The Battle of The Rio San Gabriel

  • Wars And Conflict
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Sometimes referred to as The Battle of San Gabriel, this engagement occurred in the early phases of The American-Mexican War of 1846-1848. Small, the Battle was responsible for delivering The Mexican Territory of California in American Hands. America and Mexico were at War in 1846. Brought about by many factors, it can be traced to The Texas War for Independence of 1836. Supported clandestinely by America, "her" true goal was the expansion of The Nation. At the start, several large American Forces were deployed South (via marching and by ship). The larger Force, under General Winfield Scott marched into Mexico proper. The smaller Force under General Stephen Kearney, followed the old "Spanish Trail". This Force would reach California Territory (near present day San Diego), in 1846. Mexico deployed it's primary Forces within the confines of it's non-Colonial boundaries. Small and often poorly supplied "Local Militia" were often all that was left for defense. However small, The Mexicano Lancers were extremely effective. This became apparent in late 1846, when General Kearny and a small Force of Infantry were nearly wiped out. A South broke through from the battlefield and rode to San Diego (which was already captured by US Naval Forces). A detachment of US Marines arrived and the two Forces forced The Mexicano Lancers from the field. Resting in San Diego, General Kearney gathered a combined Force of US Marines, Sailors and Soldiers. His goal March on Los Angeles and take The City.


The 600-man Force maruched North, reaching The San Gabriel Valley in January of 1847. General Kearney brought 2 Cannon with him. Marching to the banks of the swollen San Gabriel River, he encamped. Scouts reported that a high Bluff over looking the river, was controlled by a sizable Troop of Mexican Lancers, likewise supported by a Battery of Artillery. On the morning of January 8th, General Kearney firmed his Forces into a Square. With his Baggage Train and Artillery, they began to ford the river. Almost instantly, they came under fire from The Mexican Artillery. The Lancers attempted to turn Kearney Flanks. Moving and firing, Kearney's Forces held off the attacking Lancers long enough for him to deploy his own Artillery. Driving off The Lancers, The American Forces charged the bluffs. The Mexican Forces, faltered and fell back, retreating toward  Los Angeles (a scant 10-miles away). Kearney held the field. Although small compared to the more "news worthy" battles in Mexico proper, The Battle of San Gabriel was important. Kearney's Forces would hold on to meet token resistance outside of The Cuidad de Los Angels. Occupying The City, the remainder of a once Mexican controlled California was to fall into American hands. Kearney only lost 11 men to the engagement at San Gabriel.