September, 1846: Battle of Monterrey Summary

  • Last updated on November 11, 2022

In the mid-afternoon on Sunday, September 20, 1846, General Zachary Taylor issued orders for 6,220 U.S. troops to begin their two-pronged attack on the city of Monterrey. Guarded by 7,303 Mexican soldiers, Monterrey lay nestled between forts, earthworks, natural cliffs, and the Santa Catarina River.

Contemporary engraving of the Mexican defense of Monterrey. (Institute of Texan Cultures)

In the mid-afternoon on Sunday, September 20, 1846, General Zachary Taylor issued orders for 6,220 U.S. troops to begin their two-pronged attack on the city of Monterrey. Guarded by 7,303 Mexican soldiers, Monterrey lay nestled between forts, earthworks, natural cliffs, and the Santa Catarina River.

Taylor planned to cut off the city from its supply line and only escape route while at the same time taking the heights above the city. Then, despite any defensive action by the army of General Pedro de Ampudia, the city would fall quickly. Though the campaign was poorly executed and hampered by driving rain, U.S. forces were successful after two days of fierce fighting. On September 23, U.S. soldiers entered the city after finding the Mexicans’ outer defenses abandoned.

Near dawn the next day, following bloody street warfare, Ampudia asked for an armistice. In the melee, 367 Mexicans had been killed or wounded defending the city. Americans dead numbered 120, with nearly 370 wounded.

Significance

Monterrey was a key locale on the approach to Saltillo, which, when occupied, would isolate Mexico City from northern Mexico.

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