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mined to seize Sonoma, become possessed of the military stores of that place, and declare independence from Mexico. Accordingly, on the twelfth, the expedition moved, being twenty strong, under Captain Merritt, with that purpose in view. They crossed the Sacramento river at Knight's Landing, passed by the ranch of William Gordon, on Cache creek, telling him what was proposed. After they had left Gordon's, thirteen persons came to his house, twelve of whom took the trail of Merritt's party and soon became a part of it. Two of those twelve men were William L. Todd, until recently a resident of Yolo county, who painted the "Bear Flag," and Captain Jack Scott, who carried from Sonoma to Fremont the news that Sloat had hoisted the American flag at Monterey.

Early in the morning of the fourteenth of June, 1846, Captain Merritt's company of thirty-three men dashed into Sonoma and captured the little garrison of six soldiers, with nine pieces of artillery without firing a shot. After the capture, Merritt no longer desiring to be at the head of the revolution, John Grigsby was elected to that position. On the same day the Bear Flag was designed, painted and run up in place of the Mexican colors. It was feared that a rescue of the prisoners might be attempted by the rancheros, and it was decided to send them to Sutter's Fort, Captain Grigsby taking charge of the guard of nine men who were sent as an escort. Another election was called, and William B. Ide was chosen captain; Henry L. Ford, 1st lieutenant; Granville P. Swift, 1st sergeant, and Samuel Gibson, 2d sergeant, of the forces (twenty-three men) left at Sonoma. On the sixteenth, the prisoners were delivered to Captain Sutter at his fort, General M. G. Vallejo, Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Prudon, Captain S. M. Vallejo and Jacob P. Leese being among the number. Within a day or two after the capture of Sonoma, there occurred on the ranch of John Underwood, two miles north of Santa Rosa, one of those tragic acts of cruel barbarism that make humanity shudder. Captain Ide being in want of powder, sent two young men, Thomas Cowie and Mr. Fowler, to procure it from a brother of Kit Carson, who was at the time acting as foreman on the Fitch ranch. They did not return, and two other men were sent out to look for them, who did not come back. The matter was becoming serious, and Sergeant Gibson was ordered to take four men and, on the night of the twentieth of June, visit the point in question, procure the powder and learn the fate of those who had been previously sent out. The sergeant was successful in reaching the ranch and procuring the ammunition, but failed to get any clew to the mystery. About morning, on his return, he was passing Santa Rosa when he was attacked by three or four men, but the assault was met with such vigor that two of the assailants fell into the hands of the scouts, and were taken by them back to Sonoma. The name of one of those prisoners was Bernardino Garcia, afterwards known in California as the famous bandit, Three-Fingered Jack, and was killed by Harry Love's rangers, July 27, 1853, at the Pinola pass, not far from the Merced river, the dreaded Joaquin Murietta meeting his death at the same time. From the two captives Captain Ide learned the fate of his men: the second detail sent out were prisoners, but the first two, the unfortunate Fowler and Cowie, had been inhumanly murdered.

They had been captured near Santa Rosa by a party of thirteen Californians, of whom Three-Fingered Jack was one. The next morning they were tied to a tree with a lariai, where for a long time they were forced to stand as human targets, upon whom the captors practiced throwing knives. Some of those blades of steel, fit emblems of their owners, passing through the flesh, became additional bands of iron that fastened these first victims of the Bear-Flag war to the torture-post. Tiring of this pastime, stones were then substituted, and the jaw of poor Fowler was broken by one, when, despairing of rescue, he prayed for death, begging some person less brutal than his comrades to end their miseries with a rifle, and there was none to respond. Among that thirteen not even one was to be found with whom the instinct of pity, common to the human family, was strong enough to overcome the desire to prolong the feast upon a spectacle exhibited in the death torture of those of his own specie. Young Cowie fainted as the flesh was cut from his arms and breast. Three-Fingered Jack made an incision with a knife from the under side of Fowler's chin up into the mouth, through which he inserted a rawhide rope, and, fastening it there, laid hold of the other end and tore the broken jaw out of the face of the dying man. Portions were then cut from the bodies of both and thrust into their mouths; and thus death found them and ended the orgies of those human ghouls in their feast upon mortal agonies. As they died so they were found, a ghastly spectacle, and buried out of sight to be forgotten. As sleep Fowler and Cowie at Santa Rosa, so rest Basil Lajeunesse and Denne at Klamath lake, the first victims in the struggle for American supremacy in California. Will an artist's hand ever put upon canvas these companion scenes, to hang in a state gallery, as a tribute to the dead, and a reminder to the living that monuments should be placed at the scenes of those tragedies!

In the meantime General Castro had not been idle. Lieutenant De Arce had met him on the road between Monterey and San Jose, with news of the capture by Captain Merritt, on the Cosumnes river, of all the homes; and the gfmeral immediately set about raising a force, and healing animosities among the natives, that they might make common cause against the insurrectionary movement in the north. On the seventeenth of June (probably the same day that Fowler and Cowie were tortured to death near Santa Rosa), he issued his two proclamations, one to his countrymen and one to the foreigners of the country. About the twentieth, Captain Jose J. de la Torre crossed to the north side of the San Francisco bay, en route for San Rafael, with about seventy men. On the twenty-third of June, Harrison Pierce rode into Fremont's camp, at St. Clair's ranch on the north side of the American river, with the news that General Castro was moving on Sonoma with a large force, with the avowed purpose of hanging all the rebels he caught. Fremont promised to march to the relief of that place as soon as he could mount ninety men, and that same day, obtaining the requisite number, started for Sonoma, where he arrived at 2 A.m. of the twenty-fifth. On the twenty-third, Lieutenant Ford, with twenty-three men and the two prisoners, taken along as guides, started on a scout to try and recapture William L. Todd and others who had fallen into Juan Padilla's hands, and to keep the hostile forces in check until the arrival of Fremont. He came upon the enemy at a ranch, when moving towards San Rafael, after having left the lagoon of San Antonio some four miles in the rear. It was early in the morning; Ford had but fourteen men with him, having left eight as a guard at the ranch of Padilla, where he had captured four prisoners and forty horses; and not suspecting how strongly the enemy outnumbered his little squad, he dashed up and captured some four hundred corraled horses before the CaliforniaTM knew of his being in the vicinity. There was a house a little way beyond the corral, and the advent of the Yankees upon the scene was like tapping a nest of hornets; out poured from the habitation, as though a hive of bees was swarming, eighty-five men, whose horses were hitched ready for mounting, in rear of the house. It was a mutual surprise party. Ford had not expected to find over twenty-five of the enemy, and believed that the fourteen sharpshooters under his command would be fully equal to that number. Immediately the action began. It was no time for Ford to hesitate; he at once formed in two platoons, and charged, forcing the Californians back. He then dismounted the fourteen sharpshooters, and stationed them behind trees. When the enemy made a charge, the unerring rifles emptied eight of their saddles, as the flying horse came careering down upon them. This was too much, and they fled, when three more were added to the number of those who would fight no more battles. This ended the encounter, and the Americans were victorious. W. L Todd and a companion prisoner had been left behind in the house in the confusion of the surprise, and made their escape, and Ford returned to Sonoma with his prisoners and captured horses. Fremont halted but a few hours at Sonoma, and then pushed on to San Rafael, where he remained several days; and while he was there, General Castro moved, on the twenty-seventh of June, north from Santa Clara to near San Leandro, on the ranch of Estudillo, with possibly 250 men. One of Fremont's scouts captured an Indian, who had a letter from de la Torre to Castro, containing a statement that he (Torre) would that night concentrate his forces and attack Sonoma the next morning in Fremont's absence. Away rode the Pathfinder to Sonoma to frustate the scheme, but no enemy put in an appearance. On the contrary, it proved to have been a stratagem to get rid of the Americans from the vicinity of San Rafael while the Californians were making their escape by water from Saucelito to join Castro, a feat which they successfully accomplished.

On the twenty-eighth of June, three Californians, bearers of dispatches from Castro to de la Torre, were captured by Fremont's command at Point San Quentin, and all of them were shot by Fremont's orders, in retaliation for the inhuman murder of the two Americans at Santa Rosa. The name of the oldest of those unfortunate victims of the chances of war was Don Jose Reyes Berryessa, who left a wife and nine children to mourn the unhappy fate of the father. The other two were young men, twin brothers, named Ramon and Francisco de Haro. On the twenty-ninth of June, General Castro returned to Santa Clara, and July 1, Fremont, with twenty men, crossed the bay and spiked the guns at the presidio. He started on the second for Sonoma from Saucelito, after having received supplies from the American barque Moscow. Before starting, however, he took possession of a generous supply of ammunition that had been left with a guard by Captain Montgomery, of the war-vessel Portsmouth, on sho re to dry, placed there expecting Fremont would capture it. This ruse was adopted in furnishing munition of war to the rebels, to avoid making the United States government responsible for the act. Before leaving Sacramento, Fremont had sent Dr. Robert Semple with ten men to capture Capt. R. T. Ridley, the commandant of the fort at Yerba Buena. The feat was successfully accomplished, and Captain Ridley was delivered at Sutter's Fort on the eighth of J uly, as a prisoner of war. Fremont arrived at Sonoma on the fourth of July, and on the following day his battalion was organized,-two hundred and fifty strong. The people assembled there, declared their independence, and chose Fremont to take the management of affairs. On the sixth he started with one hundred and eighty men for Sutter's Fort, by way of Knight's Landing, and on the tenth, when within nine miles of there, Captain Jack Scott brought to him from Sonoma the news that Commodore Sloat had captured Monterey on the seventh; that Montgomery had hoisted the American flag at Yerba Buena on the eighth, and that the Stars and Stripes had been raised at Sonoma on the tenth. On the morning of the eleventh of July, Robert Livermore carried to Sutter's Fort the same welcome news, and the Bear Flag came down as the Stars and Stripes went up, amid general rejoicing and a salute of twenty-one guns from the little brass four-pound cannon called " Sutter;" and thus was ended the Bear-Flag war, by the United States taking the struggle off from the hands of those who had commenced it.

General Castro received the news of Sloat's operations on the eighth, at Santa Clara, and immediately started for Los Angeles with his forces, taking along with him three prisoners, Capt. C. M. Weber, Washburne and D. T. Bird, having captured them in Santa Clara as they were about to join a company then congregating in the adjacent mountains to assist in the northern insurrection.


The War Commenced by the Bear-Flag Party Ends in the Conquest of California

by the United States.

Authorities at Washington want more Territory—The War Cloud—Our Minister Leaves Mexico and Hostilities Begin —Battles Fought—War Declared—Lieutenant Gillespie Delivers to Fremont Important Dispatches, that Cause him to Turn Back from Oregon and Re-enter California—Commodore John D. Sloat Suspects that War has been Inaugurated in the East—He sails to Monterey and Salutes the Mexican Flag—Dispatches from the North Advise him of the Bear-Flag War—Critical State of Affairs—He Decides not to Act and then Changes his Mind—Monterey Seized and the American Flag Raised there—Sloat's Proclamation—Flag Raised at Yerba Buena, Sonoma and Sutter's Fort—Fremont Goes Overland to Monterey and Captures the Mission Arsenal of San Juan with its Munitions of War—What Bewildered Commodore Sloat—Interview between Sloat and Fremont—Sloat Refuses to assume further Responsibilities in the Prosecution of the War—Commodore Stockton Takes Command of the Land Forces and the California Battalion is Formed by him out of Fremont's Command—Sloat Sails for Washington and Fremont for San Diego—Stockton Issues his Proclamation and then Sails for San Pedro—His Strategy and its Effect—What Castro's Envoys Wanted—Stockton Captures Los Angeles—Why it was a Bloodless Victory—Castro Takes Captain Weber along as a Prisoner when he Leaves the Country—The Country Organized as a Territory of the United States—Stockton's. Scheme of a Brilliant Military Movement—He Visits Yerba Buena—While there he Learns of the Insurrection at Los Angeles, under Flores, and the Danger of Gillespie's Capture—A Furious Ride —The Rider.

For many years the authorities at Washington had been exercising their diplomacy with a view of adding to the area of the United American States, by an acquisition from Mexico of Texas, New Mexico and California—that included what is now Colorado and Arizona. Texas had revolutionized in 1835, gained her independence in 1836, and was admitted into the Union December 29, 1845. The Mexican authorities were seriously opposed to the absorption of that State by their rivals of the north; and our Government being secretly not opposed to a collision, misunderstandings rapidly accumulated after that event, until April 1, 1846, when Slidell, our minister, left Mexico, the act being in itself equivalent to a declaration of war on the part of the United States. On the nineteenth of the same month Lieutenant Porter of our army was defeated near Matamoras, Mexico; and hostilities had begun. The battle of Palo Alto was fought on the eighth of May, and on the next day that of Resaca de la Palma, both on the soil of Texas, our army being commanded by Brigadier-General Taylor. On the thirteenth of that month war was declared against Mexico by the United States. On the day that the battle of Resaca de la Palma was fought in Texas, Lieutenant Gillespie delivered his private dispatches to Captain Fremont, near the north line of California, which turned him back with the intention of taking that territory from Mexico. War had begun, but the fact was not known on the Pacific coast. Com. John D. Sloat commanded the Pacific squadron, and was at Mazatlan with private orders to seize California as soon as he learned of the commencement of hostilities, and not to wait for official information. Thirty days after the battle of Palo Alto was fought he sailed from Mazatlan, with a clear sky and befogged brain, not having received any direct message stating that war was in progress between Mexico and the United States, but strongly impressed with a suspicion that such \nas the case.

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