Battles of the War
The Battle of Churubusco
The Battle of Churubusco, fought on August 20, 1847, was part of a larger operation by U.S. forces under General Winfield Scott against Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s defense of Mexico City. U.S. troops faced a daunting challenge of rooting out these forces from several carefully prepared defensive positions. Scott wanted to eliminate these positions in detail. He divided his army, sending half to eliminate a Mexican force on the westernmost of these roads, while he faced the Mexicans at San Antonio.
The destruction of Mexican General Gabriel Valencia’s force at Contreras in the early morning hours of August 20 uncovered a route to the Mexican rear. Santa Anna ordered his forces to abandon San Antonio. He ordered General Pedro Anaya to cover this retreat by occupying the fortified convent, town, and river crossing at the village of Churubusco three miles north of San Antonio.
Scott’s forces, in close pursuit, attacked Anaya at Churubusco, but were checked by its defenders. The Americans regrouped and continued a relentless battering of the Mexican position throughout the day. To the west, forces under generals Gideon Pillow and David Twiggs fought their way across the Rio Churubusco. Anaya, aware that he would soon be surrounded, slipped away across the river, his retreat covered by the timely arrival of reinforcements. The two battles—Contreras and Churubusco—had eliminated 10,000 Mexican troops from the defense of the city, and resulted in the loss of 1,000 killed, wounded, and missing Americans.