Siege of Puebla, Mexico in 1847

September 14–0ctober 12, 1847

The Siege of Puebla took place from September 14 to October 12, 1847, and included engagements between the United States and Mexico, during the Mexican-American War. The outcome of the siege was an American victory, allowing U.S. forces to retain control of Puebla.

Siege of Puebla, 1847, American Troops Fight Mexicans

This illustration depicts American troops fighting the Mexicans from inside their defensive positions during the siege. Image Source: U.S. Army Military History.

Siege of Puebla Facts

  • Date — September 14–0ctober 12, 1847.
  • Location — Puebla, Mexico.
  • Opponents — United States of America and Mexico.
  • American Commanders — Thomas Childs, Joseph Lane.
  • Mexican Commanders — Antonio López de Santa Anna, Joaquín Rea.
  • Winner — The United States won the Siege of Puebla.

Key Moments

  • In May 1847, U.S. forces took control of Puebla.
  • In August, Mexican forces started harassing the American garrison.
  • U.S. forces entered Mexico City on September 14, 1847.
  • Mexican troops stormed the city on the night of September 13–14 and forced the Americans to take defensive positions.
  • The Americans refused to surrender and maintained their defensive positions through several Mexican assaults.
  • On October 9, American reinforcements arrived and forced their way into the city on October 10, ending the Siege of Puebla.
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Portrait, Illustration
Antonio López de Santa Anna. Image Source: New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Siege of Puebla Significance

The Siege of Puebla was important to the outcome of the Mexican-American War because the American victory allowed U.S. forces to retain control of Puebla and ended organized Mexican resistance in the region.

Siege of Puebla Overview and History

The Mexican army laid siege to U.S. forces occupying Puebla, Mexico for a month after General Winfield Scott won the Battle of Chapultepec and captured Mexico City. This siege lasted from September 14 to October 12, 1847.

U.S. Forces at Puebla

In May 1847, U.S. forces led by Brigadier General William J. Worth took control of Puebla, which was located on the National Road that connected Veracruz and Mexico City. The National Road was vital to U.S. communication and supplies, and several garrisons were established. Puebla was about halfway between Veracruz and Mexico City, and the garrison was under the command of Colonel Thomas Childs.

Mexicans Harass Puebla

In August, Mexican forces led by Brigadier General Joaquín Rea started to harass the Americans in and around Puebla. The Mexicans targeted supply trains and destroyed the aqueduct, disrupting the city’s water supply. On August 25, Mexican forces captured a significant portion of the garrison’s livestock, which threatened the food supply of Childs’ men.

Americans Refuse to Surrender

Roughly three weeks later, on the night of September 13–14, Mexican forces stormed the city. American forces concentrated in three locations:

  1. The convent.
  2. Fort Loretto.
  3. San Jose citadel.

September 16 and 18

On September 16, Rea asked Childs to surrender, but he refused. Rea responded by sending his dragoons to assault the San José citadel, where American troops were located. The attack failed, and Rea tried a second attack on September 18. Both Mexican charges were pushed back by heavy fire from American artillery.

September 22

General Antonio López de Santa Anna and his forces reached Puebla on September 22. Santa Anna intended to recapture Puebla and turn the tide of the war in favor of Mexico. He launched another attack, which failed, and the Siege of Puebla continued.

September 27

The Mexicans demanded the surrender of the U.S. forces, but Childs continued to refuse. On the 27th, Santa Anna launched a series of attacks that lasted for 5 days, but the Americans were able to hold their positions.

Santa Anna Shifts to the East

Heavy rains damaged the roads from Mexico City to Puebla, which kept General Scott from sending U.S. reinforcements to help Childs. However, American troops were assembling at Veracruz to march west to Puebla.

Winfield Scott, General, Mexican-American War
General Winfield Scott (USA). Image Source: Yale University Library.

Santa Anna responded by moving his forces to the east side of Puebla, where he intended to engage the U.S. reinforcements. When Childs saw the reduction in Mexican troops in the city, he carried out a series of small but successful attacks on Mexican forces.

Lane Leads Reinforcements

Major General Joseph Lane led the American relief column from Veracruz with 1,700 men. As he marched toward Puebla, he gathered troops from various garrisons, which boosted the strength of his force to nearly 3,000 men.

October 9

Santa Anna engaged Lane on October 9, just outside Huamantla, northeast of Puebla, along the northern branch of the National Road. Major Samuel H. Walker led a series of cavalry charges that drove the Mexicans back, forcing them to flee. 

Walker was mortally wounded and when the news of his injuries spread through the ranks, Lane’s men sacked Huamantla.

October 12

On the morning of October 10, Lane’s forces continued their advance towards Puebla. Two days later, they reached the city and confronted the remaining Mexican forces under Rea’s command outside the city. After a brief battle, Lane drove the Mexicans from the field. That afternoon, Lane reached the American garrison in Puebla, ending the 28-day siege.

Casualties

The American forces, led by both Childs and Lane, suffered 22 deaths, 52 wounded soldiers, and 11 missing. The exact number of Mexican casualties from the Siege of Puebla is unknown.

Aftermath

Following the siege, Mexican forces carried out guerrilla raids in the area for a few weeks. Lane responded by carrying out attacks on Mexican villages that supported the guerrillas.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations, including APA Style, Chicago Style, and MLA Style.

  • Article Title Siege of Puebla, Mexico in 1847
  • Date September 14–0ctober 12, 1847
  • Author
  • Keywords Siege of Puebla, Mexican-American War, Thomas Childs, Joseph Lane, Antonio López de Santa Anna, Joaquín Rea
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date June 16, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update December 11, 2023

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