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Mexican-American War
Raids, Skirmishes & Occupations

Occupations, Raids & Skirmishes of 1846

May 18, 1846 in Mexico (Occupation of Matamoros) - Following their victories at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma (and the subsequent relief of Fort Texas), the American army added to its successes with the bloodless occupation of Matamoros on May 18, 1846, after Arista abandoned the town and withdrew his forces to the relative safety of Monterey, about a hundred miles to the south.
Conclusion: American Victory

July 7, 1846 in Monterey, California - The Battle of Monterey, at Monterey, California (sometimes confused with the Battle of Monterrey, in Nuevo León), was waged on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War. U.S. naval forces under Commodore John D. Sloat, in command of the United States Pacific Squadron, opposed a small group of Mexican Coast Guard. The battle was little more than a skirmish, with most of the Mexican detachments protecting the city surrendering without firing a shot. A handful of shore batteries attempted to resist Sloat but were quickly silenced by the American warships. Of chief interest is the controversy surrounding the battle. While Sloat was an officer of the United States Navy, he was not authorized to attack any portion of California, and was instead reprimanded for his action by President James K. Polk. In addition, Sloat's famous declaration, annexing California to the United States, was met with bitterness and anger by many of the native Californios.
Conclusion: American Victory

July 14, 1846 in Camargo, Mexico (Occupation of Camargo, Tamaulipas) - Led by Taylor, 2,300 U.S. troops crossed the Rio Grande (Rio Bravo) after some initial difficulties in obtaining river transport. His soldiers occupied the city of Camargo (where the soldiery suffered the first of many problems with disease) and then proceeded south and besieged the city of Monterrey.
Conclusion: American Victory.

August 13 - September 30, 1846 in Pueblo de Los Angeles, California (Siege of Los Angeles) - On August 13, 1846, early in the American invasion of California during the Mexican-American War, the US Navy, under Commodore Robert F. Stockton, sent an occupying force of fifty US Marines, under USMC Captain Archibald H. Gillespie into the Pueblo de Los Angeles and raised the American flag without opposition, as Mexican government officials fled Alta California. A rudimentary US barricade called Fort Hill was hastily built overlooking the small pueblo.

The martial law imposed on the surprised and confused pueblo citizens by Captain Gillespie soon ignited a popular uprising. The Californios, organized under José Mariá Flores, a Mexican Officer who remained in California, Jose Antonio Carrillo and Andres Pico, and assembled a vaquero Lancer force that began the fight to break the "Siege of Los Angeles" on September 22, 1846.

Gillespie's marines were able to resist an initial attack on the government house in town and regrouped on Fort Hill, where they strengthened their fortification with sandbags and mounted a cannon. Within a short time, the Californio force grew to just over sixty men, with several Californio citizens voicing strong opposition to the American invaders. Flores offered an ultimatum: leave within twenty-four hours or face attack. Gillespie, remembering the Americans at the Alamo, chose to withdraw from Los Angeles, and on September 30, 1846, American forces retreated to their Brig Savannah, berthed in San Pedro Bay, with Stockton's fleet. This was the beginning of the unanticipated Californio resistance to the American invasion of Southern California.
Conclusion: Mexican victory, Americans driven out of pueblo.

September 26–27, 1846 near near Chino, California (Battle of Chino) - In late September 1846, as war between Mexico and the United States was declared, about 20 Americans led by Benjamin Davis Wilson assembled at Isaac Williams' Rancho Santa Ana del Chino. Williams, originally from Pennsylvania, had become a Mexican citizen - a prerequisite for owning land - and married Maria de Jesus Lugo, daughter of Antonio Maria Lugo. The Californios doubted the loyalty of Wilson's men and set out to arrest them.

Serbulo Varela, Diego Sepulveda and Ramon Carrillo left Los Angeles with about fifty men, while José del Carmen Lugo with another fifteen to twenty men left from San Bernardino to converge upon Rancho del Chino. On the night of September 26, 1846, the adobe ranch house was surrounded by the Californios. At dawn, the following day, gunfire was exchanged resulting in one Californio (Carlos Ballesteros, son of the grantee of Rancho Rosa Castilla) dead with two wounded and three American wounded. When the Californios attempted to set fire to the roof of the house, Wilson surrendered to Varela. This brief engagement became known as the Battle of Chino.

Wilson's men were taken prisoner and marched to Paredon Blanco in Boyle Heights, the main camp of the Californio forces. The prisoners were nearly executed in retaliation for the death of Carlos Ballesteros, the only fatal casualty at Chino, but many were related by marriage to Mexican families, and Varela and others intervened. Later, the prisoners were taken to Rancho Los Cerritos, near present-day Long Beach, where they were detained and ultimately released.
Conclusion: Mexican victory.

November 14, 1846 in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico - was occupied by the U.S. Navy
Conclusion: American Victory.

November 16, 1846 in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico - was occupied by the U.S. Army
Conclusion: American Victory.

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Occupations, Raids & Skirmishes of 1847

January 2, 1847 west of Mission Santa Clara de Asís in California (aka "Battle of the Mustard Stalks") - Californios were angry at United States immigrants settling on their ranchos. Six men of the U.S. sloop Warren, who had gone ashore to buy cattle from Mexicans for food, were taken hostage by a group under Francisco Sánchez. One of the hostages was Lieutenant Washington Allon Bartlett, the alcalde of Yerba Buena (soon to be renamed San Francisco). Captains Joseph Aram and Charles Maria Weber, commanding U.S. volunteers at Santa Clara and San Jose respectively, were sent to free them. Sánchez had command of 200 men, so U.S. marines and artillery under Captain Marston were dispatched as reinforcement. James F. Reed, acting lieutenant of the San Jose volunteer contingent, was in the area to muster a rescue party for his family, members of the Donner Party snowbound in the high Sierras. The war made volunteers hard for him to find.

The Americans were in a mustard field in a dry creek when the Mexicans opened fire. Once the Americans reached open ground the fighting turned their way. An armistice was agreed after two hours, by which time four Mexicans were killed, with four Mexicans and two Americans injured. Tinkham writes, "The women stood on the housetops at Santa Clara and anxiously watched the battle. After the battle the regulars marched into the pueblo and were given a rousing reception and a dinner." The Mexicans retreated to the Santa Cruz Mountains. On January 8, the Marines having arrived, Sánchez surrendered. The Americans did agree to respect the californios' property.
Conclusion: American Victory
Casualties: Americans: 2w; Mexicans: 4k, 2w

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