Chapter 1: early recollections of California. 1846-1848.
In the spring of 1846 I was a first-lieutenant of Company (, Third Artillery, stationed at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina
The company was commanded by Captain Robert Anderson
; Henry B. Judd
was the senior first-lieutenant
, and I was the junior first-lieutenant
, and George B. Ayres
. Colonel William Gates
commanded the post and regiment, with First-Lieutenant William Austine
as his adjutant.
Two other companies were at the post, viz., Martin Burke
's and E. D. Keyes
's, and among the officers were T. W. Sherman
, Morris Miller
, H. B. Field
, William Churchill
, Joseph Stewart
, and Surgeon McLaren
The country now known as Texas
had been recently acquired, and war with Mexico
One of our companies (Bragg
's), with George H. Thomas
, John F. Reynolds
, and Frank Thomas
, had gone the year previous and was at that time with General Taylor
's army at Corpus Christi, Texas
In that year (1846) I received the regular detail for recruiting service, with orders to report to the general superintendent
at Governor's Island, New York
; and accordingly left Fort Moultrie
in the latter part of April, and reported to the superintendent,
Colonel R. B. Mason
, First Dragoons, at New York, on the 1st day of May.
I was assigned to the Pittsburg
rendezvous, whither I proceeded and relieved Lieutenant Scott
Early in May I took up my quarters at the St. Charles Hotel
, and entered upon the discharge of my duties.
There was a regular recruiting-station already established, with a sergeant, corporal
, and two or three men, with a citizen physician, Dr. McDowell
, to examine the recruits.
The threatening war with Mexico
made a demand for recruits, and I received authority to open another sub-rendezvous at Zanesville, Ohio
, whither I took the sergeant and established him. This was very handy to me, as my home was at Lancaster, Ohio
, only thirty-six miles off, so that I was thus enabled to visit my friends there quite often.
In the latter part of May, when at Wheeling
, Virginia, on my way back from Zanesville
, I heard the first news of the battle of Palo Alto
and Resaca de la Palma
, which occurred on the 8th and 9th of May, and, in common with everybody else, felt intensely excited.
That I should be on recruiting service, when my comrades were actually fighting, was intolerable, and I hurried on to my post, Pittsburg
At that time the railroad did not extend west of the Alleghanies
, and all journeys were made by stage-coaches.
In this instance I traveled from Zanesville
, thence to Washington (Pennsylvania)
, and thence to Pittsburg
On reaching Pittsburg
I found many private letters; one from Ord
, then a first-lieutenant in Company F, Third Artillery, at Fort McHenry
, saying that his company had just received orders for California
, and asking me to apply for it. Without committing myself to that project, I wrote to the Adjutant-General
, R. Jones
, at Washington, D. C.
, asking him to consider me as an applicant for any active service, and saying that I would willingly forego the recruiting detail, which I well knew plenty of others would jump at. Impatient to approach the scene of active operations, without authority (and I suppose wrongfully), I left my corporal in charge of the rendezvous, and took all the recruits I had made, about twenty-five, in a steamboat to Cincinnati
, and turned them over to Major N. C. McCrea
at Newport Barracks.
I then reported in Cincinnati
, to the superintendent of the Western
recruiting service, Colonel Fanning
, an old officer with one arm, who inquired by what authority I had come away from my post.
I argued that I took it for granted he wanted all the recruits he could get to forward to the army at Brownsville, Texas
; and did not know but that he might want me to go along.
Instead of appreciating my volunteer zeal, he cursed and swore at me for leaving my post without orders, and told me to go back to Pittsburg
I then asked for an order that would entitle me to transportation back, which at first he emphatically refused, but at last he gave the order, and I returned to Pittsburg
, all the way by stage, stopping again at Lancaster
, where I attended the wedding of my schoolmate Mike Effinger
, and also visited my sub-rendezvous at Zanesville
R. S. Ewell
, of my class, arrived to open a cavalry rendezvous, but, finding my depot there, he went on to Columbus, Ohio
afterward was ordered to Zanesville
, to take charge of that rendezvous, under the general War Department orders increasing the number of recruiting-stations.
I reached Pittsburg
late in June, and found the order relieving me from recruiting service, and detailing my classmate H. B. Field
to my place.
I was assigned to Company F, then under orders for California
By private letters from Lieutenant Ord
, I heard that the company had already started from Fort McHenry
for Governor's Island
, New York Harbor, to take passage for California
in a naval transport.
I worked all that night, made up my accounts current, and turned over the balance of cash to the citizen physician, Dr. McDowell
; and also closed my clothing and property returns, leaving blank receipts with the same gentleman for Field
's signature, when he should get there, to be forwarded to the Department at Washington
, and the duplicates to me. These I did not receive for more than a year.
I remember that I got my orders about 8 P. M. one night, and took passage in the boat for Brownsville
, the next morning traveled by stage from Brownsville
to Cumberland, Maryland
, and thence by cars to Baltimore
, and New York, in a great hurry lest the ship might sail without me. I found
Company F at