Meeting of June 30, 2009

Norman Patrick Doyle on “Two Civil War Generals in Mexico”

two 19th-century generals

Generals Twiggs and Harney

Patrick’s presentation included an overview of the Mexican-American War, 1846-1848, beginning with the actions of President James K. Polk that were, to a great extent, factors that precipitated the conflict. Patrick then sequenced the significant battles of the war, beginning with the first major battle, May 8, 1846, at Palo Alto, adjacent to modern day Brownsville, Texas, and concluding with the culminating battles of the war at Churubusco (on September 19, 1847) and Chapultepec (September 14, 1847). Gen. Winfield Scott’s troops continued to occupy Mexico City until the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on May 22, 1848 which officially ended the war.

In each of the respective major encounters Patrick highlighted the roles and contributions of future well known Civil War personalities, such as Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, and Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard.

Intertwined in his presentation Patrick related the actions and interaction of the two central figures of his presentation, Gen. David E. Twiggs and Gen. William S. Harney, with those of John Riley, the charismatic leader of mostly Irish deserters (from the U.S. Army) who became known as the San Patricios fighting alongside the Mexicans.

Patrick concluded his presentation recounting the roles both Twigg (on the Confederate side) and Harney (on the Union side) would later play in the Civil War.

Newsletter June 2009