Frémont, Pathmarker of the West

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

Xll
Sutter's Fort and California

IT was a tattered, exhausted, woebegone caravan which wound its way up to the gates of Sutter's Fort. Of the sixty- three horses and mules which had begun the ascent of the Sierras, only thirty-three survived. Frémont and a few others who led the way had good mounts, but the rest made a pathetic procession, crawling along single file, skeleton men leading skeleton horses. They needed all of Sutter's generosity.

Johann August Sutter, as his short, stout figure, the blond hair fringing his bald head, his large blue eyes, and his air of cherubic kindness all testified, was of German blood. He had been born in Kandern, Baden, forty-one years earlier, had spent much of his early life in Switzerland, according to some accounts had attended the military academy at Neuchatel, and had certainly married, begotten children, and served in various mercantile employments. He always spoke of himself as a Swiss. A dreamer, enterprising and adventurous, he had slipped all his home responsibilities and arrived in New York, almost penniless, in the summer of 1834. His imaginative French biographer tells us that, leaving a trail of creditors behind him, he signalized his landing in New York by a wild gesture. "He leaped upon the quay, dodged past the police guard placed there, threw a single rapid glance along the whole water front, uncorked and emptied at a draught a bottle of Rhine wine, threw the empty bottle into a West Indian lugger, and with an exultant burst of laughter launched himself into the passing crowd."1 For some weeks he picked up a living in the East by

____________________
1
Blaise Cendrars, L'Or, p. 31. This wildly inaccurate book deserves some credit for helping recreate interest in Sutter. A somewhat too favorable but otherwise useful life of Sutter has been published since by Julian Dana; while

-161-

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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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