Battle of Cuautla/time/place/causes/development/winner

Battle of Cuautla (1812)

This battle called Cuautla, due to the people who starred in this meeting of royalist and insurgent forces in 1812, is considered a historical and heroic fact of the Mexican war of independence . In addition, it allowed the insurgent military forces to understand that victory was very possible and close. Its repercussion is such that the state where this important Mexican city is located is now called Morelos in honor of the patriot leader who served as the leader of said battle. Battle of Cuautla

When did these events occur and who were recorded for history in that battle? What consequences did it have and who really was the winner of this difficult battle? We invite you to search for these answers in this historical article.

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When and where did the Battle of Cuautla take place?

The Battle of Cuautla takes place precisely in the important city of Cuautla in the now state of Morelos, heroic and historical, the scene of several independence events . It is difficult to separate the battle of Cuautla Amilpas, today Cuautla de Morelos, from the site of Cuautla, because from the battle lost by the royalists, they passed to the site of Cuautla.

The battle of Cuautla begins with the first attack by Brigadier Félix Calleja, a man of strategies and professional military man, a specialist in cartography, on February 18, 1812 when he left with 500 soldiers to inspect the region to better prepare his attack and strategy. Just the insurgent chief José María Morelos had also gone to the Cuautlixco hill to inspect the terrain, both enemies observed each other and decided to measure themselves on the battlefield, this skirmish although it was won by Morelos, a realistic advance almost made him a prisoner, alone the audacity of one of his companions, Colonel Pablo Galeana, comes to his aid with 50 soldiers, managing to rescue him.

Causes of the Battle of Cuautla

The main cause is evidently the war of independence where some fight for it and others to maintain the viceroyalty of New Spain and maintain control of these lands . But why there in Cuautla? At the end of 1811 the insurgent forces had started a campaign through the center of the country taking Izúcar and Taxco, and Morelos with his troops took precisely Cuautla Amilpas in January 1812. Therefore, Viceroy Francisco Venegas alerted Félix Calleja about the high possibility that the feared Morelos attacked Mexico City, so he orders the brigadier to face the insurgents in Cuautla.

Brigadier Calleja arrives there with some 5,000 men, battalions of professional soldiers, well armed and trained and of course with field artillery, it seemed a task won. Morelos and his forces had settled in the city, but their troops were barely 2,000 infantry men and 1,000 cavalry men , they were combatants with less weapons and military training than the royalists, although with a fire in their hearts … they were fighting for a land! free, a cause! Many were peasants, peons, and even slaves and Indians who had been oppressed by the Spanish for years.

Development and characters of the Battle of Cuautla

José Morelos and his officers decide to confront Brigadier Félix Calleja and defend the city, there were the insurgent leaders General Galeana, Vicente Guerrero, Mariano Matamoros, Nicolás Bravo, Francisco Ayala and other pro-independence heroes , so they take the measures to resist the attack of such a realistic force. Battle of Cuautla

On February 19, 1812, four columns of well-armed royalist soldiers attacked, one divided on the left flank, another column on the right in the form of a pincer led by José Gabriel de Armijo and the other two under the command of Brigadier Félix Calleja by the mere center, confident that the insurgents would not withstand the artillery and frontal attack, and were truly on the verge of achieving it, even the insurgent cry “All is lost, they have defeated General Galeana!” down a main street he was about to take the city, a boy named Narciso Mendoza fires a cannon and manages to disperse and make the royalists flee, he was inscribed in history as ” the gunner boy”.

The second phase of this battle continues with the arrival of 2,000 men commanded by Colonel Ciriaco del Llano , now Calleja has 7,000 soldiers and begins with the siege of Cuautla, after many attempts by one army and by another, some to take the plaza, and the others trying to break the site.

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We can mention several direct and indirect consequences of this battle:

  • Félix Calleja is called by Viceroy Venegas and ordered to return to Spain , finally taking command of the army from the center of the country. Battle of Cuautla
  • The insurgent leader José M. Morelos and his officers are harassed and persecuted after this battle by the royalist forces, which indirectly leads them to start an effective campaign in the south of the country that would culminate in the capture of the port of Acapulco.
  • The siege of Cuautla affected the political, social and military structure of the viceroyalty and also affected the insurgent army for good, Morelos managed to reinforce his army.
  • It remained as one of the most heroic battles of the war of independence, which served to strengthen the “national spirit” and awaken the conviction of the independence struggle that in turn helped a lot to give cohesion to the troops with the civilians, it was morally an important achievement.


Defining who won the victory in this battle is a difficult task, even today it is presented with an uncertain or disputed result, this is because from a certain point of view the royalists under Calleja’s command besieged and cornered and persecuted the insurgent forces. directed by Morelos. But in themselves, they failed to defeat them, or hold them back, or take them prisoner.

Seen from the point of view of the differences between the two armies, 7,000 professional soldiers with a career commander like Calleja, against 3,000 men driven by an ideal, poorly armed in comparison, led by a former priest, with food difficulties, who have repelled again and again, and finally managing to break the siege and escape, it can truly be considered a heroic deed and an insurgent victory , and also if the favorable consequences for the pro-independence cause are taken into account. Battle of Cuautla

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