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Mexican War California and the Naval Blockade. ID & SIGs Kearny, Sherman, Halleck, Stockton, Fremont, blockade, Du Pont, Sloat, Santa Fe, Doniphan.

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Presentation on theme: "Mexican War California and the Naval Blockade. ID & SIGs Kearny, Sherman, Halleck, Stockton, Fremont, blockade, Du Pont, Sloat, Santa Fe, Doniphan."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mexican War California and the Naval Blockade

2 ID & SIGs Kearny, Sherman, Halleck, Stockton, Fremont, blockade, Du Pont, Sloat, Santa Fe, Doniphan

3 The West On May 13, 1846, the day Congress declared war, President Polk directed Secretary of War Marcy to dispatch a force to occupy Santa Fe, New Mexico As early as June 2, Marcy passed this mission on to Colonel Stephen Kearny to move from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to secure New Mexico and to continue to California, if he thought it possible, before winter Commodore John Sloat’s Pacific Squadron was to seize the ports of upper California, probably before Kearney’s arrival John Sloat

4 California The native Californios had little ties to Mexico City –Four separate rebellions in the 1840s left California as a semiautonomous province The US had designs on California dating back to John Quincy Adams’s presidency American public interest was spurned by Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast (1840) Californios

5 California California in 1846 was sparsely populated (one person per 26 square miles) –25,000 total inhabitants –10,000 whites –15,000 Indians A growing American presence was assembling in the Sacramento Valley around Sutter’s Fort

6 Stephen Kearny Kearny was a veteran of the War of 1812 and had spent 30 years on the western frontier He was well-acquainted with much of the terrain he would have to cross from a 2,200 mile expedition he had led the year before He commanded the 300 men of the 1 st Dragoons and had a reputation as somewhat of a martinet

7 Alexander Doniphan Doniphan commanded the thousand men of the 1 st Missouri Mounted Infantry; frontiersmen who were unaccustomed to the stern discipline of the 1 st Dragoons He was a lawyer who was elected commander because he was the biggest, toughest man in the group He preferred to lead by consensus rather than domination and his men respected him

8 Bent’s Fort Kearny moved along the Santa Fe Trail and reached Bent’s Fort by the end of July 1846 Limited grass and water had made the trip difficult –In one artillery battery, 60 out of the original 100 horses died

9 Proclamation Kearny knew the Mexican people were dissatisfied under Governor Manuel Armijo and he issued them a proclamation promising to respect their civil and religious rights if they did not resist his advance Kearny sent a representative to meet with Armijo, but for the time being Armijo refused to cooperate and began gathering a force

10 Santa Fe Kearny resumed his march, crossed the treacherous Raton Pass, and reached Santa Fe on August 18 –In each town, he reissued his Bent’s Fort proclamation –He was prepared for Armijo to meet him at Santa Fe with up to 12,000 men, but Amijo instead fled to Albuquerque –The people of Santa Fe were fairly receptive to Kearny’s arrival

11 Santa Fe Kearny improved Santa Fe’s defenses and called upon Doniphan’s legal background to draft the “Kearny Code” which served as a constitution for the newly annexed territory of New Mexico He also sent part of his force to recon forward in preparation for continuing into California

12 John Fremont Even before Kearny had left Fort Leavenworth, John Fremont had arrived at Sutter’s Fort in December 1845 Fremont was a 32 year old captain in the topographical engineers He was capable, brave, independent, self-serving, ambitious, and politically connected as the son-in-law of Senator Benton

13 John Fremont Fremont had been told by General Jose Maria Castro to stay in the Sacramento Valley, but Fremont disregarded this arrangement and moved to within 25 miles of Monterey in March 1846 Castro ordered Fremont to leave –Fremont initially refused and then backed down The showdown between Fremont and Castro elevated tensions between Californios and settlers –With Fremont’s support, settlers in Sonoma declared themselves independent and established the short-lived California Republic (the Bear Flag Republic)

14 John Fremont Fremont then resigned from the Army and organized what he called the California Battalion On July 4, 1846, he announced that he would conquer all of California

15 John Sloat Commodore John Sloat was the commander of the US Pacific Squadron –At 65 years old he as infirm and nearing retirement Sloat reached Monterey with a squadron of five ships on July 2, 1846 –Although cautious by nature, Sloat felt compelled to act before the nearby British fleet occupied Monterey

16 John Sloat Sloat learned of the Bear Flag Republic and assumed (incorrecly) that Fremont had acted with authority from Washington –Accordingly, Sloat demanded Castro surrender Monterey –After Sloat debarked 250 sailors and marines, Monterey surrendered without resistance The Bear Flag Republic ceased to exist and Fremont and his men reported to Sloat for service

17 Robert Stockton Finally Sloat learned Fremont had acted without authority, but three days later Sloat turned over command to Robert Stockton Stockton was the exact opposite of the cautious Sloat and immediately determined to occupy all of California Stockton absorbed Fremont’s force and landed at San Pedro, a few miles inland from Los Angeles

18 Robert Stockton Stockton refused any diplomatic solution, and he and Fremont marched into Los Angeles on August 13 On August 17, a ship arrived in Los Angeles with the word that the US and Mexico were at war Stockton then issued a proclamation announcing that California belonged to the US Stockton’s command ship USS Congress

19 Resistance Although the main Mexican forces dispersed, there was some Californio resistance –Mainly around Los Angeles where USMC Lieutenant Archibald Gillespie had alienated much of the population with his occupation techniques –In September 1846, Gillespie was forced to surrender his 48 men to Captain Jose Maria Flores, a paroled Californio officer Flores then proceeded to subdue American garrisons in San Diego and Santa Barbara Archibald Gillespie

20 Resistance Fremont refused to cooperate with Stockton, and Stockton was forced to set out to retake Los Angeles with only naval forces Stockton’s first attempt on October 8, 1846 failed and he was forced to shift his base from San Pedro to San Diego and try again Fremont finally marched out of Monterey on November 17, giving Flores a threat from a second direction San Pedro in 1850

21 Kearny While all this was going on, Kearny had appointed Charles Bent to be the governor of New Mexico and set out for California On December 6, 1846, Kearny lost one-third of his force at the Battle of San Pascual and was then subjected to a siege On December 10, reinforcements of 180 sailors and marines arrived from San Diego and the Californios fled The next day, Kearny arrived at San Diego, and he and Stockton began planning to retake Los Angeles

22 Kearny and Stockton Kearny outranked Stockton, but Stockton was more familiar with the area and most of the force would be sailors and marines Kearny agreed to act as Stockton’s “executive officer” On December 29, the Americans left for Los Angeles (140 miles away) –Along the way, Stockton received and refused an offer from Flores to negotiate Robert Stockton

23 Kearny and Stockton On January 8, 1847, the Americans easily brushed aside a small Californio force and crossed the San Gabriel River The next morning they dispersed another Californio band at the Battle of Mesa On January 10, the Americans entered Los Angeles –There were some hostile citizens in the streets but Flores had fled

24 Fremont Fremont had been absent during both San Pascual and San Gabriel, but he entered Los Angeles on January 14 with a “Treaty of Cahuenga” he had negotiated on his own with Andres Pico It was a generous agreement that called for he Californios to lay down their arms and granted them the rights of American citizens Stockton accepted the treaty and on January 16 appointed Fremont governor of California (in spite of orders Kearny had from Polk saying he was to be governor) Andres Pico

25 Occupation In February, Commodore Branford Shubrick arrived to replace Stockton Then Colonel Richard Mason arrived with orders from Polk that he should become governor once Kearny determined the area “pacified” Shubrick appointed Kearny governor Fremont challenged Mason to a duel and was later court-martialed by Kearny for insubordination Kearny retuned east on May 31, 1847 and turned command over to Mason

26 Occupation The occupation of California was marred more by political farce than military violence Officers who served there gained little combat experience, but some, like Henry Halleck, played valuable administrative roles In the end, the Americans consolidated control over California, probably not as efficiently as they could have but still effectively On January 24, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill Sutter’s Fort

27 Blockade Responsibility for the blockade of Mexico’s east coast fell to Commodore David Conner’s Home Squadron There were eight major ports to blockade –Matamros –Carmen –Tampico –Soto la Marina –Tuxpan –Alvarado –San Juan Bautista –Vera Cruz US Navy at Tuxpan

28 Blockade The Mexican Navy had two significant steamers but they never sent these out of their harbors to challenge the US Navy on the open sea On May 14, 1846, Conner issued a proclamation placing Vera Cruz, Alvarado, Tampico, and Matamoros under blockade and threatening to extend it elsewhere (which he did as more vessels became available) On August 19, 1846, Stockton proclaimed a blockade of the Mexican west coast Both blockades, especially Stockton’s, were plagued by a shortage of vessels that often limited enforcement

29 Blockade Stockton ordered Commodore Joseph Hull to blockade Mazatlan and Commodore Samuel Du Pont to blockade San Blas, about 125 miles south of Mazatlan –On September 12, Du Pont captured two Mexican vessels in the harbor of San Blas –He sailed north to La Paz, seized nine small boats there, and secured a promise of neutrality from the Governor of Baja California –On October 1, he went north 150 miles to Loreto and seized two schooners –On October 7, he shelled Guaymas –On November 13, he followed Hull to San Francisco to replenish his supplies

30 Blockade With Hull and Du Pont gone, the blockade failed after just four weeks –The problems were a lack of ships to adequately cover all the ports and a lack of convenient supply and maintenance facilities to allow the ships to remain on station for extended periods On December 24, Stockton issued orders for a second blockade –When other ships returned to San Francisco for supplies, Du Pont was left to enforce the blockade alone –His efforts to sail back and forth between San Jose and Mazatlan were ineffective and eventually he sailed for Hawaii for resupply

31 Doniphan Doniphan had originally intended to accompany Kearny to California, but Kearny ordered him to stay at Santa Fe to await the arrival of Colonel Sterling Price and the 2 nd Missouri Mounted Infantry Regiment and then march south to Chihuahua to report to Wool However, about 75 miles from Santa Fe Kearny came upon the site of an Apache raid at Pulvidera Kearny changed his plan and ordered Doniphan to subdue the Indians

32 Doniphan After Price arrived, Doniphan set out from Santa Fe Doniphan brushed aside a poorly led Mexican attack at the Brazito River and reached El Paso Back in Santa Fe, the New Mexicans grew rebellious and Governor Bent was attacked and killed while visited Taos on January 19, 1847 Price led a force to Taos that dispersed the rebels after fighting on February 3 and 4 After that, many New Mexicans were still unhappy, but there were no more outbreaks of violence

33 Doniphan While at El Paso, Doniphan learned Wool was going to Saltillo rather than Chihuahua as originally planned –Doniphan had to decide whether to return to Santa Fe or continue to Chihuahua –He put the matter to a vote, and his men voted to head for Chihuahua

34 Doniphan Defending Chihuahua was General Garcia Conde and a force of 1,500 infantry, 1,200 cavalry, and 119 artillerymen Doniphan had 924 soldiers plus a train of 315 wagons full of traders, teamsters, and their supplies In fierce hand-to-hand fighting, Doniphan defeated Conde at the Battle of Sacramento on February 28 and took possession of Chihuahua on March 1

35 Doniphan Doniphan wrote to Wool requesting orders and Wool passed the note to Taylor who instructed Doniphan to proceed to Saltillo Doniphan’s actions at Chihuahua coupled with Taylor’s victory at Buena Vita solidified the Americans’ hold on northern Mexico There was no enemy for Doniphan to fight so Taylor sent his men back home to be discharged

36 Next Winfield Scott


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