About Publications Library Archives
Credit: Library of Congress
Media type: engraving
Museum Number: LC-USZC4-6207
Annotation: In September of 1847, US military forces led 13,000 soldiers in an attack against 4,000 Mexican Army regulars and some 400 Mexican Army cadets at Chapultepec Castle, just south of Mexico City. The ensuing American victory is immortalized in the first lines of the US Marine Hymn, referred to as “the Halls of Montezuma”. The conflict also provided valuable battle experience to several American soldiers who would later play prominent roles in the Civil War, such as Robert E. Lee and George Pickett. The defense of Chapultepec served to create several folk heroes still honored in Mexico today. Included in this group are the controversial St. Patrick’s Battalion (el Batallón de San Patricio), a group of American soldiers who chose to aid the Mexican defense and who were executed at the battle. Chapultepec castle is also home to a large memorial for Los Niños Héroes, a group of six Mexican cadets who refused to follow orders to retreat and defended the castle with their lives; the last boy leaping from the battlements wrapped in the Mexican flag, in an effort to prevent its capture by American forces.