On boar Steamer Columbia
September 19th 1852
I have written you one letter from aboard this Steamer since we left Benicia and as she returns with a mail, the only one that will leave Oregon for two weeks, I write again. It is now 9 o'clock at night and in a few minuets we will be aton our way for Columbia Barracks where we will arrive about breakfast to-morrow. As the Steamer only stops there long enough to land us there will be no time to give you any impressions that I may form of the place. There are however many passengers aboard who are well acquainted with the place and they all coincide in saying that it is as pleasant a place as there is in the country. The country is certainly delightful and very different from the same latitude in the Atlantic States. Here, I am told, ice scarsely ever forms to a greater thickness than one inch although we are about one degree North of Sacket Harbor.
Astoria—a place that we see on maps, and read about, —is a town made up of some thirty houses, (I did not count them) situated on the side of a hill covered with tall trees, looking like pines, with about two acres cleared to give way for the houses. There is nothing about the place to support it only that it is near the outlet of the Columbia river and they have a custom house, distributing post office for the Territory, and a few pilots for vessels coming into the mouth of the river. Boats anchoring in the stream (they have no wharf) gives occupation for a few boatmen to carry passengers ashore to see the town that they read about in their young days. So much for Astoria. —Our trip from San Francisco has been the roughest that I have ever experienced. All the passengers, and some of the officers of the boat, have been sea-sick. The wind blew for three days most terrifically, but now it is mild and we are in the river.