Siege of Los Angeles

The Siege of Los Angeles was a military response by armed Mexican civilians to the occupation, which had begun August 13, 1846, by the United States Marines of the Pueblo de Los Angeles during the Mexican–American War.[1] It is also known as the Battle of Los Angeles.[2]

Siege of Los Angeles
Part of the Mexican–American War

San Pedro Bay, 1900.
DateSeptember 22–30, 1846
Result Mexican victory
 United States Mexico
Commanders and leaders
Robert F. Stockton
John C. Fremont
Archibald H. Gillespie
Jose Maria Castro
José María Flores
José Antonio Carrillo
Andrés Pico
48[a] 150 militia[a]
Casualties and losses
None None


Following the Battle of Monterey, the Americans held northern California but General Jose Maria Castro and Governor Pio Pico planned resistance in the south around the Los Angeles area.[a]:172 Commodore Robert F. Stockton arrived at Monterey Bay aboard the Congress on July 15 and took over command from John D. Sloat.[a]:170 Stockton accepted the Bear Flag revolutionaries, under the command of Major John C. Frémont, as the California Battalion.[a]:173 Stockton then garrisoned Sonoma, San Juan Bautista, Santa Clara, and Sutter's Fort.[a]:173 Stockton's plan for dealing with Castro was to have Commander Samuel Francis Du Pont carry Fremont's men in the Cyane to San Diego to block any movement southwards, while Stockton would land a force at San Pedro which would move overland against Castro.[a]:174 Fremont arrived at San Diego on July 29 and reached San Pedro on August 6 aboard the Congress.[a]{rp|174}}


Upon holding a council of war, Castro decided to leave California, heading to Sonora with Pico and a few supporters on August 11, while the rest of his force retired to Rancho San Pascual.[a]:176

On August 13, 1846, Stockton led his column into town, followed by Fremont's force a half-hour later.[a]:176 On August 14, the remnants of the California army surrendered.[a]:176


Stockton established a garrison of forty-eight men under Capt. Archibald H. Gillespie and departed in September[a]:177,183 His men, however, were undisciplined in an area with pro-Mexican feelings.[a]:183


On September 23, twenty men under the command of Cerbulo Varela exchanged shots with the Americans at Government House, which ignited Los Angeles.[a]:184 On September 24, 150 Californios, organized under José María Flores, a Mexican Officer who remained in California, at Castro's old camp at La Mesa.[a]:184 Gillespie's forces were effectively besieged, while Gillespie sent Juan "Flaco" Brown to Commodore Stockton for help.[a]:184

Gillespie's men retreated to Fort Hill on September 28, but without water, they surrendered the next day.[a]:184 Terms called for Gillespie's men to leave Los Angeles, which they did on September 30, 1846, and boarded the American merchant vessel Vandalia.[a]:184

Flores quickly cleared remaining American forces in southern California.[a]:184

Further reading

  • California History. The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft.

See also


  1. Bauer, K.J. (1974). The Mexican War, 1846-1848. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 0803261071.
  1. "Mexican-American War Timeline". Legends of America. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  2. "Sketch of the Battle of Los Angeles, Upper California, fought between the Americans and the Mexicans". A Continent Divided: The U.S. - Mexico War. January 9, 1847.
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