Lot 20 of 413:
Receipt for arms purchased during Bear Flag Rebellion 1846  

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Manuscript receipt for arms purchased in Los Angeles during the occupation by U.S. troops, just before they were forced to capitulate by rebellious Californios

Gillespie, Archibald H.

Ciudad de Los Angeles


September 29, 1846


Single sheet, written on one side only. 16x20 cm (6¼x8").

Rare document from the Bear Flag Rebellion, when U.S troops under the overall command of John C. Frémont. attempted to take control of California. Lt. Archibald Gillespie, U.S.M.C., was tasked with the occupation of Los Angeles, and promptly angered the residents by placing the city of 3,000 under martial law. Gillespie and his men were forced into Fort Moore Hill, surrounded and without water, and were forced to surrender on September 30. This receipt, dated September 29th, is for purchases made on September 14th and 29th, a final settling of accounts before the capitulation and departure from the city. The receipt reads in part, "United States for Operations in California, To Henry Mellus, for the following arms supplied U.S. Troops Ciudad de los Angeles. Ordnance: September 14th, 1.One Rifle, $30.00/ September 29th, 1. One pair pistols. $35.00... I certify that the above account is correct... Archi. H. Gillespie, Capt. Calif. Battalion, Military Commandant..." "Duplicate" is written across the document. 

Henry Mellus, who sold the ordnance to Gillespie, was a longtime California resident and merchant, who came to the West Coast in 1835 with Richard Henry Dana "before the mast" aboard the Pilgrim. In 1845 he formed a partnership with W.D.M. Howard - Mellus & Howard - with branches in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

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