CHAPTER VII. Disastrous news from the south

  Return of Colonel Fremont to Monterey 
  Call for volunteers 
  Volunteer our services 
  Leave New Helvetia 
  Swimming the Sacramento 
  First fall of rain 
  Beautiful and romantic valley 
  Precipitous mountains 
  Deserted house 
  Arable land of California 
  Fattening qualities of the acorn 
  Lost in the Coast Mountains 
  Strange Indians 
  Indian women gathering grass-seed for bread 
  Indian guide 
  Rough dialogue 
  Hunters' camp 
  "Old Greenwood" 
  Grisly bear meat 
  Greenwood's account of himself 
  His opinion of the Indians and Spaniards 
  Retrace our steps 
  Severe storm 
  Nappa valley 
  Arrive at Sonoma 
  More rain 
  Arrive at San Francisco 
  Return to New Helvetia.

I remained at the fort from the 27th to the 30th of October. On the 28th, Mr. Reed, whom I have before mentioned as belonging to the rear emigrating party, arrived here. He left his party on Mary's River, and in company with one man crossed the desert and the mountains. He was several days without provisions, and, when he arrived at Johnson's, was so much emaciated and exhausted by fatigue and famine, that he could scarcely walk. His object was to procure provisions immediately, and to transport them with pack-mules over the mountains for the relief of the suffering emigrants behind. He had lost all of his cattle, and had been compelled to cache two of his wagons and most of his property. Captain Sutter generously furnished the requisite quantity of mules and horses, with Indian vaqueros, and jerked meat and flour. This is the second expedition for the relief of the emigrants he has fitted out since our arrival in the country. Ex-governor Boggs and family reached Sutter's Fort to-day.

On the evening of the 28th, a courier arrived with letters from Colonel Fremont, now at Monterey. The substance of the intelligence received by the courier was, that a large force of Californians (varying, according to different reports, from five to fifteen hundred strong) had met the marines and sailors, four hundred strong, under the command of Captain Mervine, of the U.S. frigate Savannah, who had landed at San Pedro for the purpose of marching to Los Angeles, and had driven Captain Mervine and his force back to the ship, with the loss, in killed, of six men. That the towns of Angeles and Santa Barbara had been taken by the insurgents, and the American garrisons there had either been captured or had made their escape by retreating. What had become of them was unknown.[2] Colonel Fremont, who I before mentioned had sailed with a party of one hundred and eighty volunteers from San Francisco to San Pedro, or San Diego, for the purpose of co-operating with Commodore Stockton, after having been some time at sea, had put into Monterey and landed his men, and his purpose now was to increase his force and mount them, and to proceed by land for Los Angeles.

  [2] The garrison under Captain Gillespie, at Los Angeles, capitulated. 
      The garrison at Santa Barbara, under Lieutenant Talbot, marched 
      out in defiance of the enemy, and after suffering many hardships 
      arrived in safety at Monterey.

On the receipt of this intelligence, I immediately drew up a paper, which was signed by myself, Messrs Reed, Jacob, Lippincott, and Grayson, offering our services as volunteers, and our exertions to raise a force of emigrants and Indians which would be a sufficient reinforcement to Colonel Fremont. This paper was addressed to Mr. Kern, the commandant of Fort Sacramento, and required his sanction. The next morning (29th) he accepted of our proposal, and the labour of raising the volunteers and of procuring the necessary clothing and supplies for them and the Indians was apportioned.