Page:Face to Face With the Mexicans.djvu/352

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346
FACE TO FACE WITH THE MEXICANS.

lost. He was five times president, and was the means of deposing, probably, twenty rulers. As a commander of men, his resources and ability were remarkable. After the most disastrous defeat he generally managed to retire from the scene still holding the confidence of his ragged, half-starved army, increasing it materially while on the move.

From 1822 to 1855 he was the most conspicuous figure in public life. If deposed, he withdrew to his beautiful hacienda of Manga de Clavo, near Jalapa.

 
Manga de Clavo - p346.jpg

MANGA DE CLAVO, THE HACIENDA OF SANTA ANNA.

 

If exiled, he went without remonstrance, confident that his lucky star would again lead him to the front, and with fertile brain every ready to plan a revolution or arrange a coup d'état. But it may be truly said that in either case he was punctual to respond whenever his country demanded his services.

When the war with the United States came on, Santa Anna had shortly before returned from exile. He at once took command of an army of 20,000 men. He first met with a heavy defeat by General Taylor at Buena Vista, then at Cerro Gordo by General Scott, and when he retreated to defend the capital, defeat still followed him, and