Puebla, Battle and Siege of

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Author: Brian Hamnett
Editors: Jay Kinsbruner and Erick D. Langer
Date: 2008
Publisher: Charles Scribner's Sons
Document Type: Event overview; Brief article
Length: 252 words
Content Level: (Level 4)
Lexile Measure: 1160L

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Puebla, Battle and Siege of

Battle and Siege of Puebla, military disaster of the French Intervention (1862–1867) that took place at Puebla, Mexico's second city. This 5 May 1862 defeat delayed the French capture of Mexico City by one year. Brigadier General Charles Latrille, comte de Lorencez, advanced inland from the city of Veracruz with 4,000 men in late April 1862. At the fort of Cerro de Guadalupe, above the city of Puebla, General Ignacio Zaragoza with 6,000 men defeated the French, inflicting heavy losses. Lorencez withdrew to Orizaba, Veracruz. Napoleon III sent General Élie-Frédéric Forey, veteran of the Crimean and Italian campaigns, to avenge the defeat. With 30,000 veteran French troops, Forey established his headquarters at Amozoc and on 9 March 1863 opened the siege of Puebla in conjunction with Marshall François Bazaine. Trenches around the city prevented relief or escape. Artillery battered the Guadalupe and Loreto forts. General Jesús González Ortega surrendered on 17 May 1863. Forey took over 17,000 prisoners and 150 pieces of artillery.

Although González Ortega escaped, the French captured generals Mariano Escobedo and Porfirio Díaz. Officers were sent to France or Martinique for Page 402  |  Top of Articleinternment. Nearly 6,000 men joined the division led by Conservative General Leonardo Márquez, a leading supporter of the empire. The rest were mainly put to work on the construction of the Veracruz railroad. Forey entered Puebla on 19 May 1863.

The fifth of May is celebrated throughout Mexico as one of the principal national days—along with 16 September (Independence Day) and 20 November (outbreak of the 1910 Revolution).


Jack Autry Dabbs, The French Army in Mexico, 1861–1867 (1963).

Additional Bibliography

Cabello-Argandoña, Roberto, and Luis A Torres. Cinco de Mayo: A Symbol of Mexican Resistance. Encino, CA: Floricanto Press, 1992.

García Cantú, Gastón. La intervención francesa en México. México: Clío, 1998.

Hamnett, Brian R. Juárez. New York: Longman, 1994.

Ridley, Jasper Godwin. Maximilian and Juárez. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1992.

                                       BRIAN HAMNETT

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Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|CX3078904559