CW-1:

THE FIRST CIVIL WAR, 1830-1842


WHAT THEY CALLED "CIVIL WAR": 
Fight Scenes

 
Overview 
Real War 
    Grounded Networks 
   Control Networks 
A Note on Then and Now 
What They Called "Civil War"  
   Liberal Projects 
      J.R. Poinsett  
      Levi Woodbury  
      Francisco Morazán  
      V. Gómez Farías   
      Wm. Lyon Mackenzie  
   Conservative Demagogues 
      Andrew Jackson  
      A. L. de Santa Anna 
   Fight Scenes  
      El Gallinero  
      Puebla & Charleston   
      Guanajuato & Bravo  
      Loot & development  
      Texas & Florida  
  Grounded Reaction 
      Guatemala & Carrera  
      Lower Canada  
      The Huasteca, & North  
      The Costa Grande   
Outcomes, and Vision
Commanders in that Civil War were opportunists.  Whether they were "centralists" or "localists" at any time depended on where they found themselves in the strategic layout of the continent. 

Consider Tolomé, the "first" battle in what was called Civil War, early in 1832: 

    Santa Anna, headquartered at Veracruz, had declared against the government of Anastasio Bustamante.  He enjoyed one immediate advantage:  without the customs revenue from the port, the government would wither into bankruptcy. 

    Troops, sent by the war department, were marching doggedly from the interior.  This force reached the edge of the coastal plain, at a point on the main highway near Santa Anna's own hacienda (Manga de Clavo). 

    Santa Anna, still the "rebel" general with  local knowledge, led a small force quietly by night around the government troops, to the village of  Tolomé, where he planned to attack those troops from a position astride their lines back inland.   One of his own men fired prematurely. The government commander, now forewarned and with artillery on heights that commanded Santa Anna's lines back to Veracruz, made his own pre-emptive attack, and with an enormous numerical advantage. 

    Santa Anna's soldiers men fought back (or fled) instead of surrendering. His force was practically wiped out, even while it inflicted enough casualties that the victors could not move quickly on.  Santa Anna himself fled back to Veracruz.  The government force followed, but floundered through weeks into months outside the city, as spring approached, bringing the lethal yellow-fever season.  With no immunity against the disease, this force was now the one to flee, back to the upcountry. Santa Anna had time to start over again, building up strength for operations inland. 
     

      One tactical feature of Tolomé had implications for later strategic choices.  The commander who began with control over communications -- in this case from Veracruz to the interior -- could lose that advantage if he made a tactical error.  Positions could get reversed.  On the larger scene, if Santa Anna should ever get himself into the interior position, he could find himself motivated by the same strategic situation that Bustamante confronted at the beginning of 1832. 
       
    In a series of battles that year, Santa Anna did conquer control of the central government.  It then took him over a year to adapt to his new circumstances.  When he did adapt, he was now to be the new Bustamante. 
     
     
    Antonio López de Santa Anna [But of course they can be seen larger.]  Anastasio Bustamante
     
 

 
This transformation had its parallel in the career of Andrew Jackson.  Earlier, he had been the representative captain at the head of interior planter/farmers, operating against Indian enemies and against British forces invading over the coast.  He professed to support states' rights against central power. By 1832, he was the head of a government that had major allies among coastal economic interests.  He faced the political resistance of South Carolina planters.  While he was anxious to preserve some alliance between interior interests (himself) and coastal interests (such as New York), he had to make tactical plans for a possible fight in which he would represent strength coming in over the coast, against conservative landed interests.

Tactical considerations, everywhere, pushed commanders to make a short-term choice, taking sides between the "interior" or the "exterior" end of lines of communication.  Longer-term pressures, in all parts of the continent, pushed commanders to resolve this same tension through political deals -- which meant through understandings among rival economic interests.

The time-line of the War wound around the changing economic structure of the continent:


References:


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