The battle for Mexico City

Chapultepec is a rocky prominence some 150 feet high and 900 feet in length just outside of Mexico City. In
the Aztec language Chapultepec means “Grasshoppers’ Hill”. It was the resort of former Aztec princes and
is the real site of the “Halls of the Montezumas”. Buildings on the hill were well fortified and surrounded by two
stone walls. Heavy batteries were put in place early on May 12th, 1847. The bombardment started later on the
12th and lasted the rest of the day and into the night. The assault by troops started on the 13th. Units from the
Fourth regiment, led by Lieutenant U. S. Grant, were in the front of the assault. After planting its regimental
flag on the parapet at Chapultepec, the Fourth US pressed on, attacking Mexican troops resting on the road
leading to Mexico City. The Mexican troops fled towards the city with Worth’s division (of which the Fourth
was part) in pursuit. Worth’s division attacked what was known as the San Gasme gate. Through the day
Mexican gunners and sharp-shooters held their positions. A small force, led by Lieutenant Grant, managed
to place a mountain howitzer in the belfry of the Church of San Fernando. From this position the howitzer
was able to shell the closest Mexican troops, finally driving the Mexican forces from their positions. By
nightfall, a detachment of the Fourth Infantry Regiment had advanced half a mile into the city and captured
the adjutant-general of the Mexican army. The American forces, having captured the San Gasme and Belen
(at the southwest corner of the city) gates, prepared to push through the city the following day. Overnight,
however, General Santa Anna left the city. On the following morning (14 September, about 4 am) a group of
Ayuntamiento (city council) approached the American forces, reported that the federal government and army
had fled and requested terms for capitulation of the city.