Battles of the Mexican-American War

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Military History and War

The following are known battles of the Mexican-American War. This list includes all major engagements and most reported skirmishes. Included also are two major engagements, the Battle of Palo Alto, and the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, which took place prior to the official start of hostilities between the two countries.


The Mexican-American War lasted from 1846 until 1848. It grew out of unresolved border disputes between the Republic of Texas and Mexico after the annexation of the former by the United States during the Texas Revolution of 1836. Before 1836, Anglo settlers in Texas (which was then a part of Mexico) had increasingly desired to align with the United States and its ongoing westward expansion. Texas was admitted into the United States in 1845 and as a consequence, tension with Mexico increased over the disputed border.

The U.S. government claimed that the southern border of Texas was the Rio Grande; Mexico maintained it to be the Nueces River. President James K. Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to place troops between the two rivers. Taylor crossed the Nueces, ignoring Mexican demands that he withdraw, and marched south to the Rio Grande. After a border clash on April 24, 1846, and the battles at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, Polk requested a declaration of war. The U.S. Congress declared war on May 13, 1846, while Mexico did so on May 23.

Most of the formal fighting effectively ended on October, 1847, soon after General Winfield Scott and his forces had stormed Mexico City. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848 in which Mexico, under pressure, surrendered a vast tract of land to the United States for the sum of USD $15 million.

Depiction of the Battle of Chapultepec.
Depiction of the Battle of Chapultepec.

List of battles

Key: (A) – American Victory; (M) – Mexican Victory; (I) – Inconclusive.


Battle Date Engagement remarks Result
Thornton Affair April 25/26 Skirmishing in the disputed borderlands of South Texas. (M)
Siege of Fort Texas May 3-9 Mexican Army besieges American outpost. (I)
Battle of Palo Alto May 8 Mexican Army under Mariano Arista enters the disputed land between the Rio Grande (Río Bravo) and the Nueces River. (A)
Battle of Resaca de la Palma May 9 Arista is defeated by Zachary Taylor. (A)
Occupation of Matamoros May 18 U.S. troops occupy Matamoros, Tamaulipas, with no resistance. (A)
Battle of Monterey July 7 U.S. Navy occupies Monterey, California. (A)
Occupation of Camargo, Tamaulipas. July 14 (A)
Battle of Cañoncito early August Stephen Watts Kearny defeats Manuel Armijo on the way to Santa Fe, New Mexico. (A)
Battle of Santa Fe August 18 Kearny occupies Santa Fe, New Mexico. (A)
Battle of Monterrey September 21-23 Zachary Taylor forces Pedro de Ampudia to surrender Monterrey. (A)
Siege of Los Angeles September 22-30 Led by Gen José Mariá Flores Californios and Mexicans attempt to retake Los Angeles. (M)
Battle of Chino September 26-27 A group of Californios captured 24 Americans led by Benjamin D. Wilson, who were barricaded in an adobe house in Rancho Chino, near Chino, California. (M)
Battle of Dominguez Rancho October 7 Californios clash with John C. Frémont. (M)
First Battle of Tabasco October 24-26 Commodore Perry makes a demonstration against Tabasco (I)
Occupation of Tampico, Tamaulipas November 14 Occupation by the U.S. Navy. (A)
Occupation of Saltillo, Coahuila November 16 Occupation by the U.S. Army. (A)
Battle of Natividad November 16 Town located in northern California. (A)
Battle of San Pasqual December 6 Californeros and Presidial Lancers defeat Stephen Watts Kearny. (M)
Battle of El Brazito December 25 Also called the "Battle of Temascalitos" in Spanish. Mexican forces attack El Brazito, New Mexico. U.S. forces were led by Col. Alexander Doniphan. (A)


Battle Date Engagement remarks Result
Battle of Santa Clara, California January 2 Fought in California. (A)
Battle of Rio San Gabriel January 8 Part of a series of battles for control of Los Angeles. (A)
Battle of La Mesa January 9 Last conflict before U.S. forces enter Los Angeles. (A)
Battle of Cañada January 24 Sterling Price defeats Insurgents in New Mexico. (A)
Battle of Mora January 24/ February 1 After a failed attack by American Forces led by Israel Hendley on January 24, on February 1 another expedition armed with cannon succeeded in razing the village of Mora in New Mexico. (A)
Battle of Embudo Pass January 29 Last insurgent stand before the Siege of Pueblo de Taos. (A)
Siege of Pueblo de Taos February 3/4 Rancheros and Mexican Militia surrender to U.S. forces thus ending the Taos Revolt. (A)
Battle of Buena Vista February 22/23 Antonio López de Santa Anna engages Zachary Taylor in one of the largest battles of the war. (A)
Battle of the Sacramento February 28 Alexander W. Doniphan captures Chihuahua, Mexico. (A)
Siege of Veracruz March 9-29 Beginning with Marine landings, U.S. forces besiege and gradually encircle Mexican Marines and Coast Guard in vicious twenty-day siege. (A)
Battle of Cerro Gordo April 18 Dubbed the " Thermopylae of the West." (A)
Battle of Tuxpán April 18 Commodore Perry seizes port city on the Gulf coast. (A)
Skirmish at Las Vegas, New Mexico June 6 (A)
Second Battle of Tabasco June 16 Commodore Perry captures last port city on the Gulf coast. (A)
Battle of Contreras (also known as Battle of Padierna) August 19 Santa Anna fails to support the Mexican line at a critical moment; turns victory into rout. (A)
Battle of Churubusco August 20 Regular Mexican troops and San Patricios under Manuel Rincón hold a fortified monastery against Winfield Scott; San Patricios decimated. (A)
Battle of Molino del Rey September 8 Americans lose nearly 800 men in an attempt to take a suspected cannon foundry: "They fell in platoons and companies." (A)
Battle of Chapultepec September 13 Scott assaults Chapultepec Castle. Los Niños Héroes pass into legend. (A)
Battle for Mexico City September 13/14 Fierce fighting for Mexico City. (A)
Siege of Puebla September 14 Mexican forces begin the siege of Puebla, Puebla.
Fall of Mexico City September 15 U.S. forces finally enter Mexico City. (A)
Battle of Mulegé October 2 Mexican forces led by Captain Manuel Pineda defeated a small detachment of American forces near Mulegé, Baja California Sur. (M)
Battle of Huamantla October 9 U.S. relief column is able to reach Puebla. (A)
Siege of Puebla October 12 Siege of Puebla lifted. (A)
Skirmish at Atlixco October 19 Also known as the "Atlixco Affair" (I)


Battle Date Engagement remarks Result
Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales March 16 Sterling Price advances into Chihuahua after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was already signed. (A)

From January to August Mexican partisans harassed the U.S. Army of Occupation. Formal fighting, however, had ceased by the end of January.

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