Capture of Tucson was the United States attack on the Mexican city of
Tucson, Sonora, now the
present day Tucson, Arizona.
would be combatants were provisional Mexican Army
troops and the American Mormon Battalion
in December 1846.
The Mexican-American War
after Thornton's Defeat
This same year the Mormon
dispatched across the Great Western
.The U.S. force included, commander Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke
. Eighty-four women and children were also
present during the advance across Arizona.
Marching northwest to Tucson in November of the said year, the
battalion fought their only battle in Arizona. Between wild
which attacked them near the San Pedro River
. After the "Battle
of the Bulls", as it is known, the force moved on to the
outskirts of Tucson, where they expected to fight the Mexican
garrison of Fort Tucson, a former
Mexican force consisted of around 200 men, most likely infantry and cavalry plus
two small brass cannons,
as well as an unknown force of men from the garrisons of Tubac, Santa Cruz and Fronteras.
On December 16, 1846,
the American enlisted men of the Mormon Battalion arrived at the
end of Tucson, to attack the town's garrison.
The Mexican Captain Antonio Comaduron
had received short
warning of the approaching Americans. At first he was reluctant to
surrender the presidio. But eventually after watching the advancing
United States force and seeing it's number of fighting men, Captain
Comaduron decided to withdrawal without fighting. After advising
many civilians to abandon Tucson with him.
Mexicans retreated to San Xavier just as the Americans began their assault to take
No fighting occurred, as soon as the colonels
entered Tucson, they began to assure the frightened and staring
population of their friendly intentions. A twenty-eight star
American flag flew over Tucson for the first time. Many of the
Mormon men were interested in trade.
Lieutenant Colonel Cooke's soldiers had been low on food so the
Mexicans and Pimas bartered meat and bread for cloth, buttons and
pins, but only a little food was transferred to the Mormons through
trade. Several thousand bushels of grain were left behing by the
Mexican garrison, the Mormons took this and on the next day of
December 17, proceeded onto San Jaxier. The only shots fired had
been from one picket who mistook approaching Mexican civilians for
soldiers and fired. Noone was killed or wounded.
under one of the Philip Cooke were spotted five miles before the
mission town, prompting the Mexican Army to retreat again,
south towards the Tubac presidio.
The Mormons then ended
their occupation and continued on their march across the desert.
Tucson would officially become an American city ten years later in
1856, after the Gadsden
- Smith, Justin Harvey. The War with Mexico. 2 vol
(1919). Pulitzer Prize winner. full text online.
- Harte, John Bret, 2001, Tucson: Portrait of a Desert
Pueblo. American Historical Press, Sun Valley, California.
- Dobyns, Henry F., 1976, Spanish Colonial Tucson.
University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (ISBN 0-8165-0546-2).
- Drachman, Roy P., 1999, From Cowtown to Desert Metropolis:
Ninety Years of Arizona Memories. Whitewing Press, San
Francisco. (ISBN 1-888965-02-9.