It was the brains and statesmanship of Wm. L. Marcy, when he was secretary of war under President Polk, that inaugurated and generaled the movements that resulted in our securing possession of California—by his expeditions, sent by sea and by land, of regular forces, followed by the volunteer regiment of one thousand men, under the command of Col. Jonathan Stevenson, as the following able State paper indicates:
[Illustration: W.L. Marcy]
WAR DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, June 3, 1846.
SIR.—I herewith send you a copy of my letter to the governor of Missouri for an additional force of one thousand mounted men. The object of thus adding to the force under your command is not, as you will perceive, fully set forth in that letter, for the reason that it is deemed prudent that it should not, at this time, become a matter of public notoriety; but to you it is proper and necessary that it should be stated.
It has been decided by the president to be of the greatest importance in the pending war with Mexico to take the earliest possession of Upper California. An expedition with that view is hereby ordered, and you are designated to command it. To enable you to be in sufficient force to conduct it successfully this additional force of a thousand mounted men has been provided, to follow you in the direction of Santa Fe, to be under your orders or the officer you may leave in command at Santa Fe.
It cannot be determined how far this additional force will be behind that designated for the Santa Fe expedition, but it will not probably be more than a few weeks. When you arrive at Santa Fe with the force already called, and shall have taken possession of it, you may find yourself in a condition to garrison it with a small part of your command (as the additional force will soon be at that place), and with the remainder, press forward to California. In that case you will make such arrangements as to being followed by the reinforcements before mentioned, as in your judgment may be deemed safe and prudent. I need not say to you that in case you conquer Santa Fe (and with it will be included the department of the State of New Mexico), it will be important to provide for retaining safe possession of it. Should you deem it prudent to have still more troops for the accomplishment of the object herein designated, you will lose no time in communicating that opinion on that point, and all others connected with the enterprise, to this department. Indeed you are hereby authorized to make a direct requisition for it upon the governor of Missouri.