General Winfield Scott Captures Mexico City
On September 14, 1847, the Stars and Stripes flew over a foreign capital for the first time in American history. After winning the last major battle of the Mexican-American War, U.S. General Winfield Scott marched his army into Mexico City and raised the American flag over the Mexican National Palace on the site of the “Halls of Montezuma.” This would later be celebrated in the famous Marines’ Hymn.
General Winfield Scott's grand entrance into Mexico City. (Photo: legendsofamerica.com)
While the last major battle was won by September of 1947 and Mexico City was captured, the Mexican-American War did not end until February 2, 1848. On that date, the United States and Mexico agreed to the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Under the conditions of the treaty, Mexico agreed to sell California and the rest of its territory north of the Rio Grande for $15 million. The 525, 000 square miles of ceded land would later become the states of New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. Mexico was also forced to recognize the U.S. annexation of Texas.
Fought from 1846 to 1848, close to 79,000 American troops took part in the Mexican-American War. Future Union and Confederate generals Ulysses S. Grant, George Meade, Robert E. Lee, and Stonewall Jackson were among them. Nearly 13,200 Americans lost their lives in the conflict.
Robert E. Lee distinguished himself as one of General Winfield Scott's chief aides during the Mexican-American War. Lee was commended for his personal reconnaissance that aided many American victories. (Photo: sofrep.com)
There were some in the United States who considered the Mexican-American War an unjust land grab. Future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, who was an Illinois congressman at the time, was one of the war’s harshest critics. While the justifications for fighting the war were debated then and will still be debated today, we must always remember the bravery and skill displayed by American forces in achieving victory. As always, our troops did what was asked of them. The United States wouldn’t look the way that it does today without the efforts of our military in the Mexican-American War.