In a prior episode, we considered the leadership lessons from the James K. Polk presidency. In researching the episode and exploring Polk’s political leadership we decided to devote two episodes to the U.S. military leadership during the war. As there were two distinct campaigns, we have two podcast episodes.
Next week, we will consider leadership lessons from General Winfield Scott’s campaign to capture Mexico City and the final peace. In this episode, we consider the leadership lessons from General Zachary Taylor and this campaign in northern Mexico.
Some of the questions we considered are:
- From the military perspective, what innovations did Taylor bring at the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma? Taylor used light cavalry and mobile artillery to route the Mexican Army.
- Was the battle of Monterrey, Taylor’s greatest military achievement? Was Taylor’s fighting swing around the fortress, nicknamed Gibraltar one of the great single achievements of the war? It was also the first time the US Army engaged in urban fighting tactics.
- The battle of Buena Vista. How did Taylor route a force led by Santa Anna, which was three times his army’s size? Taylor brought American military tactics to the modern era by defeating the Napoleonic tactics used by Santa Anna.
- Taylor’s letter to a young patriot. What can we glean from it? In response to a letter from a teenager about enlisting to serve, Taylor warned him about the need for physical stamina and endurance but also encouraged him to prepare for the time when his services were needed in the defense of the nation. And it would come some 15 years later.
- How did Taylor handle the irregulars on both sides of the conflict and more particularly their excesses? Irregular forces committed atrocities on both sides of the conflict. How did Taylor deal with them and was it effective?
Next week, we look at the military campaign of General Winfield Scott.