First Battle of Mora
|First Battle of Mora|
|Part of the Taos Revolt
|Commanders and leaders|
|Capt. Israel R. Hendley†|
|Casualties and losses|
The First Battle of Mora was part of the Taos Revolt and the Mexican-American War, between United States Army troops and New Mexican militia. It took place in January 1847 in and around the village of Mora, New Mexico.
The rebellion began with the capture and subsequent execution of a group of eight American merchants  traveling to Missouri. On 20 January 1847, Capt. Hendley learned of the insurrection while in command of the grazing detachment along the Pecos River, and took possession of Las Bagas with 250 men, where the insurgents were beginning to gather.:141 On 22 Jan., Capt. Hendley learned that the insurgents had gathered a force of about two hundred men in Mora, where he headed with 80 of his men, the rest stayed behind in Las Bagas.:141
On 24 Jan., Capt. Hendley arrived in Mora and "found a body of Mexicans under arms, prepared to defend the town.":141 His men were attacked by the Mexicans who fired from the windows and loop-holes of their houses.:141 While pursuing the rebels into and old fort, Capt. Hendley was shot and killed.:141 The Americans then retired, lacking artillery.:141
Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke, a member of the Army of the West, reports the battle thus: “At the handsome village of Mora, eighteen miles west of the present [as of 1878] Fort Union, eight Americans were murdered. January 22d, Capt. Hendley, Second Missouri Volunteers, marched there from Vegas the 24th, with eighty men; he found it occupied by above one hundred and fifty men; he engaged with a number, attempting to enter the town, who were supported by a sally; he then assaulted the town; he penetrated from house to house, some of which were destroyed and into one end of their fort, where he was killed and several were wounded. Lieut. McKarney then – apprehending the return of from three hundred to five hundred men, who had left there that day for Pueblo – withdrew, and marched back to Las Vegas, with fifteen prisoners; he reported fifteen to twenty of the enemy slain.”
The Americans would return for revenge in the Second Battle of Mora.
- Hughes, J.T., 1847, Doniphan's Expedition, Cincinnati: U.P. James
- Lavender, David, Bent's Fort, Doubleday and Company, Inc., Garden City, NY 1954 p. 285
- Cooke, Philip St. George (1964). The Conquest of New Mexico and California, an Historical and Personal Narrative. Albuquerque, NM: Horn and Wallace. p. 122.
- Twitchell, Ralph Emerson, The History of the Military Occupation of the Territory of New Mexico from 1846 to 1851, Denver, Colorado: The Smith-Brooks Company Publishers, 1909
- Herrera, Carlos R., New Mexico Resistance to U.S. Occupation, published in The Contested Homeland, A Chicano History of New Mexico, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2000
- Niles' National Register, NNR 72.081, April 10, 1847, available at