Frémont, Pathmarker of the West

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

IX
The First Report

TARRYING briefly in St. Louis to sell what remained of his equipment, Frémont left by steamboat on the eighteenth, and reported to Colonel Abert in Washington on the twenty-ninth. He had special reason for haste. A few days after he arrived Jessie gave birth to a daughter. Spreading over her bed a ragged, wind-whipped flag, he told her proudly: "This flag was raised over the highest peak of the Rocky Mountains; I have brought it to you."1

He found the Benton household under a cloud which even the advent of the new baby, and Jessie's happiness in his return tanned and rugged, could not dispel. Mrs. Benton shortly after Frémont's departure had suffered a stroke of paralysis. Jessie believed that it had been caused by her mother's insistence upon old-fashioned medical practice, for even when she had nothing worse than a sick-headache, Mrs. Benton would insist, despite the Senator's opposition, upon being bled. Repeated use of the lance had converted this once-vigorous woman, after only twenty years of marriage, into an emaciated wreck, who talked but slowly and imperfectly, and whose mind had obviously been impaired. The Senator, Jessie wrote later, would come in buoyantly every day, impressed by the doctor's command that he remain cheerful, would keep up appearances for a time, and then would steal away to his room to give way to overpowering grief. His incessant care of the invalid, destined to live a dozen years longer, was touching to watch. Family loyalty and affection were one of the strongest elements in his character, and his display of them recalls McKinley's

____________________
1
Jessie Benton Frémont MSS, Bancroft Library.

-116-

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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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