Today in History:

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


I arrived at Camp Latham on the 28th of April, having been out forty-one days and traveled some 800 miles over, a this season of the year, one of the rougest countries to travel through that there is in California, encountering snow-storms, hail, rain, and windy, freezing weather alternately from the time that I reached Kern River in going up until I passed over, or rather through, the mountains on my return. From all the information that I could get and from what I know of my own knowledge, I am of the opinion that the Owne's River Indians, together with detachments from the Tejon, Tulare, and Mono Indians, and some of the Piutes, have banded together, numbering not far from 800 to 1,000 warriors; that they have 100 or more good guns, and are determined to carry out their threat that no white man should likve in the valley. As an earnest of their sincerityin making the threat they have buntand destroyed every house and improvement of the whites from Walker's pass through to as far as I went (and that was to the extreme head of Owen's River Valley and within fifty miles of Mono Lake); have killed nine white men that have been found and buried, and, I have no doubt, others that have not yet been found. They have killed at least 1,000 head of cattle, and have been drying the meat and preparing evidently for a long war, and to-day there is not a white soul left living in the valley. The mining interest of that section are too great for the whites to give it up tamely. Some two or three mills have already been erected, and the machinery was on the ground and upon the road for several more; and there are now stopped on Kern River, by reason of these Indian difficulties, perhaps not less than 100 people who were en route for the Coso and other mines in that section, with thousands of dollars' worth of property, all awaiting the action of the Government in sending out roops and establishing a post in the valley for their protection. Again, the Owen's River Valley is the great thoroughfare and only route, except to go around by Placerville, through which the growing trade and travel of this southern country must pass in and to the Esmeralda and Washoe districts, and upon which the people of Esmeralda are almost entirely dependent for their beef and other fresh meats. In consideration of these facts and in compliance with my instructions, I would most respectfully urge the necessity of a military post being established in the valley, and recommend Big Pine Creek as the most eligible location. Big Pine Creek is a large, bold stream of water making out of the eastern slope of the Sierras and emptying into Owen's Rivr on its western bank, furnishing fine water-power for machinery and running through one of the finest bodies of land that there is in the valley, where tons upon tons of hay could be cut in its season. Again, it is situated about the center of the valley, or rather is about midway between Walker's Pass and Esmeralda, and is ajacent to good stone and timber for building purposes.

In conclusion I beg leave to say that the officers and men, both of the detachment from Fort Churchill and of the escort from Camp Latham, behaved with great coolness and bravery under fire, and bore the hardships of the trip, living on fresh beef alone as they did a portion of the time without a murmur, showing at all times a willingness to obey orders and do whatever was required to be done, either night or day, even to acting as mules and assisting in hauling the wagons when the wornout, conddemned mulse (all I could get for the trip) could not. That is worthy of all praise.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-Colonel Second Cavalry California Volunteers.