Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales
|Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales|
|Part of the Mexican-American War|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Sterling Price||Angel Trias|
|Army of the West
|Casualties and losses|
Brigadier General Sterling Price, commander of U.S. forces in New Mexico, received reports of an alleged Mexican advance into New Mexico. These reports would eventually prove to be false, but in the meantime Price had moved his command to El Paso del Norte, where he received orders from the adjutant general Roger Jones to remain there and, if possible, send reinforcements to California. Despite this and scouting reports which found no evidence of any Mexican invading army, Price advanced towards the city of Chihuahua.
As he neared the site of the 1847 Battle of Sacramento, General Price encountered Mexican pickets approaching under a flag of truce. They delivered a message from Governor General Angel Trias of Chihuahua that a cease fire had been signed. Price was aware that the fighting had essentially ceased in all theaters of the war, but he refused to believe the Mexicans that peace had been made.
Resuming his march, Price occupied the city of Chihuahua. Finding that General Trias and his army had retreated southward, Price pursued. Sixty miles (100 km) south of Chihuahua, he encountered a strong Mexican position at the town of Santa Cruz de Rosales. On March 9, Price demanded the unconditional surrender of the town. When General Trias refused to comply, he laid siege and waited for the arrival of reinforcements. Little happened until March 16, when Price decided to carry the town by assault.
That morning, U.S. artillery bombarded Santa Cruz de Rosales for over two hours. Price received word that a Mexican cavalry force was in his rear and withdrew his artillery for protection. The defenders mistook this as a sign of retreat and kept up a heavy fire on the American forces. However, their aim was inaccurate, and the Mexican cavalry force turned out to be but a few men. After dispersing the counter attack, Price ordered his dismounted cavalry to capture the town. Price split his men into several storming parties and personally led one of them. Although Trias beat back attacks from the north and west, an attack from the south successfully carried the town plaza. By sundown, General Trias had surrendered.
The U.S. forces lost 14 killed and 19 wounded, while the Mexicans lost 23 enlisted men and 2 officers killed and an unknown number of wounded. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had been signed by both the United States and Mexico on February 2, 1848, and was ratified by the U.S. Congress on March 10. Therefore, Price's attack on Santa Cruz de Rosales in fact took place after the U.S. had agreed to peace, although the Mexican Congress would not ratify the treaty until March 19.
- The Cowpen Slaughter: Was there a Massacre of Mexican Soldiers at the Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales? Vol. 81, New Mexico Historical Review, page 413 (November 2006).