Frémont, Pathmarker of the West

By Allan Nevins | Go to book overview

XXI
A Famous Court-Martial

THE Benton family had been ready to take up arms the moment it had first heard of the clash between Fré mont and Kearny. On June 7, 1847, the precise, methodical President Polk, having finished his morning's work at his desk and risen from his lunch, told the secretaries at one o'clock to open the doors of his public office. Among the first callers, richly dressed, was Jessie Frémont, and with her the short, sturdy figure of Kit Carson, weather-beaten, swarthy from the southwestern sun, and awkward in his soot-black new broadcloth. The famous scout had made the overland trip from the Pacific Coast in a little more than three months, and brought the Los Angeles news of February 25th with him. He was enjoying the hospitality of the Benton home in Washington, where his modesty and gentleness had already won him the warmest regard. Polk greeted the pair cordially.

Kit Carson, Jessie told the President, had been waiting several days for an opportunity to talk with him and tender his services as despatch-bearer to California. Carson then came forward and delivered Polk a long letter from Frémont, which had been addressed originally to Benton, and which Benton had sent on from St. Louis. It related in part to the quarrel over the governorship:

Mrs. Frémont seemed anxious [wrote the tactful Polk in his diary] to elicit from me some expression of approbation for her husband's conduct, but I evaded [making any]. In truth, I consider that Colonel Frémont was greatly in the wrong when he refused to obey the orders issued to him by General Kearny. I think General Kearny was right also in his controversy with Commodore Stockton.

-327-

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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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