<Go back to the Topics Index results>


SANTA ANNA DECLINING A HASTY PLATE OF SOUP AT CERRO GORDO.
   
Complete Explanation:
An exultant view of Winfield Scott's second major victory in the Mexican War, at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, where Mexican commander Santa Anna beat an unceremonious retreat. In the mid-April victory Santa Anna's military chest with {dollar}11,000 in gold and his wooden leg fell into the hands of American troops. For an explanation of the "hasty plate of soup," see "Distinguished Military Operations" (no. 1846-15). The print also mocks Winfield Scott's well-known fastidiousness and taste for comfortable appointments and James K. Polk's handling of the Mexican War.

In Clay's cartoon, Santa Anna rides off to the left, while the rest of his cavalry is seen in the distance routed by American troops. Scott sits in the Mexican's abandoned carriage, equipped with a lavish dinner service and two cocks, doffs his hat and invites the departing enemy to "stop and take a hasty plate of soup? It's some of your own cooking & very good I assure you!" Santa Anna replies, "No I thank you, General, I'm afraid of an attack from the rear! (Jesus Maria! this beats cock-fighting!)"

An American trooper holds the reins of the carriage's team -- one horse and a braying ass with blinders-- and a fighting cock on a leash, saying, "I didn't think when I left New York that I should have taken Santa Anna's best fighting cock prisoner!"

Another trooper kneels before the open military chest, while a third marvels at "Santa Anna's Cork leg!"

In the lower right corner is a paper "Pass port for Santa Anna" signed by Polk, a reference to the President's allowing the exiled general to return to Mexico in hopes that he would terminate the war.


Website design 2010 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content 1998-2010 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to webmaster@harpweek.com