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i 



THE CONQUEST ^ 



OP 



mW MEXICO AND CALIFOMIA 



AN HISTORICAL AND PERSONAL NARRATIVE. 



By p. ST. GEO. COOKE, 



BRIGADIER, BREVET MAJOR-GENERAL, U. S. A. 




'SCENES AND ADVENTURES IN THE ARMY; OR, ROxMANCE 
OF MILITARY LIFE," etc. 



NEW YORK 

G. P-. PUTNAM'S SONS 

182 Fifth Avenue 

1878 



€^05 



Cofo. B. 



Copyright by G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1878. 








CONTENTS 



New Mexico ...... i 

11. 

The Insurrection in New Mexico and the final 
Conquest . . . . . .in 



III. 
The Infantry March to the Pacific 



125 



IV. 



% California. 



198 



V. 

Final Conquest of California 



263 



(^S-^Cr 




PREFACE. 



THE first historical nari-ative of the Con- 
quests of New Mexico and CaHfornia, 
is here offered to the pubHc. 

They were conquests as much of Nature's 
most inhospitable wastes, as of those primi- 
tive and isolated communities, and so exhib- 
ited great privations and labors ; but some 
perilous ventures and exploits tinctured the 
whole with the old romance of the oriorinal 
Spanish invaders. 

The conquerors were, for a year, almost 
beyond communication with government or 
countrymen, and these were wholly interested 
in the battles in Mexico ; and thus it hap- 
pened that a few soldiers and sailors, without 



IV ^ PREFACE. 

symp^Hy or applause, achieved the only per- 
ma^WJe5t fruits of the war. 

This obscurity, and the remoteness of re- 
sponsibility, led also to criminal intrigues as 
well as to patriotic sacrifices ; and the time 
has come to give the world a connected and 
permanent record. 




THE CONQUEST OF 
NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 



I. 

NEW MEXICO. 



k 

^^^^ TOTWITHSTANDING the country by the 

L ^ policy and measures of the executive branch 

if the government had for many months been 

urely drifting toward war with Mexico, the pubHc 

VcLS electrified by the news of a collision of arms 

^nd brilliant victories at Palo Alto and Resaca de 

a Palma, May 8th and 9th, 1846. Thus was ter- 

ninated, — " By the act of the Republic of Mexico," 

Congress declared on the 13th of May — our peace 

yith all the world, which had continued so long that 

ffe had begun to look upon war as a chimera. 

The first plans of the government were promptly 
developed : General Taylor crossed the Rio Grande 

tand advanced with his army of " occupation " on 



2 THE CONQUEST OF 

the long line toward the city of Mexico ; General 
Wool formed a column at San Antonio, Texas, for 
the invasion of Chihuahua; and Colonel Kearny, 
First Dragoons, organized a small force at Fort 
Leavenworth, Kansas, for the conquest of New 
Mexico, and ultimately of California. He marched 
June 30th. 

Company F. Third Artillery sailed July 14th, 
from New York for CaHfornia ; and in September a 
regiment of New York Infantry Volunteers, Colonel 
Stevenson, also embarked for that destination ; 
(They all arrived the following year). 

Later a regiment of Missouri mounted volun- 
teers, Colonel Price, was organized and marched 
early in the fall for Santa Fb, 

Colonel Kearny had sent Captain James Allen, 
First Dragoons, to meet near Council Bluffs, Iowa, 
the migration westward of the Mormon community, 
which had shortly before been expelled from 
Nauvoo, IlUnois ; he was instructed to enroll a 
battaUon of five hundred, to be organized under 
him as Lieutenant Colonel, at Fort Leavenworth; 
and to follow the army to Santa F^. And, finally. 
Colonel Kearny had *' demanded " two additional 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 3 

troops of first dragoons, on the Upper Mississippi, 
which had been ordered to the seat of war at the 
South, should follow and report to him. And 
accordingly on reaching St. Louis together, they 
encountered an order to that effect. 

Their captains were E. V. Sumner and the 
writer ; and they were inexpressibly disappointed. 
New Mexico was then supposed to be the only 
objective of this column. 

We embarked for Fort Leavenworth, and 
marched from there July 6th. 

I find the following in my diary for July 2 1st. 
** The howls of wolves, in which I ever took a sin- 
gular pleasure, swelling upon the night breeze, set 
my pen in motion. This has been a jolly day for 
Mark Tapleys — a very hot and still day with swarms 
of horse flies. I came ahead to hunt, (a solitary 
heron was all I saw larger than a fly,) and I was 
forced to stop, dismount and brush my horse vigor- 
ously for a half hour, until the column came up to 
make the fight more equal. Then a slight air from 
behind brought with us a cloud of dust. We turned 
off, near a mile, over rough ground it happened, to 
* noon ' at the bank of the Arkansas (it is a horrid 



4 THE CONQUEST OF 

practice). After that a storm threatened, and the 
wind shifted right ahead, which for dust was nearly 
as bad ; and finally it came with a great blast from 
the North, which fairly blew us, for a moment, out 
of the road ! 

" Now the thunders are rolling and promise a wet 
night, to which we are well nigh hardened. A week 
ago we had very severe hail, which stampeded the 
horses, and one was lost. Writing back, I may 
mention that one day we passed through vast mul- 
titudes of buffaloes ; the next day there were many, 
and since very few. A horse and some mules, 
allowed to run loose on the march, effectually 
knocked up, we thought, took, very late in Hfe, a 
fancy for freedom, and ran off with a herd of buffalo ; 
they were with difficulty recovered after a chase of 
six miles !" 

July 2W1. — Rain or shine, we have averaged 
28 miles ! Another dull week, but why not mention 
that our prairie and muddy river monotony was 
relieved by not unpleasant reminiscences to me, as 
we passed at 100° W. Lon. near, but on the south 
side, that rare feature, a small grove to which the 
writer three years ago, had, of right, given a name — 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 5 

Jackson's Grove, for there in emulation of that great 
soldier's decision he had crossed a force through the 
flooded Arkansas into doubtful territory of unsur- 
veyed boundaries, to attack and disarm two hun- 
dred men, the ''Army of Texas," who lay in wait to 
capture large Mexican caravans, as soon as they 
should pass the river above, from under his escort. 
Citizens of a territory on which he now marched 
with military impartiality, to make war in their turn ! 

And forty or fifty miles on, we passed by 
** Chouteau's Island " where, when quite a youth, 
he made first acquaintance with those savage 
Scythians, the Comanches, and had the fortune, 
detached with thirty veteran infantry, to face and 
break the charge of full five hundred, while a six- 
pounder sent round shot above his head. 

July 2>^st. — Most pleasant it was to-day to 
come in sight of the white tents of the army, spread 
out in the green meadows of the river; a multitude 
of animals grazing ; the life and stir of preparation ; 
mounted orderlies in motion ; old friends flocking 
out with smiles of welcome." 

August \st. — ' The army of the West ' consists 
of a regiment of cavalry, two batteries of horse 



6 THE CONQUEST OF 

artillery, two companies of infantry — all raw vol- 
unteers, — and six troops of First Dragoons, U. S. 
A. ; about seventeen hundred rank and file. 

The march is ordered for to-morrow. Our camp 
is about nine miles below '* Bent's Fort," a trading 
post which has become more familiar by name than 
any national forts ; and is in reality the only fort 
at the West. 

About noon I was sent for, and the general 
greatly surprised me by a proposition that I should 
set out in advance, with a flag of truce to Santa Fe, 
some three hundred miles. 

In our conversation, he assured me that he 
attached much importance to it — that he had 
waited for me ; and otherwise would have sent his 
chief of staff; that if there should be fighting, I 
would undoubtedly return and meet him before it 
began. * 

I go to-morrow, with twelve picked men of my 
troop. Mr. James Magoffin of Kentucky and Sefior 
Gonzales of Chihuahua have permission to accom- 
pany me — both merchants of caravans, which rather 
singularly, are now journeying to New Mexico, 
and beyond. 



^ 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. J 

August 2d. — I set out at the same hour the army 
marched, and fell in with the general at its head ; 
and so rode with him to Bent's Fort. My mission 
was not soothing to the regret at being turned aside 
from the stirring war scenes at the south ; it was in 
fact a pacific one. The general had just issued a" 
proclamation of annexation of all the territory east of 
the Rio Grande ; the government thus adopting the 
old claim of Texas ; and thus, manifestly, in a states- 
man's view, a bloodless process would lead to its 
confirmation in the treaty of peace ; and the pop- 
ulation would be saved from the bitterness of passing 
sub jugum. The difficulty of a half measure re- 
mains ; it cuts the isolated province in two ! there 
must be an influential Micawber in the Cabinet.^ 

At a plaintive compliment, that I went to plant 
the olive, which he would reap a laurel, the general 
endeavored to gloss the barren field of toil, to which 
his subordinates at least, were devoted ; and rather 
unsuccessful, he then revealed his ulterior instruc- 
tions for the conquest of California. He had been 
promised the grade of brigadier general, to date 
with the march for that territory. A regiment or 
two would follow us to New Mexico. 



8 THE CONQUEST OF 

New deserts to conquer ! That was giving to 
our monotonous toils a grandeur of scale that tinc- 
tured them with adventure and excitement. 

At the Fort I stopped to procure a pack mule. 
I found it excessively crowded ; a focus of business 
and curiosity: it is the land of Scythian Comanches, 
the audacious Cheyennes, here were many races 
and colors, — a confusion of tongues, of rank and 
condition, and of cross purposes. Meanwhile the 
long cokimn of horse continually passed, fording the 
river; but officers were collecting stragglers, and 
straggling themselves. 

My business completed, I found Don Santiago, 
as the Mexicans call Mr. Magoffin, had been prom- 
ised a stirrup cup, if any private nook was found 
possible. A long hot desert ride was in prospect ; 
and Mr. Bent had an ice house ; our patience was 
strengthened. At last vigilant eyes recognized a 
signal from a flat house top. With unconscious 
mien, we wound our way through the thirsty and 
curious crowd, up a winding stair, and, dexterously 
we thought, into a sentry box of a room, and lo ! a 
long necked straggler— ge mis Pike— slipped in with 
us ! We gave him a chilling stare ; he took it com- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 9 

fortably. A pitcher covered with a dew of promise, 
caught our eyes ; it brimmed with broken ice, and 
there was a suggestive aroma which softened our 
hearts. We fraternized, and soon finished the glo- 
rious punch. 

At last we were ready ; but my new pack mule 
instantly dashed in full and clattering charge through 
scattering stragglers ; away flew cups and pans, — 
and away started skittish nags with vociferous riders. 
Juan and Jose charged after, through the loud 
laughing crowd ; I laughed, myself, despite my luck- 
less mess kit. The foolish mule, so resentful of an 
unwonted crupper, soon succumbed to the more fa- 
miliar virtues of Juan's lazo ; order w^as restored, 
and we followed the long procession fording the 
Arkansas River. 

All attempt to pass this wonderfully mobile army 
was found to be vain ; and so, with my handful of 
troopers I was content to follow, for many hours ; 
amused at times by the humors of my companions, 
Magoffin and Gonzales, who drove somewhat in 
advance. As we passed in the vicinity of several 
corrals and camps of the caravan merchants — -who 
were required to await the motions of the army — I 



lO THE CONQUEST OF 

could see Juan gallop off, bottle in hand ; for his 
master, whose provision of wine defied all human 
exigencies, had failed in the rare article of brandy, 
which he also appreciated. "Won't they say," he 
cried out, " what a clever fellow that is in the black 
carretilla to send us down a bottle of brandy ;" but 
Juan returned light handed from each visit. 

Sefior M. now and then gave his fine horses a 
short gallop ; then Gonzales would with violent ef- 
forts, force his shabby mules to keep close up, — - 
only to be checked, very suddenly, to a walk. No 
American would have risked such looking mules for 
a day's journey ; but the Mexicans, not learned nor 
wise, are masters in the science of mules ! Although 
in this case there was no secret, there is a mystery 
about it ; Jose, while G. drove, rode by the side of the 
team, almost incessantly and laboriously whipping ! 

A hot dusty ride we had through the flat wilder- 
ness ; the army made that day, a march of thirty- 
seven miles. That fact was enough to indicate that 
it had an extraordinary leader, and that it might 
successfully defy all rule a'nd precedent. 

At last, as the sun was setting, I saw the troops 
leaving the road to camp ; and although there was 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. II 

no indication of water beyond, I kept on ; and after 
I had entirely passed, came in sight of some tents, 
and directed there my course ; I found it the camp 
of the small battalion of infantry, who had marched 
the previous day. 

• We were hospitably welcomed ; but there was 
scant grass for the few animals, and the water of the 
little stream, the Timpe, was a weak but decided 
solution of Epsom salts. Variety in diet is pleasing; 
but extremes not always. Capt. Angney, the com- 
mander, had procured at the fort, some molasses, — 
for the consideration of a dollar the pint — and that, 
with strong thirst, helped down the tepid Timpe. 
After all its effects were moderate. 

Next morning we were off betimes with the in- 
fantry ; the scenery all day was wild, and strange 
to us ; bare of trees or grass, — save on the ridges 
where cedars and pines were to be seen ; our informa- 
tion indicated no water short of a very long march. 

But by taking a horse trail, and passing along a 
ridge, near noon, a good spring was found, and there 
we passed several hours under the shade of pifion 
trees, indulging in lunch, with claret wine and piiion 
nuts for dessert. 



12 THE CONQUEST OF 

In the afternoon, the road being very difficult, I 
got far ahead of the carriages ; near sundown I over- 
took numerous infantry- stragglers, suffering from ex- 
treme thirst. Just at dark, I saw the battalion camp 
fires, but beyond a rocky and deep ravine which we 
could not cross. We managed, however, to get 
water, and bivouacked above under the little cedar 
trees. I heard my sergeant discussing with his 
party, that extraordinary infantry, which, with our 
fine horses, we could not pass ; but he said, " if 
regulars were to straggle so, they would be con- 
sidered as mutinizing. 

August 4th. — We pushed on, over more bad 
ground, twenty miles to the next water, a mere 
muddy pond, where we found antelope and elk. 
After a short nooning, we saw the battalion coming, 
and Don Santiago expressing great apprehension of 
being ** run over by that long legged infantry," we 
hastened to depart. We stopped late, on the Las 
Animas, also called the Purgatory, at the foot of the 
Raton Mountain. It is a fine, bold stream, which 
mouths fifteen miles below Bent's Fort. It has a 
well known canon ; its high precipices protect 
groves and grass ; and, besides the warm shelter for 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 13 

animals, there is said to be good grazing the year 
round. 

Next morning we followed the difficult road up 
the Raton ; this mountain is seventy-five hundred 
feet high, and is well covered with lofty pines, oaks, 
etc. ; it has been dreaded for the baggage train. 

'' There is a shorter route to Santa Fe which 
passes no mountain, or very bad road ; but this one 
by Bent's Fort was selected as better meeting the 
needs of the expedition. The other, the " Cimarone 
Route," is much more deficient in fuel, and has a 
dreaded Jornada ; while that by Bent's Fort has in 
the fort on the frontier a quasi base. 

I followed a small stream nearly to the top of 
the mountain, the carriages far behind. There I 
stopped for nooning, on an inviting green slope, 
very near the streamlet, and in the shadow of some 
grand old pines. 

Fatigued as I was, there was much that was 
delightful in this solitary repose, besides the fresh 
mountain air. Lowlanders never see such pure 
blue skies ; and now snow-white clouds drifting 
over, intensified the blue above, and by their shad- 
owings, added life and beauty to the landscape 



14 THE CONQUEST OF 

pictures below ; and there was a gentle breeze, just 
enough to give that spirit-like music of the pine 
leaves, and in harmony with the purl of the moun- 
tain brook. 

Here were varying and very perfect sensuous 
enjoyments, which were elevating too ; their effects 
on me were so joyous and abstracting, that two 
fawns came down the opposite slope and drank ten 
paces off, without arousing the destructive hunter's 
instinct, or at all reminding me of the rifle at my 
side. 

At last, with sounds of wheels and whips, came 
the carriages;. Magoffin humorous with affected 
anger at the hard chase I had led him. 

He was in the vein to-day ; reclining on the 
grass, after lunch, he made a long speech to Gon- 
zales, in the most sonorous Spanish, about liberty 
and equality, and the thousand advantages of being 
conquered by our arms. Then, chuckling, he 
swore the old rascal would get himself in the cala- 
boose as soon as he got to Chihuahua. He then 
held up, and addressed a pocket cork-screw, which, 
he said he had carried eight years. " You have 
cost me a thousand — five thousand dollars ; but 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 15 

what do I care for except a bottle of wine every 
day ; I work this way on purpose to keep you ; 
what is money good for ? I would not say to a 
bottle of champagne, * I won't, I cannot use you,' 
for a million of dollars. I travel this way every 
year over deserts just to be able to have my wine 
and educate my children. I will educate them as 
long as they can stand it ; give them all sorts of 
teachers, to teach them all they can pound into 
them ; and when they say ' we have beaten into 
their heads all that we possibly can,' then I will be 
satisfied ; that is all I want to do for them." But 
no idea can be given of the embellishment which his 
droll manner adds to his eccentric humor. 

The view from the top of the mountain is very 
extensive — very fine ; it embraces not only the 
Spanish Peaks, but Pike's Peak, above one hundred 
miles to their north. 

The descent was long and rough; and my fool- 
ish mule made 'another scamper, scattering my 
humble but very important mess kit. The carre- 
tillas did not come up, and I slept without shelter 
on the flat and barren bank of an upper stream of 
" Red River " — the Canadian of the maps. Next 



l6 THE CONQUEST OF 

day it was the same, and I bivouacked, at a water 
pool. The third day they overtook me, at noon, at 
the Riado. Don Santiago's claret was very welcome 
again ; he had broken his carriage pole, descending 
the mountain, but declared it was now much strong- 
er than before. 

In the afternoon we separated again, passing 
strange wild scenery. We suffered want of water — 
passing at sunset a wide shallow pond saturated 
wuth some vile salts. The road ascended then, 
to what seemed a great inclined shelf of the 
mountain. 

We rode very late, hoping for water. The light 
of even a full moon gave an imperfect idea of the 
strange scenery, but seemed to excite vague ima- 
ginings. On the soft road we did not disturb the 
profound and lifeless silence. Imagine then our 
wonder, to hear unwarned, several rapid explosions, 
identical in sound to near cannon shots. Only then 
we saw coming over the near horizon of a mountain 
ridge, the rapid invasion of our serene sky by a 
thunder cloud in black points which were not unlike 
the column heads of an attacking army. And then 
we were in a shower, with moonlight all around ; 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 7 

and very soon passed on this phantom cloud, leaving 
all serene as if it had not been. 

But it is very vain to attempt to describe it all 
— to excite sympathetic appreciation ; it is the 
mere chance of a wanderer's lifetime to witness such 
a spectacle, with all its attendant and weird 
surroundings. 

I observed for some time a singular dark streak 
to our left ; and at last, partly in curiosity, discovered 
it to be a chasm, a precipitous ravine, with a little 
stream of water; and so there we spent the rest of 
the night. 

Next day, August 8th, we passed along the very 
singular valley, where Fort Union was afterward 
built, and a ride of twenty-eight miles brought us to 
the Mora, a bright stream which here breaks out of 
the high table land, a kind of base to the high Rocky 
Mountain ridge which had long been on our right. 
Here we first saw houses, two or three, and cat- 
tle and sheep. This settlement was not an out- 
growth of the Territory, but an approach of civili- 
zation ; the proprietors being an Englishman and an 
American ; a very doubtful civilization, too, adul- 
terated by wilderness habits and Indian intercourse. 



1 8 THE CONQUEST OF 

Next day sixteen miles over a prairie table-land 
brought us to its steep road-limit, from whence we 
overlooked a valley with a stream ; we saw corn- 
fields and herds ; but where was Los Vegas, which 
should be there ? I saw, I thought, a great clay 
bank, a singular one indeed, but I thought it must 
be an extensive brick-yard and kilns. In fact it 
was Vegas; the dwellings being in low square 
blocks, sides and tops of sun-dried yellow bricks or 
adobes; the streets, and a large square, being of 
the same color. 

Then we saw the people running and riding 
about in excitement and apparent confusion ; mount- 
ing in hot haste, driving in herds of ponies, cattle, 
goats. I hardly believed the appearance, on the bluff, 
of my party of horse to be the occasion of it all ; 
and as I drew nearer I doubted more and more, for 
a large party came galloping in my direction. 

This hostile demonstration was too doubtful, in 
my view, for momentary solution ; if it occurred to 
me to display a flag of truce, I was unprepared to do 
so, and could only continue my advance in the best 
order to meet the worst. All doubt was soon 
solved by these eccentric cavaliers, formidable at 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I9 

least in appearance, passing at the gallop to our left, 
I marched on with increasing astonishment, tinged 
with a shade of mortification. I soon learned that 
this very characteristic introduction to New Mexican 
life, was caused by the wild Indians having killed 
a shepherd or two, at a distance of two leagues, and 
driven off their flock. And such was the measure 
of New Mexican efficiency — to gallop off in confu- 
sion, and without provision, to a pursuit, in which, 
if the robbers were overtaken, it would be at the 
moment when their own horses were quite blown, 
or exhausted. 

I rode with Mr. M. to the home of the alcalde, 
who was his old acquaintance : quite a number of 
his neighbors visited us and expressed pleasure at 
their prospects, and some whiskey was handed round 
in an earthen cup. 

There is some mixture of stone in the structure 
of the houses; that material being here very con- 
venient and suitable; but the village, with its small 
fields, scarcely fenced, differed little from those of 
our Pawnees in appearance ; these dwellings are 
smaller and square instead of round ; fine moun- 
tain streams are near, and are conducted — as 



20 THE CONQUEST OF 

usual — by the main canal of irrigation, through 
the place. 

While my horses were fed, we sat down to a din- 
ner ; it was composed of a plate, for each, of poached 
eggs, and wheaten tortillas ; seeing some cheese on 
a small pine table, I asked for a knife to cut it ; — the 
old man went to a hair trunk, and produced a very 
common pocket knife. The room had a smooth 
earthen floor; it was partly covered by a kind of 
carpeting of primitive manufacture, in white and 
black — or natural coloring of the wool ; — it is called 
Jerga ; around the room, mattresses, doubled pil- 
lows, and coverlids, composed a kind of divan ; the 
walls were whitewashed, with gypsum, — which rub- 
bing off easily, a breadth of calico was attached to 
the walls above the divan ; there was a doll-like 
image of the virgin, and two very rude paintings on 
boards and some small mirrors ; the low room was 
ceiled with puncheons, supporting earth ; — there 
were several rough board chairs. The alcalde's 
dress was a calico shirt, — very loose white cotton 
drawers or trowsers, and over them another pair — 
also very loose, — of leather, open far up at the outer 
seams. There appeared to be servants, — wild In- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 21 

dians of full blood. This may serve for a general 
picture. 

The alcalde — profanely surnamed Dios — gave me 
a very singular missive to his inferior magistrate of 
the next village ; it required him to furnish ten men 
to watch my camp, that the Utahs should not steal 
my horses, and my men might sleep. He sent as I 
afterward learned, a swift express by the mountain 
paths, to the Governor at Santa Fe. 

We passed, a few miles beyond Vegas, the best 
named natural " gate " I had ever seen, — through a 
ridge some four hundred feet high. The scenery of 
my Piedmont route — from Raton to Santa F^ — 
now greatly improved; wooded hills, many bright 
streams, some natural parks. There had been a 
shower here, and the red gravel road, and the buffa- 
lo grass, under stately pines and cedars, looked 
fresh swept and washed ; the air was exhilarating, 
but the charm over all was the almost dazzling sky. 

Nine miles brought us to a commanding hill-top, 
with a view of an extensive valley, — open, smooth, 
cultivated ; — a bold stream was in its meadows ; 
there were herds and flocks on the slopes, and groves 
of pines; the mountains surrounded all. 



22 THE CONQUEST OF 

Tecolote, — very like Las Vegas — was in the bot- 
tom of the valley ; the scene must have been peace- 
ful ; for apparently forgetful of the war, I left my es- 
cort unsaddHng for the night, and without showing 
a flag, rode a quarter of a mile to the large crowd 
gathered at the entrance of the village; saluting 
them, I inquired for the alcalde, and in barbarous 
Spanish, told him as I presented the note, that I 
wanted not men, but corn. And I got some, at 
three dollars a bushel ; and a sheep for a dollar and 
a half; and milk and eggs and chickens were offered 
for sale at my little camp. 

With Don Santiago and Sefior G. came some 
of their acquaintances to supper in my tent ; one of 
the latter contributed a pocket-flask of aguadiente, 
which could be recommended as strong. Gonzales 
gave it cordial reception ; and to his friends, — at 
second hand, — the liberty and annexation lectures 
of the Don with additions and embellishments. 

August 10///. — The first novelty I saw this morn- 
ing was a flock of milk goats going to pasture for the 
day, in charge of a boy and two shepherd dogs. Sin- 
gular it is, that the Spaniards occupied on this conti- 
nent, and expanded over, precisely all the region, — 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 23 

of mountain and high arid plains, — so resembling 
Spain, that their national customs of agriculture by 
irrigation, transportation by pack mules and asses, 
the raising of flocks, etc., were strictly preserved '; 
and so natural and necessary was their introduction, 
that it may account in part for their present homo- 
geneousness with the aborigines. 

I was struck on the road, with the number of 
people passing, and their lively mood. We fell in 
with one very merry party ; chiefly the family of an 
old man, as lively and active as a monkey, and not 
much larger ; perhaps it was a wedding party ; — a 
very pretty girl rode on an ass, which took into its 
solemn head to penetrate our procession of large 
horses ; and in spite of her guiding stick, she was 
in danger ; then a young man who rode a mule, 
came spurring to her rescue, and seizing the donkey 
with great vehemence by each ear, dragged him 
forth ; the girl's face was very expressive both of hu- 
mor and anxiety ; as for the old man, his excitement 
carried his donkey to a gallop, while the hills rang 
with his shouts and laughter. 

San Miguel, built of dull red adobes, in a dull red 
surrounding country, was now before us on the first 



24 THE CONQUEST OF 

hill beyond the Pecos ; this stream is here very pleas- 
ant to the eye, running swift and clear, a foot or 
two deep and a hundred wide, through meadows 
green with wheat and corn, — this last only three feet 
up to the tassel, — the former, spring wheat, reaped 
in September. The town turned out to see us, but 
I made no stay. The road turning up the Pecos 
valley, passed for some twenty miles along the rath- 
er broken declivity, — hills and deep clay gullies, — 
of, what to all appearance, was a respectable moun- 
tain six hundred feet high ; but which in fact is the 
break of a famous vast table land, destitute of water. 

We got on about fifteen miles ; caught now and 
then by a mountain shower, of this the rainy season ; 
and camped at a rain pool, under some fine trees. 

August nth. — The Don last night bragged very 
much of his cook, and 6f his manufacture of soup of a 
turtle he had captured. It was poison to me ; and so 
I had to supplement it with a small lump of opium, 
which, with little relief to my agony, prostrated my 
strength. And so I had to ride all day in his car- 
riage, and got only a passing view of some interest- 
ing ruins ; [to Americans, especially, who, with a 
reputation for boasting, are worst off, — of all things 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 25 

— for antiquities ; and so it happens we make much 
of " broken pottery ;" and when we find in the woods 
any eccentric hillocks or mounds, or the ruins of 
adobe huts, straightway a cipher is added to their 
probable age, and they are pressed into the service 
of American archaeology]. It was the ruins of a 
walled town called Pecos — which I have visited 
since — standing on a hill-top, between tv/o branches 
of Pecos River ; three mountain ridges and three 
valleys meet, (it is something like Harper's Ferry,) 
with vistas here of far off peaks. A beautiful pano- 
rama ! On the bare mountain sides of neutral tints, 
in this pure rare atmosphere the sun plays master 
painter, — with floating clouds for his help — and ever 
changes the picture as he moves. 

Here we see, only partially ruined, the temples 
of two religions which met in rivalry — the Aztec,N 
with unceasing altar fire, and that of Rome, with its 
graven images ; the former an ignorant, honest su- 
perstition with a basis of morality ; the latter, degen- 
erated in this far isolation, steeped in immorality, 
embodied in spectacles and ceremonies, and degrad- 
ing all that is high and holy to the level of sense — ■ 
the depths of superstition. t 

2 



26 THE CONQUEST OF 

Some contend that the Roman CathoHc religion 
was only grafted on the Aztec ; that the two were 
harmoniously blended ; this is surely affirmed of 
the present religion of the Pueblos here. It is stated, 
(but it sounds like a tradition, such is the ignorance 
of this people, without a press,) that only some seven 
years ago, the sacred fire was taken from the estufa 
here, by a small remnant of the tribe, to the Pueblos 
of Zufii, not very distant to the south-west. 

But we drove on, and some miles brought us to 
the wild rocky cafion, where, a few days later, 
four or five thousand men were very strongly posted 
to give battle to our army. I took care to find out, 
however, and observed how^ it could be turned. 
My escort got ahead ; and when, six or eight miles 
from Santa Fe, I determined to stop, they, not 
having discovered the water, had gone on ; and so 
in much suffering and uneasiness I lay down under 
a bush ; my stomach refusing every thing, until 
after midnight, when I drank a little claret wine, 
which Don Santiago had kindly insisted on putting 
within my reach. 

Next morning, August I2th, we pushed on, and 
on the high barren hills, almost in sight of Santa F^, 



NEW MEXICO AND" CALIFORNlJS^^-;:^^ 

to my great relief, the escort joined me : I mounted 
then, and we approached the " city." At the foot, 
or at the extremity of a main ridge of the Rocky 
Mountains, in the midst of a grey barren country 
without grass, and in the sandy flat valley of a 
mountain stream, there it was, like a very extensive 
brick-yard indeed. 

Fording the bright and rocky little river, I rode 
through a long crooked street, passing crowds of 
people who generally returned my salutation of 
hienos dias^ ** good morning to you." I lost sight 
of the carretillas, and going rather at random, sud- 
denly found myself in front of the quarter of a large 
guard, who at view of my horsemen, howled out 
their ''alarm," with so hideous intonation, that I 
mistook it for a menace. For the first time, I 
thought it would not be amiss to air my flag of 
truce ; so I placed a white handkerchief on the point 
of my sabre, and the officer of the guard advancing 
to meet me, I announced my mission in a sentence 
of very formal book-Spanish ; he gave me a direc- 
tion, to the right I thought, and looking up a nar- 
row street, I saw a friendly signal, pushed on, and em- 
erging, found myself and party on the plaza, crowd- 



28 THE CONQUEST OF 

ed by some thousands of soldiers and countrymen, 
called out en masse, to meet our army. We made 
our way with some difficulty, toward the ** palace," 
and coming to a halt, my trumpeter sounded a parley. 
It was some time before I was attended to ; and it 
was a feeling between awkwardness and irritation 
that was at last relieved by the approach of an officer, 
the " Mayor de Plaza ;" and he again went into the 
palace and returned, before he was ready to conduct 
me thither. 

I entered from the hall, a large and lofty apart- 
ment, with a carpeted earth floor, and discovered the 
governor seated at a table, with six or eight military 
and civil officials standing. There was no mistaking 
the governor, a large fine looking man, although his 
complexion was a shade or two darker than the 
dubious and varying Spanish ; he wore a blue frock 
coat, with a rolling collar and a general's shoulder 
straps, blue striped trovvsers with gold lace, and 
a red sash. He rose when I was presented to 
him ; I said I was sent to him by the general com- 
manding the American army, and that I had a let- 
ter, which I would present at his convenience. He 
said he had ordered quarters for me, and that my 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 29 

horses should be grazed near the town, by his sol- 
diers, there being no corn ; he hoped I would 
remain as long as it pleased me. I then took my 
leave. I was conducted by Captain Ortiz, Mayor 
de Plaza, to his quarters, and shown into a large 
long room, looking upon the court, and told *'it was 
mine ;" which truly Spanish politeness was belied 
soon after by the presence of Seilor Gonzales : the 
room was carpeted, had one rude window, but a 
dozen, at least, of mirrors — a prevailing New Mex- 
ican taste, — and besides the divan, an American bed- 
stead and bed. My men were rather crowded in a 
small room, on the opposite side of the narrow 
street, and to show my confidence, the horses were 
delivered to the Mexican soldier, to be grazed. Im- 
mediately a number of American merchants called 
on me ; chocolate and cake, and some whiskey was 
handed round by the captain's wife. 

Soon after, I went with an interpreter, for my of- 
ficial visit to the Governor, and delivered my creden- 
tials. He seemed to think that the approach of the 
army was rather sudden and rapid ; and inquired 
very particularly if its commander, Kearny, was a 
general or colonel ? (he had received his promotion 



30 THE CONQUEST OF 

on the march.) This was evidently to assist his 
judgment as to the strength of his force ; and to 
■follow the Napoleon maxim, to exaggerate the num- 
bers of an army for its moral influence upon the 
enemy, our government would do well to take the 
hint ; it being somewhat chary of that rank. 

I was allowed to walk about the town ; and 
I observed particularly the amount and condition of 
the ordnance. 

Still sick, I had no appetite for dinner, and was 
disturbed at siesta, by a favorite trumpeter, who 
contrived to get admittance, and with much mystery 
of manner, gave me his opinion that a plan or deter- 
mination had been formed by the soldiers to massacre 
or attack us in the night; I reassured him to the 
extent, that sobriety and prudence should not be 
lost sight of. 

Senor Gonzales soon after raised his head from a 
table and in solemn, not sober voice, cried out " Cuchil- 
lo, Cuchara, — plata ;" when, presto, appeared knives, 
spoons, plates; — mutton chops, chicken and chilo, 
tortillas, dulces, tea^— whiskey. I could not eat the 
supper, but drew near the table, to please the Se- 
ftora. The Don seized two ribs, and tearing them 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 3 1 

apart, sank his grizzly muzzle between. " Un tena- 
dor^' I cried, mimicking the Don. The fork was 
brought, but the Don did not take hints then ; — La 
Sefiora, offered me tea and cake on a silver salver. 
The Don poured whiskey into a bowl with his tea ; 
and thinking I could put him to sleep, I helped him 
to more ; he soon tumbled on his pallet, and saluted 
my ears with such horrid sounds that I fancied suffo- 
cation and explosion were contending for the mastery 
over his mountain of flesh. 

At 10 P. M., General Armijo came with Don San- 
tiago. It was settled that a *' commissioner" should 
return with me, and that we should set out at sun- 
rise ; the Governor would march next day *'with 
six thousand men." I promised to take chocolate 
with him at that early hour. 

Accordingly on the 13th, soon after the sun rose, 
being all ready to mount, I paid my parting visit to 
Governor Armijo, when chocolate, cake and bread, 
— such as only Mexicans or Spaniards can make, 
— were served on silver plate ; it is an article of my 
culinary creed, that only the Spanish, and their 
cognate tribes can make chocolate ! 

I do not go so far in the matter of bread ; but 



32 THE CONQUEST OF 

will state that notwithstanding there is not a bolting 
cloth in the province, their bread and cake cannot 
be excelled. But meanwhile the Governor is bow- 
ing me out,' with a suspiciously good-humored smile, 
and deafening trumpets and drums seem beating to 
arms. I mount and ride forth, with my escort in 
compact order ; and I pass that same guard-house, 
and hear the same sullen howl of the sentinel, which 
I still misunderstand ; and rising in my stirrups I 
turn and with a defiant gesture, call out, in good 
English, " I'll call again in a week." 

General Armijo, with little or no military expe- 
rience, distrustful of the loyalty of the population he 
has habitually fleeced, and of their feeble ignorance 
which has been much impressed by our long com- 
mercial intercourse, is said to be in painful doubt 
and irresolution ; halting between loyalty to his 
army commission, lately bestowed, and a desire to 
escape the dangers of war upon terms of personal 
advantage. Although perhaps much superior to 
those about him, he is unequal to the trying circum- 
stances of his present situation. Even the patriotic 
spirit developed by his proclamation appears to 
embarrass as well as surprise him. Undoubtedly he 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 33 

must go on to direct this current, but to some weak 
and disgraceful conclusion. And Armijo's avarice, 
fortified by ignorance, -probably excites in him some 
hope to handle the tariff dues of the large caravans 
which follow our column of invasion — an incident of 
war, strange to us, which must mystify him ; — and it 
is a surprising fact that nearly all the merchants 
would prefer to get their clearances here ; for three- 
fourths of their goods, in original packages, are des- 
tined for Chihuahua and even beyond ; the Santa 
Fe custom house is a great favorite with them. 
Thus an almost prohibitory tariff, evaded by bribery, 
costs the people some thousand or two miles of 
land transportation ; and thus a bad, corrupt gov- 
ernment finds its account in abuses. 

I was accompanied on my return by the '' Com- 
missioner," Dr. Conolly, an Englishman. 

The second afternoon we passed the scene of 
a very recent murder and robbery; the Indians, as 
usual, are excited by the prospect of war, and the 
poor territory, never in the least protected by the 
handful of regulars at the capital, is now harried by 
these savages with unusual severity. My dragoons 
were chiefly intended for protection against them ; 
2-* 



34 THE CONQUEST OF 

they, and not the New Mexicans, seem to be con- 
I sidered as our enemies. 

Next morning, hearing of the approach of the 
army, I left my escort to rest their horses at the 
spring where we had slept, rode on, and was soon 
gladdened at sight of it, descending in gallant array 
the long hill to Tecolote. 

There a halt was made. The General and suit 
were conducted by the alcalde to his house ; and 
there, through his interpreter. General Kearny 
addressed him and the village notables ; informing 
them of the annexation and its great advantages to 
them. He required the alcalde to take the oath of 
allegiance, and then confirmed him in his office, and 
pronounced them all released from their allegiance 
to Mexico, and citizens of the United States. 

■ The march was then continued — the business with 
the alcalde having occupied only the space of time 
necessary for watering the horses, and the camp was 
established for the night at Bernal Spring. 

My diary adds no word of comment ! What a 
triumph of discipline ! — I dismissed, as in a parenthe- 
sis, this accompaniment of a water-call. The great 
boon of American citizenship thus thrust, through an 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 35 

interpreter, by the mailed hand, upon eighty thou- 
sand mongrels who cannot read, — who are almost 
heathens, — the great mass reared in real slavery, 
called peonism, but still imbued by nature with 
enough patriotism to resent this outrage of being 
forced to swear an alien allegiance, by an officer who 
had just passed their frontier. This people who have 
been taught more respect for a corporal than a 
judge, must still have been astonished at this first 
lesson in liberty. 

The General's authority for this course has no 
ampler record than may be found in the following 
extracts from confidential instructions received from 
the Secretary of War, and dated June 3d, 1846. 
" Should you conquer and take possession of New 
Mexico and Upper California, you will establish 
temporary civil governments therein, abolishing all 
arbitrary restrictions that may exist, so far as it rqay 
be done with safety. In performing this duty it 
would be wise and prudent to continue in their em- 
ployment all such of the existing officers as are 
known to be friendly to the United States, and will 
take the oath of allegiance to them. . . . You may as- 
sure the people of those provinces that it is the wish 



36 THE CONQUEST OF 

and design of the United States to provide for them 
a free government, with the least possible delay, 
similar to that which exists in our Territories. 
They will then be called on to exercise the rights 
of freemen in electing their own representatives to 
the territorial legislature. It is foreseen that what 
relates to the civil government will be a difficult and 
unpleasant part of your duty, and much must neces- 
sarily be left to your own discretion. 

*' In your whole conduct you will act in such a 
manner as best to conciliate the inhabitants, and ren- 
vder them friendly to the United States." 

Mr. Marcy also states, ^' No proclamation for 
circulation was ever furnished to General Kearny." 

These instructions are the production of a politi- 
cian and a lawyer ; and it is necessary to add that 
their consummate author was well acquainted with 
Gen. Kearny. 

The President, in communicating the above to 
Congress, said, ^' If any excess of power has been 
exercised, the departure has been the offspring of a 
patriotic desire to give to the inhabitants the priv- 
ileges and immunities so cherished by the people of 
our own country. . . . Any such excess has resulted 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 37 

in no practical injury, but can and will be early cor- 
rected, in a manner to alienate as little as possible 
the good feelings of the inhabitants of the con- 
quered territory." (December 22, 1846.) 

The next day, with only a short halt of the 
column, a similar scene was enacted at San Miguel. 
I remained in town with a squadron ; there was a 
great crowd ; the General and his staff, the alcalde 
and a priest and a few others, ascended a flat house 
top overlooking the plaza ; the General, through his 
interpreter, delivered his address with the advantage 
of its success at Tecolote, but, whether from the 
priest's influence, the crowd, or his own peculiar 
firmness, the alcalde positively refused to take 
the oath. The General then enlarged upon the 
perfect freedom of religion under our government, 
— mentioning that his chief of staff", then present, 
was a Roman Catholic. All persuasion failed, and 
at last the old man was forced to go through the 
form and semblance of swearing allegiance. 

The army's second camp beyond San Miguel 
was on the hills of Pecos River, close to the ruins of 
the ancient temple, and of the church. That day 
General Armijo was posted at the defile, a very few 



38 THE CONQUEST OF 

miles beyond, with all his artillery, and a vast crowd 
of enemies. 

The army marched very early August 1 8th ; I 
commanded the advance guard, and held to the 
main road, not receiving orders to take the obscure 
route, known by the General, which turned the 
position at the cafton. As I passed it, I concluded 
that important information had been received in the 
night. So it proved, and I found at the rocky gorge 
only a rude breastwork of large trees felled across 
it. It had evidently proved impossible to give co- 
herence to the wretched mass of our opponents, who 
were now for the first time assembled together. 

They became panic-stricken at once on the ap- 
proach of such an imposing array of horsemen of a 
superior race, and, it appeared, over-estimated our 
numbers, which the reports of ignorance and fear had 
vastly magnified. 

Want of water compelled the extraordinary 
march of twenty-eight miles, and the arrival before 
Santa F^ near sundown. The dragoons were there 
alone, for a time, then came the regiment of volun- 
teer cavalry; and the town had been summoned 
before the arrival of the artillery. Then we marched 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 39 

into the city, raised and saluted the national flag in 
the plaza, and marched back to make camp on the 
barren hill top. The baggage had not arrived ; 
there were no provisions, no grass or other forage, 
no fuel ; as a conquering army we fared badly. 
Before it was dark, the inhabitants were driving don- 
keys into camp loaded with fuel, and not long after 
the train came up; very few rations did it contain. 

I took charge of the city for the night, with a 
guard of only fifty men ; the General sleeping on the 
floor in the palace. The taverns and saloons were 
overrun by the hungry and thirsty volunteers, and 
at last I had to drive them all out. After mid- 
night I lay down in my cloak in the main hall, or 
passage of the " palace," and there, with my saddle 
for a pillow, slept soundly. 

The *' Army of the West " marched from Bent's 
Fort with only rations calculated to last, by uninter- 
rupted and most rapid marches, until it should arrive 
at Santa Fe. Is this war? Tested by the rules of 
the science, this expedition is anomalous, not to say 
Quixotic. A colonel's command, called an army, 
marches eight hundred miles beyond its base, its 
communication liable to be cut off by the slightest 



40 THE CONQUEST OF 

effort of the enemy — mostly through a desert — the 
whole distance almost totally destitute of resources, 
to conquer a territory of 250,000 square miles ; with- 
out a military chest, the people of this territory are 
declared citizens of the United States, and the in- 
vaders are thus debarred the rights of war to seize 
needful supplies ; they arrive without food before the 
capital — a city two hundred and forty years old, habit- 
ually garrisoned by regular troops ! I much doubt if 
any officer of rank, but Stephen W. Kearny, would 
have undertaken the enterprise ; or, if induced to do 
so, would have accomplished it successfully. 
^ This is the art of war as practiced in America. 
The horses were sent the day after our occu- 
pation of Santa Fe to a distant grazing camp, and 
the greater part of the troops were quartered in the 
town. The Indians have been coming in, and seem 
pleased at the new order of things ; temporary civil 
officers have been sworn in. The authorities of 
Taos have submitted, and the prefect taken the 
oath of allegiance. Some of the civilized or " Pu- 
eblo " Indians from that quarter have visited us. 
These are a remarkable element in the New Mex- 
ican population. They are of the full blood, live in 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 41 

villasres of houses of many stories, without doors — 
entered each story from its top, which is reached by 
a movable ladder : their diligently cultivated grounds 
they hold in fee ; they speak the Spanish, besides 
an original language ; comparatively moral, they 
profess the Roman Catholic religion, slightly modi- 
fied by some cherished heathen customs and cere- 
monies, but are reputed far more moral christians 
than the New Mexicans proper, that is, of mixed 
blood ; of these, the priests being preeminent 
scoundrels, their flocks are generally earnest in an 
imitation, where their inferior means and abilities do 
not admit of a possible success. 

The market is well supplied ; mutton of true 
mountain flavor, red peppers, onions, apples, apri- 
cots, etc. Coffee is fifty, and sugar forty cents a 
pound. Fandangos of the lowest class are now a 
great success. 

Four of us have taken possession, temporarily, 
of the large parlor at my old quarters with the 
*' Mayor de Plaza;" the captain has very quietly 
subsided into a civic character — that of vendor of 
EI Paso wine and aguadiente, or brandy. All but 
some of our elderly officers take to a sm^tsfiQe: of 



^^JVEBSITY 



42 THE CONQUEST OF 

the Spanish, perhaps the easiest of languages to 
learn. This may account in part for its prevalence, 
to a convenient extent at least, even among the wild 
Indians within the sphere of Spanish conquest. 
First our men learned to ask, leche de vaca, leche de 
cabra ? of the milk boys : goat's milk is far the more 
common, but is not popular with us. 

A slave of the house, a captive when young from 
the Utah tribe, makes down every night our pallet 
beds. Major — is particular ; and his persistence in 
minute directions to the girl, in very voluble English, 
of which she comprehends not one word, is so ludi- 
crous, that our respectful attempts to smother our 
mirth usually result in a grand explosion. The 
major then, quite red in the face, laughs in a minor 
key. 

Armi o on his retreat, dispersed the militia, and 
took with him the few regular troops, save some de- 
serters. He had to abandon his artillery ; and 
it has been all found and brought to the city : 
there are nine pieces ; one is marked, '* Barcelona, 

1778." 

A small fort is to be immediately commenced, 
on a hill which commands the town. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 43 

The great square or plaza, level, unpaved and 
rather sa-ndy, has on each side a zequia, or canal, 
with rows of small Cottonwood trees ; this has 
a very pleasing effect in a hot, dry, and barren 
country. It is farther adorned with very comfort- 
able porticoes, — portales^ — qx\ three sides, including 
the palace ; these are extensions of the flat roofs to 
the edge of the side-walk, where they are supported 
by round pillars, which are whitewashed ; they serve 
as the only shelter for the market ; and are lined 
with shops, nearly all kept by Americans. One or 
two streets are similarly improved, but in general 
they are narrow and present to the passenger only a 
plain and nearly continuous wall; each extensive 
house having only a large strong folding door, and 
one or two windows; these have invariably a pro- 
jecting frame and turned wooden bars ; a sash sel- 
dom glazed — strong shutters opening inwards. 

On our first Sunday the bells invited us to wor- 
ship. I went to the parochial church : although 
built of adobes, it is sufficiently lofty, and has two 
steeples, or towers, in which hang three or four 
bells. With the usual wax images, it is adorned 
with numerous paintings — one or two of some 



44 THE CONQUEST OF 

merit. There was some music, of violin and tri- 
angle, and no spoken service. The streets and 
shops w^e thronged, and nothing indicated there 
that it was the Lord's day. 

The General has issued a proclamation denoun- 
cing the penalties of treason against any found in 
hostility, in the Territory of New Mexico. He has 
directed the laws and decrees here found existing to 
be translated by Captain Waldo, Missouri Volun- 
teers, with a view to their revision.* 

After the full submission of the territory, and the 

* The patient reader of these dry details and descriptions, which 
largely share the dullness of almost all realities, uho looks out hope- 
fully for some scintillations of humor as a merited relief, will sym- 
pathise with me in the loss of Don Santiago; but in bidding him 
farewell, I will incur the guilt of an anachronism, by giving you 
here a characteristic trait or two, in exigencies which soon befell 
him, as they will do, the most common and prosaic mortals. He 
got authority, as soon as we arrived, to push on with his friend and 
faithful imitator, Gonzales, to Chihuahua, he being in fact a hab- 
itant of that state (perhaps, indeed he was sent). 

There arrived, Gonzales was soon sent to calaboose, for' rehearsing 
in his cups, the Don's mountain speech, as was predicted ; but 
Magoffin too, was incarcerated, as a spy: his life was really long in 
danger ; but I am happy to record that he managed to dissolve all 
charges, prosecutions and enmities in three thousand three hundred 
and ninety two bottles of champagne wine ; (by a close computation,) 
and he lived to be remunerated by our government, as I particularly 
know. But the secrelaiy said to him, mildly, " Mr. M. ten thousand 
dollars is a very. large item for wine." "Yes," responded the Don 
with gravity, '* but Mr. Secretary, champagne at $37.50 a basket 
counts up very fast." Try it yourself ! 



• NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 45 

appointment of a temporary government, it becomes 
Gen. Kearny's duty to march for California, with 
such available force as he may judge requisite, to 
repeat the same rather dramatic exploits. New 
Mexico has furnished the scene of a good rehearsal 
at the least. 

With this view the additional regiment and bat- 
talion were ordered ; and these reenforcements, are 
supposed to be now well on their march. 

Capt. A. R. Johnston, A. D. C. has been espe- 
cially charged with the important subject of routes to 
California ; two are represented as probably practi- 
cable ; the more northern by the '' old Spanish 
trail," which appears on some maps — and was sug- 
gested by the Secretary of War ; Green River, and a 
sand desert of ninety miles are considered its great 
obstacles ; and unless the reenforcements arrive soon, 
difficulty from snow is also apprehended. The 
second route by the river Gila is perhaps less known, 
but is pronounced to be too broken and mountainous 
for wagons, but to have more grass. 

August 2Zth. — The General has decided to send 
a second column by the southern route ; leaving the 
Rio Grande about one hundred and fifty miles be- 



46 THE CONQUEST OF 

low, and thence by the Rio Gila ; this is certainly 
impracticable for wagons. The probability that the 
Gila will become our national boundary, and reports 
of Aztec ruins, give great interest to this expedition. 
Captain Cooke has been selected to command it. 

The fact that the Spaniards, in their northern 
explorations, found here an isolated race quite ad- 
vanced in civilization, compared to some tribes to 
its south, might prove an interesting study ; that it 
is a fact, there is still existing proof enough, besides 
the name. New Mexico ; it is kindred to the ques- 
tion of Aztec civilization. 

Was that an original civilization? A tradition 
is reported by their conquerors that points to an 
European origin. It is well known that our conti- 
nent was discovered and repeatedly visited about 
A.D. looo by Norsemen ; cest le premier pas qui coiite ; 
what more probable than that such adventurers 
should be attracted, step by step, toward a more 
genial, and to them a stranger clime ! — should have 
coasted as far as Mexico, — beyond their power of re- 
turn ; — to communicate to an ingenuous race, their 
own moderate stock of knowledge and civilized arts ; 
and especially that remarkably accurate astronom- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 47 

ical knowledge of time, which may well be ascribed 
to navigators. Gradually absorbed, in five hundred 
years, should we not look for just the traces which 
were found, viz., an improved physical race ; — sensi- 
ble progress in art and social science ; — and a tra- 
dition. 

General Kearny has reported to the Secretary of 
War, that he has written to General Wool, directed 
to Chihuahua, that his expected reenforcements 
promise to be more than needed, in which case he 
will order a regiment South to report to him ; and 
should General Wool not need them, he can order 
them on to General Taylor. 

The Navajos, the Spanish spelling of their name, 
which is pronounced Navaho, are a numerous, and 
warlike tribe who dwell in fastnesses of the moun- 
tains westward of the Del Norte ; they have ad- 
vanced few of the usual first steps of civilization, and 
therefore very remarkably as manufacturers; for 
they make ponchos, a blanket and blanket shawl, 
with a sht in the middle for the insertion of the head. 
Besides being waterproof, they are handsome, 
some of them approaching the India shawl in beauty 
and costliness. In fact the Navajos are richer than 



48 THE CONQUEST OF 

the mass of the people, whose flocks and herdsmen 
they harry ; they have repressed their progress and 
lived on their spoil ; the inhabitants have even been 
restrained by the government from making war 
upon them, except by special permission ; and it is 
charged that Armijo used them as an effectual check 
to any resistance to his arbitrary oppressions. 

The influence of the Spanish protection of this 
and the neighboring provinces against unconquered 
Indian tribes, began to cease about the year 1832 ; 
and from that date they have decayed ; it is esti- 
mated that the number of sheep is eighty per cent 
less than then. I am assured that one man has 
lost 250,000 ! The people are almost confine"d to 
villages. 

Except in narrow valleys and narrow strips, 
mostly wooded, reached by mountain showers, the 
whole province, alluvion as well as table-land, is so 
arid as to seem uninhabitable. There is some rain, 
but an elevation of from four thousand to seven 
thousand feet, and the absence of forests and even 
groves, make it almost nugatory. Irrigation is 
necessary in the river lands, and is effectual, where 
practicable, on the hills. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 49 

There are, indeed, the mile or two wide river 
bottoms of the Rio Abajo, (lower river,) of only four 
to five thousand feet elevation, which although very 
sandy, are quite productive, and of charming climate ; 
but the want of fuel makes even that best district un- 
attractive. Thus any considerable immigration can- 
not be expected. 

It should not be omitted that the precious met- 
als have been long known to be very diffusely 
found here ; but no one seems ever to have made 
a fortune in the mines. A pains-taking culture by 
irrigation, and sheep pastures, are the main supports 
of a sparse population in New Mexico. 

They make sugar, from the corn-stalk ; butter — 
rather a test of civilization — scarcely any ; no oats 
or rye are produced, few potatoes ; onions, very fine, 
and chile Colorado, are the chief vegetables ; melons 
are plenty. 

Yesterday the 27th, the General, or Governor, 
gave a ball to all the officers, and to citizens gener- 
ally in the government house ; it was a political, 
or conciliatory affair, and we put the best face on it. 
The women are comely, — remarkable for smallness 
of hands and feet : as usual in such states of society, 
3 



50 THE CONQUEST OF 

they seem superior to the man ; but nowhere else is 
chastity less valued or expected. 

There was an attempt at cotilions ; but the natives 
are very Germans for waltzing — and they possess mu- 
sical ears as well. Their favorite, called appropriately 
the cuna (cradle) is peculiar ; it is a waltz ; but the 
couple stand face to face; the gentldrrTan encircles his 
partner's waist with both arms ; the lady's similarly 
disposed, complete the sides of the cradle which is not 
bottomless, for both parties lean well back as they 
swing around. There were men present in colored 
cotton trowsers secured by leathern belts, and jack- 
ets, but they danced well. The American merchants 
were of course, very genteelly represented ; there 
were twenty or thirty of them. The supper was 
good, particularly in cake. The fiddlers accompanied 
their music at times by verses, sung in a high nasal 
key. I was surprised, but amused to hear one of our 
captains join in this; — and he could waltz them all 
blind ;- — but we got him from the navy. 

The ball went off harmoniously, and quite pleas- 
antly, considering the extravagant variety in its make 
up. But we did not feel particular — out here. 

August 31^/. — A report is believed that a Colonel 



- NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 5 1 

Ugarte is entering the southern extremity of the ter- 
ritory with some five hundred regulars, to meet and 
re-inforce General Armijo ; this must hasten the 
march south, which has been announced. 

Four hundred wagons of supphes have been re- 
ported on the way out — as also Colonel Price's 
regiment. „ 

The greatest expense of this invasion, possibly, 
will be found in the matter of transportation. The 
territory seems quite unequal to feed its seventeen 
hundred conquerors ; they have received for weeks 
but nine ounces of ground wheat per day, and no 
sugar or coffee ! The men must make out a living 
from other resources ; — but they receive no pay, and 
scurvy is making its appearance. 

I marched from Santa Fe yesterday with half of 
my dragoons, afoot, twenty-six miles ; — seeking to 
establish a grazing camp on the Galisteo. After 
leaving the zequias, which invade for several miles 
the gravelly table land, we were without water for 
near twenty, and the camp is a mile from grass. The 
ox teams with baggage lately arrived from Missouri, 
set out half a day in advance, but did not come up, 
and so we bivouacked ; after a hot day, the night 



52 THE CONQUEST OF 

being rather frosty, I caught a slight cold. It is a 
healthy country, but catarrhs and pleurisy are not 
uncommon. 

September \st. — Last night an officer came for dra- 
goons to man a battery of four howitzers, and with 
an order to hold myself ready — until farther orders — 
to march south at an hour's notice ; the General 
having received some confirmation of the junction 
of Armijo and Ugarte ; we are also to move over to 
the main southern road to-morrow. 

September 2d. — We marched, accordingly, eighteen 
miles, leaving the nearly dry Galisteo for the table 
land. In a vale at noon, finding some grass, although 
there was no water, I stopped an hour to graze ; 
this on Dugald Dalgetty's principle, which in this 
country must be applied to horses and mules. Ap- 
proaching the Rio Grande we came to the broken 
descent of a small stream, and a rancho ; a few cot- 
tonwoods or poplars added much attraction' to its 
appearance, — so rare is this only " ornamental " 
tree ; and we saw the dust of the mile long column 
of the General's march toward the south. 

The little valley of this farm-house looked quite 
green ; but, as usual, the grass had been closely 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 53 

cropped ; one of the merchants bound for Chihuahua 
— they are all still involuntary Micawbers — having 
here established his caravan ; his mules contended 
with the farmer's sheep, asses and goats for a sub- 
sistence. 

And so we camped a mile further, on the dusty 
upland where we found scant buffalo grass and that 
called grama. 

Professor Torrey seems to have pronounced 
buffalo grass '' polygamous by abortion ;" the 
phrase, if possible to be understood, referring to 
his belief that its flower is not fertile. But I have 
gathered much of its fruit — like large grains of oats 
truncated. But I have also seen, with the pregnant 
if, that I could believe my eyes, the buffalo and the 
grama, so very different in most respects, growing 
from the same root ! if that constitutes vegetable po- 
lygamy ; but they are the very same in being frost- 
proof and good substantial food for the granivora. 

The baggage wagons having gone astray, we 
had until after dark a prospect of being supperless 
and shelterless, even without fires ; for it is by many 
expedients that we manage to have fuel, even for 
cooking. 



54 THE CONQUEST OF 

A message from the General sets at rest, as un- 
founded, the prospect of hostilities further south. 
Colonel Ugarte did march over the border ; and if 
Armijo had proved a good soldier, our conquest 
might well have furnished better elements for an 
epic. We are commanded to devote ourselves to 
preparing the horses for the California expedition. 

September /\th. — Yesterday the General left his 
column and baggage and turned aside, escorted by a 
squadron of dragoons, to visit the Pueblo Indian 
town of Santo Domingo, having been invited to do 
so, several days ago. Not having been present, I 
will give a picturesque description of the visit, by a 
staff officer, the more interesting as concerning this 
tribe without the pale of citizenship, but more moral, 
and superior in some other respects to the mass of 
the people ; their extraordinary abstinence from 
mixture of blood reminds one of the Jews. 

He writes: ''From height to height, as we 
advanced, we saw horsemen disappearing at full 
speed. As we arrived abreast of the town, we 
were shown, by the guard, posted for the pur- 
pose, the road to Santo Domingo. "^ * We had 
not proceeded far, before we met ten or fifteen 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 55 

sachemic looking old Indians, well mounted, two 
of them carrying gold-headed canes with tassels, the 
emblems of office in New Mexico. 

Salutations over, we jogged along, and in the 
course of conversation, the alcalde, a grave and ma- 
jestic old Indian, said, as if casually, " We shall 
meet some Indians presently, mounted and dressed 
for war, but they are the young men of my town, 
friends, come to receive you, and I wish you to cau- 
tion your men not to fire upon them when they ride 
towards them." • 

When within a few miles of the town, we saw a 
cloud of dust rapidly advancing, and soon the air 
was rent with a terrible yell, resembling the Florida 
war-whoop. The first object that caught my eye 
through the column of dust, was a fierce pair of 
buffalo horns, overlapped with long shaggy hair. 
As they approached, the sturdy form of a naked 
Indian revealed itself beneath the horns, with shield 
and lance, dashing at full speed, on a white horse, 
which, like his body, was painted all the colors of the 
rainbow ; and then, one by one his followers came 
on, painted to the eyes, their own heads and their 
horses, covered with all the strange equipments that 



$6 THE CONQUEST OF 

the brute creation could afford in the way of horns, 
skulls, feathers, tails and claws. 

As they passed us, one rank on each side, they 
fired a volley under our horses' bellies from the right 
and from the left. Our well-trained dragoons sat 
motionless on their horses, which went along with- 
out pricking an ear or showing any sign of excite- 
ment. 

Arrived in the rear, the Indians circled round, 
dropped into a walk on our flanks until their horses 
recovered breath, when off they went at full speed 
passing to our front, and when there, the opposite 
files met, and each man selected his adversary and 
kept up a running fight, with muskets, lances, and 
bows and arrows. Sometimes a fellow would stoop 
almost to the earth to shoot under his horse's belly, 
at full speed, or to shield himself from an impending 
blow. So they continued to pass and repass all the 
way to the steep cliff which overhangs the' town. 
There they filed on each side of the road, which 
descends through a deep cafion, and halted on the 
peaks of the cliffs. Their motionless forms projected 
against the clear blue sky above, formed studies for 
an artist. In the canon we were joined by the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 57 

priest, a fat old white man. We were escorted first 
to the padre's, of course ; for here, as everywhere, 
these men are the most intelligent, and the best to 
do in the world, and when the good people wish to 
put, their best foot foremost, the padre's wines, beds, 
and couches have to suffer. The entrance to the 
portal was lined with the women of the village, all 
dressed alike, and ranged in treble files ; they looked 
fat and stupid. 

We were shown into his reverence's parlor, tapes- 
tried with curtains stamped with the likenesses of all 
the Presidents of the United States up to this time. 
The cushions were of spotless damask, and the 
couch covered with a white Navajo blanket, worked 
in richly colored flowers. 

The air was redolent with the perfume of grapes 
and melons, and every crack of door and windows 
glistening with the bright eyes and arms of the 
women of the capilla. The old priest was busy 
talking in the corner, and little did he know the 
game of sighs and signs carried on between the 
young fellows and the fair inmates of the house. 
We had our gayest array of young men out to-day, 
and the women seemed to me to drop their usual 
3* 



58 . THE CONQUEST OF 

subdued look and timid wave of the eye-lash for 
good hearty twinkles and signs of unaffected and 
cordial welcome — signs supplying the place of con- 
versation, as neither party could speak the language 
of the other. This little exchange of the artillery of 
eyes was amusing enough, but I was very glad to 
see the padre move towards the table, and remove 
the pure white napkin from the grapes, melons and 
wine. We were as thirsty as heat and dust could 
make us, and we relished the wine highly, whatever 
its quality. The sponge cake was irreproachable, 
and would have done honor to our best northern 
house-keepers. Indeed, wherever we have feasted, 
the sponge cake has been in profusion, and of the 
best kind. After the repast, the General went for- 
ward on the portal and delivered a speech to the 
assembled people of the town, which was iirst inter- 
preted into Spanish, and then into Pueblo. 

It is impossible to arrive at the precise population 
of the town, but I should judge it to be about six 
hundred, and the quantity of ground under tillage 
for their support about five hundred acres. Six 
miles lower they passed San Felippe, " suggesting 
pictures we see of castles on the Rhine." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 5g 

We marched yesterday toward Santa Fe in 
search of grass ; winding among the hills we passed 
several spring branches ; making inquiries at the 
houses, the people were evidently averse to our stop- 
ping, regarding us perhaps, in the light of a swarm 
of locusts ; and so, there was generally good grass 
several miles further on ; they object to selling the 
green corn. Camp at last was established twelve 
miles from the city, in a long strip of green m^eadow, 
clipped indeed, but making a pleasant camp. A 
sod for the floor of a tent is here a luxury. 

Septefnber ^th. — Making a virtue of necessity, or 
really having a surplus, the small farmers begin to 
sell their patches of corn ; it is cut at the root, 
brought in wagons to camp, and fed at night to 
horses, ear, blade and stalk ; and there is not a par- 
ticle of litter in the morning. The poor horses are 
taken about nine o'clock, several miles, to graze on 
the scant grass of the upland, where there is no 
water, and are brought in at three o'clock. It is 
not a pleasant duty to herd them on a bare prairie 
six or seven hours, through the heat of the day ; 
there was a little rain this afternoon. 

Near us is a house prettily situated on a point 



6o THE CONQUEST OF 

of hill overlooking corn fields ; but its chief beauty 
is a small grove of cottonwoods ; the little fields 
fill the irregular vaUeys, and are without fences; even 
here they are irrigated ; the soil, of hill or table 
land and valley is nearly the same ; the high ground 
near Santa Fe is in cultivation. 

The sheep here are very small, the wool quite 
coarse ; but the flesh is of excellent flavor. The 
wool, without a market, is used for mattresses, which 
are very well made and comfortable, and for carpets 
and packing blankets. 

To the philosophic observer of the infinitely wise 
adaptations throughout Nature, it is not surprising 
that in those portions of our earth rendered barren 
by elevation, want of rain and excessive evapora- 
tion, there is always found a configuration which 
makes irrigation easy and suggests it. I have seen, 
in Utah, an irrigating ditch, on upland, straight for 
miles ! — I have pronounced ground of gravel and 
sand, producing nothing but a few stunted weeds of 
one species, as utterly worthless, — and afterward be- 
held it green with almost tropical profusion, — its 
latent germs vivified by water. 

The few rich men live in the Rio Abajo ; their 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 6l 

extensive plastered and whitewashed residences, 
built around large courts, are quite imposing ; and 
each contains, the key of their wealth, a store of ne- 
cessaries for their dependent laborers. This is the 
system of peonage ; at their own prices they manage 
to keep the poor peons always in debt, and this le- 
gally binds them and their families to endless service 
and dependence ; and they can be cast off, without 
any provision in their old age. They have been in- 
formed that they shall soon have a voice in their 
own government. Doubtless this flagrant servitude 
will be gradually broken up ; but when shall such 
people be capable of self-government ! There will 
be a territorial government for thirty years* — and 
the language will not change faster than the color of 
the citizens. 

All the advantages seem to be with the conquer- 
ed. What for us? except the convenience of a 
rounded boundary ; it is not the route to California ; 
these routes will be above or below.* The procla- 
mation of Governor Kearny " announces his inten- 
tion to hold the Department with its original bound- 
aries [on both sides of the Del Norte] as a part of 
* These words were written Sept. 5th, 1846. 



62 THE CONQUEST OF 

the United States, and under the name of the Ter- 
ritory of New Mexico." 

This overleaps the first announcement which 
seemed the assertion of the old Texan claim. 
/' The Mormon Battalion is now not expected be- 
fore October, that will be too late for the northern 
route to California ; and the last information seems 
to make that by the Gila River impracticable for 
want of grass, if at all practicable for wagons. And 
so there would remain only along route through So- 
nora. Evidence is all doubtful or false ; — false wil- 
fully, or only from lack of judgment as to the needs of 
a large force compared to that of a few adventurers. 

September Jth. — I visited Santa Fe yesterday ; a 
tall, handsome flagstaff has just been erected in the 
plaza, conveying perhaps some idea of permanency 
to the ignorant people ; while the fort on the hill 
begins to show itself to the town. Great complaint, 
however, is made that the volunteers will scarcely 
work; daily labor was not embraced in their con- 
ceptions of war ; it goes some way to prove that 
democracy and discipline — of the miHtary sort — are 
not entirely congenial. The fort is named Marcy, 
after the eminent statesman. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 63 

I visited to-day the house near camp, — of ex- 
ceptional character and surroundings ; a pleasant 
portal in front of a fine room, looks upon a small 
grove of well grown cottonwood trees ; these deriv- 
ing their verdure, or rather their existence, from a 
fast flowing spring in their midst. From the house 
we also see the rather narrow winding valley, highly 
cultivated, walled in by little rock precipices ; there 
is, too, an ancient round tower of two floors, — the 
upper story of stone ; it is loop-holed, and a stone 
wall crossing some low hills is very remarkable. The 
happy proprietor is a rather cultivated man ; and his 
Spanish was pleasant to hear. 

The country generally, off the river, is not appro- 
priated in severalty. Colonel Doniphan, who is a 
lawyer of high repute, is codifying and revising the 
laws; he tells me of this, and many peculiar difficul- 
ties; the civil law as adopted by Spain is their basis; 
its adaptations are rather from many departmental 
decrees, than National legislation ; and so low has 
been the state of administration of justice in this 
province, that suits of any importance have been re- 
moved seven or eight hundred miles to Chihuahua. 

Our fuel is brought nine miles, and the nights 



64 THE CONQUEST OF 

are very cold. This pure atmosphere has often a 
peculiar haze or blueness which is unaccounted for; 
the nearest mountains look dark blue, and when 
covered by cedars and pines, almost black. 

September nth. — I slept last night under a thick 
blanket and buffalo robe. 

The Pueblos bring in for sale melons, onions, 
corn, sugar and molasses, bread, and above all, deli- 
cious grapes; they are as large as musket balls, the 
bunches of about a pound weight ; in no other part 
of the world, as I think, are there grapes so palat- 
able. The cultivation, and I am told it is the 
same in California, is peculiar; pruning is so ex- 
treme that the growth ceases to be a vine, and be- 
comes a single stem four or five feet high, which sup- 
ports the short branches and fruit : thus it is a bush. 
The wine they make here is not highly praised. 

The General passed up this afternoon ; the 
national flag is to be hoisted on the new staff, first 
in his presence, under a national salute. 

Some of the staff tell us that their march was a 
gala procession, extending only ninety miles to San 
Tome. They arrived there on their saint's day ; long 
tallow candles were put into the hands of the officers 



• 'NEW MEXICO AND, CALIFORNIA. 

to carry in procession, following his waxen effigy ; 
and this was considerably protracted, by repeated 
addresses to his saintship. At night- th^re were 
fireworks, rockets from doors and windows of the 
church, bonfires on the adobe turrets, etc. The vil- 
lage was crowded. Families journeyed in their prim- 
itive wagons, rough boxes on solid wooden wheels. 
Women came on donkeys and mules, on which 
last they invariably ride in front of men, who nev- 
ertheless hold the reins. There are few horses in the 
country. ■• 

The officers partook of a collation at the padre s. 
The ladies never made their appearance at the 
houses at which the general and officers were enter- 
tained ; one of them at an accidental interview with 
an officer proved exceedingly inquisitive as to our 
country; when questioned as to Armijo, she abused 
him, and pointing to his shoulder straps, exclaimed, 
*' I don't know how any man wearing these things 
could run away as he did ; he had a good army to 
back him, and could have driven you all back." 

The Navajos are continually making raids on 
these poor people ; they seem, to have had the pol- 
icy to avoid utterly ruining them, and to leave them 



66 THE CONQUEST OF 

the means of increase for the perpetual enforcement 
of contributions. They have made irruptions within 
two or three miles of our troops. Protection has 
been promised, and even compensation for losses 
since our arrival. 

September 22d. — Gen. Kearny approved and de- 
creed an *' organic law for the territory of New Mexi- 
co, in the United States of America;" it grants the 
electoral franchise to " all free male citizens of the 
territory ;" and '* the first election of a delegate to 
the Congress of the United States, and for members 
of the general assembly shall be on the first Monday 
in August, A. D. 1847." ' It comprises the usual '* Bill 
of Rights," also " Laws for the government of the 
territory," including all details of administration, in 
the judicial, and every other department ; — revenue, 
registry of lands, costs, fees, fines, etc., etc. 

The same day, '' being duly authorized by the 
President," etc., he appointed Charles Bent to be 
Governor ; also a secretary, marshal, U. S. district 
attorney, (Francis P. Blair) ; a treasurer, auditor, 
and three judges of the superior court. 

September 2id. — There is no mail to the States, 
and no estabhshed communication ; but Col. Price's 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 6/ 

regiment is known to be well advanced on his 
march ; and Colonel Doniphan's regiment is to-day- 
ordered, when relieved by Price's, to march to Chi- 
huahua. Captain Hudson of Doniphan's, has been 
ordered to organize a troop of one hundred men, 
who will volunteer from that regiment, to be 
mounted on mules to accompany the Mormon bat- 
talion to California. 

(Capt. H. failed to raise the troop ; the result 
of a want of specie, and other difficulty in procuring 
their mount.) 

Our horses have become poorer, notwithstand- 
ing all efforts to recruit them by all means avail- 
able. 

The days are still hot ; we were told on our ar- 
rival, August 1 8, that the rainy season had begun 
about a week before, and that it lasted two or three 
weeks; but a gentle sprinkle of the mountain show- 
ers reaches us now, nearly every day. 

This country is nearly destitute of game. Prairie- 
dog villages are common, and there is one actually 
joining my camp ; the dogs are not molested, and are 
very tame. I suppose them to be the most numerous 
mammals of North America ; we find their " towns " 



68 THE CONQUEST OF 

spread all over the high and dry regions ; they live 
on the roots and blades of the grama grasses ; and 
seem to require no water. 

The southern promontory of the Rocky Moun- 
tains, which overlooks Santa Fe, is now white with 
snow. 

September 2^th. — To-morrow is now set for the 
beginning of our venturesome expedition through 
the unknown wilderness of mountains and dry plains 
to the Pacific Ocean ; we have had a boisterous, 
rainy night, our first. 

Nothing is heard of the war in Mexico ; our posi- 
tion here has been unfortunate, irksome, disheart- 
ening — so far from the "sabre clash" of the sunny 
South! Truly there is a ''Fortune of War;" and 
the pedestal of the goddess is Opportunity! That 
a soldier should pass through a war without distinc- 
tion I used to think — and does not the world ? — is to 
be set down to his fault or want of merit. But how 
near were some of us to being excluded from all 
action, and in spite of our vehement applications ; 
and how much resignation to the consciousness of 
mere duty performed, is the only support of our 
obscure lot, in this field of war's drudgery ! 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 69 

"The world" — which means that average mass 
of low grade in intelHgence and information, and 
absorbed, following the law of their natures, in the 
small but important interests of self, — is only reached 
by the most brilliant and striking actions, or by long 
continued great prominence of action. Working in 
this obscurity, our most faithful, venturous, long-con- 
tinued labors, amid all privations and exposures, 
fruitful though they prove to be in the annexation 
of imperial extents of territory, conquering Nature 
itself in its most naked and forbidding shapes, shall 
be ignorantly accepted — placed in the appendix, as it 
were, of history. Momentary actions, of excitement 
so exhilarating as to exclude the thought of danger, 
shall receive the shouts of crowds, the applause of 
the nation ; and history shall eloquently record the 
success of deeds resulting from some obscure inspi- 
ration, some subordinate act. But the working out 
shall be done by the heroic rank and file, of whom 
so many shall moulder in unknown trenches, named 
only in company records. 

To-morrow, three hundred wilderness-worn dra- 
goons, in shabby and patched clothing, who have 
long been on short allowance of food, set forth to 



n 



THE CONQUEST OF 



conquer or '' annex " a Pacific empire ; to take a 
leap in the dark of a thousand miles of wild plains 
and mountains, only known in vague reports as 
unwatered, and with several deserts of two and 
three marches where a camel might starve if not 
perish of thirst. 

Our success — we never doubt it ! and the very 
desperation of any alternative must ensure it — 
shall give us for boundary, that world line of a 
mighty ocean's coast, looking across to the cradle 
land of humanity ; and shall girdle the earth with 
civilization. Then, will one name be added to the 
roll of fame? A single dash on a blazing battery 
shall win more applause, and more reward. 

We are haunted by the ghostly shapes of our 
starving horses. To this camp where they were 
tied up on bare sand — escaping their guards who 
are to drive them to Missouri, — passing by fenceless 
corn-fields ; here, as if to make dumb reproach for 
ingratitude — to forbid this severance of old asso- 
ciation, they come threading their way by day and 
by night through the tents ; their gaunt shapes 
upbraid us, their sunken eyes make pathetic appeal. 
Some of them, to my knowledge, have served thir- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. /I 

teen years ; would it not be a consolation to inform 
them that their half-breed successors are chosen for 
a forlorn hope ! But they are cast adrift as useless 
servants, to take a desperate journey of eight hundred 
miles, with grass for food, and much of that destroyed 
by frost. Farewell forever, old friends ! 

September 26th. — At 7.30 this morning began 
our first march ; after the hot and dreary twenty-one 
miles of table land, we descended into the bottom 
land of El Rio Grande del Norte ; here wholly ours, 
and its lower course illustrated by our arms, this 
name can no more swell pleasantly on the tongue 
of the Mexican. 

The camp is on a zequia ; and so far from its 
source, that its bottom is above the camp ; and close 
beyond is a lower one ; the fields of maize are 
near. This mile wide savanna, not too sandy to be 
very green, I have no doubt was charming to the 
eyes of our mules, — fasting and thirsting, through a 
long day of toil ; but for them, it is very like seat- 
ing a famishing man to the dessert of a vanished 
dinner. Well in truth the comparison is not far- 
fetched ; — for our sole fuel is some cedar boughs we 
gathered while passing the Galistco, and the Pu- 



72 THE CONQUEST OF 

eblos from San Domingo have extemporized a very 
fair market in our camp. They bring only fruit, mel- 
ons, peaches, and the delightful grapes. I should not 
omit the onions, for they are truly the finest in the 
world, and — can be eaten raw. 

September 27///. — A day of small mishaps, begin- 
ning with a provoking but most lively mule adven- 
ture. When the regiment was ready to march, a loose 
mule of my troop, dragging a long rope, had been 
pursued for an hour by several men ; the march 
began, leaving me to send out my whole company 
to catch the perverse and most active beast ; and it 
was actually another hour, the whole of them gal- 
loping around, assisted by numbers of Indians on 
foot, before we succeeded. Fourteen Indians were 
" in at the death ;" one remarkable fellow must have 
run about six miles. 

Then I marched, and in a mile or two found my 
wagon with the pole broken short off, in passing one 
of the zequias with the usual troublesome steep 
banks ; if it had been irreparable, it is hard to say 
what could have been done, with nothing but cot- 
tonwoods within a day's ride. 

The bottom now expands, with pleasant groves 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 73 

in view ; it looks more like a habitable country. We 
passed several pueblos, and then Bernalillo, the 
prettiest village of the Territory . Its view, as we 
approached, was refreshing ; green meadows, good 
square houses, and a church, cottonv/oods, vine- 
yards, orchards — these jealously walled in ; and there 
were numbers of small fat horses grazing. The people 
seemed of superior class, — handsomer and cleaner. 
But parts of this bottom had sand hillocks, with 
their peculiar arid growths. 

At another village I overtook the regiment, and 
brought it on, leaving the general and Some others 
dining at an immense house owned by young Perea. 
I made camp seventeen miles from our last, near a 
village ; the grass poor and thin, and no fuel. We 
have to make the best of weeds and chance frag- 
ments. The wagons came up at sunset, some of the 
mules already breaking down, from the heavy draught 
of sandy roads. 

There are myriads of wild fowl — geese, brant, 
sand-cranes; the people seem never even to molest 
them ! 

For two days, continuing the march, great 
efforts have been made to exchange mules, evidently 



74 THE CONQUEST OF 

unfit for the expedition, for better, and also to 
make purchases. Approaching Albuquerque, I rode 
for miles as through a straggling village. At one of 
the Armijos I partook, with the General, of a colla- 
tion of grapes, cakes, and syrup lemonade. The 
general quizzed a padre of the company, about the 
relations of the Mexican church with Rome ; the 
padre contended that the suspended relations were 
the consequence solely of the revolution. I also 
dined there ; the table service presented a mixture 
of silver gilt with tin and earthenware : we see also 
silver forks with the commonest bone -handled 
knives. A son of fifteen lately returned from college 
at St. Louis, Missouri, remarked he was going to 
Mexico to finish his education ! 

At Albuquerque we forded the river, which is 
about two feet deep and twenty-five yards wide ; it 
is low, but does not rise more than two feet. This is 
several hundred miles from the sources of the river ; 
but into the account of its swift flowing waters, several 
zequias should be taken, and these are eight to ten 
feet wide, and about two feet deep. We marched 
about seven miles down the river, through a sandy 
plain, without fuel, scarcely inhabited or cultivated, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 75 

and camped at a zequia. We are opposite, it seems, 
a pass of the Navajos ; and but a few days ago they 
made an irruption, killed several persons, and drove 
off about two thousand sheep. 

The quarter-master has hired several wagons 
and teams to go a few marches, at eight dollars a 
day ; only five dollars were demanded, if protected, 
in returning, against the Indians. 

September 30//2. — We pass to-day immense corn- 
fields ; the fruitfulness of the sandy soil is attributed 
to a gypsum ingredient ; the common houses have 
window lights of its laminated crystals. We pass 
several handsome villaq-es ; — Padillas, Isletta. This 
last is a Pueblo, and is on a swell of the bottom, 
surrounded by green meadows, and sand hillocks. 
On the river we saw large groves ;^ — the vineyards 
are, as usual, protected by high adobe walls. I ob- 
served there a singular fashion of the women ; the 
short skirts revealed the legs bandaged to an evidently 
unnatural size. But they were not destitute of beauty. 

* If it were possible for the reader to put himself in full sympa- 
thy with any participator in the marches and explorations of this 
volume, he would not wonder at an unfailing and glad mention of 
any green thing, — especially those masterpieces of the vegetable king- 
dom, to wit, trees. Pleasing and strange to hi? eyes ! — strong reminders 
of home ! and, so suggestive of the infinite comfort of fuel ! 



76 THE CONQUEST OF 

After a black frost last night, the heat to-day was 
severe ; we marched but thirteen miles ; but were in 
all respects in miserable plight for such an expedi- 
tion. We are endeavoring, as we go, to complete 
our outfit in ^72^ important particular, — that of mules. 

October \st. — Still warm weather and distress- 
ing dust. All the houses and villages we are now 
passing are adorned by Cottonwood ; but all the 
same, we are much straitened for fuel ; I paid 
twenty-five cents for a small stick. The Quarter- 
master crossed over to Valencia this morning seek- 
ing mules; he should succeed there, for it is the 
residence of several nabobs ; but it is disaffection as 
much as want of specie which prevents our supply ; 
we should have dealt with a higher hand ; cam- 
paigns cannot wait for the "inheritance" of meek- 
ness. At Valencia resides a Widow C, whose 
husband was murdered by Americans a fevV years 
ago ; they went out, several hundred miles from 
Independence, Mo., to rob him, knowing he had 
with him a large sum ; they murdered him in cold 
blood ; and it is satisfactory to add, that they were 
hanged for it, at Saint Louis. The widow is fair 
and firm ; for, 07i dit, she refuses to wed her com- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. yj 

panion, preferring to remain mistress of her very con- 
siderable wealth. Her house is said to be furnished 
splendidly. 

October 2d. — Between the very decided descent 
of the valley, and our progress south, the days are 
hot. This morning we passed unusually thick 
settlements, and the large village of Savinal, with its 
handsome church, and unusually picturesque sur- 
roundings. Below there are very few houses ; and 
after noon, we passed a vast baked plain, whitened 
by salts, with a burning sun overhead ; our progress 
to-day was sixteen miles, and our camp is opposite 
La Joya de Ciboletta, the "jewel of a little bull," 
or " little buffalo ;" I consider it an outlandish name ; 
there must be a little tale to it, if one could only 
get hold of it; but perhaps, after all, it should be 
spelled Cebolletta ; the little onion ! 

This camp has more variegated surroundings than 
any v/e have had ; the scenery is pretty ; it is on a 
bend of the river, which here has groves of cotton- 
woods ; sand hills below ,us approach close to the 
river, on both sides, and shut up the valley. A very 
friendly mayor-domo of a neighboring ranche, has 
sent us word that forty of the Navajos passed the 



78 THE CONQUEST OF 

river last night ; thus warning us to be watchful of 
our animals. 

An express has arrived from Santa Fe ; Colonel 
Price reports his arrival; he confirms the death of 
Colonel Allen of the Mormon Volunteers. And now, 
at night, I have been selected to succeed him ; 
which, of course, must turn my face to Santa Fe 
to-morrow. That is turning a very sharp corner 
indeed ; it is very military, ; (but it is said to be a 
manoeuvre not unknown to another profession.) 

October 3^.— The camp is not moved to-day ; a 
very remarkable thing for General Kearny ; but the 
Mexican wagons, assisting transportation tempora- 
rily, had this time to be waited for. It happens 
very conveniently, as I have my company and 
property to deliver to my lieutenant ; I am kindly 
allowed to keep three of my men, and shall leave 
two of them in this neighborhood in charge of my 
baggage, until my return. 

And now comes a messenger with foaming steed ; 
he tells of a village twelve miles below, Pulvidera, 
being attacked by Navajos, and a troop of dragoons 
is ordered to their relief. 

Orders were sent to-day to Colonel Doniphan to 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 79 

make a campaign against the Navajos before pro- 
ceeding on his adventures to the South. 

About noon, accompanied by my bugler, I left 
camp for Santa Fe. Near Savinal, I forded the 
river, being desirous of seeing the eastern side of 
the valley. I was told it was eight miles to San 
Tome ; two miles further on a villager informed me 
it was twelve miles from there ; riding on several 
miles through fine meadows, a respectably dressed 
native told me it was just fifteen miles from there; 
several miles further I met a man on foot who as- 
sured me it was twenty miles ; I had been all the 
time approaching the phantom village. Several 
miles further on, at dark, I came to the camp of a 
caravan merchant, who offered me supper ; he in- 
formed me it was really six miles from there to 
Tom^ ; and so I found it, and without a house on 
the road. In the edge of the village however, some 
trees and a corn-field round a house, tempted m.e to 
seek lodgings there, as it was quite dark. The fellow 
opened the door, and the light, at sight of horsemen, 
was instantly blown out ; he jerked out, like a pistol _ 
shot, " no hai " (there's nothing here). I could not 
at the moment make the allowance of his fright or 



8o THE CONQUEST OF 

fear, which was prudence in such a country, for the 
rudeness of his inhospitahty : and so returned a bad 
word or two in bad Spanish, as I turned off to enter 
the town. There my wants were ministered to at 
the padre's. In some after supper chat, I discovered 
that my deficiency in Spanish could be helped out 
by some command of Latin words common to the 
priest and myself. 

October d^th. — I arrived at breakfast time at the 
straggling village of Valencia, and went to the house 
of Sefior Otero ; one of the large residences here, 
which are unlike any European or American. You 
ride in at a great gate into a very spacious court, 
surrounded on four sides by apartments, st;ore 
rooms, offices, provision for all the requirements of 
the family, the farm, and for trade ; all one story, of 
thick plastered and whitewashed walls. It was 
Sunday morning: I encountered first an' Indian 
slave woman, carrying to the chamber of a young 
man, on a silver salver, chocolate and sponge cake, 
which they takt? at rising ; he was the store-keeper, 
and a Texan by birth ; and such was my own intro- 
duction to a substantial breakfast, which came later. 

I had some political chat with Sefior Otero 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 8 1 

who, like the few other men of large wealth was mal- 
content ; they must dread, perhaps rather vaguely, 
the loss of their iniquitous privileges ; but he dis- 
creetly vented his spleen on Armijo and his conduct 
which he regarded as disgraceful ; and professed 
that he would have favored a voluntary annexation. 

I wanted to get mules of Otero; his prices were 
exorbitant. 

I rode here a small brown horse, with a Roman 
nose, that I think possessed the greatest virtues and 
vices of the horse and the ass, with a trace or two of 
the goat. Last year, on the last quarter of a two 
thousand mile ride, on poor grass, he resented a 
solitary application of spurs, by whirling around 
like a dancing dervish, making several goat leaps, 
and then prancing thirty miles ; — put a severe bit 
on him, and he would run away. He was the best 
buffalo horse I ever rode ; nervous to timidity, he 
would nevertheless carry you along side of the shag- 
giest monster of ten thousand rushing with a con- 
cussion to shake the earth, regardless of the pol- 
ished tip of horn and the malignant black eye roll- 
ing toward him ; only shrinking slightly with half 
averted head, in expectancy of the pistol shot ; his 



82 THE CONQUEST OF 

motion all the while so steady you could adjust the 
nicest aim : and I have thus brought down, on him, 
a noble elk, surrounded by a forest of antlers, and to 
the music of a thousand hoofs ringing like castanets! 
Poor Brown ! — Of all our enquiries, discussions, and 
doubts, as to our destined California '' bourne," per- 
haps there has been but one agreed conclusion, viz : 
that no horse could reach it, much less " return." 
Well, I had set out with Bblinski, trusting in his vir- 
tues, or else, resigned to the worst that might befall 
his vices. 

But this morning, although I was confident that 
he had hitherto tried and exercised my patience to 
virtuous perfection, in an unhappy moment, for both 
of us, perhaps, he outdid himself and patience. 
Approaching Otero's house, after a very free indul- 
gence in eccentricities, he reached a crisis by trot- 
ting off, backzvards, until we soused into a muddy 
and profound zequia. I swapped him to Otero, for 
a mule. Poor Bolinski ! 

Continuing my journey with my attendant, I 
arrived late, and spent the night at Sefior Sando- 
val's, three miles ^ below Albuquerque; this is 
another of the imposing feudal residences of this 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. S^ 

primitive society. And here I had the unhoped 
success of purchasing of Senor Sandoval twenty 
fine mules, to be delivered at Santa Fe, for one 
thousand dollars. 

On the 5th, we lay at Algodones ; on the 6th, at 
the picturesque rancho of Senor Vaca y Delgado, 
my old acquaintance, where I camped so long, and 
on the 7th reached Santa F^. 
The battalion had not arrived. 
I find the quarter-master department without 
funds ; and with much allowance for disaffection, and 
primitive ignorance, it is strange to add, with little 
credit. The principal capitalists of the territory 
are caravan merchants whose trade to the United 
States has been almost wholly balanced by specie, 
for which they have accepted bills of exchange. 

The consequence seems almost fatal to my expe- 
dition. A reasonable anticipation of its difficulties 
demands a very careful and perfect outfit ; and 
especially in the now scarce and very expensive 
article of draft mules. 

It is interesting to read now from the Washing- 
ton correspondence of a famous New York daily — 
' dated July 3d, that *' In the capture of the city 



84 THE CONQUEST OF 

of Santa Fe alone, it is estimated, that, if the 
movement is prompt and efficient, at least fifteen 
millions in specie and gold dust will be captured." 

While thus waiting, I give the incidents which 
befell General Kearny's column before it passed 
beyond this valley and communications; the news 
of which has closely followed me. 

The march was continued, October 4th, down 
the river. The succor of Pulvidera was too late to 
save a large amount of stock which the Navajos 
drove off; and the General then published perm issioji 
to the people to retaliate, and make war upon the 
Navajos. 

On the 5th the column reached Socorro ; — where 
the guides had proposed to leave the river; but after 
much discussion, they changed their mind, 
f On the 6th they marched thirteen miles. This 
day Kit Carson with fifteen men, — an express from 
California — was met ; he had an important mail for 

/ Washincrton. 

/ 

The great news was a revolution or subjugation 

of California under the auspices of Commodore 

Stockton and Captain Fremont. 

Six of Carson's party were Delawares; he start- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 85 

ed with fifty riding animals; the most of them had 
been ridden down and abandoned ; others swapped, 
two for one, with Apaches, who proved friendly ; he 
came by the Gila. No news of the invasion of New 
Mexico had been received in California. 

General Kearny determined to take Carson to 
guide him by the route he had just passed over. 
Carson resisted very firmly, at first ; he had 
pledged himself to deliver his mail in Washington. 
The General finally prevailed, — taking upon himself 
every responsibility, — especially the prompt and 
safe delivery of the dispatches. 

Did the General stop to think what it was he 
demanded ? A man had just ridden eight hundred 
miles over a desert, — a wilderness, — where he could 
meet no human being save a few savages likely to 
seek his destruction ; (he rode ninety miles without 
halting, over a Jornada of sand !) he had arrived at 
the verge of society, and near the residence of his 
■family! He is required to turn right back, and for 
another year of absence ! That was no common 
sacrifice to duty. 

General Kearny then decided to take only two 
small troops of dragoons, as an escort, and also two 



86 THE CONQUEST OF 

mountain howitzers, sending back Major Sumner 
with four troops to remain in the territory. He then 
marched three days, with wagons, with eight picked 
mules to the wagon ; but a day and a half without 
a road satisfied him ; he sent for pack saddles, and 
gave up the wagons. October 14th, he once more 
resumed his march, and, next day being about two 
hundred and thirty miles below Santa F^, he left 
the river, turned westward; toward the copper mines 
on the Gila, and wrote to Colonel Cooke, assigning to 
him the task of opening a wagon road to the Pacific. 

Colonel Doniphan, in obedience to orders, leav- 
ing Colonel Price at Santa Fe, marched October 
26th, against the Navajos. He directed one col- 
umn of two hundred men under Major Gilpin up the 
Chama River. It went as far as the mountains 
dividing the waters of the Del Norte from those 
of the Colorado, thence down the San Juan, and 
by Red Lake to the valley of the Little Colorado. 

With the remaining portion of the regiment he 
left the Rio Grande at Albuquerque, and passed up 
the valley of the Puerco, or Pecos of the West, 
almost to its source ; in three parties he visited 
their whole country, and collected the most of the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 8/ 

tribe at Bear Spring (Ojo del Oso) and made a 
treaty. The marches were over mountains, and 
generally in snow. The regiment was concen- 
trated at Socorro, December 12th. 

Colonel Doniphan's Capture of Chihuahua 
—A Brief Episode. 
The march for Chihuahua was begun on the 14th 
by three hundred men, followed on the i6th and 
l8th by the rest of the regiment, and Lieutenant- 
Colonel Mitchell: of Price's second regiment with 



ninety men. 

This march in its beginning encountered the 
celebrated Jornada del Muerto of ninety miles, des- 
titute of water and fuel. It is across a bend of the 
Rio Grande, and is cut off from that river by moun- 
tainous ground. 

On Christmas day, at a spot called Bracito, when 
the regiment after its usual march, had picketed 
their horses, and were gathering fuel, the advance 
guard reported the rapid approach of the enemy in 
large force. Line was formed on foot, when a black 
flag was received with an insolent demand. Colonel 
Doniphan restrained his men from shooting the 
bearer down. The enemy's line, nearly half cavalry, 



88 - THE CONQUEST OF 

and including a howitzer, opened fire at four hun- 
dred yards, and still advanced, and had fired three 
rounds, before fire was returned within effective 
range. Victory seems to have been decided by a 
charge of Captain Reid with twenty cavalry which 
he had managed to mount, and another charge by 
a dismounted company which captured the howitzer. 
The enemy fled, with loss of forty-three killed and 
one hundred and fifty wounded ; our loss seven 
wounded, who all recovered. 

The enemy were about twelve hundred strong; 
five hundred cavalry, the rest infantry, including 
several hundred El Paso militia ; our force was five 
hundred — Lieutenant-Colonel Jackson with a part of 
the regiment arriving on the ground after the action. 
Colonel Doniphan gave credit " for the most essen- 
tial service in forming the line and during the en- 
gagement " to Captain Thompson, First dragoons, 
" acting his aid and adviser." 

December 2Jth. — He entered El Paso, and learn- 
ing that General Wool was not in possession of 
Chihuahua, he sent to Santa Fe for one of the bat- 
teries of volunteer artillery ; and waiting its arrival 
remained at El Paso until February 8th. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA?" 

He then resumed his march for Chihuahua ; with 
nine hundred and twenty-four effective men, and 
three hundred and fifteen heavy traders' wagons 
accompanied his march. 

February 2W1. — At the Pass of the Sacramento, 
fifteen miles from Chihuahua, the enemy was dis- 
covered in great force strongly posted, fortified by 
entrenchments, and w^ell suppHed with artillery. 
After an effective cannonade by the battery, Colonel 
Doniphan advanced to the attack, with seven com- 
panies dismounted in line, and three mounted. The 
decisive action of the battle was a charge by the 
two twelve-pound howitzers supported by three 
troops of cavalry, and followed up by the dismounted 
line and the rest of the artillery ; the howitzers *' un- 
limbered within fifty yards of the redoubts of the 
enemy," who were attacked by sabre in their en- 
trencJiments. 

The enemy were finally put to flight with a loss 
of about six hundred men, and all their artillery, ten 
pieces ; our strength was " nine hundred and forty 
effective men." Our loss nine killed and w^ounded. 

Next day, March ist, the army took formal pos- 
session A)f the capital of Chihuahua. 

Colonel Doniphan had been ordered by General 



90 THE CONQUEST OF 

Kearny to report to General Wool. At Chihuahua 
he provided for the safety of American citizens and 
their very large caravan property, and then deter- 
mined to encounter all the risks of another great 
march ; and, accordingly, with little or no loss, reached 
Monterey, where he reported to General Taylor.* 

The Mormon battalion arrived at Santa Fe 
October I2th, and next day. Lieutenant Colonel 
Cooke assumed command. It had been com- 
manded by Lieutenant A. J. Smith,f first dragoons, 
in its long march from Fort Leavenworth. 

* I suspect that in this great venture they encountered, as a 
milder incident of war, most danger from the fire of the feminine 
eyes of the simple inhabitants ; (but were they '* ready " in their 
boasted " rags and roughness " for the courts of Venus?) 

The advance on General Taylor's line of invasion had been wisely 
abandoned for a far shorter one to the heart and capital of Mexico ; 
and the regiment was ordered home for discharge. It marched to 
Matamoras, carrying with them, nine hundred miles from Chihuahua, 
their ten captured cannon ; there it embarked for New Orleans, St. 
Louis and Liberty, Missouri ; making a grand circuit which counted 
miles by the thousand, and throwing a coloring of romantic ad- 
venture over the realities of its services ; its share in the conquest 
of far-distant New Mexico — its pursuit of the Navajos beyond the 
snow-clad mountains of San Juan, and the pacification of that pow- 
erful tribe — its battles, and the great victory of Sacramento. 

It received an ovation in Saint Louis, and a rejoicing welcome 
amid its homes in extreme western Missouri. — Not a fatted calf, but 
a half tamed buffalo cow, belonging to the author, was a contribu- 
tion to a barbecue given for their entertainment. 

f As Smith is not a very distinctive name, it may be interesting 
to mention that this one, now of Saint Louis, became a very distin- 
guished Major General. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 9I 

Every thing conspired to discourage the extraor- 
dinary undertaking of marching this battahon eleven 
hundred miles, for the much greater part through an 
unknown wilderness without road or trail, and with 
a wagon train. 

It was enlisted too much by families ; some were 
too old, — some feeble, and some too young; it was 
embarrassed by many women ; it was undisciplined ; 
it was much worn by travelling on foot, and march- 
ing from Nauvoo, Illinois ; their clothing was very 
scant ; — there was no money to pay them, — or 
clothing to issue; their mules were utterly broken 
down ; the Quartermaster department was without 
funds, and its credit bad ; and mules were scarce. 
Those procured were very inferior, and were dete- 
riorating every hour for lack of forage or grazing. 
So every preparation must be pushed, — hurried. 
A small party with families, had been sent from 
Arkansas crossing up the river, to winter at a small 
settlement close to the mountains, called Pueblo. 
The battalion was now inspected, and eighty-six men 
found inefficient, were ordered, under two officers, 
with nearly all the women, to go to the same point ; 
five wives of officers were reluctantly allowed to 



92 THE CONQUEST OF 

accompany the march, but furnished their own 
transportation. 

By special arrangement and consent, the bat- 
talion was paid in checks, — not very available at 
Santa Fe. 

With every effort the Quartermaster could only 
undertake to furnish rations for sixty days ; and in 
fact full rations of only flou.r, sugar, coffee and salt ; 
salt pork only for thirty days, and soap for twenty. 
To venture without pack saddles would be grossly 
imprudent, and so that burden was added. 

October 19th the battalion was pushed out, by 
companies, six miles to Agua Frio ; where some 
grazing might be had. 

After dispatching a multitude of last duties, I 
left town and arrived in camp at sunset. Here I 
found all huddled in the sandy creek bottom ; no 
grass ; many mules without ropes or picket pins : 
they, and the beeves and oxen were to be herded 
under rather difficult circumstances. Some fodder 
had been procured. 

The battalion have never been drilled, and, 
though obedient, have little discipline ; they exhibit 
great heedlessness and ignorance, and some obstinacy. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 93 

I have brought road tools and have determined to 
take through my v/agons ; but the experiment is 
not a fair one, as the mules are nearly broken down 
at the outset. The only good ones, about twenty 
which I bought near Albuquerque, were taken for 
the express for Fremont's mail, — the General's order 
requiring " the twenty-one best in Santa F^." 

Next day a march of ten miles was made to the 
last water on the road to the river; an order of 
regulations for the march was issued ; and the ra- 
tion was lowered to twelve ounces of flour, and three- 
fourths allowance of sugar and coffee ; but that of 
beef increased one-fifth, — to a pound and a half. 

Extracts from Colonel Cooke's official journal 
will be given ; some as specimens of daily doings ; 
some of incidents or other matters of unusual inter- 
est, — a few of apparently insuperable obstacles and 
dangers, necessarily encountered, and overcome, — 
or endured. 

^^ October 21st. — I ordered a very early reveille and 
march, to accomplish the twenty-four miles. I got 
the wagons ready before eight o'clock ; having or- 
dered, as a spur, that each company should send off 
its baggage as soon as ready ; and that they should 



94 THE CONQUEST OF 

march in that order. At the last moment I learned 
that nineteen beeves and fourteen mules were 
missing. I had ordered that the guard — increased 
to twenty-seven privates — should guard the animals 
by night ; a corporal and four privates, butchers, 
should drive the oxen ; and a corporal, — on daily 
dut}'', — and six of the guard, drive and take care of 
the extra mules (except during the!* night). I had 
broken up yesterday, an old wagon I found here, for 
the axles, and the spokes, ordered to be made into 
.picket pins. I was, of course, without mounted men 
to send after the missing cattle. I sent the officer 
of the day, and every member of the old guard in 
pursuit, in four parties, with orders to re-assemble 
here, and none to come on until all the animals 
were recovered ; but this consumed an hour. 

They were all recovered. I passed the whole 
column and reached the Gallisteo at eleven , o'clock, 
and found it was possible to water there. I stopped 
until all had passed me, directing them to move 
on down, so that all the animals should be taken 
from the wagons, and should drink at the same 
time. I was on the ground an hour and three-quar- 
ters before the last wagon passed me. Each com- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 95 

pany marches in the rear of its baggage. On this 
terrible sandy road, down the stream, several oxen 
fell, and had to be rolled out of the road, they 
making no motion ; the feet of others were bleeding. 
The last of the command have got into camp at 
nine P. M., — several wagons not getting nearer than 
a mile. I had a little wood brought from the last 
hill top ; there is none here. I had sent forward my 
interpreter, who only succeeded in buying twenty- 
four bushels of ears of corn. Lieutenant Smith, as- 
sistant-commissary of subsistence, and Lieutenant 
Stoneman, acting assistant quartermaster, arrived 
from Santa Fe since dark." 

October 2id. — Next day eleven miles were accom 
plished, to San Bernalli. Many mules failed, 
and efforts to hire wagons failed, owing to the ill 
disposition of the citizens of property ; and so again 
to-day. There was rain and wind last night, and 
I slept under a fallen tent. Many are sick. I de- 
termined to purchase mules, if possible. Passed the 
camp of a major and three companies of Price's 
regiment, who left Santa Fe, four days before the 
battalion ; the major said, "■ after a day's march it 
took him two or three to collect the animals." 



g6 THE CONQUEST OF 

The assistant-quartermaster succeeded in ex- 
changing thirty mules, worthless to us, for fifteen 
good ones, and also in purchasing ten. At Albu- 
querque I bought twelve fanegas of ears of corn, 
and crossed the river; making my way through 
three miles of very bad road. I encamped with 
comparatively good grass, and near the camp of Cap- 
tain Burgwin (from General Kearny's column) where 
he had arrived this afternoon. 

Here I purchased of officers eight mules with 
treasury drafts, and exchanged as many for better 
public animals, and also obtained twenty oxen. 
The captain also kindly exchanged two Jfonf on wag- 
ons for very poor and heavy ones. This may be 
very important. 

It rained again last night. This has been a day 
of hard and unremitting labor to me. 

Next morning Captain Burgwin received a letter 
from the American traders below, stating General 
Armijo was marching up to seize their property, and 
asking protection. A pack of Indian goods, left fot 
me by General Kearny was received from Captain 
Burgwin. 

Mr. Stoneman was much disgusted to-day by the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 97 

contemptuous refusal of a nabob named Chavis, to 
sell or exchange mules. 

I have ordered pork to be issued every fourth 
day. I also issued an order of further regulations. 
I assembled the captains this morning at reveille, and 
earnestly exhorted them to lend me more efficient 
assistance in requiring the mules to be properly 
grazed and fed ; or else the expedition must soon 
fall through. They made excellent promises. I 
reduced to the ranks a first sergeant for failing to 
form the company at reveille, and giving the excuse 
that it was not light enough to call his roll. The 
mules are now turned loose and herded, while in 
camp. 

'^ October 26th, — Marched at eight o'clock. Passed 
several villages. I sent across the river to 
Otero's store at Valencia, for some pack blankets, 
for which the assistant quartermaster had an order, 
and for purchase of mules. Otero, like Chavis — 
both malcontents — asked unreasonable prices. Fie 
had lost, yesterday evening, five or six thousand 
sheep; two shepherds killed by the Indians. He 
had been riding all night hiring men to pursue them. 
I stopped some time in a settlement of the Luna 
5 



98 THE CONQUEST OF 

family. All the effective males had gone after the 
Navajos, who had also stolen six thousand six hun- 
dred sheep of them yesterday ; and as they say, 
killed two of their shepherds. I wrote for Seflora 
Luna a note to Captain Burgwin. She thought herself 
and the other women dangerously exposed. But what 
can Burgwin do with broken down mules, all the best 
having been selected by General Kearny ? I am still 
sick of a cold ; they are very prevalent. We are ex- 
posed to black frost nightly, without fuel. The mules 
are getting sore shoulders. I called up the captains 
and gave them a lecture on the subject, as to 
fitting and cleaning collars, shortening harness, 
etc. and relieving mules, about to become galled ; 
for I have assigned all the mules, giving two extra 
ones for every team ; the march thirteen miles. 
Saw mother and daughter to-day, — the latter thir- 
teen and married, — as usual here, at that age ; both 
fine looking, with the large liquid eyes of the Seflora." 
Two days of similar progress, to camp near 
Sabinal. Rainy and very cold weather, the moun- 
tains opposite covered with snow ; " scarcely a 
large weed within a mile or two of camp." The 
roads very heavy from sand. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 99 

October 2gth, — Marched ten miles to the bot- 
tom below La Joya, — where I found my two 
dragoons, mules and property all safe. Sent Lieu- 
tenant Smith to go in advance and purchase three 
hundred sheep which, with the beeves, will make 
sixty days* rations from Santa Fe. I have extreme 
difficulty in having the mules properly cared for ; 
there is great vis incrtice in such a command. 

Next day, a sand hill reaching the river bank 
was encountered ; two hours, with teams doubled, 
and twenty men to a wagon, were required to reach 
its top, — only three or four hundred paces. Reach- 
ing Pulvidera, to get grass it was necessary to pass 
a very large canal ; the men worked well with 
spades and large hoes, furnished by some Mexicans, 
who worked with them unasked ; but it was a diffi- 
cult job ; and a wagon hound was broken. 

November 2d. — The battalion has marched 
twenty seven miles in the last two days ; the valley 
continues much narrowed, — with variegated scenery 
and woods. Many oxen broke down ; and wagons 
were sent back empty with teams little better. 

General Armijo it was learned had been sent 
South under guard, and wrote to his wife to 



100 THE CONQUEST OF 

lend money freely to our army; and that the enemy 
were gathering volunteers at * El Paso. Captain 
Burgwin, going to the protection of the caravans, 
was encamped two miles from the battalion. 

The three hundred sheep were brought into 
camp, but proved to be very poor, — mostly lambs ; 
also the required beeves, very poor. The guides 
engaged by General Kearny arrived, with very dis- 
couraging accounts, and said it was at least ninety 
days' travel to the Pacific. They were sent forward 
to decide where to leave the Rio Grande, and make 
some explorations beyond, returning to meet the 
battalion there. 

"All the vexations and troubles of any other 
three days of my life have not equalled those of the 
last twenty-four hours. . . . My attention is con- 
stantly on the stretch for the smallest things. I have 
to order, and then see that it is done." 

This day the road-we have followed, passed to the 
east of the river ; it being the head of the Jernada del 
Muerto ; the river sweeping off to the south-west in a 
great bend. Consequently the battalion continued 
on General Kearny's trail. 

On Captain Burgwin's march, near Luna village, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. '*^\M|i;<g^-^ iv^ 

some inhabitants met him at speed, reportin^tMfei^^>^ 
the Navajos had just robbed them, and taken off a 
woman (as I apprehended, when I wrote to him). 
Captain Greer's company, which was much in ad- 
vance, was sent instantly to the rescue, half his men 
a-foot. He overtook and re-captured the cattle and 
sheep, and following on about sixteen miles, the 
mules of his company exhausted and left, and his 
men following with long intervals on foot, the Cap- 
tain, Lieutenant Wilson, Corporal Price and one 
private (on horses got of the Mexicans), overtook 
four Navajos; then uprose from a ravine fifty ^ 
others, who surrounded the captain and party. 
These last killed two Indians outright, and then 
retreated in good order under a shower of arrows, 
and were pursued, in their turn, a quarter of a mile, 
until they fell upon a few of their footmen, and 
thus came off unwounded. 

My camp is in an open grove of the river bot- 
tom. We rejoice for once in plenty of fuel and good 
fires. In every direction are lofty mountains, blue 
from distance or haze, and capped with snow 
fields. 

In this bottom I saw a flock of many thousand 



102 THE CONQUEST OF 

sheep, probably the last. I sent Lieutenant Smith 
with $ioo to purchase eighty, to make up for the 
lambs. I ordered him to give the same price as 
yesterday, and to take them. He got them. I 
shall use about ten of the oxen for beef. I have 
hired three Mexicans and put the three hundred and 
eighty sheep under their exclusive charge. I found 
that we could improve on the track made by the 
dragoons. 

November 3</. — The camp was visited this morn- 
ing by Captain Grier and one of our merchants. 
Reports of the war had been received by way of 
Chihuahua; "the Americans were in Monterey, but 
invested by superior force of Mexicans," etc. 

There have been strong suspicions down here, 
of a conspiracy to rise and throw off the American 
rule in this territory ; connected perhaps at the 
moment, with the advance of seven hundred men 
who certainly did march from El Paso north ; and 
there is no doubt they have emissaries above. I 
learn the last express to Captain Burgvvin brought 
news of a talk in Santa Fe of a rising of the people. 
As for myself I believe that the priests and some of 
the millionaires would like to put forward others to 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 103 

attempt to regain their despotic sway and grinding 
oppression of the people ; but take them all to- 
gether I think the cowardly barbarians, — too fortu- 
nate in having a decent government forced upon 
them, — are selfish enough to refrain from any risk in 
the world. 

I marched to-day fourteen miles ; some bad 
bluffs of heavy sand were passed. .The camp is on 
a high plain, covered with grama grass, apparently 
quite dead, but said to be nearly as good as grain. 
For the last forty miles the flat river bottom is per- 
haps two miles in width, some of it richer than 
above. There is however, a white efflorescence, 
rather more frequent here than there, which is said 
to contain carbonate of potash, and to render the 
soil unfit for agriculture. This district, entirely 
unoccupied, has the great advantage over that 
above, so thickly inhabited, of forests covering per- 
haps one-fourth of the bottoms, and the mountains 
also covered with cedar very near. Fear of the 
Indians has kept it a desert. 

We have severe frosts at night, and hot days. 
I have reduced the ration to nine ounces of flour, 
and ten of pork. 



104 THE CONQUEST OF 

I met one of the guides, whom Leroux, their 
chief, sent back, ostensibly to settle upon smoke sig- 
nals, but really, I suspect because he was of no use. 
The fellow weighs two hundred pounds, and has 
been drinking for a week or two; I ordered his 
discharge. 

It took a cow and twelve of the lambs to make 
out the ration to-night. Dr. Foster, the inter- 
preter, calls a large bush, found here, the mezquit ; 
there is a growth common on the Missouri and 
Platte prairies, much smaller and more delicate, 
which I am sure is the same, or nearly allied. I 
could never hear of a name for it there, although I 
think old Captain Boone used to call it bastard 
locust. 

The cactus here is ten feet high. 

November gth. — In six days, resting one, the bat- 
talion could only make forty miles, in about the 
same number of hours' work, camping this day at 
the point where General Kearny struck out from 
the river toward the copper mines. 

This slow progress was over very bad ground, 
without a road ; — deep sand, steep hills and rocks, 
ten miles together, without river-bottom land ; the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I05 

men, nearly all of them, laboring in aid of the weak 
teams to move the wagons. 

The country had changed its character and was 
now rough, surrounded by mountains and charac- 
terized by grama grass, cedars, mezquite and other 
strange growths. Game made its appearance : 
bears, deer, and beavers; some of these last were 
trapped by Charboneaux, an active half-breed 
guide. The weather grew warmer, but with one 
rain and wind storm. 

Mr. Leroux returned ; he had left the river 
where it turned eastward opposite San Diego, and 
had found a water hole fifteen miles on our course, 
and seen a prairie stream about thirty miles 
beyond. 

"It has now become evident that we cannot go 
on so, with any prospect of a successful or safe termi- 
nation to the expedition. The guides say that most 
of the mules could not be driven loose to California. 
I have carefully examined them and found that 
whole teams seem ready to break down. The three 
remaining ox teams were to go back about this time, 
at the latest ; twenty-two men are on the sick report ; 
quite a number have been transported in the wagons, 
5* 



ro6 THE CONQUEST OF 

and the knapsacks and arms of others ; there are 
still in the battalion men old, weakly, and trifling ; 
besides all this, the rations are insufficient. 

I have determined and ordered that fifty-five of 
the sick and least efficient men shall return to Santa 
F^ ; that they shall take rations for twenty-six days, 
— but of flour only ten ounces to the ration, and of 
pork, eight. I shall thus be relieved of one thousand 
eight hundred pounds weight of rations, and by 
means of what they leave of the rations provided for 
them, particularly the live stock, make an important 
increase of rations for the remainder. But I have 
also determined to send back, if possible, only one 
team of oxen, and use for my mule wagons the ten 
other yokes (the other wagons can be sent for; — 
Captain Burgwin is only fifty-eight miles above). 
There are some thirty loose mules which some think 
will do nearly as well if packed only sixty or eighty 
pounds. I have ordered the upright tent poles to 
be left, muskets to be used as substitutes ; and 
tents to be reduced to one for nine men (which they 
will hold, if opened and lowered to the height of a 
musket). This all carried out, I trust with perse- 
verance and energy to accomplish the undertaking ; 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 107 

though in a few days I commence a route of over 
three hundred miles — to the San Pedro River — of 
which the guides know httle or nothing ; Leroux 
thinking himself very fortunate in finding water at 
an interval of thirty miles at the outset. The 
whole route is now said to be three hundred miles 
longer than was believed when at Santa Fe ; and 
ten miles, making the road as we go, is a hard 
day's work — equal to twenty miles or more of a 
good road." 

In that camp an express was received from Cap- 
tain Burgwin, reporting information that a large 
party of the enemy were coming from the South 
by the copper-mine route. 

The return party, under a subaltern, was got off 
on the loth ; but it consumed the day. A large 
number of tents, poles, camp kettles, and mess pans 
were put in a wagon to be left under charge of a 
beaver trapping party found there; the saddles 
and packs were prepared, and some tried on, under 
the instruction of the guides and other Mexicans. 
Leroux, with several assistant guides, was ordered 
to depart early next day to make further explora- 
tion, and to send back one or two guides from anew 



I08 THE CONQUEST OF 

point, to meet the battalion at the last water then 
known, while he shall explore still further on. 

About twenty-nine miles were made in the next 
two days, with improvement of ground, chiefly in 
river bottom, which had increased to a mile in width, 
with a wide strip of timber ; the country to the west 
gradually flattening ; mountains rising abruptly 
from the eastern bank ; but an apparently complete 
gap was observed, which was thought to be where 
the ''Jornada" road approaches within four or five 
miles of the river; if so, it is where a future road 
should cross and fall into the one now being 
made. 

There was an evident improvement of means; 
thirty-six mules were lightly packed, besides oxen ; 
some of which " performed antics that were irresistibly 
ludicrous, (owing to the crupper perhaps,) such as 
jumping high from the ground, many times in quick- 
step time, turning round the while, — a perfect jig." 

"On the nth, while Charboneaux was makingr a 
rather remote exploration for water, I rode a mile 
through willows, weeds and reeds above my head, 
and found some in a densely timbered and brushy 
bottom, and established the camp on the bluff, with 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 109 

fine grass near. The tents are pitched with mus- 
kets somewhat lengthened by a peg that enters the 
muzzle ; the backs are opened and a gore inserted,, 
so that they are stretched out into nearly a circle, 
and are very capacious. 

The 1 2th was a fortunate day ; the pioneers 
were several times at bad spots just ready for the 
w^agons as they arrived ; and I discovered just in 
time to set the wagons right, that we had got into a 
culde sac. I had calculated that the wagons would 
be lightened above twenty per cent, while the 
rations were increased eight days. This is con- 
firmed by the facility of motion. 

Novemher ^^tJi, — A mile or two from camp a note 
from Leroux was found on a pole, but also two 
return guides were met, who directed the march 
short to the right ; and a march of fifteen miles was 
made in a south-west course, always ascending over 
gravelly prairie, uneven but not very difficult ; and 
then, in a rocky chasm a hundred feet deep, a nat- 
ural well or reservoir of pure water was found. 
There was no fuel, save a few bushes and Spanish 
bayonet, but the country was well covered with 
grama and buffalo grass. 






no THE CONQUEST OF 

And here, before describing this unique venture - 
of the exploration by a battalion with a wagon train, 
of the unknown wilderness which must be passed to 
reach California, it will serve the unities of place, 
and nearly of time, to pause, and to record the com- 
pletion of the conquest of New Mexico. For there 
soon occurred an uprising against our bloodless, but 
perhaps stern change of rule, which had found tem- 
porary success, chiefly, it is believed, through an 
audacious surprise. And it proved that the best 
traits of our nature at a low stage, combine with 
the forces of ignorance and confirmed customs and 
habits, to resent and resist an abrupt and forcible 
bestowal of the greatest boons — the comforts of 
civiHzation — Liberty itself ! 



11. 



THE INSURRECTION IN NEW MEXICO 
AND THE FINAL CONQUEST. 

ABOUT the middle of December, Colonel Price, 
Second Missouri Mounted Volunteers, left in 
command by Colonel Doniphan, received informa- 
tion that efforts to excite a general revolt were 
being made. A former officer of the Mexican army 
was arrested, and a list of all the disbanded Mexican 
soldiers was found on his person. Then many 
others, supposed to be implicated, were arrested ; 
but the two leaders, Ortiz and Archuleta, made 
their escape to the South. A full investigation 
revealed that many of the most influential persons 
in the northern part of the territory were engaged 
in the conspiracy. But these prompt measures 
seemed to be effectual in preventing an insurrection. 
Charles Bent, the Governor, appointed by Gen- 
eral Kearny, was an able man ; amiable, and married 
to a native of the country, he was considered quite 



112 THE CONQUEST OF 

popular ; January 14th he left Santa Fe to visit his 
family at San Fernando de Taos, — near the Pueblo 
de Taos, about seventy miles north of Santa F^, and 
near the top of the great southern promontory of 
the Rocky Mountains. There, January 19th, the 
governor, the sheriff, the circuit attorney, the pre- 
fect and two others, were " murdered in the most 
inhuman manner that savages could devise." The 
same day seven Americans were also murdered at 
Arroyo Hondo, and two others on the Rio Colorado. 
The prefect, Vigil, was a New Mexican ; and the 
intention was apparent to murder every one who had 
accepted office under American rule. 

Colonel Price received this startling news at 
Santa F^ the next day, and at the same time inter- 
cepted letters calling upon the people of the lower 
river for aid ; he heard also of the approach, from 
the north, of a constantly sweUing force of insur- 
gents. 

The Colonel immediately dispatched orders to 
Albuquerque, to Major Edmonson, to march up and 
occupy Santa Fh ; and to Captain Burgwin of the 
first dragoons, to march north, with one of his troops 
to join him in the field. The Colonel marched, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 113 

January 23d, at the head of only three hundred and 
fifty men, to meet the rebels ; this force was all in- 
fantry or dismounted cavalry, except a troop which 
volunteered in Santa Fe under Felix St. Vrain, and 
also four twelve pound mountain howitzers. It in- 
cluded Captain Angney's little battalion, which so 
gallantly contended with the cavalry for the lead in 
the invasion of the Territory. 

Next day Captain St. Vrain, in advance, encoun- 
tered the enemy on heights commanding the road, 
near the town of Cafiada, and also occupying some 
strong adobe houses at the base of the hills. Price 
formed line, and advanced the howitzers, which 
opened fire. A detachment of the enemy made a 
movement to cut off our baggage train, then more 
than a mile to the rear ; the manoeuvre being ob- 
served, Captain St. Vrain was sent to counteract it, 
and succeeded in bringing up the train. 

After a sharp cannonade, Price ordered Ang- 
ney's battalion to assault the nearest houses, from 
which issued a galling fire on his rig-ht flank; the 
houses were handsomely carried ; a general charge 
was then made ; the artillery and three companies 
assaulted successfully several houses in a grove from 



114 THE CONQUEST OF 

which a sharp fire had been kept up ; and St. Vrain 
commenced a movement to gain the enemy's rear. 
In a short time the enemy were in full flight, and 
Cafiada was occupied. 

Our loss was two men killed, and a lieutenant 
and six men wounded. The insurgents, estimated 
at fifteen hundred in number, left thirty-six killed. 

Next morning the New Mexicans showed in 
some force on the distant heights, but on the ap- 
proach of a detachment, sent to attack them, soon 
disappeared. 

Colonel Price advanced up the Rio del Norte as 
far as Luceros, and early on the 28th, was joined 
there by Captain Burgwin, — who brought his dis- 
mounted company by forced marches, — by an 
additional company of his own regiment, mounted, 
and also by Lieut. Wilson, First Dragoons, with a 
six pounder, which had been sent for. 

On the 29th, with about four hundred and 
eighty rank and file, Colonel Price advanced to La 
Joya, and th^re learned that a party of the enemy 
occupied a very strong pass or canon, leading to 
Embudo, but on a country road that was impracti- 
cable for artillery and v/agons> he therefore detached 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. II5 

Captain Burgwin with three companies, including 
St. Vrain's, to attack them and force a passage. 
Capt. Burgwin found the enemy six or seven hun- 
dred strong, on the sides of the mountains at the 
narrowest part of the gorge ; they were protected by 
dense masses of cedar trees, and large fragments of 
rock. He dismounted St. Vrain's company, and sent 
it to attack the slopes on the left, and a second com- 
pany those to the right. Both companies advanced 
rapidly in open order, firing with much execution, 
and the enemy soon fled with a speed that de- 
fied all pursuit. Capt. Burgwin marched through 
the defile into the open valley, and then occupied 
Embudo without opposition. Our loss was one 
killed and one severely wounded ; both of St. 
Vrain's company. The insurgents' loss was reported 
twenty killed and sixty wounded. 

On the 30th, Burgwin marched to Trampas, 
where he was joined next day by Price, when the 
whole force marched to Chamisola. 

February 1st, the summit of the mountain was 
reached, and the next day the command quartered 
in the small village of Rio Chiquito, at the entrance 
to the valley of Taos. These two marches were 



Il6 THE CONQUEST OF 

through snow so deep that the troops h^d to break 
the track for the artillery and wagons ; many of the 
men were frost bitten. 

February 3d, Price marched through Fernan- 
do de Taos to the Pueblo, which he found strongly 
fortified. It was enclosed by formidable walls and 
strong pickets ; within the enclosure and near the 
northern and southern walls were two large build- 
ings of irregular pyramidal form, seven or eight 
stories in height, each capable of sheltering five 
or six hundred men. Besides these and similar 
smaller buildings, a large church was situated in the 
northwest angle, with a narrow passage between it 
and the outer wall. The exterior walls and all the 
enclosed buildings were pierced for rifles ; every 
point of the exterior walls was flanked by project- 
ing buildings. 

The western flank of the church was selected for 
attack, and at 2 P. M., Lieut. Dyer, of the Ordnance 
Department, opened fire from the battery at about 
two hundred and fifty yards. The fire by the six 
pounder, and howitzers was kept up abput two 
hours, when, as the ammunition wagon had not 
come up, and the troops were suffering from cold 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. II / 

and fatigue, the forces were withdrawn to San 
Fernando. 

Colonel Price reported—" Early on the morning 
of the fourth, I again advanced upon Pueblo. Post- 
ing the dragoons under Captain Burgwin about two 
hundred and sixty yards from the western flank 
of the church, I ordered the mounted men under 
Captains St. Vrain and Slack, to a position on the 
opposite side of the town, whence they could dis- 
cover and intercept any fugitive who might attempt 
to escape towards the mountains, or in the direction 
of San Fernando. The residue of the troops took 
ground about three hundred yards from the north- 
ern wall. Here, too, Lieut. Dyer established himself 
with the six pounder and two howitzers, while Lt. 
Hassendaubel, of Major Clark's battalion light ar- 
tillery, remained with Captain Burgwin, in command 
of two howitzers. By this arrangement a cross-fire 
was obtained, sweeping the front and eastern flank 
of the church. 

'' All these arrangements being made, the batteries 
opened upon the town at nine o'clock A. M. At 
eleven o'clock, finding it impossible to breach the 
walls of the church with the six pounder and how- 



Il8 THE CONQUEST OF 

itzers, I determined to storm the building. At a 
signal, Captain Burgwin, at the head of his own 
company, and that of Captain McMillin, charged the • 
western flank of the church, while Captain Angney, 
infantry battalion, and Captain Barber and Lieuten- 
ant Boon, Second Mo. Mounted Volunteers, charged 
the northern wall. As soon as the troops above 
mentioned, had established themselves under the 
western wall of the church, axes were used in the 
attempt to breach it ; and a temporary ladder having 
been made, the roof was fired. About this time 
Captain Burgwin, at the head of a small party, left 
the cover afforded by the flank of the church, and 
penetrating into the corral in front of that building, 
endeavored to force the door. In this exposed situ- 
ation. Captain Burgwin received a severe wound, 
which deprived me of his valuable services, and of 
which he died on the 7th instant. Lieutenants 
Mcllvaine, First U. S. Dragoons, and Royall and 
Lackland, Second Regiment Volunteers, accom- 
panied Captain Burgwin into the corral; but the 
attempt on the church door proved fruitless, and 
they were compelled to retire behind the wall. In 
the mean time small holes had been cut in the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. II9 

western wall, and shells were thrown in by hand, 
doing good execution. The six pounder was now 
brought around by Lieutenant Wilson, who at the 
distance of two hundred yards, poured a heavy fire 
of grape into the town. The enemy during all of 
this time kept up a destructive fire upon our troops. 
About half past three o'clock, the six pounder was 
run up within sixty yards of the church, and after 
ten rounds, one of the holes which had been cut 
with the axes was widened into a practicable 
breach. The storming party, among whom were 
Lieutenant Dyer of the ordnance, and Lieutenants 
Wilson and Taylor, First dragoons, entered and took 
possession of the church, without opposition. The 
interior was filled with dense smoke, but for which 
circumstance our storming party would have suf- 
fered great loss. A few of the enemy were seen in 
the gallery, where an open door admitted the air, 
but they retired without firing a gun. The troops 
left to support the battery on the north, were now 
ordered to charge on that side. The enemy aban- 
doned the western part of the town. Many took 
refuge in the large houses on the east, while others 
endeavored to escape toward the mountains. These 



I20 THE CONQUEST OF 

latter were pursued by the mounted men under 
Captain Slack and St. Vrain, who killed fifty-one of 
them, only two or three men escaping. It was now 
night, and our troops were quietly quartered in the 
houses which the enemy had abandoned. On the 
next morning the enemy sued for peace, and think- 
ing the severe loss they had sustained would prove a 
salutary lesson, I granted their supplication, on the 
condition that they should deliver up to me Tomas, 
— one of their principal men, who had instigated 
and been actively engaged in the murder of Gover- 
nor Bent and others. The number of the enemy at 
the battle of Pueblo de Taos was between six and 
seven hundred. Of these about one hundred and 
fifty were killed — wounded not known. Our own 
loss was seven killed and forty-five wounded ; many 
of the wounded have since died. 

" The principal leaders in this insurrection were 
Tafoya, Pablo Chavis, Pablo Montoya, Cortez and 
Tomas, a Pueblo Indian. Of these, Tafoya was killed 
at Cafiada; Chavis was killed at Pueblo; Montoya 
was hanged at Don Fernando on the 7th instant, 
and Tomas was shot by a private while in the guard 
room at the latter town. Cortez is still at large. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 121 

This person was at the head of rebels in the valley 
of the Mora." 

Thus in the prime of life, James H. K. Burgwin 
of North Carolina, captain in First Regiment of 
Dragoons, fell in the brave performance of duty. 
He was accomplished, amiable, and much beloved. 

It was lamentable that the Pueblos should in this 
single case, have been induced by some strong de- 
ceptions and incitements, to take up arms. The 
above full account of their remarkable aboriginal pro- 
gress in the defensive art of war, through which they 
resisted for two days an artillery siege, and the singu- 
lar defensive form of their dwelling houses, which as 
citadels saved the most of their lives in the assault, is 
given as most interesting. In the heat of the assault, 
a dragoon was in the act of killing a woman, unrecog- 
nized by dress, similar to the man's, and both sexes 
wearing the hair long ; in this extremity she saved her 
life by an act of the most conclusive personal exposure ! 
Seven years after, the author raised, in half a day, 
a company of irregulars in this same town, to serve 
against the Apaches, and efficient fine fellows they 
were. 

The insurrection was general in the northern and 



122 THE CONQUEST OF 

eastern part of the territory. Vegas was saved frorn 
revolt by the presence of a garrison ; near there, 
and other northern posts of troops, were rather dis- 
tant grazing camps; they were attacked with some 
execution, and the loss of the animals. Some public 
and sutler trains were robbed of all their oxen and 
mules. At the handsome village of Mora, eighteen 
miles west of the present Fort Union, eight Ameri- 
cans were murdered. January 22d, Capt. Hendley, 
Second Missouri Volunteers, marched there from Ve- 
gas the 24th, with eighty men ; he found it occupied 
by above one hundred and fifty men ; he engaged 
with a number, attempting to enter the town, who 
were supported by a sally; he then assaulted the town; 
he penetrated from house to house, some of which 
were destroyed, and into one end of their fort, 
where he was killed and several were wounded. 
Lieut. McKarney then— -apprehending the return 
of from three hundred to five hundred men, who 
had left there that day for Pueblo — withdrew, and 
marched back to Las Vegas, with fifteen prisoners ; 
he reported fifteen to twenty of the enemy slain. 

January 30th, the camp of Capt. Robinson was- 
surprised, and two hundred horses and mules 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 23 

driven off, and one man killed and two wounded. 
Major Edmonson marched to his relief from Vegas, 
and afterward followed the banditti into a danger- 
ous canon of the Canadian River at the mouth of 
the Mora ; he reported, " the hills around them 
literally covered with Indians and Mexicans," esti- 
mated to be above four hundred. He fought his way 
through with much difficulty ; but having to return 
the next day through the same canon, he found 
" that the enemy had left on the night after the 
battle in great haste, leaving horses, cattle, camp 
equipage, etc., not taking time to scalp or strip our 
men lost in the action, as is their custom." He 
pursued, but found that they had dispersed after 
dividing their spoil. The enemy's loss was reported 
to be forty-one killed. 

June 27th, Lieut. R. T. Brown, Second Mis- 
souri Volunteers, went with two volunteers and a 
Mexican guide in pursuit of some horses which had 
been driven off from Vegas ; he found them at Las 
Vallas, fifteen miles south, and attempting to seize 
them, the Mexicans resisted, and attacked and killed 
the whole party. Major Edmonson then marched 
from Vegas, surprised the town, shot down a few who 



124 THE CONQUEST OF * 

attempted to escape, took forty prisoners and sent 
them to Sante Fe for trial. 

On the sixth of July, the grazing camp of Cap- 
tain Morris's company was attacked ; Lieutenant 
Larkin and four men were killed, and nine wounded, 
and all the horses and other property fell into the 
hands of the outlaws. Lieutenant-Colonel Willock 
marched from Taos in their pursuit, but could not 
overtake them. 

Colonel Price reported July 20th that his com- 
mand was so reduced by the departure of companies 
whose time had expired, that he considered it ne- 
cessary to concentrate all his forces at Santa Fe ; that 
rumors of insurrection were rife, and also of a large 
force approaching from the South ; he adds, " it is 
certain that the New Mexicans entertain deadly 
hatred against the Americans." 

His call for reinforcements had been anticipated ; 
and by autumn, fresh volunteer regiments from 
Missouri, engaged for the war, had swelled the force 
in New Mexico to above three thousand ; about 
double the numbers of those who made the first 
audacious invasion, and apparent conquest. 

And New Mexico then submitted. 



III. 



THE INFANTRY MARCH TO THE 
PACIFIC. 

'nr^HE Mormon battalion was left^ fifteen miles 
west of the Rio Grande, in camp near a deep 
ravine in which was a natural well of rock, which 
the sagacity of the guides had discovered, to make 
their first venture in the desert a success. This was 
November the T3th, 1846. 

Next day it entered upon a grassy plain extend- 
ing indefinitely to the south-west ; small isolated 
mountains rose here and there to view, but a low 
range barred the better course westward ; four 
miles out, a guide was met, reporting Leroux and 
the others at a mountain streamlet eight miles off, 
and more to the north. The camp was made there. 

"Thus Leroux, on his second trip — or third, if he 
attempted the exploration promised by the General, 
— has only reached about fort}^ miles from the river! 
I have no guide that knows any thing about the 



126 THE CONQUEST OF 

country ; and I fear such exploring will prove slow 
and hazardous work. He goes to-morrow with six 
men, and is to send back one for each of my 
marches. The weather is cold and boisterous, 
threatening snow. We find here apparently the 
remains of a stone house, but only a foot or two 
high, showing no marks of tools; also many frag- 
ments of pottery, and a broken mortar of very hard 
red stone, etc." 

The 15th, it blew a gale with rain, snow, and 
sunshine, alternately ; as there was fuel, and the 
guides were behind hand, the battalion did not 
move. 

Next day it marched to the south, skirting the 
foot of the mountain about thirteen miles, and 
camped at a small swampy hole of water near a gap 
of the mountain. (This has found its way to some 
of the maps as Cooke's Spring.) There was no 
wood, but brush answered for fuel. " Charboneaux 
has returned, and reports the gap in front of us to 
be practicable, and that there is water six miles on ; 
he went with the others about twelve miles beyond 
it, without finding other water." 

On the 17th, the gap was passed without much 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 27 

difficulty, and turning north, the water was found 
up a ravine to the right, but only three miles 
from the other camp. As the guide had gone 
twelve miles further without discovering water, it 
was necessary to camp there. 

'' I saw to-day a new variety of oak, a large 
luxuriant bush, eight or ten feet high, with leaves 
about an inch long ; they are still very green : * 
also a new and very beautiful variety of the Span- 
ish bayonet : very large and spherical in shape, the 
largest leaves (or spikes) three feet long, and in- 
dented like a fine saw, with a stalk eighteen feet 
high from the centre. Tasson, a guide, hunted 
and killed in the mountain, two goats which were 
found to have cropped ears. 

*' At this camp the Cahfornia partridge was 
first observed. They are rounder, smoother, and 
have longer necks than ours, with a beautiful 
plume to the head, and are slate colored. Also a 
cactus of hemispherical form, fifteen to eighteen 
inches in diameter, with ridges armed with horny 
hooks three inches long. Thirty mortar holes cut ^ 
into flat rocks were found this morning." 

* Since named Quercus emoryi. 



128 THE CONQUEST OF 

November \Zth. — The battalion marched eighteen 
miles in a north-west course to the Mimbres, (osiers, 
some of which were there found,) a clear, bold 
strea^m, running to the south, but sinking a little 
below the camp. 

Next day in a south-west course, slightly ascend- 
ing over a smooth prairie, to Ojo de Vaca, (Cow 
Spring) about eighteen miles were made. This spring 
is on a road from the copper mines to Yanos. 

November 20th, spent in camp, was an anxious 
day. The guides had all returned, having found a 
little water in the end of a ridge, in a south-west 
course toward San Bernadino — a deserted rancho, 
known only by report. They had gone only about 
twelve miles further in that direction, but the 
absence of any indication of water, had discouraged 
and turned them back. By common consent the 
certainty of water at that point (thought to be about 
seventy, but really above one hundred miles distant) 
made it an objective point ; 'for all shrink in- 
^ stinctively from entering the vast table land to the 
west, where no broken ground, no hill, no tree, could 
be seen from a stand-point four hundred feet high. 
The despairing wanderer whose life depends upon 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 29 

finding water, always turns with hope to a mountain, 
to a tree, or to broken ground.' 

A high peak, close to the spring, was ascended, 
and anxious consultation there held. This road, for 
copper ore, led to Yanos ; my interpreter had been 
there the previous summer; he and the guides were 
positive it lay to the south-west, six or seven days' 
marches ; the interpreter knew there was a road or 
trail from there to the presidios Fronteras and Tuc- 
son due west. ■ This would surely be giving up the 
discovery of "a wagon road to the Pacific!" The 
staff officers and the captains were taken into council ; 
they, the guides and Mr. Hall, (the volunteer and 
M. C. elect, who had accompanied their last explo- 
ration,) all agreed it was too great a risk to do other- 
wise than take this Yanos road. 

It was found advisable at this camp, to order 
the issues of flour and fresh meat to be increased to 
ten and twenty-eight ounces. 

November 2\st. — I marched this morning by the 
road, of which the guides had pointed out the course, , 
west of south. But I soon found it leaving level 
prairie in its first course, and leading over a ridge, 
twenty-five degrees east of south. I had relied on 
6.. 



130 THE CONQUEST OF 

the assertions that Yanos was to the south-west, and 
balanced in my judgment of many other weighty 
considerations, had taken advice. I had followed 
the guides in almost every direction but eastward. 
After proceeding a mile and a half, without any 
further consultation, I turned short to the right, 
and directed the march to the hole of water which 
had been discovered to the south-west. . . I 
encamped there, at the foot of the ridge, the water 
being two miles up a narrow valley right away from 
my course. Whilst camping, fortunately, some 
water, enough for men's use, was found a quarter 
of a mile off. 

Next day the battalion took a south-west course, 
preceded but two hours by the guides ; the ground 
smooth, slightly descending, v/ell covered with grass. 
To divide the greater labor of breaking the track, the 
leading company and its wagons, after an hour, were 
stopped until all had passed, and so with each in 
turn ; this became the rule. 

A signal smoke was seen in the afternoon — 
which should announce the discovery of water — 
perhaps fifteen miles off in front. Keeping its direc- 
' tion, camp was made at dusk, without water. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 131 

** Since dark Charboneaux has come in ; his mule 
gave out, he says, and he stopped for it to rest and 
feed a half an hour ; when going to saddle it, it kicked 
at him and ran off; he followed it a number of 
miles and finally shot it ; partly I suppose from 
anger, and partly, as he says, to get his saddle and 
pistols, which he brought into camp." 

Next morning the march began before sunrise. 
*' All admired the singular and unusual beauty which 
followed its rising ; but once or twice before had a 
mirage (caused on great plains by unusual vapor) 
been observed. A distant mountain ridge became 
the shore of a luminous lake, in which nearer moun- 
tains or hills showed as a vast city, — castles, church- 
es, spires ! even masts and sails of shipping could be 
seen by some." 

In the mountain ridge the water was found, but 
it was not enough for the men to drink; it was soon 
gone, and the poor fellows were waiting for it to leak 
from the rocks, and dipping it with spoons ! There 
was nothing to do but toil on over the ridge. Six 
miles beyond, a guide was met with news of water 
three leagues further on. 

We came in sight of what was apparently a river. 



132 THE CONQUEST OF 

but we believed it to be sand. For hours I rode on, 
approaching it obliquely, but seemed to get no nearer. 
At last I struck it after sundown, and found it some- 
thing extraordinary ; it was said to be the bottom of 
a long dry lake or swamp. It appeared, in the obscu- 
rity, something between smooth marble and a great 
sheet of ice; wagons moved with traces unstretched, 
and made no track. I sent to order those in the 
rear to bear to the right, and take advantage of it 
much sooner. I passed it in two miles, and found 
at its shore a swampy spot, with deep water holes. 

The wagons arrived about eight o'clock, having 
been thirteen hours in motion. We had marched 
/ forty miles in thirty-six hours, without water. But for 
the dry lake, we should not have reached the water 
until the next day. Mr. Hall came to the right of 
the ridge, and he thought it a shorter way. 

A small trading party of Mexicans was found at 
this point, where the battalion remained the next 
day, the two last wagons only coming up that night. 

Twenty-one mules were purchased of the Mexi- 
cans, who gave a good report of a route to San Ber- 
nadino ; and one of them was engaged as a guide, 
and to assist in opening communication with the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 33 

Apaches, whom they report to have plenty of mules, 
they having lately returned from a successful raid 
into Sonora. 

The clay flat which is thirty miles long, is called 
by the Mexicans Las Playas. " There occurred 
here, ten years ago, a very extraordinary and treach- 
erous massacre. An American named Johnson with 
seventeen men of various nationalities, (with also a 
Mexican captain and four soldiers, but who are said to 
have left him before the occuiTence) had come from 
Sonora on a plundering expedition against the 
Apaches, and for their scalps, for which fifty dollars 
each were then offered by the government of So- 
nora. J.ohnson met here above a hundred men, 
besides women and children of the Apaches, for 
trade ; they had gathered round close, and unsus- 
pected he had concealed a swivel between two 
bags of flour ; it was loaded to the muzzle with balls 
and chain. A man sat smoking, and at the signal, 
uncovered the breech and fired ; this was followed 
by two rapid discharges of small arms. 

*' At this explosion, seemingly from the ground, 
and unexpected as an earthquake, the Indians not 
mangled or killed, fled in consternation. Johnson's 



134 THE CONQUEST OF 

party soon retired and were followed and fired upon 
without effect by a party of the Apaches ; but they 
killed seven more of them, and reached Yanos in 
rapid retreat. They took from the body of the 
chief, Juan Jos^, who was slain, an order w^hich 
Santa Anna in his Texan campaign, had sent to a 
general officer; the Indians had captured it. John- 
son still lives in Sonora." 

In the three days following, about forty miles 
were marched in the general south-west course, 
passing a low mountain gap, through broken coun- 
try, finding some small streams and good grass. 

*' Whilst the train was crawHng up the pass, I 
discovered Charboneaux near the summit in pur- 
suit of bears. I saw three of them up among the 
rocks, whilst the bold hunter was gradually nearing 
them. Soon he fired, and in ten seconds again ; then 
there was confused action, one bear falling down, 
the others rushing about with loud fierce cries, amid 
which the hunter's too, could be distinguished ; the 
mountain fairly echoed. I much feared he was lost, 
but soon, in his red shirt, he appeared on a rock ; he 
had cried out, in Spanish, for more balls. The 
bear was rolled down, and butchered before the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I35 

wagons passed. It is a fact that both shots — and the 
ball of the second, passed from the hunter's mouth 
into the muzzle of his gun with only its weight to 
send it home — made but one hole in the bear's skin, 
in the side, and one ball ranged forward, the other 
back. . . . There is much that is strange on this 
table-land, studded with peaks and mountains of 
every shape ; but this afternoon all must have been 
struck with the quiet beauty of the scene. The moun- 
tain passed, before us we saw a smooth plain, narrow, 
but unbounded to the front ; the grama grass wav- 
ing with the south wind, received from the slant 
sunshine a golden sheen ; but the whole had a blue 
and purple setting of mountain ranges on either 
side; the light, the shadows, the varying distances 
gave variety and beauty of hue ; the near heights 
dotted with cedars, the silvered granite peaks, and 
the far off summits of the Gila Mountains; and then 
the tree tops of the Las Animas, which we ap- 
proached, gave the cheering promise, which the 
bracing air welcomed, of comfort and rest." 

November 28th, a faint road was struck, believed 
to be from Yanos ; it very soon led to a very pre- 
cipitous and rocky descent of perhaps a thousand 



136 THE CONQUEST OF 

feet into the heart of a wild confusion of n:iountains, 
which extended as far as could be seen. It was 
soon discovered that the trail could not, at its first 
descent, at least, be made passable for the wagons ; 
water within a mile was fortunately discovered, and 
the battalion camped. Leroux and all but one 
of the guides were still absent. Some exploration 
was then made ; all pronounced the first descent im- 
passable for wagons ; but immediately a large party 
was sent to work a passage-way. That night 
Leroux arrived, bringing an Apache chief, whom he 
had managed with difficulty and much address. 
Next morning it was owing to Leroux's positive 
assertions and arguments, that there could be, and 

- was no other pass but the horse trail, that I did not 
insist upon his thorough examination. He even 
asserted, but was mistaken, that he had examined 
an opening I had seen from an eminence, and 
believed might be a wagon road. Meanwhile the 
party continued, the second day, hard at work with 
crowbar, pick, etc., while I sent one company and 

V about half the baggage, packed on mules, to the first 
water on the trail in a deep ravine below. It was 
about six miles, and the mules were brought back 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 37 

in the evening. Next morning they took the rest 
of the loading, and I succeeded that day with much 
labor and difficulty, in getting the wagons to the 
new camp. Some were let down by ropes, and one 
was broken. About this time, Doctor Foster, inter- 
preter, accidentally found the intersection of an 
old wagon road with mine, and said he followed it 
back, and that it led to the verge of the plain about 
a mile from our point of descent. He says this is 
called the pass of Guadalope, and that it is the only 
one for many hundred miles to the south, by which 
the broken descent from the great table-land of 
Mexico can be made by wagons, and rarely by pack 
mules 

'* The scenery to-day was grand and picturesque. 
At one place there is a pass not thirty paces wide ; 
on one side a cliff overhangs the road ; just opposite 
on a vertical base of solid rock, forty feet high, rests 
another rock of a rounded cubical form of about 
twenty-five feet dimensions; on its top rests still 
another of spherical shape, twelve or fifteen feet in 
diameter. The mountains and sharp ravines were 
well covered with the new species of oak of large 
size, cedar, sycamore, etc., Spanish bayonet, mez- 



138 THE CONQUEST OF 

quit and other shrubs, all of a bright green. We 
descended about one thousand feet. Private Ailen 
has disappeared." 

December ist. — Seven miles were made down 
the dry bed of a mountain stream, and the pioneers 
went to the edge of a prairie, and returned. The 
scenery was beautiful ; broken mountains, preci- 
pices, and a confusion of rocks ; the mezcal and 
Spanish bayonet become trees ; evergreen oaks, cot- 
tonwoods and sycamores brilliantly colored by frost. 
*'' Messrs. Smith, Hall, and myself have ascended a 
peak, near by, some eight hundred feet high. Our 
view was extensive. A few miles to the south, we 
saw the Huaqui, which becoming a large river, emp- 
ties far down into the Gulf of California. To the 
north-west we saw a prairie for thirty or forty miles, 
narrowed by the mountains, seen every where else, 
to a gap-Hke outlet. We supposed that must be 
our course. San Bernadino was not visible. The 
top of the mountain was about thirty yards by fif- 
teen. I suggested what a world's wonder it would 
be, set like a gem in the grounds of the capitol. 
The rocks, like all on this mountain, glittered with 
crystals of silex, white, pink, and even purple ; there 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 39 

grew a giant mezcal thirty feet high, and others of 
this year ; bristling spheres of green bayonets, three 
feet long ; several shrubs without a name ; cacti, 
from a little pink ball at your feet, to the size of 
trees ; a nondescript, thought to be of that family, 
sending out rods fourteen feet long, with rosin for 
bark, and two inch spikes for leaves, which I named 
'devil rod,' etc." 

That night thick ice formed in the tents. Next 
day the battalion was soon clear of the cafion, and eight 
miles brought them into and across wide meadows 
to the old houses of the rancho of San Bernadino ; 
it is enclosed by a wall with two regular bastions ; 
the spring is fifteen paces in diameter. The soil was 
thought good, but the grass at that time was poor ; 
the rising ground beyond was a mezquit chaparral. 

Before this rancho was desolated by the Apaches, 
there were reported to be eighty thousand cattle on 
it ; the Gila was said to be its northern boundary. 

The ox, in a perfectly wild state, abounds here ; 
the guides have shot three or four. As we descended 
from the high ground, an immense red bull rushed 
by in front, at great speed ; it was more novel and 
exciting than the sight of buffaloes. 



I40 THE CONQUEST OF 

The following day, December 3d, was passed ai 
San Bernadino. The hope of obtaining mules of 
the Apaches resulted in disappointment ; quite a 
number of them came to the camp, but none of the 
village which Leroux had visited ; they gave infor- 
mation as to the route to the San Pedro, and 
promised a guide. They are poor, dirty Indians, but 
are generally dressed in cotton shirts, and many in 
trousers ; they wear fine moccasins, with tops, or 
leggings attached. They ride fine horses, and are 
armed with formidable lances, guns and bows ; they 
are ugly and squalid, wear their hair generally long, 
and in various fashions. They wear a kind of leather 
skull cap, now and then ornamented by feathers. 
They seem to understand Spanish, and no doiibt 
speak it, imperfectly; but all Indians have a singu- 
lar aversion to using, when not really necessary, any 
language foreign to them ; their own tongue is, by 
far, the most brutal grunt that I have ever heard ; 
their lips scarcely move, and the words come out a 
stuttering, jerking guttural. 

That day, Allen — who is the only member of the 

" battalion not a Mormon, — got back after an absence 

of five days; he had found our road just beyond the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIEORNIA. I4I 

first descent into the pass, and his great misfortunes 
seem to have turned upon his taking it for granted 
that the command could not have come that way ; 
he had been stripped of every thing by Indians, and, 
having no knife, had eaten of a dead horse, in the 
fashion of a wolf. 

A party of pioneers worked on a Fronteras trail, as 
far as it should be followed, — six or eight miles, and 
finding water, returned. Hunting parties were sent 
out, and brought in at nigh^, beef enough for five days. 

December \th, — No Indians came in, and the 
guides were sent forward. In the afternoon the bat- 
talion marched eight miles to the west, into a pass 
of a low range of hills. There is a remarkable rock 
one hundred feet high just back of the camp ; and 
in front, a peak with a facade of rock apparently ,/ 
painted green, yellow and brown ; it is the natural col- 
or combined with moss ; between is a rocky basin of 
water, and there is some good grass. Apparently hun- 
dreds of wild cattle come here to water daily. The 
road which we cut to-day is much up hill, and gen- 
erally through thickets of mezquit, or thorny bushes. 
This camp is less than twenty miles from Fronteras, 
Sonora. 



142 THE CONQUEST OF 

December ^th, — The defile was long and rough ; 
the tongue of a wagon was broken; but some of 
the useful parts were brought on. The condition of 
many of the mules may be judged from the fact that 
two died last night, the warmest for a month, after 
several days* rest, and a march of only eight miles. 
Fourteen m.iles brought me to a large spring, which 
as usual, is lost after running a few yards. I met 
the Indian guide passing back rapidly on his grey 
horse, bow in hand, and giving the column a wide 
berth. I however brought him to, and had a little 
talk with him in barbarous Spanish. He was very 
uneasy. I thought at first he had run off from 
Leroux.N The wild cattle are very numerous. I 
saw one killed, but only after twenty wounds, and a 
number of the shots at ten paces, as sometimes 
with buffalo. Mr. Hall was chased by one, and put 
in much danger by the obstinacy of his, mule. I 
measured the spinal process of one, (" hump rib ") 
that was eleven inches in length. 

On the 6th, the battalion cut its way twelve 
miles through mezquit ; there was rain and some 
snow, so that a camp at a water hole at a fine grove 
of oak and walnut was very welcome. The assim- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I43 

ilation of the wild cattle to buffalo, was further ob- 
served in the separation, most of the year, of bulls 
from all the rest. Cows or calves were scarcely 
seen, and none killed. 

Next day the battalion remained in camp, and 
were busy smoking beef. In the evening a guide 
returned, reporting no water for twelve miles, but 
the grass unusually green, and indications of the 
river being not many miles beyond. 

DeceTuber Zth. — There was a march of seven- 
teen miles to the north-west, and the battalion had 
to do without water. The valley of the San Pedro, 
stretching far north, gave indications that the river 
was very near. They passed near a field of snow. 
Wild horses were seen very near. 

December gth. — I marched at sunrise. As we 
approached a long black streak of mezquit, etc., 
where we imagined we should find the San Pedro, 
we were much disappointed. We fell into the 
smooth valley of a dry branch, and I finally, in my 
great anxiety, feared we had passed too far south 
for the river, or that this dry branch was the head 
of it ; the guides had all become doubtful them- 
selves. Troops of wild horses, cattle and antelopes, 



144 THE CONQUEST OF 

seemed to invite the attention, little of which was 
given. Leaving the great valley of the dry branch, 
we soon left behind all appearances of broken ground, 
mezquit or timber; taking our course toward a 
mountain range, which was white with snow, and 

rfrom which a northwester cut us to the bone. A 
vast unbroken slope of prairie was before us ; my 
anxiety became very great, and I pushed on at a 
fast gait to the guides, and after ascending some- 
what, saw a valley indeed, but no other appearance 
of a stream than a few ash trees in the midst ; but 
they, with numerous cattle paths, gave every prom- 
ise of water. On we pushed, and finally, but not 
until within twenty paces, I saw a fine bold stream ! 
There was the San Pedro, so long and anxiously 
sought. I crossed the stream without difficulty, 
to the other and smoother side of the valley, at 
noon, and camped six miles lower down. We were 

' twenty-seven miles without water. My animals get 
grama grass every night on the hills ; it is straw 
colored, and looks dead, but the mules have lately 
improved on it, and the thousands of wild cattle and 
horses are fat. 

Next day the march was fifteen miles down the 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I45 

river. It seemed a fertile valley, the low grounds 
about a: mile wide ; salmon trout, eighteen inches ^^ 
long, were caught. The wild cattle were still more 
numerous, and it was observed that they made dry 
" wallows " like the buffalo. 

On the nth, there was found very high grass in 
the bottom, which was also lumpy. At two 
o'clock, I again came to a canon, and several men 
having been wounded, and much meat killed, I en- 
camped. 

There was quite an engagement with bulls, and 
(I had to direct the men to load their muskets to 
defend themselves. The animals attacked in some 
instances without provocation, and tall grass in 
some places made the danger greater ; one ran on 
a man, caught him in the thigh, and threw him ,^ 
clear over his body lengthwise ; then it charged on 
a team, ran its head under the first mule and tore ^ 
out the entrails of the one beyond. Another ran 
against a sergeant, who escaped with severe bruises, 
as the horns passed at each side of him ; one ran 
at a horse tied behind a wagon, and as it escaped, 
the bull struck the wagon v/ith a momentum that 
forced the hind part of it out of the road. I saw 
7 



146 THE CONQUEST OF 

one rush at some pack mules, and kill one of them. 
I was very near Corporal Frost, when an immense 
coal-black bull came charging at us, a hundred 
yards. Frost aimed his musket, flint lock, very 
deliberately, and only fired when the beast was 
within six paces ; it fell headlong, almost at our feet. 
One man, charged on, threw himself flat, and the 
bull jumped over him and passed on. 

A bull, after receiving two balls through its 
heart, and two through the lungs, ran on a man. I 
have seen the heart. Lieut. Stoneman was acci- 
dentally wounded in the thumb. We crossed a 
pretty stream which I have named " Bull Run." 

The river was followed two more days, twenty- 
two miles, making sixty-five in all ; the ground 
became more difficult, with the approach to moun- 
tains extending to the Gila. Then Leroux and 
other guides returned from an exploration of the 
table-land to the west, where at twenty miles dis- 
tance, they had found water, on a trail to Tucson ; 
at it were a party of Apaches, some Mexicans dis- 
tiUing mezcal whiskey, and some soldiers ; they 
reported a garrison of two hundred men at Tucson, 
Leroux, to get off, invented some story, and Foster, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 147 

the interpreter had thought proper to go on to 
Tucson, to give it more probability. 

The battaHon were exercised in arms, and an 
order was read, announcing a march for Tucson ; 
not specially to attack it, but it was necessary to 
" overcome all resistance." 

December 14th, the battalion turned up the bluff, 
ascending for nine miles, when the trail was struck. 

About six miles from the still-house, I ordered 
fifty men to follow, and pushed on with my suit, 
and passed the advance guard and pioneers. Com- 
ing to water, I rode in among four or five soldiers in 
uniform, cutting grass, their horses and arms at their 
saddles, near by ; they seemed scarcely to notice our 
arrival ; a strange simplicity ; but indicating a convic- 
tion that the savages were their natural and only 
enemies. 

The camp was estabhshed at dark, on good 
ground with water, grass and fuel. The march was 
twenty miles. 

The sergeant of the Mexican party said that 
reports had been spread which alarmed the people, 
who were about to fly ; and the commandant sent me 
a request not to pass through the town ; that he had 



148 THE CONQUEST OF 

orders to prevent it ; but that I might pass on either 
side. I told the sergeant, that if the garrison was 
very weak I should probably not molest it ; but to go 
back and tell the people, that we were their friends, 
and wanted to purchase flour, etc. He soon left. 

Next day twelve miles were marched, and the 
camp was made, as expected, with no water; quite 
an obstacle was encountered in a new species of 
cactus, which maddened some of the mules. Four 
other Mexican soldiers were met, who acted in the 
same confiding manner, but were secured ; on being 
questioned in camp, the corporal, a son of Comadu- 
ran the commandant, said that Foster was under 
guard, but had hcQi} deg-g-ed to come with them, and 
refused ! A note was sent by one of the pioneers, 
demanding Foster's return to this camp ; and adding, 
that the prisoners were held as hostages. 

Another extraordinary variety of cactus was 
seen which should be -called columnar ; a straight 
column thirty feet high, near two feet in diameter, 
fluted very similarly to the Corinthian column, only 
the capital wanting ; some throw out one or more 
branches, gracefully curved and then vertical, like 
the branches of a candelabrum. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I49 

But two days' rations of meat had been issued 
in the last two weeks from the commissary pro- 
visions. 

After midnight Foster was brought to camp by 
two officers; one was a " commissioner," authorized 
to make a special armistice. After a rather long 
conference, they were dismissed with the proposi- 
tion, that a few arms should be delivered as tokens 
of a surrender, which only required them not to 
serve against the United States during the present 
war until exchanged. 

The last camp proved to be sixteen miles from 
the town. A few miles out, a fine looking cavalry- 
man well armed was met; he delivered a dispatch, 
and was suffered to retire without answer ; it was 
merely a refusal of the terms offered. The battalion 
was made ready for engagement. Very soon after, 
two Mexicans were met, who gave information that 
the post had been evacuated, and that most of the 
inhabitants had also left, forced off by the military ; 
that these last had carried off two brass cannon. 
But about a dozen well mounted men met and ac- 
companied the battalion into town : some of them 
were said to be soldiers. 



150 THE CONQUEST OF 

The camp was made about half a mile beyond 
the town, which is a Pueblo. About a hundred of 
the perhaps five hundred inhabitants had remained. 
The barracks are on the highest ground, enclosed 
hy a wall with abutments and battlements in bad 
repair. 

Some provisions were brought to the camp for 
sale ; the battalion was now without salt, and only- 
three bushels could be obtained there. 

The valley of the little river, about a mile wide, 
seemed fertile. The wheat was then green : the 
only fruits observed were pomegranates and quin- 
ces. There being little or no grass, a quantity of 
wheat found in the forts was used for feed, and as 
much as could be carried, was ordered to be taken 
both for mules and men. A party from the garrison 
had been sent to the Gila, perhaps to observe the 
march of the battalion, expected to pass by General 
Kearny's route ; they were reported to have passed 
back that afternoon, making a circuit round the 
Pueblo. 

Next morning, many mules having strayed in the 
thickets, which would cover approaches to the town 
and camp, it was thought well to make ademonstra- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 151 

tion at least, up the little river, toward a village, eight 
or ten miles above ; its remarkably large stone church 
had l?een visible from the hills, in approaching the 
town. Lieutenant Colonel Cooke, with a dozen 
officers and others, mounted on mules, and abouc 
forty volunteers from the battalion, accordingly 
passed up ; but marching four or five miles, it was 
found that the thickets had become a dense forest of 
mezquit trees, which extended to the village, of- 
fering to the Mexicans an excellent ambush ; and 
so, while waiting for the straggling footmen to close 
up, it was concluded that, the demonstration being 
made, every reasonable object except the examina- 
tion of the church, was accomplished, and so the 
detachment returned to camp. Signal smokes had 
been observed, and it was afterward ascertained, 
that at this Indian-like announcement of the ap- 
proach, the Mexicans further retreated ; and the 
reinforcements, which had come from the presidios 
of Fronteras, Santa Cruz and Tubac, marched to 
return to their posts. 

A note was written to be delivered to Captain 
Comaduran, on his return, enclosing a letter for 
Don Manuel Gandara, Governor of Sonora, at Ures, 



152 THE CONQUEST OF 

who was said to be very well disposed to the United 
States ; it is here given : 

Camp at Tucson, Sonora, Dec. i8th, 1846. 

Your Excellency: — The undersigned, marching in 
command of a battalion of United States infantry 
from New Mexico to California, has found it conve- 
nient for the passage of his wagon train, to cross the 
frontier of Sonora. Having passed within "fifteen 
miles of Fronteras, I have found it necessary to take 
this presidio in my route to the Gila. 

Be assured that I did not come as an enemy of 
t\iQ people whom you represent ; they have received 
only kindness at my hands. Sonora refused to con- 
tribute to the support of the present war against 
my country, alleging the excellent reasons that all 
her resources were necessary to her defence from 
the incessant attacks of savages ; that the central 
government gave her no protection, and was there- 
fore entitled to no support. To this might have 
been added that Mexico supports a ivar upon Sonora. 
For I have seen New Mexicans within her boundary 
trading for the spoil of her people, taken by murder- 
ous, cowardly Indians, who attack only to lay waste, 
rob and fly to the mountains ; and I have certain in- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. . 1 53 

formation, that this is the practice of many years ; 
thus one part of Mexico allies itself against another. 

The unity of Sonora with the States of the 
north, now her neighbors, is necessary effectually to 
subdue these Parthian Apaches. 

Meanwhile, I make a wagon road from the 
streams of the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, 
through the valuable plains, and mountains rich 
with minerals, of Sonora. This I trust will prove 
useful to the citizens of either republic, who, if not 
more closely, may unite in the pursuits of a highly 
beneficial commerce. 

With sentiments of esteem and respect, I am 
your Excellency's most obedient servant, 

P. St. G. Cooke, 
Lieut-colonel of United States Forces. 
To his Excel'y, Sen. Don Manuel Gandara. 
Governor of Sonora, Ures, Sonora. 

A false alarm was made that night; "at mid- 
night I was awoke from sound sleep by one of the 
picket guard, who, all out of breath, assured me that 
a large Mexican army was coming from the town. 

" Such a high-sounding announcement only aroused 

7* 



154 THE CONQUEST OF 

dreamy thoughts of historical war, but instantly the 
officer of the day informed me that a picket had 
fired upon some body of men coming from town. 
My trumpets instantly rang with the ** assembly." I 
sent a company to the village, with a reconnoitering 
party under Lieutenant Stoneman in advance, and 
other dispositions vy^ere made. But nothing was 
discovered." 

The best information possible had been sought 
as to the desert between Tucson and the Gila River ; 
it was a most formidable undertaking for the way- 
worn footmen. 

On the 1 8th, the march was resumed before ten 
o'clock; the river sinks within a few miles; the 
mules were carefully watered about seven miles out, 
at the last water; the next three miles, down the 
dry bed was exceedingly difficult, from sand and 
otherwise. Leaving the course of the stream, the 
level ground offered much obstruction in mezquit ; 
at dusk more sand was encountered ; after that the 
march was continued three hours over a level baked- 
clay surface, with a few mezquit thickets. In one 
^ of these the camp was made at nine o'clock P.M. 
without water. There was no moon. The march 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 55 

had been twenty-four miles. The mules were tied 
up and scantily fed with wheat. 

The march was resumed the 20th, at sunrise ; it 
was fourteen miles to the pass between two isola- 
ted small mountains, and a water hole, reported to 
be there, could not be found. There was nothing 
to do but march on ; there was the same baked-clay 
surface, with a little sand. At sundown a very 
small pool was come to ; too shallow for dipping 
with a cup, but enough for most of the men to get a 
drink by lying down. 

At 7 o'clock, after dark, permission was given 
to the captains to halt their companies at dis- 
cretion, but not over six hours in all. The mules 
would certainly go on better in the cold night with- 
out water. 

At 8.30 o'clock the advance guard, who had been 
with the guides, were overtaken ; they had stopped 
at a small pool, but the loose and packed mules, 
which had been sent on, had rushed into it and con- 
sumed or spoiled all. Just then an agreed signal 
of sufficient water was observed, a fire made of 
dry artemisia. The march was continued ; it was 
cloudy and very dark ; after advancing a mile or 



156 THE CONQUEST OF 

two with difficulty over very uneven and bushy 
ground the fire was reached, and found to have 
been made by a stupid guide for his own comfort. 
The mules could go no further over such ground, 
and a halt for the rest of the night was ordered. 

The battalion had then marched twenty-six 
hours of the last thirty-six ; they were almost bare- 
footed, carried .their muskets and knapsacks ; the 
mules had worked forty-seven miles without water. 
A little wheat was now given to them. 

The march was resumed at 7 o'clock A, M. ; the 
guides well ahead. 

The road was very bad ; after three or four hours 
Leroux was met, with information of some pools 
three or four miles on : he was sent on again tor 
search further. At 11 o'clock, part of the battalion 
arrived there ; sentinels were posted to prevent dip- 
ping, and one pool was reserved for the beeves. 
(When they reached it, they rushed in headlong, 
spoiling all.) 

Weaver, a guide, had reason to believe it was 
eighteen miles further to the river ; the temperature 
was almost hot ; — but soon, Leroux came again, 
to illume the gloomy prospect b}^ the happy an- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I 57 

nouncement of a sufficiency of rain ponds a mile or 
two on ; and there, soon after noon, the battahon 
arrived and camped ; and there was mezqiiit for 
the animals to browse. The guides were sent on. 

This great plain of clay, sand and gravel, with 
artemisias and mezquit, seems unbounded to the 
west. I am told it extends a hundred miles ; with 
no water or animals ; but in the dim distance un- 
connected fantastically shaped mountains appear. 
It is a gold district, and reputed to be of the very 
richest ; but never yet worked, on account of its 
utter barrenness, and the fear of Indians. 

I have been mounted thirty-two of the last fifty- 
two hours ; and what with midnight conferences,'^ 
alarms and marches, have had little rest for five days. 

The battalion have marched sixty-two miles from 
Tucson, in about fifty-one hours ; no ration of meat 
was issued yesterday. 

December 21st. — The battalion marched at sun- 
rise ; the road was very good, and passed between 
two small mountains, where the columnar cactus 
abounded ; a decayed one showed a framework of 
wooden poles, cylindrically disposed, and evidently 
suitable for shafts for lance or spear ; the old columns 



'158 THE CONQUEST OF 

for some feet above the ground have a bark, and 
exactly the appearance of the cottonwood. 

We were soon gladdened at sight of the trees 
of the Gila ; but the trail bending westward, ap- 
proached it obliquely, and we found it ten miles to 
its bank. We had struck Gen. Kearny's route, and 
here went into camp. 

From the point where Gen. Kearny left the Rio 
Grande, about two hundred and twenty eight miles 
below Sante Fe, and where our routes diverged, to 
their camp, near the Pimo village, I made a map and 
sketch of my road ; I had the aid of no instrument 
but a compass. 

Captain Emory of the Topographical Engineers, 

I on the General's staff, had the duty of making a 

I map with the aid, of course, of the best instruments, 

I for determining latitude, longitude, etc. My rude 

map covered four hundred and seventy-four miles, 

and it chanced to get into Captain Emory's hands 

while he was finishing his own map in Washington. 

The tests which he was able to apply to it, proved 

its singular accuracy, and he incorporated it with 

his own. It appears in atlases as " Colonel Cooke's 

wagon route.'* 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 59 

The treaty of peace and boundaries with Mexico 
established the Gila River as a boundary between 
the two countries. A new administration, in which 
southern interests prevailed, with the great problem 
of the practicability and best location of a Pacific 
Railroad under investigation, had the map of this 
wagon route before them, with its continuance to 
the west, and perceived that it gave exactly the 
solution of its unknown element ; that a southern 
route would avoid both the Rocky Mountains and 
Sierra Nevada, with their snows, and would meet 
no obstacle in this great interval. The new " Gads- 
den Treaty" with Mexico was the result ; it was 
signed December 30th, 1853. 

Accordingly it isTound that the new boundary 
agreed upon, is constituted chiefly of arbitrary right 
lines ; the most southern one being nearly a tangent 
of the southern bend of the road. 

This most costly acquisition of parts of Sonora 
and Chihuahua became an important part of the 
New Territory, which received the name of Arizona. 

Before we arrived here, although eight miles 
above the Pimo village, there were many Indians on 
the ground, and they have since flocked into camp, 



l6o THE CONQUEST OF 

some mounted, and bring small sacks of corn, flour, 
beans, etc. One brought me letters from General 
Kearny and Major Swords, Quarter-master, which 
mention eleven broken down mules and two bales of 
Indian goods left for me with the Pimos. Being 
informed that there is very little corn at the villages, 
the guides were directed to open trade here ; but 
they reported the prices such, that they could do 
nothing ; and I have forbidden individuals to trade 
for corn or wheat until further orders. 

Many of these Indians, I was somewhat surprised 
to see, are nearly naked ; they manufacture cotton 
blankets, and show every desire to be clothed ; they 
are good looking and very lively ; they know nothing 
of the value of money, and little of weights and meas- 
ures ; their language is a pleasant one. A few speak 
the Spanish, and I was surprised to see one, who 
spoke it well, have recourse to his fingers to explain 
the subtraction of five mules, dead, from the eleven 
left for me. 

The weather is like early October in New 
Mexico ; warm days and cold nights. Cottonwoods, 
the only tree here, are only partially yellowed by 
frosts. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. l6l 

I have conversed with the principal chief, Juan 
Antonio, and he and another have supped with me. 
He said the commander of Tucson sent to demand 
the mules and Indian goods left with him : that he 
refused, and declared he would resist force with force. 
He said I could see they were poor and naked, but 
they v/ere content to live here by hard work on the 
spot which God had given them; and not like 
others to rob or steal ; that they did not fear us, and 
run like the Apaches, because they made it a rule 
to injure no one in any way, and therefore never 
expected any one to injure them. In fact the 
Apaches do not molest them ; but it is owing to 
experience of their prowess. 

I have spoken to the two senior captains of the 
battalion on the subject of their settling near here ; ^. 
they seem to look upon it favorably. Captain 
Hunt asked my permission to talk to the chief on 
the subject, and I approved of it. 

The Pimos are large and fine looking, seem well 
fed, ride good horses, and are variously clothed, 
though many have only the centre cloth ; the men 
and women have extraordinary luxuriance and 
length of hair. With clean white blankets and 



l62 THE CONQUEST OF 

streaming hair, they present mounted quite a fine 
figure. But innocence and cheerfulness are their 
most distinctive characteristics. I am told the 
Mexican ofificers used every persuasion, and prom- 
ise of plunder, to excite hostility toward us. 

A few bushels of sweet corn were bought, and 
issued as rations. 

December 22d, the march was resumed. Several 
miles short of the village, groups of men, women and 
girls were met, coming to welcome the battalion ; 
" These last, naked generally above the hips, were of 
every age and pretty, walking often by twos with 
encircling arms ; it was a gladdening sight, so much 
cheerfulness and happiness. One little girl particu- 
larly, by a fancied resemblance, interested me much ; 
she was so joyous that she seemed very pretty and 
innocent ; I could not resist tying on her head, as a 
turban, a bright new silk handkerchief, which I hap- 
pened to wear to-day ; the effect was beautiful to 
see — a picture of happiness !" 

The camp is full of the Indians, and a great 
many have some eatables, including watermelons, to 
trade ; and they seem only to want clothing or 
cotton cloth, and beads. I am sorry they will be 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 163 

disappointed. It reminds me of a crowded New 
Orleans market. There must be two thousand in 
camp, all enjoying themselves very much ; they 
stroll about, their arms around each other, graceful 
and admirable in form ; their language certainly 
sounds like ours ; their honesty is perfect ! 

The march was resumed the 23d. At the chiefs 
house I stopped a few minutes; I told him I had 
seen many tribes, and that the Pimos were the hap- 
piest and most prosperous I had ever seen ; that 
as long as they adhered to their principles of 
industry, honesty, peace and cheerful content, they 
would continue so ; that while they never injured 
their neighbors, their true safety lay in uniting to 
resist vigorously every aggression ; that wishing 
them well, I desired to add to their comfort and 
welfare. by introducing sheep among them, by giving 
him for the ultimate use of his people, three ewes 
with young, which was the best I could do. 

I received to-day a letter from General Kearny, 
written at Warner's rancho, California; indicating 
that his arrival was very important, not only to the 
welfare of California, but to its conquest. 

The march was fifteen miles. The whole dis- 



164 THE CONQUEST OF 

tance was through cultivated grounds, and a lux- 
uriantly rich soil ; there is a very large zequia well 
out from the river; the plain appeared to extend in 
every direction fifteen or twenty miles. The camp 
was made at the village of the Maricopas ; notwith- 
standing a different language, all that has been said 
of the Pimos is applicable to them. They live in 
cordial amity, and their habits, agriculture and man- 
ufactures are the same, as also their religion, which 
consists in a simple belief in a great over-ruling 
spirit. This seems to have proved a foundation for 
a most enviable practical morality. Don Jose 
Messio is their governor, and their population is 
estimated as high as ten thousand. Their dwellings 
are dom.e shaped wicker work, thatched with straw 
or cornstalks, and from twenty lo fifty feet in diam- 
eter; in front is usually a large arbor, on which is 
piled the cotton in the pod, for drying; horses, 
mules, oxen, chickens and dogs seem to be the only 
domestic animals ; they have axes, hoes, shovels, 
and harrows. The soil is so easily pulverized, as to 
make the plow unnecesssry. 

Busy preparations were made for the march 
about noon next day, to encounter a Jornada of 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 165 

above forty miles, caused by a great bend of the 
river with mountains. The rations were found to 
have suffered great loss or wastage ; of the beeves 
many were in good order, and three of the oxen 
were still left. A few exchanges for fatter animals 
were made, the pack saddles in excess of twelve to 
a company, were disposed of Eight mules, aban- 
doned by the General, had been picked up by the 
Maricopas, and were delivered to me. 

The hospitality and generosity of these allied 
tribes is noted ; they feed and assist in every way 
travelers who are in need ; fortunately, perhaps, 
these have been few. I observed them parching 
grain in a basket, by throwing in live coals and 
keeping all in motion, by tossing into the air. 

They have the simplicity of nature, and none of 
the affected reserve and dignity characteristic of 
other Indians, before whites. At the sound of a 
trumpet, playing of a violin, the killing of a beef, 
they rush to see and hear, with delight or astonish- 
ment strongly exhibited. 

About a half bushel of corn was procured for 
each animal, and three days' rations of corn meal. 
Kb December 2^th. — The march was up hill, and the 

I 



1 66 THE CONQUEST OF 

road rather sandy. Half an hour before sundown, 
having long seen Leroux's smoke, indicating he had 
found grass, I pushed on to examine the ground 
before dark; I stationed the sentinels so that the 
mules could be turned loose in the mezquit, with- 
out much danger of their escaping to seek water. 
The wagons arrived at 8 o'clock, the march having 
been eighteen miles. The weather has been quite 
warm for several days, but fortunately, as there is 
no water, it was cloudy this afternoon. 

Next morning, with reveille at 4.30 o'clock, the 
battalion could not be got in motion much before 7. 
Some rough, difficult ground was found in the gap 
of the ridge, which consumed much time. I then rode 
ahead and reached the river about sunset. The 
guides had preceded me, and following their path, (a 
wrong one) I passed through a very uneven willow- 
grown bottom of the river and found them taking their 
ease at the water-edge, with some yellow, broken, 
years-old grass near, which had been their attraction, 
as " the best the country afforded." 

I selected a camp-ground, and marked it by lit- 
tle fires, made by some packmen, who had arrived. 
The wagons came about 7.30. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 6/ 

The river is here brackish ; this is caused by 
the Saline River, a larger stream than the Gila 
above, which flows into it below the Maricopa 
village. The day's march had been twenty-three 
miles. 

Here I relieved the train of three hundred mule 
shoes, and the nails, by making a " cache ;" which in 
far western language, means burying valuables in the 
ground, and noting by some permanent object, the 
exact position. 

For the next six days the marches averaged ten 
miles. It was an unremitting struggle with the rude 
barrenness of a rainless wilderness. Once, the 
mule drove was sent four miles to some grass which 
the guides had reported, but which was found to be 
nearly worthless ; Weaver said, it sprang up from a ^ 
shower which fell there four years ago, as he knew ; 
(but the duration of a cycle of these phenomena un- 
fortunately he could not determine.) The animals 
existed on corn, doled by the pint, with now and • 
then flag grass, and willow bushes on the river mar- 
gin and sand-bars. Many miles of road were beaten, 
with much dust, in a clay formation, where mule 
tracks were six inches deep ; much sand was en- 



l68 THE CONQUEST OF 

countered, and several volcanic bluffs, which re- 
quired much labor to be made passable. 

The second of these days, we met two travelers, 
a Chilean and a California refugee ; they gave very 
confused information of a renewed state of war in 
California, and of bodies of armed men, with droves 
coming to Sonora. They had passed another small 
party a few days before. 

The same day Leroux and four other guides, and 
Mr. Hall were sent forward, with dispatches; and 
they were instructed to send back information of 
any thing observed on the route, of importance to 
the expedition. They were also ordered to bring 
fresh mules and beeves to meet the battalion as 
early as possible. One of them was required to be 
at Warner's rancho, when the battalion should ar- 
rive there, about " January 2 1st." 

January isf, 1847. — Cottonwood-bark and branch- 
es, and mezquit, were added yesterday to the forage 
list. Many of the animals, including sheep, have ap- 
peared to be poisoned ; a few have died, the others 
appear to be gradually recovering. 

Whenever there is a bed where the river some- 
times flows, we find more or less grass ; there is Httle 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. l6g 

doubt that only want of rain prevents its growth 
elsewhere ; but the bottoms frequently show salty 
efflorescences ; also much of it seems of mere clay, 
which I think will not produce vegetation. 

We found in this night's camp a party described 
by the Mexicans whom we met, including a lady who 
was delivered of a fine child two days ago ; and she 
traveled yesterday ten miles on horseback. They 
report the wells in the desert, of which the General 
wrote, to be dried up — probably filled partly with 
sand. 

I am now preparing a boat of the two ponton 
wagon-bodies lashed together, end to end, between 
two dry cottonwood logs ; in this I shall put all the 
baggage I c^n risk. The river is rapid, and in places 
three or four feet deep ; and here it is one hundred and 
fifty yards wide. I have determined to send Lieuten- 
ant Stoneman in charge ; he professes to have had 
similar experience, and is desirous to undertake it. 

January 6th. — In five days but fifty-four miles of 
progress has been made, and after much anxiety the 
ponton boat, now first seen, has joined the battalion 
empty ! The experiment proved a failure, and the 
stores have been landed in several places ; but three 
8 



I/O THE CONQUEST OF 

or four inches of water was to be found on several 
rapids. 

Parties with pack mules have been out all the 
time striving to meet the boat, and recover at least 
the flour, from its load of two thousand five hun- 
dred pounds of provisions and corn. And these 
have not been heard from ! 

It was found necessary for our wagons to vary 
^ much from General Kearny's trail ; and a road was 
cut, in places, through miles of dense thickets, etc. 

Next day only seven miles could be made ; points 
of stony ridges and clay gullies required much work. 

The mules were ordered to be sent across the 
river to browse in the young willows, flag-grass, etc., 
and it turned out they had to swim. 

January Zth. — Sixteen miles took the battalion 
to the mouth of the Gila. 

"A vast bottom; the country about' the two 
rivers is a picture of desolation ; nothing like vege- 
/ tation beyond the alluvium of the two rivers ; bleak 
mountains, wild looking peaks, stony hills and 
plains, fill the view. We are encamped in the 
midst of wild hemp. The mules are in mezquit 
thickets, with a little bunch grass, a half a mile off." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 171 

January gth. — We marched very early. The 
wagons were six hours reaching the crossing of the 
Colorado ; about half of the road was bad, sand or 
soft clay ; the pioneers did much work. The mules 
are weak, and their failing, or flagging to-day in 
ten miles, is very unpromising for the hundred mile 
stretch, dry and barren, before them. There is no 
grass, and only scanty cottonwood boughs for them 
to-night, but I sent out forty men to gather the 
fruit, called tornia, of a variety of the mezquit. They 
have gathered twelve or fifteen bushels, which has 
been spread out to be eaten on a hard part of the 
sand-bar. 

Francisco was sent across the river to fire the 
thickets beyond — this to clear the way for the pio- 
neer party in the morning. He says the river is ' 
deeper than usual ; it is wider than the Missouri, 
and of the same muddy color. It is probable that 
sugar-cane may be cultivated here. 

It is said to be sixty miles to tide water, and 
one hundred and sixty to the mouth of the river. 

January lotk. — The mules were driven two 
miles to grass ; some of the pack mule party arrived 
bringing four hundred and fifty pounds of flour ; a 



1/2 THE CONQUEST OF 

♦part of them had been left, hunting for another de- 
posit. The companies were ordered to cross with 
their baggage, in the ponton boat, leaving empty 
wagons, teamsters and mules ; the ford inclining 
down the river, was above a mile long and in two 
channels. 

The battalion continued crossing with great diffi- 
culty all the night, the water in some places almost 
too deep to use a pole. The sheep were now doing 
better ; lately a few had been left each day, and only 
one hundred and thirty remained. 

'•^ January iithl 9 /. m. — With my mind full of 
anxiety, I force myself to the task of recording the 
deeds of the day. I am in camp at the * well,' fif- 
teen miles from the river crossing ; I resolved that 
here the battalion should come to-day, and for these 
reasons : I had not rations or time, under the prob- 
able state of affairs in California, to spend another 
day beyond the river ; there was nothing for the 
mules on this side, and as they must graze on that 
side, and must pull the wagons over when they 
came, there would be little less to do to-morrow 
than to-day. 

The first difficulty I encountered this morning 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 73 

was, that instead of the boat being in readiness to 
cross the sheep at five o'clock, as ordered, it was 
not over until quarter past seven ; then I had all 
the baggage of the field and staff taken to it in 
ten minutes, and crossed myself, taking in addition 
ten of the men. 

I was then told by the adjutant, that many 
loads of company baggage had still to be brought 
over; the round trips had averaged an hour and a 
half, and on all sides their idea of the impossibility 
of making the set day's journey was conveyed to 
me. I ordered that the rest of the baggage should 
come over in the wagons, the sheep only should be 
ferried ; the remaining baggage was then loaded 
accordingly ; the mules had been driven in at day- 
light, and I got the wagons started in the river at 
eight o'clock. The river runs swiftly and is at ^ 
least four feet deep. About nine, I got to where 
the battalion had encamped. Here in willow 
bushes, which concealed everything, I found all in 
confusion; tents standing, every man doing his own 
pleasure, some eating, some cooking. Time was 
flying fast. I then saw a wagon, the only one of 
Company C, standing half way across, with mules 



174 THE CONQUEST OF 

taken out on a sand bar, and nothing apparently 
doing. Half an hour later, its commander reported 
to me that they were stuck, etc., and could not get 
out. I told him they were not trying, that they 
had the same opportunities as the others, (the boat 
had been used turn about,) that other wagons had 
got over easily, and men in them against positive 
orders ; that I should march immediately, and 
would not help him. 

Meanwhile the boat came, half loaded with men 
and baggage, and with less than a third of the sheep, 
and instantly the crew disappeared. I had almost 
to force, personally, men into the boat to take it 
back. They then spent half an hour in water deeper 
than they could reach with their ten foot poles. So 
bad seemed the chance of getting over more than an- 
other load, that I sent word to Lieutenant Smith to 
bring over the boat full of the best sheep, and the 
others might be abandoned if they could not swim. 
Quite a number of mules had fallen and been 
drowned ; the river had an inch of ice, where there 
was no current. Then I forced off the battalion, at 
lO o'clock, to march fifteen miles of bad road, leaving 
a company in the river, and two-thirds of the sheep 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 75 

on the other side. I knew these last were in good 
hands, and that the company would be excited to 
do their best. The first mile was ascending, and 
through deep sand ; the mules were torpid and 
sullen. The prospect of getting to this camp was 
almost desperate. I gave orders that private mules 
should be put to the wagons ; then, if necessary, to 
leave a wagon on the road. Two were thus left. I 
rode on and stopped all pack and loose animals at 
a patch of mezquit, the tornia or fruit of which had 
fallen to the ground, until all the wagons had passed. 
The fire of the pioneer party raged around us. 
I sent twenty men on, to collect mezquit beans or 
tornia, believing the battalion would arrive after 
dark ; I knew there was no grassJ I arrived at four 
o'clock, and was met by a man who told me * there 
was not a drop of water.* The worse prospect for 
sixty miles ahead, instantly rose to frighten me for 
the three hundred and sixty nearly worn out foot- 
men, who confide all to me. ) 

I found the party digging most energetically, not 
only at the old well, but they had commenced an- 
other. Soon, in the first, they struck damp sand, 
and so on, to water. When the quicksands were 



176 THE CONQUEST OF 

struck, they caved in so as to render it impossible to 
get water more than two or three inches deep. 
Many expedients were discussed ; it was considered 
that our only hope was in a wash-tub belonging to 
the wife of a captain. The new well progressed 
slowly through hard clay. The first wagon came at 
sunset; at dusk the tub arrived. Lieutenant Oman 
reported to me, to my astonishment, that they were 
unwilling to give up that valuable article ! — upon 
which our lives seemed to depend. I had it taken. 
The well then seemed for some time to work promis- 
ingly. Then it failed. I had the tub taken up, and 
the bottom, which had been bored, knocked out ; then 
it worked better. It was late however and anxious 
expectants thronged the hole. I was seated in my 
tent, consulting with the guides, when Lieutenant 
Oman reported that the well had failed worse than 
ever. 

My doubts seemed converted to the certainty of 
evil and disaster. I then learned that the company 
I had left were camped six miles back ; their team 
having given out. ;' 

I sent for Weaver to inquire of the route, long 
thought ofy to follow the river some sixty miles 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 77 

down ; he so represented the country as to give 
scarce a hope of its practicability under our circum- 
stances. Once more I went to the well, and 
ordered a fresh detail to be put on the new one ; 
they had found in ten feet only mud, and its upper 
surface was two feet lower than the old one, which 
was ten feet deep. I then with my mind full of 
trouble, sat down to write. In half an hour, Lieut. 
O. came and reported that in the new well, he had 
^ come to water that could be dipped with a camp 
kettle.' It was like a great light bursting upon 
darkness and gloom. 

I am writing with effort to suppress feeling. 
This well failing, what had I to expect of the next, 
which I knew to be dry now, and not, like this, 
deriving its supply from a great river, and to be 
only reached by going without water for a night ^ 
and two days, in addition, to this hard day ; and the 
next hope of water almost three of our average 
marches still further on ; and behind, starvation and 
failure. ' 

( But my faith had not failed, for, at the worst, 
I gave orders for a beef to be slaughtered at day- 
light, to be cooked before ten o'clock, and other 
8* 



1/8 THE CONQUEST OF 

preparations for the night following without water. 
The sheep were all got over. 

Many mules gave out to-day, and at best the 
prospect is bad ; not only want of water, but so 
very little for the poor animals to eat. I had 
five bushels of tornia brought here by each com- 
pany. 

It is half past ten o'clock at night ; I have 
ordered Lieut. O. with twelve picked men to go 
through to-morrow to the Alamo Mocho, to dig and 
prepare for us. 

; Eighteen hours of unceasing labor has been my 
lot to-day, with anxiety enough to turn one grey. 
Our safety seems the accident of a pocket of clay — 
which served as a wall — reaching below the level of 
quicksand, which probably extends from the bed of 
the river.'*j 

In the morning it took from 9 to 11.30 o'clock, 
to water the mules of three companies ; then the 
march began, leaving the others to follow, when 
their mules were well watered. A guide had 
stopped at some scant straw colored " grass," and 
camp was made about sundown. It was a wilder- 
ness of sand, mixed with gravel and small stones ; 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 79 

the only vegetable production a slim bush, which 
the New Mexicans call " stinking wood." 

The 13th, the march was commenced at sunrise ; 
it was a hot day, and some bad sand was encoun- 
tered. It was thirteen miles to the wells, and the 
battalion arrived at two o'clock. The advance 
party had improved an old well, and dug another ; 
there was only mezquit without fruit. " Now after 
eight hours, the watering is still going on ; the poor i- 
animals after drinking the impure warm water, seem 
unsatisfied, and have to be driven away to the 
bushes on which to browse." 

Next day signal smokes were frequently seen ; 
believed to be made by Indians ; a small party 
would have seen enough of them. It was about 
twenty-five miles to another old well, the Pojso 
Hondo ; and Lieutenant Stoneman with twenty-five 
men and Weaver were sent early in the morning 
to go through and prepare for the battalion. 

The corporal and two men, who against instruc- 
tions, remained seeking more flour, left by the boat, 
had not yet come up ; and two more men were miss- 
ing since leaving the Colorado. 
. " I had lately a conversation with old Weaver, 



l8o THE CONQUEST OF 

which was not official. He said, ' the Tontos hve 
in that range over there ; I never see them with 
more than one or two lodges together ; they are a 
band of the Coyoteros, and are called fools for their 
ignorance. When I went over, once, from the Pimos 
to the Cochanos and Mochabas, I met some lodges 
and had a fuss with them.' — * What sort ?' — ' Oh, we 
killed two or three and burnt their lodges, and took 
all the women and children and sold them.' ' What ! * 
* Yes, I have often caught the women and children 
of the Dicrcrer Indians and sold them in New Mexico 
and Sonora. They bring a hundred dollars. Mr. — , 
of Tucson told me a squaw I sold him, ran off, and 
was found dead, famished for water I s'pose, going 
over from the Pimos to the Colorado.' * What, have 
you no feeling for her death, trying to return to her 
father and mother you tore her from ? ' 'I killed 
her father and mother, as hke as not; they stole all 
our traps ; as fast as we could stick a trap in the 
river, they'd come and steal it, and shoot arrows into 
our horses ; they thought we would leave them for 
them to eat, but we built a big fire and burnt them 
up."' 

This Alamo Mocho (broken cottonwood) well is 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. l8l 

near the foot of a very steep bank, perhaps eighty 
feet down to a remarkable depression of great ex- 
tent and as wide as a great river ; and most Hkely it 
is the bed of one, or of a dried up creek of the Gulf. 
The flat bottom, is grown up with mezquit. (Two or 
three years after this date, a stream suddenly broke 
through, or made its appearance, much to the joy of 
some travelers ; it is called New River.) 

January \/\.th. — The march began at ii A. M : de- 
tails had been at work the whole night, and up to 
that hour, drawing the scant water for mules and 
cattle; and it was found necessary to leave two 
wagons. 

Some bad sand was encountered this day; some- 
times only a little, blown from sand hills, which 
were skirted ; then a great flat of baked clay, which 
had evidently been covered by water, on which the 
animals scarcely left a track. The battalion observed 
the tracks of hundreds of mules and horses ; herds 
believed to have been driven within a few months to 
Sonora. Sea shells, and salt, found on this great 
plain, indicate that it was once the bottom of the 
Gulf. 

Having marched seventeen miles, the battalion 



1 82 THE CONQUEST OF 

came at dark to a mezquit thicket, and camped 
There was no water. 

Marching at sunrise, next day, seven miles over 
the flat broken plain, brought them to the Pozo 
Hondo. " The distant mountains to our left and 
front were mingled with clouds ; the rising sun paint- 
ed all with bright and varied hues, and then we saw 
the distinct colors of a rainbow. . . which only 
once before have we seen, in the other desert of 
Tucson." 

Here were met fresh mules and some beeves, sent 
under charge of one guide ; twenty-two of fifty-seven 
mules had been lost. There was great disappointment 
in the well ; the water was issued by the gill ; it was 
necessary to go on ; a fat beef was killed and cooked ; 
and the work of catching with the lazo, and harness- 
ing the new mules, many of which were as wild as 
deer, and had to be thrown down, consumed the 
whole delay of near three hours ; one mule, after 
being harnessed, broke away from three stout men, 
and ran off at great speed into the desert, unfol- 
lowed. 

Here was heard the distressing news of a dis- 
astrous engagement of General Kearny ; of his 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 83 

wounds, and of the death of valued and loved offi- 
cers, and many other dragoons. Captains Johnston 
and Moore and Lieutenant Hammond had fallen. 

Eleven more miles were marched, and halt was 
then made until 2 o'clock A. M. ; the mules were 
kept tied, and some bunch grass was cut and fed to 
them. 

" Besides being nearly starved, our mules have 
had no water since yesterday morning ; the men 
too, are without it ; it is necessary to go on in the 
cold night, speedily to end this terrible state of 
things ; the ten miles of much dreaded sand is before 
us. 

At 2 A. M., January i6th the march was resumed. 

*' I had a large advance guard and all the guides 
on duty, telling Weaver not to lose sight of the 
leading wagon ; it was starlight. Four miles from 
our bivouac I stopped until all had passed, and found 
that even then a team or two had apparently given 
out. I gave various orders of relief, transferred 
mules, etc. ; toward daylight it was exceedingly 
cold, too much so to ride ; then the guides got lost, 
and, by their not obeying strictly my orders, the 
wagons lost at least a mile ; here the new teams 



J 84 THE CONQUEST OF 

seemed almost exhausted ; two companies had lost 
harness and I managed to find some other for them. 
I found the road was about to prove much longer 
than I had been informed. About lo o'clock in the 
morning as usual, it became of summer heat. Fi- 
nally, near eleven, I reached, with the foremost 
wagon, the first water of the Cariza ; — a clear run- 
ning stream gladdened the eyes, after the anxious 
dependence on muddy wells for five or six days. 
One company, which met with an accident,, was so 
far delayed into the heat of the day, that the 
mules entirely failed several miles off; a new team 
had to be sent, and the wagon came up at sunset. 
I found the march to be nineteen miles ; thus with- 
out water for near three days, (for the working ani- 
mals) and camping two nights, in succession, without 
V water, the battalion made in forty-eight hours, four 
marches, of eighteen, eight, eleven and nineteen miles, 
suffering from frost, and from summer heat. Con- 
sidering this, it seems certain that the fifty-six miles 
from Alamo Mocho, could have been made without 
great loss in no other way ; — the divisions of time for 
rest, the stop only for a drink and refreshment of meat 
in the heat of the day, and the cold night marches. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 85 

We contented ourselves to-day, with a breakfast 
at I o'clock A. M. The sheep, I fear, are many miles 
back. A ration of two and a half pounds of fat beef 
was issued this evening. 

The grass here is dry and salty. The loss of 
mules appears to be sixteen in the two days ; our 
great help has been twenty-two of the General's old 
mules, which were watered yesterday, ' to clean out 
the well ' before my arrival, (there was a wolfs car- 
cass in it ;) but little more water rose after that. A 
great many of my men are wholly without shoes, 
and use every expedient, such as rawhide moccasins 
and sandals, and even wrapping their feet in pieces 
of woolen and cotton cloth." 

January lyth. — Owing to stray mules, the march 
was late; about mid-day the battalion reached Palm 
Spring, where there is a clump of twenty or thirty 
palm trees ; but there being no grass, it was neces- 
sary to go on, and the march was fifteen miles to a 
place called Bajiocito, a wet swampy valley, with 
willow bushes, bad rank grass and no fuel ; the road 
was up the dry bed of a mountain torrent, between 
mountains, ash-colored and utterly barren. " That 
this fifteen miles of very bad road was accomplished 



l86 TH^ CONQUEST OF 

under the circumstances, by mules or men, is extra- 
ordinary. The men arrived here completely worn 
down ; they staggered as they marched, as they 
did yesterday. The sheep are not up, but near. It 
is astonishing to consider what the wild young 
mules performed and endured ; driven thirty miles 
to meet me, then next day, in its heat, to go 
through the terrible process of being broken to har- 
ness — two hours of the most violent struggles pos- 
sible ; then to draw wagons two marches, and thus 
without food, to march the third day without 
water." 

January \%th, — Some of the men did not find 
strength to reach camp before da34ight this morning. 
The sheep did not come up until after mid-day ; there 
are eighty-eight left. I went through the compa- 
Vnies this morning ; they were eating their last four 
ounces of flour; of sugar and coffee, there has been 
none for some weeks. I have remaining only five 
public wagons, there are three, private property. 

The Indian Alcalde of San Phillipi, brought me 
a letter, but three days old, from Commander Mont- 
gomery of the Portsm.outh, and governor of San 
Diego ; he writes that my party arrived on the 14th 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 18/ 

instant, welcomes my approach, promises refresh- 
ment, etc., for the battalion. 

The Alcalde, and his interpreter, also a San 
Phillipian Indian, are fine looking men, nearly naked, 
hair long, and faces painted in red spots ; their lan- 
guage seems a bad one, somewhat resembling that 
of the Apaches. 

The men, who this morning were prostrate, worn 
out, hungry, heartless, have recovered their spirits 
to-night, and are singing and playing the fiddle. 

With confused information of hostilities, the 
march was resumed the 19th, with more military 
order, and with baggage in the rear. The guides 
had reported a good firm road, with a rather narrow 
canon, etc. After marching three or four miles, up 
hill, I came to advance guard pioneers and guides, 
at a standstill. Weaver coolly remarked, " I believe 
we are penned up ; " there was a rugged ridge in 
front, some two hundred feet high ; I ordered him 
to find a crossing, or I should send a company wh.o 
would soon do it. With much active work, I got 
the wagons over in about an hour and a half. Then 
up the dry bed of a mountain stream, I came to the 
caiion and found it much worse than I had been led 



1 88 THE CONQUEST OF 

to expect ; there were many rocks to surmount, but 
the worst was the narrow pass. Setting the exam- 
ple myself, there was much work done on it before 
the wagons came ; the rock was hewn with axes 
to increase the opening. I thought it wide enough, 
and going on, found a hill to be ascended, to avoid 
a still narrower pass, with a great rock to be broken, 
before it could be crossed. But when a trial was 
made, at the first pass, it was found too narrow by a 
foot of solid rock. More work was done, and sev- 
eral trials made. The sun was now only an hour 
high, and it was about seven miles to the first 
water. I had a wagon taken to pieces, and carried 
through. 

Meanwhile, we still hewed and hammered at the 
mountain side ; but the best road tools had been 
lost in the boat experiment. The next wagon body 
was lifted through, and then the running gear, by 
lifting one side ; then I rode on again, and saw a 
wagon up the very steep hill, and down again to the 
cafion. The work on the pass was perseveringly 
continued, and the last two wagons were pulled 
through by the mules, with loads undisturbed. 

We had ascended the main ridge by sunset, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 89 

where a guide met me, and pointed to another a 
mile or two in front, and said it was very bad, and 
could only be passed by daylight. As there was 
unusually good grass, I camped ; but there had 
been no provision made for their unexpected pri- 
vation of water. 

After a very cold night, with very little fuel, the 
march was next morning continued before sunrise ; 
the wagons were got over the second ridge, by the 
help of ropes, A good descending road for seven 
miles then led to San Phillippi, which was found 
to be a small deserted Indian village. The mules 
were grazed, and two beeves killed for breakfast ; 
there was no other food. In the afternoon the bat- 
talion ascended the pass of another low mountain 
seven miles, and had water, but very scant grass for 
a camp. The battalion during the march was exer- 
cised in a prairie, waiting for the wagons to come up. 

The guide Charboneaux returned that day ; the 
Governor of San Diego detaining Leroux and Mr. 
Hall, the road being very unsafe from hostile Cali- 
fornians. 

The battalion was under orders to march to San 
Diego, and communication with General Kearny 



IQO THE CONQUEST OF 

was now cut off. By the best information, the en- 
emy were concentrated at Los Angeles. The Gen- 
eral was marching on it from the south, and Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Fremont approaching from the north ; 
so that a direct march on Los Angeles from the 
east was evidently the proper course ; and espe- 
cially so, as Captain Montgomery had written, Jan- 
uary 15th, that it was generally believed that parties 
of Californians, headed by leaders who had broken 
their paroles, would endeavor to effect a retreat to 
Sonora, rather than submit to our arms. 

Also, the district to be thus passed through was 
that of the most influential and most hostile natives, 
and of numerous Indians, many of whom were said 
to be employed, or forced into their ranks by the 
enemy. 

It was determined to take the direct road to Los 
Angeles ; and the guides were sent to Warner's, to 
collect mules, etc. 

One of the five missing adventurers after the 
lost flour, came up to that camp reporting all safe, 
but broken down at Bajiocito, with above four hun- 
dred pounds of flour. Assistance was sent to them. 
A captain reported that the two men who stopped 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I9I 

at the river and had joined the corporal, probably- 
misunderstood him, as giving them permission. 
Such things happen among volunteers. 

" January 2ist. — A cold cloudy morning, threat- 
ening snow. I found the path over the low moun- 
tain pass smooth and not difficult ; the path, now a 
road, winds amid a forest of large evergreen oaks. 
Cold as it was, the fresh deep green grass was 
springing up every where from the ground. This 
mountain divides the waters of the Colorado and the 
Gulf from those which run west to the ocean. The 
highest ridges are crowned with pine, and we saw 
som.e snow among them. I descended rapidly to 
the lower slopes, and there drilled my battalion 
again, while the baggage closed up." 

The battalion reached the rancho early, and 
camped. 

Mr. Warner's information, at this time, placed 
the insurgents at or near Los Angeles, hard pressed 
and likely to be encountered on the road, passing 
here, to Sonora. It was found necessary to rest the 
22d. (It is remarkable that the battalion arrived at 
Warner's the day that the guides were instructed, 
December 28th, to meet it there.) At this time 



192 THE CONQUEST OF 

was commenced the issue of four pounds of fresh 
meat a day, that being the only food. 

" January 22d. — A fine April morning, for Mis- 
souri or Virginia ; a frost however, and a cold night. 
This is a beautiful little valley, shut in by moun- 
tains or high hills on every side, the country is ver- 
dant, some large cottonwoods are leafless, but the 
mistletoe has lent them a green drapery. 

"The name, Agua Caliente, comes from a bold 
stream, issuing from rock fissures at the tempera- 
ture of 170^ ; it now sends up little clouds of steam 
for half a mile below. The valley, a mile long, is 
elliptical, and its green smooth surface really oval ; 
at its centre stands a wonderful evergreen oak, its 
boughs reaching a circle, five feet above the ground, 
and ninety feet in diameter ; the hot stream runs 
round one side, a cold one around the other. The 
Indians, of cold nights, select spots below the spring, 
of agreeable temperature to sleep lying in the 
stream, with the sod bank for a pillow." 

There were a number of San Luis Indians at War- 
ner's ; they had brought here a short time before, 
and killed ten or eleven Californians ; but they had 
lost thirty-eight of their tribe in the Temecala 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 1 93 

valley, killed in an ambush by Californians, and 
Indians of another tribe. They sought now to ac- 
company the battalion to bury the bodies. This was 
conceded, and Antonio, a chief, was engaged, with 
ten of his men mounted, to serve as scouts and 
guides, and to collect and drive cattle for the sub- 
sistence of the battalion. 

On the 23d of January, before marching, a talk 
was held with Baupista, an important chief of Co- 
huillos, a tribe of some two thousand Indians ; and it 
was a rather independent band of them, that, with 
the Californians, defeated the San Luis tribe. He 
was warmly counseled as to the folly of taking any 
part against Americans, who would soon and forever 
govern the country, etc., etc. 

About eighteen miles were marched ; the hills 
were found very steep for a wagon road, and it 
rained several hours in the afternoon. The cor- 
poral and party came up with the flour, at this camp. 
He said he '^ did not dare to come up without it ! " 

The rain continued twenty-four hours; the bat- 
talion had fallen upon the rainy season. All the 
tents were blown down in the night ; the ill-clad 
battalion were drenched, and suffered much. A 
9 



194 THE CONQUEST OF 

number of mules died, and many strayed, and An- 
tonio was found very useful in recovering them. In 
the afternoon, a warmer and less exposed camp was 
found, only three or four miles on. 

The morning of January 25th was very bright ; 
the battalion marched over the hills twelve miles 
into the Temecala valley. The Indians there col- 
lected before its arrival, to bury their dead, showed 
in the distance such military array as to be mis- 
taken for California enemies, and preparations for 
a combat were made before the truth was made 
known. 

There an official dispatch was received, announ- 
cing General Kearny's return to San Diego, and 
showing that the battalion was expected there, as 
originally ordered. 

Accordingly, a cross road presenting itself, next 
morning the march was directed toward the San Die- 
go mission. The San Luis, a little river generally 
dry, was found full of quicksand, and difficult to 
pass. After a seven hours* march, camp was estab- 
lished in its beautiful valley, near a rancho. It was 
now found necessary to issue five pounds of beef as 
a ration. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I95 

The 27th the road passed several ranches, found 
deserted ; then near the important old mission of San 
Luis Rey. The road wound through smooth green 
valleys, and over very lofty hills, equally smooth and 
green. From the top of one of these hills, was 
caught the first and a magnificent view of the great 
ocean ; and by rare chance perhaps, it was so calm 
that it shone as a mirror.'^ 

The day's march was sixteen miles. The pre- 
vious night the herd of cattle had mostly escaped, 
and orders were given for its increase while march- 
ing ; in consequence, the zealous irregulars drove to 
this camp several hundred. 

* The charming and startling effect, under our circumstances, of 
this first view of the ocean could not be expressed ; but in an old 
diary, — once sunk and lost in a river — I find what follows : 

" I caught my fii-st sight of the ocean, as smooth as a mirror, and 
reflecting the full blaze of the declining sun ; from these sparkling 
green hill-tops it seemed that the lower world had turned to impal- 
pable dazzling light, while by contrast, the clear sky looked dim ! 

** We rode on into a valley which was near, but out of view of the 
sea ; its smooth sod was in sunlight and shade ; a gentle brook 
wound through it ; the joyous lark, the gay blackbird, the musi- 
cal bluebird, even the household wren, warbled together the even- 
ing song ; it seemed a sweet domestic scene which must have touched 
the hearts of my rude, far wanderers. But coming to us so sud- 
denly, there was a marvellous accompaniment ; — the fitful roar of 
tide and surf upon a rock-bound shore ; while now and then some 
great roller burst upon the rocks with a booming thunder. It was 
not a discord !" 



196 THE CONQUEST OF 

That night there was so much dew that the 
tents seemed wet by a rain ; there was also some 
little frost. 

Next day a march of seven and a half hours was 
made to San Diegetto. 

January 2gth. — The battalion passed into the 
Solidad Valley ; and then, by cross roads over 
high hills, miry from rain, into a firm regular road, 
and sixteen m.iles in all, to the mission of San 
Diego. 

" The buildings being dilapidated, and in use by 
some dirty Indians, I camped the battalion on the 
flat below. There are around us extensive gardens 
and vineyards, wells and cisterns, more or less fallen 
into decay and disorder ; but also olive and pictur- 
esque date trees flourishing and ornamental. There 
is no fuel for miles around, and the dependence for 
water is some rather distant pools in the sandy 
San Diego, which runs (sometimes) down to the 
ocean. The evening of this day of the march, I 
rode down, by moonlight, and reported to the Gen- 
eral in San Diego. 

The battalion seemed to have deserved, and 
cheered heartily the following order : 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. I97 

Headquarters Mormon Battalion. 

Mission of San Diego, January 30, 1847. 

ORDERS NO. I. 

The Lieutenant-Colonel commanding congratulates the bat- 
talion on their safe arrival on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, 
and the conclusion of their march of over two thousand miles. 

History may be searched in vain for an equal march of in- 
fantry. Half of it has been through a wilderness where nothing 
but savages and wild beasts are found, or deserts where, for 
want of water, there is no living creature. There, with almost 
hopeless labor we have dug deep wells, which the future traveler 
will enjoy. Without a guide who had traversed them, we have 
ventured into trackless table-lands where water was not found 
for several marches. With crowbar and pick and axe in hand, 
we have worked our way over mountains, which seemed to 
defy aught save the wild goat, and hewed a passage through a 
chasm of living rock more narrow than our wagons. To bring 
these first wagons to the Pacific, we have preserved the strength 
of our mules by herding them over large tracts, which you have 
laboriously guarded without loss. The garrison of four pre- 
sidios of Sonora concentrated within the wails of Tucson, gave 
us no pause. We drove them out, with their artillery, but our 
intercourse with the citizens was unmarked by a single act of 
injustice. Thus, marching half naked and half fed, and living 
upon wild animals, we have discovered and made a road of 
great value to our country. 

Arrived at the first settlement of California, after a single 
day's rest, you cheerfully turned off from the route to this point 
of promised repose, to enter upon a campaign, and meet, as we 
supposed, the approach of the enemy ; and this too, without 
even salt to season your sole subsistence of fiesh meat. 

Lieutenant A. J. Smith and George Stoneman, of the First 
Dragoons, have shared and given valuable aid in all these labors. 

Thus, volunteers, you have exhibited some high and essen- 
tial qualities of veterans. But much remains undone. Soon, 
you will turn your attention to the drill, to system and order, to 
forms also, which are all necessary to the soldier." 

By order, etc. 



IV. 

CALIFORNIA. 

T T PPER California was discovered by Cabrillo, a 
Spanish navigator, A. D. 1548. It was first 
colonized in 1768. 

Presidios, or garrisoned forts, were established 
at San Diego, first, at Santa Barbara, Monterey, 
San Francisco ; the form of all of them is nearly the 
same ; adobe walls twelve feet high, enclosing a 
square of six hundred feet fronts, and including a 
chapel and store houses ; they were weak, but suffi- 
cient for defence against wild Indians, whom they 
called gentiles ; the garrisons were of about eighty 
horsemen, some auxiliaries, and small detachments 
of artillery. 

Missions of Franciscans accompanied, or imme- 
diately followed them, at San Diego first ; from 
time to time above twenty more. There was one 
near each presidio, walled like them. They included 
handsome churches, some of stone, ample quarters. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 199 

work shops, store houses, granaries and courts. 
They gradually extended their claims to territory, 
and so came to include nearly the whole countr}-. 
The conversion of natives went hand in hand with 
their instruction in agriculture and mechanical arts, 
and the use of the Spanish language ; they were the 
laborers in the erection of those great structures. 
Their villages, called rancherias, were near the 
missions; they lived in thatched conical huts. Small 
military detachments were quartered at the ranch- 
erias to keep order. In 1822 the number of the 
converts was estimated at twenty-two thousand, 
besides gentiles settled near by. 

There was some immigration from Mexico; the 
soldiers generally brought wives, and thus the white 
population was slowly increased. The white race, 
living an active out-door life, in a most genial cli- 
mate, was healthy and strong, and of extreme fecun- 
dity ; the presidial companies came to be composed 
of them ; but it was difficult for them to secure the 
ownership of land, against the encroachments of the 
powerful missions, which discouraged immigration, 



and under an irregular and weak territorial gov- 
ernment, the head of which was the commandante- 



200 THE CO^^QUE-T OF 

general. Thus their state was not far above 
savagery ; there were no schools ; a little wheat, 
beans, etc., was raised by families ; their diet was 
chiefly fresh meat ; even milk was seldom used, and 
butter almost unknown. They were indolent although 
active ; almost lived on horseback, and were won- 
derful riders ; they and the Comanches more nearly 
realizing the fabled centaurs than any people known 
to us. Horse-racing, gambling, and dancing were 
their chief occupations. Still they had received 
from the poor Indians the designation of people of 
reason (^j'ente de razon). 

The cattle and horses introduced — the latter said 
to be of Arabian breed — wonderfully increased on 
the rich grasses in a most favorable climate. Up to 
1826, horses which had become wholly wild, so over- 
ran the land, that it was common for the men to 
join together to drive them into great pens, pre- 
pared for the purpose, and when thus confined, 
after securing some of the finest animals, to slaugh- 
ter the rest. 

In 1 8 16 a foreign trade in hides and tallow was 
opened; an annual ship came from Boston ; in 1822 
near forty thousand hides and about the same 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 201 

number of arrobas (twenty-five pounds) of tallow 
were exported. Hides became known as California 
bank notes, of the value of two dollars. 

The Spanish power in California was overthrown 
by the Mexican revolution of 1822 ; and the policy 
of the ever-changing governments of Mexico showed 
itself constant in the secularization of the govern- 
ment of California. The Missions began to decline 
in wealth and power in 1824. The decree for the 
expulsion of all native Spaniards was enforced on 
their priests ; and by 1836 the Fathers were finally 
stripped of their possessions. 

It was a sad change for the Indians, who were 
strongly attached to their spiritual guides and gov- 
ernors, and were happy and content under their 
jurisdiction. The Missions gradually despoiled, — 
the Californians taking an active part — under se- 
cular administration, the proselytes became scat- 
tered or subject to every oppression and cruelty, — 
mere serfs. 

But this wrong and devastation had compensa- 
ting effects upon the people at large. The lands 
became divided, and came Into individual ownership ; 
industry and enterprise were encouraged in those 



202 THE CONQUEST OF 

who were no longer dependent upon the bounty and 
the will of priests. 

In the spring of 1846 the white population of 
California was, by estimate, no higher than ten thou- 
sand ; including about two thousand foreigners chief- 
ly from the United States. These last beginning to 
arrive so rapidly, their superior intelligence and ener- 
gy had aroused the jealousy of prominent natives. 

The year before there had been (no uncommon 
thing) a revolution headed by natives, — Castro, Al- 
varado and Pio Pico, in which foreigners took part — 
which resulted in the expulsion of General Michel- 
torena, the Mexican governor. 

General Castro assumed command of the military, 
and soon after issued a proclamation, understood to 
require all Americans to leave the country. But no 
immediate measures were taken to enforce the 
order, and it was disregarded by the immigrants. 

In the winter of 1845-6, Brevet Captain Fre- 
mont, topographical engineers, under favor of a rov- 
ing commission of explorations, by extraordinary 
coincidence, made his appearance -at the head of 
sixty or seventy well armed adventurers, in govern- 
ment pay, among the northern settlements; and he 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 203 

obtained permission from Castro to remain, for the 
purpose of refreshing his men and horses. Rumors 
of a change and of^ an intended attack by Castro, 
reached him ; whereupon he fortified himself in the 
mountains which overlook Monterey. But after 
remaining a few days, he determined, early in the 
month of March, to proceed to Oregon, and before 
the middle of May he had reached Lake Klamath in 
Oregon. 

Suddenly he was overtaken in that mountain 
wilderness by a messenger from Washington city. 
It was Lieutenant Gillespie, of the United States 
Marine Corps. Captain Fremont turned with his 
"surveying" party to retrace his journey. 

This remarkable occurrence has its explanation. 
Senator Thomas H. Benton with the foresight of a 
statesman, aspiring to be, if not actually, the control- 
ling influence of President Polk's administration, was 
tempted by paternal ambition to anticipate legal war, 
and used his influence to have sent, long before its oc- 
currence, a messenger to California, where, he must 
have had reason to believe, Captain Fremont would 
be found ; he bore a communication to Fremont urg- 
ing, of course, his great opportunity as the head of 



204 THE CONQUEST OF 

seventy veteran woodsmen and the hardy immigrants 
in Northern California to forestal the war and revo- 
lutionize the country, or, at the least, to be present 
and ready to reap the first fruits of the war.^ Lieu- 
tenant Gillespie, an officer of fine address, who spoke 
perfectly the language of Mexico, was selected and 
sent through that country, then the speediest route. 
Arrived at Monterey, with a dispatch for our consul 
there — probably to require his assistance — he found 
that Captain Fremont, seemingly with no taste for 
the commotions already begun, and the threatened 
attack of Castro, had abandoned to the Mexican rev- 
olutionist the field of a great opportunity. Then 
Gillespie's true mission was developed, and he pro- 
ceeded at great risks to follow his trail, until he over- 
took him and delivered instructions which he could 
not fail to heed. 

About the 1st of June the lieutenant com- 
manding the Mexican garrison of Sonoma was 
ordered to remove a drove of government horses 
from the mission of San Rafael to Santa Clara, Gen- 
eral Castro's headquarters. To accomplish this, the 

* Eady in the war Colonel Benton was nearly successful in an 
intrigue to be appointed a Lieutenant-General, to supersede Win- 
field Scott. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 20$ 

officer and small party crossed the Sacramento at 
Sutter's Fort, New Helvetia, the nearest point at 
which the horses could swim the river. An Indian, 
having seen the movement, reported among the 
American settlers that two or three hundred armed 
men were advancing up the Sacramento Valley. 

The alarm was spread through the valley by 
swift messengers ; and most of the immigrants 
joined Captain Fremont, who by this time was 
sixty or seventy miles above Sutter's Fort. 

The truth with regard to the lieutenant's party 
was soon known, with the addition, true or not, that 
the object of the slight affair was to mount a force 
to march against the Americans. 

After consultation it was resolved that the Cali- 
fornia party should be pursued, as the capture of 
the horses would weaken Castro, and for a time 
frustrate his designs. Twelve men volunteered and 
chose a Mr. Merritt for their leader. They followed 
and surprised the party June the loth, when it sur- 
rendered, without resistance, the horses and their 
arms. They were given each a horse to ride, and 
were released. The *' Bear " revolution was now 
fairly begun, and the only safety lay in its vigorous 






^mv^^ 



206 THE CONQUEST OF 

prosecution. The same party, increased to above 
thirty, naarched directly upon Sonomaj and on June 
14th, took possession without resistance of the 
town and military post ; they found there nine 
pieces of artillery and two hundred stand of small 
arms. Several officers of high rank were captured, 
but with much consideration and politeness on both 
sides, General Vallejo, one of them, sent for his 
caballada and remounted the whole party. Private 
property was scrupulously respected. 

A small garrison was left in Sonoma, and was 
soon increased to forty men under command of 
William B. Ide. 

June 1 8th, his garrison assenting, Mr. Ide, filled 
with the spirit of '76, and infected by the grandil- 
oquent style of the people of the land which they 
wished to adopt as their own, issued a proclamation ; 
General Castro had issued two, the day before. 

A proclamation to all persons and citizens of the district 
of Sonoma, requesting them to remain at peace, and follow their 
rightful occupations without fear of molestation. 

The Commander-in-chief of the troops assembled at the 
fortress of Sonoma, gives his inviolable pledge to all persons in 
California, not found under arms, that they shall not be dis- 
turbed in their persons, their property, or social relations, one 
with another, by men under his command. 

He also solemnly declares his object to be, to defend him- 
self and companions in arms, who were invited to this country 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 20/ 

by a promise of lands on which to settle themselves and fami- 
lies ; who were also promised a Republican government ; when 
having arrived in California, they were denied the privilege of 
buying or renting lands of their friends ; who, instead of being 
allowed to participate in, or being protected by a Republican 
government, were oppressed by a military despotism ; who 
were even threatened by proclamation, by the chief officers of 
the aforesaid despotism, with extermination if they should not 
depart out of the country, leaving all their property, arms, and 
beasts of burden ; and thus deprived of their means of flight or 
defence, we were to be driven through deserts inhabited by 
hostile Indians, to certain destruction. 

To overthrow a government which has seized upon the 
property of the Missions for its individual aggrandizement; 
which has ruined and shamefully oppressed the laboring peo- 
ple of California, by their enormous exactions on goods im- 
ported into the country, — is the determined purpose of the 
brave men who are associated under my command. 

I also solemnly declare my object, in the second place, to 
be to invite all peaceable ,and good citizens of California, who 
are friendly to the maintenance of good order and equal 
rights, and I do hereby invite them to repair to my camp at So- 
noma, without delay, to assist in establishing and perpetuating 
a Republican Government, which shall secure to all, civil and 
religious liberty ; which shall encourage virtue and literature ; 
which shall leave unshackled by fetters, agriculture, commerce, 
and manufactures. 

I further declare that I rely upon the rectitude of our in- 
tentions, the favor of Heaven, and the bravery of those who are 
bound and associated with me, by the principles of self-preser- 
vation, by the love of truth, and the hatred of tyranny, for my 
hopes of success. 

I furthermore declare, that I believe that a government to 
be prosperous and happy, must originate with a people who are 
friendly to its existence ; that the citizens are its guardians, the 
officers its servants, its glory its reward. 

(Signed) WiLLIAM B. IDE. 

Headquarters, Sonoma, June i8th, 1846. 



208 THE CONQUEST OF 

General Castro's two short proclamations, issued 
practically at the same time, were moderate for a 
Mexican, and should be considered in any view of 
the merits of the situation. 

The citizen Jose Castro, lieutenant-colonel of cavalry in 
the Mexican army, and acting general-commander of the de- 
partment of California. 

Fellow Citizens : — The contemptible policy of the agents of 
the United States of North America, in this department, has in- 
duced a portion of adventurers, who, regardless of the rights of 
men, have daringly commenced an invasion, possessing them- 
selves of the town of Sonoma, taking by surprise at that place, 
the military commander of that border, Colonel Don Mariano 
Guadalupe Vallejo, Lieut.-colonel Don Victor Prudon, Captain 
Don Salvador Vallejo, and Mr. Jacob P. Leese. 

Fellow Countrymen : — The defence of our liberty, the true 
religion which our fathers possessed, and our independence, calls 
upon us to sacrifice ourselves, rather than lose these inestimable 
blessings ; banish from your hearts all petty resentments, turn 
you, and behold yourselves, these families, these innocent little 
ones, which have unfortunately fallen into the hands of our ene- 
mies, dragged from the bosoms of their fathers, who are pris- 
oners among foreigners, and are calling upon us to succor them. 
There is still time for us to rise " en masse " as irresistible as 
retributive. You need not doubt but Divine Providence will 
direct us in the way to glory. You should not vacillate be- 
cause of the smallness of the garrison of the-general headquar- 
ters, for he who first will sacrifice himself will be your friend and 
fellow citizen. JoSE Castro. 

Headquarters, Santa Clara, June 17th, 1846. 

Citizen Jose Castro, lieutenant-colonel of artillery in the 
Mexican army, and acting general-commander of the depart- 
ment of Upper California. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 209 

All foreigners residing- among us, occupied with their busi- 
ness, may rest assured of the protection of all the authorities of 
the department, while they refrain entirely from all revolution- 
ary movements. 

The general commandancia under my charge will never pro- 
ceed with rigor against any persons, neither will its authority re- 
sult in mere words, wanting proof to support it ; declaration shall 
be taken, proofs executed, and the liberty and rights of the 
laborious, which is ever com.mendable, shall be protected. 

Let the fortune of war take its chance with those ungrateful 
men, who, with arms in their hands, have attacked the coun- 
try, without recollecting they were treated by the undersigned 
with all the indulgence of which he is so characteristic. The 
inhabitants of the department are witnesses to the truth of 
this. I have nothing to fear, my duty leads me to death or vic- 
tory. I am a Mexican soldier, and I will be free and indepen- 
dent, or I will gladly die for these inestimable blessings. 

Jose Castro. 
Headquarters, Santa Clara, June 17th, 1846. 

About this time, two young men, T. Corvie and 
Fowler, were captured in the neighborhood of Sono- 
ma by one Padilla. They were taken to his camp, 
and, a day or two after, were cruelly tortured to 
death.* 

Their disappearance was soon known, and their 
murder suspected ; and the commander of Sonoma 
hearing of several prisoners in Padilla's camp, sent 
Captain Ford and twenty-one men to attack him, at 
his supposed position at Santa Rosa plains. Arrived 

* "What I saw in California," by E. Bryant, afterward captain of 
Fremont's battalion, and Alcalde of San Francisco. 



210 THE CONQUEST OF 

there, it ' was found that Captain De la Torre had 
joined Padilla with seventy men, and that they had. 
gone in the direction of San Rafael. Marching all 
night, Ford, having ridden sixty miles, surprised the 
enemy, taking breakfast, twelve miles from San 
Rafael ; they were in a house about sixty yards 
from a clump of brushwood. Dismounting there, 
Captain Ford, ordering that not a shot should be 
wasted, advanced upon the house. After a short 
resistance, a sergeant and party charging upon the 
Americans, the Californians took to flight, leaving 
eight killed and two wounded. They rallied on a 
hill, about a mile off; but showing no disposition to 
return, Captain Ford exchanged his tired horses for 
fresh ones, found there in a corral, and rode back to 
Sonoma. 

''Captain Fremont, having heard that. Don Jose 
Castro was crossing the bay with two hundred men, 
marched and joined the garrison of Sonoma, on the 
25th of June. Several days were spent in active 
pursuit of the party under Captain De la Torre, but 
they succeeded in crossing the bay before they 
could be overtaken. With the retreat of De la 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 211 

Torre ended all opposition on the north side of the 
Bay of San Francisco."* 

Captain Fremont, then, with about one hundred 
and seventy men, returned to the mouth of the 
American River near Sutter's Fort. 

A small party under R. Sennple was ordered to 
cross the Bay, to the town of San Francisco, then 
called Yerba Buena, to seize the captain of the 
port, R. T. Ridley; which was done, and Ridley 
was taken to New Helvetia, (Sutter's Fort,) July 
8th ; there other prisoners were in confinement. 

Commodore Sloat, in the United States Frigate 
Savannah, arrived at Monterey on the second of 
July; he had heard of a collision in arms upon the 
Rio Grande, but not of the declaration of Congress 
that war existed. But on the 7th, he determined to 
hoist the American flag in Monterey, and it was done 
by Captain Mervine with two hundred and fifty sea- 
men and marines, amid cheers of troops and for- 
eigners, and with a salute from each of the ships in 
the harbor. At the same time a proclamation was 
read, and posted in the town, both in English and 
Spanish. 

* " What I saw in California." p. 293. 



212 THE CONQUEST OF 

In it he announced that the two nations being 
actually at war, he should carry the flag throughout 
California; he came as the best friend of the inhab- 
itants as " henceforth California will be a portion of 
the United States." Judges and alcaldes were 
invited to continue to execute the functions of their 
offices : and supplies and provisions should be 
promptly paid for at fair rates. Under instructions 
from Commodore Sloat, Captain Montgomery, of 
the Portsmouthi which lay at San Francisco, landed 
seventy sailors and marines and hoisted the United 
States flag in the public square ; and a volunteer 
company of Americans was immediately organized 
for the defence of the town. On the loth, a na- 
tional flag was sent by Captain Montgomery to 
Sonoma ; the Bear flag was lowered, and the 
American flag was raised amid the shouts of the 
garrison. 

Purser Fauntleroy, of the Savannah at Monterey, 
had been ordered to organize a mounted company, 
from the ships and citizens, in order to keep up com- 
munication with the northern posts held by immi- 
grants ; it marched July 17th, to take possession of 
the Mission of San Juan, about thirty miles east of 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 213 

Monterey. Captain Fremont, having left his posi- 
tion on the Sacramento River on the I2th, arrived at 
San Juan about an hour before him, and occupied 
the Mission without opposition. Nine pieces of 
cannon, two hundred old muskets and a store of 
ammunition were found there. Both parties marched 
to Monterey next day. 

At every important point in northern California 
the American flag was now flying. 

Fortifications at Monterey were begun immedi- 
ately after its occupation. Commodore R. F. Stock- 
ton arrived there July 15th, in the frigate Congress^ 
and on the 23d Commodore Sloat sailed in the Le- 
vant for Panama. 

General Castro retreating, had joined Governor 
Pio Pico at Santa Barbara, when the joint for- 
ces numbered about six hundred ; they then 
marched for Los Angeles and arrived there early in 
August. 

Immediately after taking command, Commodore 
Stockton sailed in the Congress, July 25th, for San 
Pedro, the port of Los Angeles, and at the same time 
sent the Cyane, Captain Dupont, with Captain Fre- 
mont and volunteers on board, to San Diego. The 



214 THE CONQUEST OF 

frigate Savannah remained at Monterey, and the 
sloop Portsmouth at San Francisco. 

Arrived at San Pedro, twenty-five miles south of 
Los Angeles, Commodore Stockton landed a large 
force of sailors and marines from the Congress, and 
marched for Los Angeles, his artillery being dragged 
by oxen. At his approach to the camp of the Cal- 
ifornians, close to the town, they fled without 
resistance ; and the capital was occupied without 
opposition on the I2th of August. The Californians 
dispersed, and General Castro with a few followers 
took the road to Sonora. 

Captain Fremont had previously been landed at 
San Diego, about one hundred and forty miles south 
of Los Angeles, and met with difficulty in procuring 
horses ; he marched to Los Angeles with eighty men, 
and arrived several days after Castro's flight.* 

Commodore Stockton, on the 17th of August, 
issued a proclamation as " Commander-in-chief, and 
Governor of California." It announced that the 
" Territory of California now belongs to the United 
States," and the people were " requested to meet in 
their several towns and departments, at such time 

* What I saw in California, p. 297. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 21 5 

and place as they may see fit, to elect civil officers 
to fill the places of those who decline to continue 
in office, and to administer the laws according to 
the former usages of the territory." 

Thorough protection in ''liberty of conscience," 
persons and property was promised. 

*' The California battalion of mounted riflemen 
will be kept in the service of the territory, and con- 
stantly on duty, to prevent and punish any aggres- 
sions by the Indians, or any other persons, upon the 
property of individuals, or the peace of the terri- 
tory : and California hereafter shall be so governed 
and defended as to give security to the inhabitants, 
and to defy the power of Mexico. 

" All persons are required, as long as the terri- 
tory is under martial law, to be in their houses from 
ten o'clock at night until sunrise in the morning." 

On the 22d he issued a proclamation for the 
election of alcaldes to take place September 22d, 
and soon after another without date, announcing a 
territorial form of government. 

In an official letter, dated August 27th, to *' Ma- 
jor Fremont, California battalion," he authorized 
him to increase the battalion to three hundred men, 



2l6 THE CONQUEST OF 

and to garrison the five principal towns, and in- 
formed him that before he left the territory, it was 
his intention to appoint him "governor, and Cap- 
tain Gillespie the secretary thereof." 

Captain Gillespie was left in command at Los 
Angeles ; fifty men had been ordered to constitute 
the garrison. 

On the 27th of September, about a month later, 
the frigate Congress^ Captain Livingston, bearing 
the broad pennant of Commodore Stockton, and 
the frigate Savannah, Captain Mervine, anchored 
in the harbor of San Francisco, having sailed from 
Monterey a day or two before. 

October ist, a courier arrived from the south 
with news of an insurrection of the Californians, 
which occurred September 23d at Los Angeles, and 
of the capture by them of an American merchant- 
vessel lying at San Pedro. The Savannah immedi- 
ately sailed for San Pedro. 

At this time there were in the harbor of San 
Francisco, vessels of many nations, and among them 
a ship of the French navy, and a Russian brig from 
Sitka, commanded by a naval officer, and laden with 
wheat. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 217 

Commodore Stockton having given two days* 
notice, landed October 5th, being received with a 
great parade, naval, marine and civil, with music 
and speeches ; rode out to the mission of San Fran- 
cisca Dolores, to a collation at the house of Captain 
Leidesdorff, — at which he spoke an hour — returning 
to a ball in town that night. 

Major Fremont, who had returned to the north to 
recruit his battalion, having arrived from the Sacra- 
mento with his volunteers, on the 12th, the next day 
Commodore Stockton in the Congress, and Fremont's 
one hundred and eighty volunteers in a transport, 
sailed for the south — San Pedro or San Diego, it 
was understood. 

Meantime Captain Mervine, having arrived at 
San Pedro, landed about four hundred of the sailors 
and marines of the Savannah^ and marched for Los 
Angeles ; being met on the Mesa by a large force of 
insurgents, he was defeated, losing six men killed, 
and retreated to his ship. Captain Gillespie sur- 
rendered Los Angeles. Santa Barbara was belea- 
guered, but Lieutenant Talbot, with his garrison of 
twenty-five men, forced his way out, and after suffer- 
ing many hardships, reached Monterey in safety. 
10 



2l8 THE CONQUEST OF 

Commodore Stockton had now one hundred and 
eighty volunteers added to the force with which he 
had before captured Los Angeles ; but doubtless 
hearing of Captain Mervine's defeat, entered the 
harbor of Monterey about the 24th of October, after 
being adouf twelve days at sea, and landed Major Fre- 
mont and his volunteers in order that the battalion 
should be recruited, and organized on a larger scale. 

From this time until January, 1847, when Gen- 
eral Kearny had arrived, the Californians were in little 
disturbed possession of the country, save the three 
ports, — San Francisco, Monterey and San Diego. 

Major Fremont was taking measures to collect 
volunteers, and to mount the battalion, in order to 
march to the south. November 15th, Mr. T. O. 
Larkin, U. S. Consul at Monterey, was captured 
and maltreated by a large force of Californians, about 
twenty miles north of that town ; who also the same 
day attacked a party of Americans who were driving 
four hundred horses to Major Fremont's camp at 
Monterey, killing and wounding six of the party ; 
but eight others took refuge in a grove, and de- 
fended themselves for an hour, against one hundred 
and thirty Californians; when, being joined by a 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 219 

party of fifty immigrant volunteers, the insurgents 
gradually drew off. 

However, they still kept rallying, and firmg now 
and then a musket at the Americans, until eleven 
o'clock at night, when " one of the Walla-Walla 
Indians offered his services to come into Monterey 
and give Colonel Fremont notice of what was 
passing. Soon after he started he was pursued by a 
party of the enemy. The foremost in pursuit drove 
a lance at the Indian, who, trying to parry it, received 
the lance through his hand ; he immediately, with 
the other hand, seized his tomahawk, and struck a 
blow at his opponent, which split his head from the 
crown to the mouth. By this time the others had 
come up, and with the most extraordinary dexterity 
and bravery, the Indian vanquished two more, and 
the rest ran away. He rode on towards this town 
as far as his horse was able to carry him, and came in 
on foot." * 

Major Fremont marched from Monterey as soon 
as he heard of this skirmish, but did not meet with 
the Californians ; he then camped at the Mission of 

* " Californian " newspaper, Monterey, Nov. 2ist. 



220 THE CONQUEST OF 

San Juan, waiting the arrival of volunteers from the 
north. 

He marched ten miles south, Nov. 28th, and 
in camp there the reorganization of the battalion 
was completed. It consisted of four hundred and 
twenty-eight men, including a few Indians, and was 
divided into eight companies of mounted men, with 
three officers to each ; officers and privates were 
armed with rifle and holster pistols ; besides a bowie 
knife and in some cases a brace of pistols in waist 
belts. Attached were two pieces of artillery, under 
command of Louis McLane and John K. Wilson, 
both of the navy. 

Besides mules for packing baggage, five or six 
hundred horses, for remounts, were driven with the 
battalion. 

The battalion marched ten miles November 30th ; 
finding no cattle in the vicinity of the camp, a party 
was sent back to the Mission, who returned with one 
hundred head. These were driven for future use. 

There was much rain, and the grass was young 
and tender ; these causes together produced con- 
stant failure and exhaustion in the horses. The 
march was resumed December 3d ; and eleven days 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 221 

averaged eleven miles a day. Other rations ex- 
hausted, the battalion consumed an average of ten 
pounds a day of fat beef. * 

The Mission San Miguel, on the heads of the 
Salinas River, was passed December loth. ** Under 
the administration of the padres it was a wealthy 
establishment, and manufactures of various kinds 
were carried on. They raised immense numbers of 
sheep, the fleeces of which were manufactured by 
the Indians into blankets and coarse -cloths. Their 
granaries were filled with an abundance of maize 
and frijoles, and their store rooms with other neces- 
saries of life from the ranchos belonging to the 
mission lands in the vicinity. Now all the build- 
ings, except the church and principal range of 
houses contiguous, have fallen into ruins, and an 
Englishman, his wife and one child, with two or 
three Indian servants, are the sole inhabitants. The 
church is the largest I have seen in the country, and 
its interior is in good repair. . . The Englishman 
professes to have purchased the mission and all the 
lands belonging to it for $300." * 

'^ December \2th. — To relieve our horses, which 

* " What I saw in California." 
10* 



222 THE CONQUEST OF 

are constantly giving out, the entire battalion were 
ordered to march on foot, turning their horses with 
the saddles and bridles upon them, into the general 
caballada, to be driven along by the horse guard. 
An Indian, said to be the servant of Tortorio Pico, 
was captured here by the advance party. A letter 
was found upon him, but its contents I never 
learned." 

December \2,th. — " Mr. Stanley, one of the volun- 
teers, and one of the gentlemen who so kindly sup- 
plied us with provisions on Mary's River, died last 
night. . . He was buried this morning, . . and the 
ashes of a braver or a better man will never repose 
in the lonely hills of CaHfornia." 

After the funeral the battalion was marched a 
short distance to witness another scene. The 
Indian captured at the rancho yesterday was con- 
demned to die. He was tied to a tree. Here he 
stood some fifteen or twenty minutes, until the 
Indians from a neighboring rancheria could be 
brought to witness the execution. A file of soldiers 
was then ordered to fire upon him. He fell upon 
his knees and remained in that position several min- 
utes without uttering a groan, and then sank upon 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 223 

the earth. No human being could have met his 
fate with more composure, or with stronger mani- 
festations of courage. It was a scene such as I 
desire never to witness again.* 

Next day the battahon reached the mission of 
San Luis Obispo, and remained there two rainy 
days. 

A party was sent, and captured Tortorio Pico, a 
conspicuous revolutionist. On the i6th he was 
brought before a court martial, and tried for forfeit- 
ure of parole and sentenced to death. 

December iph. — ''While standing in one of the 
corridors this morning, a procession of females passed 
by me, headed by a lady of fine appearance and 
dressed with remarkable taste and neatness, com- 
pared with those who followed her. Their rebosos 
concealed the faces of most of them, except the 
leader, whose beautiful features, I dare say, she 
thought (and justly) required no concealment. 
They proceeded to the quarters of Colonel Fremont 
and their object . . . was to petition for the . . . 
pardon of Pico . . . whose execution was expected 
to take place this morning. Their intercession was 

* '• What I saw in California." 



224 THE CONQUEST OF 

successful, as no execution took place, and in a short 
time all the prisoners were discharged."* 

December 24th, the battalion ascended the St. 
Inez Mountains, and there camped. There, they 
overlooked the beautiful plain of Santa Barbara. 
" With the spy glass, we could see in the plain far 
below us, herds of cattle quietly grazing upon the 
green herbage which carpets its gentle undulations. 
The plain is dotted with groves, surrounding the 
springs and belting the small water-courses, of 
which there were many flowing from this fange of 
mountains. Ranchos are scattered far up and down 
the plain, but not one human being could be seen 
stirring. About ten or twelve miles to the south, 
the white towers of the Mission Santa Barbara raise 
themselves. Beyond is the illimitable waste of 
waters." f On the mountain the shrubbery was in 
bloom. 

But next day, Christmas, came a great rain 
storm, and the three miles of descent was scarcely 

* Being an officer of the battalion, Mr. Bryant makes no com- 
ment upon the different fates of the principal, and his ignorant tool, 
Ihe brave Indian, who had no beautiful friend. And yet irrespec- 
tive of the question of the criminality of the Indian, would it not be 
impossible to discover any sanction or human authority for his trial 

f •' What I saw in California." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 22$ 

accomplished, even in the night following; the 
cannon and some baggage were left, — to be sent for 
next day, — and about one hundred horses lost their 
lives (the loss in the month had been about seven 
hundred). 

December 27th, they camped a half mile from 
Santa Barbara. About a hundred miles to the 
south the final battles were impending; they were 
fought about two weeks later. Californians visited 
the camp, and the prize schooner Julia came into 
port, and landed a piece of artillery for the bat- 
talion. But the battalion lay at Santa Barbara 
a week. 

New Years day was celebrated by the Indians of 
the mission and town by a procession, music, etc. 
They marched through the streets of the deserted 
town to the tune of Yankee Doodle. 

The weather for that week was the April of the 
Middle Atlantic States: the thermometer ranged 
from fifty to seventy degrees. 

The battalion marched ten miles January 3d, 

1847. Next night, after a march of six miles they 

for a capital offence, and his execution by this " battalion " of volun- 
teers, who did not have a single commission or legal appointment 
among them ? 

10* 



226 THE CONQUEST OF 

camped on the beach in the Rincon, where they 
apprehended opposition ; but the Julia lay in sight 
to cover the passage ; and on the 5th they reached 
the mission of San Buenaventure, and camped at 
two o'clock. Soon after a small party of Californians 
were seen on a hill ; the battalion was called to arms, 
the cannon were fired, and ** they scampered away 
like a flock of antelopes." 

Only a few Indians were found at the mission ; 
the white population had abandoned it at the ap- 
proach of the battalion. 

January 6th, having marched six or seven miles, 
a party of sixty or seventy mounted CaHfornians 
showed themselves in front ; a Delaware and a Cal- 
ifornia Indian in advance beckoned and shouted to 
the battalion to come on, but in vain ; it was turned 
into, and followed far, a cafion, until it was imprac- 
ticable for the artillery to follow ; it had to retrace its 
ascent ; * the Californians were prancing and waving 
banners and arms ; but the two brave Indians rode 
towards them, and exchanged some shots, when the 
Californians soon disappeared. The battalion went 
into camp. 

*" What I saw in California." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 22/ 

This California detachment, having accomplished 
their probable object, no doubt returned to take 
part in the battles of January 8th and 9th. 

Next day the battalion again marched but seven 
miles. 

On the 8th, twelve miles were marched ; horses 
and men had lately fared well ; forage, beans and 
vegetables having become plentiful. Besides the 
regular guard, one-fourth of the battalion were kept 
under arms during the night. 

Next morning early, Captain Hamley arrived in 
camp with dispatches from Commodore Stockton: 
he had landed at Santa Barbara, and followed 
the battalion. The battalion marched twelve 
miles. 

On the loth, a few CaHfornians, supposed to be 
the same who had stopped the march on the 6th, 
showed themselves, having had time to return from 
the battles of the Mesa of Los Angeles. The bat- 
talion camped, having marched ten miles. 

On the nth of January it took quarters at the 
mission of San Fernando, at I o'clock P. M. 

There were found thousands of bushels of corn, 
noble gardens, roses in bloom, oranges, lemons, figs, 



228 ■ THE CONQUEST OF 

olives in full bearing, large herds of cattle and sheep 
grazing on the luxuriant plain. 

Having followed, to its last ominous pause, the 
slow* march of this battalion, (which had little or no 
effect upon the enemy or the war, and resulted in un- 
precedented official demoralization, but fortunately 
in no other serious injury to the public service) let 
them be left in such good quarters, while the reader 
turns to trace the fortunes, — until they culminate in 
peace and order to California — of that veteran and 
proved public servant. General Kearny. He was 
left deceived as to the subjugation of California, and 
entering, with only an escort, the unknown moun- 
tains of the Gila River. 

General Kearny's March to the Pacific. 
General Kearny was left turning westward from 
the Rio Grande, October 15th, 1846; among his 
staff were Captain H. S. Turner, First Dragoons, 
Lieutenant W. H. Emory, Topographical Engineers, 
and Captain A. R. Johnston, First Dragoons A. D. 
C. ; his escort was 100 men of First Dragoons com- 
manded by Captain Ben. Moore and Lieutenant T. 
C. Hammond, and mounted on mules ; also two 

* Three hundred and fifty miles in forty-three days. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 22g 

mountain howitzers in charge of Lieut. J. W. David- 
son, First Dragoons. The baggage was packed on 
mules. 

They first passed over high plains, intersected 
by several bold streams ; their richness and admira- 
ble fitness for grazing are extolled. On the 1 8th 
they reached the old copper mines on the second 
branch of the Mimbres. "They are said to be very 
rich, both in copper and gold, and the specimens 
obtained maintain this assertion. We learn that 
those who worked them made their fortunes ; but 
the Apaches did not like their proximity, and one 
day turned out and destroyed the mining town, 
driving off the inhabitants. There are remains of 
twenty or thirty adobe houses, and ten or fifteen 
shafts sinking into the earth." * 

October igth. — The country passed over in the 
first part of the day was beautiful ; it was a succes- 
sion of high, rolling hills. 

Thirteen miles from the copper mines was 
passed the sulphur spring of San Lucia, in a beauti- 
ful valley, and that night camp was made after dark 
on Night Creek, the mire of which was very disturb- 

* *' Notes of a military reconnoissance, by Lieutenant-Colonel W. 
H. Emory." 



230 THE CONQUEST OF 

ing under the circumstances. Here had been ap- 
pointed a meeting with Apaches, for the purpose of 
trade for mules. They came early, headed by Red 
Sleeve. He said "the road was opened forever, one 
white man could pass in safety." The trade was a 
failure, the Indians being extravagant in their 
demands. " At length the call of * boots and sad- 
dles * was sounded. The order, quickness and qui- 
etude of our movements seemed to impress them. 
One of the chiefs, after eying the General with 
great apparent admiration, broke out in a vehement 
, manner, * you have taken New Mexico, and will 
soon take California, go then and take Chihuahua, 
Durango and Sonora. We will help you. You 
fight for land, we care nothing for land ; we fight 
for the laws of Montezuma and for food. The Mex- 
icans are rascals, we hate and will kill them all.' 
There burst out the smothered fire of three hun- 
dred years ! Finding we were more indifferent than 
they supposed to trade, . . . they became at once 
eager for traffic . . . My packs were made. One 
of the gentlest mules at that moment took fright, 
and went off like a rocket, on the back trail, scat- 
tering to the right and left all who opposed him. A 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 23 1 

large, elegant looking woman, mounted a-straddle, 
more valiant than the rest, faced the brute and 
charged upon him at full speed. This turned his 
course back to camp, and I rewarded her with half- 
a dozen biscuits, and through her intervention, suc- 
ceeded in trading two broken-down mules for two 
good ones, giving two yards of scarlet cloth in the 
bargain. By this time a large number of Indians 
had collected about us, all differently dressed, and 
some in the most fantastical style. The Mexican 
dress and saddles predominated, showing where 
they had chiefly made up their wardrobe. One had 
a jacket made of a Henry Clay flag, which aroused 
unpleasant sensations, for the acquisition no doubt 
cost one of our countrymen his life. Several wore 
beautiful helmets, decked with black feathers, which 
with the short shirt, waist belt, bare legs and bus- 
kins, gave them the look of pictures of antique Gre- 
cian warriors. Most were furnished with the Mexi- 
can cartridge box 

" These men have no fixed homes. Their houses 
are of twigs, made easily and deserted with indiffer- 
ence. They hover around the beautiful hills that 
overhang the Del Norte, between the 3i.st and 32d 



232 THE CONQUEST OF 

parallels of latitude, and look down upon the states 
of Chihuahua and Sonora, and woe to the luckless 
company that ventures out unguarded by a strong 
force. Their hills are covered with luxuriant grama, 
which enables them to keep their horses in fine 
order, so that they can always pursue with rapidity 
and return in safety. . . . We wended our way 
through the narrow valley of Night Creek. On each 
side were huge stone buttes shooting up into the 
skies. At one place we were compelled to mount 
one of these spurs, almost perpendicular ... a 
pack sHpped from a mule, and although not shaped 
favorably for the purpose, rolled entirely to the bot- 
tom of the hill, up which the mules had climbed."* 

October 2ist was a bad day, the steep ascents 
and descents causing the packs to cut the animals' 
backs ; the howitzers did not reach camp ; one of 
them, in the dark, with its mule, rolled down into 
a steep ravine, but without injury. 

October 23d, they passed one of the famous 
ruins ; but the only evidences of handicraft remain- 
ing were immense quantities of broken pottery, ex- 
tending for two miles along the river. 

* Notes of a Militar)' Reconnoissance. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 233 

Deer and beaver, the blue quail, teal, etc., were 
found on the Upper Gila. 

Octobe?' 2^th. — " We were now in the regions 
made famous in olden times, by the fables of Friar 
Marcos, and eagerly did we ascend every mound, 
expecting to see in the distance what I fear is but 
the fabulous * Casa Montezuma.* Once, as we 
turned a sharp hill, the bold outline of a castle pre- 
sented itself, with the tops of the walls horizontal, 
the corners vertical, and apparently one front bas- 
tioned. My companion agreed with me that at 
last we beheld this famous building ; restless for 
the show, I drew out my telescope, when to my dis- 
appointment a clay butte, with regular horizontal 
seams, stood in the place of our castle ; but to the 
naked eye the delusion was complete. The Indians 
here do not know the name Aztec ; Montezuma is 
the outward point in their chronology, — a name at 
this moment as familiar to every Indian, Pueblo, 
Apache and Navajo, as that of our Savior or Wash- 
ington is to us. In the person of Montezuma they 
unite both qualities of divinity and patriot. 

*' We passed to-day the ruins of two more villages 
similar to those of yesterday. The foundation of 



234 THE CONQUEST OF 

the largest house seen yesterday was sixty by twenty 
feet ; to-day, forty by thirty ; the stone forming the 
supposed foundations was round and unhewn ; and 
some cedar logs were also found about the houses, 
much decayed, bearing no mark of an edged tool." * 

A cactus, first seen there, but common further 
south, was well described as '* eighteen inches high, 
and eighteen inches in its greatest diameter, con- 
taining twenty vertical volutes, armed with strong 
spines." They contain much water. 

The next day was very severe upon the party ; 
they were eight and a half hours passing over a rough 
mountain, several thousand feet above the river; 
they named it " Devil's turnpike ;" twelve or fifteen 
mules were lost. Opposite this day's journey, three 
small rivers enter the Gila, through caflons ; they are 
called the Black, the Blue, and the St. Charles. The 
howitzers got to camp in the afternoon of the next 
day. (These weigh only two hundred pounds; jihe 
wheels are three feet apart, and about three feet four 
inches in diameter.) 

Next day, soon clear of the mountain, there 
was a march of twenty miles along the Gila valley, 

* Notes of a Military Reconnoisance. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 235 

and the night camp was opposite Mount Graham. 
Along almost the whole distance were found the 
remains of houses such as before mentioned; traces 
of circular enclosures of four hundred yards in 
diameter ; the foundations of houses from twenty to 
one hundred feet front ; but no marks of edged tools, 
no utensils except the remains of pottery of immense 
amount, and the rude corn-grinder used by the 
Indians of to-day. " I do not think it improbable 
that these ruins may be those of comparatively mod- 
ern Indians, for Vanegas says, ' The Father, Jacob 
Sedelmayer, in October, 1744, set out from his mis- 
sion, (Tubutuma) and, after travelling eighty leagues, 
reached the Gila, where he found six thousand 
Papagos, and near the same number of Pimos and 
Maricopas ;' and the map which he gives of this 
country, although very incorrect, represents many 
Indian settlements and missions on the river. His 
observations, however, were confined to that part of 
the Gila River near its mouth." * 

October 29th, they marched twenty-one miles in 
the Gila bottom grounds ; the whole plain, from three 
to six miles wide, within reach of irrigation ; and 
* Notes of a Military Reconnoissance. 



236 THE CONQUEST OF 

the scarce and crisp vegetation and plenteous pottery 
indicated that irrigation must have been used. " The 
crimson tinted Sierra Carlos skirted the river on the 
north side the whole day, and its changing profiles 
formed subjects of study and amusement. Some- 
times we could trace a Gothic steeple ; then a horse ; 
now an old woman's face, and again a veritable 
steamboat; but this required the assistance of a 
light smoky cloud, drifting to the east, over what 
represented the chimney stack." 

Near this camp were very large ruins, judged to 
have been the abode of five or ten thousand souls. 

Next day a drove of the Mexican wild hogs, 
(peccary) found also in Texas, was chased, but with- 
out success. Several Indians appeared on a hill ; 
they were spoken to " but they could not be induced 
to come into camp ; they have been dealt with by 
Americans in the employment of Chihuahua ; who 
have hunted them at fifty dollars a scalp, as we 
would hunt wolves ; and one American decoyed 
a large number of their brethren in rear of a wag- 
on to trade, and fired a field-piece among them. It is 
no wonder then, that two parties of God's creatures, 
who never knew each other before, should meet in a 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 237 

desert, and not approach near enough to shake 
hands."* 

October 31st, after a short march camp was 
made opposite the mouth of the San Francisco 
River. Carson with a party went on to explore, as 
in coming from Cahfornia he was sixty miles without 
water, cut off from the river by impassable canons. 
The mules were fast failing ; and the appearance of 
three well mounted Apaches on a hill was very wel- 
come. The Apaches could supply them. They 
would only suffer themselves to be approached by 
one person ; after a long parley by signs and ges- 
tures they announced that their chief was near with 
mules which he would bring in ; but none came. 

Next day there was no alternative, the Jornada 
must be begun ; when the river could no longer be 
followed, they grazed the animals a short time on 
luxurious grama, filled every possible vessel with 
water, and commenced the ascent ; but, seven miles 
up the hills, converging trails were observed, and 
they led to a fine spring, with cottonwood trees 
and some poor grass ; there they camped, but the 
howitzers did not arrive. 

* Journal of Captain A. R. Johnston, First Dragoons. 



238 THE CONQUEST OF 

" That morning was first seen the Cereus giganteus^ 
called in California pitahaya ; it is a columnar cactus, 
from twenty-five to sixty feet high : some of them 
have no branch. Next morning, when ready for a 
very early start, an alarm was given, and a hill near 
by was seen to be lined with horsemen. They were 
Apaches ; one called out in Spanish, that they 
wished to have a talk ; ' one of you put down his 
rifle and come to us.' Londeau, my employ^, im- 
mediately complied ; I followed ; but before march- 
ing half way up the steep hill, the Indian espied in 
my jacket the handle of a large horse pistol. He 
told me I must put down my pistol before he would 
meet me. I threw it aside and proceeded to the top 
of the hill, where, although he was mounted and 
surrounded by six or eight of his own men, armed 
with rifles and arrows, he received me with great 
agitation. The talk was long and tedious. I ex- 
hausted every argument to induce him to come into 
camp. His principal fear seemed to be the howit- 
zers, which recalled at once to my mind the story I 
had heard of the massacre by Johnson. At last a 
bold young fellow, tired of the parley, threw down 
his rifle, and with a step which Forrest in Metamora 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 239 

might have envied, strode off towards camp, piloted 
by Carson. We were about to follow, when the 
chief informed us it would be more agreeable to him 
if we remained until his warrior returned. 

" The ice was now broken, most of them seeing 
that their comrade encountered no danger, followed 
one by one. They said they belonged to the tribe 
of Pifion Lanos ; that 'they were simple in head, but 
true of heart.' Presents were distributed ; they 
promised a guide to a spring six milgs distant, over 
the mountain, where they engaged to meet us next 
day with one hundred mules."* 

They accordingly followed the guide to a good 
camp in a grove of sycamore, with a little water 
there rising, and sinking within one hundred 
yards. 

November 3d, the General was again disap- 
pointed ; the Indians came, but only seven mules 
were obtained in the whole day. 

" Our visitors to-day presented the same motley 
group we have always found the Apaches. Among 
them was a middle-aged woman, whose garrulity 
and interference in every trade was the annoyance 

* Notes of a Military Reconnoissance. 



240 THE CONQUEST OF 

of Major Swords, who had charge of the trading, 
but the amusement of the bystanders. 

She had on a gauze-hke dress, trimmed with 
the richest and most costly Brussels lace, pillaged, 
no doubt, from some fandango-going belle of So- 
nora ; she straddled a fine grey horse, and when- 
ever her blanket dropped from her shoulders, her 
tawny form could be seen through the transparent 
gauze. After she had sold her mule, she was 
anxious to sell her horse, and careered about to 
show his qualities. At one time she charged at full 
speed up a steep hill. In this, the fastenings of her 
dress broke and her bare back was exposed to the 
crowd, who ungallantly raised a shout of laughter. 
Nothing daunted, she wheeled short round, with 
surprising dexterity, and seeing the mischief done, 
coolly slipped the dress from her arms and tucked 
it between her seat and the saddle. In this state 
of nudity, she rode through camp, until at last, 
attaining the object of her ambition, a soldier's red 
flannel shirt, she bade her adieu in that new 
costume. 

A boy about twelve years of age, of uncommon 
beauty, was among our visitors. Happy, cheerful, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 24.I 

and contented, he was. consulted in every trade, and 
seemed an idol with the Apaches. It required 
little penetration to trace his origin from the same 
land as the gauze of the old woman. We tried to 
purchase him, but he said it was long, long, since he 
was captured, and that he had no desire to leave 
his master, who, he was certain, would not sell him 
for any money. All attempts were vain, and the 
lad seemed gratified both at the offer to purchase, 
and the refusal to sell." * 

Next day they reached the Gila in about twenty- 
five miles ; they passed several hollows among the 
hills, where were observed sycamore, oak, willow, 
cherry, mezquit, senna, cactus, agave, hackberry, ash, 
walnut, zola, cedar, pine, black gum and grape vines. 
They crossed large fresh trails of cattle, driven from 
Sonora. 

The camp was so bad, that, although the howit- 
zers had not arrived on the 5th, the march was con- 
tinued some ten miles. Passing the foot of Saddle 
Mountain, the bed of a dry stream was followed to 
the San Pedro River, which was crossed and camp 
was made a mile from its mouth. Its valley was 

* Notes of a Military Reconnoissance. 
IT 



242 THE CONQUEST OF 

wide and covered with a dense growth of mezquit, 
Cottonwood and willow ; but the stream was found 
very narrow and only a foot deep, — smaller than one 
hundred miles above. 

The bed of the dry stream they had followed, 
was the road of the Apache raiding parties ; it was 
" deeply cut and turned at sharp angles, forming a 
zigzag like the bayoux laid by sappers in approach- 
ing a fortress, each turn of which, (and they were 
innumerable) formed a strong defensive position. 
The Apache once in possession of them is secure 
from pursuit or invasion from the Mexican." It 
was a highway leading from the plains of Santa 
Anna, Santa Cruz and Tucson, and distinctly 
marked by a fresh trail of horses, cattle and mules. 
" Nature had done her utmost to favor a condition 
of things which has enabled a savage and uncivil- 
ized tribe, armed with the bow and lance, to hold as 
tributary powers three fertile and once flourishing 
states, Chihuahua, Sonora, and Durango, peopled 
by a Christian race, countrymen of the immortal 
Cortez." 

A day was passed in this camp, on the San Pedro, 
to wait for the howitzers, and to recruit the mules. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 243 

The miserable plight of these last gave serious 
doubt of the success of the expedition. They were 
five hundred miles from any white settlement, and 
with a probable dependence upon their animals for 
subsistence, as well as transportation. 

*' In the sandy arroyas . . that look as if they 
had been formed but a year or two since, was broken 
pottery, and the remains of a large building, similar 
in form, substance and apparent antiquity, to those 
so often described ; . . . my thoughts went 
back to the States . . . and I was struck most 
forcibly with the fact that not one object in the 
whole view, animal, vegetable, or mineral, had any- 
thing in common with the products of any State in 
the Union, with the single exception of the cotton- 
wood. . . The only animals seen, were lizards, 
scorpions and tarantulas." 

On the 7th they advanced seventeen miles in 
the wide bottom of the Gila. There were many 
geese, blue quail and turkeys ; signs of deer, beaver, 
and the musk hog. Three Indians were seen, and 
induced to enter the camp ; after feasting heartily, 
they departed with a promise to bring mules ; but 
meeting the howitzers, they were so filled with 



244 THE CONQUEST OF 

astonishment, that they followed the guns to camp 
in mute wonder. 

The next day was through a canon of the Gila ; 
and there was much obstruction from sand, and 
dense growth of willow. *' Our course was traversed 
by a seam of yellowish colored igneous rock, shoot- 
ing up into irregular spires and turrets, one or two 
thousand feet in height. It ran at right angles to 
the river, and extended to the north, and to the 
south, in a chain of mountains as far as the eye 
could reach. One of these towers was capped with a 
substance many hundred feet thick, disposed in hor- 
izontal strata of different colors, from deep red to 
bright yellow. 

" At night for the first time since leaving Pawnee 
Fork, I was interrupted for a moment in my observa- 
tions, by moisture on the glass of my horizontal 
shade, showing a degree of humidity in the atmos- 
phere not before existing. . . The effect of the 
night's dampness was felt in the morning, for, although 
the thermometer was only thirty-seven degrees, the 
cold was more sensible than in the dry regions at 
twenty-five degrees."* 

* " Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 245 

In leaving the mountains, where the grass was a 
set-off for rugged obstacles, the want of it became a 
serious danger. On the 9th, they fell upon fresh 
trails of horses, which they supposed might be those 
of General Castro, who, Carson had informed them, 
was to go to Sonora, — of which the settlements were 
not distant — for recruits, and to return. 

Casa de Montezuma. 

November loth. — " The valley on the southern 
side of the Gila still grows wider. About the time 
of the noon halt, a large pile, which seemed the 
work of human hands, was seen to the left. It was 
the remains of a three story mud house, sixty feet 
square, pierced for doors and windows. The walls 
four feet thick, and formed by layers of mud two 
feet thick ; it was no doubt built by the same race 
that had once t'hickly peopled this territory, and 
left behind the ruins. 

'' The charred ends of the cedar joists were still 
in the wall. I examined them, and found they had 
not been cut with a steel instrument ; the joists were 
round sticks ; there were four entrances — the doors 
about four feet by two — the rooms had the same ar- 



246 THE CONQUEST OF 

rangement on each story ; there was no sign of a fire- 
place in the building ; the walls had been smoothed 
outside and plastered inside, and the surface still 
remained firm, although it was evident they had 
been exposed to great heat from the fire. There 
were the remains of the walls of four buildings, and 
the piles of earth showing where many others had 
been. A few yards further was a terrace one hun- 
dred yards by seventy, upon this was a pyramid 
about eight feet high, and twenty-five yards square 
at top. From this, sitting on my horse, I could 
overlook the vast plain, on the left bank of the Gila ; 
the ground in view was about fifteen miles, all of 
which, it would seem, had been irrigated by the waters 
of the Gila. I picked up a broken crystal of quartz in 
one of these piles. Leaving the ' casa,' I turned to- 
wards the Pimos, and travelling at random over the 
plain, now covered with mezquit, the piles of earth and 
pottery showed for hours in every direction. I also 
found the remains of a zequia, which followed the 
range of houses for miles. It had been very large. 
When I got to camp, I found them on good grass 
and in communication with the Pimos, who came 
out with a frank welcome. Their answer to Carson, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 247 

when he went up and asked for provisions, was 
' bread is to eat, not to sell, take what you want.' 
The General asked a Pimo who made the house I 
had seen. 'It is the Casa de Montezuma;' said he, 
' It was built by the son of the most beautiful 
woman, who once dwelt in yon mountain ; she was 
fair, and all the handsome men came to court her, 
but in vain ; when they came they paid tribute, and 
out of this small store she fed all the people in times 
of famine, and it did not diminish. At last as she lay 
asleep, a drop of rain fell upon her navel, and she 
became pregnant, and brought forth a boy who was 
the builder of all these houses.' He seemed un- 
willing to talk about them, but said there were 
many more of them to the north, south-west, etc. ; 
... he said this casa had been burnt too long ago 
for any of them to remember." * 

I venture an opinion which ardent archaeologists 
may scout, that we need only look to the not very 
remote ancestry of the tribes now found in Zufii, 
Acoma, etc., and the Pueblos of New Mexico, — as 
Pecos and San Domingo, — for the architects and 
inhabiters of all these ruins and remains. 

* Journal of Captain A. R. Johnston, First Dragoons, A. D. C. 



248 THE CONQUEST OF 

The General obtained of the Pimos a sufficiency 
of corn and wheat and beans, but only two or three 
bullocks, and no mules or horses. They had only 
steers for tillage, procured from the Mexicans. 

*' To us it was a rare sight to be thrown in the 
midst of a large nation of what are termed wild Indi- 
ans, surpassing many of the Christian nations in 
agriculture, little behind them in the useful arts, and 
immeasurably before them in honesty and virtue. 
During the whole of yesterday, our camp was full 
of men, women, and children, who sauntered among 
our packs, unwatched, and not a single instance of 
theft was reported." * 

The Maricopas, some on foot, but mostly on 
horseback, came at full speed to their lower camp ; 
unarmed and in the most confident manner, bringing 
watermelons, meal, pinole and salt, — this last taken 
from the plains. A pair of spectacles was a cause 
of much amusement ; the women had an idea that 
the wearer could see through their cotton blankets, 
but at length a pair being put upon an old woman, 
she became acquainted with their use, and ex- 
plained it to the others. 

* *' Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 249 

November 14th and 15th, the General made the 
Jornada of forty-three miles across the bend of the 
Gila, losing six or eight mules from exhaustion, and 
want of water. They halted then a day, and found 
the remains of a zequia and much broken pottery. 
It was probably the work of the Maricopas, who are 
known to have moved gradually up from the Gulf. 

November 22d. — *' Most of the men were on foot, 
and a small party composed chiefly of the General 
and staff, were a long way ahead of the straggling 
column, when, as we approached the end of our 
day's journey, every man was straightened in his 
saddle by our suddenly falling on a camp, which from 
the trail, we estimated at one thousand men, who 
must have left that morning. Speculation was rife, 
but we all soon settled down upon the opinion that 
it was General Castro and his troops ; that he had 
succeeded in recruiting an army in Sonora, and was 
now on his return to California. Carson expressed 
his belief that he must be only ten miles below, at 
the crossing. Our force consisted of only one hun- 
dred and ten men. The General decided we were 
too few to be attacked, and must be the aggressive 
party, and if Castro's camp could be found, that he 
II* 



250 THE CONQUEST OF 



would attack it the moment night set in, and beat 

them 

force. 



them before it was hght enough to discover our 



*' The position of our camp was decided, as usual, 
with reference to the grass. The lives of our ani- 
mals were nearly as important as our own." * 

A party was sent at dark, and it succeeded in 
capturing four Mexicans. It turned out that the 
alarm had been caused by a few soldiers and others, 
and their drove of five hundred horses from Califor- 
nia, for the use of Castro in Sonora. The four men, 
examined separately, told each a different story. 
One of them, tall and venerable in appearance, 
reported himself to be the poor employe of a rich 
man supplying the Sonora market with horses. It 
was afterwards ascertained that he was a colonel of 
the Mexican army. 

The General remained there next day, attempt- 
ing to remount his escort from the captured horses. 
And then a courier with a mail from California fell 
into his hands ; he bore letters to General Castro 
and other men of note in Sonora, and thus Kearny 
was informed of the counter revolution in California. 
* " Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 25 1 

" Captain Flores was named as the general and 
governor pro tern., and the enthusiasm of the 
people was described as overflowing in the cause of 
emancipation from the Yankee yoke. One letter 
gave a minute and detailed account of a victory- 
stated to have been obtained over the Americans. 
It stated that four hundred and fifty men landed at 
San Pedro, and were met, defeated, and driven back 
to the fort at San Pedro. . . We also learned 
that the horses captured were in part for General 
Castro. Nothing more was wanting to legitimize 
our capture, and Captain Moore was directed to 
remount his men."* 

The Mexicans were very dexterous in evading 
inquiries; one of them, an acquaintance of Carson, 
was well plied with brandy ; but the most that 
could be extorted from him, was the advice not to 
march directly upon Los Angeles. 

^' The captured horses were all wild and but 
little adapted for immediate service ; but there was 
rare sport in catching them, and we saw for the first 
time the lazo thrown with inimitable skill. It is a 
saying in Chihuahua that a ' Californian can throw 

* "Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



252 THE CONQUEST OF 

the lazo as well with his foot as the Mexican can 
with his hand,' and the scene before us gave us an 
idea of its truth. There was a wild stallion of great 
beauty which defied the fleetest horse and the most 
expert rider. At length a boy of fourteen, a Cali- 
fornian, whose graceful riding was a constant subject 
of admiration^ piqued by repeated failures, mounted 
a fresh horse, and followed by an Indian, launched 
fiercely at the stallion. 

His lariat darted from his hand with the force 
and precision of a rifle ball, and rested on the neck 
of the fugitive ; the Indian, at the same moment, 
made a successful throw, but the stallion was too 
stout for both, and dashed off at full speed, with 
both ropes flying in the air like wings. The perfect 
representation of Pegasus, he took a sweep, and 
followed by his pursuers, came thundering down the 
dry bed of the river. The lazos were now trailing on 
the ground, and the gallant young Spaniard, taking 
advantage of the circumstance, stooped from his 
flying horse and caught one in his hand. It was the 
work of a moment to make it fast to the pommel of 
his saddle, and by a short turn of his own horse, he 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 253 

threw the stalHon a complete somersault, and the 
game was secure.""^ 

November 25th, the river was forded at the 
same place, ten miles below the Gila's mouth, that 
the Mormon battalion passed forty-six days later, 
some of the horses swimming when its crooked 
course was lost ; they camped fifteen miles below, 
at the first well, where only the men got water. 
Next day they reached the Alamo Mocho well, 
twenty-four miles, at 4 P. M. ; they had much work 
to deepen the well before water was reached ; an 
old champagne basket, first, and then a basket work 
of willow twigs, was used to prevent caving sand. 
The evening and night were spent in w^atering the 
animals, which had made two marches without 
drinking. 

The following morning they marched very early, 
and in forty miles reached at 8 o'clock P. M. a salt 
lake, of which contradictory accounts had been 
received; it was found surrounded by a thick quag- 
mire, and the water wholly unfit for any use. 
After a (qw hours' rest, the animals browsing at a 
few mezquit trees, they marched on in the dark, but 

* "Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



254 THE CONQUEST OF 

were favored after sunrise, by a heavy fog for two 
hours, which proved refreshing; but "the stoutest 
animals now began to stagger, and when day 
dawned scarcely a man was seen mounted." At 
noon the Cariza was reached. 

November 29, the grass being bad, and rations 
nearly exhausted, the march was continued at a 
*' snail's pace," and that night a horse was killed for 
food, which was eaten with great appetite, and all 
of it consumed. They were compelled to remain in 
camp next day. 

December 2d, the General arrived at Warner's 
rancho, and learned *' that the Mexicans were still 
in the possession of the whole country except San 
Diego, San Francisco, and Monterey ; that we were 
near the heart of the enemy's stronghold, whence 
he drew his supplies of men, cattle, and horses, and 
that we were now in possession of the great pass to 
Sonora, by which he expected to retreat if defeated, 
to send his prisoners if successful, and to communi- 
cate with Mexico. 

"To appease hunger, however, was the first 
consideration. Seven of my men ate at one single 
meal, a fat full grown sheep." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 255 

A Mr. Stokes, who lived fifteen miles on the 
road to San Diego, was sent for and came ; '' his 
dress was a black velvet English hunting coat, a 
pair of black velvet trowsers, cut off at the knees 
and open on the outside to the hip, beneath which 
were drawers of spotless white ; his leggings were of 
black buckskin, and his heels armed with spurs six 
inches long. Above the whole bloomed the merry 
face of Mr Stokes, the Englishman. He was very 
frank, proclaimed himself a neutral, but gave all the 
information he possessed, which was, that Commo- 
dore Stockton was in possession of San Diego, and 
that all the country between that place and Santa 
Barbara was in possession of the ' country people ; ' 
he stated he was going to San Diego the next 
morning. The General gave him a letter for that 
place.""^ 

Information was received that there was a band 
of horses and mules fifteen miles on the road to Los 
Angeles, belonging to General Flores. Lieutenant 
Davidson and fifteen men, accompanied by Carson, 
were sent at nightfall to capture them. The party 
returned successful next day, December 3d, at noon; 

* " Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



256 THE CONQUEST OF 

but the animals were found to be mostly unbroken, 
and so, little serviceable. 

December ^th, — The General marched in a rain 
which lasted all day ; he camped at Mr. Stokes' 
place, in the valley of the San Isabel River, which 
was formerly a mission. 

Next day they marched to the rancheria of Santa 
Maria ; where it was learned that the enemy was in 
force, nine miles distant ; it was after dark, but there 
being no grass, they went two miles further and 
camped in a canon. On the way they met Cap- 
tain Gillespie, Lieutenant Beale, and Midshipman 
Duncan of the navy, with a party of thirty-five men, 
sent from San Diego with a dispatch for General 
Kearny. 

The following is from the General's official 
report : — 

"Having learned from Captain Gillespie, of the volunteers, 
that there was an armed party of Californians at San Pascual, 
three leagues distant, ... I sent Lieutenant Hammond, First 
Dragoons, with a few men to make areconnoissance of them. 
He returned at two in the morning of the 6th instant, reporting 
that he had found the party in the place mentioned, and that 
he had been seen, though not pursued by them. I then deter- 
mined that I would march for, and attack them' by break of 
day ; arrangements were accordingly made for the purpose. 
My aid-de-camp, Captain Johnston, First Dragoons, was as- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 257 

signed to the command of the advanced guard of twelve 
dragoons mounted on the best horses w^e had ; then followed 
about fifty dragoons under Captain Moore, mounted, but, with 
few exceptions, on the tired mules they had ridden from Santa 
Fe, ten hundred and fifty miles ; then about twenty volunteers 
of Captain Gibson's company under his command and that of 
Captain Gillespie ; then followed our two mountain howitzers 
with dragoons to manage them, and under the command of 
Lieutenant Davidson of the regiment. . . As the day, December 
6th. dawned, we approached the enemy at San Pascual, who 
was already in the saddle, when Captain Johnston made a fu- 
rious charge upon them with his advanced guard, and was in 
a short time after supported by the dragoons, soon after which 
the enemy gave way, having kept up from the beginning a con- 
tinual fire upon us. Upon the retreat of the enemy, Captain 
Moore led off rapidly in pursuit, accompanied by the dragoons 
mounted on horses, and was followed, though slowly, by the oth- 
ers on their tired mules. The enemy, well mounted and among 
the best horsemen in the world, after retreating about half a mile, 
and seeing an interval between Captain Moore with his advance 
and the dragoons coming to his support, rallied their whole 
force, charged with their lances, and on account of their greatly- 
superior numbers, but few of us in front remained untouched ;* 
for five minutes they held the ground from us, when our men 
coming up, we again drove them, and they fled from the field 
not to return to it, which we occupied and encamped upon, 
A most melancholy duty now remaii\s for me ; it is to report 
the death of my aid-de-camp. Captain Johnston, who was shot 
dead at the commencement of the action ; of Captain Moore, 
who was lanced just previous to the final retreat of the enemy; 
and of Lieutenant Hammond, also lanced, who survived but a 
few hours. We also had killed, two sergeants, two corporals, 
and ten privates of the first dragoons ; one private of the vol- 
unteers, and one engaged in the topographical department. 

* Their number was thirty-eight ; all of whom save two, were 
killed or wounded. 



258 THE CONQUEST OF 

Among the wounded are myself, (in two places) Lieutenant 
Warner, topographical engineers, (in three places,) Captain 
Gillespie and Captain Gibson, of the volunteers, (the former in 
three places,) one sergeant, bugler and nine privates of the dra- 
goons ; many of them receiving from two to ten lance wounds, 
most of them when unhorsed and incapable of resistance. Our 
howitzers were not brought into the action, but coming to the 
front at the close of it, before they were turned so as to admit 
of being fired upon the retreating enemy, the two mules before 
one of them got alarmed and freeing themselves from their dri- 
vers ran off among the enenny and were thus lost to us. The 
enemy proved to be a party of about one hundred and sixty 
Californians, under Andreas Pico, brother of the late governor." 

Thanks are returned for their gallantry, particu- 
larly to Captain Turner, first dragoons, A. A. A. G., 
and to Lieutenant Emory. The General's wounds 
were so serious, that during the day Captain Turner 
was in command ; the ground was so rough with 
rocks and cacti, that it was difficult to find a smooth 
place even for the wounded. The dead were buried 
that night, as secretly as possible, for fear of the dis- 
turbance and robbery of the bodies, '* with no other 
accompaniment than the bowlings of myriads of 
wolves." 

Early In the day messengers had been sent, by a 
circuitous route, to San Diego, thirty-nine miles dis- 
tant, for wheel carriages for the use of the wounded. 
" Our provisions were exhausted, our horses dead, 



OF TBCB 

XJNIVERSITY 
NEW MEXICO AND CALi^d^lSJAOR]^ 



our mules on their last legs, and our men, now re- 
duced to one-third of their number, were ragged, 
worn down by fatigue, and emaciated." * 
The General's report continues : — 

" On the morning of the 7th, having made ambulancse 
for our wounded ... we proceeded on our march, when 
the enemy showed himself, occupying the hills in our front, 
which they left as we approached, till reaching San Bernardo a 
party of them took possession of a hill near to it and maintained 
their position until attacked by our advance, who quickly drove 
them from it, killing and wounding five of their number with no 
loss on our part." 

The captured hill was kept possession of; the 
cattle had been lost in this attack. 

December 8th, water was bored for, and the fattest 
of the mules was killed for meat. That day, under a 
flag of truce, one of the messengers to San Diego 
captured on his return, was exchanged. It was un- 
derstood that these messengers brouoht back a writ- 
ten refusal of aid ; certainly no aid came ; the ex- 
changed man stated he had hid a dispatch at a certain 
tree pointed out ; but the dispatch could not, after- 
ward, be found. It was twenty-nine miles to San 
Diego. It was impossible to remove the wounded 
until they could ride, in the presence of such superior 
numbers, and that night Lieutenant Beale, of the 
* "Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



26o THE CONQUEST OF 

Navy,* Carson, and an Indian, volunteered and went 
to San Diego ; it was a dangerous undertaking, as the 
enemy occupied all the roads. That day " the brave 
Sergeant Cox," who had died of his wounds, was 
buried. 

Two more days passed without aid for this crip- 
pled, encumbered band, — surrounded by an increas- 
ing horde of enemies. December loth, '' The enemy 
attacked our camp, driving before them a band of 
wild horses, with which they hoped to produce a 
stampede. Our men behaved with admirable cool- 
ness, turning off the v/ild animals dexterously. Two 
or th'ree of the fattest were killed in the charge, and 
formed, in the shape of a gravy-soup, an agreeable sub- 
stitute for the poor steaks of our worn down brutes, 
on which we had been feeding for a number of days.f 

♦Since Minister to Austria. 

f " Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." The following is also 
extracted, — occurring the night of the 8th : " Don Antonio Ro- 
bideaux, a thin man of fifty-five years, slept next to me. The loss 
of blood from his wounds, added to the coldness of the night, twenty- 
eight degrees Fahrenheit, made me think he would never see day- 
light, but I was mistaken. He woke me to ask if I did not smell 
coffee, and expressed the belief that a cup of that beverage would 
save his life, and that nothing else would. Not knowing that there 
had been any coffee in camp for many days, I supposed a dream had 
carried him back to the cafes of St Louis and New Orleans, and it 
was with some surprise that I found my cook heating a cup of coffee 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 26 1 

The same day the surgeon, Griffin, reported that 
all the wounded but two, would be able to ride. 

There was so little expectation of Lieutenant 
Beale's success that the General ordered every 
incumbrance including great-coats, to be burned ; 
and all preparation to be made for the march next 
morning. 

" We were all reposing quietly, but not sleeping, 
waiting for the break of day, when we were to go 
down and give the enemy anather defeat. . . . The 
tramp of a column was heard, followed by the hail 
of a sentinel. 

" It was a detachment of one hundred tars and 
eighty marines under Lieutenant Gray, sent to 
meet us by Commodore Stockton, from whom we 
learned that Lieutenant Beale, Carson and the Indian 

over a small fire made of wild sage. One of the most agreeable 
little offices performed in my life, and I believe in the cook's, to 
whom the coffee belonged, was to pour the precious draught into the 
waning body of our friend Robideaux.' His warmth returned, and 
with it hopes of life. In gratitude he gave me the half of a cake 
made of brown flour, almost black with dirt, and which had, for 
greater security, been hidden in the clothes of his Mexican servant, 
a man who scorned ablutions. I ate moi-e than half without inspec- 
tion, when, on breaking a piece, the bodies of several of the most 
loathsome insects were exposed to my view. My hunger, however, 
overcame my fastidiousness, and the morceau did not appear par- 
ticularly disgusting." 



262 THE CONQUEST OF 

had arrived safely in San Diego. The detachment 
left San Diego on the night of the 9th, cached them- 
selves during the day of the loth, and joined us on 
the night of that day. These gallant fellows busied 
themselves till day distributing their provisions and 
clothes to our naked and hungry people." * 

This junction was a surprise to the Californians, 
and when the sun rose on the nth, only a squad of 
them was to be seen ; and in retiring they had left 
most of the cattle behind, although none of General 
Kearny's force were now mounted. It was ascer- 
tained that one hundred and eighty Californians 
were engaged at San Pascual, and that one hundred 
additional joined them next day from the Pueblo 
of Los Angeles. 

December 12th, General Kearny reached San 
Diego. 

The frigate Congress and sloop Portsmouth were 
at the anchorage opposite the hide ware-houses two 
miles from the village ; this consisted of a few adobe 
houses, only two or three, of all, with plank floors. 
* *' Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



V. 

FINAL CONQUEST OF CALIFORNIA. 

'THHUS General Kearny had found that the Cali- 
fornians, having thought better of their first 
apparent submission — which was the result of sur- 
prise, and their habitual acquiescence in pronuncia- 
mentos and revolutions — had thrown off, by force of 
arms, near three months previously, the foreign 
yoke ; that of the whole great Territory, only three 
small villages on the coast were dominated by the 
navy, which had ceased all further efforts, appar- 
ently vain enough. He had fought the first battle 
of the real conquest^ 

Now his first thoughts were not of title, of rank, 
and right of command in the Territory, but patri- 
otic and unselfish. His lance wounds soon heal- 
ing, he suggested and then patiently continued to 
urge on Commodore Stockton that action must be 
taken ; that the naval force which could be spared 
to act on land, his few dragoons and some volun- 



264 THE CONQUEST OF 

teers should attempt a campaign ; should march 
into the heart of the most inimical district, and 
attack and recover the capital, the Ciudad de Los 
Angeles. 

He finally prevailed, and Commodore Stockton 
consented. 

December 29th, 1846, General Kearny and Com- 
modore Stockton marched from San Diego with 
near six hundred men ; they were composed of 
about sixty dismounted dragoons, sixty volunteers, 
including some Indians, and the rest sailors and 
marines. There was a battery of six pieces of 
various calibre, drawn by oxen, and a baggage 
train of eleven ox-carts : the acting infantry force 
was divided into four bodies, commanded by Captain 
Turner, Lieutenant Renshaw, Navy, Lieutenants 
Zielin and Gillespie, Marine Corps; the artillery by 
Lieutenant Tilghman, of the Navy. 

The march and camps were habitually in a 
hollow square, with cattle and baggage in the centre, 
artillery at the angles. They camped at the first 
watering place, the Solidad, at 8 o'clock, P. M. Cap- 
tain Emory as adjutant-general, had been " ordered 
to ride forward and lay out a defensive camp, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 265 

hoping to give confidence to the sailors, many of 
whom were now for the first time, transferred to a 
new element."* 

The march was ten or twelve miles a day. 

January 4th, nine miles beyond Flores, they 
approached a defile of eight miles, the road being 
thrown on the sea beach by high lands ; they were 
there met by a flag of truce, bearing a letter from 
Flores, styling himself governor and captain-general 
of the department of California, proposing to sus- 
pend hostllilies in the department, and leave the 
battle to be fought elsewhere upon which was to 
depend the fate of California between the United 
States and Mexico. The commission was dismissed 
with a peremptory refusal of the proposition. For- 
tunately the little army found low tide and marched 
upon the hard beaten sand ; they met no opposi- 
tion, and passed beyond, making eighteen miles 
that day. 

January 6th, after a long march camp was made 
at the upper Santa Anna, which was deserted by 
all except a few old women, who had bolted their 
doors\ "such was the unanimity of the men, women 

* '•' Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 
12 



266 THE CONQUEST OF 

and children, in support of the war, that not a parti- 
cle of information could be obtained in reference to 
the enemy's force or position." 

At 2 o'clock, January 8th, the army came in 
sight of the San Gabriel River, where the enemy 
began to show themselves. " The river was about 
one hundred yards wide, knee deep, and flowing 
over quicksand ; either side was fringed with a thick 
undergrowth. The approach on our side was level, 
that on the enemy's side favorable to him. A 
bank fifty feet high ranged parallel with the river, 
at point blank distances, upon which he posted his 
artillery."* 

General Kearny's account of the action which 
followed is embraced in his short official report 
to the Adjutant-General, which should be here 
given entire. 

Headquarters Army of the West, Ciudad de Los Angeles, 

Upper California, January I2, 1847. 

Sir, — I have the honor to report, that at the request of 
Commodore R. F. Stockton (who in September last assumed 
the title of Governor of California), I consented to take com- 
mand of an expedition to this place — capital of the country — 
and that on the 29th of December, I left San Diego with about 

* "Notes of a Military Reconnoissance." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 267 

five hundred men, consisting of sixty dismounted dragoons, 
under Captain Turner ; fifty California volunteers, and the re- 
mainder of marines and sailors, with a battery of artiller)^ Lieu- 
tenant Emory, topographical engineers, acted as assistant adju- 
tant-general. Commodore Stockton accompanied us. We pro- 
ceeded on our route without seeing the enemy till the 8th instant, 
when they showed themselves in full force of six hundred mounted 
men, with four pieces of artillery, under their Governor 
Flores, occupying the heights in front of us, which commanded 
the crossing of the river San Gabriel, and they ready to oppose 
our further progress. The necessary disposition of our troops 
was immediately m.ade, by covering our front with a strong 
party of skirmishers, placing our wagons and baggage train in 
rear of them, and protecting the flanks and rear with the re- 
mainder of the command. We then proceeded, forded the 
river, carried the heights, and drove the enemy from them after 
an action of about one and a half hours, during which they 
made a charge upon our left flank, which was repulsed ; soon 
after which, they retreated and left us in possession of the field, 
on which we encamped that night. 

The next day, the 9th instant, we proceeded on our march 
at the usual hour, the enemy in front and on our flanks, and 
when we reached the plains of the Mesa, their artillery again 
opened upon us, when their fire was returned by our guns as 
we advanced ; and after hovering around and near us for about 
two hours, occasionally skirmishing with us during that time, 
they concentrated their force and made another charge on our 
left flank, which was quickly repulsed ; shortly after which they 
retired, we continuing our march ; and in the afternoon en- 
camped on the bank of the San Fernando, three miles below 
this city, which we entered the following morning without 
molestation. 

Our loss in the actions of the 8th and 9th instant was small, 
being one private killed and two officers (Lieutenant Renshaw 
of the navy and Captain Gillespie of the volunteers) and eleven 
privates wounded. The enemy mounted on fine horses and 
being the best riders in the world, carried off their killed and 



268 THE CONQUEST OF 

wounded, and we know not the number of them, though it 
must have been considerable. 

Very respectfully your obedient servant, 
S. W. Kearny, Brigadier-General. 
To Brigadier-General R. Jones, 

Adjutant-General United States Army, Washington. 

In fact, while marching on the city, on the loth, 
a flag of truce was met, and a verbal agreement was 
made of surrender on condition of respecting persons 
and property. 

The town was deserted by many of its regular 
inhabitants ; but the streets were found '' full of des- 
perate and drunken fellows, who brandished their 
arms and saluted us with .every term of reproach. 
The crest, overlooking the town, in rifle range, was 
covered with horsemen, engaged in the same hos- 
pitable manner . . . the Californians on the 
hill, did fire on the vaqueros. The rifles were then 
ordered to clear the hill, which a single fire effected, 
killing two of the enemy. . . Towards the close of 
the day we learned very certainly that Flores, with one 
hundred and fifty men, chiefly Sonorians, and desper- 
adoes of the country, had fled toward Sonora, taking 
with him four or five hundred of the best horses and 
mules of the country, the property of his own friends."''* 

* " Notes of a Militaiy Reconnoissance." 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 269 

Next day Lieutenant Emory was ordered to 
select a site, and commence a fort capable of defence 
by one hundred men, and commanding the town ; it 
was begun, but the work was continued only for a 
few days. Many men came into Los Angeles and 
surrendered themselves. 

Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont was left at the 
mission of San Fernando, January nth, about twen- 
ty-four miles from Los Angeles, having been six 
weeks on his march from San Juan, near Monterey. 

That same day two Californians met the battal- 
ion, and gave information of the two days' fighting, 
and that General Kearny and Commodore Stockton 
had marched into Los Angeles the day before. " A 
little farther on, we met a Frenchman who stated 
that he was the bearer of a letter from General 
Kearny, at Los Angeles, to Colonel Fremont. He 
confirmed the statement we had just heard."* 

On the morning of the 13th, two Californian 
officers arrived at the mission, to treat of peace, and 
a consultation was held. The same day the battal- 
ion marched to the rancho of Couenga, twelve miles, 

* " What I saw in California," by E. Bryant, p. 391. 



270 THE CONQUEST OF 

— half way to Los Angeles. There, terms of capitu- 
lation and peace were agreed upon, viz. 

Articles of Capitulation made and entered into at 
the rancho of Couenga, this thirteenth day of January, eighteen 
hundred and forty-seven,, between P. B. Reading, Major Louis 
McLane, Jr., commanding Third Artillery ; William H. Russell, 
ordnance officer — commissioners appointed, by J. C. Fremont, 
Colonel United States Army, and Military commandant of 
California ; and Jose Antonio Carrillo, Commandant squadron ; 
Augustin Olivera, deputado — Commissioners appointed by Don 
Andreas Pico, Commander-in-chief of the Californian forces 
under the Mexican flag. 

Article ist. — The commissioners on the part of the Califor- 
nians, agree that their entire force shall, on presentation of 
themselves to Lieutenant-colonel Fremont, deliver up their ar- 
tillery and public arms, and that they shall return peaceably to 
their homes, conforming to the laws and regulations of the 
United States, and not again take up arms during the war be- 
tween the United States and Mexico, but will assist and aid in 
placing the country in a state of peace and tranquillity. 

Article 2d. — The commissioners on the part of Lieutenant- 
colonel Fremont agree and bind themselves, on the fulfilment 
of the first article by the Californians, that they shall be guaran- 
teed protection of life and property, whether on parole or other- 
wise. 

Article 3d. —That until a treaty of peace be made and 
signed between the United States of North America, and the 
Republic of Mexico, no Californian, or any other Mexican citi- 
zen shall be bound to take the oath of allegiance. 

Article 4th. — That any Californian or citizen of Mexico, de- 
siring, is permitted by this capitulation, to leave the country 
without let or hindrance. 

Article 5th. — That in virtue of the aforesaid articles, equal 
rights and privileges are vouchsafed to every citizen of Califor- 
nia as are enjoyed by the citizens of the United States of North 
America. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 2/1 

Article 6th. — All officers, citizens, foreigners, and others, 
shall receive the protection guaranteed by the Second Article. 

Article 7th. — This capitulation is intended to be no bar in 
effecting such arrangement as may in future be in justice re- 
quired by both parties, 

Ciudad de Los Angeles, Jan. i6th, 1847. 

Additional Article. — That the paroles of all officers, 
citizens, and others of the United States and of naturalized citi- 
zens of Mexico, are by this foregoing capitulation cancelled, 
and every condition of said paroles, from and after this date, are 
of no further force and effect, and all prisoners of both parties 
are hereby released. 

P. B. Reading, Major, Cal'a Battalion. 
Louis McLane, Commander Artillery. 
Wm. H. Russell, Ordnance -Officer. 
Jose Antonio Carrillo, Comd't of Squadron. 
AUGUSTIO Olivera, Deputado. 
Approved, 

J. C. Fremont, Lieut.-colonel, U. S. Army, and 

Military Commandant of California. 
Andres Pico, Commandant of Squadron, and 
Chief of the National Forces of California. 

On the 14th, Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont 
marched his volunteer battalion into Los Angeles, 
and there placed them in temporary quarters. The 
capitulation would appear not to have been signed or 
approved until after his junction with the forces of 
General Kearny and Commodore Stockton. 

The following is taken from an official report of 
Commodore Stockton to the Secretary of the Navy, 
dated January 15th, 1847: 



2/2 THE CONQUEST OF 

" Jos6 Ma. Flores, the commander of the insurgent forces, 
two or three days previous to the 8th, sent two commissioners 
with a flag of truce to my camp to make a ' treaty of peace/ 
I informed the commissioners that I could not recognize Jose 
Ma. Flores, who had broken his parole, as an honorable man, 
or as one having any rightful authority, worthy to be treated 
with, that he was a rebel in arms, and if I caught him I would 
have him shot. It seems that not being able to negotiate with 
me, and having lost the battles of the 8th and 9th, they met 
Colonel Fremont on the 12th instant, on his way here, who not 
knowing what had occurred, he entered into capitulation with 
them, which I now send to you ; and, although I refused to do 
it myself, still I have thought it best to approve it." 

The fact that Lieutenant-colonel Fremont did 
not treat with the objectionable Flores, must make 
it certain that Commodore Stockton referred, in this 
report, to the only matter of importance, that Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Fremont made a treaty, with enemies 
he had never met, in a camp twelve miles from the 
capital and the headquarters of two superiors in 
rank and civil authority, who had recently fought 
and defeated them. And the facts shown, make it 
evident that Lieutenant-colonel Fremont did '* know 
what had occurred," and that Commodore R. F. 
Stockton knev; that it was so. 

The Secretary of War, in his instructions to 
General Kearny, dated June 3d, 1846, informs him, 
^' It is expected that the naval forces of the United 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 273 

States which are now, or will soon be in the Pacific, 
will be in possession of all the towns of the sea coast, 
and will co-operate with you in the conquest of Cali- 
fornia," and further; "should you conquer and take 
possession of New Mexico and Upper California, or 
considerable places in either, you will establish tem- 
porary civil governments therein." 

The Secretary of the Navy, in communicating 
instructions addressed to Commodore Stockton, dated 
November 5th, 1846, says : 

" The President has deemed it best for the public Interests 
to invest the military officer commanding- with the direction of 
the operations on land, and with the administrative functions of 
government over the people and territory occupied by us. You 
will relinquish to Colonel Mason, or to General Kearny, if the 
latter shall arrive before you have done so, the entire control 
over these matters, and turn over to him all papers necessary 
to the performance of his duties." 

He had previously, July 1 2th, 1846, instructed 
the commander of the naval forces: ''For your 
further instruction I enclose you a copy of confi- 
dential instructions from the War Department to 
Brigadier S. W. Kearny, who is ordered, overland, 
to California. You will also communicate your 
instructions to him, and inform him that they have 
the sanction of the President." 

12-^ 



274 THE CONQUEST OF 

And August 13th, the Secretary of the Navy 
instructed "The senior officer in command of the 
United States naval forces in the Pacific Ocean ; — 
The President expects and requires, however, the 
most cordial and effectual cooperation between the 
officers of the two services, in taking possession of, 
and holding the ports and positions of the enemy, 
which are designated in the instructions to either or 
both branches of the service, and will hold any 
commander of either branch to a strict responsi- 
bility for any failure to preserve harmony and secure 
the objects proposed." 

General Kearny having now, by the accession of 
Fremont's battalion, sufficient forces for service on 
land, asserted his rights, as necessary for the per- 
formance of the duties which had been intrusted to 
him, to " establish civil governments." Lieutenant 
colonel Fremont refused to report to him, or to obey 
his orders ; and in this he was evidently supported 
by Commodore Stockton. 

General Kearny was, for the time, utterly power- 
less, and on the i8th of January set out with his 
dragoon escort for San Diego, and sent Captain 
Emory, by Panama, with dispatches for Washington. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 2/5 

Next day, Commodore Stockton appointed Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Fremont, Governor of California, and 
set out, also, for San Diego where his squadron lay ; 
and the day following the sailors and marines 
marched to embark at San Pedro to rejoin their ships. 

January 22d Lieutenant-colonel Fremont, as 
" Governor and Commander-in-chief of California," 
proclaimed " order and peace restored to the country." 

Commodore Stockton, in his latter years, was 
accounted by many as erratic, and at times beyond 
the verge of reason. 

But how shall be explained this dangerous indul- 
gence of a spurious ambition, by a character, whom 
the people of the United States saw fit afterward to 
place in very great prominence ? Did he have un- 
bounded trust in an influence which had shown such 
friendly potency in the outset of his California career? 

Do the Spainards take every where a moral 
contagion? or does the arid atmosphere of their 
chosen abodes, — in Mexico, in California, as in Spain, 
— so peculiarly affect the brains of men, as to make 
these countries the lands of pronunciamentos and 
anarchy ? "^ 

* All the world knows that an investigation that same year of 



276 THE CONQUEST OF 

Hostilities were not confined to Southern Cali- 
fornia. While General Kearny was marching on 
Los Angeles, one Don Francisco Sanchez, at the 
head of a hundred men, held sway for a time in the 
country about San Francisco and Monterey. Besides 
other Americans whom he held prisoners, he cap- 
tured Lieut. Bartlett, of the Navy, acting alcalde of 
San Francisco. Then Captain Marston, Marine 
corps, was sent against him from San Francisco, 
with one hundred marines and volunteers, and a 
piece of artillery. January 2d, he met him on the 
plains of Santa Clara ; after an action of an hour, 
with small loss on either side, Sanchez retreated 
and the same evening sent by a flag, a request for 
an armistice and conference. Next day Marston 
was joined by a company of mounted volun- 
teers, under Lieut. Maddox, Marine corps, from 
Monterey. 

January 8th, the Californians gave up Lieutenant 
Bartlett and other prisoners, surrendered a field- 
piece and other arms, and disbanded. 

Col. F.'s conduct at this time by a general court martial, resulted in 
his conviction of mutiny and disobedience of orders, and sentence 
of dismissal from the army. 

Commodore Stockton escaped a trial. 



new mexico and california. 277 

Dangerous Consequences of the Mutiny. 
An Interregnum. 

The narrative of the march of the infantry bat- 
taHon under Lieutenant-colonel Cooke, was closed 
at its arrival at the Mission of San Diego, January 
29th, 1847, ^"d his report in person to General 
Kearny the same evening at San Diego. 

General Kearny could in no way authorize re- 
cognition of the usurpation then existing ; he in- 
structed Lieut.-colonel Cooke to march to the mission 
of San Luis Rey, fifty-three miles from San Diego, 
on the road to Los Angeles, and there to quarter 
his battalion ; to await events and further orders, but 
to exercise such authority and power as might 
become necessary in his judgment, under unforeseen 
circumstances of national interests and defence. 

Most fortunately. Commodore Shubrick was 
then expected at Monterey, as commander of the 
Pacific squadron. The opportunity of a vessel of 
war sailing the next day for Monterey, offering 
itsel-f, General Kearny embarked, January 30th, for 
that port. 

Lieut.-colonel Cooke was thus left in the com- 



'^'j'^ THE CONQUEST OF 

mand of the only troops in California that had been 
mustered into the service of the United States ; a 
i&v^ dragoons, and a battalion of volunteers, which 
up to that time had never had opportunity to re- 
ceive regular instruction in arms. 

Lieutenant-colonel Fremont, — eighty-eight miles 
north of San Luis Rey, — was in command of a " bat- 
talion," only provisionally in the service; of men 
more ignorant of military law and discipline than 
their commander, (who had never served but as a 
detached topographical engineer,) but they were 
personally dependent on him and devoted to his 
fortunes ; and Fremont claimed absolute authority, 
civil and military, in the Territory. 

But to complete the situation. A few days 
before a body of enemies superior in number to 
both battalions, — half savage and raised to arms, — 
quite accustomed to seditions and revolutions, had 
disbanded under a capitulation made under the de- 
pression of their defeat, but without much loss, by 
large forces which then, near by, held their capital. 
That force had now been reduced to the small un- 
disciplined battalion of Fremont. These insurgents 
knew well the dissensions and divided authority 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 279 

among their enemies ; they had retained their arms, 
and were now, professedly, only waiting expected 
reinforcements from Mexico to renew the war. 

The battalion accordingly marched to San Luis 
Rey, and took quarters in the Mission buildings, in 
the first days of February. The mission is beautifully 
situated, overlooking fertile and well watered lands ; 
even the high hills showing, by their smoothness, 
the former cultivation, in wheat. It is only two or 
three miles distant, but does not command a view 
of the ocean. This immense mission structure, 
with an imposing church in an angle, built about 
sixty years previously, was found in good condition ; 
buildings, and corral and garden wall-tops as well, 
protected by roofs of red tiles. In the centre of the 
main court was an orange tree with ripening fruit ; 
pomegranate trees were in their beautiful blossom. 
There were other courts, — one for cattle. The bat- 
talion found ample quarters. There was a large 
garden and vineyard, enclosed by handsome walls. 

The absence of forest trees is a very character- 
istic feature of California ; grey squirrels, which 
seemed identical with the tree species, were here 
found, but necessarily burrowing in the earth. 



28o THE CONQUEST OF 

Lieut.-colonel Cooke immediately commenced 
a thorough practical instruction of the battalion in 
tactics ; the absence of books made it a difficult and 
laborious task, — teaching and drilling officers half 
the day, and superintending, in the other half, their 
efforts to impart what they had just imperfectly 
learned. But all were in earnest, and in a very few 
weeks the complete battalion exercises were mas- 
.tered. 

The " Secretary of State " stopped at the mis- 
sion the evening of February 2ist; sent, he said 
from the capital to represent the government at 
a ball to be given February 22d, by Commodore 
Stockton at San Diego. He stated that two com- 
panies of Californians had been raised for service ; 
that any attack to displace the present government 
would be resisted by force, that a thousand natives 
would rise to support Colonel Fremont. But his 
opinions and assertions were equally unreliable. 
But about that time there was good evidence that 
many inhabitants pretty openly asserted that they 
would rise again, if any assistance came from So- 
noma. 

Major Swords, Quarter-master, who was sent to 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 28 1 

the Sandwich Islands for provisions and specie, 
arrived at San Diego February 19th with flour, 
sugar, etc. 

In my diary I find for March 1st : '' Last night two 
more famihes, passing, applied for the use of quar- 
ters, and several officers gave up to them their 
rooms. They have spent here much of the day. 
They travel in carts drawn by oxen ; the ' mode' too 
at Constantinople and in New Mexico. But these 
carts are superior to the New Mexican's, and contain 
mattresses, — which with blanket awnings, must make 
them rather comfortable. The travelers were of the 
best class, and the ladies were handsome. 

This contrast of ox carts to male locomotion here, 
is extreme. On our march I was startled by a 
party of men riding at full gallop to meet us, and driv- 
ing twenty or thirty horses ; it was one or two proprie- 
tors traveling, with their servants ; then I saw two of 
the men dash into the drove, swinging their lazos, with 
which they caught two loose horses ; very quickly 
they transferred the equipments of those they had 
ridden, — which were then turned loose to rest them- 
selves — at the gallop !" 

Next day, Sefior Bandini, of San Diego, called ; 



282 THE CONQUEST OF 

— a member of the " legislative council ;" it ap- 
peared from his statements that the Frigate Con- 
gress was about to sail ; that there was a small troop 
of native volunteers at the place, whose commander 
had written by him — to Colonel Fremont — that 
they must speedily disperse, from want of pro- 
visions. 

An officer and thirty-two men were sent from 
San Luis Rey, the following morning, March 3d, to 
take post there, for protection of the town and of a 
provision depot. 

There were reports then, from two sources, of 
the approach of a force from Sonora. 

The killing of a beef presented a characteristic 
trait of Californians ; the vaquero pursuing the herd 
at full speed with lazo flying, catches one by a 
fore leg, and throws it with a tremendous shock : he 
then cuts its throat. The lazo is also used for the 
rare occasion of catching and milking a cow, which 
has to be tightly bound after being caught. 

March gth. — ** A frost last night ; many of the 
men, volunteers and dragoons, have long been bare- 
footed ! they march on guard barefooted : none have 
overcoats; the volunteers never had them ; those of 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 283 

the dragoons were burnt. There is no public money, 
for pay, or for purchase of provisions. I feed four 
hundred men at a cost to government of four and a 
half cents a day each ; this being the value of four 
pounds of beef. The Californians pay their Indian 
servants with aguadiente ; a sort of fiery whiskey 
which they distil. 

March \2th. — " For forty days I have commanded 
the legal forces in California, — the war still existing ; 
and not pretending to the highest authority of any 
sort, have had no communication with any higher, 
or any other, military, naval, or civil. . . I have 
put a garrison in San Diego ; the civil officers, ap 
pointed by a naval officer, otherwise refusing to 
serve ; while a naval officer ashore, is styled by some, 
" Governor of San Diego." 

General Kearny is supreme — somewhere up the 
coast ; Colonel Fremont supreme at Pueblo de los 
Angeles; Commodore Stockton is "Commander 
in-chief" at San Diego; — Commodore Shubrick, the 
same at Monterey, and I, at San Luis Rey ; — and 
we are all supremely poor ; the government having 
no money and no credit ; and we hold the Territory 
because Mexico is poorest of all. 



284 THE CONQUEST OF 

I rode to the seashore this afternoon, ana saw the 
spouting of whales." 

March i^tk. — Major H. S. Turner, as Adjutant 
General, arrived at San Luis Rey, the bearer of news 
and an important document : the announcement, in 
both languages, of the assumption of government, 
and all legal authority, naval and military, by Com- 
modore Shubrick and General Kearny, at Monterey, 
now the capital. 

Commodore Shubrick arrived there January 23d, 
and February 1st, issued a general order, as Com- 
mander-in-chief; it announced the arrival of Captain 
Tompkins' company of United States Artillery, and 
discharged, with commendation and thanks, Mad- 
dox's volunteers. 

This was some weeks before General Kearny's 
arrival at Monterey. 

But now a " circular " was published, dated 
March ist, signed by Commodore Shubrick, "Com- 
mander-in-chief of the Naval Forces," and General 
Kearny, " Brigadier-general and Governor of Califor- 
nia." It announced that, " to the Commander-in- 
chief of the Naval Forces the President has assigned 
the regulation of the import trade, the conditions 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 285 

on which vessels of all nations, our own as well as 
foreign, may be admitted into the ports of the terri- 
tory, and the establishment of all port regulations. 

" To the commanding military officer the presi- 
dent has assigned the direction of the operations on 
land, and has invested him with administrative func- 
tions of government over the people and territory 
occupied by the forces of the United States." 

This a recital of facts well known from the first. 

There was further, the proclamation of General 
Kearny as Governor. 

It was long ; it " absolved all the inhabitants of 
California from any further allegiance to the Repub- 
lic of Mexico, and will consider them as citizens of 
the United States." . . . *' The Americans and 
Californians are now but one people ; let us cherish 
one wish, one hope, and let that be for the peace 
and quiet of our country. Let us, as a band of 
brothers, unite and emulate each other in our exer- 
tions to benefit and improve this our beautiful, and 
which soon must be, our happy and prosperous 
home." 

It contained scarcely any allusion to existing dis- 
sensions, and this probably was the reason that it did 



286 THE CONQUEST OF 

not end them ; those most unselfishly devoted to the 
safety of public interests, felt the imperative policy 
of concealing them ; they observed their effect as 
temptations to compHcations involving bloodshed, 
and a thorough alienation of a simple minded popu- 
lation, and possibly the advantage of the uti possi- 
detis at the treaty of peace, the period of which was 
beyond any conjecture in California. The reader 
must have observed the almost permanent severance 
of communication with the eastern side of the conti- 
" nent ; let him consider that Commodore Stockton 
seems to have been six or eight weeks officially 
ignorant of Commodore Shubrick's presence very 
far short of the other extremity of the territory 
itself. 

Major Turner, who came by way of Los Angeles, 
was bearer of a general order, placing Lieut.-colonel 
Cooke in command of the southern half of Cali- 
fornia ; and he informed him that he had brought 
orders to Lieut.-colonel Fremont to disband his bat- 
talion, but that those men desiring it, should be 
mustered into public service. If he failed to obey, 
Captain Turner was instructed to notify General 
Kearny at Monterey, by express. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 287 

Lieutenant-colonel Cooke immediately sent a 
courier to Colonel Fremont, to ascertain what number 
of the men had been mustered into service. The 
answer was by a " governor," through his " secretary 
of state," that none had consented to enter the 
public service ; but as rumors of insurrection were 
rife, it was not deemed safe to disband them. He 
asked for no assistance, under the dangerous circum- 
stances; but on the contrary, added that the "bat- 
talion would be amply sufficient for the safety of the 
artillery and ordnance stores." 

Meantime Captain Turner had returned to Los 
Angeles, and there being convinced that Lieutenant- j 
colonel Fremont did not intend to obey the orders, 
set out himself, express, for Monterey ; this being 
made known from the many horses driven according 
to the custom. Lieutenant-colonel Fremont set out, 
half a day later, and rode to Monterey in four days ; 
but on arriving there he found that Captain Turner 
had also arrived, several hours before him. Never- 
theless, it appeared that Lieutenant-colonel Fremont 
satisfied General Kearny that he would obey orders, 
and was suffered to return. 

But Lieutenant-colonel Cooke had decided to 



288 THE CONQUEST OF 

march to Los Angeles, and he reached there the 23d 
of March ; he was poHtely met, at the edge of town, 
by Captain Gillespie, who informed him that Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Fremont had left for Monterey the 
day before. The battalion was formed in line in the 
main street ; then the dragoons were quartered in a 
government building, and the battalion went into 
camp in the edge of the town. 

The same day the alcalde waited on Lieutenant- 
colonel Cooke and informed him of frequent depre- 
dations by Indians, and that by last accounts, they 
were in possession of his rancho, about thirty-five 
miles distant. Next morning, a Lieutenant and 
thirty dragoons, mounted, were sent to investigate 
the matter, — and to act according to circumstances. 

The following is extracted from Lieutenant-col- 
onel Cooke's diary, March 24th : — 

*' x\fter breakfast I rode out to the San Gabriel 
mission ; it is a beautiful plain, somewhat undulating, 
eight miles to that point ; it is part of the great 
*' Mesa," but there is a low ridge of green hills ; the 
pin grass I found most luxuriant. As I approached 
the base of the mountain, I came in view of the 
woods of the San Gabriel River and its pretty valley, 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 289 

or meadow-land. Some two miles this side, stands 
the old mission, to which water is brought by a 
canal. There were the usual appearances of old 
fields and plantations, — and olive trees, dates, cactus 
hedges, etc. ; a good large church, with pilasters ; 
the buildings looked dingy and dilapidated, and 
above all, very dirty ; the heads and offal of slaugh- 
tered beeves were lying in disagreeable vicinity. 

'' I fell in, on the road, with a gentlemen who said 
he was the adjutant, and seemed very ignorant of 
the true state of affairs, and asked what was the dif- 
ficulty between General Kearny and Commodore 
Stockton. He had not seen, he said, either the 
circular of the Governor and Commodore Shubrick, 
or Tenth Military Department Order No. Two, rela- 
tive to the mustering the battalion into service, etc. 
I showed them to him. All the volunteers I saw, 
seemed very polite, and even friendly. I went in to 
see Captain Owens, in command of the battalion. 
Lieutenant Davidson and Assistant-surgeon Sander- 
son were with me the whole time ; Captain Owens 
expressed the same ignorance of the circular and the 
order; I showed them to him ; the order he looked 
at a long time, but I am very much mistaken if he 



290 THE CONQUEST OF 

turned the leaf (it was on two sides of a leaf). I 
mentioned that they were not really in the United 
States service, unless for the purpose of being 
marched to a point to be discharged ; I said I had 
an idea of putting some of my battalion out there; 
he said there was no room for them, that there was 
not room enough for all the battalion (the adjutant 
had told me that the battalion was now two hun- 
dred and six in number). I asked the captain, who 
seemed very shy, to show me the buildings, etc. 
He conducted me through his room into the court, 
where I saw the artillery and examined it ; I re- 
marked to him that there were the two howitzers 
belonging to the dragoons, and asked Mr. Davidson 
if one of them was not so much out of order that it 
could not be taken to town ? and then said to Cap- 
tain Owens that I had directed that some mules 
should be brought out to take those two pieces in, 
to-day. He observed that he had received special 
orders from Colonel Fremont not to turn over any 
of the artillery to any one, and that he could not 
let it go. I told him that the government authori- 
ties, the general of the army and governor, had com- 
mitted the command here to mt\ and asked him if 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 29! 

he did not acknowledge the authority of the United 
States Government? He said it was hard to know 
what was the legal authority, — he knew none but 
Colonel Fremont ; he regarded him as the chief mili- 
tary authority in this country. I asked him what 
could convince him ? v/hat evidence he wanted ? I 
took out and read to him the printed circular and the 
Department Order ; told him that these were the 
highest authorities by land and sea ; told him that 
Colonel Mason had lately came out express with the 
fresh orders of the government ; that Fremont him- 
self had so far obeyed as to drop his title of gov- 
ernor, and had gone to Monterey to report himself. 
He said he did not know what Colonel Fremont 
had gone for ; that he would soon return, — that he 
ranked me, and he did not know but what Colonel 
Fremont had received other orders since the date 
of order No. Two, etc., etc. I very coolly and in 
perfect tem.per, exhausted every information, every 
argument, every appeal to his patriotism, — every 
m.otive in this distant land, for obedience and union 
amidst enemies; pointed out the disastrous conse- 
quences likely to ensue to public interests and to 
persons, by this treasonable course. In vain ; he had 



292 THE CONQUEST OF 

received Fremont's orders to obey none other, and 
nothing more would he do. He had offered to 
show me the orders, and I finally told him I would 
look at them. ... It was a letter of instructions 
to Captain Owens ; after stating he was about to 
make a tour to the northern district, on matters 
connected with his military duties, it proceeded to 
five or six paragraphs of special orders ; one was to 
the effect that he was to obey the orders of no offi- 
cers, not coming expressly from him ; another that he 
was to retain charge of all the ordnance, and to 
deliver it to no corps without express orders from 
him. 

The President of the United States, in person, 
would fail to get the artillery, or be obeyed by Cap- 
tain Owens with his battalion, until Lieutenant- 
colonel Fremont gave the permission ! I asked for 
pen and ink to take a copy of the orders ; he de- 
clined. I told Captain Owens that it was an illegal 
order ; that we all bound ourselves to obey the le- 
gal orders of our superiors ; and that Colonel Fre- 
mont could not defeat, or release the obligation. I 
told him I had no personal motives ; that I only 
looked upon him as an American, whom I met as a 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 293 

friend far from home, and advised him, by my expe- 
rience of twenty years' service, to think better of it. 
All was vain ; these people, very many of them good 
well-meaning citizens have, it would seem, been 
cruelly and studiously deceived. ... I took my 
leave."* 

The " Secretary of State " disappeared at the 
approach of the battalion, leaving a report that he 
had left for the United States; a number of horses 
also had been taken from the mission ; but there 
was evidence of his still being somewhere about Los 
Angeles. 

March 2^th. — The severe frosts of the early part 

* The late Hon. T. H. Benton, as advocate, and as Senator, in 
his many speeches against General Kearny, made the point that the 
author had in some way, been instructed by him to " crush " Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Fremont ; the failure only arising from the author's 
imputed want of force of character. But as Colonel Fremont had 
disappeared at his approach — had gone to report to his legal com- 
mandei- — allusion must have been made to the author's brooking the 
mutinous conduct of the ignorant Owens. 

Could insanity have gone farther than that a half of the dimin- 
utive forces holding the doubtful conquest of so distant a province, 
should resort to force of arms (evidently unnecessaiy, as the event, 
easily foreseen, proved) against the other half, and in the presence ot 
armed and eager enemies ! 

The "conveniently missing" diary was also remarked upon. It 
had been sunk in crossing a river, near Sutter's Fort ; but having 
been searched for, and found by Sutter's Indians, had not* then been 
received or heard from. 



294 'fHE CONQUEST OF 

of this month were unexampled, for any season oi 
the year ; it appeared that the young orange trees 
were much injured ; and citrons, bearing at once 
flowers and fruit, were to be seen frost-bitten to 
near the root. But the orange groves of the vicin- 
ity were unharmed. 

" Our Httle rivers, the San Fernando and the San 
Gabriel, approaching in broad sweep, unite six miles 
below, and are lost in the earth before reaching the 
ocean ; it is probable that the beautiful plain, nearly 
circular and eight miles across, can be irrigated; 
then, flourishing like a garden, and overlooked by 
the snowy mountain, it might rival in beauty, as it 
must resemble, that of Grenada. It is a happiness to 
breathe the air, which gently stirs the vineyards and 
orange groves." 

An express was sent to Monterey with a report 
of the attitude of the immigrant "battalion." 

March 27th, the troops were moved to a carefully 
selected spot commanding the town. 

" This place, whether the ' Paris of California ' or 
not, is a hot bed of sedition, and originates all the 
rebellions or revolutions; and women, they say, play 
an influential part. It has come to my knowledge 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 295 

that the common talk is of the affair of the refused 
cannon; and that there soon will be more 'fun'; 
but they add that the Californians will join the men 
at San Miguel. That sounds badly." 

Captain Smith returned the 28th ; he had gone 
above sixty miles; he only discovered four Indians, 
who had murdered one, and wounded another man, 
and had stolen their animals ; they were afoot, and 
ran to the near hills ; the dragoons pursued and sur- 
rounded them, dismounted. The Indians, lying on 
their backs, defended themselves with arrows, 
which they shot with wonderful rapidity, wounding 
two of the men and several horses ; they would 
not surrender and were all killed ; they were 
naked, or had rabbit skins slung at their backs, as 
their sole covering. Some twenty horses were re- 
covered. 

" The dragoon horses came back with feet so 
worn as to make the most of them lame and use- 
less. I shall to-morrow commence the introduction 
of horse-shoes in California, at least in this southern 
part. It would not suit the views of the Treasury 
Department to furnish two or three horses per man, 
California fashion ; and it might not be of military 



296 THE CONQUEST OF 

convenience.' (The attempt failed for want of 
proper iron.) 

Some Californians, this day rode out of town, at 
full speed, under fire of a few dragoons, a-foot, who 
had been ordered to arrest them ; they had assault- 
ed a countryman for having taken part with the 
Americans. It appears that an old regulation, clos- 
ing drinking saloons on Sundays, has of late months 
been abrogated, and with very bad effects. 

Lieutenant-colonel Fremont returned to Los 
Angeles March 30th. 

Colonel R. B. Mason, first dragoons, had been 
sent to California in consequence of General Kear- 
ny's request to be relieved so soon as peace and 
order should follow on the conquest of California. 
He was now sent to Los Angeles, as an officer se- 
nior in army rank to Lieutenant-colonel Fremont, to 
enforce the discharge of the " battalion," and obe- 
dience to other orders. The New York regiment of 
volunteers, Colonel Stevenson, had arrived at Mon- 
terey ; and two companies had taken post at Santa 
Barbara, and one at San Diego. 

During all this period there were depredations 
by wild Indians, and exaggerated reports, and appli- 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 297 

cations for military aid and protection, to the com- 
mander at Los Angeles; Captain A. J.Smith was 
sent to Cajon Pass, March 31st, with forty dragoons, 
in consequence of repeated calls for protection from 
an invasion of Piute Indians on the settlements of 
that vicinity. 

The authority of Colonel Mason proved sufficient, 
with some difficulty, for the discharge of Lieuten- 
ant-colonel Fremont's men ; and ten pieces of 
cannon were brought from the mission to Los An- 
geles. Only twenty-five horses were delivered. 

Indian murders and depredations seemed to 
increase; it was believed that a body of Utahs, from 
far beyond the Territory, had invaded it. Colonel 
Mason, exercising a civil authority, addressed to al- 
caldes requisition to furnish Lieut.-colonel Cooke 
with all the men and horses he should demand. An 
expedition dependent upon this aid was planned by 
the latter, but failed for want of cooperation ; but a 
company of the Mormon battalion was sent, April 
nth, to establish a post at the Cajon Pass. 

*' The view from the hill overlooking the town is 
fine ; the white-walled village is fully revealed, as at 
your feet ; the meadows of the bright stream, inter- 

n* 



298 THE CONQUEST OF 

sected by many * live fence ' enclosures of vineyards, 
gardens and orchards ; the Mesa extending above 
twenty miles, and the ocean beyond ; on two sides, 
smooth green hills swell into mountains, which have 
the rich blue tints of a pure atmosphere, and are 
capped with snow-fields." 

Report was received that the people near Cajon 
Pass refused, at first, to sell cattle ; and will not 
send them to the post. 

It is known that Indians — all savages — are very 
sympathetic with any warHke cotnmotions ; these ev- 
idently stir within them, and encourage their natu- 
ral passions, and their cherished habits. It is prob- 
able that they were now thus incited to very unusual 
activity of aggression. But here, as in New Mexico, 
the Mexican power habitually ignored any duty of 
protection against them ; and certainly now, the 
people were entirely remiss in any cooperation for 
their own protection, even in the matter of their 
abundant horses ; and more, a general backwardness 
or unwillingness to sell horses for government use. 
Thus perhaps their applications and reports should 
have been treated with indifference ; and there were 
indications, as there was rumor, of bad influences, of 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 299 

subtle intrigue. It was perhaps a mistake in Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Cooke, to yield, as far as he did, to his 
instincts of military protection. 

April igth. — " The irrigating canals are a source 
of considerable trouble and vexation ; not only as to 
distribution into fair shares, but in the matter of 
drinking, when foul clothes have been washed above. 

" The native, of the best class, on occasion of cere- 
mony is picturesque as well as very fine in costume. 
As a horseman he wears ever a jacket, but an or- 
namental one ; the trousers are open on the outer 
seams nearly to the waist, with many buttons, 
chiefly for ornament ; they show thus, very white 
fine and voluminous drawers. They wear also, silk 
sashes of bright colors (from China). Stamped 
leather leggings, wonderful spurs, and the sombrero 
complete the picture." 

It was ascertained, April 20th, that two men, in 
advance of a party of eleven, had arrived in Los 
Angeles from Sonora, and had presented passports 
to the alcalde, — who made no report. The men 
were confined, and examined separately ; one of 
them had a passport which had been sent to him by 
Lieutenant-colonel Fremont ; he had been a cap- 



300 THE CONQUEST OF 

tain in the late hostilities, — and the other had been 
engaged in them, and wounded; giving a good 
account of themselves, they were released. But im- 
mediately after, it was reported through town that 
General Bustamente was approaching California at 
the head of a military force, — and then more defi- 
nitely, a force of fifteen hundred men. 

An intelligent Spanish gentleman was communi- 
cated with ; he gave positive information that the 
Mexican Government had appropriated $6oo,000 
toward this expedition, and that artillery and other 
arms and stores, had been collected at Acapulco ; 
and also that one Limentura, whose vessel had lately 
been seized at San Pedro, had brought commissions, 
of high rank, for Californians. This gentleman de- 
tailed extraordinary indications, in the southern 
district, of an expected resort to arms, and was of 
opinion that there would be an insurrection, whether 
external aid came or not, unless the American forces 
were increased in this quarter ; that the natives no 
more regarded the troops at Monterey than if they 
were at Boston. 

It was soon ascertained that Limentura had 
landed cannon, etc., at San Vincente or San Thomas 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 301 

— twelve miles apart — and near the Lower Califor- 
nia line. There was a general excitement, and 
threatening demonstrations, accompanying these 
reports, whether true or false. BflDCTOft Libmrv 

All measures of precaution were immediately 
but very quietly taken ; an officers' party of dra- 
goons was sent to Warner's rancho, Agua Caliente, 
to patrol the Sonora road as far as the desert ; the 
company at Cajon Pass was withdrawn, the park of 
artillery was brought from camp into town, to the 
dragoon quarters, and three pieces manned by dra- 
goons. The construction of a fort on the hill, fully 
commanding the town, which had been previously 
determined upon, was begun, and a company of 
infantry there posted. An express was sent to the 
commanding-general at Monterey. 

A communication was also sent to Commodore 
Stockton, still at San Diego, giving full and minute 
information of the landing of the stores ; and inform- 
ing him that the lower road, easiest for General 
Bustamente, if coming, fell into the coast road at 
San Vincente ; it was suggested that it would be well 
to send the sloop Julia^ very quietly, to capture the 
cannon and stores. 



302 THE CONQUEijT OF 

Meanwhile the patrol had observed a collection 
of horses, which were being driven for concealment 
into canons ; and a traveller from Santa Barbara 
encountered twenty armed men, with the Mexican 
flag displayed. A race was announced at Santa 
Anna, eight or ten miles from Los Angeles, for 
Sunday April 25, and without the license required 
by Mexican law and usage. It was not stopped ; 
and it was attended by nearly all the males of Los 
Angeles (including some confidential observers). 
This meeting was kept up until late at night ; and 
undoubtedly it was then decided to await the act- 
ual arrival of reinforcements from Mexico. Lieu- 
tenant-colonel Fremont, two weeks previously, had 
informed Colonel Mason that his business would be 
finished in two or three days, when, as ordered, he 
would set out for Monterey ; but he still lingered at 
Los Angeles. 

April 28th, an answer was received from Com- 
modore Stockton ; he promised to sail to find and 
seize the deposit of arms, as soon as he could get 
the Congress out of the harbor; he added, ** if Bus- 
tamente comes this- road, he will not go far without 
some broken shins and bloody noses." The Julia 



came to San Pedro, April 30th, Lieutenant Selden 
commander, bringing an application from Commo- 
dore Stockton for four-pounders, to be used against 
Bustamente ; he had sailed in the Congress. As 
most of the ammunition at Los Angeles was for 
four-pounders, they were not sent. 

A report was received, May 3d, through the 
best available sources of information, that General 
Bustamente had crossed the Gulf, near its head, in 
boats of the pearl fishers ; and, at last information 
was at a rancho on the western coast, seventy 
leagues below San Diego. The same day a return 
courier from Monterey gave information that two 
companies of the New York volunteers would be 
sent to Los Angeles. 

The arrival of large reinforcements from New 
York, and the preparations for his reception, are 
among the probable causes of the miscarriage of 
General Bustamente's expedition. 

Meantime, while immigration had been largely 
increasing, San Francisco, whose existence counted 
by months, showed great vitality and growth ; fifty 
houses had gone up in a month ; its population was 
American ; General Kearny, aided by the arrival of 



304 THE CONQUEST OF 

troops and large amounts of mechanical means, and 
stores of all sorts, was fast establishing confidence 
and order throughout. March loth, following 
Mexican law and custom, he granted to the town of 
San Francisco, — to be sold at auction for its benefit, 
— the beach and water lots ; thus providing for 
wharves and docks, for the accommodation of a 
commerce which was growing beyond all precedent ; 
merchant vessels were arriving almost daily ; already 
the editor of a newspaper there established, was 
predicting its destiny to be the '' Liverpool or New 
York of the Pacific Ocean." 

In March, also, General Kearny inaugurated the 
first beginning of a mail service in the Territory; a 
horse mail was established every two weeks each 
way, between San Francisco and San Diego. 

General Kearny arrived at Los Angeles May 9th ; 
he had come to San Pedro in the store-ship Lexing- 
ton ; and with him were Colonel Stevenson and two 
companies of the New York regiment. Lieutenant- 
colonel Fremont was then sent to Monterey to be 
thence ordered to Fort Leavenworth. 

The General and Governor was at this time look- 
ing to his speedy return, overland, to the United 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA. 305 

States ; availing himself of the permission accorded 
to his application made at Santa Fe, to return " in 
the event of our getting possession of Upper Califor- 
nia — of establishing a civil government there, — se- 
curing peace, quiet and order among the inhabitants, 
and precluding the possibility of the Mexicans again 
having control there." 

The time of service of the Mormon battalion ex- 
pired in July, and the acceptance of the resignation 
of its Lieutenant-colonel commanding having been 
earnestly urged by him, in order that he might also 
return by this opportunity, it was accepted by 
General Kearny, May 13th, and he embarked, next 
day, with him and his suit, on the Lexington at San 
Pedro for Monterey. 

After a pleasant voyage, lengthened by calms, 
the Lexington sailed into the picturesque but not 
always safe bay and harbor of Monterey, May 27th. 
*' A most beautiful view presented itself; in the 
foreground eight vessels of war and some merchant- 
men were riding at anchor; beyond, the green 
slopes of the town and its environs, enclosed by 
a perfect semi-circle of rounded hills, chequered 
and sprinkled with the dark pines. Nature with 



306 THE CONQUEST OF 

its graceful variety here outdid itself in a dis- 
tribution of slope and grove, valley and hill- 
top, which formed a combination of the unsought 
effect, which taste and art could not equal on this 
scale of magnificence ; a grandeur, which, stopping 
short of the sublime, is the perfection of the 
beautiful." 

The Columbus, ninety guns, was then in the 
harbor, and Commodore Biddle was Naval Com- 
mander-in-chief. 

Leaving Colonel R. B. Mason, First Dragoons, 
Military Commander and Governor, in his place. 
General Kearny, May 31st, with numerous officers, 
constituting, with attendants, about forty men, (ex- 
clusive of Lieutenant-colonel Fremont's large party), 
and divided into convenient small messes, set out 
upon what proved a hard ride ; one which averaged 
thirty-three miles a day for eighty- three days, with- 
out one of rest. Their provisions were exhausted, 
while in a corner of the territory of the Oregon of 
that day; but they soon met, as expected, the head 
of the great column of migration, extending then 
perhaps, a thousand miles. 



NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA, 307 

The sequel of the mihtary conquest is told in 
few words ; for the poor natives of that great coun- 
try, and all their discontent and restlessness, their 
hatred, threats, and seditions, were soon to be over- 
whelmed and extinguished, as by the stroke of 
Fate. Two men, discharged from the Mormon bat- 
talion, and employed by Captain Sutter to dig a 
mill-race, a few months later discovered, in prodigal 
abundance, placer GOLD. 



33^^'- 



THE END. 



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