Battle of Cerro Gordo
The Battle of Cerro Gordo, or Battle of Sierra Gordo, in the Mexican-American War saw Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

's United States troops flank and drive Santa Anna's larger Mexican army from a strong defensive position.


United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 forces captured the port
Siege of Veracruz
The Battle of Veracruz was a 20-day siege of the key Mexican beachhead seaport of Veracruz, during the Mexican-American War. Lasting from 9-29 March 1847, it began with the first large-scale amphibious assault conducted by United States military forces, and ended with the surrender and occupation...

 of Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

 on March 27, 1847. Following this, General Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott
Winfield Scott was a United States Army general, and unsuccessful presidential candidate of the Whig Party in 1852....

 advanced towards Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. General Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio López de Santa Anna
Antonio de Padua María Severino López de Santa Anna y Pérez de Lebrón , often known as Santa Anna or López de Santa Anna, known as "the Napoleon of the West," was a Mexican political leader, general, and president who greatly influenced early Mexican and Spanish politics and government...

, commanding Mexican
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 forces in the area, blocked Scott's march at Cerro Gordo, near Xalapa
Xalapa-Enríquez, commonly Xalapa or Jalapa, is the capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz and the name of the surrounding municipality. In the year 2005 census the city reported a population of 387,879 and the municipality of which it serves as municipal seat reported a population of...

, with more than 12,000 soldiers in a fortified defile
Defile (geography)
Defile is a geographic term for a narrow pass or gorge between mountains or hills. It has its origins as a military description of a pass through which troops can march only in a narrow column or with a narrow front...

. Represented were the remnants of the Division of the North (5,650 total: 150 Artillery, 4,000 Infantry & 1,500 Cavalry: Ampudia Brigade (3d,4th,5th & 11th Line Infantry Regiments), Vasquez Brigade (1st,2d,3d & 4th Light Infantry Regiments) and Juvera Cavalry Brigade (5th, 9th Morelia & Coraceros Cavalry Regiments), plus reinforcements from the Capitol: Rangel Brigade (6th Infantry Regiment, Grenadiers of the Guard, Libertad & Galeana Battalions, two Cavalry Squadrons & 8 guns), Pinzon Brigade, Arteaga Brigade (Puebla Activo & Natl Guards Battalions)& Canalizo Special Cavalry Division.

Army Corps of Engineers
United States Army Corps of Engineers
The United States Army Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command made up of some 38,000 civilian and military personnel, making it the world's largest public engineering, design and construction management agency...

 Capt. Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

 discovered a mountain trail around Santa Anna's position. General Scott quickly moved the main body of his command along the trail, flanking
Flanking maneuver
In military tactics, a flanking maneuver, also called a flank attack, is an attack on the sides of an opposing force. If a flanking maneuver succeeds, the opposing force would be surrounded from two or more directions, which significantly reduces the maneuverability of the outflanked force and its...

 the Mexicans. A sharp action ensued on April 18, 1847, rout
A rout is commonly defined as a chaotic and disorderly retreat or withdrawal of troops from a battlefield, resulting in the victory of the opposing party, or following defeat, a collapse of discipline, or poor morale. A routed army often degenerates into a sense of "every man for himself" as the...

ing Santa Anna's force.


The Mexicans lost 1,000 killed and wounded with an additional 3,000 men taken prisoner. United States casualties comprised 64 killed and 353 wounded. General Santa Anna, caught off guard by the Fourth Regiment of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry, was compelled to ride off without his artificial leg, which was captured and is still on display at the Illinois State Military Museum in Springfield
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...


This battle has been called "the Battle of Thermopylae
Battle of Thermopylae
The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place simultaneously with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August...

 of the West", because the use of terrain was similar to the maneuver that the Persians used to eventually defeat the Greeks. During the rout, members of the Saint Patrick's Battalion
Saint Patrick's Battalion
The Saint Patrick's Battalion , formed and led by Jon Riley, was a unit of 175 to several hundred immigrants and expatriates of European descent who fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848. Most of the battalion's members had...

 provided the Mexicans with the greatest opposition to United States forces in this battle. They had the most to fear being captured by the Americans, leading them to threaten with friendly fire fellow Mexican combatants intent on retreating or surrendering. Because of heavy artillery engagement by Americans, the battalion's members had to spend most of their time returning volley at the Americans; therefore, its unlikely that more than a few "friendly fire" incidents actually took place.

Scott moved on to Puebla
Puebla, Puebla
The city and municipality of Puebla is the capital of the state of Puebla, and one of the five most important colonial cities in Mexico. Being a planned city, it is located to the east of Mexico City and west of Mexico's main port, Veracruz, on the main route between the two.The city was founded...

, 75 miles (120 km) from Mexico City, where he halted on May 15, 1847. There were five company grade officers in Scott's corp of engineers who were of significant historical interest; Captain Robert E. Lee
Robert E. Lee
Robert Edward Lee was a career military officer who is best known for having commanded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the American Civil War....

, Captain George B. McClellan
George B. McClellan
George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. He organized the famous Army of the Potomac and served briefly as the general-in-chief of the Union Army. Early in the war, McClellan played an important role in raising a well-trained and organized army for the Union...

, Captain Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph E. Johnston
Joseph Eggleston Johnston was a career U.S. Army officer, serving with distinction in the Mexican-American War and Seminole Wars, and was also one of the most senior general officers in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War...

, Lieutenant John G. Foster
John G. Foster
John Gray Foster was a career military officer in the United States Army and a Union general during the American Civil War whose most distinguished services were in North and South Carolina. A postbellum expert in underwater demolition, he wrote the definitive treatise on the subject.-Early...

 and Lieutenant P. G. T. Beauregard
P. G. T. Beauregard
Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was a Louisiana-born American military officer, politician, inventor, writer, civil servant, and the first prominent general of the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War. Today he is commonly referred to as P. G. T. Beauregard, but he rarely used...

. All went on to serve as generals in the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...



Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
-2010 census:The 2010 census recorded a population of 44,151 in the county, with a population density of . There were 22,163 housing units, of which 19,350 were occupied.-2000 census:...

, Cerro Gordo, North Carolina
Cerro Gordo, North Carolina
Cerro Gordo is a town in Columbus County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 244 at the 2000 census. According to local legend, the town received its name from a local dignitary, who, upon seeing a fight break out at the dedication of the first railroad depot, exclaimed, "This...

 and Cerro Gordo, Illinois
Cerro Gordo, Illinois
Cerro Gordo is a village in Piatt County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,436 at the 2000 census, and 1,344 in 2009.-Geography:Cerro Gordo is located at ....

 take their names from the battle, much as Resaca, Georgia
Resaca, Georgia
Resaca is a city in Gordon County, Georgia, and Whitfield County, Georgia along the Oostanaula River. The population was 815 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Resaca is located at ....

 is named for the Battle of Resaca de la Palma
Battle of Resaca de la Palma
At the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, one of the early engagements of the Mexican-American War,United States General Zachary Taylor engaged the retreating forces of the Mexican Ejército del Norte under General Mariano Arista on May 9, 1846.-Background:During the night of May 8, following...


Sierra Gordo is one of the countries in which the fictional character G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe is a line of action figures produced by the toy company Hasbro. The initial product offering represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Action Soldier , Action Sailor , Action Pilot , Action Marine and later on, the Action Nurse...

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