1847-01-26: William Tecumseh Sherman lands at Monterey

William Tecumseh Sherman (1820-1891), the future Civil War Union Army General, now junior first lieutenant of Company C, 1, Third Artillery, is stationed at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina.

Sherman leaves Fort Columbus (Fort Jay, Governor's Island, NY) July 14, 1846 for a 198-day trip around Cape Horn aboard the U.S. store ship Lexington to Monterey, Alta California, Mexico.
From his memoirs:

"We found the people of Monterey a mixed set of Americans, native Mexicans, and Indians, about one thousand all told. They were kind and pleasant, and seemed to have nothing to do, except such as owned ranches in the country for the rearing of horses and cattle."

"These fellows would work all day on horseback in driving cattle or catching wild horses for a mere nothing, but all the money offered would not have hired one of them to walk a mile. The girls were very fond of dancing, and they did dance gracefully and well. Every Sunday, regularly, we had a baile, or dance, and sometimes interspersed through the week."

February, 1847: " In the morning we crossed the Salinas Plain, about fifteen miles of level ground, taking a shot occasionally at wild-geese, which abounded there, and entering the well-wooded valley that comes out from the foot of the Gavillano. We had cruised about all day, and it was almost dark when we reached the house of a Senor Gomez, father of those who at Monterey had performed the parts of Adam and Eve. His house was a two-story adobe, and had a fence in front. It was situated well up among the foothills of the Gavillano, and could not be seen until within a few yards.

We hitched our horses to the fence and went in just as Gomez was about to sit down to a tempting supper of stewed hare and tortillas. We were officers and caballeros and could not be ignored. After turning our horses to grass, at his invitation we joined him at supper. The allowance, though ample for one, was rather short for three, and I thought the Spanish grandiloquent politeness of Gomez, who was fat and old, was not over-cordial. However, down we sat, and I was helped to a dish of rabbit, with what I thought to be an abundant sauce of tomato. Taking a good mouthful, I felt as though I had taken liquid fire; the tomato was chile colorado, or red pepper, of the purest kind. It nearly killed me, and I saw Gomez's eyes twinkle, for he saw that his share of supper was increased. I contented myself with bits of the meat, and an abundant supply of tortillas. Ord was better case-hardened, and stood it better.

We stayed at Gomez's that night, sleeping, as all did, on the ground, and the next morning we crossed the hill by the bridle-path to the old Mission of San Juan Bautista. The Mission was in a beautiful valley, very level, and bounded on all aides by hills. The plain was covered with wild-grasses and mustard, and had abundant water. Cattle and horses were seen in all directions, and it was manifest that the priests who first occupied the country were good judges of land.It was Sunday, and all the people, about, a hundred, had come tochurch from the country round about. Ord was somewhat of a Catholic, and entered the church with his clanking spars and kneeled down, attracting the attention of all, for he had on the uniform of an American officer. As soon as church was out, all rushed to the various sports.

I saw the priest, with his gray robes tucked up, playing at billiards, others were cock fighting, and some at horse-racing. My horse had become lame, and I resolved to buy another. As soon as it was known that I wanted a horse, several came for me, and displayed their horses by dashing past and hauling them up short. There was a fine black stallion that attracted my notice, and, after trying him myself, I concluded a purchase. I left with the seller my own lame horse, which he was to bring to me at Monterey, when I was to pay him ten dollars for the other. The Mission of San Juan bore the marks of high prosperity at a former period, and had a good pear-orchard just under the plateau where stood the church.

After spending the day, Ord and I returned to Monterey, about thirty-five miles, by a shorter route, Thus passed the month of February, and, though there were no mails or regular expresses, we heard occasionally from Yerba Buena and Sutter's Fort to the north, and from the army and navy about Los Angeles at the south. We also knew that a quarrel had grown up at Los Angeles, between General Kearney, Colonel Fremont, and Commodore Stockton, as to the right to control affairs in California."July, 1847: "The next day toward night we approached the Mission of San Francisco, and the village of Yerba Buena, tired and weary–the wind as usual blowing a perfect hurricane, and a more desolate region it was impossible to conceive of."

http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/forts/fortsE_L/governorsIsland.htm

http://www.militarymuseum.org/sherman3.html

http://www2.cddc.vt.edu/gutenberg/etext01/1shrm10.txt

http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist6/sherm40s.html

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Published in: on January 26, 1847 at 3:27 am  Leave a Comment  

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