Pedro José Méndez Monument, Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas

The statue is dedicated to Pedro José Méndez, who was killed in action on January 26, 1866, in recognition of his valorous acts in defending his country against the invasion by the French.

Pedro José Méndez Monument, Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas
The monument to the hero of the Reform Pedro José Méndez. Credit: Monumentos de México

The monument to General Pedro José Méndez, the Tamaulipas hero who gave his life to support the Reform, was built in appreciation for the Republic's defense and the liberation of Ciudad Victoria from the hands of the traitor Colonel Balderas, a supporter of the French cause, in 1864 and 1865. During the administration of Cesar Lopez de Lara, the monument was erected in 1922 near the northern terminus of the Alameda del Diecisiete.

It is built consisting of a granite pedestal on which Doric columns rise from a quadrangular base to support a frieze decorated with bronze dagger, helmet, and shield military symbols from classical Greece. A bronze sculpture of the hero, a replica of the one on the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City and the creation of the artist Federico Homdedeu, is resting on a descending prismatic body, whose sides slide to form the cornices.

Standing and assuming a battle stance, General Méndez holds a saber in his right hand and directs the action of command with his left hand toward the south. Since 1929, when they were moved from the parish of Santo Domingo in Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, his mortal remains have lain atop the pedestal.

About General Pedro José Méndez

Pedro José Méndez Ortiz was born on November 22, 1836 in the San Agustín hacienda, Tamaulipas. His parents were the landowner Don Pedro J. Méndez and his wife Doña Agapita Ortiz.

His studies began at the age of six in the school of first letters in Ciudad Victoria, which he finished after a brief absence. Upon the death of his father he returned to the country and personally attended to his family interests when he was sixteen years old.

In 1858 the "Coup d'Etat" of President Comonfort reached his ears; the formation of the Liberal and Conservative parties and the sad situation of Mexico when, as soon as a Political Constitution of the Republic was sworn in, the way to suppress it was being sought. Méndez always showed his sympathy for President Juárez and the Constitution.

The days of the French Intervention arrived and on November 23, 1862 the Army of Occupation entered the Port of Tampico. General de la Garza, Macedonio Capistrán and the young Méndez forced the French to evacuate the port on January 18, 1863; for this fact, Méndez acquired the rank of lieutenant of the National Army.

On February 24, 1864 he married Miss María de Jesús Moncayo in Ciudad Victoria and with her he moved to his hacienda, but on March 1st, he became aware of a reserved communication from General García to the Governor of Nuevo León Don Santiago Vidaurri in which both agreed to surrender to the French. In a bold decision, he returned to Ciudad Victoria, took possession of that plaza, forced Garcia to flee and elevated Colonel Julian Cerda as interim governor. President Juarez gave Mendez the command of the liberal troops of Ciudad Victoria and Linares.

Méndez formed the "Cuerpo de Fieles", put his mother and wife in a safe place and rejected the double pardon given to him by Tomás Mejía and Colonel Dupín.

On April 15, 1865 he attacked Cd. Victoria where he made Colonel Balderas capitulate and retreat to Tula on the 22nd. On June 4 he took Tula after 4 hours of combat and on July 15 he dislodged commander Valée from Santa Bárbara; for these war actions, on July 16, President Benito Juárez granted him the rank of General.

In December of that year, he achieved one of his most resounding victories in El Chamal and Cuesta de Cantón. Finally in Tantoyuquita, on January 23, 1866, while snatching a convoy valued at $200,000.00 from the enemy, he was shot in the chest. "I have been killed, do not faint," he said to Pedro Mata and pointing to the French he concluded, "there is the way".

He died on January 23, 1866, at the age of 29. His remains rest in the Rotonda de Tamaulipecos Ilusres in Ciudad Victoria.