The Mexican War: 21 Facts

It was a war that is often looked upon as a backseat in comparison to other wars the United States has been in. But if the outcome to this war would have been different, the United States would not be and look as it is today.

I call it the Mexican War here but it is also known as the Mexican American War and in Mexico, it is called American Intervention In Mexico (Intervención Americana en México).

In this post, we are going to look at 21 facts you may not know about the Mexican War.

Mexican War Fact #1: Under 2 Years

The Mexican War started in 1846 and ended in 1848.

Mexican War Fact #2: Annexation Of Texas

The primary reason for the War was because the United States annexed Texas and Mexico believed it to be their property.

Mexican War Fact #3: Number Of American Troops

The number of U.S. troops deployed were just under 80,000.

Mexican War Fact #4: The United States Tried To Purchase Land First

Before the War began, President Polk had sent a diplomat to offer Mexico $25,000,000 for Mexican territories in New Mexico and California. Mexico refused and Polk ordered troops to just take the land.

Mexican War Fact #5: The United States Did Not Lose Any Major Battles

There were many small conflicts during this War but there were only about 10 major battles. The United States did not lose any of those battles.

Mexican War Fact #6: Primary Commanders

The primary commanders during the Mexican War were:

United States

  • Zachary Taylor
  • Winfield Scott
  • and Stephen Kearney


  • Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna
  • Jose Maria Flores
  • Mariano Arista
  • and Pedro de Ampudia

Mexican War Fact #7: Were They Traitors Or POWs?

There was a group of Irish soldiers called Saint Patrick’s Battalion who were with the United States and soon after, were fighting for Mexico. Some claim they deserted while others say they were captured and forced to fight for Mexico.

Most stand with the traitor side since Mexico honors this Battalion with Memorials and Statues.

Mexican War Fact #8: Foreign

The Mexican War was the first United States War fought in foreign lands. California, New Mexico, parts of Texas and Mexico were all foreign.

Mexican War Fact #9: Santa Anna Returns From Cuba

Many do not know, but Santa Anna was living in exile in Cuba. He told President Polk that if he was allowed to return to Mexico, he would end the War quickly in favor of the United States.

Santa Anna lied and took control of the Mexican Army.

Mexican War Fact #10: Mexico City

Major General Winfield Scott took his troops to Mexico City and captured the capital quite easily.

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Mexican War Fact #10: Treaty Of Guadalupe Hidalgo

In 1848, Mexico and the United States signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico released 2/5ths of its land and the United States gave Mexico $15,000,000.

Mexican War Fact #11: Civil War Greats

Some of the great Civil War leaders first fought in the Mexican War. These included:

  • Ulysses S. Grant
  • Robert E. Lee
  • George Meade
  • Stonewall Jackson
  • George McClellan
  • and George Pickett

Mexican War Fact #12: Disease Was The Biggest Killer

While many soldiers did die from battle wounds, many more died from diseases. The primary killers were:

  • yellow fever
  • smallpox
  • malaria
  • cholera
  • dysentery
  • diarrhea
  • and measles

Mexican War Fact #13: Front Line News

During the Mexican War, citizens were kept up to date on the happenings via telegraph lines. Reporters wired the news for papers to print.

Mexican War Fact #14: The Last Mexican War Veteran

The last living Mexican War veteran was Owen Thomas Edgar who lived to 98 years old and died on September 3, 1929.

Mexican War Fact #15: President Santa Anna

During the Mexican War, the Mexican government was in disarray. In 1847, Santa Anna took over the Presidency.

Mexican War Fact #16: Superior Weaponry

The United States had a strong advantage in weaponry. Mexican soldiers used surplus British Muskets while American soldiers had superior Caplock muskets. They also packed the Colt Paterson revolvers and later in the War, the Colt Walker revolvers entered.

Mexican War Fact #17: Abraham Lincoln Was Against The Mexican War

The young Illinois Senator stood against many critics when he said the Mexican War was another way to gain slave territory. Lincoln was called a traitor because of his stance.

Mexican War Fact #18: The Hero Children

They are honored throughout Mexico… During the Battle of Chapultepec, 6 Mexican Cadets (children) died while trying to fight the Americans. This Battle is also the first major battle for the United State’s Marines.

Mexican War Fact #19: Santa Anna Exiles Elsewhere

Santa Anna had come from exile in Cuba and he left the War in exile in Venezuela.

Mexican War Fact #20: Desertion And Fighting Within

One of the main reasons the Mexican Army could not stand against American forces was the high rate of desertion. Also there was strong political opinions that caused soldiers to fight against each other instead of the Americans.

Mexican War Fact #21: Quote From One Of The Leaders And President Of Mexico from 1877 to 1911

General Porfirio Díaz said something that resonated with many Mexican citizens:

¡Pobre México! Tan lejos de Dios, y tan cerca de los Estados Unidos.” which means Poor Mexico! So far from God, and so close to the United States.”

Final Thoughts

Many historians looking back at the political turmoil over the Mexican War say that it was the prelude to the Civil War. So many political divisions took place and the root was slavery.

If this war would have turned out differently, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, and parts of Texas could very well be Mexican owned.

While war is not pretty or always politically correct, it is history. We cannot erase it and because of this War, we gained so much more territory.

Was it right? You tell me.

Let’s hear your thoughts and opinions below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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