Santa Anna’s Retreat


Antonio López de Santa Ann

from Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection and Tom Faux (

Antonio López de Santa Anna (1794-1876) was both general of the army and president of Mexico when Texas declared its independence from Mexico. He led the expeditionary force in 1836 that fought at the Alamo, and he was subsequently defeated and captured by Sam Houston, interviewed by U.S. President Andrew Jackson, and returned to Mexico. During the Mexican War in 1846-7, he again led the Mexican forces and was defeated by the United States.

Henry Reed said–presumably on the authority of his fiddling and fifing mentor Quince Dillon, who was a fifer in the Mexican War–that this march was used by Santa Anna’s army to retreat from Cerro Gordo and the American forces.  This was the decisive battle in which General Santa Anna’s prosthetic leg–a nobly crafted article of wood and cork fitted with a hand-tooled boot of fine Mexican leather–was captured by the 4th Illinois Infantry and carried triumphantly back to the Midwest (it now rests in the Illinois Military Museum in Springfield; see below)

Henry Reed plays “Santa Anna’s Retreat”:


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