Frémont, Pathmarker of the West

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

Xlll
Homeward Over the Rockies

FRÉMONT had so planned his homeward journey that he might see the greatest possible amount of new country. He intended to travel five hundred miles south, skirting the western base of the Sierras, to a pass which had been discovered far below the San Joaquin, near the upper course of the South Fork of the Kern River, by Joseph Walker, the famous Santa Fé trapper who had served under Bonneville and had broken the trail from Great Salt Lake west across the Great Basin to Monterey.1 Having crossed the Sierras by this pass, Frémont meant to strike southeast toward Santa Fé. This town could be reached by the ancient "Spanish Trail" running across from Los Angeles; but his design was to halt before actually arriving at the capital of New Mexico, and turn off into Colorado, where he could make for the headwaters of the Arkansas.

Simple as the route seemed, it involved two thousand miles of heavy travel, much of it through a rough and semi-desert country. There was not a settlement anywhere, and the names of the points and rivers on the way--Indian and Spanish names --showed that few Americans had ever traversed it. But this was precisely the reason why it appealed to Frémont's imagination. It would enable him to trace the Sierra Nevada southward, identify the streams flowing from it to the coast, explore the boundaries of the Great Basin between the Sierras and Rockies, ascertain whether any great rivers other than the Colorado flowed southwest from the Rockies--thus making absolutely certain there was no Buenaventura--and examine

____________________
1
W. J. Ghent, The Early Far West, p. 256.

-175-

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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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