In August 1847 he was breveted lieutenantcolonel for gallant and meritorious conduct at Contreras and Churubusco.
During the Mexican war he was twice severely wounded in a reconnaissance at Cerro Gordo, 1847, was engaged in the siege of Vera Cruz, the battles of Contreras, Churubusco, and Molino del Rey, the storming of Chapultepec, and the assault on the city of Mexico, and received three brevets for gallant and meritorious service.
He served in the Mexican War under Scott, and was breveted for gallantry at Contreras and Churubusco and at Chapultepec. He became captain in 1852 and major in 1861.
In the suburbs, oils, chemicals, cigarettes and bricks are made at Tacuba; cotton textiles at Contreras, San Angel and Tlalpam; paper and boots at Tacubaya, and bricks at Mixcoac and Coyoacan.
This movement brought the Americans to the hill of Contreras, which was held by General Valencia with a force of some 7000 and 22 pieces of artillery, while President Santa Anna was in the neighbourhood with reinforcements numbering 12,000 or more.
At Vera Cruz he won the rank of first lieutenant, and for gallant conduct at Contreras and Chapultepec respectively he was brevetted captian and major, a rank which he attained with less than one year's service.
At the battle of Contreras, on the 19th of August 1847, he was thrown from his horse and received severe injuries.
He received the brevets of major for Cerro Gordo, lieut.- colonel for Contreras-Churubusco and colonel for Chapultepec. After the war he was employed in engineer work at Washington and Baltimore, during which time, as before the war, he resided on the great Arlington estate, near Washington, which had come to him through his wife.
The work of restoration undertaken in 1828 by the architect Jose Contreras was endowed in 1830 by Ferdinand VII.; and after the death of Contreras in 1847, it was continued with fair success by his son Rafael (d.
See also Rafael Contreras, La Alhambra, El Alcdzar, y la gran Mezquita de Occidente (Madrid, 1885); The Alhambra, by Washington Irving, was written in 1832, and rewritten in 1857, when it had already become widely celebrated for its picturesque and humorous descriptions.
He re-entered the army as a captain of mounted rifles in the Mexican War, served with distinction, and was breveted major for bravery at Contreras and Churubusco.
Then came the hopeless revolts of the Indians against intolerable oppression, the abortive rebellions of Hernandez de Contreras and John Bermejo (Bermudez) against the mother country (1550), the foundation of Leon, future rival of Granada, in 1610, its sack by the buccaneers under William Dampier in 1685, and, lastly, the declaration of independence (1821), not definitively acknowledged by Spain till 1850.
Among the islands which thickly fringe this part of the coast, the largest are Azopardo (lying within Baker Inlet), Prince Henry, Campana, Little Wellington, Great Wellington and Mornington (of the Wellington archipelago), Madre de Dios, Duke of York, Chatham, Hanover, Cambridge, Contreras, Rennell and the Queen Adelaide group of small barren rocks and islands lying immediately north of the Pacific entrance to the Straits of Magellan.
Sent as a lieutenant of engineers to the Mexican War, he took part in the battles under General Scott, and by his gallantry won the brevets of first-lieutenant at Contreras-Churubusco and captain at Chapultepec; he was afterwards detailed as assistant-instructor at West Point, and employed in explorations in the South-West and in Oregon.