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Battles of the War

Entrance into the City of Mexico

The final blow to General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s defense of Mexico City came on September 13 and 14. U.S. forces followed up the victory at Chapultepec by pursuing the retreating Mexican forces to the west-side gates of the city. In fighting that lasted throughout the afternoon of September 13, American troops under General William Worth carried the fortified Garita San Cosme, while those of John Quitman’s division captured the Garita de Belén. Americans killed or captured some 3,000 Mexican troops in this close, brutal, and deadly combat, while suffering 800 casualties of their own. That night, U.S. General Winfield Scott ordered his commands to reorganize, consolidate, and prepare for savage house-to-house fighting the next day. The Americans - tired, shot up, but victorious - anxiously awaited the coming dawn.

General Scott's Entrance into Mexico City by Carl Nebel
General Scott's Entrance into Mexico City by Carl Nebel
Special Collections Division, The University of Texas at Arlington

As a result of the disasters at Chapultepec and at the garitas, chaos reigned among the Mexican army and government inside the city. With the Americans inside the gates and in control of the roads to the south and west, officials believed that their cause was lost and that the capital city would soon become a battleground. Santa Anna, persuaded that the struggle was no longer worth the costs in lives and property, led the battered remnants of the Mexican national army out of town to regroup, rearm, and plot their next move. 

In the early hours of September 14, instead of having to fight his way through town, Scott instead received a delegation of Mexican politicians who surrendered the city unconditionally. The U.S. army that had begun the campaign to capture Mexico City in early March now marched triumphantly to the national plaza, victorious at last.