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Fremont's arrival at Monterey

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Location: Monterey County, California

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:29 pm    Post subject: Fremont's arrival at Monterey Reply with quote

"It was a day of excitement," says Fremont, "when we entered Monterey. Many of my men had never seen the ocean or the English flag. Four of our men of war were lying in the harbor, and also the Collingwood, eighty guns, the flag ship of the English Admiral Seymour. The men looked upon the Collingwood with the feeling of the racer who has just passed the winning-post."

Lieutenant Walpole of the Collingwood, thus described the arrival of Fremont and his men: "Here were true trappers, the class of men that produced the heroes of Fennimore Cooper's best works. The men had passed years in the wilds, living upon their own resources; they were a curious set. A vast cloud of dust appeared first and thence in long file emerged this wildest wild party. Fremont rode ahead, a spare, active-looking man. He was dressed in blouse and leggings, and wore a felt hat. After him came five Deleware Indians, who were his body guard and have been with him through all his wanderings; they had charge of two baggage horses. The rest, many of them blacker than the Indians, rode two and two, the rifle held by one hand across the pommel of the saddle.

"He has one or two with him who enjoy a high reputation on the prairies. Kit Carson is as well known there as the Duke in Europe. The dress of these men was principally a long, loose coat of deer-skin tied with thongs in front, trousers of the same, of their own manufacture. They are allowed no liquor, tea and sugar only; this, no doubt, has much to do with their good conduct, and the discipline, too, is very strict. They were marched up to an open space on the hills near the town under some long firs, and there took up their quarters in masses of six or seven, in the open air. The Indians lay beside their leader. In justice to the Americans, I must say they seemed to treat the natives well, and their authority extended every protection to them."

Fremont's fame as an explorer had already become world-wide, and his recent achievements in California had rendered him an especial object of curiosity to Englishmen and others. His camp soon became the center of public interest at Monterey, and his men were looked upon as heroes.
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