How much of an issue was Mexican guerilla warfare during the Mexican-American War?

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,249
Albuquerque, NM
#2
Can you be more explicit? Neither the U.S. nor Mexico actively supported irregular forces, and both pretty much lived up to the Rules of War widely accepted in the mid-19th century. There probably was civilian involvement in the fighting, and the defense of Mexico City by her Military Cadets is indicative of solid resistance to the invader. Mexico also enlisted privately formed military groups like the Patricios, who were Deserters from the U.S. Army. When the War was lost many Mexicans expected the worst, which was also pretty common at the time. Gen. Scot and the Americans turned out to be surprisingly friendly and their occupation became almost a party. The U.S. as victor was expected to seize vast tracts of Mexican Territory, but instead paid a better than fair price for New Mexico and Arizona. Property Rights of the inhabitants were to be respected, but hence forth the land North and west of the Rio Grand would become American. So do you have anything to cite that might improve our understanding of the basic question?
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,741
SoCal
#3
My question here was based on this comment by Rich Rostrom here:

Google Groups

"Mexico was defeated, but not _conquered_. There were
large areas of Mexico that the US never touched. Scott's
position occupying Mexico City was hazardous, what with
Mexican guerrillas infesting the surrounding area and
harassing US communications. US negotiator Nicholas Trist
ignored President Polk's specific instructions to get Baja
California, in order to get a quick end to the war. He
and Scott were both worried that if US troops had to
stay on much longer, Something Bad could happen. The US
could have conquered all Mexico, but only by making a
vastly greater effort, which was politically impossible.

But Germany in WW II was facing complete conquest. Neither
the Soviets nor the US, nor even Britain, lacked the means
to occupy all of Germany, once Germany's armed forces were
beaten."
 
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Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,249
Albuquerque, NM
#5
Thank you Tulius. I was unaware of Dr. Perez' paper, and will read it more thoroughly tonight. It is certainly understandable that in the vastness of Mexico patriotic opposition to the U.S., whose forces were concentrated in and around Mexico City.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,453
Portugal
#6
Thank you Tulius. I was unaware of Dr. Perez' paper, and will read it more thoroughly tonight. It is certainly understandable that in the vastness of Mexico patriotic opposition to the U.S., whose forces were concentrated in and around Mexico City.
The Mexican-American war is not a theme that I am comfortable. But the idea that I have, and somewhat expressed in that paper, is that the Guerrillas (and counter-guerrillas) were often not only a patriotic opposition but also a mirror of the social reality and of the existence of banditry and the two things could be merged. A bit like what happened in the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Period and that coined the term “guerrillas” to English.

I have a small history of Mexico that mentions it, but I found online an article that also explains this examining some documents (unfortunately is in Spanish but I didn’t found much in English): http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/344/34432674007.pdf
 
Likes: Futurist
Jun 2019
28
USA
#9
As long as the Americans were willing to do what it took to keep the supply line open from Vera Cruz to Mexico City, American victory was safe.
Gen. Scott famously cut his own supply lines to improve his 'Tooth to Tail' ratio from August 7 until September 14 1847, cut back on garrisons, needing the troops to advance, and to live off the land.
On hearing that, Duke of Wellington opined that was a fatal mistake, and Scott would be lost in Mexico.

Didn't work out that way, and later the Iron Duke proclaimed him the greatest living soldier for that bold campaign