Andrés Pico 1810–1876

Unidentified photographer
Quarter-plate daguerreotype, c. 1850

Seaver Center for Western History Research, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, California

Andrés Pico was the commander of the colonial military during the Mexican War. His older brother was Pío Pico, the last Mexican governor of Alta California prior to the U.S. annexation of the territory. With the outbreak of war in May 1846, both men led an effort to hold back the Americans.

At the Battle of San Pasqual—fought in December outside of San Diego—Andrés Pico was victorious in the bloodiest battle of the California campaign. However, the following month he was defeated by a force under the command of John C. Frémont and compelled to sign an armistice.

Pico remained in southern California after the war, becoming involved for a short time in a gold-mining venture. He later moved into politics and was elected a state senator in 1860.

A large ranch owner, Pico supported the growing railroad network in California and in 1864 actively promoted President Lincoln’s reelection.