The California Battalion
ON July 19, 1846, the approach of Frémont's California Battalion to Monterey was heralded by a heavy cloud of dust under a burning sun, from which emerged the men in a long and wild-looking file. Frémont rode first, a thin, wiry, energetic young man, with flowing hair, a bearded sunbronzed face, and eyes that seemed to burn with a consuming fire--"such an eye!" wrote a British naval officer. He was dressed much as the Yankee skipper had seen him at Sausalito, in buckskin trousers, blouse, and moccasins, a blue shirt thrown open at the neck, and a felt hat on his head. Behind him came five swarthy Delaware Indians who served as his bodyguard. After them, on sturdy ponies, rode the men, two and two, their long, heavy Hawkins rifles thrown across their saddle-pommels. With heavy knives slung at their hips, with the sun glinting on their polished rifles and revolvers, and with their gaunt, steel-muscled, determined look, they seemed a force which few would care to meet. Many were even blacker than the Indians, and their long untrimmed hair, the heavy dark beards through which their white teeth gleamed, gave them a savage aspect. The women stared timidly but admiringly at them through the grated windows. They camped that night just outside the town, among the firs and pines near the sea, and their watch-fires threw a quivering light into the forest glades and far along the waves.1
Frémont, as usual, had an eye to the beauty of his camp.2____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Fremont, Pathmarker of the West. Contributors: Allan Nevins - Author. Publisher: University of Nebraska Press. Place of publication: Lincoln, NE. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 287.
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