Mexican capital, Mexico City, in September.



Next page > Part 4: The Making of Peace > Page 1, 2, 3, 4   

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Social Studies for Kids
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David White