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[No. 5.)


Monterey, California, September 20, 1849. COLONEL: I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of a topographical sketch by Lieutenant Derby, topographical engineers, of the country trarersed by me on a recent reconnoissance of a portion of the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys, and to submit, for the information of the commanding general, some remarks upon the character of the country lying between the coast range and the Sierra Nevada, and between the contluence of Feather river on the north and the Lake Buena Vista on the south. These remarks are based upon my own observations, and upon information obtained from the reports made by officers of my command, made in accordance with instructions heretofore given by me.

My original intention, as indicated in my report to division headquarters of June 2d, was to have proceeded by the pass of San Miguel to the lake country east of San Luis Obispo, for the purpose of determining the proper position for the establishment of a military command, to prevent the incursions of the Tulare Indians, (recommended in my report of April 25,) and to give protection to the mining interests north of the lake. Information of the hostile attitude assumed by the Indians in that neighborhood, and my inability to take an escort, determined me to proceed to the valley of the San Joaquin by Pacheco's pass.

I accordingly left this place on the 5th of July, accompanied by Captain Halleck, secretary of state, Major Canby, Captain Westcott, and Lieutenant Derby. Passing by the mission of San Juan Bautista and through Pacheco's pass, I crossed the San Joaquin river at the lower mouth of the Merced, the Tuolumne near its mouth, and the Stanislaus river at Taylor's ferry, about thirty miles in a southeasterly direction from the town of Stockton. Pacheco's pass was found to be of easy practicability for mules, but exceedingly difficult for wagons. As a route for sending supplies from the coast into the interior, considerable labor must be expended upon it before it can be made a feasible one. The pass of San Juan, a few miles to the south, is less difficult for wagons, but presents the additional disadvantage of being without water during the season of the year best suited to land transportation. The country in the immediate vicinity of my route was found to be exceedingly barren, and singularly destitute of resources, except a narrow strip on the borders of the stream; it was without timber and grass, and can never, in my estimation, be brought into requisition for agricultural purposes. The timber on the banks of the San Joaquin, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus rivers is composed almost entirely of the holly-leafed oak, a species of white oak, willow, and sycamore. The timber is low, dwarfish, apparently hard to work, and unfit for building prirposes.

Major Miller was encamped with two companies of the 2d infantry at Taylor's ferry, in an apparently healthy situation, with fine water, and an abundance of fire-wood. This coremand was established in its present position for the purpose of preventing conflict between the Indians and whites, and to be at hand should a collision (as was then much apprehended) occur between the Americans and foreigners who had congregated in great numbers upon the waters of the Stanislaus, Tuolumne, and Merced rivers. The necessity of keeping troops in this position to meet Indian difficulties will probably not exist much longer. The rapidly increasing mining population is gradually forcing the Indians to the south, and an

other season will find them so surrounded by the whites that the presence of troops, unless it be to protect the Indians, will be no longer requird. The danger of the occurrence of the last mentioned difficulty has also, in a great measure, passed away.

I was disappointed in finding that company E, Ist dragoons, had not joined Major Miller's command; and I was, in consequence, reluctantly obliged to defer my proposed examination of the country in the neigleborhood of the Lake Buena Vista until able, at some future time, to obtain a mounted escort.

From Major Miller's command I proceeded through the mineral region on the headwaters of the Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers to the Sacramento, crossing, on my route, the Calaveras, Mokelumne, Seco, and Cosumnes rivers, for the purpose of examining the valley of the Sacramento river for the distance of eighty or one hundred miles above its confluence with the American. The selection of a military post in that neighborhood had been ordered by the commander of this department in January last, but the survey was suspended by the transfer of the topographical engineer in this department to division headquarters.

Upon my arrival at Major Kingsbury'scamp, I found that the major general commanding the division had already selected a position for his command on Bear creek, a tributary of Feather river, and distant about 30 miles. from Sutter's Fort. The country between the Stanislaus and the Sacramento is, a portion of it, exceedingly hilly ground, and dry, arid plains, unfit for cultivation, except in particular localities on the borders of the stream, constituting an infinitely small portion of the surface of the country. The timber is generally larger, but of the same kinds as on the western sides of the San Joaquin, and the same destitution of resources obtains as on that side of the valley. As you ascend the lower slope of the Sierra Nevada, pine of an indifferent quality becomes common, but exists in situations where it is difficult of access, and not in sufficient quantity to meet the demands created by the rapidly increasing population of the country. It cannot, therefore, be depended upon in the erection of quarters in the interior; and, as before stated, the oak of the country is, unfit for building purposes. For the erection of the walls of the buildings adobes may be used; and in the fabrication of these, Indian labor may economically be called into requisition. That portion of that valley of the Sacramento is far better suited to agricultural purposes than the valley of the San Joaquin, and I learn from others that this advantage becomes more apparent as you proceed to the north.

The position occupied by Major Kingsbury was selected for temporary occupation, under instructions from department headquarters, for the purpose of putting an end to outrages that were then being committed by the whites upon the Indians of that neighborhood. In its new position this command may readily be supplied from Benicia, the greater part of the distance being by water transportation.

The country lying between Stanislaus and King's river, or Lake Fork, presents the same general features, barren hills and arid plains, with narrow strips of arable land on the borders of the streams running from the Sierra Nevada.

In the neighborhood of the lake these streams are densely populated with Indians, divided into many independent tribes or rancherias, speaking different languages and exceeding difficult to control. Many of these ran

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cherias prefer to be friendly to the Americans, and will probably continue so, unless induced to become hostile by aggressions committed upon them. They subsist chiefly by hunting and fishing, or upon the seeds of several grasses, or upon acorns; and upon the appearance of an enemy, abandon their villages and take refuge in the mountains. No disposition that can be made of troops will give security, unless they be stationed in some controlling position in their midst. Although it will be difficult to supply a garrison in that vicinity, unless the San Joaquin should be found navigable to a much greater distance than it is now believed to be, it will be more economical in the end than any other course that can be adopted.

The three routes by which supplies may be sent are from Benicia, by the river and valley of the San Joaquin, from Monterey by Pacheco's pass, and the pass of San Miguel. The best of these can only be selected after a careful examination of all. Very respectfully, colonel, your obedient servant;

B. RILEY, But, Brig. Gen. U. S. Army, com'g the Department. Lieut. Col. W. G. FREEMAN,

Assistant Adjutant General U. S. Army.


Monterey, California, October 1, 1849.

, , COLONEL: I have the honor to report that no material changes have occurred in this department since my report of August 30. So far as reports have been received, everything remains quiet on the northern and eastern frontier.

To the south the incursions of the Indian horse-thieves have been more frequent than usual, but they have been confined, as heretefore, to driving off the horses and cattle of the rancheros. So far as I have learned, no murders have been committed. Complaints are also made, no doubt justly, that many robberies have been committed upon the inhabit‘ants of the lower country by parties of Sonorans, (driven by the Americans from the northern mines,) on their passage out of the country, and the emigrants by the Gila complain greatly of the thefts and hostilities committed upon them by the river Indians. The Indians engaged in these depredations are principally the Tulare, Mohaves, and the Yumas; the latter are the most warlike Indians of this frontier.

The points at which troops should be stationed to control these Indians have already been reported, and measures are being taken to make the necessary establishments at the earliest possible periods. With the insufficient force now in the department, it is impossible to give entire security against the depredations of the horse-thieves, with whom there are many of the renegade Christian Indians, acquainted with the interior of the country and the pasture grounds of the rancheros.

In this emergency Colonel Mason adopted the policy of issuing arms and ammunition to such of the inhabitants as were most exposed to these depredationsma policy that I have felt constrained to continue from the same necessity. An officer of some experience in this country will be sent to the south by the next steamer, to superintend the issue of arms and ammuniton to such of the inhabitants as may most need them. This officer is also charged

with the duty of making the preliminary examination of the country is the vicinity of the Cajori pass, with the view to the establishment of a com mand at that point as soon as possible; and Major Emory has been re quested to furnish any information that may be useful in determining the selection of a point at or near the mouth of the Gila river, for occupatior as early as possible in the spring.

To give greater protection to the emigrants to this country by the Gila river, a post of considerable strength should be established at the Pino's village. I have already reported to the War Department my inability, from the force assigned to this country, to make any establishment east of the Colorado.

Much difficulty is apprehended in the management and control of the Indians in this country, from the fact that there is no recognised Indian country, and that in consequence it will be impossible, without the intervention of Congress, to regulate the intercourse and traffic with the In. dians in such a manner as to prevent a too intimate contact of the whites and Indians, and collisions between federal and State authorities. Re. ports received about the first of this month from the emigrants by the northern route, represented them to be suffering greatly from destitution; and arrangements were immediately made for sending out relief to them. Information was received from General Smith that he had charged Major Rucker, Ist dragoons, with this duty; all the means of transportation that could be collected in the neighborhood was sent to the Upper Sacra- . mento, and placed at the disposal of the officer charged with this duty. Subsequent information from the emigrants represents that the first accounts were greatly exaggerated, and they are coming over in much better condition than was at first apprehended.

Instructions have been sent to the commanding officer at San Diego to send to Warner's pass to meet the emigrants by the Gila river, if he should learn that they are arriving in a destitute condition.

I am still unable to send complete department returns. The returns for one or two months from some of the commands have failed to reach here, and the express from the south, due for nearly a month, has not yet arrived. The express rider has probably deserted and carried the mail with him.

Brevet Major Kingsbury, 2d infantry, has been arrested, and in order ** relicve him in the command of his company, I have been obliged to de. tach my aid-de-camp, Captain Westcott, who will probably be promoted to that company:

The want of officers in this department is so great that I shall be obliged to retain the officers in command of the escort with the collector and the Arkansas emigrants, now on their march to this country. The same reasons will prevent the selection (although greatly needed) of an aid-de.camp until after the arrival of other officers.

Major McKinstry, assistant quartermaster, who has reported to me in arrest, under instructions from Major Emory, commanding the escort of the boundary commission, has been assigned to temporary duty in this department; his arrest being suspended until the instructions of the War Department can be received.

Assistant Surgeon W. S. Booth will be continued in service until the

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