Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 453 pages of information about Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant — Volume 1.
destination.  On landing in California he found orders which had come by the Isthmus, notifying him of a mistake in his assignment; he should have been ordered to the northern lakes.  He started back by the Isthmus route and was sick all the way.  But when he arrived at the East he was again ordered to California, this time definitely, and at this date was making his third trip.  He was as sick as ever, and had been so for more than a month while lying at anchor in the bay.  I remember him well, seated with his elbows on the table in front of him, his chin between his hands, and looking the picture of despair.  At last he broke out, “I wish I had taken my father’s advice; he wanted me to go into the navy; if I had done so, I should not have had to go to sea so much.”  Poor Slaughter! it was his last sea voyage.  He was killed by Indians in Oregon.

By the last of August the cholera had so abated that it was deemed safe to start.  The disease did not break out again on the way to California, and we reached San Francisco early in September.


San Francisco—­early California experiences—­life on the Pacific coast —­promoted captain—­Flush times in California.

San Francisco at that day was a lively place.  Gold, or placer digging as it was called, was at its height.  Steamers plied daily between San Francisco and both Stockton and Sacramento.  Passengers and gold from the southern mines came by the Stockton boat; from the northern mines by Sacramento.  In the evening when these boats arrived, Long Wharf—­there was but one wharf in San Francisco in 1852—­was alive with people crowding to meet the miners as they came down to sell their “dust” and to “have a time.”  Of these some were runners for hotels, boarding houses or restaurants; others belonged to a class of impecunious adventurers, of good manners and good presence, who were ever on the alert to make the acquaintance of people with some ready means, in the hope of being asked to take a meal at a restaurant.  Many were young men of good family, good education and gentlemanly instincts.  Their parents had been able to support them during their minority, and to give them good educations, but not to maintain them afterwards.  From 1849 to 1853 there was a rush of people to the Pacific coast, of the class described.  All thought that fortunes were to be picked up, without effort, in the gold fields on the Pacific.  Some realized more than their most sanguine expectations; but for one such there were hundreds disappointed, many of whom now fill unknown graves; others died wrecks of their former selves, and many, without a vicious instinct, became criminals and outcasts.  Many of the real scenes in early California life exceed in strangeness and interest any of the mere products of the brain of the novelist.

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