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."





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

1847-01-13: Treaty of Cahuenga ends U.S. Mexican War

End of Mexican war with US.

The Treaty of Campo de Cahuenga


Know ye that, in consequence of propositions of peace, or cessation of hostilities, being submitted to me, as commandant of the California Battalion of United States forces, which have so far been acceded to by me as to cause me to appoint a board of commissioners to confer with a similar board appointed by the Californians, and it requiring a little time to close the negotiation; it is agreed upon and ordered by me that entire cessation of hostilities shall take place until tomorrow afternoon (January 13th), and that the said Californians be permitted to bring in their wounded to the mission of San Fernando, where, also, If they choose, they can remove their camp, to facilitate said negotiations.

Given under my hand and seal this twelfth day of January, 1847.

J. C. Fremont Lieutenant-Colonel United States Army, and Military Commandant of California

Articles of Capitulation made and entered into at the Rancho of Cahuenga, this thirteenth day of January, Anno Domini, eighteen hundred and forty-seven between P. B. Reading, Major; Louis McLane, Jr., Commanding Artillery; Wm. H. Russell, Ordnance Officer, Commissioners appointed by J. C. Fremont, Lieutenant-Colonel United States Army and Military Commandant of the Territory of California; and Jose Antonio Carillo, Commandante de Esquadron, Augustin Olivera, Diputado, Commissioners, appointed by Don Andres Pico, commander-in-chief of the California forces under the Mexican flag.


Published in: on January 13, 1847 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

1846-07-07: Commodore John Drake Sloat claims all of California for the United States

Commodore John D. Sloat raises the American flag over the Customs House in Monterey claiming Monterey and all of California for the United States.

Sloat was Commander-in-chief of the United States naval forces in the Pacific ocean.











"GENERAL STEPHEN W. KEARNY was placed in command of the Army of the West, with instructions to conquer New Mexico and California. He left Fort Leavenworth in June, 1846, and, after a journey of 900 miles over the great plains and among mountain ranges, he arrived at Santa Fe, Aug. 18, having met with no resistance. Appointing Charles Brent governor, he marched towards California, and was soon met by an express from COMMODORE ROBERT F. STOCKTON, and LIEUT-COL. JOHN C. FREMONT, informing him that the conquest of California had been achieved. Fremont and a party of explorers, sixty in number, joined by American settlers in the vicinity of San Francisco, had captured a Mexican force at Sonoma pass, June 15, 1846, with the garrison, nine cannon, and 250 muskets. He then defeated another force at Sonoma, and drove the Mexican authorities out of that region of country. On July 5 the Americans in California declared themselves independent, and put Fremont at the head of affairs. On the 7th Commodore Sloat, with a squadron, bombarded and captured Monterey, on the coast; on the 9th Commodore Montgomery took possession of San Francisco. Commodore Stockton and Colonel Fremont took possession of Los Angeles on Aug. 17, and there they were joined by Kearny, who had sent the main body of his troops back to Santa Fe. Fremont went to Monterey, and there assumed the office of governor, and proclaimed, Feb. 8, 1847, the annexation of California to the United States."


The second Cyane, a sloop, was launched 2 December 1837 by Boston Navy Yard. She was commissioned in May 1838, Commander J. Percival in command.

She sailed 24 June 1838 for duty in the Mediterranean, returning to Norfolk 16 May 1841. She cleared 1 November 1841 for the Pacific Station, returning 1 October 1844. Sailing again for the Pacific 10 August 1845, Cyane served on the west coast during the Mexican War. On 7 July 1846 her commanding officer, Captain W. Mervine, led a detachment of Marines and sailors from Commodore Sloat's squadron ashore at Monterey, Calif., hoisting the American flag at the Customs House and claiming possession of the city and all of upper California.

On 26 July 1846 Lieutenant Colonel J. C. Fremont's California Battalion boarded Cyane, now under the command of Commander S. F. DuPont, and she sailed for San Diego 29 July. A detachment of Marines and sailors from Cyane landed and took possession of the town, raising the American flag. They were followed shortly by the Fremont volunteers and Cyane's detachment returned aboard to sail for San Blas where a landing party destroyed a Mexican battery 2 September.

Entering the Gulf of California, Cyane seized La Paz and burned the small fleet at Guaymas. Within a month she cleared the Gulf of hostile ships, destroying or capturing 30 vessels. In company with Independence and Congress, she captured the town of Mazatlan, Mexico, 11 November 1847. She returned to Norfolk 9 October 1848 to receive the congratulations of the Secretary of the Navy for her significant contributions to American victory in Mexico.





1846-03-05: John C. Fremont Raises American flag over Gabilan Peak

March 5-9, 1846: Second Lieutenant of Topographical Engineers of the United States Army John C. Fremont and his team of surveyors raise an American flag over Gabilan Peak, now known as Fremont Peak.






1845-12-10: John C. Fremont arrives at Sutter’s Fort, Alta California

December 10, 1845: John Charles Fremont, Army Second Lieutenant of Topographical Engineers, arrives in Alta California with 60 armed men. They camp in Sutter’s Fort for a month.

Fink, Augusta. Monterey: The Presence of the Past. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1972. p. 13





“On 10 December, Fremont reached John Sutter’s settlement at New Helvetia, better known as Sutter’s Fort and the future site of Sacramento.”

“Resting until late January, he then traveled to Monterey to call on the American consul, Thomas O. Larkin, and the Mexican Commandant, Don Jose Castro. Fremont arrived at a time of internal tension, for Castro and the governor of California, Don Pio Pico, were at odds. In addition, the previous governor had been ousted earlier, and contacts outside California were virtually nonexistent. The presence of the well armed topographic party aroused Castro’s attention and suspicions about American intentions in California. He had reason to be concerned, for only a few years earlier an American naval force had temporarily occupied Monterey.

Castro treated the American explorer with courtesy, giving him permission to resupply but not any written consent to stay in California. The topographer told Castro of his peaceful intent, and assured him that his party only carried weapons to hunt game and for protection against the Indians. His purpose for being in the area, Fremont explained, had to do with finding a shorter route to Oregon and other “scientific purposes,” but winter had caught him in the mountains. He told Castro he had come to Monterey seeking permission to set up a winter camp in the San Joaquin Valley. With Castro’s verbal approval for the Americans to stay for a while in the Sacramento Valley, Fremont moved his party to Laguna, a vacant ranch 13 miles southeast of San Jose, for refitting. During this period the main party rejoined the expedition.

The courtesy extended to the expedition to remain in California dwindled as the Americans appeared to linger in the area. Fremont’s men appeared to get along well with the local Spanish speaking Californians, drawn by curiosity to visit the encampment. During these gatherings the Californians impressed Fremont and his colleagues with their fine horsemanship. Near the end of February Fremont moved his 60-man party southwest toward the settled Santa Clara valley. On 3 March they encamped on the Hartnell ranch [Alisal Rancho] near present-day Salinas, only 25 miles from Monterey. Two days later the disturbed Castro dispatched one of his cavalry officers with an ultimatum ordering the expedition to leave California.

The Mexican authorities had every right to demand Fremont’s withdrawal. He had marched into settled regions under the guise of a peaceful scientific expedition during times of difficult relations between Mexico and the United States. Men like Carson, Walker, Owens, the other mountain men, and the Delaware Indians hardly looked like peaceful scientific types. Historians generally hold the view that Fremont was biding his time and waiting for the expected news that war had been declared. Bernard De Voto wrote of Fremont in The Year of Decision, 1846, that “destiny was stirring in his soul.”


http://www.mchsmuseum.com/news/0307.pdf (PDF)


Published in: on December 10, 1845 at 3:15 am  Leave a Comment