I had fun at the recent San Diego Press Club Awards, something I had not attended for about ten years. I was particularly gratified for winning a First Place in the history category for my article on the Battle of San Pasqual entitled: “Why did one of America’s best generals botch the Battle of San Pasqual 170 years ago?”
This article was adapted from my master’s thesis from Norwich University, where I was given my master’s degree in military history several years ago. But my interest in this battle, the bloodiest in California’s history (although that’s like talking about the tallest mountain on Guam) goes way back. I’ve been fascinated by the various historical figures who played prominent roles in this short clash. Men such as Kit Carson, General Stephen Watts Kearny, Marine Lt. Archibald Gillespie, and others, all of whose names can be found on streets and landmarks in San Diego County.
When you do an academic paper, you are required to come up with a theory or approach that no one else has used. Mine was to delve into the idea that the reason General Kearny was so badly beaten up by the Californios—although he claimed victory because they left him in possession of the field—was because he had never fought a cavalry engagement before.
The thought seemed at first absurd because Kearny was a war hero of the War of 1812, where he fought in an infantry engagement and because he was the founder of the U.S. Cavalry. But the more I researched, the more I found support for this theory. And it is, of course, only a theory. If someone wants to try to disprove it, they are welcome to try.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about the Battle of San Pasqual, the San Pasqual Battlefield Museum will be staking their annual reenactment, called “Battle Day” on Sunday, December 3, from 11 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
See more information below:
San Pasqual Battlefield State Historic Park
15808 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido CA
(1.5 Miles East of the Wild Animal Park on State Highway 78)
Free event parking located at the San Diego Archaeological Center – upper field.
For more information: 760-737-2201.