1805 - August 7, 1868
Born in Havana, Cuba, in 1805, Pedro Ampudia gained his first military experience fighting for the Spanish in the waning months of Mexico's War of Independence. Following the Plan of Iguala in 1821, he switched allegiances and fought for Agustín Iturbide.
A career military officer who, unlike many of his contemporaries, took little active role in the nation's political affairs, Ampudia fought in the 1836 Texas campaign, serving as an artillery officer at the siege of the Alamo. As commander of the Army of the North in the early 1840s, he defeated an invading force of Texans at Ciudad Mier in December 1842. The following year he helped quell a separatist uprising in the Yucatán, and in 1844 was involved in an incident in Tabasco that earned him a reputation for harshness and brutality when he captured a filibustering expedition led by Francisco Sentmanat, the former governor of Tabasco. Sentenced to death after a summary trial, Sentmanat was executed and decapitated. His head was then fried in oil and displayed in San Juan Batistapublic square.
Ampudia was once again assigned to lead the Mexican Army of the North in 1846 after its previous leader, General Mariano Arista, was court-martialed following the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. Commanding 5,000 Mexican troops, Ampudia defended the city of Monterey for three days against Zachary Taylor's Army of Occupation in September, 1846. Ampudia agreed to an armistice, and was allowed to evacuate the city with his army. He went on to fight at the Battle of Buena Vista (Angostura), where he commanded artillery units in late February 1847.
In 1853 Ampudia was appointed governor of Nuevo León. He installed Santiago Méndez as governor of Yucatán in 1855 and submitted detailed and accurate recommendations for how to deal with the devastating Caste War in Yucatán. In 1857 he sided with Benito Juarez and the Liberals in the War of the Reform. He died in 1868.
Carney, Stephen A., and Center of Military History. Gateway South: The Campaign for Monterrey. Government Printing Office, 2005.
Dimmick, Gregg J. "A Newly Uncovered Alamo Account: By Pedro Ampudia, Commanding General of the Mexican Army over Texas Artillery." Southwestern Historical Quarterly 114, no. 4 (2011): 379-386.
Eisenhower, John S. D. So Far from God: The U.S. War with Mexico, 1846-1848. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000.