San Pascual, Battle of

views updated

San Pascual, Battle of

During the Mexican-American War (1846–1848), the U.S. invasion and occupation of California was met with local resistance. One of the many battles fought there was the battle of San Pascual, near San Diego. The Mexican forces had recaptured Los Angeles from the U.S. army, and in December 1846 General Andrés Pico (1810–1876) along with about 100 men were sent to the Indian ranchería of San Pascual to prevent the Americans from reinforcing their garrison in San Diego. Meanwhile, Colonel Stephen W. Kearny with about 150 men marched overland from Santa Fe, New Mexico, and entered the area near the present-day city of Ramona, in the Santa Maria valley.

Early in the morning of December 6 the two forces discovered each other and engaged in a running battle. After intense hand-to-hand combat, twenty American soldiers were killed. The Californios had eleven wounded. Neither side surrendered.

Later, Kearny wrote that the battle of December 6 had been a "victory" and that the Californios had "fled from the field." But the Navy officers, headed by Commodore Robert Stockton (1795–1866), labeled the battle of San Pascual a defeat for the U.S. Army. Of course, the Californios considered this engagement a victory, and news of it spread throughout the district.

The battle of San Pascual proved that despite internal dissention and division, many Californios were willing to die to defend their homeland from the U.S. invasion. A month after the battle, the U.S. forces recaptured Los Angeles and forced the Mexican governor to sign a treaty ending the hostilities.

See alsoKearny, Stephen W.; Mexico, Wars and Revolutions: Mexican-American War.


Griswold del Castillo, Richard. "The Mexican War in San Diego: Loyalty and Resistance." Journal of San Diego History 49, no. 1 (2003): 15-29.

Jones, Salley Caval. "The Battle of San Pascual." Master's Thesis, University of San Diego, 1973.

                               Richard Griswold Del Castillo