Kearny, Stephen Watts

Kearny, Stephen Watts

biographical name

(born Aug. 30, 1794, Newark, N.J., U.S.—died Oct. 31, 1848, St. Louis, Mo.) U.S. Army officer. He served in the War of 1812 and later on the western frontier. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, he was ordered to seize New Mexico and California. Using diplomacy to persuade Mexican troops to withdraw, he marched unopposed to Santa Fe, where in 1846 he proclaimed a civil government for the province. Heading to California, he was informed that the conquest had already been completed by Robert F. Stockton and John C. Frémont. He arrived to discover that Mexican rebels had retaken most of the province. He then joined forces with Stockton to defeat the rebels in 1847. After initial opposition from Frémont, who had persuaded Stockton to appoint him governor, Kearny pacified the rest of California and established a stable civil government. He was then sent to Mexico, where he died of yellow fever.

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