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The Battle of Contreras, also known as the Battle of Padierna, took place during August 19–20, 1847, in the final encounters of the Mexican-American War. In the Battle of Churubuscomarker, fighting continued the following day.


During the march on Mexico Citymarker, the U.S. army under Major General Winfield Scott found its way north blocked by a strong Mexican force at the "el peñon" (near the current airport of Mexico City). Scott settled down at "peña pobre" on the southwest of Mexico City, and from Zacatepet hill, sent a force west across the "pedregal", a lava field, to the town of San Jerónimo to flank the Valencia's Mexican position at "Rancho Padierna", on Contreras. Mexican commander and President Antonio López de Santa Anna dispatched the "Army of the North" of about 5,000 soldiers under Gabriel Valencia to flank the Americans. The Battle of Contreras or Padierna began on August 19 of 1847, and culminated at dawn on August 20, on the outskirts of Mexico City, at Padierna, among the neighborhoods of San Ángel, Contreras and Tlalpan (currently in the area between San Jerónimo, the neighborhood Heroes of Padierna, Anzaldo Dam in the periphery, and the area that today is ironically called "Placid Gardens" in Mexico City). Popular belief generally regarded this battle as a minor one, fought absurdly by the Mexican leadership. Even with the betrayals and quarrels dividing the leadership, there was no doubt as to the courage of the fighters in the field, and it was a battle that, if it had been well planned by the leadership of the Mexican side, could have changed significantly the last days of the war.


The U.S. attacked and routed Valencia's Army of the North at Contreras. Participating in the attack was Brigadier General Franklin Pierce leading a brigade of regulars. During the fighting Pierce was seriously wounded when his horse fell on him. The Mexican battalions formed part of the remains of the Northern Division (under the command of General Gabriel Valencia), the cavalry of Guanajuato, the forces of General Frontera (died in battle), the guerrilla of Reina (originally from the village of Contreras), and the reinforcement of General Perez from Santa Anna's army.


With the rout of Valencia, the main Mexican position at San Antonio fell back to Churubusco. After the U.S. forces took San Antonio, they began to merge with the forces from Contreras for a further attack on Churubusco.


  • Nevin, David; editor The Mexican War (1978)
  • Gen. Winfield Scott's official report of the battle
  • Alcara, Ramon et al. "Apuntes Para la Historia de la Guerra entre Mexico y los Estados Unidos", Mexico City.
  • Ramsey, Albert C. "The Other Side", New York, John Wiley, 1850.
  • Prieto, Guillermo. "Apuntes históricos"
  • Frías, Heriberto. "La batalla de Padierna"

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