Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Battle of San Pascual

Stained Glass US Troops
San Pascual Battlefield
Visitor Center

The battles of the American Revolution and the US Civil War were not fought in California.  But important battles were fought in the state of California.  Perhaps the most important land battle ever fought in California was the Battle of San Pascual which was fought in southern California in December of 1846 during the Mexican-American War.  General Stephen Kearny had marched his American forces overland from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas all the way to San Diego which was, at the time controlled by Mexico and populated by the Californios.

We wrote this in the California chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil (

Stained Glass Californios Lancer
San Pascual Battlefield
Visito Center

"The bloodiest battle of the American invasion of California was fought on December 6, 1846, at San Pasqual, between General Kearny’s forces and the Californios, led by Pico. Nineteen Americans were killed in the fifteen- minute-long engagement, most pierced by the willow lances of the mounted Californios, who were excellent horsemen. Kearny himself was wounded, but his regulars forced the Californios to withdraw. Casualties among the Californios are unknown.The intervention of naval and marine forces would quickly overwhelm the resistance of the Californio forces. Frémont and Pico negotiated the Treaty of Cahuenga, which ended the fighting in California. Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles honors the family of the Californio leader."

San Pascual Battlefield, CA
Who won the battle of San Pascual?  The question still remains in doubt.  The Californios inflicted greater casualties on the Americans.  But the Californios ultimately withdrew from the field of battle. California was acquired by the United States as a part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended Polk's Mexican-American War.

Clam Pizza
Tomasso's on Kearney, SF, CA

A visitor to San Francisco today can order a clam pizza at Tomasso's Restaurant ( on Kearny street near north beach.  Similarly a tourist can see the sites along Polk street in the city by the bay.  The American invasion of 1846 in California have left their marks upon this land.

Kit Carson statue
San Pascual Battlefield, CA
The battle is also noteworthy for the participation of Kit Carson, the legendary western scout who supported the American forces in the battle sneaking through Californio lines to get assistance from the US Navy.

James K Polk
America's most significant one term President

Today the Battlefield of San Pascual is a California State park is supported by volunteers and only open on weekends (  The nearest town is Escondido which lies about 30 miles north of San Diego.  After my recent visit to the visitor center I walked around the dusty trail which had many suspicious looking holes along the trail.  Many signs warned about the presence of rattlesnakes.

San Pascual Battlefield, CA

Beautiful views of the area could be gained from the heights of San Pascual.

Commander Kelly suggests that you wear boots while exploring the nearly forgotten history of California at the San Pascual Battlefield.

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