Narratives of Exploration and Adventure

By John Charles Frémont; Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
The Third Expedition: Benton, Bancroft, Buchanan Eager to Gain California: Preparations *

THE eight months that I was to have been absent had extended to fourteen. Mrs. Frémont had been waiting in Saint Louis for me and suspense bad deepened into anxiety, for no word had been heard from me after I had left the Lower Columbia in November of '43. The Secretary of War, Mr. Wilkins, had offered to send a party of dragoons to search for me, but naturally it occurred to my friends to reply that if I could not find my way out the dragoons could not do it for me. In those days there was no communication possible to a party involved in the solitudes of the interior country beyond the mountains, and so it was that the first tidings of our safety were brought by myself when I reached Saint Louis in August of '44. 1

In Saint Louis, where the risks and uncertainties of the mountain country were familiarly known, much sympathy had been felt for Mrs. Frémont as the time wore on and no intelligence came. Many warm expressions of welcome were given me, and we left for Washington animated and gratified by the hearty good wishes of strangers as well as friends.

I arranged for the two Indian boys, Juan and Gregorio, to winter on a property belonging to Mr. Benton, near Lexington, Kentucky. They took with them, to care for, a beautiful saddle horse which I had brought from California. He was to rest for the winter in the blue-grass region. Sacramento, as he was named, was gifted with

____________________
*
For this chapter, we return again to the Memoirs, Vol. I, pp. 411ff., where Frémont takes up the story of the third and most eventful expedition. He prepared no report to the government detailing his travels, but evidently kept notes from which in 1886-87 he wrote this record.

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