Surrounding French Camp, San Joaquin County, California we join Natchez, Mississippi and Vadalia, Louisiana commemorating the Battle of Puebla, and ultimately leading to mutually beneficial hard fought victories in 1865.
May 2017 will be the 155th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo and once again Ser Seshsh Ab Heter-CM Boxley continues sharing living history while wearing a U. S. Colored Troops replica period uniform at celebrations throughout Natchez, Mississippi and Vidalia, Louisiana.
Cinco de Mayo, May 5, 1862 commemorates the Battle of Puebla, near Vera Cruz, Mexico.
Today, few are aware of this major battle and the importance of delaying the French army advances and limited ability to offer assistance to the Confederate Army during the critical days of the US Civil War.
What if they French had been successful at the Battle of Pueblo? What would have been the military impact of French support to the Confederate Army?
Some historians have argued that powerful forces in France had the goal of helping break up the American Union, in the midst of a US Civil War, by helping the Confederate States of America.
The Mexican people had won a great victory that kept Napoleon III from supplying the confederate rebels for another year, allowing the United States to build a powerful army. This grand army smashed the Confederates at Gettysburg just 14 months after the Battle of Puebla. The Battle of Gettysburg provided the occasion for President Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, September 21, 1862.
The consequence of Cinco de Mayo to the United States has been thus recognized: “The defeat of the French army had consequences for America as well…the French Army defeat denied Napoleon III the opportunity to resupply the Confederate rebels for another year.
Dr. Donald W. Miles adds, “at the time, there were fears in the United States that the French would use Mexico as a base to back the Confederacy, so President Lincoln and his Secretary of State went out of their way to appear ‘neutral’ in the Mexican situation. They did not want to take on the French and the Confederates at the same time”. Dr. Miles goes on to explain that “Napoleon III had hesitated to take on the United States directly, but now the news of the Civil War changed everything”.
It meant that the Americans would be occupied with their conflict between North and South for some time. Upon hearing the Spaniards and the British had sailed off to grab the customs house in Veracruz to start collecting their duties, Napoleon decided he would not only send the French navy, but would also start looking for someone to place as emperor in Mexico. He would then use Mexico as a base to help the Confederates win their war against the United States . Napoleon saw this as an opportunity not to be missed.
Dr. Miles concludes, “The Emperor of France ordered his generals to spend a few months taking on Mexico and then – using Mexico as a ‘base’ – help the Confederates win their war against the United States.
What if they had succeeded?
The United States may never have become the Unified world power that is is today… the rural indigenous community, formerly enslaved people of African descent and Mexican soldiers defeated the French in the battle of Puebla, now called Cinco de Mayo.
By the time the French were able to establish a French empire in Mexico; it was in 1863, the Freedom summer of 1863, when thousands of formerly enslaved and free people of African descent became US Colored Troops. Over 200,000 US Colored Troops joined the US Army and Navy becoming freedom fighters on the way to Juneteenth and the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, ending legal slavery throughout the United States of America.
! Viva Cinco de Mayo!