Soldier’s Story of Those Who Deserted Ft. Tejon For Gold

From the journal of soldier William Antes:

Arrived at Fort Tejon California on the 25th of June, 1855-we reached our destination-For Tejon, California. Here we encamped near company”A” first US Dragoons which we had come to join. In a few days we were joined to that company making it members 126 men. Our horses were taken care of and we had no duty to perform for three weeks. Lieut Sylvester Mowry and Lieut. Chandler left us to join their own proper commands. The officers at this post were Lieut. Col.Benjamin Beall, Captain John W.J Gardiner, Lieut Thomas Castor and B Second Lieut. John Pegram: Captain Kirkham, quartermaster and Doctor Tenbrock surgeon.Here the were building a large military post and most of the men were on extra duty. John Barry was put in the guard house upon on arrival here for pointing his gun at Lieut. Mowry. At this place desertions began in earnest.I have known as many as half a dozen to take French leave in a single night. The boys all seemed to have taken the gold fever. Some of the deserters were recaptured but many of them we never saw again. Those captured were generally punished by an imprisonment of a few days in the guard house. Our colonel did not want any prisoners and was once on the point of burning the guard house down. Our captain dissuaded him from this step.

Santa Fe Captured


The steamer Little Missouri arrived last night from the Missouri.  An express had arrived at Fort Leavenworth, bringing the gratifying news of the entrance of General Kearney into Santa Fe, without the firing of a gun, or any opposition from the Mexicans whatever.
It appears from our correspondent’s letter, that after leaving Fort Bent, most of the ammunition wagons of the artillery were forced to put in oxen instead of the other animals; that the oxen had also given out, and it was with great difficulty the oxen proceeded onward.  Several hundred horses and mules were left behind the army, unable to follow.

The Diary of an Officer of the Army of the West [1st Lt. Christian Kribben, Captain Fischer’s Company B, Major Clark’s Missouri Volunteer Light Artillery Battalion.]

THURSDAY, August 13 — Started at 12, M., Col. Doniphan’s regiment in sight as we left the camp.  We soon met the spy company, (Capt. Bent,) with. with his small party, had captured four Mexicans, well mounted and armed.  They summoned him and his party to surrender, but the Captain told them that he thought their safest plan was to surrender to him.  They prudently consented to do so.  They acknowledged themselves sent to ascertain who we were.  They were made prisoners.
One of the Mexicans who was taken day before yesterday, was disarmed and sent forward to his village, distant 24 miles, with letters and proclamations.  He promised to meet us to-morrow.  At 8 miles we came to the establishment of a Mr. Wells, an American.  He had an abundance of horses, mules and cattle.  With him was another American, who had been sent  from Santa Fe, by an american merchant of that place, to inform Gen. K. that the Mexicans were 10,000 strong, and had determined to meet us 15 miles this side of Santa Fe, at a deep ravine which they were fortifying.  He stated, as his opinion, that not more than 2,000 would be well armed; and also, that they had four pieces of cannon.
The Americans of Santa Fe and other towns, are very much alarmed for their safety.  The Mexicans tell them that if defeated, they will return to the towns and villages and take full vengeance on them.
As this news is communicated to us in a heavy rain, and we are encamping in the midst of it   No little excitement prevails in camp.  To retreat nine hundred miles is idle; (no one thinks of it,) and if they do meet us, as they have promised, we shall vindicate the character of the Saxon blood in death or victory.  Mark that! — Gen. Kearney is as cool as if walking to his office on a May morning to attend to his accustomed garrison duties, and all look to him as to a man who is to shed glory on the American name.  It is said here that Gov. Armijo is opposed to daylight, but is urged on by the rich men of the country; yet the latest accounts are that the rich are backward in lending their money.  But if ten thousand men are assembled, they must have furnished the means.  There is a Mr. Bondy living near this place.  He visited us and gave us a fat steer.  This is the first settlement we have met.  The place is called the ‘Moro”– Two beautiful mountain streams meet here, each of sufficient size for milling purposes.  The artillery came up at sundown.  At this place the road by the Simerone comes in.
FRIDAY, August 14. — Started at 7 o’clock; at four miles met four Mexicans sent by Gov. Armijo to Gen. K. with a letter.  They were dragoons, dressed in a roundabout and pants of light blue cloth similar to our own dragoons with a red stripe down the outer seam of the pants.  They all wore large Mexican hats; there was a Lieutenant, sergeant and two privates.  They made a very respectable appearance, but such soldiers cannot fight U. S. dragoons.  Their heavy horses and superior equipment will conquer them.  The four dragoons above spoken of, and those taken a day or two since, were set at large to-day.  The Colonel told them that he had come with a sufficient force to extend our laws over them.– That he came as their friend.  That he came to give protection alike to the poor man and the rich.  That, although he had the power to do as he pleased, still his orders were to treat all who remained at home in the peaceful pursuit of their business, as friends.  But that if found in arms against him, the vengeance of his government and army would be poured out upon them.  He told them that, not “an onion or a pepper would be taken from them without a full equivalent in cash; “that their persons, property and religion, would be respected.  That he would soon be in Santa Fe and that he hoped to meet Gov. Armijo and shake hands with him as a friend; but if that were denied him, he had a force sufficient to put down all opposition, and that he would certainly do it.  We are encamped at the Passes; at this place runs a small mountain stream, and near it a village containing, probably, 100 mud built houses.
There were three hundred mounted men here yesterday. They have all gone to Santa Fe, no doubt to join the main army, which is said to be 12,000 strong-2,000 well armed, four pieces of artillery (one six pounder taken from the Santa Fe prisoners). The other 10,000 are said to be armed with bows and arrows, slings and other weapons–the Mexican, dragoons report that Capt. Cook left Santa Fe with them, but as they got a change of horses, they outrode him. (The Captain had been sent from Bent’s Fort by Gen. Kearney with letters to Gov. Armijo)  He will be with us to-morrow. From white man who reside here, we learn, that the Governor exercises the most despotic way over the common people, aided by the priests. They say to such men as we have met, “go on such a road, ascertain where Cook and his men are, and return to me at such a time.” They furnish no means for the performance of the duty, and give no compensation. Yet no Mexican dare refuse, or fail to perform the duty. What a change will be effected  among these people when they are emancipated! If General Kearney succeeds  in this expedition without  inflicting any pain he will be the greatest man that has ever been in New Mexico.  There are extensive fields of corn near us cultivated by irrigation. After spring sets in there is no rain here till  August, when they have refreshing showers, and the grass begins to grow again. The rain of this season commenced about ten days since and grass is more abundant.  But for this, it would be impossible to take our animals to Santa Fe, probably not beyond this place. Gen. Kearney’s “good luck” still attends him. We have passed within the last two days, cattle and sheep enough to subsist the army all winter, and we have no fear of starving.
SATURDAY, Aug. 15.–Started at 7 A. M., and passed through the village.  The Col. was overtaken at this place my Major Swords from Fort Leavenworth, who brought him a commission as Brigadier General.
After having passed through the village the troops halted near it, while the Gen. addressed the Alcalde and people from the top of one of the houses.  He told them “that he came by order of the Government of the United States, to take possession of New Mexico, and to extend the laws of the United States over them.  That he had an ample force with him, and that another army would would soon join them.  that, in future, they were absolved from all allegiance to the Mexican government and Gov. Armijo, and must hold allegiance to the U. S. and to him as their Governor.  That for this allegiance, they would be protected by the U. S. Government from the Indians, (who are dreadful scourges to them,) and from all their enemies.  That he came to protect the poor man as well as the rich man.  That if they remained peaceably at home they would be considered good citizens, but if found fighting against him, they would be considered traitors and treated accordingly.”
He continued the Alcalde in his office, and told him to be governed by the laws of Mexico, for the present.
He stated to them that he had been well informed “that some of the priests had endeavored to make them believe that he was coming to destroy their religion and to inflict grievous wrongs upon them.”  This, he said, was false.  He told them that their persons, property and religion would not be interfered with.  Now, said he, under these circumstances, are you, “Mr. Alcalde, and you, two Captains of militia, willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States.”  Two of them readily consented, but one of the Captains evaded the question.  The General demanded a categorical answer.  The Captain said, “yes,” but it was evident it was with a bad grace.  They then raised their hands and made the sigh of the cross with the thumb and finger, all present uncovering their heads, and the General in a solemn manner administered the following oath:  “You do swear to hold faithful allegiance to the United States, and to defend its government and laws against all its enemies, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” or words to the effect.  The General then said–“I will shake hands with them as good friends.”  When he came to the Captain, who did not seem to enter fully into the matter, he took him by the hand, and told the interpreter, “tell the man to look me in the eye.”  The General gave him one of his significant smiles, and with his keen eyes fixed firmly on him, seemed to say, “I know you are a rascal,”–(such, he no doubt was,)–but the others, I think, were honest.  He then told the people, (about two hundred,) I shake hands with our all, through your Alcalde, and hail you as good citizens of the United States; upon which they raised a general shout.  At this town are extensive fields of wheat and corn, cultivated by irrigation, from a beautiful creek.  the water is taken out on each side in canals, and spread over their fields.  It was a beautiful sight to see the clear mountain water rushing through these canals, and producing luxuriant field of corn and wheat, where rain so seldom falls.
Our camp was near these fields, and although sentinels were placed very near together, with strict orders to keep every animal out of them, yet some did get in, and some damage was done.  The General told the Alcalde that he had used every precaution to prevent “any interference with their crops,” yet “they had sustained some loss.”– He told him to examine the fields and ascertain what the damage was to each man, to send him a statement of it to Santa Fe, and that full compensation should be paid them.  they seemed delighted with this exemplification of equal justice–a thing not dreamed of in New Mexico, under the rule of Armijo.
News reached the General late last night, that we would have a fight to-day in one of the mountain gorges, and our movement has been in a strict military manner.  When passing through these narrow defiles, (where an enemy would be most formidable,) the word, “draw sabre,” was given, and we passed through at a fast trot.  But no enemy has been seen.  The infantry passed over the mountain to take them in rear.  We passed through several other villages, where the General assembled the inhabitants, and proceeded as with the first.  The two last appeared happy to be recognized as citizens of the United States, and were seen to embrace each other in token of their joy at the change of government.  At the last one, they brought forward their wives to receive the congratulations of the General.  (whose manner on such occasions is most happy,) and it was evident that his words had gladdened their hearts, for they smiled upon him in a manner which woman alone knows how to do.  We encamped at 4, P. M., in poor grass, having marched 17 miles.  Captain Cook met us to-day, from Santa Fe, and says Governor Armijo will meet us with an army.  He had been kindly treated while in Santa Fe, and smoked many a “segarrito” from the fair lips of the ladies.
The villages we have passed to-day are built of sun-burnt bricks.  The houses have flat roofs, covered with earth, and are dry and comfortable, from the absence of rain or moisture.  Each one has a church, and a grave yard, with high walls of sun-burnt brick.  There is more intelligence among them than I expected to find, and with a good government and protection from the Indians, they will become a happy people.
The Eutaws have recently stolen their stock and carried off several children.  Well may they hail this revolution as a blessing.  One of the Alcaldes to-day said, that God ruled the destinies of men, and that as we had come with a strong army among them to change their form of government, it must be right and he submitted cheerfully.  Major Swords and Lieutenant Gilman brought us the mail to the 19th July, and many a heart was made glad by tidings from wives, mothers, children, and dearly beloved ones.  There are plenty of cattle, sheep, and goats, in the country, and we shall fare well enough.
SUNDAY, August 16.–Started at the usual hour, and at seven miles came to the village of St. Miguel, built like the others, of sun burned brick, and with flat roofs.  After much delay, the Alcalde and Padre were found and presented to Gen. Kearney.  They received him politely, but it was evident they did not relish an interview with him.  this village contains a respectable church and about two or three hundred houses.  The General expressed a wish to ascend one of the houses, with the Priest and Alcalde, and to address the people of the town, informing them of the object of his mission.  After many evasions, delays, and useless speeches, the Padre made a speech, stating that “he was a Mexican, but should obey the laws that were placed over him for the time, but if the General should point all his cannon at his breast, he could not consent to go up there and address the people.”
The General very mildly told him, through the interpreter, Mr. Robideau, that he had not come to injure him, nor did he wish him to address the people.  He only wished him to go up there and hear him (the General) address them.  The Padre still fought shy, and commenced a long speech, which the General interrupted, and told him, he had no time  to listen to “useless remarks;” and repeated, that he only wanted him to go up and listen to his speech.  He consented.  The General made pretty much the same remarks to the Alcalde and people, that he had made to the people of the other villages.  He assured them that he had an ample force and would have possession of the country against all opposition, but gave them assurances of the friendship and protection of the United States,  He stated to them that this had never been given then by the government of Mexico; but that the United States were able and would certainly protect them, not only in their persons, property and religion, but against the cruel invasions of the Indians.  That they saw but a small part of the force that was at his disposal.  Many more troops were near him on another road, (some of which he showed them a mile or two distant.) and that another army would, probably, be through their village in three weeks.  After this, he said, Mr. Alcalde, are you willing to take the oath of allegiance to the United States.”  He replied that “he would prefer waiting till the General had taken possession of the capital.”  The General told him, :it was sufficient for him to know that he had possession of his village.”  He then consented, and with the usual formalities, he said, “You swear that you will hear true allegiance to the government of the United States of America?”  The Alcalde said, “Provided I can be protected in my religion.”  The General said, “I swear you shall be.”  He then continued,
and that you will defend her against all her enemies and opposes, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost? –Amen.”
The General then said, “I continue you as the Alcalde of this village; and require you , the inhabitants of this village, to obey him as such.  Your laws will be continued for the present, but as soon as I have time to examine them, if any change can be made that will be for your benefit, it shall be done.”  After shaking hands with them he left.  The Padre then invited him to his house, and gave him and his staff refreshments; and after sundry hugs, jokes, and professions of friendship, with an expression from the General, that “the better they became acquainted, the better friends they would be,” and an invitation to the Padre to visit him at Santa Fe, (which he promised) we left the village.  The Padre was evidently the ruling spirit of the village, and the Alcalde was under great restraint by his presence.  The visit to the priest, and the frank and friendly manner of the General, had the desired effect, and I believe they parted the best of friends, and have no doubt that the inhabitants of St. Miguel will soon be as good democrats as can be found in Missouri.
The Alcalde informed the General that 400 men left the village to join the Mexican army, but that 200 had returned home.
Soon after leaving this village, an express arrived from Santa Fe, informing the General that a large force would oppose his march 15 miles from the place, in a deep ravine.  It was headed by an individual known as Salazar; that Gen. Armijo refused to command them, and said he would defend the town.  The same information was soon after brought by Puebla Indians, who said there was a large force of their people among the Mexicans, armed with bows and arrows; that their people had been forced into the service, and that their chiefs would not permit them to take their guns.
As it is not more than two days march to Santa Fe, if we have a fight it will probably be to-morrow.  Marched 17 miles.
MONDAY, Aug. 17.– Started at the usual time.  Our picket guard took a prisoner, the son of the noted Salazar, well remembered by the Texan prisoners for his cruelties to them.  He stated that the Mexican army had left the cannon and gone home.  The General told him he would keep him a prisoner, and if he found that he had told him falsely he would hang him.  We soon met others from Santa Fe, who congratulated the General on his arrival in the country, and their deliverance from the tyrannical rule of Armijo.
They further said, that Armijo had taken one hundred dragoons and his cannon, and gone this morning towards Chihuahua.  We passed to day the ruins of the ancient town of Pecos.  I visited it with some Mexicans and an interpreter, who gave me a full account of it.  It was said to have been built long before the conquest.– It stands on an eminence.  The dwellings were built of small stones and mud; some of the buildings are still so far perfect as to show three full stories.  There were four rooms under ground, fifteen feet deep, and twenty-five feet across in a circular form.  In one of these rooms burned the “holy fire” which was kindled many centuries before the conquest; and when the Pecos Indians were converted to the Catholic faith, they still continued their own religious rites, and among them the “sacred fire,” which never ceased to burn till seven years since, when the village was broken up.  The population is probably one thousand.  the church is large, and although in ruins, was evidently a fine building.  It was built after the conquest.  The eastern roof of the main building is still good — it is filled with birds.  As we came in front of it the Mexicans took off their hats, and on entering the building did the dame.  The General learned to-day that Salazar had been in command at the cannon, and that he had passed around us and gone to St. Miguel, the town we passed yesterday.  the General sent him word that he had his son a prisoner, and would treat him well, if the father remained peaceable, but if he took up arms, or excited the people to resistance, he would hang him.
We encamped at 3 P.M. on the Pecos Creek, in excellent grass, where was a beautiful farm, well watered–distance to-day fifteen and three quarter miles.
An abundance of vegetables have been brought into camp this evening, and we have not fared better since we left Missouri.  Bread, coffee, and bacon are excellent articles of food, when accompanied with other little “fixings,” which ladies only can provide us with, but of themselves, after a few weeks, campaigners become a little tired.
An American gentleman has just arrived in camp from Santa Fe; he left at 12 M. to-day, and says that after the Governor’s abdication, the Alcaldes held a meeting and gravely discussed the propriety of tearing down the churches, to prevent their being converted into barracks, and that the American citizens interfered and assured them that they had nothing to fear on that subject, and thereby saved the churches.  A lady also sent for him this morning, and asked him if he did not think it advisable for her to leave the town, with her daughters, to save them from dishonor.  He advised her by all means to remain at home, and assured her that she and her daughters were in no danger from the approach of the army.
Most of the respectable people of the town have left, and many country people are going to town for protection.
TUESDAY, August 18th.–Started as usual, and at six miles came to the cannon, where the Mexican army had been assembled.  There had been 3,000 troops there, but it seems that the nearer we approached that the fewer they became, and when we passed through they had all gone.  The position they chose was near the lower end, and it was one of great strength.  the passage was not more than forty feet wide — in front, they had made an obstruction with timber, and beyond this at 300 yards distance, was an eminence in the road, on which their cannon had been placed; and it was thought by us, that their position was equal to 5,000 men.  We reached the hill which overlooks Santa Fe, at 5 P. M.  Major Clark’s artillery was put into line, and the mounted troops and infantry were marched through the town to the Palace, (as it is called,) on the public square, where the General and his staff dismounted, and were received by the acting Governor and other dignitaries, and conducted into a large room.  The General stated, in a few words, the object of his visit, and gave assurances of safety and protection to all unoffending citizens.  while this transpired, the stars and stripes were hoisted on the staff which is attached to the Palace, by Major Swords; and as soon as it was seen to wave above the buildings, it was hailed by a national salute from the batteries of Captains Fischer and Weightman, under the command of Major Clark.  While the Genral was proclaiming the conquest of New Mexico, as a part of the United States, the first gun was heard: “There,” said he, “my guns proclaim that the flag of the U. S. floats over this capital.”  The people appeared satisfied.  The General slept in the palace, (we democrats must call it the Governor’s house).  One company of dragoons was kept in the city as a guard, and the business of the day was ended.
Thus, in the short space of fifty days, has an army been marched nearly 900 miles, over a desert country, and conquered a province of 80,000 souls, without firing a gun–a success which may be attributed mainly to the skill and ability with which Gen. Kearney has managed this arduous and delicate business.  In explaining his object in coming into the country, and the kindness he felt for the inhabitants, he was mild and courteous; but then, (would add,) I claim the whole of New Mexico for the United States.  I put my hand on it from this moment, (bringing his hand firmly down on his thigh,) and demand obedience to its laws.
WEDNESDAY, August 19.–The general addressed the whole people to day more at length than he had  on other occasions, and took particular care to give them the most positive assurances of protection in their person, property, and religion.  Many families had fled on his approach, and he told their friends to bring them back, and to day to them that they would be more safe under his administration than they had ever been.  He stated, that in taking possession of New Mexico, he claimed the whole of it for the United States, without reference to the Rio Grande.  He absolved them from their allegiance to Mexico and Gov. Armijo, and proclaimed himself governor of New Mexico, and claimed them as citizens of the United States.
The acting Governor and Alcaldes then took the oath of allegiance to the United States, and the people, with a simultaneous shout, exclaimed, “Vive la General.“–The acting governor then addressed the people as follows;–
“John Baptist, Vigil and Alcalde, political and military Governor pro tem, of the department of New Mexico, to the inhabitants of Santa Fe, the capital thereof, greeting:  It having been out of my power, by all the exertions that I could put in practice, to calm the fears impressed on the inhabitants by the desertion of Gen Don Manuel Armijo and his soldiers, and what was most frightful, he having made them conceive, on the approach of the military forces of the government of the United States of North America to the capital, that said forces were composed of cruel and sanguinary savages, and for which many families have left their homes, to hide themselves in the desert–believing that no security, no protection of their lives or property was to be expected from the commander of said forces; and in order to appease these fears I thought it convenient and necessary to order ot be set up in the most public places, the proclamation of the chief of said forces, of which the following is its tenor.”  He then read the proclamation which Gen. K. had sent among the Mexicans in advance.
THURSDAY, Aug. 20, and FRIDAY, 21st.–The General sits in his room, and is constantly receiving visits from the officers of ex-Governor Armijo and others, who fled on his approach.  To all who remain quiet and peaceable he promises protection.  Many of then come into his presence very much disquieted, but he has the happy faculty of calming all their fears, and he is winning laurels among them daily.  Ex-Gov.Armijo has certainly fled.  The cannon he took from the place have been re-taken by Capt. Fischer, and will be here soon.  The gun taken from the Texan prisoners was left in a mountain, carriage destroyed; the gun, a brass six pounder, has been recovered.
SATURDAY, Aug. 22.–The General is still receiving visits and attending to matters and things which are referred to him.  Capt. Waldo, of the volunteers, is translating the few written laws which can be found.
SUNDAY, August 23.–The General and his staff, and some other officers, went to church to-day.  There are no seats in the church, except one for the governor, and a bench on which his subs sit.  Gen. K. occupied the former, and we the latter.  The rich and the ragged kneel, or sit on the floor, as best they can.  When the Priests were ready, the service commenced with a piece of music not unlike what I have heard at the theatre, and pretty well played.  This continued with different pieces of music till the ceremony was over.  After which, they escorted the General to his quarters with music.
There is evidently a large proportion of very Ignorant people here; and many of them seem to think, judging from their deportment, that they have no righs, and are bound to obey their superiors.  When our laws and institutions are established here, the resources of the country will be developed, and these people will become prosperous and happy.”
In addition to what is stated in the Diary, we have a letter from our regular correspondent, which we cannot find room for to day.  It bears date one day later — the 24th of August — and gives somewhat later news.  This part of the letter we copy:
“On to-morrow a body of troops will march towards Albuquerke, to take possession of that district.  It is supposed that a detachment of the army will also soon be sent to California.  The artillery, under Major Clark, is erecting fortifications in front of the town. The two companies under his command, commanded by Captains Fischer and Weightman, it is generally supposed, will be stationed here, supported by some other forces; Major Clark commanding the garrison.  These are the current reports, generally credited, although Gen. Kearney can hardly know for certain how the appearances of things may change, and what steps may become necessary to ensure a permanent tranquility in the province.
In conclusion, let me say that we have not lost any men in the artillery, nor have we any sick at the present time–that we are all as contented as we can possibly be, and burning with impatience to hear from our friends in St. Louis, and our brother soldiers in the south.”

[From the St. Louis Republican, Sept. 25]

We published yesterday, exclusively, a very minute account of General Kearney’s march to Santa Fe, of his entrance into that capital of New Mexico, and of his taking possession, on behalf of the United States, of the entire department.
It would seem that General Armijo had actually 4,000 men at his command, but very badly armed; and that on the 16th they left for the place appointed as the battle ground.  When he got there, however, a council of his officers was called, and, “much to his satisfaction,” they refused to fight.  His second in Command, Colonel Archuletti, was exceeding valorous up to a late date, but very suddenly changed his entire views of the necessity of the quarrel.  Very soon after this determination, Gov Armijo turned his head towards Chihuahua, followed by a few dragoons.
It was supposed that General Kearney would nominate a Mexican for the office of Governor of the department, and appoint an American as Secretary.  All those in office, who were thought to be trustworthy, would, in all probability, be continued in their places.
Gen. Kearney, it was supposed, would leave a force of 2,000 men in Santa Fe, and march, in a short time, to California with a like number.
The traders who were overtaken by Gen. Kearney’s force, were close at hand, but it was believed that they would not be able to make sales of their goods in Mexico.  They would be compelled to make their way slowly down the Del Norte, awaiting the result of Gen. Wool’s movement against Chihuahua.
Lieut. C. Kribben, of the Artillery, had been appointed Judge Advocate, and was acting in that capacity in a Court Martial which had been some days in session.
CIVILIZATION IN SANTA FE.– A gentlemen attached to General Kearney’s expedition says, in a letter from Santa Fe to a brother in St. Louis…”This is the most miserable country I have ever seen.  The hovels the people live in are built of mud, one story high, and have no flooring.  They sleep on the ground, and have neither beds, tables, nor chairs.  In fact they burrow in the ground like prairie dogs.  We entered the city on the 18th of August, and took possession without firing a gun.”
(graphics courtesy United States Army Corps of Engineers. )

Report of Company G at Taos and Embudo

Don Fernando De Taos, N. Mex., February 16, 1847.

Colonel: I have the honor herewith to transmit the monthly return of the late Capt. J. H. K. Burgwin’s company (G, First Dragoons) for the month of January, 1847.

I have signed the return myself, and in order to explain it beg leave to submit the following statement:

On January 23 Captain Burgwin marched with his company from Albuquerque, a town on the Rio Grande, 70 miles distant from Santa Fe, to join Colonel Price. He reached the latter place on January 26. On 28th he joined Colonel Price with his company at a town on the Rio Arriba, 35 miles from Santa Fe in the direction of Taos.

On the 29th he was sent forward in command of a detachment, made up of his own company and about 100 volunteers, to drive the enemy from a stronghold in a mountain pass near a town called Embudo. Early in the day Captain Burgwin found the enemy posted on the heights, in the ravines, and behind all trees and rocks where shelter could be found. The enemy numbered about 500, consisting of Mexicans and Pueblo Indians. Captain Burgwin at once engaged the enemy by ordering Captain St. Train’s company of citizens and mountain men to dismount and skirmish on the left of the road.

At the same time I was ordered to throw out the dragoons on the right and left. The action lasted about two and one-half hours. The enemy was put to flight with considerable loss and was pursued more than 2 miles from hill to hill through the ravines, and was completely routed and driven beyond the town of Embudo, of which Captain Burgwin took possession and in which his command camped on the night of 29th. In this engagement Captain Burgwin lost 1 man killed and 1 wounded. The enemy lost, so far as could be ascertained, about 20 killed and 60 wounded.

On January 30 Captain Burgwin joined Colonel Price at a town called Trampas, 15 miles from Embudo. On 31st the march was continued toward Taos Valley, which Colonel Price reached on the evening of February 2 with his command. On the evening of 3d a march of 6 miles was made to the Pueblo de Taos.

After an attempt to reduce the place by a bombardment it was found impracticable, and Colonel Price returned to Don Fernando de Taos for the night. Early on the morning of 4th the town of Pueblo de Taos, in which the enemy to the number of 1,000 was fortified, was attacked at different points by the artillery and musketeers.

At about 11 o’clock a. m. Captain Burgwin, in command of his own company and a part of Captain McMillins’s company, Missouri Volunteers, charged the town from the front and carried by storm all the outward defenses up to the walls of the church. A simultaneous charge was to have been made on the left flank by a portion of the large force of volunteers stationed there beyond effective rifle range, but from some mistake the dragoons were first in the charging, and for some time were exposed to the galling fire of the enemy through loopholes in the church and main buildings. It was during this period that Captain Burgwin received a mortal wound. The main force, however, coming up soon, carried the church and put many of the enemy to flight. The town was carried and the battle closed near night, having killed about 150 of the enemy.

I assumed command of the dragoons, being the next officer in rank and having served with them in all the engagements.

Capt. J. H. K. Burgwin died on the morning of February 7. In the action of the 4th Company G, First Dragoons, lost 7 killed and 16 wounded, exclusive of the captain. I am, sir, very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

Rufus Ingalls, Second Lieutenant, First Dragoons


Headquarters, Fort Leavenworth,

April 1, 1847. Sir: It is with more than ordinary grief that I herewith inclose an official report of the death of Capt. J. H. K. Burgwin, of the First Regiment Dragoons, who was mortally wounded in the battle of Pueblo de Taos on the 4th of February last.

Having known long and intimately the late captain, I can not forbear observing that for personal worth and professional excellence in his particular arm of service the deceased has left no superior behind him. The announcement of his death—”this morning learned—”has cast a gloom over the hearts of all at this post who ever knew him professionally or personally.

I transmit also a copy of a letter this morning received from Lieutenant Ingalls, now in command of the late Captain Burgwin’s company, which furnishes a brief account of the affair of the 29th of January near Embudo and of that of the 4th of February at Pueblo de Taos.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,

C. Wharton, Lieutenant-Colonel First Dragoons, Commanding. Brig. Gen. R. Jones,

Adjutant-General, Washington, D. C.

P. S.—”I have just obtained and send you a printed sheet from the Government printing office at Santa Fe, giving details of the several affairs between our forces and the Mexicans up to the 15th of February last.

C. W.


Missouri Republican, April 9, 1847

Tim Kimball’s extract of letter from a member of the late Capt. J. H. K. Burgwin, company (G) 1st U.S.  Dragoons, to a member of the same company [Pvt. John J. O’Meally is the only G Company man so shown, left sick June 7, 1846, in April assigned to Daily duty in the commissary department], at Fort Leavenworth, Mo., the letter was dated at San Fernado de Taos, N. M., 13th February, 1847: In consequence of the massacre that had taken place at Taos, we received orders to repair to Santa Fe immediately, and next morning the 23rd January, we commenced our march on foot, every member in the company being in the best spirits.  We arrived in Santa Fe the 26th; next day we pushed on and overtook.  Col. Price—™s command, he having marched out of Santa Fe some time before our arrival.  On the 29th our company, with our once favorite Captain at its head, and two companies of Col. Price—™s volunteers, had a skirmish with the enemy near El Emboda [Embudo], killing eight, and wounding upwards of twenty of them.  But one on our side (a volunteer) was killed, none wounded.  But the cause of this expedition I must more full explain.

The Indians near Taos, and some Spaniards in that valley, numbering some 2000, headed by a fellow named Pablo Montoya, who called himself the —œSanta Anna of the North, rose in revolt, and murdered Gov. Bent and ten other Americans who lived in Taos.  They then marched for Santa Fe.  They were met by Col. Price at Canada, where he obliged them to retreat.  Col. Price—™s command was but two hundred men.  The second meeting, I have mentioned above.  Capt. Burgwin was in command.  On the road, we heard that they were fortifying themselves in a village beyond San Fernando, about three miles.

On the 3rd of February we arrived at this place, and after resting less than an hour, resumed our march to El pueblo, a large Indian village, in which the enemy were fortified.  About 2 P. M. the command was drawn up in front of the village; Capt. Burgwin and his dragoons on the right extended as skirmishers.  The battalion of Missouri volunteer infantry in the centre, and the mounted company of volunteers from Santa Fe—”storekeepers, trader, &c., and dismounted companies of Col. Price’s regiment, on the left—”in all about four hundred men.  The village consists of two large edifices, or piles, of houses, built one over the other, and so formed as to make each an almost impregnable fortress in itself.  Each occupied an area of at least one acre of ground, and in the centre was nearly sixty feet in height.  Almost immediately in front of these stood the church, and few scattering houses and fodder stacks.  In front of the church ran a wall six feet high, and fifty or sixty yards long; this was their breastwork.  All the buildings were pierced with loopholes, for the convenience of their marksmen.

Our artillery, consisting of four 12 pound howitzers, and one 6-pounder field piece, was placed at the distance of six hundred yards from the church, and commenced a fire in the direction of an opening between the church and the building on the right and rear of it.  In this direction the Indians slowed themselves in great numbers, yelling defiance at us.  The ammunition was soon expended as the wagons containing supplies for the guns had been left in the mountains, having broken down.  But I must go back a little in my tale.  When we arrived in front of the village, were still in a lose order, the Indians opened fire upon us with rifles from a breastwork.  All their balls went over us except one, which struck Serg’t Vanroe’s left pocket of his pantaloons, cutting through it, and lodging in a piece of tobacco which he had that morning providently put there.  The tobacco saved his life sirus doute [intended as,—without a doubt—?].

At 4 P. M. we formed in close order and marched back to this place, when we got quarters.  As we marched off the Indians set up a yell of defiance (thinking that we were alarmed at their hostile appearance and the strength of the village,) jumped over their breastwork and danced in their peculiar manner, while the Spaniards who were leagued with them, halloed in Spanish, —Venaci, tu tiene miedo de nosotros. (Come here, you are afraid of us.) On the following morning, our ammunition wagons having arrived, we marched fully determined to take the village.  On our arrival there the command was placed as follows:  Capt. Burgwin’s Dragoons extended to the right and front of the church, the remainder opposite the left of the village, two of the howitzers on the right and front, 500 yards distant; the other two and the field piece, on the left and front, 600 yards from the church.  The fire of the artillery commenced about 8 and continued until 11 a. m., doing but little damage besides knocking off the corners of the houses.

Col. Price then saw that the only way to obtain possession of the place would be by a desperate charge up the breast work and church and the endeavor to take the latter.  He gave orders to Capt. Burgwin to that effect, who was to lead the charge with his dragoons as soon as a company of infantry would join us.  The other dismounted troops were to charge at the same time from the left.

The companies joined us and Capt. Burgwin moved forward at the signal he had sounded by our bugler.  At the very word”Charge,” every one ran for the breastwork.  I was the first to reach it and saw the Indians compressed into the church.  I shot one between the shoulders and killed him dead; the enemy fled but kept up the incessant fire from the houses and [log palisade?] near the side of the church.  The outer work gained, a shout of success arose from every man, but it was soon slightly damped by the news of the death of our first sergeant, Geo. R. Ross, and three privates of dragoons under him.  The check was however only momentarily felt by the others; the axes were used to cut holes in the wall of the church, the body of which was supposed to contain 80 or 100 of the enemy, who kept up a continual fire of rifles and arrows from the ledge near the roof.  At this time Capt. Burgwin took a part of his dragoons, and ran around the left wall of the church and gained the door, which they intended to break open, but it was soon found to be a dangerous position, as they were still more exposed to the fire of the enemy from the house.

Capt Burgwin and four men were dangerously wounded and but two or three of the party escaped unharmed.  The Capt. and wounded men were taken off to the surgeons as quick as possible, as those who carried them were exposed to a deadly fire from the largest of the two houses.  The fire on our side was kept up with spirit; as soon as an Indian or Mexican was seen crossing the street, two dozen carbines were fired and always with effect.

The enemy were constantly on the watch, as soon as one of our men showed himself, he was fired at by a dozen rifles, but mostly without effect.  The greatest execution on the side of the enemy was done by a rifle, said to have been done by a white man [most often reported to be the Delaware, “Big Nigger,” who did survive], who was subsequently shot.  He killed five of our men and wounded ten others.  Private Stewart of our company (a Scotchman), with the boldness of his countrymen, climbed to the roof of the church, set fire to the projecting timbers, and descended to the ground in safety, notwithstanding the manner in which he was exposed.

The infantry on the left, covered by the large wall of the church, did at this time but little service, and although they tried to effect an entrance into the church by means of axes, their progress was slow and after we had kept our dangerous position for more than three hours, they had not been able to accomplish their object.  The field piece was then brought to bear upon the church, at the distance of 100 yards, and about twenty shots fired from it which made a breach in the wall large enough to admit two men abreast.  A lighted bomb was then thrown in by Lieut. Wilson and his example was soon followed by others.  Sergeant Koch of our company, privates [Joseph L.] Nixon*, and Holcomb entered the breach, but were by a few minutes forced to retreat by the smoke, the result of the bursting of the bombs and the fire in the roof, which had accumulated.  They, however, remained long enough to discover that the place was deserted by all but the dead, of which a goodly number were lying on the floor.  The artillery meantime had been playing upon the building to the left and soon after we obtained possession of the church it was discovered that few, if any, Indians remained in it.

The building was taken by the troops and a good shelter achieved.  At the same time a number of the enemy made a sortie to gain the mountain.  Capt. St. Vrain—™s company (mounted), which had hitherto done nothing, now charged upon the, killing fifty-two; the remnant, owing to the lateness of the day, escaped in the bushes and it was supposed, crawled back to the village.  About that time a white flag was raised upon the houses on the right, but had scarcely appeared before a dozen muskets [that is, voluteers—”Dragoons carrying carbines]were levelled[sic] at the bearer and he and his flag were literally shot to pieces.  This was a shameful act but an excuse can be offered as the men were exasperated by the death of their comrades and had no thought but that of revenge.  The firing on our side was then ordered to cease, as the enemy had not fired a gun for twenty minutes.  At dark the men proposed to seek repose after their hard day—™s work; a guard of 100 men was set around the town.

At day light the following morning, a flag of truce was sent to the Colonel which was accepted on condition that the survivors should conduct themselves peaceably, and also surrender the goods which they had stolen from the traders and others in the valley of Taos.  The day was spent by the troops in searching for the stolen goods and about 4 P. M.  we left the village to its owners and quartered in this town.  For the detail of the storming of that village you are partly indebted to Sergeant Koch, as of the occurrences had not been noticed by me.

This action should be reckoned as among the most severe that has occurred in modern days.  The buildings in which the enemy were, are built of mud one house over the other, a score of them forming the basement and the wall of each being at least four feet thick.  Numerous loop holes were cut to these walls from which a fire was kept up on our exposed company, and would have proved most destructive had the marksmen been good —“our possession of the church disheartened the.  They thought that their saint (St. Jerome), and image of whom stood in the church had deserted them and their efforts after that were feeble and fruitless.  To their superstition we chiefly owe the victory.  A Victory, indeed, dearly purchased by the single death of our brave, our dauntless and our ever good Captain.  But his own Co. G proved itself and has won laurels and as far as was in our power, revenged his death, and our other comrades and fellow soldiers who fell with him.  Had two hundred American possession of those buildings ten time their number could not have dislodged them.  Heavy artillery could do it—”but nothing else. It was said that at one time it was besieged by 2,500 Spaniards for ten day, and at another by 3,000 Comanche and Apache Indians for three months; in both cases the besiegers were obliged to withdraw with the loss of two-thirds of their number, and without doing any injury to the besieged.  But it did not prove invincible to American soldiers.  In one day we gained possession of it.

The loss of the enemy is supposed to have been 200.  We lost on the 4th Sergeant  [George B.] Ross, privates [Eldridge] Brooks, [Nelson] Beebe, and [Michael] Seviey; next morning [Jacob] Hunsaker died of wounds, and on the 7th, Capt [John H. K.] Burgwin and private [Isaac] Truax died of wounds; and on the 10th, private [Frederick] Schneider.  Those of the dragoons wounded and now in hospital of our company are: Sert. Vanroe, Corporals Engleman and Linneman, privates Anderson, Blodget, Crain, [Zenas] Beach*, Deetz, Hagenback, [William] Hillerman*, [John] Mear*, Sinkenberg, Shay, and [William?] Walker, 1st—”the two last are only slightly wounded, none are dangerous.  On the 6th, Montoya, the leader of the Spanish rebels was hung in the presence of the troops in this town.  The command with the exception of our company (that it, all that is left of it.) and the battalion of infantry, under Capt. Angney, have gone to Santa Fe.  The loss of the volunteers was one officer, one sergeant, and five privates killed, and ten wounded.  Sergeant [Eldridge G.] Towle, Corporal [John J.] Price, and four privates, of company I, first dragoons, volunteered and came with us, attached to our company from Santa Fe.  They were all in the action.

[*indicates men redistributed from or still held on rolls of Co. B.]

SANTA FE, Feb. 17, 1847

P.S.—”We arrived here yesterday.  As soon as our men recover, we will again march to our former station at Albuquerque.  It is rumored here that the lower Pueblo Indians with the Navajos will rise against the Mexicans and as we are bound to protect the latter, we shall have plenty to do-—”so look out for more victories.  If we should have any more engagements and my skull not cracked, I shall give you minute details on everything that occurs.  In all probability we shall be ordered to California.

Captain Burgwin, Governor Bent and District Attorney Leal were buried at the fort on the hill on the 13th instant with the honors of war and a salute of fifteen cannon.  The funeral procession was joined by all the Spaniards of note for fifty miles around Santa Fe.

Army Drunk: “Long May You Live To Ride a Horse."

Lt. Berry, 4th Infy, USMA 1841 to Lt. Love. It appears possible that while writing these letters Berry may have been drunk, stringing together his words, which have been separated here for ease of reading:

Jefferson Barracks Mo

Jan 18th 1843

My Dear John

What with parties and every other thing of that kind I have neglected writing to you before. I got your letter brought by Major Walker. I was really glad to hear from you and about Major Graham. I have forwarded your letter to Jenkins who is at Fort Atkinson near Prairie du Chien, Iowa Territory.

John how do you enjoy yourself at Fort Scott? I know that you cannot not enjoy yourself anywhere. Noble and Stanton stopped with us a few days and then left, Noble for a Post somewhere near Council Bluffs[,] Stanton for Fort Leavenworth. Longstreet lives next door to me. We have been passing a very pleasant time so far, on (and in one or two cases) or two parties a week. Capt. Turner was very glad to hear about you, he desired me to remember him kindly to you.

Do you ever hear anything of Nelson[,] Buford[,] and [Leilck?] Garnett. John[,] Old Murray has been promoted at last I believe. I think I was told Ewell is at your Post if so remember me to him John. John remember me kindly to Major Graham. I will always be glad to hear from you John. How many Buffalos have you killed John since you have been out west?


Benj. A Berry

P.S. John Love my Jo [sic] John how many times have we been together. How long is it since we met each other in [sporter?] and ever merry together in that old place West Point, scribbling, and nibbing and sweeping, eating hashes and getting late at Roll Call. God Bless you John[.] Long may you live to mount a horse.


Postmarked JEFFERSON BARRACKS MO; JAN 26, 1841

Lt. John Love

1st Dragoons

Fort Scott

Near Little Osage P. Office, Bates County Missouri

Jenkins, Nelson, Buford, Garnett [the Lielck? seems to be a garbled nickname], and Murray were fellow members of Love—and Berry—USMA Class of 1841, all now 2nd lieutenants (even Murray). Longstreet was Class of 1842, also 4th Infantry at JB at the time of the writing. Noble and Stanton were also Class of 1842, assigned to the 1st Dragoons with Love (and Buford). Turner was much older, Class of 1834, also 1st Dragoons. I have not identified Majors Walker or Graham, although it may be that one or both were Indian Agents (always given the rank of Major as an honorific).

In 1845, Lt. Berry was dispatched with the 4th Infantry to Texas to serve as part of the Army of Observation. He was killed that August when the Steamboat DAYTON blew up.

Nile National Register 69.49, 9/27/45
Steamboat Disaster—On the 12 inst.[August 12, 1845– this is a copied story] the steamer Dayton, when half way between Corpus Christi and St. Joseph’s island, having, including crew, between 30 and 40 persons on board, exploded a boiler. Ten persons were killed on the instant, including Lieuts. Wiggins and Berry, of the 4th reg. of  infantry. Seventeen were wounded, one of whom died next day. Capt. Crossman, quarter master, was blown to the distance of a hundred yards, but the next day, though somewhat bruised, was able to walk and attend to business. The boat sunk in fifteen minutes after the explosion. As she went down, another boiler exploded, with a moat terrific report.

Steamboat Disaster”On the 12 inst.[August 12, 1845] the steamer Dayton, when half way between Corpus Christi and St. Joseph’s island, having, including crew, between 30 and 40 persons on board, exploded a boiler. Ten persons were killed on the instant, including Lieuts. Wiggins and Berry, of the 4th reg. of  infantry. Seventeen were wounded, one of whom died next day. Capt. Crossman, quarter master, was blown to the distance of a hundred yards, but the next day, though somewhat bruised, was able to walk and attend to business. The boat sunk in fifteen minutes after the explosion. As she went down, another boiler exploded, with a moat terrific report. 9/27/45

Carleton at Bitter Spring

Originally from Wild West (with John Gorenfeld)

James Henry Carleton is generally remembered as the fanatically loyal Union officer who saved New Mexico Territory from the Confederates. Hell-bent on keeping the territory safe against an invasion from Confederate Texas, Carleton called on the men in his California Column to crack down on suspected Southern sympathizers. Property was confiscated. Travelers were ordered to carry identification cards stating their destinations and were stopped at checkpoints. New Mexicans called Carleton a tyrant but, in the end, it was his iron grip that kept the Southwest in Union hands.

Carleton’s obsession with total victory turned brutal in his dealings with Native Americans. During his stay as departmental commander of New Mexico Territory, he was determined to crush the Navajo and Mescalero Apache, telling his officers: “There will be no council held with the Indians . . . The men will be slain whenever and wherever they can be found.”

Carleton’s men systematically destroyed the homes of the Navajo, burned their crops, and slaughtered their livestock. And in the infamous Long Walk, Navajo captives were forced to march over three-hundred miles of desert to the Bosque Redondo Reservation, a diseased and barren piece of land near the Pecos River. More than two thousand died from the effects of malnutrition and sickness.

His mismanagement of the reservation cost him the command of New Mexico Territory in 1866. But a few years earlier, there was a campaign that, when considered in conjunction with Carleton’s odd behavior, should have made his superiors uncomfortable placing him in command of New Mexico Territory: the Bitter Spring Expedition of 1860. It heralded Carleton’s ever-growing malevolence toward Native Americans. Certainly, a man with this attitude should not have been allowed to govern a vast region that was inhabited by a large population of Navajo, Apache, and other native peoples.

To punish killers who had struck on the road between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City, Carleton sent his men on a long chase through the desert after a group of native people who were unlikely culprits. Obsessively pursuing the enemy like a landlocked Captain Ahab, he posted the severed heads of slain Paiutes on stakes.

What kind of man was this? One not easily understood. On the one hand, James Carleton was a rigid martinet who, when it suited him, did not always obey the rules of military conduct. Carleton was court martialed in 1843 for aiding a fellow officer, who was facing murder charges to escape from custody. Carleton was later court-martialed for his mistreatment, and the resulting death of, a drunken enlisted man. Captain Thomas Swords, in 1845, wrote from Fort Scott, “We are to be cursed here with Carleton. I shall give him a pretty wide berth.”

But James Carleton was also a sentimental 19th century gentleman who loved to study nature and who wrote books about his travels. In fact, before Carleton became a soldier, what he really had wanted to be was a famous author in the mold of Charles Dickens.

Born December 27, 1814, in the state of Maine, Carleton was left fatherless at the age of 15. He briefly served in the Maine militia during a non-shooting border dispute with Great Britain know as the Aroostock disturbance. When the —œwar— ended, Carleton wrote a letter to Dickens in 1839 in which he didn—™t stop short of asking Dickens for tips on becoming a writer and asked whether Dickens would be his friend, if Carleton were to move to London.

Dickens replied, writing that he was a little embarrassed by the letter. For him to call a complete stranger like Carleton his friend, he said, âwould be to prostitute the term. Besides, he said, it would be next to impossible for Carleton to achieve success as a British writer. Instead, Carleton would be far better off looking for stories out in the West.

I cannot but think that good tales especially such as you describe, connected with the customs and history of [America] original inhabitants who every day become more interesting as their numbers diminish —“—“ would surely find some patrons and readers in her great cities, Dickens wrote.

So, instead of going overseas, Carleton went West. He obtained an officer’s commission with the 1st Regiment of Dragoons. From army posts out on the Great Plains, he would write about animals, plants, geology, the stars, archaeology and the weather. In 1843, he befriended the naturalist John J. Audubon, another man fascinated with the uncharted landscapes of the West. Carleton mailed poet Henry Longfellow seeds that he had found on an expedition. Longfellow planted the seeds, and wrote a poem about the Western Compass Plant that sprouted: “This is the compass-flower, that the finger of God has planted/Here in the houseless wild, to direct the traveler journey.

In 1844, Lieutenant Carleton published The Prairie Logbooks, telling the story of two Dragoon expeditions. One was of a trip to Nebraska, mapping out the Platte River and meeting the Pawnee residents. Carleton said the Pawnee were thieves, even more wily than the street urchins of his favorite author’s book, Oliver Twist. A Pawnee, he wrote, would have stolen Fagin’s shirt off his back, and cheated such common fellows as the Artful Dodger.

Installments of The Prairie Logbook were printed in the New York Spirit of the Times, allowing newspaper readers to picture the romantic West. Carleton calls for Easterners to imagine themselves at Fort Gibson, in present-day Oklahoma, lining up with the rest of the Dragoons under the oaks, and preparing for a grand adventure.

Time: 10 o’clock. You are on the parade under those grand old trees. On three sides of the great square that surrounds you, are the quarters of officers and men. Men in military garb moving hither and thither, some packing effects, some arming themselves, some shaking hands with, and apparently bidding good-bye to comrades who are to remain behind!

¦Did you hear that bugle! — it blew what is called a signal, “boots and saddles.” Now look at the different quarters, see the men pouring from them like bees from so many hives. Don’t you hear the “clang, clang”clang of heavy sabres as they descend the steps, they are all completely armed and equipped.

Carleton also reckoned himself a keen observer of human nature. When an Indian dandy tries to put on a calico shirt, and finally puts it on backwards, Carleton cannot suppress a smile, for all the airs of an empty-headed exquisite, he strutted off with his new garment, occasionally looking slyly to the right and left. Human nature is the same everywhere.

The Indians fascinated Carleton, as much as the compass-flower. In his writings he admires the Pawnees as noble, if deceitful, adversaries: splendid specimens of the Prairie Indians with eyes like Eagles, he writes. They were not of that dingy brown color, but of that red, so peculiar to all the full-blooded savages of the West.

In 1860, Captain James Henry Carleton, hints of gray in his thick mutton chops, stood with fine posture, proudly watching his Dragoons assemble on the parade ground at Fort Tejon, California. His pale eyes now glimmered with a new wrath. A few years later, the editor of a Santa Fe paper would later sneer at this pose:

Behold him! His martial cloak thrown gracefully around him like a Roman toga, his military cap worn precisely six inches from the extreme tip of his nose, his chin drawn gracefully in, his teeth set firm, his Jove-like front, his eyes like Mars, that threaten and command with slow and measured tread, each step exactly twenty-eight inches, he rules the land.

The long years of campaigning out West had hardened his heart. In 1857, a hundred and twenty unarmed travelers had been slain by the Mormons and their Paiute allies at Mountain Meadows, Utah. Carleton, in May of 1859, had escorted the paymaster up the Salt Lake Road and, while encamped at Mountain Meadows, conducted an investigation of the slaughter, where he discovered the bleached bones of victims projecting from shallow graves.

His once-romantic vision of the West had now been stained by the sight of a women’s hair in detached locks and in masses, [p]arts of children’s dresses, the skulls and bones of those who suffered . . . a sight which can never be forgotten.— Carleton had written that the Mormons were an —œulcer upon the body politic . . . an ulcer which needs more than cautery to cure. It must have excision; complete and thorough extirpation before we can ever hope for safety or tranquillity.” The impression upon Carleton that day at Mountain Meadows, and the rage it surely awakened within him, would not pass.

The Paiutes allegedly were attacking travelers and stealing stock along the road between Los Angeles and Salt Lake. In January of 1860, a cattleman had been killed at Bitter Spring, reportedly by Paiutes; a couple of months later, two teamsters had been felled near the same spot.

The Southern Paiutes of the Mojave were not one tribe, but rather several small scattered groups that spoke in the Shoshonean language. They called themselves the Nuwu, Shoshone for —œThe People—. For centuries, the Nuwu struggled to survive in the desert that lay between Utah and California. They sustained themselves on a diet of desert plants–pnon pine nuts, roots, and msquite seed–and fresh game (rabbits, mountain sheep, reptiles, and kangaroo rats.)

The Vanyumes, an impoversihed tribelet, lived in the vicinity of the Bitter Creek. Their population was small. Father Garaces, who visited the region in 1776, mentioned villages ranging in size from 25-40 souls.

For decades, tribesmen from as far away as southern Utah would cross Cajon Pass to plunder the vast herds grazing near the pueblo of Los Angeles. Major Lewis Armistead, writing from Fort Mojave, remarked:

My opinion as to the treatment of the Whalupi and Paiyte [sic] is to shoot them whenever you can, as I believe it impossible to keep them from stealing horses, mules, or anything else, when a good opportunity offers. These Indians, the Payutes [sic] especially, are generally in a half-starved state—”they steal to eat—”sometimes to live—”They will always be troublesome and difficult to manage, not from their numbers, but from the character of the country they inhabit.

There were now wild rumors that the Mormons—”-still smarting from the invasion and occupation of their homeland by federal troops in the Mormon War of 1857—”-had encouraged Paiutes, their Indian allies, to attack settlers. The April 12, 1860 issue of the Los Angeles Star echoed the feeling of many Californians:

The murders [at Bitter Spring] were perpetrated by Indians we have no doubt. Yet there are Danites, who can paint, talk, and act Indian as well as any red-skin in the Territory–and the late murders, as at Mountain Meadows, if not actually perpetrated by such, were directed by them and executed for them.

A group of prominent citizens and businessmen from Los Angeles petitioned the government to chastise the Paiutes in order to make the Salt Lake road once again safe for the flow of commerce into their town.

There were voices of moderation in the army protesting that these people were more often blamed than blameworthy. In 1859, Captain John Davidson, assigned to hunt Paiutes accused of stealing cattle from ranches in the San Fernando and Santa Clara vallies, led a troop of Dragoons from Fort Tejon into the upper reaches of the Owens Valley. He found no evidence that the Paiutes had stolen livestock. After holding several meetings with them, Davidson concluded that —œthese Indians are not only not Horse thieves . . . their true character is that of an interesting, peaceful industrious people, deserving the protection and watchful care of the Government.—

Lt. Colonel Benjamin Beall was Carleton’s immediate commanding officer. “Old Ben”, a hard-drinking 24-year veteran of numerous campaigns, believed that those responsible for the recent attacks likely came from Utah and had left the area. He thought it unjust for the army to chastise those persons who, by pure chance, lived in the vicinity of Bitter Spring.

Brevet General Newman Clarke was not to be deterred by the opinions of Beall and Davidson. The general sent an order, dated April 5, 1860, to Carleton to —œproceed to Bitter Springs [sic] and chastise the Indians you find in the vicinity.— Since the killers—™ identity was unknown, any nearby people must pay the price for the crimes of their race. Clarke specifically instructed Carleton that —œthe punishment must fall on those dwelling nearest to the place of the murder or frequenting the water course in its vicinity.— Not pleasant orders. Nonetheless, Carleton, thinking of Mountain Meadows and of the chance for retribution against allies of the Mormons, might have felt a quickening in his blood. He now had orders to punish the Paiute, and intended to unleash punishment worthy of a god of war.

* * *

Ten minutes more—“—“another bugle; that was the signal—“—“-‘to horse.’ Now they come out—“—“what a crowd! Each man has his hand near the bit leading his charger. They form in two ranks on foot, each company on its own parade in front of its stables—”at the same time, the officers mounted, come dashing along from their quarters to the several companies. The commands are given: the men are in the saddle at once, and the ranks are closed and dressed. Another bugle, still—“—“that was the ‘assembly’—“—“the fine brass band of the regiment, also mounted, commences a lively march. . . The adjutant now forms the parade, after which the commanding officer proceeds to make a final inspection of men, arms, horses, and equipage—“—“all found to be in excellent order. The inspection over, the command is given, and in a moment the long line is broken into column and on its way —¦”

(The Prairie Logbooks)

And so the regimental band struck up the traditional Irish aire, —œThe Girl I Left Behind Me— (—œThe hope of final victory within my bosom burning/Is mingling with sweet thoughts of thee and of my fine returning—¦—) as three officers and eighty-one enlisted men, surgeon Jonathan Letterman, two civilian guides, an interpreter, and a rumbling train of four army wagons departed the post. The column took the salutes of Lt. Colonel Beall, splashed across the Grapevine Creek, and then turned south onto the dusty Los Angeles Road.

Carleton rightly took considerable pride in the men of K Troop of the First United States Dragoons. Since his return to the West in 1858, he had drilled, drilled, and again drilled this unwieldy group–many of them recent immigrants from Ireland and Germany–such that they were skilled at riding, shooting, care of their mounts, and skirmishing.

In early 1859, Inspector General Mansfield witnessed a firing exercise by Carleton’s company K at Fort Tejon. He reported that half of Company K’s shots hit a 6′ x 22″ target at 100 yards. For the antebellum army, this was excellent marksmanship.

Carleton had written adulatingly of Dragoons on the march with —œtheir arms and equipments sparkling in the sun, their sabres clanging against their heavy spurs and stirrups, their horses neighing and prancing.— How smartly his troopers sat in their Grimsley saddles, their Sharps carbines slung over the right hip and Colt’s Navy revolvers tucked into the pommel holster—“—“ready for whatever struggle or hardship that might lie ahead. Carleton rode at the head of the column, exulting in the flourishing of whips that cracked on the behinds of mules, in the bugle calls and shouts of the officers to halt or move forward, in the clatter of hundreds of hooves.

After a week’s casual march of 170 miles, Carleton—™s troops reached a site just to the east of the junction of the Mojave Road and the Salt Lake Trail. It was here, just slightly northeast of the present-day town of Barstow, the cool waters of the fickle Mojave River bubbled to the surface. Carleton set his men to work building a base camp which he called Camp Cady, after his friend Major Albemarle Cady, the commander of Fort Yuma. From this encampment he sent out his patrols to locate the Paiutes. It did not take long to find one of them.

On the morning of the 19th of April, 2d Lieutenant B. F. —œGrimes— Davis took a portion of K Troop out on a patrol. Davis, a graduate of the West Point Class of 1854, was a promising officer in the mounted arm. In June of 1863, this capable officer would lose his life while leading a federal brigade of cavalry at the Battle of Beverly Ford.

At about twelve miles to the southwest of Camp Cady, at a place near the Fish Ponds on the Mojave River, Davis came across two Native Americans who were hunting for game. These men, being “in the vicinity of Bitter Spring— were to be chastised. Davis rose in his stirrups and ordered K troop to “draw pistols and forward into line as skirmishers.”

The Dragoons smartly wheeled into line, advancing at a fast trot, firing as they came. One of the hunters, though outnumbered, outgunned, and facing certain death, was not to be cowed. His arrows found their mark and two troopers were seriously wounded. During the attack, a trooper wounded a comrade with a .36 caliber ball from his pistol.

The soldiers, charged with adrenaline, were not about to be deprived of the chance to exact revenge. —œThe men all seemed to vie with each other who should kill the rascal and all were perfectly fearless,— later wrote Surgeon Letterman. When the dust had finally settled, the hunter was dead and his companion taken prisoner. Subsequently —“—“ military reports do not record exactly when—”-the captive was killed when he reportedly attempted to escape. The body of the dead men were taken back to Camp Cady.

As Davis’ detachment marched slowly back to Camp Cady with its three wounded men, they heard a distant echo of gunfire. The command of Lt. Milton Carr had come upon another band of hunters. In the second clash of the day, two tribesmen were killed and one Dragoon was wounded.

On April 22nd, the bodies of the two men slain by Lt. Davis’ detachment were taken by the Dragoons to the crossing of the Salt Lake Road at Bitter Spring—“—“the site of the attacks upon travelers. It was at this spot that the bodies were hung from an improvised scaffold.

Although having twice chastised the local inhabitants, Carleton was hardly finished with his duty. On April 30th, he sent out three patrols. Taking command of a patrol, Carleton soon discovered a recently abandoned native encampment located at about twenty miles to the south of Camp Cady. As the natives ineffectively shot at the troopers from rocky terrain afar, Carleton’s men destroyed the camp.

Meanwhile, 16 troopers under Lt. Carr scouted the Mojave Road. On May 2nd, Carr encountered a band of seven natives who were busily gathering lizards, roots, and worms at the base of Old Dad Mountain. He sent a detachment consisting of a sergeant and four men to cut off any possible retreat and then ordered his remaining men to —œunsling carbines, dismount, forward as skirmishers.— Taking advantage of the fact that their powerful, breach-loading, .52 calibre Sharps carbines outranged any of the weapons carried by the Native Americans, the Dragoons opened fire.

It was a one-sided affair. Carr would report, —œ. . . owing to a high wind, their arrows did no damage.— Within the space of a half-hour, three of the natives were slain, one wounded, and an elderly woman taken prisoner. The Dragoons suffered no casualties.

After taking the evening’s supper, Lt. Carr, likely acting upon orders from Carleton, had the heads cut off of the three dead natives and placed them into a sack. A few days later, these grisly items were mounted for display upon the gibbet at Bitter Creek.

Carleton released the captive woman and instructed her to tell her people that they would be hunted down unless they agreed to cease hostilities. By this time, as one might imagine, most of the terrified native inhabitants had fled the area.

Still itching to fight the Paiutes, Carleton believed that he might be able to lure them into attacking if he were to send out a decoy of three supply wagons. Dragoons were hidden inside of these wagons. Carleton followed within supporting distance with a troop of twenty-five men. Owing to the broken terrain, two of the wagons soon broke down. Neither command discovered any fresh signs of Native Americans.

Carleton was now convinced that —œthe Pah-Utes driven from the south had gone northward to the impenetrable fastness about Mountain Spring, and there joining numerous Indians in that region.— Intent upon finding these elusive warriors and bringing them to a battle, he continued his trek ever and deeper into the vastness of the Mojave.

Carleton continued to pursue his prey without regard to the obstacles nature had lain before him. Marching at the rate of thirty miles a day across hot desert wasteland, his weary command, many of its troopers on foot, arrived at a remote desert oasis located in present-day Nevada that was known to travelers as the Vegas. While his men would occasionally see a few fleeing natives in the distance and come across several recently abandoned rancherias, the natives refused to meet with Carleton. On May 28th, the troops, having covered over three-hundred miles of desert landscape, returned to Camp Cady.

During the ensuing weeks, several more patrols were sent out in all directions. Carleton came to believe that his prey had fled into the distant Panamint Mountains. On June 9th, he sent a detachment of thirty-five Dragoons under the capable command of Lt. Davis to pursue these natives.

The company was guided by an incompetent scout named Joel Brooks, who at the time was being sought by the authorities in Los Angeles on charges of murder. During the 1850’s, Brooks had participated in a number of massacres inf Indian villages in the western foothills of the Sierras. It was said that this Arkansan ruffian had been run out of every town in the Tulare Valley.

With Brooks leading the way, the detachment blundered into the blistering wastelands of Death Valley. Over the next few days, the command nearly perished in its futile search for water and Indians. In his report for the 12th of June, Davis wrote, —œ[t]he day was intensely hot and the men began to suffer for water. Brooks returned at 2 O’clock but without success.— Having used up most of the rations, with horses spent, and being virtually out of water, on June 14th, Davis wisely decided to return to Camp Cady.

A perturbed General Clarke, at headquarters in San Francisco, had read Carleton’s dispatch which proudly touted the display of severed heads at Bitter Spring. The San Francisco newspapers also reported this incident. In an order dated May 28th, Clarke firmly instructed Carleton to cease mutilation of the dead and to —œremove all evidences of such mutilation from public gaze.—

By the latter part of June, Carleton was convinced that his campaign had made Salt Lake Trail again safe for travelers. This view was confirmed when, just prior to his departure for Fort Tejon, a delegation of Native Americans arrived in camp. After being repeatedly threatened by Carleton, they promised never again to take up arms against the settlers.

On July 3, 1860, the Dragoons—“—“their dusty clothes in rags and their mounts jaded from the months of harsh campaigning in the unforgiving Mojave Desert—“—“abandoned their base at Camp Cady and began the long return march to Fort Tejon. “I have lost no man, nor a horse on the whole campaign” proudly wrote Carleton in his report to General Clarke.

During their three-month absence from Fort Tejon, the Pony Express had initiated the carrying of mail from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento. Meanwhile, back in the East, the infant Republican party had nominated as its candidate for President, Abraham Lincoln, a relatively unknown attorney from Springfield, Illinois. That November, Lincoln would be elected as the sixteenth President and, by April of 1861, the nation would be engaged in civil war.

In the fall of 1861, Confederate troops boldly invaded New Mexico Territory. To counter this threat, volunteer troops were raised in California and placed under the command of Carleton. In the spring of 1862, Colonel Carleton and his California Column would boldly march eastward from Los Angeles, across the Mojave Desert, and into the annals of history.

* * *

For an extremely well-researched account of the Pah-Ute War of 1860, the authors recommend Dennis Casebier’s monograph: Carleton’s Pah-Ute Campaign (King’s Press 1972); although her book suffers from an overly ideal view of Carleton’s life, Aurora Hunt’s Major General James Henry Carleton, Frontier Dragoon (Arthur Clarke Co. 1958) albeit flawed is worth reading.

The Other Pah-Ute War of 1860

At the time of Carleton’s Bitter Spring expedition, a much greater conflict with the Paiutes was taking place in western Utah Territory. This struggle resulted when two Northern Paiute women were kidnapped and raped by agents of the Pony Express. On May 7, 1860, Paiute warriors destroyed the Pony Express depot at Williams Station, killed five whites, and rescued the women.

A force of 105 boisterous volunteers boldly marched to attack the Paiute villages. On May 12th, the Paiutes, under the able leadership of Numaga (Young Winnemucca) ambushed the column at the Big Bend of the Truckee River, killing over 40 of the volunteers.

Suffice it to say, this military disaster produced intense agitation. Federal troops (144 men of the 3d Artillery and 6th Infantry) and 550 California volunteers (soon placed under the command of former Texas Ranger John Coffee Hays) were rushed over the Sierra Nevada mountains to the seat of war. On June 3d, these troops clashed with and defeated the Paiutes at the battle of Pinnacle Mountain. The next day, Hayes’ men occupied the site of the Paiute village on the shores of Pyramid Lake.

During the summer of 1860, Lt. Stephen Weed of the 4th Artillery met with Numaga and other members of his band. Weed reported that they all “expressed a strong desire for peace.” Weed reported that they all tribesmen “expressed a strong desire for peace.” He was right–peace had been restored to the region.

Lt. Oliver Taylor's Proposed Transfer to the Infantry

The following was an informal note accompanying an official letter sent by Dragoon Lt. Oliver H. Taylor to Dickerson, who was serving as A.A.A.Genl to Bvt. Lt. Col. Washington, Commander of the 9th Military Department in Santa Fe.  Taylor and Dickerson had been one class apart at West Point, and Taylor often included such notes as separate pages in his official correspondence. These personal notes between officers seemingly relieved some of the tedium attendant while stationed at a frontier post.

Jan. 3, 1849 [Albuquerque]

Dear Dick:

I received your of the 25th Dec yesterday & hasten to inform you that I deem it very important that we should have a Genl Court Martial.  One or two of you at least will come down from Santa Fe & perhaps some of our Taos friends.  Have not time to write much as I am busy with my quarterly papers, compy, Qtr Mstrs & Compy &c.  got a letter from [2nd Lt. William W.] Burns [USMA —˜47, assigned to 5TH Infantry, Ft. Gibson] the other day, wishes me to change in the Infantry with [2nd Lt. Richard H.] Long [USMA —47, also Ft. Gibson] , but as the Mexicans say —quando?—[sic, —Cuando?— (—When?—)]  I think a new lot of —œniggers will be hung.— I put the letter of transfer, directed to the Adjt Genl, in the fire & could not help applying the thumb of my dexter hand to my nose & causing the fingers to execute sundry gyrations at the ashes as I thought how easy that little business had been settled & almost felt like sending a challenge to Burns for his impudence in supposing that a Dragoon would transfer with a —Doughboy.— Try & keep yourself alive & hearty.  Remember me to all hands—”In haste, Yours Truly O. H. P. Taylor [Bvt. 1st Lt, Commanding G Company, 1st Dragoons]

P. S. I have also other Genl prisoners.  Do send a Genl Ct. martial.

Note: This banter between classmates, joking about their branches and hoping for some social contact—”a General Court Martial required at least five officers, and everyone was spread thin in 1849 New Mexico.  Tragically, Long died at Fort Gibson, January 30, 1849, of apparent illness, probably before Burns got any reply from Taylor.  Taylor himself would be killed at To-kota-mine-me, Washington Tty, May 17, 1858, gallantly leading the rear guard against the united and outraged Spokane, Palouse, Coeur d’ Alene, and Yakama tribes.

Spokane Expedition:

One account of the battle states:—On Monday, May 17, 1858, the  soldiers’ journey back immediately turned into a running flight for their lives. With the first sound of shots, Lieutenant William Gaston found an opening and led the entire expedition towards a small hill by Pine Creek. The running battle was brutal, as the tribes were skillfull at running their horses up to the troops to attack them. While the men had guns, they were mostly Yager rifles, not meant for firing from horseback, The soldiers’ revolvers were rapidly running out of ammunition. And the sabers, which would have helped the soldiers defend themselves, were left useless back at Fort Walla Walla.

As Steptoe’s expedition floundered toward the small hill, Lieutenant Gaston, along with Captain Oliver Hazard Taylor, guarded the flanks. Their skill was also their death sentence, for upon noticing the effectiveness of these two officers, the tribal leaders ordered their sharpshooters to focus on felling these two men, and soon Steptoe heard the news that these two officers had been killed, and Gaston’s body taken.

Bill Collecting and Other Gossip 1848

Trooper Philip Welsh has run up a sizable bill with the post sutler and the merchant asked Welsh’s company commander Captain Burgwin to extract payment. Unfortunately, the commanding officer died in battle at Taos. The sutler has requested that Lt. John Love find out whether the soldier paid the bill. Philip Welsh stayed in the army after the Mexican War and was found serving Company F at Cantonment Burgwin in 1855. While serving there he has lost his horse pistol and is being assessed $13.00 by the government for the weapon. “You’ll never get rich. You son of a bitch. You are in the Army now.”

Fort Scott MO

April 18, 1848

Lieut John Love

U S Army

Most Worthy old friend:

It is necessary for us to call on some friend to serve us, and as our acquaintance with you gives us claim on you, we respectfully ask this favor of you to learn from Philip Welch in some way if you can, if he ever paid a note to us for $66.28 dated about the 20th March 1844.  Which note was given to Capt. Burgwin the same year some time to collect.  He was so kind as to receive it and said it should be paid, to enable him to collect it he regulated his trade with Mr. Rice to $3.00 Per Month.  We are of the opinion that the Captain collected the amount and hope you can learn from Welch if he has or has not paid the amount &c.  Soldiers like he may plead payment had you not first said you have the note and want him to pay it and in this way he will say what has been done or what amount he has paid.  You will please do the best your can and write us so we can send a copy of your letter to his Capt. Burgwin’s Father.  Private Charles Lynch, late of Company A 1st Dragoons deserted from this post under the command of Capt Burbank and gave himself up at Fort Leavenworth and was not tried for desertion and afterwards sent to Santa Fee.  We certified it for Lieut Wallace on the Council of Administration.  This account was all created before and previous to his desertion which was the 7th May 1847, owing us Ninety Six dollar and Thirty Seven cents, ($96.37) and forwarded to Col. Wharton, and the Col. cannot Say but that he has forwarded it to Santa Fe &c.  This is a tricky man, if you do not know him, please collect it for us.  William Bushnell of the same company left here owing us Fifteen dollars ($15.00) and has, we learn, also gone to Santa Fee.  He is a good man and believe he will pay if he has not already done so—”you will certainly serve us much by giving us your kind ade [sic, aid] and assistance in these bothersome matters.  We shall enclose this letter to Col. C. Wharton and call his attention of the certificate.  Whether he has in his recollection or not forwarded to Santa Fee.  For this and all of your kindness we shall ever be thankful, and should you be able to give the wanted information as in the case of Welch please [indecipherable].

And if you should be able to make the collection, pay yourself and send us the balance to us in some shape through Col. Wharton.  We have but little news in the States to give at this date.  The county is quiet save the difficulties with Mexico, and all are on the look out for the ratification of the treaty by the Mexican congress—”the rupture or revolution is France may result [indecipherable] to the Old World, should it, it will be a very good thing for the United States.   The health of our county is generally good.  Col. Douglass your old friend is very well, and family, he has a fine daughter.  She commands much attention.  Your colt he aimed to race for you is Dead—”The loss of our mutual friends by the Mexican War is very great.  So many valuable lives lost—”our county is clad in Mourning—”You must meet with many Privations in Mexico.  You must be loansum [sic] news very old before you get it out to you—”Dr. W. Wammon is at this Post with his family.  He has two fine Daughters.  Mr. Bugg is absent to St. Louis with Lieut Wallace, our H. T. Wilson is married and flourishing at Scott.  He was married on the 28th of last September to a plane [sic] country Girl and if you were in the States, you should marry, and pleasant life to live, a step every good man should take.  We do not know who you may have about you that we knew, but would be pleased to be kindly remembered to youself, Capt. Grear and all of our acquaintans [sic] with you.

We have the honor to be your very

Sincere and obt Servts


Wilson & Bugg

The 1848 March of Company H

Santa Fe Republican, September 12, 1848, reported:

-Co. (H,) 1st Dragoons, commanded by Lt. Buford, from Fort Gibson, reached this place on Saturday, the 9th inst., all in fine health and spirits.  It seems that Lieut. Buford came direct from Fort Gibson almost a new and untravelled route, which he considers much the best and shortest to the United States.


Arrival of Co. H. 1st U. S. Dragoons.

Co. H., 1st U.S. Dragoons, under Lieut. R. Buford, accompanied by Lieut D. B. Sackett, arrived in this city on the 9th inst. [September], from Ft. Gibson, having left that place on the 17th of July last.

We are under many obligations to Lieutenant Buford for the following information relative to his trip and the new route taken by him across the plains.  The Lieutenant and his force on leaving Ft. Gibson, marched up the Arkansas River to the mouth of the big Red Fork, or [illegible] river, and then following up that [illegible] to the Salt Rock, a great salt plain which [illegible] is about three hundred miles from Fort Gibson.  On the 17th of August, they left the Salt rock and proceeded south, and struck the waters of the Cimaron and main Canadian—”then continuing their march in a westward direction between these two streams until august the 20th, when they altered their course to the north and crossed the waters of the north fork of the Canadian, (which is not near as large a stream as represented on many of our maps) and on the 31st [?] of August, struck the Santa Fe road, near the middle Cimaron spring, which point is about five hundred miles distant from Ft. Gibson by this route, the actual distance of which would not5 be over four hundred miles from the middle Cimaron spring to Fort Gibson; he also states that a route and good road could be laid out from Santa Fe New Mexico, via the Salt Rock, following partly the route taken by him, the distance of which from Santa Fe to Fort Gibson would not be over six, to six hundred and fifty miles by this route—”good camping ground, with a large abundance of wood and water every night, and fine grazing beside, innumerable buffalo could always be found.

The Salt rock, as spoke of in this report as a particular point, we believe some day will become a valuable and important place.

The salt taken from this rock is a white and nice as any table salt, and it can be procured with but little or no labor.  Lieut. B. has in his possession some specimens of this salt, which in fact are worthy of public notice.  According to report, this rock must be one of the greatest curiosities in the world by its structure and location.  [Note that Salt Rock and Salt Fork were site of commercial salt works and had been for a couple of decades; routes to there were well traveled from the southeast.  Gregg mentions them.]

[H left Fort Gibson in July en route for New Mexico arrived at Santa Fe 8 Sept.  Left Santa Fe on the 18th and arrived at Socorro Sept 29.  Stationed their [sic] the remainder of the year.]

Kearny’s March to California

StL Weekly Republican August 10, 1846

LETTER FROM CAPTAIN MOORE July 10, 1846 Pawnee Fork

We have received from a friend in Jefferson City, for which he has our thanks, a private letter received from Capt. Moore, commander of the advance guard of U. S. Dragoons now en route for Santa Fe, from which we make the following extract:



July 10, 1846}

Dear Friend:—”Your   kind letters have been received by an express, and I embrace this, the first opportunity that has appeared to write to the United States.  You know I was ordered , with a squadron of dragoons (with only eight hours notice,) to proceed in pursuit of Speyers, the Santa Fe trader, who had some wagons loaded with arms and ammunition for New Mexico; but from his having too much the start, I was unable to overtake him.  When I left my camp at Kansas river, on the 7th ult. and up to the time of my arrival at the crossing of the Arkansas rive, I could not perceive that I had gained much on him, judging from the age of the sign he made, although I followed in a forced march, reaching the crossing in eleven and a half days.  Our march was the most disagreeable out of many that I have experienced, in consequence of the drought, no rain having fallen since last spring.  The roads were exceedingly dry and dust, and for several days we marched twenty-five miles without water.

On our arrival at the crossing, finding no Mexicans, nor sign of any, and the grass scare and insufficient, I fell back, with my command to this point, about eighty miles from the crossing, in tolerable grass, where I have remained since; but to-morrow I shall take up the line of march for Bent—™s Fort, on the Arkansas, with five companies under my command, three of dragoons and two of mounted volunteer riflemen—”the latter companies, Captains Waldo and Reed, having joined me yesterday.  The volunteer officers are clever fellows, and have a fine-looking set of men, who, although ignorant of military matters, evince a disposition to learn highly creditable to them.

We have no news worthy of credit from Santa Fe, but it is rumored that Gen. Urrea, from the Passo Del Norte, has marched to Santa Fe, with an army or three to four thousand troops; if so, we may meet with a warm reception.  Well, it is not usual for us to be rivalled in cordiality.  We will reciprocate their politeness—”the American eagle will vie with the Mexican in a hearty grip.

Lieut. Colonel Ruff, of the Missouri mounted volunteers, was about two days in rear of Captains Waldo and Reed—™s corps; he will overtake up at Bent—™s Fort.  The traders (all of whom I have detained at this place as they arrived) have concluded to go by Bent—™s Fort, instead of the Semarone, as they originally intended.  Among the traders, and those accompanying them, I have found some polite and courteous gentlemen; amateurs; come traveling for the sake of locomotion, some for pleasure, and some in the pursuit of health.  Among the latter I have met an old friend, George R. Clark, of St. Louis.  I am glad to say, his health is much improved.  I have taken him into my mess, and by the time he reaches the base of the mountains, and enjoys the bracing air, so celebrated for its efficacious influence in pulmonary and dyspeptic affections, I hope to see him perfectly well, and able to kill and butcher two buffalos, instead of one, (he mastered one a few days ago, on a hunt with me.)

We are all well, and in fine spirits, in contemplation of —œbusiness on hand.—  As opportunities of communication with the United States will now be frequent, I shall write often, and hope, in future, to have something more interesting to impart.

Yours, truly,

Benjamin D. Moore, U.S.D.

Below are the orders of the Army of the West concerning the break up of the command and the re-organization of General Stephen W. Kearny’s troops on its march to California in the Fall of 1846. (Courtesy of Tim Kimball)


Headquarters Army of the West

Order No. 18 Santa Fe, N. Mexico, August 27, 1846

I—¦ Companies —œK— and —œC— 1st Dragoons commanded by Captains Cooke and Moore, are hereby selected to accompany the General on his expedition to upper California, and will be held in readiness to leave here by the 15th proximo.

II—¦ Major Sumner will cause Companies —œB— and —œI— 1st Dragoons to be broken up and the men distributed to Companies —œC,— —œG,— and —œK— of the same Regt. raising —œC— and —œK— to the full complement authorized by law and as these Companies have a long and arduous march before the, selections will be made for them of the most efficient men and horses now in the Companies to be broken up.  This arrangement will be made on the 1st proximo.

III—¦ Should it be found by the 1st proximo, that the are horses and mules in Companies —œC— and —œK— unfitted to commence a long march, Major Sumner will cause them to be changed for others in his command that will answer.

IV—¦ Major Sumner, after the departure of the General, will remain in this Territory, until further orders in command of Company —œG— 1st Dragoons and Capt. Hudson—™s Company (Leclede rangers) serving under him.

By order of Brig. Genl. S. W. Kearny

H. S. Turner

Capt. AAAGnrl.


    Headquarters Army of the West

Order No. 22 Santa Fe, N. Mexico, Sept. 18, 1846

I—¦Orders Nr. 18 of the 27th ult. Are hereby revoked.  Major Sumner will restore the Dragoon command to the organization which it held in the 1st instant, reinstating and increasing the Companies to respond with their strength at that date.

II—¦Major Sumner will prepare the five Companies of Dragoons, under his command, to march for California on the 28th inst.

III—¦The following members of the Staff will accompany the command to California: viz,

Major Swords, QM & to perform the duties of Comms,

Captain Turner, A.A.A. General,

—œ Johnston, A. D. C.,

Lieut. Emory, Top. Engineers

—œ      Warner, —œ     —œ

Surgeon De Camp, Capt. McKissack, A.Q.M., & Lieut Grier, A. A. C. Sub. Will remain on duty at this station.

In addition to his other duties, Surgeon De Camp will remain in charge of the General Hospital.

By order of Brig. Gen. S. W. Kearny,

H. S. Turner

Capt. AAAGrnl.


    Head Qrs. Army of the West

Special Order No. 8 Santa Fe, N. Mexico, Sept. 20, 1846

Any men belonging to the Dragoon command, who, on the 25th inst. May be too sick to commence the march to California, will be left in charge of Surgeon De Camp, in this City.

Those who may have sufficiently recovered after the departure of Capt. Allen—™s command for California, will accompany it, to join their respective Companies.  The remainder will be ordered back to Fort Leavenworth, as they recover, and as opportunities may be presented.  A full description of each of these men, with a statement of their clothing and other accounts with the Government, will be left with surgeon De Camp.

By order of Brig. Genl S. W. Kearny

H. S. Turner



Head Qts Army the West

Camp on the Del Norte near Socorro

Oct. 6th 1846


I this morning met an Express from Upper California to Washington city, sent by Lieut. Col. Frémont, reporting that the Americans had taken possession of that department, in consequence of which I have re-organized the Party to accompany me to that country as will be seen by Order No. 34, herewith enclosed.

I take of the Staff, Maj. Swords (Q.M.) , As. Surg. Griffin, Capts.  Turner (A.A.A.A.G.) & Johnston (A.D. Camp), Lieuts. Emorny and Warner (Top. Engr). and of the line, Capt. Moore in command of Cos. C & K (100 total) 1st Dragoons, & leave Maj. Sumner here with Cos. B, G & I.

We are now 160 miles below Santa Fé & from this time expect less interruption from our Baggage train, which has hither to much retarded us.

I have nothing new to report.

Very Respectfully

Your Ob. Servt.

Brig. Genl. R. Jones  S. W. Kearny

AdjGeneral  Brig. Genl

U. S. A.   U. S. A.
Head Quarters Army of the West

Camp on the Del Norte Camp [sic] below Fray Christobal [sic, Cristobal]

October 13th 1846


No. 35.

  1. Maj. E. V. Sumner having been promoted to the 2nd Regt. Dragoons, will be relieved in the command of the three companies 1st Dragoons now under him, by Capt. Burgwin of the latter Regt.  When Maj. S. will be at liberty—”to comply with such orders as he may have received.
  2. Lt. H. W. Stanton 1st Dragoons having acted as Regt. Adgt. Since the 18th August will proceed to Fort Leavenworth without delay, taking with him the books & papers pertaining to the Hd Qrs of the Regt. which he will deliver to the Colonel or other officer in command thereof.
  3. Capt. Burgwin will break up Co B, 1st Dragoons & distribute the privates between G & I compys. & will assign Buglr Hawkins to Co. K & order him to report to Capt. Cooke.1 He will then order Lt. Love to conduct the N. C. officers & the other Bugler of the Co. to Fort Leavenworth there to report to the Colonel or other officer in command of the Regt, for Recruiting service or such other duty as he may think proper to assign him to.
  4. Maj. M. L. Clark & Adgt. L . Walker of the Battalion of Horse Artillery from Mo. having reported for duty at fort Leavenworth on the 1st July 1846, are entitled to and will receive pay from that date.
  5. Private Wm. I. Johnson of Capt. Waldo—™s Co. 1st Regt, Mo. Mounted volunteers having been elected a member of the legislature of the state of Mo. is hereby honorably discharged from the service of the U. States, and is at liberty to return home that he may attend to the interests of his constituents.
  6. The attention of commanders of Regiments and Battalions of volunteers is directed to the requirements of the 15th & 19th articles of the rules and articles of war, & to the —œRegulations for the Army— under the head of —œMusters—”Returns—”Reports— vide paragraphs 809 to 817, 824, &c.
    The importance of rendering correct Returns and Rolls, in good season must be apparent to all, and Commanders & Adjutants of Regiments & Battalions are required to give special attention to the subject and see that the regulations are strictly complied with.  The information which their Rolls and Returns should contain is necessary for the records of the war dept as well as to do justice to the volunteers themselves in the settlements of their accounts &c.
  1. Commanders of Regiments and Battalions of volunteers will see that in every case where advances of money have been made by the state government to their men for which they pledged payment that the proportion to be charges against each individual is duly entered on the muster & pay rolls, as so much —œdue the State of—”,—œ that it may be deducted at the first subsequent payment.
  2. The commanding General has no official or certain intelligence, but has learned by rumor and report that a volunteer Regt. of infantry from Missouri is now marching from Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fé to report to him.  Should [the] report prove true, the commander of the regiment must on his arrival at Santa Fé decide whether to winter it in New Mexico, or march it to Chihuahua to report to Brig. Genl. Wool and must make such decision upon a full & careful consideration of all circumstances therewith.
        • By order of Brig. Genl. S. W. Kearny
        • H. S. Turner
        • Capt. AdjGenl

Inspection Report and Muster Roll, Ft. Tejon 28 February 1859

Joseph Mansfield’s Inspection Report of Fort Tejon

Los Angeles, California

5 March 1859

Bvt. Major Irwin W. McDowell,

Asst. Adjt. Genl. – Head Quarters Army


On the 18th February ulto., I left San Francisco, in the Overland mail coach, for Fort Tejon,  and reached there at daybreak of the 21st ulto. , and have now the honor to report to the General – in –Chief the result of my inspection of that post as follows.

Fort Tejon, from 21 Feb. to 3rd March:  The establishment of a Military post at the Tejon reservation,  so-called, was designated in 1854, at the time I made an inspection of this Department;  and General  Wool, then in command of the Department, desired me in connection with the Indian agent at that time E.F. Beale, an Assistant Quarter Master Captain Gordon, to select a suitable site for the same and we fixed on a site some 20 miles from this post, in the Valley near the Indian reservation; which was deemed a strategic, as well as a pleasant, and comfortable, and suitable, place.  At that time I could see no valid objection to it, and I have since my arrival at Tejon, visited again, and am of the same opinion still, and I believe it a much more suitable position than the present site.  The road through the canyon is better and nearer to Los Angeles.  Why it was not adopted as originally selected, I cannot say.

This post is situated in the Paso de Las Uvas, in latitude 34 -54’-40” and longitude 118-54’-01”, about six miles from the outlet into the Tulare or San Joaquin Valley, and about 2500 feet in vertical altitude above that Valley; and in consequence, is a cold, and damp, and unpleasant climate through the whole fall, winter and spring; and on the 1st and 2nd of this month, the ground was white with snow and ice, while in the reservation, the peach trees are in bloom and peas up.

There is no garden here, and no grazing of consequence for animals short of five miles.  There is, however, a good spring of water, and abundant oak for fuel.  It is particularly exposed to earthquakes , and every building is cracked by them; and on one occasion the gabled ends of two buildings were thrown down by earthquakes: in a few miles off, I saw an immense crack and crevice in the earth extending for many miles, caused recently by them.  Since the 1st November 1856 to the close of January 1st there have been many shocks.  In November 1856 three, –  in 1857  there were in January three severe shocks on the 8th, 20th, and 29th and many light every day from the 9th to the close of the month.   – February many shocks through the month, the hardest on the 10th, 11th and 28th. – March  27 shocks and one very severe on the 3rd. – April 22 shocks and one very severe on the 23rd. –  May 7th shocks very severe on the 15th, 19th, 20th and 26th. – June 11 shocks, one very severe on the 12th, and severe on the 2nd, 10th and 11th – July 18 shocks eight very severe. – August 12 shocks, two very severe on the 9th and 20th, two severe and eight slight.  – September1 heavy on the 22nd and slight. – September 1 heavy on the 22nd and 5 slight. – October 6 shocks, two of them heavy. – November 11 shocks, two heavy on the 20th and 30th and nine light. – December 5 shocks, one heavy on the 12th, and one extremely heavy on the 23rd.  In 1858, there were in January, three shocks, one severe on the 17th and slight on the 21st and 26th. – February 2 shocks, one heavy on the 2nd and one slight on the 8th. – March 4 shocks,  one heavy, on the 29th , and two slight on the 27th, and one on the 28th. – April 3 shocks, two heavy on the 3rd and six and one slight on the 5th. – May 3 shocks, one heavy, on the 19th, and two slight on the 20th and 27th and one on the 2nd. – June 2 shocks, one extremely heavy on the 15th, and one slight on the 14th. – July 2 shocks, one very heavy on the 21st. – August 3 shocks, two heavy on the 13th and one slight on the 8th. – September 4 shocks. – October 1 on the 6th. – November none. – December 1 tremendous one on the 19t. In 1859 in January one shock on the 22nd. – February, one shock on the 12th.  Thus showing the earthquakes to be continuous.  One person has been killed by the fall of an adobe building, and a cow has been swallowed up.

Th order e post is 374 miles from San Francisco, and 100 miles from Los Angeles, and all of its supplies are received through that place having first been landed at San Pedro, and transported 25 miles by land.  Thus 382 miles from Fort Yuma via Los Angeles, Temecula and Cariso Creek.

I think its site is unfortunately selected.  It should have been either north of this Canon de Las Uvas.  Yet it has ample drill grounds, and there has been much expenditure here in the construction of quarters that it seems now too late to change the location.

Quarters of the Troops &c

The plan hereunto appended, shows 5 buildings for offices; two for soldiers of the two Companies; one for Adjutant’s Office and Band; one for Hospital and Commissary; two for Quartermaster’s Offices, stores, and workshops;  and two supernumary buildings unfinished, all of adobe and shingled and ample.  In addition, two wooden buildings for guard and prison; four for stables, granary &c and a suttler store.  There seems to be no necessity for any more buildings for the present. If new stables be built on the spot indicated they should be frame buildings.

1st Regt. Dragoons and Command.

This is the headquarters of the 1sr Dragoons, and the regiment as well as the post,  inas been since the 21st of January, under the command of Lt. Col. B. L. Beall, who was absent temporarily at Los Angeles on my arrival in the morning of the 21st ulto. And did not return until the evening of the 23d. 1st Liet C. W. Ogle is adjutant of the regiment, as 1st Lieut. M.B. Davidson the Regimental Quaretrmaster, as well as Quartermaster and Commissary of the Post. Thw Sergeant Major of the Regiment is absent on furlough since 1st Dec. 1858. The Regimental Band is made up of 10 musicians of which one was in confinement, on on furlough and 3 sich.

Col. T.T. Fauntleroy absent on sick lave since the 21st October 1857, and extended to 1st May, next. Major Steen absent sick since the 17th May 1858. Major G.A. H. Blake on leave since the 17 January 1859 for 60 days. Capt. L, B. Northrup absent from the Regiment sick since 6th October 1839, over 19 years, and as I understand practicing physic in Charleston, S. Ca. and I wish to call attention of the General-in-Chief particularly to this matter: it is an injustice to the Army however pleasant it may be to Capt. Norhrop. There is provision made for the discharge, an pension to disabled soldiers; and a like provision should be made for a disabled officer. 2d Lieut G. F. Evans has been sick since the 30th October 1850, over eight years. Capt. T. W. Whittlesey absent sick since 21st August 1856,over 2 ½ years. – A retired list is indispensible, in order that there may be efficiency in the service, and those who perform the duty have the benefit of protection,

The Sergeant Major is the Clerk in the Adjutant’s Office, and the Regimental Books are neatly and well kept; and he is an efficient officer. Lieut Ogle is the recruiting officer, and has on hand 73 dolls on this account. He is also the Treasurer of the Regiment and has in his hands a Regimental fund of 353.97 dolls. The Regiment has also quite a Library of Books boxed up, not yet opened. The Companies of the Regiment are distributed as follows: K & B at this post; A & F at Fort Crook; C.E.I. H at Walla Walla; and D & G at Fort Buchanan. Lieut Col B. L. Beall altho’ in command of this Regt. and of this post, likewise has not recovered fromhis hurts, and is not in my opinion able to take the field, but can command here, at headquarters of the Regiment.

Strength of Command

In addition to the foregoing officers there are here on duty, Assist Surgeon P.G..S. TenBroeck since the 2d of January 1855, and he has been in the department since May 1854; and is an efficient officer, but has had the misfortune since my arrival here to dislocate his right shoulder by turning over his carriage down a precipice of the Canon. An ordnance sergeant who has been absent since the 24 January 1859.

The post ordnance was in a state of good preservation. It is mostly stored on the left over the Company store[room?]. There were two 12 lb mountain howitzers in serviceable order, with 17 fixed shells, 24 spherical case, 136 blank cartridges, 600 friction matches and 11 slow matches therefore.  Also 3000 blank revolver and 4000 blank musket cartridges; 4400 Musketoon and 2000 rifle and 15000 Sharps carbine and 3000 horse pistol and 1500 revolver ball cartridges. 26500 Sharps primers.

Capt. and Bvt. Major J. H. Carleton, Company K, 1st Dragoons, stationed here since 7 July 1858; 1st Lieut D. H. Hastings absent on sick leave at Carlisle, Penn, since the 12rh April last; 2d Liet A. B. Chapman on detached service to Los Angeles since the 16th February, and returned to the post again on the 28th.  A vacancy has occurred which will promote Lieut Chapman out of this company, and then it will be without a Lieutenant, as there is no prospect of Lieut Hastings return to the Company, a brevet 2d Lieut. should be attached to this Company, without delay, in order that 3 0officers to meet the demands of the service against Indians on the Mohave, and elsewhere. When I inspected this Company at Fort Union in 1q853, it was, as it will be soon, without subalterns; 4 sergeants, 2 corporals, 2 musicians, 1 farrier and 46 privates, of which 1 sick, 5 confined, 20 on extra duty. 52 horses.

This company is armed with the sabre, Sharps carbine, Colts belt pistol. In was in uniform except the cap of the old pattern, and was neat on inspection, and the arms in order, and the men appeared well. There was a deficiency of clothing of all kinds at the post; they were in want of drawers, socks, boots, shoes, caps, stable frocks, and the blue blouse. The horses were tolerable, and the horse equipments, generally worn out. There was a deficiency of horse shoes, except a few at the post of a large size suitable for Pennsylvania wagon horses. The Company is well quartered in a good adoby building shingled, with a good mess room. It had a library, and a very excellent set of mess furniture of Britannia ware; and a large company fund of 1177.79 doll. in cash. The Company ordnance and property is in a good state of preservation. Pertaining to this company are 85 Sharps carbines, 60 Colts belt pistols, 85 sabres, 5900 Sharps ball cartridges, 2400 Colts pistol ball cartridges, 2206 large caps, 1470 small caps, 4500 Sharps caps               . It had no valises, and but 12 serviceable canteens. The books are properly kept, and written up. There were 6 desertions in 1856—6 in 1857—16 in 1858. One laundress. It has an excellent orderly sergeant, and is in good discipline, was were commanded by Major Carleton, who has done much, and has a large amount of useful property for the men. At the time he took the Company of Col. Cooke in 1848, there was no Company fund, and now is probably the richest in the service. The Company bake their own bread, and as there is no garden here, consume all the flour.

I condemned to be dropped of this Company a large number of saddles, bridles, halters, camp equipage,                   . Those that might be of service in the Quartermasters Department I ordered turn in           , without receipt therefore.

Company B, 1st Dragoons, Capt. J.W. Davidson stationed here since July 1858; no 1st Lieutenant; 2d Lieut G. Davis.—4 serhgeants, 4 corporals, no musicians, 1 farrier, 48 privates of which 3 sick, 7 confined, 16 in extraa duty. –57 horses.

This Company is armed with the [M1833] sabre, Sharps carbine, Colts belt pistol. It was in uniform except for the cap of the old pattern. No sword knots—was neat on inspection, and appeared with arms in order. There was a deficiency of clothing of all kinds as stated for Company K—some had no stocks on. The Company is quartered in a good adoby building, shingled; but the mess, room and kitchen, not yet worked in; yet designed to match that of Company K; and a temporary one in use. There were no bunks yet made.

The Company ordnance and property were stored. At date there was no long forage on hand, and for the last 7 months they have had but half long forage; and the horses are daily herded on the scanty grass in the neighborhood within 8 miles. Pertaining to this there were 61 Sharps carbines, 1 Rifle, 57 Colts pistols, 85 sabres, 2570 Carbine ball cartridges, 3000 Sharps primers all serviceable.

I condemned to be turned in to the Arsenel at Benecia 6 Carbines and 2 Colts pistols and to be dropped a large number of saddles, bridles, valises       , and such saddles and bridles as might be of service to the Quartermaster’s department; ordered to be turned in to that Department, without receipt therefrom.

Stables and Forage

The horses of both companies were kept in temporary stables as indicated on the plan of fort Tejon hereunto appended. At date there was no long forage on hand, and for the last 7 months they have had but half long forage; and the horses are daily herded on the scanty grass in the neighborhood within 8 miles. Barley is had in abundance. If this post had been placed as originally selected, the horses could graze the whole winter in the Tulare Valley. Attached to the stables is a small granary and saddle horses and a smith’s shop. New stables of adobies have been commenced near the soldiers’ quarters; but suspended in consequence of the discharge of the civilian employees. These stables should not be erected of adobes. They should be frame buildings to resist the shocks of earthquakes; otherwise the roof might fall in and kill the horses. [I shall?] notify the General Commanding this Department accordingly.


The guard here is six strong and one non-commissioned officer. One sentinel is placed at the stables, and one at the guard house, which is a small wooden building. There is also a small wooden building along side of it to match, for a prison house in which there are 3 cells. There were 10 prisoners—7 undergoing sentences—3 waiting sentence—one minor offence. A new guard house has been mostly built of abodies as indicated on the plan, but not quite finished. It is my judgment too far off, but the work on it has been suspended. The present guard house I think preferable of the two.

Adjutant’s Office, Post Records, Band

The adjutant’s office is a good adoby building, shingled, and the records neatly kept by the Sergeant Major under Lieut. Ogle, the Adjutant of the post. The Band is quartered in the same building with a suitable kitchen and “      room.” The instruments and ordnance of the Band is in good order and state of preservation. Pertaining to the Band there are 21 Sharps carbines, 16 musketoons, ten Colts pistols, 8 holster pistols, 17 artillery sabres.

Asst. Surgeon Ten Broeck is the post Treasurer and has in his hands 15.25 dolls.

Temporarily attached to this post private Egene Lohn waiting opportunity to join his company at Fort Buchanan and private John A. Fulmer waiting result of trial.


At the time of my arrival at this post Assist. Surgeon Ten Broeck was absent temporarily with Lt. Co. Beall in Los Angeles, since the 16th Feb, and returned on the evening of the 23rd, and I went thru the hospital a second time with him. There were but two sick in the hospital, one a recruit subject to fits and unable to do duty. There was a temporary Steward and one cook and attendant–A dispensary and a ward room, with several vacant rooms, and ample for the post.—No iron bedsteads—Supplies ample and nothing wanted—The records are well-kept—The building the north east and of a large aboby building shingled. The south west end being occupied by the Commissary. I regard this post as healthy.

Commissary Department

1st Lieut. H. B. Davidson of the 1st Dragoons has been acting commissary of subsistence since the 1st January 1859. His supplies are received from San Francisco, and ample and good for six months on hand, and were stored in a good adoby building shingled. This office is in the same building, and the sergeant major of the Regiment is his acting clerk, and one extra duty man as butcher              .  His beef cattle are selected at 30 dolls. No head to weight less than 400 pounds, and he pays 6 dolls. the head for mutton. His accounts and records are all properly kept. He was absent in Los Angeles on duty on my arrival, but returned on the 24th Feb. His returns for January are all ready to be forwarded and his accounts show a balance due to the U.S. on the 30th Jan. of 977.18 dolls; and expended since 233.69 dolls. and due the U.S. at date 745.49 dolls., which is in cash. The duty appears to be well performed. I condemned small articles of property to be dropped.

Quartermaster Department

1st Lieut. Davidson is also acting assistant quartermaster since the 1st January 1859.  The supplies of the Department seem to be ample, except in the items of clothing, horseshoes, and long forage.  Barley is had at 4-l/2 to 5 ½ the lb, and corn at 4 cents the lb. Hay at 40 dolls. the ton, when it is practicable to obtain it at all. Wood is cut by prisoners, and details, close at hand. The supplies generally come via Los Angeles. The sergeant major of the Regiment is his clerk, and 14 extra duty men at repairs.

One citizen putting up a power sawmill @ 100 dolls. and a ration, and one herder @ 60 dolls. and a ration. The saw mill has recently been brought down from the mountains, and is now being put up at the post, and the logs must be hauled to it, a good arrangement. He keeps 17 horses, 46 mules, 6 oxen, and has on his return 37 wagons, 2 ambulances, one mule cart. I condemned to be sold 16 irreparable wagons, and a large quantity of old harness tools that were worn out.

The monthly return for January has been forwarded. At the close of January there was due the U.S. 152.11 dolls. received since 10,000 dolls.; and expended since 1763.27 dolls.; leaving a balance due the U.S., on the 24th February, of 8389,34 dolls.; of which, there is the Department of Treasury at San Francisco 5859.13 dolls. , and 2530 dolls. in cash in a safe. The duties are well performed by Lieut. Davidson.

Payment of Troops

This post was last paid by Paymaster Ringgold to the 31st December 1858. They are generally paid from 2 to 4 months at a time. The paymaster has been here personally but 4 times in 2 years. The sutler sometimes pays for him. I regard this as a bad practice. Private Samuel S. Chaffee, a discharged soldier of K Company, has been waiting at San Bernanrdino for 6 months for his pay; and discharged soldiers have been payed off in San Francisco in consequence of no money here; all the result of public money for private purposes by a paymaster as I have never before reported.

Drills and Target Practice

On the 22d ulto Companies K & B were reviewed and inspected.  After which they were resolved into a squadron. I put Maj. Carlegton in command, in the absence of Lt. Cio. Beall at Los Angeles; and the following named officers to wit, Capt. J. W. Davidson, 1st Lieut. C. U. Ogle, 2d Lieut. B.F. Davis, each in succession took the squadron through the various movements and the sabre exercise with the exception of the charge, which, with little practice they had it was deemed advisable not to attempt, and finally Major Carleton drilled the squadron as skirmishers both as mounted and dismounted. The squadron was broken up, and each company fired at the targets 6’ x 22” mounted, with Sharps carbine at 100 yards, and Company K made X 1/3 hits and Company B 8 1/9 hits. They then fired at the same target 20 yards with Colts pistols and mounted, and Company K made X ½ hits and Company B 8 1/3 hits, and the exercises of the day were quite interesting. On the 23rd both Companies fired at the same target with Sharps carbines, on foot, at 100 yards; Company K made X ½ hits; at 200 yards x ½ hits; with Colts pistols at 30 yds. 2 ½ hits. Company B at the same distances made X ½ and x ½ and x 1/3 hits. The men fired at will. The reason that Company K made only 12 hits at 200 yds. Was in consequence of some of the cartridges of that Company not being made with sufficient powder for Sharps rifles, and not cutting off [in the breech]; some of them hung fire. It appears that one box of cartridges, sent by Capt. Callender of Ordnance from Benecia for Sharps carbine were small at the sacrifice of            in the use of fire arms, and, I shall write him accordingly to guard against experiments in an arm already          for certain ranges.

On the whole the military exercises were conducted by Major Carleton, and indicate a better state of military instruction and target firing in our service can be had if the rank and fire are properly instructed. These Companies have been practicing at the targets prepatory to taking the field on the Mojave River, and Major Carleton on the day of my arrival, paid three premiums out of company fund for the 3 best shots.


Geo. Alexander is the sutler and is established as marked down on the plan of the post.


I visited the Agency on the reservation 20 miles from here, in the Tulare Valley, on the 28ulto and 1 March. There are about 1,000 Indians on the reserve, and about ten “Rancherias”. They have made some progress in civilization since I was here in 1854, but have lessoned in numbers. There are now many of them who live in permanent houses nof adobies, with chimineys;-plant a few acres of land—raise most kinds of vegetables—keep fowls, hogs, cattle, horse and will soon have peaches and other fruit. The wild grape grows abundantly.

The Agent, James Vineyard, was absent in Washington City. His wife and family were here, and I noticed some Indian squaws who used the needle and thread very well, and dressed as other women. There is no danger of these Indians making war on the white people, and I regard them as perfectly peaceable and well disposed. There are no wild Indians here.

I am Very Respectfully,

Your obt. St.

Jos. K. F. Mansfield

Col. And Inspector Gen’l


Fort Tejon Muster Roll complied by George Stammerjohan

Muster Roll for Headquarters, Non-Commissioned Staff and Band,

Regimental Headquarters, 28 February, 1859

Colonel Thomas F. Fauntleroy           On leave for 6 Months

Lieut. Colonel Benjamin L. Beall     Comdg. Regt. & Post, Fort Tejon

Major George A. H. Blake                On Leave since January 17, 1859

Major Enoch Steen                           Absent sick since May 17, 1858

1st Lt. Charles H. Ogle                     Regt. Adjutant, Fort Tejon

1st Lt. Henry B. Davidson               Regt. Quartermaster, Fort Tejon

Headquarters Non-Commissioned Staff Enlisted                    At:

Sergt. Major Damuel R. I Sturgeon             May 25, 1855           Fort Reading, Ca. (re-enlistment)

Ordnance Sergt. Jone E. Kelly(a)                 May 31, 1856          Fort Orford (re-enlistment)

Regt. QM Sergt. William Duffy (a)              December 1, 1858   Fort Tejon (re-enlistment)

Chief Bugler Carl Caib                                   June 3, 1858            Nr. Los Angeles (re-enlisted)

Regimental Band

Bergman, Jacob                                              August 11, 1858       San Francisco

Burke, Patrick                                                 June 6, 1854            New York

Chatland, Edwin                                            February 2, 1855   Baltimore

Clarke, Charles                                              April 1856                Fort Union, N.M.

Ferrari, Giaciento                                         October 12, 1856     Philadelphia

Roesch, William                                            June 10, 1857          Fort Tejon

Stark, Dominick                                            September 1, 1858 Fort Tejon

Sugden, Reuben                                            October 1, 1858       Fort Tejon

Tierney, Edmund P.                                     December 7, 1858   San Francisco

No Buglers

Oliver, Francis, Farrier                                 Feb. 12 ’55                Ft. Filmore, N.M.

a. On furlough, each for six months.

Muster Roll for Company B

John W. Davidson, Captain, Commanding Company

Orren Chapman, 1st Lieut., Died at St.Louis 7 Jan. 1859

Benjamin F. Davis, 2d Lieut., with company for duty

The Company                                Enlisted:                                    At:

1st Sgt. Nathanial J. Pishon            August 13, ’56                                 Ft. Craig, N.M.

*Sgt. Minor C. Tuttle                       Aug. 26, ’56                                      Ft. Craig, N.M.

*Sgt. Jmes W. Strawbridge           July 18, ’58                                        Ft. Tejon

Sgt. Joseph E. Smith                      Feb. 1, ’55                                           Cleveland, Oh.

Corp. Michael Wheatley              May 4, ’55                                           New York City

*Corp. Frederick Fischer             Aug. 20, ’57                                        Ft. Buchanan, NMT

Corp. James McGuire                  Apr. 12, ’54                                         New York City

Corp.  John Yaiser                        Feb 15, ’56                                          Ft. Fillmore, NMT

No buglers

Frances Oliver, Farrier                 Feb. 12, ’55                                         Ft. Fillmore, NMT


Allen, Robert B.                                              Feb. 24, ’56              Ft. Filmore, N.M.

Arnold, John                                                   Sept.9, ’57                 Baltimore

Barnard, William                                           Nov. 16, ’57               Boston

Brunning, Heinrich                                       May 23, ’54               New York City

Butler, James                                                  May 19, ’54               New York, City

Beecher, George D.                                        Sept. 3, ’57               Harrisburg, Pa.

Betts, William                                                 June 1, ’54                New York City

**Buck, James                                                Jan. 2, ’56                Ft. Fillmore, NM

Bresler, John                                                  Oct. 15, ’58               San Francisco

Cantrell, James                                              Oct. 28, ’57               New York City

Carr, Joseph                                                   June 20, ’54             New York City

Carpenter, Asa                                              Aug 29, ’57                Boston, Mass.

Connolly, Patrick                                         June 21, ’54               New York

Coakley, Charles R.                                     June 12 ’54                Baltimore

Cowan, William                                           Dec. 20 ’54                Nashville, Tenn.

Culligan, Michael                                        April 19, ’55              Ft. Fillmore, NM

Chariasis, Michael                                      August 24, ’57           New York

Dean, James                                                Oct. 26, ’57                 New York

Dowd, John                                                 Aug. 26, ’55                Ft. Union, N.M.

Eldar, Adam                                                Aug. 22, ’55                Ft. Fillmore, N.M.

Faber, Henry                                               Apr. 17, ’54                 New York

Forest, Joseph Y.                                       Aug. 18, ’54                 Ft. Union, N.M.

Fogerty, John                                            March 23, ’55              Louisville, Ky.

Galleger, John                                          Feb. 15, ’56                   Ft. Fillmore, NM

*Hand, John                                             Sept. 9, ’54                  Ft Union, NM

Hade, Patrick                                           Dec. 1 ’57                      Ft. Buchanan, NM

Kriesalmayer, Henry                              Sept. 11 ’57                   Philadelphia

*** Lohmeyer, Frederick                      Dec 5 ’55                       Albuquerque, NM

* Maher, Edward                                    Feb. 1, ’56                     Ft. Thorn, NM

Miller, Henry                                           May 20, ’54                 New York City

Morrissey, John                                      June 8, ’54                  New York

* McCoy, Thomas                                   July 15 ’58                   Ft. Tejon

Moulton, Harrison                                 Sept. 8 ’57                   Philadelphia

****O’Meara, Edward                           Jan. 8 ’55                    Ft. Fillmore, NM

Ott, Heinrich                                          September 3, ’57        New York

Pryor, Robert                                         March 9 ’54                 New York

Phillip, George                                       Sept. 11 ’58                  San Francisco

Reynolds, William R.                           June 26, ’54                 New York City

Ross, James                                           Oct. 19, ’57                   Boston

Swiss, Henry                                         Feb. 23, ’53                   St. Louis

Scherrer, John E.                                 Sept. 27, ’53                  New York

Scharf, Anton                                        Mar. 16, ’53                  Ft. Fillmore, NM

Schafle, Francis P.                               Nov. 6, ’58                     San Francisco

Thomson, Theodore                            Sept 11, ’55                    Ft. Stanton, NM

Tower, John S.                                     Sept. 5, ’57                     Boston

Trouton, William                                 Aug. 24, ’57                   Philadelphia

Taylor, James                                       Jan. 25, ’59                   Fort Tejon

West, John A.                                       June 10, ’58                  Baltimore

Washington, George H.                     April 21 ’58                   San Francisco

*$2.00 additional each month for former service.

** $3.00 a month for 2d reenlistment

***German born Frederick Lohmeyer, enlisted, at age 24 years, in Company B at St Louis on April 19, 1847, discharged at Santa Fe on August 19, 1848.

****Edward O’Meara, former farrier of Co. F, who was court martialed for his participation in the 1855 riot in the Taos Plaza, see infra, was transferred to Co. B. Pvt. O’Meara was confined in the post jail at the time of this muster along with privates Beecher, Forest, Morrisey, Pryor and Washington.

Pvt. Miller – absent, sick Ft. Fillmore, since Oct. 16, ’55.

Pvts. Faber and Phillip, sick in post hospital.

Company K

James H. Carleton. Captain and Brevet Major, Comanding Company

David H. Hastings, 1st Lieut., Leave of Absence

Alfred B. Chapman, 2d Lieut.; Returned from detached duty of February 28, 1859, present for duty.

The Company:                                Enlisted:                                     At:

*William McCleave, 1st Sgt.         1 Oct ’55                                     Albuquerque, NM

*Sgt. Emil Fritz                               1 Jan. ’56                                   Albuquerque, NM

*Sgt. Gustav Brown                       1 Dec. ’57                                    Ft. Buchanan, NM

Sgt.  Thomas Yearwood                1 Apr. ’57                                    Calabaza, NM

Frederick Morris, Corp.                2 Sept. ’57                                  Ft. Buchanan, NM

Andrew J. Landers, Corp.            5 Feb. ’55                                    Knoxville, Tenn.

* Joseph Meyer, Bugler                12 Feb. ’56                                   Ft. Buchanan, NM

John W. Harris, Bugler                11 Dec. ’56                                   Albany, NY

*William Seyring, Farrier              1 Aug ’55                                    Albuquerque, NM


Batty, James  @                             18 Sept. ’55                                Albuquerque, NM

Buell, Sylvester                               5 Sept.   ’57                               Boston

Brannan, Michael                          7 Feb.   ’55                                Jefferson Battacks, Mo.

Cannon, Mchael                             7 Sept. ’57                                 New York

Crowley, Timothy                         15 Feb. ’55                                 Albuquerque, NM

Caskey, Samuel                             21 Oct. ’55                                 Albuquerque, NM

Creevy, William                              8 Oct. ’56                                Albuquerque, NM

Costellow, Thomas                       15 Mar. ’55                               Albuquerque, NM

Corringham, Thomas                    2 Feb. ’55                                Cleveland

Ennis, Thomas                               14 Jan. ’55                              Cincinnati

**Fitzsimmons, Thomas                23 Nov. ’55                            Albuquerque, NM

Fitzpatrick, John                             3 Sept. ’55                            Albuquerque, NM

Friedberg, Francis                           3 Aug. ’57                            Boston

**Gray, William                               1 July ’57                             Ft. Buchanan, NM

Glendmeyer, Frederick                 10 October ’57                     Baltimore

Henn, Andrew                                 20 March ’57                       Calabasas, N.M.

Hurley, Morris                                  8 Sept. ’57                          Boston

Herring, Robert B.                         20 Oct. ’57                           New York

*Johnson, Adam                             27 Dec. ’55                         Albuquerque, NM

Jones, Robert H.                              7 Feb. ’55                          Knoxville, Tenn.

Louish, James                                  17 Jan. ’56                         New York

*Maroon, Harvey                            21 Sept. ’57                        Ft. Buchanan, NM

* Mahan, Thomas                            28 Jan, ’56                        Albuquerque, NM

McNeal, Erastus                               20 Jan. ’55                       Columbus, Ohio

McDonald, John                              18 Aug. ’57                        Boston

Moore, Michael                                16 Nov. ’57                        Philadephia

Moody, Thomas                                20 Nov. ’57                       New York

Murphy, Hugh                                    4 Nov. ’57                        New York

Mullins, James                                   3 Nov. ’57                        Boston

Miller, Ebenezar                                7 Sept. ’57                        New York

*O’Carroll, John A.                          27 May ’58                        Ft. Yuma (Calif.)

Ogilivie, Henry                                  9 Sept. ’57                         New York

Papp, Frederick                                 9 Nov. ’57                         Richmond, Va.

*Quatman, Herman                         15 Nov. ’55                        Albuquerque, NM

Reinhart, Antony                             26 Aug, ’57                        New York

Richey, Hamilton                            26 Oct. ’57                         Philadelphia

Smythe, Henry                                17 Aug. ’57                         New Yrok

Smith, Abraham B,                        26 Oct. ’56                         San Francisco

Schaupp, Charles                            11 Nov. ’57                        New York

Tynon, Michael                                8 Feb. ’55                         St. Louis

Terrell, Rufus H.                             1 Sept. ’57                        Philadelphia

Taylor, Daniel                                 8 Oct. ’57                         New York

Thompson, James                        10 Oct. ’57                         New York

Tooney, Peter                                15 Oct. ’58                        San Francisco

Van Riper, Cornelius                   15 Feb. ’59                       Ft. Tejon

Zabel, Gustavus                             1 Aug ’55                         Albuquerque

* $2.00 a month as former service.

Deserted: Henry Tolman, enlisted 29 Oct. ’59 in Boston.

Confined in post jail: Buell, Johnson, Smythe, and Taylor.

Private John A. Fulton (aka Jacob Fulmer), was dropped from regimental rolls on 20 February 1859, as a deserter from Company H, 1st US Cavalry, Kansas Territory and dismissed from the service on 25 February 1859.