French Defeat (01:50)
After the surprise victory of Mexican troops over superior French forces on May 5, 1862 at Puebla, Napoleon III was determined to replace the Republican Benito Juárez with Archduke Maximillian of Austria and avenge the honor of the French army.
Nineteenth Century Puebla (03:35)
Expecting a French counterattack, engineers set about fortifying Puebla. Puebla enjoyed a beneficial climb, architecturally important buildings, and churches. Between Veracruz and Mexico City, Puebla was an important economic hub.
Wounded French Pride (02:59)
Napoleon III realized he had been deceived by the Mexican conservatives. General Lorencez asked for more troops and 23,000 came to support the remaining forces in Mexico.
Change of Generals (03:29)
General Forey, a veteran of the Italian wars, replaced Lorencez in September of 1862. With the death of General Zaragoza, Juárez lost his most experienced general, to be replaced by a potential rival, General González Ortega, backed by General Comonfort.
Church Defenses of Puebla (02:23)
When the French Army left Veracruz for Cordoba and Orizaba, the Governor of Puebla ordered all residents to participate in the fortifications under direction of Joaquín Colombres. Using churches, González Ortega organized a chain of forts on city outskirts, besides the forts Guadalupe and Loreto.
Financing the Mexican Army (04:11)
State militias poured in for the defense of Puebla. To finance the army, González Ortega used Church properties as guarantee to raise foreign money. Concerts and benefits were held as fundraisers. General Forey waited until February 1863 to advance toward Puebla.
The Siege of Puebla (02:21)
General Forey's army confronts the first defense at Amalucan as Generals Bazaine and Douay encircle Puebla as General Forey establishes his observation post on San Juan Hill. The French block all telegraph communication and roads.
Fall of Fort San Javier (03:37)
The French dug three parallel trenches approaching Fort San Javier. The artillery assault opened holes for the French troops to take the fort.
Capture of Mexican Food Supply (01:56)
General González Ortega's militias fought house by house as the French advanced from San Javier to Fort San Augustine while French artillery bombarded the fort from outside the city, and occupied the food depot at Atlixco.
Mexican Victory at Santa Ines Convent (02:56)
While González Ortega waited for help from General Comonfort, the French failed to take San Augustine. The French changed course but failed to take the Convent of Santa Ines from determined defenses.
Temporary Suspension of the Siege (03:56)
General Forey halts the siege and waits for the arrival of siege artillery from Veracruz as hunger weakens Mexican forces. General Comonfort hesitates to follow González Ortega's plan to break the French circle around Puebla as Juárez proposes to send in food aid, but Comonfort fails.
Surprise Attack on San Lorenzo Almecatla (02:54)
While Puebla suffered hunger, General Comonfort organized a dance at the Parish of San Lorenzo Almecatla. General Bazaine's troops surprised and overcame the sleeping troops of Comonfort.
Surrender of Puebla (03:13)
May 10, 1863, after the massacre of San Lorenzo had removed hope for food aid and Comonfort's troops, González Ortega sent a letter surrendering the destroyed Puebla to General Forey.
The Siege of Puebla, Tragedy and Heroism (03:51)
The Siege of Puebla, Tragedy and Heroism
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