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DEPARTMENT OF WAR.

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, January 18, 1850. Sir: I have the honor of laying before you copies of documents embracing the information called for from this department by the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 31st ultimo.

I beg leave to remark that the exercise of civil authority by any military officer in California, since the termination of the war with Mexico, was • first assumed by Brevet Brigadier General Mason, under his proclamation,

which was issued on the 7th of August, 1848, the next day after the intelligence reached him that peace had been restored between the United States and Mexico. This proclamation was communicated to the department on the 22d of November, 1848, and its receipt acknowledged by the proper bureau on the 27th of January, 1849, without any comment.

On the 13th of April, 1849, this officer was relieved of his command in California, and was succeeded by Brevet Brigadier General Riley. At this period, it appears to have been the purpose of this latter officer, with the advice of his predecessor, to have secured to the people of that Territory a fuller enjoyment of the laws, customs, and usages applicable to their condition and wants; and, at the same time, to have provided for the organization of a government, such as is contemplated by the ninth article of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the constitution of the United States. The cause of delay in executing the purpose of this officer is fully explained by the following extract from a communication from the commanding general of the Pacific division, dated June 20, 1849, to this department:

“Under the hope that some act of the last Congress had provided, or at least defined, the government of California, it was thought prudent to await intelligence of the close of the session; and then, if nothing had been done at Washington, to put in action the machinery of the laws already existing here, and at the same time propose to the people of California to form a State constitution and present it at the next session of Congress, when their admission into the Union as a State would at once solve so many difficulties, and, while it removed a cause of disagreement at home, would give them an opportunity of legislating for themselves. The steamer Edith had been sent to Mazatlan for the necessary intelligence; and, on her arrival with information that no other than a revenue law had been passed, General Riley issued a proclamation for the election of the necessary executive and judicial officers under the existing laws, and recommending, at the same time, the election of delegates to a convention to form a State constitution. Mr. King arrived at the time these proclamations were about being issued; and it was matter of great congratulation that the government, by anticipation, approved of the latter measure. Every means will be used to give the people of California an opportunity of expressing their wishes on this point, and of bringing the matter to a happy conclusion."

The necessity of a civil government in California, adequate to protect and control its increased population, composed of persons who had flocked from all quarters of the globe, was daily rendered more apparent. The common employment in which every interest was directly or indirecily

connected, and of a mass so dissimilar in habits and language, and prob. ably a part not without a lively sense of an exclusive enjoyment, showed the absolute want of an authority capable of upholding public and private rights. Indeed, this want was so obvious and urgent, that legislative assemblies were established in several districts of California; and by their authority, the existing customs and laws, already adverted to, were attempted to be superseded. The whole plan was considered as irregular, and would in the end have been dangerous to the public peace and the public interests.

The first duty of the army was to execute the order of March 15, 1848, "to take measures with a view to its (California's) permanent occupation;" and the second, in my opinion, was to separate, as far as practicable, the citizens from the control of martial law. The executive powers exercised by the two commanding officers in California were varied only by the emergencies as they arose, which may be seen by their several reports on the civil affairs of that territory. In their respective administrations, each has endeavored to avoid the application of the principles and practices of military law. Respectfully submitted.

GEO. W. CRAWFORD,

Secretary of War. The PRESIDENT.

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Letters from the War Department. ,1846, May 14. From Secretary of War to Col. S. W. Kearny.

27. From same to same.
June 3. From same to same.

3. From Secretary of War to Hon. Sterling Price.
5.
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to Col. S. W. Kearny.
18. From same to same.
18. From Secretary of War to Commanding officer in the ex-

pedition to Chihuahua. Sept. 12.

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to Gen. S. W. Kearny. Nov. 5.

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to Col. R. B. Mason. Dec. 10.

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to Gen. S. W. Kearny.
847, Jan. 11.

to Col. R. B. Mason.
11.
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to Gen. S. W. Kearny.
14.
Do

to Lieut. C. Carson,
June 14.

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to Col. Sterling Price.
14.
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to Gen. S. W. Kearny.
12.
Do

to Brig. Gen. Kearny.
26.
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to Col. S. Price.
Oct. 13.

to Col. R. B. Mason. 27. From same to same.

28. From same to same. Dec. 24. From same to same. 1848, Mar. 15. From sane to same.

24. From Secretary of War to Gen. S. Price. May 22. From same to same.

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1848, Oct. 9. From Secretary of War to Col. R. B. Mason.
9.
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to John Parrot.
10.
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to Gen. B. Riley.
12.
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to Col. R. B. Mason.
12.
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to Gen. B. Riley.
12.
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to Com'g officer at Santa Fe.
2. From same to same.
12. From Secretary of War to John Parrot.
13.
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to Maj. J. M. Washington.
13.
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to Gen. Riley..
13. From same to same.

28. From Secretary of War to Secretary of the Treasury. Nov. 15.

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to Gen. P. F. Smith.
29.
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to Col. R. B. Mason.
30.
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to Board naval and eng’r officers. Dec. 10.

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to Gen. W. J. Worth. 1849, Jan. 27.

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to Col. R. B. Mason. Mar. 26.

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to Com'g officer at Santa Fe. 28. Do

to Secretary of State. April 3.

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to Gen. P. F. Smith.
3.
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to Adjutant General.
3.
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to Major Garnett.
4.
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to Gen. P. F. Smith.
June 26.

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to Gen. Riley. July 11.

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to Col. Abert.
13.
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to Officer com'g in California. Do

to Gen. R. B. Mason.
24.
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to Gen. Riley.
Nov. 12.

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Aug. 10.

to Lieut. Col. McCall.
21.
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to Secretary of State.
28.
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to Gen. Riley.
Dee. 11. From same to same.

WAR DERARTMENT, May 14, 1846. Sir: Mr. G. T. Howard, who will hand you this, is the bearer of a communication to the caravan of traders en route for Santa Fe. It is im. portant that he should overtake that caravan with the least possible delay; and you are required to furnish him with a detachment of mounted dra. goons of sufficient strength to insure his safety through the country, pro. vided, in your judgment, it can be done consistently with other calls upon your command. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. L. MARCY,

Secretary of War Colonel S. W. KEARNY, First regiment of dragoons, or

Officer commanding Fort Leavenworth, Missouri

War DEPARTMENT,

Washington, May 27, 1846. Sir: The President has been informed that much pains has been taken to alarm the religious prejudices of the Mexican inhabitants of Santa Fe and its vicinity against the United States. He deems it important that their misapprehensions in this respect should be corrected, as far as it can be done; and, for that purpose, he has caused arrangements to be made for a person of high character and good repute in the Roman Catholic church to accompany your forces in the expedition you are about to con. duct to that place. You are directed to receive and treat with respect and courtesy any person who shall present himself to you with a letter of in. troduction from Bishop Kenrick, of Missouri, the Rev. J. Vandervelde, or the Rev. J. Simon. Though the President cannot commission him as chaplain, yet he requests that the person so recommended to you should be received as of that character by you and your officers, and be respected as such; that he should be permitied to have intercourse with the soldiers of the Catholic faith, and to administer to them religious instruction, and to perform divine service, whenever it can be done without interfering with their military duties.

It is understood that the person who will be invited to attend you will understand and speak the Spanish language; and it is hoped that he will, without departing from the path of his duties as a clergyman, be useful in removing the false impressions of the Mexicans in relation to the United States and their objects in taking possession of New Mexico, and inducing them to confide in the assurance you will make that their religious insti. tutions will be respected, the property of the church protected, their worship undisturbed-in fine, that all their religious rights will be in the amplest manner preserved to them. It is confidently believed that such a person will, besides performing the usual duties of chaplain to your troops, facilitate your entrance into that country, and be eminently serviceable in reconciling the people to the change in their political situation which may result from your occupation of it. You are also requested to provide for him such accommodations as will render his abiding with you comfortable to him. It is understood that when chaplains' were allowed by law to the army, they received, in pay and emoluments, about one thousand to twelve hundred dollars per annum. This amount will be paid to the person who will attend you. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

W. L. MARCY,

Secretary of War. Colonel S. W. KEARNY,

First dragoons, Fort Leavenworth, Missouri.

(Confidential.)

WAR DEPARTMENT,

Washington, June 3, 1846. SIR: I herewith send you a copy of my letter to the governor of Missouri for an additional force of one thousand mounted men.

The object of thus adding to the force under your command is not, as

you will perceive, fully set forth in that letter, for the reason that it is deemed prudent that it should not, at this time, become a matter of public notoriety; but to you it is proper and necessary that it should be stated.

It has been decided by the President to be of the greatest importance in the pending war with Mexico to take the earliest possession of Upper California. An expedition with that view is hereby ordered, and you are designated to command it. To enable you to be in sufficient force to con. duct it successfully, this additional force of a thousand mounted men has been provided, to follow you in the direction of Santa Fe, to be under your orders or the officer you may leave in command at Santa Fe.

It cannot be determined how far this additional force will be behind that designed for the Santa Fe expedition, but it will not probably be more than a few weeks. When you arrive at Santa Fe with the force already called, and shall have taken possession of it, you may find yourself in a condition to garrison it with a small part of your command, (as the additional force will soon be at that place,) and with the remainder press forward to California. In that case you will make such arrange. ments as to being followed by the reinforcement before mentioned, as in your judgment may be deemed safe and prudent. I need not say to you that in case you conquer Santa Fe, (and with it will be included the department or state of New Mexico,) it will be important to provide for retain. ing safe possession of it. Should you deem it prudent to have still more troops for the accomplishment of the objects herein designated, you will lose no time in communicating your opinion on that point, and all others connected with the enterprise, to this department. Indeed, you are hereby authorized to make a direct requisition for it upon the governor of Missouri.

It is known that a large body of Mormon emigrants are en route to Cal. ifornia for the purpose of settling in that country. You are desired to use all proper means to have a good understanding with them, to the end that the United States may have their co-operation in taking possession of and holding that country. It has been suggested here that many of these Mormons would willingly enter into the service of the United States, and aid us in our expedition against California. You are hereby authorized to muster into service such as can be induced to volunteer; not, however, to a number exceeding one-third of your entire force. Should they enter the service they will be paid as other volunteers, and you can allow them to designate, so far as it can be properly done, the persons to act as officers thereof. It is understood that a considerable number of American citi. zens are now settled on the Sacramento river, near Sutter's establishment, called “ Nueva Helvetia,” who are well disposed towards the United Státes. Should you, on your arrival in the country, find this to be the true state of things there, you are authorized to organize and receive into the service of the United States such portion of these citizens as you may think useful to aid you to hold the possession of the country. You will in that case allow them, so far as you shall judge - proper, to select their own officers. A large discretionary power is invested in you in regard to these matters, as well as to all others, in relation to the expeditions confi. ded to your command.

The choice of routes by which you will enter California will be left to your better knowledge and ampler' means of getting accurate information. We are assured that a southern route (called the caravan route, by which

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