SHERMAN, William Tecumseh (1820-1891), General. Autograph letter signed ("Sherman") to Dr. James L. Ord, U.S.N. (father of E.O.C. Ord), Santa Barbara, Cal.; Monterey, California, 3 May 1848. 3 1/2 pages, 4to, address panel on page 4. Fine. -- SHERMAN. Autograph document ("Special Orders No. 21"), signed ("W.T. Sherman 1st Lieut"), Head Quarters, 10th Military Department, Monterey, California, 16 June 1848. 1 full page, 4to, minor edge wear. -- SHERMAN. Autograph document ("Post Orders No.37"), Head Quarters, Monterey, 22 July 1848. 1 full page, 4to, small holes at fold intersections. Together 6 pages, 4to. Together three items, all on pale blue-gray paper.
THE YOUNG W.T. SHERMAN IN CALIFORNIA, JUST AFTER GOLD IS DISCOVERED AT SUTTER'S FORT
Three documents recently discovered in the papers of General E.O.C. Ord (1818-1883) which vividly portray a very little-known period in the early military career of Sherman, when he served in the U.S. military garrison of California just after its seizure from Mexico (the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in February 1848). In his Memoirs, Sherman recalled: "California had settled down to a condition of absolute repose, and we naturally repined... in being so remote from the war in Mexico, where our comrades were reaping large honors" (Sherman, Memoirs, Library of America 1990, p.54). News of the discovery of placer gold in the Sacramento River (24 Jan 1848) spread rapidly, and as shown here, by late July, soldiers were deserting for the gold fields. Here Sherman writes: "Your brother has not got here yet but will be in two days when his leave is up. He has been in Santa Barbara in troublesome times," due to "the feud of two such great families as the Carillos and Noriegas. And how ridiculous it is to see such venom and hatred in a little obscure place like Santa Barbara." He comments further on the feud, hopes Ord has not been drawn into the quarrel "by the friendship of Doña Augustia," and recounts the news of the garrison: "Warner is ordered to take the Field for a general survey of California and will work his way down to Santa Barbara. Warner is much esteemed by the Doña...Loeser is rather fond of Theresa...Major Rich goes tomorrow to Sonoma to pay off Brackett's Company when it will go to San Francisco and embark for San Jose...The Anita will probably sail south in about twenty days [with] ten or twelve of our men as artillerists to enable Benton to take the Field in Lower California...with 300 men he will whip any body the enemy can have, and will return order to the Country...I Can't form an idea what the Commodore [James Biddle, U.S.N.] will do about Martial law. I send some papers of the City of Mexico, one contains all the promotions, deaths, etc. consequent upon the battles in Mexico." Sherman adds, rather wistfully, that he does not think "any more men will be sent out of upper California. Santa Barbara is important as military place which cuts off intercourse between the Northern and Southern halves" -- Special Orders No. 21, 16 June: Acting Adjutant Sherman, referring to instructions from the Secretary of War, directs 1st. Lts. Ord and Leasor to assemble at Monterey to investigate facts "relative to a complaint by Mr. Paget, the French Minister," and to report findings to the War Dept. -- Post Orders No. 37, 22 July: Sherman reports that Lt. Loeser and "one good man" has been sent "in the direction of Sutter's Fort to pursue and arrest army deserters;" he is to give "minute instructions" to the junior officer accompanying him. Quartermaster Capt. Marcy is directed to "furnish the necessary number of horses & outfits and rations."
Letters and documents from the early phases of Sherman's long career are rare. (3)