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"The Last Stand of the Mexican Empire" Topic


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401 hits since 16 Apr 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango0116 Apr 2018 11:20 a.m. PST

"The siege of Queretaro is one of the most famous battles in Mexican history and should rightfully be considered significant in the history of the New World at large. That battle, in many ways, determined whether or not the Monroe Doctrine would stand, whether or not the New World was strictly the domain of republicanism and totally within the sphere of influence of the United States or whether a new power would emerge. It was a battle that decided the fate of an empire, it decided the future of Mexico and it decided whether or not the United States would remain dominant in North America.

However, it was also, in itself, a rather useless battle since the grand cause represented had already been defeated. It was defeated when General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House in 1865 and it was decided when the French agreed to withdraw their forces and leave the hard-used Mexican monarch to his fate. They offered to take Maximilian with them but the noble young monarch refused, as it would be an unpardonable stain on his honor as a Hapsburg to leave his loyalists to face certain death for fighting on his behalf.

The last French troops marched out of Mexico City on February 5, 1867 as Maximilian watched from the rooftop of the National Palace. Little more than a week later on February 13, 1867 the Emperor was on the move as well, marching south at the head of his army to meet the republican forces of Benito Juarez in one last, climactic battle…."
Main page
gisby.info/c-last.htm

Amicalement
Armand

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 11:52 a.m. PST

"Queretaro could be the best or the worst place for a siege as it was ringed with mountains and high ground. If one had enough soldiers they could have spread out on the mountains and in the passes and held the place almost indefinitely.

Unfortunately, Emperor Maximilian with his 9,000 men did not have those numbers, so they had to be content to hold the area right around the city while the republicans took advantage of the high ground and could place their cannon there to rain death down on the imperialist forces. In quick order the 9,000 Imperialistas were surrounded by 30,000 Juaristas."

You know, this has a very familiar feel to it. Maximilian may not have had any French troops with him, but he'd certainly mastered one school of French generalship.

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 8:17 p.m. PST

Dien Bien Phu, neat analogy. Personally, I don't think the French were the worst example of Europeans underestimating the prowess of their non-European enemies. Isandlwana, Maiwand and Adwa come to mind, not to mention Hong Kong and Singapore.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 9:53 p.m. PST

I knew Queretaro was the last battle of the war, but I didn't know any of the details. Man, it could make a great convention game, with the Imperialists launching a series of breakout attacks, with a slight chance -- if they capture or kill enough Juaristas -- to break the morale of the Republican attackers. And you could work the "captured troops often forced to enlist with the enemy forces" dynamic into the game, with a chance for defeated troops to surrender and then a die-roll to decide what percentage are added to the ranks of the Imperialist defenders.

Nick… did you ever sell your 25-28mm Maximillian armies? Between us we could probably set up a decent size walled city of Queretaro. Now I will go see if there are any maps of the city and its defenses available online…

EDIT: Turned out absolutely nothing but one period photo with just a couple of buildings, no view of the defenses, let alone a diagram of the perimeter. I'll go check my handful of Maximillian books. Nick… any chance you have a diagram on hand?

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 10:03 p.m. PST

MG, I do still have my collection. From what I've read, by this time, both armies were wearing rags and it was difficult to tell the two armies apart. I imagine the situation was exacerbated by the forced enlistment of captured forces. I had planned to play this with my 15mm collection, but I think you are right, it could make a great convention game.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 10:09 p.m. PST

HAH!!! What perfect timing -- you chimed in while I was editing my post!

Interesting about the ragged appearance of both sides. But at this point weren't lots of the Republicans wearing freshly-delivered Union surplus uniforms, and armed with the latest Henry rifles and Parrott Gun artillery?

15mm could work just as well, maybe better in terms of having that much more scale ground in the same space -- but then my various buildings & defensive works will play no part!

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2018 9:42 a.m. PST

MG, you probably saw these:

Apparently there was an aqueduct:

picture

Maximilian Surrendering:
picture

Siege of Queretaro during the War of Reform:
picture

Tango0117 Apr 2018 11:06 a.m. PST

Thanks!….

Amicalement
Armand

Nick Stern Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2018 11:48 a.m. PST

Mad Guru, I need to find the source of the ragged uniform info. I figure the quote was about the impressed Indians who made up the majority of both armies. You're right about the US uniforms, but I wonder how many made it south to Queretaro from the US border? Were the Battalion of Supremos Podores at Queretaro with their gray uniforms and repeaters? It looks like next we need OB's for both sides.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2018 12:27 p.m. PST

Nick, I hadn't seen either of those pics, or the map from the War of Reform!

The aqueduct is amazing! It would look awesome on the tabletop. Question is if there was any fighting on or around it. Either way I suppose there could be in the game!

Yes, when I was Googling around last night I think I did read that the Supremos Podores were there in their gray uniforms with their repeaters. We definitely do need OBs for both sides!

The map gives the impression the city could have been walled all around, and I only count 2 or 3 entrances… but who knows if that's at all accurate. I assume there must be lots more detail available somewhere, seeing how it was the last battle of the war and Maximillian was "tried" and executed right there in the immediate aftermath.

Too bad the 150th anniversary was last year… but it's never too late to commemorate.

Mad Guru Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2018 3:45 p.m. PST

Found this page purportedly showing the photo below and several other pics of the spot in the city wall which was supposedly breached by the Republicans during their final victorious assault on the city on May 15, 1867,,,,

LINK:

link

picture

Church & Convent of Santa Cruz, where Maximillian had his headquarters during the siege, and then was held after his surrender up until his execution…

link

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