Siege of Querétaro

The siege of Querétaro was the culminating battle of the Second French intervention in Mexico and the Second Mexican Empire. It took place between Republican and Imperial armies from 6 March to 15 May 1867.

Siege of Querétaro
Part of the Second French intervention in Mexico
AHPFMB-AF 010.jpg
Republican militiamen entering Queretaro
Date6 March to 15 May 1867
Location
Result Mexican Republican victory
Belligerents
Mexico Mexican Republicans Mexico Mexican Empire
Commanders and leaders
Mariano Escobedo Maximilian I  (POW)
Miguel Miramón  (POW)
Leonardo Márquez
Tomás Mejía  (POW)
Units involved
42,000 10,000
Casualties and losses
2,000 9,400

After the French departed, the remaining Imperial forces were concentrated in the center of the country. Maximilian decided on heading to Querétaro City, while a remaining force was left at the capital. Republican forces arrived at Queretaro on March 5th, after which the siege began. The imperialists held off and won some skirmishes, before the increasing Republican forces made them contemplate an attempt at breaking the lines and heading for the coast. This plan was thwarted however, when Miguel López opened the gates of the town to the enemy after which the imperialists were overwhelmed.

Maximilian and his generals were captured and tried, being condemned to death. On the morning of June 19 at the Cerro de las Campanas Maximilian, alongside his generals Miguel Miramón and Tomás Mejía, was executed by firing squad.[1]

BattleEdit

Maximilian joined the army at Queretaro along with Minister Manuel García Aguirre, Leonardo Marquez, and Miguel López with the sum of fifty thousand pesos, with sixteen hundred men and twelve cannons. [2] Maximilian reached Queretaro on February 19th, and was received by enthusiasm Miramon and the other generals who held a formal reception for the emperor. [3]

A few days after his arrival a review of the troops was held, showing 9,000 men with 39 cannon, including about 600 Frenchmen, Miramon was placed at the head of the infantry, of which Castillo and Casanova received each a division, Mendez assuming command of the reserve brigade, in which Miguel Lopez served as colonel, Mejia became chief of the cavalry, Reyes of engineers, and Arellano of the artillery. To, Marquez, chief of the general staff, was accorded the foremost place, to the indignity of Miramon.[4] Maximilian, Miramon, Marquez, Mejia, and Mendez became known as the five magic M’s of the Empire. [5]

In the first council of war that had been held on February 22nd, it had been agreed to fight the Republicans at once, before their combined forces became too strong, but ultimately this strategy, which historian Bancroft suggests could have achieved victory, was rejected at the behest of Marquez. [6] As the liberals began to surround Queretaro, Marquez then suggested to flee to Mexico City, still held by the Imperialists, gather their forces and face the liberal armies in one final decisive battle, but this was deemed as impractical. [7]

On March 5th, the Republican forces came into view of the defenders at Queretaro, and began to prepare for a siege. [8] After the fighting had begun Marquez once again brought up his plan of retreating to Mexico City, but Miramon and others strongly opposed it. Miramon planned to lead a counter attack to recover the hill of San Gregorio on March 17th. When the time arrived however, a false alarm arose that the Imperialist headquarters were under attack, leading to the assulat on San Gregorio to be put off. [9]

Miramon now expressed his support for a plan to destroy the Western positions of the Republicans therefore providing a way to retreat if needed. [10] Marquez was assigned to go to Mexico City to seek reinforcements. [11] Miramon was assigned to provide a distraction and on March 22nd he led an expedition down the valley, which captured a quantity of provisions. Marquez was able to depart during the night with 1200 horsemen and Miramon now became the leading general at Queretaro. [12]

After the Imperialists repulsed another Republican assault, leaving the latter with 2000 deaths, Miramon, during an award ceremony, took one of the medals and asked to decorate the Emperor for his conduct during the battle, which Maximilian accepted, and would go on the wear as the most valued of his decorations. [13]

On April 1st Miramon led a counter attack to the hill of San Gregorio, but lack of reinforcements left the attack without any decisive results. [14]

As any news of Marquez failed to arrive, a mission was sent to Mexico City to see what happened. Miramon urged Maximilian to leave as well but, the latter chose to stay. [15] The mission failed, and now leading officers outright urged surrender. [16]

The Imperialists now planned to fight their way out of Queretaro, and as preparation Miramon planned an attack on the Cimatario Hill on April 27th, to which he advanced with 2000 men. The Imperialist repulsed the Republican forces, dispersing thousands and taking 500 prisoners, but the Imperialists squandered vital time planning their next move, and Republican reserves arrived to provide a defeat. [17]

The Imperialists now sought to break through the enemy lines and seek refuge in the mountain range of the Sierra Gorda, and possibly reach the coast. The operation was scheduled to take place on May 15th. [18]

Unfortunately for the Imperialists, before these plans were carried out they were betrayed by Colonel Miguel Lopez, and on the night of May 14th , he opened the gates of Queretaro to the Republican forces in exchange for a sum of gold. [19] Republican troops quickly overwhelmed the city and Miramon, Mejia, and Maximilian were taken prisoner.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ RIVA PALACIOS, Vicente (1940). México á través de los siglos: historia general y completa del desenvolvimiento social, político, religioso, militar, artístico, científico y literario de México desde a antigüedad más remota hasta la época actual; obra, única en su género. (G. S. López edición). México.
  2. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 272.
  3. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 273.
  4. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 274.
  5. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 275.
  6. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. pp. 276–277.
  7. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 277.
  8. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 277.
  9. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 285.
  10. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 286.
  11. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 287.
  12. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 288.
  13. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 290.
  14. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 291.
  15. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 292.
  16. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 293.
  17. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. pp. 294–295.
  18. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 298.
  19. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe. History of Mexico VI:1861-1887. New York: The Bancroft Company. p. 300.

Coordinates: 20°35′17″N 100°23′17″W / 20.5881°N 100.3881°W / 20.5881; -100.3881