The Battle of San Diego Bay: Saturday, April 14, 2018 The 215th Anniversary of the Battle of San Diego Bay will be commemorated on April 14, 2018 from 11:30 PM until 3:00 PM at Ballast Point Naval Base Point Loma which is at the south end of Rosecrans Street.
The San Diego Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution has been invited to participate in the anniversary celebration. The picture to the right shows the San Diego Maritime Museum Californian reenacting the firing of the Lelia Byrd’s broadside in 2017.
Registration is required in order to attend this event. Please click here to register and scroll down the page to the RSVP form for the event.
On March 17, 1803 Captain William Shaler and Captain Richard Cleveland sailed into San Diego Bay on the American Brig Lelia Byrd to buy sea otter pelts, although such trading was forbidden by Spain. On the morning of March 22nd, Spanish soldados captured members of the ship’s crew on the beach. Captain Cleveland rowed ashore, released his sailors, and captured a few soldados. As the ship departed, the soldados were tied to the masts in plain view of the shore. Fort Guijarros’ nine-pound cannons opened fire to prevent the Americans’ escape. The Lelia Byrd crew fired two broadsides at the fort with its six three-pound swivel guns. A hat was waved and both parties ceased firing, with no injuries except to pride and rigging. This is the only known ship-to-shore cannon battle to have occurred on the Pacific Coast between an American merchant ship and Spanish forts. The Fort Guijarros site was designated as California Registered Historical Landmark No. 69 in 1982.