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"Bagdag battle (Mexico)" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2012 12:52 p.m. PST

Of possible interest for wargaming at the ACW Era.

"The Battle of Bagdad took place on January 4, 1866 in the town of Bagdad in Tamaulipas, Mexico. It happened between the Mexican army of the Republic against the army of the Second French Empire with loyal Mexicans and was near to start a war with Napoleon's France III and the Union.

Puerto Bagdad were located near the mouth of the Rio Grande River and from there you controls the access to the twin cities of Matamoros-Mexico and Brownsville-Texas.
During the Second French Intervention in Mexico, Matamoros was the main crossing point to help Republicans Mexican, hence the importance of the place. It was then decided by the French authorities on receipt of the same, ordering the operation to the conservative General Tomás Mejía forces with the help of 2000 men and the French navy, because Bagdad was the point that mattered most at the beginning of the northerners pressures.

From 1864,General Tomás Mejía was constantly threatened by the troops of the Republican General Miguel Negrete, but the latter decided to retire upon learning of the reinforcement of 500 infantry and 140 French gunners in Bagdad, Tamaulipas and also the arrival of the river ships of war, "Var" "Magellan" and "Tactiquepor". In 1865, the situation became complicated for the French. The U.S. Army expeled the forces of the Confederation at Brownsville since they acted favorably to the French cause and therefore the conservative Mejia. After that the U.S. military sends 40.000 troops at the border, which begin to harass the French inmediatly.

The French Admiral Georges Charles Cloué arrived in Bagdad on the warship "Tisiphone" to reinforce the French positions as consecuence of the constant threat of the Union troops. On September 28, General Mariano Escobedo approaching Bagdad supported by 11 artillery guns determined to strike the town. In response, the French Admiral Georges-Charles Cloué reinforced the city with another four war boats ("l'Adonis", "le Magellan", "le Tactique" and the "Tartare") that turned the port into a fortress.
Seeing that, Escobedo forces after some minor combats retired from the field but under the protection of Union troops which cross the river and help the wounded under "humanitary reasons".
When the french troops advance to them, from the Union side General Wetzel ordered his batteries to open fire and this stop the french advance.
Immediately Admiral Cloué sent a strong protest to Union General Wetzel, commander of Brownsville, about the violation of the border, the use of artillery against their troops and the aid to the wounded Mexicans who were taken under the protection of the Union infantry to the American side of the border.
The note clearly threatened with a declaration of war between the two countries if they did not cease to intervene in the affairs of Mexico.

A few weeks after this incident, the warship "Antonia" is added to the defense of Bagdad.
The Republicans seek a new breakthrough but this time the French admiral deployed his troops near the river against the Union positions and as the American troops begin their advance, the French made a delay fire up without aim them.
At the same time the french warships set sail to Brownsville and placed therein firing position.
That volley and the threat of French warships makes General Wetzel to order the withdrawal of his troops and therefore the Mexican Republicans also retired.
Almiral Cloué send a second note to General Wetzel this time warning him that France will not hesitate to shoot to anybody who tried to surpass the border, that it was considered as an invation and declaration of war.

In November, for the third time Mariano Escobedo try the siege of the city of Matamoros, so the Boat "Antonia" sailed to strengthen the position of that city.
Other attempts by the Republic forces forced the French to send more warships to the aid of the various garrisons in the area and that causes a decrease in Bagdad garrison.
As the situation with U.S. troops remained tense as it had been several shootings between troops of the two countries, General François Achille Bazaine sent as reinforcement two columns to Bagdad, respectively commanded by Colonel De Ornano and General Pierre Joseph Jeanningros. At same time the warship "l'Allier" landed 300 Austrian soldiers, and 120 Conservative Mexican soldiers at the port. It also came a squadron of 90 Lancers French on November 20.
They had to engaged in combat very quickly against several Mexican guerrilla groups and American "volunteers" who wore the uniform of the Union.
On one occasion there was a strong fight in the middle of the Rio Grande where the French Lancers were being harassed by Union artillery which acted in defense of his troops.(1)

On January 4th 1866, taking advantage of the departure of the French warships and the reduction of the garrison, General Mariano Escobedo in a surprise atack commanding an army reinforced by three regiments of black soldiers from the U.S. Navy attacked the village.
After a fierce battle the Republican Mexicans were reinforce by more "Voluneers" American infantry and the Franco-Austro -Mexican troops retreated to the Port where they embarked on the remaining warships covered them by the French sailors.

After the fall of Bagdad, Union General Wetzel sent 750 men to "restore order" in the city wich began to be sacked by the Mexicans.
Admiral Georges Cloué then advanced with a column of 2000 french infantry determined to retake the city and harbor.
By note demanded that the U.S. troops withdrew across the border immediately.
General Wetzel ordered a retreat which was held on January 25…"
Oht from the book of Raymundo Hernandez "Bagdag, entre la opulencia, la guerra y la tragedia".

(1) Maybe this was taken for the famous movie and scene in the Rio Bravo with the French Lancers?.

Of course there are much more, but I had not more time to translate.
I consider that it's interesting to take note those forgotten combats at the USA-Mexico frontier at the ACW and that those action almost produce a state of war between France and the Union.

Hope you enjoy it!.


Personal logo Coyotepunc and Hatshepsuut Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2012 5:44 p.m. PST

Awesome bit of history there. I am American by birth, my wife is Mexican, so these little gems are always of interest to us. Thank you.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2012 8:19 p.m. PST

Glad you had enjoy it my friend.
And hope your wife too!.


mghFond07 Sep 2012 8:19 p.m. PST

Wasnt the famous French lancers in the river scene from Major Dundee?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Sep 2012 8:25 p.m. PST

That's the movie I think.


GarrisonMiniatures Inactive Member09 Sep 2012 4:25 a.m. PST


Legion 409 Sep 2012 7:42 a.m. PST

Very interesting … I don't think many "Gringos" know of the French "adventures" in Mexico. Cincho de Mayo is celibrated in the US and many don't know what it's all about. And the FFL still celibrates "Camaroon Day" … And of course Major Dundee is one of the few movies that even mentions the the French in Mexico.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP09 Sep 2012 12:56 p.m. PST

Dear Rob I had pointed…
"Oht from the book of Raymundo Hernandez "Bagdag, entre la opulencia, la guerra y la tragedia".

Glad you had enjoy it boys!.


Personal logo John the Greater Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2012 8:19 a.m. PST

Interesting story. One aspect that struck me was the references to US volunteers serving in Mexico. I would guess there would be some confusion in this matter as the US provided a great deal of equipment, including uniforms, to Juárez's forces. In 1866 there would be whole regiments that would have been identical to US Army units (until they began to speak!)

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP10 Sep 2012 10:37 a.m. PST

And what about the Black soldiers Regimient from the Navy?
That took a lot my attention!.
Do you hear any like that before John?


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