General Winfield Scott (1786-1866) was a prominent military figure through three wars and the unsuccessful Whig candidate for president in 1852. He fought in the War of 1812 and the Mexican-American War, and retired shortly after the outbreak of the Civil War. President Andrew Jackson dispatched him to Charleston, South Carolina in 1832 to quell the nullification crisis. He also supervised the removal of the Cherokee from Georgia along the "Trail of Tears" to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). After landing at Veracruz in 1847, Scott became the first American officer to lead the invasion of a foreign capital when he took Mexico City in September 1847.
In the Mexican-American War, Scott commanded the southern prong of attack. With the help of the Navy, it did not take long for him to conquer the Mexican port of Veracruz; his troops marched toward Mexico City and took Cerro Gordo in April, stalled for several months in Puebla, but then advanced victoriously through battles at Contreras and Churubusco. They stormed the heavily fortified castle on a hill known as Chapultepec, and after a day of fighting they conquered it on 13 September 1847, opening the way to the capital. The Mexican campaign emphasized the general's boldness and daring strategy; though the war made Scott a national hero, the Whig supporter's political opponents in the Democratic Polk administration recalled him in early 1848.