San Pasqual Battlefield
On December 6, 1846 the Battle of San Pasqual took place between the United States and
the Californios. Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny led the United States and the Californios
were led by Major Andres Pico. This battle was one of the bloodiest in the U.S.-Mexican War
and ended in controversy.
In order to conquer California for the United States the Army of the West marched all the
way from Fort Leavenworth across the southern desert where they had to tackle such issues as
lack of water, lack of food, and poor conditions in June 1846.
That was around the time Brigadier General Kearny received word that California was
now in American hands and everything was secure over on the Pacific Coast. Due to ...view middle of the document...
Hearing about the Californios presence in the area Brigadier General
Kearny sent a nighttime reconnaissance over to investigate the Californios camp. But, the plan
was foiled due to the amount of noises and the Californios prepared for battle.
At dawn on December 6th, the U.S. troops rode over the hills between Santa Maria and
San Pasqual to face the Californios in the valley below. The Californios lances proved to be an
advantage over the U.S. troops swords and rifles with wet gunpowder. Eighteen soldiers were
killed in battle, three died of wounds, and one went missing in action. Pico went on to report that
only one Californio was killed after the smoke cleared.
That night, the U.S. forces buried their dead, patched up the wounded, and tried to
continue onward to San Diego the following morning. But, they were stopped right past Rancho
San Bernardo at what is now called Mule Hill. They were attacked by the Californios until the
morning of December 11th when more troops arrived from San Diego to rescue them. The
Californios departed once they sighted the U.S. relief.
The Army of the West, wounded and exhausted, finally reached San Diego on December
12, 1846. In the end neither side gained an advantage and the course of the war remained
unchanged. Both opponents claimed victory, the Americans from holding the battlefield and the
Californios through inflicting more casualties. It definitely sounds like both sides reached their
objective. The Americans for territory and the Californios to disable the enemy. The real win
went to the Californios though despite the Americans being the aggressors, the U.S. troops were
immobilized and the Californios held the initiative. Regardless of any victories the Californios
couldn’t alter the ultimate course of events. Here and in Mexico, the Americans won the war.