Mexican War, 1846 to 1848

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The Mexican War (also known as the Mexican-American War, the First American Intervention, and the U.S.–Mexican War) resulted from the annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845. Thirty-five thousand U.S. Army troops and 73,000 state volunteers fought in this war. Most volunteer regiments were from southern states, such as Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri, and Texas. The war took place from April 25,1846 to February 2, 1848.

War with Mexico was declared on May 13, 1846. However, units of sol-
diers were organized in Texas in the fall of 1845. Volunteer units were organized from 24 states, California, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia. One unit was composed of Indians and one of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints-the Mormon Battalion.

Map of the United States in June of 1846.

Chronology of Major Events

25 Apr 1846 U.S. and Mexican forces clashed at the Nueces River. The small American forces were defeated.
13 May 1846
U.S. Congress declared war on Mexico.
8 May 1846 The battle of Palo Alto occurred about eight miles northeast of Brownsville, Texas. U.S. forces, led by Major General Zachary Taylor, were victorious.
9 May 1846 Taylor's forces defeated the Mexican Army in Cameron County, near Brownville, Texas.
22 Feb1847 U.S. forces successfully defended possession of a narrow mountain pass near Buena Vista, in northeastern Mexico.
17 Apr 1847 The Mexican Army under the leadership of Santa Ana, lost possession of a mountain pass, Cerro Gordo, near Jalapa,Mexico.
20 Aug 1847 American forces overtook the village of Churubusco, six miles south of Mexico City.
12 Sep 1847 General Scott led a successful attack against Chapultepec, a fortified hill guarding the gates of Mexico City.
14 Sep 1847 American troops entered Mexico City.
2 Feb 1848 The peace treaty was signed. Mexico gave the territories of California, New Mexico, and the Rio Grande region to the United States.

Statistical Summary - number of troops who served

Type of Troops Number
Regular Army 30,954
Volunteers 73,776
Navy 7,500
Total Troops 112,230

The U.S. Department of Defense estimated the total number serving as 78,718. (2)

Statistical Summary - Casulaties

Type of Casulties Number
Battle Deaths 1,733
Other Deaths 11,550
Wounds 4,152

States and Territories

States and Territories that existed during the war.

Additional State Records

The Mexican War was fought before these states existed, however, these states have information specific to their area on individuals that served in the war.

Research Tools

Military Records: Pre-WWI Pension Applications (16 minute online video) FamilySearch Research Classes Online, 2010.


  • U.S. Mexican War (Descendants of Mexican War Veterans) - maps,timeline, military units, statistics of the war and more.

Additional Sources for Further Reading

Chidsey, Donald Barr. The War with Mexico. (New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1968).

Merk, Frederick. History of the Westward Movement. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980). Chapter 39. FHL book 973 H2me.

Oberly, James W. "Military Bounty Land Warrants of the Mexican War." Prologue, vol. 14 (Spring 1982) p. 25-34.

Singletary, Otis A. The Mexican War. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960).

Weber, Gustavus A. The Bureau of Pensions: Its History, Activities and Organization. (Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press, 1923). FHL book 973 B4b v. 24.

Weems, John Edward. To Conquer a Peace: The War Between the United States and Mexico. (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc. 1974).

Williams, T. Harry. The History of American Wars: From Colonial Times to World War I. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1981).

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