Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

to issue will be useless without arms. I cannot express the pain and distress exhibited by the people at the idea of being left thus exposed to the ravages of the Indians, and, perhaps, the worthless of their own countrymen. The very best and most reputable of the people of the town and neighborhood are left; and by far the largest portion of them were the firm and fast friends of the Americans in 1846, and they complain—and in my opinion justly, too--that, after all the sacrifices they have made for us, they are now to be abandoned to the mercy of all who choose to do them injury; our government first taking from them their arms to awe their soldiers, and then abandoning them to the mercy of the savage and the worthless portion of the community, without the means of protecting their wives and daughters from insult and violence.

This, sir, is no imaginary picture. 'Tis a true state of the case, upon my honor; and I ask you, as the representative of our government at home, to protect this people, who, by the treaty of peace, have become incor-' porated into, and made to form a portion of, the United States: from the dangers that surround them, protect them as far as you can.

Soldiers you cannot give, but arms and ammunition you can give, and I beg of you, in the name of humanity, as well as for the honor of our country, that you will do so. I know the people well, and know to whom arms can be safely issued; and if you will authorize it, I will place them in such hands as will protect the lives and property as well from the savage as from those who may be disposed to disturb the peace of the country. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. D. STEVENSON,
Colonel 1st New York Regiment,

Commanding Southern Military District. Colonel R. B. MASON, 1st United States Dragoons, Governor of California.

W. T. SHERMAN, 1st Lt. 3d Art., A. A. A. General.

A true copy:

[No. 44.] HEADQUARTERS TENTH MILITARY DEPARTMENT,

Monterey, California, September 12, 1848. Sir: I have the honor to inform you that the ship "Huntress” arrived at this port on Sunday last, the 10th inst., having on board Capt. R. Ingalls, assistant quartermaster, Lieutenant M. Norton, 1st New York volunteers, and 46 recruits for the two companies of regulars serving in California. These recruits are in a lamentable condition, the scurvy having broken out on board, causing the death of four men and seriously affecting thehealth of the rest.

They disembarked yesterday, and twenty are now in hospital, thirteen sick in quarters, and the remaining thirteen reported for duty are too feeble for military duty.

I would suggest the propriety of causing in future all transport ships bound for California to touch at one or more intermediate ports on the way. The charter of the Huntress required her to come direct to Monterey, without stopping unless absolutely necessary.

Her trip was remarkably good; and still Captain Ingalls reports, that

1

1

had the voyage been protracted two weeks longer, he would have lost the greater part of his command.

The Huntress had on board a large supply of clothing for the volunteers; but as their term of service has expired, it will not be needed. I have. ordered Captain Folsom, at San Francisco, to receive it and store it as well as possible. The charter of this ship requires her cargo to be landed at the end of her tackles; and as she has no launch, it is impossible to dis. charge her here. I, in consequence, have directed Capt. Marcy to con tract with the master for the delivery of the entire cargo at San Francisco, where there are more facilities for landing and where the stores will be more secure. I would again respectfully renew the recommendation contained in my letter of April 10, that all ships chartered for this coast be required to have suitable launches, and to land their cargoes if required to do so; for, with the exception of San Francisco and San Diego, the harbors of California are open roadsteads, in which it is impossible to keep launches or lighters. Had the captain of the Huntress been so disposed, he might have laid here at great cost to the government, as it would have been impossible for us to discharge his ship under the circumstances. Captain Ingalls is ordered to San Francisco to superintend the delivery of the stores to Captain Folsom, after which he will return and report to me at Monterey.

The New York volunteer regiment being partly mustered out of service, and the whole being under orders for discharge, I have discharged from service Lieutenant Norton, the officer of that regiment, who came from New York on duty with these recruits.

I have the honor to enclose you duplicate copies of my letters Nos. 37, 39, and 42, sent to Washington in charge of Lieut. Loeser, 3d artillery, who sailed for Pata, Peru, on the 30th ult.; and I will merely add, that the state of the country has not materially changed since that date.

The artillery company here continues to diminish in numbers by desertion. This morning's report shows one officer for duty, one officer extra duty, 13 non-commissioned officers and privates for duty, 5 sick, 13 extra or daily duty, 3 confined, 9 on furlough, and 4 on detached service--a total of 47 enlisted men. No reports have been received from the dragoon company since my last letter.

The reports from the gold mines continue full as flattering as ever, but : much sickness has resulted from the great exposure and heat of the summer, causing many citizens to return to the cool climate of the seacoast.

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of April 13th and 18th ; one of February 8th, to Major General Jesup; special orders, No. 11, and general orders Nos. 6, 9, 10, 13, and 16, of 1848. By the post returps already sent you, you will perceive that my file of orders is very incomplete.

I have no news of the squadron, but am expecting daily some part of it with Lieut. Col. Burton's command from Lower California. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

R, B. MASON, Colonel 1st Dragoons, Governor of California. Brigadier General R. JONES,

Adjutant General U. S. A., Washington.

[No. 45.]

HEADQUARTERS TENTH MILITARY DEPARTMENT,

San Francisco, November 24, 1848. Sir: I embrace the opportunity which presents itself by a gentleman who leaves here to-morrow for the United States, via the isthmus of Panama, to address you a few lines. Nothing of importance has occurred in the administration of the civil affairs of California since my last communication (No. 44) of the 12th of September, reporting the arrival of the ship Huntress, with recruits and army stores, and forwarding you duplicates of my letters Nos. 37, 39, and 48. The whole of the New York volunteers have been mustered out of service. Lieutenant Colonel Burton's command arrived at Monterey on board of Commodore Jones's squadron, and was discharged at that place. A large number of the people of Lower California, who had taken an active part in our cause, was also brought by the same conveyance. I ordered the assistant commişsary and acting assistant quartermaster to feed and quarter them for two months; and Commodore Jones promptly caused them to be paid from the military contribution fund, collected under his orders, for their lost property, &c. The recruits brought by the Huntress have nearly all deserted; just so fast as they recovered sufficiently from the scurvy to leave the hospital, they went off. Company C, 1st dragoons, and company F', 3d artillery, are very much weakened from the same cause. I learn, unofficially, that a large party, say twelve men, of the former company, took their horses, saddles, arms, and accoutrements, and went off in a body to the gold mines.

So long as the gold mines continue to yield the great abundance of metal they now do, it will be impossible to keep soldiers in California; and it is of no use to send them here. Soldiers will not serve for seven and eight dollars per month when laborers and mechanics are getting from fifty to one hundred. At the very time the recruits 'were deserting from Monterey, there was a ship in the harbor which had lost all her men; and her captain was offering one hundred dollars per month for sailors, and could not get a crew.

Gold continues to be found in increased quantities, and over an increased extent of country. I stated to you in my letter No. 37 that there was more gold in the country drained by the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers than would pay all the cost of the war with Mexico one hundred times over; if I had said five hundred times over, I should have been nearer the mark. Any reports that may reach you of the vast quantities of gold in California can scarcely be too exaggerated for belief. In my last-mentioned letter, (No. 37,) I suggested that the gold district be surveyed, and sold in small parcels, &c. A better plan, I think, would be not to sell at all, but to throw the mines open to all who choose to work them, and collect a rent by charging them a small per centage upon the gold, coined at a mint to be established here, which shall have been taken from the mines in California. I cannot too strongly recommend a territorial government to be organized in California at the earliest moment possible, if it has not already been done. There is no security here for life or property; and, unless a civil government is specially organized, anarchy and confusion will arise, and murder, robbery, and all sorts of

crime will be committed with impunity in the heterogeneous and mixed community that now fills California. I am, rsepectfully, your obedient servant,

R. B. MASON,

Colonel 1st Dragoons, commanding. Brigadier General R. JONES,

Adjutant General U. S. A., Washington.

[No. 46.] HEADQUARTERS TENTH MILITARY DEPARTMENT,

San Francisco, California, November 24, 1848. Sir: The war being over, the soldiers nearly all deserted, and having now been from the States two years, I respectfully request to be ordered home. I feel the less hesitancy in making this request, as it is the second only that I recollect ever to have made, in more than thirty years' service, to be relieved from any duty upon which I have been placed: the first was asking to be relieved from the recruiting service, in 1832, that I might join my company in the Black Hawk war. I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,

R. B. MASON,

Colonel 1st Dragoons, commanding. Brigadier General R. JONES,

Adjutant General U. S. A., Washington.

[No. 47.] HEADQUARTERS TENTH MILITARY DEPARTMENT,

Monterey, California, December 27, 1848. SIR: I have the honor, herewith, to enclose you a copy of the muster and descriptive roll of the detachment of recruits which arrived here on the 10th of September, on board the ship Huntress, and to report that but twelve men remain of the original number. The original roll will be sent you by the first safe opportunity.

On the 12th instant a courier arrived here from Los Angeles, bringing a letter from Captain Smith, commanding that post, reporting the arrival at Los Angeles of a Mr. Lane, sutler to Major Graham's command, which he left November 22d, on the east bank of the Rio Colorado, engaged in rafting their property across that river. Mr. Lane brought a letter from Lieutenant Evans, adjutant to the command, requiring of the commissary of San Diego certain subsistence stores, which were immediately despatched from Los Angeles, to meet them on their way in.

The command is reported two hundred and seventy-seven strong, with two hundred teamsters and two quartermaster's men, ninety-two wagons, over a thousand mules, horses, &c. The horses are reported very much reduced, and mules broken down.

The subsistence stores at Los Angeles, though ample for its small garri. son, could not supply so large a body of men more than three weeks, and it became imperatively necessary to send thither a further supply as early as possible. A courier was despatched to San Francisco on the 13th instant, with orders for Captain Folsom to despatch to San Pedro seventy, thousand rations, and a letter to Commodore Jones, requesting him to

furnish, if possible, one of the smaller ships of his squadron, to convey these stores down the coast. I have learned, in answer, that the commodore had despatched, on the 19th instant, the storeship Southampton, so that full supplies will reach Major Graham before the stores already at Los Angeles are exhausted. For the present I shall keep Major Graham's command in the southern district, at some eligible point for recruiting his animals; but, in the spring, propose stationing a part of the force within striking distance of the gold placer. Captain Smith's company is ordered to San Francisco.

I was in hopes that the news of the discovery of the gold mines in this country, together with its effects on the troops stationed here, would have reached the department before any more were ordered out, for every day adds to my conviction that no soldier should be sent to California for some years to come, unless Congress provide them pay bearing some proportion to the amount they can make in the country, and, at the same time, devise some laws by which deserters, and those who entice them away, employ them, and purchase from them their arms, accoutrements, clothing, and other public property, which they steal and carry off, can be more suimarily and severely punished; the present laws being entirely inadequate, as long experience has proven. Troops are needed here, and greatly needed; but of what use is it to send them, with the positive certainty of their running off to the gold mines as soon as they arrive, taking with them whatever public property they can lay their hands on? To arrest them is in. possible, as they receive every encouragement to desert, and every facility to elude pursuit. I cannot but apprehend that Major Graham's men will desert nearly as fast as the horses recover strength to travel, for the wages in the country continue as extravagant as when I last wrote, and the gold mines hold out fully as tempting a prospect as ever.

At this season of the year the operatives in that quarter are checked by cold weather and snow in the mountains; but, with spring the gold fever will break out with re. newed violence. It will also be difficult to keep troops mounted in this country, on account of the scarcity of suitable horses and all kinds of grain or forage-horses even now so scarce and dear, that it is difficult to buy enough for the quartermaster's department.

The entire regiment of New York volunteers has been mustered out of service-companies C and K on the 15th of August, and H on the 25th of August, by Lieutenant James A. Hardie, 3d artillery, at San Francisco, California; company F,

September 8, 1848, at Santa Barbara, Upper California; staff companies E and G, September 18, 1848, at Los Angeles, California, and company I, September 25, 1848, at San Diego, by Captain A. J. Smith, 1st dragoons; and companies A, B, and D on the 23d and 24th of October, 1848, at Monterey, California, by Captain H. S. Burton, 3d artillery. The field officers of the regiment were mustered out at Monterey, by Captain Burton, on the 26th of October. The mustering officers were directed to transmit two copies of each roll to your office one endorsed for the Commissioner of Pensions. Another copy has been deposited in this office, so that reference can be made to it without consuming the time required to communicate with Washington. In like manner have been retained at these headquarters copies of the musterrolls of discharge of Burton's company of California volunteers and of the Mormon companies discharged here. The volunteers have in many cases asked for individual discharges, separate from that given by the

« AnteriorContinuar »