Friday, September 23, 2011

Strange Spoils of the Mexican War (1846-1848)

Mexican President Antonio López de Santa Anna has long been vilified in American history for the massacre of the defenders of the Alamo. The flamboyant Santa Anna had an on-again-off-again relationship with the Mexican people during the course of a forty year career during which he served as President of Mexico on eleven non-consecutive occasions.

During one of his more popular cycles, Santa Anna became a hero to the Mexican people for resisting French forces that landed in Mexico to collect debts owed to French citizens. In the ensuing battle Santa Anna lost a leg and subsequently used a cork leg, and on occasion a simpler wooden peg leg. Both of these legs were captured by the 4th Illinois Infantry during the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) in a surprise attack which sent Santa Anna galloping away without them.

Both legs are now on display. The cork leg pictured below is on display at the Illinois State Military Museum, 1301 N. MacArthur Blvd, Springfield, IL. The peg leg is on display at the Oglesby Mansion, 421 West William St., Decatur, IL.

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