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property. The reservation at Rincon point, and any other public lands that there may be at San Francisco, are included in your instructions of the 9th instant. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Assis ant Adjutant General. Captain E. D. Keyes,

Commanding, Presidio, San Francisco.


Monterey, California, August 30, 1849. COLONEL: I found, on my return to this place from a reconnoissance of a portion of the valleys of San Joaquin and Sacramento rivers, general orders No. 1 from the headquarters of the army; and, as I cannot have copied in season for transmission by the steamer of the 1st proximo the military correspondence at these headquarters, I respectfully submit, for the information of the commander-in-chief, a brief summary of reports heretofore made in relation to military affairs in this department.

My attention was direcied, on my arrival in this country, to the unparalleled excitement in relation to the mineral regions; the imminent danger that our troops, as they arrived, would desert to the 6 placers,” and, instead of giving protection to the parties, and aid in the preservation of order and tranquillity, would themselves become the very worst element of disorder; the great extent of Indian frontier to be guarded, and the difficulties then apprehended from the unsettled state of affairs in the mining districts. An attentive consideration of these subjects impressed me with the opinion that the policy most likely to prove advantageous to the service, would be the concentration of all the troops serving in this department, except the necessary guards for the depôts at one or more points in the immediate vicinity of ihe gold regions, from wiience a portion of them might be permitted to visit the placers for the purpose of working them for their own benefit-the remainder to be held embodied in a proper state of discipline, in readiness for any emergency that might occur. Aiter the expiration of the furlough of the first class, a second class to be furloughed, and so in succession with the remainder; the troops stationed at points so distant from the mines, that they could not be furloughed, to be relieved by exchange with commands that have been more favorably situated. The practice of granting furloughs, adopted at some of the posts in this country, with the sanction of the former department commander, had succeeded well, and the information received about the time of my arrival from the southern part of this department confirmed me in the opinion previously entertained, that the mania for gold-hunting would exist, in its most exaggerated forin, at points most remote from the placers. I accordingly, immediately after relieving Colonel Mason in the command of the department, recommended the adoption of the policy above indicated. It is a matter of regret, that the emergencies of the service have been such that it could not be carried out to the extent recommended; for the experience of the past four months has convinced me that it is the only course that can be adopted, with reasonable hope of success, until the state of alfairs in this country is materially changed. In addition to the mere

question of expediency, Indian difficulties that were then occurring, and the threatening danger of a proximate collision between the different classes at work in the gold region, made it highly important that a strong military force should be established in the imniediate vicinity of the mining region.

For the disposition of the troops in the departinent, and the measures taken to prevent desertions, &c., I respectfully refer to department order and special orders forwarded to you by this mail. These furnish you with a history of the operations in the department since my assumption of the command. The present disposition of the troops is the same as indi. cated in orders No. 16, except that company A, 2d infantry, re-enforced by details from other companies—in all, four officers and eighty men-has been detached, under instructions from the commander of the division, as an escort for Captain Warner, topographical engineers, and company E, 1st dragoons, when en route for the station, was diverted from that route, for the purpose of securing the perpetrators of some murders committed by Indians on or near Los Reyes river.

The difficulties apprehended from a collision between the different classes of the mining population have not yet occurred in the form which it was feared they would assume, and at present I do not apprehend any serious difficulty from that source. Some serious Indian disturbances have occurred on the American fork of the Sacramento, and a few isolated murders have occurred at other points; but at the date of the last report from the frontier, everything was quiet. The Indians of the Sierra Nevada, although in a great number, are of a degraded class, and are divided into so many different tribes, or rancherias, speaking different languages, that any combination on their part is scarcely to be apprehended. Their depredations heretofore have been confined generally to horse-stealing, and only occasionally have murders been committed by them. These, how. ever, have been made the pretence, by the whites in their neighborhood,

for the commission of outrages of the most aggravated character-in one · or two cases involving in an indiscriminate massacre the wild Indians

of the Sierra and the tame Indians of the ranchos. The commanders of detachments serving on the Indian frontiers are instructed to prevent any authorized interference with the Indians by the whites, and to support the Indian agents of their districts in the exercise of their appropriate duties. From the character of the mining population, and the nature of their occupations, unless a strong military force be maintained on that frontier, it will be impossible to prevent the commission of outrages upon the Indians; and they, in turn, will be avenged by murders committed upon isolated parties of whites. Unfortunately, the eagerness with which gold is sought after by detached parties of miners, gives many opportunities tor the commission of such outrages. To seek after and apprehend the perpetrators in cases of this kind, a mounted force is absolutely necessary; and, although great difficulty will be experienced in obtaining forage and replacing horses that may be disabled, its services are so indispensably necessary, that I greatly regret my inability to supply more than one company on the Indian frontier until after the company now on duty with the commissioner of the boundary survey is relieved.

I have heretofore called the attention of the War Department and the division commander to the insufficiency of the force assigned to this department by general order No. 49 of 1848. As it may not be possible, with the present military establishment, to order any additional force to this country without the action of Congress, I respectfully invite the at. tention of the commanding general to the views heretofore expressed on this subject. ' A topographical sketch of a portion of this department is herewith enclosed, upon which I have indicated the positions or neighborhoods in which I deem it important that troops should be established. The amount and character of the force required in my report to division headquarters, of June 11, is also enclosed.

The embarrassments under which the service has labored will be so readily appreciated at home, that it is unnecessary to refer to them here except to say that, great as these embarrassments have been, they have been greatly increased by the want of line and staff officers.

In consequence of the extraordinary prices of labor, and the consequent enormous experditures in this country, young officers of the line should not be, in justice to the service and themselves, as they have unnecessarily been, encumbered, in addition to their company duties, with money and property responsibilities to a very great amount. Experienced officers of the quartermaster's department are required at San Francisco, San Diego, and with the commands on the upper Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, I have now but one officer, Captain Kane, of that department, under my control; and he is necessarily detained at department headquarters in the preparation of my estimates for the service of the ensuing year. Quarters must soon be erected at several of the posts in this department; and I cannot spare line officers for this duty, without destroying their efficiency with their companies, even were it proper to do so. There are no topographical engineers on duty in this department, and, in consequence of the want, I have been able to perform very little of the duty devolved upon me by the 111th paragraph general orders No. 49, of 1848. A reconnoissance of a portion of the valleys of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, undertaken for the purpose of determining the position to be occupied, as recommended in my report to division headquarters of April 16, to the War Department of the 25th of the same month, has strengthened my opinion of the importance of giving the country a most thorough examination before any military posts are permanently located in the interior. The whole district of country lying between the coast range and the Sierra Nevada is exceedingly sickly at certain seasons of the year. The common timber of the country (oak) is not fit for building purposes; and I was greatly disappointed in finding that south of the Sacramento river, pine fit for lumber exists only on the spur of the mountains in small quantities, and in places difficult of access. Stone, as a building material, is scarce; and at several of the points where it may be desirable to establish military posts, grain for forage is out of the question, and grass can only be found in exceedingly limited quantities. I expressed a hope in my despatches to the War Department of June 30, that I would be able to make an examination of the country along the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, from the source of the San Joaquin to the southern boundary of California; but the seas, in is now so far advanced that I fear I shall not be able to accomplish more than the determination of a position to be occupied in the neighborhood of Los Reyes river. It is of great importance that this point should be determined as soon as possible; for the new discoveries of gold constantly being made in that direction, are attracting thither a large portion of the mining population. The rapidly increasing population of the northern placers is gradually forcing the Indians to the south, and congregating them on the waters of the Lake Buena Vista, (Tula.) This position should be occupied, if possible, before the miners have become established in Los Reyes and the neighboring rivers; and the necessary examinations and arrangements will be made as soon as it is possible to do so.

Since my application (April 25) for officers of the quartermaster's department was made, two officers of that corps, Majors Allen and Fitzgerald, whom I had supposed would be available for duty in this department, have been permanently separated from it; and the number then applied for should be increased by two.

Two of the medical officers in this department are now prostrated by disease; and as their places cannot be supplied here, there should be at least three in this department, in addition to those actually required for duty at the different posts in the department, to meet emergencies of this kind.

The ordnance depots at Monterey and San Francisco are under the charge of military store-keepers. It is important, for the preservation of this property in a serviceable condition, that they should be under the supervision of an experienced ordnance officer.

With the exception of the assistant quartermaster above referred to, the officers above enumerated have heretofore been applied for; but as none have been reported to me, I will state in detail what officers are absolutely required with this command:

Four officers of the quartermaster's department, in addition to Captain Kane now on duty here;

Two topographical engineers;
Three additional medical officers;
One officer of the ordnance department;
One officer of the subsistence department.

The irregular communication with some of the interior posts, creates a good deal of embarrassment by delaying the department returns. In consequence of this I am unable to furnish a later return than for June. The transport Mary and Adeline, with companies A and F, 2d infantry, reached San Francisco on the Sth ultimo. The detachment of dragoons, on their inarch to the department with the collector of this district and the Arkansas emigrants, have not yet arrived. During the months of July and August, so far as reports have been received, there were but few desertions, except from the company detailed for the escort of Cap. tain Warner, topographical engineers: 34 men, more than half the whole number reported, have deserted from this company. The entire force in the departinent at this time does not probably exceed 650, (aggregate;) and consequently more than 400 recruits are now required to fill up these companies to the standard authorized for this department.

A detailed report of my reconnoissance in the valleys of the San Joaquin and Sacramento will be forwarded by the next steamer. I have delayed it in order to embody in it information in regard to the country in the neighborhood of the Tula, which I am in the daily expectation of receiving.

The want of company officers is very much felt; and I request that authority may be given me to break up the companies whose captails

mno." panies Actum thareturns. Cates


are permanently absent, transferring the officers to other companies, as their services may be needed. . I have the honor to be, very respectfully, colonel, your obedient ser

B. RILEY, Brevit Brigadier General U. S. Army, commanding. Lieut. Col. W. G. FREEMAN, Assistant Adjutant General U. S. army,

Headquarters of the Army, New York.


Monterey, California, August 30, 1849. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on the 18th instant, of your communication of June 26.

The policy adopted in relation to the subjects embraced in that communication has been fully reported in my despatches to the Adjutant General, and in the military correspondence transmitted through him for the information of your department. I deem it important, however, in connexion with this subject, to make some suggestions with reference to the policy to be pursued in future.

The greatest difficulties that have been encountered, thus far, in the efforts to prevent desertion, have grown out of the strong sympathy felt by the great mass of citizens of this country for the apparent hardships experienced by our men in being obliged to serve for a sum that in this country is really nominal, while all around them are reaping an extraordi. nary remuneration for their labor, and the consequent indisposition to render the military authorities any aid whatever in apprehending deserters.

It is thought that the passage of a law increasing, in a very considerable degree, the penalties imposed upon citizens who may entice soldiers to desert or harbor them after desertion, and the forfeiture, for the benefit of the United States, of any property that may be acquired by citizens from deserters, will have a beneficial effect, particularly by rendering it hazardous to engage in any occupation or have any business transactions with them.

This sympathy may be still further weakened, if the difficulties under which the soldiers labor in California be rendered less apparent, by some increase of pay and some allowance in the shape of bounty lands.

For desertion in this country, I respectfully recommend the restoration of the war penalty. The temptations to desert here are undoubtedly unparalleled ; but so, also, are the difficulties and dangers that may result from the abandonment of the duties which the soldier has voluntarily contracted to perform, and so should be the obligation to perform them faithfully. I can see no difference between desertion now and desertion in the face of an enemy; nor any good reason why the extreme penalty of the law should not be restored. But if this be thought inexpedient, I would recommend, in its stead, disqualification as a citizen; the lorteiture, for the benefit of the United States, of all property that may be in the possession of a deserter at the time of desertion, or is acquired thereafter; confinement at hard labor upon any of the public works, or in

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