Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: José Marcos Mugarrieta Papers,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1837-1886
Collection Number: BANC MSS 69/93 m
Creator: Mugarrieta, José Marcos, 1822-1886
Number of containers: 8 boxes and 1 oversize folder
The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please
consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Correspondence, passports, army orders, accounts, certificates of appointments,
fragments of diaries, mainly relating to his military career in Mexico and to his activities as Mexican
consul in San Francisco, 1859-1863. Also included: ship manifests with related papers, copies of
documents relating to Baja California, tracings of lands of the Santa Barbara mission, an espediente for
Rincon de San Francisquito, and some papers pertaining to the American conquest of California.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in Spanish
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for
publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not
intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the
[Identification of item], José Marcos Mugarrieta Papers, BANC MSS 69/93 m, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Materials Cataloged Separately
The papers were purchased for the Library by the Friends of The Bancroft Library in February 1969. A
small body of additional material was given by Wellman Topham on February 13, 1970.
José Marcos Mugarrieta, prior to his term as Mexican consul in San Francisco, 1857-1863,
served in the Mexican army from 1837. He saw action in numerous battles and campaigns -Jamaica, under
General Canalizo in 1841; Campeche, 1842-1843; Merida, 1843; Veracruz, 1845; Mexico City, 1846;
Angostura and Cerro-gordo, 1847; Guanajuato, 1848, and Sierra-Gorda under Bustamante, 1848-1849; and
Matamoros, 1849-1850. He directed the Sierra-Gorda colonies until ordered by General Mariano Arista,
then Minister of War, to return to Mexico via New Orleans and Veracruz, reporting on activities there.
Arista retained him in his service until January 1, 1851. Mugarrieta then became private secretary to
Manuel Robles, who succeeded Arista as Minister of War. In October 1851, Mugarrieta, aide-de-camp to
General López Uraga, traveled to the northern frontier, and accompanied the general on a
reconnaissance trip in January 1852 from Brownsville, Texas to Washington, New York, and Havana, coming
back to Mexico to resume his position as secretary to the Minister of War. In this capacity, he attended
Robles on an official visit to the principal points of the Gulf of Mexico. In November 1852, Mugarrieta
was appointed aide to Arista, who was then President. When Arista fell from power in 1853, he chose
Mugarrieta as official secretary and translator. Mugarrieta then left with the former president for
exile in England in April 1853, returning to Mexico in September of that year. At Arista's request,
Mugarrieta sailed for Europe in the fall of 1855, but before he arrived, learned of Arista's death. He
completed his journey, settled the estate, and came back to Mexico with Arista's heart.
In April 1857 Mugarrieta received an appointment from the Comonfort government for the consulship in San
Francisco. He did not actually begin his new duties until September 1, 1859, due to illness and to the
political situation in Mexico. Once an established consul, Mugarrieta directed Mexican patriotic society
activities in California, and was involved in Baja California affairs. In the fall of 1863, he was
replaced by Manuel E. Rodríguez as consul. According to Mrs. Mugarrieta, the reason for her
husband's dismissal was his refusal to help General Plácido Vega in his quest for weapons,
ammunition and supplies for Mexico in 1863. It was expressly forbidden to export weapons during the
American Civil War, but Vega, angered by Mugarrieta's refusal, managed to oust him and have him replaced
by Rodríguez. Mugarrieta, who never received his full pay, not even a travel allowance to
return to Mexico, remained in San Francisco, broken in health, working as a Spanish instructor and
translator. He died on June 14, 1886.
Scope and Content
This collection, which reflects Mugarrieta's military and consular careers, contains many communications
from military figures and from friends relating to the troubled times in Mexico; the strong patriotic
movement of Mexican nationals in California; and events in Baja California. Manifests and related
documents from American, Mexican and Colombian vessels also constitute a sizable group. The span of
Papers is roughly from 1837 to 1886, the bulk being in the 1860s. A few early California documents are
to be found in the collection, as well as tracings of California land papers, certificates of military
appointments and awards and passports. Mugarrieta's outgoing letters from 1843 to 1878 are mainly rough
drafts of an official nature, requesting various positions, protesting injustices of the military
system, and reporting on consular activities.
A key to arrangement and a partial list of correspondents follow.