Updated:
Original:
Year
1847

Battle of Buena Vista begins

During the Mexican-American War, Mexican General Santa Anna surrounds the outnumbered forces of U.S. General Zachary Taylor at the Angostura Pass in Mexico and demands an immediate surrender. Taylor refused, allegedly replying, “Tell him to go to hell,” and early the next morning Santa Anna dispatched some 15,000 troops to move against the 5,000 Americans. The superior U.S. artillery was able to halt one of the two advancing Mexican divisions, while Jefferson Davis’ Mississippi riflemen led the defense of the extreme left flank against the other Mexican advance. By five o’clock in the afternoon, the Mexicans begin to withdraw.

The Mexican-American War began with a dispute over the U.S. government’s 1845 annexation of Texas. In January 1846, President James K. Polk, a strong advocate of westward expansion, ordered General Taylor to occupy disputed territory between the Nueces and Rio Grande rivers. Mexican troops attacked Taylor’s forces, and in May 1846 Congress approved a declaration of war against Mexico.

At Buena Vista in February 1847, and at Monterrey in September, Taylor proved a brilliant military commander, earning the nickname “Old Rough and Ready” while emerging from the war a national hero. He won the Whig presidential nomination in 1848 and defeated the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass, in November. The other hero of the Battle of Buena Vista, Jefferson Davis, became secretary of war under President Franklin Pierce in 1853 and president of the Confederate States of America in 1861.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

U.S. hockey team makes miracle on ice

In one of the most dramatic upsets in Olympic history, the underdog U.S. hockey team, made up of college players, defeats the four-time defending gold-medal winning Soviet team at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York. The Soviet squad, previously regarded as the ...read more

Suharto takes full power in Indonesia

On February 22, 1967, Indonesian President Sukarno surrenders all executive authority to military dictator General Haji Mohammad Suharto, remaining president in title only. In 1965, Suharto, a senior army officer, narrowly saved Sukarno from a communist coup. In the aftermath, he ...read more

The U.S. acquires Spanish Florida

Spanish minister Do Luis de Onis and U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams sign the Florida Purchase Treaty, in which Spain agrees to cede the remainder of its old province of Florida to the United States. Spanish colonization of the Florida peninsula began at St. Augustine ...read more

Tet Offensive ends

The American war effort in Vietnam was hit hard by the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive, which ended on this day in 1968. Claims by President Lyndon Johnson that the offensive was a complete failure were misleading. Though the North Vietnamese death toll was 20 times that of its ...read more

first-10-presidents-washington-promo

George Washington is born

On this day in 1732, George Washington is born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the second son from the second marriage of a colonial plantation owner. An initially loyal British subject, Washington eventually led the Continental Army in the American Revolution and became known ...read more

Gang commits largest robbery in British history

In the early morning hours of February 22, 2006, a gang of at least six men, some of them armed, steal £53 million from the Securitas bank depot in Kent, Great Britain. It was the largest such theft in British history. The plot was well planned. On the evening before, two men, ...read more

Lee Petty wins first Daytona 500

On this day in 1959, Lee Petty defeats Johnny Beauchamp in a photo finish at the just-opened Daytona International Speedway in Florida to win the first-ever Daytona 500. The race was so close that Beauchamp was initially named the winner by William France, the owner of the track ...read more

Mussolini wounded by mortar bomb

On February 22, 1917, Sergeant Benito Mussolini is wounded by the accidental explosion of a mortar bomb on the Isonzo section of the Italian Front in World War I. Born in Predappio, Italy, in 1883, the son of a blacksmith and a teacher, Mussolini was well-read, largely ...read more