Battle of Santa Clara
Between January 2-7, 1847, Mexican and American forces fought in a skirmish that was nicknamed the "Battle of the Mustard Stalks." It was the only battle during the Mexican-American War fought in Northern California. It received its nicknamed because the American forces were in a mustard field when the Mexicans opened fire. A historical marker indicates the location of the skirmish. The actual battle only lasted a couple of hours on the first day but negotiations lasted for the full five days. Four Mexican soldiers died and four were wounded; only two Americans were injured.
Backstory and Context
The event, nicknamed the Battle of the Mustard Stalks because it began in a mustard field, was really more of a skirmish than an actual battle. It lasted only two hours and there were no deaths.
As a result, an American force was sent to rescue the sailors who were eventually released after negotiations. Another marker nearby indicates the location where the formal surrender and release took place.
There is an interesting side note to the battle at Santa Clara. One of the battle's participants was James Reed, one of the leaders of the doomed Donner Party. Reed was in the area to attempt to secure a relief party for the trapped remnants of his party, but had difficulties as many of the able-bodied men were fighting in the war.