Print this pageHistorical Text Archive © 1990 - 2015
From "Instances of the Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-1945," Hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Armed Services, 87th Congress, 2nd Session, Mon., Sept. 17, 1962.
1806--Mexico (Spanish territory). Capt. Z.M. Pike, with a platoon of troops, invaded Spanish territory at the headwaters of the Rio Grande deliberately and on orders from Gen. James Wilkinson. He was made prisoner without resistance at a fort he constructed in present-day Colorado, taken to Mexico, later released after seizure of his papers. There was a political purpose, still a mystery.
1810--West Florida (Spanish territory). Gov. Claiborne of Louisiana, on orders of the president, occupied with troops territory in dispute east of the Mississippi as far as the Pearl River, later the eastern boundary of Louisiana. He was authorized to seize as far east as the Perdido River. No armed clash.
1812--Amelia Island and other parts of east Florida, then under Spain. Temporary possession was authorized by President Madison and by Congress, to prevent occupation by any other power; but possession was obtained by Gen. George Matthews in so irregular a manner that his measures were disavowed by the President.
1813--West Florida (Spanish territory). On authority given by Congress, General Wilkinson seized Mobile Bay in April with 600 soldiers. A small Spanish garrison gave way. Thus we advanced into disputed territory to the Perdido River, as project in 1810. No fighting.
1814--Spanish Florida. Gen. Andrew Jackson took Pensacola and drove out the British with whom the United States was at war.
1816--Spanish Florida. United States forces destroyed Nichols Fort, called also Negro Fort, because it harbored raiders into United States territory.
1816-1818--Spanish Florida: First Seminole War. The Seminole Indians, whose area was a resort for escaped slaves and border ruffians, were attacked by troops under Generals Jackson and Gaines and pursued into northern Florida. Spanish posts were attacked and occupied, British citizens executed. There was neither a declaration of war nor any congressional authorization, but the Executive was sustained.
1817--Amelia Island (Spanish territory off Florida). Under orders of President Monroe, United States forces landed and expelled a group of smugglers, adventurers, and freebooters. 1836--Mexico. General Gaines occupied Nacogdoches (Texas), disputed territory, from July to December during the Texan war for independence, under orders to cross the "imaginary boundary line" if an Indian outbreak threatened.
1842--Mexico. Commodore T.A.C. Jones, in command of a squadron long cruising off California, occupied Monterey, Calif., on October 19, believing war had come. He discovered peace, withdrew, and saluted. A similar incident occurred a week later at San Diego.
1844--Mexico. President Tyler deployed our forces to protect Texas against Mexico, pending Senate approval of treaty of annexation. (Later rejected.) He defended his action against a Senate resolution of inquiry. This was a demonstration or preparation.
1846-1848--Mexico, the Mexican War. President Polk's occupation of disputed territory precipitated it. War formally declared.
1846-1848--Mexico, the Mexican War. President Polk's occupation of disputed territory precipitated it. War formally declared. Two hundred United States soldiers crossed the Rio Grande in pursuit of the Mexican bandit Cortina.
1866--Mexico. To protect American residents, General Sedgwick and 100 men in November obtained surrender of Matamoras. After three days, he was ordered by our government to withdraw. His act was repudiated by the President.
1870--Mexico, June 17 and 18. To destroy the pirate ship Forward, which had been run aground about 40 miles up the Rio Tecapan.
1873--Mexico. United States troops crossed the Mexican border repeatedly in pursuit of cattle and other thieves. There were some reciprocal pursuits by Mexican troops into our border territory. The cases were only technically invasions, if that, although Mexico protested constantly. Notable cases were at Remolina in May 1873 and at Las Cuevas in 1875. Washington orders often supported these excursions. Agreements between Mexico and the United States, the first in 1882, finally legitimized such raids. They continued intermittently, with minor disputes, until 1896.
1876--Mexico, May 18. To police the town of Matamoros temporarily, while it was without other government.