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First Battle of Tabasco
Part of Mexican-American War
Intervención estadounidense en Tabasco 02.jpg
Mississippi, Commodore Perry's flagship during the First Battle of Tabasco.
DateOctober 24–26, 1846
LocationVillahermosa, Tabasco
Result Mexican victory
 United States Mexico Mexico
Commanders and leaders
Matthew C. Perry Juan B. Traconis
7 ships
500 (landing force)
Casualties and losses
2 killed
2 wounded
2 drowned
50 killed & wounded

The First Battle of Tabasco was fought during the Mexican–American War, in October 1846.


The battle was part of the efforts of the Home Fleet of the United States Navy to blockade the main Mexican ports in the Gulf of Mexico.


Colonel Juan Bautista Traconis, governor and military commander of Tabasco

Commodore Matthew Perry led a detachment of seven vessels along the coast of the Mexican state of Tabasco. He arrived at the Tabasco River (now the Grijalva River) on 22 October and seized the town of Frontera and two ships. Leaving a small garrison behind, he advanced with his troops towards the city of San Juan Bautista (today Villahermosa).

Perry arrived in the city on 24 October, seizing five Mexican vessels. Colonel Juan Bautista Traconis, governor and military commander of Tabasco lacked the strength to fight the invading forces, so fled. However, at night, Traconis's forces returned to the city, barricading themselves inside buildings. Traconis received a delegation of U.S. Marines who requested their surrender, but responded "Tell Commodore Perry that I would sooner die with my garrison before handing over this place."

Perry realized that a bombardment of the city was the only option to drive out the Mexican troops, and withdrew his forces to prepare them for the attack. On the morning of October 26, as Perry's troops prepared to launch their assault, the Mexican forces began firing. As the U.S troops began to bombard the town, the flagpole of the Mexican headquarters was shot though and fell. The Americans, believing that this signalled a surrender, stopped firing and sent a delegation to investigate, receiving the same answer as before from Traconis, who then fixed the flagpole to the tower of the Church, and the battle recommenced, continuing until evening.

Unable to capture the city, Perry decided to leave and return to Frontera, where he established a naval blockade.

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Coordinates: 17°59′21″N 92°55′41″W / 17.98917°N 92.92806°W / 17.98917; -92.92806

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