First Battle of Tabasco

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First Battle of Tabasco
Part of Mexican-American War
Intervención estadounidense en Tabasco 02.jpg
Mississippi, Commodore Perry's flagship during the First Battle of Tabasco.
Date October 24–26, 1846
Location Villahermosa, Tabasco
Result Mexican victory
 United States Mexico Mexico
Commanders and leaders
Matthew C. Perry
French Forrest
Juan B. Traconis
7 ships
253 landing force[1]:117
Casualties and losses
2 killed
2 wounded
2 drowned[1]:118
5 killed[1]:118
Colonel Juan Bautista Traconis, governor and military commander of Tabasco

The First Battle of Tabasco was fought during the Mexican–American War, in October 1846, in an attempt to capture cities along the Tabasco coast.[1]:117


Commodore David Conner of the Home Squadron, received orders from Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft to "exercise all the rights that belong to you as commander-in-chief of a belligerent squadron" in establishing a blockade of the Mexican east coast.[1]:108 On 14 May 1846, Conner established his base at Anton Lizardo, Veracruz and placed Veracruz, Alvarado, Tampico, and Matamoros under blockade.[1]:109 Commodore Matthew C. Perry was named as Conner's replacement in the fall of 1846, and suggested capturing "Tabasco", otherwise known as San Juan Bautista along the Tabasco River.[1]:117 On 16 Oct., Perry left Anton Lizardo with the steamboats Mississippi, Vixen and McLane and the schooners Reefer,Bonita, Nonata, and Forward.[1]:117 On 23 Oct., Perry captured Frontera and moved upriver, finding Tabasco the next morning at 9 AM.[1]:118


Lt. Col. Juan B. Traconis withdrew his 300 men from the town allowing Perry to occupy the town by 5 PM, capturing five Mexican vessels.[1]:118 However, at night, Perry recalled his landing party and Traconis's forces returned to the city, barricading themselves inside buildings.[1]:118 Traconis received a delegation of U.S. Marines who requested their surrender, but responded "Tell Commodore Perry that I would sooner die with my garrison before handing over this place."

Perry realized that a bombardment of the city was the only option to drive out the Mexican troops, but would harm noncombantants, so he decided to retreat to Frontera with his prizes.[1]:118 On the morning of October 26, the Mexicans started firing on Perry's ships who replied in kind.[1]:118 As the U.S. troops began to bombard the town, the flagpole of the Mexican headquarters was shot though and fell. The Americans, believing that this signalled a surrender, stopped firing and sent a delegation to investigate, receiving the same answer as before from Traconis, who then fixed the flagpole to the tower of the Church, and the battle recommenced, continuing until evening. The foreign merchants asked for a ceasefire, which Perry complied with, but when one of his prizes was grounded and then fired upon, Perry once again returned fire, while continuing on to Frontera.[1]:118


Perry established a naval blockade with the McLane and Forward.[1]:119 The success, after many preceding failures, boosted the morale of the navy.[1]:119

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Bauer, K. J., 1974, The Mexican War, 1846-1848, New York: Macmillan, ISBN 0-80-326107-1

Additional reading[edit]

Nevin, David, ed. (1978). The Old West: The Mexican War. Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books. 

Bauer, K. Jack (1974). The Mexican-American War 1846-1848. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 

"Roll of Honor - U.S. Casualties of Naval Actions in the War with Mexico". Descendants of Mexican War Veterans. 2002. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 

External links[edit]

"A Continent Divided: The U.S.-Mexico War". The Center for Greater Southwestern Studies, The University of Texas Arlington. 

Coordinates: 17°59′21″N 92°55′41″W / 17.98917°N 92.92806°W / 17.98917; -92.92806