Battle of Olompali

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Battle of Olompali
Part of the Bear Flag Revolt
Mexican-American War
Date June 24, 1846
Location Olómpali, California Republic, present-day California, USA
38°09′09″N 122°34′16″W / 38.152446°N 122.571170°W / 38.152446; -122.571170Coordinates: 38°09′09″N 122°34′16″W / 38.152446°N 122.571170°W / 38.152446; -122.571170
Result California Republic victory
Alta California

1stBearFlag.svg California Republic

Mexico Mexico
Commanders and leaders
1stBearFlag.svg Henry Ford Mexico Joaquín de la Torre
20 militia 50 infantry
Casualties and losses
2 killed,
unknown wounded
3 killed,
6 wounded
Battle of Olompali is located in California
Battle of Olompali
Location within California

The Battle of Olómpali was fought on June 24, 1846 in present day Marin County, California. It was the first battle of the Mexican-American War (declared by the U.S. on May 13) fought in California and the only skirmish of the Bear Flag Revolt that resulted in casualties.[1] The site is now a part of the Olompali State Historic Park.


The skirmish began when a detachment of General José Castro’s Alta California army forces from the Presidio of Monterey, under the command of Joaquín de la Torre, headed north in reaction to the declaration of an independent California Republic in Sonoma ten days earlier. Near Olómpali (north of present day Novato) they met up with a militia group that had come from Sonoma in hopes of rescuing two rebels who had been captured and (unbeknownst to their would-be rescuers) shot.[2]


During the Bear Flag Revolt, on June 24, 1846, the "Battle" of Olómpali occurred when a violent skirmish broke out between a group of American Bear Flaggers from Sonoma, led by Henry Ford, and a Mexican army force of 50 from Monterey, under the command of Joaquin de la Torre. The opposing forces met at Rancho Olompali, granted to Coast Miwok chief Camilo Ynitia in 1843.

The Olómpali skirmish was one of two engagements between California Republic militia and Mexican loyalist forces. Bear Flaggers attempted to seize horses from a corral owned by Californios who they suspected were planning to recapture Sonoma from the rebels, who had taken it earlier that week. Two Californios were killed and some wounded.[3]


  1. ^ Solnit, Rebecca (5 September 2011). A Book of Migrations (2nd ed.). Verso Books. p. 129. ISBN 9781844678143. Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Bernard DeVoto. The Year of Decision: 1846 Boston: Little Brown, 1943, p. 227.
  3. ^ Josiah Royce, California, Berkeley: Heyday Books, 2002, p. 63