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Ignacio Zaragoza

ZARAGOZA, Ignacio (thah-rah-go'-thah), Mexican soldier, born on the Bay of Espiritu Santo, Texas, 24 March, 1829; died in Puebla, Mexico. 8 September. 1862. His ancestors were Indians, and he received his primary education in Matamoros, completing his studies in the Seminary of Monterey. He devoted himself for some time to commerce in that city, then entered the national guard, in which he was elected sergeant, and when Santa-Anna created an active militia in 1853, marched to Tamaulipas as captain of a company. He pronounced in favor of the Liberal party in May, 1855, assisted in the victory of Saltillo over Santa-Anna's forces, and was promoted colonel. After the fall of Ignaeio Comonfort, Zaragoza joined the forces that opposed the reactionary government of Zuloaga and Miramon, took part in the whole campaign, being promoted brigadier, and during the absence of the general-in-chief, Gonzalez Ortega, commanded the defence of Guadalajara in November, 1860, taking a principal part in the final victory of Calpulalpam, 23 December, 1860. Under the government of Juarez he was secretary of war from April till October, 1861, and during the French intervention he volunteered for active service, joining the eastern army under General Uraga, of which soon afterward he was appointed commander, with rank of major-general. He first met the French army at Acultzingo, 28 April, 1862, and retired before superior forces to Puebla, where he fortified the hills of Guadalupe and Loreto temporarily, rod with 5,000 raw soldiers awaited the attack of the disciplined French army under General Laurencez. On 5 May the French commander, despising the small and badly equipped Mexican force, tried to carry the hills by storm, but was thrice repelled, and with a shattered army retired to Orizava. Zaragoza afterward marched against Orizava, in combination with Gonzalez Ortega, but the surprise of the latter's division at Cerro del Borrego forced him to retire to Puebla, where he was preparing his army for defence against French re-enforcements, when he died of typhus fever. The anniversary of his defence of Puebla is celebrated as a national holiday; his name was inscribed in gold letters in the chamber of congress, and the full pay of his grade was voted to his family, while the city that he defended bears officially, the name of Puebla de Zaragoza.

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