Commodore Robert F. Stockton

Commodore Robert F. Stockton, An American Naval Hero

Robert Field Stockton (August 20, 1795 - October 7, 1866) was a United States Naval Commodore, notable for taking California during the Mexican-American War. Stockton came from a distinguished political family and also served as US Senator from New Jersey.


He was born into a political family at Morven, Stockton Street, Princeton, New Jersey; his father Richard Stockton was a US Senator and Representative, and his grandfather, Judge Richard Stockton, was Attorney General for New Jersey and a signatory to the Declaration of Independence.

Early Marine Service

Stockton was appointed a midshipman in the US Navy at the age of 16 and served at sea and on land during the 1812 war. After this conflict, Lieutenant Stockton was deployed for ships in the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean, and off the coast of West Africa. He was the first naval officer to crack down on the slave trade and capture several slave ships. Stockton together with dr. Eli Ayers of the American Colonization Society negotiated a treaty that led to the founding of the state of Liberia.

business affairs

During the late 1820s and 1830s, he devoted himself primarily to business affairs in New Jersey. The birth of his son John P. Stockton, later US Senator representing New Jersey, occurred during this time. Commodore Robert F. Stockton

Continue active naval service

In 1838 Stockton resumed active naval service as captain. He served in the European area, but took up the political work in 1840. In 1841 he was offered by President John Tyler to the US Secretary of the Navy. He declined the offer, but worked successfully to obtain support for the construction of an advanced steamboat with a battery of very heavy guns. This ship became the USS Princeton, the Navy's first ship lift. The ship was designed by John Ericsson. Stockton commanded her when she was completed in 1843. The ship was armed with two long 225-pound wrought iron rifles called "Peacemaker" and "Oregon." Although he was the designer of the broken weapon, Captain Stockton was released from any responsibility for the explosion of the weapon, the Peacemaker, in February 1844 aboard the ship. The explosion killed two cabinet secretaries and several others. Through the court of misconduct in the explosion incident, Stockton was sent to Texas by President James K. Polk. Stockton carried with him Polk's offer to adopt Texas sailing on Princeton and arriving in Galveston. , Stockton's observations in Texas drew his attention to the looming war with Mexico, a fact he shared with Polk when he arrived back in Washington. No ship was more useful during the Mexican War than Princeton in the Gulf of Mexico. The records of the Department of the Navy showed that she was doing more service than the rest of the Gulf Squadron together.

Mexican-American War

Conquest of California On July 23, 1846 Commodore Stockton arrived in Monterey, California and took command of the ailing Commodore John D. Sloat of the Pacific Squadron of the US Naval Forces in the Pacific Ocean. Commodore Sloat had previously raised the US flag without resistance in Monterey, but had no plan to carry out further land-based military operations and, once relieved, sailed home to the United States, leaving Commodore Stockton in command of all US forces , Stockton's command ship was the USS Congress (1841) and his combined fleet of three frigates, each with about 480 men, a battleship with about 780 men and up to four sloops with about 200 men and three charges made him the strongest force in California and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. He was the driving force to continue taking possession of California. On August 11, 1846 Commodore Stockton marched on Cuidad de Los Angeles to meet in the battle with the army of General Castro. Seeing Commodore Stockton's imminent arrival, Castro panicked, dropping his entire artillery and heading for Sonora. Immediately after these events, Stockton dispatched a courier (the famous Kit Carson) to inform Washington of the events and details of his conquest of California. On December 6, 1846, Stockton learned that General Stephen Kearny had arrived in California with a small force and that he was besieged by far superior enemy forces in San Pasqual. Kearny was one of the wounded and commanders of just 60 fatigued Dragoons, sitting on fatigued mules in a dangerous situation and under the control of a Californian-Mexican cavalry force

Buy Commodore Robert F. Stockton, An American Naval Hero - A reprint of the rare 1856 book 'A Sketch in the Life of Commodore Robert Field Stockton.' An unchanged, word for word reprint.