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ECV® CHAPTER 1841


HISTRORIANS REPORT

CHAPTER #1841

MARCH 17, 2014

Battle of Monterey
click on pictures to enlarge

The Battle of Monterey, at Monterey, California occurred on 7 July 1846, during the Mexican-American War. The United States captured the town unopposed.

Prior to the Mexican-American War the California forces had already driven the Mexican appointed Governor Manuel Micheltorena and most of his soldiers from Alta California. The California Governor, Pio Pico, with about 100 poorly armed and poorly equipped soldiers was normally in charge in Alta California and had consolidated his forces in Pueblo de Los Angeles, the largest city then in California with about 1500 residents.

View of Monterey Bay from the Presidio of Monterey
View of Monterey Bay from the Presidio of Monterey...

View of Monterey Bay from the Presidio of Monterey

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 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 for ships to travel the 12,000 mile trip from the East coast around Cape Horn to get to California.

Warship fires cannons so land forces know cannons are empty
Warship fires cannons so land forces know cannons are empty...

Warship fires cannons so land forces know cannons are empty

Commodore Sloat arrived at Monterey on the frigate Savannah on 1 July. He had previously received word that the U.S. and Mexico were at war. Sloat joined the sloop Cyane which was already there. The U.S. fears were that the British might try to annex California to satisfy British creditors. The British Pacific Station's ships off California were stronger in ships, guns and men.

Land forces fire cannons so warship knows it is safe to come ashore
Land forces fire cannons so warship knows it is safe to come ashore...

Land forces fire cannons so warship knows it is safe to come ashore

On 6 July, Sloat decided to seize Monterey and Yuba Buena (San Francisco). Captain William Mervine of the Cyane went ashore with a small party from the Savannah at 07:30 0n 7 ,July, seeking the surrender of the port from the Mexican commandant, Captain Mariano Silva. Silva stated that he was not authorized to surrender the place. In fact Silva was in command of a nonexistent garrison. The California 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 some had stayed. At 10AM 225 sailors and marines from Sloat's three warships landed. They formed before the Customs House where Purser Rodman M Price read Sloat's proclamation of a state of war between the U.S. and Mexico and the annexation of California by the U.S. 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. The British ships observed but took no action.

Sloat Monument on the presidio overlooks the bay
Sloat Monument on the presidio overlooks the bay...

Sloat Monument on the presidio overlooks the bay

Sloat recognized Mexican real estate titles and church lands. He also established justices of the peace when the alcaldes resigned his office.

front of Sloat Monument
front of Sloat Monument...

front of Sloat Monument

Captain John B. Montgomery of the Portsmouth received Sloat's message to seize Yuba Buena and at 8AM on 9 July, read the pronouncement at the Customs House. He then replaced the Bear Flag with the American flag. The American flag was run up with a 21 gun salute. Montgomery then sent Purser James H. Watmough to notify Fremont at Sonoma and Sutter's Fort.

Commodore Sloat's landing is celebrated annually...
Commodore Sloat's landing is celebrated annually...

Commodore Sloat's landing is celebrated annually...

Commodore Robert F. Stockton arrived at Monterey Bay aboard the Congress on 15 July and took over command from Commodore Sloat. The British ship of the line Collingwood arrived at Monterey on 23 July and the British ship Juno arrived at Yuba Buena on 11 July, but both ships did not interfere in the American activities.

... complete with the USMC Silent Drill Team
... complete with the USMC Silent Drill Team

... complete with the USMC Silent Drill Team

The Americans held Northern California but General Jose Maria Castro and Governor Pio Pico planned resistance in the south.


Report presented by Fred "Mr Magoo" Willcox
John A Sutter Historian

photos provided by RussellH


webmaster's comments:

A flotilla of warships under the command of Commodore John Drake Sloat arrived in Monterey Bay on July 7, 1846; sailors and Marines rowed ashore, landed on the beach below the Monterey Customs House, then proceeded to the Presideo of Monterey where they raised the American flag and claimed California for the United States... this happened just 2 weeks before a British flotilla of warships arrived with the same intention... toooo late... we already had it... the ships emptied their cannons and the presideo's cannons were emptied indicating there would be no scremish... the landing is still celebrated... every year...

When did Commodore John Drake Sloat, Commander of the United States Navy's Pacific Squadron, actually sail into Monterey Bay on his flagship Savannah?
five days before the seventh of July 1846

When did Commodore John Drake Sloat, Commander of the United States Navy's Pacific Squadron, go ashore with 250 armed sailors and marines?
Sloat dint go ashore, directed Captain William Mervine to go ashore on the seventh of July

US Pacific Squadron: frigate USS Savannah, sloops of war USS Levant, and USS Cyane, USS Portsmouth

Two days later on 9 July, USS Portsmouth, under Captain John S. Montgomery, landed seventy marines and bluejacket sailors at Clark's Point in San Francisco Bay and captured Yerba Buena, which today is San Francisco

Name:     USS Savannah
Builder:     New York Navy Yard
Laid down:     1820
Launched:     5 May 1842
Decommissioned:     11 February 1862
Captured:     Sold, 1883
General characteristics
Type:     Frigate
Displacement:     1,726 long tons (1,754 t)
Length:     202 ft 6 in
Beam:     47 ft (14 m)
Depth of hold:     22 ft 8 in (6.91 m)
Propulsion:     Sail
Complement:     480 officers and enlisted
Armament:    
4  8 in (200 mm) shell guns
28  32-pounder guns
22  42-pounder carronades

Name:     USS Levant
Builder:     New York Navy Yard
Launched:     28 December 1837
Commissioned:     17 March 1838
Fate:     Lost at sea, 1860
General characteristics
Type:     Sloop-of-war
Displacement:     792 long tons (805 t)
Length:     132 ft 3 in (40.31 m)
Beam:     34 ft 3 in (10.44 m)
Draft:     15 ft 9 in (4.80 m)
Propulsion:     Sails
Complement:     200 officers and enlisted
Armament:
4  24-pounder guns
13  32-pounder carronades

Name:     USS Cyane
Builder:     Boston Navy Yard
Launched:     2 December 1837
Commissioned:     May 1838
Decommissioned:     20 September 1871
Fate:     Sold, 30 July 1887
General characteristics
Type:     Sloop-of-war
Displacement:     792 long tons (805 t)
Length:     132 ft 4 in (40.34 m)
Beam:     26 ft 3 in (8.00 m)
Draft:     16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)
Propulsion:     Sails
Complement:     200 officers and enlisted
Armament:    
18  32-pounder guns
4  24-pounder guns

Name:     USS Portsmouth
Builder:     Portsmouth Navy Yard
Launched:     23 October 1843
Commissioned:     10 November 1844
Decommissioned:     14 July 1878
Struck:     17 April 1915
Fate:     Sold, and destroyed, 6-7 September 1915
General characteristics
Type:     Sloop-of-war
Displacement:     1,022 long tons (1,038 t)
Length:     151 ft 10 in (46.28 m)
Beam:     37 ft 3 in (11.35 m)
Draft:     16 ft 6 in (5.03 m)
Propulsion:     Sail
Complement:     200 Naval officers and enlisted, 27 Marines
Armament:    
18  medium 32-pounder guns
2  Paixhans 64-pounder shell guns


Mass of Cast Iron ball:
(lb)  Diameter  Caliber
        (in) 	
 4 	3.05 	305
 6 	3.49 	349
 9 	4.00 	400
12 	4.40 	440
18 	5.04 	504
24 	5.55 	555
32 	6.10 	610
42 	6.68 	668