THE TRAIL OF KEARNY’S “ARMY OF THE WEST,” 1846-47
Early in the Mexican War, Colonel Stephen Watts Kearny was ordered to raise an army and march out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to points west. Kearny’s orders were to seize the Mexican province of New Mexico and then send divisions of his “Army of the West” into California and Mexico. The army followed the Santa Fe Trail to Santa Fe and then marched down the Rio Grande. After occupying New Mexico, Kearny’s contingent turned west to follow the Gila River to California and other detachments were sent south into Mexico. The short articles included here will describe the trail that Kearny’s group followed into California. In addition to the mission of conquest, Kearny’s men documented and mapped a large swath of previously unexplored territory in what is now the southwestern United States.