Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor

Mexican-American War · US Army · Major General

Battle of Palo Alto

  • Brownsville, Texas

The Battle of Palo Alto, occurring on 8 May 1846 near Brownsville, Texas, was the first big battle of the Mexican-American War. Zachary Taylor led about 2,300 men against more than 3,500 Mexicans under Mariano Arista. The Americans’ “flying artillery” gave them a great advantage, as did the failure of two attempted Mexican cavalry charges. At the end of the day of battle, neither side had obtained conclusive victory, but the Mexicans’ decision to withdraw rather than fight the next day ended the battle in the Americans’ favor. This and subsequent victories made Taylor a war hero, which bolstered his campaign when he ran for president in 1848.

Battle of Lake Okeechobee

    The Battle of Lake Okeechobee was a major battle of the Second Seminole War. Taylor's skill in leading men during the battle resulted in his promotion to brigadier general. Taylor chose to directly attack the Indians instead of trying to encircle them. Although the casualty count was greater on the side of the United States, the victory was strategic. Taylor also earned the nickname "Old Rough and Ready," as a result of this battle.