(1787–1853) military governor and army officer. Riley fought ably in the War of 1812. Between 1816 and 1817 he served as captain with the Regiment of Riflemen. When that unit was disbanded, he moved to the West, where in 1829 he commanded the first army escort on the Santa Fe Trail. He fought in the Black Hawk War (1831–32) and the Seminole War (1840). Riley's career advanced during the Mexican War (1846–48); he fought at Veracruz (1847) and at Cerro Gordo (1847), where his service earned him promotion to brigadier general. He led an important charge in support of Gen. Winfield Scott at Mexico City (1847). After the war he served as ex officio civil governor of the newly acquired territory of California until its formal admission to the Union.
From The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Warfare and Defence.