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Battle of Resaca de la Palma
Part of Mexican-American War
Genl. Taylor at the battle of Resaca de la Palma (Currier & Ives).jpg
General Taylor at the battle of Resaca de la Palma (Currier & Ives
DateMay 9, 1846
Locationnear Brownsville, Texas
Result United States victory
United States United States Mexico Mexico
Commanders and leaders
United States Zachary Taylor Mexico Mariano Arista
1,700[1] 4,000[1]
Casualties and losses
33 killed
89 wounded[1]
154 killed
205 wounded
156 captured
8 artillery pieces captured (U.S. claim 6-6 lbs & 2-12 lbs) and 367 muskets(78 broken), 31 cavalry muskets (13 broken), 20 swords, 18 lances,2 cavalry guidons, 100 cartridge boxes.

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 ("Army of the North") under General Mariano Arista on May 9, 1846.


During the night of May 8, following disappointments at the Battle of Palo Alto, Arista chose to withdraw to the more defensible position of Resaca de la Palma, a dry riverbed (resaca is the Spanish term for a dry riverbed), and establish himself while waiting for Taylor's next move. On the morning of May 9, Taylor's 1,700 troops engaged a Mexican force which had increased to 4,000 with Arista's reinforcements. Mexican Order of Battle: Right Wing ( Zapadores Battalion,2d Light, 1st, 6th & 10th Infantry and one Artillery Battery Capt. J.D. Ramirez) Left Wing (Guarda Costa Tampico Battalion (cdr. J. Mateos)) Canales Ranchero cavalry and one Artillery Battery ), Rear ( 2d Light (lt. Col. M. Fernandez) 4th Infantry ( Lt. Col. Calatayud) ) Arista's carefully laid plans for engaging the Americans at Resaca were, however, somewhat diluted because of political infighting in the Mexican officer corps and the difficulty in communicating in the rough terrain of the battlefield.


Resistance on the part of the Mexicans was stiff, and the U.S. forces nearly suffered a reverse before a force of Dragoons commanded by Charles A. May surprised the flank of the Mexican lines and forced a retreat. Two counter-attacks on the American position were defeated, and the Mexican Army fled the field, leaving behind a number of artillery pieces, Arista's writing desk and silver service, the colors of Mexico's lauded Tampico Battalion, and other baggage. U.S. forces also captured several Mexican artillery pieces, including two 8 pounder bronze guns, two 6 pounder bronze guns and four 4 pounder bronze guns.[2]


The resulting embarrassment as a near victory turned into a defeat caused the removal of Arista as commander of the Army of the North and a serious reassessment of Mexican strategy. Corruption and infighting in the Mexican government failed to produce a cohesive strategy for much of the fighting, despite increased skill and success on the part of the Mexican Army.

Monument to the Battle of Resaca de la Palma on Flirtation Walk at West Point.

The battle site is in the city limits of present day Brownsville, Texas.


See also



  • Bauer, K. Jack The Mexican War, 1846–1848
  • Grant, U.S. Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant, Vol. I, pp 65–69, ISBN 0-940450-58-5
  • Appendix To The Congressional Globe, 29th Cong...1st Session

External links

Coordinates: 25°56′15″N 97°29′10″W / 25.9374°N 97.4862°W / 25.9374; -97.4862

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