Frémont, Pathmarker of the West

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

XI
Over the Winter Sierras

AS Frémont must have guessed, the most significant portion of his second expedition lay just before him when he turned south from the Columbia. What he had done thus far was simply to complete a scientific survey of a muchtraveled trail. He was now to make a journey through a region largely unknown, and to execute a peaceful invasion of a foreign country. On November 25, 1843, the party set out on its long journey; twenty-five men in all, besides some Indian guides hired to go part way, and more than a hundred horses and mules. Frémont generously left his instrument wagon as a gift to the mission. They pushed steadily south along the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, the commander making his usual assiduous notes on topography, botany, zoölogy, geology, and soil-fertility. The scenery was magnificent. But the nights were frigid, the marches laborious; and they soon entered country where the Indians were reputed highly dangerous.

Klamath Marsh in lower Oregon was reached in zero weather, and the lieutenant, in order to explore its banks and give his animals pasturage, lingered there two days. Whether he saw Klamath Lake, which lies thirty miles to the southward, is uncertain. Over the greater part of what he calls the "extensive meadow or lake of grass," at the time of his December visit, the water, or rather the ice, was scattered in shallow pools. The marsh was little more than a wide irregular depression, twenty miles in diameter, which for a short time after the spring melting of the winter snows filled up with water; this subsequently drained away through the Klamath River, leaving

-147-

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Frémont, Pathmarker of the West
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • I- Charleston Boyhood 1
  • II- An Explorer''s Training 19
  • III- First View of the Great West 29
  • IV- Washington Courtship 46
  • V- A Runaway Marriage 60
  • Vl the Stakes of the West 72
  • VII- The First Expedition 89
  • IX- The First Report 116
  • X- The Second Expedition- Outward Bound 127
  • XI- Over the Winter Sierras 147
  • Xll Sutter''s Fort and California 161
  • Xlll Homeward over the Rockies 175
  • XIV- Washington Expansionists and the Far West 190
  • XV- The Third Expedition 206
  • XVI- A Clash with Californians 217
  • XVII- The Message from Gillespie 234
  • XVIII- The Bear Flag Outbreak 253
  • XIX- The California Battalion 287
  • XX- The Quarrel with Kearny 305
  • XXI- A Famous Court-Martial 327
  • XXII- Starvation and Cannibalism 343
  • XXIII- Golconda and the Senate 373
  • XXIV- Managing the Mariposas 393
  • XXV- The Fifth Expedition 408
  • XXVI- The Republican Nomination 421
  • XXVII- The Campaign of 1856 439
  • XXVIII- New Mariposa Troubles 459
  • XXIX- Civil War in the West 473
  • XXX- Frémont vs. Blair and Lincoln 503
  • XXXI- The End of the "Hundred Days" 529
  • XXXII- The Mountain Department 550
  • XXXIII 564
  • XXXIV- A Financial Debacle 583
  • XXXV- Poverty and Labor 602
  • XXXVI- Character and Fame 612
  • XXXVII - Some New Light on Frémont 623
  • Appendix I- Frémont''s Children 663
  • Bibliographical Note 671
  • Index 675
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