Today in History:

48 Series I Volume L-I Serial 105 - Pacific Part I


leaving nearly forty men to guard the animals and the mouth of the canon. After getting upon the first points, which had to be ascended under a brisk fire from an unseen enemy, I found that the

Indians numbered from 500 to 700, had a great many good guns among them, and were in possession among the rocks clear up to the top of the tallest mountains, in places, too, that could scarcely be reached with ladders, and that there was no possible chance of getting to them, for, after pulling and tugging for an hour to get up to a ledge of rocks from which I could see the smoke of their rifles, when I reached it there was no Indian there, but I could see the smoke of his gun from a ledge still higher up, and so, after laboring induo hours, climbing over almost impassable points, I saw that it would be madenss and no less than murder to attempt to go any further; that I could do nothing but get half of my men killed without as much as getting a fair shot at an Indian, and was necessarily compelled to order the men to fall back. In thus reconnoitering and recovering the body of Private Gillespie from the canon, Colonel Mayfield was killed, and being a large, heavy man, weighing over 200 pounds, the men, after carrying him some 100 yards down the mountain, were compelled to leave his body or get more killed or wounded in bearing it off. After returning to the horses and trying for some time without avail to get the Indians out into the valley, I fell back to Bishop's Creek and camped for the night.

April 10, being almost entirely out of provisions, having furnished flour, &c., to the citizens who were entirely out all though the valley, and being near 400 miles from Camp Latham, where I was expected to be by the 28th, I found that I must be retracing my steps and so intimated to the citizens, whereupon the settlers and stock owners waited upon me and claimed the protection of the Government for themselves and property. I explained to them my position; that I had no authority to leave any troops with them, and had no provisions for them to liver upon if I had the authority, but that I would go with them to The Fort and there remain until they coudl get their cattle up and separate them; that those who wished to go to Aurora or Carson Valley could go under escort of Lieutenant Noble and his command and those who wished to got to Visalia or Los Angeles could go with me, which arrangement seemed to be satisfactory. I reached The Fort on the 11th of April and on the 13th moved down the river a few miles to good grass, leaving Lieutenant Noble and command at The Fort. On the 14th all the parties desiring to go south came up and I moved on. I reached Soldier's Wells, a few miles east of Walker's Pass, on the 20th, nothincurring on the route except the Indians stealing a few of the citizens' cattle. At this point we parted company, the citizens going in over the pass to Kern River, whilst I started to look out a new road or cut-off.

I left the Soldiers' Wells at sunup on the 21st and traveled due south over a sagebrush and grease wood table land some sixteen miles, when I came to the head of a large open canon running north and south, which I went down six miles and came to water and grass. From this point I still kept down the canon three miles to its mouth, which came out into an open desert plain. Here I turned to the westward and traveled five miles to the old road, atthe point where it starts into Kelso Canon to go through on the Kern River, thus traveling in one day what it took me over four days to travel in going up by the way of Kern River and Walker's Pass. This new route to Owen's Lake shortens the road from Los Angeles, without doubt, seventy miles, and is much the best road and can be traveled at all season of the year.