AncientPages.com - On May 8, 1846, the first battle of the Mexican War was fought at Palo Alto.
The Battle of Palo Alto was the first major engagement of the Mexican-American War. The Mexican army was significantly larger than the American force; however, American superiority in weapons and training carried the day.
The battle began when General Zachary Taylor led 2,300 U.S. soldiers on a march to end the Mexican bombardment of Fort Texas.
On the way, Taylor’s men faced 3,400 Mexican troops determined to stop the advancing American force.
The Battle at Palo Alto was one of several smaller struggles between small bodies of troops along the Rio Grande, all based on disputes about Texas boundaries. As the war began, Mexican soldiers concentrated their efforts on destroying the U.S. base at Fort Texas. The battle itself was an attempt to end the siege on the fort.
Though the battle of Palo Alto lasted half a day, without a clear-cut decision for either side and had no decisive victor, it was important.
It was one of the first times an opponent had felt the full fury of American artillery. It was also a career-building war for officers newly out of West Point, like Grant, Longstreet, and Meade.
The battle was a victory for the Americans and began a long series of defeats for the beleaguered Mexican Army.
The war's successful conclusion also gave General Zachary Taylor hero status and led to a successful run at the Presidency.