— Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2013 —
Very Rare Oaxaca Broadside Announcing Defeat at the Siege of Veracruz
General Scott Cast as Scipio Africanus the Younger
413. [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. Oaxaqueños: El honor de nuestras armas no se ha manchado en Veracruz. Leed: [text begins] Los ricos comerciantes estrangeros y españoles residents en aquella plaza, testigos imparciales de los sucesos ocurridos alli, han admirado el valor serenidad de nuestro ejército, como consta del siguente documentos que hemo recibido. La guerra que hizo el invasor fué con tanta ventaja, como que podia dañar sin ser dañado. Esto no intimidó á aquellos valientes. Si, valientes, que han dejado sobre las ruinas y escombros de la heróica Veracruz, un monumento eterno de admiracion. Numancia fué invadida por Scipion: Numancia fué destruida; y Numancia ha dejado en la historia una página brillante, un ejemplo honroso de heroismo y de valor. Tambien Veracruz pasará con sus hechos á la posteridad; los yankees serán colocados entonces en el lugar que justamente merece la barbárie. Los neutrales abajo firmados, vecinos de la Plaza de Veracruz, á los heróicos defensores de ella y á sus autoridades políticas. [Dated below text] Veracruz, Marzo 28 de 1847 [followedby the names of about sixty Neutrals]....Oaxaca: Reimpresso por Ignacio Rincon, 1847. Broadside (43.5 x 31.3 cm). Professionally restored. Mild stain at horizontal crease, minor loss of a few letters at center, occasional small wormholes touching a few letters, otherwise a very good copy of a highly unusual statement, and a rare survival.
This broadside is a Oaxaca printing of a fervent report on the surrender of Mexican forces in Veracruz to General Scott on March 28, 1847, signed in print by about sixty Neutral parties (many with Europeans names) who apparently were in Veracruz at the time of the siege. Not in Garrett & Goodwin, the Eberstadt typescripts, or other standard sources on the Mexican-American War; no copies reported on OCLC. A comparable imprint is the Yale broadside (only located copy) printed by the same printer in Oaxaca reporting on January 28, 1847 that U.S. forces are preparing to attack Veracruz. Printer José Ignacio was active in Oaxaca between about 1840 to 1861.
The text graphically describes the horrors of the Siege of Veracruz and praises Mexican forces and officials for their conduct during the battle, while criticizing the U.S. for the viciousness of the bombardment. Especially singled out are the Mexican doctors, who stayed at their posts even under heavy shelling. In conclusion, the Neutral writers pronounce that Mexican conduct under the circumstances filled them with admiration.
In lofty and furious language, the writer compares the brave Mexican soldiers at the Siege of Veracruz to the ancient Numantians in Spain, who were forced to surrender at the final siege of Numantia (134 B.C.) to the Roman Empire under the leadership of Scipio Africanus the Younger and his army of 30,000. Only a few hundred of the Numantians, exhausted and famished, surrendered to the victorious Roman legions. The Siege of Veracruz lasted twenty days; the U.S. force consisted of about 12,000 men against a little over 3,000 Mexican soldiers. Major General Winfield Scott is compared to Scipio. “Numancia fué invadida por Scipion: Numancia fué destruida; y Numancia ha dejado en la historia una página brillante, un ejemplo honroso de heroismo y de valor” [translation: Numancia was invaded by Scipio: Numancia was destroyed, and Numancia has left a brilliant page in history, an honorable example of heroism and courage].
The Siege of Veracruz was the very first large-scale amphibious assault conducted by U.S. military forces and ended with the surrender and occupation of the city. U.S. forces then marched inland to Mexico. Subsequently Oaxaca sent a battalion to Mexico that fought in the Battle of Molino del Rey in September 1847.
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