|Journal of an
expedition sent by government to protect emigrants to gold regions on
Washington and Oregon frontiers by the northern overland route. Kept by
Samuel R. Bond, secretary to expedition.
Thursday, December 11, 1862
We came abord the steamer Golden Age at about nine o'clock this
morning, the hour on which she was advertised to sail but as the oposition
steamer Moses Taylor was lying at a neighboring wharf we expected each
would wait to get all the passengers she could, and in fact, we did not
swing out from our landing until twelve o'clock noon. This oposition line
of steamers which has recently started, having made only one trip from San
Francisco before the present one of the Moses Taylor, this season, has the
general sympathy of the people of San Francisco and the newspapers nearly,
if not quite, all advocate its claims to public patronage, against the old
line which has so long been a monopoly. The first trip which the oposition
made from San Francisco it did not bring down the fare much on the old
line. There was no oposition steamer on the sailing of the St. Louis on
the 1st of this month and the fare was then $267 in the first cabin and
$200 in the second, but the fare today on both steamers is only $137 in
the first cabin.
Cavalry company sails with us. A company of California cavalry some
time since tendered their services to the general Government through Gov.
Andrews of Massachusetts and were accepted in behalf of the Old Bay State,
I think. This Cavalry company is now ready, consisting of 100 privates and
Captain Reed and two lieutenants. It came on board the Golden Age today en
route for the scene of its future peril and glory.
The people of San Francisco take great pride in this company and will
watch its future course with great interest and anxiety as it is the only
representative body of men which she will have on the great stage on which
the terrible drama of war is now being enacted. Benifits and balls were
givin in its honor before it left the city, it was reviewed on the Public
Plaza and attended Thomas Starr King's church in a body and in full
uniform last Sunday morning when the preacher found occasion to address to
it some glowing, encouraging words. Today it was escorted to the steamer
by the military of the city with a band of twenty pieces. At the boat was
a dense crowd of thousands of citizens and two pieces of artillery which
belched forth their thunder as we swing from our pier, while the band
played Sweet Home, Old Lang Syne, Hail Columbia, Star Spangled Banner and
other appropriate airs. The members of this Company, a free will
contribution to the service of our country, are mostly young and very
active men of middle size and rather light weight. They are mostly New
England men who have spent some years in California, and have all been
tested to horsemanship before they were allowed to enroll themselves in
May they serve their country effectually in the field and prove worthy
of the two states which will share their glory or their shame!
By half past twelve we were fairly on our way out of the harbor, and
all its islands, the Golden Gate, the Fort and all the surroundings were
seen by us under favorable auspices, as the day was warm, and, although a
fog hung over the water when we first started, it soon rose and the sun
came out bright and warm before we procceded a mile. The Moses Taylor
swung out and came stealing on half an hour after us but we soon lost
sight of her as she did not pursue the same course as we did.
In going over the bar the sea was rough and so early in the voyage many
of our passengers became sea-sick. The table was only set for one meal
today and that was not well patronized. After passing over the bar the
ocean was more tranquil and we kept till dark very near the coast. I sat
on the hurricane deck most of the day and until long after dark enjoying
the scene and breathing the inspiring air that came from far out over the
blue waste of waters, while some of my companions and a large part of the
other passengers were in no mood to enjoy.
The Golden Age is a good stout ship of 300 tons burthen with a single
engine of 1400 horse power.