The Man Who Won The West Mexican War By Page #
and tents among the shanties were many including ourselves although we approached near to a respectable size house which is 12×24 feet and one story high. I bought Lumber from the ship for one Hundred dollars & sold over half of it for 55 dollars and by buying a few poles for posts & sleepers soon able to create over present quarters which seem rather comfortable although we have no windows yet by keeping the door open we have light enough as we had no occasion to shut the door through the day as the wind blows from one point all the time and will for the ensuing six or 8 months we had over two showers before we left the ship. We have had one shower in the last three weeks. and have had no rain since the onset of the dry season. The dry season is considered fairly set in. We built our house in two days in fact all our goods and Lumber landed on the beach and about the same time we went to work all worked and at night we found the wall up and floor enough laid to place the beds and a few boards over us sheltering us quite well from the night the roof of our House being quite flat and only covered with boards with the crack between leaks a few drops when the dew is heavy at nights and cool the wind continues to blow about.
At 10 o’clock and blows until one or two in the morning then fog begins to come in from the sea about 5 or 6 o’clock and generally does not clear up before 7 or 8 in the morning which gives us but a few hours of warm sunshine and thus shines all day.
Every subject and request me to say that the she has got three chickens and a cat in fact we made four chickens but one being a rooster she forgot to recon him in. We have it quite cool although we do not need fire in the evening yet some prefer it. There is plenty of beef good hind quarter 3 1/2 cts per lb. flour $15. per bbl no potatoes at this time but plenty in their season fruit apples, pears, peaches & plenty is the season The strawberry is just getting ripe said to be abundant & large and all land abundant appears good & susceptible to cultivation the cattle are as fine as the short horn in fact they are the finest I have seen.
The deer wild goose & rabbit are and plentiful and in great abundance a short distance in the country. I frequently see many from all parts of the Bay which is sixty or Seventy miles long and all give the most flattering account of the climate and fertility of the soil in some places the clover and wild oat taken the land to of all thither vegetation. I am told that horse and mules of this place eat wild oats in abundance and at this time two or 3 feet high wheat is now one dollar a Bushel and of good quality but no mills to grind it.
Our money is all silver & gold and now plenty in the country at this time, we best be near the ship in case of trouble. And I hope all enjoy good health, I shall write again in another time. Direct your letters to San Francisco. Yours truly,
J. H. Maneis
Sergeant James H. Maneis
Colonel Stevens 1st New York Volunteers
Sailed from New York on September 26, 1846 Arrived San Francisco March 26, 1847
U. S. Warship Mexican War ~ ~ San Francisco Harbor
Courtesy Walske Collection
LETTER NUMBER 31
by SERGEANT J. S. VINCENT on MAY 27, 1847
Monterey Barracks, California ~ May 27, 1847
My Dear Brother Thee are now staying at the Barracks. A party of men who are to be Gen. Kearney’s escort across the mountains and I must not miss the opportunity to send you a line. Every thing is dull in California. There is no chance for a fight and here we are sucking our thumbs in Monterey the Capitol Cal. You have probably heard a great many stories about California being a paradise on earth.
The garden of America etc. I have been in California some little time now and have taken some considerable pains by observation and inquiring to learn what kind of a country it is, and from what I have been able to find out I would rather have your garden in Allegany than to have any farm in California. At San Francisco there is a cold stiff breeze which blows at least six days out of 7 and at Monterey I have hardly see the Sun for the last three weeks. The mornings are cold there falls what we should call in the States a Smart Shower but what is called in California a dew.
Figure No. 31 August 26, 1846 St. Louis, Missouri
To P. M. Vincent Alfred, Allegany County, New York with Steam 10 rate
From Joshua. S. Vincent Col. Stevenson’s 1st Regiment New York Volunteers
One of six recorded letters carried by General Kearny overland to St. Louis.
The face of the country as a general thing is high hills deep ravines. The hills destitute of timber and a few Cedar trees in that ravines, and large plains covered with wild cattle wild horses and parched up grass. This is a general view of California. There are some exceptions. There are a great many new and strange things to be seen and learned. The Seaports will undoubtedly be large commercial places but as a country to live in I do not like it at all.
The health of the Volunteers is good and mine in particular is very good. The sloop of Mr. Dale arrived on the 23 inst from the South but she brings no news of Mexican affairs. The sloop of War Portsmouth arrived here from the south and she brings Mexican papers which gives a detailed account of an engagement between Gen. Taylor and Santa Ana. As near as I can learn it would seem That Gen. Taylor had but 7,000 men and Santa Ana 18,000.
General Taylor not deeming himself strong enough to meet Santa Ana in the open field planted a battery of 26 guns in a pass between San Luis Potosi and Saltillo and retreated upon it and when the Mexican army got into the pass General Taylor ordered his men to fall flat upon the ground and fired the battery over them into the crowded Mexican files. The result of the battle was 5000 Mexican killed and 2000 American killed and General Santa Ana had retreat to the city of Mexico. The Portsmouth also brought news that General Scott had taken the town of Vera Cruz and was laying before the Castle to starve it to surrender. If this news be true it in all probability end the war very soon.
Harbor and City of Monterey, California ~ 1852
In that case we shall be disbanded this fall. It has been decided by our commanding officers that we cannot be kept out of our traveling fees when we are disbanded except by a special act of Congress and there has been no such special act so that each man will receive 20 cents a day in lieu of rations 50 cts for every 20 miles travel and his wages from the time he is disbanded to the time he gets to his place of enlistment (allowing 20 miles for a days travel) So you see each man will received a smart sum to carry him home. I cannot tell yet which way I shall go home whether across the mountains or take a vessel and go down to Panama cross the Isthmus to the gulf of Mexico from thence to New Orleans.
If there should be no opportunity to go either of these ways as soon as I am disband I shall ship on board of a China Trader going to China and round home by the way of Cape of Good Hope for I have no desire to try the experiment of doubling Cape Horn again. At all events I shall not go back the same way I came.
The 7th Regt. Is pretty well scattered over California. “I” Company at Sonoma amd 3 Companies at San Francisco – 1 Company at Monterey – 3 Companies at Santa Barbara, and 2 Companies at Pueblo de los Angeles. Col Stevenson and Staff are at the latter place. Col. R. B. Mason, 1st Dragoons Successor Gen. Kearny in Command in California is to be Governor when Kearney leaves.
I do not think he will be as well liked as Kearney is. He is a Stem harsh man – but little calculated to win the confidence of volunteers. Gen. Kearney (who went to Pueblo with Col. Stevens) arrived here this afternoon in the U. S. store ship Lexington and I have just heard that he has ordered 150 men to Acapulco is to be attached by troops landed above the town and by bombardment form the Vessels of War simultaneously. I at first thought that our company would be ordered down but I have heard since that Lt. Col. Burton’s command at Santa Barbara are to be sent down. I am sorry for this for I was in hopes that I should have a chance to see some active service but there is no prospect of this of it at present.
I have heard since I commenced this letter that Gen. Kearney is to start Monday and it is now Saturday afternoon all day I have to get ready for Saturday afternoon drill and Sunday morning parade and inspection so I must close. Be sure to remember me kindly to all our family and friends and tell them I shall be home by Spring. The soldier has not forgotten Home and Friends and the pleasant days of Childhood. Yours affectionately
J. S. Vincent
To P. M. Vincent, Esq. Alfred Allegany Co., N.Y.
Courtesy of Richard Frajola
General Kearny’s Overland Trip to St. Louis
General Kearny with small group of soldiers departed from Monterrey on May 31st, 1847 traveling to Sacramento there they took on more supplies before heading into the high Sierra Mountains. Traveling through the mountains they discovered the remains of the Donner party that started west too late in the 1846 traveling season. They buried approximately half of the 89 members who perished that winter.
The long 86 day journey ended when he arrived at Fort Leavenworth on August 23rd and boarded the steamboat Amelia. In three days he arrived at Saint Louis on August 26th. There General Kearny deposited a large parcel of letters at the St. Louis post office, where they entered the U. S. mails stamped with red “STEAM 10” hand-stamp postage due rate.
The Man Who Won The West Mexican War By Page #