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Gen Scott Winfield, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 615

Essay

General  Winfield Scott was to command the campaign to invade Mexico city.  He was provided with 12,000 troops at his command.  This all took place in the American / Mexican civil war against Mexican General  Antonio Santa Anna.  Scott led the first major US troops amphibious landing at the siege of Veracruz.  The battle lasted some 20 days resulting in the Mexican Army finally surrendering.  Scott established  a small garrison there of 8500 men, and then proceeded inland.  It was later that he discovered the 12,000 man army of General Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo.  Although extremely outnumbered, one of his engineers, a certain Robert E. Lee, was able to flank.  Santa Anna, by the discovery of a mountain trail.  The American army routed the Mexicans and inflicted over 4000 casualties.

The advancement into Mexican territory continued with the move to Molino Del Ray where a fierce battle took place resulting  in the destruction of the Mexican ammunitions factory.  This brought Scott to within 5 miles of Mexico City and the storming of Chapullepec Castle.  The Americans pounded the castle with cannon fire and laid siege to it.  In the battles that followed,  it included the howitzer division led by a young lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant. After six fierce battles  Scott accomplished the mission.  This was extremely impressive, given the large numbers that opposed him.  The successful campaign is an integral part of Army officer training today. (Hickman, 2010).

General  Winfield Scott was one of the longest-serving officers in the army and was known as old fuss and feathers or the grand old man of the army.  (New World Encyclopedia, 2008).  He was rated as one of the most adept commanders in the American army at that time.  In the Mexican/American war, Zachary Taylor commanded the northern army, and Scott the southern army.  It was the amphibious landing of troops at Vera Cruz that was emulated by officers in subsequent wars;  in particular the  war in the Pacific against the Japanese.  Scott led a tough campaign and broke numerous articles of war, including the hangings at Churubusco.  He also frequently complained about the division of command between Taylor and himself.  Cartoonists lampooned Scott in this regard.  Despite Scott’s political ambitions failing he later became promoted to Lt. General and only George Washington previously held that military rank.

At the end of a daring five-month campaign against the Mexican army, Scott was ultimately replaced because of problems he had with junior officers.  Scott was a very colourful character, and according to author John Ehle ” Future US Pres. Andrew Jackson and Winfield Scott once agreed to a duel. Meeting at the appointed place and time both were convinced of the other’s courage, so the deal was ultimately called off”  (Anon, 2010).  When the medal of honour came into being in 1862 Scott tried to kill off the idea as he was opposed to the award of medals for heroism.  Another example of his strong and emphatic beliefs.

Historians and military leaders viewed Scott’s campaign to capture Mexico City as a classic military campaign.  Mainly for the amphibious landing assault, which was a new concept at the time.  Equally for his ability to create a foothold in enemy territory by the creation of the garrison at Vera Cruz to pursue a military campaign, winning numerous battles against formidable odds.  His strategies and tactics being adopted at such famous military academies as West Point in the US.

Works Cited

Anon. (2010). Winfield Scott. Retrieved 3 30, 2010, from About North Georgia: http://ngeorgia.com/ang/Winfield_Scott

Hickman, K. (2010). Mexican-American War: To the Halls of Montezuma. Retrieved 3 30, 2010, from about.com: http://militaryhistory.about.com/od/mexicanamericanwar/a/MexicanScott.htm

New World Encyclopedia. (2008, 4 21). Scott, Winfield. Retrieved 3 30, 2010, from New World Encyclopedia: http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Winfield_Scott

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