|mail: Bill Thayer||
This webpage reproduces
© Barbara Webster 2006
This text has been carefully proofread
Wednesday 15th of June 1836 is a day I shall ever look back upon with unmingled pleasure — it is an era in my life. It was the end of a long tedious and difficult course of study and discipline, the course designed to prepare me to enter upon the active duties of life either in the service of my country as an officer in the Army or in some civic employment —
The annual examination of the cadets of the US Military Academy had taken place as usual on the first Monday of this June. My class had been examined in civil and military engineering and ethics and Infantry Tacticks; and today near 10 o'clock our examination in Artillery, the last subject took place. My heart never felt gladder than when, after having recited the proposition he gave me, my professor said for the last time Sufficient — From that moment I looked upon myself as a free man and felt released from all anxiety on the subject of graduating; it was now placed beyond doubt and the satisfaction I enjoyed at my success was an ample reward for all my perseverance.
In the afternoon, the class performed in the Laboratory and fired with the mortars and at the target at the Dock. target was nocked to pieces.b At parrade the class was relieved from further duty at the Academy. A short and appropriate address was delivered by Dr Marshall of K of the Board of visits. After super there was a fine display of fireworks which had prepared during the last encampment.
16th Thursday Made preparation to set off for many of my class left the Point at 2 O'clock P.M. I left at seven P.M. for N York in company with Luther Moorehead and Stockton. Arrived in the city at 10 Oclock put up at the American Hotel which with all the hotels in the cityº was crowded to overflowing.
17th Friday Spent the day shopping bought a silver anchor escapement watch (no 5608) Visited John Smith family in the evening in company with Robert Allen — had music from the younger ladies. Anne is a girl of some accomplishment and many fine qualities.
18th Saturday Devoted some time to business — had a box of books forwarded to Cincinnati — Took boat Mount Pleasant at 4 Oclock for Sing-Sing. arrived there at 8 Stayed with Lt Sing Mt at Mr Sing the Rev Homes and Lady of the M. E. church
19th Sunday Attended Episcopal Church in the morning — the Presbyterian in the evening.
20th Monday Took dinner at Major Sings the keeper of the State's prison who showed me the prison in the afternoon in company with some young ladies of Sing Sing and Miss Gates, daughter of Maj Gates late of the Army, who by the by, is a quite charming girl. The buildings of prison are very appropriate for their object. The building material is marble a material found in great abundance on the spot. There are 800 convicts immured in this building. They are compelled to devote their time to proffitable labor.
21st Tuesday — Left Sing Sing this morning in steamboat in company Lieut Sing who expects to accompany me to the western part of this State. Arrived in the City at 12. Took evening boat & returned to West Point arrived there after taps.
22nd Wednesday Took leave of my West Point friends and accompanied by Lieut Sing I started on my journey to the Far West. I could not see without some emotion, the p2 place where I had spent four years, the most important perhaps of my life resede and disappear from my view as glided up the beautiful Hudson. — We touched at Newburg. Lieut Daniels joined us here. Reached Albany at dark put up at city hotel. The banks of the Hudson between W. P. and this place present to view some beautiful scenery. Some elegant country seats and farming lands under a high state of cultivation.
23d Thursday Visited the city until 8 oclock Albany is quite a business place. Streets wide and spacious. Less bustle than in N. York. The city hall is a spacious building, built of granite, from its dome had a view of the city and surrounding country — Called at the office of the Federal — Stopped my subscription — Subscribed for the Cultivator a very superior and cheap paper. At 8 oclock we left the City on rail road for Schenectaday was surprised at finding several miles extent of country west of Albany barren and uncultivated land. Intercepted Erie canal at Schenectaday. Found the canal packed in readiness to move off so we had but a hasty view of the city. It is a place of some importance and business. I had not before correct notions of canal travelling. Packet boats are moved forward by horse power three horses being hitched to them by means of a roap fastened to the boat at about a fourth the length of the boat, from the bow on the outside of the boat — the roap is about fifty yds long. The power that propels the boat being applied on one side the boat would have a tendency to incline to the other side if left alone but the stearsman at the rudder gives the proper direction. Boats pass each other with ease — it is affected by the off boat slacking roap into the water and the other running over it. In passing locks or bridges the roap is unhitched from boat until passed.
Boat to day much crowded — all could not be accomodated with berths at night and I was one of the number who slept on the floor. I slept but was not refreshed owing to the confined state of the air. Canal boats have but one deck about seven feet high. There are a great number of bridges across the canal which are from 2 to 4 ft. above the top of the boats. So passengers on deck stoop or lie down to avoid being nocked off.
24th Friday Passed little falls this morning. they disappointed my expectations. It is not a water fall as I had supposed but only a rapid of the Mohawk where it passes through a spring of the Allegany mountains. There is a town here of quite respectable size bearing the same name. From Little Falls the valley of the Mohawk widens out again and embraces a succession of beautiful and well cultivated farms and country seats. We reached Utica at 6 oclock in the evening having been detained at one of the locks two hours which was undergoing repairs.
Utica is a beautiful city is well laid out. Streets wide and airy. Some Streets are compactly built and present an air of business. The city is in the midst of a beautiful and well cultivated farming country.
25th Saturday My friend Lt Sing declined accompaning me farther to the west. We took leave of each other and 8 oclock we set out, he back to the east and I forward to the west. My journey to day was through the long reach (69) miles. passed by several small villages Rome The country through which we passed is flat and poor and little inhabited is timbered with pine and ceder Reached Syracuse at 9 in the evening. The city adjoining canal compact and buildings four story high — did not stop. This place is noted for its salt works there being salt springs near and a salt lake which I observed near the canal. Slept more comfortably to night having obtained a berth.
26th Sunday Felt it my duty to continue my journey to day. Passed through Monteyumeº and flats. These flats are connected with Onondaga lake — tow paths much p3 over flown — in very bad order — boat towed through by one horse. horse mired once in the mud. When through the flats, we passed some fine land and some plaster beds an embankment where canal crosses a valley the lowest point of which is forty or fifty feet below canal. Reached Rochester at 11 P.M. Put up at Eagle hotel is a fine establishment.
27th Monday Took a view of the city examined acqueduct for the canal over the Gennessee river. It is built of Stone — piers and arches of red Sand Stone — roadway of blue stone — Kreasº perhaps Arches are segments — span 24 yds — for protection of piers are wooden ice breakers. Springing line 2 ft above high water mark. Acqueduct passes over the rapids of the river. Visited Gennessee falls in the afternoon. There are two falls the upper is in the lower border of the city — has a perpendicular fall of 60 ft — presents to the eye of the beholder a grand spectacle — one of natures finest works through which nature God exibits his power. It was here Sam Patch took his last and fatal leap. The other fall is •a mile and a half below — this is composed of two vertical portions. the first falls on a white rock or plat form and falls the remaining height. The entire fall I should think about 50 ft. Rochester is celebrated for its four mills being in the midst of a highly productive wheat country and water power being available almost to any extent. The Gennessee river is much smaller than I had supposed — Left Rochester in the canal packet at 6½ oclock this evening.
28th Tuesday Had a refreshing sleep last night — boat not crowded — fare bad. Reached Lockport at 10 A.M. Here the canal passes through a difference of level of 60 ft by means of a double flight of locks. Locks constructed very solidly of hewn stone — is a fine work. From Lockport canal passes through a cut in rock three miles in length. Reached Buffalo at 4 in the evening. This is a thriving city bids fair to be a second N York. Visited for the first time in my life the Theatre this evening. I think to be the last time — play was the Last Days of Pompeii — Scenes were most ellegant. Music was delightful but the profanity, vulgarity and obscenity of the actors is wholly unpardonable — Met at Eagle hotel where I put up Lieuts Johns and Ruggles. Hotel crowded to overflowing.
29th Wednesday Being here only 20 miles from Niagara Falls I yealded to a wish I had long endulged of seeing them for myself. Leaving my baggage at Buffalo I took steamboat Victory at 9 oclock A.M. for the falls — arrived at 12 oclock on the Canada side examined falls in the afternoon have only seen them on one (The Canada) side — will not attempt description — must pronounce them grand and sublime in the highest degree. It shows forth the magnificent works of the Creator.
30th Thursday Rose at 6 oclock this morning. it was foggy but this soon disappeared. Went over to the side of the U. S. by means of a ferry 3 hundred yards below the falls water somewhat rough. river quite narrow at this point. took 8 minutes to cross. falls on this side not so grand. crossed  bridge to Bath and Iris Islands — descended Biddle or center staircase from whence had magnificent view of the falls on the Canada side. had a grand view from the top of the precipice by means of a bridge out into the rapids and a tower not more than 10 yds from the head of the awful gulf. Returned to Buffalo at 2 P.M. by means of Stage and boat arrived there late in the evening. In one point I was disappointed by the view of the falls — I had supposed the rapids above the falls much more precipitous than they really are. Was favored on my visit with the company of Lieut Gillinghost.c Pleasure very in life material substances is enlarged by division.º Saw at falls many who had been fellow travelers from the east. First is a place of great resort, by persons of a romantic turn and the potential by those in love — courting parties and couples to spend the honeymoon. there is no place on earth surrounded by so many objects of attraction. Besides the tremendous falls and p4 magnificent Scenery around there are several battle grounds close at hand of the severest actions of the last war — Chippewa and Queenston heights are close at hand. Ft Erie is 15 or 20 miles up the river and all on the Canada side. No object perhaps on earth impresses one more formidably with the power of Him who created all things and makes us feel our weakness and insignificance. May the view of this great work of nature lead me nearer to the Creator and upholder of all things.
July 1st 1836 Friday Set out at 10 A.M. on Lake Erie for Fair Port — weather clear but Smokey — boat now in sight of the U. S. Shore all the time — Boats on the lakes generally large. The lake not being affected much by the tide, is Smooth when calm — colour of water green.
2nd Saturday Reached Fair Port at 6 A.M. this morning at the mouth of a little river called grand river. Took stage immediately for Willsville. Stage very fine and teams good. this mode of travelling extremely the same — Country through which we passed is the eastern border of Ohio. Lands generally very fertile — well timbered and sufficiently. Had the company of a gentleman named Delaneux as far as Parkhorn. he is a violent anti-abolutionest. Traveled all night — Slept but little.
3rd Sunday Reached Wellsville at 8 A.M. a small town on the Ohio River hemed in completely by bluffs and mountains and hills. Stove coal is found in the vicinity. At 3 P.M. the Steamer Tennessee passed down the river and I obtained passage to Cincinnatti. The construction of this boat differs materially from North River boats. it has three decks and is high pressure. Transportation is high $15 — Fare very good — Reached Wheeling at dark and it becomming foggy had to remain all night Company Small.
4th Monday Heard the artillery this morning in cellebration of the Independence. Left Wheeling at day break and glided down the beautiful Ohio with a speed of •10 miles an hour. Were in Kentucky next morning.
5th Tuesday Had a thunder Shower when opposite Maysville were detained till night receiving freight. Senetor Crittenden of Ky who came aboard at Wheeling went a shore here Reached Cincin at 10 P.M.
6th Wednesday Had an opertunity of visiting the city till 1 P.M. Went to see if my books had arrived at Grissam's they had not arrived Visited WF Hopkins Esqr — He thinks I can obtain employment as civil engineering in Ohio or Ky — Left the city at 1 P.M.
7th Thursday Reached Louisville at 3 A.M. had to remain till afternoon for a passage to St Louis. Louisville is one of the most important cities of the West. It derives its importance from the falls of the Ohio at this place. From the difficulty of the passage many boats both from above and below never pass here. It is made a sort of depot. Took passage on Detroit at 6 P.M. Passed round the falls through the Louisville canal a construction •2 miles long is a miserable work — is much too narrow and badly excavated. Over this canal is a stone bridge. It is composed of three arches. the central one is immediately over the water way with a span equal to the water way — its curve is eliptical with a rise equal to ¼ the span the side arches are semmi circular. A flight of two locks very deep and solidly constructed of large locks of hewn stone affords a continuation between the upper portion of the river and the lower portion through a difference of level equal to the fall in the river. A draw bridge over the locks differs from any I have studied. It is raised by a moveable pully and large blocks of wood which are a constant weight.
p5 8th Friday The Ohio hills are beginning to disappear and the country is becoming level passed several villages and towns. Became acquainted with some of my fellow passengers one of whom a Mr Vandeventer from N. Y. I am much pleased with. he a professor of religion is going to St Louis.
9th Saturday Had a thunder Storm during the night — passed the Wabash at 6 A.M. Passed the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers and the filthy little towns Portland and Paducah. The Ohio has become a beautiful and smooth Stream. is about a mile wide.
10th Sunday We ascent but slowly. passed Ste Genevieve an old French town. The river here is encroching upon the town and must soon if it current be not turned off by natural or artificial means make its channel where the foundations of St Genevieve are at present — The channel of this river is ever varying its position — the limit to this variation is the bluffs which confine the alluvial bottom — this varies in width from about ten to 30 miles — Scenery on western bank very fine — bluffs approach the river and appear in perpendicular cliffs. Passed a rock in the midtst of the river called the guard tower it is in the form of a truncaded cone. Reached St Louis at 7 P.M. was disappointed in its size — thought it larger — streets narrow in the French stile — it is a place of importance and is destined to be a place of great business. It is situated on a low bluff but sufficiently high to the city from floods or over flowing — the site is a limestone quarry — Put up at Missouri hotel — accommodations bad
12th Tuesday Took a view of the city. The Catholic Cathedral is the finest building in the place and is perhaps inferior to few in U. S. Took passage on the Steamer Booneville for Missouri river. It advertised to start at 10 A.M. but started at 6 P.M. Reached the mouth of the Mo river and lay bye there for the night as boats are compelled to do on this river to avoid the danger arising from the great number of Snags and variable nature of the Shoals and bars to which this river is subject.
13th Wednesday Reached St Charles an old French town at 12 P.M. Boat stayed half an hour. Called on Mrs. Easton to deliver some letters from her son at West Point. There is a catholic convent here — Our boat advances slowly — has a strong current to contend with. advanced about 50 miles to day and laid by at night.
14th to 18th Monday Have been since last Wednesday ascending from St Charles a distance of 200 miles have traveled only during the day. have passed several small towns cities on the river lately came in to notice that will no doubt be places of importance Roche Port & Boonville have hansome locations Roche Port is at the mouth of the Mountain river above & below one high and perpendicular bluffs leaving an inter mediate level of •about a quarter of a mile front which is the location of the village — Boonville is about 12 mi above Roche Port on the South side of the river is the largest place on the river above St Louis — is situated on a high bluff that is gradually sloped to the river — will doubtless be a place of importance. The Missouri is an extrordinary river its muddy waters wind their way through a valley of three or four miles in width enclosed on both sides by bluffs from 1 to 200 hundredº feet high — the bed of the river is continually changing which it does by washing away the bank on one side and making a deposit on the other — the valley being alluvial and of a very friable nature — its banks easily crumble down when acted upon by the current — This is the cause of the great number of sand bares and their changable nature and the great number of snags The valley is covered with a dense forest of cotton wood. This tree resembles lombardy poplars in appearance, being generally very tall. I have seen it 200 ft high I think — have had a glimpse of the prarries a few times. Grand river prarrie is a beautiful place void of shrubery and richly clad with meadow grass expected when I started up the Mo River to have for my companions Black legs and the uncivilised — whereas my p6 company has been intelligent and as gentlemanly a one as I have fallen in with. Reached this evening at 500 Fines landing which is opposite to my Father's western residence — landed here and walked to Dover a distance of three miles where I procured a poney of Franklin Gantis to rodeº out to Fathers
19th Stayed in Dover last night — Started this morning after early breakfast to Father's a distance of 14 miles — It would be difficult to describe my feelings as I pursued my journey to day having been absent four years from Father's family my heart swelled with a variety of emotions as I neared their new residence my imagination being busily employed upon the various changes may have taken place in the members of the family — Their satisfaction with the new country and the pleasure they would manifest at seeing me again — At the time I was travelling through a new and interesting country — a country of alternate prarrie and forest. The prarries appearing as meadows boundless in some direction beautifully variegated with hill and dale with a soil deep black and of unaccountable fertility — Reached Father's before twelve Oclock found them all well. Father and brothers were harvesting at Mr. Averin's Father has located in open prarrie a mile from timber — had recently built a log dwelling which was unfinished.
20th July to 14th Sept Have spent this time principally at home was at two camp meeting. one held by Cumberland Presbyterians the other by Methodists. they were thinly attended owing to thin population.
Father's location is between two considerable creeks called Davis and Blackwater. on the dividing ridge his location is high — soil very fertile and well watered — is no doubt healthy. The great excess of prarrie in this country over woodland renders wood fuel scarce. There is however abundance of bituminous coal which will answer the purposes of fuel — For the advantages of cultivation the lands of this country surpass any I have seen. This must also be a country of pastoral wealth. What a fine view would 500 Cattle upon a prarrie hill present to the eye! and what a fine profit would be anually derived! I made a selection for a farm for myself which I design entering as soon as possible and settle — as it will be a mile or two from timber I intend to plant timber at an early period.
About the first of September a communication from the war department reached me embracing a brevet 2nd Lieutenant commission and orders to report for duty by the 30th inst. I accepted the commission and on the 14th inst set out to join my regiment
14th to 22nd On the 14th took Steam boat at Dover on Missouri river for St Louis had a pleasant passage with the exception of about 6 or 7 hours delay by hour from Jefferson City down we had agreeable and inteligent company — Gov Dunklin Judge Kells, Laryer Mc Ginnis and a young Kentuckying a lawyer I think named Shawklin. reached St Louis on the 18th Hotels were all crowded. St Louis is rapidly improving. It is destined to be a great city. its location is central to the upper valley of the Miss whose trade it will comand. its site is sufficiently large to embrace a very great city. It is a lime stone bluff — I called on Major Brant U S Quartermaster for information concerning the location of my regiment and company — by refference to official documents he ascertained that Old point Comfort is the head quarters of my regiment and that my company is at Key West but as I had not received official information of my point of destination he advised me to take Washington City in my rout — I intend doing so. I set out from St Louis on Steam boat on the 21st
21st to 27th Within this time have passed from St Louis to Wheeling The river was in a fine stage. it had risen 3 ft before we reached Wheeling The Ohio is a most beautiful river. its waters clear — its banks firm. it is almost without obstruction From Louisville to Cincinati took passage on Post Bay she is a fine boat. Judge Mc Lene and his son in p7 law Capt Tailor were passengers — had the pleasure of an introduction. Capt Tailor said he was surprised that any young man would go into the army he said I could do better business in the Santa Fee trade Saw nothing very attractive in my passage to Wheeling.
27th to 2 Oct Took Stage at Wheeling for Washington City The stage rout is the Cumberland road — it is Mc Cadimised and passes over Alegany We passed through some fine country — Land near Washington Pen are hilly but well cultivated – saw here large flocks of sheep and cattle. The mountain valleys are generally well cultivated Sometimes when on a high mountain the view would command an extensive valley studded with farms — the prospect would be quite sublime — we were on the Laural mountain the first night just at day there was a heavy frost The Cumberland is a fine road there are stone bridges over every stream and riverlet At Cumberland there is a hanging bridge we reached Hager's Town the 3rd night. This is a handsome inland town in the midst of a good and well cultivated soil stayed at Bettswvensº reached Frederick next day at 11 oclock This is a large inland Town. A rail road extends from hence to Baltimore. Took stage to Washington City. reached the city after dark — put up at Brown's
3 Oct Visited the Capital accompanied by Mr Carter of Georgetown it is a magnificent building — Had the pleasure of seeing the following named classmates who are on duty in this city Warner Anderson Concklin Bransford Allen A P
4th Paid Mr Carter a visit had introduction to his sister — a fine girl. They are going to St Louis. At 3½ oclock took cars on Baltimore railroad reached there about 6 o clock P.M. put up at Eutaw house.
5th Left Baltimore in steamboat Kentucky for Norfolk
6th Reached Norfolk at 11 O clock A.M. went over to Old Point in the evening
8 Went over to Norfolk this evening in Steam boat and put up at Mrs. Murphy's a methodist lady —
9 Sunday attended church to day at the Methodist church in fore noon Dogget preached. a superior preacher — Attended Episcopal church in evening — heard M P Parks formerly a methodist preacher and assistant professor in Randolph Macon Colledge — I had not been informed of his becoming an Episcopalian and was a little surprised. he is a superior preacher
10th to 13th From the 10th to 13th I visited the town and its curiosities — visited Portsmouth and the Navy yard there. The dry dock is a very solidly constructed work. There are several ship constructing The North Carolina is laying off preparing to sail — called on Major Walter Guynn Civil Engineer. He is chief engineer of the N. Carolina railroad — he thinks he can employ me as engineer next spring Took passage this evening 13th for Charleston on board the splendid Steamer South Carolina. There are about 150 passengers Letº J F Roland is a passenger on his way to Florida
14th When I arose this morning we were out at sea and nearly out of sight of land the sea was somewhat rough and many on board were seasick — we reached cape Hatteras p8 this morning. The high light house on the cape was preceptable for some distance — From cape Hatteras to Lookout we were most of time out of sight of land. Saw very few sails during the day.
15th Were entirely out of sight of land most of to‑day — sea was a little rougher than yesterday and many were sick — was not affected myself. — The first land we saw was at the mouth of Pedie river — had a view of land from thence til we reached Charleston. Charleston is favored with a good harbor but the access to it is obstructed with a troublesome bar — reached the city at one O clock put up at the Planter's Hotel — had but little oportunity of visiting the curiosities of the city. The cholera has been raging here but has nearly abated. There is but little business transacted here in consequence of the cholera. The city looks old — Streets generally not paved and sand several inches thick. The wharfs are all wooden constructed of the Palmetto tree which is a growth perculiar to this state.
16 Set out for St Augustine this morning in Steam boat Dolphin She rocks very much and sickened nearly all the passengers except myself — were in sight of land nearly all day — reached Savanah at 10 P.M. Slept on board the boat
17 Walked through the City It was a beautiful city — the streets are wide and regularly laid out The streets are all beautifully shaded with China Mulbury or live oak — Streets not paved and very sandy — visited Oglethrope barracks which is comprised of 2 brick buildings — quarters are good called on Quarter-master Lt Collins dined at City Hotel — fare good — Left Savanah at 4 observed the country below Savanah — The river bottom is wide low and all Savanah — reached mouth of the river just at dark — Sea Smooth
18th Ran all last night and found ourselves near the mouth of the St Mary's river at daybreak proceeded to St Mary's Town and spent two hours there — It is a small place of from 500 to 1000 inhabitants houses generally small wooden and old streets wide unpaved and lined with China trees — Orange orchards in abundance but were pulled down by the frosts last winter one sprouting out thriftily — Reached the mouth at St Johns river at 4 oclock, employed a small boat to carry us to Major Taylor's 5 miles up a small creek — here we stayed all night Major Taylor keeps a kind of stage office for the conveyance of travelers to St Augustine.
19th Last night was my first in Florida. I slept well the first part of the night — but was awaked in the night by insects of some kind crawling over me. My thought reverted to the object of my present visit to this teritory. The Seminole war — and sleep was driven from my pillow the remainder of the night — We were aroused at an early hour to proceed on our journey to St Augustine and breakfasted at day break and being furnished with a dearborn wagon and a two horse yankee wagon we proceeded on our journey. taking the sea beach for our road having ebe tide the beach makes a very fine road — hard and as smooth as a floor. The sea ever rolling its billow upon the beach keeps a continual moaning and a surge like a mighty water fall It is 40 miles from Taylor's to St Augustine reached there at Sundown — Found some difficulty in crossing the river there we (5 of us) were conveyed across a distance of about 2 miles in two small cannoes — Put up at Leivingston's the City Hotel.
20th to 31st Remained in St Augustine two days Reported to Col Crane for duty He ordered me to repair to Black creek and report for duty there Visited There St Mary's fort — a very old fortification — built by the Spanish a small work — but very sutstantial put up of stone — a concretion of shells on excellant material — is very partially affected by the concusion of cannon balls. It has born the test the print of balls made during Ogethrops attack can be seen — This Fort is a Bastioned work composed of three p9 bastion fronts — The walls are twenty yds thick — and filled up with chamber of various prisons — magazines — . St Augustine is one of the oldest towns in the U. States — there was pointed out to me here the Site of the oldest church in the U. S. The Orange tree the ornament and staple production of this region was killed by frost last winter It will be 6 years before new orchards can be brought to perfection — —
Having stayed two days the Quarter Master furnished transportation to Black creek  Picolata — Remaining there 2 days — we took Steam boat to Black Creek —
Here I found the regular troops encamped in a pine barren — with them I found and joined my company after having reported my self to Major Gardner the commanding officer (this was the 24th of Oct) Being in command of my company I was busily engaged in preparing muster rools for muster at the end of the month I found at this place several of my class mates and acquaintances It was pleasant to meet in this wilderness.
Active preparations are making for another seminole campagne to go into operations the 1st of next month —
As ranking officer of my company it devolved on me to prepare my company for the campagne — being inexperienced the duty was troublesome Colonel Perce returned to this place on the 27th from a journey to the north He gives an order for the regulars to march immediately to fort drane — and himself with a great hurry proceeds thither accompanied by Capt Penoyer of the Steamer Dolphen and a mounted escort to have an interview with Gov Cole He returns on the night of the 30th — Is not in such hast to send us off orders us to start and encamp a few miles from this place On 31st the company were all mustered —
Nov 1st to 18th On the first we started to fort Drane and encamped a few miles from there where we remained several days. Reached Fort Drane on the 9th remained there one day The Batallion was reorganised — Left there on the 11th with the Indians and 4 or 500 Tennessee volunteers with Gov Cole at our head Reached the Withlacanchee on the 12th and crossed on the 13th crossed by fording Three men were drowned in this attempt.
Hostiles were reported on the opposite side — with half the regulars the Indiansd and Floridians we went in pursuit of them but discovered none we returned to the bank of the river and encamped till the 16th when having prepared our selves with 7 days rations we started on an expidition — we scouted the swamps of the — on the 18th we left the baggage in charge of two companies of regulars and went out with the expectations of meeting the hostiles — met them in considerable numbers at 9 O clock and were fired on by them across a river or ford 200 yrs wide. It was a bloodless battle on our side — firing continued 2 hours
19th Crossed the large branch of the Withlocanchee to day.
20th Crossed Small branch of the Withlocanchee and met Gov Cole with the Tennesseans in the evening they had two barrels
21 left Baggage in charge of some vollunteers and 50 regulars in charge of Let Robberts and my self the army went to meet the hostiles in the warhos swampe — they were met thence at 11 oclock — a battle of hours long was fought — we lost 9 killed and 13 wounded. Major Moniac of the Indians was among the killed Capt Cartland was severly wounded also Capt Ross of the Indians.
p10 22nd to 26 Being out of provisions we took up the line of march for Volusia reached there on 26th
1st Dec to 24th We remained at Volusia untill the 13th of Dec Constructed a picket fortification here for the purpose of a depot — Gen Jusup joined us on the 5th or 6th with an escort of 500 mounted men from Tampa He assumes comand The general order from head quarters containing amoung others my promotion was received. my adjutant informed me that the company (B) to which I am promoted is in the Mass recruiting I made application to Jusup to permit me to join He refused me on the grounds of the great deficiency of officers in Florida — On the 12th the Tennesseans set out and on the 13th the regulars set out. We reached fort Dade's battle ground — reached them on the 17th On 18th it being Sunday we built a picket fort on the 19th Tennesseans marched for Camp on their way home On the 20th we remaining regular force, mounted Alabamians and Haynes with friendly Indians marched out •10 miles to a place where it was reported the Indians (hostile) were encamped we started at day break — had an unpleasant march, through the savannahs and marshes — It raining at the same time We reached their village on the border of a hammock — It was deserted as well as several camps we found on the borders of the hammock. returned at night much worn out with fatigue — Jesup & staff go to Tampa on the 21st On the 22nd a large Scout was sent out composed of the companies of regulars and 100 Indians for the purpose of Scouting the Warwhoo swamp and hammocks on this side of Withlacanchee. This hammock is very extensive and contains many indian villages which have been recently deserted — we were at the place of the boat engagement of the 18th Not having a sufficient force to proceed farther on the march we returned to the camp at night One of Let Herberts men stayed behind and has not yet come up
On the 24th all the disposable force went out under command of Gen Armstead to build a bridge over the little Withlaconchee and to scout the forks — the latter duty was imposed upon Major Morris he ascertained that the forks is not an indian fortress and that the junction of the two rivers is only about two miles from the fort King road Gen Armtead returned to Fort Armstrong and remained there at rest untill the 10th of Jan when Jesup returned from Tampa Bay with the regular troops that were there. On the same day Brevet Major Childs of the 3rd Arty arrived from the north in command 100 recruits of the 4th Infy Capt Ringgold had marched the day previous to meet him with 3 companies of the 3rd Arty — his own company Lees (Childs) and mine (Lendrums) also about fifty Indians under J. F. Lee. We met Major Childs about 15 miles from fort Armstrong just at camp time — Whilst returning (on the 10th) we met Major Morris with his Indians and Col. Callfield of the Alabamian's on a scout in the direction of the Ocluwaha —
17th last night intellegence was brought from Morris that he had captured about 50 negroes amoung which was Primus Clinch's negro that was sent out by Gen Grovesf to negociate with the hostiles but did not return Primus gave the intellegence that Powell was some where on the Ouithlocochee and could guide to the  encouraged by this Jesup set out this morning with all the troops that arrived yesterday from Tampa to join Morris for the purpose of pursuing Powell taking with him 10 days provisions. He at the same time ordered Capt Foster to march from Fort Dade down on the left bank of the Ouithlaconchee to intersect him and at some point below — At the same time Gen Armstead was ordered to send a force to occupy and thoroughly scout the Warwhoop Swamp accordingly two companies of regulars and the remaining Indian force were sent out under command of Col Brown — Leaving at Fort Armstrong Capt Ringgold's p11 company mine and Child's recruits From the 11th to 19th heard nothing of Jesup in his wild goose chase after Oscola The 6th Inf reached Fort Armstrong about the 16th from the Sabine via Tampa On the 17th or 18th the body of Moniac was removed to Dades battle ground and we enteredº with military honors Jesup and staff returned this (19th) evening. His troops returned on the morning of the 20th The result of this expidition was the murder of an old Squaw & the capture of two Indian children (pickaninies) On the evening of the 19th I was detailed with my company ("I" & "C" 3d Arty) to escort a small train to Fort Dade for provisions returned next evening On 21st made preparation for a march to Hopopki to the south east from Ft. Armstrong. On the morning of the 22nd at sun rise Jesups army took up the line of march. This was the most efficient army that has yet taken the field in Florida it being composed principally of regular troops It numbered about Twelve hundred. It was divided according to previous arrangement into two Brigades one commanded by Genl Armstrong the other by Col Henderson of the Marines.
At ten oclock the 2nd day of March we reached the Okla‑wa‑ha river the river was shallow but the banks were steep and it was necessary to drag the baggage waggons over with drag ropes. In the evening of this day (23rd) the Alabameans being in front they came suddenly upon two hostile negroes one of them they captured the otherº made his escape The prisoner gave information that an Hepophee lake which was close at hand was Cooper an Indian Chief with a few attendants of Indians & negroes.
24th morning before break of day a party composed of the Alabameans creeks and Capt Harris' horse marines was sent accompanied by Let Chamber Jesup's Art to visit Cooper guided by the negro prisoner So very cautiously had Cooper concealed himself in a dense hammock on Hepoplas lake that it was with much difficulity his location ascertained The creeks first discovered him the  two war whoops and rushed upon him and his party so complete was the surprise that Cooper had scarcely discovered his condition when he was surrounded by enemies — Cooper had but 3 warriers with him. two Squaws with their children and a few negroes
[Here the diary breaks off.]g
a William Mock's journal comes to publication on this site by the kind permission of Barbara Webster in whose family — her great-grandfather's second wife was Mock's stepdaughter — the original manuscript traveled down thru a century and more; with similar generosity she donated the original in 1995 to the U. S. M. A. Library where it is today.
She writes that he kept the diary in pencil, later transcribing each page in ink; but that he didn't quite finish this project; the last few pages are still in pencil.
The text on this webpage reproduces Barbara Webster's 11‑page typed transcript; I haven't seen the original manuscript. I've kept the punctuation, capitalization, and paragraphing of the transcript; small blanks separate sentences, and the few larger blanks, which I bracketed, are undecipherable spots, in each instance no more than a word or two. Indents and italics are mine.
Spellings I also kept, except where a modern misreading or typo is absolutely definite, or where the same word appears in both a nonstandard and a better form, when I adopt the latter, of course. Proper names I left exactly as I found (Cincinnatti, Cincinati, Cincinatti; the variants of the placename that Cullum's Register spells Withlacoochee; etc.), except in a very few instances where the diarist could not possibly have got them wrong, like the name of his company commander, Thomas W. Lendrum: the handwriting must have been very difficult though, since the transcript has Lendruhere and Herdrun.
I hope at some point to have, and put onsite, a copy of the original manuscript, which may solve some of the remaining problems.
b The following item from an unidentified newspaper (very likely 1891, and of Petaluma: the Journal, the Courier, or the Argus) will be of interest:
The death of Gen W. T. Sherman is very naturally calling up everything reminiscent of his life. There is now living in Petaluma, an aged gentleman, Major Wm. Mock, who graduated at West Point the same year that young Sherman entered the junior class. A short time before graduating, Mr. Mock and other students were practicing, firing shot from a mortar at a target about the size of a flour barrel, half a mile distant. Major Mock had the good luck to do what was seldom done, hit the target and knocked it to pieces. Upon graduating he was assigned to a position in the regular army and served his requisite five years down in Florida. At the end of his term he was desirous of retiring from military service and Sherman having just graduated was assigned to relieve him. Major Mock in making the statement to this writer several years ago stated that he turned over to Sherman all military effects in his possession taking Sherman's receipt therefor. He said that Sherman at that time complimented him on his lucky target shot at West Point, and stated that from that day down to the time of his (Sherman's) graduation, the target had not again been hit. When General Sherman was in Petaluma several years ago, Major Mock drove from his ranch to town expressly to meet him, but someone at the R. R. depot informed him that Sherman had not come; whereupon Major Mock returned home. But for this unfortunate mistake these two college mates would have had an opportunity to talk over old times and live over again their meeting of the long-ago down in the of Florida.
We notice that Mock is given the rank of Major in this article. He was not entitled to it in the United States Army, not even as a brevet rank; he may have held it in a state militia. And then — maybe not.
d These Indians are the Mounted Creek Volunteers, fighting as part of the U. S. Army. They were officered by European-Americans, with one exception: Major Moniac, whose death is recorded on the 21st, a few lines further in the diary, was the first Native American to graduate from West Point.
e This is the action referred to in Cullum's Register as the Battle of Wahoo Swamp.
f I have been unable to learn who this may be. Heitman's Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army, which lists all officers in the United States Army back to Revolutionary War days, shows no officer by the name of Groves (Grove, Grover) serving in 1836.
g William Mock seems to have been a young man of engaging personality and good powers of observation; it's a pity the diary is fragmentary, especially since he served and fought in Florida for several years. He is mentioned a few months later — just a bare mention, in passing — in the similarly fragmentary diary of Lt. John Pickell, as participating in an expedition on Nov. 19, 1837.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
My thanks to Barbara Webster
History of West Point
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 13 Jan 17