NARRATIVE OF A CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEER

by

WALTER MURRAY


[This manuscript was left unfinished - indeed it ends in the middle of a sentence - due to the death of Judge Walter Murray. The original is in the vaults of "The Society of California Pioneers," 456 McAllister St., San Francisco. A typewritten copy is in the Museum of San Luis Obispo and also in the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California. The transcription is the work of Dorothy Unangst Bilodeau, grand-daughter of Judge Murray.]





Chapter I

Although my inclinations were never in favor of a military life, not even so much as to prompt my enlistment into one of the numerous militia companies which are looked up to as the safeguard of our country in time of war, I must confess that from the first rumors of the intention of government with regard to sending a regiment of volunteers to conquer and colonize California, I was inclined to look upon it with a favorable eye. The reported eligibility of the country for settlement by the Anglo-Saxon race, the fertility of its soil, its fine climate, and the happy situation seemed to me to render it like a bounteous home for the emigrant and an important possession for the country whose sons would constitute its future population. And then the novel character of the expedition about to be dispatched thither seemed so well adapted to answer the purposes for which it was intended, that I could not but look upon it as the certain and speedy means of securing another and perhaps a sister to the great confederacy of states and a colonists' army -- alike prepared with plough-share and the bayonet; in peace citizens and husbandmen; in war soldiers; picked out, too, from the industrious classes -- would certainly form material with which to work out such an enterprise. I regarded the projected plan as but another development of that overactive impulse which has from time to tine added so many members to the old family of states. The westward march of emigration, indeed, at that time to require some such action of the government to strengthen lands, and to secure to it that nationality in the outset which it would be sure to win for itself in the end; and the opportunity, when we were at war with the then owners of the soil, and required some indemnity from them for the losses of which they had been the cause, seemed altogether too good to be again presented to our grasp if now released.

I have always possessed a love of travel and adventure, and it was this predilection, perhaps, which in a great measure influenced me to enlist in the expedition. True, I pictured myself, in accordance with the accounts which I had heard of the great advantages which I expected to derive personally by the removal from a comparatively old and thoroughly populated country to so new and fertile a one as California. I had a home, a standing, a settlement in life, yet to acquire; and certainly the chances in my favor were greater in a new colony than in New York. But this, I fear, partook more of the nature of an excuse, while the natural bent of my inclinations toward a life of travel was probably more the immediate cause of my determination. And although we were enlisted as soldiers, certain it is that I never once contemplated acting in that capacity so far as being brought into actual conflict, for we were all assured that it was to be an expedition of emigrants rather than soldiers; and, indeed, no one had much reason to expect much of a resistance from a population so sparsely scattered as the Californians then were.

On the 29th day of July, 1846, just three days before Colonel Stevenson's regiment of New York Volunteers was placed on Governor's Island, I enrolled my name in one of the Companies as a candidate for membership. The roll, I was told, had long been full, but as some were expected, vulgarly speaking, to back out, there might yet be room for some of the supernumerary applicants. I remember now how anxious I then felt for some days that I might be one of the favored few permitted to take a part in the expedition, little deeming that ere long the whole affair would be in such bad odor with the community as to make it almost difficult to get, and certainly difficult to retain, a sufficient number of men to fill up the regiment. The day after I had subscribed my name I attended a meeting of the company, the only one at which I was present previous to our leaving the city, which was addressed by Colonel Stevenson. He spoke in an energetic decided manner, and in flattering terms of the advantages which would accrue to us, and of the handsome manner in which those who joined the expedition would be treated by the government. He spoke of the eagerness with which men of standing and capital had in some instances sought to be admitted into the expedition; of the friendly, gentlemanly conduct which would be manifested toward us by himself, and the other officers; of the hundreds of applicants who had been refused admittance into the ranks, and who were waiting to fill the places of any who might shrink from the enterprise; and much more, tending to assure us of the advantages that we would certainly derive from the step we had taken. All this undoubtedly, was intended to further the speaker's private end, namely, the filling up of the regiment. Nevertheless, I watched, that evening, the re-signing of the roll with anxious interest, and when at last my name was received as a substitute for that of a person who was not present when called, I felt greatly relieved, and much elated, that my wishes had been accomplished.

The first day of August being appointed for our removal to Governor's Island, for the purpose of initiating us into that discipline which as soldiers we should be thereafter be called upon to observe, I set out early that morning, near the appointed hour and before the usual time at which our good citizens are in the-habit of rising from their beds, to the place of rendezvous. Whether the freshness of the morning or second thoughts of the many aspirants for military glory had somewhat cooled their ardor, I know not; anyhow, after waiting more than an hour we were unable to muster a full company. However, off we set in single file through the silent streets, which now were beginning to show some of the signs of busy life. We seemed to be the object of much curiosity to the few passers-by who stopped and gazed at us. Those who appeared to know who we were seemed to regard us with a feeling almost amounting to derision. For my own part, I must confess I was then almost ashamed of my situation; for I could not but feel sensible that we cut a miserable figure. I am not guilty, I think, of the mistake of judging of the characters of men by their habiliments, and in this respect I was not one whit superior to the rest of my companions, as I had purposely arrayed myself in the worst articles of clothing of which I was the possessor, with the view of keeping the better part of my wardrobe out of the way of the wear and tear which I had reason to expect otherwise to await them in a camp life. But in this respect, as in many others, not excepting the condition of several in our ranks who were about half seas over, we formed such a sorry sight that I do not wonder if the spectators had formed a poor estimate of our character. I was heartily glad, after a halt on the Battery, to be at length marched on board a steamboat, from which we were disembarked upon Governor's Island. From the government quay, after having been joined by six other companies, we were marched along the New York side of the island to the open spaces between the garrison and the harbor, where we halted while preparations were making for pitching tents. Our colonel was then seen actively engaged in every direction, ordering and superintending everything, and evidently the life and soul of the whole party. Tentpoles and tents were soon brought upon the ground and erected under his direction, until each company was possessed of two rows of tents, facing each other; and we were heartily glad, after lying about baking beneath the hot sun, to creep into them and lay down at our length. We soon found, however, that it was hotter inside the tents than in the open air, and it was only when decline of day brought with it the cool evening air, that we were enabled to experience any degree of comfort. About 12 o'clock in the day, the ceremony of mustering was commenced, which consisted of the reading of the Company rolls and the inspection of the men of Colonel Bankhead, the commandant of the post, and their acceptance by him into the services of the United States. We were then informed that we were to all intents and purposes soldiers in the United States Army, subject to its rules & regulations and to the articles of war. We got no food that day until somewhat in the afternoon. Our company was then treated to some sweet crackers and beer by our agreeable captain; and I cannot remember in the whole course of my life being regaled with a more acceptable and timely meal. In the evening, however, we fared worse, in consequence of the lack of experience in such matters pervading both officers and men; for we were obliged to sup on raw pork and bread. This fare, although very grievously complained of by many, I found much better than I expected, and was readily excused under the plea of hunger acting as a most excellent sauce. At length, sunburnt and tired out, we laid ourselves down, five or six together in our small tents, upon straw; and I for one must acknowledge that that night, as, subsequently, I had a better night's rest and pleasanter slumbers than I had experienced when confined within the walls of a chamber, and covered with blankets, on a soft bed.

The second day being Sunday, no business was carried on, and we all spent our day of rest as profitably as we could under the circumstances, thinking & talking of the future before us. On Monday we woke up to another day of busy arrangement. All kinds of stores were served out; the mustering-in, which had not been completed on Saturday, was proceeded with, the tents were permanently allotted to their future inhabitants, all choosing their own companions; and other necessary arrangements were concluded. Within a day or two the remaining two companies necessary to complete the regiment had joined us, from the interior of the state, and had underwent the same preparations as ourselves. I shall never forget the sensation I experienced when, at length, we were for the first time drawn out upon the regimental parade ground, fronting the harbor. The two long lines of citizen-soldiers, made in my eyes a very imposing appearance; and as for the first time I appeared to realize a sense of the serious change of occupation which I had embraced, a certain degree of solemnity mingled with my feelings on the occasion. Howbeit a regiment of volunteers is not generally considered to be the beau ideal of military display, I must confess that a little of the "pomp and circumstance of glorious war" seemed to me to be outspread before me, and to my unenlightened imagination the unassuming fife & drum were more imposing than the music of a full military band.

The greatest trial to many of us was the performance of the various necessary services enumerated in the army regulations under the head of police duty. Cleaning muskets, sweeping campground, moving stores, and the like, I managed to perform with some degree of cheerfulness, but I must confess that my first lesson in cooking rather disturbed my equilibrium. A few days after our arrival on Governor's Island, I happened to be detailed as cook's police & immediately afterwards as chief cook. I shall never forget how irksome & how difficult the really simple duties attending those offices then appeared to me. I could not, for the world, keep myself clean while in their performance; this was my greatest trial. Then again, the greasy camp-kettles, redolent of pork fat were my very evil genii. I made brackish coffee, and cooked insufficient rations of beef, for all which innocent errors I was soundly cursed by my offended comrades. One poor fellow in already bad health was obliged to leave the regiment in consequence of a sudden attack of diarrhea caused by the coffee above alluded to. But in common with the rest of us, thus compelled to perform duties to which we had hitherto been strangers, I managed in time to come into the traces, and at length became as good a cook as the best of them.

Probably nothing gave greater distaste to our men than the strict observance of the line of sentinels round camp. It seemed to them rather hard to be obliged to pass by the guard tent whenever they desired to leave camp, though but to cross the line by a few yards. For a time such dissatisfaction was evinced by the men & in many instances they performed the very unmilitary action of running past the sentry. As an instance of the rather general ignorance of duty which at first prevailed amongst us, it may be mentioned that on one occasion when one of the men, a foreigner, ran past the line, the sentry on post, after challenging his man, and calling upon him frequently to return, actually gave chase & off went fugitive, sentry, musket & all, towards the other end of the island, followed by an admiring crowd of volunteers who took this excellent opportunity of breaking their bounds & enjoying the fun. Bets ran high for a time on both sides, but the watchful sentry, encumbered by his accoutrements, was at length obliged to return to his post without the offender.

As might have been expected, many were the wrongs complained of by the men, and many were the grievances, some real, more imaginary under which they labored. Some had not enough to eat, others too much, but not of the right kind. Some complained of sour bread, others of being obliged to sleep on straw. Decidedly most of these grievances had but little foundation to rest upon. Our fare was exactly that of regular soldiers, and if ever insufficient, it was in consequence of the ignorance or negligence of our comrades. In one respect, however, an attempt was made to defraud us of a just right; an attempt which on the island happily was frustrated by the vigilance of the men, but was finally consummated after we set sail for California. I allude to the right of election of company officers, commissioned, and non-commissioned, by the privates of their respective companies. By the militia-laws of the State of New York, the privates of a company were at that time entitled to elect their own company officers. By the Act of Congress of 13th May 1846, regulating the raising of a Volunteer force, the Volunteer regiments were ordered to be officered according to the Militia laws of their respective states. Thus stood the law. How stands the fact? Why, in most cases, a self-constituted captain & 1st & 2nd lieuts. procured their company rolls to be signed, with their names at the head as officers; in some instances, certainly not in all, going afterwards through the idle ceremony of an election. The obvious intention of the law is for a body of men to meet together, form a company and elect their officers. In this case the modus operandi was reversed - the officers laying great stress on their choice of the men. How far the law on this subject may or may not be politic, I will not here discuss, but it is very certain that such was the law, and it should have been carried into effect. The non-commissioned officers were in most cases elected while the regiment was yet in the city. On the island, however, a number of vacancies took place, and then the struggle commenced. In the company to which I belonged, even on the Island, after our enlistment into the service of the United States, we were at first allowed an election to fill vacancies among our non-commissioned officers. Afterward, on other vacancies occurring, other favorites were appointed by the Captain to fill the vacant posts. This, of course, occasioned great dissatisfaction; and much murmuring together with some disobedience of orders took place. Remonstrances were made to the Governor of the State, and to Colonel Stevenson on the subject, which resulted in the elicitation of the fact that the Governor was on the side of the law, the Colonel against it. However, for the time, we gained our point, and the appointed non-commissioned officers were displaced, and elections held to fill the vacancies. The excuse given for their appointment was that it was simply pro tem. Depend upon it, had there been no resistance, the pro tem would have been indefinitely prolonged. The decision of this question also decided our right to the election of our brevet 2d lieuts which took place before we left the island, resulting in some cases in the elevation of men from the ranks, who certainly compared well in the sequel with those introduced from West Point.

These and other real and mock grievances soon made a great number of the men heartily sick of their bargain. Accordingly many desertions took place, and the friends of minors in the regiment were in the habit of coming to the island with the writ of habeas corpus to claim their relatives. By these two processes, the regiment was gradually weeded of all these characters, whose wavering disposition made them unfit members of the expedition of which they formed part. Their places were immediately filled by others better fitted for the enterprise, and, for my part, I believe the regiment, on the whole, was a gainer by the changes which took place. Howbeit some of the city papers at the time made themselves very merry on the Baby regiment, as they called it, and in their pitch of humor wondered that it was not removed from the island in a body, under the provisions of what they termed the "Baby Act." Had those merry gentlemen only volunteered in place of some of these babies "to eat Uncle Sam's beef and pork," even in California, they might perhaps in the end been placed in circumstances that would have proved to them no child's play.

Two mortal months did we pass on Governor's Island; and never did any two months of my life pass so slow either before or since. At length, late in September, it was announced that the ships were ready to take us aboard, and soon the day was fixed for our embarkation. The Thomas H Perkins, the Susan Drew, and the Loo Choo were the three vessels destined to convey us to California. We got on board on Sept. 23rd. and, after three days of hurry, bustle & confusion, our ship, the Loo Choo, being each day crowded in every part with human beings - volunteers, friends, Jews, hucksters, et id genus omne, converting it into a very Babel, we at length were taken in tow by steam tug, and were soon making nine or ten knots an hour towards Cape Horn.

Chapter II

I despair of giving the reader any idea of the terrible confusion and disorder which prevailed on board the good ship Loo Choo for the first week. True, a handsomely uniformed and high-ranked naval officer came on board before leaving New York to inspect the vessel and judge of our fitness & state of preparation for the sea. But, alas! The poor man must have forgotten his spectacles, for never before I should hope, did a government transport ship to sea in such a state. Here lay trunks, boxes and barrels, there barrels, boxes and trunks, piled in inextricable confusion from stem to stern of the between decks, the aching eye vainly seeking a vacant spot to rest upon. To add to the disorder, the wind, which had been blowing pretty briskly ever since our departure, on the second day increased to a stiff gale, and then the significant fact first broke upon the minds of the ship's company, that the aforesaid barrels, and so forth, had not been lashed, or at best insecurely. Then ensued a rich scene of confusion. Barrels came rolling from side to side of the ship, pitching into bunks, boxes & mess-chests, and were only secured after almost superhuman exertion. Chests, boxes began sliding over the slippery deck & had to be securely anchored before they would consent to "stay put". Ill-fastened bunks gave way & let their luckless occupants down upon the floor to fight for dear life among the peripatetic objects below. In fact, it was only after incessant labor by all hands, that the infinitude of wandering articles were at length securely lashed, and we were enabled to sit down on our bunks & hang on to our berths in safety.

On the third day, about sundown, we were visited by a squall which surpassed in severity, for a short period, any bad weather that we experienced during the whole voyage. It struck us before our skipper was aware of its probable force, and, ere the sails could be taken in, the main-top-gallant-mast was carried away. There it hung for some time suspended in the air by the rigging to which it was still attached, and, swaying to and fro with the motion of the vessel, so increased the rolling from side to side, which before was very great, that the ship every minute threatened to go over on her beam-ends. In the very midst of the storm the confusion below was at its height, making it hard to say which was greater danger, that of being sunk with the vessel or jammed to death in her. Luckily the squall passed away as rapidly as it came on, the wreck of the mast was cleared away, and on we went, as unconcerned as ever.

After the short spell of hard weather, we experienced a long period of profound tranquillity. The air was of a delightful temperature, the sky ever clear, the wind moderate. Our sick rapidly began to revive & stir around, and the reign of order again recommenced. I now had leisure to look around me and form ideas as to the character of the associates among whom my lot was cast. I found, as I might have expected, that there was a sprinkling of pretty much every class, except the most opulent. The majority, decidedly, were mechanics; many of whom had left good situations in New York and elsewhere to join the regiment. But there were was quite a number of clerks, and many, of all classes, of no ostensible business. Of course, their characters were as dissimilar as their occupations. There were a number of sturdy, stalwart agriculturalists from the West of the State, a large proportion of steady, sober mechanics of all trades, & not a few intemperates and ne'er-do-wells. Divers were the reasons that had prompted them to leave their homes and go to a far distant land. Many had joined the expedition with the view of ultimately bettering their condition in a new country, where there was so much less competition to contend with, and so many more open fields for enterprise. Many were carried away by the love of adventure and of travel, who would have joined an expedition to the North Pole just as readily as to any other part of the world. And many who had been intemperate or improvident at home sought in a new sphere to get a new start and better their conduct for the future. Others again, restless spirits, tired the monotony of peace, were ready to rush into any headlong career, and being disappointed in their desires of reveling in the halls of the Montezumas, as there was then no prospect of the other New York regiments being called into service, had left one & another of them to join that which, first employed, might perhaps prove the only one.

I cannot say that we employed our leisure time to much advantage. We had little or nothing to do. Our tour of guard-duty was about once in 4 or 5 days, and there was little or no police duty. But as there appeared no one very desirous of calling for an organization of our means for the improvement of our waste time, I am sorry to say it was generally misspent. There were but a few books aboard the ship - what there were of course [were] read. Cards & conversation, the latter, as might be expected, not always of the most serious description, consumed most of our leisure hours. There had, indeed, been a library, it was said, presented to the regiment by some publishers in New York, but I could never find out, even by the most strenuous enquiry where or in whose hands it was lodged. I did once see a volume of travels in the hands of an officer, bearing inside a label in this wise "Loo Choo Library", but where the deuce it came from, or where its companions were, never transpired. I presume, however, that the above library was either presented to the officers, or monopolized by them. Certain I am, the privates never got a sight of them.

Our time glided smoothly and rapidly away, under the gentle influence of genial weather and smooth seas until our arrival at Rio Janeiro. The nights, in particular, were so peculiarly pleasant, that such of us as fancied it, were in the habit of spreading our blankets on the top of the longboat, and falling to sleep wrapt in the contemplation of the beautiful heavens above us, which were always serene and unclouded. The first land which hove in sight happened to be the island or islands of San Francisco de Norenha [actually Fernando de Noronha Ed.], not very far from the equator, on which the Brazilian Government has a penal settlement. It was a beautiful sight to witness, and peculiarly beautiful, from the manner in which we gradually neared it, passed it, and then receded from its shores. It was in sight from the first break of day, when it was a mere speck on the horizon, until sundown, when it was a remote haze in the distance - and all this time not an hour had passed that we did not see it in some new aspect, and in a different shape.

Cape Frio, on the coast of Brazil, was the next land which hove in sight, though at a remote distance. Two or three days later we entered the harbor of Rio Janeiro.

All voyagers who have ever been there speak in terms of great admiration of this bay. I had long anticipated the sight as an extraordinary pleasure, and I must say that I was by no means disappointed. The placid, unruffled expanse of inland water, surrounded on all sides by green shores, covered with a tropical vegetation, together with the picturesquely situated metropolis of Brazil, formed a splendid picture worthy of the frame of lofty snow-capped mountains in which it was set. The volunteers all crowded upon deck to witness the beautiful scene, and it was with great difficulty that the sailors could procure sufficient elbowroom to enable them to execute the numerous orders consequent upon entering port. We looked around earnestly for our companion vessels, the Susan Drew and Thomas H. Perkins, but very soon ascertained that they had not yet arrived. We ran the gauntlet through the men-of-war shipping, consisting of two or three English, two Brazilian, and one American vessel, which, as is customary, were anchored outside the merchantmen, and came to anchor opposite the town. It was just sundown, and from the numerous forts with which the bay is studded, as also from the Brazilian & foreign war-vessels, in addition to the customary evening gun came the sound of a regular salute. Some of the "boys" were innocent enough to deem it intended for us, but we soon found out that it was in honor of the birth of a daughter to the emperor, an event which had recently taken place. As soon as the shades of night made their appearance, our eyes were greeted by an extremely beautiful & picturesque sight, also in honor of the last mentioned event. This was nothing more nor less than a super illumination, which extended from one end of the city to the other, turning it into a perfect blaze of light, and clearly defining to our admiring eyesight the different eminences, on which the convent & other detached buildings are placed, and, far in the distance, the palace of the emperor. It was an extremely beautiful scene, and very favorably influenced our first impressions of Rio Janeiro.

It was soon rumored among us that there was likely to be some trouble between Brazil and the United States. After sufficient time had elapsed to enable us to obtain accurate news from shore, we found that there had been some kind of a disturbance in the theatre between some sailors belonging to the Colombia & Brazilian authorities, in which a U.S. officer took a part, and which resulted in the imprisonment of both officer and men. It was only after the most strenuous representations on the part of the American commander, even extending so far, it is said, as the threat to fire upon the town, that the prisoners were at length released. It was on account of this misunderstanding that the American vessel did not participate in the salutes before referred to, which were fired by every other foreign vessel except her.

As might have been expected, our first thought was how to get on shore, to see the city and its environs. Such was the anxiety of the men on this head, that the whole ship's company soon were in a perfect ferment-all making interest with the officers, or pressing their claims, to be allowed to go ashore "on liberty". Although I used my utmost to be allowed to that end, for some reason or other I failed in obtaining permission until nearly the last day of our stay. All this time, some seven or eight days, I was obliged to content myself with roaming around the vessel & listening to each new tale of wonder as fresh boatloads of liberty-men returned from the shore, brimful of marvel and adventure. After the long monotony we had undergone since our departure from New York, our brief sojourn in this place assumed quite an exciting aspect. Most of us had never been out of our-own country before, or, at least, had never seen a country whose people spoke not the English tongue; and nearly all of us possessed no small portion of that potent desire to behold strange scenes, which has in every age rendered so many homes desolate, and made so many homeless wanderers. No wonder, then, that all who had not been ashore anxiously and impatiently awaited their turns, while these who returned, far from being content with inflaming the already overweening anticipation of their expectant comrades, were just as anxious as they, to get back again. Some, indeed, having once got leave of absence for a day, took French leave during the rest of our stay in Rio, and remained on shore all the time. Others took opportunities of leaving the vessel by stealth; pressing over the side among a crowd of liberty men, or dropping over the bows into a boat for which signals had previously been made. I was at this time rather too much impressed with a sense of duty - I was in fact rather behind the age in this respect - which kept me from resorting to the like expedients. The consequence was, that I was within an ace of not setting foot ashore at all; until, seeing that nearly all had been ashore once or some a second time, I went boldly up to head-quarters and preferred my suit. As I expected, I was met with a reference to subordinate officers, and so forth, but I had made up my mind to take no denial, so the result was, that my leave of absence was granted and off I went.

And, after all, my visit to the city was of very little account; for my stay was excessively short (being limited to some seven or eight hours), and the multiplicity of strange objects flashed so quickly before my eyes, that each new sight thrust the last seen from my memory. I cannot say that I entertain a very vivid recollection of anything I saw, save of the tall stone houses, relieved by handsome shop fronts, in the business part of the city, and of the tall stone houses fortified in the first story by iron gratings, in the more retired portions. The long & narrow streets seemed to be deserted by nearly all but the colored population, who were evidently the most numerous class. Here & there, indeed, might be seen a handsome senorita tripping along, or a well dressed gentlemen, but such individuals were rarely seen. I saw no very large or handsome buildings; even the Emperor's palace looks more like a post-office than a prince's dwelling. All around it, and in fact, all over the city, were plenty of native soldiers, nearly all black, and as puny a race of men to look at as ever I saw. We could get anything out of them for a few copper dumps, from a little advice touching our immediate vicinity up to permission to pass a post; & they were just as ready to possess themselves of our coin by foul means as fair, several of the "boys", at some distance gone in liquor, being waylaid and rifled of those very accommodating gentry. Here, as in some European countries, the army performs most of the purposes of police; though I doubt whether the gens d'armerie of other countries can compare with these for rascality.

The night before our departure from Rio we experienced a severer storm than I ever thought possible within the precincts of a harbor - it may, indeed, with greater justice be termed a hurricane. The wind blew so strong that all communication was cut off between us & shore - the waves rolled as high as on the broad ocean in a gale - and the rain came down more "in the lump" than I ever remember witnessing before. I ventured at first to show myself on deck, but very soon was obliged to retire, under penalty of being blown over-board. For my own part, altho' some of our men disputed it, I must say that I do not believe we experienced a severer gale on the open sea during the whole voyage. It was soon discovered that we were dragging our anchors, nor, in spite of the utmost endeavors of the captain and crew, could our ship be prevented from bearing down, stern first, upon the Thomas H. Perkins, which happened to be the nearest vessel to us and which, together with the Susan Drew & Sloop of War Prebte, had duly made her appearance & come to anchor, some five or six days after our arrival. The two vessels speedily became entangled together and it was with great difficulty that they were at length separated. After drifting along some distance further, we at last got into harder anchorage, and managed to ride out the gale.

The next morning, we were amused by the narrative of hair's breath 'scapes of those who had been interrupted on their way to the vessel by the bucking out of the storm. Some had been driven back and thought themselves very lucky in escaping with their lives; others had been blown athwart vessels anchored in the harbor and had been very happy to receive shelter on board of them during the night. However, we had but little time given us for comparing notes, for this morning was the one fixed on for departure. The wind was adverse, but the word was given to up-anchor, and as we were all anxious at last to proceed with our voyage, we turned to and assisted the sailors. By our united efforts, the anchors were very soon hanging at our bows, and off we set at the rate of 8 or 9 knots an hour, with the yards braced sharp up, & aiming right for shore. Soon the word "Ready About" was given and away we went at a tangent for the opposite side of the bay. Thus we tacked and tacked, gaining a quarter of a mile one way & hardly holding our own the other; until just at a turn of the harbor, where we obtained greater sea room, & the course was more favorable for us, we passed under the stern of the Susan Drew, whose captain, upon being hailed, & asked why he had cast anchor again, replied that he "couldn't get out". Our skipper, however, as we had found out long before, was a bit of a driver, and not being inclined to give up so easily, very soon demonstrated the practicability of our leaving port in spite of the wind. The result was that we passed the fort and reached the open sea just in time to catch a sight of the Thomas H. Perkins, far in the distance, which had left port the first thing in the morning, under tow of the only steam-tug of which Rio could boast.

Chapter III

Our departure from New York was admirably timed as regards the season of the year. We started just as the fall was about to show signs of lapsing into winter - just as, after reveling in the manifold beauties and blessings of an American summer, we were about to pay for our pleasure, in the shape of the endurance of the rigor of a Northern winter. We seemed to be defrauding Old Time as day by day, after leaving New York, the weather grew warmer & warmer and the sky clearer. At Rio Janeiro we experienced the hottest weather that had yet befallen us - and although Cape Horn cast somewhat of a chill upon us, yet we could not complain, for it was the midsummer of that region when we passed through it, and the Cape of Horns was shorn of all its terrors. In fact, when we left New York harbor we fairly gave winter the slip, for we never afterwards experienced its severities until after being a length of time in California, and a Californian winter, in comparison with that season as we experience it in the northern states, is just no winter at all. We were gifted with favoring breezes on leaving Rio, which in a very short time helped us materially on our journey to the southward. The wind speeded us on so briskly, and yet with such an easy motion, that although we were slipping along at the rate of 4 or 5 knots per hour, we hardly seemed to move. In fact, it was necessary to look over the side of the swiftly flowing water in order to realize that we were making headway at all. Immediately on leaving Rio, the temperature of the air became sensibly cooler and cooler as each day brought us nearer the Horn. The days rapidly became longer. Soon we were obliged to put on our overcoats, and to languor which we could not help feeling under the tropics succeeded the rough, hearty feeling of good health and spirits, of life and energy, generated by the healthiest of stimulants, cold weather.

A week or so after leaving port we passed between Falkland Islands and the mainland. Our captain was noted throughout the voyage for certain disregard of danger which manifested itself in his always favoring the shortest passage & the quickest route, no matter what perils might chance to lay in the way. Hence he never took in sail until obliged to do so, which resulted once or twice in its being taken in for him by no less a person than rough old Boreas himself. Hence, when he had chosen passage through the straits of Maria, between Staten Island & Tierra del Fugeo [= Le Maire Strait between Tierra del Fuego and Isla de los Estados Ed.] instead of bearing to the Eastward to avoid the former Islands, we were destined to get along rather less easily than our worthy skipper anticipated. Toward the end of December, after passing the whole previous night dodging about in the fog, under the influence of light, varying winds, which alternately urged us toward all points of the compass, & then left us by fits to the mercies of a treacherous current, we one morning found ourselves almost completely landlocked, and so entirely under the influence of fog, which would alternately come and go - one moment shrouding us in darkness, the next revealing our dangerous proximity to land - and the light, shifting winds - which played their part even more banteringly than they had done on the previous night - and the current, which in the temporary absence of the breeze, would sweep us steadily toward the dreaded shore, that we seemed to have got into one of those enchanted regions described in Eastern tales, where "It can't be said that anything is what it ought to be." Right before us, indeed, lay the straits we sought to pass, but who could tell what catastrophe the treacherous elements might not any moment precipitate on us in such a dubious locality as the one in which we now found ourselves. At the first alarm, our captain had ordered everything to be made ready for letting go the anchor and the cables were roused-up out of the lockers. I guess he was a little scared, like the rest of us. Anyhow, the uncertainty of the elements very soon determined him to turn back, and go the route to the Eastward of Staten Island and, a favorable wind coming up at the right moment to favor this course, we were soon pursuing our way out of the dangerous neighborhood we had so luckily escaped from.

But a few days more, and we were bravely breasting wind & current in the attempt to weather the Cape of Horns, but wind and current, as usual, both set against us; and three mortal weeks did we pass buffeting about amid the never-resting billows of this stormy region. I can well believe the stories that mariners tell us about the terrors of Cape Horn in winter, but I must say, despite the unceasing opposition of the elements which we experienced, that Cape Horn in summer has more of the beautiful about it than anything else. It appeared to me a region of Eternal Light, I never before experienced so long a duration of daytime. The sun rose about 3 o'clock in the morning, and might scarcely be said ever to set, for, long after it had sunk below the horizon, and indeed, more or less all night, a beautiful twilight pervaded the atmosphere. I never in my life experienced such delightfully clear nights. Whenever the sun was absent, the moon or stars were there to supply its place; so that scarcely a night passed during which we were unable to distinguish every object on deck. I was "on guard" several nights during our stay in these southern latitudes, and never kept a more welcome watch, during all the time that my soldiering lasted. For here, more than anywhere else came over me those thoughts of home and "auld lang syne" which will once and awhile force themselves upon the exile in his wanderings. Hour after hour I would pace the deck, now looking forth upon the foamy waters, now upon the starry heavens, & still looking back, as well might I ever that trackless waste, upon scenes I had long ago deemed forgotten, hopes I had long since abandoned.

While we were off the Horn, a dreadful calamity occurred to break the monotony of our existence. It was the day after a storm, and, altho' the wind had materially abated, the sea still was running as high as ever, the ship continually careening from side to side by the violence of the waves. Two or three of our men were in the lee fore-chains, when a more than ordinarily violent lurch of the vessel threw one of them from his hold into the foaming waters beneath. He was a strong swimmer, and soon rose to the surface, striking out bravely. I heard his cry of agony as he was slowly swept past us, and I hurried aft to render what assistance lay in my power. But the usual cry of "A man overboard!" had preceded me, & ere I reached the stern of the vessel a plank and several ropes had been flung to the sufferer, but without success. A fatal delay then ensued, ere the proper measures were taken of laying the ship to, and lowering a boat. Most of the crew happened to be in the hold, breaking out provisions, & the volunteers, unaccustomed to handling the ropes, made a sad bungle of the orders given them. At length, after some ten minutes' delay, the ship hove to and a boat [was] lowered. All this time the poor fellow was full in sight, rapidly falling astern of the vessel, but still keeping his head bravely up, & his eyes steadily upon the ship which contained his comrades and his hopes. The boat put off in the direction of the drowning man, but the waves were so high that only the space between two of them could be discerned from it at once, and they were compelled to return after an unsuccessful search. He was last seen from the ship same hundreds of yards ahead of the boat, and sank, as was supposed, from exhaustion & cold. Poor fellow! He was as quiet & good-natured a man as any in the command, and none of us could refrain from feelings of sorrow and pity at his untimely and melancholy end.

But yet another life was decreed to pay the forfeit on this gloomy occasion. The sea was running so high that, on the return of the boat, it was a very difficult matter to hoist it in uninjured. Now it would be some six or eight yards off, and then in imminent danger of being borne down & sunk in the deep by the surging huge vessel. At length the boat was hooked onto the fall, and was fairly hoisted out of the water, when one of the men on board of it, a volunteer, frightened at the swinging to & fro of the boat, which shared in the eccentric motion of the ship, jumped from it into the mizzen-chains and sought to clamber up the side of the vessel. In doing so he was exposed to the danger of being jammed between the boat & the ship, and, on perceiving it, frightened still more by the warnings of those on deck, he made an unsuccessful attempt to jump back from the chains into the boat, hung for a moment suspended at arm's length, and then dropped down into the yawning sea. A rope was immediately thrown to him, which he was lucky enough to catch, & which with great presence of mind he managed to wind round himself so as to be hauled up by it, altho' in a senseless state. But the excitement of the moment was too much for one man on board, whose life was not the least important among us. Sgt. Tremmless of Co. C, who had been actively engaged throughout the whole sad business in giving directions for the safety of those imperiled, was seized with a sudden fit of apoplexy and fell down, a corpse, just as our comrade was hoisted in. They were both borne in and cared for; a few warm blankets readily brought signs of life into the one, but the other was "past all surgery". His manly effort for the safety of his fellow-creatures had hastened his own end. The next day his body was committed to the deep, with the customary military honors, and with solemnities befitting the occasion.

I cannot say that melancholy interlude in our monotonous life left much impression behind it. It had some little effect at the time; but men are naturally little retentive in general of serious reflection. But a few hours elapsed before the customary amusements and occupations were going on as busily as ever, and little was thought of our fellow creatures & comrades who were reposing in their untimely and luckless graves far away behind us, beneath the driving billows.

We escaped at last out of this storm region. Heartily glad were we all when it was at length announced that we had weathered the Cape, and were at last bearing northward toward our destination. As we progressed day by day on our voyage, the weather now began to moderate, and soon became mild and pleasant as an American spring. A week or so passed by, and we were in the near neighborhood of Valparaiso, where it was intended that we should stop and take in a fresh supply of water. We passed a very pleasant time an evening or two before entering port. Everybody was anxious once more to behold the sight of land, and they were all grouped on the deck of the vessel thinking & talking in pleasant anticipation of the new sights & scenes which they expected to behold. Another object of interest, too, was the subject of our discourse; nothing more or less than a vessel which had been in sight most part of the day, and which was now gradually nearing us. It was a clear starlight evening, with but little breeze stirring and so still that the least sound would travel far over the waters. We were all in hopes that the ship in sight would turn out to be one of our companion vessels. Nearer & nearer she came toward us, until we could discern even the individuals on her deck. At length our captain spoke to her, when we found, to our great disappointment, that she was only a Dutch craft bound for Valparaiso. We lay thus in company with her the greater part of the night, but she gradually gained on us, and finally gave us the slip altogether.

Next day we were abreast of the bay, but were unable to enter, on account partly of fog, & partly of adverse winds. On Monday, Jan. 19th, 1847, the day was remarkably clear and bright, the breeze, though light, favorable, and we accordingly essayed the entrance to the harbor. In doing so, we were obliged to round a point, environed by a reef of rocks which is very dangerous to vessels entering the harbor. As we neared the point the wind died away, leaving us entirely at the mercy of the current, which was setting strongly in-shore. Our boats were hoisted out, and every endeavor made to prevent our drifting upon the rocks, but all our efforts could not keep us off. We should inevitably have struck on the dreaded barrier - in fact we were not a stone's throw from it - had it not been for an unexpected assistance. The town was concealed from our view by another projecting point of land, but we could see over it the tall masts of the shipping. All at once we perceived a boat, well manned, rounding the point in the distance & coming straight for us, and, while we were wondering as to its object, another, & another, & yet another followed in close succession, until we could count about a dozen. We soon found that they were man-of-war boats, English & French, which had been dispatched to assist us in our extremity. And assist us they did, in right good earnest, for a towline was passed out forward, to which each boat, as it came up, attached itself, and they soon towed our unlucky vessel out of the reach of danger. I never before saw such an act of courtesy as this, and I cannot but think it an act worthy of all praise, and one which redounds more to the credit of a navy than many an action more in their particular province. After getting clear of the rocks, a breeze sprung up, and we were soon anchored abreast of the town. Here as at Rio Janeiro, we were in before the other vessels. The Susan Drew arrived next day; the Thomas H. Perkins went through to San Francisco without further stoppage.

Valparaiso is very far from affording such a beautiful view as greets the eye on entering Rio Janeiro. The harbor is open; unsafe at certain seasons; and nothing can be seen of the shore, save an amphitheater of red barren-looking hills, cut up here & there by gullies. At the foot of the hills, crowded into two or three long streets, stands the town. Above, on the sides and summits of the lower eminences, which are steep, and christened, sailor-fashion, with the names Main-top, Mizzen-top, etc. are the numberless resorts for seamen for which Valparaiso is preeminent. The buildings, and general appearance of this city, though very similar to Rio Janeiro, are decidedly inferior. In fact, it is a recruiting place for shipping, and little else can be said about it.

The volunteers amused themselves fishing, whilst communication was being made with the shore. Good sport they had of it too, for the decks were soon covered with mackerel, and many other kinds of fish. Every man had a line in his hand, and, until we left port, it was impossible to keep the decks clear. Here it was that we first heard of the glorious news of the battle of Monterey. We had been so long without news from the States, that we had long ago pictured to ourselves the war finished, the Mexicans beaten, and Taylor and his brave Army shipped home again. The intelligence came like a thunder-clap upon us, and brightened us all up with the expectation of seeing something to speak of yet before we once more became citizens. Perhaps it was the receipt of this intelligence that induced our commanding officer to hurry away from this port. At first it was announced to us that no one would be allowed to go ashore. But the men made so strong a demonstration of their determination to the contrary, in the shape of seizing the opportunity to take French leave, that on the second day after our arrival one third of each company was allowed leave of absence, another third next day, & the remainder on the day after. On the last liberty day, about sundown the anchor was hoisted, and off we went after a stay of only 5 or 6 days.

Chapter IV

The evening we left Valparaiso, we buried in the deep, one of our comrades, who had died while in port, of consumption. Nothing of importance occurred after this for some time.

A week or two after leaving port, an effort was made for the first time to get something approaching to rational amusements. A kind of Mutual Instruction society was organized, including the exercises of elocution, debate, and essay. As usual in such cases, nothing very luminous was elicited, but a great deal of spare time was rendered pleasant which would otherwise have rested heavy on our minds. It is to be hoped, too, that some little good was done in the shape of mental improvement, & of the substitution of, to say the least, innocent pleasure for some of the thousand thoroughly idle methods of killing time. The twenty-second of February was rendered remarkable to me by a very singular phenomenon; having nothing in sympathy, however, with the appropriate recollections of that exalted day. It was, in short, nothing but a shoal of porpoises, but such a shoal as I believe is rarely seen in any part of the world. In every direction, ahead, astern, and on both sides, far as the eye could discern, the huge creatures covered the sea, now lazily lying on the surface of the water, now diving down & disappearing in the deep, and anon traversing the whole range of our view with lightning speed. Many of them appeared to be gamboling over the water; though perhaps they were in pursuit of prey; for they would follow each other in rapid succession through the water and through the air, rising out of their peculiar element showing the whole of their beautiful proportions clear of the water, & then coming down head first one after the other with such exactness, that they presented the appearance of a living cascade. Others again would form in regular ranks, and move through the sea for all the world like squadrons of soldiers on a field of battle. We should never have tired of witnessing this wonderful sight, but, after shying round us for nearly an hour, they finally disappeared, leaving a decided impression behind them, together with several of their comrades, whom some of the sailors managed to harpoon and haul in on deck.

After we crossed the Equator the warmth of the weather gradually abated until we at length entered what seemed to us cold latitudes. When we approached, at length, the shores of California, our muskets and accoutrements, which had been stowed under hatches during the voyage, were re-distributed to us, and several hours each day were devoted each day to drill. Every heart beat high with the anticipation of at length setting foot on land for good, and all were burning to see the land of promise, California. For my own part, I was rejoiced to be so near the termination of our voyage, for I was long ago tired of its monotony, and looked upon it as just so much waste time. I was anxious to find out what kind of prospect awaited us, in the event of our disbandment; for the idea of our being ever brought into action never once occurred to me. I was curious, too, to see a land of which so little had been hitherto previously written that it had been to the world a kind of terra incognita. My longings, however, were soon satisfied, for, after beating about for a week or more on the coast, striving to prevail against adverse winds, we were one night visited with one of the stiffest of breezes right in our stern. Never was anything more opportune. It lasted for 16 hours, and left us about 3 o'clock next evening, 26th March, just at the entrance of the Golden Gates. Luckily the tide was in our favor, and with a light breeze to assist us we were enabled to creep slowly along towards the point which shelters from view, what may now scarcely with justice be termed the future metropolis of the West. A little more, and the point was rounded; and for the first time since leaving New York we beheld quite a fleet of vessels bearing the American flag. There lay the Frigate Columbus, the Sloops of war Cyane & Warren, and the Storeship Lexington. There too were our companion vessels, the Thomas H. Perkins & Susan Drew which had arrived, the one upwards of 21 days ahead of us, the other about a week. Besides these, there were several others, hide droghers, making altogether a display of shipping which San Francisco had never perhaps seen before, until the recent declaration of war & consequent seizure of the country.

The news which reached us here, though assuring us of the tranquillity of the country, was of the most interesting nature. Gen. Kearney had arrived in California, had been met by an armed party, and had narrowly escaped discomfiture at San Pasquall, when 18 out of 60 men were killed on the battlefield. The battles of the 6th & 9th of Jan. had been fought, and California was at length a conquered country. Rumors, too, came thick and fast of the differences between General Kearney and Lt. Colonel Fremont, and there were so many stories concerning them, each varying from the other, that we could make neither head nor tail out of the whole matter. But the most interesting intelligence to us, was the account given us by our comrades who had arrived before us, of their experience of the country to which we had been brought. According to them we had nothing but a dog's life to expect. All we could get out of them was complaint & discontent. The first grievance was excessive work. Police duty, they averred, came thicker and faster upon them here than they had ever before experienced. There was a whole stack of adobe or mud buildings to be repaired for barracks; a road to be made from these down to the beach; innumerable barrels of pork & bread to be carted & rolled hither and thither. Then again the guard duty was strict, and came round often. But this was not all. Doleful complaint was made touching climate; and it must be allowed that San Francisco, in this respect, is really one of the worst places in California, if not the very worst. The dew was so heavy - the wind, bearing with it clouds of dust, was intolerable. The rain was incessant. In short, by all accounts we had come to the hardest place on the face of the globe and there was no comfort or attraction in it.

But I was anxious to see & judge for myself; so, pending the indecision of the authorities in regard to our ultimate destination, I managed to obtain leave of absence with others to go ashore & see something of the new El Dorado.

I was soon tired of the town of San Francisco, or Yerba Buena, as it was then called. It was nothing but a collection of very sparsely scattered adobe buildings; with one or two small frame houses, built lately by American emigrants. Far different from San Francisco of the present time, with its hills covered with buildings and ever resounding, from early daylight unto dark, with the sound of the hammer. The hills then were clothed with their primeval verdure; and in the little valleys between, now covered with stores & dwelling houses, and laid out in crowded streets, the Spanish women were seen washing their clothes in the little brooks which came gushing from the hill-side. Soon satisfied with what I saw there, I started off with a few companions to visit the Presidio, or old Mexican government buildings, which had been converted into barracks for a part of our regiment. It was a beautiful morning in early Spring, and as we climbed the hills back of the town and looked down upon the pleasant landscape below us, taking in a view on the one side of the mouth of the harbor, on the other of a row of small, green, hut-clad eminences sloping down towards the beach, and dotted here and there with patches of thicket, the whole looking far more like home scenery than anything we had yet beheld, we could not help feeling that the accounts given us of the country by our comrades was certainly incorrect. A very pleasant 3 mile walk, between the grassy slopes & the beach brought us to the Presidio, situated in a pleasant little valley, and composed of three ranges of adobe buildings, in various stages of dilapidation, each forming one side of a square. The fourth side was entirely leveled with the ground. Here we fell in with a large number of our fellow volunteers, from whom we could gather little more information than we had before obtained. We then strolled down to the beach & followed it along towards the mouth of the harbor until we arrived nearly under the old fort. Up the hill we then scrambled until we overlooked it, it being built upon a projecting promotory which overhangs the water, and entirely commands the narrow entrance to the bay. It was a melancholy looking structure. The stone walls alone remained standing, & the roof of the rude inner building had fallen in. The gun-carriages had seemingly rotted from under the guns, for they lay in fragments upon the ground, and the guns, spiked and rusty, lay just as they had fallen. Long afterwards, when we had become acquainted with the supineness & lack of enterprise seemingly inherent in the Spanish character, it was our wonder that these huge guns had ever been got up the hill. There were ten or a dozen of them, all of large calibre, and of clumsy Spanish make.

There is a splendid view from this elevated spot, including the entrance to the harbor, with its beautiful shores on one side, and the broad ocean, with one or two islands in the distance, on the other. But time warned us to return, so off we went. The sun had shone beautifully as we were coming out, and nature appeared to have put on her best attire, as if to freshen our remembrance of the homes we had left behind us, but on our return the sky clouded up, and we were obliged to take shelter at the Presidio from a smart sprinkling of rain. The atmosphere, which in the morning had been warm and genial, became chilling in the extreme, and a cold piercing wind began to blow with great force. We were all happy at length to get back to our ship and turn into our bunks, and even then all our blankets, which had hitherto sufficed us, were unable to keep out the wind which reigned rampant over the bay the whole night long.

We lay in the harbor, awaiting orders, several days. During this time many were the speculations set afoot as to the ultimate destination of each detachment; for it was soon found out that the regiment was still to remain split up into separate commands. Some desired to remain around the Americanized district of San Francisco and the parts adjacent; while some wished to be sent down South among the natives of the country. For my own part, I was of the latter opinion; rather unwisely, I believe. However, I gained my wish, being in the detachment which was dispatched down the coast to Santa Barbara. Three companies were sent thither, one to Sonoma, two to Monterey, two to Pueblo de Los Angeles, and two remained at San Francisco. About the fourth day after our arrival, the company to which I belonged bade farewell forever to the good old ship which had been its habitation for so long a time, and was conveyed aboard the barque Moscow, for transportation to Santa Barbara. The same day we were joined by the other two companies which were to be stationed with us at that place.

Poor old Moscow! I shall never forget the reverend old vessel that was fated to bear us down the coast. Where it was built? Where it last came from? How long it had been on the coast? These were all questions which would have puzzled a Sphynx to answer. We could come nearer answering the latter question, however, than any other in regard to it; for it was obvious to the most unpractised eye that many, many long years must have elapsed since last she was in a civilized port. Certain it is that her good old skipper had not dared to weather the Horn in her, any time for ten years previous to our acquaintance with her. She was a crazy old barge, of some 200 tons burden; certainly not much more; and about as disabled a craft as it could well be and yet hold together. She was continually subjected to the discipline of the pump. Her rigging looked for all the world as tho' it had not been re-set since it first left the ship-yard, and in divers instances was mended with articles by no means orthodox in a sailor's eyes. In particular, her jib sheet was formed of no less a material than green hide - the only rope used amongst the Californians, and one of her jog-stays was of the same simple construction. Her ratlines were so defective that one could scarcely count on foothold in going aloft. Her steerage, in which about 100 of us were stowed away like so many herrings in a box, just admitted of a short man's standing upright; but the shortest had to keep a sharp look-out for the beams. At night we lay in two rows, jammed close together, each row with their heads to the side of the vessel. As the wind was seldom entirely fair for us, on one tack one row had their heads lower than their heels, & vice versa. In the daytime, of course, we quitted this narrow space and amused ourselves as best we could in roaming round deck, except those, who, for obvious reasons, had been unable to obtain their natural night's rest & strove to make up for it by day. But on deck we were constantly jammed together in a crowd, and to sit, lie down, or stand still, were alike impossible. No wonder we hoped for a speedy termination to our voyage.

The discipline among the few sailors aboard her was suited to the general appearance and condition of the craft. Her skipper was a good old fellow, owned her, and was not very exacting in his disposition. He probably found that the unusual profit incident to California trade warranted him in dispensing with the usual economies practiced generally in the merchant service. And then, in California, and generally all over the Pacific, seamen are so little loyal to their ship & articles, that nothing short of extra good pay usage will keep them in the same vessel from port to port. Accordingly, aboard the Moscow plaiting sennet, making spun yarn, and the other multitudinous methods of getting out of a seaman the work of his wages, at which he is constantly employed when not actually working the vessel in all merchant ships, were occupations which we rarely or never witnessed; and those of our men who had sailed a little and loafed more, looked upon her as the beau ideal of a craft for a man to ship in.

The poor old Moscow seemed to be followed by a bad fate from the commencement. After weighing anchor the wind was found insufficient to give her proper headway and she drifted ashore. After bumping on the soft mud bottom once or twice, however, the breeze freshened a little, and we bore away for the entrance of the bay. So little frequented, hitherto, had been this noble body of water that then on our arrival, we witnessed the gambols of whales and porpoises in large numbers, seemingly as much at their ease as in the open sea. We left them astern and were soon heading southward on the broad ocean.

That night we slept but little. Change of place and scene had not yet become habituated to us, and the accommodations were not very favorable to repose. Besides, we had a flood of new companions to make acquaintance with, and so we commenced it in the best way we could. We first stowed ourselves away, and then, after jamming ourselves together so as to accommodate the greatest number down below, we set to work singing songs. First one company furnished a song, and then another, and so on. There were some good singers aboard, and we passed a pleasant time of it while their stock of songs lasted, but everything must have an end, and we were at length reluctantly obliged to fall asleep or feign it.

We were three days coasting along the beautiful shore of California; never more than two or three miles off, and oftener within a quarter of a mile. The same green pasture land seemed ever to slope up to the range of mountain which would sometimes jut boldly out, approaching the beach within a mile or so, sometimes recede back far in the distance. But the shores were ever green, and the hills ever picturesque. On the fourth morning we were within 30 miles of Santa Barbara, but the wind was so light & baffling that we scarcely made any headway at all. For three days this state of things continued, each day bringing us but a few miles of our destination. The behavior of the winds on the third afternoon of our arrival was curious in the extreme, and such as I have never witnessed, either before or since. We were a very few miles from Santa Barbara; indeed, the point of land which hid it from sight was just ahead of us; but there was not wind enough to enable us to get round it. The cry of "ahead, wind," was raised; and, sure enough, we could perceive at some distance ahead, the water agitated by a ripple which gradually swelled and widened as it approached us. Soon it began to reach us in cat's-paws, throwing back our sails. The yards were braced round & our course altered, when lo! in a directly opposite quarter the same symptoms began to show themselves; the first wind died away, and another and contrary one sprung up. Again from a third quarter came a new wind, preceded by its usual preliminary signs; and each time our skipper had the sails trimmed to suit, until he became fairly nonplussed. Indeed he might well be, for more than once the effect of opposite winds was on the vessel at the same instant, and it was impossible to say which would prevail. At length, however, our lucky star favored us and a good stiff breeze urged us merrily along toward the harbor. The men had ever since leaving San Francisco been trying hard to catch some fish by way of a relish, but had never succeeded until now. Now, on nearing and entering the roadstead of Santa Barbara, they began to bite furiously, and our men could scarcely haul them in fast enough. They were principally mackerel, and proved to be very fine ones.

Whether viewed from sea or land, Santa Barbara is one of the prettiest places in California. Its harbor, however, is just no harbor at all - a mere roadstead. Nothing but an island at the distance of 12 or 15 miles, interposes between it and the broad swell of the Pacific, which, in very spite of the obstacle, breaks upon its beach with seemingly unabated violence. Wave after wave, with its curved head capped in foam, dashes upon the sands with resistless force, and woe to the unlucky boat that ventures to approach the shore without taking every precaution to evade them.

The town, built in the usual California style - a rambling collection of mud edifices, with tiled roofs and overhanging eaves - is situated inland about a mile from the beach, in a beautiful valley, about two miles in width, bounded by steep hills. The most prominent object in the view from the anchorage is the mission, a huge whitewashed adobe building, surmounted by a steeple, and presenting quite an imposing appearance. This is situated on a rising ground about a mile back of the town.

Of course we were all anxious, as usual, to land and obtain a nearer view of what might prove to be our place of residence for a long time. We were very soon gratified, for on the very afternoon of our arrival the order was given to get ready to land. It took us but little time to do that. Our knapsacks were soon packed, our accoutrements on, and every one waited impatiently for the word. As the Moscow had but one boat of any size, the longboat, we were landed in this, a boatload at a time. I managed to be in the first lot landed. We started from the good old barque, and soon shot through the kelp, which surrounds the harbor like a huge net. A little more and we were on the huge rollers, and could feel ourselves borne swiftly towards the shore by their natural motion. Luckily, our boatmen were old beachcombers, and knew well how to handle their oars. They took care to manage so as to come in on the breast of a wave, & then pulled for dear life to run the boat bow-on to the beach. We had been previously instructed to jump overboard the instant we touched shore, which we accordingly did, and luckily escaped with only a pretty good ducking.

It did not take long to land the entire detachment, with its tents and other camp equipage. As soon as they arrived we all set to work pitching our canvas habitations. Our camp was formed upon a piece of level ground immediately adjoining the beach, so as to be convenient to landing stores, etc. Our preparations for the night were soon completed, the guard house established, the guard stationed, and we found ourselves once more fairly settled on Terra Firma.

Chapter V

We slept well on the beach at Santa Barbara, although it was at a time by no means favorable for camping out. It was in the middle of a California Spring; which is just the close of the rainy season. It did not rain much, it is true; but then it drizzled pretty hard very often; so much so, that we used to term it, in lieu of rain, "California Dew". The dew itself was almost as bad as the drizzle; for night after night our tents were wetted through and the ground saturated with water, even when no rain fell. But we forgave all these little inconveniences for the sake of the other manifold beauties of the season. Springtime in California! Who can number its beauties? Who can expatiate upon them with too much enthusiasm? Then our country is green, but it cannot surpass this. Then our skies are serene and beautiful, but what can compare with Californian skies, and Californian atmosphere? We have gardens, true, surpassing in richness and rarity all that ever bloomed in that less favored country, but in beauty and variety of its wild flowers, what country can compare with California? It is dry, and arid enough in its long lapse of summertime, but what country can out-number its myriad out-gushing fountains in Spring, rushing down from every hill-side and meandering through every vale?

For some time our daily routine of employment was pretty, uniform. We used to arise pretty early, for the hard and damp ground was not very enticing, and make our toilet at the nearest spring. Then each man had to forage for his cup of milk, which was sometimes fetched into camp for sale by the little children of the people who lived near us, but which we sometimes had to seek at some distance. More rarely we obtained a little butter or cheese. After breakfast we were divided into squads, each of which had some allotted employment for the day. Too much work, of course, was then the popular grievance. One squad was detailed to assist in landing the stores from the Moscow. This was called the beachcombing party. Another went up to the town to assist in the preparation of the building which was to be set apart for our barracks. Another was marched off to form the day's guard; and another, the guard of the previous day, was graciously allowed either to wander forth whithersoever they wished, or to stay around and amuse themselves by watching their comrades at work. Others again, were cutting wood, cooking, or the like. These duties alternated pretty regularly; as that the beachcomber of today was the woodcutter of tomorrow, next day's cook and so on.

Beachcombing was my favorite employment, though to most of us it was not very pleasant. Not that I liked it for its own sake, but that I deemed it preferable to other duties. The long boat used to come off from the vessel about four times a day, laden with barrels of flour, sugar, pork, etc. and boxes of soap & candies. As soon as she made her appearance on the other side of the surf, we were required to be on hand to assist promptly in her unlading. A cable had previously been attached at one end to a post on shore, at the other to a small anchor which was sunk in the water some hundred yards from the beach. When the boat arrived at one extremity of this cable she was brought around, stern first, and hauled in by its means until she touched the beach. Then every man made the most of his time. Boxes & barrels were flung indiscriminately into the water, or placed in hands ready to receive them, and in the twinkling of an eye, though not without much hurry-skurry, and any quantity of ducking, were transferred to land. A couple of planks were placed astern, down which were rolled the barrels which contained articles most liable to spoil, but these did not reach beyond the influence of the waves, and much care had to be shown in watching the fitting opportunity, after a wave had broken, and before its successor had arrived. This was a wet job, but soon over; and then we used to take a turn on the beach, amusing ourselves with gymnastic exercises, or trying to cultivate an understanding with the natives who used to come down to the beach to take a sight of the American volunteers.

We soon picked up a smattering of Spanish sufficient to enable us to understand in some degree what our visitors had to say to us. They were all mounted of course, and very often amused us by riding races along the hard, sandy beach. I particularly took notice of several boys who were in the habit of visiting us pretty often. The young rascals, although distinguished by a trace of the daredevil while on horseback, were withal remarkable well-behaved, and won general good-will by their sprightliness and good-humor. They were a handsome set of fellows, too, and gave me quite a good opinion of the people from whom such children could spring.

When Col. Fremont had passed through this place, some months before our arrival, he had hoisted the American flag, and left a few men to protect it. They had, however, been chased out of the town in a general rising which afterwards took place, and Santa Barbara had not since been the location of any U.S. forces until our advent. The natives were said (I know not with what truth) to be gratified at our being stationed there, as they expected protection from the incursions of the Indians, who had formerly been much in the habit of descending upon the place & levying upon it contributions of horses, cattle, and other removable property. Some of our men were foolish enough to believe it possible that they might even make an attack on us some fine night; and this absurd notion was sometimes countenanced by the officers, probably with a view to increase our vigilance, promote discipline, and so forth. Several nights, in consequence, alarms took place when we were in Santa Barbara - one of them while we were encamped on the beach and the whole camp was aroused; but it was soon found that there was no foundation for the disturbance.

A few weeks after our landing, the order was given to strike tents & make camp nearer town. Accordingly, we quitted without regret our old camping ground on the beach, subject to all the dampness incident to so near a neighborhood to the ocean, and removed to within a few hundred yards of the main street. Our stores, in the meantime, had been all landed, and the good old "Moscow", leaking at every pore, and on her last legs, had sailed for the southward. Our new camp was situated in the midst of a lot of dwarf oaks, very much resembling fruit trees in appearance, - a tree which is very common in most parts of California and is very prevalent, in particular, around Santa Barbara. We soon found it to be a much dryer and pleasanter camping place than the beach, and thought we could realize in it some of the beauties and attractions of the woodland life.

Soon after our arrival, a requisition was received from the command at Lower Pueblo (Los Angeles) for a supply of ammunition, of which they were then very short. At this time the whole country was rife with rumors anticipating a new rising of the Californians. That they were armed, assembled, & drilling, somewhere, everybody was certain - the only uncertainty was as to the place where. Consequently, each detachment of troops throughout the country was in daily anticipation of an attack, & peculiarly so at Los Angeles, that having always been the rallying-point of the native inhabitants. On the receipt of the before-mentioned requisition, a party of about 25 men was immediately detailed to escort a couple of wagon loads of ammunition down to Lower Pueblo, and altho' it promised to be rather an arduous service at that season of the year to march a distance of 120 miles with extraordinary dispatch, most of the men were eager to go. The party accomplished its errand in 5½ days, there and back, 240 miles in all, and, on their return gave us very flattering accounts of the beautiful valley of Pueblo, which they represented as full of vineyards & gardens, and far surpassing Santa Barbara in every respect.

The summons in regard to the rising of the Californians never abated, until after my company left Santa Barbara. Another night alarm took place about this time. I was on guard on that night & occasion & I happened to be on post, and was expecting every minute to be relieved (it was about one o'clock in the morning) when I heard the report of a musket, & immediately after the call to "turn out the guard". The guard was immediately formed, & proceeded to the place from whence the report proceeded, the command was assembled, & every preparation made to resist an attack, but no enemy was forthcoming. The sentinels, however, declared positively that they fired at two men, who appeared to be prowling about, and the only likely solution we could give of the matter, was that the interlopers were Indians who had attempted to steal some horses belonging to our men, which were tied back of the camp. A perfect mania for owning horses prevailed at this time among us, and the men were in the habit of staking out their animals, not generally the best ones in the world, within sight of the line of sentries.

Shortly after this, our barracks were completed, and we moved into them. We occupied the best house in town; in fact, the only one built at all in American fashion. It was a pretty large building, of two stories, with adobe walls, plank flooring, and shingled door. Below were the store-room and hospital - above the quarters for the officers - including the Lt. Col. Commanding, the Surgeon, two captains, and five lieutenants. Poor we, the common people, numbering somewhere in the neighborhood of 180, were jammed together into the back buildings or offices which formed the rear & one side of the courtyard behind the house. The other side being nothing but a blank wall, was devoted to our culinary arrangements, a fireplace for each company being built up against it. Each company had a room to itself, fitted up with berths. Each two men possessed a bunk between them. These, with the inestimable privilege of making ourselves as miserable as we pleased, constituted about the sum total of arrangements for our comfort.

But we enjoyed ourselves tolerably well after all. The Moscow having departed, there was no more beach-combing; the barracks being completed, there was no more detail for repairs - all our duties now were guard, drill, & ordinary police work, and a these left us plenty of leisure time to employ as best we wished. As usual, reading & writing were but little engaged in, ball-playing was rather a favorite amusement; riding was occasionally resorted to. Some went down to the beach & tumbled about in the billows. This was good sport. But by far the most of our time was spent in rambling about the country - with or without a gun on the shoulder.

The valley of Santa Barbara, two or three miles in width, and God knows how many in length, is about as pretty a place for a country ramble as an ordinary man need desire, & would certainly repay any-one for a short visit. It is prettily cut up on the edges into hill and dale, rising on the one side into a pretty range of hills, on the other side bounded by the ocean; and is diversified in a charming manner throughout its whole extent, with clumps of woodland, tracts of undergrowth, and broad meadowland. One or two small streams run through it, & empty into the sea. They are perhaps of some importance, as impediments to traveling, in the rainy season, but were mere brooks when we saw them. Game is pretty plentiful. There were plenty of deer, though we did not shoot many of them, and plenty of hares, squirrels & coons. Pigeon, quail, & snipe were in great abundance. There are plenty of small ponds scattered over the valley which are resorted to in large number of wild ducks & geese. But the most remarkable animal of the country we saw was the common ground squirrel, which are found in countless numbers, and from one end of it to the other. Wherever you go, you find scarcely a square yard of ground without its squirrel hole, and its inhabitant. Walk quietly along, and you will see them perched upon the little mounds in front of their dwelling - sometimes twenty or thirty of them in sight at one time. Fire at one of them, and down they all pop at once, like so many jacks-in-boxes, and after a little while you will see them again peeping out to see what has happened. Make a noise, and down they go again. It is almost impossible to hit one of them; they are so quick in their movements; and nothing short of a ball, or extra heavy shot, will take effect, for, if not actually killed, they will expend their last remaining strength in jumping into their holes. We used almost to believe them capable of this feat even after death, they were so pertinacious in its performance, and they certainly do require more killing than any other animal I am acquainted with.

About a mile from the town, on a slope rising to the range of hills on the right-hand side of the valley, stands the mission, a huge adobe building, in the shape of a church, flanked by ranges of mud-edifices, deserted now, but originally inhabited by the mission Indians; together with a large garden, once perhaps teeming with grape, pear, fig & pomegranate, but now left to fall into decay, and ruin. In front of the mission is a large fountain, and back of it are a series of large stone reservoirs which supply it, and which in their turn are supplied by a series of what may be termed gutters, formed of masonry, which serve to collect and conduct water from the mountain side. The church is embellished on the inside with the usual paraphernalia, but just about as rudely as might be expected in such an out-of-the-way country as California.

One of our favorite resorts was the sulphur or hot springs, situated some 5 or 6 miles from Santa Barbara, to the southward. These springs would make a fortune of any town in the United States, but here are left alone and deserted; visited only by the native sick or by occasional American sojourners in Santa Barbara. They are very remarkably and very romantically situated; sequestered from human habitations, and almost inaccessible to all save the pedestrian. You leave town & pursue the beach road to the southward for some two or three miles and then turn off to the left, taking a path which leads through a little Californian settlement, and quite a pretty one, named Montecito. This consists of a few scattered ranchos, whose grounds border on each other, but with houses about a quarter of a mile distant from each other. A pretty little brook winds through the settlement, serving to irrigate the land which is planted principally with maize and wheat.

The plough in use here, as all over California, is truly of a patriarchal fashion, being nothing but a piece of timber, shaped like a hook at the end, with which the ground is literally scratched up. The California ox-cart, & manner of yoking working cattle, is still more unique, and unapproachable in its way. The framework is of hewn-timber, strong, & solid, & heavy as a house. The tongue is a strait stick of wood, squared, & strong & heavy enough for a stout rafter. But the wheels surpass every other part, being nothing more nor less than sections of a good stout oak tree, sawn off in width from 4 to 8 inches & from two to three feet through. Of course the thickness of the tree is the height of the wheel. These lumbering vehicles, weighing some little less than a ton, have but one recommendation, and that is, they are almost indestructible, it being a mighty hard matter to break any part of them. As might be expected, the wear & tear of the axle tree & inside of the wheel is most to be dreaded, and to remedy this a quantity of soap & grease mixed is conveyed in each ox-cart with which to bedaub the parts liable to friction. Not an ounce of iron is to be found in the whole of this clumsy contrivance - wood & hide being its sole constituent elements. The method of yoking is, if possible, more ridiculous still. The yoke is a heavy, cumbrous beam of wood, fitted to lay on the necks of the oxen immediately behind the horn. To each end of the yoke is attached a hide strap, softened by friction, which is wound around the horns of the ox as to firmly attach him to it & to his partner. A hide rope is then attached to the yoke, midway between the two oxen, the other end of it being fastened either to the yoke of the hinder cattle, or to the tongue of the cart, as the case may be. Thus two, three, four, or five yokes of cattle are attached to one apparatus, according to the weight of the load intended to be conveyed. Then commences the driver's part of the business, which is more interesting still. The usual allowance is one driver to each yoke of cattle, who takes his stand on the near or off side of them, indiscriminately, armed with a long stick barbed with a nail. With this he alternately belabors his charges and pricks them in the flank until he fetches blood, vociferating all the time at the top of his voice. To see them in their glory, one must be by when they are ascending a hill, when, to judge by the assiduity with which they apply the stick, a stranger would certainly form a wrong estimate of Californian industry. Their up-ha, hurra, hurra, up-ha, may then be heard for nearly a mile along the road, continually accompanied by the rattling of the stick upon the hides of the poor animals.

From the settlement of Montecito, you strike off into a section of country very much nearly resembling that in the near neighborhood of Santa Barbara, though more hilly. A mile or two through this, brings you to the foot of the ravine, at the head of which rise the Sulphur Springs. So little had the place been frequented before our arrival, that it was difficult to discover where the path entered the bushes which skirt the mouth of the ravine. From hence the trail winds up the steep ravine in the most picturesque manner possible. At first you go blindly along in the bushes, - now stumbling over the stump of a tree, now creeping between rocks which scarcely admit of the passage of the body; at short intervals you cross the stream, which gives a green cast of color to the stones over which it passes, and is, even at the distance of a quarter of a mile from its source, still warm to the touch and sulphurous to the taste and smell. As you go higher up, the passage becomes impracticable near the stream, on account of thick underbrush, tangled trees, rocks & stones, or the steepness of the ground, & you are compelled to climb some distance up the side of the hill, whence you can hear the stream beneath you tumbling over the rocks & trunks of trees which obstruct its way. After keeping the hillside for a few hundred yards you descend again to the level of the water, not far from where the spring issues from the mountain. From here up, the smell of sulphur sensibly impregnates the atmosphere, & the water is too nauseous to be drunk. Arrived at the fountainhead, you find it as pretty a spot as a man need desire to see. The mountain here rises precipitately, clothed in dense bushes in parts, in others bare & rocky. At its foot, gush out some three or four springs, of different temperature, and of different ingredients, if one may judge by the color; one of then being of a bright pinkish hue, another green, another indistinguishable by the eye from ordinary water. These springs have had basins formed for the reception of their waters by the same convulsion of nature, probably, which caused the gushing forth of the waters. In these natural baths we used to immerse ourselves; the one most fitted to the temperature of the body of a man being just large enough for one to lie down in. The others are smaller. They communicate with each other, but each spring enters its own basin before it mingles with the rest. One of them is too hot to be easily borne, another the ordinary temperature of spring water, the rest tepid. They are situated in a beautifully sequestered spot, shut in on three sides by the mountain, and hid amongst trees. The ravine is wider at the source of the springs than anywhere else until you reach the mouth, presenting just such a spot as one might choose for a picnic party. I have traveled a great deal in California since my visit to these springs, & seen some beautiful scenes in a country by no means barren of them, but I never yet came across a more picturesque sight, nor do I expect it in the future.

Chapter VI

The town of Santa Barbara, in the centre of which we are now fully established, originated, like all the old Spanish settlements in California, in a presidio, or fort, which formed a nucleus, around which the settlers erected their habitations looking to it for defence and refuge in time of Indian invasion. The presidio was probably once the most important building; but we found its ruined & roof-less walls applied to the purpose of a corral for the herding of horses and cattle, while the houses, which now form several pretty regular streets, had been extended beyond gunshot from its ruins. Apart from the immediate centre of the town the houses are sparsely scattered round, and have gardens attached to them, fenced with brush, the only material for that purpose in use in California. The houses here as throughout the country are composed of adobe walls & either tile or thatch roofs.

I can say but little about the inhabitants of the place as during the few months we were there, I formed few or no acquaintances among them. However most of our men were intimate more or less with the natives who lived near us, and they all agree in the usual estimate made of the Spanish character, namely, that they were a hospitable, sociable, temperate, and contented, though by no means either an industrious or enterprising, race of people. To ride about & take charge of their cattle is the only occupation of the men; their household duties, which are very simple, of the women. The latter are, by far, more industrious than the former, and, in fact, are a much more estimable race of beings in every way. They carry the virtues of the Spanish race still further than their lords & masters, by whom they are kept in close subjection, and share far less than them in the vices of the national character. I have conversed with several people who have wandered through the country alone & unfriended, & they all agree that the singlehearted hospitality & kindness uniformly evinced by the female portion of the inhabitants goes way beyond all praise. Both men and women are a handsome & fine looking race of people - tall, robust, wellmade, handsome in feature, healthy in appearance. We could plainly discern the evidences of a greater purity of race existing among the natives of this country than in Mexico or South America, for instead of the evident fusion into one race of the Indians & Spaniards, which has taken place in those countries, as shown in the almost universal darkness of color, nearly approaching the negro hue, we found the Californian to be very near as fair in complexion as our own race. Many of the women are as fair every whit as their sex in New York, and with rosier cheeks; which, contrasting with their jet-black hair, eye-brows, & eyelashes, & accompanied by the unique & matchless Spanish cast of physiognomy, gives them a beauty of a by no means inferior order.

The dress, like the other characteristics of this people is very dissimilar from our own. We never saw here the dress coat & beaver hat of the American. In lieu of these, the Californian wears a handsome serape over his shoulders; his head stuck through a slit in the middle of it and surmounted by a broad-brimmed black shiny hat, with low crown. His nether garments are cut far differently from ours, though of pretty much the same material, being open at the side from the foot nearly up to the waistband, & studded all the way down with buttons which may be kept fastened or not according to the state of the weather. Under these is worn a pair of long, loose white linen drawers which form a conspicuous part of the dress. Both men & women have remarkably small feet, and the little shoes of the men high in the instep & pointed at the toe would be mighty apt to puzzle the followers of St. Crispin in our country. The dress of the women differs from that of ours principally in the covering of the head and feet. Bonnets are unknown among them; and the only head dress being the rebozo, a kind of a long wide scarf of various patterns, hues, and textures, the arrangement of which forms by no means the least fascinating part of the Spanish woman's toilet. Their feet which are remarkable for the smallness of size and elegance of shape, are never covered with aught but the thinnest of shoeleather, and much more generally in satin which is the material invariably worn on all extra occasions, and not infrequently around the house or on a short walk.

It would puzzle a stranger at first sight to imagine by what means these Californians live, as business, trade, or agriculture, so all-important toward the maintenance of an honest living at home, are here almost unknown. All manufactured articles, together with such articles as tea, coffee, etc. are imported; what little blacksmithing, carpentering, etc, there is to do, is principally done by foreigners settled in the country, and there is no export, save hides & tallow. But the riddle is soon explained when one comes to live a little while among then and to observe their household economy. Almost every Californian has his rancho and herds of cattle and horses - many have several ranchos in different parts of the country. Beef is his principal food, and that of his family. He kills it himself and therefore pays no butcher's bill. His house is composed of the materials most ready to his hand, and is built by the cheapest kind of labor - by the Indians, who although not nominally slaves, are so in fact. He grows a few vegetables & fruits; sometimes maize & wheat, the former of which his women grind by a process peculiar to the Spaniards, and make into thin cakes resembling what are vulgarly termed "flap-jacks." From time to time he slaughters a number for their hides and tallow, which, together with what has been saved from the animals which have supplied the enormous & wasteful consumption of beef necessary to the support of a Californian family, he disposes of to the vessels which collect those articles along the coast. Thus he obtains wearing apparel for himself and family, tea, coffee, & sugar, & the few other things which the simplicity of a Californian's life renders necessary.

As might be supposed, the Californian has but few amusements, and those not of the most intellectual kind. Horseracing, cockfighting, and bullbaiting, form about the sum total. None of them have even the advantages of being good in their kind. The bullbaiting, in particular has but one thing in its favor; namely, that it is anything but the cruel and dangerous sport as practiced in Old Spain, blood being barely spilt on either side. Gambling, of course, as among the Spaniards of every country, is entered into much more philosophically than with us. Here, men, women, & children, all understand the game of monte, and instead of being concealed as degrading vice, it is looked upon as an ordinary recreation. The fandango is their most innocent pleasure - a kind of dance far inferior to any of ours, in fact not to be mentioned in the same breath.

The Indians are the bondmen of the country. They are a miserable race of beings in general, though sometimes you may fall in with a pretty good specimen of the human race among them, in a physical point of view. Most of them are of small stature and repulsive physiognomy. There are multitudes of them living in a wild state in the unsettled & remote parts of the country, but they give the Californians a wide berth. Those with whom we came in contact were descendants of those who had been semi-civilized & collected together into the missions by the Jesuits. To how high a pitch of civilization they attained under the ghostly fathers, I know not, but I strongly suspect that they retain yet all they ever gained, namely, a ha­bit of obedience under fear of punishment. Naturally lazy perhaps, perhaps only from force of example as set by their masters, it is hard to get them to work - necessity forming their inducement. The universal panacea for the care of their idleness appears to be hard blows, which the Californians are by no means scrupulous in laying on. Their greatest reward is ardent spirits, which they will guzzle down until they attain the lowest depths of intoxication. Where ever there are a number of them, they live by themselves in a small village, or collection of huts, termed a rancheria. These huts are built exactly in the shape of a beehive, composed of branches of trees, thatched with straw or grass. At the disposal of their masters during the day, they sleep in their huts at night.

But on Saturday evening you see the Indian at home - in all his glory. That evening is looked upon as a peculiar season for frolic. Then they receive whatever pittance is allowed them by their masters, which, transformed in part into the share of liquor, they fetch home for their weekly jollification. Soon the entire number of the inhabitants of the rancheria are assembled within its boundaries, together with the few Indians who live scattered around among their Spanish masters. Then commence their festivities, their principal game, and the one which they are never weary of practicing, is carried on in this wise. They all congregate around a smoky fire, when one of them, who assumes for the time the post of honor, is chosen to commence operations. This fellow takes the most conspicuous place round the fire, and taking a small piece of bone in his hands, shows it in one of them, between the fingers, to the assembly. He then changes it from one hand to the other behind his back, chanting all the time the most uncouth noises, & grunting and groaning, as if in the utmost bodily exertion. Continuing the same ceremony, he produces his hands to the audience, waving them in the air, occasionally showing the piece of bone and anon dexterously changing it before their eyes from hand to hand, and finger to finger. Whoever fancies he can tell in which hand the bone lies, claps his hands on the instant and points to it, when the operator immediately discloses its true location, but in nine cases out of ten the guesser is deceived. The bone is lost by the party holding it, and assumed by another, when its locality is discovered. Of course there is money staked upon this game, but I could never discover by what rules its transfer is controlled. The Indians betray the greatest enthusiasm in this sport, & never fail to get thoroughly drunk over it.

Six or seven weeks after our arrival in Santa Barbara, we were amusing ourselves on the beach one afternoon when a small vessel cast anchor outside the line of kelp. We were all anxious to find out what she could be, and were most agreeably surprised to find that she contained on board a number of our comrades who had been accidentally left behind in New York, and had been afterwards dispatched after us in the Barque Brutus. Only four or five of them belonged to the same company with myself. There were more for the other company stationed with us, and some were destined further south, to join the companies stationed at Los Angeles. We spent that evening in listening to the news brought by our lost comrades, and a pleasant evening it was to all of us.

But a few weeks more, and another arrival took place; and this time it was one of no small moment to us. It was that of the Storeship Lexington. Rumor had some time before proclaimed her errand, which was no more nor less than to remove us nearly a thousand miles further south, to the lowest extremity of the peninsula of Lower California; far from any aid or reinforcement by land, and within less than 48 hours' sail from the Mexican coast. It was an exciting topic to our men, and accordingly was turned over and discussed in every shape and form. The majority, true to the ideas which induced them to volunteer in the first place, were eager to welcome any change of place and scene, but there were no few malcontents, who would much rather have stayed in Santa Barbara. They had become used to the quotidian hum-drum life we were leading, and were fearful of changing it for the worse. For my own part, I had seen all that was seen to be seen in Santa Barbara, and as I looked upon the remainder of the term of my enlistment as so much lost time anyhow, I was glad to improve it as well as I could, by seeing as much of the country as possible. Then too for the first time dawned upon our minds the idea of actual conflict with the enemy, for we were told that such a thing would become far from improbable upon our reaching the Lower country. Such an idea appeared then to be welcome after the monotony of our previous existence. And perhaps, it is not to be wondered at that, after hearing of the glorious deeds of arms achieved by our countrymen-in-arms at Monterey and at Buena Vista, we felt ourselves a little imbued with the esprit de soldat, and hoped that we too might become distinguished ourselves, though in a smaller sphere. Then again, to the more impatient spirit among us, there was a sort of fascination in the idea of actual warfare, which swallowed up every other consideration & made them eager for the conflict, for the sake of its very excitement, and the new scenes which it would open to us. The voice of the discontented was soon drowned in the general cry, and all appeared anxious for our departure south.

Of course we were all curious to learn full particulars as to the place of our destination. We learned but little about it, except that we were bound for the port of La Paz, in the Gulf of California, which together with the whole peninsula had been formally surrendered to the U.S. by the Mexican governor of the territory. We looked on the map, but could not, for the life of us, find any place laid down, so we conjectured that it must be par excellence the most out of the way place of that part of the world. Not having access to any books of travel relating to this favored region, we were obliged to content ourselves with questioning some of the old residents of Santa Barbara, who had happened formerly to have touched on the coast of the peninsula. Their yarns chiefly related to the neighborhood of the Cape St. Lucas, which they described as being a country distinguished for its unhealthiness, its intolerable heat, its wilderness of sand, its fleas, mosquitoes, and venomous insects. How far this description was correct will be seen in the sequel. But of its manifold disagreeables, however, nothing daunted us, who were ready to welcome any change, whether for better or worse.

But I must confess that we had heretofore experienced and had been subjected as yet, to little or no duty; and it is really hard to conceive of, certainly difficult to find, a more beautiful country, or a more agreeable or healthier climate than that of California. Sickness had seldom or never troubled us; we had plenty of leisure time during which to ramble over the hills & vales, and the incomparable summertime of Upper California, ever cloudless, ever serene & sunny, had always favored us in this our favorite amusement.

However, we were all rejoiced at receiving the order to make ready for our embarcation. Two companies only were ordered on this new expedition - my own & another. We packed up the few things we were permitted to take with us, marched down to the beach, and were taken on board the Lexington.

Chapter VII

The day after our embarcation happened to be the anniversary of the "glorious fourth". As usual on that occasion, altho' it was prohibited to bring liquor aboard, a great deal of latitude was given to those of the seamen who were smart enough to obtain it, and imprudent to make use of it. Of course the volunteers had not been behind hand in its introduction; so that, on the whole, there was a pretty jolly, not to say a pretty drunken, time kept up on this memorable occasion. Arrangements had been previously made to celebrate the day, in a much more rational manner, on shore; but our hasty embarcation had knocked our calculations and turned all our soberer amusements into the single and more than equivocal one of drinking. However, the day passed pretty quietly with us, though the sailors were rather obstreperous; one or two of them were let out as soon as sober, on account of the usual license allowed on that day.

Just as the afternoon commenced, the order was given to up anchor; and sailors and volunteers all turned to at the windlass and the ropes to speed our departure. We left Santa Barbara behind us on the wings of a stiff breeze, and next day cast anchor in the bay of San Pedro, about eighty miles to the southward.

We had heard of this place before, as being the port to Pueblo de Los Angeles, but were not prepared to see such a miserable forlorn, desolate sight as it presented. Its bay, like that of Santa Barbara, is nothing but a roadstead. Near the shore is an island on which lie buried the few who fell in the battles of the 8th & 9th of January, together with those who died afterwards of their wounds, or of sickness, while the fleet lay off San Pedro. The view of the shore from the anchorage presents only a tract of bleak, barren, arid soil, destitute either of trees or undergrowth, and rising gradually up from the top of the steep bank which overhangs the sea, until the horizon is bounded at a short distance off by the crest of the hill. Not a tree, nor a shrub, nor any other stationary object was to be seen, save two miserable board huts & their appurtenances, which were the only human habitations for several miles around. Even fresh water, that most necessary of articles, had to be fetched from a distance; by no means adding to the attractions of the spot. Altogether San Pedro can boast of being the most God-forsaken place in California, at least as far as I have seen of the country.

No wonder, then, that, after landing the field-pieces, with other articles, for the command at Lower Pueblo, we were glad to be once more ploughing the waves in a southerly direction. We did not, however, get off quite so easily; for, after keeping on our course some 12 or 15 miles, it was discovered that some little matter of great importance had been forgotten at San Pedro, and the ship's head was accordingly once more put around for the port we had just left. After once more gaining port, and communicating with the shore by means of a boat, we essayed our passage for the third time to the place of our destination.

A few days after leaving San Pedro, we witnessed one of those most disgraceful of all exhibitions - the infliction of corporal punishment. One by one, the poor fellows who happened to have been singled out for some petty fault - perhaps insolence to some over-bearing petty officer, perhaps a little tardiness in attending muster, or some deficiency in their wardrobe, - were called up before officers, assembled in full conclave, and arrayed in full uniform, swords and all, and were questioned as to their delinquencies. Very little by way of answer was either offered or allowed, the principle followed appearing to be, to flog all against whom complaints had been made. "Strip Sir," was the order almost invariably given; off came their shirts, and down came the lash upon their naked backs, leaving blue and red streaks at every stroke. I could not stand by and see this brutalizing infliction without wondering that the republican spirit of the American people had not been long, long ago awakened to the anti-republican & inhuman nature & tendencies of this soul-hardening practise. Happily that people have since then spoken, through their representatives, and the petty monarchs of the quarter-deck will have to find out some more humane machinery wherewith to enforce their discipline.

The volunteers on board the Lexington were, of course, highly indignant at the sight which they were summoned to witness. Having lived up to within [8?] months previous in the very heart of the free community, and not having yet been subjected to the extreme rigors of regular discipline, perhaps it will not be wondered that they so far forgot requirements of both army and navy regulations as to express their feelings on the subject by hissing. Our commanding officer came forward & instructed the men that, however much they might dislike what they saw, they had no business to make any comment upon it. The volunteers could not but see the necessity of this, and desisted; but the crew of the Lexington never forgot this expression of feeling, and never ceased to entertain the most friendly feeling toward us.

We had quite a pleasant, easy voyage down the coast, favored by the breezes which prevail nine months out of the twelve in this part of the world. As we made latitude to the southward we experienced the usual change in the temperature of the air; until, when we arrived nearly to the latitude of Cape St. Lucas, the heat became so intense that the between-deck was insupportable, & the spar-deck nearly so. However, we were so full of expectations incident to our new change of location, that we did not regard these little inconveniences, & were only anxious to be speedily put on shore.

The first land we made after leaving San Pedro was some distance of the Cape. A few evenings afterwards we made and doubled Cape St. Lucas, favored by a strong breeze. For several hours we passed along in close proximity to the coast, which appeared alternately in the shape of sandy beach, & rocky cliffs, giving us here & there a glimpse of trees and vegetation, but ever with the same background of high mountains. As we were thus rapidly passing along the coast, we came across a small pilot boat, whose occupant was soon put in charge of the vessel, and under whose direction we next morning cast anchor off the small village or town of San Jose, some 15 or 20 miles to the eastward of the Cape.

That same evening we took on board a pilot for La Paz, the place of our ultimate destination; once more weighed anchor, and for the last time. Two days after (July 20th) we cast anchor in the harbor of Pichilingue, the bay of La Paz.

Pichilingue, the usual watering-place for shipping, and the resort of the pearl divers of the neighborhood of La Paz, is otherwise destitute of interest; presenting to the eye, like most of the coast of the bay nothing but bleak & bare rocks & sandy sea-beach. The bay itself is a noble one; rather open, it is true, but very capacious. The only objection to it is the narrow & circuitous channel thro' which a vessel must pass in order to get abreast of the town. La Paz is situated at the very innermost extremity of the bay inside a very snug & scenic little harbor, about half a mile in width and two miles in length, formed by the mainland on the one side and a narrow peninsula on the other. When the Pacific squadron lay in the bay, the larger vessels anchored off the point of this peninsula some 3 or 4 miles from town. A sloop of war, however, and some say a bigger craft, can be brought clear up to the town.

Almost as soon as we arrived in the harbor of Pichilingue, we were visited by boats from La Paz, bringing for sale the fruits of the country, including figs, pomegranates, prickly pears, water & mush melons, grapes, etc., etc. We had never before tasted so great a variety of tropical fruits, and were delighted with them, auguring good things of a country which could produce such delicious fare. The afternoon following our arrival, we weighed anchor & took advantage of a favoring breeze to get the vessel off the point of the peninsula, where for the present the Lexington took her station. No sooner was the anchor let go, than the order was given for our disembarcation.

The wind was not fair for the boats which landed us to run straight strait up to the town, so we were disembarked upon the beach some half a mile or more to the left of it. Immediately on landing we were struck by the great dissimilarity between the aspect of this place & any other we had before seen. This was peculiarly striking mostly at the very point where we landed, which was mostly waste land in Lower California, with cactus & other thorny plants in lieu of the thousand beautiful trees flowers observable in more temperate regions. We were formed on the beach, & marched up the sand bank which overhangs it, and through the wilderness of cactus which everywhere surrounds the town, until we came to the outskirts. Our captain had been previously instructed to take possession of an adobe building which had formerly served the Mexicans as a cuartel or fort, but, in consequence of his ignorance of its exact locality & great similarity existing between all mud walls, he had well nigh marched us into the graveyard. He did not discover his mistake until some well-intentioned native directed us to the cuartel. This we accordingly occupied, a guard was set, the men were instructed to keep close to quarters, and we were once more firmly established on terra firma.

As luck world have it, it was my day to be on guard, so I happened to be posted in front of our quarters, and as they occupied a commanding position a little on one side of the town, I was enabled to take a complete bird's eye view of its commanding proportions. The view inside the cuartel was by no means inviting, as the reader will be informed, so I devoted two hours to the contemplation of the scene which lay without the walls.

The cuartel was surrounded by a stone wall and ditch, and overhung on the front a strip of low ground several hundred yards in width, on a level with the beach, & covered the gardens abounding in front. On this strip of low ground, & a little to the left of the cuartel, stood the town, comprising several regularly built streets, composed of adobe houses plastered over with cement, with flat roofs constructed of palm-poles & covered also with cement. Along the main street, on either side, grew a row of trees, and at the end next the cuartel was a large bench of the same material as the houses that blocked up the way completely against wheel-conveyances, which in this mountainous country were unknown until our arrival. To this bench we afterwards gave the name of "the Arm Chair", and used to resort to it in the cool of the evening to sit down & while away an hour or so in conversation. Back of the town there runs up a deep sandy arroyo or gully, formed by the water which rushes down from the mountains in the rainy season. All around on the outskirts of the town, near & beyond the cuartel, and up & down the beach, are scattered the ramadas or brush huts of the poorer natives, with here & there a detached adobe building surrounded by its garden and accompanied with its oven. What principally struck me, as I gazed upon the scene before me, was the different hue both of the earth & vegetation, from what I had heretofore seen. The ground being of a uniformly sandy character, was of a remarkable color, and the trees & shrubs seemed to harmonize with the color of the soil, being of generally of a very light green. The strip of cultivated ground beneath me, fronting the beach, was beautiful indeed, with its large tamarind trees, its wilderness of castor oil plants, and its heavily foliaged & luxuriant lime & orange trees. A few coconut palms reared their tall forms above this array of vegetation, seemingly too proud to mingle with the common herd; while beneath I could perceive one or two humble dwellings inhabited by some of the poorer classes, whose sole subsistence consisted of the produce of their fruit gardens.

Upon being relieved from post, I obtained a chance to inspect our present quarters. Alas! what a contrast to the beauty of the scene without! A miserable mud edifice, of but one apartment, some 20 feet by 12 in size, its walls & floor perfectly bare, the latter however covered with a most delightful stratum of dust & entirely destitute either of fixtures or furniture. This was the cuartel - the quarters of the quondam Mexican garrison, and our present abiding place. No wonder that the men disregarded the order to keep close to their quarters, & wandered forth even on the very night of our arrival to ramble through the streets, to scrape acquaintance with the natives, some of them to get most indubitably drunk, and to return late at night to make up their beds all around the cuartel, instead of inside it, beneath the broad canopy of heaven. For my own part, I, early in the evening, fixed my blankets on the soft sand back of the building, and, having notified the corporal of my relief where to find me when my turn again came round to take post, sank to sleep beneath the clearest & brightest sky, and calmest & purest atmosphere that I had ever yet seen.

Next morning we recommenced our old fun of beachcombing, but it was soon found that we were in a climate far different from the one we had left. The heat was so oppressive that we found it absolutely necessary to rest once or twice under the shade of a tree in passing from the cuartel to the beach. Under these circumstances labor became almost insupportable. The more dissipated characters speedily went off and got drunk; others grumbled in consequence of their absence. One man who left was the sentry over the stores on the beach. The very cooks, being unsupplied with provisions & firewood, deserted their posts & left the command without food. For a day or two, most of us boarded ourselves, and those whose pay had been spent, had a hard time of it. Some of the delinquents were put under arrest, but the prisoners became so numerous, that the guard was unable to keep watch over them. In fact, the heat was so intense, we were so unused to it, and so unprovided with either the means or the knowledge to mitigate it, that the men actually did not know what to do with themselves. Inside was no better; the shade of a tree was the only available resort.

This state of things lasted several days. Meanwhile our commanding officer remained on board ship - perhaps unaware of the existing confusion. At length he made his appearance ashore, and probably saw at a glance the cause of the disorder. He called the men together, and after, in vulgar parlance, "giving them a good blowing up" for their lack of discipline, told them that arrangements had been entered into for their better accommodation, & ordered them immediately to break camp for better quarters. This order was cheerfully and energetically obeyed; all hands turning to & helping to remove the stores, company property, etc., from the cuartel & the beach to the place picked upon for our new encampment. This was a small plain, on the other side of the town & back of it, situated between two arroyos - about a quarter of a mile from the old cuartel. An adobe building had been hired for our accommodation, and some of the men were immediately set to work fitting it up with bunks. In the meantime our tents were pitched upon the sand, and much more effectual shelter from the sun, and were a good deal cleaner to live in, than the cuartel. The officers occupied a handsome building, which had just been fixed for the occasion. The church which stood a few yards from the officers' quarters had a shed in front of it, which was used temporarily as a guard house; affording quite a pleasant shelter from the sun. Further, the sentries were not posted during the hours when the sun was at its hottest, but were kept under the shade of the brush shed. Drill was dispensed with, and roll-call was not very rigidly exacted.

Duty being thus made light to us, we began to look forward to pretty easy times. In a few days the barracks were completed, and we removed into them. They were too small, however, to accommodate all, so some of us pitched our tents back of the building, on the brow of the hill, overlooking the arrow. As tents were plentiful, in consequence of the majority living in barracks, we were not obliged to live so crowded as are soldiers in general; so that those who occupied tents only lived two or three together. I managed, in company with two of my comrades, to obtain an officer's tent, which we pitched just behind the barracks, and in which we managed to live as comfortably as under a more solid roof. Another comfort was added to the list at this time, namely, a division into messes. We had hitherto formed but one common company mess - now, however, each company was divided into four messes, and a caterer chosen for each. Under this arrangement we contrived to live in much more civilized manner than formerly, and our fare was considerably improved.

In consequence of the extreme dryness of the season, & the usual scarcity of verdure at this time, the beef was so poor that its issue was discontinued, and rations of turtle meat, which is very plentiful in this country, were substituted for it. This for a time was quite a novelty, but we soon tired of it. One great objection to it was our ignorance of the proper way of cooking such food.

Another item which was added to our list of eatables was the mussel, which abounds here, and which our men showed great industry in gathering. At low tide they would wade out several hundred yards into the water, sometimes using the assistance of a canoe, and would bring to land great quantities of them, which materially added to our stock of comforts. There was one great drawback, however, to this kind of sport, and this was that the mussels themselves, or some weed or insect attached to them (we could never discover which), possessed the property of poisoning the hand, or any part of the body with which they came in contact, and this sometimes to a degree which was extremely painful. A kind of rash would break out upon the part so affected, similar to that occasioned by what is called "prickly heat", which would last several days, accompanied with more or less smarting and itching. I never heard of the like property being possessed by that shellfish in the States, though perhaps it may be so.

Our men frequently went out in search of game, and some of them met with success. They would now and then bring in deer. Hares were in great plenty. But the most delicate addition to our food was the wild dove, which used to be brought in in great numbers, and made a most excellent repast.

We found bathing to be the most refreshing relaxation in this warm climate; for which the conformation of the shores of the harbor of La Paz offers peculiar facilities. The beach shelves gradually, so that at high tide one can wade in for some little distance before getting out of depth. The bottom is in places a smooth sand, but woe to the luckless individual who unwarily extends his wanderings or wadings into the vicinity of a fragment of coral, which is pretty plentifully besprinkled over the ground beneath him. We used frequently to be cut by it, but never lost our relish for the cool water, which was none the less pleasant at eventime on account of the extreme heat of the day. Often, too, something generally considered more dangerous than coral to the bather beset us, to wit, the shark, which are here very plentiful, and, it is said, is very annoying, to say the least of it, to the pearl divers on the coast. However, they never troubled us much, although at first they rather frightened us. The only reason we could give for their harmlessness was, that those which came so far as the inner harbor were perhaps of a smaller & inoffensive kind, while the more dangerous species kept in deep water. But we afterwards saw much larger and, apparently, more ferocious ones on the coast. From two to four feet appeared to be the usual size of those which frequented the neighborhood of La Paz.

Chapter VIII

It, doubtless, may appear rather strange, that a little more than 100 New York volunteers fresh from the workshop and the plough, should have been deemed sufficient to occupy a country so close to one of the most populous portions of a hostile country, as is Lower California to the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora. Stranger still, that the Mexican authorities in those and the neighboring states should allow so small a force for one moment to remain undisturbed within 48 hours' sail, and upon Mexican territory. But so it was and the American commandants on this coast did not in reality far over-step the truth when they considered it possible for us to maintain our position. An American sloop of war, the Portsmouth, had previously reconnoitered the few ports of the Peninsula, and had found it perfectly unprotected, & although so near the mother country, as much isolated from it in fact as tho' it were a remote colony. A kind of a surrender of the country was then patched up between Mexican governor (Sr. Don Francisco Palazzio) and the American commandant, and in return a pledge was given on behalf of the United States that that government would on no account withdraw its protection from any of the people of the Lower California who would espouse the American cause, and would hold them harmless both in person and property from any persecution to which they might in consequence thereafter be subjected. The country was thereupon declared in the possession of the United States, the American flag was hoisted, and the sloop-of -war went about her business. A few months afterwards we were dispatched to hold the acquisition which she had thus made.

The instructions sent out by Secretary Marcy to Gov. Mason were to occupy and take possession of some one principal town or position in Lower California; doubtless with a view to establish the claim of conquest or occupation to that territory in the event of negotiations being entered into for a treaty of peace, and with the least possible outlay of men and means. Accordingly, we were sent off on this important service; and if the Mexicans had exhibited the least spirit in the world, instead of finding a clear course before us and mighty easy times, they could have very soon made the country too hot to hold us. But it was fated to be otherwise.

Shortly after our arrival an appropriate proclamation was made in due form, setting forth the occupation of the country by American arms, the security of the civil rights of the inhabitants, etc., etc. and copies of it were dispatched to the most important towns of the territory. Having no force at their command to enable them to act in defiance, the authorities pretty generally adhered to & promulgated the proclamation, but news soon reached us that opposition had been manifested to it in a town called San Antonio, situated some sixty miles from La Paz, about midway between the Gulf and the Pacific. It was at first in contemplation by our commander to march thither (for our numbers) a large force, and right glad were we when fifty of us received orders to be in readiness for a tramp. We came so near it as to be actually drawn up in front of the barracks, ready accoutred for the march; when the order was countermanded, and we returned, with unwilling hearts, to our quarters. Our commander had probably taken counsel on the subject, and discovered San Antonio to be rather too insignificant a place to be visited so heavily. In a few days he set off with a small mounted party of some ten or a dozen to see into and settle the matter in question.

The very day after his departure, news reached us of far greater importance. A small schooner, the Libertad, owned and commanded by an American long resident on the coast, came into port with the intelligence that men and arms had actually been landed from the Mexican coast, in order to dispute with us the possession of the territory. A small place called Mulegé, some distance to the northward of Loretto, and some hundred miles to the northward of La Paz, was the place where the expedition had landed. An express was immediately dispatched with the intelligence to our commanding officer, who returned several days afterward, bringing with him as prisoners, two residents of San Antonio, esteemed of weight in the country, of the name of Hidalgo, and who were supposed to be at the bottom of any conspiracy which was or might be hatching against us. They were, however, liberated, upon giving their parole of honor not to take up arms or conspire against the United States.

A week after the arrival of the Libertad witnessed also that the U.S. sloop of war Dale, arrived from Upper California. Her commander, after consulting, with our commanding officer, immediately set sail up the Gulf, in company with the Libertad, to obtain information as to the truth of the reports which had reached us. At Loretto they landed and searched the town for arms. Here, they captured and burnt a small vessel which had brought over the Mexican force. On landing at this place, after a short conference with the newly arrived Mexican authorities, who intimated, very pithily, their proud preference of death to submission, a skirmish took place between the marines & sailors of the Dale and the Mexican force which was stationed to oppose their landing, and which was beaten back. The town was searched but few or no arms were found, and the Dale returned to La Paz, bringing with it a corroboration of the intelligence that ere long we might expect an actual conflict with the enemy. True, little else than officers and arms had been landed from Mexico, but, of course, as was afterwards proved, authority had been given to organize & even press into the service all necessary supplies of men or subsistence, and thus the whole resources of the country were threatened to be concentrated against us.

From this time forward the enemy slowly, but steadily, proceeded with their preparations. After ransacking the whole country around Mulegé and Loretto for men, arms, and supplies, all of which were seized upon and impressed ad libidum, whereever found, they commenced their march down the peninsula toward La Paz, accumulating in strength the whole way. They did not march straight for La Paz, as we expected, but continued their operations in the country to the south and west of it, strengthening their numbers, and adding to their resources every day. Their object, namely, to continue gathering strength until all the vessels of war had left the coast, and then make one "fell swoop" upon us. Their anticipation, of course, was to rid the country of us and everything American - perhaps to massacre us to a man; for they had in several instances murdered the poor defenseless residents in the country whose only crime was that they were born Americans.

Intelligence and rumors respecting the movements of the enemy reached us every day, and from this time forth our life was no longer monotonous, but rife with apprehension, with anticipation, and incident. Spies, couriers, and chance travelers arrived day after day, bringing sometimes the rumor which foreruns the truth, sometimes the wildest exaggerations, sometimes mere fiction, sometimes, but very rarely, the naked truth. We became so used to this, at length, that the wildest accounts lost the power to alarm or surprise us. It became our daily food. So many times did the fictitious intelligence reach us that the enemy was about to pounce upon us, and so many times was the rumor contradicted by sober fact (the movements of our opponents being on the slow and sure scale), that we began to believe that we should never be troubled, and should always enjoy the easy kind of life which had hitherto been our lot. We began to deem the precautions which had been made against the enemy as unnecessary. The men even grumbled at being obliged to sleep at night (part of them), on the roof of the quarters - a disposition of our forces which had been made by our superior officer, in order to take advantage, as much as possible of the strength of our position. Another precaution, however, they did not quite so much object to, viz., the landing every night of a detachment of marines and sailors from the Dale to strengthen our forces in the event of a night attack. Having been so long used to no other companionship but their own of which, by this time, they were heartily sick, our men quickly made much of their new visitors, and fraternized with them to their hearts' content.

Thus things went on, rather quietly in the main, until we were again disturbed by the intelligence of another significant movement of the enemy. On the 23d of October, a small vessel arrived from San Jose having on board Mr. Mott and family, who had, it appeared, been obliged to flee from the place in consequence of a demonstration made on the part of its inhabitants in favor of the so called liberating force which was about to attack us. As has been stated, Mr. Mott, who was in very good ardor with the American commandants on the coast, had been entrusted in a kind of semi-official manner with the guardianship of American interests in that place. He was no doubt, looked upon by its simple-minded inhabitants as a sort of commander or chief, and by the disaffected certainly as an enemy to be destroyed. The Mexican leaders had by this time so nearly completed their arrangements as to give confidence to the minds of their well-wishers that at length the liberation of the Peninsula was at hand. Furthermore, the American fleet, which, by news received on the arrival of the Dale, we had learned was on its way from the upper country, to blockade and seize the Mexican ports, and which was expected to rendezvous at San Jose, had not yet arrived. The worthy citizens of San Jose, therefore, already sniffing on the breeze the approach of liberty, and feeling themselves for once beyond the reach of the long arm of American power, met together (over their cups, it was said), and declared the end of American rule. The Stars and Stripes were ignominiously hauled down, & the eagle of Mexico run up in its place. A demonstration was about to be made by the mob upon Mr. Mott's house, who very prudently took time by the forelock, hurried down to the beach with his family and embarked for La Paz. Thus were the enemy rampant in San Jose, and day by day, confirmatory intelligence reached us of the approaching maturity of their plans.

That we should be attacked, it now became so certain, that our commanding officer deemed it necessary to take further precautionary measures. It was important, also, to feel the pulse of the inhabitants of the town in which we were stationed, and to ascertain what might be expected of them in case a hostile force should really make its appearance. Accordingly, about a week after Mr. Mott's arrival, Col. Burton called a meeting of the principal inhabitants of the place to confer with them on the proper measures to be taken in the approaching emergency. The result was that a municipal guard was organized to act as a guard on the town. This assembled every evening in regular military style. A. proclamation was also issued declaring the town to be under martial law. The inhabitants were forbid to leave their houses after 9 o'clock at night. Finally, all persons disaffected to the United States were ordered to leave town within twelve hours from the date of the proclamation.

The strictest orders were given to ensure the watchfulness of our own guard, and to make certain of a ready turnout in case of a surprise. Our muskets were kept constantly loaded, and each man's cartridgebelt was full. The safety of the town being confided to the municipal guard, our patrols every night traversed its environs, and the vicinity of the barracks. At the expiration of every two hours during the night, the relieved guard went off on this duty. A detachment of the men slept each night on the roof of their barracks, and another on the officer's quarters, these being deemed good places from which to annoy the enemy in case of an attack. The gunners slept by their guns, with their accoutrements ready at hand, and everything was made ready for the expected conflict. The decks were clear for action, and every one was anxious for a speedy encounter.

Several night alarms took place, in consequence of the known proximity of the enemy, or a portion of them, and of the feverish temper of mind which prevailed among all, caused by the constant rumors, mixed with, now & then, an important item of news, which were daily arriving. An accidental shot was generally the immediate cause.

On these occasions the men showed the greatest alacrity in turning out and taking their allotted stations. The long roll was beat; all for a few minutes was hurry-skurry and excitement. Accoutrements were put on , muskets were snatched from the racks, and all was ready for the expected foe. These night-alarms, though rather vexatious after several repetitions, served the purpose of showing that all were on the alert, and ready for action.

On the 30th of October news arrived of the capture of Guaymas by the frigate Congress and sloop of war Portsmouth. As it was afterwards described to us, it was rather a ridiculous affair. A summons was sent ashore by the commanding officer demanding a surrender of the town, which not being formally complied with, the ships opened their batteries upon the denoted place. For about 30 minutes shot & shell were poured into the town, killing no one but a poor unfortunate old man who had been sent to hoist the white flag. The inhabitants had deserted the town, leaving it unguarded to the mercy of the Americans. When the reader is reminded that Guaymas is the seaport of Sonora and a place of some thousands of inhabitants, he can form some idea of the extreme supineness and cowardice of the Mexican people as well as authorities, who allowed this place to be taken without a blow, and afterwards suffered it to remain in possession of a single sloop of war, although they mustered a force of 12 or 1500 men in the immediate vicinity.

The day after the arrival of this intelligence a courier arrived overland from San Jose, bringing dispatches, & news which created a greater excitement than ever. Commodore Shubrick with the whole Pacific fleet had arrived at San Jose, en-route for Mazatlan, and the brave inhabitants of the former town were once more in the hands of the Philistines. But the most important matter to us was the one which formed the subject of the dispatches from the Commodore. Col. Mason, governor of Upper California, had transmitted orders to our commander, instructing him in case he deemed the peninsula in a settled condition & unlikely to revolt from the U.S. rule, to place his two companies on board the ships of war for disembarcation at Mazatlan, to aid in the capture and tenure of that important place. It is impossible to describe the general feeling of delight and anticipation which this intelligence elicited. We had been so long threatened with the enemy, that we began to despair of its ever taking place. We were led to anticipate a tough conflict with the Mexicans at Maztalan, which would repay us for our inaction at La Paz. But, most of all, we desired to set our feet upon the soil of Mexico proper; and that for various reasons.

In the first place, it would place us nearer the City of Mexico, the great centre of operations, which, we had lately learned was then in the hands of our brave countrymen. Once landed upon the soil of Mexico, who could tell where our wanderings would stop? Who could tell how many troops might not be sent out from the States, in case of a continuation of the war, to commence operations upon the Western Coast? And in that event what more likely than that we, who had been longest in the country, and probably by that time experienced in conflict with the enemy, should be the first to be sent upon any expedition inland, or along the coast. The same restless longings which had influenced so many of us to join the regiment, and which had characterized us during all our previous change of place and scene, now impelled us on to desire further change and extended wanderings.

We wanted to see the Mexican people on their own soil. To see the places which history in some of its most romantic pages had made famous. Already sojourners in a tropical climate, we wished to see yet more of its wonders and riches poured out before us. We wished to behold the strange and beautiful scenery, peculiar to Mexico, of which we had read so often. Above all, we hoped at some future day to visit some of the great cities of Mexico. Perchance the great capital itself - whose last great vicissitude was neither the greatest nor the least through which it had passed.

This desire for change, carried to its utmost limits, is one which the reader will doubtless readily understand, especially should he have perused Robinson Crusoe. In his younger days, he will appreciate it as one which, although very natural under certain circumstances and to certain temperaments, is not likely to be very profitable either to the species or the individual except under wise direction and appropriate opportunity. He will perhaps find it harder to account for and to excuse the desire which we all more or less felt for actual conflict with the enemy; involving as it necessarily must, not danger only, but with it much that is abhorrent to the best feelings of humanity. Should he so far interest himself in the feelings and ideas of an obscure individual, he will probably be surprised what I, who entered the California regiment with anything but a desire for a soldier's life - who entered under the full impression that we should never be called upon to fight, who scouted altogether the idea of enlisting to go to Mexico, because it could lead to nothing more than the life, and perhaps the death of a soldier - should after a year's enlistment anxiously desire to change a life of peaceful inaction for one of danger and struggle; that I should desire to peril the very objects which brought me to California & which I was then purchasing with months, nay years of distasteful service, together with life itself, against the very doubtful satisfaction of a chapter or two of excitement and hazard. But so it was; and I can only account for it by supposing, what I must say I believe from experience to be the truth, that the life of a soldier inclines a man toward that occupation. We had so long been in the habit of receiving glorious and cheering news from Taylor's and Scott's brave armies in Mexico, and had been so accustomed to look upon them as engaged in the same cause with ourselves, that there was at length kindled within our minds a desire to emulate their glory & share their achievements. We began to experience, too, a little of that fascination which perilous and active conflict is said to exercise over its participators. We had been surrounded for so long a time with wars and rumors of wars, that, tired with sitting idly by and waiting for the tardy hour to arrive, we felt a longing at once to plunge into that exciting strife which heretofore we had heard of rather than seen.

And why should this feeling be deemed (as by thousands upon thousands of countrymen it is) utterly vagabond, wicked and worthless? They who believe in the necessity of war, and in particular in the righteousness of the late war with Mexico, cannot surely condemn him who at his country's call ventures his life in her defense. It must be with an extremely bad grace that they at least can reflect unfavorably upon the character and the vocation of a soldier. On the other hand, admitting, as all must do, the horror and unrighteousness of bloodshed, and that neither kings, nor parliaments, nor commonwealths possess a patent from on high to commit slaughter, more than the poorest individual upon the earth's surface, it must be apparent that there are circumstances which justify war whether in the individual or nation. And who is to be the judge of these circumstances, of this justification? Not one man, nor two, surely; not at least in a free republic; but the whole people! That war sanctioned by that people, who shall be vain enough to set up his authority against the war, and say, "I take no part in it?" Who shall presume to blame his neighbor because his energies are devoted to that people's service? Surely, of all others, the time of war, of all others, is that in which there should be no dissension, but each should do his part in the appointed work, etc.

Chapter IX

I have said that it was left to the judgment of our commander to decide whether or not it would be safe to leave the country with his small force; trusting that the growing affection of the people to the United States together with its previous defenselessness would still preserve it to American arms. We had been so long in the constant habit of hearing conflicting and contradictory rumors touching the strength and proximity of the enemy, that we at length began seriously to believe that there was no enemy in the country at all. Our own senses became at length alone sufficient to convince us of the existence of the fact.

Our commander, however, had good & ample evidence of the presence of the enemy, and very rightly elected to stay & fight him. I presume he was as anxious as we were to get to Mazatlan. But he well knew there would soon be work on hand in the peninsula, and felt it to be his duty to remain and attend to it. In order, if possible, to reconcile his duty with his and our inclinations and at the same time do the greatest service possible to American interests, he decided, finally, to proceed personally to San Jose, and, after laying the true state of the country before the Commodore, request him to detach a party of marines & sailors to co-operate with us in driving the enemy out of the country. This service rendered, we should be at liberty to proceed to Mazatlan and assist in its reduction or occupation, or both as the case might be.

That we should be incapable, unaided, of doing more than hold La Paz, was pretty evident, and was afterwards conclusively proved. There were but a hundred of us, and, on the departure of the fleet, we should be beyond the reach of succor; while the enemy already numbered several times our force, and had the whole country to recruit from. With but a small reinforcement we should be enabled to traverse the whole peninsula from south to north, driving the enemy before us, until, caged up on the borders of the country he would be compelled either to fight or surrender. We should have whipped them roundly should they show fight, and should demonstrate to the unwarlike inhabitants the uselessness of any further attempts at revolution.

Accordingly, on the 1st. of November, Lt. Col. Burton departed for San Jose, on board of a small Sandwich Island Schooner, leaving the captain of the company to which I belonged in command of the post. The next day the Dale weighed anchor and set sail for Guaymas, to relieve and take the place of the vessels which had been engaged in the reduction of that port. The Storeship Lexington had long ago taken her departure for Upper California, and we were therefore left entirely to ourselves.

Now that Captain Steele was left in command, the precautions against surprise were anything but relapsed. On the contrary, the utmost vigilance was exacted from & cheerfully displayed by the men. A constant look-out was kept on strangers arriving in town, and more than one of the enemy's spies had quite a narrow escape from arrest, indeed rumor, which had long ago disturbed us daily with its wild stories, now became outrageous, in addition to which, we had several pretty significant intimations from people who could be relied upon, that the enemy would not long delay paying us a visit. These accounts fully justified our precautions.

I may as well record here that our captain was the first to make any attempt to fortify our position. This first step was taken at this time, by the construction of a semi-circular breastwork, made of palm-logs laid one upon the other extending from one side of the front of the building occupied as officers' quarters to the other, and enclosing the two field pieces. It had reached the captain's ears that it was the intention of the enemy to attack us in the night by a charge of cavalry on the guard, and in the confusion likely to prevail at the first onset to lasso and drag away the guns. No doubt these guns were a great bugbear to our opponents, and our gallant captain was reluctant as any to part with them.

On the 6th we received intelligence, overland from Col. Burton, at San Jose. There were seven American vessels of war in that port, all ready to pounce upon poor devoted Mazatlan. A party of 30 marines under the command of Sgt. Halleck, an Engineer officer, had been dispatched to Todos Santos, on the Pacific side of the Peninsula, to ascertain the truth or falsity of some of the rumors touching the strength and state of preparation of the enemy. They had returned without eliciting any important information, though, as we afterwards learned, they had narrowly escaped being set upon by a large party of the enemy. But the most important item of news to us, was that the Commodore had not fallen in with Colonel Burton's views in regard to the necessity of a co-operation for the attack of the enemy, and that no force would be detailed to enable us to march out and chastise them. This intelligence was a great damper upon our expectations, and rendered the Commodore anything but popular in La Paz.

On the 11th Nov., a ship of war appeared in the harbor. It turned out to be the Portsmouth, which had been relieved at Guaymas by the Dale. We soon learned that she had called in on her way to join the rest of the fleet to take us to Mazatlan, under orders previously given by the Commodore, in the impression that there was no objection to our leaving the peninsula. The Portsmouth did not come to anchor, but they lay off & on, while a boat was sent ashore to ascertain if we were ready to embark. It was with a heavy heart that we witnessed the return of the boat to the vessel, and her immediate departure upon her destined course.

The next day witnessed the arrival of our commanding officer from San Jose, with the final answer of the Commodore. The fleet had departed for Mazatlan, the day before Col. Burton left San Jose, leaving a force of about 25 marines & discharged sailors to garrison the latter place.

During the absence of Col. Burton, the aspect of affairs had thickened wonderfully as if confident that we, poor devils, would be left to our fate, and that that fate would be annihilation. The enemy had hurried up their preparations, concentrating their scattered forces at a point convenient for the purpose, until, a day or two before the colonel's arrival, we received certain intelligence of their actually being on the march for La Paz. The fact was, that they had got news, on the 10th or 11th, of the departure of the fleet, and immediately hastened to make the attack during their absence. Perhaps it was only one circumstance which saved us, and this was the division of their forces; part of them being dispatched to attack San Jose, the remainder setting out for La Paz.

On the 13th, the very day after Col Burton's arrival, intelligence was received that a part of the enemy had actually arrived and were encamped upon the hills, at a distance of several miles from us, and on or near the road from San Antonio. Accordingly that evening a party was dispatched, under Capt. Steel, to reconnoiter the ground near the place pointed out, and to ascertain if the report were correct. This being our first march in the direction of the enemy, all were eager to be detailed on the service. However it did not result in anything, the party returning after several hours' plodding through deep sand, without having observed any campfire or other indication of the presence of an enemy. Next day further intelligence reached us, to the effect that the enemy was close at hand, but we had so often been disappointed that we had begun to disregard even the most reliable testimony. Still the same story on the next day, the 15th, and still we disbelieved that they would ever attack us. On that evening after dark, I happened to be walking through the town with a companion, when we met an elderly woman with whom we were slightly acquainted. She stopped us, and in rather a significant manner told us that it was rather imprudent for us to be walking out at such a time. We took no notice of that admonition, continuing our walk through the main street, and even through the environs of the town. That night the whole command repaired to their usual slumbers, in the full conviction that the enemy would never dare attack us, and perhaps were not within a hundred miles of us.

I happened to be on guard that night, and was posted in front of the barracks. It was a beautifully clear moonlight evening, and although taking good care, as in duty bound, to keep my eyes wide open and maintain a bright look-out, I was soon busied in reveries, in which my past life and future prospects conspicuously figured. All at once the atmosphere became obscured by a kind of haze, through which the moon could barely penetrate, and I was unable to distinguish objects very clearly at a distance from my post. While straining my eyes in the direction of the wild cactus-covered country which lay between us and the hills, I perceived a horse, apparently without a rider, making a circuit, at a canter, around the camp, at a distance from whence he was just discernable through the obscured atmosphere. Had I perceived a rider I should certainly have challenged him, and, if unanswered, fired upon him and alarmed the camp. As it was, I thought it remarkable, but supposed it might possibly be nothing but an animal which had broken loose, perhaps in search of water. However, I reported it to the sergeant of the guard, when he visited my post. At one o'clock I was relieved, and went with the rest of the relieved guard on the usual patrol round the environs of the town. We descended the hill, entering the outskirts of the town, and passed along the arroyo which lay between the old cuartel and our camp. We little dreamed as we trudged, with the gaiety of a relieved sentry, through the sand, with our muskets resting in an easy position on our shoulders, straggling along, one behind the other, and laughing and talking as though the enemy were a thousand miles off, that he was even then posted on the hill upon which the old cuartel was situated, could probably overhear the very words we uttered, and by a well directed volley, might send most of us to our long account. I am ashamed to give the above description of our most unwilling method of patrolling, but the fact was that there happened on this occasion to be no commissioned officer present, and we had so long been threatened with the presence of the enemy, that we only regarded it now as but another cry of "the wolf!" Luckily the enemy took no advantage of it, and we returned to the camp unscathed.

The guard, whose rallying place was in front of the palm-pole breastwork or corral, were in the habit of sleeping inside the officers' building with the gunners, or on the ground enclosed by the corral. On that night I laid myself down, as soon as we returned from our patrol, beneath one of the windows of the building, with my musket by my side, and my accoutrements on, trying to snatch an hour or so of repose. The moon had just gone down, and all was quiet as the grave. I was just dozing off into slumber, when the report of a volley of musketry made me start to my feet, grasp my gun, and rush to the usual place of assemblage for the guard. There was no need of the usual cry of "Turn out! Turn-out!" Repeated broad flashes of flame from the direction of the old cuartel, followed by the crashing sound of a simultaneous discharge of musketry, the whizzing of balls, and the pit, pot, as they struck the walls of the building, was too unmistakable and too evident both to the eye and ear to allow a single individual to remain unconscious.

In a moment all was hustle, confusion, and scramble, and if, instead of giving us this timely warning at musket-shot distance, the enemy had only come in upon us silently, and armed with steel alone, those few minutes of confusion & surprise had perhaps witnessed our disastrous overthrow - perhaps the general massacre. But it was fated to be otherwise. That same lack of nerve or determination to "go in, and win," (to use a vulgar expression), in short of courage, which sent back at the glorious field of Buena Vista, a solid column of 12,000 Mexicans from before two batteries of light artillery, and which was the main key of the uniform reverses of Mexico, throughout the war, befriended us on this occasion. They let slip the golden opportunity, and in five minutes we were ready to receive them. The gunners were at their posts, with lighted flint-stocks - the guards were drawn up behind the breastwork, and one company was marched over from the barracks to strengthen the main position. All that night we lay on our arms, awaiting a charge from the enemy, and, had he determined making one, he would have experienced rather rough handling.

However, it appeared as if the enemy only intended on this night to give us due notice of their arrival; perhaps to scare us with the noise of their musketry. Anyhow, after giving us a few volleys, which did no further harm than that of knocking the plaster off the front walls of our quarters, they ceased to give us any further indication of their presence, and, as we learned next morning, moved back to their camp on the hills. After waiting patiently for some time, without firing a shot, our commander at length determined in courtesy to let them know that we were up and doing. With this view one of the guns was pointed as near as could be judged in the darkness, for the old cuartel, and a shell thrown in that direction. As there was reason to believe that they were also in the neighborhood of the graveyard, a shot was fired there also, and after these explosions had lighted up the darkness of the night, for the rest of the time all was silent as death. Each man grasped his musket, and crouching behind the breastwork, waited, in vain, the nearer approach of the enemy.

I shall not easily forget the night's sensations. That which we had so long desired, but which we had at last become skeptical of, had at length come upon us, and there stood the enemy, musket in hand, to oppose us, probably twice or three times our number, at least; and here stood we, in momentary expectation of a desperate attack. We had to fight them; that was certain; and I made up my mind to stand my post and do my duty, though I lost the number of my mess for it. Before brave men we should have been in a ticklish position. As it was, I did not doubt that we should more than weather the storm.

Most of us had expected that the enemy would have taken possession of the old cuartel, and that in the morning we should perceive a Mexican sentry walking his post within three hundred yards, of us, upon the opposite rise. Day dawned, however, and no trace of the enemy was perceptible. We all began to believe that, from some unknown cause, perhaps cowardice, he had made off and would trouble us no more. Unless this were the case, the miserable demonstration of the previous evening would appear perfectly unaccountable. In spite of the order to remain round camp, parties of us took their muskets and went over to the ground occupied by the enemy on the night before, to see if they had left any evidence of their presence. They returned with various articles which the Mexicans had dropped in their hurry, such as cartridges, a bayonet, and other items. The natives who dwelt in the vicinity stated on being questioned, that they had been cautioned to leave the place and that the enemy had left word they would give us another call at 9 o'clock in the morning.

I was in one of these little excursions, and was returning to the barracks, when just as I reached one end of the main street of the town, through which I intended to pass, I saw Col. Burton, the surgeon of the regiment, and other officers coming out of the house of one of the principal inhabitants. At the same moment somebody cried out, "Look out! There they come. There they are!" with great lustiness. I turned to look in the direction from which I had cone, and there, sure enough, were parties of the enemy, dodging among the houses on the hill on which stood the old cuartel, and on the very ground which I had just traversed. As there was a way to cut us off from reaching the barracks, and not all being armed, we, all of us, both officers and men, made a dead run for it; colonel, doctor, lieutenants, privates, and all, vieing with each other to see who should arrive first. I remember I was the last in the race; not all from superior courage, but for lack of wind and length of leg. However, I noticed that the gallant colonel slackened up when he reached the tableland on which the barracks were situated, and assumed a more dignified gait. This enabled me to reach the camp before him.

It is now time to give the reader a little clearer idea than he has yet been able to obtain, of the position which we occupied. It was on the edge of a level plain or tableland traversed by arroyos or gullies, one side of which, viz., that on which we were situated overlooked the narrow strip of cultivated ground fronting the beach, the other, at a distance of several miles, rising up into rocky hills. The barracks or men's quarters, an adobe building, overhung an arroyo which, after making a circuit around the town, entered the sea below it. On the other side of this arroyo, on the opposite rise stood the old cuartel. The two buildings were some distance off to the right, but on the same side of the arroyo as the old cuartel stood the adobe walls of a graveyard. The two former mentioned buildings lay back of the town & one on each side of its outskirts. The barracks, fronted inside toward the plain, and opposite to it, some 75 yards distant, stood three buildings in a row, which together constituted our main position. The one to the left, or nearest the hills, was the church; the middle one was the officers' quarters; that to the right was occupied for a store house, hospital, etc. The officers' quarters fronted towards those of the men. Behind was a yard enclosed by adobe walls, an appendage which the storehouse also had. The passages between these three buildings were guarded by palm-pole barricades lately erected, each one of which had been a post for a sentry. Another barricade barred the passage between the storehouse & fence which ran along the brow of the hill overlooking the beach, and which terminated in a large adobe building, occupied by the old Mexican Governor, now our friend. The brow of the hill was all along either covered by a fence or houses, except where one or two streets lead down to the beach or the town. These buildings, therefore, altogether formed a square of some 75 or 100 yards in width, the most open side of which was that toward the hills, which was afterwards defended from building to building, by a trench and a chain cable drawn across & supported by posts, intended to resist an attack of cavalry.

When I arrived at the officers' quarters at which my company was stationed, the enemy's advanced troops had fired one or two shots from a distance, and we could perceive their cavalry pouring down the hillside, their arms glittering in the sun as if kept in the best possible condition. They kept descending in such numbers that the least we could compute them at was three or four hundred. Strict orders were given to reserve our fire until the enemy should arrive within a reasonable distance. In the meantime the field-pieces were hauled to the brow of the hill overhanging the arroyo, and directed at the enemy's cavalry as they advanced along the opposite hill. This fire considerably staggered them, and finally threw them into confusion, when they beat a retreat for an hour or two, and then returned to the attack after a new and different fashion. This time all were dismounted, and they contrived, by creeping along under cover of houses, walls and fences, with which the hill opposite was plentifully besprinkled, to get within musket-shot distance, and yet remain sheltered from our fire. Their attentions were not directed only to one point, but they spread themselves out as they advanced, so as to be enabled to concentrate their fire from an extended front, upon the comparatively contracted space which we occupied. Our small field pieces thus became almost useless, for they were unable to batter down adobe walls, and the enemy never presented a solid front upon which to open fire. But whenever an unwary Mexican or Indian exposed himself in his eagerness to let fly at us, he became altogether a trial of sharpshooting, the Mexicans every moment drawing nearer and nearer toward us and extending their wings until on the one side they had penetrated clear into the town, and on the other were firing at us from behind the tall cactus between us and the hills. This firing was not without some result. One of our men, a Dutchman of the name of Spatz, the fifer of the detachment, was killed by a shot through the head while firing from the roof of the barracks, another one was wounded in the arm. On the other hand, our men could perceive that in several instances their shots had taken effect. In fact, there were quite a number of good marksmen in the command, who by target practice & hunting for game had attained great accuracy of aim, whose skill was of good service to us in keeping the enemy within due bounds.

Towards evening the enemy had so extended their wings, notwithstanding all our efforts, that they had obtained a terrible cross fire upon us. Several hundred men were continually loading and firing, loading and firing, though at still a pretty long range, indiscriminately upon us, while, owing to the scarcity of our ammunition, which would not bear so heavy an expenditure, we were obliged to keep comparatively silent. For a time, to me at least, this was rather depressing. I had been stationed at one of the barricades in the rear, in company with two or three others, to watch for and repel an attack from behind, should any such occur. In this position, the barricade, which sheltered us from the side on which the enemy had not appeared, did not shelter us from the real point of attack & we had to content ourselves with keeping close to the walls on either side which protected us from all shots except those fired directly from the front. At the same time, owing to the distance the enemy was from us, which precluded the possibility of a sure aim, we were compelled to inaction, and were obliged to be content to catch only occasional glimpses of the main conflict, while the balls were all the time whizzing over our heads & striking the walls in a diagonal direction on either side.

I must confess that about this time I began to feel uncertain as to the issue of the conflict. The enemy had at length filled the town with their men, and from the houses at the end of it next to us were firing up the hill. At the same time their bugles were incessantly playing a charge, and, as we afterwards learned, their officers were striving to bring the men to attack us hand to hand in our stronghold. This would have been just the thing we desired most, as we had no doubt of being able to send them to the right-about with great loss. The Jaqui Indians, too, of whom there were not a few in this heterogeneous band, added their war whoop to the general tumult, and made us reflect what our chances of life would be, if dependent only upon the mercy of the savage wretches of whom we had before heard so much. I had never witnessed such a scene before, and being unable to take a part in it, no wonder I felt rather ticklish about the result. However I reflected that our commander probably knew more about the matter than I did, and I determined whenever my turn should come, "to do or die," satisfied I could do no more. At length Col. Burton seemed to think the enemy had had their own way long enough, for, in spite of the shots which now liberally hailed upon us, he ordered one of the guns to be moved to the brow of the hill overlooking part of the town, and directed down upon the houses occupied by the enemy. The other was directed toward the old cuartel which the enemy had occupied & from which, as from all points of the compass, they were keeping up a continual firing. A body of men also attended the guns, to defend them in case of attack, and to assist in offending the enemy. The guns were both handsomely served with grape and canister, and soon on all sides we were making as much noise as the enemy, and doing a little more execution. They were soon driven from the end of the town next to us, setting fire, as they retired, to a fine house at the other end, owned by the late Governor, which blazing up, added its smoke to that which now overshadowed us on all sides. A shell thrown into the old cuartel, drove the enemy from that position, and, as dusk gradually stole over the scene, they retreated, firing as they went, until, at length, silence & darkness once more surrounded us.

That night the Col. formed us in front of the officer's quarters and made us quite a sensible and pithy address in regard to our future conduct, the main point being in regard to sparing ammunition, which he told us was vary scant. Now that the enemy was actually in before us, I believe the men paid a little more attention to his admonitions than they were wont; and the fact was that they were extremely pertinent to the matter now before us.

The most remarkable circumstance in the action above related, was the fact of our having lost but one man, although we were all the time more or less exposed, and at first very much so, to the fire of the enemy. In the early part of the day the parties on the roofs had nothing but a small parapet, a foot high, to defend them from the storm of bullets with which they were assailed. The parties on terra firma were all most insecurely covered, and none of the men hesitated a moment to expose themselves when a good shot could be had at the enemy. It was in the very act of firing that poor Spatz was killed. When the temporary cessation of firing occurred, however, in the middle of the day, the men went down to the town in parties and brought up a number of cotton bales, which the late Governor had formerly confiscated for evasion of custom house dues, which we hauled up to the roofs of the houses to form breastworks from behind which to fire upon the enemy. Mess-tables, barrels, boxes, &c were used for the same purpose at the different posts below, and by the time the main attack commenced we were tolerably defended from their firing. Our escape with so small a loss was, however, little short of miraculous, and we could not but regard it in that light.

Poor Spatz was buried that night in the yard behind the officers' building. He was a quiet orderly man and a good soldier. The greatest precaution was taken to prevent a surprise during the night. A watch was kept on every part of our position, and every man was obliged to keep a look-out at least two hours during the hours of dark. Every man slept in his appointed place, his musket at his side.

Chapter X

The reveille which woke me next morning was the repeated discharge of one of our six-pounders. As day dawned the sentries had perceived some of the enemy around a house situated between us and the old cuartel, and owned by a man who was said to be in league with the enemy, altho' a Portuguese by birth. One of the guns had been immediately pointed upon the house, which soon drove off the Mexicans who had ventured thus near us. A party of our men immediately went down to the house and, after searching it for arms or ammunition, most effectively demolished the interior of the building, as a warning to future good behavior. We then spread ourselves over the ground so lately occupied by the enemy, and soon reduced to ashes all those habitations behind which they had been enabled to annoy us, and which could be destroyed by fire. The hill was covered with little brush shanties, each one having afforded shelter for a dozen of the cowardly rascals. The smoke of the conflagration soon rivaled the battle-smoke of the previous day. In addition to this, parties were detailed to proceed to the nearest adobe buildings most favorable for the purpose of the enemy, who with picks and crowbars leveled them with the ground. We soon had a clear view all around our position; as far as good musket range, nothing of any account was left to shelter our opponents.

Entrenchments also were immediately commenced. We had good reason to expect a prolonged absence of the vessels of war, and that the enemy would make every effort to root us out. It was therefore deemed necessary to take every possible precaution to defeat their calculations. Accordingly, we all kept hard to work, day after day, until we had rendered our position eminently well calculated for defense. A ditch was dug the whole length of our position in the rear, the earth was being thrown up against the barricades. The old rusty ship's guns which had been seized in town were mounted on platforms and planted in this part of our position. Another ditch was dug in front, on the outside of the corral, and the earth thrown back against it, so as to afford us a breastwork impenetrable to everything but heavy artillery. The guns were elevated upon forms so that their muzzles peeped ominously over the wall of earth behind which we were ensconced. A compact breastwork of bales, barrels, and boxes, was also constructed to defend the rear of the men's quarters, which fronted the enemy, and the trench, which I have before attended to, was run from the men's to the officers' quarters. When all these preparations were concluded, we rightly deemed ourselves able to defend our position against everything that the enemy could bring against us.

It was a matter of surprise to us that they did not immediately make another good demonstration against us, before we should be enabled to complete our defences, but they appeared to have had enough of us in our first encounter, and were probably awaiting the arrival of their San Jose detachment. Indeed, we were threatened more than once that, if we should remain contumacious, the pounder in the possession of the garrison of the town, after its reduction, (an event, however, which never took place), should be turned against us. We knew that our friends of the marine service were neither so numerous, nor so well supplied with arms, ammunition or provisions as ourselves, and devoutly prayed that they might hold out, as hold out they did.

It must not be supposed, however, that the enemy allowed us to remain unmolested, while we were carrying on measures so vital to our defense. Day after day, small detachments were sent down to annoy us. These posted themselves behind the graveyard and other buildings at long distance, sometimes however, coming, as if in bravado, to the cuartel itself, & kept up a desultory fire upon our working parties. In return, some of our best shots were detailed to keep them in check, and the result was that they did not succeed in any very serious annoyance.

On the 11th, two days after the grand attack, a little expedition was planned, to show the enemy we did not intend to remain on the defence. We discovered that they were in the habit of sending a party of men every day for water (which was rather scarce where they were encamped), to a well on the beach, about half a mile from our quarters. A detachment of about 30 men was dispatched to this place, to lay in wait for and cut off the watering party on their arrival at the well. This expedition, though well conceived in the organization, failed in its execution most miserably, through sheer mismanagement - a single man, as sentry, being posted in advance at the well, the rest of the party remaining about two hundred yards behind. No wonder that the enemy's watering party, on coming across the poor devil who had been stationed so imprudently, made a dead rush upon him. Nothing would have saved him, had not the ambush prematurely left their concealment and fired a volley upon the pursuers. This was sufficient to give notice of our presence, and they accordingly beat a precipitated retreat, and that without leaving any of their number on the field. This bungling result was entirely attributable to the incapacity of the officer in command of the party, and accordingly it was the last mission of any consequence on which he was sent.

On the 22d, a launch was dispatched to Mazatlan with the intelligence of the attack made upon us, and with a requisition for ammunition, of which we were now much in want.

On the 23d, a proclamation was discovered posted up in town signed by "Manuel Pineda, Capitano de Caballeria", the Mexican leader, intended evidently in part for our edification, in part for that of the inhabitants. It menaced the latter, on the one hand, with death if caught in the act of giving intelligence or succor to the Americans, and on the other, after declaring that prisoners of war would be respected, it detailed divers advantages which any of us might secure by deserting to the standard of Mexico. I need not say that no one was anxious to make a trial of their generosity. We were well satisfied to remain true to our colors; a very distinguished, though rather mendacious, correspondent of the New York "Express", of whom I may in a subsequent page make honorable mention, to the contrary notwithstanding.

On the 27th, the enemy came down upon us "like the wolf on the fold". They had received a reinforcement in the shape of their repulsed legions from San Jose. About noon a schooner and launch happening to attempt leaving the harbor, the Mexicans came down to the beach, and fired upon them, ordering them to come to. The schooner was obliged to come back, as the channel through which she would have to pass in going out was for a long distance within musket shot of the beach. The launch, being of light draught, managed to give the shore a wider berth, and was enabled to leave the harbor. Elated with their success in turning back the schooner, & perhaps in connecting up its movements in some respect or another with us, they directed their attentions once more toward our position. This time they were in greater force and behaved in a more daring manner than before.

They commenced by a master move; the introduction upon the scene of action of a piece of artillery, a four-pounder. This they brought down, under escort of their entire force, and posted upon their favorite position, the old cuartel. They then opened its fire upon us, but our boys gave them so much to do in the shape of dodging well-aimed musket-balls, that they were forced to retreat after favoring us with but three discharges. Their balls all arrived safely in our midst, but, unhappily, injured no one. After taking off their "great gun", we supposed that we should hear no more of them, but for once we were mistaken. They had probably made up their mind that if they did not now or shortly reduce us, we should be relieved by a naval force; and then goodbye to all hopes of Mexican empire in La Paz. However this may be, certain it is that after taking their piece of artillery out of harm's way, they commenced a more furious onslaught upon us than had been yet attempted.

After keeping up for some time a distant fire of musketry upon us, they took advantage of the approaching darkness, and gradually came nearer and nearer; until, after descending into the arroyo, which lay between our position and the old cuartel, they had advanced up the hill to within 30 or 40 yards of the barracks and, sheltered behind the slope of the descending ridge, poured in volley after volley upon our devoted heads. It had become so dark that no aim could be taken, & on account of the distance between our two principal buildings, one of them being between the other and the enemy, we could only annoy them from the one attacked. But the men posted in this building, the private quarters, did their duty manfully, and kept the enemy at bay. The moment they perceived the flash of their opponents guns, they pulled triggers upon them; and there is no doubt that not a few of the enemy's force were killed or wounded upon this stirring occasion.

It was said that the Mexican officers had stimulated their men with liquor that night, and had determined - if possible, to get them for once to make a home-charge upon us. So near, indeed, did they approach, that the officers could be heard cheering and commanding their soldiers on to the conflict, and trying to bring them up to the bayonet point. A conversation, in the intervals between discharges, was actually carried on between some of our men and the enemy, in which they repeatedly warned us that that night would be our last of holding out, and should witness the event of the hour of their triumph. Our men, however, were as ready with the tongue as the musket, and very politely requested them to come up and take possession, if they were so sure of it.

I was now posted at my old station on the barricade in the rear, and could not but remark the difference between the firing on this occasion & on that of the previous attack. Then, I could just perceive the flash of the enemy's discharge, next the report and, finally the whiz of the balls as they passed over, a couple with a pit, pat, sound as they struck around me. Now it was a flash, bang, whiz; all in one - no interval between. Before they fired at such distance that one had ample time to dodge. Now the only chance for safety was to lay close.

This evening they once more beat a retreat, without favoring us with what we most desired; viz., a hand-to-hand conflict. The next day they suffered a more signal repulse. A party of their men, armed with rifles was sent down to annoy us from the old cuartel. That they were pretty good marksmen was very evident, for several of our men, incautiously passing from one building to the other, came within an inch of being picked off. It was almost time to let the enemy know that we were not content to remain thus idly a target for their bullets. Accordingly, a party of 20 or 25 men was dispatched under the command of Cpt. Steele to rout the enemy from their position. This party stole out from camp, one at a time, and, after mustering on the beach, sheltered from the observation of the Mexican force in the cuartel, quickly but silently made their way straight for the enemy. In order to attract their attention exclusively toward our main position, so as, if possible to prevent them from observing our attacking party, one of our guns kept firing round shot at the old cuartel during the time that our comrades were stealing off to take them on their blind side.

It was evident that the rascals did not dream of the game we were playing, for they appeared to enter entirely into the spirit of the amusement with which we were providing them in front, and, sheltered behind stout walls, only laughed and triumphed over what seemed to them, our fruitless efforts against them. A party of our best shots had been posted in a small adobe house off to the left of our quarters, and a little nearer the old cuartel; and between them & the enemy was kept up for some time a sharp trial of skill. They would aim for the little loopholes which our party had cut in-the wall of the house, our fellows returning their fire, and aiming at a similar object. They more than once put their bullets through our loopholes, and we repeatedly saw the dust fly in the eyes of their marksmen as four or five of our shots came pattering round within an inch or so of the apertures through which they aimed. Our round shot from the six-pounder, however, speedily took effect upon the adobe part of the old cuartel, for the Mexicans were all at once disturbed in their enjoyment by one of them bouncing through the wall into the building. We then saw them run out, but, after a few discharges, they speedily discovered a way of avoiding their dangerous visitors.

They could see every movement we made, and the moment they perceived our gunners ramming home the charge, would run out behind and take refuge in the stone part of the edifice. After the discharge they would run back again, & sticking their heads through the holes made by our balls, in derision, and firing their pieces through them, would shout out to us to "Ven aqui! Ven aqui!" That is, Come here! Come here! at the same time making insulting gestures and calling us "Perros Americanos!" "Cobardes!" and the like. All at once, however, the new diversion which we had prepared for them, and which they little expected, broke upon them and we could see that it materially disturbed their calculations. A signal was made by our surgeon, who had posted himself for the purpose in an advantageous position for observation, that our attacking party was in the act of ascending the hill on which the old cuartel stood. The order was given to cease firing, so that we might not injure our own comrades, and the next moment we could perceive all that was going on.

The enemy's party were in the height of their glee and triumph at having silenced our fire, all unconscious of the storm that was about to burst over their heads, when our men were seen clambering over the wall surrounding the cuartel, and the next moment the little Mexican flag which had been displayed there all the morning was hauled down at the same time that a volley of shots was given and the Mexicans were seen running for dear life through the cactus, away toward the hills. They had become so used to our keeping close to our position, that they did not for one moment anticipate an attack, and therefore omitted to keep a watch on the side next the beach. Had they done so, and defended the crest of the hill on which the cuartel stood, they would have made dreadful havoc among our men as they ascended. Four of the enemy lost their lives on this occasion.

Some of them, as they fled from the cuartel, received a tremendous fire from every part of our position, and were only saved by the distance, which was too far for sure aim. One of them ran the gauntlet along the brow of the hill opposite us, exposed for nearly a quarter of a mile to our fire. Shot after shot was made at him, sometimes four or five at once, but still he kept on his way through the cactus, stumbling once in a while yet ever going at a railroad pace the moment he got up.

Soon our party returned, bringing with them as trophies the Mexican flag and a few arms which the enemy's party had thrown away in their flight. The former was hoisted on our own flag-staff, and displayed underneath the Stars and Stripes. We discovered afterwards that their main party, numbering some 30 or 40, were stationed in a house beyond the cuartel as a support for the few who were placed there to annoy us. Our attacking party had expected to find them all at or around the cuartel, returned under the supposition that there had been no more sent down. However, the balance of them, after keeping a mighty silence while their poor comrades were being cut off, made a precipitated retreat as soon as our party set off on their return, and thus saved themselves by sacrificing their fellows.

The next day we were surprised by the appearance of an officer bearing a white flag, who delivered a missive from the Mexican leader, Pineda, demanding to know whether we intended to carry on a civilized or barbarous warfare & asserting that we had, the day before, refused to take prisoners. I need not say that this was an atrocious falsehood; but we afterwards learned that the true mission of the flag of truce was to spy out our preparations for defense. Most probably, it was intended to procure an excuse for leaving the scene of their ignominious repulse, for the officer on his return with Col. Burton's answer, reported our position as impregnable and the whole Mexican force was soon afterwards removed entirely from La Paz.

It might have been owing to this report of the Mexican officer, that the little plain between the different buildings which constituted our position, was afterwards gifted by the worthy towns-people with the sounding title of the "Plaza de Fortificaciones." Its claims to this imposing cognomen were very slim, for its defences were rather too simple, and too incomplete to give its garrison much of an advantage over a force of equal number & courage with themselves.

On the 4th of Dec., about a week after the taking of the cuartel, the enemy not having left us, further measures were taken to strengthen our position. The quarters so long occupied by the men were evacuated, they removing into the church. The building was then battered down, and soon nothing but a huge pile of broken adobes showed where our men had so long exchanged shots with the enemy. Other buildings in the vicinity were also razed to the ground, and now we had a clean sweep for our guns across the Plaza. A parapet was added to the roof of the church, and a number of our men constantly stationed there. These alterations increased the strength of our position most materially; for our men were now concentrated within a much smaller compass, & were therefore much better able to defend their breastworks against a hand-to-hand attack with the enemy.

The very next day, as if thoroughly despairing of ever reducing us, the enemy moved off his whole forces, and, leaving a strong party of cavalry at a place called Sacatal, some six or eight miles from us, took up his line of march for San Antonio.

Two days afterwards, the sloop of war Cyane, which had been dispatched from Mazatlan by the Commodore for our assistance, made her appearance in the harbor. She brought us what we most needed; viz., a quantity of ammunition, together with a big mortar. This, however, we were never lucky enough to have occasion to use with effect.

I presume it was an officer belonging to this vessel who was the author of a letter published some time after this in the New York "Express," in which its author waxes exceedingly abusive, not to say black-guardish on the subject of Lt. Col. Burton's detachment of the New York Volunteers at La Paz. It was dated from Mazatlan and from on board the Cyane, and professed (among other matters, doubtless as correct) to give some account of our character and carryings-on. This letter betrayed so gratuitous a disregard for truth, so vigorous an invitation in the manufacture of abuse, merely to fill up a budget of balderdash for an undiscriminating press, coupled with so intense an ignorance of the subjects of which it professed to treat, that I should not have troubled the reader with its notice. I had no reason to believe it only one of many attacks made upon the New York regiment in California, at that time and since, with the malicious intention of blackening it in the eyes of its parent-state and thrusting it from the level rank with its brother regiment in Mexico. I will mention but one or two items from this precious epistle. One charge is that our officers were every day expecting us to desert to the enemy. Another is that the Sloop of war Cyane was in the harbor keeping the enemy at bay while we were amusing ourselves with riot and debauchery. Now the Cyane arrived some days after the main body of our enemy had left; to which as to the falsity of the other statements contained in the letter, there are hundreds of persons now living who can testify as to our deserting to the enemy. I can only, after referring to the foregoing pages, to other books in which the doings in Lower California have been mentioned, and yet more to the dispatches from there to the home government, which were published at the time, call the attention of the Express's Correspondent to an oft quoted and much admired expression put by Shakespeare into the mouth of the great Coriolanus: "Measureless Liar!"

The Cyane brought us also a whole budget of news. Mazatlan had been taken possession of and occupied by a detachment of marines and sailors from the fleet. There had been a skirmish in the streets of Guaymas between a detachment of marines & sailors from on board the Sloop of war Dale, then holding the port, and a body of the enemy concealed in the town; in which the only man hurt was her captain (Selfridge) who was severely wounded in the foot. The Mexicans were, however, dispersed with loss.

The day after the arrival of the Cyane, the U.S. Storeship Southampton arrived from Monterey, with stores for us, and bringing a paymaster, with six months pay now due us. We were really in want of it, and it was therefore right welcome.

Chapter XI

It is now time that I should detail the operations of the enemy against the little garrison of San Jose, for they in the meanwhile had experienced as busy a time as ourselves.

When the Mexican leader had finally concluded that the time had arrived to pounce upon the American garrisons, they did not send all their forces toward one point, viz., La Paz, as was at first contemplated, but dispatched one division to attack San Jose, while the main body as has already been related, paid their devoirs to us. The detachment for San Jose was placed under the command of Mejares, a brave officer of the Mexican regular army who had formerly been Captain of the port of Mazatlan & was a man of the most determined courage.

The little garrison of San Jose, 25 in number, was divided between two buildings, a little distance apart, situated on a rising ground at one end of & commanding the town, & connected together by a trench. One of these had been the old Mexican cuartel, the other the residence of Mr. Mott, of whom mention has been already made. Their gun was a 9-pounder ship's carronade, clumsily mounted and placed in front of the cuartel in such a position as to sweep the main street of the town with its fire.

The Mexican force arrived on the 19th and honored the garrison, as they had not done us, with a demand for a surrender, which was, of course, promptly but politely declined. On this they took up a position upon a hill some three or four hundred yards from the cuartel, and commenced a fire upon it with a small field-piece and musketry, which was continued until dark. After several hours cessation, they returned to the attack, under cover of the night, and, taking shelter behind walls and houses, drew closer & closer to the besieged, pouring in a fire from all points of the compass. They were however repulsed, three only of the garrison being wounded.

The next day the same ineffectual fire was carried on, but when night arrived a more serious attempt was made to carry the American position. This time, animated by the advice and example of their intrepid commander, Mejares, who led the forlorn hope in person, they made a charge upon the cuartel, in order to take it by a hand-to-hand contest. But it was of no avail - the deadly fire from the garrison was too much for them; and the gallant Mejares himself, with 5 or 6 others, was left upon the field of battle.

On the morning of the 21st, the enemy were frightened by the appearance of two large vessels in the offing, which they took to be either men of war or transports, but which afterwards turned out to be only a couple of whalers. It was enough however, to give the Mexicans an excuse for retreating, as they accordingly departed in great haste, reinforcing, a week afterwards, the main body of the enemy in front of La Paz. These two vessels, the Magnolia and Edward - Captains Simmons and Parker, of New Bedford - had learned of the straightened condition of the little garrison at San Jose, and put in to render whatever assistance it was in their power to offer. The captains, with sixty of their crew, armed with muskets, lances, spades, and harpoons, landed and marched for the cuartel. They also supplied the garrison with bread, powder, and bullets molded from the lead actually in use on board the ships, and, regardless of their own interests, remained some time in the place, in order to render every succor in their power, in case of another attack from the enemy. Surely we have here a rare instance of disinterested patriotism, and one which reflects great credit upon the noble hearted individuals concerned in it. It contrasts, indeed strangely, with the conduct of another vessel, from New York, which a short time before had been on the coast, supplying our enemies with the very powder which they were now using against us.

After the repulse of the second attack upon La Paz, and the consequent departure of the combined Mexican force for the interior, things remained pretty quiet for a spell; for it had been sufficiently apparent that we remained masters of the field of conflict. Our men now ventured in parties to a distance from the town; sometimes to reconnoitre the enemy, sometimes to observe the traces of their former presence. There was yet, indeed, a respectable force in our near neighborhood, and they seemed to take pains to let us know it. On one occasion they were within an ace of cutting off a party of four or five of our men, who had ventured, imperfectly armed, on a visit to the old camp of the enemy behind the hill. On reaching near it, they found themselves surrounded, in a manner, by small parties of Mexicans, who had been evidently sent out to look for stragglers. They only saved themselves by beating a precipitate retreat.

On another occasion I joined a party of our men, who set out of their own accord, under the direction of a German who was now trading in La Paz, but had been an old campaigner against the Mexicans in Texas, to endeavor to intercept a party of the enemy which we had reason to believe was in the habit of visiting & sometimes staying at a rancho some 10 or 12 miles from La Paz, in an inland direction. We crept out one by one from the barracks, to avoid the observation of any of the enemy's spies, and rendezvousing on the beach, passed along it for about two miles, under cover of the bluff bank with which it is overhung. We then ascended the stony bed of a dry watercourse until we reached the top of the range of hills which surrounds the plain at the extremity of which La Paz is situated. We followed along the crest of this range, through cactus bushes & over rocks & stones, until we struck the trail leading over the hills to the level land beyond. We then descended, and made a weary march of some 8 or 9 miles through sand almost knee-deep and bushes which shut out from view everything but the path before us, until we reached within a short distance of the rancho. We had seen many tracks of the enemy as we proceeded, and it was certain that one of their parties had passed not long before. We halted to close up, and then all made a rush for the house, surrounding it in a moment. The inhabitants were very much terrified, but we found no enemy there. They had however, been that way a day or two previous. We stayed and partook of some broiled beef, for which we had an excellent appetite and then returned home, disappointed and footsore.

On the 14th Dec. a little expedition was planned to sicken the enemy of keeping a watch on our movements. Their corps of observation, we learned, was in the habit of coming to the Sacatal ranch every day for a bullock, which they carried off and slaughtered at their camp in the mountains. Accordingly, some 25 or 30 of us set off before daybreak, under the command of several officers, to lay in ambush for their party, and attack it while they watered their horses at the rancho. We arrived at the rancho before day broke, after a six mile march along the beach and through the cactus, and were posted so as to surround the house under cover of the bushes. We lay thus, waiting patiently for our expected prey, until about 10 o'clock when we could perceive the enemy's party carefully approaching, beyond musket-shot, at the further end of the open ground in front of the rancho. The rascals, however, had either received notice of our presence, or had observed our tracks between La Paz & Sacatal, for, after reconnoitering, cutting a few capers, firing off one or two guns, and showing us their whole force, which was nearly double that of ours, they wheeled round and galloped off. This was nearly the last we saw of the Mexicans round La Paz, for, as if satisfied that they were not safe so near us, the few that had been left behind to watch our movements soon afterwards took their departure, and the Mexican commander satisfied himself by posting advanced guards midway between San Antonio and La Paz to give him notice in case we should make a demonstration toward the interior.

Again the enemy attempted to carry San Jose, and this time concentrating their whole force upon it. Luckily the garrison had in the meantime been reinforced with men, arms, ammunition and provisions, from the fleet of the Mazatlan; their defenses had been greatly strengthened, and two more carronade guns had been added to their pack of artillery. They now numbered sixty men, including, however, twenty natives enrolled under the American flag, besides sick and wounded. The enemy were three or four hundred strong, and, burning to wipe out their repeated disgraces, and satisfied they had done their best at La Paz, saw no other way to gain an advantage over the Americans than to exterminate the little garrison of San Jose.

They commenced operations by a successful move, and one which was very disastrous to the cooped-up defenders of the town. On the 21st Jan. 1848, about a week after their reappearance before San Jose, but before they had yet essayed a trial of strength, a small schooner cast anchor in the bay, bringing some provisions and other articles for the garrison. the following morning, the enemy not being seen, five men, well armed and mounted started from the cuartel to communicate with her. On their arrival on the beach, they were surrounded by a party of more than 100 mounted Mexicans and were compelled to surrender themselves prisoners. They were taken toward the interior; passing on the way within sight of their friends in the garrison, who were with the greatest pain compelled to acknowledge their utter inability to offer them relief.

This successful stroke so encouraged the enemy that they redoubled their exertions, and made use of every method which appeared to effect the reduction of the place. They commenced by obtaining a lodgment in the farther end of the main street of the town, from whence they pushed their way through the houses on either side, piercing the walls, and cutting trenches across the transverse lanes, in the direction of the cuartel. In a few days they had in this way constructed a covered passageway for themselves through the town. Its termination was in an adobe house, not more than 50 yards from the American position. This they took possession of as a convenient point from which to assail the Americans; strengthening its walls with additional tiers of adobes, so as to render them entirely secure from the attacks of 12 pound shot from a distance of 40 yards. From the roof of this building, the Mexican flag was displayed full in the face of the defenders of the cuartel. Many other houses were also taken possession of & fortified by the enemy until at length, every position was occupied from which they could by any possibility assail the devoted garrison.

By the 10th of Feb. the Mexicans had entire possession of the town & from that time forth there was scarcely any cessation to the storm of bullets which they hailed upon the American troops. From front, flank and rear was poured in a steady fire of musketry, and the least exposure of person was the signal for the discharge of fifty shots. In this way, on the 11th, they managed to pick off the second in command, a Passed Midshipman who received a bullet in the throat while attending to his duties on the roof of the cuartel. But as if this close beleaguerment were not sufficient, the hard-pressed garrison was threatened in addition with scarcity of food. Provision had been made for their wants only, and now they were encumbered by numbers of men, women & children who had taken shelter with the American position from the vengeance of their countrymen. These had to be fed, and the result was that at least their bread was entirely consumed and naught remained save a few days half allowance of salt meat. Their supply of water, too, was cut off, making it necessary for them to dig a well within their defences, an undertaking which was at length accomplished, though with great difficulty. At length they became so straightened that it became evident that if relief were not soon at hand, they would be compelled to give up the place. The Mexicans had now closely besieged them for more than four weeks and seemed to aim at starving them into submission. This would inevitably have taken place had it not been for the arrival of the Cyane from La Paz, which made its appearance in the bay on the 14th., to the great joy of the annoyed & outwearied garrison. A hundred men were immediately landed from the sloop of War, who, in spite of the opposition of four times their number of the enemy, fought their way to the relief of their comrades. Some 15 more of the enemy fell in this encounter, which so discouraged them that they again retreated to the interior and never more returned to trouble San Jose.

In the meantime, we at La Paz were enjoying another breathing spell. The monotony of our lives was, however, once in a while agreeably diversified by the stories of old Madam Rumor, which sometimes placed the enemy within a short distance of us, at others hundreds of miles away. The consequence was that, in addition to the usual guard, our old watch system was still carried on, each man standing two hours' guard every night.

On the 6th of Feb. we received intelligence from Upper California. Our commanding officer sent a dispatch overland to Col. Mason requesting assistance in men and ammunition. The courier had started on the very day preceding the first attack upon us, and was probably within hearing of our guns at the time the attack took place. We now learned by the arrival of the Storeship, Southampton, that our messenger had reached Monterey, as also the reply of Col. Mason to Col. Burton's request. It seems that the troops in Upper California were as much troubled as ourselves by floating rumors & reports, and at this time there was daily apprehension of another insurrection of the Californians against their new masters. Efforts were then making to raise volunteers in Oregon, to assist in Lower California & Mazatlan! These failed, however, and no troops could be spared, under the circumstances, from the slender garrisons in the Upper Country. Col. Burton was instructed, however, that immediately upon the arrival of some detachments of recruits for our regiment, which were then expected, a reinforcement should be dispatched to our assistance.

In the anticipation of being thus enabled to march out and attack the enemy on their own ground, our commander set about gathering horses upon which to mount part or the whole of the proposed expedition. Whatever horses happened to be brought into town by the inhabitants were straightway seized upon, and parties of men were sent out to ranchos within ten or 15 miles distance to forage for more. In this manner, 40 or 50 horses were speedily raised, but the inhabitants soon took the alarm, and secreted their animals in the mountains. Saddles & bridles were also levied upon; corn was purchased, and fed to the poor animals, who were principally in very poor condition, and every preparation was made for an abrupt march into the interior.

We were pretty well informed as to the whereabouts of the Americans taken prisoner at San Jose and it soon became a matter of daily remark that it would be well if we could be enabled to strike some kind of a blow for their deliverance. There had always been exhibited some degree of

[Thus ends the original text. Ed.]