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Memoirs of Three Civil War Generals, Complete by U. S. Grant, W. T. Sherman, P. H. Sheridan

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Delaware, and up the Delaware in a boat to Philadelphia. I staid
over in Philadelphia one day at the old Mansion House, to visit the
family of my brother-in-law, Mr. Reese. I found his father a fine
sample of the old merchant gentleman, in a good house in Arch
Street, with his accomplished daughters, who had been to Ohio, and
whom I had seen there. From Philadelphia we took boat to
Bordentown, rail to Amboy, and boat again to New York City,
stopping at the American Hotel. I staid a week in New York City,
visiting my uncle, Charles Hoyt, at his beautiful place on Brooklyn
Heights, and my uncle James, then living in White Street. My
friend William Scott was there, the young husband of my cousin,
Louise Hoyt; a neatly-dressed young fellow, who looked on me as an
untamed animal just caught in the far West--"fit food for
gunpowder," and good for nothing else.

About June 12th I embarked in the steamer Cornelius Vanderbilt for
West Point; registered in the office of Lieutenant C. F. Smith,
Adjutant of the Military Academy, as a new cadet of the class of
1836, and at once became installed as the "plebe" of my
fellow-townsman, William Irvin, then entering his Third Class.

Colonel R. E. De Russy was Superintendent; Major John Fowle, Sixth
United States Infantry, Commandant. The principal Professors were:
Mahan, Engineering; Bartlett, Natural Philosophy; Bailey,
Chemistry; Church, Mathematics; Weir, Drawing; and Berard, French.

The routine of military training and of instruction was then fully
established, and has remained almost the same ever since. To give
a mere outline would swell this to an inconvenient size, and I
therefore merely state that I went through the regular course of
four years, graduating in June, 1840, number six in a class of
forty-three. These forty-three were all that remained of more than
one hundred which originally constituted the class. At the Academy
I was not considered a good soldier, for at no time was I selected
for any office, but remained a private throughout the whole four
years. Then, as now, neatness in dress and form, with a strict
conformity to the rules, were the qualifications required for
office, and I suppose I was found not to excel in any of these. In
studies I always held a respectable reputation with the professors,
and generally ranked among the best, especially in drawing,
chemistry, mathematics, and natural philosophy. My average
demerits, per annum, were about one hundred and fifty, which.
reduced my final class standing from number four to six.

In June, 1840, after the final examination, the class graduated and
we received our diplomas. Meantime, Major Delafield, United States
Engineers, had become Superintendent; Major C. F. Smith, Commandant
of Cadets; but the corps of professors and assistants remained
almost unchanged during our whole term. We were all granted the
usual furlough of three months, and parted for our homes, there to
await assignment to our respective corps and regiments. In due
season I was appointed and commissioned second-lieutenant, Third
Artillery, and ordered to report at Governor's Island, New York
Harbor, at the end of September. I spent my furlough mostly at
Lancaster and Mansfield, Ohio; toward the close of September
returned to New York, reported to Major Justin Dimock, commanding
the recruiting rendezvous at Governor's Island, and was assigned to
command a company of recruits preparing for service in Florida.
Early in October this company was detailed, as one of four, to
embark in a sailing-vessel for Savannah, Georgia, under command of
Captain and Brevet Major Penrose. We embarked and sailed, reaching
Savannah about the middle of October, where we transferred to a
small steamer and proceeded by the inland route to St. Augustine,
Florida. We reached St. Augustine at the same time with the Eighth
Infantry, commanded by Colonel and Brevet Brigadier-General William
J. Worth. At that time General Zachary Taylor was in chief command
in Florida, and had his headquarters at Tampa Bay. My regiment,
the Third Artillery, occupied the posts along the Atlantic coast of
Florida, from St. Augustine south to Key Biscayne, and my own
company, A, was at Fort Pierce, Indian River. At St. Augustine I
was detached from the company of recruits, which was designed for
the Second Infantry, and was ordered to join my proper company at
Fort Pierce. Colonel William Gates commanded the regiment, with
Lieutenant William Austine Brown as adjutant of the regiment.
Lieutenant Bragg commanded the post of St. Augustine with his own
company, E, and G (Garner's), then commanded by Lieutenant Judd.
In, a few days I embarked in the little steamer William Gaston down
the coast, stopping one day at New Smyrna, held by John R. Vinton's
company (B), with which was serving Lieutenant William H. Shover.

In due season we arrived off the bar of Indian River and anchored.
A whale-boat came off with a crew of four men, steered by a
character of some note, known as the Pilot Ashlock. I transferred
self and baggage to this boat, and, with the mails, was carried
through the surf over the bar, into the mouth of Indian River
Inlet. It was then dark; we transferred to a smaller boat, and the
same crew pulled us up through a channel in the middle of Mangrove
Islands, the roosting-place of thousands of pelicans and birds that
rose in clouds and circled above our heads. The water below was
alive with fish, whose course through it could be seen by the
phosphoric wake; and Ashlock told me many a tale of the Indian war
then in progress, and of his adventures in hunting and fishing,
which he described as the best in the world. About two miles from
the bar, we emerged into the lagoon, a broad expanse of shallow
water that lies parallel with the coast, separated from it by a
narrow strip of sand, backed by a continuous series of islands and
promontories, covered with a dense growth of mangrove and
saw-palmetto. Pulling across this lagoon, in about three more
miles we approached the lights of Fort Pierce. Reaching a
small wharf, we landed, and were met by the officers of the
post, Lieutenants George Taylor and Edward J. Steptoe, and
Assistant-Surgeon James Simons. Taking the mail-bag, we walked up
a steep sand-bluff on which the fort was situated, and across the
parade-ground to the officers' quarters. These were six or seven
log-houses, thatched with palmetto-leaves, built on high posts,
with a porch in front, facing the water. The men's quarters were
also of logs forming the two sides of a rectangle, open toward the
water; the intervals and flanks were closed with log stockades. I
was assigned to one of these rooms, and at once began service with
my company, A, then commanded by Lieutenant Taylor.

The season was hardly yet come for active operations against the
Indians, so that the officers were naturally attracted to Ashlock,
who was the best fisherman I ever saw. He soon initiated us into
the mysteries of shark-spearing, trolling for red-fish, and taking
the sheep's-head and mullet. These abounded so that we could at
any time catch an unlimited quantity at pleasure. The companies
also owned nets for catching green turtles. These nets had meshes
about a foot square, were set across channels in the lagoon, the
ends secured to stakes driven into the mad, the lower line sunk
with lead or stone weights and the upper line floated with cork.
We usually visited these nets twice a day, and found from one to
six green turtles entangled in the meshes. Disengaging them, they
were carried to pens, made with stakes stuck in the mud, where they
were fed with mangrove-leaves, and our cooks had at all times an
ample supply of the best of green turtles. They were so cheap and
common that the soldiers regarded it as an imposition when
compelled to eat green turtle steaks, instead of poor Florida beef,
or the usual barrelled mess-pork. I do not recall in my whole
experience a spot on earth where fish, oysters, and green turtles
so abound as at Fort Pierce, Florida.

In November, Major Childs arrived with Lieutenant Van Vliet and a
detachment of recruits to fill our two companies, and preparations
were at once begun for active operations in the field. At that
time the Indians in the Peninsula of Florida were scattered, and
the war consisted in hunting up and securing the small fragments,
to be sent to join the others of their tribe of Seminoles already
established in the Indian Territory west of Arkansas. Our
expeditions were mostly made in boats in the lagoons extending from
the "Haul-over," near two hundred miles above the fort, down to
Jupiter Inlet, about fifty miles below, and in the many streams
which emptied therein. Many such expeditions were made during that
winter, with more or less success, in which we succeeded in picking
up small parties of men, women, and children. On one occasion,
near the "Haul-over," when I was not present, the expedition was
more successful. It struck a party of nearly fifty Indians, killed
several warriors, and captured others. In this expedition my
classmate, lieutenant Van Vliet, who was an excellent shot, killed
a warrior who was running at full speed among trees, and one of the
sergeants of our company (Broderick) was said to have dispatched
three warriors, and it was reported that he took the scalp of one
and brought it in to the fort as a trophy. Broderick was so elated
that, on reaching the post, he had to celebrate his victory by a
big drunk.

There was at the time a poor, weakly soldier of our company whose
wife cooked for our mess. She was somewhat of a flirt, and rather
fond of admiration. Sergeant Broderick was attracted to her, and
hung around the mess-house more than the husband fancied; so he
reported the matter to Lieutenant Taylor, who reproved Broderick
for his behavior. A few days afterward the husband again appealed
to his commanding officer (Taylor), who exclaimed: "Haven't you got
a musket? Can't you defend your own family?" Very soon after a
shot was heard down by the mess-house, and it transpired that the
husband had actually shot Broderick, inflicting a wound which
proved mortal. The law and army regulations required that the man
should be sent to the nearest civil court, which was at St.
Augustine; accordingly, the prisoner and necessary witnesses were
sent up by the next monthly steamer. Among the latter were
lieutenant Taylor and the pilot Ashlock.

After they had been gone about a month, the sentinel on the roof-top
of our quarters reported the smoke of a steamer approaching the bar,
and, as I was acting quartermaster, I took a boat and pulled down to
get the mail. I reached the log-but in which the pilots lived, and
saw them start with their boat across the bar, board the steamer,
and then return. Ashlock was at his old post at the steering-oar,
with two ladies, who soon came to the landing, having passed through
a very heavy surf, and I was presented to one as Mrs. Ashlock, and
the other as her sister, a very pretty little Minorcan girl of about
fourteen years of age. Mrs. Ashlock herself was probably eighteen
or twenty years old, and a very handsome woman. I was hurriedly
informed that the murder trial was in progress at St. Augustine;
that Ashlock had given his testimony, and had availed himself of the
chance to take a wife to share with him the solitude of his desolate
hut on the beach at Indian River. He had brought ashore his wife,
her sister, and their chests, with the mail, and had orders to
return immediately to the steamer (Gaston or Harney) to bring ashore
some soldiers belonging to another company, E (Braggs), which had
been ordered from St. Augustine to Fort Pierce. Ashlock left his
wife and her sister standing on the beach near the pilot-hut, and
started back with his whale-boat across the bar. I also took the
mail and started up to the fort, and had hardly reached the wharf
when I observed another boat following me. As soon as this reached
the wharf the men reported that Ashlock and all his crew, with the
exception of one man, had been drowned a few minutes after I had
left the beach. They said his surf-boat had reached the steamer, had
taken on board a load of soldiers, some eight or ten, and had
started back through the surf, when on the bar a heavy breaker upset
the boat, and all were lost except the boy who pulled the bow-oar,
who clung to the rope or painter, hauled himself to the upset boat,
held on, drifted with it outside the breakers, and was finally
beached near a mile down the coast. They reported also that the
steamer had got up anchor, run in as close to the bar as she could,
paused awhile, and then had started down the coast.

I instantly took a fresh crew of soldiers and returned to the bar;
there sat poor Mrs. Ashlock on her chest of clothes, a weeping
widow, who had seen her husband perish amid sharks and waves; she
clung to the hope that the steamer had picked him up, but, strange
to say, he could not swim, although he had been employed on the
water all his life.

Her sister was more demonstrative, and wailed as one lost to all
hope and life. She appealed to us all to do miracles to save the
struggling men in the waves, though two hours had already passed,
and to have gone out then among those heavy breakers, with an
inexperienced crew, would have been worse than suicide. All I
could do was to reorganize the guard at the beach, take the two
desolate females up to the fort, and give them the use of my own
quarters. Very soon their anguish was quieted, and they began to
look, for the return of their steamer with Ashlock and his rescued
crew. The next day I went again to the beach with Lieutenant Ord,
and we found that one or two bodies had been washed ashore, torn
all to pieces by the sharks, which literally swarmed the inlet at
every new tide. In a few days the weather moderated, and the
steamer returned from the south, but the surf was so high that she
anchored a mile off. I went out myself, in the whale or surf boat,
over that terrible bar with a crew of, soldiers, boarded the
steamer, and learned that none other of Ashlock's crew except the
one before mentioned had been saved; but, on the contrary, the
captain of the steamer had sent one of his own boats to their
rescue, which was likewise upset in the surf, and, out of the three
men in her, one had drifted back outside the breakers, clinging to
the upturned boat, and was picked up. This sad and fatal
catastrophe made us all afraid of that bar, and in returning to the
shore I adopted the more prudent course of beaching the boat below
the inlet, which insured us a good ducking, but was attended with
less risk to life.

I had to return to the fort and bear to Mrs. Ashlock the absolute
truth, that her husband was lost forever.

Meantime her sister had entirely recovered her equilibrium, and
being the guest of the officers, who were extremely courteous to
her, she did not lament so loudly the calamity that saved them a
long life of banishment on the beach of Indian River. By the first
opportunity they were sent back to St. Augustine, the possessors of
all of Ashlock's worldly goods and effects, consisting of a good
rifle, several cast-nets, hand-lines, etc., etc., besides some
three hundred dollars in money, which was due him by the
quartermaster for his services as pilot. I afterward saw these
ladies at St. Augustine, and years afterward the younger one came
to Charleston, South Carolina, the wife of the somewhat famous
Captain Thistle, agent for the United States for live-oak in
Florida, who was noted as the first of the troublesome class of
inventors of modern artillery. He was the inventor of a gun that
"did not recoil at all," or "if anything it recoiled a little

One day, in the summer of 1841, the sentinel on the housetop at
Fort Pierce called out, "Indians! Indians!" Everybody sprang to
his gun, the companies formed promptly on the parade-ground, and
soon were reported as approaching the post, from the pine-woods in
rear, four Indians on horseback. They rode straight up to the
gateway, dismounted, and came in. They were conducted by the
officer of the day to the commanding officer, Major Childs, who sat
on the porch in front of his own room. After the usual pause, one
of them, a black man named Joe, who spoke English, said they had
been sent in by Coacoochee (Wild Cat), one of the most noted of the
Seminole chiefs, to see the big chief of the post. He gradually
unwrapped a piece of paper, which was passed over to Major Childs,
who read it, and it was in the nature of a "Safe Guard" for "Wild
Cat" to come into Fort Pierce to receive provisions and assistance
while collecting his tribe, with the purpose of emigrating to their
reservation west of Arkansas. The paper was signed by General
Worth, who had succeeded General Taylor, at Tampa Bay, in command
of all the troops in Florida. Major Childs inquired, "Where is
Coacoochee?" and was answered, "Close by," when Joe explained that
he had been sent in by his chief to see if the paper was all right.
Major Childs said it was "all right," and that Coacoochee ought to
come in himself. Joe offered to go out and bring him in, when
Major Childs ordered me to take eight or ten mounted men and go out
to escort him in. Detailing ten men to saddle up, and taking Joe
and one Indian boy along on their own ponies, I started out under
their guidance.

We continued to ride five or six miles, when I began to suspect
treachery, of which I had heard so much in former years, and had
been specially cautioned against by the older officers; but Joe
always answered, "Only a little way." At last we approached one
of those close hammocks, so well known in Florida, standing like an
island in the interminable pine-forest, with a pond of water near
it. On its edge I noticed a few Indians loitering, which Joe
pointed out as the place. Apprehensive of treachery, I halted the
guard, gave orders to the sergeant to watch me closely, and rode
forward alone with the two Indian guides. As we neared the
hammock, about a dozen Indian warriors rose up and waited for us.
When in their midst I inquired for the chief, Coacoochee. He
approached my horse and, slapping his breast, said, "Me
Coacoochee." He was a very handsome young Indian warrior, not more
than twenty-five years old, but in his then dress could hardly be
distinguished from the rest. I then explained to him, through Joe,
that I had been sent by my "chief" to escort him into the fort. He
wanted me to get down and "talk" I told him that I had no "talk" in
me, but that, on his reaching the post, he could talk as much as he
pleased with the "big chief," Major Childs. They all seemed to be
indifferent, and in no hurry; and I noticed that all their guns
were leaning against a tree. I beckoned to the sergeant, who
advanced rapidly with his escort, and told him to secure the
rifles, which he proceeded to do. Coacoochee pretended to be very
angry, but I explained to him that his warriors were tired and mine
were not, and that the soldiers would carry the guns on their
horses. I told him I would provide him a horse to ride, and the
sooner he was ready the better for all. He then stripped, washed
himself in the pond, and began to dress in all his Indian finery,
which consisted of buckskin leggins, moccasins, and several shirts.
He then began to put on vests, one after another, and one of them
had the marks of a bullet, just above the pocket, with the stain of
blood. In the pocket was a one-dollar Tallahassee Bank note, and
the rascal had the impudence to ask me to give him silver coin for
that dollar. He had evidently killed the wearer, and was
disappointed because the pocket contained a paper dollar instead of
one in silver. In due time he was dressed with turban and
ostrich-feathers, and mounted the horse reserved for him, and thus
we rode back together to Fort Pierce. Major Childs and all the
officers received him on the porch, and there we had a regular
"talk." Coacoochee "was tired of the war." "His people were
scattered and it would take a 'moon' to collect them for
emigration," and he "wanted rations for that time," etc., etc.

All this was agreed to, and a month was allowed for him to get
ready with his whole band (numbering some one hundred and fifty or
one hundred and sixty) to migrate. The "talk" then ceased, and
Coacoochee and his envoys proceeded to get regularly drunk, which
was easily done by the agency of commissary whiskey. They staid at
Fort Pierce daring the night, and the next day departed. Several
times during the month there came into the post two or more of
these same Indians, always to beg for something to eat or drink,
and after a full month Coacoochee and about twenty of his warriors
came in with several ponies, but with none of their women or
children. Major Childs had not from the beginning the least faith
in his sincerity; had made up his mind to seize the whole party and
compel them to emigrate. He arranged for the usual council, and
instructed Lieutenant Taylor to invite Coacoochee and his uncle
(who was held to be a principal chief) to his room to take some
good brandy, instead of the common commissary whiskey. At a signal
agreed on I was to go to the quarters of Company A, to dispatch the
first-sergeant and another man to Lieutenant Taylor's room, there
to seize the two chiefs and secure them; and with the company I was
to enter Major Childs's room and secure the remainder of the party.
Meantime Lieutenant Van Vliet was ordered to go to the quarters of
his company, F, and at the same signal to march rapidly to the rear
of the officers' quarters, so as to catch any who might attempt to
escape by the open windows to the rear.

All resulted exactly as prearranged, and in a few minutes the whole
party was in irons. At first they claimed that we had acted
treacherously, but very soon they admitted that for a month
Coacoochee had been quietly removing his women and children toward
Lake Okeechobee and the Everglades; and that this visit to our post
was to have been their last. It so happened that almost at the
instant of our seizing these Indians a vessel arrived off the bar
with reenforcements from St. Augustine. These were brought up to
Fort Pierce, and we marched that night and next day rapidly, some
fifty miles, to Lake Okeechobee, in hopes to capture the balance of
the tribe, especially the families, but they had taken the alarm
and escaped. Coacoochee and his warriors were sent by Major Childs
in a schooner to New Orleans en route to their reservation, but
General Worth recalled them to Tampa Bay, and by sending out
Coacoochee himself the women and children came in voluntarily, and
then all were shipped to their destination. This was a heavy loss
to the Seminoles, but there still remained in the Peninsula a few
hundred warriors with their families scattered into very small
parcels, who were concealed in the most inaccessible hammocks and
swamps. These had no difficulty in finding plenty of food anywhere
and everywhere. Deer and wild turkey were abundant, and as for
fish there was no end to them. Indeed, Florida was the Indian's
paradise, was of little value to us, and it was a great pity to
remove the Seminoles at all, for we could have collected there all
the Choctaws, Creeks, Cherokees, and Chickasaws, in addition to the
Seminoles. They would have thrived in the Peninsula, whereas they
now occupy lands that are very valuable, which are coveted by their
white neighbors on all sides, while the Peninsula, of Florida still
remains with a population less than should make a good State.

During that and preceding years General W. S. Harney had penetrated
and crossed through the Everglades, capturing and hanging Chekika
and his band, and had brought in many prisoners, who were also
shipped West. We at Fort Pierce made several other excursions to
Jupiter, Lake Worth, Lauderdale, and into the Everglades, picking
up here and there a family, so that it was absurd any longer to
call it a "war." These excursions, however, possessed to us a
peculiar charm, for the fragrance of the air, the abundance of game
and fish, and just enough of adventure, gave to life a relish. I
had just returned to Lauderdale from one of these scouts with
Lieutenants Rankin, Ord, George H. Thomas, Field, Van Vliet, and
others, when I received notice of my promotion to be first
lieutenant of Company G, which occurred November 30, 1841, and I
was ordered to return to Fort Pierce, turn over the public property
for which I was accountable to Lieutenant H. S. Burton, and then to
join my new company at St. Augustine.

I reached St. Augustine before Christmas, and was assigned to
command a detachment of twenty men stationed at Picolata, on the
St. John's River, eighteen miles distant. At St. Augustine were
still the headquarters of the regiment, Colonel William Gates, with
Company E, Lieutenant Bragg, and Company G, Lieutenant H. B. Judd.
The only buildings at Picolata were the one occupied by my
detachment, which had been built for a hospital, and the dwelling
of a family named Williams, with whom I boarded. On the other
hand, St. Augustine had many pleasant families, among whom was
prominent that of United States Judge Bronson. I was half my time
in St. Augustine or on the road, and remember the old place with
pleasure. In February we received orders transferring the whole
regiment to the Gulf posts, and our company, G, was ordered to
escort Colonel Gates and his family across to the Suwanee River, en
route for Pensacola. The company, with the colonel and his family,
reached Picolata (where my detachment joined), and we embarked in a
steamboat for Pilatka. Here Lieutenant Judd discovered that he had
forgotten something and had to return to St. Augustine, so
that I commanded the company on the march, having with me
Second-Lieutenant George B. Ayres. Our first march was to Fort
Russell, then Micanopy, Wacahoota, and Wacasassee, all which posts
were garrisoned by the Second or Seventh Infantry. At Wacasassee we
met General Worth and his staff, en route for Pilatka. Lieutenant
Judd overtook us about the Suwanee, where we embarked on a small
boat for Cedar Keys, and there took a larger one for Pensacola,
where the colonel and his family landed, and our company proceeded
on in the same vessel to our post--Fort Morgan, Mobile Point.

This fort had not been occupied by troops for many years, was very
dirty, and we found little or no stores there. Major Ogden, of the
engineers, occupied a house outside the fort. I was quartermaster
and commissary, and, taking advantage of one of the engineer
schooners engaged in bringing materials for the fort, I went up to
Mobile city, and, through the agency of Messrs. Deshon, Taylor,
and Myers, merchants, procured all essentials for the troops, and
returned to the post. In the course of a week or ten days arrived
another company, H, commanded by Lieutenant James Ketchum, with
Lieutenants Rankin and Sewall L. Fish, and an assistant surgeon
(Wells.) Ketchum became the commanding officer, and Lieutenant
Rankin quartermaster. We proceeded to put the post in as good
order as possible; had regular guard-mounting and parades, but
little drill. We found magnificent fishing with the seine on the
outer beach, and sometimes in a single haul we would take ten or
fifteen barrels of the best kind of fish, embracing pompinos,
red-fish, snappers, etc.

We remained there till June, when the regiment was ordered to
exchange from the Gulf posts to those on the Atlantic, extending
from Savannah to North Carolina. The brig Wetumpka was chartered,
and our company (G) embarked and sailed to Pensacola, where we took
on board another company (D) (Burke's), commanded by Lieutenant H.
S. Burton, with Colonel Gates, the regimental headquarters, and
some families. From Pensacola we sailed for Charleston, South
Carolina. The weather was hot, the winds light, and we made a long
passage but at last reached Charleston Harbor, disembarked, and
took post in Fort Moultrie.

Soon after two other companies arrived, Bragg's (B) and Keyes's
(K). The two former companies were already quartered inside of
Fort Moultrie, and these latter were placed in gun-sheds, outside,
which were altered into barracks. We remained at Fort Moultrie
nearly five years, until the Mexican War scattered us forever. Our
life there was of strict garrison duty, with plenty of leisure for
hunting and social entertainments. We soon formed many and most
pleasant acquaintances in the city of Charleston; and it so
happened that many of the families resided at Sullivan's Island in
the summer season, where we could reciprocate the hospitalities
extended to us in the winter.

During the summer of 1843, having been continuously on duty for
three years, I applied for and received a leave of absence for
three months, which I spent mostly in Ohio. In November I started
to return to my post at Charleston by way of New Orleans; took the
stage to Chillicothe, Ohio, November 16th, having Henry Stanberry,
Esq., and wife, as travelling companions, We continued by stage.
next day to Portsmouth, Ohio.

At Portsmouth Mr. Stanberry took a boat up the river, and I one
down to Cincinnati. There I found my brothers Lampson and Hoyt
employed in the "Gazette" printing-office, and spent much time with
them and Charles Anderson, Esq., visiting his brother Larz, Mr.
Longworth, some of his artist friends, and especially Miss Sallie
Carneal, then quite a belle, and noted for her fine voice,

On the 20th I took passage on the steamboat Manhattan for St.
Louis; reached Louisville, where Dr. Conrad, of the army, joined
me, and in the Manhattan we continued on to St. Louis, with a mixed
crowd. We reached the Mississippi at Cairo the 23d, and St. Louis,
Friday, November 24, 1843. At St. Louis we called on Colonel S. W.
Kearney and Major Cooper, his adjutant-general, and found my
classmate, Lieutenant McNutt, of the ordnance, stationed at the
arsenal; also Mr. Deas, an artist, and Pacificus Ord, who was
studying law. I spent a week at St. Louis, visiting the arsenal,
Jefferson Barracks, and most places of interest, and then became
impressed with its great future. It then contained about forty
thousand people, and my notes describe thirty-six good steamboats
receiving and discharging cargo at the levee.

I took passage December 4th in the steamer John Aull for New
Orleans. As we passed Cairo the snow was falling, and the country
was wintery and devoid of verdure. Gradually, however, as we
proceeded south, the green color came; grass and trees showed the
change of latitude, and when in the course of a week we had reached
New Orleans, the roses were in full bloom, the sugar-cane just
ripe, and a tropical air prevalent. We reached New Orleans
December 11, 1843, where I spent about a week visiting the
barracks, then occupied by the Seventh Infantry; the theatres,
hotels, and all the usual places of interest of that day.

On the 16th of December I continued on to Mobile in the steamer
Fashion by way of Lake Pontchartrain; saw there most of my personal
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Bull, Judge Bragg and his brother Dunbar,
Deshon, Taylor, and Myers, etc., and on the 19th of December took
passage in the steamboat Bourbon for Montgomery, Alabama, by way of
the Alabama River. We reached Montgomery at noon, December 23d,
and took cars at 1 p. m. for Franklin, forty miles, which we reached
at 7 p. m., thence stages for Griffin, Georgia, via La Grange and
Greenville. This took the whole night of the 23d and the day of
the 24th. At Griffin we took cars for Macon, and thence to
Savannah, which we reached Christmas-night, finding Lieutenants
Ridgley and Ketchum at tea, where we were soon joined by Rankin and

On the 26th I took the boat for Charleston, reaching my post, and
reported for duty Wednesday morning, December 27, 1843.

I had hardly got back to my post when, on the 21st of January,
1844, I received from Lieutenant R. P. Hammond, at Marietta,
Georgia, an intimation that Colonel Churchill, Inspector-General of
the Army, had applied for me to assist him in taking depositions in
upper Georgia and Alabama; concerning certain losses by volunteers
in Florida of horses and equipments by reason of the failure of the
United States to provide sufficient forage, and for which Congress
had made an appropriation. On the 4th of February the order came
from the Adjutant-General in Washington for me to proceed to
Marietta, Georgia, and report to Inspector-General Churchill. I
was delayed till the 14th of February by reason of being on a
court-martial, when I was duly relieved and started by rail to
Augusta, Georgia, and as far as Madison, where I took the
mail-coach, reaching Marietta on the 17th. There I reported for
duty to Colonel Churchill, who was already engaged on his work,
assisted by Lieutenant R. P. Hammond, Third Artillery, and a
citizen named Stockton. The colonel had his family with him,
consisting of Mrs. Churchill, Mary, now Mrs. Professor Baird, and
Charles Churchill, then a boy of about fifteen years of age.

We all lived in a tavern, and had an office convenient. The duty
consisted in taking individual depositions of the officers and men
who had composed two regiments and a battalion of mounted
volunteers that had served in Florida. An oath was administered to
each man by Colonel Churchill, who then turned the claimant over to
one of us to take down and record his deposition according to
certain forms, which enabled them to be consolidated and tabulated.
We remained in Marietta about six weeks, during which time I
repeatedly rode to Kenesaw Mountain, and over the very ground where
afterward, in 1864, we had some hard battles.

After closing our business at Marietta the colonel ordered us to
transfer our operations to Bellefonte, Alabama. As he proposed to
take his family and party by the stage, Hammond lent me his
riding-horse, which I rode to Allatoona and the Etowah River.
Hearing of certain large Indian mounds near the way, I turned to
one side to visit them, stopping a couple of days with Colonel
Lewis Tumlin, on whose plantation these mounds were. We struck up
such an acquaintance that we corresponded for some years, and as I
passed his plantation during the war, in 1864, I inquired for him,
but he was not at home. From Tumlin's I rode to Rome, and by way
of Wills Valley over Sand Mountain and the Raccoon Range to the
Tennessee River at Bellefonte, Alabama. We all assembled there in
March, and continued our work for nearly two months, when, having
completed the business, Colonel Churchill, with his family, went
North by way of Nashville; Hammond, Stockton, and I returning South
on horseback, by Rome, Allatoona, Marietta, Atlanta, and Madison,
Georgia. Stockton stopped at Marietta, where he resided. Hammond
took the cars at Madison, and I rode alone to Augusta, Georgia,
where I left the horse and returned to Charleston and Fort Moultrie
by rail.

Thus by a mere accident I was enabled to traverse on horseback the
very ground where in after-years I had to conduct vast armies and
fight great battles. That the knowledge thus acquired was of
infinite use to me, and consequently to the Government, I have
always felt and stated.

During the autumn of 1844, a difficulty arose among the officers of
Company B, Third Artillery (John R. Yinton's), garrisoning Augusta
Arsenal, and I was sent up from Fort Moultrie as a sort of
peace-maker. After staying there some months, certain transfers of
officers were made, which reconciled the difficulty, and I returned
to my post, Fort Moultrie. During that winter, 1844-'45, I was
visiting at the plantation of Mr. Poyas, on the east branch of the
Cooper, about fifty miles from Fort Moultrie, hunting deer with his
son James, and Lieutenant John F. Reynolds, Third Artillery. We
had taken our stands, and a deer came out of the swamp near that of
Mr. James Poyas, who fired, broke the leg of the deer, which turned
back into the swamp and came out again above mine. I could follow
his course by the cry of the hounds, which were in close pursuit.
Hastily mounting my horse, I struck across the pine-woods to head
the deer off, and when at full career my horse leaped a fallen log
and his fore-foot caught one of those hard, unyielding pineknots
that brought him with violence to the ground. I got up as quick as
possible, and found my right arm out of place at the shoulder,
caused by the weight of the double-barrelled gun.

Seeing Reynolds at some distance, I called out lustily and brought
him to me. He soon mended the bridle and saddle, which had been
broken by the fall, helped me on my horse, and we followed the
coarse of the hounds. At first my arm did not pain me much, but it
soon began to ache so that it was almost unendurable. In about
three miles we came to a negro hut, where I got off and rested till
Reynolds could overtake Poyas and bring him back. They came at
last, but by that time the arm was so swollen and painful that I
could not ride. They rigged up an old gig belonging to the negro,
in which I was carried six miles to the plantation of Mr. Poyas,
Sr. A neighboring physician was sent for, who tried the usual
methods of setting the arm, but without success; each time making
the operation more painful. At last he sent off, got a set of
double pulleys and cords, with which he succeeded in extending the
muscles and in getting the bone into place. I then returned to
Fort Moultrie, but being disabled, applied for a short leave and
went North.

I started January 25,1845; went to Washington, Baltimore, and
Lancaster, Ohio, whence I went to Mansfield, and thence back by
Newark to Wheeling, Cumberland, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New
York, whence I sailed back for Charleston on the ship Sullivan,
reaching Fort Moultrie March 9, 1845.

About that time (March 1, 1845) Congress had, by a joint
resolution, provided for the annexation of Texas, then an
independent Republic, subject to certain conditions requiring the
acceptance of the Republic of Texas to be final and conclusive. We
all expected war as a matter of course. At that time General
Zachary Taylor had assembled a couple of regiments of infantry and
one of dragoons at Fort Jessup, Louisiana, and had orders to extend
military protection to Texas against the Indians, or a "foreign
enemy," the moment the terms of annexation were accepted. He
received notice of such acceptance July 7th, and forthwith
proceeded to remove his troops to Corpus Christi, Texas, where,
during the summer and fall of 1845, was assembled that force with
which, in the spring of 1846, was begun the Mexican War.

Some time during that summer came to Fort Moultrie orders for
sending Company E, Third Artillery, Lieutenant Bragg, to New
Orleans, there to receive a battery of field-guns, and thence to
the camp of General Taylor at Corpus Christi. This was the first
company of our regiment sent to the seat of war, and it embarked on
the brig Hayne. This was the only company that left Fort Moultrie
till after I was detached for recruiting service on the 1st of May,

Inasmuch as Charleston afterward became famous, as the spot where
began our civil war, a general description of it, as it was in
1846, will not be out of place.

The city lies on a long peninsula between the Ashley and Cooper
Rivers--a low, level peninsula, of sand. Meeting Street is its
Broadway, with King Street, next west and parallel, the street of
shops and small stores. These streets are crossed at right angles
by many others, of which Broad Street was the principal; and the
intersection of Meeting and Broad was the heart of the city, marked
by the Guard-House and St. Michael's Episcopal Church. The
Custom-House, Post-Office, etc., were at the foot of Broad Street,
near the wharves of the Cooper River front. At the extremity of
the peninsula was a drive, open to the bay, and faced by some of
the handsomest houses of the city, called the "Battery." Looking
down the bay on the right, was James Island, an irregular triangle
of about seven miles, the whole island in cultivation with
sea-island cotton. At the lower end was Fort Johnson, then simply
the station of Captain Bowman, United States Engineers, engaged in
building Fort Sumter. This fort (Sumter) was erected on an
artificial island nearly in mid-channel, made by dumping rocks,
mostly brought as ballast in cotton-ships from the North. As the
rock reached the surface it was levelled, and made the foundation
of Fort Sumter. In 1846 this fort was barely above the water.
Still farther out beyond James Island, and separated from it by a
wide space of salt marsh with crooked channels, was Morris Island,
composed of the sand-dunes thrown up by the wind and the sea,
backed with the salt marsh. On this was the lighthouse, but no

On the left, looking down the bay from the Battery of Charleston,
was, first, Castle Pinckney, a round brick fort, of two tiers of
guns, one in embrasure, the other in barbette, built on a marsh
island, which was not garrisoned. Farther down the bay a point of
the mainland reached the bay, where there was a group of houses,
called Mount Pleasant; and at the extremity of the bay, distant six
miles, was Sullivan's Island, presenting a smooth sand-beach to the
sea, with the line of sand-hills or dunes thrown up by the waves
and winds, and the usual backing of marsh and crooked salt-water

At the shoulder of this island was Fort Moultrie, an irregular
fort, without ditch or counterscarp, with a brick scarp wall about
twelve feet high, which could be scaled anywhere, and this was
surmounted by an earth parapet capable of mounting about forty
twenty-four and thirty-two pounder smooth-bore iron guns. Inside
the fort were three two-story brick barracks, sufficient to quarter
the officers and men of two companies of artillery.

At sea was the usual "bar," changing slightly from year to year,
but generally the main ship-channel came from the south, parallel
to Morris Island, till it was well up to Fort Moultrie, where it
curved, passing close to Fort Sumter and up to the wharves of the
city, which were built mostly along the Cooper River front.

Charleston was then a proud, aristocratic city, and assumed a
leadership in the public opinion of the South far out of proportion
to her population, wealth, or commerce. On more than one occasion
previously, the inhabitants had almost inaugurated civil war, by
their assertion and professed belief that each State had, in the
original compact of government, reserved to itself the right to
withdraw from the Union at its own option, whenever the people
supposed they had sufficient cause. We used to discuss these
things at our own mess-tables, vehemently and sometimes quite
angrily; but I am sure that I never feared it would go further than
it had already gone in the winter of 1832-'33, when the attempt at
"nullification" was promptly suppressed by President Jackson's
famous declaration, "The Union must and shall be preserved!" and by
the judicious management of General Scott.

Still, civil war was to be; and, now that it has come and gone, we
can rest secure in the knowledge that as the chief cause, slavery,
has been eradicated forever, it is not likely to come again.




In the spring of 1846 I was a first lieutenant of Company C,1,
Third Artillery, stationed at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. The
company was commanded by Captain Robert Anderson; Henry B. Judd was
the senior first-lieutenant, and I was the junior first-lieutenant,
and George B. Ayres the second-lieutenant. Colonel William Gates
commanded the post and regiment, with First-Lieutenant William
Austine as his adjutant. Two other companies were at the post,
viz., Martin Burke's and E. D. Keyes's, and among the officers were
T. W. Sherman, Morris Miller, H. B. Field, William Churchill,
Joseph Stewart, and Surgeon McLaren.

The country now known as Texas had been recently acquired, and war
with Mexico was threatening. One of our companies (Bragg's), with
George H. Thomas, John F. Reynolds, and Frank Thomas, had gone the
year previous and was at that time with General Taylor's army at
Corpus Christi, Texas.

In that year (1846) I received the regular detail for recruiting
service, with orders to report to the general superintendent at
Governor's Island, New York; and accordingly left Fort Moultrie in
the latter part of April, and reported to the superintendent,
Colonel R. B. Mason, First Dragoons, at New York, on the 1st day of
May. I was assigned to the Pittsburg rendezvous, whither I
proceeded and relieved Lieutenant Scott. Early in May I took up my
quarters at the St. Charles Hotel, and entered upon the discharge
of my duties. There was a regular recruiting-station already
established, with a sergeant, corporal, and two or three men, with
a citizen physician, Dr. McDowell, to examine the recruits. The
threatening war with Mexico made a demand for recruits, and I
received authority to open another sub-rendezvous at Zanesville,
Ohio, whither I took the sergeant and established him. This was
very handy to me, as my home was at Lancaster, Ohio, only
thirty-six miles off, so that I was thus enabled to visit my
friends there quite often.

In the latter part of May, when at Wheeling, Virginia, on my way
back from Zanesville to Pittsburg, I heard the first news of the
battle of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, which occurred on the
8th and 9th of May, and, in common with everybody else, felt
intensely excited. That I should be on recruiting service, when my
comrades were actually fighting, was intolerable, and I hurried
on to my post, Pittsburg. At that time the railroad did not
extend west of the Alleghanies, and all journeys were made by
stage-coaches. In this instance I traveled from Zanesville to
Wheeling, thence to Washington (Pennsylvania), and thence to
Pittsburg by stage-coach. On reaching Pittsburg I found many
private letters; one from Ord, then a first-lieutenant in Company
F, Third Artillery, at Fort McHenry, Baltimore, saying that his
company had just received orders for California, and asking me to
apply for it. Without committing myself to that project, I wrote
to the Adjutant-General, R. Jones, at Washington, D. C., asking him
to consider me as an applicant for any active service, and saying
that I would willingly forego the recruiting detail, which I well
knew plenty of others would jump at. Impatient to approach the
scene of active operations, without authority (and I suppose
wrongfully), I left my corporal in charge of the rendezvous, and
took all the recruits I had made, about twenty-five, in a steamboat
to Cincinnati, and turned them over to Major N. C. McCrea,
commanding at Newport Barracks. I then reported in Cincinnati, to
the superintendent of the Western recruiting service, Colonel
Fanning, an old officer with one arm, who inquired by what
authority I had come away from my post. I argued that I took it
for granted he wanted all the recruits he could get to forward to
the army at Brownsville, Texas; and did not know but that he might
want me to go along. Instead of appreciating my volunteer zeal, he
cursed and swore at me for leaving my post without orders, and told
me to go back to Pittsburg. I then asked for an order that would
entitle me to transportation back, which at first he emphatically
refused, but at last he gave the order, and I returned to
Pittsburg, all the way by stage, stopping again at Lancaster, where
I attended the wedding of my schoolmate Mike Effinger, and also
visited my sub-rendezvous at Zanesville. R. S. Ewell, of my class,
arrived to open a cavalry rendezvous, but, finding my depot there,
he went on to Columbus, Ohio. Tom Jordan afterward was ordered
to Zanesville, to take charge of that rendezvous, under
the general War Department orders increasing the number of
recruiting-stations. I reached Pittsburg late in June, and found
the order relieving me from recruiting service, and detailing my
classmate H. B. Field to my place. I was assigned to Company F,
then under orders for California. By private letters from
Lieutenant Ord, I heard that the company had already started from
Fort McHenry for Governor's Island, New York Harbor, to take passage
for California in a naval transport. I worked all that night, made
up my accounts current, and turned over the balance of cash to the
citizen physician, Dr. McDowell; and also closed my clothing and
property returns, leaving blank receipts with the same gentleman for
Field's signature, when he should get there, to be forwarded to the
Department at Washington, and the duplicates to me. These I did not
receive for more than a year. I remember that I got my orders about
8 p. m. one night, and took passage in the boat for Brownsville, the
next morning traveled by stage from Brownsville to Cumberland,
Maryland, and thence by cars to Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New
York, in a great hurry lest the ship might sail without me. I found
Company F at Governor's Island, Captain C. Q. Tompkins in command,
Lieutenant E. O. C. Ord senior first-lieutenant, myself
junior first-lieutenant, Lucien Loeser and Charles Minor the

The company had been filled up to one hundred privates, twelve
non-commissioned officers, and one ordnance sergeant (Layton),
making one hundred and thirteen enlisted men and five officers.
Dr. James L. Ord had been employed as acting assistant surgeon to
accompany the expedition, and Lieutenant H. W. Halleck, of the
engineers, was also to go along. The United States store-ship
Lexington was then preparing at the Navy-Yard, Brooklyn, to carry
us around Cape Horn to California. She was receiving on board the
necessary stores for the long voyage, and for service after our
arrival there. Lieutenant-Commander Theodorus Bailey was in
command of the vessel, Lieutenant William H. Macomb executive
officer, and Passed-Midshipmen Muse, Spotts, and J. W. A.
Nicholson, were the watch-officers; Wilson purser, and Abernethy
surgeon. The latter was caterer of the mess, and we all made an
advance of cash for him to lay in the necessary mess-stores. To
enable us to prepare for so long a voyage and for an indefinite
sojourn in that far-off country, the War Department had authorized
us to draw six months' pay in advance, which sum of money we
invested in surplus clothing and such other things as seemed to us
necessary. At last the ship was ready, and was towed down abreast
of Fort Columbus, where we were conveyed on board, and on the 14th
of July, 1846, we were towed to sea by a steam-tug, and cast off:
Colonel R. B. Mason, still superintendent of the general recruiting
service, accompanied us down the bay and out to sea, returning with
the tug. A few other friends were of the party, but at last they
left us, and we were alone upon the sea, and the sailors were busy
with the sails and ropes. The Lexington was an old ship, changed
from a sloop-of-war to a store-ship, with an after-cabin, a
"ward-room," and "between-decks." In the cabin were Captains
Bailey and Tompkins, with whom messed the purser, Wilson. In the
ward-room were all the other officers, two in each state-room; and
Minor, being an extra lieutenant, had to sleep in a hammock slung
in the ward-room. Ord and I roomed together; Halleck and Loeser
and the others were scattered about. The men were arranged in
bunks "between-decks," one set along the sides of the ship, and
another, double tier, amidships. The crew were slung in hammocks
well forward. Of these there were about fifty. We at once
subdivided the company into four squads, under the four lieutenants
of the company, and arranged with the naval officers that our men
should serve on deck by squads, after the manner of their watches;
that the sailors should do all the work aloft, and the soldiers on

On fair days we drilled our men at the manual, and generally kept
them employed as much as possible, giving great attention to the
police and cleanliness of their dress and bunks; and so successful
were we in this, that, though the voyage lasted nearly two hundred
days, every man was able to leave the ship and march up the hill to
the fort at Monterey, California, carrying his own knapsack and

The voyage from New York to Rio Janeiro was without accident or any
thing to vary the usual monotony. We soon settled down to the
humdrum of a long voyage, reading some, not much; playing games,
but never gambling; and chiefly engaged in eating our meals
regularly. In crossing the equator we had the usual visit of
Neptune and his wife, who, with a large razor and a bucket of
soapsuds, came over the sides and shaved some of the greenhorns;
but naval etiquette exempted the officers, and Neptune was not
permitted to come aft of the mizzen-mast. At last, after sixty
days of absolute monotony, the island of Raza, off Rio Janeiro, was
descried, and we slowly entered the harbor, passing a fort on our
right hand, from which came a hail, in the Portuguese language,
from a huge speaking-trumpet, and our officer of the deck answered
back in gibberish, according to a well-understood custom of the
place. Sugar-loaf Mountain, on the south of the entrance, is very
remarkable and well named; is almost conical, with a slight lean.
The man-of-war anchorage is about five miles inside the heads,
directly in front of the city of Rio Janeiro. Words will not
describe the beauty of this perfect harbor, nor the delightful
feeling after a long voyage of its fragrant airs, and the entire
contrast between all things there and what we had left in New York.

We found the United Staten frigate Columbia anchored there, and
after the Lexington was properly moored, nearly all the officers
went on shore for sight-seeing and enjoyment. We landed at a wharf
opposite which was a famous French restaurant, Farroux, and after
ordering supper we all proceeded to the Rua da Ouvador, where most
of the shops were, especially those for making feather flowers, as
much to see the pretty girls as the flowers which they so
skillfully made; thence we went to the theatre, where, besides some
opera, we witnessed the audience and saw the Emperor Dom Pedro, and
his Empress, the daughter of the King of Sicily. After the
theatre, we went back to the restaurant, where we had an excellent
supper, with fruits of every variety and excellence, such as we had
never seen before, or even knew the names of. Supper being over,
we called for the bill, and it was rendered in French, with
Brazilian currency. It footed up some twenty-six thousand reis.
The figures alarmed us, so we all put on the waiters' plate various
coins in gold, which he took to the counter and returned the
change, making the total about sixteen dollars. The millreis is
about a dollar, but being a paper-money was at a discount, so as
only to be worth about fifty-six cents in coin.

The Lexington remained in Rio about a week, during which we visited
the Palace, a few miles in the country, also the Botanic Gardens, a
place of infinite interest, with its specimens of tropical fruits,
spices; etc., etc., and indeed every place of note. The thing I
best recall is a visit Halleck and I made to the Corcovado, a high
mountain whence the water is conveyed for the supply of the city.
We started to take a walk, and passed along the aqueduct, which
approaches the city by a aeries of arches; thence up the point of
the hill to a place known as the Madre, or fountain, to which all
the water that drips from the leaves is conducted by tile gutters,
and is carried to the city by an open stone aqueduct.

Here we found Mr. Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, the United States
minister to Brazil, and a Dr. Garnett, United States Navy, his
intended son-in-law. We had a very interesting conversation, in
which Mr. Wise enlarged on the fact that Rio was supplied from the
"dews of heaven," for in the dry season the water comes from the
mists and fogs which hang around the Corcovado, drips from the
leaves of the trees, and is conducted to the Madre fountain by
miles of tile gutters. Halleck and I continued our ascent of the
mountain, catching from points of the way magnificent views of the
scenery round about Rio Janeiro. We reached near the summit what
was called the emperor's coffee-plantation, where we saw
coffee-berries in their various stages, and the scaffolds on which
the berries were dried before being cleaned. The coffee-tree
reminded me of the red haw-tree of Ohio, and the berries were
somewhat like those of the same tree, two grains of coffee being
inclosed in one berry. These were dried and cleaned of the husk by
hand or by machinery. A short, steep ascent from this place
carried us to the summit, from which is beheld one of the most
picturesque views on earth. The Organ Mountains to the west and
north, the ocean to the east, the city of Rio with its red-tiled
houses at our feet, and the entire harbor like a map spread out,
with innumerable bright valleys, make up a landscape that cannot be
described by mere words. This spot is universally visited by
strangers, and has often been described. After enjoying it
immeasurably, we returned to the city by another route, tired but
amply repaid by our long walk.

In due time all had been done that was requisite, and the Lexington
put to sea and resumed her voyage. In October we approached Cape
Horn, the first land descried was Staten Island, white with snow,
and the ship seemed to be aiming for the channel to its west,
straits of Le Maire, but her course was changed and we passed
around to the east. In time we saw Cape Horn; an island rounded
like an oven, after which it takes its name (Ornos) oven. Here we
experienced very rough weather, buffeting about under storm
stay-sails, and spending nearly a month before the wind favored our
passage and enabled the course of the ship to be changed for
Valparaiso. One day we sailed parallel with a French sloop-of-war,
and it was sublime to watch the two ships rising and falling in
those long deep swells of the ocean. All the time we were followed
by the usual large flocks of Cape-pigeons and albatrosses of every
color. The former resembled the common barn-pigeon exactly, but
are in fact gulls of beautiful and varied colors, mostly
dove-color. We caught many with fishing-lines baited with pork.
We also took in the same way many albatrosses. The white ones are
very large, and their down is equal to that of the swan. At last
Cape Horn and its swelling seas were left behind, and we reached
Valparaiso in about sixty days from Rio. We anchored in the open
roadstead, and spent there about ten days, visiting all the usual
places of interest, its foretop, main-top, mizzen-top, etc.
Halleck and Ord went up to Santiago, the capital of Chili, some
sixty miles inland, but I did not go. Valparaiso did not impress
me favorably at all. Seen from the sea, it looked like a long
string of houses along the narrow beach, surmounted with red banks
of earth, with little verdure, and no trees at all. Northward the
space widened out somewhat, and gave room for a plaza, but the mass
of houses in that quarter were poor. We were there in November,
corresponding to our early spring, and we enjoyed the large
strawberries which abounded. The Independence frigate, Commodore
Shubrick, came in while we were there, having overtaken us, bound
also for California. We met there also the sloop-of-war levant,
from California, and from the officers heard of many of the events
that had transpired about the time the navy, under Commodore Sloat,
had taken possession of the country.

All the necessary supplies being renewed in Valparaiso, the voyage
was resumed. For nearly forty days we had uninterrupted favorable
winds, being in the "trades," and, having settled down to sailor
habits, time passed without notice. We had brought with us all the
books we could find in New York about California, and had read them
over and over again: Wilkes's "Exploring Expedition;" Dana's "Two
Years before the Mast;" and Forbes's "Account of the Missions." It
was generally understood we were bound for Monterey, then the
capital of Upper California. We knew, of course, that General
Kearney was enroute for the same country overland; that Fremont was
therewith his exploring party; that the navy had already taken
possession, and that a regiment of volunteers, Stevenson's, was
to follow us from New York; but nevertheless we were impatient to
reach our destination. About the middle of January the ship began
to approach the California coast, of which the captain was duly
cautious, because the English and Spanish charts differed some
fifteen miles in the longitude, and on all the charts a current of
two miles an hour was indicated northward along the coast. At last
land was made one morning, and here occurred one of those accidents
so provoking after a long and tedious voyage. Macomb, the master
and regular navigator, had made the correct observations, but
Nicholson during the night, by an observation on the north star,
put the ship some twenty miles farther south than was the case by
the regular reckoning, so that Captain Bailey gave directions to
alter the course of the ship more to the north, and to follow the
coast up, and to keep a good lookout for Point Pinos that marks the
location of Monterey Bay. The usual north wind slackened, so that
when noon allowed Macomb to get a good observation, it was found
that we were north of Ano Nuevo, the northern headland of Monterey
Bay. The ship was put about, but little by little arose one of
those southeast storms so common on the coast in winter, and we
buffeted about for several days, cursing that unfortunate
observation on the north star, for, on first sighting the coast,
had we turned for Monterey, instead of away to the north, we would
have been snugly anchored before the storm. But the southeaster
abated, and the usual northwest wind came out again, and we sailed
steadily down into the roadstead of Monterey Bay. This is shaped
somewhat like a fish hook, the barb being the harbor, the point
being Point Pinos, the southern headland. Slowly the land came out
of the water, the high mountains about Santa Cruz, the low beach of
the Saunas, and the strongly-marked ridge terminating in the sea in
a point of dark pine-trees. Then the line of whitewashed houses of
adobe, backed by the groves of dark oaks, resembling old
apple-trees; and then we saw two vessels anchored close to the
town. One was a small merchant-brig and another a large ship
apparently dismasted. At last we saw a boat coming out to meet us,
and when it came alongside, we were surprised to find Lieutenant
Henry Wise, master of the Independence frigate, that we had left at
Valparaiso. Wise had come off to pilot us to our anchorage. While
giving orders to the man at the wheel, he, in his peculiar fluent
style, told to us, gathered about him, that the Independence had
sailed from Valparaiso a week after us and had been in Monterey a
week; that the Californians had broken out into an insurrection;
that the naval fleet under Commodore Stockton was all down the
coast about San Diego; that General Kearney had reached the
country, but had had a severe battle at San Pascual, and had been
worsted, losing several officers and men, himself and others
wounded; that war was then going on at Los Angeles; that the whole
country was full of guerrillas, and that recently at Yerba Buena
the alcalde, Lieutenant Bartlett, United States Navy, while out
after cattle, had been lassoed, etc., etc. Indeed, in the short
space of time that Wise was piloting our ship in, he told us more
news than we could have learned on shore in a week, and, being
unfamiliar with the great distances, we imagined that we should
have to debark and begin fighting at once. Swords were brought
out, guns oiled and made ready, and every thing was in a bustle
when the old Lexington dropped her anchor on January 26, 1847, in
Monterey Bay, after a voyage of one hundred and ninety-eight days
from New York. Every thing on shore looked bright and beautiful,
the hills covered with grass and flowers, the live-oaks so serene
and homelike, and the low adobe houses, with red-tiled roofs and
whitened walls, contrasted well with the dark pine-trees behind,
making a decidedly good impression upon us who had come so far to
spy out the land. Nothing could be more peaceful in its looks than
Monterey in January, 1847. We had already made the acquaintance of
Commodore Shubrick and the officers of the Independence in
Valparaiso, so that we again met as old friends. Immediate
preparations were made for landing, and, as I was quartermaster and
commissary, I had plenty to do. There was a small wharf and an
adobe custom-house in possession of the navy; also a barrack of two
stories, occupied by some marines, commanded by Lieutenant Maddox;
and on a hill to the west of the town had been built a two-story
block-house of hewed logs occupied by a guard of sailors under
command of Lieutenant Baldwin, United States Navy. Not a single
modern wagon or cart was to be had in Monterey, nothing but the old
Mexican cart with wooden wheels, drawn by two or three pairs of
oxen, yoked by the horns. A man named Tom Cole had two or more of
these, and he came into immediate requisition. The United States
consul, and most prominent man there at the time, was Thomas O.
Larkin, who had a store and a pretty good two-story house occupied
by his family. It was soon determined that our company was to land
and encamp on the hill at the block-house, and we were also to have
possession of the warehouse, or custom-house, for storage. The
company was landed on the wharf, and we all marched in full dress
with knapsacks and arms, to the hill and relieved the guard under
Lieutenant Baldwin. Tents and camp-equipage were hauled up, and
soon the camp was established. I remained in a room at the
customhouse, where I could superintend the landing of the stores
and their proper distribution. I had brought out from New York
twenty thousand dollars commissary funds, and eight thousand
dollars quartermaster funds, and as the ship contained about six
months' supply of provisions, also a saw-mill, grist-mill, and
almost every thing needed, we were soon established comfortably.
We found the people of Monterey a mixed set of Americans, native
Mexicans, and Indians, about one thousand all told. They were kind
and pleasant, and seemed to have nothing to do, except such as
owned ranches in the country for the rearing of horses and cattle.
Horses could be bought at any price from four dollars up to
sixteen, but no horse was ever valued above a doubloon or Mexican
ounce (sixteen dollars). Cattle cost eight dollars fifty cents for
the best, and this made beef net about two cents a pound, but at
that time nobody bought beef by the pound, but by the carcass.

Game of all kinds--elk, deer, wild geese, and ducks--was abundant;
but coffee, sugar, and small stores, were rare and costly.

There were some half-dozen shops or stores, but their shelves were
empty. The people were very fond of riding, dancing, and of shows
of any kind. The young fellows took great delight in showing off
their horsemanship, and would dash along, picking up a half-dollar
from the ground, stop their horses in full career and turn about on
the space of a bullock's hide, and their skill with the lasso was
certainly wonderful. At full speed they could cast their lasso
about the horns of a bull, or so throw it as to catch any
particular foot. These fellows would work all day on horseback in
driving cattle or catching wildhorses for a mere nothing, but all
the money offered would not have hired one of them to walk a mile.
The girls were very fond of dancing, and they did dance gracefully
and well. Every Sunday, regularly, we had a baile, or dance, and
sometimes interspersed through the week.

I remember very well, soon after our arrival, that we were all
invited to witness a play called "Adam and Eve." Eve was
personated by a pretty young girl known as Dolores Gomez, who,
however, was dressed very unlike Eve, for she was covered with a
petticoat and spangles. Adam was personated by her brother--the
same who has since become somewhat famous as the person on whom is
founded the McGarrahan claim. God Almighty was personated, and
heaven's occupants seemed very human. Yet the play was pretty,
interesting, and elicited universal applause. All the month of
February we were by day preparing for our long stay in the country,
and at night making the most of the balls and parties of the most
primitive kind, picking up a smattering of Spanish, and extending
our acquaintance with the people and the costumbrea del pais. I
can well recall that Ord and I, impatient to look inland, got
permission and started for the Mission of San Juan Bautista.
Mounted on horses, and with our carbines, we took the road by El
Toro, quite a prominent hill, around which passes the road to the
south, following the Saunas or Monterey River. After about twenty
miles over a sandy country covered with oak-bushes and scrub, we
entered quite a pretty valley in which there was a ranch at the
foot of the Toro. Resting there a while and getting some
information, we again started in the direction of a mountain to the
north of the Saunas, called the Gavillano. It was quite dark when
we reached the Saunas River, which we attempted to pass at several
points, but found it full of water, and the quicksands were bad.
Hearing the bark of a dog, we changed our course in that direction,
and, on hailing, were answered by voices which directed us where to
cross. Our knowledge of the language was limited, but we managed
to understand, and to founder through the sand and water, and
reached a small adobe-house on the banks of the Salinas, where we
spent the night: The house was a single room, without floor or
glass; only a rude door, and window with bars. Not a particle of
food but meat, yet the man and woman entertained us with the
language of lords put themselves, their house, and every thing, at
our "disposition," and made little barefoot children dance for our
entertainment. We made our supper of beef, and slept on a
bullock's hide on the dirt-floor. In the morning we crossed the
Salinas Plain, about fifteen miles of level ground, taking a shot
occasionally at wild-geese, which abounded there, and entering the
well-wooded valley that comes out from the foot of the Gavillano.
We had cruised about all day, and it was almost dark when we
reached the house of a Senor Gomez, father of those who at Monterey
had performed the parts of Adam and Eve. His house was a two-story
adobe, and had a fence in front. It was situated well up among the
foot-hills of the Gavillano, and could not be seen until within a
few yards. We hitched our horses to the fence and went in just as
Gomez was about to sit down to a tempting supper of stewed hare and
tortillas. We were officers and caballeros and could not be
ignored. After turning our horses to grass, at his invitation we
joined him at supper. The allowance, though ample for one, was
rather short for three, and I thought the Spanish grandiloquent
politeness of Gomez, who was fat and old, was not over-cordial.
However, down we sat, and I was helped to a dish of rabbit, with
what I thought to be an abundant sauce of tomato. Taking a good
mouthful, I felt as though I had taken liquid fire; the tomato was
chile colorado, or red pepper, of the purest kind. It nearly
killed me, and I saw Gomez's eyes twinkle, for he saw that his
share of supper was increased.--I contented myself with bits of
the meat, and an abundant supply of tortillas. Ord was better
case-hardened, and stood it better. We staid at Gomez's that
night, sleeping, as all did, on the ground, and the next morning we
crossed the hill by the bridle-path to the old Mission of San Juan
Bautista. The Mission was in a beautiful valley, very level, and
bounded on all sides by hills. The plain was covered with
wild-grasses and mustard, and had abundant water. Cattle and
horses were seen in all directions, and it was manifest that the
priests who first occupied the country were good judges of land.
It was Sunday, and all the people, about, a hundred, had come to
church from the country round about. Ord was somewhat of a
Catholic, and entered the church with his clanking spars and
kneeled down, attracting the attention of all, for he had on the
uniform of an American officer. As soon as church was out, all
rushed to the various sports. I saw the priest, with his gray
robes tucked up, playing at billiards, others were cock fighting,
and some at horse-racing. My horse had become lame, and I resolved
to buy another. As soon as it was known that I wanted a horse,
several came for me, and displayed their horses by dashing past and
hauling them up short. There was a fine black stallion that
attracted my notice, and, after trying him myself, I concluded a
purchase. I left with the seller my own lame horse, which he was
to bring to me at Monterey, when I was to pay him ten dollars for
the other. The Mission of San Juan bore the marks of high
prosperity at a former period, and had a good pear-orchard just
under the plateau where stood the church. After spending the day,
Ord and I returned to Monterey, about thirty-five miles, by a
shorter route, Thus passed the month of February, and, though there
were no mails or regular expresses, we heard occasionally from
Yerba Buena and Sutter's Fort to the north, and from the army and
navy about Los Angeles at the south. We also knew that a quarrel
had grown up at Los Angeles, between General Kearney, Colonel
Fremont, and Commodore Stockton, as to the right to control affairs
in California. Kearney had with him only the fragments of the two
companies of dragoons, which had come across from New Mexico with
him, and had been handled very roughly by Don Andreas Pico, at San
Pascual, in which engagement Captains Moore and Johnson, and
Lieutenant Hammond, were killed, and Kearney himself wounded.
There remained with him Colonel Swords, quartermaster; Captain H.
S. Turner, First Dragoons; Captains Emory and Warner, Topographical
Engineers; Assistant Surgeon Griffin, and Lieutenant J. W.
Davidson. Fremont had marched down from the north with a battalion
of volunteers; Commodore Stockton had marched up from San Diego to
Los Angeles, with General Kearney, his dragoons, and a battalion of
sailors and marines, and was soon joined there by Fremont, and they
jointly received the surrender of the insurgents under Andreas
Pico. We also knew that General R. B. Mason had been ordered to
California; that Colonel John D. Stevenson was coming out to
California with a regiment of New York Volunteers; that Commodore
Shubrick had orders also from the Navy Department to control
matters afloat; that General Kearney, by virtue of his rank, had
the right to control all the land-forces in the service of the
United States; and that Fremont claimed the same right by virtue of
a letter he had received from Colonel Benton, then a Senator, and a
man of great influence with Polk's Administration. So that among
the younger officers the query was very natural, "Who the devil is
Governor of California?" One day I was on board the Independence
frigate, dining with the ward-room officers, when a war-vessel was
reported in the offing, which in due time was made out to be the
Cyane, Captain DuPont. After dinner, we were all on deck, to watch
the new arrival, the ships meanwhile exchanging signals, which were
interpreted that General Kearney was on board. As the Cyane
approached, a boat was sent to meet her, with Commodore Shubrick's
flag-officer, Lieutenant Lewis, to carry the usual messages, and to
invite General Kearney to come on board the Independence as the
guest of Commodore Shubrick. Quite a number of officers were on
deck, among them Lieutenants Wise, Montgomery Lewis, William
Chapman, and others, noted wits and wags of the navy. In due time
the Cyane anchored close by, and our boat was seen returning with a
stranger in the stern-sheets, clothed in army blue. As the boat
came nearer, we saw that it was General Kearney with an old dragoon
coat on, and an army-cap, to which the general had added the broad
vizor, cut from a full-dress hat, to shade his face and eyes
against the glaring sun of the Gila region. Chapman exclaimed:
"Fellows, the problem is solved; there is the grand-vizier (visor)
by G-d! He is Governor of California."

All hands received the general with great heartiness, and he soon
passed out of our sight into the commodore's cabin. Between
Commodore Shubrick and General Kearney existed from that time
forward the greatest harmony and good feeling, and no further
trouble existed as to the controlling power on the Pacific coast.
General Kearney had dispatched from San Diego his quartermaster,
Colonel Swords, to the Sandwich Islands, to purchase clothing and
stores for his men, and had come up to Monterey, bringing with him
Turner and Warner, leaving Emory and the company of dragoons below.
He was delighted to find a full strong company of artillery,
subject to his orders, well supplied with clothing and money in all
respects, and, much to the disgust of our Captain Tompkins, he took
half of his company clothing and part of the money held by me for
the relief of his worn-out and almost naked dragoons left behind at
Los Angeles. In a few days he moved on shore, took up his quarters
at Larkin's house, and established his headquarters, with Captain
Turner as his adjutant general. One day Turner and Warner were at
my tent, and, seeing a store-bag full of socks, drawers, and calico
shirts, of which I had laid in a three years' supply, and of which
they had none, made known to me their wants, and I told them to
help themselves, which Turner and Warner did. The latter, however,
insisted on paying me the cost, and from that date to this Turner
and I have been close friends. Warner, poor fellow, was afterward
killed by Indians. Things gradually came into shape, a
semi-monthly courier line was established from Yerba Buena to San
Diego, and we were thus enabled to keep pace with events throughout
the country. In March Stevenson's regiment arrived. Colonel Mason
also arrived by sea from Callao in the store-ship Erie, and P. St.
George Cooke's battalion of Mormons reached San Luis Rey. A. J.
Smith and George Stoneman were with him, and were assigned to the
company of dragoons at Los Angeles. All these troops and the navy
regarded General Kearney as the rightful commander, though Fremont
still remained at Los Angeles, styling himself as Governor, issuing
orders and holding his battalion of California Volunteers in
apparent defiance of General Kearney. Colonel Mason and Major
Turner were sent down by sea with a paymaster, with muster-rolls and
orders to muster this battalion into the service of the United
States, to pay and then to muster them out; but on their reaching
Los Angeles Fremont would not consent to it, and the controversy
became so angry that a challenge was believed to have passed between
Mason and Fremont, but the duel never came about. Turner rode up by
land in four or five days, and Fremont, becoming alarmed, followed
him, as we supposed, to overtake him, but he did not succeed. On
Fremont's arrival at Monterey, he camped in a tent about a mile out
of town and called on General Kearney, and it was reported that the
latter threatened him very severely and ordered him back to Los
Angeles immediately, to disband his volunteers, and to cease the
exercise of authority of any kind in the country. Feeling a natural
curiosity to see Fremont, who was then quite famous by reason of his
recent explorations and the still more recent conflicts with Kearney
and Mason, I rode out to his camp, and found him in a conical tent
with one Captain Owens, who was a mountaineer, trapper, etc., but
originally from Zanesville, Ohio. I spent an hour or so with Fremont
in his tent, took some tea with him, and left, without being much
impressed with him. In due time Colonel Swords returned from the
Sandwich Islands and relieved me as quartermaster. Captain William
G. Marcy, son of the Secretary of War, had also come out in one of
Stevenson's ships as an assistant commissary of subsistence, and was
stationed at Monterey and relieved me as commissary, so that I
reverted to the condition of a company-officer. While acting as a
staff officer I had lived at the custom-house in Monterey, but when
relieved I took a tent in line with the other company-officers on
the hill, where we had a mess.

Stevenson'a regiment reached San Francisco Bay early in March,
1847. Three companies were stationed at the Presidio under Major
James A. Hardier one company (Brackett's) at Sonoma; three, under
Colonel Stevenson, at Monterey; and three, under Lieutenant-Colonel
Burton, at Santa Barbara. One day I was down at the headquarters
at Larkin's horse, when General Kearney remarked to me that he was
going down to Los Angeles in the ship Lexington, and wanted me to
go along as his aide. Of course this was most agreeable to me.
Two of Stevenson's companies, with the headquarters and the
colonel, were to go also. They embarked, and early in May we
sailed for San Pedro. Before embarking, the United States
line-of-battle-ship Columbus had reached the coast from China with
Commodore Biddle, whose rank gave him the supreme command of the
navy on the coast. He was busy in calling in--"lassooing "--from
the land-service the various naval officers who under Stockton had
been doing all sorts of military and civil service on shore.
Knowing that I was to go down the coast with General Kearney, he
sent for me and handed me two unsealed parcels addressed to
Lieutenant Wilson, United States Navy, and Major Gillespie, United
States Marines, at Los Angeles. These were written orders pretty
much in these words: "On receipt of this order you will repair at
once on board the United States ship Lexington at San Pedro, and on
reaching Monterey you will report to the undersigned.-JAMES
BIDDLE." Of course, I executed my part to the letter, and these
officers were duly "lassooed." We sailed down the coast with a
fair wind, and anchored inside the kelp, abreast of Johnson's
house. Messages were forthwith dispatched up to Los Angeles,
twenty miles off, and preparations for horses made for us to ride
up. We landed, and, as Kearney held to my arm in ascending the
steep path up the bluff, he remarked to himself, rather than to me,
that it was strange that Fremont did not want to return north by
the Lexington on account of sea-sickness, but preferred to go by
land over five hundred miles. The younger officers had been
discussing what the general would do with Fremont, who was supposed
to be in a state of mutiny. Some, thought he would be tried and
shot, some that he would be carried back in irons; and all agreed
that if any one else than Fremont had put on such airs, and had
acted as he had done, Kearney would have shown him no mercy, for he
was regarded as the strictest sort of a disciplinarian. We had a
pleasant ride across the plain which lies between the seashore and
Los Angeles, which we reached in about three hours, the infantry
following on foot. We found Colonel P. St. George Cooke living at
the house of a Mr. Pryor, and the company of dragoons, with A. J.
Smith, Davidson, Stoneman, and Dr. Griffin, quartered in an
adobe-house close by. Fremont held his court in the only two-story
frame-house in the place. After sometime spent at Pryor's house,
General Kearney ordered me to call on Fremont to notify him of his
arrival, and that he desired to see him. I walked round to the
house which had been pointed out to me as his, inquired of a man at
the door if the colonel was in, was answered "Yea," and was
conducted to a large room on the second floor, where very soon
Fremont came in, and I delivered my message. As I was on the point
of leaving, he inquired where I was going to, and I answered that I
was going back to Pryor's house, where the general was, when he
remarked that if I would wait a moment he would go along. Of
course I waited, and he soon joined me, dressed much as a
Californian, with the peculiar high, broad-brimmed hat, with a
fancy cord, and we walked together back to Pryor's, where I left
him with General Kearney. We spent several days very pleasantly at
Los Angeles, then, as now, the chief pueblo of the south, famous
for its grapes, fruits, and wines. There was a hill close to the
town, from which we had a perfect view of the place. The
surrounding country is level, utterly devoid of trees, except the
willows and cotton-woods that line the Los Angeles Creek and the
acequias, or ditches, which lead from it. The space of ground
cultivated in vineyards seemed about five miles by one, embracing
the town. Every house had its inclosure of vineyard, which
resembled a miniature orchard, the vines being very old, ranged in
rows, trimmed very close, with irrigating ditches so arranged that
a stream of water could be diverted between each row of vines. The
Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers are fed by melting snows from a
range of mountains to the east, and the quantity of cultivated land
depends upon the amount of water. This did not seem to be very
large; but the San Gabriel River, close by, was represented to
contain a larger volume of water, affording the means of greatly
enlarging the space for cultivation. The climate was so moderate
that oranges, figs, pomegranates, etc.... were generally to be
found in every yard or inclosure.

At the time of our visit, General Kearney was making his
preparations to return overland to the United States, and he
arranged to secure a volunteer escort out of the battalion of
Mormons that was then stationed at San Luis Rey, under Colonel
Cooke and a Major Hunt. This battalion was only enlisted for one
year, and the time for their discharge was approaching, and it was
generally understood that the majority of the men wanted to be
discharged so as to join the Mormons who had halted at Salt Lake,
but a lieutenant and about forty men volunteered to return to
Missouri as the escort of General Kearney. These were mounted on
mules and horses, and I was appointed to conduct them to Monterey
by land. Leaving the party at Los Angeles to follow by sea in the
Lexington, I started with the Mormon detachment and traveled by
land. We averaged about thirty miles a day, stopped one day at
Santa Barbara, where I saw Colonel Burton, and so on by the usually
traveled road to Monterey, reaching it in about fifteen days,
arriving some days in advance of the Lexington. This gave me the
best kind of an opportunity for seeing the country, which was very
sparsely populated indeed, except by a few families at the various
Missions. We had no wheeled vehicles, but packed our food and
clothing on mules driven ahead, and we slept on the ground in the
open air, the rainy season having passed. Fremont followed me by
land in a few days, and, by the end of May, General Kearney was all
ready at Monterey to take his departure, leaving to succeed him in
command Colonel R. B. Mason, First Dragoons. Our Captain
(Tompkins), too, had become discontented at his separation from his
family, tendered his resignation to General Kearney, and availed
himself of a sailing-vessel bound for Callao to reach the East.
Colonel Mason selected me as his adjutant-general; and on the very
last day of May General Kearney, with his Mormon escort, with
Colonel Cooke, Colonel Swords (quartermaster), Captain Turner, and
a naval officer, Captain Radford, took his departure for the East
overland, leaving us in full possession of California and its fate.
Fremont also left California with General Kearney, and with him
departed all cause of confusion and disorder in the country. From
that time forth no one could dispute the authority of Colonel Mason
as in command of all the United States forces on shore, while the
senior naval officer had a like control afloat. This was Commodore
James Biddle, who had reached the station from China in the
Columbus, and he in turn was succeeded by Commodore T. Ap Catesby
Jones in the line-of-battle-ship Ohio. At that time Monterey was
our headquarters, and the naval commander for a time remained
there, but subsequently San Francisco Bay became the chief naval

Colonel R. B. Mason, First Dragoons, was an officer of great
experience, of stern character, deemed by some harsh and severe,
but in all my intercourse with him he was kind and agreeable. He
had a large fund of good sense, and, during our long period of
service together, I enjoyed his unlimited confidence. He had been
in his day a splendid shot and hunter, and often entertained me
with characteristic anecdotes of Taylor, Twiggs, Worth, Harvey,
Martin Scott, etc., etc, who were then in Mexico, gaining a
national fame. California had settled down to a condition of
absolute repose, and we naturally repined at our fate in being
so remote from the war in Mexico, where our comrades were
reaping large honors. Mason dwelt in a house not far from the
Custom-House, with Captain Lanman, United States Navy; I had a small
adobe-house back of Larkin's. Halleck and Dr. Murray had a small
log-house not far off. The company of artillery was still on the
hill, under the command of Lieutenant Ord, engaged in building a
fort whereon to mount the guns we had brought out in the Lexington,
and also in constructing quarters out of hewn pine-logs for the men.
Lieutenant Minor, a very clever young officer, had taken violently
sick and died about the time I got back from Los Angeles, leaving
Lieutenants Ord and Loeser alone with the company, with
Assistant-Surgeon Robert Murray. Captain William G. Marcy was the
quartermaster and commissary. Naglee's company of Stevenson's
regiment had been mounted and was sent out against the Indians in
the San Joaquin Valley, and Shannon's company occupied the barracks.
Shortly after General Kearney had gone East, we found an order of
his on record, removing one Mr. Nash, the Alcalde of Sonoma, and
appointing to his place ex-Governor L. W. Boggs. A letter came to
Colonel and Governor Mason from Boggs, whom he had personally known
in Missouri, complaining that, though he had been appointed alcalde,
the then incumbent (Nash) utterly denied Kearney's right to remove
him, because he had been elected by the people under the
proclamation of Commodore Sloat, and refused to surrender his office
or to account for his acts as alcalde. Such a proclamation had been
made by Commodore Sloat shortly after the first occupation of
California, announcing that the people were free and enlightened
American citizens, entitled to all the rights and privileges as
such, and among them the right to elect their own officers, etc.
The people of Sonoma town and valley, some forty or fifty immigrants
from the United States, and very few native Californians, had
elected Mr. Nash, and, as stated, he refused to recognize the right
of a mere military commander to eject him and to appoint another to
his place. Neither General Kearney nor Mason had much respect for
this land of "buncombe," but assumed the true doctrine that
California was yet a Mexican province, held by right of conquest,
that the military commander was held responsible to the country, and
that the province should be held in statu quo until a treaty of
peace. This letter of Boggs was therefore referred to Captain
Brackett, whose company was stationed at Sonoma, with orders to
notify Nash that Boggs was the rightful alcalde; that he must
quietly surrender his office, with the books and records thereof,
and that he must account for any moneys received from the sale of
town-lots, etc., etc.; and in the event of refusal he (Captain
Brackett) must compel him by the use of force. In due time we got
Brackett's answer, saying that the little community of Sonoma was in
a dangerous state of effervescence caused by his orders; that Nash
was backed by most of the Americans there who had come across from
Missouri with American ideas; that as he (Brackett) was a volunteer
officer, likely to be soon discharged, and as he designed to settle
there, he asked in consequence to be excused from the execution of
this (to him) unpleasant duty. Such a request, coming to an old
soldier like Colonel Mason, aroused his wrath, and he would have
proceeded rough-shod against Brackett, who, by-the-way, was a West
Point graduate, and ought to have known better; but I suggested to
the colonel that, the case being a test one, he had better send me
up to Sonoma, and I would settle it quick enough. He then gave me
an order to go to Sonoma to carry out the instructions already given
to Brackett.

I took one soldier with me, Private Barnes, with four horses, two
of which we rode, and the other two we drove ahead. The first day
we reached Gilroy's and camped by a stream near three or four
adobe-huts known as Gilroy's ranch. The next day we passed
Murphy's, San Jose, and Santa Clara Mission, camping some four
miles beyond, where a kind of hole had been dug in the ground for
water. The whole of this distance, now so beautifully improved and
settled, was then scarcely occupied, except by poor ranches
producing horses and cattle. The pueblo of San Jose was a string
of low adobe-houses festooned with red peppers and garlic; and the
Mission of Santa Clara was a dilapidated concern, with its church
and orchard. The long line of poplar-trees lining the road from
San Jose to Santa Clara bespoke a former period when the priests
had ruled the land. Just about dark I was lying on the ground near
the well, and my soldier Barnes had watered our horses and picketed
them to grass, when we heard a horse crushing his way through the
high mustard-bushes which filled the plain, and soon a man came to
us to inquire if we had seen a saddle-horse pass up the road. We
explained to him what we had heard, and he went off in pursuit of
his horse. Before dark he came back unsuccessful, and gave his
name as Bidwell, the same gentleman who has since been a member of
Congress, who is married to Miss Kennedy, of Washington City, and
now lives in princely style at Chico, California.

He explained that he was a surveyor, and had been in the lower
country engaged in surveying land; that the horse had escaped him
with his saddle-bags containing all his notes and papers, and some
six hundred dollars in money, all the money he had earned. He
spent the night with us on the ground, and the next morning we left
him there to continue the search for his horse, and I afterward
heard that he had found his saddle-bags all right, but never
recovered the horse. The next day toward night we approached the
Mission of San Francisco, and the village of Yerba Buena, tired and
weary--the wind as usual blowing a perfect hurricane, and a more
desolate region it was impossible to conceive of. Leaving Barnes
to work his way into the town as best he could with the tired
animals, I took the freshest horse and rode forward. I fell in
with Lieutenant Fabius Stanley, United States Navy, and we rode
into Yerba Buena together about an hour before sundown, there being
nothing but a path from the Mission into the town, deep and heavy
with drift-sand. My horse could hardly drag one foot after the
other when we reached the old Hudson Bay Company's house, which was
then the store of Howard and Mellus. There I learned where Captain
Folsom, the quartermaster, was to be found. He was staying with a
family of the name of Grimes, who had a small horse back of
Howard's store, which must have been near where Sacramento Street
now crosses Kearney. Folsom was a classmate of mine, had come out
with Stevenson's regiment as quartermaster, and was at the time the
chief-quartermaster of the department. His office was in the old
custom-horse standing at the northwest corner of the Plaza. He had
hired two warehouses, the only ones there at the time, of one
Liedsdorff, the principal man of Yerba Buena, who also owned the
only public-house, or tavern, called the City Hotel, on Kearney
Street, at the southeast corner of the Plaza. I stopped with
Folsom at Mrs. Grimes's, and he sent my horse, as also the other
three when Barnes had got in after dark, to a coral where he had a
little barley, but no hay. At that time nobody fed a horse, but he
was usually turned out to pick such scanty grass as he could find
on the side-hills. The few government horses used in town were
usually sent out to the Presidio, where the grass was somewhat
better. At that time (July, 1847), what is now called San
Francisco was called Yerba Buena. A naval officer, Lieutenant
Washington A. Bartlett, its first alcalde, had caused it to be
surveyed and laid out into blocks and lots, which were being sold
at sixteen dollars a lot of fifty vuras square; the understanding
being that no single person could purchase of the alcalde more than
one in-lot of fifty varas, and one out-lot of a hundred varas.
Folsom, however, had got his clerks, orderlies, etc., to buy lots,
and they, for a small consideration, conveyed them to him, so that
he was nominally the owner of a good many lots. Lieutenant Halleck
had bought one of each kind, and so had Warner. Many naval
officers had also invested, and Captain Folsom advised me to buy
some, but I felt actually insulted that he should think me such a
fool as to pay money for property in such a horrid place as Yerba
Buena, especially ridiculing his quarter of the city, then called
Happy Valley. At that day Montgomery Street was, as now, the
business street, extending from Jackson to Sacramento, the water of
the bay leaving barely room for a few houses on its east side, and
the public warehouses were on a sandy beach about where the Bank of
California now stands, viz., near the intersection of Sansome and
California, Streets. Along Montgomery Street were the stores of
Howard & Mellus, Frank Ward, Sherman & Ruckel, Ross & Co., and it
may be one or two others. Around the Plaza were a few houses,
among them the City Hotel and the Custom-House, single-story adobes
with tiled roofs, and they were by far the most substantial and
best houses in the place. The population was estimated at about
four hundred, of whom Kanakas (natives of the Sandwich Islands)
formed the bulk.

At the foot of Clay Street was a small wharf which small boats
could reach at high tide; but the principal landing-place was where
some stones had fallen into the water, about where Broadway now
intersects Battery Street. On the steep bluff above had been
excavated, by the navy, during the year before, a bench, wherein
were mounted a couple of navy-guns, styled the battery, which, I
suppose, gave name to the street. I explained to Folsom the object
of my visit, and learned from him that he had no boat in which to
send me to Sonoma, and that the only, chance to get there was to
borrow a boat from the navy. The line-of-battle-ship Columbus was
then lying at anchor off the town, and he said if I would get up
early the next morning I could go off to her in one of the

Accordingly, I was up bright and early, down at the wharf, found a
boat, and went off to the Columbus to see Commodore Biddle. On
reaching the ship and stating to the officer of the deck my
business, I was shown into the commodore's cabin, and soon made
known to him my object. Biddle was a small-sized man, but
vivacious in the extreme. He had a perfect contempt for all
humbug, and at once entered into the business with extreme
alacrity. I was somewhat amused at the importance he attached to
the step. He had a chaplain, and a private secretary, in a small
room latticed off from his cabin, and he first called on them to go
out, and, when we were alone, he enlarged on the folly of Sloat's
proclamation, giving the people the right to elect their own
officers, and commended Kearney and Mason for nipping that idea in
the bud, and keeping the power in their own hands. He then sent
for the first lieutenant (Drayton), and inquired if there were
among the officers on board any who had ever been in the Upper Bay,
and learning that there was a midshipman (Whittaker) he was sent
for. It so happened that this midshipman had been on a frolic on
shore a few nights before, and was accordingly much frightened when
summoned into the commodore's presence, but as soon as he was
questioned as to his knowledge of the bay, he was sensibly
relieved, and professed to know every thing about it.

Accordingly, the long boat was ordered with this midshipman and
eight sailors, prepared with water and provisions for several days
absence. Biddle then asked me if I knew any of his own officers,
and which one of them I would prefer to accompany me. I knew most
of them, and we settled down on Louis McLane. He was sent for, and
it was settled that McLane and I were to conduct this important
mission, and the commodore enjoined on us complete secrecy, so as
to insure success, and he especially cautioned us against being
pumped by his ward-room officers, Chapman, Lewis, Wise, etc., while
on board his ship. With this injunction I was dismissed to the
wardroom, where I found Chapman, Lewis, and Wise, dreadfully
exercised at our profound secrecy. The fact that McLane and I had
been closeted with the commodore for an hour, that orders for the
boat and stores had been made, that the chaplain and clerk had been
sent out of the cabin, etc., etc., all excited their curiosity; but
McLane and I kept our secret well. The general impression was,
that we had some knowledge about the fate of Captain Montgomery's
two sons and the crew that had been lost the year before. In 1846
Captain Montgomery commanded at Yerba Buena, on board the St. Mary
sloop-of-war, and he had a detachment of men stationed up at
Sonoma. Occasionally a boat was sent up with provisions or
intelligence to them. Montgomery had two sons on board his ship,
one a midshipman, the other his secretary. Having occasion to send
some money up to Sonoma, he sent his two sons with a good boat and
crew. The boat started with a strong breeze and a very large sail,
was watched from the deck until she was out of sight, and has never
been heard of since. There was, of coarse, much speculation as to
their fate, some contending that the boat must have been capsized
in San Pablo Bay, and that all were lost; others contending that
the crew had murdered the officers for the money, and then escaped;
but, so far as I know, not a man of that crew has ever been seen or
heard of since. When at last the boat was ready for us, we
started, leaving all hands, save the commodore, impressed with the
belief that we were going on some errand connected with the loss of
the missing boat and crew of the St. Mary. We sailed directly
north, up the bay and across San Pablo, reached the month of Sonoma
Creek about dark, and during the night worked up the creek some
twelve miles by means of the tide, to a landing called the
Embarcadero. To maintain the secrecy which the commodore had
enjoined on us, McLane and I agreed to keep up the delusion by
pretending to be on a marketing expedition to pick up chickens,
pigs, etc., for the mess of the Columbus, soon to depart for home.

Leaving the midshipman and four sailors to guard the boat, we
started on foot with the other four for Sonoma Town, which we soon
reached. It was a simple open square, around which were some
adobe-houses, that of General Vallejo occupying one side. On
another was an unfinished two-story adobe building, occupied as a
barrack by Bracken's company. We soon found Captain Brackett, and
I told him that I intended to take Nash a prisoner and convey him
back to Monterey to answer for his mutinous behavior. I got an old
sergeant of his company, whom I had known in the Third Artillery,
quietly to ascertain the whereabouts of Nash, who was a bachelor,
stopping with the family of a lawyer named Green. The sergeant
soon returned, saying that Nash had gone over to Napa, but would be
back that evening; so McLane and I went up to a farm of some
pretensions, occupied by one Andreas Hoepner, with a pretty Sitka
wife, who lived a couple of miles above Sonoma, and we bought of
him some chickens, pigs, etc. We then visited Governor Boggs's
family and that of General Vallejo, who was then, as now, one of
the most prominent and influential natives of California. About
dark I learned that Nash had come back, and then, giving Brackett
orders to have a cart ready at the corner of the plaza, McLane and
I went to the house of Green. Posting an armed sailor on each side
of the house, we knocked at the door and walked in. We found
Green, Nash, and two women, at supper. I inquired if Nash were in,
and was first answered "No," but one of the women soon pointed to
him, and he rose. We were armed with pistols, and the family was
evidently alarmed. I walked up to him and took his arm, and told
him to come along with me. He asked me, "Where?" and I said,
"Monterey." "Why?" I would explain that more at leisure. Green
put himself between me and the door, and demanded, in theatrical
style, why I dared arrest a peaceable citizen in his house. I
simply pointed to my pistol, and told him to get out of the way,
which he did. Nash asked to get some clothing, but I told him he
should want for nothing. We passed out, Green following us with
loud words, which brought the four sailors to the front-door, when
I told him to hush up or I would take him prisoner also. About
that time one of the sailors, handling his pistol carelessly,
discharged it, and Green disappeared very suddenly. We took Nash
to the cart, put him in, and proceeded back to our boat. The next
morning we were gone.

Nash being out of the way, Boggs entered on his office, and the
right to appoint or remove from civil office was never again
questioned in California during the military regime. Nash was an
old man, and was very much alarmed for his personal safety. He had
come across the Plains, and had never yet seen the sea. While on
our way down the bay, I explained fully to him the state of things
in California, and he admitted he had never looked on it in that
light before, and professed a willingness to surrender his office;
but, having gone so far, I thought it best to take him to Monterey.
On our way down the bay the wind was so strong, as we approached
the Columbus, that we had to take refuge behind Yerba Buena Island,
then called Goat Island, where we landed, and I killed a gray seal.
The next morning, the wind being comparatively light, we got out
and worked our way up to the Columbus, where I left my prisoner on
board, and went on shore to find Commodore Biddle, who had gone to
dine with Frank Ward. I found him there, and committed Nash to his
charge, with the request that he would send him down to Monterey,
which he did in the sloop-of-war Dale, Captain Selfridge
commanding. I then returned to Monterey by land, and, when the
Dale arrived, Colonel Mason and I went on board, found poor old Mr.
Nash half dead with sea-sickness and fear, lest Colonel Mason would
treat him with extreme military rigor. But, on the contrary, the
colonel spoke to him kindly, released him as a prisoner on his
promise to go back to Sonoma. surrender his office to Boggs, and
account to him for his acts while in office. He afterward came on
shore, was provided with clothing and a horse, returned to Sonoma,
and I never have seen him since.

Matters and things settled down in Upper California, and all moved
along with peace and harmony. The war still continued in Mexico,
and the navy authorities resolved to employ their time with the
capture of Mazatlan and Guaymas. Lower California had already been
occupied by two companies of Stevenson's regiment, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Burton, who had taken post at La Paz, and a
small party of sailors was on shore at San Josef, near Cape San
Lucas, detached from the Lexington, Lieutenant-Commander Bailey.
The orders for this occupation were made by General Kearney before
he left, in pursuance of instructions from the War Department,
merely to subserve a political end, for there were few or no people
in Lower California, which is a miserable, wretched, dried-up
peninsula. I remember the proclamation made by Burton and Captain
Bailey, in taking possession, which was in the usual florid style.
Bailey signed his name as the senior naval officer at the station,
but, as it was necessary to put it into Spanish to reach the
inhabitants of the newly-acquired country, it was interpreted, "El
mas antiguo de todos los oficiales de la marina," etc., which,
literally, is "the most ancient of all the naval officers," etc.,
a translation at which we made some fun.

The expedition to Mazatlan was, however, for a different purpose,
viz., to get possession of the ports of Mazatlan and Guaymas, as a
part of the war against Mexico, and not for permanent conquest.

Commodore Shubrick commanded this expedition, and took Halleck
along as his engineer-officer. They captured Mazatlan and Guaymas,
and then called on Colonel Mason to send soldiers down to hold
possession, but he had none to spare, and it was found impossible
to raise other volunteers either in California or Oregon, and the
navy held these places by detachments of sailors and marines till
the end of the war. Burton also called for reenforcements, and
Naglee'a company was sent to him from Monterey, and these three
companies occupied Lower California at the end of the Mexican War.
Major Hardie still commanded at San Francisco and above; Company F,
Third Artillery, and Shannon's company of volunteers, were at
Monterey; Lippett's company at Santa Barbara; Colonel Stevenson,
with one company of his regiment, and the company of the First
Dragoons, was at Los Angeles; and a company of Mormons, reenlisted
out of the Mormon Battalion, garrisoned San Diego--and thus matters
went along throughout 1847 into 1848. I had occasion to make
several trips to Yerba Buena and back, and in the spring of 1848
Colonel Mason and I went down to Santa Barbara in the sloop-of-war

I spent much time in hunting deer and bear in the mountains back of
the Carmel Mission, and ducks and geese in the plains of the
Salinas. As soon as the fall rains set in, the young oats would
sprout up, and myriads of ducks, brant, and geese, made their
appearance. In a single day, or rather in the evening of one day
and the morning of the next, I could load a pack-mule with geese
and ducks. They had grown somewhat wild from the increased number
of hunters, yet, by marking well the place where a flock lighted, I
could, by taking advantage of gullies or the shape of the ground,
creep up within range; and, giving one barrel on the ground, and
the other as they rose, I have secured as many as nine at one
discharge. Colonel Mason on one occasion killed eleven geese by
one discharge of small shot. The seasons in California are well
marked. About October and November the rains begin, and the whole
country, plains and mountains, becomes covered with a bright-green
grass, with endless flowers. The intervals between the rains give
the finest weather possible. These rains are less frequent in
March, and cease altogether in April and May, when gradually the
grass dies and the whole aspect of things changes, first to yellow,
then to brown, and by midsummer all is burnt up and dry as an

When General Kearney first departed we took his office at Larkin's;
but shortly afterward we had a broad stairway constructed to lead
from the outside to the upper front porch of the barracks. By
cutting a large door through the adobe-wall, we made the upper room
in the centre our office; and another side-room, connected with it
by a door, was Colonel Mason's private office.

I had a single clerk, a soldier named Baden; and William E. P.
Hartnell, citizen, also had a table in the same room. He was the
government interpreter, and had charge of the civil archives.
After Halleck's return from Mazatlan, he was, by Colonel Mason,
made Secretary of State; and he then had charge of the civil
archives, including the land-titles, of which Fremont first had
possession, but which had reverted to us when he left the country.

I remember one day, in the spring of 1848, that two men, Americans,
came into the office and inquired for the Governor. I asked their
business, and one answered that they had just come down from
Captain Sutter on special business, and they wanted to see Governor
Mason in person. I took them in to the colonel, and left them
together. After some time the colonel came to his door and called
to me. I went in, and my attention was directed to a series of
papers unfolded on his table, in which lay about half an ounce of
placer gold. Mason said to me, "What is that?" I touched it and
examined one or two of the larger pieces, and asked, "Is it gold?"
Mason asked me if I had ever seen native gold. I answered that, in
1844, I was in Upper Georgia, and there saw some native gold, but
it was much finer than this, and that it was in phials, or in
transparent quills; but I said that, if this were gold, it could be
easily tested, first, by its malleability, and next by acids. I
took a piece in my teeth, and the metallic lustre was perfect. I
then called to the clerk, Baden, to bring an axe and hatchet from
the backyard. When these were brought, I took the largest piece
and beat it out flat, and beyond doubt it was metal, and a pure
metal. Still, we attached little importance to the fact, for gold
was known to exist at San Fernando, at the south, and yet was not
considered of much value. Colonel Mason then handed me a letter
from Captain Sutter, addressed to him, stating that he (Sutter) was
engaged in erecting a saw-mill at Coloma, about forty miles up the
American Fork, above his fort at New Helvetia, for the general
benefit of the settlers in that vicinity; that he had incurred
considerable expense, and wanted a "preemption" to the
quarter-section of land on which the mill was located, embracing the
tail-race in which this particular gold had been found. Mason
instructed me to prepare a letter, in answer, for his signature. I
wrote off a letter, reciting that California was yet a Mexican
province, simply held by us as a conquest; that no laws of the
United States yet applied to it, much less the land laws or
preemption laws, which could only apply after a public survey.
Therefore it was impossible for the Governor to promise him (Sutter)
a title to the land; yet, as there were no settlements within forty
miles, he was not likely to be disturbed by trespassers. Colonel
Mason signed the letter, handed it to one of the gentlemen who had
brought the sample of gold, and they departed. That gold was the
first discovered in the Sierra Nevada, which soon revolutionized the
whole country, and actually moved the whole civilized world. About
this time (May and June, 1848), far more importance was attached to
quicksilver. One mine, the New Almaden, twelve miles south of San
Jose, was well known, and was in possession of the agent of a Scotch
gentleman named Forties, who at the time was British consul at
Tepic, Mexico. Mr. Forties came up from San Blas in a small brig,
which proved to be a Mexican vessel; the vessel was seized,
condemned, and actually sold, but Forties was wealthy, and bought
her in. His title to the quicksilver-mine was, however, never
disputed, as he had bought it regularly, before our conquest of the
country, from another British subject, also named Forties, a
resident of Santa Clara Mission, who had purchased it of the
discoverer, a priest; but the boundaries of the land attached to the
mine were even then in dispute. Other men were in search of
quicksilver; and the whole range of mountains near the New Almaden
mine was stained with the brilliant red of the sulphuret of mercury
(cinnabar). A company composed of T. O. Larkin, J. R. Snyder, and
others, among them one John Ricord (who was quite a character), also
claimed a valuable mine near by. Ricord was a lawyer from about
Buffalo, and by some means had got to the Sandwich Islands, where he
became a great favorite of the king, Kamehameha; was his
attorney-general, and got into a difficulty with the Rev. Mr. Judd,
who was a kind of prime-minister to his majesty. One or the other
had to go, and Ricord left for San Francisco, where he arrived while
Colonel Mason and I were there on some business connected with the
customs. Ricord at once made a dead set at Mason with flattery, and
all sorts of spurious arguments, to convince him that our military
government was too simple in its forms for the new state of facts,
and that he was the man to remodel it. I had heard a good deal to
his prejudice, and did all I could to prevent Mason taking him, into
his confidence. We then started back for Monterey. Ricord was
along, and night and day he was harping on his scheme; but he
disgusted Colonel Mason with his flattery, and, on reaching
Monterey, he opened what he called a law-office, but there were
neither courts nor clients, so necessity forced him to turn his
thoughts to something else, and quicksilver became his hobby. In
the spring of 1848 an appeal came to our office from San Jose, which
compelled the Governor to go up in person. Lieutenant Loeser and I,
with a couple of soldiers, went along. At San Jose the Governor
held some kind of a court, in which Ricord and the alcalde had a
warm dispute about a certain mine which Ricord, as a member of the
Larkin Company, had opened within the limits claimed by the New
Almaden Company. On our way up we had visited the ground, and were
therefore better prepared to understand the controversy. We had
found at New Almaden Mr. Walkinshaw, a fine Scotch gentleman, the
resident agent of Mr. Forbes. He had built in the valley, near a
small stream, a few board-houses, and some four or five furnaces for
the distillation of the mercury. These were very simple in their
structure, being composed of whalers' kettles, set in masonry.
These kettles were filled with broken ore about the size of
McAdam-stone, mingled with lime. Another kettle, reversed, formed
the lid, and the seam was luted with clay. On applying heat, the
mercury was volatilized and carried into a chimney-stack, where it
condensed and flowed back into a reservoir, and then was led in
pipes into another kettle outside. After witnessing this process,
we visited the mine itself, which outcropped near the apex of the
hill, about a thousand feet above the furnaces. We found wagons
hauling the mineral down the hill and returning empty, and in the
mines quite a number of Sonora miners were blasting and driving for
the beautiful ore (cinnabar). It was then, and is now, a most
valuable mine. The adit of the mine was at the apex of the hill,
which drooped off to the north. We rode along this hill, and saw
where many openings had been begun, but these, proving of little or
no value, had been abandoned. Three miles beyond, on the west face
of the bill, we came to the opening of the "Larkin Company." There
was evidence of a good deal of work, but the mine itself was filled
up by what seemed a land-slide. The question involved in the
lawsuit before the alcalde at San Jose was, first, whether the mine
was or was not on the land belonging to the New Almaden property;
and, next, whether the company had complied with all the conditions
of the mite laws of Mexico, which were construed to be still in
force in California.

These laws required that any one who discovered a valuable mine on
private land should first file with the alcalde, or judge of the
district, a notice and claim for the benefits of such discovery;
then the mine was to be opened and followed for a distance of at
least one hundred feet within a specified time, and the claimants
must take out samples of the mineral and deposit the same with the
alcalde, who was then required to inspect personally the mine, to
see that it fulfilled all the conditions of the law, before he
could give a written title. In this case the alcalde had been to
the mine and had possession of samples of the ore; but, as the
mouth of the mine was closed up, as alleged, from the act of God,
by a land-slide, it was contended by Ricord and his associates that
it was competent to prove by good witnesses that the mine had been
opened into the hill one hundred feet, and that, by no negligence
of theirs, it had caved in. It was generally understood that
Robert J. Walker, United States Secretary of the Treasury, was then
a partner in this mining company; and a vessel, the bark Gray
Eagle, was ready at San Francisco to sail for New York with the
title-papers on which to base a joint-stock company for speculative
uses. I think the alcalde was satisfied that the law had been
complied with, that he had given the necessary papers, and, as at
that time there was nothing developed to show fraud, the Governor
(Mason) did not interfere. At that date there was no public house
or tavern in San Jose where we could stop, so we started toward
Santa Cruz and encamped about ten miles out, to the west of the
town, where we fell in with another party of explorers, of whom
Ruckel, of San Francisco, was the head; and after supper, as we sat
around the camp-fire, the conversation turned on quicksilver in
general, and the result of the contest in San Jose in particular.
Mason was relating to Ruckel the points and the arguments of
Ricord, that the company should not suffer from an act of God,
viz., the caving in of the mouth of the mine, when a man named
Cash, a fellow who had once been in the quartermaster's employ as a
teamster, spoke up: "Governor Mason, did Judge Ricord say that?"
"Yes," said the Governor; and then Cash related how he and another
man, whose name he gave, had been employed by Ricord to undermine a
heavy rock that rested above the mouth of the mine, so that it

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