Synopses & Reviews
For three days in the fall of 1846, U.S. and Mexican soldiers fought fiercely in the picturesque city of Monterrey, turning the northern Mexican town, known for its towering mountains and luxurious gardens, into one of the nineteenth century's most gruesome battlefields. Led by Brigadier General Zachary Taylor, graduates of the U.S. Military Academy encountered a city almost perfectly protected by mountains, a river, and a vast plain. Monterrey's ideal defensive position inspired more than one U.S. soldier to call the city "a perfect Gibraltar." The first day of fighting was deadly for the Americans, especially the newly graduated West Point cadets. But they soon adjusted their tactics and began fighting building to building.
Chris D. Dishman conveys in a vivid narrative the intensity and drama of the Battle of Monterrey, which marked the first time U.S. troops engaged in prolonged urban combat. Future Civil War generals and West Point graduates fought desperately alongside rough Texan, Mississippian, and Tennessean volunteers. General Taylor engineered one of the army's first wars of maneuver at Monterrey by sending the bulk of his troops against the weakest part of the city, and embedded press reporters wrote eyewitness accounts of the action for readers back in the States. Dishman interweaves descriptions of troop maneuvers and clashes between units using pistols and rifles with accounts of hand-to-hand combat involving edged weapons, stones, clubs, and bare hands. He brings regular soldiers and citizen volunteers to life in personal vignettes that draw on firsthand accounts from letters, diaries, and reports written by men on both sides. An epilogue carries the narrative thread to the conclusion of the war.
Dishman has canvassed a wide range of Mexican and American sources and walked Monterrey's streets and battlefields. Accompanied by maps and period illustrations, this skillfully written history will interest scholars, history enthusiasts, and everyone who enjoys a true war story well told.
"For his first book, Dishman examines the US Army assault on Monterrey in the early stages of the Mexican-American War, providing a detailed, comprehensive account of one of the Army's first forays into urban warfare. Dishman painstakingly recounts, with moment-to-moment precision, the campaign that resulted in the loss of 14% of the American men. Most compelling is the improvisational role Texan soldiers played in changing the way American troops approached such a conflict, ultimately revolutionizing urban fighting. Indeed, the importance of the Texans at Monterrey, in addition to the contributions of future President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis and his 1st Mississippi, are the most engrossing characters in what can be a plodding read; casual readers may be challenged, as Dishman focuses more on the actions of the battlefield than the people involved. The military historian or aficionado, however, will find much to love. Dishman literally walked the streets of Monterrey to achieve the most complete picture possible and it shows. An Epilogue summing up the steps taken by the commanders makes one wonder if the intended audience is the West Point cadet, eager to learn from his forebears.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved." Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
About the Author
Christopher D. Dishman is Chief of the Border Serurity Branch of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis.
Chris visited the city of Monterrey, Mexico for work and being interested in military history, began reading about the battle. He learned that there was an amazing war story that occurred in the city, yet no author had yet dedicated a book to it.
Chris returned to Monterrey several times, consulted with historians based in the city, and spent countless hours in the US National Archives and the Library of Congress studying information, maps and lithographs. He built relationships and consulted with many experts on the subject and spent hours on Ebay and auction sites purchasing the original personal letters of the soldiers, getting their experiences in their own words. He first wrote a magazine article on the battle and then embarked on the book.
Besides Christopher's passion for military history he has published numerous articles on Homeland Security, terrorism and crime. Chris resides with his family in Dallas, Texas.