With an army of little more than 6,000 soldiers, Hidalgo embarked on the struggle for independence.
After passing through Atotonilco, the army marched on and a few days later took Celaya, then Salamanca and then Acámbaro before turning their sights on Guanajuato. Hidalgo offered the city the chance to surrender, but his old friend, the city commander Juan Antonio Riaño refused to hand it over and gathered the local regiment to take up a position in the region’s largest warehouse, the Alhóndiga de Granaditas, where they were joined by the city’s wealthiest families.
Hidalgo and Ignacio Allende hurled their troops against the building. After more than five hours of combat, Riaño came out to fight hand to hand, but died from a bullet from a native’s gun.