CHAPTER IX. California battalion
Their appearance and costume
List of the officers
Commence our march to Los Angeles
Appearance of the country in the vicinity of San Juan
Slaughter of beeves
Astonishing consumption of beef by the men
Salinas river and valley
Horses giving out from fatigue
Mission of San Miguel
March on foot
More prisoners taken
Death of Mr. Stanley
Capture of the mission of San Luis Obispo
Orderly conduct and good deportment of the California battalion.
November 30. - The battalion of mounted riflemen, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Fremont, numbers, rank and file, including Indians, and servants, 428. With the exception of the exploring party, which left the United States with Colonel F., they are composed of volunteers from the American settlers, and the emigrants who have arrived in the country within a few weeks. The latter have generally furnished their own ammunition and other equipments for the expedition. Most of these are practised riflemen, men of undoubted courage, and capable of bearing any fatigue and privations endurable by veteran troops. The Indians are composed of a party of Walla-Wallas from Oregon, and a party of native Californians. Attached to the battalion are two pieces of artillery, under the command of Lieutenant McLane, of the navy. In the appearance of our small army there is presented but little of "the pomp and circumstance of glorious war." There are no plumes nodding over brazen helmets, nor coats of broadcloth spangled with lace and buttons. A broad-brimmed low-crowned hat, a shirt of blue flannel, or buckskin, with pantaloons and mocassins of the same, all generally much the worse for wear, and smeared with mud and dust, make up the costume of the party, officers as well as men. A leathern girdle surrounds the waist, from which are suspended a bowie and a hunter's knife, and sometimes a brace of pistols. These, with the rifle and holster-pistols, are the arms carried by officers and privates. A single bugle (and a sorry one it is) composes the band. Many an embryo Napoleon, in his own conceit, whose martial spirit has been excited to flaming intensity of heat by the peacock-plumage and gaudy trappings of our militia companies, when marching through the streets to the sound of drum, fife, and brass band, if he could have looked upon us, and then consulted the state of the military thermometer within him, would probably have discovered that the mercury of his heroism had fallen several degrees below zero. He might even have desired that we should not come
"Between the wind and his nobility."
War, stripped of its pageantry, possesses but few of the attractions with which poetry and painting have embellished it. The following is a list of the officers composing the California Battalion: - Lieut.-colonel J.G. Fremont, commanding; A.H. Gillespie, major; P.B. Reading, paymaster; H. King, commissary; J.R. Snyder, quartermaster, since appointed a land-surveyor by Colonel Mason; Wm. H. Russell, ordnance officer; T. Talbot, lieutenant and adjutant; J.J. Myers, sergeant-major, appointed lieutenant in January, 1847.
Company A. - Richard Owens, captain; Wm. N. Loker, 1st lieutenant, appointed adjutant, Feb. 10th, 1847; B.M. Hudspeth, 2d lieutenant, appointed captain, Feb. 1847, Wm. Findlay, 2d lieutenant, appointed captain, Feb. 1847.
Company B. - Henry Ford, captain; Andrew Copeland, 1st lieutenant.
Company C. - Granville P. Swift, captain; Wm. Baldridge, 1st lieutenant; Wm. Hartgrove, 2d do.
Company D. - John Sears, captain; Wm. Bradshaw, 1st lieutenant.
Company E. - John Grigsby, captain; Archibald Jesse, 1st lieutenant.
Company F. - L.W. Hastings, captain (author of a work on California); Wornbough, 1st lieutenant; J.M. Hudspeth, 2d do.
Company G. - Thompson, captain; Davis 1st lieutenant; Rock, 2d do.
Company H. - R.T. Jacobs, captain; Edwin Bryant, 1st lieutenant (afterwards alcalde at San Francisco); Geo. M. Lippincott, 2d do., of New York.
Artillery Company. - Louis McLane, captain (afterwards major); John. K. Wilson, 1st lieutenant, appointed captain in January, 1847; Wm. Blackburn, 2d do. (now alcalde of Santa Cruz).