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furnish, if possible, one of the smaller ships of his squadron, to convey these stores down the coast. I have learned, in answer, that the commodore had despatched, on the 19th instant, the storeship Southampton, so that full supplies will reach Major Graham before the stores already at Los Angeles are exhausted. For the present I shall keep Major Graham's corumand in the southern district, at some eligible point for recruiting his animals; but, in the spring, propose stationing a part of the force within striking distance of the gold placer. Captain Smith's company is ordered to San Francisco.
I was in hopes that the news of the discovery of the gold mines in this country, together with its effects on the troops stationed here, would have reached the department before any more were ordered out, for every day adds to my conviction that no soldier should be sent to California for some years to come, unless Congress provide them pay bearing some proportion to the amount they can make in the country, and, at the same time, devise some laws by which deserters, and those who entice them away, employ them, and purchase from them their arms, accoutrements, clothing, and other public property, which they steal and carry off, can be more suinmarily and severely punished; the present laws being entirely inadequate, as long experience has proven. Troops are needed here, and greatly needed; but of what use is it to send them, with the positive certainty of their run. ning off to the gold mines as soon as they arrive, taking with them whatever public property they can lay their hands on? To arrest them is im. possible, as they receive every encouragement to desert, and every facility to elude pursuit. I cannot but apprehend that Major Granam's men will desert nearly as fast as the horses recover strength to travel, for the wages in the country continue as extravagant as when I last wrote, and the gold mines hold out fully as tempting a prospect as ever. At this season of the year the operatives in that quirter are checked by cold weather and snow in the mountains; but, with spring the gold fever will break out with re. newed violence. It will also be difficult to keep troops mounted in this country, on account of the scarcity of suitable horses and all kinds of grain or forage—horses even now so scarce and dear, that it is difficult to buy enough for the quartermaster's department.
The entire regiment of New York volunteers has been mustered out of service companies C and K on the 15th of August, and H on the 25th of August, by Lieutenant James A. Hardie, 3d artillery, at San Francisco, California; company F, September 8, 1848, at Santa Barbara, Upper California; staff companies E and G, September 18, 1848, at Los Angeles, California, and company I, September 25, 1848, at San Diego, by Captain A. J. Smith, 1st dragoons; and companies A, B, and D on the 23d and 24th of October, 1848, at Monterey, California, by Captain H. S. Burton, 3d artillery. The field officers of the regiment were mustered out at Monterey, by Captain Burton, on the 26th of October. The mustering officers were directed to transmit two copies of each roll to your officeone endorsed for the Commissioner of Pensions. Another copy has been deposited in this office, so that reference can be made to it without consuming the time required to communicate with Washington. In like manner have been retained at these headquarters copies of the musterrolls of discharge of Burton's company of California volunteers and of the Mormon companies discharged here. The volunteers have in many cases asked for individual discharges, separate from that given by the muster-rolls. Such discharges would be in violation of the 221st paragraph of general regulations, and is therefore prohibited; but I have given my consent for the mustering officer to furnish, at the request of a volunteer, a certificate that the bearer (setting forth his rank, &e.) had been honorably discharged. Such a paper could not be regarded as a duplicate discharge, and would serve to distinguish him who had honestly served his time from the many deserters now at large in the country, as also from those who were dishonorably discharged from service.
This regiment, you are aware, had been strung from Sonoma in the north to San José, in Lower California, during their whole time of service in this quarter. The companies stationed at La Paz (Steel's and Matsell's) held that town for many weeks against four times their numbers; and the very moment they were re-enforced by Naglee's company with additional recruits, they took the field under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Burton, routed the enemy, completely dispersed him, and restored peace to the peninsula. Colonel Burton speaks highly of the courage and coolness of his men and officers under fire; and I refer you to his report for individual acts of gallantry. Lieutenant Colonel Burton, throughout his whole conduct whilst in command of the forces in Lower California, completely executed his instructions, which were based upon the orders from the War Department; and as his reports and copies of his instructions are already in your office, I need only add my present approval of his conduct. He is now on duty at this place, in command of his company F, 3d artillery:
Colonel J. D. Stevenson, since April, 1847, has been in command of the district of country embracing Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego, has by energy and good management maintained most excellent discipline amongst his men, and has preserved harmony amongst the population of that district, which is composed mostly of the native Californians. This required peculiar tact and firmness—qualities possessed by him in a peculiar degree. I will warrant that at no previous time in that district were life or property so secure, the magistrates of the country so effectually supported, and industry so encouraged, as during the past two years; one common cry of regret arose at the order for their dis. bandment; the little petty causes of complaint were forgotten in the remembrance of the more substantial advantages they had enjoyed under the protection of the military. Subalterns and men are entitled to share with their commander the honor due for this creditable state of feeling on the part of a people nominally conquered. That part of California lying on the bay of San Francisco has been under the command of the major of this regiment, James A. Hardie, who has effectually aided the civil authorities, dispelled the fears of the threatened Indian incursions, and guarded the heavy depôt at San Francisco—duties which were performed to the best advantage with the limited force at his command. His officers and men were generally attentive to their duties, and anxious to serve the United States. Major Hardie is still in command at San Francisco as first lieutenant 3d regiment of artillery. About the time of the disbanding of the three companies from Lower California at this place, some of the individuals of those companies committed gross acts of pillage upon public and private property, took forcible possession of a public building belonging to the town authorities, which they occupied for some days, and wantonly injured to a considerable extent.
Since my letter No. 44, I have made a visit to the gold mines, which I found as prosperous as ever. I went to the Stanislaus, a river that drains a country which a twelvemonth ago could only be visited by armed parties, but now known as one of the richest gold placers of the whole district. People are still working where the gold was originally discovered, as well as in the whole range of country lying between the American and Stanislaus rivers.
Now that the war with Mexico is over, I feel it due to the officers of the army who have served and still serve under my command, to draw your attention to the services they have rendered to the government. With the exception of Captain Burton and Lieutenant Halleck, they have not had the good fortune to be engaged in action. But this should not stand in their way of advancement. They have obeyed the orders of their government, and, by careful and strict attention to their appropriate duties, have maintained quiet and order among the worst elements of society. Heavy and responsible duties devolved upon Captain Folsom as assistant quartermaster and collector of customs at San Francisco, and they have been well performed. Captain Smith and Lieutenant Davidson of the dragoons, Lieutenants Ord and Loeser of the artillery, have been faithful and constant on duty with their respective companies. Lieutenant Davidson has also been on duty as chief officer of the quartermaster's department at Los Angeles, and in the southern district of Upper California—an arduous and responsible trust, which he has satisfactorily performed. Lieutenant Sherman, 3d artillery, has performed the duties of assistant adjutant general since May 31, 1847. I take great pleasure in bearing witness to his ability and talents; to his untiring zeal and industry, and close and constant application to all and every official duty.
Lieutenant Halleck has been employed in the civil department as sec. retary of the Territory of California, in his proper profession as an engineer officer at Mazatlan, and as chief of Lieutenant Colonel Burton's staff in the military operations in the field in Lower California, and has acquitted himself with great credit in every situation. Lieutenant Warner, topographical engineers, has been employed in the ordnance department here, as well as in making surveys of the country, and has shown himself an active and excellent officer. Assistant surgeons Griffin and Murray have been constantly on duty at their respective posts, and have been unremitting in their attentions to the sick.
Should it be contemplated to order the two companies of regulars to the United States, I would suggest the propriety of giving the few men who still remain the option of being discharged in this country, even before the expiration of their term of enlistment. No country could possibly hold out better prospects to the laboring man than California now does, and a discharge, honorably obtained, would be some reward to those who have proven faithful to their oaths.
I regret to report that several most horrible murders have of late been committed in this country. The entire occupants of the inission of San Miguel-men, women, and children in all ten persons, were murdered about two weeks ago, and there is no doubt the inurders were committed by white men. Murders and robberies have been committed in the min. eral district, and I am informed that three men were hung in Pueblo de San José, on the 18th instant, for assault with intent to kill. The case is represented to be this: Two men were returning from the mines, having about their persons the gold which they had dug, amounting, it is said, to 23 pounds. They were met by six men, who inquired, as usual, where they had been working, and with what success. The two men shortly after encamped, and were assaulted: one was shot through the arm, the ball striking his breast; the other begged for mercy, and gave up his gold. This occurred on the road between the San Joaquin river and the Pueblo de San José. The two men succeeded in reaching the latter place, and made their complaint to the alcalde, giving such a description of the six men, that they were identified and arrested.
Only three of the six had made the assault, and the evidence against them was so clear, that a jury, regularly empannelled, sentenced them to death by hanging. The sentence was executed on Monday last. You are perfectly aware that no competent civil courts exist in this country, and that strictly speaking there is no legal power to execute the sentence of death; but the necessity of protecting their lives and property against the many lawless men at large in this country, compels the good citiz to take the law into their own hands. I shall not disapprove of the course that has been taken in this instance, and shall only endeavor to restrain the people, so far as to insure to every man charged with a capital crime an open and fair trial by a jury of his countrymen.
Upon hearing of the murder of Mr. Reed's family at the mission of San Miguel, I despatched Lieutenant Ord with a couple of men to that mission to ascertain the truth, and, if need, to aid the alcalde in the execution of his office. As it was reported that five men had been found, with strong evidence of guilt, I told Lieutenant Ord to inform the alcalde that if the evidence were clear and positive, and the sentence of the jury were death, he might cause it to be executed without referring the case to me. This course is absolutely necessary, as there are no jails or prisons in the country, where a criminal can be safely secured. This state of affairs must illustrate the absolute necessity of establishing a territorial government here as early as practicable. Common humanity demands it.
I would respectfully recommend that the military posts in California be placed on the list of double ration posts, and that it take retrospective effect as far back as is consistent with law. This would be just to the commanding officers who have been subjected to the heavy expenses of living in this country. I shall send this letter to Mazatlan, with a note, requesting Mr. Bolton to forward it to Vera Cruz overland; copies of orders, letters, and other papers of record, will be kept until some opportunity offers by way of Panama.
The latest dates from the department are to the 18th of April, brought out by the ship Huntress; and to illustrate how completely we are cut off from any communication with the United States, I will merely mention that Major Graham's command received orders and marched across the continent, bringing the first intelligence of their coming. I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
R. B. MASON,
Colonel 1st Dragoons, commanding. Brigadier General R. JONES,
Adjutant General U. Š. Army, Washington city, D. C.
[No. 51.] HEADQUARTERS TENTH MILITARY DEPARTMENT,
Monterey, California, March 8, 1849. GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 29th of January, of your communications of April 13 and July 6, and on the 23d ultimo your instruction of October 2, and communications of October 13 and December 1; the instructions of the Secretary of War of October 9, covering a joint resolution of the houses of Congress, dated June 16; a copy of the communication of the Secretary of State to Mr. Van Voorhees, of October 7; of the circular of the Secretary of the Treasury of the same date, and printed forms from the Pension Office, and his communication of October 12, covering a communication from the governor of Oregon to the President of the United States; a copy of the Secretary of War's instructions to Brevet Major General Smith, dated November 15; of your instructions to Brevet Brigadier General Riley, dated October 5, and to Brevet Captain Andrews, 3d artillery, dated October 2, 1848. Very respectfully, General, your obedient servant,
R. B. MASON,
Colonel 1st Dragoons, commanding. General R. JONES,
Adjutant General U. S. A., Washington, D. C.
HEADQUARTERS TENTH MILITARY DEPARTMENT,
Monterey, California, March 28, 1849. GENERAL: I have the honor to transmit, herewith, returns of this department for January and February, 1849. Very respectfully, General, your obedient servant,
R. B. MASON,
Colonel 1st Dragoons, commanding. General R. JONES,
Adjutant General U. S. A., Washington, D. C.
Know all men by these presents, that I, R. B. Mason, colonel 1st dragoons, and governor of California, in virtue of authority in me vested, do hereby appoint Miguel Pedrorena temporary collector and harbor-master of the port of San Diego, California, with the salary of one thousand dollars per annum, provided that that sum is collected in said port over and above the expenses of the custom-house of the port.
Given at Monterey this 7th day of August, 1848.
Colonel 1st Dragoons, Governor of California.
STATE DEPARTMENT, TERRITORY OF CALIFORNIA,
Monterey, August 7, 1848. Sir: You will continue to hold the office of collector and harbor-master of the port of San Pedro as heretofore, until orders are received from the Treasury Department at Washington.