Overland with Kit Carson: A Narrative of the Old Spanish Trail in '48

Overland with Kit Carson: A Narrative of the Old Spanish Trail in '48

Overland with Kit Carson: A Narrative of the Old Spanish Trail in '48

Overland with Kit Carson: A Narrative of the Old Spanish Trail in '48


"Of prime importance to many general readers as well as to historians will be Brewerton's intimate and concrete pictures of Kit Carson."-Southwest ReviewGold had just been discovered in California at the close of the Mexican War when Kit Carson started east from Los Angeles with Dispatches. Going with him was Lieutenant George Douglas Brewerton, who describes their journey over the Old Spanish Trail. It was a torturous route across deserts and mountains requiring the kind of expert survival skills that made Kit Carson famous. The scout, who was carrying the news that would begin the rush for gold, went as far as Taos, where he was reunited with his wife. From there Brewerton joined a wagon train that labored over the Santa Fe Trail to Independence, Missouri.Overland with Kit Carson is a colorful and authentic account of encounters with Indians and white adventurers and of the hazards and hardships that accompanied anyone who undertook such a long journey in a sparsely populated country.The new introduction is by Marc Simmons, a professional historian, editor, translator, and the author of Witchcraft in the Southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande (Bison Book, 1980).


By Marc Simmons

When famed mountain man, scout, and government courier Christopher "Kit" Carson left Los Angeles in early May of 1848 to carry official dispatches to Washington, the Mexican War, which added California to the Union, had only recently ended, and gold had just been discovered at Sutter's Mill. It was a stirring time in the history of the country, and Carson was one of those who played a significant and memorable role in the unfolding of events west of the Mississippi.

We can be grateful that in the party accompanying Carson on his long-distance ride was a young army lieutenant, George Douglas Brewerton, a keen observer who in the following decade would publish a lively account of the experience. Brewerton, at age nineteen, had enlisted on the East Coast in the First Regiment of New York Volunteers and with the unit had been sent by ship on a six-month voyage around the Horn of South America to California. From their arrival at San Francisco Bay in March of 1847, Lt. Brewerton and his fellow volunteers served routine garrison duty over the succeeding year, acting in effect as an army of occupation.

By the spring of 1848, with the Mexican War concluded, it appeared that the regiment would soon be disbanded, so Brewerton obtained a transfer to the . . .

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