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Battle of Monterey
Part of Mexican-American War
Batalla de Monterey.jpg
Officers of Commodore Sloat raise the U.S. flag over Monterey
DateJuly 7, 1846
LocationMonterey, California
Result United States victory
 United States Mexico Mexico
Commanders and leaders
John D. Sloat unknown
1 frigate,
2 sloops-of-war
~0 infantry,
unknown artillery,
1 fort
Casualties and losses
0 0

The so-called Battle of Monterey, at Monterey, California, was waged on July 7, 1846, during the Mexican-American War. The United States captured the town unopposed. The action made the ongoing Bear Flag Revolt superfluous.


Prior to the Mexican-American War the Californio forces had already driven the Mexican appointed Governor Manuel Micheltorena and most of his soldiers from Alta California. The Californio Governor, Pio Pico, with about 100 poorly armed and poorly equipped soldiers, was nominally in charge in Alta California and had consolidated his forces in Pueblo de Los Angeles—the largest city then in California with about 3,500 residents.

The main forces available to the United States in California were the about 400-500 bluejacket sailors and U.S. Marines on board the five ships of the Pacific Squadron there. Speculating that war with Mexico over Texas etc. was very possible, the U.S. Navy had sent several additional naval vessels to the Pacific in 1845 and 1846 to protect U.S. interests there and prevent possible British action. It took about 200 days, on average, for ships to travel the over-12,000 miles (19,000 km) trip from the East coast around Cape Horn to get to California. More ships assigned to the Pacific Squadron would continue to arrive from 1846 to 1847.

Hostilities between U.S. and Mexican forces had been underway in Texas since April 1846 resulting in a formal declaration of war on May 13, 1846, by the U.S. Congress. On May 17, 1846, unofficial word reached the U.S. Navy fleet of four vessels at anchor in the harbor of Mazatlan, Mexico, that hostilities had begun between Mexico and the United States. Commodore (Rear Admiral) John D. Sloat, commander of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Squadron, dispatched his flagship, the Frigate USS Savannah, and the Sloop USS Levant to Monterey harbor where they arrived on July 2, 1846. They joined the sloop USS Cyane which was already there.[1]:205 There were U.S. fears that the British might try to annex California to satisfy British creditors.[1]:180 The British Pacific Station's ships off California were stronger in ships, guns and men.[2]:199


Hearing word of the Bear Flag Revolt in Sonoma, California and the arrival of the large British 2,600 ton, 600 man, man-of-war HMS Collingwood, flagship under Sir George S. Seymour, outside Monterey Bay, Sloat was finally stirred to action. On July 7, 1846—seven weeks after war had been declared, Sloat instructed the captains of the ships of the Pacific Squadron in Monterey Bay to occupy Monterey with their Marines and Navy sailors. The Californio soldiers had already left the town's defenses and gone to Los Angeles. They would have had no gunpowder to use in their few cannons even if they some had stayed.[1]:205 Two hundred twenty five U.S.Navy officers,sailors,and Marines [3] commanded by Captain William Mervine of the U.S.S. Cyane landed unopposed and captured Monterey without incident. They raised the flag of the United States without firing a shot. The only shots fired were a 21 gun salute to the new U.S. flag fired by each of the U.S. Navy ships in the harbor.[2]:252 The British ships observed but took no action.


After the occupation of Monterey the rest of the small towns in California surrendered very quickly without a shot being fired. Once it was seen that the U.S. Navy was taking action the Bear Flag Revolt was quickly converted into an annexation as the California Bear Flag was swapped for the U.S. flag. The Bear Flag revolutionaries were soon combined with John C. Frémont's 60 man exploratory force to form the U.S. sponsored California Battalion under the command of Frémont. The California Battalion, which varied from 160 to 400 men, drew regular army wages and were used to garrison and maintain order in the towns that had surrendered. This freed Commodore Robert F. Stockton, who had taken over by July 21, 1846, Pacific Squadron's Marines and sailors to go on to do other activities.

Sloat's famous declaration, annexing California to the United States, was met with bitterness and anger by some Californios who had a wide variety of opinions on the subject.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cleland, Robert Glass (1922). A history of California: the American period. The Macmillan Company. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Bancroft, Hubert Howe; Nemos, William; Victor, Frances Fuller (1886). History of California. History Co.. Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  3. Craig L. Symonds Naval Institute Press, 2001

Coordinates: 36°36′23″N 121°53′59″W / 36.60639°N 121.89972°W / 36.60639; -121.89972

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