Sept. 13, 1846.
Messrs, Editors :-On the 2d inst. Gen. Kearney, with about 800 men, left town on an excursion South. We went to a village called Tonie, about one hundred miles distance. We struck the RioGrande twenty-seven miles from this place at a village called San Domingo, inhabited by the Puebla Indians. Our reception at this village was quite a grand affair, the principal men and braves of the tribe met us six miles from the town, and escorted us in; the braves were mounted on their best horses, and dressed in the most gaudy apparel, armed and equipped in the same manner as when they go out for the purpose of fighting. When the General passed the head of their columns, they fired off their guns, and then one file on each side of our companies proceeded to the rear, and then wheeled and came down close to the line at the top of the speed of their horses, yelling and going all the manoeuvres of a regular charge; they met again at the head of our columns, fired at each other with their pistols, made passes with their lances, and then filed off and returned to the head of our companies. This was repeated several times to the great admiration and astonishment of all who witnessed it. I have never seen better horsemen anywhere, and from what I could discover, I should take them to be formidable in battle if properly armed. They are fine looking men and much superior in every respect to the Mexican population. They have a very fine village, most splendid vineyards, and appear to be much more comfortable in every respect to the Mexicans. When we got into the village, we were invited into the priest's house, where a most sumptuous repast was set out, consisting of the best grapes I ever saw melons, apples, cakes, and with liquor enough to wash them down.
There is at this town quite an extensive church, to which is attached the priest's house, where he keeps his wives or concubines. The priest at this place has four-two of them are quite good looking. After our repast, the General made a speech to the citizens, who appeared quite well pleased, they then escorted us out of town, and we went our way rejoicing with full stomachs, and every man with just liqu r enough in him to make him feel patriotic. This was the only Indian village we visited.
After we left San Domingo, we passed through villages every eight or ten miles until we reached the village of Tonie. Most of them, however, were quite small, and the inhabitants, with the exception of two or three men in each, are a poor miserable set.
The only villages on the Rio Grande that we visited worthy of note, are San Domingo, San Phillippe, Albaquerque, and Tonie. Al-baquerque was the residence of Armijo. We halted a short time at this place, going and returning, General Kearney called on the late Governor's wife, and passed an hour or two as he told me, very pleasantly. She is said to be an intelligent woman, and deported herself with much propriety. Her husband, (Armijo) it is said, has gone to the Passo, and it is supposed, will continue on to the city of Mexico. The people near the Tonie, and the inhabitants of the different villages have heard of our intended visit, and the General so arranged our marches as to bring us to this town the evening before the anniversary of their patron Saint, a great day with the inhabitants of that region of country, and I assure you it was a great day not only with them, but to all who were present; there was an immense concourse of people, men, women, children, Mexican, Indians, and white folks. They had prepared fire-works, which were gotten up in a very good style, the town was illuminated, they had a theatre; that is, a play in the open yard, which appeared to be well received by the inhabitants, they also had a fandango, which was not only crowded but jammed and crowded to overflowing; the beauty and fashion were there, and to my astonishment I found some of the women quite handsome. During the day there was mass said, and the Virgin Mary was paraded around the streets, followed by the principal men of the town, and also by General Kearney and his staff, with lighted candles in their hands.
The priest at Tonie joined in the waltz, and appeared as jovial and as much disposed to participate in all the amusements as any one else. The country south of this place, (Santa Fe) along the Rio Grande, is much better than any portion of the Province I have yet visited; yet, in my judgment, no Missourian would ever think of locating anywhere here for the purpose of cultivating the soil. The Province has been over rated, and our government has been grossly imposed upon and deceived, as to its resources, commerce, &c. I have not seen anything since my arrival here that would excite the least desire for me to reside here. To sum up the whole in a few words, the Mexicans are physically, mentally and morally an inferior and "low-flung" race.
Yesterday an order was read, assigning the five companies of dragoons for the California expedition.
I have found the officers of the army very agreeable companions, and thus far, all has gone on very well. Our mail will not leave before next Thursday. Should anything occur before the departure of the mail, I will write you again.
The five companies of dragoons, will it is said, march on the 25th instant for California. We have had no news in relation to Price's regiment, nor of Captain Allen' s command of Mormons. We do not know how to account for the non arrival of Price, nor the delay of Allen.
On the return of Gen. Kearney, and up to the departure of the express, on the morning of the morning of the 17th of September, not a word had reached the camp of the movements of Col. Price's regiment, or of the march of the battalion of Captain Allen. A trader who reached Santa Fe about the 16th, having left Independence the 12th of August, reported to Gen. Kearney, that there were no troops on the road. The death of Capt. Allen, and the transfer of the command to Lieut. Smith, and subsequently to Capt. Thompson, was all unknown to Gen. Kearney. Acting under this information, or, rather, want of information, orders had been issued by Gen. Cearney for the U. S. Dragoons, about three hundred, in number, under the command of Major Sumner, to hold themselves in readiness to proceed to Upper California on the 28th of the month-the Mormon battalion to follow immediately upon the arrival at Santa Fe.
Col. Doniphan's regiment, and Maj. Clark's battalion of artillery, to which Capt. Hudson's company had been attached, were to remain in Santa Fe, and garrison that and the adjoining posts. Gen. Kearney, with his staff and the United States dragoons, intended to proceed immediately to Monterey, in Upper California-a march, by the lowest calculation of about eight weeks.
We have no report as yet, from the express which came in, as to the whereabouts of Col. Price's regiment, but from information previously received, we are well satisfied that his command reached Santa Fe before the 28th.
From the tenor of all the letters we have seen, it is certain, that General Kearney would set about the 28th and that he would not take with him more men than, from the character of the country through which they had to pass and to conquer, he could safely subsist. He confidently expected to be at Monterey, or at the bay of St. Franciso, within eight weeks from the time, of his departure from Santa Fe.
All the accounts concur in saying that the general health of the army was good, and with some exceptions-names not given-there had been only a few deaths. There was much complaint of the unproductiveness of the country, so far as furnishing army supplies was concerned, but the wealth of in-dividuals, and their hospitality is highly spoken of.
The express met the Mormons under the command of Lieut. Smith, 1st Dragoons, with the ordnance, on the Cimarone. Col. Thompson, with a detachment of Dragoons, was met at Cottonwood; and Capt. Enos Ass't Quarter Master, with Lieut. Dyer, of the Ordnance Department, at Council Grove.
Our correspondent says: By a return train of waggons from Bent' s Fort, which arrived at Fort Leavenworth on the 14th, Dr Sanderson (Surgeon to the Mormon battalion) writes from the Crossing of the Arkansas, that had not Lieut. Smith arrived in time to assume the command, they never would have crossed the plains; that they were the most lazy and good for nothing set he had ever met with. A great many were sick, some one hundred and fifty at a time, owing mainly to their indolent and filthy habits-none however, had died.
Daniel Grob, a teamster belonging to the last train, was shot by a comrade whilst hunting, at Council Grove, it was thought accidentally. The man who shot him, however, as soon as he got to the settlements, made tracks, leaving some three months' pay behind him. He escaped to parts unknown.
[St Louis Repub.
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