CHAPTER VIII. Leave New Helvetia

  Pleasant weather 
  Meet Indian volunteers 
  Tule boats 
  Engagement between a party of Americans and Californians 
  Death of Capt. Burroughs and Capt. Foster 
  Capture of Thomas O. Larkin 
  Reconnaissance 
  San Juan Bautista 
  Neglect of the dead 
  Large herds of Cattle 
  Join Col. Fremont.

On my arrival at New Helvetia, I found there Mr. Jacob. Mr. Reed had not yet returned from the mountains. Nothing had been heard from Mr. Lippincott, or Mr. Grayson, since I left the latter at Sonoma. An authorized agent of Col. Fremont had arrived at the fort the day that I left it, with power to take the caballada of public horses, and to enroll volunteers for the expedition to the south. He had left two or three days before my arrival, taking with him all the horses and trappings suitable for service, and all the men who had previously rendezvoused at the fort, numbering about sixty, as I understood. At my request messengers were sent by Mr. Kern, commandant of the fort, and by Captain Sutter, to the Indian chiefs on the San Joaquin River and its tributaries, to meet me at the most convenient points on the trail, with such warriors of their tribes as chose to volunteer as soldiers of the United States, and perform military service during the campaign. I believed that they would be useful as scouts and spies. On the 14th and 15th eight men (emigrants who had just arrived in the country, and had been enrolled at Johnson's settlement by Messrs. Reed and Jacob) arrived at the fort; and on the morning of the 16th, with these, we started to join Colonel Fremont, supposed to be at Monterey; and we encamped at night on the Coscumne River.

The weather is now pleasant. We are occasionally drenched with a shower of rain, after which the sun shines warm and bright; the fresh grass is springing up, and the birds sing and chatter in the groves and thickets as we pass through them. I rode forward, on the morning of the 17th, to the Mickelemes River (twenty-five miles from the Coscumne), where I met Antonio, an Indian chief, with twelve warriors, who had assembled hero for the purpose of joining us. The names of the warriors were as follows; - Santiago, Masua, Kiubu, Tocoso, Nonelo, Michael, Weala, Arkell, Nicolas, Heel, Kasheano, Estephen. Our party coming up in the afternoon, we encamped here for the day, in order to give the Indians time to make further preparations for the march. On the 18th we met, at the ford of the San Joaquin River, another party of eighteen Indians, including their chiefs. Their names were - Jose Jesus, Filipe, Ray-mundo, and Carlos, chiefs; Huligario, Bonefasio, Francisco, Nicolas, Pablo, Feliciano, San Antonio, Polinario, Manuel, Graviano, Salinordio, Romero, and Merikeeldo, warriors. The chiefs and some of the warriors of these parties were partially clothed, but most of them were naked, except a small garment around the loins. They were armed with bows and arrows. We encamped with our sable companions on the east bank of the San Joaquin.

The next morning (Nov. 19), the river being too high to ford, we constructed, by the aid of the Indians, tule-boats, upon which our baggage was ferried over the stream. The tule-boat consists of bundles of tule firmly hound together with willow withes. When completed, in shape it is not unlike a small keel-boat. The buoyancy of one of these craft is surprising. Six men, as many as could sit upon the deck, were passed over, in the largest of our three boats, at a time. The boats were towed backwards and forwards by Indian swimmers - one at the bow, and one at the stern as steersman, and two on each side as propellers. The poor fellows, when they came out of the cold water, trembled as if attacked with an ague. We encamped near the house of Mr. Livermore (previously described), where, after considerable difficulty, I obtained sufficient beef for supper, Mr. L. being absent. Most of the Indians did not get into camp until a late hour of the night, and some of them not until morning. They complained very much of sore feet, and wanted horses to ride, which I promised them as soon as they reached the Pueblo de San Jose.

About ten o'clock on the morning of the 20th, we slaughtered a beef in the hills between Mr. Livermore's and the mission of San Jose; and, leaving the hungry party to regale themselves upon it and then follow on, I proceeded immediately to the Pueblo de San Jose to make further arrangements, reaching that place just after sunset. On the 21st I procured clothing for the Indians, which, when they arrived with Mr. Jacob in the afternoon, was distributed among them.