Frémont, Pathmarker of the West

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

XIX
The California Battalion

ON July 19, 1846, the approach of Frémont's California Battalion to Monterey was heralded by a heavy cloud of dust under a burning sun, from which emerged the men in a long and wild-looking file. Frémont rode first, a thin, wiry, energetic young man, with flowing hair, a bearded sunbronzed face, and eyes that seemed to burn with a consuming fire--"such an eye!" wrote a British naval officer. He was dressed much as the Yankee skipper had seen him at Sausalito, in buckskin trousers, blouse, and moccasins, a blue shirt thrown open at the neck, and a felt hat on his head. Behind him came five swarthy Delaware Indians who served as his bodyguard. After them, on sturdy ponies, rode the men, two and two, their long, heavy Hawkins rifles thrown across their saddle-pommels. With heavy knives slung at their hips, with the sun glinting on their polished rifles and revolvers, and with their gaunt, steel-muscled, determined look, they seemed a force which few would care to meet. Many were even blacker than the Indians, and their long untrimmed hair, the heavy dark beards through which their white teeth gleamed, gave them a savage aspect. The women stared timidly but admiringly at them through the grated windows. They camped that night just outside the town, among the firs and pines near the sea, and their watch-fires threw a quivering light into the forest glades and far along the waves.1

Frémont, as usual, had an eye to the beauty of his camp.2

____________________
1
See descriptions in Walter Colton, Deck and Port; Lieutenant Fred Walpole, R.N., Four Years in the Pacific in Her Majesty's Ship Collingwood ( 2 vols.).
2
Frémont, Memoirs, I, p. 534.

-287-

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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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