I am trying to learn how long it took a ship to sail from Los Angeles to Monterey in 1846.
If there is a difference in the time it took a ship of the Pacific Squadron (Sloat/Stockton’s naval vessels) and the time it took a merchant ship, it would be useful to know that too.
By: Barry Goode
Editor’s Note: On a quick check of newspapers, I do not find departure/arrival dates between Los Angeles and Monterey, however there is an article on troop movement in the Californian, Volume 1, Number 38, May 6, 1847 which may interest you and which is held by the California Digital Newspaper Collection. Extracts of those movements are posted below.
Please contact The J. Porter Shaw Maritime Library staff for a more accurate response with regard to the length of sea voyages. They are listed here: Resources
My research focuses on mid-1800 immigration from international ports and doesn’t cover much in the way of local journeys. In any sea voyage, the following needs to be considered: type of ship, condition, weather/tides, whether she was carrying goods, ballast, passengers, etc. Troop ships would presumably be laden with not only troops, but horses, cannons, probably supply wagons, etc.
From California Digital Newspaper Collection.
(Extracts from the report of the Secretary of the Navy.)
On the 7th of June, 1546, at Mazatlan, Commodore Sloat received satisfactory information through Mexico “that the Mexican troops, six or seven thousand strong, had, by order of the Mexican government, invaded the territory of the United States north of the Rio Grande, and had attacked the forces under General Taylor, and that the squadron of the United States was blockading the ports of Mexico on the gulf.” He properly considered “these hostilities as justifying his commencing offensive operations on the west coast,” and on the 8th of June sailed in the frigate Savannah “for the coast of California, to carry out the orders of the department of the 24 of June, 1845.”
He arrived at Monterey on the 2d of July, and on the 7th demanded a surrender of that place. This was evaded; and an adequate force landed from the squadron, took possession of the town, and raised the flag of the United States, without opposition or bloodshed. On the 9th, Commander Montgomery, of the sloop Portsmouth, under the commodore’s orders, with like success, took possession of San Francisco, and that port of the country, in the name of the United States. On the 17th he sent Purser Fauntleroy with a detachment as far as the mission of St. John’s, to hoist the flag of the United States, and to recover cannon and munitions which were buried by the enemy. On his arrivalhefound that the place had been captured an hour or two previously by Lieut. Col Fremont, of the United States army, with whom he returned to Monterey on the 19th.
On the 15th of July the frigate Congress arrived at Monterey, and Commodore Stockton reported to Commodore Sloat for duty as a part of his squadron. On the 23rd he was ordered to the command on shore; and on the 29th Commodore Sloat found his infirm health so enfeebled by his arduous duties, that be determined to avail himself of a permission which had been given him, in his direction, to assign the command to Commodore Stockton, and sailed for Panama on his return home. After encountering much peril and hardship, this gallant and meritorious officer arrived at the seat government early in November last.
On the 25th of July the Cyane, Captain Mervine, sailed from Monterey, with Lieutenant Colonel Fremont and a small volunteer force on board, for San Diego, to intercept the retreat of the Mexican general, Castro. A few days after, Commodore Stockton sailed in the Congress Frigate for San Pedro, and, with a detachment from his squadron of three hundred and sixty men, marched to the enemy’s camp. It was found that the camp was broken up, and the Mexicans, under Governor Pico and General Castro, had retreated so precipitately, that Lieutenant Colonel Fremont was disappointed in intercepting him. On the 13th Commodore Stockton was joined by this gallant officer, and matched a distance of thirty miles from the sea and entered, without opposition, Ciudad de los Angeles, the capital of the California; and on the 22d of August the flag of the United States was flying at every commanding position, and California was in the undisputed military possession of the United States. The conduct of the officers and men of the squadron in these important operations has been characterized by activity, courage, and steady discipline, and entitles them to the thanks of the department. Efficient aid was rendered by Lieutenant Colonel Fremont land the volunteers under his command. In his hands, Commodore Stockton informs the department, he will leave the military government when he shall leave California, in the further execution of his orders.
In the novel situation of which both the commanders of our naval forces have been placed, without instructions to regulate them in the detail of their conduct, they have adopted measures to preserve social order, and maintain our authority, and to withhold from the enemy any advantages from the conquered territory, which are believed to be warranted by the hues of war. The conduct of both ‘commanders have been marked by discretion, a spirit of conciliation, and a sacred respect for private rights; while the military movements have been ably conceived and brilliantly executed.