Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LEON, Antonio, Mexican soldier, born in Huajuapam, 4 June, 1794; died in Molino del Rey, 8 September, 1847. In May, 1811, he became an ensign in the militia of his native place, and in the struggle for independence he fought at first on the royalist side, rising to the rank of captain in April, 1817; but after the proclamation of Iguala by Iturbide, Leon, in March, 1821, went over to the popular side. With twenty-six badly armed men he attacked a Spanish detachment of sixty men at Tixtla, forcing them to surrender on 20 June, and with the arms that were thus obtained, and some re-enforcements, he attacked with 180 men his native town, which was strongly fortified by the Spanish forces, and obliged them to surrender on the 22d, capturing three cannon and a large quantity of guns and ammunition. He was rewarded by Iturbide with the command of the Misteca, and immediately marched to besiege the fort of Yanhuitlan, which surrendered after fifteen days. He now turned against the Spanish commander of the province, who had established himself in the church and convent of Tehuantepec, and after he had captured that place on 29 July, the capital of Oajaca surrendered, and the whole province recognized the plan of Iguala. He was promoted to lieutenant-colonel on 7 August, and gathered a large force to assist Herrera in the siege of Puebla, and Santa Anna in Vera Cruz. After the final establishment of independence, Leon was commissioned in October, 1821, to conquer the Pacific coast of the state of Oajaca, which had pronounced for the king of Spain, and after obtaining his object in a short time without bloodshed was promoted colonel. When Iturbide proclaimed the empire, Leon, with General Bravo and General Guerrero, proclaimed the republic on 14 January, 1823, in Huajuapam, and, after the abdication of the emperor, Leon was appointed military commander of the province of Oajaca, which elected him deputy to the constituent congress of 1824. In 1827 he retired to private life on account of feeble health, but in 1830 he was called into service again to suppress bands of robbers under Narvaez and Medina. From 1834 till 1837 he was on three different occasions appointed military commander to quell disturbances, and in 1838, during the French invasion, made second chief of the army of the centre, where he had sometimes to supply the garrison from his private means. In 1842, as military and civil governor, he was the means of the separation of Soconusco from Guatemala and its annexation to Mexico, and, although desiring to retire into private life, continued as governor till August, 1846. During the American invasion in 1847 he organized the military forces of his native state, and, after Santa Anna's defeat at Cerro Gordo, Leon's brigade formed a nucleus for the reorganization of the army. He took part in the battle of Padierna, 19 August, where his brigade resisted the American advance with the main army, and he fell while fighting at the head of his troop in the battle of Molino del Rey, 8 September, 1847.
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